Awards and Announcements

Nurses Selected for Managerial Positions

The Medical Center congratulates 11 nurses who recently advanced in their careers and were hired or promoted as nursing managers throughout the hospital:


Meredith Borak, ACM, Mitchell 4 – Multispecialty

Donna Bozga, ACM, Critical Care

Norma Cintron, ACM, Critical Care

George Daly, PCM, Mitchell Hospital 5SE

Karen Fiala, PCM, Labor and Delivery

Joseph Giannini, ACM, Oncology

Elaine Pankowski, ACM, Mitchell Hospital 5SE

Abigail Poiner, ACM, Critical Care

Rachael Reid, PCM, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Aurika Savickaite, PCM, Critical Care

Tamia Walker, ACM, Critical Care

Karen Arndt
From left to right: ASTNA President Kyle Madigan and Roger Tangerose (Regional Vice President, Air Methods) present Karen Arndt with the 2010 Katz-Mason Award during the annual ASTNA membership meeting.
Karen Arndt
Photo credit: Cheryl L. Reed

Karen Arndt, administrative director and chief flight nurse, in Haiti with the young Haitian flight crew she taught.
Arndt Honored by ASTNA at Annual Air Medical Transport Conference

Karen Arndt, administrative director and chief flight nurse for the University of Chicago Aeromedical Network, was honored by the Air and Surface Transport Nurses Association (ASTNA) at the annual Air Medical Transport Conference in Fort Lauderdale. Arndt received the 2010 Katz-Mason Award, which is presented for exceptional leadership to an individual who has had a positive impact on flight transport nursing on a global scale. This award is considered ASTNA’s highest honor. Arndt also was recognized as she completed her term as immediate past president, culminating 11 years of service on the ASTNA Board of Directors.

Pharmacy Week
Pharmacy technician Shavon Nelson, of the DCAM outpatient pharmacy, fills an order for prescription.
The Medical Center Celebrates Pharmacy Week

This week, the University of Chicago Medical Center is participating in Pharmacy Week, a nationwide observation honoring the contributions of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to patient care. Since Sunday, October 17, the Medical Center has been offering an array of events and celebrations to recognize the critical work of its pharmacy staff. The activities included games, educational activities, sporting events and lunches.


The November edition of At the Forefront will highlight the Department of Pharmaceutical Services, including a “Take 5” article focusing on Dave Hicks, vice president and chief pharmacy officer. The issue also will include a story and photos about the Medical Center’s exchange program with pharmacists in China. 

Thomas Wellems
Thomas Wellems, MD, PhD, chief of the laboratory of malaria and vector research at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Five NIH Leaders Elected to the Institute of Medicine

University of Chicago alumnus Thomas Wellems, MD, PhD,  is among five leaders at the National Institutes of Health who have been elected to the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences said.

Election to the IOM is one of the highest honors in the fields of medicine and health, the academy said.

Wellems is perhaps best known for discovering the gene responsible for resistance to the antimalarial drug chloroquine and for his role in developing the first rapid diagnostic test for malaria. Wellems earned his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago. Following an internal medicine residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, he joined NIAID's Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases. He headed the malaria genetics section in the NIAID Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research (LMVR), a position he still holds today, for several years before he was appointed chief of LMVR in 2002.

Other NIH officials elected are: Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS); Linda S. Birnbaum, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS); Ira H. Pastan, M.D., chief of the laboratory of cell biology, Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute; and Carl Wu, Ph.D., chief of the laboratory of biochemistry and molecular biology, Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute.

"These researchers and administrators have contributed consistently to the advancement of medicine, public health and research," said NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD.

Elbert Huang
Elbert Huang, MD, associate professor of medicine

Huang to Serve as Adviser in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Elbert Huang, associate professor of medicine, has been selected to serve as a senior advisor to the assistant secretary for planning and evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).


HHS now is engaged in implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), a federal statute signed into law by President Barack Obama earlier this year. The law expands Medicaid eligibility, subsidizes insurance premiums, offers tax incentives for businesses to provide health care benefits and creates other provisions to expand access to health care services.


In his new role in Washington, D.C., Huang will provide substantial leadership and expertise in health economics, as well as clinical and health care policy. He will assist in the planning, communication, research and reporting that are necessary to maintain oversight of research and evaluation projects relevant for implementation of the PPACA.


A widely published health care researcher, Huang is noted for his expertise in care for medically underserved populations.

Elbert Huang
Holly Humphrey, MD, dean for medical education at the Pritzker School of Medicine
Humphrey to Receive 2010 Outstanding Leader Award from the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago

Holly Humphrey, MD, dean for medical education, will receive the 2010 Outstanding Leader Award from the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago on October 14. The award recognizes women who have achieved high levels of personal and professional success. The YWCA praised Humphrey for the numerous programs she has launched to educate and enrich students at the Pritzker School of Medicine, including the Bowman Society, the Pritzker Initiative and the Pritzker Advising and Mentoring Societies. The YWCA also honored Humphrey as a nationally recognized leader in medical education who has won numerous awards, including the Laureate Award from the American College of Physicians and the Dema C. Daley Founders Award from the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine.

Neil Shubin
Neil Shubin, PhD, Robert R. Bensley Professor and associate dean for organismal and evolutionary biology
Shubin Chosen for Fellowship in California Academy of Sciences

Neil Shubin, PhD, Robert R. Bensley Professor and associate dean for organismal and evolutionary biology, has been inducted to the California Academy of Sciences as an Academy Fellow.

The academy is a governing group of 300 distinguished scientists who have made notable contributions to the natural sciences. Fellows are nominated by their colleagues and selected by the Board of Trustees.

Shubin researches the evolutionary origin of anatomical features of animals. He has conducted field work in Greenland, China, Canada, much of North America and Africa, and he has published multiple articles in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleobiology, as well as more than 18 articles in Science and Nature. Shubin’s most recent discovery, Tiktaalik roseae, has been dubbed the “missing link” between fish and land animals.

His latest book, Your Inner Fish: A Journey through the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body, was published in 2008.

Richard Miller
Barbara Kirschner, MD, professor of pediatrics and medicine

Kirschner to Be Honored by Illinois Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation

Barbara Kirschner, MD, professor of pediatrics and medicine, will be honored by the Illinois Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation at its annual “A Celebration of Hope Dinner” on October 31. Kirschner is an internationally recognized expert in the field of pediatric gastroenterology and is regularly listed in "America's Top Doctors" as well as "Top Doctors in Chicago" by Chicago magazine. In 2001, she was honored with the Chicago Pediatric Society's Joseph Brenneman, MD, Award for Outstanding Contributions to Academic Pediatrics.

Kirschner has presented lectures on pediatric gastroenterology all over the world, including Sweden, Switzerland, France, India, Italy, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. She serves on the editorial board for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases and reviews articles for several medical journals, including Gastroenterology, Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Lancet, and Gut.

New Intranet Wellness Page

Medical Center employees now have a single place they can go to learn about health and wellness. The new Intranet wellness page includes many helpful resources such as:

•    Monthly wellness topics with links to external websites on that topic.
•    Health Tip of the Week that highlights facts related to the monthly topic.
•    Links to resources provided by our employee health plans (Blue Cross Blue Shield, Caremark). Some require enrollment in the plan and others do not.
•    Quick links to other resources such as EAP, the Ratner Center and wellness services sponsored by Occupational Medicine.
•    Links to Web sites promoting events in the Chicago area such as the Comer Kid’s Classic and the Heart Walk.

This new page can be found on the Intranet, under the HR & Benefits tab, by clicking the “Wellness” box with “a Better U” logo.

Click here for more information.

Richard Miller
Richard Miller, CPA, MBA, PhD, Vice President for Finance
Miller Selected as Vice President for Finance

Richard B. Miller will take a new position as the University of Chicago Medical Center’s vice president for finance, effective October 1st. This position, which reports to the chief financial and strategy officer, oversees the Medical Center’s revenue cycle, operating and capital budget groups, financial analysis and reporting, accounting, payroll and accounts payable departments.

Miller joined the Medical Center in 1984 and has held positions of increasing responsibility in finance and audit, most recently as executive director of finance and controller. He is a graduate of Oberlin College, has an MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management and has a PhD in philosophy from the University of Chicago. He is a certified public accountant and certified internal auditor, and he also served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve.

Mark Siegler, MD, director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics
University of Chicago's Mark Siegler to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award from National Bioethics Group

The American Society for Bioethics and Humanities will present a Lifetime Achievement Award to Mark Siegler, MD, director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago.

The award, to be presented on October 23, recognizes an individual whose outstanding contributions and significant publications have helped shape the direction of the fields of bioethics and medical humanities.

The Lindy Bergman Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine and Surgery at the University, Siegler is known for insightful writings on the physician-patient relationship, the development of the field of clinical medical ethics, improved end-of-life care for patients and new ethical approaches to innovations in surgery and cancer care.

For more details about the award, please visit the Medical Center website.

Lucille Lester, MD, section chief of pediatric pulmonary medicine
Lester Honored with Award from Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

The Greater Illinois Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is honoring Lucille Lester, MD, section chief of pediatric pulmonary medicine, with its Lifetime Achievement Award on October 8. Lester is director of the University of Chicago Cystic Fibrosis Center and has cared for patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) for more than 30 years. She has written dozens of clinical articles and book chapters on lung conditions affecting children. She also has collaborated on research on new treatments for CF lung disease and on the genetics of asthma, and has presented at numerous national medical conferences. The Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented by a parent and a patient with CF.

Rama Jager, MD, assistant professor of ophthalmology and visual science
Jager Leads New Treatment Effort for Eye Disorder

Rama Jager, MD, assistant professor of ophthalmology and visual science, recently was recognized for using an innovative new treatment for diabetic retinopathy patients. Jager is director of University Retina and Macula Associates of Oak Forest, Illinois, which recently became the first site in the world to use the Navilas navigated photocoagulation system to treat diabetic retinopathy patients. Recently cleared by the FDA, the system utilizes a novel registration technology to follow eye movement during surgery and deliver laser energy precisely at intended treatment sites.

“In retina surgery, a fraction of a millimeter means a lot. Navilas is the first photocoagulation device to allow precise localized targeting of retinal pathologies and adjust for patient eye movement during surgery,” said Seenu Hariprasad, MD, director of clinical research and chief of Vitreoretinal Service. Hariprasad was instrumental in early clinical evaluations of the technology, according to the system’s developer, OD-OS Retina Navigation Co.

Cancer Research Grants Available

The American Cancer Society is making institutional research grants available to junior faculty who are members of, or eligible for membership in, the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center. The ACS will award four grants, each worth $35,000 for a year’s worth of research. At least one grant will fund research in population sciences (e.g., cancer prevention or control, epidemiology or health services). The deadline for grant applications is October 18. For application instructions and forms, e-mail Lee Baksas at or go directly to the UCCCC website.

Announcing Benefit Changes in Response to Employee Feedback

Preceptor pay will be provided to ambulatory nurses and technical staff who provide orientation support to new employees within their work groups. This benefit is for non-management, bi-weekly employees not covered by collective bargaining agreements. Staff assigned to preceptor duty will be compensated at a rate of $1 per hour over their regular rate of pay.

Benefits to cover various educational expenses (non-tuition) will be provided to non-management employees not covered by collective bargaining agreements and managers who want to receive credit for:
  • Continuing Education Units (CEU) for certification/registration/licensure 
  • Other non-credit professional development coursework.
Reimbursement limits are up to $300 per fiscal year for full-time employees and up to $150 per fiscal year for part-time employees.

For more information about either of these benefit changes, please contact your manager.