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Medical Campus Faculty Advance to Rank of Associate Professor

Promotions go to 14 at MED, SPH


Representing medical specialties ranging from anatomy to psychiatry, 13 School of Medicine and a School of Public Health faculty have earned promotion from assistant professor to associate professor. Among them are clinicians and researchers specializing in caring for children with sickle cell disease, traumatic injuries like those from the Boston Marathon bombings, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) of soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, interventions for people at risk of an opioid overdose, and public policies that can prevent alcohol abuse and suicide.

“We are fortunate to have outstanding Medical Campus faculty members. The rank of associate professor recognizes the major contributions these faculty have made in their fields and their national, and in some cases international, reputations,” says Karen Antman, dean of MED and provost of the Medical Campus. “We congratulate them on this career achievement.”

Those promoted to associate professor:

Megan R. Gerber, MED associate professor of medicine

Gerber is a nationally recognized expert on intimate partner violence (IPV) detection and intervention in medical settings. Her research has focused on medical outcomes after interpersonal trauma. She is the medical director of women’s health at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Boston Healthcare System and is senior consultant to the VA Central Office for Women’s Health Services. She cochaired the national VA Taskforce on IPV that drafted and implemented system-wide recommendations. In 2014, she received the David Littman Award for excellence in clinical care and teaching at VA Boston.

Katherine Iverson, MED associate professor of psychiatry

Iverson is a leading authority on identifying and treating IPV among women veterans. Her work evaluates the clinical usefulness of IPV screening and counseling procedures, with an eye toward reducing risk for future victimization. Recipient of a 2012 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the US government’s highest award to science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their careers, she codeveloped Recovering from IPV through Strengths and Empowerment, an innovative model of brief counseling for women who experience IPV. She has led efforts to develop a brochure to guide clinicians responding to IPV disclosures and help raise awareness about IPV in the Veterans Health Administration. She is a practicing therapist and supervisor in the VA Boston Healthcare System Women’s Stress Disorder Clinic. Her research has been funded by a VA Career Development Award and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Jeffrey Kalish, MED associate professor of surgery and radiology

Kalish’s clinical research focuses on vascular surgery, including less invasive endovascular and open vascular interventions. He is director of endovascular surgery and associate chief medical information officer at Boston Medical Center (BMC). He developed and led the hospital’s Inferior Vena Cava Filter Retrieval Taskforce and presented the results at national meetings. In 2014, he was awarded the Society for Vascular Surgery’s E. J. Wylie Traveling Fellowship for his leadership in improving care for Boston Marathon bombing survivors. He adopted advances he observed in visits to military centers to his civilian practice and formed a multidisciplinary team to benefit amputee patients at BMC. He has received research funding from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

Barbara Kamholz, MED associate professor of psychiatry

Kamholz, a behavioral and cognitive psychologist, is the VA Boston Healthcare System associate director for outpatient mental health services and director of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) education for BMC’s psychiatry residency training. Nationally recognized for her work in CBT practice and education, she is associate editor of the journal Cognitive and Behavioral Practice and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies coordinator for convention and education issues. Her research is funded by the NIH and its National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Patricia Kavanagh (Questrom’92, MED’03), MED associate professor of pediatrics

Kavanagh’s research concentrates on systems approaches to improve the care of children and adults with sickle cell disease (SCD). As the pediatrics department quality lead and a BMC pediatric emergency department attending physician, she and her colleagues have defined and refined treatment standards for children with SCD in the Boston area and globally. She led BMC’s Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) program to screen newborns for SCD. She is on the oversight steering committee of HRSA’s Sickle Cell Disease Treatment Demonstration Program. Her research is funded by the NIH’s NHLBI.

Benjamin P. Linas, MED associate professor of medicine and SPH associate professor of epidemiology

Linas is a national leader in hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and HCV/HIV coinfection. He uses computational biology, clinical epidemiology, and clinical economics to research the comparative cost-effectiveness of interventions to treat them. He provides primary care for patients with HIV and HCV at BMC and is a research collaborator at the Prevention Policy Modeling Lab at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. He is on the executive committee of the Providence-Boston Center for AIDS Research, and also directs the HIV/HCV core of the NIDA-funded Center for Health Economics of Treatment Interventions for Substance Use Disorders, HCV, and HIV. His research is funded by the NIDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Mark Logue, MED associate professor of psychiatry

Logue is widely recognized for his genetic research on PTSD, Alzheimer’s disease, and panic disorder. He published the first genome-wide association study (GWAS) of PTSD as well as the first GWAS of Alzheimer’s disease in African Americans. He works with a PTSD genomics consortium whose large-scale meta-analysis GWAS was published earlier this spring in Molecular Psychiatry. He holds a position at the National Center for PTSD and is a review editor for Neurogenomics: Frontiers in Genetics. His research is funded by the NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health.

James Pokines, MED associate professor of anatomy and neurobiology

Pokines is a leader in the fields of taphonomy, the branch of paleontology that studies fossilization, and forensic archaeology, Paleolithic archaeology, and zooarchaeology (the study of animal remains). His worldwide field research has taken him to Egypt’s Nile Delta, Jordan, Kenya, South Africa, Cantabrian Spain, and Bolivia, and he is the course director of five forensic anthropology graduate courses. He is the forensic anthropologist for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He is on several American Board of Forensic Anthropology committees and is the board’s incoming vice president.

Ashish Upadhyay, MED associate professor of nephrology

Upadhyay is an expert in the mechanisms of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease risk factors in chronic kidney disease. He led the global nonprofit Kidney Disease Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) evidence review team for clinical practice guidelines on lipid management in kidney disease. He also participated in the KDIGO guidelines on blood pressure and anemia management in kidney disease evidence review teams. He is an associate director of the MED Internal Medicine Residency Program, where he leads the scholarship curriculum and oversees inpatient education and evidence-based teaching.

Xaralabos Varelas, MED associate professor of biochemistry

Cellular and molecular biologist Varelas’ research focuses on the development of tissues and organs and how the underlying physiological processes of the body go awry in cancer. His research on the regulation and function of the Hippo signaling pathway, an essential developmental pathway that has emerged as a central mediator of cancer, has identified novel regulators and functions for Hippo pathway signaling and has described important roles for this pathway in various cancers and in animal development. His work is funded in part by the NHLBI, the US Department of Defense, and the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation.

Alexander Walley (SPH’07), MED associate professor of medicine

Walley is internationally renowned for his work examining and implementing naloxone rescue kits for the prevention of opioid overdose. His 2013 paper in the British Medical Journal is among the most influential pieces documenting the treatment’s effectiveness. He founded the BMC Addiction Consult Service in 2015, a program to help patients found to be addicted when hospitalized for other reasons. It provides medication-assisted treatment during hospitalization and assists in the transition to outpatient office-based addiction treatment programs. He directs the Addiction Medicine Fellowship program, credentialed by the American Board of Addiction Medicine. He is the medical director of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Opioid Overdose Prevention Program, which provides overdose prevention education and naloxone rescue kits to high-risk individuals and their social networks. His research is funded by the NIDA.

Renda Soylemez Wiener, MED associate professor of pulmonary, allergy, sleep, and critical care medicine

Wiener, who researches pulmonary and critical care outcomes, has more than 80 publications to her credit, 5 among the top one percent of the most cited papers in clinical medicine, according to the Web of Science indexing service. Her research examines the harm caused by overly aggressive medical care and seeks to improve medical decision-making. She is the Bedford VA Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research acting associate director. She has received MED’s department of medicine Junior Faculty Mentorship Award and Robert Dawson Evans Junior Faculty Merit Award. Her research has been funded by the NIH’s National Cancer Institute, the VA Health Services Research and Development, and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

Erika Wolf (GRS’04,’10), MED associate professor of psychiatry

Clinical psychologist Wolf’s research uses data analytic techniques to evaluate trauma, PTDS, and related conditions. Her recent studies have received national attention: one shows that PTSD is associated with accelerated cellular aging in the ways that DNA controls gene expression, the process that allows a cell to respond to the environment; another reveals that PTSD-related metabolic syndrome is associated with structural brain abnormalities that may indicate premature aging. She is a recipient of a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, a VA Patient Care Service Award, and early career investigator awards from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and Division 56 of the American Psychological Association. She is on the board of four scientific journals. Her research is supported by the NIH’s National Institute on Aging.

Ziming Xuan, SPH associate professor of community health sciences

Xuan is a social epidemiologist who studies how health policies and society influence complex risky behaviors and diseases among vulnerable populations. He also studies the implementation and evaluation of social-behavioral interventions to promote healthy behaviors and enhance community well-being. In addition to an SPH faculty position, Xuan teaches in the MED Primary Care Academic Fellowship program and BMC’s Injury Prevention Center. He is a contributing author of the influential 2013 British Medical Journal paper by Alexander Walley documenting the effectiveness of naloxone rescue kits for the prevention of opioid overdose. His numerous honors include an SPH Established Investigator Innovation Award and an SPH Early Career Catalyst Award. He has received grants from the NIH’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the CDC, the Department of Justice, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the American Cancer Society. He is a Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs assistant field editor.

Michael S. Goldberg can be reached at michaelscottgoldberg@gmail.com.

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