Nov. 18, 2022

The latest news and updates from Dean Amy P. Murtha, MD!
New Website Launched to Share Updates on 'Future of Academic Medicine' Evaluation Process
Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences has launched an Envisioning the Future of Academic Medicine website as a central hub to share information and updates about the medical school evaluation process.

The website will feature

There also is an opportunity for the medical school communities to submit feedback on specific University Senate questions. This feedback form is managed by ECG Management Consultants, a national consulting firm with expertise in academic health centers. Responses, which may be submitted anonymously, will be shared with the appropriate committees.

The three committees have each met and are in the process of developing responses. The goal is for the committees to provide their preliminary advisory reports in December, to be integrated with feedback from our internal and external constituencies and presented to the University Senate in January. Your input is important and essential for a transparent, collaborative process.

Please continue to check the website for updates!
New Cardiac Amyloidosis and Cardiomyopathy Center Opens
Dr Sabahat Bokhari
The medical school, in conjunction with Rutgers Health and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH), an RWJBarnabas Health facility, established a new multidisciplinary center that is a first-of-its-kind resource in the state for diagnosis and treatment of rare cardiac conditions.

The Cardiac Amyloidosis and Cardiomyopathy Center, located at the hospital, seeks to diagnose patients with rare, but potentially fatal, amyloid conditions earlier, as well as treat them more effectively through personalized medicine. Amyloidosis is a rare condition caused by an abnormal protein that accumulates in organs such as the heart, kidneys, nerves or liver. Often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed due to its subtle symptoms and multiple organ involvement, at least one type of amyloidosis can be fatal in six months.

Sabahat Bokhari, MD, an internationally recognized amyloidosis expert, will serve as director of the center, as well as professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and Hypertension at the medical school, program director of the Advanced Cardiac Imaging Fellowship Program, and director of Advanced Cardiac Imaging at RWJUH.

Dr. Bokhari pioneered the development of a non-invasive imaging method, called Technetium-Pyrophosphate (Tc-99M PYP) imaging, that is used worldwide and is recommended by the American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association and American Society of Nuclear Cardiology for the evaluation of cardiac transthyretin amyloidosis (ATTR).

Bariatric Surgery Found to Lower Extreme Cardiovascular Risks
Bariatric surgery had a significant positive impact on risks of extreme cardiovascular events for individuals with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and a body mass index of more than 40, a new study found.

Reporting their results in JAMA Network Open, the medical school team, along with collaborators from The Ohio State University, found that obese patients undergoing bariatric surgery were nearly 50 percent less likely to develop adverse cardiovascular events such as heart attacks, angina or strokes.

"The findings provide evidence in support of bariatric surgery as an effective therapeutic tool to lower elevated risk of cardiovascular disease for select individuals with obesity and NAFLD," says Vinod K. Rustgi, MD, MBA, Distinguished Professor of Medicine, clinical director of hepatology, and director of the medical school's Center for Liver Diseases and Liver Masses. "These findings are tremendously impactful for many reasons."

The researchers, who also included You Li, MSc, and Carlos D. Minacapelli, MD, in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, noted that the association between bariatric surgery and cardiovascular disease risk reduction has not been studied to this level of detail before.

The study has since been publicized in national and international media, including U.S.News & World Report and UPI. Learn more in this Rutgers Today feature.
Decline in Stillbirth Rate Has Stalled, Medical School Study Finds
A decades-long effort to slow the stillbirth rate in the United States has stalled, as has progress in closing a persistent gap in stillbirths experienced by Black women compared with white women, according to a Rutgers-led study.

"Over the last 40 years, we have reduced certain risk factors for stillbirth, such as smoking and alcohol use before and during pregnancy, but these gains have been countered by substantial increases in other risk factors, like obesity and structural racism," says Cande V. Ananth, PhD, chief of the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences and lead author of the study. "Our findings illustrate that past progress has now been offset by these newly identified risks."

The study, published in The Lancet Regional Health -- Americas, also demonstrates a strong link between birth cohort and stillbirth risk, notes Dr. Ananth.

In addition to Dr. Ananth, medical school researchers Jessica C. Fields, MD, and Justin S. Brandt, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences in the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine; and Hillary L. Graham, MS, a data analyst in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences' Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, contributed to the study, which has received widespread national and international media coverage.

Gut Inflammation Connected to Multiple Sclerosis, Neurology Researchers Show
Researchers at the Neuroimmunology and Multiple Sclerosis research laboratories in the medical school's Department of Neurology found an association between gut and brain inflammation in multiple sclerosis (MS) and in its animal model Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis.

Led by Sudhir Kumar Yadav, PhD, research associate; Suhayl Dhib-Jalbut, MD, professor and chair of the department and Ruth Dunietz Kushner and Michael Jay Serwitz Chair in Multiple Sclerosis; and Kouichi Ito, PhD, associate professor of neurology, the study was published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology.

It showed the infiltration of pro-inflammatory TH17 cells and the recruitment of neutrophils into the gut as the underlying mechanism of inflammation. These cells also are involved in the immunopathogenesis of MS -- the process by which the immune system is involved in the development of MS.

The investigators also discovered that lipocalin-2, an inflammatory molecule secreted by neutrophils, is a strong biomarker of gut inflammation and dysbiosis when measured in fecal material from MS patients and its animal model. This biomarker could evolve into a screening test to identify gut dysbiosis in autoimmune diseases, allowing for therapeutic interventions that target gut inflammation, the researchers said.

Conference News header
Medical school faculty, staff, students and alumni were on hand at last week's Association of American Medical Colleges' "Learn Serve Lead 2022" conference in Nashville, Tenn. In addition to workshop sessions led by faculty and staff, the medical school co-hosted a reception with Rutgers New Jersey Medical School at the J.W. Marriott Nashville, and third-year medical student Kemi Alabi accepted one of only five 2022 Herbert W. Nickens Medical Student Scholarship Awards. Thanks to all who attended and helped make the event such a success!
upcoming events header
Mark Your Calendars for the Next Wellness Fair!
Open to All Faculty, Staff, Residents and Fellows

Join us in Piscataway for this three-hour special event, designed to meet different aspects of wellness, whether physical, emotional, nutritional, or otherwise.

Events include resources on hand hygiene, resident wellness, mental health services, cancer screening and information, massage therapy, tobacco dependency, nutrition and fitness information, and more! Download the flier for more details.

Tuesday, Nov. 29
11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Piscataway Campus
Great Hall
675 Hoes Lane West
PLUS, help us warm the holidays for colleagues in need! Please bring the following items to be donated: $30 ShopRite gift card for a turkey, canned goods (string beans, corn, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, canned gravy), stuffing mix, cake mix, and cornbread mix.

Volunteers are needed! If you're interested in helping with the wellness fair, please fill out this form.
The Invisible Extinction Documentary to Screen on Campus
Invisible Extinction
A new documentary featuring microbiologists Martin J. Blaser, MD, professor of medicine and pathology & laboratory medicine at the medical school and director of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, and Gloria Dominguez-Bello, PhD, Henry Rutgers Professor of Microbiome and Health at Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, will be screened at the medical school.

Tuesday, Nov. 29
5 p.m.
Main Lecture Hall, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Research Tower
675 Hoes Lane West, Piscataway

The new documentary, The Invisible Extinction, examines their decades-long research on the link between our bodies' microbiome -- the bacteria, fungi and viruses that help us digest food and keep us healthy -- and diseases such as diabetes and asthma, following them as they travel the world in search of answers. A Q&A with Drs. Blaser and Dominguez-Bello and the filmmakers will follow the screening. Click here to RSVP to the screening.
Faculty & Staff Appreciation Luncheons
To thank you for all you do throughout the year, the medical school will host appreciation luncheons on the New Brunswick and Piscataway campuses. More details to come!
Thursday, Dec. 1
Old Student Lounge
Monday, Dec. 5
New Brunswick
Clinical Academic Building, Room 1302
Expressions of Me Latin America event
Join us in celebrating the rich culture and traditions of this region at the first event in a new multicultural series! This three-hour fair will focus on the culture and traditions of Latin America and South America.
Wednesday, Dec. 7
11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Clinical Academic Building,
Room 1302
About This Series: Funded by a grant from Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS), the "Expressions of Me" six-part multicultural series is designed to increase the sense of community at the medical school and RBHS through cultural fairs honoring different global regions, with a focus on enhancing and understanding diverse groups in our university community.
Social Media Posts of the Week
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In the News
Unclear Language of Abortion Ban Exceptions Risks Patient Health -- Natalie DiCenzo, MD, and Todd Rosen, MD -- Health Affairs

Protein Clumps Marking Parkinson's May Start in Digestive Tract -- Robert Wood Johnson Medical School -- Parkinson's News Today

Evaluation, Management of Patients with Menopausal Symptoms -- Jeffrey Levine, MD, MPH -- Consultant360

17th Annual Profiles in Success -- Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey -- New Jersey Business Magazine

Solutions to Tackling Smoking Rates -- Michael Steinberg, MD, MPH -- Patch

COVID-19 bivalent vaccine trials for children under 5 -- Simon Li, MD -- NJ Spotlight News

Is Headache a Sign of COVID-19? What to Know, and How to Find Relief -- Brian Gerhardstein, MD, PhD -- PressReview24

Evidence-Based Tools for Preventing School Shootings -- Danielle M. Dick, PhD -- Psychology Today
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