School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine
WSUPG's Ladies Night Out set for May 14
In Headlines on May 6, 2013
In an effort to help empower women to make health a priority, the Wayne State University Physician Group will host the second annual Ladies Night Out Health Crawl on  May 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Somerset Inn, located at 2601 W. Big Beaver in Troy.

Registered guests may select up to three of eight 30-minute informational lectures presented by doctors of the Wayne State University Physician Group, in partnership with the Wayne State University School of Medicine.

Hors d'oeuvres and refreshments will be served at 6 p.m., with lectures starting promptly at 6:30 p.m. Session topics will span a variety of women’s health issues, including cardiology, dermatology, gynecology, ophthalmology, family medicine, and facial plastic and reconstructive surgery.

“This event gives women access to the latest information and the best health experts while allowing guests to choose which topics appeal to them,” said Tochi Okwuosa, D.O., a cardiologist specializing in women’s heart health with the Wayne State University Physician Group. “The goal is to inform women about health concerns and risk factors, with a focus on education and prevention – and of course, to have fun.”

Emmy Award-winning veteran Detroit radio personality Cynthia Canty will serve as celebrity guest emcee for the evening.

The Ladies Night Out Health Crawl will coincide with National Women’s Health Week May 12-18, a weeklong health observance coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in an effort to promote the importance of women's health.

Attendees can enter to win an Amazon Kindle Fire, as well as other prizes for guests who check-in to the event on Facebook or Foursquare.

The event is free and open to the public, however registration is required. Space is limited to 240 people. To register, visit
AHEC names Southeast Regional Center executive director
In Headlines on May 6, 2013
Joie West

Joie West

The Southeast Regional Center of the Michigan Area Health Education Center has named Jenifer “Joie” West to serve as executive director. In this role, West will plan, organize, direct and evaluate all aspects of the Southeast Regional Center, including financial administration, program planning and development, personnel management, fundraising, and public relations and marketing.

Established by Wayne State University in 2010, MI-AHEC strengthens the state’s health care workforce by recruiting, training and retaining health professionals committed to increasing access to primary care. Through a statewide network of regional centers, MI-AHEC prepares underrepresented and disadvantaged youth for health care careers, promotes clinical training opportunities for students in shortage areas and provides continuing education programs for health professionals. The Southeast Regional Center services more than 5 million people in Genesee, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.

West has held a number of positions in health care, human services, community relations and government affairs, including vice president of Government Relations and Business Development for Strategic Health Care; government and physician relations specialist for St. Joseph Healthcare (now Henry Ford Macomb Health); and director of community and corporate services for Mount Clemens General Hospital. Most recently, she served as a program instructor at Michigan State University’s Macomb County extension, where she provided nutrition and physical activity education to more than 500 low-income youth, seniors and families through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A resident of and an elected official in Clinton Township, West earned a bachelor’s degree in Medical Technology and a master’s degree in Anatomy from the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University. She serves on several boards, including the Macomb Health and Fitness Foundation, Leadership Macomb and the Healthier Macomb Fitness Council.

The Greater Detroit Area Health Council, the premier health care coalition that develops and evaluates innovative solutions that improve the health and well-being of people living in southeast Michigan through multi-sector collaboration, is the hosting partner of the Southeast Regional Center. Founded in 1944 as the Detroit Hospital Council, GDAHC seeks to develop strong, strategic partnerships that improve the quality of and increase access to health care.

MI-AHEC is funded by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, the Kresge Foundation and Wayne State University. Academic partners include Wayne State University’s College of Nursing, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, School of Medicine and School of Social Work; the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry; Central Michigan University; Western Michigan University; and Northern Michigan University.
DMC's Graduate Medical Education Research Day rewards three medical student projects
In Headlines on May 3, 2013
Caitlin Biedron, Class of 2014.

Caitlin Biedron, Class of 2014.

Kimberly Ku, Class of 2013.

Kimberly Ku, Class of 2013.

Wenxi (Richard) Gao, Class of 2016.

Wenxi (Richard) Gao, Class of 2016.

Three Wayne State University School of Medicine students were recognized by the Detroit Medical Center as winners of the second annual Quality Education and Safe Systems Training Graduate Medical Education Research Day Poster Competition.

The event, held April 17 at the University Health Center in Detroit, showcased resident and student research projects that tackled the topics of patient safety and quality improvement in a clinical setting. The Clinical Campus student winners were the Class of 2014’s Caitlin Biedron, M.S., first place; the Class of 2013’s Kimberly Ku, second place; and the Class of 2016’s Wenxi (Richard) Gao, M.S., third place. The students were mentored by WSU School of Medicine faculty.

The Biedron-headed project, “Antibiotic Stewardship in Long-Term Acute Care Facilities: The 7-Step Pyramid Approach,” assessed antibiotic prescribing practices and the excess costs associated with inappropriate and unnecessary therapy as the first step in implementing an antimicrobial stewardship program. The program aims to facilitate optimal antibiotic use in a long-term acute care facility in Detroit.

“We also conducted a survey of health care worker perspectives on antibiotic resistance and antibiotic prescribing practices,” Biedron said. “This survey allowed educational and informational needs to be identified, which facilitated the development of educational sessions and an antimicrobial stewardship program tailored to this particular facility.”

Biedron is interested in pursuing an Internal Medicine residency, and later, an Infectious Diseases fellowship program with a strong global health focus.

“Presenting this project during the QuESST poster session was a great opportunity to discuss the project with other students, residents and faculty, and to receive very helpful feedback on areas for further improvement and expansion of the project,” she said. “As a student organization, the School of Medicine’s Institute for Healthcare Improvement chapter was also excited to participate in this event, as it was the first year that medical students were invited to participate, and provided a great opportunity for us to present and discuss our various quality improvement projects that are under way.”

Biedron will use the $250 prize money to help defray travel expenses for a trip to the national IHI Student Quality Leadership Academy, set for June 13-14 in Cambridge, Mass. The program is designed to help student and resident participants strengthen their leadership and communication skills, with a focus on quality improvement and patient safety, she said.

Biedron was mentored by Teena Chopra, M.D., and Keith Kaye, M.D., who she thanked for ongoing support, along with fellow award-winner Ku, for her encouragement, advice and leadership as president of the WSU IHI chapter.

Ku was honored for “Improving Patient Flow in the Outpatient Cancer Clinic,” which addresses the long-term implications of cost savings and operational efficiency for both patients and clinic staff by decreasing the amount of time patients must wait to see an oncologist.

“I feel incredibly lucky to be given this opportunity, as it took great support from WSU and DMC leadership in order to succeed every step of the way,” she said.

She’s grateful for long-term mentors Elisabeth Heath, M.D.; Diane Levine, M.D.; Bruno DiGiovine, M.D., M.P.H.; the DMC Graduate Medical Education staff; the IHI; and her family. She will put her $200 prize toward the national IHI trip as well.
Like Ku, Gao is thankful to the IHI, including Ku, who helped him and Class of 2016 co-contributors Kamya Sankar and Monika Toton get started on the project “Use of the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist in Surgical Oncology Operating Rooms in Detroit.” Ku also connected the group with mentor Lydia Choi, M.D., a surgical oncologist at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit.

“We are in the beginning stages of our project, which focuses on the use of a surgical safety checklist developed by the World Health Organization in surgical oncology operating rooms. The World Health Organization conducted a study which showed that the use of a surgical safety checklist dramatically decreases surgical complication and mortality rates, so we want to adapt it in operating rooms specifically for cancer surgeries,” Gao said.

The project is split into two phases: before and after the implementation of the surgical safety checklist. The first phase will look at how often key processes are verbalized during surgical operations of cancer cases. They will collaborate with the WSU Surgical Interest Group, of which Gao is incoming coordinator, to recruit medical student volunteers to observe operations and collect data.

“This gives them a chance to get a glimpse of the surgical specialty while helping us collect data. We will also determine the baseline complication and mortality rates before the implementation of the checklist,” he added.

The second phase will implement the surgical safety checklist and compare the complication and mortality rates with those pre-implementation.
Wayne State University Physician Group employee hosts 'Zombie Out Hunger' event for Gleaners
In Headlines on May 3, 2013
Zombie Out Hunger to benefit Gleaners was held May 4 at Corktown Tavern in Detroit.

Zombie Out Hunger to benefit Gleaners was held May 4 at Corktown Tavern in Detroit.

Piper and Chris Smith renew their wedding vows at the May 4 charity event Zombie Out Hunger.

Piper and Chris Smith renew their wedding vows at the May 4 charity event Zombie Out Hunger.

Instead of planning the traditional wedding anniversary party, married couple Piper and Chris Smith donned zombie-inspired make-up and clothes a la “The Walking Dead” and renewed their wedding vows May 4, raising more than $650 for Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan.

Piper Smith is an in-house paralegal with the Wayne State University Physician Group’s Legal Affairs and Compliance unit, and co-hosted the zombie apocalypse-themed party “Zombie Out Hunger!,” attended by more than 75 people at Corktown Tavern in Detroit.

Monetary donations will be accepted online here, through May 20.

Why the zombie theme? “I’m really into (AMC’s television’s) ‘The Walking Dead,’ and so is Chris,” she said.

Local emcee DJ Greebo spun ‘80s tunes, and guests donated food to Gleaners and vied for several zombie-themed prizes, including a zombie gnome designed by sellers Chris Stever and Jane DeRosa, and an original art piece by Martin Alexander. Both pieces were donated by the artists after Smith had purchased them and mentioned they were for a charity effort.

The duo was married April 4, 1998, at a waterside ceremony at Lake St. Clair Metropark (formerly Metro Beach) in Harrison Township, Mich. They renewed their vows five years ago at a ceremony in the Caribbean, and wanted to do something just as special for their 15th anniversary. Initially, they planned a party at Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Resort in Orlando, Fla., their go-to vacation spot for years. Then they decided local was better. “Chris said, ‘Let’s make it a public charity event.’ And I said ‘Yes, let’s do that,’” she said.
United Arab Emirates' Khalifa University leadership visit WSU medicine, engineering
In Headlines on May 1, 2013
The Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Maryjean Schenk, M.D., M.P.H., and former WSU president Jay Noren, M.D., M.P.H., now at Khalifa University, United Arab Emirates, join leadership from both universities at an April 29 visit to the WSU School of Medicine.

The Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Maryjean Schenk, M.D., M.P.H., and former WSU president Jay Noren, M.D., M.P.H., now at Khalifa University, United Arab Emirates, join leadership from both universities at an April 29 visit to the WSU School of Medicine.

Khalifa University's leadership visit with the WSU College of Engineering's Dean Farshad Fotouhi and others.

Khalifa University's leadership visit with the WSU College of Engineering's Dean Farshad Fotouhi and others.

A delegation from Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research in the United Arab Emirates visited Wayne State University April 29-30 to discuss potential future collaborations.

Khalifa University, founded in 2007 and located in Abu Dhabi, the nation’s capital and second largest city, is in its second year of a five-year strategic plan. The group met with leadership from the WSU School of Medicine and College of Engineering throughout the two-day tour. Khalifa is in the process of establishing its own College of Medicine and Health Sciences.

“They wanted to explore the inner workings of how a medical school is operated and we were happy to have them as our guests and share ideas,” said School of Medicine Vice Dean of Education Maryjean Schenk, M.D., M.P.H. “They were very interested in medical school curriculum and we arranged meetings with our administrators so that they could pick our brains.”

The visiting group included former WSU president Jay Noren, M.D., M.P.H., now provost and Khalifa professor of Biomedical Engineering, and President Tod Laursen, Ph.D.

"We were pleased to welcome Dr. Jay Noren and others from Khalifa University to the WSU College of Engineering. We are in discussion with Khalifa University in establishing various collaboration agreements in Engineering and Medicine,” said WSU’s Farshad Fotouhi, dean of the WSU College of Engineering.
Physiology's Dr. Xuequn Chen wins WSU research grant to explore drug targets for diabetes
In Headlines on May 1, 2013
Xuequn Chen, Ph.D.

Xuequn Chen, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Physiology Xuequn Chen, Ph.D., will receive a $10,000 Wayne State University Research Grant to help identify proteins that could lead to novel drug targets to treat diabetes.

Dr. Chen joined the School of Medicine faculty in 2010. This is his first University Research Grant. He will use the funds to develop a novel proteomics approach expected to identify the protein alteration of the beta cells in a cellular compartment called endoplasmic reticulum, where insulin is produced. Insulin plays a central role in regulating blood glucose, and pancreatic beta cells are the only source to make and secrete insulin, he said.

“Under normal conditions, the balance between the workload of the endoplasmic reticulum and its processing capacity is well maintained. However, in disease states, this balance is disrupted, which ultimately causes beta cell death,” Dr. Chen said. “Modern mass spectrometers, which have the power to identify thousands of unknown proteins, will be utilized to find out what endoplasmic reticulum protein changes are responsible for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. These newly identified proteins can provide novel drug targets to treat these diseases.”

He is grateful for the competitive grant, which he called “very critical.”

“The money can actually help. And the applications (go through) stringent reviews by experts in the broad field. Receiving a favorable review means my ideas are attractive. This helps me a lot to determine a right direction to carry on my research,” he said.

He is assisted in his lab by postdoctoral fellow Jingye Fang, Ph.D., and research associate Jin-sook Lee, Ph.D.

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