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. Angela Hewlett named to new Orr Chair in Health Security
With the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit, the National Quarantine Unit, the Center for Health Security and the Davis Global Center, UNMC/Nebraska Medicine already is positioned as a national and global force in the area of health security.

Now, the medical center's health security efforts have been strengthened even further with the appointment of Angela Hewlett, MD, to the newly created George W. Orr, MD, and Linda Orr Chair in Health Security. UNMC Today article
Nebraska Medicine first in nation to use specialized stent
A stent is an important tool for any interventional cardiologist. But that tool has always been one size fits all -- until now. This week, Nebraska Medical Center became the first hospital in the nation to use a stent designed to fit larger vessels and allow more flexibility.
Yiannis Chatzizisis, MD, PhD, meets with the first patient to receive the stent, Kate Kilcoyne. On Feb. 11, Yiannis Chatzizisis, MD, PhD, chief of interventional cardiology, Gregory Pavlides, MD, PhD, and Edward O'Leary, MD -- all faculty members in the in the UNMC Division of Cardiovascular Medicine -- implanted the SYNERGY MEGATRON stent for the first time ever in the United States. UNMC Today article
We are pleased to announce that Ruxana Sadikot, MD, has accepted the position as the new Division Chief of PCCMS Medicine. Dr. Sadikot is currently section chief of PCCM at the Atlanta VA and Professor at Emory University in their PCCMSA division. Dr. Sadikot plans to join us approximately June 1, 2021. The department is grateful to Dr. Sisson for his years of leadership as division chief. We plan a celebration of his leadership role later in the year (perhaps even the fall) when we can have a face-to-face event.
January 1, 2021, marked the 50th anniversary of General Internal Medicine at UNMC. What a great milestone for the group and they will be celebrating this all year long with different activities, always keeping safety in mind.
The annual UNMC research awards for 2021 were announced in January with a virtual award ceremony on Feb. 23rd. Congratulations to several of our faculty members who received these prestigious awards:

Ted Mikuls, MD - Research Leadership
Vijaya Bhatt, MBBS - Distinguished Scientist
Sarah Holstein, MD, PhD - Distinguished Scientist
Diana Florescu MD - Distinguished Scientist
Bryant England, MD, PhD - New Investigator
To learn more about the awards and list of winners click here.
NU team among finalists for global Pandemic Response Challenge
A team of researchers, including Alison Freifeld, MD, professor in Infectious Diseases, from three University of Nebraska institutions, including UNMC, is among the finalists in a global competition to develop an artificial intelligence-driven model to advise policymakers on how it is best to handle the COVID-19 pandemic.
And with one of the most-accurate models in the early phase of the competition, the Nebraska team is well within range of the $500,000 top prize.
Did you catch Jasmine Marcelin, MD, FACP, FIDSA during her TEDxTalk IGNITE on February 18th? Dr. Marcelin shared her story, with other leaders, about their interpretation of #IGNITE and what it means within their world. Dr. Marcelin burned the myth of the healthcare hero when she took the stage virtually to #ignite a conversation around our own responsibilities to public health. If you were able to attend the talk, please share your thoughts!
Gold Humanism Honor Society Inductions
Congratulations to Drs. Rachel Johnson, Jasmine Marcelin and Ryan Mullane on their induction into the Gold Humanism Honor Society! The Department of Internal Medicine is very proud of this recognition of your care of patients and trainees of all levels. Thank you for all you do! Also, congratulations to our resident inductees Dr Hannah Artz and Dr. Luke Witte. Thank you to Dr. Jill Zabih, a GHHS member, who delivered a great speech at the ceremony. UNMC Today article
Research News & Updates
Here is an article about research coordinators on clinical rheumatology research teams published in the Rheumatologist, co-authored by our own Jeff Newcomb, BS, ACRP-PM, CCRC: Article
Scientist Development Award
Christopher D'Angelo, MD,
Assistant Professor
Division of Oncology & Hematology
Dustin Krutsinger, MD
Assistant Professor
Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep Medicine
The Department of Internal Medicine accepted applications for its Scientist Development Award in January. The award is designed to support promising Department of Internal Medicine faculty candidates making the transition from fellowship training into an initial academic appointment at UNMC. Congratulations to both Dustin Krutsinger, MD, Assistant Professor in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine and Christopher D'Angelo, MD, Assistant Professor in the Division of Oncology & Hematology, for receiving the Scientist Development award. A highlight of their proposals will be shared in a future newsletter.
UNMC Today & Other News
Science Cafe explores COVID-19 vaccines, clinical trial
Three UNMC infectious disease experts discussed the FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines, as well as UNMC's Phase 3 clinical trial of an investigational COVID-19 vaccine for adults, during the Jan. 19 Science Cafe.

From left, Diana Florescu, MD, Nada Fadul, MD, and Richard Starlin, MD, will speak at the Jan. 19 Science Cafe.
Bryant England, MD, discussed on our YouTube channel about whether medications for rheumatoid arthritis advertised on TV are safe. Click here
Leslie Eiland, MD, provided testimony to a Nebraska legislative committee regarding telemedicine on Feb. 1st. Thank you for being such an advocate Dr. Eiland!
Ted Mikuls, MD, recently participated in Arthritis Foundation's podcast: Live Yes Podcast, Episode 29 - COVID, One Year Later. He helps answer questions about the new COVID-19 vaccines, emerging variants of the virus, and all that we have learned in the year since the pandemic began. If you would like to listen to the final audio and/or share with friends and family, it’s available by clicking here.
Department Contributions to NBME
Thank you to Department of Internal Medicine faculty who participated in activities in 2020 for the NBME individual and school-based exams and United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE).
The department and NBME are deeply grateful to these individuals and regard their service highly. Individuals who contribute to NBME exams and the USMLE program support the design and development of the highest quality assessments of competencies relevant to health professions practice in the US and around the world. These assessments provide information to individuals, schools, programs and, in the case of licensure for practice, state regulatory boards.

Advisory Committee for Medical School Programs - Bradley Britigan, MD, Dean of College of Medicine
USMLE Interdisciplinary Review Committee - Tammy O. Wichman, MD (Step 3 IRC)
Executive Chief Proctor & Medical School Liaison Representatives - Gerald Moore, MD
Leslie Eiland, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism Medical Director, Endocrine Telehealth Program, was recently invited to speak with a writer for Protocol in February about telemedicine. "Telemedicine dominated 2020, but what happens when patients aren't stuck at home anymore?"
Education News
Congratulations to the Allergy & Immunology division for having their fellowship approved by the ACGME on January 6th, 2021. A celebration is planned for later this spring.
Graduate Medical Education Research Journal
Just a reminder that this journal exists as a venue for trainees (in partnership with faculty) to publish their work. The following web link will allow you to access the current and previous issues. Since this is on Digital Commons, you should be able to download any article without cost.
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. Matthew Schmitt, Hannah Luksa, and Kurtis Johnson
BestSupervisory Resident Teacher and Mentor - Dr. Jonathan Hall
Clash of the Classes
Over the past three months, the IM residency program sponsored the Clash of the Classes. This was a 60 day competition during which each residency class and the “old timers” (program leadership) were challenged with 30 tasks ranging from hosting a zoom game night to building a snowman to visiting favorite Omaha landmarks. Residents from each team worked together to check off tasks on their game board which ultimately had to be documented by a picture. In the end, the HO2s were victorious with 100% task completion and 100% class participation. And we all learned more about one another including the fact that the HO1s are quite talented at photoshop, not all of our residents can carry a tune (while some really can!), and we have residents in this program with impressive athletic, artistic, and creative abilities! 
Education Faculty Development
For this post we are focusing on effect of disparities and implicit biases on healthcare. Dr. Jasmine Marcelin worked with our instructional designer Zach to author this post. Before the “Quick Look” section we look at the historic context and define racism and health disparities. Then in the “Quick Look” section, we look at real-world examples of how disparities and implicit biases have impacted healthcare. Finally, in the “Deeper Look” section we look at a strategy to go from being a bystander to an upstander. 
Remember login information is simply your UNMC credentials.
Link to the effect of disparities and implicit biases on healthcare post:

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Prepared by DIVERSE Taskforce members Kalika Mahato (M2) and Justin German (M4)

Campus DEI Updates
-       Recently the UNMC College of Medicine’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion grew in size with Dr. Nada Fadul, Dr. Armando De Alba and Liliana Bronner joining as leaders in the office. Dr. Fadul (Division of Infectious Diseases) is the new assistant dean of DEI education programs, Dr. De Alba is the new assistant dean of DEI student programs, and Liliana Bronner is the director of medical pathway programs.
DEI Research:
-       Laura Flores, a UNMC MD/PhD student, was first author on a paper published in JAMA Network Open: Assessment of the Inclusion of Racial/Ethnic Minority, Female, and Older Individuals in Vaccine Clinical Trials. Her team found that “members of racial/ethnic minority groups and older adults were underrepresented, whereas female adults were overrepresented…that diversity enrollment targets should be included for all vaccine trials targeting epidemiologically important infections.”
 Justice and advocacy:
Anti-Racism Pins:
-       Former IM Chief Resident and current Heme-Onc Fellow Dr. Kate-Lynn Muir helped design anti-racism pins, a small but powerful way to show your colleagues, patients, and others that racism in healthcare is never okay and will not be tolerated. Our department is committed to developing safe, diverse environments in which all can flourish. Divisions will get an allotment of pins to distribute. To order more, contact Amber Dib at
21 Week Racial Equity Challenge:
-       The 21 Week Racial Equity Challenge is a powerful opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of how inequality and racism affect our lives, our patients, and our community. Look out for the launch email coming soon to subscribe for weekly challenge suggestions and also updates on the DIVERSE website.
Anti-Asian Violence Awareness:
-       As COVID-19 has continued there has been a sharp increase in anti-Asian racism. We must speak up against these types of acts that do not align with our values, and support and advocate for our trainees, faculty, staff, and patients who are of Asian descent. If you have experienced or witnessed any bias or racism incidents you can report it here
LGBTQ+ Updates:
-       The Student Pride Alliance (UNMC SPA) has hosted multiple LGBTQ+ 101 workshops during this academic year, as well as an ongoing Mentor Series featuring LGBTQ+ faculty and staff who are offering guidance and insights to LGBTQ+ students. Recordings of those events and details of future events are available via their Engage page, Facebook page, or by emailing
-       The AMA is seeking to dramatically improve LGBTQ+ health and health equity by funding a $750K grant to support development of an LGBTQ+ health fellowship program.
Quote of the Month:
 “Inclusivity means not ‘just we’re allowed to be there,’ but we are valued. I’ve always said: smart teams will do amazing things, but truly diverse teams will do impossible things.” ~Claudia Brind-Woody
Our take: This quote spoke to us both as it is important to remember that being inclusive is much more than doing the superficial acts. Rather each and every one of us must take the time to evaluate how we go about our lives and our work. If we are not actively reflecting on these things it is easy to fall into complacency of performative changes.
New Faces, Promotions or
Committee Involvement
UNMC Today Faculty Spotlights on New Faculty
Arif Albulushi, MBBCh - Division of Cardiovascular Services -article
Roslyn Mannon, MD, is the new chair of the American Society of Nephrology Public Policy and Advocacy Committee. Dr. Mannon shared that high on the strategic planning is the racial disparities in CKD. It will be important work and with updates from Dr. Mannon it will provide us with a way to educate our students, trainees, and faculty on the kinds of issues the group addresses as well as the importance of advocacy roles in healthcare in general. Congratulations on your new role!
Nada Fadul, MD, has been appointed to the Assistant Dean of DEI Education Programs. In this role Dr. Fadul will support the DEI office in integrating concepts of diversity, equity and inclusion into the curriculum of both undergraduate and graduate medical education. She will work on developing evaluations for both instructors and trainees to monitor effectiveness of teaching. She will also work on developing workshop to assist instructors in enhancing their current lectures to address DEI. Dr. Fadul will start her new position in March.

Dr Fadul’s statement: “It has been almost four decades since Secretary Margaret Heckler sounded the alarm about the high rates of death in minority populations; it’s about time to systematically prepare current and future physicians for addressing these disparities. I am fully committed to working with leaders, educators, trainees and students to make UNMC COM a frontrunner in integrating health disparities in medical education” 
Faculty Development - Dr. Shannon Boerner
AAMC StandPoint Survey Results Show Engaged, Productive Department
As you know, our Department participated in the AAMC StandPoint Faculty Engagement Survey during the fall of 2020. The survey confidentially assessed our faculty members’ engagement and a range of opinions about our workplace.
The data report we received contained both department-wide and divisional data; department level data can be further analyzed in subgroups such as gender or age. We also received benchmarking information, allowing us to compare our department and medical school with the national StandPoint Surveys program cohort, as well as with four closely matched peer institutions. 
The Faculty Development Task Force, with representation from all divisions, is working with Division Chiefs to build action plans based on your feedback. This includes transparent communication of all reported survey data (all faculty have immediate access to all reports at this time), an estimated timeline for ongoing efforts, and expectations as we move through this process. 
Below is the link to an electronic version of our department’s survey results. This allows you to personally review the survey’s overall results, demographic reports, and the survey instrument itself. If you have any questions about our institution’s data or our process, please contact your Task Force representative and Shannon Boerner, at I’d like to again thank each of you for your participation in the survey, and for your active engagement as we process results and move into action. We are gratified to see high levels of faculty engagement & satisfaction once again, especially considering the burdens so many have been carrying over the past year. 
It was with great sadness that the department heard about Shelby Pracht, who worked as a clinical study coordinator in the DEM division, passed away in January. Shelby will be missed great by everyone. UNMC article
Melissa Horton, Administrative Business Associate in the Internal Medicine administrative office has been selected as a winner from the College of Medicine for the Silver U Award for January 2021. Melissa has been a cornerstone for our administrative group and is always willing to help. Thank you for going above and beyond Melissa!
Counseling or support resources

If you need to seek support please go through UNMC's and Nebraska Medicine's counseling resources [], including the Peers in Need of Support (PINS) program.
Other resources include:
Peer counseling for physicians
Resources for Family Members:   
·   UNMC Psychiatry Services:  (402) 552-6002.  Please let intake staff know that you are an employee.   

·   UNMC Psychology Services:  (402) 559-5031.  Please let intake staff know that you are an employee.  
·   Behavioral Health Connection: Help connecting with resources, such as psychiatrists, mental health therapists, substance use disorder recovery, etc. Free to anyone in the Omaha-metro area. Confidential. (402) 836-9292. 
Resources for House Officers:   
Resources for Students:  
UNMC Student Counseling in Bennet Hall: Grief therapy. Crisis counseling. No payment necessary. Confidential. Sixth floor of Bennett Hall. (402) 559-7276  
24/7 Helplines:    
·   Crisis Assistance via Phone:  24/7 free, confidential support for anyone in distress. 1-800-273-TALK National Crisis Line  
·   Crisis Assistance via Text. 741741- Text “hello” for immediate crisis assistance. 
UNMC Department of Internal Medicine
983332 Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha, NE 68198-3332
402-559-6315 (phone)