- International physics organization to honor Professor Emeritus Colin Orton, Ph.D.
In Headlines on May 17, 2013
Colin Orton, Ph.D.
The International Congress of Medical Physics will honor Professor Emeritus Colin Orton, Ph.D., for his outstanding contribution to the advancement of medical physics and health care at its 50th annual meeting, Sept. 1-4, in Brighton, England.
The IOMP represents medical physics associations in 80 countries. Posters of the 50 most important contributors to medical physics will be on display on the 50th anniversary of the formation of the organization. Dr. Orton was one of 21 medical physicists nominated by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine for consideration. Eleven of the AAPM’s nominees were selected by the IOMP.
“I feel very fortunate to have been selected, since I certainly would have selected many of my colleagues ahead of me, so I feel that this is one of the most important honors I have received, right up there with the Lifetime Achievement Award I received several years ago from WSU,” he said.
Dr. Orton retired from the Wayne State University School of Medicine in 2003 as professor of Radiation Oncology. He joined the faculty in 1981, and received the School of Medicine’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. School of Medicine Professor of Radiation Oncology Jay Burmeister, Ph.D., is among his mentees.
“I don't think that there is any question that Colin deserves to be mentioned among the dozen or so individuals who had the most profound impact on the profession of medical physics over the last 50 years,” said Dr. Burmeister, chief of Physics at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center in Detroit. “Colin's career has been remarkable and incredibly influential. This is exhibited by numerous leadership roles throughout the medical physics profession and awards for lifetime achievement within it. But it may be even more evident in the legacy of trainees that continues to spread in the wake of his career. He trained and mentored hundreds of medical physicists over several decades and those trainees continue to pass on his teaching and his enthusiasm for medical physics. His career has either directly or indirectly influenced some tremendous fraction of medical physicists practicing today.”
Among them is WSU graduate school alumnus Gary Ezzell, Ph.D., chief of Physics at The Mayo Clinic in Arizona, and president of the AAPM in 2012.
"He is not only a superbly competent scientist and educator, he is the consummate gentleman, always much more concerned with advancing the field and his students’ careers than in calling attention to himself,” Dr. Ezzell said of Dr. Orton.
The AAPM is a scientific and professional organization founded in 1958 and made up of more than 7,500 scientists whose clinical practice is dedicated to ensuring accuracy, safety and quality in the use of radiation in medical procedures such as medical imaging and radiation therapy. Dr. Orton received the organization’s William D. Coolidge Award, its highest honor, in 1993, given annually to a member who has exhibited a distinguished career in medical physics and who has exerted a significant impact on the practice of medical physics.
He served as editor of the journal Medical Physics, the leading journal of the profession, from 1997 to 2004. He also served as president of the IOMP from 1997 to 2000, and president of the International Union for Physical and Engineering Sciences in Medicine from 2003 to 2006.
Dr. Orton received his doctorate in 1965 from the University of London, and was elected president of the AAPM in 1981.
- Dr. Brian O'Neil appointed chair of WSU Emergency Medicine
In Headlines on May 16, 2013
Brian O'Neil, M.D.Brian O’Neil, M.D., the Edward S. Thomas Endowed Professor and associate chair of Research for the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, has been appointed chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine.
Valerie M. Parisi, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., announced the appointment May 16.
Dr. O’Neil has served as interim chair of the department for the last year.
“Dr. O’Neil has proven to be a strong leader, and due to his outstanding performance and leadership the faculty of the department unanimously elected to forgo a national search and recommended that he be appointed chair,” Dean Parisi said. “I believe that Dr. O’Neil’s passion for medicine and education, and the treatment of patients, as well as his national reputation with the American Heart Association, make him the ideal leader for the department.”
Dr. O’Neil, a recognized expert in the field of cardiac and cerebral resuscitation, is a 1986 graduate of the WSU School of Medicine.
“It is an absolute honor to be chosen to lead this world-class department,” said Dr. O’Neil, who also serves as director of Basic Science Research in the Department of Emergency Medicine.
The Clarkston, Mich., resident chairs the American Heart Association’s Emergency Cardiovascular Committee Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support Committee. He was named immediate past president of the science sub-committee chair of the ECC. In addition, he is a member of the Emergency Cardiac Care Steering Committee and the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation, advisory groups to the American Heart Association.
“Our first order of business is to get our three new fellowships in clinical research, sports medicine and EMS up and running so we can get started on our ultrasound fellowship,” Dr. O’Neil said. “Secondly, we have been able to hire a number of fellowship-trained junior faculty and we need to get them aligned with mentors and started down their academic career path.”
A member of the writing committee for the American Heart Association Acute Coronary Syndromes Guidelines and the association’s Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support Subcommittee and Writing Group, he co-wrote the AHA’s newest guidelines on cardiopulmonary resuscitation, which significantly updated CPR basics taught for decades.
After graduating from WSU, Dr. O’Neil completed his emergency medicine residency at Detroit Receiving Hospital in1989 and was named chief resident. He also completed a National Institutes of Health fellowship in Basic Science Research in 1990.
He serves as associate editor of Academic Emergency Medicine and program director of the American College of Emergency Physicians Scientific Assembly Research Forum. He also is a member of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine’s Research Committee.
Dr. O’Neil was recently awarded the American College of Emergency Medicine’s Outstanding Contributions in Research Award, that organization’s highest honor for research.
- Fulbright Distinguished Scholar Dr. Vijay Mittal to examine standardizing surgical education globally
In Headlines on May 15, 2013
Vijay Mittal, M.D.Vijay Mittal, M.D., knows first-hand what it’s like to emigrate to the United States after completing surgical training in India.
“Surgical training in other countries isn’t recognized in the North American system. So when I came here in 1974, after practicing as a general and transplant surgeon for three years in India, I had to start all over,” said Dr. Mittal, clinical associate professor of Surgery at the Wayne State University School of Medicine and program director of the General Surgery Residency Program at Providence Hospital in Southfield, Mich. “I had to do a surgical residency and fellowship in Detroit, as if I was just out of medical school. My education and experience in India was not recognized.”
As a recent recipient of the U.S. Department of State’s Fulbright Award, Dr. Mittal will focus on changing that situation. His proposal to the Fulbright Commission, titled “Global Surgical Education Evaluation and Uniformity,” is one of 40 that earned their authors Fulbright Distinguished Scholar Awards in Teaching and Research, considered by many the most prestigious appointment in the Fulbright Program.
Dr. Mittal’s project will take him to India, where he will work with other surgical educators to enhance the country’s surgical training curriculum to bring it in line with that of the United States. “People who intend to return to India after training in the U.S. often fail. This is because they’re not trained in the same system in which they’ll eventually practice,” Dr. Mittal said. “In India, there are different disease processes, different resources, different technology and different socio-economic considerations that confront young surgeons when they return. It’s critical that their training involve the same group of patients and pathologies they will someday manage.”
U.S. Sen. William Fulbright founded the Fulbright Program in 1946 to increase mutual understanding and respect between the U.S. and other countries. Fulbright scholars are seen as cultural ambassadors to their host countries, and are expected to be involved members of the communities they visit. Fulbright alumni include 43 Nobel laureates, 78 Pulitzer Prize winners, 10 U.S. congressmen and 18 government heads of state.
The newly formed College of Surgeons of India, at the All Asian Institute of Medical Sciences New Delhi, will support Dr. Mittal’s effort. The college, Dr. Mittal said, plans to create a national organization similar to the American Board of Surgery, which centralizes evaluation of surgical education and certification. Dr. Mittal and representatives of the college will examine India’s surgical education system in comparison to systems in Great Britain and the U.S., and work to develop a standardized approach.
“It will be useful to both Indian and North American educators to share processes and information.” Dr. Mittal said. “Recently the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education has established an international rotation for U.S. surgical residents and this will also create an interest in the exchange of residents and faculty members between our two continents.”
Dr. Mittal was recently approved by the ACGME for this new rotation between Providence Hospital and New Delhi’s All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences. He hopes eventually to launch a similar exchange program for faculty members.
Dr. Mittal has spent the last 35 years in the U.S. practicing general, vascular and transplant surgery. He has served as president of the International College of Surgeons, Detroit Surgical Association, the Academy of Surgery of Detroit and is president of the Michigan Chapter of the American College of Surgeons. He has been a longtime chair of the Surgical Education Committee of the Southeast Michigan Center of Medical Education consortium.
He will spend four months in India over the next year visiting five major postgraduate institutions and five private hospitals to compare their medical education programs.
“I want to give back to my home country something of value,” he said. “I hope to help eliminate obstacles for future Indian surgeons. I realize there are many differences between the two systems and I wish my Fulbright project will help us move closer to parity.”
- Dr. Noa Ofen to chair symposia at Biological Psychiatry meeting
In Headlines on May 15, 2013
Noa Ofen, Ph.D.
Wayne State University faculty member Noa Ofen, Ph.D., will chair and speak at a major selected symposium at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biological Psychiatry, May 16-18, in San Francisco.
The two-hour May 16 symposia, "Memory Systems in Development, Risk and Disease: A Case-Study for R-DoC Applications in the Schizophrenia Diathesis,” will highlight through 30-minute presentations the challenges and value of applying the National Institutes of Health’s recent standard on Research Domain Criteria, or R-DoC, for understanding mechanisms underlying significant psychiatric illnesses.
National Institute of Mental Health Director Thomas Insel, Ph.D., announced in an April 29 post to the NIMH’s Director’s Blog that R-DoC will be the new standard by which the NIMH will assess funding proposals. He wrote that it launched the RDoC project to transform diagnosis by incorporating genetics, imaging, cognitive science and other levels of information to lay the foundation for a new classification system.
Dr. Ofen is assistant professor in the School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics, WSU Institute of Gerontology and Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute for Child and Family Development. She joined the faculty in 2011 with the goal of translating her expertise in pediatric functional magnetic resonance imaging in normal development to the study of neurodevelopmental disorders.
As chair, she will present the framework for the symposia in her introductory session comments.
WSU’s Vaibhav Diwadkar, Ph.D., associate professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neurosciences, also will present results from studies of disordered development of working-memory related brain networks in adolescent vulnerability for schizophrenia.
The studies are consistent with an R-DoC approach toward understanding disordered brain mechanisms and circuits that contribute toward risk and vulnerability for disorders, he said.
Dr. Ofen’s achievement in constructing such a major symposium is notable because she is a recent entrant into the world of Biological Psychiatry, Dr. Diwadkar said.
“Until as recently as 18 months ago, she had been primarily focused on studies in human neurodevelopment. This success is very revealing of her significant talent, her drive and her translational vision,” he said.
Dr. Ofen’s long-range research goal is to understand learning and memory networks in the developing human brain. Learning and memory are severely impaired in schizophrenia, and “it became quickly clear that studying at-risk population offers a unique opportunity to expand my research interests in the service of an important clinical and developmental question,” she said. “I am excited to present my new research direction in the Society of Biological Psychiatry and have already received excited advanced emails from meeting participants in anticipation of the symposium.”
She initially approached the presenters, who include Dr. Diwadkar and others from the NIH and University of California at Davis.“I was fortunate to get enthusiastic responses from the presenters and was delighted to learn that the symposium was selected among the few to be presented in the conference. Presentations will cut across various stages, including typical development, childhood onset schizophrenia, adolescents at-risk, and affected adults, and offer convergence of both structural and functional neuroimaging methodologies,” he said.
- WSU medical student Adam Milam, Ph.D., earns spot in national kidney scholars program
In Headlines on May 14, 2013
Adam Milam, Ph.D., Wayne State University School of Medicine Class of 2016
A Wayne State University scholar is one of the first medical students invited to join the American Society of Nephrology Workforce Committee’s Tutored Research and Education for Kidney Scholars program.
Adam Milam, Ph.D., Class of 2016, will attend the “Origins of Renal Physiology” course for medical students June 8-14, at the Mount Desert Island Biologic Laboratories in Bar Harbor, Maine. Kidney TREKS is an initiative for medical students designed to foster interest in careers in Nephrology and research through hands-on experiments.
Milam, a Detroit resident, earned his doctorate in Public Health in 2012 from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, his hometown. He completed his first year of medical school earlier this month.
“I think that this early exposure will allow students to further their knowledge from coursework and become engaged in Nephrology research early on. I think this is a great opportunity and I am fortunate to be able to participate,” he said.
Milam is interested in Nephrology research because kidney disease disproportionately affects minority populations. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, an estimated 23 million American adults have chronic kidney disease, and the total annual bill for treating kidney failure is approximately $1 billion per year.
“It is a huge health disparities issue. I am from Baltimore and now living in Detroit; both cities are predominately African-American with poor access to health care,” Milam said. “One in three kidney failure patients are African-American, so whether I practice in Detroit, Baltimore or any other major city, kidney disease will be a huge health issue. By attending this program I can get early exposure to ongoing research and innovations for prevention and treatment of kidney disease.”
Students who have completed at least one year of medical school were invited to attend the one-week course, taught by prominent nephrology clinician-scientists. Tuition, room and board are paid by the ASN. The scholarship includes membership in the society, with access to ASN website resources for students and opportunities to apply for Student Scholar Grants.
The program previously was open only to residents and fellows.
“I was glad to learn that this year they did open it up for medical students,” said WSU Professor and Program Director in Nephrology Noreen Rossi, M.D., F.A.S.N. “Adam was looking for an experience and applied. They only take about a 12 to 20 students nationwide… . The instructors come from the National Institutes of Health, Harvard, Yale and elsewhere, and are true experts in Renal Physiology and education.”
Dr. Rossi will continue to serve as Milam’s mentor, as program participants must be paired with a nephrologist mentor to maintain a connection with the field throughout their medical school training.Milam also is invited to attend the American Society of Nephrology’s annual Kidney Week during his third or fourth year of medical school.
- Dr. Joseph Wiener, former chair of Pathology, dies at age 85
In Headlines on May 14, 2013
Joseph Wiener, M.D.
Joseph "Jerry" Wiener, M.D., former chair of the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Department of Pathology, died May 8, 2013. He was 85.
Dr. Wiener, of Franklin, Mich., graduated from the University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine, in 1953. Following graduation he performed an internship at Detroit Receiving Hospital. He completed a residency at the Mallory Institute of Pathology at Boston City Hospital. In 1978, he joined the Wayne State University School of Medicine as a professor and chair of the Department of Pathology, a position he held until 1991. His major research interest was cardiovascular pathobiology.
He is survived by his wife, Judith Wiener; daughter, Carolyn Wiener; son Adam Wiener; grandson, Joshua Wiener; and sister, Pearl Keyn.
A funeral service will take place at the Ira Kaufman Chapel, 18325 W. Nine Mile Road, Southfield, Mich., May 17 at 3 p.m.. Rabbi Miriam Jerris will officiate.
The family suggests contributions in memory of Dr. Wiener the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, 6735 Telegraph Road, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48301; the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, 4100 John R., Development-NCO6DS; Development Office, Detroit, MI 48201; or the Wayne State University School of Medicine, University Health Center 6F-12, 4201 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI 48201.