Department of Medicine News

Interventional Cardiologist Kurt Barringhaus, MD spoke with New England Cable News yesterday about a new study at WPI that shows delivering stem cells to targeted areas of the body can repair diseased or damaged tissue, including cardiac muscle damaged by a heart attack. Dr. Barringhaus explained how heart attacks impact the heart muscle and repairing that muscle damaged by an attack can help prevent additional heart attacks from occurring. Watch the NECN segment. (News & Views, December 10, 2010)

Congratulations to Jonathan Kay, MD and Julie Silver, MD on being among the “Top Docs” listed in the December issue of Boston magazine. Dr. Kay is director of clinical research for the Division of Rheumatology and he practices on our Memorial Campus. Dr. Silver, a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation, practices at UMass Memorial Orthopedics at Westborough. The magazine’s list is compiled by Castle Connolly Medical, a health care researcher that also publishes America’s Top Doctors. (News & Views, December 8, 2010)

UMass Memorial's eICU highlihgted in Globe article. High-tech monitoring system could save lives and money. From today’s Boston Globe: “Monitoring the sickest hospital patients remotely from a command center staffed around the clock by intensive care specialists could save 350 lives and $122 million a year if every hospital in the state adopted the model, according to a report being released today by a Cambridge health care think tank. The New England Healthcare Institute calls for a new way to deliver critical care based on its analysis of the state’s only 'tele-ICU’ system, in place at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester since 2007.” Read the article (News & Views, December 1, 2010)

A WBUR story discussed MOLST – Medical Orders for LIfe-Sustaining Treatment – and the pilot program underway at UMass Memorial that helps end-of-life patients discuss and document their choices for life-sustaining treatments. In the interview, Mary Valliere, MD, noted of the new form, “... my overwhelming impression is that people have really embraced it. They do see it in the context of documenting the time and attention they’ve given to important conversations with patients ... It really does help to save time as well as the major goal — to provide better care, more consistent with what patients want.”. Read the article (News & Views, November 23, 2010) 

David Harlan, MD, codirector of our Diabetes Center of Excellence, and Mary Lee, MD, chief of pediatric endocrinology at our Children’s Medical Center, wrote a New England Journal of Medicine editorial commenting on a study that links infant diet and type 1 diabetes. The study suggests that among breastfed infants, the addition of a predigested formula to the diet in the first six months of life can interrupt the process leading to type 1 diabetes in infants at high risk. While the study raises interesting points, Drs. Harlan and Lee warn that more research is needed to fully understand the connections between early diet and diabetes. Read the editorial, which was also covered in Endocrine Daily Briefing. (News & Views, November 22, 2010)

More than 150 participants attended the second annual Pancreatic Cancer Symposium held Wednesday, November 10 on the University Campus. The full-day program featured a welcome from Michael Blute, MD, director, UMass Memorial Cancer Center of Excellence, and highlighted the following speakers: Beverly Hay, MD; Brian Lewis, PhD; Suzanna Makowski, MD, MMM; Mary Sullivan, DNP; Jennifer Tseng, MD, MPH; and Jaroslav Zivny, MD. (News & Views, November 18, 2010)

The Worcester County Prevention Research Center (WC-PRC) is pleased to announce the launch of its new website, Located in the Medical School’s Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, the WC-PRC is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and directed by Stephenie Lemon, PhD. The mission of the WC-PRC is to build knowledge to inform effective public health programs and policies that promote healthy weight, healthy behaviors and optimal management of chronic health conditions. The goal of this work is to improve the lives of individuals, families and communities in Worcester County through sustained community partnerships. (News & Views, November 17, 2010)

"Worcester County has a higher incidence of diabetes than most of the state, and our patient population encounters many barriers to care, including language, insurance coverage, transportation and the time away from work to attend doctors' visits.," said David Harlan, MD, director of the UMass Memorial Diabetes Center of Excellence during an interview with New England Cable News. The information comes from a recent survey conducted for UMass Memorial to gain a better understanding of the needs of individual with diabetes in the Worcester area. Respondents indicated that more education, access to research findings and results and tools to help self-manage their disease were most important to them. Watch the segment here (NECN) (News and Views, October 22, 2010)

An open house was held recently to introduce physicians and staff of the former Cardiology Consultants of Central Massachusetts to their new colleagues in the Heart and Vascular Center of Excellence. Tying into our strategic goal of caring for more patients, the six-physician private practice officially joined the Medical Group in July. Atendees included Richard Wholey, MD, cardiologist; John Keaney Jr., MD, chief of cardiovascular medicine; Jay Cyr, RN, MSN, vice president; Richard Angoff, MD, cardiologist; David Lyons, MD, cardiologist, and Robert Phillips, MD, PhD, director of the Heart and Vascular Center of Excellence and senior vice president of the Medical Center. (News and Views, October 19, 2010)

The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) awarded the Medical Center Quality Respiratory Care Recognition. Only 15 percent of the nation’s hospitals have received this award that is intended to help consumers identify facilities using qualified respiratory therapists to provide care. Hospitals earning the designation agree to adhere to a strict set of criteria governing their respiratory care services. Consumers are directed to choose recognized hospitals through the AARC’s website, (News and Views, October 19, 2010) 

Kathryn Edmiston, MD, a breast cancer specialist at both Marlborough Hospital and the Medical Center, reflects on October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month in an interview with the MetroWest Daily News. She notes: “We understand how important it is to educate women about breast cancer. When women have better information and understand the benefits of early detection, they will be more likely to have the appropriate screening tests and ultimately to have better outcomes.” Dr. Edmiston speaks on “Breast Cancer Today - Are You at Risk?" Tuesday, October 26, at the soon-to-open Marlborough Hospital Women's Imaging Center at UMass Memorial at Southborough. Read the interview. Learn more about the October 26 event. (News & Views, October 4, 2010)

Jeffrey Gordon, MD, was elected chair of the Department of Medicine at Day Kimball Healthcare, a UMass Memorial affiliate in Putnam, CT. He is an assistant professor of medicine at the Medical School and is a member of the Medical Center’s Division of Hematology-Oncology. Dr. Gordon is also the medical director of hematology/oncology at Day Kimball Healthcare. (News & Views, October 1, 2010)

The UMass Pancreas Working Group, led by Jennifer Tseng, MD, MPH, Brian Lewis, PhD, and Steven Grossman, MD, PhD, is expanding ideas from current projects to generate grants related to personalized medicine as well as novel models for pancreatic cancer. They are actively discussing methods (in collaboration with Jean-Marie Houghton, MD, PhD) to create personalized research tools for patients treated at the Medical Center with resected pancreatic adenocarcinoma. This has the potential to both impact individual patient care (as novel therapeutics can be tested) as well as generate a powerful research tool for investigating the molecular and proteomic basis of pancreatic cancer. (News & Views, Sept 28, 2010)

Behaviorist goes to the beach to convince sun lovers to make a safer tanning choice. Sherry Lynn Pagoto, PhD, assistant professor of medicine, preventive and behavioral medicine, was interviewed by the Boston Globe, CNN, TIME and other media outlets about her study on the impact of the use of sunless tanning products on an individual’s sunbathing habits, which was published in the September issue of the Archives of Dermatology. Read full story (UMassMed Now September 24, 2010)

National Public Radio is airing a three-part series on the state of primary care in our country called Primary Care under Pressure. Cathy Crute, MD, a graduate of the UMass Memorial/UMass Medical School residency program and a solo practitioner in Portland, ME, is featured in part one of the series. The series spotlights practitioners who are handling the care of an increasingly aging patient population as well as the challenges and benefits of national health care reform. Read or listen to the story on (News & Views, Sept 8, 2010)

The Center for the Advancement of Primary Care (CAPC) submitted applications on behalf of five practices to participate in a three-year, multi-payer pilot program offered by the Commonwealth to develop patient-centered medical homes. Barre Family Health Center, Hahnemann Family Health Center, Plumley Village Health Services, and both the adult and pediatric primary care practices in the University Campus Benedict Building made compelling cases for why their practices would be good sites to implement innovative models of care. Through the process of completing the applications, the CAPC learned of many ways our practices are already moving toward more patient-centered care. Response to the applications is expected quickly as the pilots would begin in October. (News & Views, Sept 2, 2010)

Robert Weinstein, MD, chief of transfusion medicine, is installed as the president of the World Apheresis Association at the annual joint congress meeting in Switzerland in September. The World Apheresis Association is an umbrella organization for international professional societies devoted to the scientific, medical, practical, technical, administrative and educational aspects of apheresis. 

Richard Ellison, MD, professor of medicine and molecular genetics & microbiology, was featured in a Boston Globe story about the rise in Lyme disease cases in Massachusetts. The August 23 article,"Threat of Lyme disease widens," detailed how the reported number of Lyme disease cases in the state has increased from approximately 1,200 in 2000 to more than 4,000 last year. Dr. Ellison explained how expansions in deer populations and in human developments has increased opportunities for human contact with ticks, which has lead to an increased prevalence of cases in Central Massachusetts. Read full story (Boston Globe, August 23, 2010)

Team members from the Division of Pediatric Dermatology held their first camp for children with severe skin conditions this summer. Ten children attended a three-day overnight camp, dubbed Camp Liberty, at Camp Hemlocks in CT. According to Karen Wiss, MD, director of pediatric dermatology, the children were able to participate in activities that they had never done before, like swimming and rock climbing. Most had never stayed overnight away from their parents before. The camp allowed the children to be free from the stigma of their conditions for a brief time. The goal is to hold the camp again next year. (News & Views, August 18, 2010)

Our Ambulatory Care Center is on YouTube! View a video on our latest facility and hear from the leadership of our four Centers of Excellence as they describe how bringing care and clinical research together will benefit our patients. The video, a production of the Marketing and Communications Department, is also posted on the homepage of our refreshed Medical Center website. David Harlan, MD, Diabetes Center of Excellence director, speaks. (News & Views, August 17, 2010) [video]

Congratulations and thanks go to the Central Scheduling Department for its work on scheduling follow-up appointments for discharging Department of Medicine patients. Since the August 2 kickoff of this service more than 100 follow-up appointments were made for patients. The group is monitoring both no-show rates and readmissions among patients who have follow up appointments made for them. This service increases the number of patients who leave with follow-up appointments scheduled, improves the transition of the patient from the hospital setting to home and increases provider efficiency. (News & Views, August 16, 2010)

The importance of our new Ambulatory Care Center to the health care of our community is center stage today in a front-page article in the Telegram & Gazette. The article also explores our new Diabetes Center of Excellence and quotes its director, David Harlan, MD. From the article: “Coping with diabetes is a difficult task and, overall, the (health care delivery) system doesn't do a good job helping those who have it,” said Dr. Harlan, who late last fall became the diabetes division chief at UMass Memorial Medical Center and the head of UMass Memorial Health Care's Diabetes Center of Excellence. “Many diabetes patients feel that they are on their own. They feel lost.” Read the article. (News & Views, August 16, 2010)

Alan Rothman, MD, Division of Infectious Diseases, was one of 95 physicians nationwide honored by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (ISDA). The ISDA recognizes selected individuals as being among the tops in their field. Read the article. (source: News & Views, Aug 10, 2010)

Congratulations to David Harlan, MD, chief of diabetes and director of the Diabetes Center of Excellence, recipient of the William and Doris Krupp Professorship in Medicine. (UMMS Office of University Events, August 4, 2010)

James. H. Chesebro, MD, Professor of Medicine and Cardiology, received a 2010 Distinguished Fellowship Award, presented by the International Academy of Cardiology to honor colleagues who have made profound contributions to Cardiovascular Medicine and provided important service to the Academy. (PR Web, July 30, 2010) Click here to read full story

Jane Saczynski, PhD, assistant professor of medicine in the division of geriatric medicine, was interviewed by several news outlets upon the publication of her study that found having depression may nearly double a person’s risk for developing dementia later in life. In the study, published July 5 in the journal Neurology, Dr. Saczynski examined data collected as part of the long-term Framingham Heart Study and found that of 949 people followed over 17 years, 22 percent who were depressed at the start of the study developed dementia, as compared to 17 of those who were not depressed at the study outset. The study, published by the American Academy of Neurology, was reported by several news outlets, including the Boston Globe, and the BBC. (UMass Public Affairs, July 2010)

With rates of skin cancer on the rise, it is more important than ever to wear sunscreen. In a recent interview with New England Cable News, dermatologist David Geist, MD, said that skin cancer cases have increased among Hispanics and African Americans, who are especially at risk for melanoma. Dr. Geist also mentioned that tans and sunburns cause damage to the skin that can lead to skin cancer down the road and that to protect yourself, you should wear protective clothing when out in the sun and apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Watch the segment. (News & Views, June 11, 2010)

Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) is a rare, but deadly virus that humans can get from a mosquito bite. Mireya Wessolossky, MD, Infectious Diseases Division at the Medical Center, said that there is an increased risk for EEE because of the recent heavy rain. In an interview with CBS3 Springfield, Dr. Wessolossky discussed the symptoms of EEE and how to reduce the chances of getting this illness, including using bug spray, wearing longs sleeves and pants, and avoiding skin exposure. Watch the segment. (News & Views, June 9, 2010)

David Harlan, MD, chief of diabetes and director of the Diabetes Center of Excellence, defined diabetes as a silent epidemic that "shows no signs of easing" in a recent opinion piece in the MetroWest Daily News. Dr. Harlan identified that causes, symptoms and treatment options of diabetes and stressed that patient and providers need to work collaboratively to reduce its incidence and limit its devastating complications. (News & Views, June 8, 2010) Read the article

In a Telegram & Gazette article debating the 10 percent tax is imposed on tanning salons, Mary Maloney, MD, chief of dermatology, discussed the dangers of indoor tanning beds. Read the article. (News & Views, May 25, 2010) 

Professors of medicine Deborah M. DeMarco, MD, and Gyongyi Szabo, MD, PhD, finished their fellowship year in the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program for Women at the Drexel University College of Medicine in story (UMMS News May 12, 2010)

David Harlan, MD, chief of Diabetes, on the 'artificial pancreas' prototype: “The new system’s advance is that it can respond by infusing glucagon to overcome low blood sugars," he said, but it doesn’t control doses of insulin or glucagon finely enough... read article (Boston Globe, May 3, 2010)

Center for Clinical & Translational Science holds first research retreat.More than 200 attendees were treated to a full day of lectures and panels comprised entirely of UMass experts. “There is an immense amount of interest in the clinical and translation research being done at the Medical School and hospital,” said Robert W. Finberg, MD... read story (UMMS News, May 3, 2010)

Our Center for the Advancement of Primary Care developed an office protocol that serves as a reliable and efficient means to draw attention to monitoring hypertension medication use and side effects. Several practices participating in this Hypertension/Coronary Artery Disease Collaborative are using the protocol and reporting great results. (News & Views, May 4, 2010)

Julia D. Andrieni, MD, chief of the division of general internal medicine and Katherine F. Ruiz de Luzuriaga, MD, professor of medicine and pediatrics, chief of the division of pediatric immunology, infectious diseases and rheumatology, named fellows of the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program for Women at the Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. (press release, April 13, 2010) read story

Congratulations to Department of Medicine faculty who were named recipients for the 2010 Educational Recognition awards.

Mary Maloney, MD, the chief of Dermatology, testifies at federal hearing on harmful effects of tanning bed use. Read story (Boston Globe, March 25, 2010)

Elizabeth Gundersen, MD, the Medical Center’s associate chief of hospital medicine, presented a lecture on transition of care at the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Society of Health System Pharmacists recently. Her presentation – "Prevention of Medication Misadventures: Pharmacist Impact on Transition of Care" – was well received. The meeting was attended by more than 300 pharmacists practicing at academic medical centers and institutional pharmacies. (News & Views, March 13, 2010)

Congratulations to Deborah DeMarco, MD, Medical Center rheumatologist and the Medical School’s associate dean for graduate medical education, and Jasen Gundersen, MD, chief of both hospital medicine and inpatient clinical services at the Medical Center, on being named to the Patient Care Assessment Committee of the Board of Registration in Medicine for Massachusetts. (News & Views, April 12, 2010)

Academic medical center leadership from across the nation learned about the great work going on at our Medical Center when our physicians and other leaders presented at the University HealthSystem Consortium’s "Thriving in a Changing Environment" program earlier this month. Senior VP Barbara Fisher and Senior Director Paul Lofrumento spoke about the dramatic changes we have made to make appointments available for new patients. Peter Paige, MD, Daniel Fisher, MD (Cardiology), VP Jay Cyr and Paula Paige, RN, spoke about our STEMI program that has helped us earn the ranking of being number one in New England for surviving a heart attack. (News & Views, March 31, 2010)

Dermatologists testified this week before a federal panel urging more government oversight of indoor tanning beds. "It is now known that ultraviolet light, whether sunlight or artificial light through a tanning parlor, is a carcinogen," said Mary Maloney, MD, the Medical Center’s chief of dermatology and a testifier at the hearing, in an interview published in the Boston Globe’s White Coat notes. "The real thing that I am going to try and drive home is that for every decade earlier that people use tanning beds, there is a 20 percent increase in their odds ratio of getting a squamous cell cancer and a 10 percent increase in their odds ratio of getting basal cell cancer," she said. Read article (News & Views, March 26, 2010)

Jennifer Daley, MD, a nationally recognized physician executive with expertise in patient safety, quality, service excellence and clinical operational improvement, joined UMass Memorial Medical Center as executive vice president and chief operating officer. She will also be joining the faculty of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Read press release (Public Affairs, March 2, 2010)

As diabetes continues to cause significant health complications for more and more patients, we recognize the need to provide better care locally. To reach this goal, David Harlan, MD, a leading figure in diabetes basic and clinical research, is leading the newly established Diabetes Center of Excellence to assist us in becoming one of the best in the country in clinical excellence, innovative medical care and cutting-edge research. Dr. Harlan also serves as chief of the Diabetes Division (with a co-appointment in pediatrics) at the Medical Center. (News & Views, March 2, 2010)

Jay Cyr, RN, MBA, vice president of the Heart and Vascular and Diabetes Centers of Excellence, recently attended the Cardiovascular Roundtable meeting in California. The Medical Center was featured in a marketing strategy study for its success in marketing its revamped Cardiac Surgery Program after its closure. The Cardiovascular Roundtable supports administrators and cardiac specialists in elevating clinical quality and patient services while improving financial performance in cardiovascular care. (News & Views, February 12, 2010)

Best Doctors® Inc. continuously surveys specialists worldwide to ask which doctors they would choose for treatment in their own specialty. Nationally, less than five percent of U.S. doctors are named to the list. UMass Memorial Medical Center is proud that more than 10 percent of our doctors were named to this prestigious list. Read press release (Public Affairs, February 5, 2010)

Michael Blute, MD, a physician-scientist with local ties, joins UMass Memorial Health Care and UMass Medical School as director of the Cancer Center of Excellence, professor of surgery and interim director of the Division of Urology in the Department of Surgery. A widely recognized figure in the treatment of urological cancers, Dr. Blute will be responsible for establishing clinical services across the system and advancing clinical and translational research strategies as UMass Memorial and UMass Medical School seek to create a Cancer Center of Excellence that is among the best in the country. Read press release (Public Affairs, February 1, 2010)

Study examines prescribing of antipsychotic medications for nursing home residents. Yong Chen, MD, MHS; Becky A. Briesacher, PhD; Terry S. Field, DSc; Jennifer Tjia, MD; Denys T. Lau, PhD; Jerry H. Gurwitz, MD. Unexplained Variation Across US Nursing Homes in Antipsychotic Prescribing Rates. Arch Intern Med. 2010;170(1):89-95. Read abstract

New Façade Web 

Campus News

For campus news and media relations, visit UMassMed Now, UMass Medical School's media website.