November 13, 2017

Upcoming Events

Nov. 15 – Grand Rounds, John Kellum, MD

Nov. 17-18 – APAKI Symposium Pittsburgh

Dec. 6 – Super Grand Rounds (90 mins), Tim Girard, MD, and patient Kimbra Searer

Dec. 20 – Grand Rounds, Mindy Hamilton, MD

Dec. 21 – CCM holiday luncheon

New Faces

Boosting our faculty ranks at St. Joseph Children’s Hospital in Tampa are two new clinical associate professors, who joined us in early September. Jerril Green, MD, is an alumnus of our pediatric critical care fellowship, and has spent most of his academic career at the University of South Alabama and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Shashikanth Gangu, MD, recently completed his pediatric critical care fellowship at the University of Florida Shands Children’s Hospital in Gainsville.

On October 9, Daryll Hall, joined the Health Sciences Research Data Center as a project coordinator. He coordinates infrastructure for research programs in the CRISMA Center. Daryll holds an MS in Information Technology Project Management from Robert Morris University and a BA in Individualized Studies from Edinboro University.

Three new staff members joined us on October 23. MACRO added two regulatory and compliance coordinators for clinical trials:  Chelsea Michelessi and Nabanita Biswas. Chelsea holds a BA in Environmental Studies from Pitt. Nabanita is also a Pitt grad with a PhD and MS Infectious Diseases and Microbiology. Prior to joining CCM, she worked at UMPC Magee as a regulatory specialist at the Gynecology Oncology Department and as a research associate at Microbicide Trial Network.

CRISMA added Lauren Porter as a laboratory technician working under lab manager Vanessa Jackson. She will focus on immunoassay testing such as Luminex and ELISA assays for CRISMA projects. Lauren holds a BS from Clarion University and an AS in Biotechnology from the Community College of Allegheny County.

Returning home to Pittsburgh after 10 years in Florida is the Office of Education’s new GME department manager, Holly Lapinski, PHR, who joined us on October 30. She works with the fellowship directors for Anesthesiology, Surgery and Neurocritical Care on recruitment and programming for fellows, and also works with Chris Schott as the medical student coordinator.  Holly holds a BA in English Literature and Classics from Pitt and is a certified as a Human Resources professional. Her previous position was program coordinator for the Centerstone Psychiatry Residency Program in Bradenton, FL.

Victor Talisa will join us permanently on November 20 as a data scientist/systems programmer at CRISMA working with Sachin Yende and Janeen LaForce. Victor is currently a GSR working for Dr. Yende, and holds a BA in Biology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and an MS in Biostatistics from Pitt. 

Systems analyst Hanjay Kim will join the BDMC team under Edvin Music on December 1. Hanjay has a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Pitt and has worked for the University’s Office of Admissions and Financial Aid since April 2016.

We'll Miss You!

After 15 years at UPMC, Ricardo Muñoz is leaving us on November 30 to take up an exciting opportunity as the chief of the Division of Cardiac Critical Care Medicine, co-director of the Children's National Heart Institute, and director of Telemedicine at Children's National Health System in Washington, DC. Under Ricardo’s leadership, our pediatric cardiac ICU service has become one of the world’s premier programs. Best wishes, Ricardo!

What's He Up To Now?

Professor emeritus David Crippen has traded in the ICU for a Pitt auditorium. He is teaching “Forward to the Past: Social and Political Impact of 60s Popular Music,” which follows the evolution of 1960s music as a unique art form and a social force. If you notice the GSPH auditorium rocking on a Monday morning, that’s Dave teaching his OSHER Lifelong Learning Institute course.


The coolest neighborhood in America?  It’s East Liberty/Lawrenceville! Yes, really. Check out the other cool neighborhoods in Money magazine’s list of the 10 coolest neighborhoods to live right now.

Retire Here!

It’s not sunny and sandy but Pittsburgh was just rated the best city to choose for retirement according to Why? Good healthcare and low cost of living and crime rate.

Tell Us... We'll Correct It

Don’t like your photo in the Department’s website directory? Your title is out of date? Want to update your bio sketch? Just email the Communications team and we’ll update your website profile.

New Leadership Roles

On September 1, Jeremy Kahn, MD, was appointed the vice chair of Academic Affairs and with that role he joins the Executive Leadership team. He follows on the heels of the Department’s inaugural vice chair of Academic Affairs, Michael Pinsky, who held the position for 10 years. Jeremy is responsible for fostering the Department’s academic mission, which includes Grand Rounds, Fink Day and the Grenvik Lectureship, coordinating our academic communication and also managing and maintaining our distinction of holding an Adult T-32 training program continuously since 1998. 

Holt Murray was appointed co-director of the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit at Presby on October 11. He will serve alongside Penny Sappington. After his Emergency Medicine residency, Holt came to Pittsburgh as a critical care medicine fellow, and then was hired by the Department in 2005. For the last 12 years, Holt has been continually involved in cardiothoracic critical care and ECMO, served as medical director of the Cardiovascular ICU at Mercy Hospital and, most recently, was Chief of Service at Mercy.

3 Questions for Denise McCloskey

What brought you to CCM?

A:  I have been at Pitt for seven years: two at the Titusville campus and then five at the University Center for International Studies. These units reported up through the Office of the Provost/Senior Vice Chancellor. The prospect of working in the ‘other side of the house’ for a department that reports up through the Dean of the School of Medicine/Senior Vice Chancellor was very intriguing to me. This position gives me the ability to stay at Pitt, use the knowledge I have garnered over the years, and be challenged to learn a new way of doing business. 

What projects are you currently working on?

A:  Space. SPACE. SPACE! My first and foremost priority is to get a handle on the current space situation and develop short- and long-term plans for the whole department. I am also assisting the IT folks to plan for the transition of Pitt staff from UPMC technology and support. I just finished my sixth week (but who’s counting?), so most of my time has been spent meeting with faculty and staff members to learn our operations. 

What do you do in your spare time?

A:  I love to garden (flowers, not vegetables). My partner and I bought a home in Blackridge two years ago, and I have spent a great deal of time experimenting with new plants to transform my empty backyard into a place with color from spring to fall. I also took up running three years ago and have run several half-marathons. And I finally took the plunge and registered for my first full marathon…Pittsburgh in May 2018.  Wish me luck – I’m going to need it!

Denise McCloskey, MBA, is director of Academic Administration managing the Pitt side of the Department. You can find Denise in Scaife 642B.

Mentors Extraordinaires

Congratulations to Ruchira Jha and Sherry Chou who were each selected to receive the Allen Humphrey Excellence in Mentoring Award. The award is based primarily on nominations from medical students participating in the Deans Summer Research Program. The awards were presented at the DSRP Symposium on September 28.

Funding Success

Brad Butcher received a Beckwith Institute grant to pilot a Critical Illness Recovery Clinic at UPMC Mercy, which will begin in early 2018. Brad was also one of 10 awardees who received a Society of Critical Care Medicine THRIVE Initiative grant to foster a network of hospitals focused on developing post-ICU clinics to provide comprehensive care to ICU survivors.

Ruchira Jha, MD, was awarded $50K from UPP in September for a TBI study, “From benchtop to bedside- Sur1 is a novel biomarker and unique therapeutic target against cerebral edema in traumatic brain injury.”

Pat Kochanek and co-investigator Raj Aneja have been awarded a three-year contract with the Department of Defense to study novel pre-clinical strategies to prevent brain edema in traumatic brain injury and polytrauma. This is a collaborative study between the Safar Center and Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.  

Recent CRISMA T-32 post-doctoral fellow Jennifer Seaman was one of 10 physicians and nurses nationwide to be accepted into the Sojourns Scholar Leadership Program, which develops emerging palliative care leaders and is funded by Cambia Health Foundation. Jen receives a two-year, $180K grant to support research, clinical, educational or policy projects. Her project is “Development and testing of a nurse-led intervention to ensure timely interdisciplinary family meetings in the ICU.” Jen was mentored by Doug White.

Lori Shutter, a co-PI for BOOST-3, was notified in October that this multi-site clinical trial has been approved by the NIH. BOOST-3, which stands for phase 3 of the Brain Oxygen Optimization in Severe TBI trial, will study people who experience prolonged coma from a traumatic brain injury and require sophisticated care in neurological ICUs. The study is part of the Neurological Emergencies Treatment Trials (NETT) network.

FLO2 Innovators

Ericka Fink and her FLO2 NeuroCap collaborators, Mio Manole and Ted Huppert, made it to the final of the Pitt Innovation Challenge 2017 and went home with $25K on October 25. The money goes toward development of a prototype cap that will be the first to integrate measurements of neural energetics via simplified electroencephalography with near-infrared spectroscopy. This will allow ICU and emergency medicine physicians to measure blood flow and oxygen supply in the pediatric brain. Mio is an associate director at the Safar Center and the director of Basic and Translational Research in the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at CHP. Ted is associate professor in the School of Engineering and Department of Radiology.

Life Saver

A husband and wife are thanking their lucky stars that nurse Jamie Ponter was driving home near the Tri County Soccer field in Beaver County and saw a man lying face down. Jamie jumped out of her car and immediately noticed he had agonal breathing so began chest compressions until the police arrived to take over CPR. Later at Beaver Medical Center, doctors found the man had 100% blockage of his left anterior descending artery—aka the widow maker—which has since been opened. He told Jamie she saved his life. The couple plan to take Jamie out for dinner soon. Jamie is a professional staff nurse at Magee 4800 ICU. We’re proud to have you on our team, Jamie!

Music Therapy Brings Smiles

Magee ICU director, Lauren Gorman, recently had an elderly patient who was in pain after his joint-replacement. He was not having a happy day when music therapist Aaron Teague arrived. After a few questions, Aaron understood the patient liked folk music-inspired western classical music. That was all the prompting needed for Aaron to pull out his MP3 player and play an excerpt from the ballet Rodeo…not once but many times. Aaron said, “The patient focused on the music, his demeanor relaxed, and after 10 minutes was smiling and seemed more comfortable.” His family, who were visiting at the time, were delighted and said the music therapy really improved their day. Aaron, who works for the UPMC Palliative and Support Institute, visits Magee and provides music therapy for two hours on Wednesdays.

Hats Off

Financial research administrator Scott Szypulski received the Volunteer Excellence Award from the Pitt-Greensburg Alumni Association to recognize his volunteer work for the Association and the University. Since graduating from Pitt-Greensburg in 2014 with a BS in management accounting, Scott’s volunteering has included the Holiday Wine Tasting, Welcome Back Picnic, and Pitt Greensburg at PNC Park, Annual Book Fund, the External Relations Committee, and chair of the 2017 Kennywood Committee. He is currently treasurer and executive committee liaison for the Alumni Association. In his ‘spare’ time, Scott is studying for his MBA at Katz School of Business at Pitt.

Interactive Polling

The Education Office has been using Poll Everywhere, a web-based audience response system, before and after Journal Club presentations and during Thursday educational sessions for almost a year now. For example, they’ve been measuring the potential for change in practice and anonymously assessing choices in treatment options. Poll Everywhere has a variety of poll types—multiple-choice, open-ended, Q&A, ranking, and clickable image polls—that provide feedback on changes in knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, or potential actions. The Poll Everywhere tool is available to Department faculty and staff. Contact Jim Rieker to book a time slot.

Do You Know Your Research Centers?

Here’s the full names of CCM’s four research centers.
CRISMA – the Clinical Research, Investigation, and Systems Modeling of Acute Illness Center
Safar – the Safar Center for Resuscitation Research
MACRO – the Multidiscipinary Acute Care Clinical Research Organization
C3N – the Center for Critical Care Nephrology, which is a sub-center of CRISMA

© 2017 University of Pittsburgh Department of Critical Care Medicine, 3550 Terrace Street, 6th Floor Scaife Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213