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Leaders Address Shortage of Black Men in Medical Profession

CICATS CEO Dr. Cato T. Laurencin is featured in the following piece published in Diverse Issues in Education.

“WASHINGTON—Concerned with the disparities in the medical field, experts and university administrators gathered in the nation’s capital this week to strategize on solutions.

The two-day National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine workshop titled, “The Growing Absence of Black Men in Medicine and Science: An American Crisis,” convened on Monday and Tuesday to address low Black male enrollment in American medical schools.

Attendees included faculty and university administrators as well as personnel from nonprofits and accrediting agencies. “There’s a commonality in the belief that we have to attack this issue from a number of different standpoints,” Laurencin said.“Hopefully we can come up with things that are brave and bold,” said Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, a distinguished professor at the University of Connecticut and chair of the planning committee for the workshop.

A report published in June and co-authored by Laurencin shows declining numbers of Black males in medical schools since the 1970s.” To read the rest of the article click here.

CICATS Science Café on Innovation and Inventorship

The Innovation and Inventorship Science Cafe took place on Friday, September 29th at the Lyceum in downtown Hartford. Facilitated by Dr. Lakshmi Nair, a panel consisting of Dr. Greg Gallo, Dr. Mostafa Analouri, and Mr. Paul Parker discussed their roles in the process of innovation and invention at UConn, as well as the programs and services available in their offices. Over 60 faculty members, researchers, students, engineers, clinicians, and staff attended the event. Through engaging conversation and audience questions, the Science Cafe was well-received and generated positive feedback from attendees.

The event was made possible through the support of the CICATS faculty and staff, the Office of the Vice President for Research at UCONN, and especially, The Kavli Foundation.

2017 CICATS Lawrence G. Raisz, M.D. Lectureship in Clinical and Translational Research

The Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (CICATS) at UConn will host the 2017 CICATS Lawrence G. Raisz, M.D. Lectureship in Clinical and Translational Research. This year’s keynote speaker is Hannah Valantine, MD, MRCP, Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity, NIH Office of the Director and Senior Investigator, Laboratory of Transplantation Genomics, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

Hannah Valantine, M.D., MRCPNIH Addresses the Science of Diversity: Focusing on Institutional Change

The University of Connecticut School of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Thursday, October 5, 2017 – UConn Health, Keller Auditorium
Keynote Lecture: 3 to 4:30 p.m. | FREE
Registration starts at 2:30 p.m.

Reception: 4:30 to 5:30 pm, Keller Lobby | FREE

Directions to UConn Health Main Building

RSVP to Attend

About Dr. Hannah Valantine

Background
Hannah Valantine is the first NIH Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity, and a Senior Investigator in the Intramural Research Program at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Prior to starting this position in April 2014, Dr. Valantine was Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and the Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Leadership at Stanford, a leadership position she held since November 2004. She is nationally recognized for her transformative approaches to diversity and is a recipient of the NIH Director’s Pathfinder Award for Diversity in the Scientific Workforce. She is currently leading NIH efforts to promote diversity through innovation across the NIH-funded biomedical workforce through a range of evidence-based approaches. Dr. Valantine maintains an active clinical research program that continues to have high impact on patient care. Current research extends her previous finding that an organ transplant is essentially a genome transplant, and that monitoring the level of donor DNA in a recipient’s blood as a marker of organ damage will detect early stages of rejection. She is currently overseeing a multi-site consortium of mid-Atlantic transplant centers to validate these findings clinically toward the development of a non-invasive tool for detecting early signs of organ rejection.

To read more about her NIH diversity activities, visit the links below.


About the CICATS Lawrence G. Raisz, M.D. Lectureship in Clinical and Translational Research

The Lawrence G. Raisz, M.D. Lectureship is designed to feature the important role of advancing translational research in areas such as health policy, health disparities, regenerative engineering, chronic diseases and much more. The Lectureship was inaugurated in 2011 to commemorate the memory and work of the late Dr. Lawrence G. Raisz.

Dr. Raisz was the Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Emeritus at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine who was dedicated to raising awareness of osteoporosis and metabolic bone diseases among physicians and the public. Each year a distinguished researcher or physician, notable for producing significant research related to clinical and translational research, is invited to give a public lecture at UConn Health or the University of Connecticut.

CICATS announces new cohort of the M1 Mentorship Award Program

The Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (CICATS) at UConn, a cross-university translational institute, has announced its next cohort of the M1 Mentorship Award Program.

The aim of the M1 Mentorship Award is to develop a cadre of accomplished investigators who will participate in cultivating an academic environment that elevates mentorship to a discipline with consistently high standards and practices. The program focuses on the recruitment and mentorship of underrepresented students at all stages of the academic pipeline.

The M1 Award recipients, selected through a peer review process, include:

Jennifer Cavallari Sc.D., CIH

Jennifer Cavallari, Sc.D., CIH Dr. Cavallari is an assistant professor in the Department of Community Medicine and Healthcare and the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at UConn Health. Dr. Cavallari is an epidemiologist and Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH). She received her doctorate in Environmental Health from Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) in 2007 where she also completed a post-doctoral fellowship.

Dr. Nicholas Leadbeater, M1 Mentor

Nicholas Leadbeater, Ph.D. Dr. Leadbeater is an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry at the UConn Storrs campus. A native of the United Kingdom, he received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Nottingham and his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge.

Dr. Bill Zempsky, M1 Mentor

William Zempsky, M.D., M.P.H. Dr. Zempsky is a professor of Pediatrics at the UConn School of Medicine and is the Head of the Division of Pain and Palliative Medicine at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Dr. Zempsky received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University.  He graduated from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and completed a pediatric residency on the Harriet Lane Service at Johns Hopkins Hospital. 

“I am pleased to welcome this next cohort of M1 Mentors, comprised of yet another talented group of faculty representing UConn and UConn Health,” said Dr. Cato Laurencin, chief executive officer, CICATS. “Mentorship is a fundamental component of student success, and I look forward to the impact from our mentors across CICATS and the UConn community.”

The inaugural cohort of the M1 Mentorship Award Program included Dr. Anne Delany and Dr. Syam Nukavarapu, UConn Health faculty, and Dr. Elaine Choung-Hee Lee, a faculty member from UConn Storrs.

Each M1 Award recipient utilizes program funds to guide and lead the development of their mentees towards becoming academic scientists. The activities focus on promoting the development of these students starting in high school through to junior faculty. CICATS aims to expand the M1 Mentorship Award Program nationally, using this model to promote pipeline development at other academic institutions.

For additional information about the M1 Award, please contact Lana Angelo at langelo@uchc.edu, or visit our website at http://cicats.uconn.edu/m1-mentorship-award-program/.

CICATS’ Science Cafes highlighted in the Hartford Business Journal

In the May 8 edition of the Hartford Business Journal, staff writer John Stearns highlighted the CICATS Science Cafe concept and how it played a role in funding the research of Dr. Pramod Srivastava.

Science Cafes, which are hosted by CICATS’ Core Interest Groups, are informal events designed to engage the public with interactive discussions in the topic area of the host CIG, and increase opportunities for collaborative research. To learn more about CIGs or Science Cafes, please click here or contact Dr. Kevin Lo.

Here’s the full article from the Hartford Business Journal.

CIG directors lead world’s first ovarian cancer vaccine trial

Three directors from two of CICATS’ Core Interest Groups:  Women’s Cancer Consortium Core Interest Group (CIG) and the Personalized Immunotherapy CIG: Dr. Pramod Srivastava, Dr. Susan Tannenbaum, and Dr. Molly Brewer, are part of the world’s first personalized genomics-driven ovarian cancer vaccine clinical trial. Recruitment for the trial, which will take place at UConn Health, has begun and will be led by Dr. Tannenbaum. Dr. Srivastava, who is the director of the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at UConn Health, invented the groundbreaking vaccine, and Dr. Brewer and Karen Metersky, APRN, will serve as co-investigators.

To read more about this exciting announcement, check out the original article on UConn Today.

Update: Additional coverage includes a cover story from the May 8 edition of the Hartford Business Journal

Join us for the 2nd Annual STEAM Career Expo – Saturday, April 22

The 2nd Annual S.T.E.A.M Career Expo is coming up on Saturday, April 22 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Martin Luther King School in Hartford. Hosted by the Urban League of Greater Hartford Young Professionals (ULGHYP), the career expo offers girls and boys in grades 5-12 opportunities to participate in a variety of fun, hands-on exhibits and learn about the many types of careers they can pursue in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (S.T.E.A.M).

Live music, healthy snacks, and lots of fun are on tap for the day, and we hope you can join us! Please feel free to print the flier for sharing or display.

For more information, please contact Janice Castle at yp@ulgh.org or Dr. Linda Barry at lbarry@uchc.edu.

CICATS Seminar Series: A Kavli BRAIN Event to feature Elisabet Borsheim, Ph.D. on March 24

We will be hosting a CICATS Seminar Series: A Kavli BRAIN Event on Friday, March 24, 2017 in the Low Learning Center at UConn Health, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

EBElisabet Borsheim, Ph.D., from the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, will present on the topic, “Muscle protein synthesis and breakdown; regulation by nutrients and exercise.”

Dr. Borsheim will discuss how muscle plays an essential role as the primary reservoir for amino acids to maintain needs in vital organs during catabolic periods, including between meals and in response to injuries. Hence, the regulation of muscle protein metabolism for adequate metabolic function is of high importance in health and disease.  Stable isotope methodology enables measurements of muscle protein synthesis and breakdown rates. Intake of amino acids, specifically essential amino acids, stimulates muscle protein synthesis, and improves the net balance between synthesis and breakdown. During aging, there is a loss of muscle mass and function (sarcopenia) that may partly be explained by anabolic resistance. Optimal nutritional intake and exercise is of importance for maintenance of muscle mass with aging. After burn injuries, whole body and muscle protein turnover are increased, with a net loss of muscle protein and thus muscle mass. Anabolic interventions after pediatric burn injuries can improve muscle protein net balance via various mechanisms, including improving the response to feeding.

Lunch will be provided for seminar attendees.

The UConn School of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)tm. Physicians should only claim the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

RSVP by March 17 to Cheryl Steciak at csteciak@uchc.edu.

This luncheon seminar is hosted by the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (CICATS) at UConn, the CICATS Biostatistics Center,  and The Kavli Foundation.

Kavli Foundation Increases Investment to CICATS

The Kavli Foundation has announced it will renew and increase its investment in the “Kavli BRAIN Coffee Hour” program hosted by CICATS. Also called Science Cafes, these programs are led by CICATS’ Core Interest Groups and are designed to engage the public and generate interactive discussions. Spurred by CICATS’ initial success, the grant from The Kavli Foundation will ensure that the cafes will continue and expand in the pursuit of advanced scientific knowledge and research.

The full announcement is available on the UConn Foundation website.

CICATS accepting applications for M1 Mentorship Award

CICATS has announced it is currently accepting applications for the second cycle of the M1 Mentorship Award. Open to full-time faculty from UConn Health or UConn Storrs, the deadline to apply is Friday, March 10, 2017.

Created in 2015, the M1 Mentorship Award aims to develop a cadre of accomplished mentors who will participate in creating an academic environment to elevate mentorship to a discipline with consistently high standards and practices. The M1 Award provides support to successful research-funded faculty to serve as mentors in developing the next generation of research scientists. The M1 Award is specifically targeted towards developing a sustainable academic pipeline to increase underrepresented minority students among the pool of academic scientists. Besides providing individual mentorship, recipients of the award will be involved in the development of mentorship programs at the University of Connecticut encompassing each level of educational training (middle school, high school, undergraduate, graduate, and junior faculty).

FUNDING

The M1 Award is a three year program. Funding will cover up to 25%, to a maximum of $40,000, of a faculty’s full-time salary appointment. Awards will provide protected time for mentoring activities, including mentorship of individual students as well as participation in the development and execution of various mentorship initiatives.  In addition, up to $10,000 will be allocated to the development of new and innovative initiatives focused on student-related activities that promote their academic growth and increase the number of students in the pipeline. M1 Award recipients are required to attend at least one mentorship conference per year and to participate in further training in the art and science of mentoring minority students.  Renewal of the M1 Award is subject to an annual program performance review and availability of funding.  The M1 Award will not be renewed at the end of the three-year period.

ELIGIBILITY

  • Full-time faculty from UConn Health or University of Connecticut Storrs campus
  • Documented history of successful research funding (National Institutes of Health (NIH) or other sources)
  • Evidence of extensive mentoring experience

For more information on the M1 Mentorship Award including how to access the online application, please visit the M1 Request for Application web page: http://cicats.uconn.edu/m1-rfa.

Application deadline: Friday, March 10, 2017