Department News : 2018

Miami sunset.

Can Cities Keep Their Cool?

Laurence S. Kalkstein, Ph.D., a bioclimatologist and voluntary faculty member with the Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Public Health Sciences, has spent the past 30 years studying the impact of weather on human health. He’s the director of the Synoptic Climatology Laboratory, whose research explores a vast array of meteorologic and environmental factors on plants, animals, people and disease.

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Researchers compared disparities in cancer risk and mortality among diverse populations in New York with those found in Florida in earlier studies.

Distinct Racial and Ethnic Differences in Cancer Mortality Revealed in Published Study

Expanding on previous work highlighting disparities in cancer risk and mortality among diverse populations in Florida, a research team from Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center analyzed almost 250,000 people who died from cancer between 2008 and 2014 in another state with a diverse population: New York. Results of this new study were published on July 19 in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

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Visual impairment is associated with cognitive decline in aging adults.

Miller School Study Links Visual Impairment to Cognitive Decline in Seniors

A population-based study led by public health researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has revealed that visual impairment is associated with cognitive decline in aging adults. The collaborative study, “Longitudinal Associations Between Visual Impairment and Cognitive Functioning,” was published in JAMA Ophthalmology, a journal of the American Medical Association, on June 28.

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Alberto J. Caban-Martinez, D.O., Ph.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Alberto Caban-Martinez Reappointed to NIOSH Construction Sector Council

Alberto J. Caban-Martinez, D.O., Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of public health sciences and deputy director of the Miami Occupational Research Group, has been reappointed to the Construction Sector Council of the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety. Its goal is to stimulate innovative occupational health and safety research, and improve workplace practices and well-being.

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Bromeliad with retained water.

Miller School Study Confirms Ornamental Bromeliads Contribute to Zika Mosquito Breeding

A new study led by public health researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has shown that ornamental bromeliad plants contribute to breeding of the Aedes aegypti mosquito — a key culprit in the Zika virus outbreak that hit Miami-Dade County and other areas of Florida and the Americas in 2016. In addition to Zika, bites from the Aedes aegypti mosquito can spread dengue, yellow fever and chikungunya.

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WayWay M. Hlaing, Ph.D., M.S., M.B.B.S.

Dr. WayWay M. Hlaing Elected Fellow of American College of Epidemiology

WayWay M. Hlaing, Ph.D., M.S., M.B.B.S., associate professor of public health sciences, has been elected a fellow of the American College of Epidemiology (ACE). The college is the credential-based professional organization dedicated to continued education and advocacy for epidemiologists in their efforts to promote public health.

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Natasha Schaefer Solle, Ph.D., and Alberto Caban-Martinez, D.O., Ph.D., M.P.H., center, with marine firefighters from Jacksonville Fire and Rescue's Station 39.

Sylvester’s Firefighter Cancer Initiative Expands to Jacksonville Area

Over the Memorial Day weekend, clinician-scientists from Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center’s expanding state-funded Firefighter Cancer Initiative met with firefighters and paramedics at fire rescue departments throughout the greater Jacksonville area, and presented an overview of their research and cancer screening projects.

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From left, keynote speaker Edward V. Nunes, M.D., with symposium co-organizer Viviana Horigian, M.D.

Medication-Assisted Treatment Can Lower Risk of Opioid Addiction Relapses

Medication-assisted treatment may be the most effective strategy for preventing potentially fatal relapses for individuals recovering from opioid addictions, according to national experts at a University of Miami Miller School of Medicine symposium held May 21. “Medication strategies work for many people with opioid abuse disorder,” said Edward V. Nunes, M.D., professor of psychiatry at the Columbia University Medical Center.

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From left, Cindy L. Munro, Ph.D., RN, Otto Yang, M.D., Michael Weinstein, Julio Frenk, Jorge Saavedra, M.D., M.P.H., M.H.P.M., José Szapocznik, Ph.D., Hansel Tookes, M.D., M.P.H., Adriane Gelpi, Ph.D., M.P.H., Sunil Rao, Ph.D., Andrea Calo and Mitzi Tanaka.

Partnership to Tackle Research and Advocacy on Global Health Issues

To pursue critically needed scientific knowledge on global health issues, the University of Miami and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) recently announced the launch of the AHF Global Public Health Institute at the University of Miami. The partnership will allow researchers to generate objective evidence that can lead to improvements in public health policy at the global, regional, national and local levels.

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With Grand Prize check, from left, Marianna Makri, Ph.D., Entrepreneurship Programs faculty director, Joseph Cioffi, Andrew Richardson, M.B.A., and Elliot Smerling, Entrepreneurship Advisory Board member.

Miller School Team Wins Big in Entrepreneurship Competition

A pair of Miller School students took home the Grand Prize in the Graduate/Alumni Track — and a check for $10,000 — in the 2018 University of Miami Business Plan Competition, sponsored by the UM Business School. They also walked away with a separate check for $1,500 for the Best Presentation in the Graduate/Alumni Track. The competition’s final presentations and award ceremony took place on April 11.

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Miller School student Xavier Scott, center, with Viviana Horigian, M.D., and Roderick King, M.D., M.P.H.

Miller School Stars Shine at International Student Research Conference

A select group of medical, graduate and M.D./Ph.D. students and resident physicians at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine had the opportunity to present their work and network with dozens of student peers and academic professionals at the 2018 Eastern-Atlantic Student Research Forum (ESRF).

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Miller School of Medicine Rises in NIH Research Grant Funding

The Miller School of Medicine received $120.7 million in research grants from the National Institutes of Health in Federal Fiscal Year 2017 — a $9.5 million increase over the school’s FFY 2016 total. According to the national rankings of medical schools based on data compiled by the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research, that total made the Miller School the No. 1 NIH-funded institution in Florida.

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Nearly two-thirds of stroke deaths occur in women.

Neurologists Contribute to Special Article Series on Stroke in Women

Nearly two-thirds of stroke deaths occur in women, yet women have long been underrepresented in cardiovascular disease research. Now the journal Stroke is publishing a special four-article series with an accompanying overview editorial on the latest scientific findings related to opportunities for prevention and treatment of stroke in women.

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Tatjana Rundek, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Tatjana Rundek Named Scientific Director of Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute

Tatjana Rundek, M.D., Ph.D., professor of neurology and public health sciences and executive vice chair for research and faculty affairs in the Department of Neurology, has been named scientific director of the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute and Evelyn F. McKnight Chair for Learning and Memory in Aging at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

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Erin N. Kobetz, Ph.D., M.P.H., Jimmy Patronis, and Stephen D. Nimer, M.D. (from left in center), with fire department representatives.

Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis Tours Sylvester, Praises Firefighters Cancer Initiative

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine welcomed the State of Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis, on February 5, giving him a tour of its cancer-fighting technologies. Patronis also met with representatives from more than a dozen of South Florida’s fire departments whose members are collaborating with Sylvester’s Firefighters Cancer Initiative.

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Felicia Marie Knaul, Ph.D., making her grand rounds presentation.

Dr. Felicia Marie Knaul Addresses Global Women's Cancer Disparities

Felicia Marie Knaul, Ph.D., a member of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, professor of public health sciences and director of the University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas, described the challenges of global women’s cancer disparities in a grand rounds presentation Jan. 31, part of a lecture series presented by Sylvester’s Global Oncology and International Programs.

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