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Archive for May, 2017

UNMC’s Chancellor Gold Also to Lead UNO

Chancellor Gold April 27, 2017

After the announcement that UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, would also serve as the chancellor of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Dr. Gold walked through UNO’s campus with several students. From left, UNO student Patrick Davlin, Dr. Gold, UNO student Sadie Denker and UNO student Hameidah Alsafwani.

University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds, PhD, said Thursday that he has indefinitely paused the chancellor search at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) and appointed UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, to also lead the UNO campus on an interim basis.

The appointment will deepen collaboration between NU’s Omaha-based institutions and ensure steady leadership at a time when both are poised to grow their impact in Nebraska and beyond.

Dr. Gold, UNMC’s chancellor since early 2014, will add leadership of UNO to his responsibilities on May 8, pending approval by the Board of Regents at its June meeting. Dr. Gold succeeds current Chancellor John Christensen, who last fall announced his decision to step down after more than a decade of leadership at UNO.

“Jeff Gold is a proven leader who, together with talented faculty, staff and students, has put UNMC on a remarkable trajectory,” Dr. Bounds says. “He knows Omaha and our state well, he has built deep connections with university stakeholders, and he appreciates the unique – and in many cases complementary – missions of Nebraska’s public academic health science center and its metropolitan university.

“We have a chance to think boldly by leveraging the combined strengths of both campuses to grow our research enterprise, expand opportunities for students, and serve our state even more effectively. This appointment makes sense financially and, more importantly, it makes sense for our students, faculty and staff, and Nebraskans. Jeff is the right person, at the right time, to lead UNO into the future.”

Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, UNMC chancellor, will also take over the UNO Chancellorship on an interim basis.

Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, UNMC chancellor, will also take over the UNO chancellorship on an interim basis.

Dr. Gold says, “Over the past three years I have been impressed and inspired by the work being done at our neighboring University of Nebraska campus. UNO is on the move, and that is a credit to Chancellor Christensen’s leadership, along with the faculty, staff, students, and community and private sector partners who share in the vision of what it means to be a premier metropolitan university. Our campuses have a long record of collaboration and I am humbled and honored to get to know UNO and its people even better in the months ahead. This is an opportunity to work together to change the world – and we will.”

Dr. Gold’s appointment follows a national search that began in November when Dr. Bounds named a 15-member search advisory committee and hosted a series of stakeholder listening sessions to gather input on the qualities the university should seek in the next chancellor.

Bounds praised the work of the committee, co-chaired by Theresa Barron-McKeagney, associate dean of UNO’s College of Public Affairs and Community Service, and Michael Yanney, chairman emeritus of The Burlington Capital Group LLC and a leader in Omaha’s business and philanthropic communities. Committee members worked with professional search firm Parker Executive Search to develop a position profile and build a rich and diverse pool of candidates.

“Our goal was to find the right person who could pick up where Chancellor Christensen will leave off and continue UNO’s momentum,” Barron-McKeagney says. “We spent countless hours evaluating candidates. While the position attracted interest from across the country, ultimately none of the candidates were the right mutual fit. We’re excited to have Dr. Jeff Gold lead our campus forward.”

Dr. Bounds said the search was challenged by two primary factors. First, it was conducted in a highly competitive marketplace. At one point during the search, there were 100 president and chancellor openings across the country.

Second, Dr. Bounds said the state’s current fiscal challenges and their impact on the university created hesitation for some candidates.

Dr. Bounds says Dr. Gold’s interim appointment is a logical and strategic solution given that fiscal realities will necessitate more shared operations between the Omaha campuses. Particularly as the university faces critical budgeting decisions in the coming months, pausing the search for an indefinite period and establishing clear and stable leadership is the right decision for UNO and its faculty, staff and students.

He adds he and Dr. Gold will continually evaluate the leadership structure and, in concert with UNO stakeholders, determine at a later date the right time and approach for resuming the chancellor search. Dr. Gold’s appointment will be assisted by a broadly representative transition team whose members will be named in the coming weeks. The team will include Chancellor Christensen and other university stakeholders who will help ensure a seamless transition of leadership.

Dr. Gold’s leadership of both UNO and UNMC will build on collaborative efforts already underway that are growing Nebraska’s economy and quality of life. For example, the two campuses have joined on a new institute, called UNeTech, that will support start-up companies grown from university research. The campuses also partner on the Urban Health Opportunities Program, through which students receive scholarship support at UNO and then, upon successful completion of the program, are guaranteed admission to health professions programs at UNMC.

UNO and UNMC also work collaboratively in biomechanics research, an area where UNO is a national leader; in the university-wide National Strategic Research Institute, through which faculty conduct research focused on defense and national security; the Nebraska Applied Research Institute, which contracts with industry and government to address financial, security or life-threatening risks that businesses and public agencies face; and a number of other efforts. The campuses’ global engagement efforts are also under unified leadership.

New Minimally Invasive Procedure Provides Significant Results for Obese Patients

New Minimally Invasive Procedure Provides Significant Results for Obese Patients

A new noninvasive bariatric procedure that can be performed endoscopically has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and is available to patients at the Bariatrics Center at Nebraska Medicine.

The Orbera® intragastric balloon is providing obese patients with another option to achieve significant weight loss when traditional methods of diet and exercise have not worked.

“This is a very safe procedure that can be performed as an outpatient and requires minimal recovery time,” says Tiffany Tanner, MD, bariatric surgeon at Nebraska Medicine.

The procedure is one of several weight loss options available at the Bariatrics Center, which offers both surgical and non-surgical medical weight loss options for treating obesity. The program is designed and directed by physicians who are specialty trained in medical weight management and bariatric surgery and are supported by a multidisciplinary team of specialists.

“Obesity is a difficult condition to treat,” says Dr. Tanner. “The Bariatrics Center is the ideal place to send patients because it offers patients a variety of surgical and non-surgical options. Not all patients are ready to undergo surgery and our program allows us to meet patients where they are at and offer them options to help them loose weight.”

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Tiffany Tanner, MD

For many obese patients, however, surgery provides the most effective long-term solution for weight loss when other methods have failed. In a randomized clinical trial that involved 255 adults with a BMI between 30 and 40, people who had the intragastric balloon procedure along with behavioral therapy lost 27 percent of their excess weight. The group that had only behavioral therapy lost 10 percent of their excess weight at 9 months.

The Orbera® intragastric balloon procedure is a soft, deflated silicone balloon that is introduced into the patient’s stomach via an endoscope that is passed down a patient’s esophagus into the stomach. Once the intragastric balloon is endoscopically inserted, the empty balloon is filled with sterile saline. The balloon takes up space in the patient’s stomach, limiting food intake and reducing feelings of hunger. The intragastric balloon is removed after six months in another short endoscopic procedure. During that next six-month period, the patient continues to participate in a behavior modification program and follows a medically supervised diet.

Another difference with this procedure is that it has an indication for a lower BMI than that of traditional bariatric surgery. The National Institute of Health’s current guidelines for bariatric surgery require patients to have a BMI of 40 and over or a BMI of 35 and over with significant co-morbid conditions. This procedure can be performed on patients with a lower BMI of between 30 and 40. “This allows us to offer patients another option as we can intervene sooner and practice preventive medicine,” notes Dr. Tanner.

Patients are carefully selected after a thorough evaluation process that includes screening by the bariatric surgeon as well as a psychologist, exercise psychologist and nutritionist.

The intragastric balloon procedure is ideal for patients who are moderately overweight and want to begin with a less invasive weight loss procedure, notes Dr. Tanner.

As with other bariatric procedures and surgeries that lead to significant weight loss, the intragastric balloon may help improve or eradicate conditions often related to being overweight, says Dr. Tanner.

“Obesity has many implications for a patient’s health and can significantly increase a person’s risk for a number of serious diseases like cancer, heart disease, arthritis and diabetes, and therefore, increase mortality,” says Dr. Tanner. “It effects daily life, co-morbidities and mortality.”

A study published in the January issue of JAMA looked at patients who had undergone bariatric surgery (primarily roux en y gastric bypass) and compared them to matched controls and then looked at their survival. The study showed that at 10 years, mortality for obese individuals who had weight loss surgery was 13.8 percent versus 23.9 percent for the control group. “This study underscores how hard obesity is on the body,” says Dr. Tanner.

The Bariatrics Center at Nebraska Medicine is a nationally accredited program through the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and American College of surgeons (of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP)). The designation recognizes surgical programs with a certain physical, and human resources and standards of clinic practice. Clinical research shows that the most experienced and best-run bariatric surgery programs have much lower rates of complication.

 

About the Author

Nizar Mamdani, Executive Director and founder of the International Healthcare Services at Nebraska Medicine says, “Tiffany Tanner, MD is an inspiring and remarkable example of the caliber of specialists and researchers working tirelessly to help provide better care for obesity.  Through collaborative strategic partnerships with 122 institutions in 44 countries, we continue to provide innovative educational and treatment options, as well as specialized tele-pathology and second opinion consultation services for Neurology, Cancercare and Transplantation patients around the world.”

Contact | nmamdani@nebraskamed.com; www.unmc.edu/international; +1 (402) 559-3656

Melanoma on the Rise

Early Detection and Staging of Melanoma is Key to Successful Outcomes

Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. While melanoma accounts for only one percent of skin cancer cases, it is responsible for the majority of skin cancer related deaths.

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Nicole De Rosa, MD

The incidence of melanoma has been steadily increasing for at least 30 years. A 2012 study found that between 1970 and 2009, the rate of melanoma among women and men increased by eight-fold and four-fold, respectively.

“The incidence of melanoma has been steadily increasing on average by 1.4 percent each year over the past 10 years,” says Nicole de Rosa, MD, surgical oncologist at Nebraska Medicine, who specializes in melanoma, complex gastrointestinal cancers and sarcoma. “Common risk factors include UV light exposure from sunlight or tanning beds, older age, male gender, white race and family history. “If caught at an early stage and treated with proper surgical resection, it is highly curable.”

“Most skin cancers can be diagnosed early with a simple skin examination. Your doctor should check your skin carefully as part of a routine cancer-related check-up. Additionally, it’s important to check your own skin, preferably once a month, if you have many moles or any of the risk factors for melanoma”, says Dr. de Rosa. High-risk groups – those with a family history of skin cancer or a personal history of any skin cancer may benefit from a regular skin examination by a board-certified dermatologist.

Many moles are completely benign. Signs we use to determine if a mole may be suspicious for harboring cancer are known as the ABCDEs of a melanoma: Asymmetric shape, Border irregularity, Color variation or uneven distribution, Diameter (6 mm or anything larger than a pencil eraser), and most importantly Evolution, meaning a mole with recent changes in size, color, or irritation.

Melanoma can occur on any skin of the body, even those that have not been exposed to the sun, says Dr. de Rosa. Additionally, melanomas can more rarely form on other parts of the body including the eyes, mouth, genitals, and anal area.

“If a suspicious mole is detected, a full-thickness skin biopsy should be performed to get the most accurate staging information to direct future treatment,” says Dr. de Rosa. “Melanomas are treated based on the depth of extension into the skin, not on the width of the lesion.”

In general, melanomas up to 1 mm in depth are considered early stage and can be treated with wide local excision alone, as long as there are no signs that the lesion is high-risk. Melanomas deeper than 1 mm and without evidence of distant spread, should be treated with wide local excision and sentinel lymph node biopsy. “Patients who undergo sentinel lymph node biopsy have between a 5 to 40 percent chance of having cancer detected in the lymph node, based on the primary lesion characteristics,” says Dr. de Rosa.

“Early-stage melanomas can often be treated successfully with surgery alone, but more advanced cancers require additional treatments,” says Dr. de Rosa. Nebraska Medicine has a multi-disciplinary group of physicians who are dedicated to treating patients with melanoma and other complex skin cancers. This team includes surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, as well as plastic and reconstructive surgeons who are highly specialized in optimizing oncologic and aesthetic outcomes.

 

About the Author

Nicole De Rosa, MD

Nizar Mamdani, Executive Director and founder of the International Healthcare Services at Nebraska Medicine says, “Nicole De Rosa, MD is an inspiring and remarkable example of the caliber of specialists and researchers working tirelessly to help provide better cancer care.  Through collaborative strategic partnerships with 122 institutions in 44 countries, we continue to provide innovative educational and treatment options, as well as specialized tele-pathology and second opinion consultation services for Neurology, Cancercare and Transplantation patients around the world.”

Contact | nmamdani@nebraskamed.com; www.unmc.edu/international; +1 (402) 559-3656

Revolutionary Cancer Care that’s the Right Care for Your Patient

 

When you have a patient who has been diagnosed with cancer, you want to make sure he or she is not only receiving the best and most cutting-edge care, but also the right care. Roger Belohlavy is a case in point.

Belohlavy was critically ill. All treatments for his acute lymphoblastic leukemia had failed. Until he came to Nebraska Medicine. The therapy he received here is one of the most cutting-edge treatments now available to fight his type of cancer.

Belohlavy qualified for a clinical trial using an immunotherapy called CAR T-cell therapy. The treatment targets cancer cells by homing in on specific molecular changes seen primarily in those cells and then engineering a patient’s own immune cells to recognize and attack the cancer. The therapy saved Belohlavy’s life. Twenty-eight days after the infusion, Belohlavy was declared cancer-free.

The development of new cutting-edge cancer treatments like immunotherapy is just one of the many treatments the specialists and researchers at Nebraska Medicine are developing to win the battle against cancer. Personalized cancer therapies based on a person’s DNA also are play a growing role in diagnosis and treatment and Nebraska Medicine researchers and clinicians are at the forefront of these advances bringing the latest clinical trials and breakthroughs to our patients.

Nebraska Medicine provides the most comprehensive cancer care in the region using the most advanced and innovative treatments. It is one of only sixty nine National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers in the United States. NCI-designated Cancer Centers are recognized for their scientific excellence and commitment to cancer treatment and research that focuses on the development of more effective approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis and therapy.

Patients come from across the state and around the world to see many of the internationally renowned cancer specialists at Nebraska Medicine, many of whom have dedicated training in specialty areas of cancer. This includes areas such as breast cancer, lymphoma and leukemia, multiple myeloma, ovarian and cervical cancer and thyroid cancer. This ensures our patients receive the most advanced and up-to-date care and treatment.

Nebraska Medicine is also making cancer care more personal and accessible than ever with cancer clinics available at Bellevue, Village Pointe and Nebraska Medical Center.

Our new multidisciplinary breast cancer clinic at Village Pointe streamlines appointments for the patient and brings a multidisciplinary team of breast cancer experts together to provide a comprehensive approach to cancer care based on a woman’s personal preferences. The clinic is also one of a few health care centers in the region offering cutting-edge 3-D mammography that can increase detection rates by 40 percent and reduce callback rates by 20 to 40 percent.

Opening this spring on the Nebraska Medical Center campus, is the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center will integrate high-tech clinical medicine with research to accelerate new therapies for patients. Scientists and clinicians will be working together in one building as a team to collaborate on the development of new cancer treatments.

“Our goal is to be a national leader in cancer research and clinical care and one of the leading cancer centers in the country,” says Ken Cowan, MD, PhD, director of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. “We’re not content with just being a part of these exciting developments in cancer care, we want to be pioneering and leading these new advances.”

Nizar Mamdani, Executive Director and founder of the International Healthcare Services at Nebraska Medicine says, “Ken Cowan, MD, PhD, director of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center is an inspiring and remarkable example of the caliber of specialists and researchers working tirelessly to help provide better cancer care.  Through collaborative strategic partnerships with 122 institutions in 44 countries, we continue to provide innovative educational and treatment options, as well as specialized tele-pathology and second opinion consultation services for Neurology, Cancercare and Transplantation patients around the world.”

Contact | nmamdani@nebraskamed.com; www.unmc.edu/international; +1 (402) 559-3656

Making Impressions from the Feet Up

David Mercer, MD's sock collection has taken on a life of its own. It's just another way he can connect on a personal level with his patients.

David Mercer, MD’s, sock collection has taken on a life of its own. It’s just another way he can connect on a personal level with his patients.

David Mercer, MD, has a special bond with young Garrett McKinney. You may notice his socks. McKinney was a patient in the Intestinal Rehabilitation Program and graduated from the feeding therapy program at Munroe-Meyer Institute.

David Mercer, MD, has a special bond with young Garrett McKinney. McKinney was a patient in the Intestinal Rehabilitation Program and graduated from the feeding therapy program at Munroe-Meyer Institute.

When most patients — especially kids — see transplant surgeon David Mercer, MD, they almost always look at his feet first. It’s become part of his remarkable bedside manner at Nebraska Medicine.

Dr. Mercer’s socks makes quite an impression on his patients. One grandmother says, “Garrett saw argyle socks at the store while we were in Omaha and he had to get three pairs. They are his Dr. Mercer socks!”

Here’s an entertaining video about Dr. Mercer and his socks.

 

Nizar Mamdani, Executive Director and founder of the International Healthcare Services at Nebraska Medicine says, “David Mercer, MD is an inspiring and remarkable example of the caliber of specialists and researchers working tirelessly to help provide better transplant care.  Through collaborative strategic partnerships with 122 institutions in 44 countries, we continue to provide innovative educational and treatment options, as well as specialized tele-pathology and second opinion consultation services for Neurology, Cancercare and Transplantation patients around the world.”

Contact | nmamdani@nebraskamed.com; www.unmc.edu/international; +1 (402) 559-3656

 

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