Medical Journal
New Patient Safety Center Leads Statewide Initiative
New Vice President Is Building Upon Success
school of medicine partners to aid Haiti

work begins on Research and wellness center

Tower of Power

he School of Medicine’s new clinical research building and wellness center is officially under way, promising 330,000 square feet of new research space. The groundbreaking for the facility was hosted by President Donna E. Shalala and John G. Clarkson, M.D. ’68, senior vice president for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, with 200 civic leaders, donors, and alumni present.

Guests were welcomed to the site on Northwest 14th Street by the Jaclyn Lisenby Trio from the Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music, then serenaded by children from the Debbie School with “If You’re Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands.” The Debbie School kids represented pediatrics, one of the research areas that will be housed in the new building. Others include family and behavioral issues, aging, epidemiology, and interdisciplinary research from around the campus.

And while President Shalala, Dean Clarkson, and Board of Trustees Vice Chair Dean Colson broke ground during the ceremony, they were surrounded by an already active work site.

“Construction is well under way,” said Ronald Bogue, assistant vice president of facilities planning for the School of Medicine. “Completion date is estimated to be spring of 2006, but we’ve actually had work under way since last fall.”

The building also will house a new 60,000-square-foot wellness center atop a parking garage for 1,425 cars.

The sights and sounds of construction will be familiar because additional projects are poised to begin. “We’re moving forward with the initial programming for a new wet lab building and an adjoining bioresearch building as the next step,” said Bogue. “Hopefully these buildings will start going up within 12 months.”

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New Patient Safety Center Leads Statewide Initiative
 

he University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital Center for Patient Safety has completed two statewide safety studies and delivered full reports to lawmakers in Tallahassee. The center was selected by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to lead a statewide university consortium conducting the research.

The main finding of the consumer study: When it comes to making decisions about health care and choosing a hospital, Floridians see a big need for a comprehensive statewide effort to measure the quality of health care and get that word out to the public. Researchers culled their information from public meetings, 12 focus groups held in Miami, Tallahassee, Gainesville, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Tampa, and a mass e-mail distribution to 140,000 people.

A second study of existing patient safety systems resulted in the recommendation that the state create and endow a Florida Patient Safety Authority and test a system for voluntarily reporting “near miss” incidents. The researchers also encouraged the establishment of electronic medical records and computerized physician orders.

The studies are part of an effort by state lawmakers to address the crisis of rising medical malpractice premiums while trying to improve patient safety. Fewer medical errors will ultimately reduce malpractice claims.

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New MRI Tools Improve Accuracy of Diagnosiss

Seeing the Difference

ne of the big problems with orthopedic injuries is that the damage is sometimes very small. But if it’s your knee that’s hurting, you just want it diagnosed and treated. That’s where two powerful new tools at the Magnetic Resonance Center come in.

“This is twice as powerful as everything else in town,” says Paul Clifford, M.D., chief of musculoskeletal radiology at the School of Medicine, about the Siemens Magneton “Trio” MRI system. “It’s uniquely suited for cartilage imaging and is much more precise. We can see smaller tears, smaller injuries.”

The Trio system just went online. It joins Siemens’s powerful new Sonata MRI, which is specially configured for neurological and cardiovascular imaging.

“When a patient has had a heart attack and you’re trying to figure out what tissue is alive, the Sonata MRI helps to make that determination,” says Joaquin Jimenez, M.D., a cardiologist at the School of Medicine. “The MRI can tell you whether you can do a bypass, and it can identify myocardial infarction. It’s at least as good as a positron emission tomography scan but with no radiation, and it is an easier process.

“This has tremendous anatomical detail and it’s real-time,” adds Jimenez.“ You can see the heart beating.”

The Sonata also allows crystal-clear vascular imaging, with much higher resolution images in full color.

Both new MRI systems are “short bore,” meaning they don’t have the long tunnels of traditional MRIs. And the Department of Radiology offers expert diagnosis by radiologists trained in every subspecialty.

Both new MR systems can scan anywhere in the body to diagnose everything from sports injuries to cancer.

“We can image smaller slices of the affected area,” says Steven Falcone, M.D., medical director of MR Services. “So we can detect damage and disease much earlier.”

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New Vice President Is Building Upon Success

he opportunity to contribute to the growth of an important, complicated institution lured John Deeley from New Y

ork to the University of Miami School of Medicine this winter. As the new vice president for administration, operations, and planning, Deeley brings more than 25 years of experience in academic medicine to the medical school.

“I’m proud to be part of the team that supports the mission of the school, the goals of the dean, and the pursuits of the faculty,” says Deeley, who most recently was vice dean for administration at the New York University School of Medicine. “Discovery happens at all levels. Being involved in it gets me up in the morning and keeps me moving.”

Moving the school forward is critical, Deely says, because it will enable the school to keep attracting the best people. “If you can show that you’re on a growth curve, that you’re taking some risks, that you’re going to build it, then they will come,” Deeley says. “You have to raise a lot of money to do that.”

This vision for growth comes at a time of significant financial challenge for the University. “It was clear we needed additional business expertise to help,” says John G. Clarkson, M.D. ’68, senior vice president for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. The school offered Deely the position, Clarkson says, because “in tough situations he’s made a huge difference.”

At NYU Deeley developed a ten-year plan to grow while eliminating a huge budget deficit. Before that, he spent 20 years at Harvard Medical School focusing on finance and business.

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school of medicine partners to aid Haiti

Bridge of Hope

he nine-year effort by the School of Medicine to bring desperately needed health care to Haiti recently received some special attention. In an unprecedented visit by the senior leadership of the University, President Donna E. Shalala, School of Medicine Dean and Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs John G. Clarkson, M.D. ’68, and School of Nursing Dean Nilda Peragallo joined representatives of The Green Family Foundation and Project Medishare on a two-day visit to the troubled nation. The Green Family Foundation and Project Medishare are collaborators with the School of Medicine in an initiative to bring medical care to Haiti. The dignitaries got a close-up look at medical partnerships that are saving lives and making a difference in world health.

The first stop was Zanmi Lasante, a medical complex built in Cange by Paul Farmer, M.D., of Harvard Medical School and founder of Partners in Health. Zanmi Lasante represents a model for collaboration between a charity, Partners in Health, and a U.S. medical school. The complex includes a medical clinic and a hospital that provide more than 1,000 patients daily with free or almost free medical care.

About one hour from Cange is Thomonde, site of the partnership involving the School of Medicine, Project Medishare, and The Green Family Foundation. Before Medishare came to Thomonde, residents would have to walk to Cange, which is about ten miles away on the other side of a mountain range. Partners in Health helped staff the clinic full time and provided an ambulance for patients to make the trip when they needed to be hospitalized in Cange.

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Menopause Study to Determine Benefits of Soy


he loss of estrogens after menopause is considered to be the main cause of bone deterioration and osteoporosis, a disease that afflicts nearly eight million women in the United States. Preliminary studies show promise that soy supplements may help minimize bone loss. The Osteoporosis Center at the School of Medicine was awarded a five-year, $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for the SPARE Study, which stands for Soy Phytoestrogens As Replacement Estrogen.

“About half of the more than 40 million menopausal women in the U.S. at one point have tried using plant-derived estrogens, such as those found in soy products, for menopausal symptoms,” says Silvina Levis, M.D., director of the Osteoporosis Center and principal investigator of the study. “There have been no definitive long-term studies showing that these products can prevent bone loss and ease menopausal symptoms, and that’s what the SPARE Study will determine.”

Participants must make a two-year commitment to the double-blind placebo controlled study, and they will receive either a soy supplement in tablet form or a placebo. They also will get mammograms, bone-density tests, and blood tests to check hormone and cholesterol levels. To be eligible, participants must be 45 to 58 years old and in the first five years of menopause.

The study is sponsored by the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and the Office of Women’s Health of the NIH.

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Hazelden foundation honors liddle for Addiction Research

Family-Focused Therapy

Aoward Liddle, Ed.D., professor of epidemiology and public health and director of the Center for Treatment Research on Adolescent Drug Abuse, has received the 2003 Dan Anderson Research Award from the Hazelden Foundation. Liddle was honored for his rigorous study documenting the effectiveness of a strong family-based approach to treating young people with substance abuse problems compared to approaches with less family involvement. The Hazelden Foundation is an internationally known nonprofit organization dedicated to research and treatment services for addiction.

Liddle’s treatment model, called “multidimensional family therapy,” also was recognized by the National Institute of Drug Abuse with a $3.5 million grant. The therapy model will be used as part of the ongoing Criminal Justice Drug Abuse Treatment Studies, a national effort to find new ways to stop habitual drug use among teenagers. Investigators from around the nation will collaborate on community-based studies of both drug abuse and juvenile justice, so that if a program shows promise in one city it quickly can be expanded nationwide.

Liddle and researchers at nine other institutions from New York to California were selected because of the drug intervention successes they’ve achieved. Only two institutions focus on youth: the National Research Development Institute in New York and the University of Miami.

Liddle calls his work multidimensional family therapy because therapists involve many people in the intervention process—including relatives, juvenile court officials, and peers—and then they target different aspects of the teen’s life, creating satisfying alternatives to a drug-using lifestyle.

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Alumni Participate in Annual Rite of Passage

his was the fourth year for the School of Medicine’s annual Freshman Pinning Ceremony, but the tradition keeps evolving. For the first time, the pinning ceremony corresponded with alumni weekend.

“We draw two things together with the pinning ceremony,” says Mark O’Connell, M.D., senior associate dean for medical education. “We say welcome to the medical profession and tie in the alumni and what it means to enter into the UM family.”

Norman Kenyon, M.D. ’56, president of the School of Medicine’s first class, was this year’s keynote speaker. Also honored was Scott Jaben, M.D. ’77, who has endowed a guest speaker program for the pinning ceremony beginning next year.

Only School of Medicine graduates can wear the pin, designed by students with a DNA molecule, a caduceus, the University of Miami’s orange and green “U,” and a glowing sun—representing the school’s research, clinical care, education, and commitment to the community.

“I was in the first class, so I was pinned as a freshman,” says Rachel Dawkins, student government president. “So it’s kind of neat that now we get to be upperclassmen pinning the freshmen. It ties me to the school and gives me a symbol of it as well.”

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Photography by Pyramid Photographics, Daniel Lorelei) and Daniel Morel (Haiti), and. John Zillioux (Seeing the Difference). Illustrations by Ricardo Stampatori (Patient Safety Center) and Alicia Beulow (Family-Focused Therapy).

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