The University of Texas Medical Branch Diversity Council will host the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Service Award Ceremony and Luncheon, titled “Together We Win,” from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 9 in the Levin Hall Dinning Room on the Galveston campus.

The annual ceremony honors and recognizes the contributions of medical branch faculty, students and staff who promote diversity, inclusion, community partnership, philanthropy and civic engagement. The award is presented annually to individuals who carry out Dr. King’s dream and have made a profound difference through dedication and service.

Ian Barrett, associate vice president for human resources talent management at the medical branch, will be the keynote speaker. If you’re interested in attending, contact Robin Baker at events.oua@utmb.edu or 409-747-6735 by Friday.

COLON SURGERY STILL CARRIES RISK

A large nationwide study led by researchers at the medical branch has confirmed that among various surgical procedures, removing sections of the colon carries the highest risk of complications and has a 46 percent mortality rate, despite efforts to improve surgical outcomes at large. Shining light on this issue can guide advances and improvements targeted directly toward this procedure. The findings are currently available in The American Journal of Surgery.

“It’s important that we’ve confirmed that colon resection has room for improvement,” said lead author Dr. Byron D. Hughes, resident in general surgery at the medical branch. “These data provide a valuable roadmap to target specific efforts to improve the results of this procedure.”

FUNDING FOR RSV RESEARCH

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases awarded $434,500 to Antonella Casola, a pediatrician at the medical branch, to better understand respiratory syncytial virus. For many, the virus discovered in 1957 and known as RSV will cause mild, cold-like symptoms, but for some infants and older adults, an infection can cause hospitalization, and, especially in developing countries, even result in death. There’s no effective treatment or vaccine available for RSV. Over the years, Casola has made several advances in learning how this virus takes hold in our lungs and causes disease.

TWO PROGRAMS AT UTMB RATED AS ‘HIGH PERFORMING’

U.S. News and World Report rated the Nephrology Program and Heart Failure Surgery Program at the medical branch as “high performing” in the 2018-19 Best Hospitals Rankings and Ratings report.

In the specialty category, the Nephrology program was rated as “high performing” based on volume of high-risk patients, outcomes such as survival, key programs, staff and services, and Magnet recognition of the hospital. The ratings in procedures and conditions, for which UTMB’s Heart Failure Surgery was recognized, is based on multiple quality indicators and patient experience.

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