Aug. 19, 2022

The latest news and updates from Dean Amy P. Murtha, MD!
Medical School Welcomes Dean Murtha
Dean Amy P Murtha
Monday marked the first official day as dean of the medical school for Amy P. Murtha, MD.

A specialist in maternal-fetal medicine, Dr. Murtha joins us from the University of California, San Francisco, where she most recently served as professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences. She says she considers her new role as dean an "exceptional opportunity."

"Robert Wood Johnson Medical School is at an important inflection point in its history and, for me, the opportunity to lead this medical school is filled with possibilities," Dr. Murtha says. "These first few months, I will spend a significant time listening, learning and getting to know as many of you as possible. My goal is to more deeply understand what brings you pride and fulfillment in your work."

Meet the dean at a special Welcome Reception on Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 3 p.m. outside the second floor of the Child Health Institute of New Jersey. More details to follow!
GME Professionals Day banner
Today is GME Professionals Day, which is an opportunity for us to acknowledge and thank our residency and fellowship program coordinators and the administrative staff of the Office of Graduate Medical Education. Their tireless work and dedication to our residents, fellows and faculty are a critical and fundamental part of the success of our training programs. Coordinators use their knowledge and skills to help our programs meet myriad requirements and our residents and fellows to navigate the challenges of balancing training with everyday life. They continue to do so, even as those requirements grow more complex in our pandemic-challenged times. Coordinators are the heart and soul of our training programs. The medical school leadership gratefully acknowledges their dedication to our school and our trainees and asks you to join us in celebrating GME Professionals Day.
Office of Research Hosts Medical Student
Summer Research Program
Congratulations to all students who completed the program!
2022 Summer Research Program
New Distinction in Medical Humanities Available
graduation diploma
The Office of Education is adding a new Distinction Program for medical students this year: Distinction in Medical Humanities.

Medical humanities are interdisciplinary, engaging classical humanities, literature, history, social sciences, narrative medicine and fine arts, as well as ethics and philosophy, in exploring the context and experiences of health, health care and illness within society, cultures and individual experiences.

The program will include a didactic component involving several electives in the pre-clinical and clinical phases of the curriculum, as well as a practicum component with a humanities-related volunteer experience, and completion of a scholarly project -- either research or a creative project such as externally published creative writing, an exhibition, or a humanities-focused project for the medical, patient or general community.

With the addition of this latest program, the medical school currently offers nine Distinction Programs for its students, including Bioethics, Inclusion and Diversity, Global Health, Leadership in Academic Healthcare, Medical Education Program (DIME), Medical Innovation and Entrepreneurship (DiMIE), Research (DIR) and Service to the Community (DISC). Students who complete the programs receive a distinction designation on their diplomas at graduation. Additional information about these programs can be found here.
New Diabetes Drugs Could Transform Obesity Treatment
Dr Kunal Shah
Newly approved diabetes medications may offer hope in the treatment of obesity, according to Kunal Shah, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the medical school's Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Research.

Two of those medications -- Victoza (liraglutide) and Wegovy (semaglutide) -- were initially developed to treat Type 2 diabetes and have recently been approved to treat obesity. A third -- Mounjaro (tirzepatide) -- has produced positive results in a trial against obesity.

Victoza and Wegovy have been found to be more effective and better tolerated than older medications, with the latter tending to induce greater weight loss, Dr. Shah says. In addition, a newly published study has shown tirzepatide caused patients to lose an average of 20 percent of their body weight -- "a game-changer" in obesity treatment, he notes.

Pain Management Welcomes Dr. Mina Gaballa
Dr. Mina Gaballa
Mina Gaballa, DO, has joined the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine as a clinical assistant professor, specializing in interventional pain.

An alumnus of Rutgers University, Dr. Gaballa received his doctorate in osteopathic medicine from Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his internal medicine internship at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, followed by residency training in anesthesiology and fellowship training in pain medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS). While at NJMS, he received the Albert P. Shih Humanitarian Award for his unfailing dedication to patient care and selfless work ethic to colleagues, residents, staff and the institution.

The primary focus of his clinical practice is acute and chronic pain disorders, including neck, thoracic and low back pain; joint-related pain; complex regional pain syndrome; and post-laminectomy pain syndrome. Dr. Gaballa will serve as an interventional pain specialist at the Rutgers Health offices in the Clinical Academic Building in New Brunswick, and at 1 Worlds Fair Drive in Somerset.
Bharat Patel Receives 'Biggest Heart' Award
Bharat Patel, RDCS, RVS, FASE, who serves as chief echocardiography technologist with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH), received the 2021 Biggest Heart Award from the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) Foundation.

Patel has been an ASE Fellow since 2002. He served on the ASE Foundation Annual Appeal Committee since 2013 and has served as the committee's co-chair since 2019.

"Bharat's commitment to the ASE, the professional advancement of his colleagues in the field, and global medical outreach missions to address the needs of underserved communities serves as an inspiration for us all," says Partho Sengupta, MD, Henry Rutgers professor of cardiology and chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and Hypertension at the medical school, and chief of cardiology at RWJUH.

International Brain Bee Runner-up Has Link to RWJMS Lab
Anmol Bhatia, the 17-year-old Watchung Hills Regional High School student who came in second at the 2022 International Brain Bee in July, has a Rutgers connection.

In addition to placing first in the Regional Brain Bee hosted by Rutgers New Jersey Medical School earlier this year, Anmol has been working for the past year with the lab group for Morgan H. James, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

While in the lab, Anmol has been studying how men and women differ in their susceptibility to cocaine use disorder. He has focused on how men's and women's brains respond differently to stressful events, and how this might contribute to their risk of relapsing to cocaine use after periods of abstinence, Dr. James says.

"Historically, research has neglected to examine sex differences, which has led to many medications failing to produce beneficial clinical outcomes in both men and women. Thus, Anmol's work is essential for efforts to develop new and improved medications for treating addiction," explains Dr. James.

Congratulations, Anmol, on this incredible achievement!
New Study Will Help Identify Children at High Risk of Life-Threatening Diabetes Complication
Rutgers will conduct the largest and most comprehensive study of children at high risk of developing a life-threatening complication of Type 1 diabetes, using funding from JDRF, the leading global Type 1 diabetes research and advocacy organization.

Researchers from Rutgers Center for Pharmacoepidemiology and Treatment Science (PETS) aim to develop a tool to help clinicians identify children who are at high risk of developing diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). DKA, which occurs when the body produces high levels of blood acids called ketones because it can't produce enough insulin, is the leading cause of hospitalizations, morbidity and mortality among children and younger adults with Type 1 diabetes.

In addition to principal investigator Chintan Dave, an assistant professor with PETS and core faculty member of the Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, study coinvestigators include Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences chancellor; Sally Radovick, MD, chair of the medical school's Department of Pediatrics and senior associate dean for clinical and translational research; and Jason Roy, PhD, professor of biostatistics and chair of the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at Rutgers School of Public Health.

The three-year study begins this month. Learn more in Rutgers Today.
Cool Thanks on Hot Days: Ice Cream Social Highlights
2022 Ice Cream Social Piscataway
2022 Ice Cream Social New Brunswick
Not even a Jersey heat wave could stop the frosty fun!

To thank our faculty and staff for their dedication and hard work, the medical school hosted grab-and-go Ice Cream Socials on the New Brunswick and Piscataway campuses, with special deliveries of ice cream treats to affiliated Rutgers Health clinical offices, including those located at Family Medicine at Monument Square, Monroe, Somerset and Edison, as well as to the Eric B. Chandler Health Center.

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