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Dipen J. Parekh Named Chief Clinical Officer


UM News

Dipen Parekh, M.D.

Dipen Parekh, M.D.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (September 1, 2017)—Dipen J. Parekh, chair of the Department of Urology and director of robotic surgery, has been named chief clinical officer of the University of Miami Health System.

“Dr. Parekh is one of the world’s most experienced and innovative surgeons in robotic-assisted urologic oncology, and the perfect person to continue the critically important process of building and enhancing our medical practice,” Edward Abraham, acting executive vice president for health affairs and CEO of UHealth, said in his announcement last week.

As Abraham, who is also dean and chief academic officer of the Miller School of Medicine, noted, Parekh brought the da Vinci Xi robotic surgical system to UHealth, leading it to the spectacular milestone this month of the 5,000th da Vinci procedure performed at University of Miami Hospital. Among the benefits of these procedures, Abraham said, are greater precision, smaller incisions, shorter recovery times, and improved patient outcomes.

Since joining the Miller School in 2012, Parekh, who holds the Victor A. Politano Endowed Chair in Urology and is a member of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, has restructured the clinical, operational, and financial management of the Department of Urology, significantly increasing patient access to urology services while enhancing patient satisfaction.

His internationally acclaimed research is advancing treatment on many fronts, and he has shared those advances with surgeons around the world.

As chief clinical officer, Parekh will be in charge of all UHealth outpatient and inpatient services, and will work closely with all the chairs and clinical faculty to enhance the clinical enterprise.

His appointment, Abraham said, will give Thinh Tran, M.D., UHealth’s chief operations officer, more time to focus on the health system’s extensive operational issues.

“Working together, and with all of us, Dr. Parekh and Dr. Tran will accelerate our transformation to the health system we need to be in today’s rapidly changing environment,” Abraham said.

 

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Registration Opens for 41st ‘Miami Neonatology 2017′ Conference


One of the largest and most prestigious international conferences in perinatal and neonatal medicine, “Miami Neonatology 2017,” will be held on Sunday, November 12  through Wednesday, November 15  at the Loews Hotel Miami Beach to update medical professionals on the advances and best practices in the care of critically ill newborns.

Now in its 41st year, the annual conference sponsored by the Miller School of Medicine will begin with a one-day workshop, “Advances in Respiratory Care,” and feature discussions by international experts about new developments in the recognition, management, and prevention of conditions associated with significant morbidity and mortality in the neonate.

Additional information and registration is available on the conference website or by contacting Lizbeth Castellano, conference coordinator, at lcastellano@miami.edu or 305-243-2068.

 

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Lights! Camera! Scalpel!


By Maya Bell
UM News

Sean-Enrique2

Actor/director Sean Penn. left, and UM trauma surgeon Enrique Ginzburg met during a real-life disaster, Haiti’s 2010 earthquake.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (August 18, 2017)—For a brief moment in Sean Penn’s new film, The Last Face, Enrique Ginzburg is doing what the Miller School of Medicine trauma surgeon knows all too well: triaging bloodied and moaning patients in a makeshift hospital in one of the world’s most impoverished and unstable countries.

But this improvised hospital is not in Haiti, where Ginzburg, now the trauma medical director at Jackson South Medical Center, first met the Academy Award-winning actor after the cataclysmic 2010 earthquake that killed tens of thousands and maimed many more. It is in the war-torn African nation of Liberia, where, like Haiti, good medical care for most people is unavailable even in the best of times, and where, like Haiti, people count themselves lucky to have foreign doctors on the ground during their bleakest hours.

The drama, starring fellow Academy Award winners Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem, has drawn both raves and rants, some of the latter for glorifying white rescuers at the expense of oppressed locals. But Ginzburg says The Last Face shines an unsparing light on the harshest of realities.

“Along with criticism of the graphic nature of the film, there has been political discussion on the lack of African native doctors,” says Ginzburg, who served as medical advisor for the movie filmed over two years in Cape Town, South Africa. “But that’s the exact point so sorely misunderstood by the critics. The fact is that, in Africa and other developing countries, there is a severe lack of native trauma surgeons, so people have to rely on the ‘white doctor’ to come in during disasters.”

UM trauma surgeon Enrique Ginzburg, left, on the set of The Last Face with Academy Award-winning actor Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men), who portrays a Spanish doctor in the film.

UM trauma surgeon Enrique Ginzburg, left, on the The Last Face set with Academy Award-winning actor Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men), who portrays a Spanish doctor in the film.

And, Ginzburg notes, that’s exactly what UM’s Barth Green, the co-founder of Project Medishare, successfully changed in Haiti and what the Ryder Trauma System and the UM Trauma Division are changing globally. “In Brazil, in Cuba, in St. Croix, in Saudi Arabia, in Colombia, in Argentina, in Thailand, in Israel, to name a few, our doctors have been training local doctors in trauma care so these countries have the know-how to take care of their own,” he says.

And it’s why Penn, who has spent years in post-earthquake Haiti organizing humanitarian aid, enlisted Ginzburg for The Last Face, which at its core is a love story between Theron’s character, the director of an international aid organization, and Bardem’s character, a relief-aid doctor. The movie also stars Jean Reno, Adele Exarchopoulos, and Jared Harris.

For his fifth directorial feature film, Penn wanted authenticity in the medical scenes, and the real-life horrors of disaster relief are indelibly etched in Ginzburg’s mind. A member of the four-man trauma team that Green, then chair of the Department of Neurosurgery, led into Haiti the day after the January 12, 2010 earthquake, Ginzburg quickly learned the essentials of improvisation and doing the best you can with what little you have.

Under Green’s tutelage, he was instrumental in establishing and operating the 400-bed tent hospital that UM opened at the Port-au-Prince airport just nine days after the earthquake. The best-stocked, best-staffed, and best-managed hospital in Haiti at the time, it was where, in eight weeks, volunteers from the Miller School, Jackson Memorial Hospital, and every state in the nation treated more than 20,000 earthquake survivors and performed more than 1,500 surgeries.

Enrique Ginzburg, right, discusses a medical scene with actor Jean Reno, who plays a doctor.

Enrique Ginzburg, right, discusses a medical scene in The Last Face with actor Jean Reno, who plays a doctor in the drama.

Initially, though, Ginzburg and the rest of Green’s team worked around the clock in a sweltering hanger at the airport where, reminiscent of the Civil War, hundreds of people with severed limbs, open fractures, soft-tissue wounds, head trauma, and unknown internal injuries lay on rows of cots screaming and moaning in agony. Ginzburg would perform his first amputation without general anesthesia there.

“I’ve never seen so much suffering in one place,” he said later about the moment he entered that hangar. “The immensity was overwhelming.”

“It was like stepping into a horror movie,” Green, now executive dean of health and community service, later recalled.

Fortunately for Ginzburg, stepping onto the set of The Last Face, which was released this month and is available on video, was a lot more fun.

“It was great,” he says. “A thrilling, life-enhancing experience. And I know I’m biased, but I loved the movie.”

 

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Carl Schulman Appointed Executive Dean of Research at the Miller School


UM News

Carl Schulman

Carl Schulman

Carl Schulman, professor of surgery, Eunice Bernhard Endowed Chair in Burns, and director of the William Lehman Injury Research Center, has been appointed executive dean for research, Miller School Dean and Chief Academic Officer Edward Abraham announced last week.

In making the announcement, Abraham expressed his deep appreciation for Dushyantha Jayaweera, M.D., senior associate dean for research who had served in that role, for his multiple contributions to the Miller School’s research enterprise, and for taking on the additional responsibilities. He will continue to be an integral part of the research leadership as senior associate dean for research.

In his announcement, Abraham said:

Dr. Schulman has a long and distinguished history of service to the Miller School and the community. He earned his medical degree from the University of South Florida College of Medicine and completed training in general surgery and received additional training in trauma and surgical critical care at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center.

He also received a Master of Science in Public Health and Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Dr. Schulman has been involved in undergraduate and graduate medical education, and is currently the associate program director for the general surgery residency program. He has mentored many surgical residents and graduate students in his clinical laboratory, including serving in advisory roles for their MPH and Ph.D. thesis and dissertation work. He is the director of a federally funded international telemedicine program and leads the medical content creation team for the Defense Health Agency.

With research interests focusing on the epidemiology of burns and trauma, Dr. Schulman has been awarded grants from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Department of Defense and the CDC, among others. He has authored more than 140 peer-reviewed publications and is a reviewer for numerous journals. He is currently the principal investigator for the BMW Crash Research Program at the University of Miami. Dr. Schulman was recently elected to the Burn Science Advisory Panel of the American Burn Association (ABA). This panel oversees all ABA-affiliated clinical trials, guiding and supporting all aspects of the clinical research enterprise. He is the principal investigator on a DOD-funded Phase 1 and 2 human clinical trial, which is the first trial to look at the use of allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells in the treatment of deep second-degree burns.

Dr. Schulman has served on numerous University of Miami faculty and search committees, and was one of the inaugural recipients of the Miller School’s Citizenship Award. He was elected by the faculty and served as first vice speaker of the Medical School Faculty Council from 2008-2013 and then as speaker from 2013 to the present. He is also a member of Iron Arrow, the highest honor attained at the University of Miami.

 

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President Frenk’s Public Health Course Bridges the Gulf


By Maya Bell
UM News

INSP

Students who took the public health course that President Julio Frenk, front center, taught in Mexico gather for a post-course group photo. Not pictured are UM students who listened in on a live webcast.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (August 10, 2017)—President Julio Frenk returned to Mexico last week to teach a course on a subject he knows well—the fundamental concepts of public health—at the now-renowned National Institute of Public Health (INSP) he helped launch 30 years ago.

As INSP’s founding director and Mexico’s former minister of health, Frenk brought a wealth of knowledge and insight to the intensive eight-hour course that literally spanned the Gulf of Mexico. Held over four days at INSP headquarters in Cuernavaca, each two-hour class was simultaneously made available via live webcast to graduate students at the University of Miami.

“It was a great opportunity and very worthwhile,” said Daniel Samano Martin del Campo, a physician who earned his medical degree in Mexico and is pursuing his master’s in public health at the Miller School of Medicine.

“What I like about Dr. Frenk is his ability to connect complex ideas and concepts and paint a big picture—but it is his own picture with his background as a social scientist,” Samano continued. “I’ve gone to many of his talks around the U, not necessarily about public health, and every time he leaves you with a message—a meaningful message with words of wisdom you can apply to real-life scenarios.”

Like Samano, Frenk earned his medical degree in Mexico before pursuing his master’s in public health. The former dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, UM’s sixth president was, in fact, among the pioneers of public health, a field that INSP has nurtured in Spanish-speaking countries around the world. Widely considered the top public health doctoral program in the developing world, INSP was created in large measure to conduct the research that would inform public policy.

“In the course of a decade and a half, it completely changed the character of the public health research and education in a developing country,” Frenk told The Lancet for a profile of INSP the medical journal published in February.

The institute was the brainchild of Guillermo Soberon Acevedo, who was president of Mexico’s National Autonomous University when Frenk was a medical student there and who went on to become Mexico’s minister of health in 1982.

When Frenk followed Soberon as Mexico’s health minister in late 2000, he relied on INSP work to establish Seguro Popular, which brought health coverage to millions of uninsured Mexicans. INSP research also led to an increased cigarette tax and more nutritious food in schools.

For Samano, who grew interested in public health during his mandatory social service year in a small, rural community outside Mexico City, Frenk’s real-world experiences and ability to explain the interactions between complicated health care systems, research, finances, and other complexities not learned in medical school made the virtual course particularly worthwhile.

“It was in that small community of 6,000 that I realized medicine goes beyond treating one person at a time,” Samano said. “I wanted to learn more about the system and how to expand health to communities, not just persons. He’s spent his life doing that.”

Graduate School Dean Guillermo “Willy” Prado said giving students on both sides of the Gulf access to a world authority on public health is consistent with the University’s aspiration of being a hemispheric institution.

“The goal of public health scientists and practitioners is to achieve health equity and improve the health of populations globally,” Prado said. “INSP’s public health course taught by President Frenk, a leading public health expert, covered methods and concepts to help achieve this important goal.”

 

 

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