Message From Dr Mark Okusa – Division Chief, Nephrology

It is that special time of year to wax lyrical and extol accomplishments, and I am personally and profoundly grateful for the incredible members of our Division who continue to excel in every academic mission. But none of this would be possible without the leadership of Dr Mitchell Rosner. In the book, Humility is the New Smart, Katherine Ludwig writes… “new forms of relationships and a more humane attitude toward each other will become essential ingredients of a new way of being. Humility, more personal relationships, and collaboration will no longer be options but the key to health, productivity, and a sense of well-being.” Mitch embodies these characteristics and sends an important message of inspiring leadership to everyone in the Department and School.

New Faces
This year, the Division of Nephrology had a transformative year, with new hires, growth, expansion, new state of the art lab space, and increased funding. With sadness, we said good-bye to three members of our division. Dr Amandeep Bajwaand, Bert Kinsey, and Thu Le who became the John J. Kuiper Distinguished Professorship and Division Chief at the University of Rochester. We will miss them; however, we are extremely pleased that they serve as excellent ambassadors of our Division and Institution. We are excited that joining our division are six new faculty members. Dr Julia Scialla, Associate Professor, who came from Duke University, is a physician/scientist with a secondary appointment in the Department of Public Health Sciences. She is the Director of the Nephrology Clinical Research Center, where she will oversee a research staff, she is also the Director of Outcomes Research and will serve as a Leader for the Combined Public Health Service and Medicine Program in Outcome Research. Her research is supported by NIH R01. Dr Sho Morioka, Assistant Professor, who trained with Dr Kodi Ravichandran (MIC), is an academic investigator and an outstanding scientist who focuses his studies on cell clearance through engulfment. He has recent papers (2018-2019) in Nature, Immunity, Science Reports and Nature Communications. Dr Jeannie Kamal, Assistant Professor, who completed Transplant Nephrology Fellowship Training at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She will continue to help build our transplant program. Dr Anubhav Kumar, Assistant Professor, is a clinical faculty, who just completed his Nephrology and Ultrasound fellowship training at the University of Pennsylvania. He has a special interest in point of care ultrasound. Dr Corey Cavanaugh, Assistant Professor, is a clinical faculty who completed fellowship training in Nephrology at Yale School of Medicine, and who will develop aglomerulonephritis/vasculitis clinic. Dr Natalyia Skrypnyk, Instructor from University Colorado, who will add expertise in acute kidney injury research.

Robert G. Narins Award given to Mitch Rosner

What Happened at ASN Kidney Week 2019?
During ASN Kidney Week, the annual meeting of the American Society of Nephrology, where over 14,000 attendees from 130 nations came to Washington, D.C. Dr Mitch Rosner was awarded the Life-time Achievement Award -The Robert G. Narins Award and Dr Kambiz Kalantari -the Mid-Career Distinguished Educator Award, for their substantial and meritorious contributions in education and teaching. Mitch Rosner was the appointed program co-Chair of the meeting and Dr Uta Erdbruegger and Dr Danielle Wentworth were program members. UVA Nephrology/CIIR had a huge impact on the meeting with 46 presentations/moderating activities. The consistent activity of UVA Nephrology at the ASN is a testimony to high productivity among faculty and fellows.

ASN Mid-Career Award Distinguished Educator Award

Our family continues to grow with nearly 90 alumni, current faculty, fellows and friends attending the UVA Reception at ASN KidneyWeek 2019.

Research funding continues to remain strong with support per year over $5M in 2019 and $24M over the past five years. This includes new NIH R01s, R21 ASN and AHA fellowship awards, ASN William and Sandra Bennett Scholar Award and other foundation and local awards. Our research home will be completed in February, March 2020. It has been a long wait but well worth it. The space is depicted below.

Clinical Operations
We excelled in growth and quality in all areas of general nephrology under the leadership of Drs Emaad Abdel-Rahman and Kambiz Kalantari; of kidney transplantation under the leadership of Dr Alden Doyle, medical director. Note worthy is our expanded growth at Augusta Hospital under the leadership of Dr Adam Campbell.

Plans For 2020
Our plans for 2020 will be to continue to provide the best care for our patients and place a major part of our effort to improve awareness of kidney disease by Virginians through education, screening, outreach efforts and early treatment. Through these efforts and through preemptive transplantation, we hope to minimize the incident population of dialysis patients but for those who require dialysis we will focus our efforts to improve quality of care, foster patient preference in forms of dialysis when needed, improve our outreach effort through telehealth and encourage transplantation. We anticipate expanding northward up US 29 and increase our physician force at Augusta Health. From a research perspective, we hope to continue to submit successful applications to NIH. We will continue to focus our effort on basic and translational research, however we will expand our research portfolio through expansion of nephrology clinical research under the leadership of Dr Julie Scialla and in collaboration with iTHRIV, UVA’s new clinical and translational research program (CTSA) funded by NIH. Lastly, we will advance our research collaboration with the School of Data Science and Public Health Genomics.

Filed Under: Notable Achievements

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