Inside IM
News from the Department of Internal Medicine - January 2021

Debra Romberger, MD, Chair of Internal Medicine, shares a department message with important updates for all faculty and staff.

Dr. Jay Moore - Thank you
After nearly 35 years as the 'education icon' for the College of Medicine, Dr. Jay Moore, 74, will retire at the end of the year as senior associate dean for academic affairs. Dr. Moore will remain on campus for the near future as an advisor to the College of Medicine. UNMC Today Article
COVID-19 Clinical Trial
UNMC and Nebraska Medicine are involved in a national clinical trial to test the safety and effectiveness of an investigational COVID-19 vaccine for adults. The medical center plans to enroll up to 1,000 study participants.
For this clinical trial, the medical center is working with the COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN), formed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the U.S. National Institutes of Health to respond to the pandemic. Thousands of study participants have been enrolled across several large studies to test several possible SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. UNMC Today Article
Lung Precision Oncology Program Receives Funding
Lung cancer is the second most common cancer amongst Veterans. Veterans bear an excess burden from lung cancer, based in large part on complex contributions from environmental and socioeconomic factors. Lung cancer screening along with new and innovative lung cancer treatments have been shown to improve survival and quality of life in those with lung cancer. However, many challenges impede the implementation of lung cancer screening and providing access to clinical trials for Veterans. New strategies to improve implementation of lung cancer screening programs and lung cancer clinical trial programs across the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) are urgently needed. Apar Ganti, MD, MS, professor in the Department of Internal Medicine is the Primary Investigator. Read More
Research News & Updates
Dr. Swindells co-chairs landmark TB study
Susan Swindells, MBBS, professor in the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine, co-chaired a landmark study for new treatments for tuberculosis. Results indicate that a four-month daily treatment regimen is as safe and effective as the existing standard six-month daily regimen at curing drug-susceptible tuberculosis disease. Read more
Congratulations to the VA group whose SHeep request for a Spectra-Max Multi-Mode Microplate Reader was funded after submission in early June. This was a great effort by a team of office staff and investigators and in short time they received all the necessary letters, biosketches and quotes to get the application submitted. The reader will be extremely useful for researchers at the VA!
Remdesivir and baricitinib benefits published in NEJM
University of Nebraska Medical Center infectious disease physician Andre Kalil, MD, is author of a paper that shows that remdesivir and baricitinib together have benefits in treating hospitalized patients with COVID-19 pneumonia. The paper is published online in the Dec. 11 New England Journal of Medicine, which is among the most prestigious, peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Kalil notes that the FDA just released a new EUA for baricitinib plus remdesivir, based on the findings from the ACTT-2 trial. The peer-reviewed manuscript will be published soon. See EUA notice here.

There's also a podcast available from the "Leading Nebraska" series featuring UNMC's work in testing remdesivir, a drug treatment for COVID-19. UNMC Story or Podcast
Paper on potential for long-term remission of Crohn's disease
Peter Mannon, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the UNMC Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, is co-author of a paper about a recent study that may hold promise in providing long-term remission of Crohn's disease, one type of inflammatory bowel disease.
"We're pretty good at controlling acute flares of the disease, but not so good at preventing recurrent flares. That would be the holy grail of treating this disease -- maintaining remission," Dr. Mannon said. "We have a potential new approach to treating Crohn's disease that specifically targets a cell or group of cells to eliminate the source inflammation without causing general immunosuppression. This would represent a radically new way to achieve long-term remission." UNMC Today article
Nada Fadul, MD receives diversity fund grant
The UNMC Diversity Fund Grant Committee reviewed and recommend two years of funding beginning January 1, 2021 for Dr. Nada Fadul's study of “Medicaid Expansion and its Association with HIV Outcomes in Nebraska: An Observational Cohort Study”. 
Their study aims to examine the effects of Medicaid expansion on HIV outcomes, specifically viral suppression in patients who enroll into Medicaid after the expansion compared to those who do not, and also examine changes in healthcare utilization after Medicaid expansion (hospital, ER, outpatient). The first year of funding will be $50,000 and if approved for renewal, a second year of $50,000. Congratulations Dr. Fadul! 
Congratulations to Gerri Siford who has accepted the position of ARF Supervisor for the Omaha VA Research Service. Many of you know Gerri has been doing the job essentially all of 2020. She stepped up when she was needed and has done a remarkable job, especially considering the COVID pandemic and the absence of Bob Wiegert. Her dedication to VA research and Veterans is very appreciated.
UNMC Today & Other News
Team explores drug-free hypertension treatment
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a leading risk factor for heart attacks and strokes. It affects almost 30 percent of the population worldwide, and is often treated with multiple drugs, at high doses, with potentially significant side effects.
Yiannis Chatzizisis, MD, PhD, and a multidisciplinary team of UNMC researchers is working on an innovation that could turn a once-promising idea into a game-changing breakthrough. A drug-free hypertension treatment. UNMC Today Article
UNMC part of multi-center, national drug trial on relapsed acute myeloid leukemia
The University of Nebraska Medical Center and Nebraska Medicine are involved in a multi-center clinical trial to learn whether a combination of cancer drugs can eradicate leukemia in patients suffering from relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML). 
Vijaya Bhatt, MBBS, associate professor and medical director of the leukemia program in the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine, is leading the study with patients at the Fred & Pamela Buffet Cancer Center. Dr. Bhatt and his team are evaluating whether the drugs, Gemtuzumab and Venetoclax, can kill leukemia stem cells. UNMC Today Article
UNMC researchers among group receiving ag safety grants
Rohit Gaurav, PhD, post-doctoral research associate with the Division of Allergy & Immunology, two UNMC researchers and two University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers recently received grant funding for pilot projects that address critical issues in agricultural safety and health.
The Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (CS-CASH) and the UNMC and UNL offices of the vice chancellor for research provided $140,000 in funding for eight projects with awards up to $20,000 over an 18-month period. Read More
Resident program director of the month
Name: Tammy Wichman, MD
Medical school attended: St. Louis University School of Medicine
Location of your residency/fellowship training: Virginia Commonwealth University
What residency/fellowship program at UNMC are you serving as program director for? Internal medicine
COM resident of the month

Name: Bernadette Lamb, MD
Medical school you attended/year you graduated: University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine, class of 2018
Residency/fellowship at UNMC: Internal medicine
White coats for Black LIves - WC4BL
The UNMC White Coats for Black Lives (WC4BL) Chapter held its third meeting at noon on Tuesday, Nov. 24, via Zoom. Ryan Mullane, DO, assistant professor in the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine-Nephrology, spoke about how physicians currently determine kidney function; existing bias in how race is used to determine kidney function; and alternative mechanisms, which do not utilize race to determine kidney function, that are being proposed to be brought to UNMC and Nebraska Medicine. Please contact Dr. Mullane if you would like more information.
Education News
Health Educator and Academic Leaders (HEAL) track
A novel clinician educator track is set to launch in July of 2021. In partnership with the College of Allied Health, house officers will have the opportunity to learn and develop best educational practices while pursuing Master's level credits and a post-baccalaureate degree at UNMC. With tuition paid in full, this extra-curricular offering is designed to prepare young professionals who aspire to be innovative leaders in healthcare education. The two year curriculum offers mentorship, seminars, asynchronous coursework, and scholarship opportunities as trainees develop a formalized teaching portfolio in parallel with their medical training. It also boasts two different tiers (with varying time requirements) to meet the individual needs of its participants. On-line applications will open later this month with a deadline of March 14, 2021. Application fees will be waived for the pilot cohort. Please reach out to Dr. Cory Rohlfsen at with any questions.
Each quarter the junior (M3) students get an opportunity to choose which of the residents were the best teachers and mentors during that quarter. The following were chosen by the August 31-November 8, 2020 students as:
Best Intern Resident Teacher and Mentor - Drs. Zachary Ehresman, David Shin, Luke Witte, and Domenic Disanti
Best Resident Teacher and Mentor - Drs. Joel Kruse and Elaine Bucholtz
On a snowy day in December, med peds and peds residents along with Drs. Ashford, Johnson and Wehling spread some safe social distanced holiday cheer at Azria Health Montclair, a local skilled nursing facility. Staff and residents of the facility were thrilled to see the smiling (masked) faces and their works of art on their community space and individual room outside windows as those living at Montclair are currently quarantined inside. The Med Peds Program plans on making this a recurrent activity.
Education Faculty Development
For this post we are focusing on engaging learners online. As always, our “Quick Look” section will focus on the basics: actions that can be taken right away and with minimal impact on your noon conference or didactics to increase engagement. The “Deeper Look” will share some tips and strategies that are a little more time-intensive but have the potential for greater engagement.   
Login information:
Enter your UNMC credentials when the intranet asks for your username and password.
UNMC Username: zach.bentonslocum
UNMC Password: UNMC password
Important notes:
  • If you put “” at the end of the username, it will not let you login.
  • If you are off campus and trying to access the intranet, you will be asked to login twice
  • Each login is the same
Link to the Engaging Learners Online post:
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Prepared by DIVERSE Taskforce members Kalika Mahato (M2) and Justin German (M4)
Campus DEI updates:
The UNMC chapter of White Coats for Black Lives (WC4BL) recently held a campus-wide meeting featuring Dr. Mullane from the Department of Nephrology to discuss the racist history of implementing race into glomerular filtration calculations. The group also hosted COM student Rohan Khazanchi who discussed his recent co-authored publication Racism, Not Race, Drives Inequity Across the COVID-19 Continuum with Dr. Jasmine Marcelin. Khazanchi additionally discussed the history of redlining in Omaha and its effects on the healthcare of minoritized populations today, highlighting his work with the AMA and their recent policy acknowledging racism as a threat to public health. WC4BL’s current project, the Racial Justice Report Card is a collaboration between medical students and residents to utilize metrics that evaluate UNMC’s current climate. Their goal is to ultimately raise support for an environment URM students and their patients can succeed in.
DEI Research:
Toward the Abolition of Biological Race in Medicine is a joint report by medical students at University of California, San Francisco’s School of Medicine and University of California, Berkeley challenging the outdated practices of utilizing race as a factor in health determinants. The report highlights the history behind the racial inequity of eGFR calculations, lung function tests, and more. This is a useful resource for physicians and trainees to reframe their mindset in their approach to patient care in relation to said concepts, encouraging us to acknowledge the racial history that prevails in modern clinical practice.
Radical Reboot: The Need for Systems Change
DocsWithDisabilities is a podcast created by Lisa Meeks PhD, an expert in disabilities in medical education. Their recent episodes were a series highlighting the barriers students and physicians face in seeking help for mental illnesses such as addiction, depression, and trauma. Starting in their pre-med years, doctors are engrained with the notion that their mental health illnesses are not to be disclosed in the fear that their performance and medical judgement will be questioned. Meeks and her guests Drs. Justin Bullock, Jessi Gold, and Erene Stergiopoulos discuss the need for structural changes to accommodations for leave of absences, hospital stays, and open communication with peers and faculty about mental health conditions.
Social Media Highlight:
Shirlene Obuobi, M.D. is a PGY3 IM resident at the University of Chicago. Her account ShirlyWhirl, M.D. is a series of comics about her personal experiences as a physician who is a woman of color, and she highlights racial inequity in healthcare and the US overall.
Quote of the Month:
"The availability of good medical care tends to vary inversely with the need for it in the population served."
Our take: Vulnerable patient populations who face a myriad of health issues due to institutional and structural causes are less likely to receive both preventative and long-term care. This quote reminds us to advocate for our patients from underserved and minoritized communities and further enforces the need for diversity within clinician and administration populations.
In collaboration with Dr. Shirley Delair, UNMC’s Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), a UNMC National Hispanic Medical Association Interest Group will be started. The group will be open to Latin@ faculty and housestaff as well as faculty and housestaff interested in improving healthcare for Latin@s. We are looking forward to building on the momentum garnered by the office of DEI to work together to provide mentorship, research collaborations, community engagement, and social connections. Please send an email to Dr. Sara Bares if you are interested so that an invitation to our inaugural meeting which will take place via Zoom on Thursday, January 21st from 12pm-1pm.
Established in 1994, The National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) is a non-profit association representing 50,000 licensed Hispanic physicians in the United States. NHMA works closely with the Federal government, Congress, private foundations, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Academic Medical Centers and other national Hispanic organizations to raise awareness of the racial and ethnic disparities confronted by Hispanics in health and healthcare. For more information, please see the following link:
New Faces, Promotions or
Committee Involvement
Welcome to the following faculty to the Department of Internal Medicine
Brian Delaney, MD, Assistant Professor, Education
UNMC Today Faculty Spotlights on New Faculty
Scott Lundgren, DO - Division of Cardiovascular Services -article
Furqan Khattak, MD, Division of Cardiovascular Services - article
Congratulations to Angela Hewlett, MD, as she serves on the Infectious Diseases Advisory Group (IDAG) for the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC), which assists with COVID-19 risk mitigation strategies and infection control plans for US Olympic activities. Dr. Hewlett also serves as an Infectious Diseases advisor specific to the USA Gymnastics team. 
Nada Fadul, MD, Jasmine Marcelin, MD, and Kelly Cawcutt, MD, received notification that they were advanced to Fellowship of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (FIDSA). Congratulations!
Congratulations to Chris Smith, MD, who will be serving as a faculty mentor for the new American College of Physicians Point-of-care Ultrasound Mentorship program.This live, virtual course provides personalized POCUS training through expert mentorship to help internists solidify and advance skills, building on training received from a previous foundational POCUS course.
Faculty Development - Dr. Shannon Boerner
Thanks to all who continue mentoring efforts despite the substantial burdens we all face during this difficult year - your willingness and capacity for connecting with colleagues helps bring us together and builds resilience, so dearly needed right now. If you could use help connecting with a mentor, please reach me anytime - mentoring offers many rewards and can offer much needed support, guidance, and networking, particularly during such a complicated & often difficult time.
Need help preparing for your upcoming faculty evaluation? Could you use guidance in goal setting, self-assessment, and/or career development? Want to make your annual faculty evaluation process more valuable to yourself and your leadership? Join us for a Zoom session on Thursday 2/11/21, 5:30 pm – watch your email for an invitation.

Reach Shannon Boerner, Director of Faculty Development, anytime with questions or ideas – 
Division Events & Other News
Join Chelsea Lewis, MD, Wellness specialist with UNMC EngAge Wellness program on January 19th at noon (online only) as she presents “Exercising Safely During the Winter Months

This talk will give tips on how to stay safe while exercising when it’s cold outside, as well as ideas for staying active at home. We will also discuss how to create a safe exercise program, exercise modifications and the major muscle groups of the body impacted by exercise.
Please pre-register by emailing Lana Molczyk at, calling the Olson Center at 402.559.6345, or on Engage:

This lecture is free, however if you would like to obtain nursing credit, the cost is $10. Payment instructions will be given when you pre-register. Nursing credit is allowed only for the live presentation.
After years of searching, Zach Benton-Slocum, the Department of Internal Medicine's Instructional Designer, finally found somebody who will put up with his antics (his words!). They met here in Omaha and quickly found a connection over puzzles, board games, and stupid jokes. He and his fiancé, Genevieve Maliszewski, will be tying the knot January 23rd, 2021.

Please congratulate Dr. Ritika Puri and family announcing their baby girl has arrived! Nyra Patil, born on 11/19/2020

Congratulations to Dr. Preethi Plavarapu on the birth of their bundle of joy Shanav Vunnam on November 24th, 2020.

Congratulations Dr. Zabih on the arrival of Andie Mariam! Andie Mariam Zabih decided to join 2020 a little early on December 3rd.

Congratulations to Dr. Mariah & Clifton Davis on the birth of Alice Jane Davis on December 4th.
7lb 9oz and 19 3/4 inches

Congratulations to Drs. Sara May and Joel Michalski who welcomed William Mayson Michalski on December 3rd.
5 lbs 13 oz and 17.7 inches.

Congratulations to Drs. Mike and Sarah Smith who welcomed Benjamin (Benny) on December 24th.

Congratulations to Dr. Scott Mawer and Brittany Buete who welcomed Henry Gerald Mawer on November 21st. Henry weighed 8 lbs, 2 oz

Congratulations to Dr. Noah Hammond (IM resident) and Tristin Hammond on the birth of Noah Benjamin Hammond Jr, born 12/26/20, 7lbs 5 oz. 
What a wonderful "survival wellness kit" that was given to wonderful clinic staff!! Thank you for everything you do!
UNMC Department of Internal Medicine
983332 Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha, NE 68198-3332
402-559-6315 (phone)