Newell Receives New K08

Congratulations to Dr. Beth Newell in the Division of Critical Care for receiving a new K08 award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)!.

The award is for “Astrocyte-specific IL-1RI signaling effects following traumatic brain injury“, and provides $187,128/year for 5 years for a total of $935,640.

Way to go, Dr. Newell!

Carter Receives Grant from ADA

Calvin Carter, a post-doc research scholar in Dr. Sheffield’s lab, recently received a grant for “Glycemic Lowering Mechanisms of Low-Frequency Electromagnetic Fields in Mouse Models of Type 2 Diabetes” from the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

The award provides $61,388/year for 3 years, for a total of $190,413. Dr. Sheffield will serve as mentor on the project, with Calvin as the PI.

Congratulations, Calvin!

Dr. Aaron Boes Receives Career Development Award from the ANPA

Congratulations to Dr. Aaron Boes in the Division of Child Neurology for receiving the Sidney R. Baer Jr. Career Development Award from the American Neuropsychiatric Association (ANPA). This award is given annually, based on merits, to recognize a neuropsychiatry, behavioral neurology, or neuropsychology advanced trainee or faculty member within 5 years of completion of his/her post-graduate education whose outstanding accomplishments offer promise of a successful career in neuropsychiatry and the clinical neurosciences.

The award will be presented at the ANPA Annual Meeting.

Dr. Uc Publishes on Chronic Pancreatitis

Congratulations to Dr. Uc on another publication in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition!

Schwarzenberg SJ, Uc A, Zimmerman B, Wilschanski M, Wilcox CM, Whitcomb DC, Werlin SL, Troendle D, et al. Chronic Pancreatitis: Pediatric and Adult Cohorts Show Similarities in Disease Progress Despite Different Risk Factors. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2019 Apr;68(4):566-573. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000002279.

“Despite disparity in age of onset, children and adults with chonic pancreatitis (CP) exhibit similarity in demographics, CP treatment, and pain. Differences between groups in radiographic findings and diabetes prevalence may be related to differences in risk factors associated with disease and length of time of CP.”

Scribe Project FAQ

As many are aware, the Department initiated a pilot project testing the use of Scribes with providers in clinic. Heidi Hansen has been facilitating this project and we connected with Heidi asking her more about the Scribe project.

What are Scribes?

Scribes are documentation assistants who follow faculty into their appointments to help document the visits so that the faculty can focus more on the patient’s needs instead of worrying about writing what is going on in the visit.

Which providers are using them?

Currently we are piloting this model with four providers. The providers who were selected and agreed to trial this are Drs. Leyser and Tewar in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics; and Drs. Kanner and Pesce in Endocrinology.

Will their presence impact patient or clinic flow?

No, the workflow of the clinic should not change at all. The patient however, could be impacted. They could see more face-to-face interaction with their doctor and more attention to their needs during the visit among other potential positive impacts.

What is the benefit of using Scribes, and what is the goal of the program?

There are numerous benefits to using scribes. Just a couple include the increase of provider job satisfaction by reducing the amount of time that they have to do documentation outside of the work day; also, patient satisfaction is a benefit and a goal of this project. Patients should see an increase of provider engagement during their visits.

Specifically, the program is tracking the following metrics to determine if the goals are being met:

  • Provider’s daily time in Epic
  • Physician Burnout Survey
  • Epic Status Board usage to measure:
    • provider in room time
    • patient time in waiting area
  • Patient survey/feedback for Scribes in the room
  • Chart completion time
  • RVUs/Productivity

Do the physicians still sign off on the clinic notes themselves?

Yes, the physician is still 100% responsible for the documentation; the scribe fills in the information then sends it to the provider for review, additions, and signature.

How long does the pilot project last, and is the goal to expand the program or make it permanent in the future?

The plan is to pilot this for six months and then step back and evaluate the results. If it is successful we may look at expanding the program where it is appropriate and would be a benefit to all involved.

Where do the Scribes come from, internal source or external?

Who do they report to? Currently our scribes are contracted through ScribeAmerica. They technically report to the manager at Scribe America but Heidi Hansen is the UIHC contact within pediatrics.

Do the Scribes have access to Epic?

Yes, the scribes go through LIP training at HSSB so they can gain access to EPIC and be trained in the basics of EPIC documentation. They then have modified access so they can access the different pieces of EPIC to assist the providers with note documentation, patient histories, instructions, and orders.

Anything else you would like to add about the program?

There has been some learning curve to this project and the providers involved have been very supportive and flexible with this venture. Here are some of the positive comments which we have received from providers using scribes recently.

  • “Significant increase in the quality of interactions with patients and their families now that I don’t have to share my time between the screen and them. Real face-to-face interaction!”
  • “I feel much less burred out than previously without the current need of typing.”
  • “From a teaching standpoint, I can allow students to see more of my patients if we decide they don’t need to focus on note writing with me but instead history taking or presentations.”
  • “Today I closed all of my encounters at the end of the clinic. I am modifying the way I work in order to find a better balance in my life.”

Staff Spotlight – Emily Essig-Peppard

Emily has worked in Records Management for about 9 months and is the first face most people see when entering the 2BT office spaces.

I live here in Iowa City with my Fiancée, who also works in the hospital, and our two cats and two rabbits. We moved here last summer from Colorado where we both grew up. Both our families still live in CO, and we travel back for quick weekends frequently.

In my free time I love doing anything outside. I have tried cross country skiing for the first time this winter, and I’ve really enjoyed it! My fiancée and I also love exploring Iowa and the states surrounding it, if anyone ever has suggestions of what to go see/do, we would love to hear them!

Banff National Park just outside of Calgary, Alberta is the most fascinating place I’ve been. It is absolutely beautiful there, and it’s become our favorite place. We went in the summer and hiked a glacier, mountain biked, and hiked to many, many lakes and waterfalls. We can’t wait to go back!

Favorite food? I love all food, but if I had to choose, anything Mexican!

Favorite book or movie? Harry Potter. Always.

Fun fact: I have been skydiving. I went with my two brothers a few years ago, and it was surprisingly relaxing!

Staff Spotlight – Dr. Ian Law

Dr. Law is the Division Director of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology, and has been with Pediatrics for 19 years.

I work in the Division of Pediatric Cardiology with a focus on treating arrhythmias in children and patients with congenital heart disease. My start date at the University was on April 1, 2000. I was worried that when I walked into my office the first day there would be a sign that said “April fools, you don’t really have a job here.”

This is going to sound a little corny, but I love my job. I am surrounded by great people and we have been able to have a very positive impact on countless patients and families. What more can you ask for?

My wife , Laura, and I are both biomedical engineering graduates of the University of Iowa. Laura is a professor in the Physical Therapy program. Our oldest daughter, Erika, is a junior at the University of Iowa and the youngest is a junior at Iowa City, City High. As a family we enjoy traveling to the national parks and doing remodeling projects.

In my free time I enjoy running and spending time with my family. If you can call remodeling and home repair a hobby than I would say that what it is. My wife and I have remodeled every home we have lived in, helped others work on their houses and remodeled several cabins.

Favorite place to visit? I once gave a talk in Helsinki in June when there was 20 hours of daylight, that was pretty cool. My family and I also attended the wedding of some friends in Marseilles, France. We had a blast.

Favorite meal or restaurant? I used to travel to Vegas frequently for work (it is a long story). There was an Italian restaurant called Lupo’s at Manadaly Bay that I really enjoyed. My family and friends took a few cooking classes at there and ate far too much. I have a lot of fond memories at Lupo’s.

Favorite book or movie? I enjoyed reading the Harry Potter series to my daughters when they were in grade school. It is hard to pick a favorite movie but I would say I enjoy sports movies where the underdogs win, like “Remember the Titans”, or “Hoosiers”.

If I had three wishes, they would be 1. Plenty of years with my family, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren (one never knows) 2. A healthy earth that we all can enjoy. 3. A statewide collaborative pediatric cardiology and congenital heart program that can address many needs of this varied population.

Fun fact: I bike to work almost every day and have been fortunate to do so for more than 30 years. I sent a new personal record this year biking when it was 18 below (without the wind chill). My wife thinks I have too many bikes. I once went to Portland, Maine for a bike race that was actually in Portland, Oregon. Oops!

I am an identical twin and one of seven children that were born over the course of 8 years. I am not sure how my mom did it but she seems pretty happy.

Staff Spotlight – Carlisle Xavier

Carlisle provides administrative support to both the Divisions of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Pancreatology, and Nutrition; as well as Pediatric Infectious Diseases, and has been for about 2 years now.

I worked previously for Peds Psychology and the Child Protection Program, Adult Neurology, and Otolaryngology.

I have two cats: Bitty and Harry. I live close to my maternal Grandmother and eldest maternal Aunt. My maternal Uncle and his wife live in North Carolina. My youngest maternal Aunt, her husband, and her two cats live in New Hampshire. My brother, his wife, and their two kids and three dogs live in California.

I spend my weekends running errands and doing chores both at my house and my grandmothers. I like to read books and comic books while hanging with my cats. I also like to play PS4, watch Anime, and specialize in cooking Lasagna. I like to catch a movie and dinner with friends when possible.

Favorite place I’ve lived or visited? I grew up Army, so I have lived several places, but my all time favorite was Okinawa Japan. In fact, the last three generations of my family have encompassed every branch of the military: Army, Navy, Air Force, Maries, and Coast Guard.

Favortie food? The Shrimp Tempura from Sushi PoPo is amazing.

Favorite book or movie? The Sweet Potato Queens series is one of my favorite books. Any movie with Sandra Bullock is on my favorites list.

Faculty Recruitment Request for AY 2019-2020

Dear faculty members,

Thank you for the time and effort you provided to help fulfill the department’s obligations towards mentoring and facilitating small groups of M1-M2 medical students. The department reached the needed contribution level for the 2018-2019 academic year which allows us to maintain the funding and recognition that we get from the College. This is never possible without help from all divisions.

Now it is time to start the process for the 2019-2020 academic year. Attached is a catalog with descriptions and schedules for the Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 semester activities. Faculty can sign up by accessing: this site or by contacting Carrie Bernat ( or by phone 335-7641. Signing up sooner will optimize chances to get into preferred activities. The course coordinators can often work with you if there is a scheduling conflict. As a reminder, meeting educational contribution is a condition to participate in divisional clinical incentive program.

New this year: As part of the recently approved individual education incentive in our department, these M1-M2 medical student activities are among the activities that will be counted towards the education incentive.

As Iowa’s only comprehensive pediatric academic medical center, our mission includes educating our medical students and the next generation of pediatric healthcare providers. I thank you again and I look forward to seeing more faculty participation to continue emphasizing our educational mission. I will update your division directors on the status of our department’s contributions.

–Riad Rahhal, MD, MS Clinical Professor Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology Department of Pediatrics Fellowship Director Vice Chair for Education Stead Family Department of Pediatrics

Dr. Uc Publishes on NASPGHAN Proceedings

Congratulations to Dr. Uc on her most recent publication in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition.

Grover AS, Freeman AJ, Abu-El-Haija M, Eisses JF, Gardner TB, Liu QY, Lowe ME, Nathan JD, Palermo TM, Singh VK, Trout AT, Uc A, Husain SZ, Morinville VD. Updates in Pediatric Pancreatology: Proceedings of the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition Frontiers in Pediatric Pancreatology Symposium. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2019 Feb;68(2):e27-e33. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000002186