Inside IM
News from the Department of Internal Medicine
Message from the Chair
Dr. Debra Romberger shares information about the impact our Division of Infectious Disease has had, Dr. Sue Swindell's receiving the Scientist Laureate award, top teachers for students, residents and fellowships, as well as the Gold Humanism Honor Society.

Dr. Romberger also shared the Nebraska Medicine/UNMC COM culture shaping tool for the month of March is utilizing the “ mood elevator ” as we go through our day. This little tool is helpful for helping us pause for a second to recognize what our frame of mind is before we go into a meeting or a patient room or start teaching a class.

2019 Scientist Laureate - Sue Swindells, MBBS
An international leader in HIV-associated opportunistic infections, Susan Swindells, M.B.B.S ., has been named the 14th UNMC Scientist Laureate. The award is the highest honor UNMC bestows upon its researchers. Dr. Swindells, professor of internal medicine-infectious diseases, will be honored March 3, along with 21 other researchers recently named UNMC Distinguished Scientist, Research Leadership, New Investigator and Community Service to Research Award winners for 2019. The awards ceremony will be at 4 p.m. in the Durham Research Center Auditorium. Read more
Leading the way in COVID-19 care
The Division of Infectious Diseases continues to inform local, national and global audiences about what we know about COVID-19 and educating our community on proper preparation. As the virus has spread across the globe the Infectious Disease faculty have all been spectacular team players with the World Health Organization and hospitals nationwide. From the first signs of the outbreak to the clinical trials for the vaccine, UNMC will continue to provide the best care and be a valuable resource to those in need. Below are several faculty members interviews with various news outlets.

Dr. Angela Hewlett , the biocontainment unit medical director, spoke to Fox News in February about the patients being transferred from the cruise ship in Japan.

Dr. Lawler , co-director of the Global Center for Health Security, has been spoken to the Washington Post about the potential seriousness of the outbreak. He was also sent to Japan to work with the medical team that checked on the 400 cruise ship passengers ( WOWT story ) and ( KETV story ) in February.

Dr. Mark Rupp , Chief of ID has spoken about the clinical trial being done here and being spearheaded by Dr. Andre Kalil on CNN . He also spoke on Fox News about the clinical trial and vaccine work being done as well as the four patients released on March 2nd.

Dr. Kelly Cawcutt and other faculty have taken phone calls from other physicians around the country. ID has also been working very hard to develop their own institutional protocols for screening and assessing patients with possible infections, appropriate education on isolation processes, testing and discharge from the ED or clinic. ID faculty are also working on the future potential hospitalization needs. See Dr. Cawcutt's interview on KMTV3 .

From the first signs of the outbreak to the clinical trials for the vaccine, UNMC will continue to provide the best care and be a valuable resource to those in need.
Vitamin C and sepsis - Andre Kalil, MD
A brand new and important randomized trial from Australia will be published in JAMA next week, and Dr. Andre Kalil was invited to write a dedicated editorial due to the high relevance of the results of this new trial for the medical community.
In sum, the administration of high-dose vitamin C in conjunction with thiamine and hydrocortisone (combination of 3 drugs) has had a lot of initial enthusiasm for the treatment of sepsis (the body’s dysregulated response to infection that can lead to organ damage and death) based on observational studies, and even though not approved for clinical practice, many doctors decided to give it before further evaluation anyway. However this potential benefit was not confirmed by this well-done randomized study that will be soon published. The story behind this experimental approach is described and discussed in my editorial in the context of today’s evidence.
To read the article on the Journal of the American Medicine Association click here.
The Gold Humanism Honor Society Induction Ceremony - 2020
Back row: Dr. Christensen, Dr. Sexauer, Dr. Langenhan,
Dr. Anderson. Front row: Dr. Ashford, Dr. Bishop, Dr.Kovar, Dr. Zabih.
The Gold Humanism Honor Society held their induction ceremony on February 1, 2020. Inductees included Drs. Cason Christensen, Stephen Sexauer, Nate Anderson, Karina Bishop, and Jill Zabih.

Dr. Nora Kovar provided a great speech as the resident chosen to present at the ceremony. Dr. Kovar spoke about the compassion and kindness in interactions with not only patients but everyone else too. From calls at 2:00 a.m. to elevator rides, to speed walking down a hallway, it is your decision on how you treat people around you.

Dr. Trek Langenhan and Dr. Allison Ashford have been great faculty advisors as well.
New Investigator: Yiannis Chatzizisis, MD, PhD
New Investigator Awards go to outstanding UNMC scientists who in the past two years have secured their first funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense or other national sources. New Investigators also had to demonstrate scholarly activity such as publishing their research and/or presenting their findings at national conventions. Read more about Dr. Yiannis Chatzizisis .
Distinguished Scientists: Apar Ganti, MD and Michele Ouelette, PhD
The Distinguished Scientist Award, which is sponsored by the chancellor, recognizes researchers who have been among the most productive scientists at UNMC during the past five years. Congratulations! Read more about Dr. Apar Ganti and Michele Ouellette, PhD
Research News & Updates
Two University of Nebraska Medical Center faculty members are among a group of researchers collaborating on a $32 million grant to speed up development of long-acting versions of medicines for low- and middle-income countries. Susan Swindells, M.B.B.S., and Kimberly Scarsi, Pharm.D., are part of a consortium with the University of Liverpool’s five-year grant called  LONGEVITY . The goal is to develop long-acting formulations of drugs for malaria and tuberculosis prevention, and a cure for hepatitis C. The project will create a center of excellence in long-acting therapeutics with a laboratory dedicated to product development at the University of Liverpool in England. Read more

Dr. Swindells was also published in a major journal about potential new HIV treatment. Read more .
2020 Scientist Development Award Winner - Dr. Douglas Franz
Dr. Douglas Franz was born and raised in Henderson, Nebraska. He studied biology at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln before moving to Omaha to study Medicine and Epidemiology as part of the Dual-Degree Program at UNMC. He then completed an Internal Medicine residency here before moving to to pursue a fellowship in Nephrology Research at Stanford University. Dr. Franz accepted an academic appointment of Assistant Professor in Department of Internal Medicine – Division of Nephrology here and moved back to Nebraska along with my wife, our daughter, and our wheaten terrier. 
Dr. Franz is a nephrologist, epidemiologist and early stage investigator in clinical research with interest in cardiovascular outcomes for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage kidney disease (ESKD). During his fellowship training he learned how to leverage large databases to investigate research questions. With this award, he and his team will utilize a national registry to evaluate for modifiable determinants of kidney dysfunction among patients with advanced heart failure requiring long-term left ventricular assist device (LVAD) support. In addition, he is working alongside Nephrology division chief, Dr Plumb, and their biostatistician Dr. (James) Dong to establish and grow clinical research laboratory. Together, they have already begun work in answering novel clinical research questions formulated by Nephrology division faculty leveraging a national kidney database.  
With the recent rise in early faculty devoted to pursuing careers in clinical research and continued mentorship and support from the prodigious investigators who paved our path, Dr. Franz looks eagerly forward to the future of clinical research at UNMC.
UNMC Today & Other News
Dr. Dennis Ross , the Nephrology Endowed Chair donor, has written and published the novel "The Perfect Match". The novel centers on a kidney patient that needs a transplant and patients on the list ahead of him mysteriously dying. Copies are available in the Nephrology division for anyone who would be interested in reading it.
Department Contributions to NBME

Congratulations to Tammy Wichman, MD on receiving a letter of recognition from the the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) for her participation in the United states Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Interdisciplinary Review Committee in 2019. the IRC members are responsible for the review and approval of all items int he test item library; they ensure the accuracy and currency of items included on the examinations. around the world.

Also, congratulations to Gerald F. Moore, MD, Division of Rheumatology, as the Executive Chief Proctor who was responsible for interacting with the NBME on all matters pertaining to the security and administration of the NBME's examinations.
Education News
The first edition of GME Research Journal was released in December. UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, spoke about the importance of research in Graduate Medical Education with Chandra Are, MD, the Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education recently. Video link

The quality of our Internal Medicine residents and fellows research is evident within the pages of the journal. The journal can be found on digital commons here. Two of the Chief Residents, Tate Johnson, MD and Mollie Brittan, MD, had poster presentations and Dr. Johnson was also a poster presentation winner.
Fellows in journal: Neil Bhogal, MD; Randy McCreery, MD; Faizan Syed, MD (past fellow) ; Preethi Polavarapu, MD; Sapna Raghunathan, MD; Nancy H. Stewart, MD (past fellow) ; Dhaliwal Amaninder, MD; Maureen McElligott, MD; Madeline L Jones-Ryan, MD; Archana Purushothaman, MD; Thiyagarajan Thangavelu, MD; Mridula Krishnan, MD; Richard Hankins, MD (now faculty) ; Rajendra Karnata, MD; Joon Soo Kim, MD (past fellow). Residents in journal: Tate Johnson, MD; Mollie Brittan, MD; Ian Cormier, MD; Edin Pujagic, MD (past resident) ; Craig Baumgart, MD; Letisha J. Ferris, MD.
Congratulations to Dr. Jasmine Marcelin for her nomination and selection as the UNMC Student Senate Distinguished Mentor Award winner. Dr. Marcelin had an incredible amount of support submitted from a number of her students who all spoke very highly of her. Dr. Marcelin received her award during the awards ceremony on Wednesday, March 4 th.
The 2019 Fellowship Top Teachers and 2019 Top Teachers list were released at the end of F ebruary. Congratulations to all for making such a difference!
Alliance for Academic IM Names new FY 2021 Alliance Council Leaders

Congratulations to Erin Maxwell-Snow, C-TAGME, for being elected as the Chair-Elect for the APDIM PA Advisory council! Founded in 1977, Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine (APDIM) is the international organization of accredited internal medicine residency programs; the association represents program directors, associate and assistant program directors, core faculty, program administrators and coordinators, fellowship coordinators, and other key faculty and staff involved in the internal medicine residency program.
Digestive Disease Week (DDW 2020)
UNMC GI Fellows had 20 posters, including 2 oral presentations, accepted for the meeting to be held in Chicago in May. Participating fellows were - Drs. Amaninder Dhaliwal, Harmeet Mashiana, Neil Bhogal (presenting author of an oral presentation, Saurabh Chandan (co author of an oral presentation), Sarah Malik and Tomoki Sempokuya. This may be the departments strongest showing ever at DDW! (DDW Poster Hall in 2019 pictured)
March Wellness Calendar - The education group continues to dedicate efforts to increase wellness with residents and fellows. This calendar is helpful in finding creative ways to be wellness centered.
Wellness Pancake Feed
The wellness event for February was pancakes. Pictured preparing and cooking pancakes is Kate-Lynn Muir DO, VA Quality and Patient Safety Chief Resident, in the professional chef hat is ambulatory Chief Resident Jill Wagoner, MD. Holding the spatulas to end all spatulas is VA Chief Resident Molie Brittan, MD, and Dr. Muir. Completing quality checks before others join the event are (L- R: Drs. David Shin, Maria Hopson, and Dustin Herring. Bacon was quickly demolished by Dr. Stephen Sexauer as he headed out for work.
New Faces or Committee Involvement
Peter Mannon, M.D., and Roslyn (Roz) Mannon, M.D. , joined the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine in leadership roles on Feb 1. Both previously held positions at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).
Dr. Peter Mannon has been named chief of the division of gastroenterology/hepatology in the department. He also directs the Paustian Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center.
Dr. Roslyn Mannon joins the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine as associate chief for research in the division of nephrology and as vice chair of research mentoring and academic development for the department. Her clinical and research expertise is kidney transplantation. Read more
Welcome Dr. David Brett-Major, MD, MPH, Pr ofessor in the Department of Epidemiology in the College of Public Health. Dr. Brett Major is also a Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases. He has worked at home, in South America, Africa, and Asia as a clinician, educator, researcher, and in health emergency risk management. He has been part of filovirus emergency response in Guinea, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Uganda. David has worked in health security policy and management on issues such as research in emergencies, Dual Use Research of Concern, high consequence pathogens including pandemic influenza, and all hazards preparedness. He has been a part of global alert and response coordination against Ebola virus disease, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, and avian influenza A(H7N9). As a clinical scientist and medical epidemiologist, his research interests focus on risk, how it may be identified, characterized, and managed from patient- and community-centered vantages, particularly related to emerging infectious diseases.
Welcome Dr. Ritika Puri to DEM.  
Dr. Puri was born and raised in India where she completed medical school from Lady Hardinge Medical College. After medical school she moved to United States to pursue residency at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. She worked as a hospitalist at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center before joining the Division of Endocrinology at Washington University, St Louis as a fellow.
Most recently Dr. Puri worked at Parkview Endocrinology in Pueblo, CO. In her spare time she loves traveling, gardening and painting.
Zach Benton-Slocum is happy to be part of the internal medicine department as the new Instructional designer. For the last eleven years he has been blending his experience as an educator, knowledge of educational theories, and a passion for adult learning to help faculty and staff create learning material, craft curriculum, and develop new approaches to increase engagement. Zach has spent the majority of the past 5 years focused on medical education. Currently looking at faculty development and developing resources for residents. Zach is excited to be part of the team and to get to know the department and the unique educational needs. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to him if you are interested in knowing more about how he can assist you in your educational endeavors.
Faculty Development - Dr. Shannon Boerner

This spring will bring new faculty development opportunities – watch for two separate sessions focused on billing. Dr. Michelene Hearth-Holmes will offer an overview of billing requirements, tips and tricks, and resources to support faculty in today’s complex patient care landscape. Inpatient Billing – Thurs 3/19, Outpatient Billing – Mon 3/23 – both sessions 7 -8 am in Grissom.
Welcome to Dr. Sara May , who joins the Faculty Development Task Force as a representative from the new Division of Allergy & Immunology. This group has focused on career development, goal setting, onboarding new faculty, promotion/tenure, among other efforts. Task Force members are available to members of their respective divisions for questions or concerns anytime – Find your task force member HERE and contact them directly with any concerns, questions, or ideas.
As evaluations are underway, many faculty have questions about this process. Preparation, timing, navigating the ADIS system, goal setting, and maximizing individual yield are all covered in this brief (10 minute) video. The Academic Variable Compensation process and metrics are also addressed. Access the video HERE
Division Events
The Updates in Rheumatology: Focus on Rheumatoid Arthritis Symposium is set for April 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sorrell Center on the UNMC Omaha campus.
The symposium is intended for physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, residents, and fellows who care for patients with rheumatologic diseases, particularly rheumatoid arthritis. Registration is now open. See more information and register.
WE STRIVE - Women Engaged: Support, Training and Resources to Improve Vitality and Excellence
The UNMC/Nebraska Medicine  WE STRIVE  association (formerly the Women's Mentoring Program), Drs. Webster and Rodrigues Armijo personally invite you to help in their grassroots efforts to rebuild the association. Recognizing and valueing that you may have a shared interest in advancing the initiatives of the association.  
  •  The mission is to create a culture that advances the vitality and excellence of women at UNMC/Nebraska Medicine that includes equitable rights, benefits, opportunities, and outcomes.  
  • The core strategic aims will be built around: the advancement of leadership development, optimization of resource utilization, building support, mentorship, and sponsorship, cultivating outreach and community, promoting the advocacy of gender equity, and providing opportunities for women in faculty and staff roles. 
Contact Tammy Webster ( or Priscila Rodrigues Armijo ( for more information.
Academic Technologies
Throughout the spring 2020 semester, the UNMC Department of IT Academic Technologies will be offering weekly one-hour sessions for faculty, staff and students to drop in to discuss all things Canvas, Echo 360, Zoom, VidGrid, PollEverywhere or Turnitin. All sessions will be in Sorrell Center in the second floor commons area. Look for the "Information Technology" sign. For more information on events offered by Academic Technologies visit the UNMC Events Calendar  website.
UNMC Department of Internal Medicine
983332 Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha, NE 68198-3332
402-559-6315 (phone)