e-Veritas Archive | October, 2010

Transplant pioneers celebrate 40 years of life-saving care

Third from left, David E.R. Sutherland, a transplant pioneer from the University of Minnesota, presented Grand Rounds at a celebration of 40 years of transplant history with, from left, the Miller School’s Si M. Pham, George W. Burke III, and Alan Livingstone.

At a symposium marking the 40th anniversary of the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital transplant program, Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt reflected on the enormous contribution the Miami Transplant Institute has made to medicine, on the physicians there who spend hour after hour in complex surgeries, and on the patients who, over those decades, have come to see the transplant program as a place of hope.

“It is quite remarkable that this outstanding transplant program is happening in a public hospital, in a safety-net hospital,” Dean Goldschmidt said. “At a time when hospitals across the country are facing tremendous economic challenges, you are able to deliver with tremendous results.”

Then he asked a question that set off long and thunderous applause: “How many of you in the room are patients?”

A few in the audience stood up, then a few others, then many more grateful patients whose presence and smiles served as extraordinary testimony. Their doctors, nurses, and other health care and administrative workers sat alongside and shared in the joy.

“I want to thank our transplant teams,” Dean Goldschmidt continued. “They constitute a special part of medicine; every time they treat one patient they save a life. It’s amazing work.”

Among those standing was Cassandra Smith, 43, of Hollywood, who gets overwhelmed when she speaks about her transplant surgery and care.

“I can’t help but get emotional, because I was sick all my life before I got the transplant at the age of 40,” Smith said. “Now it’s no more insulin, no more feeling sick. I have a new heart, a new kidney, and new pancreas. I am blessed, and my doctors are so good.”

The October 20 event at the Lois Pope LIFE Center began with a special Grand Rounds presented by transplant pioneer David E. R. Sutherland, professor of surgery at the University of Minnesota and director of the Schulze Diabetes Institute, then moved into the symposium that reflected on the transplant program’s four decades of giving people like Smith renewed life.

The evening’s program also included remarks from Jackson Health System President and CEO Eneida Roldan, and featured Alan S. Livingstone, Lucille and DeWitt Daughtry Professor and Chairman of the Department of Surgery and the UM/Jackson’s world-renowned transplant surgeons: George Burke, III, chief of the Division of Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation; and Si Pham, chief of the Division of Heart and Lung Transplantation.

The third division chief, Andreas Tzakis, chief of the Division of Liver and Gastrointestinal Transplant, was unable to attend because he was in surgery. His colleagues praised his dedication to his patients, no matter where or when they need him.

That level of commitment has been a hallmark of the transplant program, which began in 1970 when the first kidney transplant was done at UM. Under the guidance of Burke, Tzakis, and Pham, the transplant divisions have performed more than 500 transplant procedures each year, placing the institute, which is a Center of Excellence at the Miller School, among the elite, high-volume transplant centers in the nation.

In addition to liver, kidney, pancreas, and heart transplants, the institute’s surgeons perform complex intestinal and multi-visceral transplants, making the center one of just a few in the world that undertake such extraordinary procedures.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently recognized the institute’s kidney transplant program with a Silver level award, one of only 10 transplant programs in the country to earn that honor, while the liver and pancreas programs received Bronze level recognition. The HHS’s Donation and Transplantation Community of Practice based the awards on graft survival one year after transplant, transplant rate, and mortality rate after being placed on the transplant list.

At the event, speakers such as attorney Andrea Kessler, the first kidney-pancreas transplant patient, expressed their gratitude.

“I thank all the doctors here for the time they put into research, for the time they put into the hospital, and I thank their families — the long hours they spend working, that’s time they’re probably not with their families,” Kessler said. “I can recall Dr. Burke showing up in my hospital room sometimes at midnight or 1 o’clock in the morning, after he had saved another life.”

“When we do a transplant, these patients become a part of our extended family,” Livingstone said. “As this wonderful symposium made evident, when these patients come to us, they stay with us. So, initially we have patients, but they become friends, they become part of our family. We enter into a contract with them that lasts a lifetime.”

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A history lesson taught through greenbacks

University of Miami alumnus and trustee Edward Dauer and his wife, Joanne, presented a unique view of American history during a recent lecture at UM’s Richter Library, using some of the rarest bills ever engraved to teach historical events that occurred when those notes were printed.

There was a picture of what a two-dollar bill looked like in 1917, the year John F. Kennedy was born. There was an image of a series of 1896 Silver Certificates, considered some of the most artistic banknotes ever produced. And then, there was a picture of a letter carried on the Pony Express.

University of Miami alumnus, trustee, and philanthropist Edward Dauer and his wife, Joanne, presented a unique view of American history during a lecture at UM’s Richter Library on October 19, using some of the rarest bills ever engraved to teach historical events that occurred when those notes were printed.

In his talk “American History As Seen Through Currency,” Dauer displayed several pictures of currency from the personal collection of banknotes he and his wife have amassed over the years. And throughout his talk, he blended images with anecdotes ranging from how money is packaged at the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing to how the decision to print notes in green to deter counterfeiting led to paper currency being nicknamed “greenbacks.”

After the lecture, Dauer and his wife signed copies of their book, American History As Seen Through Currency, donating the proceeds to UM Libraries.

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Shedding light on a dark subject

Charles Nemeroff, professor and chair of psychiatry, addresses walkers before the start of the Out of the Darkness community walk for suicide prevention.

For the hundreds of people who assembled on the University of Miami’s Coral Gables campus, the task of raising awareness about suicide and helping to prevent the tragic act began with one step.

Donning walking shoes and shorts, faculty, staff, and students from across the University participated in the Out of the Darkness community walk for suicide prevention last Sunday, raising more than $35,000 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and, just as importantly, awareness of a problem Charles Nemeroff, professor and chair of psychiatry at UM’s Miller School of Medicine, called a “very important public health issue.”

“We believe we will see 40,000 people die by suicide this year, and that is frightening,” said Nemeroff, who served as co-chair of the event. Walking alongside Nemeroff and sharing his passion for the importance of suicide prevention and education was Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, who was named honorary chair for the fundraising walk.

The Department of Wellness and Recreation, the UM Counseling Center and a group called UM Lifeguards, which helps raise awareness about suicide prevention, depression and mental health, played a major role in walk. “We were proud to partner with the Miller School, the Department of Psychiatry, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to bring this important problem that affects college students nationwide to the forefront,” said UM Vice President for Student Affairs Pat Whitely.

More than 34,000 people commit suicide each year, with an estimated 1 million more attempting the act. Among college students, it is the second-leading cause of death.

Read the full story

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Dean Kahn honored at BOT meeting

Before a gathering of trustees, deans, and top administrators, School of Business Administration Dean Barbara E. Kahn, left, was honored for her distinguished service to the University at last Friday’s UM Board of Trustees meeting, held in the new Prokop Newman Alumni Center. Kahn recently announced that she is stepping down from her deanship on January 15 to return to The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Presenting her with the resolution were UM President Donna E. Shalala and BOT Chair Phillip T. George.

During her tenure as dean, Kahn helped introduce several programs and initiatives, including a new Center in Health Sector Management and Policy as well as a new undergraduate major and minor in the area. The school launched an M.D./M.B.A. joint program with UM’s Miller School of Medicine. It also established new programs in real estate, revamped its undergraduate program, started a new Executive M.B.A. Program in Puerto Rico, and improved its outreach, development, and fundraising. The establishment of the Global Business Forum was another highlight of Kahn’s tenure at the school.

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UM MusicTime makes magic at Disney

UM MusicTime was one of the youngest ensembles to perform in the Disney Magic Music Days on October 16 at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Fifteen 6- and 7-year-olds danced, sang, and played keyboards, receiving a standing ovation at the end of their performance. Offered by the Frost School of Music, UM MusicTime is a program of music learning and enjoyment for children from birth to 8 years of age that features a full and varied music curriculum that includes singing, listening, ear training, movement, playing instruments, and musical notation. Disney representatives extended an open invitation to the students to return any time and share more of their musical talents.

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