It's no surprise that Pitt Med Alumni live and work in all corners of the world. Many make new homes and careers across the United States, while still maintaining a strong Panther spirit and connection to Pittsburgh and the School of Medicine. Such was the case with a chance encounter between Freddie Fu, MED'77 and Chuck Siegel, MED'67 when both happened to be in the same place at the same time! Recognizing a Pitt Panther t-shirt in Hilton Head, NC, Dr. Fu and Dr. Siegel quickly bonded over attending Pitt Med and learned that they had even more in common. With mirror images of education, Dr. Fu came from Dartmouth to study at Pitt and Dr. Seigel went from Pitt to continue his work at Dartmouth. The MAA loves to hear about very special meetings such as this, which helps to strengthen the power of Pitt Med Alumni networks nationwide.
Class Notes Roundup: Fall 2017
Some of the following are reprinted from the Fall 2017 issue of the School of Medicine’s flagship publication, Pitt Med magazine. Click here for more.
Click here to read Archived Alumni Updates.
Psychiatrist Sharyn Ann Lenhart (MD ’74) says sexual harassment in the workplace occurs like pockets of air pollution—the atmosphere at one company may be clean, but the climate at the company across the street could be foul. Lenhart, author of Clinical Aspects of Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination (Taylor and Francis), says the differences in climate result from an organization’s leadership. She has devoted her career to clearing the air—and the mind—for those affected by sexual harassment and gender discrimination. Lenhart holds a clinical academic appointment in psychiatry at Harvard University and is a senior attending psychiatrist at McLean Hospital/Massachusetts General Hospital as well as a consultant for employee assistance programs and legal cases. The resident of Concord, Mass., is also leading efforts to improve the community’s mental health resources as a member of the town’s Comprehensive Long Range Plan Committee.
Richard Shure (MD ’82) remembers his first orthopaedic surgery experience fondly: still a med student, Shure assisted the then-attending Freddie Fu (MD ’77, Orthopaedic Research Fellow ’79, Orthopaedic Surgery Resident ’82) in the O.R. Thirty years later, Fu is chair of Pitt’s orthopaedic surgery department, and Shure, an expert in hand and microsurgery, has operated on some of the biggest names in athletics, including Brandon Marshall, who at the time was a wide receiver with the Denver Broncos. In his first game back after surgery, he caught a record-breaking 18 passes. Shure also operated on Darrell Armstrong, a point guard for the Orlando Magic who, after his surgery, won the NBA’s most improved player of the year award and Sixth Man of the Year Award (1998–99). But perhaps the biggest name (and hand) of Shure’s career is Shaquille O’Neal’s. Now retired, Shure occasionally works as a legal consultant.
In 2008, when Jeanne Jordan (PhD ’88) became the first laboratory scientist to be recruited to the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University (GWU), she built the school’s first research lab from scratch. To her amusement, the virologist and microbiologist was named a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics. “I don’t know a thing about epi-bio,” Jordan says. “I’m a lab person.” But she wanted to convince her new colleagues they would benefit from interdisciplinary collaboration.
Since then, Jordan has worked on many federally supported projects with department colleagues. In a National Institutes of Health–funded effort, Jordan and physician Amanda Castel study molecular surveillance of HIV, with the goal of doing near-real-time next-generation sequencing of HIV to assess drug-resistant mutations. Jordan, director of the sequencing core for the D.C. Center for AIDS Research, recently received an R01 award from the NIH to pursue a more accurate means of predicting anal dysplasia in the MSM (men who have sex with men) population living with HIV, a prospect that could reduce unnecessary biopsies.
Jordan, now codirector of GWU’s master’s degree program in public health microbiology and emerging infectious diseases, credits her doctoral mentor, the late Julius Youngner, for showing her “how to do good science and how to be transparent and ethical. ... He was just amazing.” (See Youngner obit on page 39.)
What’s it like running the largest academic clinical research organization in the world? According to Eric Peterson (MD ’88), director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute, the role is as multifaceted as it is fulfilling. “We do lots of what we hope is really good, cutting-edge knowledge generation,” says Peterson, noting the institute’s publication output of more than a thousand papers annually, its 1,200 employees, and more than $280 million in research revenue. Peterson is also a contributing editor for the Journal of the American Medical Association; he regularly sees cardiology patients; and he is the Fred Cobb Distinguished Professor of Medicine at Duke University.
Gloria Beim (Sports Medicine Fellow ’96) of Gunnison, Colo., knew she wanted to be an orthopaedist after having multiple knee surgeries at age 16. Now she’s on the world stage. While volunteering at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs in 2001, she garnered attention for her dedication to the athletes; she was subsequently invited to work at the Olympics (Athens, London, and Sochi), World University Games, Pan American Games, and, most recently, the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, where she was chief medical officer for Team USA. Beim attended every men’s wheelchair basketball game and saw them win their first gold since 1988.
Dave Stukus (MD ’02) is dispelling myths, one tweet at a time. Stukus, an associate professor of pediatrics at Ohio State University, specializes in allergy and immunology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Recently, he partnered with the podcast PediaCast for the hospital’s health care communications and social media curriculum. The 12-episode series focuses on social media and medicine, with the aim of helping laypeople navigate digital space. “The majority of patients are going online to seek medical information, but the information they find is often unreliable,” Stukus says. “We wanted to provide a blueprint to help.” Medical media mavens may stream the podcast at pediacastcme.org/hcsm/. You can also follow Stukus on Twitter at @AllergyKidsDoc for a steady feed of Mythbuster Mondays.
As both a researcher and clinician approaching the final year of her critical care medicine fellowship at Johns Hopkins University, Corrine Kliment (MD ’11, Cellular & Molecular Pathology PhD ’11) is all about the lungs. Her research, primarily focusing on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, seeks to find new protective pathways in cigarette smoking–related lung injury. Kliment says this research “goes back and forth from bench to bedside very easily.” Her work was recently recognized by the American Society for Cell Biology as one of the “Best Cell Stories” of 2015. During her time at Pitt med, Kliment studied the basic science of pulmonary fibrosis. She then completed her internal medicine residency at Harvard Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2014.
Michael Best (MD ’11, Anesthesiology Resident ’15) did a six-month tour in Afghanistan last year with the U.S. Air Force. There, he served as disaster chief within his group and was called into action to treat patients after a suicide bomb attack at Bagram Airfield. Best also works as an attending anesthesiologist at St. Louis University Hospital in Missouri, helping to train medical personnel on airway skills, ventilator management, and initial resuscitation; he has served as the vice speaker for the Resident and Fellow Section of the American Medical Association.
—Cara Masset, Rachel Mennies, Susan Wiedel, Kylie Wolfe, and Elaina Zachos