School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine
Researchers' article suggests guideline revisions for multiple myeloma therapeutic agent lenalidomide
In Headlines on May 10, 2013
Researchers at the Wayne State University School of Medicine and the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute have published an article on their study of the use of therapeutic agent lenalidomide on multiple myeloma patients and the decrease in adequate collection of peripheral blood stem cell collection for use in an autologous stem cell transplant.

Lenalidomide, or LEN, is a relatively new and effective induction therapy for multiple myeloma patients. It is, however, associated with an increased risk of inadequate peripheral blood stem cell, or PBSC, collection for a stem cell transplant, particularly when doctors use it with filgrastim, the most commonly used agent for PBSC mobilization. Adequate PBSC collection is critical in performing an autologous stem cell transplantation.

The article, “Evaluating the effects of lenalidomide induction therapy on peripheral stem cells collection in patients undergoing autologous stem cell transplant for multiple myeloma,” was published in the journal Support Care Cancer. To read the study, visit

Authors include Divaya Bhutani, M.D., fellow in the Department of Hematology/Oncology at Karmanos and the School of Medicine; Jeffrey Zonder, M.D., associate professor and leader of the Multiple Myeloma Subcommittee at Karmanos; Jason Valent, M.D., former fellow in the Department of Hematology/Oncology; Nishant Tageja, M.D., former Internal Medicine resident; Lois Ayash, M.D., clinical professor of Medicine; Abhinav Deol, M.D., assistant professor of Oncology; and Zaid Al-Kadhimi, M.D., assistant professor and associate scientific director of Bone Marrow Transplant and Immunotherapy.

Fellow authors include Judith Abrams, Ph.D., professor and director of the Biostatistics Core at Karmanos; Lawrence Lum, M.D., D.Sc., professor of Oncology, Medicine, and Immunology and Microbiology; Voravit Ratanatharathorn, M.D. and Joseph Uberti, M.D., professors and co-leaders of the Stem Cell and Bone Marrow Transplant Multidisciplinary Team; and senior author Muneer Abidi, M.D., associate professor and medical director of the Hematopoietic Stem Cell Laboratory.

Researchers conducted an analysis of 319 patients who underwent a variety of therapy modalities that included various mobilizing agents such as filgrastim; sargramostim and filgrastim; cyclophosphamide and filgrastim; and filgrastim and plerixafor. A total of 186 patients received LEN in addition to these mobilizing agents; 133 patients did not prior to PBSC collection.

The authors also administered various numbers of induction regimens prior to PBSC collection among the LEN positive and negative groups. They found that the median number of apheresis sessions required to collect adequate amounts of PBSCs were significantly higher in the LEN positive group as compared to the LEN negative group, indicating that LEN is associated with a higher risk of PBSC failure.

Recently published guidelines from the International Myeloma Working Group recommend PBSC collection after about four cycles of LEN induction therapy to minimize the risk of PBSC collection failure. The researchers, however, found that five or more prior cycles of LEN were associated with a drop in PBSC yield but did not pose a negative impact on the ability to collect the minimum amount of PBSCs required to perform an autologous stem cell transplant.

Study data show that filgrastim can be used to successfully mobilize PBSCs in multiple myeloma patients following LEN therapy. And, because researchers did not find that more than four cycles of prior LEN therapy had a negative impact on adequate PBSC collection for an autologous stem cell transplant, they suggest a re-evaluation of current guidelines they say erroneously limit the number of cycles of LEN induction therapy regardless of response.

They also demonstrated that multiple myeloma patients who received LEN induction therapy and then underwent a stem cell transplant with an adequate PBSC dose had normal marrow recovery.

“These issues must be addressed in prospective clinical trials as more multiple myeloma patients are exposed to prolonged durations of LEN in the setting of delayed autologous steam cell transplant and maintenance therapy,” the authors write.

The authors’ research also has been reviewed by the Myeloma Beacon, an online resource for multiple myeloma patients, their families and other interested parties. To read the article, visit
Dr. Ambika Mathur selected for ELAM leadership program
In Headlines on May 9, 2013
Ambika Mathur, Ph.D.

Ambika Mathur, Ph.D.

Ambika Mathur, Ph.D., professor of Pediatrics and director of the M.D./Ph.D. Program for the Wayne State University School of Medicine, has been selected as a member of the 2013-14 class of fellows of the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Program® at Drexel University College of Medicine.

This is the 19th incoming class for the only program in North America dedicated to preparing women for senior leadership roles in academic health science institutions, where they enhance institutional leadership diversity while contributing to organizational strategy and innovation.

“I’m very pleased to have this opportunity to enhance my leadership skills, and am thankful for the support and encouragement of the dean’s office,” said Dr. Mathur, who also leads graduate education at Wayne State University as interim dean of the WSU Graduate School. She also is director of the Postdoctoral Affairs Office for the School of Medicine.

Upon completion of the one-year fellowship, Dr. Mathur, of Northville, Mich., will join a community of highly accomplished leaders. More than 800 alumnae around the world serve in a variety of leadership positions, including department chairs, research center directors, deans and college presidents as well as chief executives in health care and accrediting organizations.

Established in 1995, ELAM offers an intensive one-year program of leadership training with extensive coaching, networking and mentoring opportunities aimed at expanding the national pool of qualified women candidates for leadership in academic medicine, dentistry and public health.

According to ELAM, despite the greater numbers of women matriculating at the nation’s medical, dental and public health schools, women are still significantly underrepresented within the top most administrative ranks of academic health centers, even though there is a widely acknowledged need to diversify leadership and improve cultural and gender sensitivity in health care training and delivery.

While attaining higher levels within executive ranks is the program’s primary focus, ELAM encourages its graduates to pursue the full diversity of roles within their organizations that offer opportunities for leadership.

“ELAM is one of the premier leadership programs in the country,” said Valerie M. Parisi, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., dean of the WSU School of Medicine. “Dr. Mathur is already an excellent leader. ELAM will enhance those skills, and she will help the entire school grow and improve.”
Dr. Ali-Fehmi elected president of Michigan Society of Pathologists
In Headlines on May 6, 2013
Rouba Ali-Fehmi, M.D.

Rouba Ali-Fehmi, M.D.

Rouba Ali-Fehmi, M.D., professor of Pathology for the Wayne State University School of Medicine, has been selected as president of the Michigan Society of Pathologists for a two-year term.

Dr. Ali-Fehmi, who also serves as professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine for the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, said her vision for the society is “expansion” to further enhance and strengthen the organization by encouraging more active participation of the new generation of pathologists. Her other goals include reaching out to the pathology community by choosing a pathologist “ambassador” from each member institution to maximize participation and goal achievement; promoting the society’s research day by expanding the number of participating residents and fellows; and highlighting the achievements of experienced and expert pathologists through academic sessions and by inviting them as speakers to the society’s biennial conferences.

“Thank you all for giving me the opportunity to serve as your president for the next two years,” Dr. Ali-Fehmi writes in an open letter posted on the MSP’s Web site. “It is truly a great honor and privilege. I hope to fulfill the trust and opportunity you have given me, to support our society and its members.”

The MSP, established in 1966, represents the largest state body of pathologists in Michigan and is focused on advocacy for those in the profession.
AAMC's chief policy officer to give Class of 2013 commencement address
In Headlines on May 6, 2013
Atul Grover, M.D., Ph.D.

Atul Grover, M.D., Ph.D.

The chief public policy officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges will serve as the keynote speaker for the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s commencement ceremony for the Class of 2013 on May 20.

Atul Grover, M.D., Ph.D., oversees health, educational, scientific and other policies developed by the AAMC. The organization is a not-for-profit association representing all 141 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools, as well as nearly 400 teaching hospitals and health systems.

Dr. Grover, working with AAMC leadership, coordinates organizational strategy and external relationships to advance those policies and to carry out the association’s mission of advancing public health. He leads the association's advocacy to advance the policy goals of the academic medical community.

A general internist, Dr. Grover holds faculty appointments at the George Washington University School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, where he obtained his doctoral degree in health and public policy. He received his medical degree from the George Washington University School of Medicine in 1995, and completed a residency in internal medicine and primary care at the University of California at San Francisco.

He joined the AAMC as associate director for the Center for Workforce Studies in 2005, managing research activity and directing externally funded workforce studies. He was named director of Government Relations and Health Care Affairs in 2007.

Before joining the AAMC, Dr. Grover was a senior consultant in health care finance and applied economics for The Lewin Group Inc., a health care consulting firm. He served with the U.S. Public Health Service, Health Resources and Service Administration. From 2001 until 2003, he worked as a chief medical officer for HRSA's National Center for Health Workforce Analysis, and as a medical officer for the children's hospital graduate medical education program.

The commencement ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. at the Fox Theatre in Detroit.
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.

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