Aug. 9, 2019
The latest news and updates from Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Two New Division Chiefs Appointed in Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery
Drs. Ahmed and Vella
The medical school is pleased to welcome Omar H. Ahmed, MD (above right) , as assistant professor and chief, Division of Rhinology and Anterior Skull Base Surgery, and Joseph B. Vella, MD, PhD , as assistant professor and chief, Division of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, as well as medical and surgical specialists at Rutgers Health and RWJBarnabas Health, under the leadership of Professor and Department Chair P. Ashley Wackym, MD .

Dr. Ahmed's clinical practice is focused on the medical and surgical management of nasal and sinus disorders, conditions affecting the eye, pituitary tumors, cerebrospinal fluid leaks and benign or malignant tumors affecting the sinuses, nasal cavity or skull base.

A dual-degreed, fellowship-trained facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Vella specializes in a broad range of facial plastic and reconstructive procedures, cleft and craniofacial congenital anomalies, head and neck reconstruction following cancer resection and trauma, facial nerve reanimation, pediatric cleft lip/palate, and craniofacial reconstruction and Mohs reconstruction following skin cancer resection, among other techniques.

Welcome to the team, Dr. Ahmed and Dr. Vella!
Class of 2023 Marks Entry to Medical School
Donning their new white coats and reciting the Hippocratic Oath in front of a full house at The State Theatre, the 165 members of Robert Wood Johnson Medical School's Class of 2023 marked their entrance into the medical profession as part of the school's annual White Coat Ceremony.

The Class of 2023 is diverse in culture, as well as in experience, with nearly half the class having pursued another career or advanced education between earning their undergraduate degree and becoming a medical student. Sixteen percent of the class are entering with either master’s or doctorate degrees, including four students who are part of the medical school’s unique dual-degree program with Rutgers Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, in which they earned a doctorate in pharmacy before matriculating at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Service to the community – locally and globally – and mentorship are also common threads among the class, which includes 46 students who hold bachelor’s degrees from Rutgers. Learn more about the incoming class in this snapshot infographic.

This year's keynote speaker was Jessica L. Israel, MD, corporate chair of geriatrics and palliative care and director of The James and Sharon Maida Geriatrics Institute at RWJBarnabas Health.

Join us in welcoming the Class of 2023!
Psychiatry and Pop Culture Combine at Philly Improv Event
Anthony Tobia, MD (second from left) , professor of psychiatry, helped coordinate and participated in a joint project merging improv with lessons in psychiatry taken from modern pop culture, as part of Philly Improv Theater's "Study Hall: Improv Inspired by College Lectures," one of the theater's longest-running shows. Dr. Tobia, known for his development of such pop culture-related curricula as FIDLER MD (Film Depictions to Learn Elements Related to Mental Disorders) and Psy-feld, worked with "Study Hall" director Mike Marbach and two Philadelphia-based psychiatrists to bring the latest show to the Philly stage.

The Aug. 2 event featured Dr. Tobia presenting on "Ready Player One"; Kalvin Foo, MD, third-year psychiatry resident at Temple University Hospital, on "Logan"; and Andrea DeSimone, DO, psychiatry resident at Thomas Jefferson University, discussing "South Park." Following each speaker, the Philly Improv Theater cast performed improvised scenes inspired by each presentation.
Study Hall improv group shot
Students Present Posters at Summer Research Symposium
Summer Research Symposium 2019 a
summer research symposium 2019 b
summer research symposium 2019 c
Medical school students had the opportunity this week to show off the results of their research at a special Summer Research Program Symposium in Piscataway.

The Aug. 7 symposium featured a keynote address by Reynold A. Panettieri Jr., MD , professor of medicine, vice chancellor for translational medicine and science and director of the Rutgers Institute for Translational Medicine and Science. Dr. Panettieri urged students to remember that, for patients, the one-size-fits-all models fail, and as both researchers and future physicians, students should treat each patient as unique and tailor treatments to them.

The keynote was followed by poster presentations featuring the research of 40 Robert Wood Johnson Medical School students who participated in this year's Summer Research Program. The program is designed for first- and second-year medical students, who conduct eight-week research projects in the areas of basic, translational or clinical investigation, under the guidance of medical school faculty. This year's student research projects included implications of marijuana use while pregnant, assessing mass casualty incident preparedness, social determinants of surgical care and many other thought-provoking posters. View the students' research topics here.

To learn more about student research, contact   Celine Gélinas, PhD , senior associate dean for research and chair of biochemistry and molecular biology.

Congratulations to all who participated, and many thanks to the faculty mentors who supported our students in the program over the past four years.
Neurosurgery Residents Celebrate Graduation
Rutgers Neurosurgery Residency Class of 2019 celebrated its graduation on June 6 at the home of Department Chair Anil Nanda, MD, MPH , and his wife, Laura. In addition to remarks by Dr. Nanda and Peter W. Carmel, MD, chair emeritus of neurological surgery at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, the residents received personal congratulations from James T. Rutka, MD, PhD, who is the RS McLaughlin professor and chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto, Canada. Dr. Rutka also serves as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Neurosurgery .

Congratulations to each of this year's Rutgers graduates: Ahmed Meleis, MD; Irene Say, MD; and David Slottje, MD ; and Barnabas graduate Maureen Darwal, MD. Best of luck in the next phase of your careers!

Pain Management ECHO Registration Open
The Pain Management ECHO program provides straight-forward, evidence-based and applicable information to help you manage pain management challenges in live video-conference sessions. The upcoming session will be held Aug. 15 from 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. Pain Management ECHO sessions have covered such topics as measuring pain severity, quality of life and opioid risk. They include:
  • Active patient case reviews and recommendations
  • Review of latest research and guidelines, with access to an online resource library
  • Opportunity to network and collaborate with peers from across the state
  • No-charge credits for CME, nursing CEU, social work and pharmacy

The program is funded through a generous cooperative agreement between Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and The Nicholson Foundation.

For more information, questions about Project ECHO, or to preview a session, contact Kathy Dodsworth-Rugani, PhD , executive director, at 732-789-8917.
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In the News

$1.5M ORIEN award to support Rutgers Cancer Institute researchers -- Shridar Genesan, MD, PhD , and Andrew M. Evens, DO, MSc -- NJBiz

Should doctors prescribe antihistamines for children with colds? -- Daniel Horton, MD, and Brian Strom, MD, MPH -- All4Women

Rutgers Health Leading Program to Support MS Children -- Vikram Bhise, MD -- Multiple Sclerosis News Today

Combinatorial Therapy of Zinc Metallochaperones with Mutant p53 Reactivation and Diminished Copper Binding -- Xin Yu, PhD; Yue Liu; Tracy Withers; Bing Na, PhD; and Darren Carpizo, MD -- Molecular Cancer Therapeutics

Recommendations Decreased for Cough, Cold Medicine in U.S. -- Daniel B. Horton, MD -- Physician's Briefing

 Transvaginal ultrasound is superior to transabdominal ultrasound in the identification of a short cervix -- Jenani S. Jayakumaran, MD, MHS; Sue Egan, RDMS; Millika Tatikola; Meike Schuster, DO; Christina M. Duzyj, MD, MPH; Justin S. Brandt, MD; and Cande V. Ananth, PhD, MPH -- American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology

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