Inside IM
News from the Department of Internal Medicine
Message from the Chair

Debra Romberger , MD shares a message and department updates for the last few months with all faculty and staff.

ICAP aims to help long-term care facilities
Long before COVID-19 came on the scene, a team from UNMC and Nebraska Medicine were in talks with long-term care facilities across the state about ways to improve their infection control programs.

Today that team is seeing the fruits of their work.

"The pandemic has hit long-term care facilities particularly hard," said Muhammad Salman Ashraf, MBBS , associate professor of internal medicine at UNMC and medical director of the Nebraska Infection Control Assessment and Promotion Program (Nebraska ICAP). Read more of the UNMC Story Today here .

To read more about the specific actions taken for the long term care facilities click here .
Regents approve University of Nebraska Center for Intelligent Health Care
The U.S. health care system is complex, expensive and often inefficient. There is an explosion of new information, thanks to recent discoveries and technological advances, but the rate of change and sheer amount of data make it hard to keep up. Meanwhile, the electronic health record, while a needed innovation, has sometimes led to clinician burnout and escalating costs.

"Health care suffers because computers don't talk to one another," said John Windle, MD , Holland Distinguished Chair of Cardiovascular Science at UNMC. Dr. Windle also is newly appointed director of the UNMC Center for Intelligent Health Care, which aims to remedy this problem, and those above. Read the UNMC Today story here .
Hospital reaches 400th heart transplant milestone
“Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve actually done more transplants this last year than we did before,” says Brian Lowes, MD , medical director, cardiac transplantation and mechanical circulatory support programs. “So the program is continuing to grow and offer the care that’s needed for patients.”
In 1994, Nebraska Medicine performed its first heart transplant. The program discontinued in 1999, having completed 29 heart transplants. In 2005, the heart transplant program was restored. To date, the reignited program has performed 407 heart transplants. To read more of the Nebraska Medicine story click here .
New guidelines to treat diabetes in COVID-19 patients
Hospitalized COVID-19 patients with diabetes represent more than 20 percent of the population of patients in intensive care units nationwide. Diabetes is a major risk factor for disease severity and mortality in patients with the COVID-19 virus and uncontrolled hyperglycemia -- high blood sugar -- is associated with longer stays in the hospital and higher death rates.

UNMC's Andjela Drincic, MD , and colleagues from across the country recently published new, international guidelines for hyperglycemia treatment in the hospital setting. The guidelines could reduce the number of deaths and hospital stays in this population. Read more of the UNMC Today story here .
Research News & Updates
COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants Awardees
Submissions for College of Medicine COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants have received .....a rapid response.

Just 14 days after the due date for the all-hands request for College of Medicine faculty proposals to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the college announced this week the approval of nine awards. This allows these investigators to begin their research immediately, rather than waiting for a lengthy extramural grant-approval process. To read more of the UNMC Today Story click here .

Congratulations to the Internal Medicine Faculty: Dan Anderson, MD , Division of Cardiology; Bryant England, MD , Division of Rheumatology and Immunology; and Douglas Franz, MD Division of Nephrology.
Report: COVID-19 disproportionately impacts vulnerable communities
A UNMC medical student is lead author in a research letter published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine that found COVID-19 has disproportionately affected socially vulnerable communities, especially minority and non-English speaking ones, in both rural and urban areas of the United States. The virus itself does not discriminate, said Rohan Khazanchi , a fourth-year student in the UNMC College of Medicine. Read More of the UNMC Today story here .
Resident and Fellow research poster presentations
Presenting a research poster is one of the rites of passage for resident and fellows interested in research. This year, due to COVID-19, there wasn't an in-person presentation. However, research posters were submitted and judged by faculty remotely. A list of all submissions can be viewed here .
Congratulations to this year's Resident & Fellow winners:

Residents: Winner: Dr. Amber Johnson
Runner-up: Dr. Luke Desilet

Fellows: Winner: Dr. Lindsey Rearigh
Runner-up: Dr. Kaitlyn Brittan
UNMC Today & Other News
Time out with T.O. - No place like home
At UNMC/Nebraska Medicine, the push for more patients to receive home dialysis has been ongoing, said Troy Plumb, MD , the Dennis Ross Chair and Chief of the Internal Medicine Division of Nephrology.

Dr. Plumb served as principal investigator last year on a clinical trial looking at the Tablo home dialysis system. The Tablo system, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in early April, is the first new technology for home hemodialysis in nearly 15 years. To read more of the UNMC Today story click here .
Stephen Rennard, MD, a UNMC expert in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and Andre Kalil, MD, a UNMC infectious disease physician who is heading the remdesivir study at UNMC, have co-authored an editorial titled "Chicken Soup in the Time of COVID," in CHEST, the journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.
James Lawler, MD Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine; Director, International Programs and Innovation, Global Center for Health Security; and Director, Clinical and Biodefense Research, National Strategic Research Institute has been selected as a winner from College of Medicine for the Silver U award for June 2020.
Students reach out to seniors to reduce social isolation

A pen pal program created by UNMC first-year medical students Emily Jezewski and Abigale Miller brought back some favorite parts of JUne Arbogast's nursing career after she began exchanging letters with second-year medical student Erin Bertone . Connections in the community were made with the help of Elizabeth Harlow, MD , and Jane Potter, MD , of the UNMC Division of Geriatrics, Gerontology and Palliative Medicine. Read more of the UNMC Today story here .
Colleagues find calm in wellness rooms
The emotional and psychological distress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic can take a toll on everyone, especially front-line health care workers. As these health care colleagues are taking care of patients, measures are being made to ensure they are also taking care of themselves.
Susan Schwerdtfeger, MD , medical director at Brentwood Health Center, brought up the idea for the dedicated space at the health center in March, as COVID-19 was ramping up. Read more from Nebraska NOW here .
Education News
UNMC Chief Resident
Dr Steve Sexauer
VA Chief Resident
Dr. Steve Ebers
Ambulatory Chief Resident
Dr. Brian Benes
QI & Patient Safety Chief Resident
Dr. Brent Luedders
Student's Guard service has him on COVID front lines
Third-year medical student and native Nebraskan Nathan Harms has always loved his state. He's seen a lot of it lately, too, as a first lieutenant in the 155th Medical Group of the Nebraska National Guard. Read more about Lt. Harms here .
Department of Internal Medicine - Graduation Awards
Congratulations to the 2020 graduating class! The following were awards given during the graduation banquet in June.

Sir William Osler Teaching Award - Ryan Mullane, DO
Fellow of the Year Award - John Anderson, DO
Department Resident Research Award - Amber Johnson, MD
Excellence in Geriatric Medicine - Hannah Artz, MD
Preliminary Resident Award - Austin Svec, MD, MS
Rookie of the Year Award - Amy Dreessen, MD
Recruiter of the Year Award - Willie Talbert, MD
Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society Inductee- Brittany Hance, DO
House Officer of the Year (Large Programs) - Brittany Hance, DO
Graduate Awards
Senior Seminar Award - Molly Hiatt, MD
Resident Educator Award - Jake Hettenbaugh, MD
Outpatient Care Award - Amber Johnson, MD
Most Valuable Player Award - April Lauer, MD
Virginia & Robert Grissom Internal Medicine Endowment Awards
The Caring Physician Award - Martha Holstein, MD
Resident Internist Award - Brandon Miller, MD
Senior Resident Award - Andy Camamo, DO
Congratulations to Steve Ebers, MD, who received the House Officer of the Year for medium programs from the GME office during the virtual Med-Peds Graduation Ceremony in June.
Congratulations to Ahsan Saeed, MD for being recognized as house officer (fellow) of the year at the COM level during the Pulmonary, Critical Care Medicine, and Sleep fellow’s graduation event.

Craig Piquette, MD also received the Robert S. Wigton, MD, Most Valuable Program Director (MVPD) Award in Recognition of Outstanding Commitment and Dedicated Service to UNMC for 2019-2020.
COM resident program director of the month for June was awarded to Arthur Easley, Jr., MD, is program director for cardiovascular medicine. Read more about Dr. Easley here .
New Faces, Promotions or Committee Involvement
Congratulations to Al Fisher, MD , Neumann M. and Mildred E. Harris Professor of Geriatrics, Chief, Division of Geriatrics, Gerontology, and Palliative Medicine who recently accepted a new role as an Associate Program Director. Dr. Fisher will be assisting the Program Director, Justin Mott, and the admissions committee with screening applications to determine which applicants to interview. He will also interview many of the applicants and participate in the admissions committee. Dr. Fisher will specifically work with the students who have completed their PhD thesis research as well who have returned to medical school. During their meetings they focus on future career plans, and how residency and fellowship training fits into these goals. The goal is not to duplicate residency-focused mentoring from the Department of Internal Medicine and others on campus, but to instead provide additional guidance about options, like research pathways, which would be of greater interest to MD-PhD program graduates.
Congratulations to Andrew Goldsweig, MD, Division of Cardiology for starting as a Section Editor on the editorial board of Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions (CCI, the journal of SCAI).
Welcome to the Department of Internal Medicine
Huy Le, MD, Hospital Medicine
Craig Baumgart, MD, Hospital Medicine
Christopher Snyer, MD, Hospital Medicine
David Johnson, Fellow, General Medicine
Andrew T. Camamo, DO , General Medicine/Hospital Med
Brandon J. Miller, MD , General Medicine/Hospital Med
Amy Coffey, MD , Geriatrics/ Hospital Med
Richard J. Hankins, MD , Infectious Diseases
Brianna Johnson-Rabbett, MD , DEM
Preethi Polavarapu, MBBS , DEM
Scott Lundgren, DO , Cardiovascular Medicine
Shahbas Malik, MD, Cardiovascular Medicine
Niyada Naksuk, MD , Cardiovascular Medicine
Felipe Naranjo, MD , Nephrology
Thoetchai Peeraphatdit, MD, GI
Keenan Taylor, MD, Pulmonary, Critical Care Medicine and Sleep
Welcome new staff:
Anna Denman, Division of Rheumatology
Congratulations to the following faculty for their promotions effective July 1, 2020:

  • Dr. Sara Bares, Associate Professor
  • Dr. Ishfaq Bhat, Associate Professor
  • Dr. Robert Bociek, Professor
  • Dr. Shannon Boerner, Associate Professor
  • Dr. Amy Cannella, Professor
  • Dr. Ioannis Chatzizisis, Professor
  • Dr. Bin Duan, Associate Professor
  • Dr. Chijioke Enweluzo, Assistant Professor
  • Dr. Elizabeth Harlow, Associate Professor
  • Dr. Christopher Smith, Associate Professor
  • Dr. Karuna Rasineni, Assistant Professor
  • Dr. Sarah Richards, Associate Professor

Faculty Development - Dr. Shannon Boerner
I’d like to extend a special welcome to those faculty joining the department this year. Supporting all of our faculty in career development, goal setting, and accountability is crucial to the success of individuals as well as the whole. I welcome all new hires to the New Faculty Mentoring Program; this program matches mentees with a mentor, targeting monthly meetings tailored to the specific needs of the mentee. The Faculty Development Task Force along with Division leadership are hard at work helping connect mentees with potential mentors; watch for communications from Shannon Boerner to begin this process.
Faculty are also welcome to attend a departmental New Faculty Orientation – this short, focused meeting will meet the practical needs of our newest hires, answer questions, and provide opportunities to connect with other new faculty members. More details will come via email. 
Questions/ideas/comments? Reach Dr. Shannon Boerner or your task force representative anytime. View the task force members here.
Division Events & Other News
Looking to find out more information about pollen in our area? Look no further than the Facebook and Twitter social media pages for the UNMC Allergy and Immunology Division. The inaugural pollen count from the new collector (shared in last month's newsletter) was released on July 7th.
Jean Thierfelder, MD , received a "reverse parade" retirement in June held outside of the GIM clinic. Dr. Thierfelder visited and received a wonderful plaque and well-wishes throughout the parade. Congratulations on her retirement and we wish her all the best!
Debra Mostek, MD , assistant professor in the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine-Division of Geriatric Medicine, retired on June 30 after a 20-year career at UNMC. Dr. Mostek joined UNMC in 1999, taking part in a two-year geriatric fellowship after a 17-year career in family medicine. After the fellowship, she became a member of the geriatrics faculty. Read more of the UNMC Today story here .
Susanna Von Essen, MD , Professor, Internal Medicine Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep & Allergy, retired on June 30th, 2020. We wish Dr. Von Essen a wonderful retirement!
Philip Bierman, MD, Division of Hematology/Oncology, will retire from the University on September 2nd, 2020, after 33 years of service. He plans to remain in an Emeritus status and focus on teaching Medical Students and Residents/Fellows.
Corrections to the May 2020 Newsletter:

Daniel Hershberger, MD received the M2 Golden Apple award. He was inadvertently credited for receiving the Hirschmann award.

Renee Young, MD , also received her service award for her 30th Anniversary at the 2020 Annual Faculty Meeting held virtually on April 14th. Her name was inadvertently missed.
UNMC Department of Internal Medicine
983332 Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha, NE 68198-3332
402-559-6315 (phone)