Inside IM
News from the Department of Internal Medicine - September 2022

Debra Romberger, MD, chair of the department of internal medicine, shares a message with important updates for all faculty and staff.

Dr. Robert Wigton and his UNMC legacy
Robert Wigton, MD, emeritus professor in internal medicine and former associate dean for graduate medical education, passed away on August 22 after a long illness.

“Few have had the impact that Bob had on UNMC and the College of Medicine,” said Bradley Britigan, MD, dean of UNMC’s College of Medicine. “He will be greatly missed.”

A celebration of life service for Dr. Wigton will be held October 17, 11 am-12:30 pm in the Dr. Leland and Dorothy Olson Atrium in the Wigton Heritage Center. In-person attendance is limited to about 50 people; a Zoom link will also be available.
Internal Medicine celebrates Women in Medicine month
September is designated Women in Medicine month by the American Medical Association and our department is celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of our women physicians.

  • The research work of Philip Bierman, MD, professor emeritus, and Elizabeth Reed, MD, professor of oncology and hematology, documents the extraordinary lives of early female leaders in medicine. “Dr. Bierman and I started this project with the aim of documenting the lives and careers of pivotal people from the past that played roles in the growth of UNMC,” said Reed. “We were concerned these remarkable people might be forgotten.” View the stories they have completed about Helen Starke, MD and Mary Jo Henn, MD.
  • The department of internal medicine hosted a Women in Medicine event on Sept. 27, 12-1 pm, in the Dr. Leland and Dorothy Olson Atrium in the Wigton Heritage Center. This event honored the incredible women physicians who helped pave the way for the current generation. Dr. Bierman and Dr. Reed (pictured at right) discussed their research, gave a short reflection for women in medicine and provided time for informal networking. 

  • From the UNMC Office of Inclusion: September is Women in Medicine Month. We want to thank all of the amazing women that are connected to UNMC and Nebraska Medicine. You may not work in direct patient care, but we want you to know that we value your presence. We appreciate the work that you do every day that allows our academic health center to thrive. Each one of you represents an important part of advancing the mission in transforming lives. We understand that women are leaving academic health centers at alarming rates. The toll that the pandemic has taken on our workforce has been felt across our health system. As they say, “put your oxygen mask on first.” How can we help others if we are struggling to breathe ourselves?  More importantly, how can we give air, breathe life into, and revive and retain women at our institutions. Some say flexible work schedules and the provision of childcare services. But we say it is so much more. #InvestInHer is a national conversation to elevate the conversation to retain women in medicine. Stay tuned for related campus events; sign up for the Inclusion Corner newsletter.

New IBD Center opened in August
by John Keenan, UNMC strategic communications

Med center leaders, local philanthropists and guests gathered at the Lied Transplant Center on August 3 to officially open the Frederick F. Paustian Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center.

The night was a celebration not only of Dr. Paustian, a pioneering gastroenterologist who helped build the medical center’s transplant program, but also of Michael Sorrell, MD, whom Dr. Paustian recruited to UNMC and Nebraska Medicine and who, in the words of UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, “took the baton from Dr. Paustian and took it further than was previously thought possible.” Dr. Sorrell also led the recruitment effort that brought Peter Mannon, MD, director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, to the medical center.

The Frederick F. Paustian Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center provides a comprehensive, patient-directed approach based on the expertise and careful assessment of a team of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) specialists. A multi-disciplinary team includes gastroenterologists, colorectal surgeons, clinical pharmacists, dietitians, registered nurses, behavioral health specialists, research coordinators and clinic coordinators. This team works closely with patients to provide a very personalized experience in treating inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Located at Lied Transplant Center, Level Two, 4350 Emile Street, Omaha, NE 68105
New curriculum spans departments, closes gaps in residency training
A novel, extracurricular house officer track at UNMC is expanding in 2023 to become the first competency-based, interdisciplinary health educator track in the nation. Health Educators and Academic Leaders (HEAL) was a grass roots initiative that gained traction in 2019 due to increasing interest from residents and fellows to have formalized training in medical education. 

Jon Hall, a fourth-year medical student at the time, inquired with then department of internal medicine residency program director, Dr. James O’Dell, if a clinical educator track would be available to him if he applied to UNMC. 

“He was incredibly supportive of the idea,” said Dr. Hall, now the internal medicine quality and patient safety chief resident. “He connected me with Dr. Cory Rohlfsen and empowered us to steer the creation of a curriculum to meet these needs.” 

As internal medicine chief resident at the time, Dr. Rohlfsen (pictured above) realized HEAL's potential after reading more about clinical educator tracks.  

"The idea immediately resonated with me,” said Dr. Rohlfsen, now an assistant professor in the division of general internal medicine. “After my chief year, I felt a gap between where I was and where I wanted to be and I didn't think additional experiences would get me there. I wanted expertise and while UNMC had great mentors and educational culture for modeling best teaching practices, it was missing the structured support that HEAL now offers." 

Research News & Updates
Successful SURP and SUARP season wraps up with poster session
Another successful summer undergraduate research session is officially in the books! The 2022 Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) and the Summer Undergraduate Alcohol Research Program (SUARP) wrapped up on August 10 with the culminating event, a poster session highlighting their research projects.

When asked what he liked most about the program, SURP student Josh Oarhe said, “Learning how to collaborate with others.” SUARP student Neha Khalid said, "I loved being able to have my own experiments to carry out and having important responsibilities in the lab. It was an amazing experience being able to see the entire process of putting together ideas, then a hypothesis then experiments and finally gathering data." SURP student Nia Acharya liked the freedom to structure her day how she wanted while also achieving progress. She has also met many scholars that she believes will be lifelong friends. 

A big thanks to the mentors in our department - these programs would not be possible without their commitment. If you are a member of the Internal Medicine faculty and are interested in mentoring an undergraduate student next summer, please contact Toni Goeser for more information.
Upcoming awards nominations deadlines
October 15: Nominations due to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for Diversity Fund grants. Please review the guidelines and application for more information.

October 28: Nominations due to the VCR's office for New Investigator Award, Distinguished Scientist Award, Research Leadership Award and Scientist Laureate Award. More information and application form can be found here.

November 18: Nominations due to the VCR's office for the Community Service to Research Award. More information and nomination form can be found here.

November 22: Nominations due to department of Internal Medicine for the Scientist Development Award. More information will be sent out soon; in the meantime, contact Toni Goeser with questions.
Research highlights from COM - Internal Medicine Spotlight
Congratulations to the following for receiving grant or funding awards:

Nada Fadul, MD, internal medicine-infectious diseases, received a grant of $15,833 from AIDS United for improving HIV treatment and management in Nebraska using telehealth.

Trevor Vanschooneveld, MD, internal medicine-infectious diseases, received a grant of $2,000 from Johns Hopkins University for a diagnostic stewardship intervention to improve blood culture use among adult patients in acute care hospitals.

UNMC Today & Other News
Dr. Gundry to lead UNMC Center for Heart and Cardiovascular Research
by Kalani Simpson, UNMC strategic communications

Rebekah Gundry, PhD, has been named permanent director of the UNMC Center for Heart and Cardiovascular Research, following the unanimous recommendation of the members of the center’s internal advisory board. Dr. Gundry had been serving as the center’s interim director since July 1.

The center, established in 2019, strives to bring together multidisciplinary scientists from across departments, colleges, and universities within Nebraska to synergistically facilitate collaborative translational and clinical research that develops the team into an innovative and leading heart and vascular research center and improves the cardiovascular health of the community.

Dr. Gundry replaces Merry Lindsey, PhD, recent director of the center, who departed UNMC for a leadership position at another institution. Dr. Lindsey was also chair of the UNMC Department of Cellular and Integrative Physiology, and Dr. Gundry currently serves as interim department chair.

UNMC College of Medicine Dean Bradley Britigan, MD, was effusive in his praise of the center’s new leader: “Dr. Gundry is an exceptional researcher, teacher and leader,” he said. “I look forward to working with her and to the continued growth and success of the center.”

Internal Medicine doctors comment on long COVID
Sara May, MD, allergy & immunology associate professor, and Daniel Van Kalsbeek, DO, second year pulmonary and critical care fellow, were interviewed in a WOWT news story about the potentially disabling effects experienced by some long COVID patients.

Dr. Johnson addresses how to respond to your child's anxiety
Rachel Johnson, MD, assistant professor division of general internal medicine and med-peds associate program director, provides helpful advice for parents whose children express fear or anxiety about returning to school. 

Dr. Kang published in The Washington Post
Lydia Kang, MD, assistant professor division of general internal medicine, gives advice in The Washington Post's "Ask a Doctor" series, answering the question "why do I get sleepy in the afternoon after eating lunch?"

Education News
Content prepared by Stephanie Hooten, internal medicine educational programs administrator
Senior Retreat
Our senior internal medicine and medicine-pediatric residents had their retreat in July. This annual event is an opportunity for program leadership to share interviewing best practices, including Zoom interviews, financial planning, and panel sessions geared toward fellowships and entering practice. Afterward, the group got together at Corkscrew for a (COVID-safe) social.
Intern Retreat
Our internal medicine and medicine-pediatric interns have hit the ground running and took a break in late August for the annual intern retreat. It was a great day with sessions on JEDI with Dr. Jasmine Marcelin, finances and professionalism. Our chief residents also shared some pearls of wisdom for the inpatient setting, outpatient setting, quality improvement and jeopardy. Dr. Rae Witt hosted the intern Olympics again this year, which was a massive success and so much fun!
Introducing the elected Residency Council for the 2022-23 academic year
HO1: Austin Barry, MD, Evangeline Green, DO and Grant Starkey, MD
HO2: Brendan Hurley, MD, Chloe Peyton, MD and Claire Schmitz, MD
HO3: Noah Hammond, MD, Sean McNitt, DO, and Amal Musa, MD
Med-Peds HO1/2: Audrey Lane, MD
Med-Peds HO3/4: Micah Fischer, MD

We look forward to the great things that they will accomplish in the coming year! They join the following non-voting members.
Rising chiefs: Alex Sorrick, MD, Noel Bruner, MD, James Fagerland, MD, and Jack Gallagher, MD
Current chiefs: Amy Dreessen, MD, Clayton Oakley, DO, Evan Symons, DO, and Jon Hall, MD
First residency recruitment virtual open house events a success
Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Chelsea Navarrette, Dr. Jasmine Marcelin, Dr. Debra Wekesa and involvement from program leadership and residents, the internal medicine residency program hosted its first ever virtual open house events on Aug. 31 and Sept. 12. While the original goal was to promote the program to underrepresented minorities in medicine, we were able to extend our reach to about 500 potential candidates from Brooklyn to L.A., Ecuador to India, and points in between.  
Congratulations to Rees Adomako, DO, who was selected for induction into the Alpha Omega Alpha national medical honor society.
The new hospice and palliative medicine fellowship had its accreditation site visit in March and officially received continued accreditation from the ACGME in September.
The following house officers recently welcomed new additions to their families!
Noah Hammond, MD, and family celebrated Brooklyn Ruby’s birth on June 30.
John Gallagher, MD, and family welcomed Avery Rose Gallagher on Aug. 2.
Alyssa Emodi, MD, welcomed Alexander Jonathan Napier on Aug. 15.
Alex Sorrick, MD, celebrated the birth of Quin Grace on Aug. 29.
Rafael Herrera, MD, welcomed Apollo Raul on Sept. 2.
COM Fellow of the Month
Gulsen Ozen, MD, a rheumatology fellow, has been at UNMC since 2015 and is probably faster than you on a bike. 

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Content prepared by MS4 Kalika Mahato
Celebrate Women in Medicine Month

September is designated by as Women in Medicine Month. Watch this video by the AMA celebrating women physicians and the advice they have to offer! This month we are especially grateful to the women in our department. We are lucky to have several women in leadership roles such as Dr. Witt, Dr. Marcelin, Dr. Ashford, Dr. Johnson, Dr. Wichman and our chair, Dr. Romberger. However, we must acknowledge the gender disparities in pay, leadership advancement, and discrimination women face. A 2021 systematic review by Nicole Lyons et al. found that women physicians are less likely to have leadership roles and progress at a slower rate to associate and full professor. They additionally earn about $20,000 less than their male counterparts. Read this article to learn more about gender inequity in medicine. 
COM DEI Office leads small groups for incoming medical students

The College of Medicine DEI office, led by Dr. Shirley Delair, organized orientation events for new students in the College of Medicine. Dr. Delair first gave the class a talk titled “Introduction to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Professionalism” and students were then divided into the small groups they will remain in for their first two years in medical school. Students completed activities about their identities and inclusive language. An activity titled “How Diverse is Your Universe?” encouraged students to examine the racial makeup of their social and professional circles. This is an exciting addition to the orientation agenda, and we are excited to see how students will benefit from the implementation of DEI material into their education.  
Inclusion on campus

IM residents joined the LGBTQ+ Alliance for the first JEDI with Jasmine session of the academic year on Sept. 12 and had an opportunity to engage firsthand with inclusion efforts on campus. This group welcomes members of the LGBTQ+ communities and allies to join, attend their meetings and engage with their activities. Many of these are posted on the Nebraska Medicine Now app (UNMC employees can access through the app store). One exciting resource shared during the session is Out @ UNMC and Nebraska Medicine – a link that celebrates employees who are out at our institution. Contact Catherine Medici-Thiemann, the new Gender and Sexuality Resource Coordinator for UNMC if you would like to obtain pronoun pins for your division.  
Sign up to help at community outreach event

The DIVERSE Taskforce has organized a health fair on Oct. 15, 9 am-3 pm, to screen for hypertension/diabetes and educate customers at Classic Barbershop in Omaha. For more information or to volunteer for a one-hour shift, email Dr. Rees Adomako.
Hispanic Heritage Month Celebrated on Campus
by Krysta Larson, Division of Student Success 

Members of the UNMC and Nebraska Medicine communities are invited to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with a variety of educational and cultural events. Hispanic Heritage Month is observed annually from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

Learn more at the Hispanic Heritage Month webpage.

Faculty Education

Attendings can go from A → E in the blink of an eye and can skip over steps B, C and D because they have illness and management scripts that allow them to make that leap. We learn these illness scripts from years of experience and studying but how can we foster them in our learners? What strategies should we use when an illness script fails? Is it important how a learner gets to the right answer ... as long as they got the question right?  
Our Instructional Designer Zach Benton-Slocum collaborated with Dr. Kelly Caverzagie, to build a module that further explores these strategies and ideas to strengthen thought processes in learners. This is part of our educational series “Building a Better Clinical Classroom.”   
Your login information is simply your UNMC credentials.    

Link to the Strategies for Thought Process module:         

Lastly, check out the other modules and resources on our faculty intranet:      

New Faces, Promotions or
Committee Involvement

Roslyn Mannon, MD, has taken on the role of Vice Chair of Research. This position was previously held by Ted Mikuls, MD. The change became effective July 1.
Welcome to the following new faculty!
Hannah Artz, MD, Assistant Professor, General Internal Medicine
Kathryn Cole, PhD, Post Doc Research Associate, Oncology and Hematology
Karen Deffenbacher, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Cardiovascular Medicine
Kajari Dhar, PhD, Instructor, Cardiovascular Medicine
Rohit Gaurav, PhD, Instructor, Allergy and Immunology
Shelby Hopp, MD, Assistant Professor, Geriatrics, Gerontology and Palliative Medicine
Harshraj Leuva, MBBS Assistant Professor, Oncology and Hematology
Andy Schnaubelt, PhD, Assistant Professor, Infectious Diseases
Tanya Wildes, MD, Assistant Professor, Oncology and Hematology
Congratulations on your new position!!
Maria Daniels
Aimee Schreiner
Sara Parson
Anita Rogic
Mikaela Furman
Shelley Baldwin
Taylor Johnson
Hillary Cooper
Jacob Williams
Jacki Evans
Amanda Strain
Erin Rogers
Sharon Del Bem Velloso
Zaria Starfeldt
Katie Nilsson
Kimberey Sinahan
Anupriya Bhatnagar
Ryan Ruskamp
Please welcome our new DEM division administrator

Welcome to Katie Nilsson who joins the IM department as the diabetes, endocrinology and metabolism division administrator! Previously, she worked as the Clinic Operations Lead for Neurological Sciences with Nebraska Medicine and as a Centralized Scheduler for Children’s Hospital and Medical Center. Katie earned a master’s degree in healthcare administration and management from Colorado State University. 
New communications specialist role for department

Maria Daniels has been named communications specialist for the department of internal medicine. Maria will provide support for our faculty and staff in sharing our success stories and key information through our department newsletter, webpages, biennial report, social media and UNMC communications. She will also be developing a staff recognition program for the department. Please email Maria with suggestions or if you would like to join a taskforce to support our staff recognition or social media efforts.

Faculty Development
The faculty development committee hosted the faculty mentoring recognition luncheon on August 25. This event is held in appreciation of the faculty who participated as mentors and mentees in the internal medicine department’s mentoring program for the past academic year. Dr. Tammy Wichman, internal medicine residency program director, was awarded the department’s Clinical and Educational Mentoring Award for 2021-2022.

Dr. Wichman was nominated by Drs. Chad Vokoun, Jasmine Marcelin, Trek Langenhan, Rae Witt and Brian Delaney. Congratulations to Dr. Wichman and to all the mentors and mentees!
Awards and Honors
The infectious diseases division has been designated as a recipient of a 2022 Milagro Award. The award honors OneWorld medical partners and volunteers who make milagros (Spanish for miracles) happen for the most vulnerable children and families they serve. The award dinner will be Nov. 10 at the Marriott Capitol District. 

Lydia Kang, MD, assistant professor division of general internal medicine, recently won a Nebraska Book Award in the nonfiction popular history category for “Patient Zero: A Curious History of the World’s Worst Diseases.” Dr. Kang co-authored the book with Nate Pedersen. The Nebraska Book Awards program, sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book (NCB), recognizes and honors books that are written by Nebraska authors, published by Nebraska publishers, set in Nebraska or concerning Nebraska.

The Surgical Intensive Care Unit team recently received a DAISY Team Award. Palliative Care APP Remy Kaslon, APRN, was recognized along with other members of the SICU, which is located on level eight of Clarkson Tower. The annual award was created to celebrate an entire team who works to achieve better patient and family outcomes. The team award honors collaboration by two or more people, led by a nurse, who go above and beyond addressing the patient/family needs. Read more
Good News
Jenny Kreikemeier, internal medicine administrative associate, welcomed a new grandbaby (and the first granddaughter!) named Katalina on Aug. 17.

Joseph Hejkal, MD, assistant professor, division of geriatrics, gerontology and palliative medicine, celebrated the birth of his daughter, Lucy, on Aug. 26. Lucy joins five siblings. Congratulations to Dr. Hejkal and his family!

Mark Rupp, MD, chief and professor division of infectious diseases, welcomed a new grandbaby, Oliver, in September.

Congratulations to Spencer French, office associate for the division of infectious diseases, and Allison Johnson who were married on Sept. 3.
Travel Updates
Reminder to use the latest version of the internal medicine travel form for any travel requests. Completed faculty, fellow and staff travel forms should be emailed directly to Jenny Kreikemeier (do not include Dr. Romberger on these emails). Division chief travel forms still need to be emailed directly to Dr. Romberger for approval and cc Jenny.

From the NU Travel News: All changes made to flights booked via Concur or Fox World Travel should be done with the assistance of Fox World Travel to avoid out-of-pocket expenses. Hilton and Hyatt award members can qualify for special rates when booking through Concur or Fox World Travel. The traveler will need to sign up for the hotel’s award program and enter the award number in their Concur profile to qualify for the discounted lodging rate. Fox World Travel is available 24/7 to assist university travelers with travel plans.
UNMC Department of Internal Medicine
983332 Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha, NE 68198-3332
402-559-6315 (phone)