Dr. Norris Named Interim Division Director for Endocrinology and Diabetes

The Department is happy to announce Dr. Andrew Norris as Interim Division Director of the Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes beginning July 1, 2019.

Dr. Norris received his MD and PhD in Molecular Biophysics from Washington University School of Medicine in 1997. He completed his internship and residency from 1997-2000 at the University of Iowa, followed by his Pediatric Endocrinology fellowship from 2000-2003 at Children’s Hospital Boston. From 2003-2005 he was an Instructor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, before starting at the University of Iowa in 2005. He has been Professor of Pediatrics and of Biochemistry since 2018.

Aside from being an active teacher and mentor, Dr. Norris has been a prolific scholar and researcher focusing on studying the root causes of cystic fibrosis-related diabetes, early life programming of type 2 diabetes risk, fatty acid metabolism and insulin action, and the bioinformatic study of common metabolic diseases. He has received numerous R01 awards through the NIH and remains a prolific scholar. Dr. Norris is also Associate Director of the Fraternity of Eagles Diabetes Research Center at the University of Iowa.

Please welcome Dr. Norris to his new role within the Department.

DeGeeter and Reinking Named Co-Faculty Directors for Med Student Communities

Catherine DeGeeter and Ben Reinking

Drs. Catherine DeGeeter (GI), and Ben Reinking (Cardiology) were recently co-Faculty Directors of 2 of the 4 medical student communities in the College of Medicine.

Dr. DeGeeter will be co-Faculty Director of the Flocks Community, and Dr. Reinking will be co-Faculty Director of the Boulware Community. Both leadership roles are effective July 1, 2019.

PICU NP’s Nominated for a DAISY Award

Top, left to right: Jodi Bloxham, Kristen Brown, Tricia Michna, Haley Stoll
Bottom, left to right: Liz Espinoza, Brittany Pechous, April Schmitz, Cassie Wagner, and Heather Elmore

Congratulations to the 9 PICU NP’s who have been nominated as a group for a DAISY Award. From the nomination below:

“The PICU Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioner Group started several years ago with two nurse practitioners. Today the team has grown to a 9-member team of primary and acute care certified nurse practitioners with the majority of members practicing at the doctoral level (five of eight members). Almost all members are certified as not only acute care nurse practitioners, but also primary care nurse practitioners (the only requirement is acute care certification). The eight members together have over 130 years of nursing experience with three members that have been practicing in acute care pediatrics for over twenty years. All members are actively involved in research, (several are published authors) unit groups to improve patient care, and unit projects. For example, one team member recently completed a DNP project for PICC lines, published her work, and presented her work at a national conference. Another team member implemented an evidenced based tool in the PICU to assess pediatric patients for delirium. Several members participate in the PICU quality group, which seeks to improve patient care and quality improvement projects for PICU. Several members provide lectures to nurses, fellows, and residents on a variety of critical care topics to promote and improve knowledge. PJCU NPs also serve as preceptors for nurse practitioner students at The University of Iowa and other NP programs to further nursing education. These are just a few examples to demonstrate the commitment the NP group has to education, evidenced based practice, and improving the PICU environment.

The PICU NP team has adapted to change over the years and currently manages the cardiac intensive care unit of the PICU. The team provides holistic. comprehensive care to all the patients they serve. The NP team knowledge of critically ill children is extensive. All members are intelligent, innovative, detail oriented, and astute. The team recognizes acute changes in patients and appropriately alerts staff physicians. The NPs are a resource to new faculty/staff, fellows, nursing staff, and residents on a daily basis. Available 24/7 the NP team is always willing to help team members with questions or concerns. The nurse practitioners provide continuity of care in an ever-changing environment. Physician staff members change on a weekly basis and the nurse practitioners are present to provide an accurate history and physical for all patients.

Each member of the team is skilled in vascular access. NP team members are often utilized for central line access, arterial line access, and PICC line placement. The NP team teaches the fellows how to use ultrasound guidance and assists them with line placement. In addition, the NP team is sought out for difficult blood draws and peripheral IV access when nursing requires help.

Large!)’ regarded as experts in vascular access, the NPs are frequently asked to obtain access for critically ill children on presentation to the PICU. These children are often very ill and timely central access plays a key role in the ability to further manage these patients.

The NP group in the PICU is easily one of the hardest working groups at the University of Iowa. They care for the sickest children in Iowa everyday with smiles on their faces. Without question, when a child needs help the nurse practitioners are always available. You will find them staying late beyond their shift and corning in early when needed. If my child were acutely ill, I would want to see one of the PICU NPs at their bedside. The NP group cares for their patients, but their entire family as well. The PICU would be a very different place without the nurse practitioners. As this group has grown they have improved immensely in their knowledge and abilities. This team deserves to be recognized for their outstanding service and dedication to their patients.”

Dr. Grose Receives New Grant

Congratulations to Dr. Charles Grose (infectious diseases) for his latest grant from the US Department of Agriculture!

The grant, titled “Role of gC Glycoprotein in transmission of avian and human hnerpes viruses”, provides just under $108,000/year for 5 years, or just over $567,000 total.

Dr. McElroy Publishes in Journal of Pediatrics

Congratulations to Dr. Steve McElroy (neonatology) for his recent article accepted for publication/published online in the Journal of Pediatrics on Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC).

Necrotizing Enterocolitis: Using Regulatory Science and Drug Development to Improve Outcomes.

Abstract portion:

In this review, the International Neonatal Consortium NEC working group addresses key issues that relate to the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of NEC while suggesting a path forward to evaluate the safety and efficacy of each product. Despite years of clinical investigation, additional key data elements are needed to meet the requirements of regulatory agencies and evidence-based medicine.4 These include reliable diagnostic criteria, biomarkers predictive of risk and prognosis, and criteria for the design and conduct of clinical trials with consistent and clinically meaningful outcome measures for therapeutic trials.

Dr. Arenas Morales Receives Teaching Award from Blank

Congratulations to Dr. Aura Jeannette Arenas Morales (Nephrology) on receiving the Excellence in Teaching Award this afternoon from the residents at Blank Children’s Hospital!

Dr. Arenas is University of Iowa faculty, but sees patients full time at Blank Children’s Hospital. It’s a great honor to have her represent the teaching excellence that is supported through this unique collaboration between the University of Iowa and Blank Children’s Hospital. The residents have provided great feedback to her knowledge and support she has provided to them both in the clinic and inpatient realms.

Congratulations, Dr. Arenas!

Children’s Hospital Ranks in Six Specialties by US News and World Report

We are pleased to announce that University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital is included in the 2019-20 rankings of “Best Children’s Hospitals” released today by U.S. News & World Report magazine.

This distinction is a reflection of the experience, expertise, and longstanding dedication of our faculty and staff who care for our pediatric patients and their families. Congratulations to all for achieving this outstanding national recognition. Following is the news announcement that will be featured on The Loop and included in today’s edition of Noon News:

University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital ranks in six specialties in U.S. News & World Report 2019-20 ‘Best Children’s Hospitals’ University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital is listed among the nation’s best in six specialties, according to the new 2019-20 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings published online today by U.S. News & World Report, the global authority in hospital rankings and consumer advice. UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital—Iowa’s only nationally ranked children’s hospital—ranked in the following areas:

  • 16 in neonatology
  • 21 in pediatric diabetes and endocrinology
  • 26 (tie) in pediatric urology
  • 29 in pediatric orthopedics
  • 39 (tie) in pediatric nephrology
  • 46 in pediatric cancer

The 13th annual Best Children’s Hospitals rankings recognize the top 50 pediatric facilities across the U.S. in 10 pediatric specialties: cancer, cardiology and heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery, neonatology, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology and lung surgery, and urology.

“Being once again ranked as one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals—and the only nationally ranked children’s hospital in Iowa—highlights our dedication to providing the best care to all of Iowa’s children, as well as those in surrounding states and across the country. This is a true testament to the hard work and dedication of our doctors, nurses, and staff,” says Eva Tsalikian, MD, interim physician-in-chief of UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital and interim chair and department executive officer of the Stead Family Department of Pediatrics at the UI Carver College of Medicine. “We celebrate 10 consecutive years of being recognized for our quality of care and look forward to continuing to provide advanced, compassionate care our patients and their families have come to expect.”

“This honor reflects the outstanding care and service provided by our dedicated team of world-class pediatric specialists and health care professionals,” adds Amy O’Deen, interim executive director of UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. “We are proud of our team and grateful to the thousands of families who trust us to expertly care for their children each year.”

“The Best Children’s Hospitals rankings were designed to help provide families seeking the best medical care for their sick child with access to the most comprehensive data available,” said Ben Harder, managing editor and chief of health analysis at U.S. News. “The rankings, coupled with guidance from pediatricians, help families make better-informed decisions about where to find high-quality, compassionate care for their children when they need it most.”

U.S. News introduced the Best Children’s Hospitals rankings in 2007 to help families of children with rare or life-threatening illnesses find the best medical care available. The rankings are the most comprehensive source of quality-related information on U.S. pediatric hospitals.

The U.S. News Best Children’s Hospitals rankings rely on clinical data and on an annual survey of pediatric specialists. The rankings methodology factors in patient outcomes, such as mortality and infection rates, as well as available clinical resources and compliance with best practices.

This year’s rankings will be published in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals 2020” guidebook (ISBN 9781931469937), available in stores mid-September.

For more information, visit Best Children’s Hospitals for the full rankings and use #BestHospitals on Facebook and Twitter.

Staff Spotlight – Christoph Randak, MD

Dr. Randak is Associate Professor in the Division of Pulmonary Medicine.

I work as an Associate Professor in the Division of Pulmonary Medicine. I work as a physician-scientist. Most of my time I do research on CFTR (the protein that is affected in cystic fibrosis), which brought me originally from Munich, Germany, to Iowa City about 18 years ago. I am exploring how this protein functions in the cell, how mutations reduce this function and whether new research findings can be used to treat cystic fibrosis. In addition, I see children and adolescents with cystic fibrosis and other lung diseases in our pediatric specialty clinic and on the inpatient service. I have joined the faculty of the Department of Pediatrics in 2009. Before that I did my fellowship in Pediatric Pulmonology in this Department.

I am married to my wife, Leigh Ann, for 13 years. We have a son, Daniel (6), who is now a first grader. Most of Leigh Ann’s extended family lives in Iowa while all my extended family lives in Germany where I come from.

I don’t really have a hobby. I spend my free time with my family, going to the playground, swimming or playing at home with my son. Both, Leigh Ann and I like hiking and enjoy the outdoors. We also spend time visiting my family in Bavaria, Germany, about once a year. I don’t read very much for fun but if I do I enjoy books about foreign cultures and countries like those written by the late German journalist Peter Scholl-Latour.

When people ask me about my dream job I tell them: This is it! I always wanted to be a physician-scientist and do both basic research and caring for patients.

I like fruits a lot, like strawberries and pineapple. I am fortunate to say that I love whatever Leigh Ann cooks!

I like old movies, some favorites are “It’s a Wonderful Life”, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, and “The Little World of Don Camillo”.

Staff Spotlight – Lauren Kanner, MD

Dr. Kanner is Clinical Assistant Professor in the Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes.

I started working at UIHC in August 2018. This was my only position here.

I have a 21 month old son, Noah, and have been married to my husband for almost 7 years. We also have a one-eyed orange tabby cat, Casey, who is 9 years old.

Nowadays, I spend most of my freetime outside with my family taking advantage of Iowa City’s great playgrounds and becoming a master bubble blower. I also enjoy gardening in my vegetable garden, reading memoirs, historical fiction and young adult lit and singing, although I have not found a choir in Iowa City yet.

Most fascinating place I have visited would be the Costa Rican jungle because of the awesomeness of being surrounded by the quiet of the nature and wildlife there but the most fascinating place I have ever lived is tied for Copenhagen and New York City because of the opportunities for experiences there and the people watching.

Favorite meal is sushi or my mom’s chicken enchiladas with mole.

Favorite book: Falling Leaves; Favorite movie: Whale Rider.

Fun fact: I used to ballroom dance and know how to lead and follow in multiple styles. I was classically trained for voice in high school and college.