2013: A Year for Welcomes, Tributes, Caring and Thanks

The physicians, researchers, managers and associates of the University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute, one of four institutes of the UC College of Medicine and UC Health, extend a heartfelt “thank you” to all of our friends who have supported our tripartite mission throughout 2013. With your help we have continued to build upon our efforts to provide the best available treatments and family-centered care, to aggressively pursue new therapies and potential cures for neurological disease, and to educate future physicians and the public.

During the past year we have touched the lives of thousands of individuals. Our work has been steadfastly supported by donors, sponsors, private foundations, volunteers and the leaders of our Community Advisory Councils, who together have contributed millions of dollars and hundreds of hours in support of our research and patient education programs. We are grateful for the millions of research dollars we have received from tax-supported institutions that include the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Defense and the UC College of Medicine. And we are indebted, above all, to our study participants, whose selfless role in clinical trials fuels our research and makes future discoveries possible.

From this memorable year, here are a few highlights:

CLINICAL CARE

We opened our Headache and Facial Pain Program, which promises a personalized treatment approach for the thousands of people in the Cincinnati region who suffer from migraines, cluster headaches and facial pain.

We opened new clinics at the Mood Disorders Center for youth who are transitioning to adulthood and for patients with especially challenging cases.

We welcomed Aram Zabeti, MD, our new Interim Medical Director of the Waddell Center for Multiple Sclerosis, MS physicians Patricia Colapietro, MD, and Reena Shah, MD, and neuromuscular specialist Hani Kushlaf, MD.

We celebrated the one-year anniversary of the UC Health Telestroke Network, which enables UC Stroke Team physicians to “examine” stroke patients long-distance with the help of robots. The program now includes 10 partner hospitals. And we were certified by the Joint Commission as an Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center, a new level of certification reserved for institutions with specific abilities to receive and treat the most complex stroke cases.

We launched our Allies for Health and Healing mentoring program, which seeks to pair patients who have been newly diagnosed with a benign or malignant brain tumor with a mentor who also has had experience in fighting a brain tumor, either as a patient or a family member.

In one of our most satisfying success stories, our multidisciplinary team treated Jim for a pituitary tumor that had the potential to become life-threatening.

RESEARCH

The UC Comprehensive Stroke Center was named the national stroke coordinating center for StrokeNET, a network of 25 regional stroke centers, highlighting its role as a leader in federally funded stroke research. The NIH designation, along with a new regional coordinating center designation, brings $8.4 million in federal grants to Cincinnati over the next three years.

The UC Neurotrauma Center was chosen to take part in one of the largest international research collaborations ever coordinated by funding agencies. The five-year project, funded by an $18.8 million NIH award, will support research in concussion and traumatic brain injury at more than 55 sites worldwide. Private funding also comes from our partner One Mind for Research, which is mounting a global quest to cure brain disease and eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness and brain injury.

Researchers at the UC Epilepsy Center received a $2.6 million grant from the FDA, the American Epilepsy Society and the Epilepsy Foundation to study generic equivalence for the drug lamotrigine (Lamictal).

The UC Brain Tumor Center’s Molecular Therapeutics Program awarded $100,000 pilot grants to researchers to further their translational research into how to halt the growth of malignant brain tumors and brain metastasis of breast cancer. And the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute awarded four $25,000 pilot grants that are intended to help imaginative researchers gain preliminary data that can be used in applications for larger grants from NIH.

Our researchers continued to publish and present their findings. We led the global Interventional Management of Stroke III trial, the world’s largest trial to date of an endovascular intervention for acute ischemic stroke and published the results in the New England Journal of Medicine. We showed how the brain’s micro-environment fuels metastatic tumor growth and published our findings in the Nature Publishing Group journal Scientific Reports. And we showed that stroke patients with hemorrhages in their brain who randomly received minimally invasive surgery to deliver a drug designed to dissolve golf ball-sized clots went home from the hospital an average of 38 days sooner than those receiving supportive therapy, saving an estimated $44,000 per patient. Those findings were presented at the 2013 International Stroke Conference.

HONORS

Yash Patil, MD, an otolaryngologist with the UC Brain Tumor Center and UC Neurosensory Disorders Center, and John Hawkins, Deputy Chief of Research at the Lindner Center of HOPE, were winners at the Cincinnati Business Courier’s 2013 Health Care Heroes event, and Christopher McPherson, MD, of the UC Brain Tumor Center, was a finalist. UCNI Research Director Joseph Broderick, MD, was appointed Chair of the Stroke Council for the national American Heart and Stroke Association. Michael Privitera, MD, Medical Director of the UC Epilepsy Center, became the second vice president of the American Epilepsy Society. And Richard Curry, MD, became one of only 149 certified neuro-oncologists in America and one of only two in the Cincinnati region.

EDUCATION

The UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute continued its commitment to community education by hosting the Sunflower Revolution Parkinson’s Disease Symposium & Expo, the Midwest Regional Brain Tumor Conference and the Play It Safe Symposium & Expo. Experts from six countries joined Alberto Espay, MD, of the James J. and Joan A. Gardner Family Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders for the first Unusual Movement Disorders Marathon Symposium. And with support from the Charles L. Shor Foundation, we held our annual symposium about stress and epilepsy, which attracts national leaders in the field.

COMMUNITY

We would not be where we are today without the members of our three Community Advisory Councils. A special salute to our Advisory Council Chairs:

  • Kathy Beechem (UC Brain Tumor Center)
  • Adam Mueller (UC Gardner Center)
  • Susan de Roos (UC Comprehensive Stroke Center)

The John M. Tew, Jr., MD Chair in Neurosurgical Oncology, established with $2 million in donations from the community, was celebrated and awarded to Ronald Warnick, MD, Medical Director of the UC Brain Tumor Center.

A generous donation from the Harold C. Schott Foundation continued to support a Nurse Navigator, Jenny Ross, RN, who helps patients affected by stroke and brain tumors navigate their treatment path before their admission to the UC Medical Center, during their hospitalization, and in some cases after they go home.

The 2013 Walk Ahead for a Brain Tumor Cure, co-chaired by Brian Wiles and his brother, Joe Wiles, attracted more than 2,300 participants and raised more than $228,000.

The Sunflower Revolution, presented by Cintas and co-chaired by Kathy Krumme and Sarah Krumme Stahr, was back in high gear in a new Fitness Festival format, raising nearly $160,000 for research and education at the Gardner Center.

The Parkinson’s Disease Support Network of Ohio, Kentucky & Indiana donated $50,000 in proceeds from the annual Jerry Wuest-Pete Hershberger Dinner Gala & Golf Classic to the Gardner Family Center, bringing PDSNOKI’s total giving since 2004 to $377,800.

The UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute also enjoyed proceeds from the

  • Annual Wine Tasting Event, chaired by Rich Seal and Scott Hau for the UC Brain Tumor Center
  • Shemenski Bowl-A-Thon, spearheaded by Jeff Eggleston for the UC Brain Tumor Center
  • Putting for Parkinson’s, led by Scott Layman for the Gardner Center
  • Pedal for Parkinson’s, led by Ben Contra for the Gardner Center
  • Serve an Ace for Parkinson’s, for the Gardner Center
  • Forget-Me-Not Gala, chaired by Kathee Van Kirk and Lisette Sehlhorst for the UC Memory Disorders Center
  • Stroke of Genius, chaired by Susan de Roos and Emily Goodall for the UC Comprehensive Stroke Center

TRANSITIONS

Daniel Kanter, MD, became Director of the Division of Neurocritical Care and Medical Director of the Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit. Cal Adler, MD, and Melissa DelBello, MD, became co-Medical Directors of the UC Mood Disorders Center.

Maureen Gartner, MSN, NP-C, Research Coordinator at the UC Gardner Center and Information and Referral Nurse for Tri-State Parkinson’s Wellness Chapter, earned the title of Nurse Practitioner at the Gardner Center, enabling her to make independent decisions about patients’ treatment, diagnostic tests and referrals.

On January 1, Brett Kissela, MD, will become the Albert Barnes Voorheis Chair of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine, replacing Dr. Broderick, who has led the department since 2000.

Dr. Broderick will step down as department chair to focus on his clinical duties and his broadening leadership role as Director of the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute and as Principle Investigator of the coordinating center for the NIH StrokeNET.

Finally, 2013 was the year in which we mourned the passing of a dear and irreplaceable friend: James J. “Jim” Gardner, a leader and philanthropist whose generosity led to the establishment of the James J. and Joan A. Gardner Family Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders. Mr. Gardner died November 24 after a short illness. We will remember Mr. Gardner as a man of “disarming affability” who was a master networker and a loving caregiver to his wife, Joan, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease. He will be missed.

In closing, we thank you again for your continuing generosity and support, and we extend our very best wishes to you and your loved ones for a healthy and prosperous 2014.

Sincerely,

John M. Tew, MD, Clinical Director
Joseph Broderick, MD, Research Director
Anya Sanchez, MD, MBA, Administrative Director
Gina Weitzel, Senior Director of Development
— and the entire UCGNI Team

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