May 2013                                                                                                Volume 1 | Issue 3
Patient Centered Teaching.
                       Patient Centered Research.
                                                Patient Centered Care.
From the Desk of Dr. Sinnott...

We have one more month until the close of this academic and fiscal year. As we wrap up our strategic planning process and prepare for the new year ahead, I want you to feel secure and also appreciate knowing that we as a Department already have forged a foundation to effectively embrace the future - of patient centered education, research and patient care.


Our Department's commitment to being patient centered in all we do is aligned not only with the future of clinical  medicine, but the future of research as well. As Dean Klasko has predicted, medical research is undergoing dramatic changes nationally. There is an increasing focus on patient-centered outcome research, and he identified it as a strategic priority for the Morsani College of Medicine and USF Health. In an effort to improve USF Health's clinical research efforts, Dean Klasko has appointed a committee to review our clinical research history, strategies, and opportunities. Dr. Richard Lockey, Director of Allergy & Immunology, Dr. Ben Djulbegovic, Director of Evidence Based Medicine & Health Outcome Research, and I will be members of this committee and represent the DOIM.


As we work to blend education, research and clinical practice together we begin our bridge to our future.






John T Sinnott MD FACP
Department of Internal Medicine
In each issue, I will highlight five significant achievements in the interval between newsletters. Here are some successes to celebrate from this past month:


(1)  Ulyee Choe, DO is appointed Director of the Florida Department of Health in Polk County 

Dr. Choe is an assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases & International Medicine. He has been serving as Interim Director since November 2012. His appointment as Director strengthens our commitment to Polk County. His mission is to protect, promote and improve the health of the residents of Polk County.


(2) Sadaf Aslam, MD  (Division of EBM & Health Outcome Research) and Denise Edwards, MD (Assistant Professor with DOIM and Pediatrics) were awarded a Women's Health seed grant for their Exploratory Study Examining Variables Related to Outcomes within an Interdisciplinary Tertiary Eating Disorder Program

This is important because of the high rate of eating disorders in west Florida and the lack of successful treatment centers.


(3) Benjamin Djulbegovic, MD will be realigning with the DOIM to strengthen our Division of Evidence Based Medicine & Health Outcome Research

He brings substantial research and clinical experience as well as an an international reputation as a thought leader to the department.

(4) Committee Reports: Grand Rounds
Dr. Solomon chaired a committee on grand rounds. The report has been accepted and we are acting on it. In broad terms we can anticipate one nationally or internationally known speaker a month. One senior faculty member will present monthly and one junior faculty member monthly. The time and location of grand rounds will remain the same.


(5) Our strategic planning process is in it's final stages.
Division Directors and faculty will review action plans they have forumlated on Friday June 7th. In the weeks following, a strategic plan for the Department will be crafted incorporating the vision, strategic proposals, and tactical plans the teams created. 


topInside This Issue...
Patient-Centered Teaching
Lois Nixon, PhD, MLitt, MPH prepares our students for ethical issues through our BA in Biomedical Ethics & Humanities. Learn more.
Patient-Centered Research
A PhD Candidate in the Division of Allergy & Immunology is awarded an American Heart Association Grant for his work. Learn more.
Patient-Centered Care
A third year resident was featured in a film about humanitarian assistance after the Haiti earthquake in 2010. 
Name our Newsletter Contest
Submission for names for the name our newsletter contest have been collected. Time to vote for the best name! Learn more.
Second Round of IM Cares Screening
Screenings for vision, BMI and risk for sleep apnea for DOIM and Shriners employees was conducted in May. Learn more.
Battle of the Bulge Challenge
Want to improve your fitness over the summer? Join in on our summer slimdown fitness challenge. Learn more.
date   Internal Medicine Graduation - Thursday June 6th @ 4:00pm
Internal Medicine Resident & Fellow Graduation Ceremony
Thurs. June 6th @ 4:00pm - USF Embassy Suites
Dress: Business Casual
Formal Invitations have been sent
This year's graduation will include a photographer, new awards, a charge to the graduates led by Stephen Klasko, MD MBA - Dean, Morsani College of Medicine, and a farewell address by 
If you did not receive a formal invitation and would like to attend, please RSVP to
  **Weather forecasts for Thursday show potential for heavy rainfall with a 90% chance of thunderstorms. Please plan accordingly and be safe on the roads.**
John T Sinnott MD FACP - Chairman of Internal Medicine - will hold a State of the Department Faculty Meeting on Monday June 10th beginning at 5:15PM at TGH B107 (in the back of the TGH cafeteria).
During this meeting Dr. Sinnott will:
    - share the outcomes of the strategic planning retreat,
    - provide an update on the departments overall activities, and
    - Dr. Jeff Lowenkron will provide information on Pay-for-Performance.
All faculty and staff are invited. Faculty are expected to attend. 

If you have any questions please contact Carolyn Dawson by emailing or call 974-3594.
For the past few months I have been receiving great ideas for the name our newsletter contest. Thank you to all those who submitted names - we have some creative minds among us!
Please cast your vote now for your top 3 choices for the name of our external quarterly newsletter. The choices will be anonymous so as to not skew the results. Winners will be announced in the next newsletter. Click here to vote!
FYI: USF provides residents and fellows with a taxi voucher to support GME's commitment to the safety of all housestaff who work extended shifts or are fatigued or ill.
For those of you that are or will be at the VA, you can pick up the taxi voucher at the AOD's desk; you need to specify that it's a "USF taxi voucher" or they will confuse it with the VA patients' taxi voucher. The AOD's can be reached at extensions 6196/6197; pager #201-2665. They will give you the voucher that you will present to the cab driver from Yellow Cab Company.
You are allowed a round trip, which is take a taxi to your house and another for the return trip back to the hospital. Please note: the return trip has to be within 48 hours of the first trip.
At the end of April and beginning of May, Michael Cameron and Jae Chung, 3rd year medical students, conducted BMI checks, vision tests, and took neck measurements to assess risk for obstructive airway disease and sleep apnea.
66 DoIM Employees were screened, of which:
  • 4 were referred for high BMI
  • 1 was referred for Sleep Apnea
  • 20 were referred for Vision refraction and further examination

The program was so successful our friends at Shriners requested the students conduct screenings for their employees.


"Michael and Jae came to Shriners and they did such a great job! I set up an examination room for them and had our staff come down to see them. They saw 22 staff members in 2 hours. I had to turn staff away at the end of the 2 hours. Comments from our staff were highly positive. They were very impressed with Morsani College Internal Medicine students and felt very comfortable talking to them and being followed by USF clinics. Everyone was very appreciative that they took the time to come over. Thanks so much for including us in your IM Cares program. It is an excellent program." - Sheryl Chewning RN, Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children 

Find yourself getting winded walking up the stairs? Want to shed a few pounds?
If there is enough expressed interest, we will host a DoIM Battle of the Bulge - Summer Slimdown Fitness challenge. It has been proposed to be a 2-month challenge beginning Monday July 1 and ending Friday August 30th. Weight, measurements, and BMI calculations will be taken at the start and end of the challenge, and helpful tips on nutrition and physical activity will be sent to the participants throughout the challenge. 
There will be a $5 entrance fee and possibility of a team challenge if there are enough people interested.
Awards will be given for those who lose the most percentage of their overall weight, largest percentage of body fat, and most overall inches. A team award will be given if we are able to do teams.
If you are interested in participating in the challenge, let us know by Friday June 21st. Email
Faculty and Staff Spotlights
Patient-Centered Teaching: Preparing Tomorrow's Leaders
The Humanities tell us about our lives, our cultures, and our societies. They provide the traditions, interpretations, and visions that define our existence and shape our future.



Did you know our Department offers a Master's Degree in Bioethics and Medical Humanities?


Did you know our Department offers a Master's Degree in Bioethics and Medical Humanities? Directed by Lois LaCivita Nixon, PhD, MLitt, MPH, MAT, Professor in Internal Medicine, this is the first program in Florida and the nation to combine bioethics and medical humanities with student-selected electives. The program prepares leaders for jobs the deal with increasingly complex healthcare concerns, technological advancements, the distribution of scarce resources, and emerging global issues.


The program includes courses that focus on contemporary concerns and dilemmas associated with genetic research therapy, new reproductive technologies, human experimentation, human trafficking and organ trafficking, aging dilemma, end-of-life decisions, biodefense medicine, environmental ethics, health care delivery systems and numerous challenges associated with cultural competencies and sensitivities.

Lois LaCivita Nixon, PhD, MLitt, MPH, MAT


 Core courses include: 

  • Biotechnology & Bioethics
  • Clinical Ethics
  • Health, Illness and Culture
  • Spirituality and Medicine
  • Medical Anthropology
  • Health Sciences Ethics
  • Medicine and the Movies: Aging/End-of-Life

Since 2004 there have been 55 graduates from the program. Program graduates have included lobbyists from Tallahassee, physicians, nurses, public health practitioners, and social workers. MABMH graduates go on to PhD programs in public health and geriatric or aging studies, while others go on to medicine and law. Many students are seeking enhanced credentials for their jobs at hospitals, hospice facilities and other health institutions.


A Graduate Certificate in Biomedical Ethics is also available for those wishing to develop core competencies.



For more information contact Barbara Pearce, Academic Program Assistant, at or call (813) 974-4926. You can also visit their Web site.



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Patient-Centered Research: Innovative Ideas

 research  PhD Candidate in Division of Allergy & Immunology Awarded American Heart Association Fellowship


Ruan Cox, MS was awarded the American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship for his work entitled Resolvins: A Novel Therapeutic Approach to Acute Lung Injury. His work focuses on the use of pro-resolving lipid mediators that may be beneficial treatment for acute lung injury. 


Ruan's grant proposal aims to attenuate the activity of these bio active complexes and thus reduce the inflammation seen in acute lung injury.


He was also a contributing author on a recently published article in the American Journal of Physiology that details the effects of a proinflammatory complex believed to be important in acute lung injury progression. It is titled NLRP3 Deletion Protects from Hyperpoxia-Induced Actue Lung Injury.



Contributing authors work in Dr. Narasaiah Kolliputi's lab and include:

First authorJutaro Fukomoto, MD, PhD explaining the findings in their recently published article.
  • Jutaro Fukumoto, MD, PhD - Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Itsuko Fukumoto, MD - Research Technician
  • Prasanna Tamarapu Patharasarathy, MS - Biological Scientist
  • Ruan Cox, MS - PhD Candidate 
  • Bao Huynh, BS - Research Technician
  • Guru Kumar Ramanathan, PhD - Post Doctoral Fellow
  • Rajon Babu Venugopal, PhD - Post Doctoral Fellow
  • Dianne S. Allen-Gipson, PhD - Assistant Professor (College of Pharmacy)
  • Richard F. Lockey, MD, FACP, FAAAI - Division Director for Allergy and Immunology, Distinguished Professor of Medicine
  • Narasaiah Kolliputi, PhD - Assistant Professor of Medicine, Principal Investigator 
Ruan has been working with Dr. Kolliputi's lab since 2010. During this time he has presented his work at six international conferences to include the American Thoracic Society, World Allergy Organization, Experimental Biology 2013, Keystone Symposia, and American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.


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Patient-Centered Care: Putting Compassion into Practice
RESCUE: One of our Residents Featured in a Major Film for her Medical Relief Efforts
Jane Mai MD
PGYIII Resident
Jane Mai, 3rd year Resident, used her vacation time to travel to Haiti two weeks after the devastating earthquake in 2010. While she was there a film crew captured some of her story.
I initially went to Haiti as part of a medical relief team. Our team of 40 volunteers landed in Port au Prince and worked in two rural provinces (Carrefour and Leogane) through temporary clinics we set up in the few schools or churches that were still standing.  We slept in tents outdoors in a pastor's front yard/driveway because of occasional aftershocks and fear of buildings collapsing on us. Our resources were limited - for the first few days we ate granola bars and canned tuna, and "showered" using buckets and baby wipes. We treated 200 patients/day for a myriad of medical issues - ranging from hypertensive crisis, to wound care and dressing changes, to severe dehydration.

After a few days the team of volunteers returned to the US, but I stayed and traveled south to Jacmel.  I connected with a colleague in Haiti to help at his hospital (one of the few hospitals that weren't too terribly damaged). There I helped deliver a few babies, but mostly did wound care - especially  dressing changes on crush injuries. One week later I went to a Canadian military base to get a helicopter ride back to Port au Prince. Coincidentally, the helicopter that landed was transporting the IMAX camera crew and director who had just arrived in Haiti to start filming a documentary.  There was another physician there who was traveling with a few members of her volunteer team who also ne
eded a ride back to the capital.  We were all wearing scrubs and the IMAX crew and director asked us if we were medical volunteers and if they could film us on our helicopter ride. So they strapped us all in with the two camera guys, the Film Director in the passenger seat and they filmed us during our flight over the mountains back to Port au Prince.  



Our famous Dr. Mai with Emmy-Award
Winning Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN
Once I got back to Port au Prince, I volunteered with Project Medishare, a trauma hospital which was an enormous tent they constructed on the tarmac of the main airport that was destroyed.  We slept on cots under a large tent, used port-a-potties and showered from hose contraptions they had constructed out of PVC piping.  There were hundreds of volunteers there. I worked in the OR and the ICU tent.  I served as first assist on multiple below the knee amputations, above the knee amputations, and a mandibular fracture repair. We also treated spinal cord injury patients on mechanical ventilators in the ICU and repaired tib-fib fractures. I worked alongside orthopedic surgeons, plastic surgeons, anesthesiologists, intensivists, pediatric surgeons, and infectious disease attendings. I did everything from tying off arteries and closing wounds in the OR to holding and feeding a newly orphaned 3yr old boy whose parents perished in the earthquake. Some of my most memorable patients included a 27yr old farmer who was found under the rubble 27 days after the earthquake, and 2 yr old Catalina Augustine who had a congenital heart defect. With the help of physician colleagues and the Miami Medishare staff/physicians, I contacted the International Kids Fund and coordinated for Catalina to travel to the US to have heart surgery to repair her defect. I was able to visit her later that year; I will never forget the tears of joy in her mother's eyes as she hugged me. Seeing that little girl finally smile and hearing her laugh as she ran around jumping and playing without a worry was one of the most rewarding moments. Through this experience I learned the true meaning of patient centered care.


Rescue is a documentary film directed by Stephen Low that focuses on the humanitarian response to the Haiti crisis. It is available on 3D Blu-ray, DVD or Digital Download. It is also played at MOSI's IMAX theatre.Click here to view the trailer.
Dr. Ana Paula Velez from the Division of Infectious Disease & International Medicine presents the DoIM with her painting of fungi. It hangs in the departmental office
Dr. Jacques Durr, Director of the Division of Nephrology & Hypertension, presented with an award for his contributions to the TGH Plasmapheresis



Future  Valerie Devanney MD  with her parents at the Gold Humanism Honor Society Induction
PGY II Resident Gustavo Puig MD joins the Gold Humanism Honor Society
Dr. Sinnott congratulating Dr. Ulyee Choe  of Infectious Diseases & International Medicine on his appointment as Director of the Florida Department of Health - Polk County
TGH CEO Jim Burkhart PhD is presented with a gift recognizing TGH contributions to our International Training Programs

AOA Inductees with Drs. Sinnott, Goldman, Holt, Alrabaa, and Menezes at the AOA Induction Banquet


Dr. Sunil Medidi PGY I resident presented with the Outstanding Educator Award from the graduating class


Dr. Sinnott hosted 20 residents and some faculty at the TGH Gala May 4th at the Hilton - Downtown Tampa.
The residents left in a stretch limo...meanwhile Dr Sinnott had to leave in a cab!

It is our goal to send out an internal e-newsletter each month, and a newsletter for external audiences each quarter beginning in July. 
Please email submissions for consideration in our marketing materials, including our Web site, for the following areas:
  • Star Staff Spotlight
  • Faculty, Research, Resident or Fellow feature (including patient-centered focus)
  • Accomplishments, Awards and Accolades
  • Publications
  • International Activities
  • Socializing/Networking Opportunities 
  • Interesting articles you think the DOIM would benefit from
  • Questions on policies, procedures or general inquiries
Do not hesitate to contact me directly if you have IT/Communications related inquiries.
  Kristy Andre, Communications Director - (813) 974-4067
Thank you!
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