School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine
School of Medicine celebrates faculty tenure appointments and promotions
In Headlines on May 22, 2014
Dr. Eggly receives congratulations and special School of Medicine pin from Dr. Sonnino.

Dr. Eggly receives congratulations and special School of Medicine pin from Dr. Sonnino.

Dr. Sonnino congratulates Dr. Podgorski, who achieved tenure status.

Dr. Sonnino congratulates Dr. Podgorski, who achieved tenure status.

Dr. Todd Lucas, who achieved tenure status, poses with Dr. Sonnino during the May 22 Promotion and Tenure Reception for the School of Medicine.

Dr. Todd Lucas, who achieved tenure status, poses with Dr. Sonnino during the May 22 Promotion and Tenure Reception for the School of Medicine.

The Wayne State University School of Medicine administration and faculty celebrated the granting of tenure to nine colleagues and the promotion of others during the annual Promotion and Tenure Reception.

The May 22 event, organized by Roberta E. Sonnino, M.D., vice dean of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development, and her office, took place with a reception and awards program in the Margherio Family Conference Center.

“This is my favorite day of the year, bar none,” Dr. Sonnino said. “You did a lot of work to get promoted and tenured. It’s an important day because this is recognition by your peers that you have performed a great deal of work that earned you this recognition. I am personally proud of you and the school is proud of you. I hope that you will remember this as one of the most important days of your lives.”

Each faculty member recognized received a special WSU School of Medicine lapel pin. Those promoted to associate professor received a pin with a yellow stone and those promoted to professor received a pin with a green stone.

Nine faculty members, Professor Susan Eggly, Ph.D., Oncology; and Associate Professors Wei Chen, Ph.D., Oncology; Yubin Ge, Ph.D., Oncology; Avril Holt, Ph.D., Anatomy and Cell Biology and Ophthalmology; Jing Li, Ph.D.,  Oncology and Pharmacology; Todd Lucas, Ph.D., Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences; Izabela Podgorski, Ph.D., Pharmacology; Guojun Wu, Ph.D., Oncology and Pathology; and Zen-Quan Yang, Ph.D.,  Oncology, were awarded tenure.

“It is a great honor to have my work recognized by my peers and mentors in the Department of Oncology, the School of Medicine and Wayne State University,” said Dr. Eggly, who joined the faculty in 1993, and the Department of Oncology in 2010. “I am strongly committed to Wayne State University and to the work my colleagues and I are doing to improve clinical communication and patient care, and this honor is great tribute to the importance of our work.”

Dr. Podgorski, who began her tenure track appointment in 2009, said, “Getting tenure is such an important step in academic career, something we all strive toward from the moment of being appointed as assistant professors. Personally, I consider being awarded tenure as a reflection of one’s academic achievements. It’s an indication that my research, teaching and service activities have been recognized and are valued as important to the School of Medicine and the university.   This is obviously a very happy and exciting time in my life and hopefully a beginning of an enduring career at Wayne State University.”

“Tenure is not only a nice form of peer recognition, it provides professional and personal security,” said Dr. Lucas, a faculty member since 2007. “It is a great a thing for careers and families both.”

Faculty promoted to the rank of professor include:

Douglas Ruden, Ph.D., Pharmacology

Jianjun Wang, Ph.D., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Derek Wildman, Ph.D., Molecular Medicine and Genetics, and Obstetrics and Gynecology

Kamiar Moin, Ph.D., Pharmacology

Luis Afonso, M.D., Internal Medicine

Those promoted to the rank of associate professor include:

Ramesh Batchu, Ph.D., Surgery

Wei Chen, Ph.D., Oncology

Yubin Ge, Ph.D., Oncology

Avril Holt, Ph.D., Anatomy and Cell Biology

Jing Li, Ph.D., Oncology and Pharmacology

David Lanfear, M.D., Internal Medicine

Todd Lucas, Ph.D., Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences

Athina Pappas, M.D., Pediatrics

Izabela Podgorski, Ph.D., Pharmacology

Guojum Wu, Ph.D., Oncology and Pathology

Zen-Quan Yang, Ph.D., Oncology

Those promoted to the rank of associate professor (clinician educator) include:

Fadi Antaki, M.D., Internal Medicine

Vicki Diaz, Ph.D., Neurosurgery

David Edelman, M.D., Surgery

Hazem Eltahawy, M.D., Neurosurgery

Adam Folbe, M.D., Otolaryngology

Srinath Gowda, M.D., Pediatrics

Felicity Harper, Ph.D., Oncology

Gaurav Kapur, M.D., Pediatrics

Dean Kim, M.D., Surgery

Georgia Michalopoulou, Ph.D., Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences

Craig Reickert, M.D., Surgery

Ilan Rubinfeld, M.D., Surgery

Harinder Singh, M.D., Pediatrics

Asheesh Tewari, M.D., Ophthalmology

Robert Wahl, M.D., Emergency Medicine

Imad Zak, M.D., Radiology
School of Medicine graduates 270 new medical doctors at May 19 commencement
In Headlines on May 20, 2014
Graduate Kristin Lieb, M.D., center, joined by, from left, dad Rich, mom Marge, aunt Mary Koch and brother Kyle.

Graduate Kristin Lieb, M.D., center, joined by, from left, dad Rich, mom Marge, aunt Mary Koch and brother Kyle.

Close friends Yara Matta, M.D., left, and Jinmeng Zhang, M.D., enjoy hanging out before heading to other states for their medical residency.

Close friends Yara Matta, M.D., left, and Jinmeng Zhang, M.D., enjoy hanging out before heading to other states for their medical residency.

Eleanor Ung and Shih-Fan Sun, M.D., are engaged and will be married next weekend in California.

Eleanor Ung and Shih-Fan Sun, M.D., are engaged and will be married next weekend in California.

Friends Cyrus Rabbani, Laura Kirk, Michael Kaufman and Boris Vidri, pose for photos outside Fox Theatre.

Friends Cyrus Rabbani, Laura Kirk, Michael Kaufman and Boris Vidri, pose for photos outside Fox Theatre.

WSU President M. Roy Wilson, M.D., speaks at commencement.

WSU President M. Roy Wilson, M.D., speaks at commencement.

Dean Valerie M. Parisi, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., congratulates the Class of 2014.

Dean Valerie M. Parisi, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., congratulates the Class of 2014.

Keynote speaker Saralyn Mark, M.D., left, listens to President Wilson before receiving an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Keynote speaker Saralyn Mark, M.D., left, listens to President Wilson before receiving an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

(Click here for more photos).

Kristin Lieb had no problem expressing her emotions while waiting with her St. Louis-based family outside the Fox Theatre in Detroit.

“I’m ridiculously elated. Shocked. Surprised,” the 30-year-old said.

She held a mortar board cap in one hand and an Iron Man action figure – her favorite super hero and a gift from her 7-year-old nephew – in the other.

After four years of undergraduate education, a short stint in graduate school, a few years toiling in retail to pay the bills and another four years of medical school, Lieb made it. She was a doctor.

The Wayne State University School of Medicine’s 142st commencement and hooding ceremony held May 19 celebrated the new Dr. Lieb and 269 other men and women who earned the title of doctor. School of Medicine faculty, deans, department chairs, WSU President M. Roy Wilson, M.D., his cabinet members and other dignitaries filled the stage as family and friends of the new physicians packed the venue’s main floor.

“It’s a little surreal. It’s hard to put into words how you feel,” said graduate Cyrus Rabbani, M.D., standing with his friend, classmate and soon-to-be otolaryngology colleague Michael Kaufman, M.D. “It seems like we were just at White Coat Ceremony (four years earlier), standing in this same spot.”

Mothers and fathers, grandparents, siblings and children cheered and applauded the culmination of four years of lectures, labs, studying, exams, clerkships, residency interviews across the country and flights back to Detroit cancelled by winter weather.

“I’m so excited that all his hard work paid off and he can see the results of it and start his journey,” said Julie Kaufman, who flew from Atlanta to see her son Michael graduate.

For Jinmeng Zhang, M.D., graduating from medical school means a lot more than earning a title.

“We feel so blessed and thankful for being here today,” Zhang said. “This day is about the people who helped us get where we are.”

Dean Valerie M. Parisi, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., encouraged the Class of 2014 to recognize their successes but always remember why they chose their given profession.

“One constant will remain through your life as a healer: how you personally interact with your patient. You must preserve your passion for healing and your compassion for patients,” she said. “The Class of 2014 is a special class. I have seen you. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for all you have already done to distinguish yourselves and Wayne State University.”

The physicians now move on to graduate medical education, serving as residents, for the next three to seven years, depending on their chosen specialty.

“The medical degree is a powerful one,” said WSU President Wilson. “Act courageously and with conviction. I congratulate you all and welcome you as a colleague.”

Keynote speaker Saralyn Mark, M.D., an endocrinologist, geriatrician and women's health specialist, was the first senior medical advisor to the Office on Women's Health within the Department of Health and Human Services and to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. She reminded the graduates to stay focused and embrace the trials ahead in a new era of health care.

More than half of the Class of 2014 will continue training in Michigan, welcome news for a state with a projected physician shortage, as studies show that residents who train in Michigan often remain here for the majority of their careers. Another 32 percent will enter primary care residencies.

Of Monday’s graduates, 43 percent will leave Michigan to practice medicine in 32 states and Canada, at Columbia University Medical Center in New York; University of California at San Diego Medical Center; Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland; Yale/New Haven Hospital in Connecticut; Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee; and 95 other hospitals, universities and medical centers.

They include graduate Shih-Fan Sun, M.D., who picked up more than a medical degree in his four years at WSU. He is headed home to the University of California at Los Angeles for an internal medicine residency, and will bring with him WSU Law School graduate Eleanor Ung. The couple attended UCLA as undergrads, but met in Detroit. They will be married next weekend in California.

Dr. Rosenberg scheduled to discuss OCD advances on ABC's '20/20' this week
In Headlines on May 20, 2014
David Rosenberg, M.D.

David Rosenberg, M.D.

David Muir, or ABC News, poses with Dr. Rosenberg in the studios during a break in taping.

David Muir, or ABC News, poses with Dr. Rosenberg in the studios during a break in taping.

Dr. Rosenberg explains brain images captured with functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Dr. Rosenberg explains brain images captured with functional magnetic resonance imaging.

David Rosenberg, M.D., chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences for the Wayne State University School of Medicine, and director of Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatric Research at the Detroit Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital of Michigan, will be a featured guest on ABC’s “20/20” this week.

Scheduled to air May 23 at 10 p.m. in Michigan, the segment will feature ABC’s David Muir interviewing Dr. Rosenberg about groundbreaking developments in brain imaging genetic research in pediatric obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety.

“We talked about how specific brain patterns predict response to particular treatment. How abnormalities in specific glutamate genes lead to brain glutamate abnormalities that we can measure with magnetic resonance imaging and how these glutamate abnormalities disrupt the structure, chemistry and functioning of the brains arousal center, the anterior cingulate cortex,” Dr. Rosenberg said. “Unlike the rest of us, children with OCD never get the all-clear signal because their anterior cingulate cortex is not working properly. Instead it warns that the situation is getting more dangerous and more unsafe.”

Dr. Rosenberg also discussed the research of Vaibhav Diwadkar, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences, who uses functional MRI to examine neural network dysfunction in childhood with OCD.

“His work is the new frontier and puts Wayne State University on the cutting edge,” Dr. Rosenberg said. “He is demonstrating how brain regions in childhood OCD don’t talk to each other properly and misfire, going haywire. His work at WSU is the gold standard, and people from all over the world are coming to him for his expertise.”

Dr. Rosenberg said that he and his researchers believe that within the next 10 years there will be 10 different subtypes of OCD identified. While glutamate-targeted medicines are being used clinically to treat resistant OCD, newer and more effective and selective glutamate medicines are being developed and tested.

“We can't lump and treat all OCD the same, especially since there are distinct brain abnormalities,” Dr. Rosenberg said. “Can you imagine diagnosing and treating cancer based on history alone? Yet that's what psychiatrists do every day. We need objective markers to better diagnose and treat psychiatric illness, because that knowledge heals and defeats ignorance and stigma.”

This will be Dr. Rosenberg’s second appearance on national television with ABC. He was interviewed by Muir for a 2009 “Primetime” program about OCD in adolescents and his then recent findings involving the role of glutamate in OCD. In collaboration with researchers at the University of Michigan, Children’s Hospital of Michigan and University of Toronto/ Hospital for Sick Kids, Dr. Rosenberg discovered that glutamate plays a key role in children with OCD. The research found that those abnormal glutamate levels in certain brain regions are reversible with effective treatment.
Psychiatry department honors '64 grad's philanthropic support of research, education
In Headlines on May 16, 2014
David Rosenberg, M.D., left, presents a plaque to Mark Cohen, M.D. 64, at a May 12 reception and research presentation.

David Rosenberg, M.D., left, presents a plaque to Mark Cohen, M.D. 64, at a May 12 reception and research presentation.

A 1964 graduate of the Wayne State University School of Medicine living in California came home to Detroit recently to celebrate his 50th medical school reunion with classmates and attend a research presentation and reception in his honor.

Mark Cohen, M.D., is a retired ophthalmologist from Moraga, Calif., but it’s the groundbreaking brain research of two WSU Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience faculty members that caught his attention. Dr. Cohen was presented May 12 with a commemorative plaque of appreciation acknowledging his philanthropic commitment to the university.

“Dr. Cohen will serve as a legacy and example of philanthropic efforts for years to come,” said emcee David Rosenberg, M.D., professor and department chair, during the reception at the new Tolan Park headquarters of the department.

“This leaves me speechless,” Dr. Cohen said. “It has been an honor to be able to give back to the university that made my life possible.”

Dr. Cohen established an endowment earlier this year to support the work of Associate Professor Vaibhav Diwadkar, Ph.D., who uses functional magnetic resonance imaging to explore the pathophysiologic mechanisms of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; and Associate Professor Jeffrey Stanley, Ph.D., who applies in vivo magnetic resonance methodologies to understand pediatric psychiatric disorders. The duo lead the department’s Brain Imaging Research Division.

“Contributions such as his are especially meaningful because they fund research that will help millions of people around the world. Gifts such as these are all the more valuable given how challenging securing government research grants has become,” said Maryjean Schenk, M.D., M.P.H., vice dean of Education.

The professors’ lab teams include School of Medicine students, and Dr. Cohen’s gifts also support education and encourage students to present their own research findings at national meetings.

“This exposure is critically important to students who are just beginning to find their footing in the area of medical research,” Dr. Schenk said.

In 2011, Dr. Cohen also gave a gift in the name of his friend and classmate James Andre, M.D., ’64, who received the 2014 Alumni Lifetime Service Award after Dr. Cohen nominated him.

Research presentations during the reception for Dr. Cohen included projects on sports-related head injury, care for hospital-based delirium, methadone treatment for pregnant women recovering from addiction, adolescent substance abuse, use of technology in waiting rooms for better health outcomes, the role of psychiatry in gambling addictions, mental illness in the emergency room, telepsychiatry and the Healing and Health Trauma Recovery Center of Southeast Michigan for Arab survivors of torture.

“I’m very impressed. I really do like seeing coordination of people from different backgrounds working together for a common reason,” Dr. Cohen said. “Wayne has been very good at getting people out and doing work in the community.”

American College of Physicians' 'best of' book includes essay by internal medicine's Theresa Vettese, M.D. '91
In Headlines on May 16, 2014
Theresa Vettese, M.D., F.A.C.P.

Theresa Vettese, M.D., F.A.C.P.

An essay by an assistant professor for the Wayne State University School of Medicine has been selected for inclusion in the fourth volume of the American College of Physicians’ “On Being a Doctor.”

The essay titled “Judgment,” by Theresa E. Vettese, M.D., F.A.C.P., assistant professor of internal medicine, will appear in the 372-page book, which the editors say contains “the finest selections of prose and poetry” published in the Annals of Internal Medicine from 2007 to 2013.

“It is a great honor,” said Dr. Vettese, the faculty advisor for the School of Medicine Writing Workshop for medical students. “The Annals of Internal Medicine publishes numerous pieces, and this story was picked as one of the best of the past four years.”

“Judgment” is her thoughtful account of what happens after she allows a prisoner shackled to a hospital bed to shake her commitment to providing care without prejudice. Once she learns of his crimes, she writes that she “wants to scream or vomit.” “How dare this man be allowed to use valuable health care resources on the taxpayers’ dime?” she asks. She questions the need for a hemodialysis for lithium toxicity, argues with a colleague’s recommendation and requests a senior nephrologist to evaluate the situation further.

Only later does she realize the seriousness of her judgment, she recounts.

“We are taught to be nonjudgmental, to respect and be professional with all patients, at all times, regardless of the patient's background. Regardless of our background,” she writes. “How young, naive and arrogant I was to think that I could actually pull it off.”

She ends the narrative with a conversation held weeks later, following another prisoner’s admittance.

“The medical student asked, ‘What is he in prison for?” she writes.

“It doesn’t matter,” I said. “Go on with the presentation.”

Diane Levine, M.D., F.A.C.P., associate professor of internal medicine and vice chair for Education, called Dr. Vettese “a talented clinician, educator and writer with an exceptional voice that gives humanity to our work.”

The essay, said Dr. Vettese, a 1991 graduate of the School of Medicine, “is an internal look at one of the human frailties that encompass us as physicians – biases that we have that can affect our care of patients if we don't reflect regularly on our feelings and behaviors, in this case judgment of a prisoner.

“I am a creative writer and write mostly creative non-fiction about being a physician, including the common joys, trials and tribulations,” she added. “Writing is a way in which I reflect and which is helpful for self-care.”

Grad school dean Dr. Ambika Mathur completes national women's executive leadership program
In Headlines on May 16, 2014
Ambika Mathur, Ph.D.

Ambika Mathur, Ph.D.

Ambika Mathur, Ph.D., dean of the Wayne State University Graduate School, professor of pediatrics and director of the M.D./Ph.D. program for the School of Medicine, has graduated 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.

“The ELAM program was extremely valuable in providing me with tools for developing my leadership skills and growing my confidence as a leader,” said Dr. Mathur, a member of the program’s 19th class.

ELAM is the only program in North America dedicated to preparing women for senior leadership roles in academic health science institutions, enhancing institutional leadership diversity while contributing to organizational strategy and innovation.

Dr. Mathur, of Northville, Mich., joins 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.

“The networking amongst the class was incredible,” said Dr. Mathur, who becomes the School of Medicine’s seventh graduate of the ELAM program. “I can use the skill set that I developed at ELAM in advancing graduate education at Wayne State University in being able to work more efficiently and collaboratively with different constituencies.”

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 graduates to pursue the full diversity of roles within their organizations that offer opportunities for leadership.

Designed specifically for senior women faculty at the associate or full professor level who demonstrate the greatest potential for executive leadership positions at academic health centers, ELAM accepts only 54 candidates annually.

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