NEWS BLOG from UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

Pitt Public Health Chair of Epidemiology Elected to Prestigious Medical Association


Anne B. Newman, M.D., M.P.H., professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, was elected to the Association of American Physicians at the nonprofit organization’s annual meeting recently held in Chicago.

Dr. Newman was inducted into the association for having “attained excellence” in the “pursuit of medical knowledge, and the advancement through experimentation and discovery of basic and clinical science and their application to clinical medicine.”

“It is a wonderful honor to be elected to the Association of American Physicians,” said Dr. Newman, the Katherine M. Detre Endowed Chair of Population Health Sciences at Pitt Public Health and director of Pitt’s Center for Aging and Population Health. “I look forward to learning from my fellow members and sharing my scientific knowledge and expertise in epidemiology with them, all with the ultimate goal of improving patient care and preventative medicine.”

Dr. Newman’s research focuses on aging, including the determinants of physical and cognitive function, as well as successful aging and longevity. Using non-invasive assessment in multiple organ systems, she has been a leader in developing clinically relevant metrics for healthy aging. Her work on sarcopenia – loss of muscle mass – has shifted the paradigm toward a holistic assessment of body composition.

She is leading several long-term studies and clinical trials in older adults funded by the National Institute on Aging, including the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study, which identified factors for disability in people over 70 years old, showing that physical endurance and muscle strength are critically important. These findings were targeted in the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders, or LIFE, study, and made international news when that study showed that these risk factors could be successfully modified to prevent disability. (more…)

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ISMETT Opens First Hybrid Operating Room


Patients in southern and central Italy who need complicated heart surgery no longer need to travel for the best care.

The Istituto Mediterraneo per i Trapianti e Terapie ad Alta Specializzazione (ISMETT) recently opened a new, state-of-the-art hybrid operating room in Sicily — the first south of Rome — which is being used to perform complex cardiovascular procedures on patients.

“The quality of a health system is measured by its ability to accommodate people in technologically advanced facilities,” said Angelo Luca, M.D., chief executive officer of Palermo-based ISMETT. “Meeting this challenge means allowing professionals to operate with state-of-the-art tools and equipment to guarantee that the patient is at the center of care.”

A hybrid operating room houses high-quality imaging equipment and technology, and allows doctors to conduct both interventional and surgical procedures in the same space. It also allows a multidisciplinary team to operate on at-risk patients through the use of interventional techniques that don’t require the opening of the chest, such as an artificial valve implant where the native one is diseased.

The new facility is equipped with all the equipment required to guide clinicians during the procedure, as well as monitoring equipment and devices such as a heart-lung machine, automatic ventilator and ventricular assist devices to cope with any kind of emergency.

The hybrid operating room — modeled after those used at UPMC in the U.S. — will also allow surgeons to perform minimally invasive procedures and cardiac surgery hybrid interventions on coronary arteries and cardiac valves; vascular endoprosthesis surgery on the aorta and large vessels; complex angio-radiology intervention on patients with congenital cardiac diseases; and arrhythmia treatment with electrophysiology studies and ablation.

ISMETT, a leading Italian transplant hospital managed by UPMC, was recently ranked among the top hospitals in the country based on 30-day mortality rates following cardiac, thoracic and abdominal surgeries.

For more information, click here. (more…)

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Nancy Davidson Selected President of American Association for Cancer Research


Nancy Davidson, M.D., director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, officially assumed the presidency of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) today at the AACR Annual Meeting 2016.

She will work collaboratively with the AACR board of directors and the AACR membership, which includes more than 35,000 members in 104 countries, to further the association’s mission to prevent and cure cancer through research, education, communication and collaboration.

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Pennsylvania College of Emergency Physicians Honors UPMC Mercy Physician


Michael Turturro, M.D., chief of emergency services at UPMC Mercy and associate professor of emergency medicine at University of Pittsburgh, received the 2016 Pennsylvania College of Emergency Physicians (PACEP) Emergency Physician of the Year Award at the organization’s annual Scientific Assembly.

Each year, PACEP honors one emergency clinician of unusual merit who has who has achieved distinction and peer recognition for outstanding performance as a physician role model, patient advocate, contributor to community service and education, and practices high quality emergency medical care.

“I am honored and humbled to receive this award and thankful for all the talented individuals I continue to work with at both UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine who assist me in every regard, every day,” Dr. Turturro said.

Dr. Turturro and the staff at UPMC Mercy’s Emergency Department provide comprehensive, state-of-the-art emergency care to more than 65,000 people annually from throughout the Western Pennsylvania region.

Dr. Turturro earned his medical degree at the State University of New York. He completed residency at the University of Pittsburgh.

The PACEP Emergency Physician of the Year Award was established in 1999. (more…)

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Thanking Volunteers During National Volunteer Week


Happy National Volunteer Week and thank you to the 5,348 individuals who volunteered at UPMC facilities last year.

Altogether, more than 414,000 hours of service were given to patients and facilities. Volunteer management has changed a lot in the last 20 years, but one thing has remained constant – it would be difficult to imagine a hospital without volunteers.

In most facilities, volunteers range in age from 14 to 90 years old, with backgrounds and experiences as diverse as their ages. One of the most rewarding parts of being a volunteer director is meeting high school and college students who aspire to work in health care, then reconnecting later when they have realized their dreams.

One such example was when I was seen by a new physician in my primary care physician’s office who asked me if I remembered him as a 15-year-old volunteer. I see every day how our staff and a student’s volunteer experience can influence an educational tract or solidify a career decision.

This is personified by Dr. Domenic Mantella, UPMC family medicine physician who volunteered at UPMC Passavant from 1998 to 2001.

“Volunteering is a service to your community that pays major dividends,” Dr. Mantella said. “For me, I was able to learn some important skills that I use in my career as a physician. I also benefited from the early exposure to medicine in my high school years that helped to shape my fascination with medicine and helping others.” (more…)

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