July 10, 2017

Upcoming Events

Check the CCM website calendar for further details on these July events.

·         July 6 – Thursday Professor Rounds begin for Fellows

·         July 12 – Grand Rounds: new season begins with ICU Research "Speed Dating"

·         July 23 – CCM Welcome Picnic.  Bring your family.  RSVP July 14.

New Leader

Marie Baldisseri, MD is serving as the new Associate Director of the Neurovascular ICU (4/5F) based at Presbyterian effective July 1. Marie also spearheads Global Critical Care electives for Fellows.

New Faces

July is a busy month for new hires.  On July 10, two new staff members join the Center for Critical Care Nephrology team based at 3347 Forbes Avenue. Victoria Smith moves to a permanent role as Administrative Assistant, having been with the Center for the last six months in a temporary capacity. Victoria is a Pitt graduate with a Master of Social Work and BA in History.  Prior to CCM, she worked as a family therapist. And Project Manager Richard “Rick” Banas will work under John Kellum, MD on his UG3, multi-PI grant, PReCISE, funded by the NIDDK. Rick has bench, lab management, and grant submission experience gained during his nine years in Pitt’s Department of Pathology and Division of Pulmonary Medicine, and 13 years in industry.  He holds an MS in Biology.  Karen Nieri joined the Center on June 26 as Executive Assistant. She spent seven years as a research assistant and lab manager for the Department of Neuroscience at Pitt. Karen holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.

Robert Bart, MD joins CCM as Associate Professor and will work as an intensivist at Children’s Hospital. His primary appointment is with UPMC as Chief Medical Information Officer where will oversees UPMC technology, including electronic health records. Previously, he spent five years as CMIO for the Department of Health Services for Los Angeles County.

Howard Stein joins as project manager for the program on health, policy, and management in the CRISMA Center, which currently includes three R01s and two K awards from the NIH. Howard has nearly 25 years of experience in research in healthcare, most recently at Pitt’s School of Nursing.

Trista Polaski joins the IT team on July 10 as a Systems Analyst supervised by Dan Ricketts, Director of Technology. Trista will be splitting her responsibilities between the department for Pitt desktop support and SharePoint, and also the Health Services Research Data Center (HSRDC) directed by Jeremy Kahn, MD. For the HSRDC she will be supporting the virtual desktop environment, systems programming in C#, and further developing her SQL skills.

The new AV/Media Specialist is Chris Bowman, who comes to us from Pitt’s University Center for International Studies. Chris started on July 3 and will be leading our webinars and video production. He is based at Scaife 649.

Also starting on July 3 was Surya Sharma, who is a Research Assistant working with Cameron Dezfulian, MD.

Catherine Tate joined Kim Kushon’s team on June 5 as a Financial Assistant responsible for purchasing, payment processing, reimbursements and account management. Catherine received her BS in Business Administration with a major in Accounting from West Liberty University in May 2017.

Visiting scholar, Amelie Cambriel, MD, a freshly minted physician from the University of Paris, began her second visit to CRISMA on July 1. Working with A. Murat Kaynar, MD for two months, Amelie will be studying the impact of exercise on the metabolomics and lifespan of fruit flies surviving sepsis. The team hopes to find conserved mechanisms in drosophila as well as humans. Murat applied for a Franco-American grant to continue collaborating with Laurence LeMoyec, Amelie’s mentor in Paris.

Pitt senior Alina Maysterchuk has joined the Program on Ethics and Decision Making in Critical Care Medicine as a Student Research Assistant. She will be providing program support for Doug White, MD’s R01A Trial to Improve Surrogate Decision Making for Critically Ill Older Adults, known as the Four Supports Project. Alina is studying the Natural Sciences and planning to do an MS in Histotechnology and MS in Pathologists' Assistant.

So Long

Best wishes to Professor Emeritus David Crippen, MD and Richard (Dick) Orr, MD, who retired as of June 30. David roared off on his Triumph bike to continue his adventures. Dick is transferring his attention from CHP kids to grandkids with the occasional CCM interlude.

After nearly three years as Project Manager for CRISMA, LauraEllen Ashcraft is heading back to school to do a PhD at Pitt’s School of Social Work. She also received her Masters of Social Work at Pitt. Her last day is August 18.

Recent Pitt School of Nursing graduate Karlie Kirk spent several years as a student worker for the Center for Critical Care Nephrology. She moves on to begin her nursing career in the Medical ICU at Presbyterian Hospital.

Funding Congratulations

Two CCM faculty received a Dean’s Faculty Advancement Award for the next two years. The Award enables junior and mid-career faculty members to maintain their research trajectory during a challenging period in their life and career. Associate Professor Sherry Chou, MD received an award allowing her to continue her research into the use of molecular biomarkers for outcomes and mechanisms of acute brain injury. Octavia Peck Palmer, PhD, Director of the CRISMA Molecular Biology Lab Core, whose primary appointment is in Pathology, received an award allowing her to continue her translational research that focuses on identifying the biological and social factors that contribute to ethnic differences in the host immune response to infection and sepsis.

Graduation Awards

Alexandra Briggs, MD – Adult Fellow of the Year

Raj Padmanabhan, MD and Krystle Shafer, MD – Adult Chief Fellows

Kendra Woods, MD – Pediatric Chief Fellow

Danish Malik, MD – Medical Students Teacher of the Year

Christopher Schott, MD – Adult Faculty of the Year

Dana Fuhrman, DO – Pediatric Faculty of the Year

Onome Oghifobibi, MD – Ann Thompson Award for First-Rate Performance Outstanding Resident in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

Thanks for Caring So Much

Medical professionals can be some of our harshest critics. So, Satya Acharya, MD’s recent ‘Thank You’ message from an RN of 24 years was a powerful endorsement of her work. Staci Isaac wrote about her aging mother saying: “Dr. Acharya falls into the category of one of the best [Hospitalists] that I have come across… Please recognize Dr. Acharya for a job perfectly done, and extend thanks from my entire family, near and far, for caring enough to provide the VERY BEST CARE to my mother.”

Way to Go!

Professor Hülya Bayîr, MD had the honor to present the SFRR-Europe Clinical Award Lecture 2017 at the June 21-23 joint meeting of the Society for Free Radical Research –Europe/Oxygen Club of California(SFRR-E/OCC) in Berlin, Germany. Her presentation was entitled “Signaling by Oxidized Lipids in Acute Brain Injury.”

Christopher Schott, MD wins Teacher of the Year for the entire School of Medicine. Chris is Director of the Medical Students’ Critical Care Medicine elective.

Kendra Woods, MD and Chief Pediatric Fellow was named 2017 Fellow of the Year by Children’s Hospital, an award that was voted on by CHP Residents. Kendra beat out every other Fellow in all specialties, and becomes the 11th Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Fellow to win the award in the last 17 years. Past winners were Randal Ruppel, MD; Kate Felmet, MD; Ericka Fink, MD; John Lin, MD; Lillian Su, MD; Craig Smith, MD; Emily Miller, MD; Anthony Willyerd, MD; Dennis Simon, MD; and Jenny Mendelson, MD. Go Peds!

Code Runners Stephanie Ames, MD, Raj Aneja, MD, Cameron Dezfulian, MD, and Cat Gretchen, MD and Clinical Social Work colleague Gwen Harcar represented the Pediatric ICU at Children’s Hospital in the Pittsburgh Marathon relay event on May 6. Code Runners finished in a time of 04:01:58.

Three Pediatric CCM staff members—Sajel Kantawala, Systems Analyst; Janet Santucci, Manager; and Lori Markey, Administrative Assistant Associate—raised $880,000 in the Walk for Children’s on June 3. Lori was involved in the fundraising but was unable to join the 4,000 other walkers on the day. The money raised supports Children’s Hospital.

Applied Physiology in Intensive Care Medicine, Michael Pinsky, MD’s textbook, now in its 3rd edition, made the top 25 percent of all downloaded chapters from Springer Publishing Company, a leading source of health care books, textbooks and medical journals.

New Fellows


Monique Gardner, MD; Tim Kaselitz, MD; Joe Lynch, MD; Neil Munjal, MD and Madiha Raees, MD

Pediatric Cardiac

Catherine Gretchen, MD, MS and Wonshill Koh, MD, PhD

Adult Anesthesiology

Hassan Aijazi, MBBS; Jessica Cassavaugh, MD; Devin Caswell, DO and Rachel Pool, MD

Adult IM/EM

Sabrina Arshed, MD; Emily Brant, MD; Meshe Chonde, MD; Garmia Gupta, DO; Bachar Hamade, MD; Alexander Kobzik, MD; Matthew Niehaus, DO; Carlos Pacheco, MD; Leeanne Stratton, MD; Ammar Syed, MD and Karthik Vadamalai, MBBS

Adult Neurology

Mohammad Hirzallah, MD and Christian Ricks, MD

Adult Surgery

Kirsten Arnold, MD; Letitia Bible, MD and Cathline Layba, MD

Mentoring Future Leaders

Assistant professor’s note to self: Apply for grant. Run research lab. Write paper. Read literature. Mentor Fellow. Give presentation. Hire lab tech. See patients. Spend time with family.  Ensure “me” time scheduled. The must-do list for junior faculty is a blur of new roles and time juggling. To help them prepare for these challenges, the School of Medicine founded the Career Mentoring Program (CaMP) four years ago. CCM’s past CaMP participants include Alicia Au, MD; Cameron Dezfulian, MD; Hernando Gomez Danies, MD; Travis Jackson, PhD; Deepika Mohan, MD; Christopher Seymour, MD; David Wallace, MD; and Xiaoyan Wen, MD. For more information about CaMP, contact Lori Shutter, MD, who is a member of the CaMP organizing committee.

In the News

National news outlets sought Lori Shutter, MD’s neuro critical care expertise to provide insight into the case of Otto Warmbier, the student who sustained brain trauma while detained by North Korea. She was quoted numerous times by NBC News and Live Science in their stories about Mr. Warmbier’s cause of death and his family’s decision not to proceed with an autopsy.

CCM was the center of media attention at this year’s ATS. The New England Journal of Medicine published three articles and one commentary on Sunday, May 28 … CCM was in three of the four! Chris Seymour, MD’s study about the early sepsis regulations in New York state garnered huge media interest with coverage in over 500 news outlets including USA Today and NPR. Jeremy Kahn, MD and Pitt Public Health colleague Tina Hershey, JD, MPH wrote the Journal’s perspective piece on the Seymour sepsis article. Jeremy was also quoted in many of the news stories related to the sepsis regulations. And more recently on June 30, Chris Seymour was quoted and his research included in ‘The Seriousness of Sepsis,’ a US News & World Report story.

To round out CCM’s 3 out of 4 at ATS, Ragi Murugan, MD was a collaborator on the third article published by the Journal on “Super Sunday.” His research was part of an international collaboration studying vasodilatory shock.

Jeremy Kahn, MD was interviewed for a lengthy Q&A about the organization of an evidence-based ICU for ICU Management and Practice journal.

Want News Coverage?

In today’s instantaneous news environment, getting your biomedical research covered by mainstream news media is no easy feat. As soon as your paper is accepted for publication, let Wendy O’Donnell, Director of Communications, know so she can begin the media relations process. News media are usually disinterested if the journal has already published your paper.

Scaife Construction

Scaife Hall Renovation Project Phase 1B involves closure of the main entrance to Scaife lobby from Terrace Street (use the Auditorium entrance instead) as well as closure of the escalators. The main entrance will be closed from July 5 to November 1, 2017. The escalators will be shut down from July 11 through the end of December 2017.

Did You Know?

·         CCM has 106 Pitt staff employees (as of July 7).

·         New Chief Fellows are Alicia Alcamo, MD, MPH (Pediatric) and Ruth Musselman, MD and Danish Malik, MD (Adult).

·         Adult Surgery fellows arrive on August 1st, Pediatric fellows on July 7th, all other Adult fellows on July 3rd.

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