2014-15 Senior Faculty Scholars
Vineet Arora, MD, MAPP
Department of Medicine
Dr. Arora is an Associate Professor of Medicine, Assistant Dean of Scholarship & Discovery, and Director of GME Clinical Learning Environment and Innovation at the University Of Chicago Medicine. As an academic hospitalist, her work broadly focuses on evaluating educational and clinical practice innovations that aim to improve the quality, safety, and value of care delivered by trainees in teaching hospitals. Her work to improve handoffs, supervision, professionalism and teaching value have been widely used by medical educators and has resulted in over 100 peer-reviewed publications, including JAMA and Annals of Internal Medicine, and have been featured in popular press such as the New York Times, CNN, NPR, and the Associated Press. She has provided testimony to the Institute of Medicine on resident duty hours and handoffs, and has testified to Congress on the need for physician payment reform. She is Principal Investigator of an NIH R01 to evaluate the effectiveness of a peer-led social media intervention to boost interest in research careers among youth and of an NIH R25 to train hospital staff to recognize sleep disorders and improve the sleep environment for hospitalized patients.
For her work, Dr. Arora has been recognized as ACP Hospitalist magazine's Top Hospitalist in 2009, one of “20 People Who Make Healthcare Better” by HealthLeaders Media magazine in 2011, and as a Master to the Academy of Distinguished Medical Educators at the University of Chicago. She has also been recognized both locally and nationally for her outstanding mentorship of trainees and faculty through the SGIM’s Midcareer Education Mentorship Award, and the John D Arnold Mentoring Award and the Senior Faculty Education Mentorship Award at University of Chicago Medicine. As Co-Director of the Medical Education Research, Innovation, Teaching, and Scholarship (MERITS) fellowship, she has also mentored numerous faculty and fellows in their scholarly work. An active user of social media, Dr. Arora regularly tweets about current issues facing medical education @futuredocs.
Issam Awad, MD
Department of Surgery
Dr. Awad is the John Harper Seeley Professor of Neurological Sciences, Professor of Surgery, Neurology and the Cancer Center and the Director of Neurovascular Surgery. Dr. Awad is widely recognized for career long contributions and special skills in Neurovascular Surgery. He has made numerous scientific contributions including the characterization of subcortical ischemic lesions in the aged, advances in the understanding of the natural history and biologic behavior of vascular malformations of the brain, and technical advances in neurovascular and epilepsy surgery. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1998, focusing currently on molecular mechanisms of cerebral vascular malformations and their biomarkers, and minimally invasive techniques for treating hemorrhagic stroke. Awad’s innovations are changing neurosurgical practice throughout the world, and he has trained scores of neurosurgeons, some of whom are leaders of neurosurgical departments in a number of countries.
Anita Blanchard, MD
Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology
Dr. Blanchard is an Associate Professor of Obstetrics/Gynecology and a Gynecologic Surgeon at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Dr. Blanchard received her bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University. She attended the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine and stayed on at the University of Chicago Medical Center for her residency. Her clinical interests include management of cervical intraepithelial disorders, menopause transition, and vulvar disorders. As a University of Chicago faculty member she has been the obstetrics and gynecology residency program director since 2004. Dr. Blanchard holds leadership positions at the University including appointments to the Biological Sciences Division Faculty Advisory Committee, Pritzker Graduate Medical Education Committee, Committee on Reappointment for Assistant Professors and the University of Chicago Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She has served as a board member for the Society for Academic Specialists in General Obstetrics and Gynecology since its establishment in 2012 and is the current national secretary. Dr. Blanchard is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and has been an American Board of Ob/GYN board certification examiner since 2000. She was recently appointed as a board member for the ABOG Excellence Foundation in June 2014. She will also serve on the ACGME review committee for obstetrics and gynecology starting in July 2015.
Gregory Christoforidis, MD
Department of Radiology
Dr. Christoforidis is a Professor of Radiology and Surgery and Section Chief of Neuoradiology. Dr Christoforidis has expertise in interventional neuroradiology (neuroendovascular surgery), and diagnostic neuroradiology of the brain, head, neck and spine. He is skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with acute stroke, aneurysms, arteriovenous fistulas, arteriovenous malformations and other vascular lesions using minimally invasive diagnostic and image guided procedures.
Dr. Christoforidis works with colleagues from many specialties to improve quality of care, improve patient safety and outcomes and facilitate patient education. He has worked to tailor imaging and image guided procedures to address individual patient needs. He devotes special attention to help patients understand their treatment options and the potential risks and benefits of treatment including any recent innovations.
Dr. Christoforidis’ research focuses on endovascular treatment of acute ischemic stroke. He is investigating the formation of collateral blood vessels in the leptomeningeal tissue surrounding the brain and its role in acute ischemic stroke. He has participated in numerous clinical trials that use neurointerventional techniques and has contributed over a hundred articles and book chapters to the scientific literature. In addition, he frequently delivers presentations at national and international conferences.
Susan Cohn, MD
Department of Pediatrics
Dr. Cohn is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Director of Clinical Sciences, Dean for Clinical Research, and Acting Section Chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. She has devoted her career to caring for children with neuroblastoma and conducting clinical and translational research focused on understanding the biologic underpinnings of high-risk neuroblastoma to identify new therapeutic targets. The long-term goal of her research is to develop more effective treatment based on the biology of the tumor and host genetics.
A long-term area of research in her laboratory has focused on investigating the role that angiogenesis plays in neuroblastoma pathogenesis and developing treatment that inhibits this process. More recently, Dr. Cohn has collaborated with Drs. Nancy Cox and Eileen Dolan to investigate the genetic variables contributing to racial disparities in survival for children with neuroblastoma. Dr. Cohn also worked with Dr. Andrew Pearson from the United Kingdom to spearhead a collaboration with investigators from around the world to establish an International Neuroblastoma Risk Group Classification System. This system was based on analyses of data collected from more than 8,800 patients. These data are available for investigator-initiated research studies, and in a recent collaboration with Dr. Sam Volchenboum, Chiam Kirby, and other members of the Center for Research Informatics at the University of Chicago, the infrastructure housing the data has been transformed into a live queryable database [the Interactive INRG database (iINRGdb)] using technology that enables connections to other data sources. To date, connections with the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) Biobank and Nucleic Acids Bank have been established, and researchers can now ask complex questions of the data and have instant access regarding sample availability.
Dr. Cohn is an internationally recognized expert in clinical trials and the treatment of neuroblastoma. She holds leadership positions in a number of national and international oncology groups such as Children’s Oncology Group (COG), New Approaches to Neuroblastoma Therapy (NANT), the International Neuroblastoma Risk Group (INRG) Task Force, and American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
Barbara Kirschner, MD
Department of Pediatrics
Dr. Kirschner is a Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Program at The University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital.
She has a longstanding interest in contributing to understanding the pathogenesis of IBD and improving care for children and adolescents with IBD. In this regard, she helped establish the PediIBD Research Consortium and has continued to collaborate with centers and consortia nationally to enhance knowledge relating to the genetics, microbiome and natural history of pediatric IBD. In addition, she is the site principal investigator for several clinical drug trials designed to determine the efficacy, safety and dosing of new therapeutic modalities for this patient population. She, along with colleagues within the Pediatric GI Section, have established one of the largest practices of children and adolescents with IBD and is considered to be an expert in the care of this population.
Dr. Kirschner has published over 130 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in her field and has lectured nationally and internationally in topics related to pediatric IBD.
In addition to the clinical and research activities described above, Dr. Kirschner greatly enjoys teaching medical students, house staff, fellows and faculty and has been selected to receive an annual Teaching Award from the Pediatric Residents.
John Kress, MD
Department of Medicine
Dr. Kress is a Professor of Medicine, Director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit and Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship. He has clinical expertise in the management of respiratory failure and shock. He is internationally recognized in patient outcomes research in critical care. He has published on strategies to improve the mental and physical function of patients who require mechanical ventilation in the ICU.
Dr. Kress is a distinguished teacher and clinician, and has received several Outstanding Teacher Awards from the University of Chicago Internal Medicine Residency Program.
Ernst Lengyel, MD, PhD
Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology
Dr. Lengyel is a gynecologic oncologist who is board certified in general gynecology and gynecologic oncology. He attended medical school at the University of Munich and went to the University of Munich, UCSF, and Stanford for postgraduate training. In 2003, Dr. Lengyel joined the faculty of the University of Chicago. Since that time he has established a clinical practice specializing in radical debulking surgery for ovarian cancer and a translational research laboratory focused on understanding ovarian cancer biology. Recently, his group elucidated how adipocyte/cancer cell interactions promote ovarian cancer metastasis through the metabolic reprogramming of tumor cells. They have also shown that mesothelial cells play a critical role in ovarian cancer metastasis.
Dr. Lengyel has published over 90 peer-reviewed papers, including contributions to Nature, Nature Medicine, JCI, Oncogene, JBC, and Cancer Research. He is also the author of the chapter on ovarian cancer in the current edition of Principles and Practice of Gynecologic Oncology, the standard textbook of the specialty Dr. Lengyel holds 2 RO1 grants, a Burroughs Wellcome Award in translational research, and several other grants from private foundations, including a PPG planning grant from the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. He is an ad hoc member of NIH study sections.
Dr. Lengyel is the Arthur L. and Lee G. Herbst Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and is the Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Chicago.
Kevin Roggin, MD
Department of Surgery
Dr. Roggin is an Associate Professor of Surgery and Program Director for the General Surgery residency program. He is a nationally recognized surgical oncologist who specializes in pancreatic cancer, pancreatic cystic neoplasms, gastric cancer, and retroperitoneal sarcomas. He leads a comprehensive, multidisciplinary research program that focuses on clinical and genomic predictors of outcomes in older patients with pancreatic cancer.
Dr. Roggin is an award-winning surgical educator. He has been inducted into several prestigious societies, including the Gold Humanism Honors Society, Alpha Omega Alpha, and the Academy of Distinguished Medical Educators. In addition, he has received the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine award, the Robert Baker Golden Apple award, the Excellence in Teaching Award, and was twice named as “Outstanding Faculty Member” by the medical students. He is actively involved in educational scholarship and is considered a national leader in surgical education. He leads the Training Committee of the Society of Surgical Oncology and oversees the curriculum and ongoing accreditation of the SSO’s fellowships and educational programs. He was elected by the society’s international membership to serve a three-year term on the Executive Council as the Councilor-at-Large.
Deborah Spitz, MD
Department of Psychiatry
Dr. Spitz is the Residency Training Director and Education Mission Director for the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience. She has been a national leader in psychiatric education, serving as President of the Association for Academic Psychiatry, and in educational leadership positions on the program committee of the American Psychiatric Association, and within AADPRT, the Psychiatry Training Directors’ Association. Her clinical interests include the treatment of refractory bipolar and unipolar affective disorders, management of psychiatric disorders in pregnancy, and in psychodynamic psychotherapy. She teaches courses on psychotherapy and on educational methodology for residents, and has received numerous teaching awards.
Dr. Spitz obtained her medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania and completed her residency training and fellowship in inpatient psychiatry at the University of Chicago. She was Residency Training Director and Director of the Inpatient Service at Tufts-New England Medical Center, and spent three years in Norwich, England as a Consultant Psychiatrist for the National Health Service, where she led the Psychiatry Service in Norwich and redesigned the delivery of psychiatric services for that city’s population of 170,000 adults. She is interested in the impediments to delivery of psychiatric services, and a supporter of a single payer system of care.
Scott Stern, MD
Department of Medicine
Dr. Scott Stern is Professor of Medicine and Assistant Dean for Technology at the University of Chicago.
Dr. Stern is Co-Director of the Clinical Pathophysiology and Therapeutics, one of the most highly regarded courses in the Pritzker curriculum. Dr. Stern served as Co-Director of the Junior Clerkship in Internal Medicine from 1995-2013. Drawing upon his experiences as clerkship director, Dr. Stern served as the lead author of the textbook, Symptom to Diagnosis: An Evidence Based Guide, now in its 3rd edition.
Dr. Stern’s teaching has been recognized with numerous honors, including twelve-time receipt of a “Favorite Faculty Award”, three time recipient of The Robert and Susan Doroghazi Clinical Teaching Award for outstanding clinical teaching and two-time recipient of the Larry Wood Award for “selfless, tireless, and excellent teaching of medical students.” Dr. Stern was named as one of the six inaugural members of the University of Chicago Academy of Distinguished Medical Educators.
Alison Tothy, MD
Department of Pediatrics
Dr. Alison Tothy is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and the Associate Chief Medical Officer for the University of Chicago Medicine. Dr. Tothy serves as the physician leader responsible for working to improve the patient experience at the University of Chicago Medicine. Dr. Tothy provides physician leadership and oversight in development, implementation, and execution of the vision and strategy of the Patient Experience and Engagement Program. Dr. Tothy’s works seeks to promote a culture of patient centered care that emphasizes compassion and outstanding service.
Dr. Tothy’s clinical practice is in Emergency Medicine at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital where she is the Section Chief and Medical Director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine. Please join me in congratulating Alison Tothy on her appointment as a Bucksbaum Institute Senior Faculty Scholar.
Tamara Vokes, MD
Department of Medicine
Dr. Vokes is a Professor in the section of Endocrinology. She has a special interest in osteoporosis and metabolic bone disease and is the Director of Osteoporosis Clinic and Huron Clinic. She has an active research program in several areas including the importance of vertebral fractures in clinical care of osteoporosis, non-invasive assessment of bone structure, racial differences in fracture risk, and novel treatments of hypoparathyroidism. Dr. Vokes has a busy clinical practice and promotes an individual-centered approach to osteoporosis care utilizing the state-of the art diagnostic and therapeutic modalities as well as non-pharmacologic interventions geared to each patient’s specific needs.
Dr. Vokes is also a highly regarding teacher working with medical students, as well as residents in Internal Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology and fellows in Endocrinology, Rheumatology and Geriatrics. She has developed a new elective course for 4th year medical students entitled “Using Empathy as Clinical Tool”. The objective of this course is closely linked with the principles and goals of the Bucksbaum Institute.