- March for Babies planning and pizza meeting set for April 3
In Headlines on March 26, 2012
Students, faculty and staff are invited to join the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Office of External Affairs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 3 in Suite 1328 for an informative kickoff event celebrating the School of Medicine’s participation in the March for Babies 5K walk in midtown Detroit.
A pizza lunch will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.
Thousands of families and business leaders will join together in the March of Dimes’ annual March for Babies at 9 a.m. April 29 on the campus of Wayne State University. The walk route will include a major station at the School of Medicine-Detroit Medical Center campus.
The March for Babies is the nation’s oldest walk fundraiser, raising money for the charity and promoting its mission to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.
Teams affiliated with the School of Medicine will participate in the walk. The teams are accepting walkers, and will represent the following departments:
Perinatology Research Branch at DMC and WSU
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
General medical school team (hosted by the Office of External Affairs and the Dean’s Office).
For more information, contact Doug Skryzyniarz at 313-577-2830.
- Student writes manuscript on national survey of sexual health
In Headlines on March 23, 2012
In just her second year of medical school, student Janelle Sobecki of Canton is the first author on a manuscript published online March 22 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
The report, "What We Don't Talk about When We Don't Talk about Sex," uncovers the shortfalls in doctor-patient communication around sexual matters and examines the barriers that may limit the range of dialogue in a typical evaluation of a woman's general health.
"One explanation for the findings may be a deficit in physician training about diagnosis and treatment of female sexual problems. Our study supports the need for more standardized training in this area," Sobecki said. “I am interested in pursuing Obstetrics and Gynecology, so this falls in line with that."
The report analyzes a portion of a national survey of obstetricians and gynecologists' views on morally and ethically challenging issues related to their practice. Sobecki was responsible for analyzing the survey data conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago. She also interpreted the results and drafted the manuscript.
Before entering the WSU School of Medicine, she earned her master’s degree in medical science from Boston University. Her work on the sex survey was part of her one-year research requirement from BU, which could take place anywhere. She chose the University of Chicago for familiarity -- she earned her undergraduate degree in biological sciences there.
“Sexual health is something that affects everyone, physicians and patients alike. It isn’t as well-addressed as it could be,” she said. “This is a part of people’s everyday lives. It's sad there’s such a barrier to talking about these issues.”
Now at WSU, Sobecki is active in sexual education programming. She’s a coordinator with the school’s STI/AIDS Education Initiative, which presents sexual education programming in Detroit Public Schools. She’s also one of just 20 medical students across the country in the American Medical Student Association’s Sexual Health Scholars Program, a yearlong nationwide mini-elective in which participants from national medical schools convene via web conference once a week to discuss or learn about sex health issues from clinical and research physicians.
As part of her master’s research project, Sobecki worked as a clinical assistant in one of the only sexual dysfunction disorder clinics for women. Many of the patients were either undergoing cancer treatment, in remission or recently diagnosed cancer free. The women couldn’t be treated for sexual dysfunction issues anywhere else.
“Many times, their doctors weren’t talking to them about sex. They were silently suffering from many issues related to their cancer treatment,” Sobecki said. “It’s a quality of life issue both physically and emotionally for these women.”
The clinic was directed by Stacy Tessler Lindau, M.D., associate professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Chicago Medicine. She was also the lead author and Sobecki’s mentor in graduate school.
While Sobecki has always been interested in being a clinical physician, this was her first foray into the world of research, and made her realize how important research is to positive patient outcomes, she said.
- Student wins prestigious Ibn Sina Endowed Scholarship a second time
In Headlines on March 23, 2012
Since its creation in 2000, the Ibn Sina Endowed Scholarship at the Wayne State University School of Medicine has helped Arab American and Chaldean-American medical students seeking to serve the community’s health care needs. Rola Daher, a fourth-year medical student, received the $10,000 scholarship twice, in her second and fourth years of school. She will graduate this spring.
Of Lebanese descent, the Dearborn native earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
“It is important to me to stay close to my family,” Daher said. “I was so happy to be accepted to the Wayne State University School of Medicine because it is local and also because of the reputation of the school. As an undergrad, I volunteered at Cass Clinic and was so impressed with the Wayne State medical students working there.”
Daher is grateful to have received the Ibn Sina Scholarship twice. “I can’t tell you how much it means to me to know that people of my own background and culture are supporting me, sort of as cheerleaders in my efforts,” she said. “The $20,000 I received was so helpful. I know students who are graduating with a crushing load of debt. My debt is minimal, thanks to the Ibn Sina Scholarship.”
Daher is effusive about her experience at Wayne State. “The camaraderie among the students, and with the faculty and administrative staff, is amazing,” she said. “The students share study guides and help each other so readily, and we know that our instructors have a vested interest in making each of us the best we can be. Also, I have made four dear friends here who will be with me the rest of our lives.”
Early in her schooling, Daher knew she wanted to concentrate on Pediatrics as her medical specialty. “People told me to keep an open mind in school because I might decide on something else,” Daher said. “But I’m never so happy as when I’m helping children.”
On Match Day, Daher was thrilled to learn that she will complete her residency at her first choice, Children’s Hospital of Michigan in the Detroit Medical Center.
In addition to her medical studies, Daher participates in extracurricular activities. “Wayne State’s chapter of the National Arab American Medical Association Student Association became dormant in my second year here,” she said. “I reactivated it and served as president of the group.”
Daher also served as treasurer of the Islamic Medical Student Association in her second year and then became social chair, planning events for the members.
“Having the scholarship helped to take some of the financial pressure off,” Daher said. “I was able to devote energy to these associations that are so important to help students get the most from their educational experience as well as enjoy their time on campus.”
The Ibn Sina Endowed Scholarship exists because of the commitment of the Arab American and Chaldean-American community to higher education. For two consecutive years in the late 1990s, a committee of prominent metropolitan Detroit Arab and Chaldean-American physicians and their families hosted gala events to benefit the Ibn Sina Endowed Scholarship. Through these events, they raised $200,000 to create and endow the scholarship.
Dr. Bashar Succar and his wife, Hoda, served as committee chairs for the fund-raising events and continue to encourage support to build the endowment.
“We were initially approached by a few medical students at Wayne State’s School of Medicine about financial support,” Hoda Succar said. “The Arab American and Chaldean-American community believes firmly in education. We are so proud of the educational achievements of our youth and hope to encourage the pursuit of higher education as much as possible. Medicine is a field that is particularly near to our hearts given that we have so many practicing physicians in our community.”
The Ibn Sina Endowed Scholarship is named for Abu Ali al-Hussain Ibn Abdallah Ibn Sina, born in 980 A.D. near Bukhara in the region now called Uzbekistan. Ibn Sina was the most renowned physician, philosopher, encyclopedist, mathematician and astronomer of his time. His famous work, “The Canon,” was his major contribution to medical science. The encyclopedia of medicine comprised more than 1 million words and brought together the entire medical knowledge of ancient and Muslim sources. It endured as the definitive medical guide for six centuries.
Ibn Sina scholarships are awarded to medical students with preference for students who have at least one parent of Arabic or Chaldean descent. Applications require a written essay demonstrating the applicant’s interest in the history of Arabic and Chaldean medicine and culture.
Succar intends to work more closely with the School of Medicine to help the endowment grow. “We plan to find a more systematic way to encourage recent Wayne State alumni to give to the scholarship on an annual basis. We hope they will be inspired by the effort and embrace the cause of supporting future medical students. We want our youth to be proud of their identity and to know that their community is supporting them.”
As Daher moves on to fulfill her dream of becoming a pediatrician, she feels prepared for the challenges ahead, thanks to her education at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, and the support provided by the Ibn Sina Endowed Scholarship. “Receiving the scholarship was significant to me in both money and the community support behind it. In return, I certainly hope to do my part to help other students as soon as I can.”
- Dr. Michael Simon named leader of Karmanos Breast Multidisciplinary Team
In Headlines on March 23, 2012
Michael Simon, M.D., M.P.H.
The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center has named Michael Simon, M.D., M.P.H., professor of Internal Medicine and Oncology for the Wayne State University School of Medicine, leader of the Breast Multidisciplinary Team.
As leader, Dr. Simon is responsible for coordinating interdisciplinary collaboration among cancer experts to enhance the quality of patient care delivered by the medical team. He also is charged with promoting excellence in clinical cancer research and education, along with developing and implementing measures to improve the overall quality of patient care services provided by team members.
“I am extremely pleased to be chosen as leader of a team composed of highly-skilled breast cancer doctors and scientists,” Dr. Simon said. “Our breast cancer research and treatment programs are among the best in the world and it is my goal to continue that tradition of excellence at Karmanos.”
Dr. Simon also serves as director and medical oncologist of the Cancer Genetic Counseling Service at Karmanos. He is a member of Karmanos’ Population Studies and Prevention Program and an adjunct member of the Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics at the School of Medicine. Additionally, he is an active staff member at Harper University Hospital and Detroit Receiving Hospital.
“Dr. Simon is an extraordinarily talented clinician and researcher who cares deeply about the patients who come to Karmanos for treatment,” said Gerold Bepler, M.D., Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Karmanos. “With his vast experience and high level of medical expertise, I am more than confident that he will help maintain Karmanos’ status as the pre-eminent center for those individuals battling breast cancer.”
- Class of 2012 celebrates a 96 percent success rate on residency Match Day
In Headlines on March 16, 2012
At right, Andrew Rubens celebrates with other senior students.
From left, senior medical student Chris Koziara, daughter Emi, and wife Heather at Match Day.
Jacqueline Cartier holds up the Match Day letter announcing her acceptance into the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Internal Medicine residency program.
Four years of intense study, sleepless nights and exhausting rotations all came down to a fragmented sentence on a stark white sheet of paper.
The annual Match Day ceremony for the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s senior students culminated at noon March 16 inside the Grand Ballroom of the MotorCity Casino Hotel in Detroit. Minutes before, thin, unassuming green and gold envelopes were placed in the hands of the 289 senior students who make up the class of 2012, who were waiting not so patiently along with the thousands of other medical school seniors across the country.
Inside the envelope was another assignment, this one life-changing -- it told where they were headed to continue their medical training in residency programs for the next three to seven years.
The envelopes were opened simultaneously throughout the United States precisely when the clock struck noon Detroit time.
“This has been a phenomenal match, and I am extraordinarily proud of you,” said Dean Valerie M. Parisi, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., addressing the students.
An outstanding 96 percent of the 289 senior medical students in the School of Medicine’s Class of 2012 successfully matched with at least one of their top three picks, a rate 2 percent higher than the school’s 2002-2011 average.
A whopping 59.5 percent of them are staying in Michigan, said Lisa MacLean, M.D., assistant dean of Student Affairs and Career Development. That’s good 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.
Nearly 900 students, faculty, staff and family counted down the seconds before their sons, daughters, wives, husbands, mothers, fathers and siblings learned just where they were going to live and work for at least the next three years.
Most students refused to utter their top pick to anyone for fear they might jinx what was in the envelope.
The annual ceremony and celebration was followed by a toast and reception.
“Just relieved and excited,” said Andrew Rubens, 27, of Bloomfield Hills, Mich. That’s how the future anesthesiologist described his big smile after learning he received his top pick – a residency at the University of Vermont. He took a moment to pose for a group photo with what he called his “med school family.” The group of gentlemen sat together at a table together, erupting into high fives, raucous handshakes and plenty of hugs as they learned each others’ fates.
Nationally, more than 95 percent of U.S. medical school seniors -- the highest rate in 30 years -- have matched to residency positions, according to data released March 16 by the National Resident Matching Program.
Of those who will soon begin residencies in Michigan health care facilities, the majority will practice at the Detroit Medical Center, Henry Ford Health Systems and Beaumont Hospitals, a testament, Dean Parisi said, to the strength of the partnerships and affiliations developed between the School of Medicine and hospitals in the region. Thirty-two are staying right where they are, earning residencies in the eight programs sponsored by WSU at the Detroit Medical Center, Oakwood Hospital and Crittenton Hospital.
Among them was Chris Koziara, who learned he received placement in his top pick – the orthopedic surgery program at Oakwood. “It’s what I wanted to do, and it’s what I love,” said Koziara, a Beverly Hills, Mich., resident.
He learned he was accepted to medical school on the way to his wedding ceremony more than four years ago, and will graduate with his classmates on May 22, 2012 -- his birthday. “I believe a lot in faith, and I think everything happens for a reason,” he said.
The father received a congratulatory hug from his wife, Heather, and their 17-month-old daughter, Emi.
“When we had her, everything changed. Doing well in medical school was still a priority, but I did better. I have to do well so I can provide for my family,” he said.
He’ll have five years of residency, and likely a couple more years of a fellowship to participate in as well. He’s used to the long haul -- he has two undergraduate degrees in mathematics and engineering, and a master’s degree in system engineering. He worked for six years as an engineer at DaimlerChrysler before entering medical school.
The 41.5 percent of residents heading out of state will practice medicine in 30 U.S. states and Canada, at the Mayo School of Graduate Education in Minnesota; George Washington University in Washington, D.C.; Queens University in Toronto, Canada, Tufts Medical Center in Massachusetts and 86 other prestigious hospitals, universities and medical centers.
Those moving include Jacqueline Cartier, 25, a Royal Oak resident and Boston native who wanted a program in a big city. She was ecstatic to be headed for University of Illinois at Chicago, for a residency in Internal Medicine. Cartier’s mother is a 1977 graduate of WSU’s medical school.
Across the country, 16,875 allopathic seniors in the U.S. participated in the match – up from 15,692 four years ago. In all 38,377 allopathic and osteopathic applicants applied for 26,772 residencies.
Internal medicine residencies were the most popular clinical discipline this year, with 40 students entering such programs. Another 37 students will enter an emergency medicine program, and 30 will enter family medicine. Other chosen specialties included urology, pediatrics and psychiatry.
The National Resident Matching Program is a private, non-profit corporation established in 1952 to provide a uniform date of appoint to positions of graduate medical education in the U.S.
(For more photos of Match Day 2012, click here).
Before the matches were revealed, several awards honoring students and faculty were announced. The awards list included:
Class Marshall: Michael Stellini, M.D.
Voluntary Faculty Awards: David Amponsah, M.D.; Hubert Huebl, M.D.; Gregory Mahr, M.D.
Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award (Faculty): Margit Chadwell, M.D.
Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award (Student): Kristy Kelel
Medical Alumni Senior Scholarship Award: Gary Rajah
Robert J. Sokol, M.D., Medical Alumni Association Endowed Prize: Melinda Schaller
Class of 2012 Academic Achievement Awards: Freshman Year, Hassan Beydoun; Sophomore Year, Gary Rajah; Junior Year, Hassan Beydoun, Reilly Hobbs, Leslie Phillips, Andrew Prout, Gary Rajah and Saba Zabetian; Senior Year, Andrew Hanosh
Elvis Smith Alford, M.D., and Nellie Corbin Alford Memorial Award: Hassan Beydoun
Marjorie Edwards Prize for Scholarship and Community Service: Carla Bryant
Herbert Mendelson Enthusiasm for Medicine Endowed Scholarship: Leanne Lawwell
Dean’s Distinguished Service Awards: Melinda Schaller, Michael Warren, Rebecca Kornas, Reilly Hobbs
Penfil-Tischler Award: Niharika Ahuja
- WSU faculty to lead Karmanos scientific program realignments
In Headlines on March 16, 2012
Anthony Shields, M.D., Ph.D.
Larry Matherly, Ph.D.
Terrance Albrecht, Ph.D.
Shijie Sheng, Ph.D.
Gerold Bepler, M.D., Ph.D., president of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and interim Chair of Oncology for the Wayne State University School of Medicine, has announced the restructuring of the institute’s scientific programs.
The names of Karmanos’ newly restructured programs have been tentatively changed to Molecular Imaging and Diagnostics, Molecular Therapeutics, Population Studies and Disparities Research, and Tumor Microenvironment.
“Karmanos Cancer Institute’s scientific programs are critical to promoting inter- and intra-programmatic relationships and furthering the groundbreaking research that we conduct each day at Karmanos,” Dr. Bepler said. “I am very excited and enthusiastic about these changes that will better serve our mission of creating cancer therapies that other hospitals will follow in the future.”
The program leader for Molecular Imaging and Diagnostics Program is Anthony Shields, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Internal Medicine and Oncology for the School of Medicine. Dr. Shields is associate center director for Clinical Sciences. He is a recognized physician-researcher in the area of tumor imaging and was the 2005 recipient of the Peter Valk Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award from the Academy of Molecular Imaging. His work focuses on the development and testing of tracers for use with positron emission tomography for the assessment of a variety of tumors and their response to treatment.
The program leader of Molecular Therapeutics Program is Larry Matherly, Ph.D., professor of Pharmacology for the School of Medicine. He also serves as the director of the Cancer Biology Graduate Program. Dr. Matherly is principal investigator of the training program in the Biology of Cancer. His research focus is on the mechanism, regulation and therapeutic studies of the reduced folate carrier, the major folate and antifolate membrane transport system in mammalian cells and tissues. His translational research is highlighted by his efforts involving chemotherapy of pediatric leukemias, in part reflecting the important role of methotrexate and the reduced folate carrier in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Continuing as program leader of the Population Studies and Disparities Research Program is Terrance Albrecht, Ph.D., professor of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences at the School of Medicine. Dr. Albrecht is associate center director for Population Sciences. Her primary research is on clinical communication processes as they relate to cancer health disparities and outcomes in adult and pediatric populations. She developed the Communication and Behavioral Oncology research area within the PSDR Program and oversaw development of the Behavioral and Field Research Core at Karmanos.
The program leader of the Tumor Microenvironment Program is Shijie Sheng, Ph.D. Dr. Sheng is a professor of Pathology for the School of Medicine and is a highly regarded leader in the study of maspin. Her work on maspin is considered pioneering and groundbreaking, and includes the identification of novel protease-independent functions of maspin in cancer cells.
Dr. Bepler thanked outgoing program leaders, including Rafael Fridman, Ph.D.; Bonnie Sloane, Ph.D.’ and Michael Tainsky, Ph.D. He also acknowledged program co-leaders Q. Ping Dou, Ph.D.; Nebjosa Duric, Ph.D.; David Gorski, M.D.; Ph.D., Patricia LoRusso, D.O.; Raymond Mattingly, Ph.D.; and Benjamin Rybicki, Ph.D., for contributing their time, effort and talents to Karmanos’ scientific research.