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A newsletter for research & medical education July 2010


Ksenia Tonyushkina MD, Pediatric Endocrinology Fellow, Awarded 3 Research Grants

Dr. Tonyushkina received the Endocrine Fellow Foundation grant in general endocrinolgy for her basic research project, "Ontogeny and Maturation of Negative Feedback Regulation in the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Thyroid Axis." She conducts her research at the Karlstrom lab at UMass Amherst under the direction of Rolf Karlstrom, PhD, Chair of the Biology Department. The EFF grant, in the amount of $7500, is awarded to first or second year fellows engaged in significant research. 

Dr. Tonyushkina was also awarded a Collaborative Biomedical Research Grant, which provides initial support for collaborative research by physicians from Baystate Medical Center and scientists from UMass Amherst, and a Natalie V. Zucker Research Grant from Tufts University School of Medicine, which funds basic or clinical research projects of junior faculty and postgraduate fellows at TUSM or its affiliated hospitals.

"Hearing about all this recognition in the form of 3 grants almost at once was extremely rewarding," states Dr. Tonyushkina. "The most important for me was that reviewers felt my projects and clinical thinking behind them are important, meaningful, and worth support."

Julio Martinez-Silvestrini, MD Selected Teacher of the Year by Tufts Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residents

Dr. Martinez-Silvestrini received his award at the Tufts PMR graduation on June 10, 2010. Over the last several years, he has conducted conferences for PMR residents on selected topics in sports medicine and musculoskeletal medicine. Dr. Martinez-Silvestrini also co-wrote a poster on Phrenic Nerve Injuries with 2 of the residents for the American Academic Physiatrist meeting, as well as a book chapter with another resident on Piriformis Syndrome.

According to Dr. David Longworth, Chair, Internal Medicine Department, "Not only is it a tremendous honor, but to be selected from an affiliate hospital is an extraordinary achievement."

James Stewart, MD Receives Appreciation Award for Role in Developing Medical Oncology In-training Exam

The American Society of Clinical Oncology and Medical Oncology Program Directors honored Dr. Stewart, Chief, Hematology and Oncology Division, with an award for his outstanding leadership in the development of the National Medical Oncology In-Training Examination for Fellows. He was presented with a plaque at the June 2010 ASCO Fellowship Director's breakfast, where a congratulatory speech was also given by Kenneth Hande MD, Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University.

Dr. Stewart worked with ASCO to generate enthusiasm for a national exam for Medical Oncology fellows. He chaired the test writing committee for its first 2 years and remained on the committee for 2 more years. The exam, developed in partnership with the National Board of Medical Examiners, has been given for 3 years, with participation by nearly all the Medical Oncology fellowship programs. The exam provides data that allows identification of a program's strengths and weaknesses, as well as comparison to other fellows and programs throughout the US and Canada.  "Building a useful tool for fellowship programs and working with so many dedicated program directors was a satisfying experience and quite simply, a great deal of fun." says Stewart.

Linda Baillargeon, Internal Medicine Residency Education Coordinator, Certified by Training Administrators of Graduate Medical Education

Ms. Baillargeon passed the TAGME National Board for Certification examination in March 2010. Certification provides a national standard and recognition for GME training administrators who have achieved competence in all fields related to their profession. She is the first at Baystate to acheive this certification.

Linda has had a leadership role through the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine Education Coordinators group and TAGME in developing the process for certification.

The National Board for Certification of TAGME is not affiliated with ACGME; it is an independent certifying organization.

Center for Quality of Care Research's Study of Physician-Rating Websites Gets Mainstream Media Attention

Four researchers from the Center for Quality of Care Research published a study, "Patients’ Evaluations of Health Care Providers in the Era of Social Networking: An Analysis of Physician-Rating Websites", online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. The work has garnered quite a bit coverage by media outlets such as and the Los Angeles Times.

Drs. Tara Lagu, Michael Rothberg, and Peter Lindenauer, along with CQCR research assistant Nicholas Hannon, set out to describe the structure and content of physician-rating websites and to assess their potential value to patients.

After reviewing 33 physician-rating websites, such as Angie's List and, they found that, overall, the sites: had limited use by patients (only 190 reviews were found for 300 randomly selected Boston doctors); were not especially user-friendly; had incomplete physician information; and carried pervasive advertising. Despite the fears of physicians’ organizations about online reviews, most patient reviews were positive, and much of the negative commentary was constructive.

Sabyasachi Sen, MD, PhD Wins Outstanding Abstract Award for Annual Endocrine Society Meeting

Dr. Sen, Endocrine and Diabetes Division, received the Outstanding Abstract Award during the annual Society meeting in San Diego, June 18-22, 2010. His winning abstract entitled, "Role of Antioxidants Manganese Superoxide Dismutase (MnSOD) and Catalase (CAT) in Preventing Adipogenic and Promoting Osteogenic Differentiation of Human Bone Marrow Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells (hMSC) in Hyperglycemia" has been published in the June 2010 supplement of Endocrine Reviews.

Christopher Otis, MD Appointed to College of American Pathologists Cancer Committee

Dr. Otis, Director of Surgical Pathology, also serves as the Cancer Committee's Gynecologic Malignancies subcommittee chair.

Baystate Medical Center Has Largest Number of Trainees in American Geriatric Society Poster Sessions

Residents and Faculty Take Active Role in Annual Meeting

At the May 2010 American Geriatrics Society meeting in Orlando, Florida, BMC had 15 posters by 10 residents, 2 fellows and 1 Tufts student. 

  • Gurmukteshwar Singh’s poster on cognitive impairment in older intensive care patients took first place in the Residents’ Poster Session. 

  • The following were selected for the “honors” Presidential Poster Session:

    • Emily Baiyee’s report of an elder with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

    • Mayu Sekiguchi’s case of a pressure ulcer that proved to be a herpetic wound

    • Benito San Gil’s (geriatrics fellow) report of a “lost” hearing aid retained in the ear of an older dementia patient

  • Other resident first authors included Carmela Mancini, Anju Bhagavan, Amit Bhargava, Jaime Hernandez-Montfort, Abdulrahman Alkabbani, Curtis Andrews, Ashita Talsania and Mohamed Elarabi. Laura Iglesias-Lino (fellow) and Rachel Maria Brown (TUSM) also presented posters. 

Gina Luciano was 1 of 3 co-presidents presiding over the meeting of the Resident Section; next year, Amit Bhargava will serve as a co-president.  Baystate is the only institution with at least 1 co-president each year since the Section’s inception. 

Maura Brennan, Geriatrics Fellowship Program Director, and Sandra Bellantonio, Geriatrics Chief, helped organize the conference's Clinical Skills programming, taught in the Joint Injection sessions, served as organizers and judges for the Residents Poster session, and led the Resident Recruitment Subcommittee of the Education Committee, among other activities.

Baystate Animal Care Facility Receives a Perfect USDA Inspection Report

At a routine unannounced inspection of the BACF on June 17, 2010, the UDSA inspector found no issues of concern. The USDA is required to conduct routine unannounced inspections of all animal facilities across the country to ensure compliance with federal regulations and standards in the ethical conduct of research that involves animals.

“Inspections that have no findings of concern—a ‘perfect’ inspection—are very uncommon, but this is the second time that our facility has received such a report," stated Dr. Hal Jenson, Chief Academic Officer at BMC and the Institutional Official for BMC animal research. "This attests to the expertise and dedication of Carol Lovewell, Director of the BACF, and every member of her staff.“

The animal facility is supported by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), chaired by Dr. Richard Arenas, Department of Surgery, which oversees and approves all research involving animals at BMC.






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