Sept. 23, 2019

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UMMC faculty, staff from five disciplines earn major honors

Medical Center faculty and staff representing cardiovascular research, nephrology, the transplant program, the UMMC Cancer Center and Research Institute and Project SEARCH received recognition from major professional organizations in their respective medical and scientific fields.

CRRC personnel earn AHA council recognition

Several faculty and trainees from the UMMC’s Cardiovascular-Renal Research Center received awards at the American Heart Association Council on Hypertension Scientific Sessions meeting Sept. 5-8 in New Orleans.

Awardees included:


Dr. Lorena Amaral, instructor in pharmacology and toxicology, was a finalist for the Stephanie Watts Career Development Award.








Dr. Denise Cornelius, assistant professor of emergency medicine, was elected a fellow of the American Heart Association.







Dr Fan Fan.jpg
Fan Fan

Dr. Mark Cunningham, assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology, and Dr. Fan Fan, assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology, received Kidney Council New Investigator Travel Awards.







Olivia Travis, a Ph.D. student in experimental therapeutics and pharmacology, received a New Investigator Travel Award.







John Clemmer

In addition, Amaral; Dr. John Clemmer, instructor in physiology and biophysics; Laura Coats, a Ph.D. student in physiology and biophysics; Meredith Cobb, an M.D./Ph.D. student in pharmacology and toxicology; and Cunningham received poster awards from the AHA’s Hypertension Trainee Advisory Committee.


Business journal calls nephrology faculty health care ‘hero’


Dr. Juan Medaura, an assistant professor of nephrology at UMMC, has been named a “Healthcare Hero” by the Mississippi Business Journal.

The publication annually honors outstanding professionals in the health care industry whose contributions have increased the well-being of the communities they serve. Medaura and other honorees will be recognized during an awards ceremony Sept. 26 at the Old Capitol Inn in Jackson.

The awards cover six different categories: animal care, first responder, nurse, physician, professional and volunteer.

Medaura came to UMMC in 2016 after completing a fellowship at the Harlem Hospital Center/Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. After receiving his medical degree from the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo in Mendoza, Argentina, in 2008, Medaura served as a health promoter, educator and outreach worker for the San Juan Basin Department of Health in Denver while taking outpatient rotations for Hudson River HealthCare Inc. in Peekskill, New York, and Rose Medical Center in Denver.

He completed an internship and residency training in the Internal Medicine Department at St. Barnabas Hospital, Bronx, New York, in 2014.


MORA bestows Spero Awards on UMMC transplant program

mora.pngThe Medical Center’s transplant program received accolades from the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency during the nonprofit organization’s annual Spero Awards ceremony.

Awards given to 14 individuals and hospitals bear the word Spero, which is Latin for “hope.” The name of the award reflects the hope that organ and tissue donation bring to those in need of a transplant.

Among the Medical Center ’s transplant staff receiving awards during the July 25 event were:

   •  Most Supportive Ancillary or Healthcare Staff: Dustin Wicker, registered respiratory therapist for the special transport team

   •  Nurse Champion of the Year: Holly Holder, a registered nurse in the Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit

   •  Most Supportive Care Team: Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit

UMMC also received the Mississippi Lions Eye Bank Gift of Sight Award for helping to facilitate sight-saving corneal transplants, and the Hospital Excellence Award for achieving national organ donation performance standards set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

UMMC and UMMC Grenada are among a group of 32 hospitals statewide recognized by MORA for enrolling in the Mississippi Hospitals for Hope campaign. That initiative develops awareness for the need for organ, eye and tissue donation and strives to increase the number of people on donor registries.


Ruckdeschel’s perfect attendance garners Daily News prize

Ruckdeschel, John web

The Daily News, published at the recent 20th annual World Conference on Lung Cancer in Barcelona, Spain, recognized Dr. John Ruckdeschel, director of the UMMC Cancer Center and Research Institute, and Dr. Paul A. Bunn Jr., as the only two WCLC members to have attended every conference since its inception in 1978.

Throughout their careers, Ruckdeschel and Bunn have been heavily involved in seeking new ways to prevent, detect and treat lung cancer.

The WCLC is sponsored biannually by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, which Bunn previously led as president and later as chief executive officer.

Ruckdeschel and Bunn discussed the progress made in treating lung cancer and the WCLC’s role in helping unite researchers and physicians as they seek more therapies and ways to prevent the disease.


Sequana Medical taps CV research chair for advisory post


Dr. Javed Butler, Patrick H. Lehan Chair of Cardiovascular Research and professor and chair of the Department of Medicine, has been named a heart failure scientific advisor for Sequana Medical.

In that role, Butler and other advisors will bring vast medical and scientific expertise to the development of multiple new treatment options for patients coping with heart failure across the globe. Sequana Medical is an innovator in the management of fluid overload in liver disease, malignant ascites and heart failure.

Butler’s research focuses on clinical trials in patients with heart failure. He serves on several national committees for organizations including the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, the National Institutes of Health and the Heart Failure Society of America.

He is a recipient of the Simon Dack Award from the American College of Cardiology and the Time, Feeling and Focus Award from the American Heart Association.


Project SEARCH program nets top employer award for UMMC

Left to Right (Back Row): Casey Bridges, Terri Gillespie, Margaret Head, Britt Crewse Left to Right (Front Row): Natalie Davis, Caleb Byrd, Kevin Cook, Ariel Williams, and Trinity Ambrose
Left to Right (Back Row): Casey Bridges, Terri Gillespie, Margaret Head, Britt Crewse
Left to Right (Front Row): Natalie Davis, Caleb Byrd, Kevin Cook, Ariel Williams, and Trinity Ambrose

UMMC is being recognized by the state Department of Rehabilitative Services for the Medical Center's Project SEARCH program.

UMMC received the department’s Employer of the Year Award, given to an individual, firm or group of employers in recognition of outstanding achievement in improving employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. The award salutes UMMC for its participation in Project SEARCH, a national initiative designed to help students with disabilities obtain competitive, community-based employment.

The intent of the 10-month program, in its second season at UMMC, is for students to work in a business setting that will give them a teaching and learning experience and the chance to gain skills that will make them attractive to employers. It’s a collaboration between the Medical Center, the Rankin County School District and Rehabilitation Services, and the Mississippi Council for Developmental Disabilities.

“We’re so proud to have the opportunity to add such dedicated and loyal employees to our ever-growing workplace,” said Casey Bridges, category manager in supply chain management and the UMMC program’s director. “These interns have truly blessed UMMC with their talent and love for our organization and mission.”

Winners are also chosen based on promotion of employment for individuals with disabilities above and beyond what is required by local, state or federal laws. Businesses also are beneficiaries: They gain access to a diverse talent stream with skills that match labor needs; get the chance to make a positive, lifelong difference for someone with special needs; and have the opportunity to change their workplace culture to that of helping others.