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|Grants and gifts|
|Brothers share medical school,...|
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|Table of Contents|
Table of Contents
Boy gets new heart
Lucky folks in the HSC
OCD rituals explained
Brain changes affect memory
Dean shares Jordan journal
Grants and gifts
Brothers share medical school, music
. .. ..
4* -; I
On the Cover
In the spirit of St. Patrick's Day, HSC students,
staff and ', share how- ,found a wee
bit of luck. story on page 12.
Table of Contents
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Q Five questions: iihi iii[...i: F- pi.njiiii l
Q Research: Brain changes affect memory
) Jacksonville: Dean shares Jordan journal
SGrants and Gifts: Finding mustard gas treatment
SStudent profile: Brothers share medical school, music
HSC may be loud
and jiggly this spring
By Tom Fortner
t could be an EKG readout for a seriously irregular heartbeat, but it's
nothing that ominous. Instead, the graph with the jagged red and
blue lines is the "vibration and noise impact chart" for the
construction of the Biomedical Sciences Building.
It's part of the wealth of information dealing with the project
presented on UF's Planning and Construction Web site (www.facilities.
ufl.edu/prjlist.asp). In addition to developing these online resources,
project manager Frank Javaheri has been meeting with faculty and staff
to prepare them for any and all disturbances.
The good news is that most of the worst effects won't occur until after
the second week of May, when the spring semester has ended. That's
when the existing Communicore loading dock area will be demolished
and excavated. Construction crews plan to work 16- to 20-hour days to
complete that project in 40 days or less.
The bad news is that HSC denizens closest to the project may want to
temporarily relocate any crystal vases on their bookshelves and finally
spring for that iPod to screen out the noise. It's liable to be loud and
jiggly, with a peak around May 25.
Another bit of good news is that although the drop-off circle on Center
Drive will be closed, the road itself will remain open, with only
occasional lane closures for delivery of construction materials or other
purposes. The project is scheduled to be completed in January 2009.
Otneil Dominguez, right, and Randy West, underground construction workers with USI Utility
Service of Gainesville, run communication lines from the Communicore Building to the future
site of the Biomedical Sciences Building. Whiting-Turner Contracting Company is managing
2 "1 ,6l a a%,M- Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events.
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UF dental students and faculty provided oral hygiene and
dental screenings at the 7th annual Family Empowerment
Health Fair lan 2' in East Gainesville.
MN.re iliji 2n"' people attended the fair, including
(Gbrielli. 4, .I h,. learned the proper way to brush her teeth
tr,.ni hirt-\ ear dental student Racquel Lewis. The event
featured 5I.' ,.inimuity, health and social services
exh\lbit.rt and I, sponsored by the Shands Eastside
i ,,nnIur ni\ Reliratns and Educational Coordination office.
F, Behold the power of brains
I I What weighs about three pounds and can handle more information than the Library of Congress?
If you answered the human brain, you are right on target.
Each day, scientists learn more about the remarkably unique mass of tissue within each of us
that controls everything from our body temperature to our deepest emotions, and interprets
\f1l everything we see, hear, taste, smell and feel.
"Our brains make us who we are," said Dennis Steindler, Ph.D., executive director of the Evelyn
con mF. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute at UF, "and our understanding of how amazing the
mvau human brain really is increases with each new discovery."
Steindler will discuss "How the Brain Works and How the Broken Brain Can Be Fixed" at 10:30
a.m. March 17 at the DeWeese Auditorium on the ground floor of the McKnight Brain Institute,
S100 S. Newell Drive, Gainesville.
f U Anyone from middle-school students to retirees who want to learn more about the brain or
about how MBI scientists are trying to cure Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and every other neurological
disease is invited.
Steindler's talk will also give audience members an opportunity to ask any questions they may
have about the normal brain or about how brain disease and injury is treated today and may be
treated in the future.
The talk is part of Brain Awareness Week, which is being recognized worldwide March 12-18 to
increase public understanding of the brain.
. I .1 http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events. I 1 3
Device helped boy live
to receive new heart
Story By April Frawley Birdwell Photography By Sarah Kiewel
Alexzander Wood, 9, received a new heart Feb. 19, four months after surgeons placed
an assist device called the Berlin Heart in him to help his heart work until a donor
could be found. These photographs were taken a few weeks before his transplant.
Alexander Wood clutched his chest as
he ran down the hall to find his mother.
It was 10 p.m., two days after the new
school year started last August, and Alexzander,
9, didn't feel well.
By the next morning, instead of going to school, Alexzander was in the
emergency room at the hospital in Orange Park, Fla., where his family
lives. There, Elizabeth Wood sat in shock as doctors explained her son's
heart was failing. Diagnosed with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, a
weakness of the heart muscle possibly stemming from a virus, Alexzander
was transferred to Shands at UF.
"He was never sick," Wood said. "He never missed a day of school until
then. He always wanted to receive his perfect attendance award. He loved
having those awards on the wall. That's just him."
In September, surgeons implanted a mechanical device called the Berlin
Heart in Alexzander to help his heart work and keep him alive until a
compatible donor heart could be found. He was the first child in Florida
to receive the biventricular assist device, which connects to the heart.
That day finally came Feb. 19. During a seven-hour operation, UF
College of Medicine surgeons removed the device and replaced Alexzander's
failing heart with a donated one.
"This was a high-risk, complicated surgery, and we're ecstatic that Alex
is doing so well today," said Mark Bleiweis, M.D., a UF cardiac surgeon
and director of the UF Pediatrics Congenital Heart Center, after the
surgery. "You have to see him to believe him. He's stable, already off his
ventilator, sitting up and begging to get out of bed."
After the heart became available in the morning, UF surgeons were
ready to perform the transplant at 4:30 p.m., Bleiweis said.
"Alex insisted on walking himself into the operating room, pushing his
VAD machine, head held high," Bleiweis said. "He wasn't afraid. With this
kid, nothing is unexpected."
Bleiweis and doctors and staff working in the Pediatric Intensive Care
Unit have gotten to know Alexzander in the six months he's been in the
hospital. They teach him medical lingo and always explain what's going on
with his condition, his mother said. He even has his own clipboard and
"He knows more than me," Wood said with a laugh. "He's wanted to be
a doctor since he was 6."
But had it not been for the Berlin Heart, the doctors and nurses may not
4 |1 16L0 I"% M Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events.
have gotten the chance to know Alexzander at all. Tubes
connect the assist device to the heart, but most of it is actually
outside the body linked to a portable computerized unit
Alexzander took to pushing around. It helps the heart pump
and re-establishes circulation, improving the function of other
organs as well, Bleiweis said.
"Alex wouldn't be here had it not been for the Berlin Heart,"
said Jay Fricker, M.D., chief of pediatric cardiology in the
College of Medicine. "He wouldn't have survived this long."
The U.S Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved
the Berlin Heart but allowed the device to be used on a one-
time basis at Shands at UF. Alexzander is one of about 200
children in the world who have received the device.
Aside from being tired of staying cooped up in his hospital
room, Alexzander was still doing well one week after the
transplant, his mother said. She mostly feels thankful, for the
friends and family who have helped them during the past six
months and for the family who made the decision to donate the
heart that saved her son's life.
"I just want to make sure everyone knows how important it
is to be an organ donor," she said. "You're saving a life and
giving another person a chance." 0
Dr. Mark Bleiweis, top, led a team of surgeons in the seven-hour operation to
replace Alexzander's failing heart with a new one last month. The surgery came four
months after Bleiweis implanted the Berlin Heart assist device in Alexzander to keep
the 9-year-old's heart working while he waited for a transplant. The device was
connected to Alexzander's heart, but the bulk of it was outside the body linked to a
portable computerized unit Alexzander took to pushing through the hospital halls.
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events. al I al 10 5
Colleges to exhibit
faculty, student research
Ready to find out what's been going on in all those labs across the Health
Science Center for the past year? Four HSC colleges are gearing up for their
annual research days. The College of Pharmacy held its 20th annual
research day in February and the College of Veterinary Medicine research day will
be held this summer. Here are the dates and times for events in March and April:
Vipal Kumar, a postdoctoral associate in the College of Pharmacy, talks to a
pharmacy student about his research during the college's annual research day
COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
Beginning at 8:15 a.m.; poster presentations at noon
in the Founders Gallery, the Health Professions/
Nursing/Pharmacy Complex reception area and in
McKnight Brain Institute rooms LG-110 A and B;
and an open forum with Dr. James Baker, director
of the Michigan Nanotechnology Institute for
Medicine and the Biological Sciences, from 11 a.m.
to noon in the HPNP Complex Auditorium.
1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the
COLLEGE OF NURSING
Beginning at 9 a.m.; keynote
speaker at 10:30 a.m. in the
HPNP Complex auditorium
and poster presentations at
noon in the HPNP Complex
Noon to 2 p.m. in
the HPNP Complex
Noon to 1 p.m. in the
Cancer and Genetics
speaker Sir Harold Kroto, a
Nobel Prize laureate from
Florida State University.
Dr. Peter Stacpoole, shown here with
a patient, will lead a clinical trial of a
vitaminlike substance called
Coenzyme Q10 to treat patients with
genetic mitochondrial diseases.
GCRC to tackle orphan disease
By Tom Fortner
When a disease strikes so few people there isn't sufficient financial incentive for a drug company to develop a therapy, it's
called an orphan disease.
Now, the College of Medicine has received special Food and Drug Administration funding to tackle such a disease a
condition arising from congenital defects of the body's energy-producing system known as the mitochondrial respiratory chain.
According to Peter Stacpoole, Ph.D., M.D., a professor of medicine and director of UF's General Clinical Research Center, an
estimated one in every 6,000 people suffers from such genetic mitochondrial diseases, though many are undiagnosed. Those born with
these defects experience a range of symptoms that include failure to thrive, developmental delays, cognitive impairments and organ
dysfunction and failure.
There is no cure or FDA-approved therapy for these disorders, Stacpoole said. Traditional treatments include specific vitamins,
supplements and cofactors that produce unpredictable results and have not been rigorously evaluated.
One of those cofactors is Coenzyme Q10, a vitaminlike substance that occurs naturally in every living cell and is vital to the
mitochondrial production of energy.
With three other medical centers, UF will lead the first controlled clinical trial ofCoQ10in children with genetic mitochondrial diseases.
Over the next three years, approximately 50 children from six months to 17 years of age will take the supplement during the study.
"Our hypothesis is that CoQ10 will be safe and beneficial to patients by improving their neurological and neuromuscular function
and overall quality of life," said Stacpoole, who is the principal investigator for the trial. UF patients will be seen in the GCRC.
The research consortium, which includes the University of Cincinnati, the University of Toronto and Case Western Reserve
University, is working with a specialty drug manufacturer called Tishcon Corp., which is producing the CoQ10. Under a special FDA
provision to promote treatments for orphan diseases, the company receives the exclusive right to market the drug for use in respiratory
chain diseases for seven years if the trial's results are positive. Q
6 |1 16L I"% *M Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events.
.... -l--' ----- -.- -I
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Elaine Harden, a UF senior lab technician, takes a throat culture from a young volunteer. Nearly 700
students were examined during the UF study, which looked for associations between strep infections
New research suggests that
strep infections in children
may increase involuntary
movements and disruptive
behaviors associated with some
In an eight-month study of 693 children in a
Florida public school system, UF researchers found
that shortly after the number of strep infections in the
group increased, there was a corresponding rise in
involuntary movements and disruptive behaviors -
symptoms that could indicate a neurological cause.
"During the fall months when there are more strep
infections, after a short time lag, there are increased
behavioral symptoms enough to indicate an
association," said Tanya Murphy, M.D., an associate
professor of psychiatry in the College of Medicine.
"We did not assess the children for particular
neuropsychiatric disorders, so we're not saying actual
disorders were present in the children, but the
symptoms were there."
The research adds weight to the existence of
PANDAS, short for Pediatric Autoimmune
Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with
Streptococcus. Some scientists think a host of
problems such as tics, personality change, anxiety and
obsessive-compulsive disorder may be triggered by
strep infections in some children.
Scientists suspect group A streptococcal infections
- the kind that cause strep throat in some people but
occur without symptoms in others may cause the
body's immune system to interact with brain cells that
cause psychiatric symptoms in a small percentage of
In findings published this month in the Journal of
Biological Psychiatry, UF researchers describe how
they found an association between strep infections
and psychiatric behaviors in children. Students with
treatment for confirmed strep infections.
"This is exactly the kind
of study that was needed,
a prospective evaluation
to quantify the increased
risk of neuropsychiatric or
following strep infections
in the general pediatric
population. Loren Mell, M.D.
and neuropsychiatric symptoms within a group of
students in a Florida school system. Previously,
research in the PANDAS field focused on children
already diagnosed with psychiatric disorders.
"We were looking for patterns of association in just
a standard group of children who ranged in age from 3
to 12 years," Murphy said. "We were seeing 693 kids
once a month for eight months and made more than
Throat cultures were collected to test for group A
streptococcal infections while a clinician screened for
tics and other involuntary movements of the fingers,
wrists, arms, elbows and shoulders.
In addition, as the children waited in line for their
neurological screenings, the researcher made note of
tic movements or any of nine categories of behaviors,
ranging from fidgeting and hair-twirling to excessive
family permission had the option of receiving
about 26 percent of
children who had two
or more strep
compared with 17
percent of children
who were not infected
or infected only once. TANYA MURPHY M.D.
Strep throat and
other group A strep infections are common in schools
and environments where bacteria are easily spread.
They are passed through direct contact with saliva or
nasal discharge from an infected person, according to
the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious
Depending on the season strep peaks in
December and January more than one in three
children will be infected. Not all of the children will
have sore throat symptoms, but they carry the bacteria
and can infect others.
Determining whether strep truly triggers
psychiatric disorders in some children will require
further exploration. Scientists would next like to
monitor the effect of strep treatment on psychiatric
symptoms or observe whether a patient's infection-
fighting antibodies rise or fall in step with psychiatric
"This is exactly the kind of study that was needed, a
prospective evaluation to quantify the increased risk of
neuropsychiatric or movement disorders following
strep infections in the general pediatric population,"
said Loren Mell, M.D., of the University of Chicago.
Mell was part of a team that published findings in 2005
that showed strep infections were associated with
increased risk of obsessive-compulsive disorder,
Tourette's syndrome or tic disorder in children who
were already diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder. 0
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events. Kll]II l 7
UF pharmacists petition
FDA about decongestant
By Linda Homewood
UF pharmacists who recently cautioned the Food and Drug
Administration about the effectiveness of the drug phenylephrine have
petitioned the FDA to take new action and address three specific
recommendations regarding its use.
Randy Hatton, Pharm.D., a clinical professor at the UF College of Pharmacy
and co-director of the Drug Information and Pharmacy Resource Center; Almut
Winterstein, Ph.D., an assistant professor of pharmacy healthcare
administration; and Leslie Hendeles, Pharm.D., a professor of pharmacy and
pediatrics in the colleges of Pharmacy and Medicine, submitted a citizen's
petition in February. The petition asks the FDA to increase the maximum
allowable dose of phenylephrine to 25 milligrams to compensate for poor
absorption, to withdraw approval of phenylephrine for children under 12 and to
call for additional research to validate the effectiveness and safety of the higher
Citing several studies that showed phenylephrine to be no more effective than
a placebo in reducing nasal airway resistance when given at the 10 milligram
dose, Hendeles and Hatton stated in a previously published letter that, "Only 38
percent of the dose reaches the systemic circulation, compared with 90 percent
of a pseudoephedrine dose."
In July, Hendeles and Hatton published a peer-reviewed letter to the editor of
the Journal ofAllergy and Clinical Immunology warning that phenylephrine was
ineffective at the FDA's dose of 10 milligrams, approved in 1976.
The Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act bans medications containing
pseudoephedrine from being sold over the counter. The drug is one of the
ingredients that can be used to make the street drug methamphetamine. The
law took effect in September, requiring medications containing pseudoephedrine
A group of UF pharmacists have challenged the effectiveness of
formula changes in some over-the-counter medications.
to be sold behind drugstore counters and only to consumers with photo
identification. Pharmaceutical companies reformulated many common cold and
allergy medications to keep them available on store shelves, switching to
phenylephrine, which cannot be used to make methamphetamine.
After Hendeles' appearance on "Good Morning America" to talk about the
issue, The Annals of Pharmacotherapy released preliminary online access to a
meta-analysis report, slated for publication in its March issue. The report,
conducted by researchers from UF's colleges of Pharmacy and Medicine, shows
that a 25 milligram dose of phenylephrine is likely to be effective, whereas 10
milligrams are not. Clinical trials reviewed in the report also revealed that the
higher dose did not appear to cause an increase in cardiac side effects.
The ABC News print story and news video, "Is Cold Medicine Less Effective
Because of the Meth War?" featuring Hendeles, can be viewed online at
Accreditation process yields praise for two HSC colleges
By Linda Homewood and April Frawley Birdwell
M ake room for company, Urban Meyer.
The UF colleges of Pharmacy and Medicine may not be ranked No. 1
among the nation's pharmacy or medical schools yet, but evaluators who
recently visited each school say both are getting pretty close.
After completing its yearlong accreditation evaluation of the College of Pharmacy
in January, members of the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education told UF
officials that the college is quickly becoming one of the top five pharmacy schools in
the country. The council evaluates pharmacy schools every six years to ensure each
continues to meet standards.
"The team's report depicted what we have known all along: the University of
Florida College of Pharmacy is world-class," said Dean William Riffee, Ph.D.
The council commended the college's "enthusiasm, hard work, dedication and
commitment to excellence" in its final evaluation, which was submitted to Riffee,
UF President Bernie Machen, D.D.S., Ph.D., Provost Janie Fouke, Ph.D., and
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs Doug Barrett, M.D.
Evaluators praised the college's model distance education program, excellent
faculty-student relationships, dedicated faculty and students and its commitment to
active learning and technology-assisted teaching methods.
There are a few more steps left in the College of Medicine's bid for continued
accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, but the
preliminary evaluation from the committee's February visit is the best the college
has ever received, said Robert Watson, M.D., senior associate dean for educational
"For the first time to anyone's knowledge, the UF College of Medicine was perfect
on all education standards," Watson said. "The final LCME report won't be
completed until June, but at this point we couldn't be more pleased."
Typically, the education standards are the most common stumbling block for
medical schools during accreditation, Watson said. Of the 125 standards the
committee evaluates, 48 are related to education.
The committee praised the college's administration, pride among students and
faculty and its mission-based budgeting system, among other things.
An additional step in the accreditation process for all colleges is to identify goals
for improvement. In the College of Pharmacy, the next step will be to use these
recommendations to develop a strategic plan for the college that is aligned with the
university, the pharmacy profession and the pharmaceutical needs of Floridians.
"We will work together to reach our goal of being the College of Pharmacy
National Champions by 2013," Riffee said. "Watch out football and basketball, here
we come." 0
8 |1 *6L" I *dM Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events.
Designed to drive:
Improving intersections can help older
drivers on the road
C changes in roadway intersection design can
keep older drivers safer and on the road
longer, report UF researchers in the current
issue of Traffic Injury Prevention.
Wider road shoulders, right-turn lanes that
allow drivers to merge into traffic without
stopping and angle intersections no sharper than
90 degrees all led to better driving performance
by older and younger drivers involved in a UF
study of roadway intersection design.
"I think the research shows early support that
environmental enhancements are conducive to
older driver safety and improved performance,"
said principal investigator Sherrilene Classen,
Ph.D., an assistant professor in the College of
Public Health and Health Professions' SHERRILENE CLASSEN, PH.D.
department of occupational therapy. "But what
we found is that it didn't just benefit older drivers, it benefited the younger
drivers involved in the study, some of whom were between the ages of 35 and 54,
which is also the safest group of drivers."
In 2003 about one in seven licensed drivers was 65 or older. By 2029, that
proportion is expected to rise to one in four drivers, according to the AARP
Public Policy Institute. Although drivers 65 and older have lower rates of
crashes than younger drivers, they are at higher risk for injury or death because
of increased fragility.
The UF study is the first to test the Federal Highway Administration's
proposed guidelines for highway design to increase safe driving ability of older
drivers. The researchers, members of the college's National Older Driver
Research and Training Center, focused on the recommendations for
intersections in urban areas because of the high prevalence of crashes associated
The study included 71 participants 39 younger drivers between the ages of
25 and 45, and 32 older drivers, aged 65 and older. Each completed a one-hour
road course that included five intersections with traffic signals that met federal
guidelines and five "unimproved" intersections that weren't consistent with
the guidelines. Testing was done in Gainesville in optimal driving conditions:
daylight, good weather and non-peak traffic hours.
The test car was a 2004 Buick Century, typical of the vehicles driven by older
adults. During the road course, instruments collected data on the car's stability
and speed and cameras recorded the drivers' head movements. In addition,
evaluators recorded data on the participants' driving behaviors, such as
yielding, signaling, adjusting to stimuli or traffic signals and gauging the
distance between oncoming traffic.
The study results showed that the younger and older drivers had enhanced
driving performance for three of the improved intersections: a widened
receiving lane for left turns, which provides an extra four feet to the shoulder;
right-turn lanes that channel drivers into the flow of oncoming traffic without
requiring a complete stop; and intersections that are at a 90-degree angle, rather
than a sharper angle, such as 75 degrees.
"There are many changes that go hand-in-hand with normal aging, such as
decreased peripheral vision and slower reaction time," Classen said. "Improving
the roads, taking these age-related changes into consideration, can really
benefit older drivers by keeping them on the road longer."
Future research should include tests of the federal guidelines under other
conditions such as in bigger cities, rural areas or at night, Classen said. In
addition, ongoing driving simulator studies led by Orit Shechtman, Ph.D., an
associate professor of occupational therapy, may demonstrate that the simulator
is just as effective at evaluating driving ability as on-road tests, thereby
providing a less expensive and safer alternative to traditional road tests.
"Given the great expense involved in improving intersections, the study
shows that these improvements lead to safer driving for older adults," said
David Eby, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan Transportation Research
Institute. "This information is important for city planners who are in the
process of improving intersections." 0
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events. KiI l 0 9
Pauly to focus on HSC diversity, equity
u 1 1
REBECCA RAINER PAULY, M.D.
By Tom Fortner
he Health Science Center commitment to
diversity and equity will take a big step forward
next month with the creation of a formal position
to foster these values and promote changes leading
to a more diverse faculty.
Rebecca Rainer Pauly, M.D., F.A.C.P, has been appointed associate vice president
for health affairs for equity and diversity, effective April 9.
The half-time appointment will permit Pauly, an associate professor and associate
chair of medicine for medical student education, to continue to teach and see
patients in the department of medicine. But she will give up her position as chief of
the division of internal medicine, a job she's held since 1999.
Pauly will work with the Office of the Senior Vice President for Health Affairs,
the HSC deans and others to increase faculty diversity, with special emphasis on
enhancing understanding, appreciation and respect for differences such as race,
gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation.
Her specific duties will be to strengthen faculty recruitment and retention
procedures with respect to diversity, serve as the HSC's affirmative action officer,
create mentoring programs with an emphasis on minority and women faculty, and
work to eliminate barriers that impede their advancement.
"I'm passionate about this opportunity and critical need," Pauly said. "I feel that it's
an issue that's been on the radar screen, but now it's emerged as a major challenge."
Clearly it's on the radar of UF President Bernie Machen, who addressed the issue
at a board of trustees retreat in February. He expressed concern that black faculty
candidates in particular may perceive UF as unwelcoming. Machen has asked a
black member of the faculty to informally explore that possibility.
Campuswide, only 3.5 percent of full-time faculty are black. That percentage has
remained flat for about 15 years despite attempts to enhance diversity, Machen said.
At the HSC, only 1 percent of full-time faculty are black, Pauly said.
"Becoming a great health center requires the richness of a diverse faculty in each
of our six colleges," said Doug Barrett, senior vice president for health affairs. "Dr.
Pauly's enthusiasm for this challenge and her perspective were important in her
being selected for this position. Her efforts are going to be focused on helping us
continuously improve in terms of diversity and equity.
Pauly's interest in the subject was piqued when she served on the steering
committee preparing for the College of Medicine's recent accreditation site visit by
the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. One statistic she noted in the self-
study data was 7 percent the proportion of underrepresented minorities in the
Although the focus of Pauly's new role is on the faculty rather than students, the
relationship between them is clear when it comes to diversity.
"If we have a more diverse faculty we have more role models, and that makes it
easier to recruit diverse students," she said.
Though she comes to her new role out of the College of Medicine, her focus will
be on all the HSC colleges, each with its own unique circumstances.
Beyond enhancing recruitment efforts, Pauly said the organization has to
consider the climate into which people are recruited. The university's lack of
diversity may, in and of itself, be a red flag to minority faculty.
"It's not just about recruiting but also retaining a diverse faculty," she said.
"One may feel isolated here, even if the intent is to be inclusive and supportive."
"If we have a more
diverse faculty we have
more role models, and
that makes it easier to
recruit diverse students."
Rebecca Rainer Pauly, M.D.
Equity is part of that organizational climate. Equity goes beyond compensation,
job title or the ability to gain tenure, Pauly said, although those are obviously
important matters. Inequitable treatment can include being assigned job duties
that are the "nonpopular, no-credit kinds of things," like extra call duty.
"Equity means everyone should be treated fairly," she said.
There seems to be room for improvement, at least according to a survey of UF
faculty completed in 2005. Only a little more than half of the faculty could affirm
that "equal opportunity truly exists at the University of Florida."
Pauly's toolkit to facilitate change includes creating awareness through the
visibility the office provides and arranging workshops, lectureships and mentoring
networks. Plans also call for the establishment of an advisory committee that will
include people from outside the university.
"Some of this is going to take time and will require a phased plan," Pauly said.
"I'm very interested in being proactive." 0
101 Ilu M Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events.
Medical dean search narrows
to four, then three
By Tom Fortner
he search for the next dean of the UF College of Medicine moved into
the final stages Feb. 19 when the search committee recommended four
finalists for consideration.
The four emerged from an original group of 10 interviewed candidates, seven of whom were invited back to Gainesville
and Jacksonville for intense two-day visits.
"It was an extremely strong pool of candidates and that made it a challenge for us," said Kathleen Ann Long, Ph.D., chair
of the search committee and dean of the UF College of Nursing, who added that having so many qualified candidates was a
good problem to have. "The likelihood that we would not secure a dean from this pool was very low."
The list of finalists was trimmed to three when one candidate, Marschall S. Runge, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of
DENNIS W. CHOI, M.D., PH.D. North Carolina, withdrew March 1. Runge, who was also a finalist for the dean position at the University of Texas Medical
School at Houston and a candidate at the University of Michigan, reportedly decided to remain in Chapel Hill.
The decision about who the next dean will be rests with Senior Vice President for Health Affairs Doug Barrett in
consultation with UF President Bernie Machen and other senior leaders. Additional interviews are expected to run through
The remaining finalists include:
Dennis W. Choi, M.D., Ph.D. Currently at the Boston University School of Medicine on the pharmacology faculty, Choi
is a neuroscientist who earned his academic stripes at the Washington University School of Medicine, where he was chair of
neurology and director of a research center for cellular and molecular neurobiology. In 2001 he became head of the
neuroscience division at Merck Research Laboratories, leaving after five years when the company shifted its strategic
1 During his open forum at UF, Choi said he thought the college should avoid using National Institutes of Health dollars as
the be-all, end-all measure of research success. He sees opportunities for medical schools to receive more external funding
from industry, in part because their objectives are "highly convergent" and industry needs a new model to identify and
deliver successful therapeutics more efficiently.
Search committee members liked Choi's experience with shared governance at Washington University, a model that
stimulated faculty participation, which he described as "the secret sauce" of the school's success.
Terence R. Flotte, M.D. Flotte is the only remaining internal candidate in the quest to become dean. He is chair of UF's
TERENCE R. FLOTTE, M.D. pediatrics department and is widely recognized for his work in developing genetic therapies for cystic fibrosis and alpha-1
During his open forum at UF, Flotte outlined a vision of the college's future that emphasized building on the already
strong tradition of academic excellence with growth in translational research and education, which he described as the niche
that top academic medical centers can uniquely occupy. Faculty recruitment will be an important "path to the future."
"We need to get the right people on board for this institution," he said. "Many are already on board but we need more."
Several search committee members commented on Flotte's ability to take principled stands on issues even though they
might be unpopular with some. "He's a very trustworthy person," said committee member and Shands CEO Tim Goldfarb.
Bruce C. Kone, M.D. An alumnus of the UF College of Medicine, Kone has been chair of the department of internal
medicine at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston since 2004. He heads the nephrology division and is the
principal investigator on seven active NIH grants. His medical school recently was one of the first 12 to receive a Clinical
Translational Science Award, part of the NIH's Roadmap initiative and something that UF will be seeking next fall.
During his open forum, Kone said the NIH's emphasis on translational research has implications for medical education
that are not always fully recognized.
"It's not just bench to bedside," he said. "It's bench to bedside to adoption in clinical practice, so medical education has
to be part of that."
Search committee members called Kone an "accomplished department chair and scientist" and noted that he is among
the final three candidates to become dean at his home institution. O
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events. K I 0j l I 11
ike anything, luck has its traditionalists. These are the penny-pouncers, always
poised to pluck a heads-up penny off the ground, and the finger-crossers of the
world. College of Public Health and Health Professions student Jeremy
Eminhizer isn't one of them. He has a pencil, a lucky pencil. This month while
the world is celebrating the luck o' the Irish, HSC students, staff and faculty
share their stories of good luck, including Eminhizer's own tale of a pencil he
likens to Hulk Hogan. So cross your fingers, knock on wood, throw salt over you
shoulder and read on.
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121 :* I* "*M Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events.
W hen I was young, my mother grew beautiful plants by her front door.
They were commonly known as "elephant ears" for their resemblance
to the gentle giant's enormous ears. People would marvel at the plants as they
walked by, and it gave me a sense of pride when I helped my mother care for
I developed an affection for the animal, especially the mighty African
That affection deepened when I went to college at the University of South
Carolina and pledged Delta Sigma Theta, whose unofficial symbol was the
mighty African elephant. The sorority's founders were leaders in the
women's suffrage movement. One founder said she felt the elephant best
symbolized the strength of the suffrage movement. Our founders needed
luck, and a rabbit's foot just didn't do it. After all, if the rabbit is so lucky,
why did his foot get cut off?
Since 1974, I have collected everything with an elephant design. I have
more than 300 elephant statues or figurines in a curio at home, in addition to
the extensive collection in my office.
It's more than just an admiration of beauty and strength that draws me to .
the elephant. This animal gives me a sense of comfort and peace when they :
are around me, and I believe they have brought me good fortune over the
years. Elephants remain calm and focused on a purpose, and that is how I try .
to live my life. My sorority's service mission is to help and be a role model to
other African-Americans, and I seek to carry on that tradition. To me, the .
elephant symbolizes that tradition, so why not surround myself with that?
Gloria Mc Whirter, clinical assistant professor, College of Nursing
IJ. n'l Jh luk; -,'hlul. hul I hi j h JJ a lucky number since junior high: 13.
1.... .. .1!\ 1., 1. IdJ, MI -LJI iJ ud icJL Ilher would pick one person in the class to try to answer his
"dJIlJ qu1. Ii.ni,, i 'e V'..uIJ pI k iiJ J I!om an American history trivia game and had to answer
I u! ul I ,I Ii. yuil I i.. n '! L I; i .in i he dollar. This was usually challenging for us and most of
i h I! m I h I ILL LJ i p i ...nJ Id n. i ,. r in \'ell, one day it happened to be Friday the 13th. My teacher
k dJ ...m,..nL I., piLk r nmhL! jnJ I hi person chose 13. The teacher looked in his gradebook. I was
IhV 131 h I, uIe.u l !i IiJ nJ i.V J I Lh.. r n i.' answerr the "dollar questions." The first three questions were
%J,\ L.rnmpiLJ i. I ,he uuLI qu.iLi !n-..n I h J to answer that Arizona was the state with the Grand
Sn\r..n. Iha~ ihe hub !i. JajnLJ in I l1. aji and that U.S. presidents are inaugurated on Jan. 20 at noon,
h hLch I kr L. hLL ul.. i, r\ rmm.. hi! hilhJay.
\1\ I Lu! Ih qul ..In v'r .. .hi h 1i ', pr L'Ident had the same name as both his father and his son. I had
n.. IJlJ I I ~. J up al I he pLl ul !.. I al' I hc presidents hanging on the walls in the room. All I could do
S u ]n.\' L IA. IrnJJ .n ldJJ\ I ..... velt, and I answered with his name. It was the right answer!
1\1\ IaLh,! L.rrnLm J !iahh.!ma.iLJ j, ha handed me my dollar. I probably should have saved that lucky
dollar, but instead I treated myself to a delicious milkshake at lunch that day.
Holly Gans, student, College of I eterinary MVedicine
m V r lw g....J luk LhJ! i, u !Ie JJIdJ lh !iu JppJ! jr ce, you may
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v. jrnnirhbc mrcLhjn!LJ pcrI! II !'hi pcrL ni hai ..~ en i ., hare of both good
jnrJ hid I imrr I 1.. unjlcr.a !Ii, n\ ..I\ crmcni in m\ L..IIcge career has
c.crie i !ocllc If of 'LILLC,"-. C1\-Iapl I, I heal i hi m F Lhemistry class my
I!chmjrn \c Ji!
A\n\ ,'. I hJ\e r I.,nJ mr..i !i.n l J.iILhr nLi I., ihi! pencil, although
!II, ppL i riLL. !i ,u~ PLI I' hc! !L, n mpl\ hI( I s ,.hi, the eraser once
\, I e !p i! h!i.k n. 1', I,!JILh d JnJ i pI !ni !, i ,..rn down from
caY aoL t a nJL palm raubb !np L h!i i.u-h Ji!l L Iull \Jrn, II.~. \cr, prior to all
a\Jern, inJ l qu!//L I 1 i1\ Ihil I' luclkmJ in !I, j !ilned compartment
in m\ ho II. h', rrinLI i! \u i u!r n m\ w.hlJI i n i he only option on
.Il Jj\ Ihi! peni II i!ml rn!j i It, Hullk II. L.an hl -Lmes out of
.; !u !!~rr~run Iu, p!..\, hi,', ,u !ii lih hL.. hL ,nl\ Ii! F, main event.
Someti1101 w( jiu l!irn/ IP up .n I h J J J L fnii -.n. i cmjpu S I :,InJ, the adrenaline
1' pr r umpin L I un I hi-'uIh m\ I... irnJ -I L1 .. l .ead is running
Sh Ih.ui2h hi ,\ I puI pr neLi I. pp~,i. he I he .'LrnnrILl ion between my
hilnp .r L. i. I .rm ill I inu\ LII Li It hi i ..I L ''ILL answer. After the
SnJ ,I -n. Ihn.i .r .. I!L iLLl!a\mi I 1.Irnk J.r n ii Ihe mrnchanical pencil,
give a head nod to show respect and suddenly all is great in my
Jeremy Eminhizer, occupational therapy student, College of Public Health
and Health Professions
I'm not sure when we started our good luck rituals. So much of
what we do seems reliant on luck: Institutional Review Board
approval, enrolling subjects, funding and those sorts of things.
Someone brought in a huge pyramid-shaped candle to be lit
mostly in times of stress. The pyramid, of course, symbolizes
preservation, of life, of job, of sanity. After receiving our first grant
renewal, the candle became our constant source of encouragement.
One of our staff, an Archie McPhee catalog devotee (the same
catalog that sells rubber chickens and brain-shaped Jell-O molds),
ordered a $10 surprise jar that turned out to be full of strange
plastic miniature figures like dinosaurs, jungle animals, aliens,
airplanes and monsters. These oddities numbered in the
hundreds, so he brought the jar into the office where, on any given
day, we could be found picking out one that seemed to evoke a
particular power over a particular problem we were encountering.
Sometimes we just lined them up on our desk for strength in
combat. It really was just for fun. After two competitive grant
renewals and many published articles, our candle burned down to
its base. With a third grant submission on the horizon, a
replacement pyramid candle could not be found, even on the
Internet. This forced a member of our team to delve into candle
crafting. All of our previous birthday and Christmas candle gifts
were melted into one that represents the entire circle of staff, past
Annie Welch, research project director, College of Medicine
141 *16" Ia d Ma Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events.
Not all rituals are lucky
Not everyone has a lucky charm or superstition, but most
people have picked up a penny for good luck or knocked
on wood at least once in their lives. Whether you have a
lucky troll or like wishing on stars, this isn't a big deal to
many people. But for people who have obsessive-
compulsive disorder, even a simple childhood ritual such
explains the distinct difference between wearing a lucky
necklace every day and the problematic rituals that
trouble people with OCD.C hD.u aU
Is having a lucky charm or superstition a normal activity for most people?
I think most people do have something like this. It makes everyone unique and individual. The key is whether it is causing distress. Is it
affecting your life? If it's not, then I think it's wonderful.
So what makes OCD rituals different? Why are they problematic,
compared with a pregame ritual fans might have before a football game?
The main difference between having a lucky item or superstition and having something that warrants a diagnosis is the amount of
impairment and distress. The impairment is how much is it getting in the way of your life? Are you avoiding every crack so you don't step
on a crack and break your mother's back? Are you walking around buildings just to avoid certain walkways? Similarly, if you have a
large degree of distress when you can't engage in a behavior, then that's another sign of a problem.
Could some rituals or routines people have for good luck actually
be OCD, even if they don't think what they're doing is a big deal?
It can come in so many forms. There is a very good baseball player and before each pitch he steps in and out of the batter's box and
then touches his batting gloves about seven times on each side. Then he kind of taps his bat. It's a 20-second routine. He has said he
doesn't think it's problematic. I think it's problematic. If I had to pitch 10 pitches to him I would be totally annoyed that I have to stand
there and wait for 200 seconds while he does that. The issue is how much time is the ritual taking and is it affecting other people's lives?
What are the symptoms of OCD?
They have to have obsessions and/or compulsions. Obsessions are recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses or images that are
experienced at some time during the disturbance as intrusive and inappropriate and that cause marked anxiety or distress. Compulsions
are repetitive behaviors such as hand washing or mental acts like praying and counting that the person feels driven to perform in
response to an obsession. These behaviors or mental acts are aimed at preventing or reducing distress or preventing some dreaded
event or situation; however, these behaviors or mental acts either are not connected in a realistic way with what they are designed to
neutralize or prevent, or are clearly excessive.
What should people do if they think they have OCD
or if they think someone they know has it?
They should contact a mental health professional, a psychiatrist or a psychologist for a consultation. It is typically best to consult with
those who have experience in the disorder, such as specialty centers, if possible. 0
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events. K .I I o0 l 115
Research may lead to ways
to prevent memory loss
Problem forgetting may be caused by subtle changes in
communication between brain cells, according to Thomas Foster,
a neuroscientist at UF's McKnight Brain Institute. New insight into
the mechanisms of memory may make it possible to pinpoint
targets for therapeutic strategies to postpone or alleviate age-
related memory impairment.
Better tie that string around your finger a little tighter.
It may turn out the reason some people grow increasingly forgetful as they age is less
about how old they are and more about subtle changes in the way the brain files
memories and makes room for new ones differences perhaps better blamed on patterns of
cell-to-cell communication than the number of birthday candles decorating the cake.
A researcher with the McKnight Brain Institute of the University of Florida has found that
rats become forgetful because a routine part of the memory process falls out of kilter, no matter
This change seems to be related to the chemicals necessary for brain cells to communicate
with each other. The findings, published in February in the online edition of Neurobiology of
Learning and Memory, expand the possibility that drugs or therapies could be developed to tune
up the brain's memory mechanisms.
"Aging is associated with an increased rate of forgetting," said Thomas Foster, Ph.D., the
Evelyn F. McKnight chair for brain research in memory loss at the College of Medicine. "My
work indicates that the problem may be a slight shift in a normal forgetting mechanism."
Scientists believe a memory forms when communication increases between brain cells called
neurons. During memory formation, signals jump across narrow gaps between cells called
synapses, and this output becomes increasingly larger.
But for this activity to efficiently create a memory, it helps if signaling decreases among less-
involved neurons. It's like quieting other people in the room so you can have a phone conversation.
Scientists call the process of decreasing the signal at less-involved synapses "long-term
depression," or LTD.
"This is a normal process that helps with the sculpting of memory," Foster said. "After all, we
do not remember everything in perfect detail and we would not want to. This same mechanism
probably is used to clear the brain circuits and make them ready to be used the next day. However,
this mechanism in excess may lead to rapid forgetting as seen during brain aging."
Foster's lab group used aged and young rats to examine the relationships between LTD, aging
and memory. The animals were trained to find a hidden platform to climb out of a pool of water,
something they learned quickly with repetition.
When the researchers examined the animals' neurons and used a slow, weak electrical signal
to make the synapses less sensitive an effort to squelch or depress the cellular communication
- he found that the samples from younger animals and older animals that had the highest
memory scores throughout their lives were more resistant to the interference. However, aged
animals with impaired memories displayed what was termed as "robust long-term depression."
Going back to the phone call example, not only did the rest of the room get quieter, the callers
did, too. The assumption is if a memory is encoded by making synapses stronger, then memory
can be disrupted by something that weakens those connections.
"When we see someone we know or perhaps even ourselves becoming more forgetful, we now
know that this is not an inevitable process," Foster said. "Further, as we begin to understand the
mechanisms of memory, it becomes possible to predict promising targets for therapeutic
strategies aimed at postponing or alleviating age-related memory impairment."
Foster said it will be important to understand whether a change in cellular signaling is
necessary to enable new memories to be formed by discarding old ones.
"The basic gist is that information storage requires a balance between mechanisms that make
synapses stronger and weaker," said Mark Bear, Ph.D., director of the Picower Institute for
Learning and Memory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was not involved with
the research. "In aging and disease, if that balance is disrupted to favor LTD, the unchecked
synaptic weakening leads to memory loss. The good news is we are developing a good
understanding of these mechanisms, and that will help us find ways to protect memory."
Foster's work was supported by the National Institutes of Health and an Evelyn F. McKnight
Brain Research grant. 0
161 16L0" I% d M Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events.
Student Kristin Johnston
brings personal experience to clinical
By Lisa Emmerich
ucked behind a curtain of dark hair, two
tiny tubes sloping from Kristin Johnston's
ears connect her to the world. Diagnosed
with severe hearing impairment and fitted with
hearing aids at age 3, Johnston has learned to
flourish despite her disability.
After graduating from UF with a doctor of audiology degree, she has
spent the past year examining children with chronic ear infections
alongside an ear, nose and throat specialist at North Florida Regional
Medical Center. She also tests children for auditory processing disorders
at the UF Speech and Hearing Center, a clinical service of the College of
Public Health and Health Professions' department of communicative
Unlike children with traditional hearing impairments, children with
auditory processing disorders say they have hearing trouble despite
scoring well on hearing tests. Johnston's research examined how FM
transmitters devices that connect an earpiece in a child's ear to a small
microphone near his or her teacher's mouth can benefit such children.
Preliminary results demonstrated that the transmitters improve children's
grades and reduce their anxiety and frustration in school.
"One kid started using the system and he has started raising his hand,"
said Johnston, 26, sipping a Starbucks vanilla creme on a Saturday
morning. "Another began laughing at his teacher's jokes, saying he didn't
know she was so funny."
Johnston's patients benefit from her personal experience with hearing
loss. While it takes many audiologists years to develop a "bag of tricks" to
suggest to patients who have hearing impairment, Johnston has one built
in. She can quickly give tips on cell phone use to teenagers or reassure
parents craving concrete solutions for their children.
"There are times when a patient feels like it is the end of the world," she
said. "I encourage people to see that it hasn't stopped me, it hasn't slowed
me down. There are things that I have to do to get around it, I admit. But
I can show people they can do it."
Under the mentorship of James Hall III, Ph.D., chief of audiology,
Johnston is currently focused on earning a Ph.D. in audiology from UF.
It is a degree she hopes will allow her to help people with hearing
impairment on a wider scale. Johnston's work was recently recognized by
the Audiology Foundation of America, which presented her with a $5,000
scholarship in memory of Leo Doerfler, Ph.D., a pioneer in the field.
Johnston's face brightens as she describes her plans to write a
dissertation about the quality of musical sound in hearing aids. A lifelong
piano player and avid music-listener, Johnston wants to make music
listening easier and richer for people with hearing impairment.
Although many hearing aids have music settings, she said, the quality
of sound varies by type of music and kind of hearing disability.
"A person who plays a string instrument is going to have different
needs than someone who just wants to listen to the radio or someone who
wants to go to a concert and hear a full-blown orchestra," she said. "I want
to be able to hear music and enjoy it, and I realize that hearing aids are not
always set optimally for that kind of listening."
As in treating patients, Johnston brings her personal experience to her
research. She knows, for example, that her hearing aid will likely block a
swelling sound in a blues tune and whistle or reverberate when she plays
various notes on the piano.
Johnston, who is expecting her first child this summer, credits her
husband and family for encouraging her and treating her like any other
person. Born before infant hearing tests became routine, Johnston said
she has most likely had hearing impairment from the beginning of her
life, when she was born not breathing, without a heartbeat.
In all of her childhood, she remembers only one time that her brothers
referred to her hearing loss. The family had recently moved to a new
neighborhood and one of her brothers introduced her to the neighborhood
kids, saying, "This is our little sister, Kristin, and she can't hear very
well, so don't let her run out in the street."
"They just made me feel safe," Johnston said. "I felt I could do anything
anyone else could do and I could. I wanted not only to do my best, but
to do the best." 0
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events. t cI : l 1 17
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During her recent visit to Jordan, Dr. Connie Haan, associate dean for educational affairs in the College of Medicine-Jacksonville, visited Petra, one of the
country's most famous and breathtaking spots. Petra is famous for its massive architecture carved into sandstone cliffs. It was also featured in "Indiana Jones and
the Last Crusade" as the site of the Holy Grail.
As Connie Haan, M.D., prepared for a two-week trip to Jordan in December,
she appreciated the bon voyage wishes from her colleagues. Haan,
associate dean for educational affairs in the College of Medicine-
Jacksonville, appreciated their concerns for her well-being too.
But by the end of her trip, she realized her colleagues weren't the only ones
concerned about her safety. The Jordanians were too. During her time in the
Middle Eastern country, she learned that staying safe is not about "them vs. us." It's
a global issue we all share and one that Haan shares with us in these thoughts she
gleaned from the journal she kept during h(
"How will I know I'll be safe?" This is a question
being asked more and more in the U.S. in recent years...
and people living in North Florida are not exempt from
So what is it like for people living in the Hashemite
Kingdom of Jordan? Moreover, how is it for an
American traveling there? I found out firsthand when
traveling to Jordan in December as a member of People
to PeopleInternational's Educational andHumanitarian
Initiative, led by PTPI president and CEO Mary Jean
Eisenhower, a granddaughter of the group's founder,
President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Jordan is known for its scenic countryside as
featured in "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Indiana Jones
and the Last Crusade" as well as for its charismatic
late leader, King Hussein, and his American-born wife,
Queen Noor. But Jordan sits in the eye of a storm -
surrounded by Israel to the west and by Lebanon, Syria
and Iraq, with Saudi Arabia and Egypt to the south and
southwest. Because of this strategic location, the
Jordanians have been drawn into the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, and the country has been the destination of
Palestinian refugees and, more recently, Iraqi
It's common to see armed soldiers as they guard
major sites like airports, government buildings and
hotels. Bag searches and walk-through metal detectors
were a necessary part of getting into the hotel in
Amman every time we entered. Tourism is a critical
component of the Jordan economy, and one of the
tourist police a security arm of the Tourism Board
- was assigned to accompany our group everywhere
Our American group was treated very well
throughout the trip, and our movements were not
restricted or stifled, just guarded. We interacted with a
number of organizations and government entities
including the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human
Development, the Jordan Institute of Diplomacy and
the Ministry of Education, among others.
We also had the opportunity to have dinner
discussions with local dignitaries, including professors,
a mayoral associate, a senator, the secretary general of
Jordan and interfaith religious leaders. When we were
not engaged in discussions about education and
economic development, the speeches and Q&A turned
to debate about what we (Americans) should do to affect
the understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian problem,
and what role the Jordanians should play.
Of great interest was the impassioned plea that we
should not judge all inhabitants of the Middle East -
especially Jordan by what is seen and heard on the
Al Jazeera television network. Notably though, it
seemed that CNN was a frequent source of perceptions
about Americans. There obviously remains a great deal
that we can and should learn from and about each
King Abdullah has decreased the armed, patrolled
posts on both sides of the Israeli-Jordanian border by
about 90 percent, but there remains a sense of
heightened alert. Ironically, the one time in the entire
trip that anyone in our group truly felt vulnerable was
in the multiple stages of security at the airport to get
out of Jordan.
Individual perceptions drive our thoughts and
opinions. They also can drive our understanding of
each other. There is much to do and the people of
Jordan are eager and receptive for recognition and
support. It was a pleasure to make this trip, and I am
certain that I will return. 0
181 :*la" I* d M Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events.
By Patricia Bates McGhee
With a focus on pesticide safety and a goal to "Put Pesticides in Their
Place," the Florida Poison Information Center-Jacksonville will
celebrate National Poison Prevention Week with a pesticide awareness
fair from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 22 in Shands Jacksonville's LRC Atrium.
A program at 10 a.m. in the LRC Auditorium will feature special guests Michelle
Watters, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., environmental health medical officer for the Agency
for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry; Rosanna Barrett, M.P.H., pesticide
surveillance coordinator for the Florida Department of Health; and Dawn Sollee,
Pharm.D., assistant director of the poison information center. The poison
information center and the Healthy Jacksonville 2010 Environmental Health
Coalition are sponsoring the event, which is free and open to the public.
"Children Act Fast ... So Do Poisons!" is the theme for National Poison
Prevention Week, which lasts from March 18-24 and is designed to educate
consumers on poisoning dangers and how to prevent them.
"The weeklong campaign calls attention to the hazards of potentially poisonous
household products and other toxic substances that may be harmful to children and
animals," said Jay Schauben, Pharm.D., a professor of emergency medicine and
pharmacy in the College of Medicine-Jacksonville and director of the poison
information center. "Disseminating information about poison exposure and how
homes can be made safer is an important mission of poison centers."
With centers based in Jacksonville, Tampa and Miami, the Florida Poison
Information Center Network received 175,086 calls about poisonings in 2006. Of
those calls, 113,158 related to human exposures. Almost half of the calls involved
children under 6. Medications were one of the most common causes of poisoning.
The Florida Poison Information Center-Jacksonville is open 24 hours and receives
about 160 to 200 calls each day from Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 0
Dancing with the stars ... for a cause
By day Dr. Randal Henderson is a professor and associate chair of radiation oncology in the College of
Medicine-Jacksonville. His wife, Jean, is a registered nurse. By night the duo gracefully glide onto the
dance floor to showcase their fancy footwork in dance competitions.
On Jan. 20 they stepped onto the stage of Jacksonville's historic Florida Theater to share their talent
and benefit f.ther- at the eighth annuaicl Ph','ician \/Wiri.et,' h- Other College .f Medicine
1.:1 1.:" 1 I : l _, l:" l,-I : I I ,,.- ::l :: I : II,- '1 '-
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Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events. aK I al0 l 119
By Patricia Bates McGhee
A lan R. Berger,
M.D., has been
dean of research for the
UF College of Medicine-
Jacksonville. He will
maintain his current roles
as chair of Jacksonville's
department of neurology
and as director of The
Neuroscience Institute at
A graduate of the
rauate of theALAN R. BERGER, M.D.
Bowman Gray School of
Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., Berger completed an
internship in internal medicine at Montefiore Hospital and
Medical Center in New York, a residency in neurology at
Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, and a
fellowship in electromyography and neuromuscular disease at
Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
His research focuses on neuromuscular diseases, and he has
received funding for his work from the National Institutes of
Health. He also has participated in numerous multicenter
Berger joined the UF-Jacksonville faculty in 1995 as
associate chair of the department of neurology. He was
appointed director of the neuroscience institute in 2003 and
was named the neurology department's first chair in 2006. 0
for raising organ
By Patricia Bates McGhee
Each day, about 77 people across the country receive the organ transplant that gives them a
second chance at life, while 19 others die waiting for an organ donation, according to the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services. Still, more people are receiving transplants each
year and living longer afterward, thanks to dedicated medical teams and hospitals like those at UF.
Shands Jacksonville and Shands at UF each received the HHS Medal of Honor for Organ Donation
at an awards ceremony held recently in New Orleans. The award was given to 371 hospitals across the
country that were able to substantially raise organ donation rates among eligible donors while meeting
Georgiann Ellis (left), vice president for operations at Shands at UF, and Kristin Jimenez,
LifeQuest hospital service coordinator for the Gainesville area, accepted the Department of
Health and Human Services Medal of Honor award for Shands at UF. The award is given to
hospitals that raise organ donation rates while meeting specific standards.
specific program standards.
To receive the honor, hospitals needed to have had at least a 75 percent donation rate and eight or
more eligible donors during any continuous 12-month period between May 2005 and September 2006.
The average donation rate in all hospitals nationwide was 59 percent in 2005, up from 55 percent in
2004. The 371 winning hospitals came from a pool of 787 hospitals that met eligibility criteria.
The key to Shands Jacksonville's success is a good partnership with its organ procurement
organization, said Miren Schinco, M.D., an associate professor and division chief of trauma and
critical care who accepted the award for Shands Jacksonville with other faculty and staff.
"We work well together, and it clicks," she said. O
201 *l I M Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events.
COLLEGE OF DENTISTRY
SAMUEL B. LOW, D.D.S.,
M.S., M.Ed., a professor of
periodontology, has been
appointed associate dean
for continuing education and
strategic partnerships. This
represents a new and important
initiative for the college by
providing a faculty liaison
for existing and developing
relationships with professional organizations, the
state Legislature and corporate sponsors. Low
will work closely with UFs' office of university
relations and the Health Science Center's office
of governmental relations to assure the college's
legislative budget requests and corporate
relationships align with the university's strategic
ROGER D. WRAY, D.D.S., a
clinical associate professor
of community dentistry and
behavioral science, has been
appointed program director of
the college's Faculty Practice.
Wray's appointment is a transfer
from his previous position as
residency program director for
the college's Apopka Clinical
Program. As director of Faculty
Practice, Wray will be responsible for the day-to-
day operations of the practice, including faculty
and staff supervision, financial planning and
quality assurance. Wray will also teach in the
college's D.M.D. program.
COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
BRUCE A. GOLDBERGER,
Ph.D., director of toxicology in
the department of pathology,
immunology and laboratory
medicine, has been named
president of the American
Academy of Forensic Sciences.
He assumed his post Feb. 24.
"The American Academy of Gold
Forensic Sciences plays a vital
role in its field," Goldberger said. "I am honored
to represent the academy at such a high level."
FRED H. EDWARDS, M.D.,
chief and a professor of
cardiothoracic surgery in
the College of Medicine-
Jacksonville, received The
Society of Thoracic Surgeons'
Distinguished Service Award
at the organization's annual
Low meeting in January. Edwards
The prestigious award
presented only 20 times since its inception 38
years ago recognizes those who have made
significant contributions to the society and the
Edwards has been involved in the society's
National Cardiothoracic Surgery Database, has
served as the group's chair since 2004 and has
played an instrumental role in building it into a
world-renowned outcomes resource.
COLLEGE OF PHARMACY
DAVID ANGARAN, M.S., a
clinical professor and associate
director of experiential
programs, has been awarded
the 2006 Distinguished
Leadership Award of Health
System Pharmacy Practice from
the American Society of Health-
System Pharmacists. Established Angaran
in 2001, the ASHP award
recognizes excellence in health-system pharmacy
practice leadership. Award recipients are
pharmacists who have led sustained, progressive
improvements in pharmacy services within specific
U.S. hospitals or health systems, and who have
achieved national visibility through presentations
Ph.D., an assistant professor
of pharmacy health care
administration, has been
awarded a two-year $241,397
grant from the Agency for
Healthcare Administration at
the Florida Department of
Health in collaboration with the Winterstein
UF Florida Center for Medicaid and the uninsured.
The grant will allow Winterstein to study
Florida medicaid recipients 2 and under who
have received the drug Palivizumab, used for
immunization against human respiratory syncytial
virus, the major cause of lower respiratory tract
infection during infancy and childhood. The study
will examine the effectiveness and cost of the drug.
ISSAM ZINEH, Ph.D., an
assistant professor of pharmacy
practice, has been appointed
to the editorial board of the
Journal of Clinical Lipidology,
the official journal of the
National Lipid Association.
The journal is published to
support medical professionals Zineh
who work to reduce the
incidence of disease and death related to
disorders of lipid metabolism, such as elevated
cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension and obesity.
The association's public health mission is to help
reduce deaths related to high cholesterol.
COLLEGE OF VETERINARY MEDICINE
JAMES P. THOMPSON,
D.V.M., Ph.D., has been named
executive associate dean of
the College of Veterinary
Medicine. Until his appointment,
Thompson was the college's
associate dean of students and
instruction for the past decade.
He served as interim dean of Thompson
the college from Feb. 20 to Oct.
1, when Glen Hoffsis, D.V.M., became the college's
permanent dean. Thompson's new position is the
second-highest-ranking position at the college.
Thompson received both his D.V.M. and Ph.D.
degrees from UF and completed a residency in
small animal internal medicine at UF prior to
joining the faculty in 1986.
Board-certified in the specialties of internal
medicine, immunology, virology, microbiology
and oncology, Thompson has won numerous
awards both for his teaching and for his research
and has served as academic adviser for dozens of
veterinary students, residents and interns over the
years. After his days as a graduate student and
resident at UF, Thompson became an assistant
professor and director of the Veterinary Medical
Teaching Hospital's immunology service before
advancing to full professor and associate dean.
Leslie Gonzalez-Rothi (right), director of the
Brain Rehabilitation Research Center at the
Malcom Randall Veterans Affairs Medical
Center and a member of the McKnight Brain
Institute, was recently honored for her
achievements in rehabilitation research.
Brain rehab researcher recognized
LESLIE GONZALEZ-ROTHI, M.D., director of the Brain Rehabilitation Research Center at the Malcom Randall Veterans
Affairs Medical Center, says UF and the VA can both take pride in a prestigious VA award she has received for her
achievements in rehabilitation research.
Gonzalez-Rothi recently became the first female investigator to receive the VA's Paul B. Magnuson Award, which was
established in 1998 to recognize the importance of rehabilitation research within the VA Health Care System.
"Her greatest contribution to the field is her ability to bring people together to work on a common goal," said Robert
Ruff, M.D., Ph.D, the VA's acting director of rehabilitation research. "She has tirelessly and enthusiastically mentored 12
persons pursuing research careers and informally acts as mentor to all those around."
In 1999, Gonzalez-Rothi was instrumental in establishing the Brain Rehabilitation Research Center, one of 15 centers of
excellence funded by the VA's rehabilitation research and development department.
Gonzalez-Rothi, also a member of the Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute, said the award represents the
hard work of a number of investigators.
"My name just happens to be on it," Gonzalez-Rothi said. "This honor involves a great deal of investigators, and it
recognizes an outstanding achievement for UF and the VA."
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events. mui I o0 21
Chiu family endows pediatrics professorship
The Chiu family has donated $1 million to create the Dr. Thomas and
Anna Chiu Family Professorship in Pediatric Medicine in Jacksonville.
Pictured (left to right) are daughter Christine Chiu, son-in-law Ernest
Koe, daughter Charmaine Chiu, Anna Chiu and Thomas Chiu.
By Patricia Bates McGhee
During the past two years, he told his faculty members his goal was to add 10 more endowed
professorships to Jacksonville's department of pediatrics it was part of his departmental
So when pediatrics chair and professor Thomas Chiu, M.D., M.B.A., and his wife, Anna,
recently revised their family trust, they decided to donate $1 million to create the Dr. Thomas and
Anna Chiu Family Professorship in Pediatric Medicine in Jacksonville.
"I have always felt very lucky about the opportunities given to me by UF," he said. "I have
excellent faculty members and staff who are very loyal, and Drs. Nuss, Barrett, Levin and Miller
and a number of my mentors gave me the opportunity to excel."
His family encouraged him, too.
"I have a wonderful family, and my daughters, Charmaine and Christine, are both successful
professionals in the community," he said. "My wife, Anna, has been behind me 110 percent for 35
years including the most difficult times during my medical training and now it's time for all
of us to give something back. Setting up a professorship is a good way to start."
The Chiu family bequest marks the second pediatrics professorship in Jacksonville. The first is
the Glenn Chuck Professorship in Pediatric Cardiology, established in August 1997 to directly
support an interventional pediatric cardiac catheterization program and indirectly support a full-
service electrophysiology program at Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville.
Chiu has high hopes for the new professorship and for the eight additional professorships he
wants for the department of pediatrics.
"We still have a long way to go if we want 10 endowed professorships," he said. "I hope this will
start a process and motivate other individuals to give to UF and the department of pediatrics." Q
UF researchers receive funds to find mustard gas treatment
By April Frawley Birdwell
UF researchers have received part of an $18 million grant from the National
Institutes of Health to find the best way to treat exposure to sulfur mustard
gas, a chemical weapon government officials consider a serious threat to the
"Sulfur mustard is evaluated by the CIA as the most likely chemical agent to be
used by terrorists," said Gregory Schultz, Ph.D., director of the UF Wound Research
Institute in the College of Medicine and one of three UF researchers involved in the
project. "People think of nerve agents (as a bigger threat), but they're difficult to
make. If you screw up, you kill yourself. Sulfur mustard gas is easy to use and easy to
There is no known treatment for sulfur mustard exposure. Used since World War I,
the toxic gas kills rarely but can cause serious blistering and damage to the skin, lungs
and eyes. But if Schultz is right, the answer could be a chemical developed at UF.
UF researchers will receive about $2.6 million from the grant to complete two parts
of the project, a joint effort between UF, the Lovelace Biomedical and Environmental
Research Institute and other institutions. One UF project will be to analyze data
collected at Lovelace to find the drug that best blocks skin, lung and eye damage from
sulfur mustard exposure, one of which is a chemical Schultz developed at UF with the
Gainesville-based company Quick-Med Technologies.
This chemical has been able to block the effects of sulfur mustard exposure in
rabbits and in human skin cells, according to past studies Schultz conducted with the
U.S. Army and researchers at other institutions. For this project, the researchers will
put the UF-developed drug and many others through more rigorous testing. These
tests will all be done in a Lovelace lab equipped to safely study dangerous toxins at
the Kirtland Air Force Base.
For UF's second project, Chris Batich, Ph.D., a UF professor of materials science
and engineering, and Weihong Tan, Ph.D., a UF professor of chemistry, are
GREGORY SCHULTZ, PH.D.
developing a test hospitals can use to quickly detect sulfur mustard exposure in
Schultz has studied sulfur mustard injuries for years, but the key to finding a
treatment is the partnership between UF and Lovelace, one of the country's largest
independent research institutions, he said. 0
221 v*1 I M Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events.
Medical school in A minor:
Medical student brothers continue family's musical tradition
By April Frawley Birdwell
-P hilip is the talented one. Kurt Scherer
says this matter-of-factly when he talks
about his little brother, who plays three
instruments. Kurt only knows two.
The brothers, both students in the UF College of Medicine, grew up
playing music with their siblings. But while most kids were mastering the
recorder, the Scherer Quartet Plus One was performing concertos at -i \ I INC.
community events and benefits, once playing at a party for former Gov. Jeb
Bush when he was running for office. They played for their father's patients
at retirement homes too. Kurt remembers watching elderly women sigh and
sway as he and his siblings played the music from "Dr. Zhivago."
"It was something we could do as a family," said Philip, a first-year
medical student who plays the violin, the viola and the piano. "It solidified
us. We could all share in the joy of playing music together."
So when Philip joined his brother, now in his third year of medical
school, and their sister Ingrid Roberts in Gainesville last fall, it meant more
than sharing notes and advice on medical school. In a way, it kind of got the
old band back together too, at least part of it.
"We've done a few gigs," said Roberts, whose husband is an internal
medical resident at Shands at UF. "It's nice that we can play together
As a trio with Ingrid on violin, Philip on viola and Kurt on cello -
the siblings now play occasionally at church and community events and will '
perform June 2 at a dinner honoring College of Medicine Dean Craig
Tisher, M.D. But they're not on stage as often as they were when they were
children. Medical school keeps Kurt and Philip busy and Roberts has three
small children and one on the way. She's also the only sibling who's taken
on music as a career. She plays the violin with the Gainesville Symphony
Orchestra on occasion.
Growing up in Sarasota, the Scherer siblings all began playing the violin
or piano when they were about 4 or 5. Their parents believed in the
importance of music, and most of the children wanted to learn, Kurt said.
"A lot of that had to do with watching the siblings before me," he said. "I
wanted to be like my big brothers and big sister."
With seven siblings in one family who could play instruments, the
Scherers' musical abilities were well-known in Sarasota's youth music
circles. When they performed, the siblings usually Roberts, Kurt, Philip
and one of their older brothers were known originally as the Scherer
Quartet, adding the Plus One when their youngest brother was old enough
"He would just sit in the middle of us when we played," Kurt said. "One
time he memorized one of the concertos and played it. It was a simple violin
concerto, but that's impressive for a 5-year-old."
Aside from the way they sounded, people probably remembered the way
the group looked, Kurt said. When they performed, their mother dressed
the boys in tuxedos. Roberts usually wore a dress to match the
Like his siblings, Kurt also played the violin when he was a child. But
when he was 9, his shoulder was so severely injured that he could no longer
play the instrument. A few years later, as he sat in the audience watching
his siblings perform, someone asked Kurt, "Why don't you play the cello?"
"I picked it up," Kurt said of the cello, which he has been playing since
- Julir : r
Siblings Philip Scherer, Ingrid Roberts and Kurt Scherer have been
performing together since they were small children. Music isn't the
only thing the siblings share either. Kurt and Philip are both students
in the College of Medicine, and Roberts' husband is an internal
medicine resident at Shands at UF.
then. "It seemed like a radical idea at the time, though."
Since the heyday of the Scherer Quartet Plus One, Philip, Kurt and their
sister have all managed to continue playing, just in different ways. Each
played in the orchestra at Brigham Young University. Roberts has played
professionally in Utah, New Orleans and Gainesville, and Philip has played
the viola professionally once since coming to UF. Kurt joined another
band, a trio with another medical student who plays the guitar and a faculty
member who sings.
Even now, as Kurt and Philip juggle medical school and their new
families Kurt has a new daughter and Philip has a baby on the way -
neither plans to stop playing music.
"It's almost second-nature to me now," Kurt said. "When I think of
myself one of the things I think is, 'I play cello.'" 0
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events. KilBI ;I M 10 23
Dan King, a first-year physical therapy student, discusses career possibilities with U.S.
Army Health Care recruiter Capt. Saint C. Kaniaupio during the College of Public
Health and Health Professions career day.
FarrierAdam Whitehead fits a quarter horse with a new shoe at the UF
College of Veterinary Medicine's large animal hospital.
Anney Doucette, a project coordinator for the Health Science Center Office of News
& Communications, makes friends with Miracle, 2, while working on a project with the
College of Medicine department of pediatrics.
UF Health Science Center
Office of News & Communications
Senior Vice President,
Douglas J. Barrett, M.D.
Director, News &
April Frawley Birdwell
Melanie Fridl Ross, John Pastor
April Frawley Birdwell, Tracy Brown,
Sarah Carey, Linda Homewood, Lindy
McCollum-Brounley, Patricia Bates
McGhee, John Pastor, Jill Pease,
Melanie Fridl Ross
Lyndsey Lewis, Stephanie Fraiman
Cassandra Jackson, Beth Powers,
The POST is the monthly internal
newsletter for the University of
Florida Health Science Center, the
most comprehensive academic
health center in the Southeast,
with campuses in Gainesville
and Jacksonville and affiliations
throughout Florida. Articles feature
news of interest for and about HSC
faculty, staff and students. Content
may be reprinted with appropriate
credit. Ideas for stories are welcome.
The deadline for submitting items to
be considered for each month's issue
is the 15th of the previous month.
Submit to the editor at afrawley@
ufl.edu or deliver to the Office of
News & Communications in the
Communicore Building, Room
F Health Science Center
UF UNIVERSITY of FLORIDA
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