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

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

Time out with T.O. - A doggone good physician
Thankfully, Tom Tape, MD, loves dogs. Otherwise, it's unlikely that his brilliant 35-year career at UNMC would ever have happened.

In 1985, Dr. Tape was doing a fellowship in general internal medicine at the University of Rochester. He was in the market for a new dog -- specifically, a Great Pyrenees. He heard about a Nebraska breeder who had a litter of 11 Great Pyrenees puppies for sale. He had never been to Nebraska before, but he decided to check it out. Read More
UNMC, iEXCEL offer new look at Delta variant
UNMC public health and infectious diseases expert James Lawler, MD, on Thursday used video animation created by the Interprofessional Experiential Center for Enduring Learning (iEXCEL) to demonstrate how the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant attacks the respiratory system in particular and how the COVID-19 vaccines work to repel the highly contagious, rapid-spreading Delta variant.

UNMC’s iEXCEL team in the Davis Global Center created the animation with Peter Angeletti, PhD, of the Nebraska Center for Virology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, serving as subject matter expert. Read more
Pilot grant provides impetus for health inequities curriculum
As part of UNMC’s ongoing commitment to ensure students have the tools to care for patients from a wide range of backgrounds, first-year medical students are learning about the root causes of health inequities.

A $3,000 pilot grant funded by the UNMC College of Medicine in 2019 is the impetus for a new addition to the curriculum: "Structural Challenges & Inequities in Healthcare Delivery," which includes lectures and discussions focused on social and structural determinants of health, unconscious bias and microaggressions, and racism in medicine.

The pilot was developed to complement and expand existing components of the curriculum focused on Health Systems Science, which were established by Kelly Caverzagie, MD, and others, said Jasmine Marcelin, MD, assistant professor of infectious diseases and associate director of the UNMC internal medicine residency program. Pictured: Rohan Khazanchi and Jasmine Marcelin, MD. Read More
UNMC study sheds more light on COVID, lung disease 
A University of Nebraska Medical Center team recently published a study that adds more insight into COVID-19 and some lung diseases. Thepaper was published July 6 online in CHEST, a prominent medical journal.

"Our goal was to determine whether Interleukin-33 (IL-33) was in the lungs of patients who did not survive COVID-19 and compare it to IL-33 expression in other inflammatory lung diseases," said Jill Poole, MD, chief of the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine's Division of Allergy and Immunology. She is senior author of the research letter titled, "IL-33 Depletion in COVID-19 Lungs." Read more
New Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center opened August 30th
The Frederick F. Paustian Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, located on level two of the Lied Transplant Center, is now open to patients.

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis affect millions worldwide. Many suffer through frequent flareups of these chronic diseases, but treatment can help.
Gastroenterologist Peter Mannon, MD, leads the new center. Dr. Mannon says, “Our multidisciplinary approach takes each patient’s history, symptoms and lifestyle into account to create truly individualized treatment plans.” Nebraska Medicine Now story
Research News & Updates
Study explores reduction in airway inflammation in lung diseases
UNMC researchers received a $1.9 million grant to explore a discovery that challenges current knowledge related to mucous and how it’s cleared in the lungs.

The National Institutes of Health National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute study, led by UNMC’s John Dickinson, MD, PhD, will explore the UNMC team’s recent discovery -- published in the journal Scientific Reports -- that challenges existing dogma that secretory cells only secrete mucous. Read more
Study identifies gender factors, barriers in cardiology field
Women dominate the physician workforce in many medical specialties. But 2017 data shows women made up only 14.1% of the workforce in the field of cardiology.

UNMC researchers recently published the first study to identify factors and barriers that impact the decision of female fellows-in-training (FIT) to pursue training in electrophysiology, which deals with the heart’s electrical properties. The article appeared online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. (The journal also carried an editorial about the study.)

"Several studies have addressed the low percentage of female fellows-in-training in general cardiology and interventional cardiology," said Edward O'Leary MD, senior author of the paper and associate professor in the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine and director of the Interventional Cardiology Fellowship Program.

A former Cardiovascular Medicine fellow was first author of the paper and Dr. Poonam Velagapundi of the CV Medicine division also contributed to this work. Read more
Nominations are open for UNMC research awards
The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research currently is accepting nominations for the following research faculty awards: Scientist Laureate Award, Research Leadership Award, Distinguished Scientist Award and New Investigator Award. These awards recognize UNMC faculty for their outstanding research achievements and sustained contributions to UNMC's research mission. More details here
Research highlights from COM - Internal Medicine Spotlight
Congratulations to the following for receiving funding:

Karuna Rasineni, PhD, internal medicine-GI, received a grant of $339,215 from DHHS/NIH/NIAA for a study on the role of alcohol-induced ghrelin in modulating organ cross-talk to promote the development of fatty liver disease.

James Murphy, MD, internal medicine-pulmonary, received a grant of $149,520 from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for a CFF Center adult program.

Mark Rupp, MD, internal medicine-infectious diseases, received a grant of $132,761 from Duke University for a phase 2b, multicenter, randomized, open-label, assessor-blinded superiority study to compare the efficacy and safety of Dalbavancin to standard of care antibiotic therapy for the completion of treatment of patients with complicated S. aureus bacteremia.

Apar Ganti, MD, internal medicine-oncology/hematology, received a grant of $122,452 from the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium for a work order: A randomized phase II trial of adjuvant Pembrolizumab versus observation following curative resection for stage I non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with primary tumors between 1-4 cm.

Jasmine Marcelin, MD, internal medicine-infectious diseases, received a grant of $90,684 from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center for a CoVPN 3006 protocol co-chair COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN).

Robert Bociek, MD, internal medicine-oncology/hematology, received a grant of $61,863 from the Hoosier Cancer Research Network for a work order: Phase IB dose de-escalation study of the PI3k alpha/delta inhibitor, Copanlisib given in combination with the immunotherapeutic agents, Nivolumab and Rituximab in patients with relapsed/refractory indolent lymphoma.

Kusum Kharbanda, PhD, internal medicine-GI, received a grant of $61,411 from the VA Medical Center of Omaha to study impaired methylation alters lipid droplet dynamics in liver and adipose tissue: Role in hepatic steatosis.

Anupam Kotwal, MBBS, internal medicine-DEM, received a grant of $50,000 from the Nebraska DHHS to study immune markers for thyroid cancer prognosis.

Nicole Shonka, MD, internal medicine-omcology/hematology, received a grant of $50,000 from the Nebraska DHHS for repurposing anti-histamine Brompheniramine for adjunct therapy in glioblastoma.

Michel Ouellette, PhD, internal medicine-GI, received a grant of $50,000 from the Nebraska DHHS to study Rho GTPases in the radioresponse of pancreatic cancer.

Susan Swindells, MBBS, internal medicine-infectious diseases, received a grant of $15,750 from the University of California-Los Angeles for leadership and operations center, AIDS Clinical Trail Group.

Ted Mikuls, MD, internal medicine-rheumatology, received a grant of $15,000 from the Rheumatology Research Foundation for a resident research preceptorship - "Genetic and Environmental Susceptibility to Interstitial Lung Disease in Rheumatoid Arthritis."

Poonam Velagapudi, MD, internal medicine-cardiovascular, received a grant of $1,330 from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai for a hybrid coronary revascularization trial.

Industry-sponsored grants and contracts:

The following industry-sponsored contracts and foundation grants were received.

Kelsey Klute, MD, internal medicine-oncology/hematology, received funding for a phase 3, randomized, double-blind Study of pamrevlumab or placebo in combination with Gemcitabine Plus Nab-paclitaxel as neoadjuvant treatment in patients with locally advanced, unresectable pancreatic cancer (LAPIS).

Julie Vose, MD, internal medicine-oncology/hematology, received funding for a phase 1B/3 double-blind, randomized, active-controlled, 3-stage, biomarker adaptive study of Tazemetostat or placebo in combination with Lenalidomide plus Rituximab in subjects with relapsed/refractory follicular lymphoma.

Alexander Hewlett, DO, internal medicine-GI, received funding for a phase 3, multi-center, multi-national, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled induction and maintenance study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of CC-93538 In adult and adolescent subjects with eosinophilic esophagitis.

Cyrus Desouza, MBBS, internal medicine-DEM, received funding to study the effect of semaglutide in subjects with non-cirrhotic non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.

Sarah Holstein, MD, PhD, internal medicine-oncology/hematology, received funding for a phase II study of Lenalidomide, Ixazomib, Dexamethasone and Daratumumab in transplant-ineligible patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma.

Lori Harris, MD, internal medicine-oncology/hematology, received funding for an open-label, multi-center phase 2 clinical trial evaluating SNS-301 in patients with ASPH+ high risk myelodysplastic syndrome and chronic myelomonocytic leukemia.

Trevor Van Schooneveld, MD, internal medicine-infectious diseases, received funding for a pneumonia panel with stewardship review impact on antibiotic use.

Whitney Goldner, MD, internal medicine-DEM, received funding for specimen collection for Siemens thyroid assays/Atellica IM Thyroblogulin (tg) Assay.

Susan Swindells, MBBS, internal medicine-infectious diseases, received a grant of $71,737 from Boys Town National Research Hospital to study the progressive elevation of spontaneous cortical activity in HAND (PESCAH) project. Dr. Swindells also received a grant of $32,679 from UCLA for the leadership and operations center AIDS Clinical Trials Group.

Diana Florescu, MD, internal medicine-infectious diseases, received funding for a retrospective study to collect follow-up data at 12 months among transplant recipients with refractory or resistant cytomegalovirus infections randomized to the Maribavir treatment arm in the SHP620-303 open-label phase III trial.
Congratulations to Ruxana Sadikot, MD, MRCP (UK), Chief of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine for receiving the Clinician Scientist Investigator (CSI) award from the Veteran's Administration. This award is administered as a merit award extension of up to 2 additional years (for a total of 6 years) contingent upon a satisfactory non-competing review after the first three years of funding.
Congratulations to Scott Westphal, MD, Assistant Professor in the Division of Nephrology for receiving the Publication of the Quarter for 2nd Quarter of 2021! The article is The impact of multi-organ transplant allocation priority on waitlisted kidney transplant candidates.

The Internal Medicine Notable Publications reported via ADIS and Scopus for the 2nd Quarter of 2021 can be seen here. Please email Shannon Thomsen to request the list used from SCOPUS and ADIS.
View the latest Internal Medicine faculty publications (in descending order by publication year and title) on Research Nebraska.
UNMC Today & Other News
Thomas Gallagher, MD, a longtime UNMC faculty member remembered affectionately by his colleagues at the UNMC Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism (DEM) and by the College of Allied Health Professions, died Aug. 13. He was 89.
Dr. Gallagher’s funeral Mass was August 17th at Christ the King Catholic Church. Read more about Dr. Gallagher here.
Summer programs have big impact on undergrads
For undergraduate students interested in pursuing a career in health sciences, two of UNMC's summer pathway programs have proven to be gratifying and life-changing experiences.
UNMC's Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP). This competitive program is a collaboration between UNMC departments, institutes, colleges, graduate specialty areas and the UNMC Office of Student Success. It aims to provide summer opportunities for 80-100 undergraduate students to become full-time members of research teams and discover firsthand the broad spectrum of research activities occurring at UNMC.
In addition to completing research alongside UNMC faculty members -- including Mikayla Peralta's (right) research mentor Jana Wardian, PhD, assistant professor in the Division of Hospital Medicine (left) -- her involvement in SURP has given her an inside look at UNMC as a prospective student.
"Seeing everything about the UNMC campus itself while I've been here, I could see myself here as a student in the future," she said. "The kindness here is amazing." Read more
Contributing to the future
Would you like to support future activities in the Department of Internal Medicine? The following list highlights several ways to contribute to accounts in the University of Nebraska foundation supporting IM activities. Of special interest at this time are:

Fund # 01088820 for the Dr. Lee Roy Meyer Fund for Excellence. Donations to honor Dr. Tom Tape’s career are being made to this fund.

Fund #01156210 Donations to honor Dr. Joe Sisson for his time as division chief (supports faculty development in PCCMS division).

Fund # 01136270 to support Global Heath work within the Department ( would help support Dr. Nada Fadul’s work in the Sudan as described at department meeting this summer).

There are other department and division specific funds as well. This is a potential way to honor special events in the lives of our colleagues. See all at this site.
Lynell Klassen, MD, discusses UNMC career
Lynell Klassen, MD, Robert L. Grissom Professor of Internal Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology/Immunology, has retired after 48 years in academic medicine, nine of those years as the chair of the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine. Since most physicians don’t just "retire," he is helping cover a clinical practice of a colleague in town who is dealing with a medical issue and will do projects for the division from time to time. Read more
Cath lab group tackles 'Tough Mudder' race

Some members of the UNMC and Nebraska Medicine cardiac cath lab team got together for some "fun" in July, participating in a team-building "Tough Mudder" event -- a 10-mile run with 25 obstacles -- that took place in Minneapolis. For some of the participants, it was their second Tough Mudder experience. "It was a great experience, and one that everyone wants to do again next year. This was an opportunity to grow and engage as a team outside of the workplace," said Ed O’Leary, MD, interventional cardiologist and associate professor in the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine.

The Tough Mudder team, left to right: Kara Stout, DO, Larry Jepsen, Taylor Kozlowski, Noah Wright, Jess Anderson and Ed O'Leary, MD.
Education News
Erin Maxwell-Snow Receives Catalyst for Education Award from IAE
We would like to recognize Erin Maxwell Snow who was awarded the Catalyst for Education Award, sponsored by the Interprofessional Academy of Educators. The Catalyst for Education Award recognizes an individual in an educational support role whose contributions have been integral to furthering UNMC's educational mission. Recipients of the Catalyst for Education Award are team members who are vital to the success of the educational mission, promote a premier environment and ensure success of all trainees. Erin certainly does all of this and more!
Fellowship Director of the Month - Bill Lyons
Name: Bill Lyons, MD
Medical school attended: Washington University, St. Louis
Location of your residency/fellowship training: Both residency and fellowship at UC San Francisco.
What residency/fellowship program at UNMC are you serving as program director for? Geriatric medicine fellowship
UCLA Health and the David Geffen School of Medicine are offering a LGBTQ Healthcare Fellowship designed to train future primary care physicians to be sensitive, comfortable, clinically knowledgeable and culturally competent in delivering healthcare to sexual and gender minority patient populations. To learn more about this opportunity click here.
Each quarter the junior (M3) students get an opportunity to choose which of the residents were the best teachers and mentors during the recent quarter. The following were chosen by the students for:
Best Intern Resident Teacher and Mentor - Drs. Alyssa Emodi & Joshua Edgar
Best Supervisory Resident Teacher and Mentor - Drs. Adam Karevoll, Alexander Praus & Clayton Oakley
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Section    
Prepared by DIVERSE Taskforce member Kalika Mahato (M3) 
Community News: 
In August we welcomed new members to the DIVERSE Taskforce: IM Chief Residents Drs. Jen Luedders and Joe Dougherty, GI Fellow Dr. Tomoki Sempokuya, and second year medical students Carmen Ochoa, Rajan Mediratta, Eshan Sood, and Elizabeth Ramler! We look forward to working with this team to increase diversity in our residency program and to collaborate with local community programs to increase underrepresented groups in medical education.  
 Quote of the Month:  
You have the right to be involved. You have something important to contribute, and you have to take the risk to contribute it.” - Dr. Mae Jemison 
 In 1992, Mae Jemison became the first Black female astronaut in the US. Prior to her space explorations, Jemison studied engineering then completed medical school. She then worked for NASA for 6 years. When asked why she was retiring at only 36, Jemison said she wanted to pursue "teaching, mentoring, health care issues and increasing participation in science and technology of those who have traditionally been left out." 
She founded the Dorothy Jemison Foundation with the goal of increasing science literacy in children and continues to work towards improving STEM education and exposure for students of minoritized groups. As a future physician, Jemison’s career encourages me to work to inspire young students interested in medicine and work to improve the field for future generations.  
This article by Drs. Vikas Gampa, Kenneth Bernard, and Michael J. Oldani explores the ethical implications of race-based classification of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) patients. "For example, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) has often been racialized and medicalized as a Native problem in Canada because researchers do not account for particular historical, political, or sociocultural factors that lead to FASD.”Additionally, using race as a proxy for genetic factors is fundamentally flawed, and the utilization of racialized criteria and limited studies impacts clinical decision making, patient autonomy, and health outcomes. 
This month we are highlighting the Antiracism Animation series, a collaboration between Drs. Andria Tatum, Jared Rubenstein, and Princess Dennar. Dr. Dennar was inspired to create these short videos highlighting racial injustice in the medical field that patients, training residents, and physicians experience.  
In addition, this TED talk by Dr. Nwando Olayiwola challenges the phenotype of race in medicine by presenting two women, one black and one white, facing similar health concerns, such as pregnancy or chest pain, but very different outcomes. She also discusses how "place-ism,” the effect of racism in red-lining or racial discrimination in mortgage lending, leads to significant health and life expectancy disparities.  
September is Women in Medicine Month and a great opportunity to learn about the contributions women from diverse backgrounds have made to the field and adversities they have faced. We would like to thank Dr. Deb Romberger for being a chair that champions inclusivity and diversity in the Department of Medicine.
Faculty Education
Have you ever wanted to lower anxiety, mistakes, and increase learner performance during a rotation or learning experience? Would increasing engagement and having learners be more confident benefit you as an educator? Would you be interested in a way to lower learner error and establish what the roles and responsibilities are for a medical team day one? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this month's Faculty Development post can help you by showing you the benefits and guidelines on setting expectations. Setting expectations helps develop a shared meaning and construct the right learning environment for learners at all levels. 
Remember login information is simply your UNMC credentials.    
Link to the Setting Expectations module:     
New Faces, Promotions or
Committee Involvement
New faculty - UNMC Today Spotlight
UNMC Today does a great job on the spotlight features for new faculty. Check out the latest!

Welcome back Prasanth Ravipati, MD!! Dr. Ravipati was our chief resident in 2018 and has come back as an Assistant Professor in the Division of Nephrology.
Welcome to the following new faculty
Atchuyta Pachigolla, MBBS, Assistant Professor - Hospital Medicine
Benjamin Arbeiter, M.D., Assistant Professor - Hospital Medicine
Nathalie Khoury, M.D., Assistant Professor - Gastroenterology & Hepatology
Sarah Malik, MBBS, Assistant Professor - Gastroenterology & Hepatology
Anery Patel, MBBS, Assistant Professor - Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism Chelsea McElroy, M.D., Assistant Professor - Hospital Medicine
Lindsay Helget, M.D., Assistant Professor - Rheumatology
Prasanth Ravipati, M.D., Assistant Professor - Nephrology
Ahmed Saad, M.D., Assistant Professor - Hospital Medicine
Sathish Kumar Perumal, Ph.D., Postdoc Research Assoc - Gastroenterology & Hepatology
Welcome to the department!!
Luke Polenz
Amanda Fulton
Bailee Lichter
Elizabeth (Libby) Guenther Grace Bybee
Jennifer O'Neill
Ananya Mitra
Tristan Gilmore
Maria Rivas
Adam Hornig
Karla Mace
Collins Okonkwo
Effrin Bolton
Lesley Wadhams
Infectious Diseases
Infectious Diseases Cardiology
Infectious Diseases
Infectious Diseases
Kelly Cawcutt, MD, takes on new roles

Congratulations to Kelly Cawcutt, MD for being appointed as the Medical Director of Medical Quality for Nebraska Medicine.

Dr. Cawcutt was also accepted as a Fellow of the American College of Critical Care Medicine based on her commitment to the ideals and practice of multiprofessional critical care.
Congratulations to Karim El-Kersh, MD, UNMC associate professor in the UNMC Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine Division, who was selected to serve for two years on the Pulmonary Hypertension Care Center Review Committee of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association. The committee is tasked with reviewing applications and conducting site visits for pulmonary hypertension centers applying for initial accreditation and reaccreditation. The association is the leading source of news and updates for people living with pulmonary hypertension, caregivers and the professionals who treat patients.
Welcome to Mackenzie Dehmer, the new med-peds and nephrology coordinator who started with Education on August 30th. Mackenzie shares:

"My name is Mackenzie Dehmer and am the new coordinator for Med-Peds and Nephrology. I am very excited to be joining this team! This past year I worked over in Dermatology but before that my background was mostly running educational programs for arts organizations.
I grew up in Omaha but lived in Kansas City for most of my 20’s and I just moved back about 5 years ago. My family consists of two boys, Lincoln (9) and Remy (3), two cats, Asher and Crixus , and a fiancé, Analisa, and in our spare time (Ha!), Ana and I headline a cover band called Velvet Crush. 
My office is located near Nephrology on the 5th floor (room 55113) so please feel free to drop by anytime. I can also be reached on my cell at 402-319-6377. I am looking forward to meeting everyone!"

Pictured from l-r are Ana, Remy, Lincoln and Mac
Faculty Development - Dr. Shannon Boerner
We wish to thank Dr. Shannon Boerner for her dedication in creating and sustaining the content and programs for faculty development in the Department of Medicine.
On August 23, Dr. Boerner welcomed our new faculty in the department, providing an overview of resources and mentorship. Access to the slide presentation on the faculty development page here.
Moving forward, Faculty development will be an opportunity for leadership and an announcement of the job description and application process will be forthcoming.
Congratulations to Gabe Garbin, MD and his wife on the arrival of their baby girl.
Clara Rae Garbin
Birthday: July 12th
Weight: 7 lbs. 10 oz.
Length: 19”
Congratulations to Dr. Kyle and Megan Wilson on the birth of their baby boy.
Lawrence George Wilson
Birthday: July 21st
Weight: 5 lbs. 10 oz.
Congratulations to Mitchell Milanuk, MD and his wife on the arrival of their little girl.
Mackenzie Leigh
Birthday: August 22nd
Weight: 6 lbs. 4oz.
Length: 19.75"
Congratulations to Maria Hopson, MD on the birth of her baby boy.
George Layton Hopson
Birthday: August 16th  
A Women in Internal Medicine event happened earlier in September where a few women faculty and residents took their children to the zoo together on a Saturday morning. Thanks for sharing the pictures!!
Notable Furbaby of the Newsletter
Meet Piper, a Nebraska Humane Society puppy rescued by Kathleen Tinley, Research Project Coordinator in the Division of Nephrology.

Send your furbaby pictures in if you would like yours to be considered for the next Newsletter's furbaby spotlight no later than October 31st.
July Newsletter correction: Kara Stout received the IM Fellow Poster Award. Her first name was incorrect in July's article.
UNMC Department of Internal Medicine
983332 Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha, NE 68198-3332
402-559-6315 (phone)