School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine
ROCK wins leadership award for public health outreach
In Headlines on January 11, 2013
ROCK co-founders and third-year medical students John Purakal, center, and Joe Tsao, right, use a hands-on approach for educating a young ROCK audience member about hypertension.

ROCK co-founders and third-year medical students John Purakal, center, and Joe Tsao, right, use a hands-on approach for educating a young ROCK audience member about hypertension.

When a ninth-grader implores her hypertensive father to put down the salt at dinner, you know you’re doing something right.

Earlier that week, the girl’s high school class had listened to a lecture on heart health from the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Raising Our Community’s Knowledge student organization. Its speakers, all students, aim to raise health awareness by educating at-risk groups in Detroit about prevalent diseases.

“(The teacher) told me that one of her students came up to her the day after our talk, and had discovered that both her parents had high blood pressure,” said John Purakal, a third-year medical student and the organization’s director and co-founder. “She said she told them all about the talk and even stopped her dad from using the salt shaker at dinner. I loved hearing this, because part of our message to our audiences is to take ownership of your own health and help others take ownership for theirs.”

Recognizing efforts like this, and others, ROCK will receive the 2013 Dr. Arthur L. Johnson Community Leadership Award from the Wayne State’s Office of Government and Community Affairs on Jan. 22 at the university’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute at the Max M. Fisher Music Center in Detroit.

The award, named after late civil rights leader and Wayne State administrator Arthur L. Johnson, honors individuals and organizations whose contributions positively affect the community. Nominations are made by the public. ROCK was founded in 2010 by Wayne State medical students Purakal, Joe Tsao and Jakub Sikora in response to the general lack of appreciation and understanding of disease processes in Detroiters. Since then, it has expanded to include five board members and 20 to 25  medical and nutrition graduate students who speak at community centers, schools, churches, clinics, refugee homes, homeless shelters and military bases. Topics include hypertension, atherosclerosis, diabetes, depression, obesity, drug and alcohol use, prevalent cancers and risk factors, vaccinations, sexually transmitted infections and more. The students have reached an estimated 3,000 people.

“I believe it is our mission – to improve disease comprehension and health beliefs to drive better health behavior – that is being recognized by the Arthur L. Johnson Community Leadership Award. The burden of preventable disease in the city of Detroit is astounding.  It will require a concerted effort, with students and health care professionals alike, to make a dent in it,” Purakal said. “(The award is) unexpected, and very humbling. I knew Focus:Hope won it last year, which is an organization that I volunteered with as a student at the University of Detroit Jesuit. For our efforts to be recognized in a similar fashion was truly an honor. That being said, we understand that this is a great opportunity to grow our reach in the Detroit community and educate more people who are at-risk for preventable diseases.”

The group continues to grow, booking up to four speaking engagements in some months.

“We get great feedback from the groups we work with, and welcome positive criticism of our speakers. These students will be health care professionals in the near future, and will have to be able to explain these same topics conversationally with their patients. We are continuing to schedule talks with all of the partners we have made,” Purakal said.

Additional Dr. Arthur L. Johnson Community Leadership Award recipients include WSU Associate Professor of Urban Planning Kami Pothukuchi and the WSU Student Veterans Organization. For more information or to purchase tickets to the MLK Day Tribute, visit www.wayne.edu/communityengagement/mlk. For more information about ROCK, visit www.raisingknowledge.org and www.facebook.com/ROCKdetroit.

Student organizations bring world to WSU with ethnic fair
In Headlines on January 10, 2013
Ballet Folklorico Moyocoyani Izel of Detroit will bring its dance style to the School of Medicine Board of Student Organizations' Ethnic Fair, set for 5 p.m. Jan. 11 in the Scott Hall cafeteria.

Ballet Folklorico Moyocoyani Izel of Detroit will bring its dance style to the School of Medicine Board of Student Organizations' Ethnic Fair, set for 5 p.m. Jan. 11 in the Scott Hall cafeteria.

Sample the sights and sounds from a variety of the world’s cultures at the Wayne State University School of Medicine Board of Student Organizations’ annual Ethnic Fair, set for 5 to 7 p.m. Jan. 11 in the school’s Scott Hall cafeteria, located at 540 E. Canfield in Detroit.

The popular annual event celebrates the school’s cultural diversity through dance, music, food and presentations. Doors open at 5 p.m., and all are welcome to start their trip by munching on delicious cultural treats before taking a seat for the evening’s program.  Performances and raffle giveaways begin at 5:30 p.m., with entertainment provided by Ballet Folklorico Moyocoyani Izel, a Mexican folk dance troupe from southwest Detroit; the Native American Swamp Singers; and the School of Medicine’s own The UltraSounds, an a cappella singing group comprised of medical students.

Africans in Medicine, the Islamic Medical Student Association and the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin are among the student organizations expected to be represented at the fair.

WSU to host "Cerebral Palsy Research: On the Cutting Edge" conference Jan. 30
In Headlines on January 10, 2013
“Cerebral Palsy Research: On the Cutting Edge,” the CP Research Consortium of Michigan’s third biennial conference, will be conducted at the Wayne State University School of Medicine on Jan. 30.

The conference, which will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., will take place in Scott Hall, in the Margherio Family Conference Center, is presented in collaboration with Michigan State University and the University of Michigan.

The goal of the conference is to present cutting edge research on cerebral palsy and kindle collaborations among Michigan’s rich array of researchers interested in CP. This includes universities, the Michigan Department of Community Health, UCP-Michigan, clinicians, therapists, educators and people with CP.

The program for the conference is below:

8:30 a.m.: Welcome and introductions, Steven Korzeniewski, Ph.D., M.S., M.A., director of the Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, Perinatology Research Branch, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development//National Institutes of Health, and assistant professor of the WSU Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Plenary Session I: Early Intervention and Prevention
8:35 a.m.: “Distinctive databases for etiologic investigations: MOBAND, OWL, NCPP, ELGAN, UM registry, and other databases,” Dr. Korzeniewski.
9 a.m.: “Hypothermia and Cerebral Palsy in term and near-term infants,” Seetha Shankaran, M.D., director, Neonatal/Perinatal Medicine, Wayne State University, and  professor of WSU Pediatrics.
9:30 a.m.: Keynote speech: “Fetal Infection and Inflammation in Cerebral Palsy: Insights from Molecular Imaging and Nanotechnology.” Roberto Romero, M.D., chief, Perinatology Research Branch, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development//National Institutes of Health.
10:30 a.m.: Break and posters.

Plenary Session II: Etiology and Outcomes Research
11 a.m.: “CP case control study using newborn blood spots: latest results,” Nigel Paneth, M.D., University Distinguished professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Michigan State University.
11:20 a.m.: “Cognition in CP: Adapted Cognitive Assessment Laboratory update,” Seth Warschausky, Ph.D., professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Michigan.
11:40 a.m.: “Communication and CP: what do CFCS scores tell us?,” Mary Jo Cooley Hidecker, Ph.D., assistant professor of Speech-Language Pathology, University of Central Arkansas.
Noon: “The NIH PROMIS: Measuring Health Related Quality of Life in Children and Adults with CP,” Anna Kratz, Ph.D., assistant professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Michigan.
12:20 p.m.: “Research in interventions and QOL: Introduction to breakout,” Edward Hurvitz, M.D., chair of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Michigan.

12:40 p.m.: Lunch.
1 p.m.: Brief lunchtime presentations: Jacqueline Kaufman, Danielle Shapiro, Mark Peterson.
1:30 p.m.: Posters

Breakout Sessions: Learn, Contribute, Collaborate
2 p.m.: “Using the CP databases: Collaborative opportunities,” Dr. Paneth; “Interventions: Issues in design and studying lifespan,” Dr. Hurvitz; “Research in social integration and quality of life,” Dr. Warschausky and Nicole Lomerson Schickling.
3:30 p.m.: Break and posters

Panel Discussion
Dr. Hurvitz, moderator. Panel participants: Nicole Lomerson Schickling, M.P.H., health policy researcher; Kathleen Brockel, executive director of United Cerebral Palsy of Michigan; Dr. Korzeniewski; Dr. Paneth; and Dr. Warschausky.
4 p.m.: Review of break sessions, future research and patient advocacy.

Registration deadline is Jan. 17. The cost is $25 for faculty, physicians and professionals; $10 for fellows, students and community members, and includes lunch. For more information, call 517-353-8623, ext. 116, or visit www.epi.msu.edu/cpon.
Street Medicine founder inspires medical students
In Headlines on January 10, 2013
Dr. Withers tells WSU students about the Street Medicine experience.

Dr. Withers tells WSU students about the Street Medicine experience.

Dr. Withers with, from left, Dr. Chih Chuang, Dr. Jennifer Mendez and second-year medical student Jonathan Wong.

Dr. Withers with, from left, Dr. Chih Chuang, Dr. Jennifer Mendez and second-year medical student Jonathan Wong.

Students and faculty learn more about the Street Medicine philosophy from Dr. Withers.

Students and faculty learn more about the Street Medicine philosophy from Dr. Withers.

Jim Withers, M.D., founder of the Street Medicine movement, worked with Wayne State University School of Medicine students and faculty last week to further promote the movement that brings medical care to the homeless living on the streets.

Dr. Withers’ Jan. 4-5 visit was hosted by Street Medicine Detroit, the Gold Humanism Honor Society and the American Medical Student Association.

The information below is courtesy of Street Medicine Detroit’s blog, from medical student Sarah Bommarito, communications director for the organization.

In medical school, it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture. Many of us bury ourselves in studying and concern ourselves only with our impending exams rather than what they will eventually allow us to do. But then there are those moments that reaffirm our dedication and show us that the opportunities we’ve been afforded will allow us to truly make a difference. Dr. Withers’ visit did just that.

Dr. Withers, a pioneer of the Street Medicine movement, generously donated his time to speak to us about his personal journey into the field as well as future directions we might take as an organization and more individually as future physicians. His talk ranged from touching to upsetting to motivational. He showed images and shared stories about his childhood mission trips with his medically inclined parents and his humble beginnings as a medical student searching for a residency program that would allow him to serve a chronically forgotten and ignored population: the homeless.

From there, he described how he established his connection to the community in order to help them. He learned to dress “like a homeless person,” sometimes rubbing dirt into his hair and wearing tattered clothing to remain inconspicuous and appear more of an equal in order to gain trust. He pointed out how he tailors his posture to show patients their due respect, often crouching at their feet or sitting beside them as he listens to their stories, appreciates their humanity and provides the necessary care. His concern for the homeless is extremely apparent, and his dedication is inspiring.

Dr. Withers’ presentation reminded me that, regardless of skill level, we are all capable of helping in some way. Whether we listen to stories, take blood pressures, form differential diagnoses, prescribe medications or simply choose to keep an open mind about the homeless community, we are all involved in creating an environment that helps to rehabilitate and strengthen individuals who have found themselves without homes. As my classmates and I continue to learn new skills and become the next generation of physicians, I hope we all keep Dr. Withers’ lessons in mind.

"To love is not to give of your riches but to reveal to others their riches; their gifts; their value; and to trust them and their capacity to grow. So it is important to approach people in their brokenness and littleness gently, so gently, not forcing yourself on them, but accepting them as they are, with humility and respect." – Jean Vanier

To read more of the blog and for more information about Street Medicine Detroit, visit http://streetmedicinedetroit.org/
Researchers contribute cover design, article in February issue of Gastroenterology
In Headlines on January 10, 2013
Ramzi Mohammad, Ph.D.

Ramzi Mohammad, Ph.D.

The cover of Gastroenterology.

The cover of Gastroenterology.

Ramzi Mohammad, Ph.D., professor of Oncology for the Wayne State University School of Medicine and the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center, and Asfar Azmi, Ph.D., research scientist in the WSU Pathology Department, have contributed the cover design of the February edition of Gastroenterology.

The pair, along with their co-authors, also has an article in the print publication, titled, “Selective Inhibitors of Nuclear Export Block Pancreatic Cancer Cell Proliferation and Reduce Tumor Growth in Mice.”

The cover image is a visual illustration of the team’s research into the role that tumor suppressor proteins, or TSPs, play in preventing the growth of pancreatic cancer cells, as well as the identification of a cellular protein, Exportin-1, or XPO-1 or CRM-1, which inhibits certain tumor suppressor functions. CRM-1 is over-expressed in pancreatic cancer, making it an attractive therapeutic target. CRM-1 shuttles tumor suppressor proteins out of the nucleus of the cell and into the cytoplasm that surrounds the nucleus. Those suppressor proteins work only when they are inside the nucleus, so CRM-1 actions make the tumor-killing drugs less effective and allow tumors to continue growing.

The authors, in collaboration with Karyopharm Therapeutics of Boston, have developed selective inhibitors of nuclear export that bind to CRM-1 and block the export of TSPs, resulting in tumor shrinkage of pancreas tumors in mice. Targeting CRM-1 forces the tumor suppressor proteins to function properly and induce cancer-specific cell death.

Researchers note that treatment of pancreatic cancer is an unmet clinical problem with annual deaths that exceed breast and prostate cancers, due to the lack of effective drug therapies.

The research team, in collaboration with Philip Philip, M.D., Ph.D., F.R.C.P., professor of Internal Medicine and leader of the Gastrointestinal and Neuroendocrine Oncology Multidisciplinary Team at WSU and Karmanos, and Anthony Shields, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Internal Medicine and Oncology, and associate center director of Clinical Sciences at Karmanos and WSU, are initiating gastrointestinal clinical trials using this novel inhibitor starting in February.
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation chief resident accepted at Harvard
In Headlines on January 10, 2013
Saurabha Bhatnagar, M.D.

Saurabha Bhatnagar, M.D.

The Wayne State University Physician Group and the WSU Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation-Oakwood have announced that Saurabha Bhatnagar, M.D., who has served as chief resident for the last two years, has accepted a position at Harvard Medical School.

He is the sole resident member for the Clinical Learning Environment Review Committee at the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Dr. Bhatnagar also serves with the Council of Review Committee Residents at the ACGME and is a member of the leadership subcommittee to develop a leadership curriculum for residents at a national level.

His professional contributions and service to the scientific community includes serving as a peer reviewer for the PM & R Journal, the official journal of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and as a peer reviewer for research abstracts submitted to the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Annual Assemblies.

During his time at Wayne State and Oakwood Hospital, Dr. Bhatnagar served with local and regional organizations, including the Brain Injury Association of Michigan and the Michigan Public Health Initiative Traumatic Brain Injury Services and Prevention Council. He also worked with co-residents to create educational materials regarding concussion and brain injury to distribute to high school athletes and patients evaluated in the Oakwood health system.

Education is a passion of Dr. Bhatnagar’s and he recently accepted a position at Harvard Medical School as the Traumatic Brain Injury Fellow at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

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