July 10, 2020

The latest news and updates from Interim Dean Robert L. Johnson!
Welcome to President Jonathan Holloway
Robert Wood Johnson Medical School joins Rutgers University as it welcomes Jonathan Holloway as its 21st president. Dr. Holloway began his tenure on July 1. On his first day he announced that he will take a 10 percent pay cut “in the spirit of shared sacrifice that this moment requires.”

In addition to the pay cut, Holloway will personally donate $75,000 to the  Scarlet Promise Grants program   to help meet the needs of the university’s most economically at-risk students.

The president also will direct $125,000 in presidential discretionary funds to kick off a $10 million  focused campaign   for the program. The grants help students – especially those who face unforeseen or sudden life-changing circumstances – offset the gap between financial aid and costs.

“I am proud that I now have the privilege and the responsibility to lead an institution that is committed to making the world better while also opening its doors to that world,” Holloway said in a video message to the Rutgers community.

Read more about President Holloway here .
Pediatrics Faculty Co-lead Study on MIS-C Published in New England Journal of Medicine
Parents and clinicians need to be aware in looking for symptoms of multiple inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) in children who have been diagnosed or exposed to COVID-19, according to Lawrence C. Kleinman, MD, MPH, FAAP , professor and chief, Division of Population Health, Quality, and Implementation Science (PopQuIS), and Steven Horwitz, MD , assistant professor of pediatric critical care, who were among the leaders of the first nationwide study of the disease, published in the  New England Journal of Medicine . MIS-C is defined as an inflammation impacting two or more organ systems within the body, and it appears to be a late complication following an infection or exposure to COVID-19.

Funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the study presents 186 cases of pediatric MIS-C from around the country and an additional 27 from New York State, from March 16 to May 20. The article describes clinical characteristics, treatments and outcomes of MIS-C.

Researchers found symptoms of the disease typically appear two to four weeks after the onset of COVID-19 or after exposure to the SARS-CoV2 virus that causes COVID-19. Among the children confirmed to have had COVID-19, the median time in which inflammatory symptoms appeared was 25 days. More than two-thirds of the children and adolescents were healthy before their experience with SARS-CoV2, and nearly four in five hospitalized with MIS-C required ICU care. More than two-thirds of the children in the study were over the age of 5. As of May 20, 70 percent had been discharged, 28 percent were still hospitalized and 2 percent had died.

With its frequent involvement of the heart and heart vessels, MIS-C initially came to attention as an illness similar to Kawasaki disease. The  NEJM  study illustrates that these are distinct syndromes, with MIS-C having more frequent and severe involvement of the heart and more typically occurring in an older population. MIS-C most frequently involves the digestive system.

Due to the wide range of symptoms with the disease, including fever, fatigue, rash, shortness of breath, and  abdominal pain , parents should seek medical care for children and adolescents who were exposed to COVID-19 and develop these symptoms.

Read the detailed article on the study here .
Your Input Needed for the Roadmap to Healing
Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School has released its  Roadmap to Healing: Anti-Racism Initiatives for the Medical School Community .
This action plan will be a living document. We invite you to review the document and provide your constructive comments and suggestions.  Interim Dean Robert L. Johnson, MD, FAAP , has charged the Offices of Education and Academic Affairs, Graduate Medical Education and Inclusion and Diversity to implement this plan, respond to the community’s comments, and to report to him and to the medical school community regularly. Academic medicine has been late to the charge. We join all academic medical centers in the nation in our commitment to end structural racism. We do this for our students, our residents, our staff, our faculty and most importantly for our patients.
Click here   to review the  Roadmap to Healing .
Dr. Whitley-Williams Is New President of NFID
Congratulations to Patricia Whitley-Williams, MD, professor of pediatrics and associate dean for inclusion and diversity, who was named president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) on July 1. She has served on the board of the NFID for the past two years as president-elect and will serve as president until June 30, 2023.

“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, NFID’s mission to educate the public and healthcare professionals about the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases has never been more important,” says Dr. Whitley-Williams. “The COVID-19 pandemic has shed new light on longstanding disparities in health outcomes among African-Americans and other minority populations, and it has underscored the importance of addressing myths and misconceptions about vaccine safety and efficacy. The challenges we face are substantial, but working together, we can meet them head on.”

A native of Boston, Dr. Whitley-Williams received a bachelor of science degree in biology from Simmons College in Boston and medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She completed her pediatric residency at Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati and fellowship training in pediatric infectious diseases at Boston City Hospital/Boston University School of Medicine.

Dr. Whitley-Williams is board certified in pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases and is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She serves as the National Medical Association liaison to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is immediate past chair of the US Medical Licensure Examination Management Committee, as well as a member of the National Board of Medical Examiners Governance Review Task Force and Nominating Committee. Her research interests include HIV/AIDS in women and children, as well as childhood and adolescent immunizations.
Welcome to Dr. Mariana Figueiro
The Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School  announced Mariana Figueiro, PhD , has been appointed to lead two new programs focused on aging and on sleep and circadian research.

Figueiro, a professor of architecture and biological sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is a renowned researcher in the field of lighting and health and the director of the Lighting Research Center. On Sept. 1, she will take on her new roles at Rutgers as director of the new Center for Healthy Aging at the Institute for Health, and chief of the new Division of Sleep and Circadian Medicine in the medical school's  Department of Medicine .

“The creation of the Division of Sleep and Circadian Medicine will allow us to unite our existing sleep experts under the leadership of an international sleep researcher,” said Fredric E. Wondisford, MD , chair of the department. “Just as important, Dr. Figueiro will serve as an outstanding mentor to junior faculty who will benefit from her years of experience navigating NIH funding.”

The clinical evaluation of sleep disturbance continues to evolve, with many sleep studies currently performed at home. As this continues, the role of on-site sleep studies will need to be better defined, and this division will be well placed to establish these guidelines. Rashmi N. Aurora, MD , will serve as medical director of the new division.

Figueiro has a bachelor's degree in architecture and urbanism from the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil. She has a master's degree in lighting and a doctorate in multidisciplinary science from Rensselaer. She has received several awards for her work and was elected a fellow of the Illuminating Engineering Society in 2013. Currently she is the principal investigator of eight federally funded grants and various industry-funded projects. In addition to more than 100 scientific articles, Figueiro authored the AARP-sponsored publication,  Lighting the Way: A Key to Independence , and presented a  TEDMED Talk  about the importance of lighting.

Read the detailed announcement in Rutgers Today .
Middle School Artists Thank Our Health Care Heroes
Students at Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School in Cliffwood recognized our Robert Wood Johnson Medical School health care workers in a series of artwork and literature.

At the direction of their Literary Arts magazine advisor Samantha Kicha-Dansky and  art teacher Roderick Stevens, students were eager to express their gratitude during the COVID pandemic, titling their work, " Recognizing Our (Super) Essential Heroes .”

Thank you to the students and teachers for sharing the artwork above in the banner and in this series of thank you notes .
Welcome to New Faculty!
Welcome to our newest faculty members!
Abdelhai Abdelqader, MD
RBHS Instructor
Department of Medicine

George Abdelsayed, MD
Associate Professor
Director, Ambulatory Hepatology
Department of Medicine

 Christoph Buettner, MD
Awaiting Faculty Appointment
Division Chief, Endocrinology, Metabolism and Nutrition; Vice Chair, Basic Research
Department of Medicine
Mihajlo Gjeorgjievski, MD
RBHS Instructor
Department of Medicine

Nady E. Nady-Mohamed, MD
Associate Professor
Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences

Nina Ramessar, MBBS
Assistant Professor
Department of Medicine

Read more about your new colleagues  here .
Deadline Is Today! Rock Your Mask Photo Contest
All members of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School community are invited to participate in a "Rock Your Mask Photo Contest!"

As New Jersey begins to open up, it is integral that we continue to protect ourselves and others by wearing masks in public and at work. Show off your creativity ( and fashion) while setting a good example out in the community.

To submit an entry, simply email a photo of yourself wearing a mask with your name and title, and anything you would like to include about your photo or mask, to Jillian Prior, MPA , assistant director of alumni affairs,
by July 10 . Contestants will be featured in The Weekly View , and the medical school community will be asked to vote on the best photos.
Nominate a Health Care Hero
Congratulations to last week's and this week’s Health Care Heroes at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Top Row, l - r:  Kinsasha Morton, MD , assistant professor of family medicine and community health; Pediatric Cardiology Staff , administrators: AnnMarie McCann, Damaris Messam and Carmen Rosado
nursing: Mary Homan, RN ; and Tamar Thurm, RN, BSN , sonographers: Nadia Clarke, RDCS; Christina Cole, ARDMS/RDCS ; Eric Gozun, CCI ; and Je'Nelle Tompkins, RDCS ; Leah Goldberg, MD , resident, Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences; and Payal Parikh, MD , assistant professor of medicine.

Bottom Row, l - r: Megan Leitch, MD , assistant professor of neurology; Sunanda Gaur, MD , professor of pediatrics and director of the Clinical Research Centers; Rory Ulloque, MD, assistant professor of family medicine and community health; Anum Aslam, MD , resident in the Department of Medicine ; and Justin Le Ro, MD , chief resident of neurology. The housekeeping and maintenance staff at the medical school also was recognized this week.

You are invited to  nominate a member of the medical school community  as a Health Care Hero. To submit a nomination, complete a survey  here .
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In the News

Quarantine Burn: sunburns up 400% in summer of 2020 -- Sandy Milgraum, MD -- wkpvi.com

Safety precautions for children returning to day care centers -- Lawrence Kleinman, MD, MPH -- pix11.com

Life-changing healthcare breakthrough towards Malaysia 5.0 -- Paul F. Weber, MD, RPh, MBA -- malaymail.com

52 Things You Need to Know About Viruses -- Patricia Whitley-Williams, MD -- msn.com

Fighting COVID-19 with Dexamethsone -- Fredric Wondisford, MD -- WMBC-TV

Rare Coronavirus-linked Syndrome Has Affected Hundreds of U.S. Children -- Lawrence Kleinman, MD, MPH , and Steven Horwitz, MD -- newsweek.com

Parents: Beware of this COVID-linked syndrome in kids -- Lawrence Kleinman, MD, MPH -- futurity.com

Rutgers co-leads first nationwide study of COVID-19 related multiple inflammatory syndrome -- Lawrence Kleinman, MD, MPH , and Steven Horwitz, MD -- medicalexpress.com, sciencemag.com

Cellectar Appoints Dr. John Friend as Chief Medical Officer -- John Friend, MD , alumnus -- globenewswire.com

COVID Surges Among Young Adults -- Lawrence Kleinman, MD, MPH -- medscape.com

Caring for Children With Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome -- Usha Ramachandran, MD -- nytimes.com

Why do some people talk in their sleep? -- Mathew Scharf, MD -- mic.com

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