TAG: "Awards & honors"

UC Irvine Health-led study earns Top 10 Clinical Research Achievement

MRSA study honored by Clinical Research Forum.

Susan Huang, UC Irvine

A study on antibiotic-resistant bacteria in hospitals led by UC Irvine Health infectious disease expert Dr. Susan Huang earned a “Top 10 Clinical Research Achievement Award” for 2013 from the Clinical Research Forum.

Huang, medical director of epidemiology and infection prevention for UC Irvine Health, is an associate professor of medicine. Winning projects represent the outstanding examples of research projects that benefit the health and well being of the general public.

The study showed that using germ-killing soap and ointment in hospitals on all intensive-care unit patients can reduce bloodstream infections by up to 44 percent and significantly reduce the presence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Patients who have MRSA present on their bodies are at increased risk of developing a MRSA infection and can spread the germ to other patients.

In the study, which was designed to test three MRSA prevention strategies, researchers found that treating all ICU patients with germ-killing soap and ointment was more effective than strategies that relied on screening patients for MRSA first, then applying prevention strategies only to those who carry the germ. This approach was also effective for preventing infections caused by germs other than MRSA. Study results appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“Clinical research culminates years of basic and translational science to bring new treatments to patients, and I’m always excited to see the groundbreaking clinical research recognized every year by the Clinical Research Forum,” said National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “This is just the tip of the iceberg of the incredible work coming out in the field, much of it funded by the NIH.”

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UCSF professor wins European Union Prize for Women Innovators

Laura van ‘t Veer honored for developing diagnostic test.

Laura van 't Veer receives her 2014 European Union Prize for Women Innovators Award from Mark Rutte, the prime minister of the Netherlands, who flew to Brussels for the occasion.

Laura van ‘t Veer, Ph.D., was honored this week as one of the top female scientific innovators in Europe.

The European Union Prize for Women Innovators recognizes women who have combined their scientific excellence with a head for business to set up innovative enterprises. Van ‘t Veer was one of three who were presented the award on Monday in Brussels.

Van ‘t Veer, of the Netherlands, was honored for developing MammaPrint, a diagnostic test that will help determine the likelihood that a breast tumor will metastasize to other parts of the body. This helps physicians determine whether or not each patient can benefit from chemotherapy.

Van ‘t Veer, a professor in the UCSF Department of Laboratory Medicine, leads the breast oncology program at the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her current research focuses on precision medicine, specifically how the molecular basis for early response to therapy can guide the development of therapy-specific companion diagnostics.

“From my perspective, many people talk about translational science, but few actually take a finding that can impact care and actually change practice,” said Laura Esserman, M.D., M.B.A., director of the UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center. “Laura’s work is a shining example of the best of translational science.”

Esserman says she recruited van ‘t Veer to UCSF a few years ago to help set up the I-SPY trial. Esserman developed molecular tests that have been approved by the FDA which allow UCSF and others to tailor treatment for women with breast cancer. Van ‘t Veer developed a platform to stratify high-risk tumors in the I-SPY trial, and now a new study to stratify low-risk tumors.

Mark Rutte, the prime minister of the Netherlands, traveled to Brussels to present van ‘t Veer with the award at the opening ceremony of the Innovation Convention 2014. Van ‘t Veer won 50,000 euros for her second-place win.

Other honorees include first-place winner Saskia Biskup of Germany and third-place winner Ana Maiques of Spain. The three winners were selected by an independent panel of experts from a total of 67 applications.

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UC Davis MIND Institute joins ranks of elite neurodevelopmental centers

Joins UCLA among 15 Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers in nation.

The UC Davis MIND Institute has been named an Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC), through a prestigious grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health — a distinction held by only a handful of neurodevelopmental centers nationwide committed to the diagnosis, prevention, treatment and amelioration of developmental disorders such as autism, fragile X syndrome and Down syndrome.

Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers conduct comprehensive interdisciplinary research that promotes the discovery and translation of basic science investigations into clinical applications. The designation will provide the MIND Institute with new tools to further strengthen its neurodevelopmental research across the schools, programs and departments of the entire university, cementing its stature as “the house that collaboration built,” and knitting together the work of basic science researchers and clinicians to advance the development of new therapies for people with neurodevelopmental disorders.

There are only 15 IDDRCs nationwide. Others are situated at UCLA, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Children’s Hospital of Boston and Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. The MIND Institute IDDRC is funded through a five-year, $6.5 million grant.

“To be selected for the IDDRC program, an institution must meet rigorous scientific criteria,” said Melissa Parisi, chief of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Branch. “We eagerly await the MIND Institute’s contributions to the centers program and to intellectual and developmental disabilities research.”

MIND Institute Director Leonard Abbeduto, Tsakopoulos-Vismara Endowed Chair in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, directs the new center.

“Across its schools and colleges, divisions and programs, UC Davis has made a firm and lasting commitment to build better, healthier lives for children with neurodevelopmental disorders,” Abbeduto said.

“Designation as an IDDRC gives the MIND Institute critical new resources that will allow it to advance its mission to speed transformation of basic scientific discoveries into clinical applications, in order to aide children and adults affected by neurodevelopmental disorders and their families worldwide and impact their lives today,” he said.

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UC Health graduate programs rank among nation’s best

U.S. News rates UC medical schools highly.

University of California Health ranks among the nation’s best graduate schools in a survey released today (March 11) by U.S. News & World Report.

Five UC medical schools placed in the top 50 nationally for research rankings and four placed in the top 40 nationally for primary care rankings.

In research, UC San Francisco was the top-ranked public school and fourth among all U.S. schools, with UCLA 12th overall, UC San Diego 14th, UC Davis 40th and UC Irvine 43rd. In primary care, UCSF ranked fourth, UCLA ranked 13th, UC Davis 16th and UC San Diego 38th, with UC Irvine 61st. UCSF has the only medical school ranked in the top five of both categories.

UC medical schools also received high marks in a number of specialty programs. UCSF ranked first for its medical program in AIDS; third in family medicine, internal medicine and women’s health; fourth in drug/alcohol abuse education; and eighth in geriatrics and pediatrics. UCLA ranked fourth in drug/alcohol abuse education and geriatrics, and sixth in AIDS. UC San Diego ranked eighth in drug/alcohol abuse education and 11th in AIDS.

U.S. News’ 2015 America’s Best Graduate Schools rankings can be viewed at www.usnews.com/grad.

The new rankings include previous assessments of a number of other health fields, which U.S. News also surveys but not each year. UCLA ranked first in clinical psychology, UCSF ranked first in pharmacy, UC Davis ranked second in veterinary medicine, UCSF ranked fourth for both its master’s of nursing program and its nursing-midwifery program, while in public health UC Berkeley ranked eighth and UCLA was 10th. The surveys do not rank dental or optometry schools.

UC Health runs five academic health centers and the nation’s largest health sciences education system with more than 14,000 students and 17 health professional schools in medicine, dentistry, nursing, optometry, pharmacy, public health and veterinary medicine. UC’s sixth medical school, UC Riverside, enrolled its first class in fall 2013.

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UC Irvine cancer team again earns high-quality care regonition

Comprehensive cancer center among first in nation to be recertified.

Edward Nelson, UC Irvine

The UC Irvine Health Division of Hematology/Oncology is among the nation’s first practices to be recertified by American Society of Clinical Oncology for high-quality patient care. The ASCO Quality Oncology Practice Initiative assures patients and their families that an oncology practice meets rigorous standards for high-quality cancer care.

“We are incredibly proud to have attained this recertification,” said Dr. Edward L. Nelson, chief of the division of hematology/oncology and associate professor, department of medicine in the UC Irvine School of Medicine and in the department of molecular biology & biochemistry, UC Irvine School of Biological Sciences.

“Since we were among the first class of QOPI-certified practices in 2010, we have maintained a very real and substantive commitment to providing our patients the highest quality of care, setting the standard for cancer treatment in our community, and in the education of future clinicians in the highest standards of practice. This re-certification is a concrete measure of that longstanding commitment to quality and excellence.”

UC Irvine’s hematologists-oncologists treat patients at the UC Irvine Medical Center and are members of the National Cancer Institute-designated Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of only 41 NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the nation and the only one in Orange County. It is the county’s only cancer center whose missions include advancing scientific research and clinical trials in all phases that lead to potentially life-saving drugs and treatments. All five UC medical centers have NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers.

The Quality Oncology Practice Initiative is a voluntary self-assessment and improvement program developed by ASCO to help hematology and oncology practices gauge the caliber of care they provide. Encompassing at least 80 quality measures, it lets practices compare their performance data to that of others across the country and identify areas for improvement. It is a three-year certification. The QOPI Certification Program was launched in January 2010. For the past three years the UC Irvine Health Hematology/Oncology practice has met or exceeded over 90 percent of the more than 80 measures surveyed.

“The certification reinforces that physicians at an academic medical center can meet the highest standards for delivery of quality cancer care while providing disease specific expertise and complements our strengths in laboratory research and clinical trials that have always been hallmarks of our program and which embody our three missions: discover, teach, heal,” Nelson said.

UC Irvine Health first achieved QOPI certification in July 2010. It was the first practice in California, the first at an academic medical center and the first practice in the U.S. directly affiliated with a NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center to obtain QOPI certification. Since then, more than 200 practices have been certified in the first program of its kind for oncology in the United States, including such notable institutions as Stanford, UC San Diego and M.D. Anderson, each in2013. UCI’s recertification places it among the first class of hematology-oncology practices to do so.

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UCSF schools lead nation in NIH research funds

UC campuses and labs awarded a total of more than $1.7B in NIH funding in 2013.

UC San Francisco’s four professional schools topped the nation in federal research funding in 2013, with the university as a whole ranking first among public recipients and second overall in funds from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), according to annual NIH figures.

These highly competitive funds – more than $517 million in total through contracts and grants – reflect the quality of the research on campus and enable UCSF scientists to continue their pioneering efforts to understand the underlying causes of such diseases as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, HIV, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, and to work to develop improved therapies for them.

“NIH funding is the lifeblood of biomedical research in this nation and enables us, collectively, to tackle the most urgent questions in health and medicine,” said UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, M.D., M.P.H. “It is a testament to the excellence of our faculty to have all four of our professional schools and many of our research departments lead their fields in these competitive grants.”

The UCSF School of Medicine received the most funding of any school in the nation for the second year in a row, at $439.6 million for fiscal year 2013, to support research, training and fellowships.

The UCSF schools of pharmacy and dentistry ranked first in their fields in NIH grants for 2013: pharmacy for the 34th consecutive year, with $29.2 million; and dentistry for the 22nd year, with $13.7 million. The UCSF School of Nursing also regained its lead after briefly ranking second last year, with $9.6 million in grants in 2013.

All told, UCSF received more than $501.6 million total in grants, with an additional $15.5 million in NIH contracts, for which UCSF scientists compete to perform specific research projects for the national institutes. Overall, UC campuses and labs were awarded more than $1.7 billion in NIH funding for fiscal year 2013.

“UCSF is on the cutting edge of innovation, medicine, and scientific progress – a key reason why San Francisco always leads the way,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. “The work of UCSF represents the best use of federal investments: to advance scientific discovery, to expand biomedical research, to lay the foundations for new industries, and to ensure the breakthroughs of tomorrow are made right here in the United States.”

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Women’s group recognizes UC medical centers’ commitment to heart care

Best hospitals for heart care include four UC medical centers.

Four University of California medical centers were among 290 hospitals nationally to be recognized by WomenCertified as a Best Hospitals for Patient Experience in Heart Care. WomenCertified is a consumer advocate that seeks to assist women’s health care choices by identifying hospitals with records of excellence in the treatment of heart attacks and heart disease.

The selection of best hospitals for heart care included UC Davis Medical Center, UC Irvine Medical Center, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and UC San Diego Medical Center – Hillcrest.

“Everyone on our cardiovascular team, including physicians, nurses, technicians and therapists, is committed to providing its patients with the highest quality cardiac care available,” said Dr. Pranav Patel, chief of the UC Irvine Health Division of Cardiology.

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UC Riverside intent on setting a green example

A remodeled School of Medicine Education Building earns LEED Silver.

UC Riverside's School of Medicine Education Building

Most people look at a building and see windows and doors; John Cook, UC Riverside’s director of Sustainability, sees a chance to change the world, one structure at a time.

His latest “conquest” is UC Riverside’s newly remodeled School of Medicine Education Building, the second building on campus to meet the new University of California policy requiring that all new construction and major renovations earn a LEED Silver certification and exceed California’s Title 24 building code for energy efficiency by at least 20 percent.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a nationally recognized benchmark for cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings, overseen by the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council. And when they say “green,” they mean much more than installing insulation and energy-efficient windows.

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Healthgrades gives top ranking to UC San Diego

Health system honored among top 5 percent of hospitals in U.S.

UC San Diego Health System is the region’s only academic health system. Its mission is to deliver outstanding patient care through commitment to the community, groundbreaking research and inspired teaching.

UC San Diego Health System is the region’s only academic health system. Its mission is to deliver outstanding patient care through commitment to the community, groundbreaking research and inspired teaching.

UC San Diego Health System is a recipient of Healthgrades’ “Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence.” Top performing hospitals were selected based on clinical excellence across a broad spectrum of care in specialty areas such as cardiac and neuro surgery and gastrointestinal, pulmonary and critical care.

“We are honored to be among the top 5 percent of hospitals in the U.S. that demonstrate health system wide, demonstrably superior, clinical quality outcomes,” said Paul Viviano, CEO, UC San Diego Health System. “As the only academic health system in San Diego County, we are devoted to offering unparalleled quality of care and exceptional clinical results based on a philosophy that combines world-class clinical expertise in a patient-centric environment.”

To be eligible for the award, a hospital had to show superior performance in caring for patients in the Medicare population, as measured across at least 21 of 30 of the most common inpatient conditions and procedures with objective clinical outcomes (risk-adjusted mortality and in-hospital complications). During the 2014 study period (2010 to 2012), Healthgrades evaluated Medicare inpatient data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) file.

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Apple honors UC Irvine’s iMedEd Initiative

Medical education iPad program named an Apple Distinguished Program.

With their iPads, UC Irvine medical students have at their fingertips all the information they need to read, study and participate in the classroom and in clinical training.

With their iPads, UC Irvine medical students have at their fingertips all the information they need to read, study and participate in the classroom and in clinical training.

The iMedEd Initiative – UC Irvine’s innovative medical education iPad program – has been recognized as a 2013-15 Apple Distinguished Program. The initiative joins a select group of exemplary learning environments being recognized nationwide. The Apple Distinguished Program designation is awarded for  innovation, leadership and educational excellence, and demonstration of  clear vision.

“The iMedEd Initiative is truly groundbreaking for its innovative, digital-based educational platform that conforms to the 21st century learning styles and needs of students throughout the world,” said Dr. Ralph V. Clayman, dean of the UC Irvine School of Medicine. “We’re honored that Apple has recognized our achievements for a second time.”

The iMedEd Initiative is reinventing the traditional medical school curriculum. It was the first to build a completely digital, interactive, tablet-based learning environment – which includes portable ultrasound clinical training – and continues to lead in adapting emerging technologies for all aspects of medical education. This academic year, the entire four-year curriculum has been placed on iPad, giving UC Irvine one of the first all-digital program medical schools in the nation.

Since 2010, when the initiative was launched, incoming UC Irvine medical students have received fully loaded iPads, putting at their fingertips all the information they need to read, study or review. This multimedia approach accommodates all modes of learning, especially small group sessions.

The iMedEd Initiative is fully supported by the John and Mary Tu Scholarship Fund, which finances the purchase of  iPads and a complete library of digital textbooks for all incoming UC Irvine medical students. The iMedEd Initiative was also recognized as a 2012-13 Apple Distinguished Program.

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Four UC faculty win NAS awards

The academy honors 15 for major contributions to science.

Joseph DeRisi, UC San Francisco

Joseph DeRisi, UC San Francisco

Four UC faculty members have been honored by the National Academy of Sciences for their “extraordinary scientific achievements.”

UC San Francisco’s Joseph DeRisi, Ph.D., won the Carty Award, and Allison Doupe, M.D., Ph.D., won the Pradel Research Award. UCLA’s James Liao, Ph.D., received the Award for the Industrial Application of Science while UC Davis professor emerita Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, Ph.D., won the Award for Scientific Reviewing. They join 11 others in the fields of physical, biological and social sciences.

DeRisi, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, and professor and vice chair at the UCSF Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, is recognized for developing new genomic technologies and using these technologies to make discoveries in virology that of fundamental and practical importance.

Doupe, professor and vice chair of basic science research at the UCSF Department of Psychiatry, is recognized for her groundbreaking work using songbirds to reveal important features of how neural circuits process information and are shaped by experience.

Liao, the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation Professor of Chemical Engineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, is recognized for his work in the development of industrially viable processes for the generation of biofuels.

Hrdy, a professor emerita of anthropology, is recognized for publishing a series of books and scholarly reviews that have drawn together data and concepts from across the social and biological sciences to synthesize a new understanding of the ways in which natural selection has shaped women’s lives, mother-infant interactions and the foundations of human sociality.

All the recipients will be recognized in a ceremony during the National Academy of Sciences’ 151st annual meeting on April 27.

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UC Davis nursing earns Magnet designation

All five UC medical centers now have Magnet recognition.

UC Davis Medical Center joins the ranks of elite clinical-care institutions in the nation with its new Magnet Recognition Program status, which was granted this week by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC). The designation is the nation’s highest form of recognition for nursing excellence and a benchmark for the quality of care patients receive.

All five UC medical centers now have been designated as Magnet hospitals.

“UC Davis has a long history of demonstrated nursing excellence, and the Magnet recognition is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our nurses and their care-team colleagues,” said Carol Robinson, chief patient care services officer and director of nursing at UC Davis Medical Center.

The Magnet Recognition Program was developed by the ANCC to recognize health care organizations for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practices. To achieve designation, the medical center provided written documentation demonstrating qualitative and quantitative evidence about patient care and outcomes as part of a rigorous certification process that also included a multi-day, on-site visit by ANCC representatives.

Only about 7 percent of U.S. hospitals carry Magnet designation. UC Davis is the 25th organization in California, and the only one in Sacramento, to earn the highly regarded recognition. Studies indicate that Magnet Recognition Program hospitals typically have lower mortality and infection rates, as well as higher patient satisfaction and better work environments for nurses.

“I am proud of our entire team of health-care professionals,” said Ann Madden Rice, chief executive officer of UC Davis Medical Center. “Led by our nurses, this truly was a collaborative effort with our physicians and others in an organization that has always been committed to the highest standards of patient-centered care. Achieving this elite status demonstrates UC Davis’ dedication to continuously improving the health of our patients, our community and our region.”

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