- Significant gift to School of Medicine will create full-tuition Harris Scholars scholarships
In Headlines on November 19, 2012Wayne State University has received a significant gift from Mort and Brigitte Harris to create scholarships for the School of Medicine and provide resources and ongoing support for the university’s community outreach adult literacy program. The gift will create the Mort and Brigitte Harris Endowed Scholarship Fund (Harris Scholars) in the School of Medicine and the Mort and Brigitte Harris Office for Adult Literacy Endowment Fund in the Irvin D. Reid Honors College.
“The friendship and support Mort and Brigitte Harris have provided to Wayne State University is reflective of their commitment to scholarship, research and community,” Wayne State University President Allan Gilmour said. “This is simply the latest in a wonderful history of giving, and it is difficult to find an area or issue that concerns them that remains unaided by their generosity.”
The Mort and Brigitte Harris Endowed Scholarship Fund in the School of Medicine will create the Harris Scholars program and address the high costs of tuition and related expenses that make it difficult for talented students to attend medical school by providing them with full scholarships. The scholarships also will have an important impact on the health care industry in Michigan, as Wayne State is a leading contributor to the physician workforce in the state. Forty percent of practicing physicians in Michigan have completed all or part of their training at Wayne State. In 2012, 60 percent of Wayne State medical students matched into residencies in Michigan, and historical trends show that WSU medical graduates who complete a residency in Michigan are more likely to remain in the state.
“Economic realities often propel students to set aside their dreams of attending medical school,” said Valerie M. Parisi, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., dean of the School of Medicine. “That’s why the Mort and Brigitte Harris Endowed Scholarship Fund is so important; it provides scholarships so that the best and brightest students, and students with financial need, won’t have to worry about costs. The long-term impact is not just more doctors with less debt but literally thousands of patients receiving care from highly skilled, compassionate and motivated physicians.”
The Mort and Brigitte Harris Office for Adult Literacy Endowment Fund will address the challenge of adult illiteracy. Although the rate of adult illiteracy in Detroit is significant, the issue extends both regionally and nationally, and the total number of functionally illiterate adults increases by about 2.25 million people every year. Wayne State established the Office for Adult Literacy, housed within the Irvin D. Reid Honors College, with a research and teaching mission to determine best-practice models to combat adult illiteracy and improve an individual’s ability to live a productive life and contribute to society.
“For many years, a person could have a career and a good middle class life without literacy playing a big role,” Jerry Herron, dean of the Honors College, said. “Those kinds of jobs now are increasingly fewer, and the gift from Mr. and Mrs. Harris positions Wayne State to become a national leader in finding pathways to bring an end to adult illiteracy.”
The Mort and Brigitte Harris gift will provide resources for expanded staff and training as well as ongoing support for the office’s operations. In gratitude and recognition for the generous gift, the office will be named the Mort and Brigitte Harris Office for Adult Literacy.
“Wayne State has always been a place in the community where people were given opportunity; opportunity to learn, to work and to make something of themselves,” Mort Harris said. “I am happy to be able to support the mission of the university in ways that will improve the lives of so many.”
Harris began taking engineering classes at what was then Wayne University in 1939 and is among the university’s most distinguished supporters. He became a highly decorated pilot in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II and earned the nickname the “Berlin Kid” in recognition of his 33 successful missions over Germany. After the war, Harris embarked on a successful business career in Detroit. He owned several companies, including American Axle and Manufacturing, which he co-founded with three others, and invested in real estate. He also headed the Mercier Corp., a manufacturer of metallurgical products, and served as director of Michigan National Bank.
At Wayne State, Harris established the Edith Harris Memorial Scholarship in the School of Social Work in memory of his first wife, who passed away in 1968. He joined the Anthony Wayne Society, the university’s highest donor recognition group, as an inaugural member. He also is a charter member of the Wayne State University Foundation Board.
Harris has continued to support scholarships and the Edith Harris Memorial Lecture Series in the School of Social Work, the College of Engineering, the Damon J. Keith Collection at the Law School and numerous other university initiatives. In 2003, his generous gift resulted in the Mort Harris Recreation and Fitness Center, located in the heart of Wayne State’s campus.
In May 2011, Wayne State University presented Harris with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in recognition of his contributions to society.
Harris has supported numerous community organizations, including Henry Ford Health System, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, Focus: HOPE, Detroit Institute of Arts and Detroit Public Television.
- LCME presents New Horizons Award to Dean Parisi
In Headlines on November 16, 2012
Dean Valerie M. Parisi, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A.
Valerie M. Parisi, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., dean of the Wayne State University School of Medicine, received the New Horizons Award from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.
Dean Parisi received the award in early November during the Association of American Medical College annual meeting in San Francisco.
The New Horizons Award acknowledges the transformative initiative led by Dean Parisi and Lois Nora, M.D., J.D., M.B.A., during their LCME tenure to codify the relationship between the LCME’s two sponsors, the AAMC and the American Medical Association. “Under their courageous leadership, the LCME undertook a comprehensive review of its organizational structure and functions -- a process that ultimately resulted in the first memorandum of understanding between the two sponsors.” That memorandum enabled the LCME to directly address some of its most pressing challenges while ensuring its ability to remain the gold standard for accreditation of medical education programs.
Dean Parisi served as a member of the LCME from 2006 to 2012, and as its co-chair from 2010 to 2012.
Dr. Nora served as an LCME member from 2007 to 2012 and as co-Chair from 2009 to 2011. She recently was appointed president and chief executive officer of the American Board of Medical Specialties.
The Liaison Committee on Medical Education reviews and awards accreditation status to educational programs leading to the awarding of medical degrees in the United States and Canada.
- DSO first violinist joins Detroit Medical Orchestra for Dec. 9 concert
In Headlines on November 16, 2012
The first violinist of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will join the Detroit Medical Orchestra Dec. 9 for a performance at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit.
The 3 p.m. concert will feature Adrienne Ronmark of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in performances of Dvorak’s Symphony No 8, Op. 88 and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor.
Admission is free. A post-concert reception will be hosted by the Wayne State University School of Medicine Alumni Association.
In addition to playing with the DSP, Ronmark can be heard in the Stellar Piano Trio and Gamar Duo. The Detroit native received her master’s degree in music from the Cleveland Institute of Music. She has worked closely with distinguished composers such as William Bolcom, Michael Daugherty, Evan Chambers and Jennifer Higdon. Before joining the DSO, Ronmark was associate concertmaster of the Ann Arbor Symphony from 1999 to 2007.
The Detroit Medical Orchestra, a group of Wayne State University School of Medicine student and faculty musicians, performs twice a year. About one-third of the musicians are students attending the School of Medicine. The remaining musicians are faculty, and physicians and nursing staff from surrounding hospitals.
The Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament is located at 9844 Woodward Ave.
- 'Hoedown for Hearing' raises $40,000 for Lions Hearing Center of Michigan
In Headlines on November 14, 2012
A guest bids on an item to benefit the Lions Hearing Center of Michigan. (Photo by Beatrice Katcher)
Detroit Tigers mascot Paws was among the evening’s special guests. (Photo by Beatrice Katcher)
Students from the Saline Fiddlers entertain the crowd. (Photo by Beatrice Katcher)
The Lions Hearing Center of Michigan held its eighth annual dinner dance Nov. 10, raising $40,000 for the deaf and hearing impaired and eclipsing last year’s total by $5,000.
“It far exceeded our expectations with the turnout and auction items. I think it’s so much fun that people come back the next year looking for the same fun,” said Robert Mathog, M.D., Lions Hearing Center founder and Wayne State University School of Medicine professor and chair of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.
Nearly 400 supporters attended the event at the MRCC Banquet and Convention Center in Warren, many sporting cowboy hats, cowboy boots and other western gear in the spirit of this year’s “Hoedown for Hearing” theme.
To raise money, guests bid on 250 silent auction items and 10 live auction items. The event is sponsored by the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and Lions Clubs’ Districts 11 A-1 and 11 A-2.
The recipients of six college scholarships provided by the Deborah Love-Peel Scholarship Fund for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students also were announced.
The Lions Hearing Center of Michigan is a non-profit organization that provides hearing-related services through screening, diagnosis, treatment, education and research, regardless of ability to pay. Dr. Mathog is its founder and leads the Board of Directors. In 2011, the Lions Hearing Center distributed 300 low-cost or free hearing aids and provided 1,000 hearing screenings for children and adults, thanks in part to the $35,000 raised at that year’s dinner dance, Dr. Mathog said.
“It helps us take care of our patients, because otherwise we’d diagnosis a hearing loss and leave them without any means,” he said. “This allows them to get final rehabilitation with a hearing aid, and helps us identify people who need medical care with the screenings. It fits in our mission to take care of patients. It also allows us to raise money for research, which is part of our objectives for our department.”
WDIV-TV’s Carmen Harlan served as the evening’s emcee, with live music provided by the Saline Fiddlers, a nationally-acclaimed extracurricular group made up of about 30 students from Saline High School.
The nonprofit Lions Hearing Center of Michigan was founded in 1999 as a partnership between WSU, the Detroit Medical Center and Lions Districts 11 A-1 and 11 A-2 (covering Monroe, Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties). Dr. Mathog led the formation and development, replicating a Lions Hearing Center he founded while at the University of Minnesota. Primary hearing center locations are in Southfield, Dearborn and Rochester, with administrative offices based at the University Health Center in Detroit.The Lions Clubs International is a volunteer organization that includes 1.3 million members in 207 countries. It officially adopted work with the deaf as a major activity of the organization in 1972.
- WSU and DMC launch major national study that could lead to breakthrough in managing treatment-resistant hypertension
In Headlines on November 14, 2012The Wayne State University School of Medicine and the Detroit Medical Center Cardiovascular Institute have begun enrolling patients in a pioneering new study that could lead to a dramatic breakthrough in the battle against treatment-resistant hypertension, a chronic ailment that poses a major health threat to more than 6 million Americans and 100 million people worldwide.
The recently launched clinical trial will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of this investigational therapy to treat patients with treatment-resistant hypertension. These patients may be at risk for heart attacks, strokes and other life-threatening cardiovascular disorders triggered by high blood pressure that can’t be treated by conventional blood pressure medications, said health experts at WSU and the DMC.
“We’re feeling very hopeful about this new study because it could lead to a new and innovative approach for treating the growing number of treatment-resistant hypertension patients in the U.S., which is especially critical to African-Americans living in urban settings like Detroit, who may be at greater risk,” said Theodore Schreiber, M.D., president of the CVI. “This pioneering new national clinical study – in which the CVI will play a key role – will allow us to test the effectiveness of a recently developed method for reducing treatment-resistant high blood pressure in patients for whom blood pressure medications have not been effective.”
Dr. Schreiber pointed out that 28 percent of patients who struggle with chronic hypertension are treatment-resistant” – meaning they cannot be helped much by traditional medications aimed at treating the condition.
“Obviously, this represents a very large percentage of hypertension patients,” Dr. Schreiber said, “and the early clinical results from testing in Europe and elsewhere now suggest that renal deneravation may be a safe and effective option for patients to manage treatment-resistant hypertension.”
Known as the “SYMPLICITY HTN-3 Study,” the clinical trial will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a procedure called renal denervation, which aims to deactivate overactive nerves in the renal artery leading to the kidney – a major cause of hypertension in many patients. To begin the procedure, clinicians insert a flexible catheter into the femoral artery via a tiny incision in the thigh. After that, a radio-energy-bearing device inside the catheter is threaded through the arteries into position near the targeted renal artery to deliver radio waves that will effectively neutralize the over-active nerves in large part responsible for the disorder.
Treatment-resistant hypertension is defined as systolic blood pressure that remains high (greater than 140/90 mmHg) despite treatment with three or more antihypertensive medications. These patients have a threefold increase in the risk of cardiovascular events compared with individuals with controlled high blood pressure.
Renal denervation is a minimally invasive, catheter-based procedure that, in effect, better regulates the output of nerves that line the walls of the arteries leading to the kidneys. These nerves are part of the sympathetic nervous system, which is one of the ways the body manages blood pressure. In people with hypertension, however, the renal nerves are often hyperactive.
The study is a randomized, controlled trial designed to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of renal denervation with the investigational Symplicity renal denervation system in patients with treatment-resistant hypertension and systolic blood pressure higher than 160 mmHg.
The study will enroll approximately 530 patients across several U.S. medical centers. People receiving the investigational treatment will be compared with a control group that does not, with all patients continuing to take their blood pressure medications. Patients enrolled in the trial will be randomly assigned to a group, with two out of three assigned to the treatment group and one out of three assigned to the control group. Those in the control group may receive the treatment after a six-month period. The primary endpoints of the study are the change in blood pressure from baseline to six months and incidence of major adverse events.
“This study has a unique design, since patients in the control group may have the option to receive renal denervation treatment six months following randomization, which may help extend the potential benefit of renal denervation to all participants in the trial if the trial demonstrates benefit,” said John Flack, M.D., M.P.H., professor and chair of WSU Internal Medicine, as well as chief of the Division of Translational Research and Clinical Epidemiology.
The Symplicity renal denervation system has been successfully used since 2007 to treat thousands of patients worldwide. It has been commercially available in Europe and Australia since April 2010. The system has not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for commercial distribution in the U.S.
Patients interested in learning more about the trial can contact Donna Ford at 1-888-253-5467 or Elisabeta Levcovici at 313-993-0419 at Wayne State University. Prospective participants also are encouraged to visit www.SymplifyBPtrial.com to learn more about the study and their potential eligibility for the trial. Patients considering participation in the trial should have been diagnosed with hypertension (and should have been unable to control their hypertension even when taking three or more blood pressure medications).
- Dr. Philip joins Pancreatic Cancer Action Network's Medical Advisory Board
In Headlines on November 9, 2012
Philip Philip, M.D., Ph.D.Philip Philip, M.D., Ph.D., F.R.C.P., professor of Internal Medicine for the Wayne State University School of Medicine, will serve on the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s Medical Advisory Board.
Members of the PCAN’s Medical Advisory Board are a group of selected health professionals representing various disciplines who work with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network to improve the overall care and quality of life of people with pancreatic cancer and their families. The medical advisory board consists of 15 members with areas of specialty in surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, gastroenterology, nursing and nutrition.
Dr. Philip, who also serves as leader of the Gastrointestinal and Neuroendocrine Tumors Multidisciplinary Team and vice president of Medical Affairs at the Karmanos Cancer Center, will be on the board until June 30, 2015.