Class Notes

Winter 2019


Gurmukh Singh (PhD ’77, Pathology Resident ’78) holds the Walter Shepeard Chair in Clinical Pathology and is vice chair of pathology at Augusta University’s Medical College of Georgia (MCG). Singh’s laboratory investigates methods for diagnosing multiple myeloma, and its recent findings—that both urine and blood tests produce the most reliable results—were featured in the Journal of Clinical Medicine Research. He was honored in 2017 with MCG’s Faculty Recognition Award in celebration of his passion for pathology education. “Pathology,” he says, “is a little more like science than clinical medicine, which is more an art. It’s a good fit for my personality.”


Elizabeth Jaffee (Internal Medicine Resident ’88) is the Dana and Albert “Cubby” Broccoli Professor of Oncology at Johns Hopkins University, where she also serves as deputy director of Hopkins’s Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her research focuses on developing vaccines to treat cancer, and she’s currently researching a vaccine that “teaches” immune-system T cells to fight pancreatic cancer. “We’re making a lot of progress” on the vaccine, she says—“it’s quite an exciting time.” Jaffee was appointed chair of the National Cancer Advisory Board in 2013 by former President Barack Obama, a position she still holds today.


After 12 years as chair of emergency medicine at East Carolina University, Theodore Delbridge (Emergency Medicine Resident ’92, Emergency Medicine Fellow ’93) moved to Baltimore in 2018 to serve as executive director of the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems. This is a “one-of-a-kind job,” he says; he oversees the state’s emergency medical system—including ground and air transport and related policies—in a comprehensive system unlike that in any other state. Delbridge’s love of EMS stretches back to high school.
Anureet Bajaj (MD ’96) started her private practice, Bajaj Plastic Surgery, in Oklahoma City in 2007. Her clinical repertoire includes the pioneering deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap procedure for breast reconstruction, a vascular surgical method that reconstructs breasts with the patient’s own tissue while also preserving their abdominal muscles. Until recently, says Bajaj, “I was essentially the only person in the state doing this procedure.” She also serves on the editorial board for the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery; her most recent publication for them considers the best ethical-use practices for social media in plastic surgery.
At Columbia University, Selim M. Arcasoy (Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Fellow ’98) serves as the Dickinson W. Richards Jr. Professor of Medicine (in pediatrics) and medical director of the Lung Transplantation Program. The program has grown to “one of the largest in the country,” he says, performing more than 80 lung transplants a year. Arcasoy is a member of the Lung Working Group of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, which is working on an allocation policy for continuous distribution of lungs, as opposed to geographic distribution—a system that will make organ transplants more accessible to underserved regions.


Amy Hartman (PhD ’03) is an assistant professor of infectious diseases and microbiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Her research focuses on emerging viruses at the human-animal interface, particularly the mosquito-transmitted Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV): “a human and animal pathogen,” says Hartman, “that presents a significant disease risk to people and livestock.” RVFV causes serious disease in humans; Hartman works to develop vaccines and therapies to prevent infection; her research findings were published last December by Science Advances. “I find RVFV to be a fascinating virus,” she says, “because of its complex ecology—it has implications for the environment, animals, and people.”
KMarie Reid (General Surgery Resident ’05) is a professor of surgery at Morehouse University, as well as director of quality, and the section chief for liver, pancreas, and foregut surgery. Since joining Morehouse in 2018, Reid has built a practice focused on hepatobiliary and pancreas surgery. She’s on the board of the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract and serves as a National Surgical Quality Improvement Program champion for Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital. “It’s exciting,” she says, “to have the opportunity to serve our patients and offer them multidisciplinary care in a field where they previously didn’t have access.” 
J. Scott VanEpps (Bioengineering PhD ’07, MD ’09) is an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Michigan, with additional appointments in biomedical engineering and macromolecular science and engineering. He practices in Michigan Medicine’s Emergency Medicine and Critical Care Center—a “one-of-a-kind-in-the-nation intensive care unit . . . in the emergency department,” says VanEpps. He also researches novel technologies for preventing and treating medical device infections. For this interdisciplinary research, VanEpps was named a Taubman Emerging Scholar in August. He says he’s excited to “hang out” with these other scholars to find solutions to big problems.
José Prince (General Surgery Resident ’08, Pediatric Surgery Fellow ’10) is an associate professor of surgery and pediatrics at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, where he also serves as director of the Laboratory of Pediatric Injury and Inflammation and vice chair of surgery. In 2018, Prince was elected chair of the New York City Regional Trauma Advisory Committee, which oversees 20 NYC trauma centers. He attributes his career to his grandfather Manuel Beyra, a pediatrician in Cuba. “I didn’t grow up around him because my parents left in exile,” says Prince. “But their stories about him influenced my decision to become a doctor and to take care of children.”


Juleen Rodakowski (Clinical Research MS ’14) is an assistant professor of occupational therapy at Pitt’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences; she also holds a secondary appointment in Pitt Med’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute. Her research into quality-of-life enhancements for elder adults with minor cognitive decline was recognized recently with a $3 million grant from the National Institute on Aging. “We have a growing issue here,” says Rodakowski about elder care and rehabilitation. “Our current strategy is watching and waiting—we could be more proactive.” She’s investigating early stage intervention strategies to empower seniors to increase their physical autonomy and agency.