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California Medical Association names Luther Cobb, M.D., as 147th president
Dr. Cobb takes lead of over 40,000 physician members







“What a thrilling time to be assuming the role of CMA president,” said Dr. Cobb. “The health care community has stood tall in protecting our patients and their access to care and as we look ahead to the year in front of us, I am confident that we will continue to do so.”

After attending Stanford Medical School, Dr. Cobb went onto do his residency at Stanford as well, taking a two year fellowship to study pancreatic islet transplantation for diabetes. He later joined the Stanford faculty and worked at the affiliated county hospital in Santa Clara County, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center

“Becoming a doctor was something I wanted to do because not only would it be an avenue to help the greatest number of people I could, but it was and continues to be an evolving field with new discoveries around each corner,” said Dr. Cobb

Dr. Cobb is a former chair of the CMA Council on Legislation and has served on the organization’s executive committee since 2006. He is also Past President of the Humboldt-Del Norte County Medical Society.

“Dr. Cobb brings the experience, leadership and fortitude to CMA’s presidency that will lead us into an incredible time in the health care delivery system,” said CMA CEO Dustin Corcoran. “As we look ahead to the changes that lie in front of us, I have the utmost faith in Dr. Cobb’s ability to lead the 40,000 plus members of CMA as we advocate for quality and for timely access to safe and affordable health care.”

Dr. Cobb’s term as CMA president will run from November 2014-October 2015.

“There is a distinct lack of access to medical care throughout these parts of California where I practice, and to be able to provide care to patients that otherwise wouldn’t have it is something that I’ve dedicated my life to,” added Dr. Cobb.  “As CMA president, advocating for my patients here, for the doctors across California and for the future of health care will be a priority.”
CMA GovernanceSacramento – Humboldt County physician Luther Cobb, M.D. has been installed as the 147th President of the California Medical Association (CMA), taking the reins from Immediate Past President Richard Thorp, M.D. Dr. Cobb takes office on the heels of the momentous defeat of Proposition 46, a campaign in which doctors and health care providers across California rallied together to oppose the measure that ultimately failed 33-67 percent.
Prestigious Journal Publishes Results of Clinical Trial for Innovative Device for Heart Patients
Providence Saint John’s Health Center cardiologists among study leaders






         The JAMA report concluded that after an average of 3.8 years of follow-up among patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation and at elevated risk for stroke, the WATCHMAN device compared favorably to warfarin in preventing stroke, blood clots and cardiovascular death. The study was to determine if the device would prove as effective as warfarin, which may have serious side effects and which also can be difficult to dose. The study can be found at the Journal of the American Medical Association.

         Fifty-nine hospitals across the nation took part in the trial. Providence Saint John’s enrolled the largest number of patients, said cardiologist Shephal Doshi, M.D., who led the trial at Providence Saint John’s. Dr. Doshi is the director of cardiac electrophysiology and is one of the world’s most experienced in this procedure.

        “I am extremely proud of our achievement, and elated that we may have this innovative option to warfarin for a serious condition that currently affects nearly 5 million people in the United States.” Dr. Doshi said. “This speaks highly not just of Saint John’s, but also of the Providence system, which is dedicated to new ideas in patient care, all aimed at providing the best possible outcomes.”

         The randomized clinical trial, known as PROTECT AF, included 707 patients and compared the WATCHMAN device to warfarin, commonly marketed as Coumadin, over the four years. The study was funded by the device manufacturer Boston Scientific. The results show WATCHMAN (compared to long-term warfarin therapy) resulted in:

·         A 40 percent relative risk reduction for stroke, cardiovascular/unexplained death and embolism

·         A 32 percent  relative risk reduction in stroke

·         A 63 percent relative risk reduction in fatal or disabling stroke

·         A 60 percent relative risk reduction in cardiovascular death

         One drawback to the mainstay treatment warfarin, which reduces blood clotting in patients with atrial fibrillation and other cardiovascular conditions, is the need for lifelong monitoring, frequently resulting in dosage changes. Trials have shown that patients’ levels of warfarin typically are not the therapeutic dose more than one-third of the time. Diet, particularly consumption of Vitamin K, can counteract the effect of warfarin and lead to unstable levels. The use of warfarin also can result in severe bleeding (sometimes spontaneous and catastrophic) because the blood does not easily coagulate.

         Utilizing a minimally invasive procedure, the WATCHMAN is inserted via a thin tube into the left atrial appendage, the major source of blood clots in patients with atrial fibrillation, clots that can be deadly if they break loose and enter the blood stream. Just 21 to 33 millimeters in diameter, the WATCHMAN is a self-expanding device with a metal frame and permeable polyester fabric cover that allows blood to flow.

         The device continues to be under review by the Food and Drug Administration, and three advisory committees have recommended its approval, most recently last month. Dr. Doshi was one of three physician experts who presented findings in October at the FDA panel meeting in Washington, D.C.

         Successful implantation of the WATCHMAN continues Providence Saint John’s stance as a leader in cardiology and electrophysiology, with expertise in historic cardiac firsts, including the world’s first open heart surgery and the country’s first use of a laser balloon in an electrophysiological procedure known as atrial fibrillation ablation. 

About Providence Health & Services: Providence Health & Services, Southern California, is a Catholic not-for-profit, mission-driven healthcare system. Providence Southern California operates six award-winning hospitals and a comprehensive, fully-integrated network of primary care clinics, urgent care centers, home care, TrinityCare and TrinityKids Care hospice as well as Providence High School. Providence is anchored locally by Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Providence Tarzana Medical Center and Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Centers in Torrance and San Pedro. With more than 3,400 physicians, Providence provides coordinated primary and specialty care through an array of physician groups and individual providers including Providence Medical Institute and physician groups in the South Bay, the West Valley and Santa Clarita. Providence affiliate, Facey Medical Group, provides primary and specialized care in the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and San Gabriel valleys. For more information, visit California.providence.org.
The results of a four-year study that included Providence Saint John’s Health Center cardiologists and compared a tiny implant in the heart to oral blood-thinning medication to treat irregular heartbeats were published this week in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association. 
Research Aims to Help Veterans with Hearing Loss
UCR team of neuroscientists, computer game designers try crowd funding to support project





Building on promising brain-training research at the University of California, Riverside related to improving vision, researchers at UC Riverside and the National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research are developing a novel approach to treat auditory dysfunction by training the auditory cortex to better process complex sounds.

The team is seeking public support to raise the estimated $100,000 needed to fund research and develop a computer game they believe will improve the brain’s ability to process and distinguish sounds.

“This is exploratory research, which is extremely hard to fund,” said Aaron Seitz, UCR professor of neuropsychology. “Most grants fund basic science research. We are creating a brain-training game based on our best understanding of auditory dysfunction. There’s enough research out there to tell us that this is a solvable problem. These disabled veterans are a patient population that has no other resource.”

Seitz said the research team is committed to the project regardless of funding, but donations will accelerate development of the brain-training game by UCR graduate and undergraduate students in computer science and neuroscience; pilot studies on UCR students with normal hearing; testing the game with veterans; and refining the game to the point that it can be released for public use.

Auditory dysfunction is progressive, said Alison Smith, a graduate student in neuroscience studying hearing loss in combat vets who is a disabled veteran. Nearly 8 percent of combat veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq suffer from traumatic brain injury, she said. Of those, a significant number complain about difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments, even though they show no external hearing loss.

“Approximately 10 percent of the civilian population is at risk for noise-induced hearing loss, and there have been more than 20,000 significant cases of hearing loss per year since 2004,” added Smith, who served in the Army National Guard as a combat medic for five years.

This research also may help many other hearing-impaired populations, including musicians, mechanics and machinists; reduce the effects of age-related hearing loss; and aid individuals with hearing aids and cochlear implants.

“This kind of training has never been done before,” Seitz said. “We’re taking what we know about the building blocks of speech and what we know about the auditory cortex and the building blocks of hearing, and developing a way to retrain the auditory cortex to process complex sounds.”

The goal is to revive the auditory processing system that was damaged by blast waves and improve hearing, he said. “They may not hear as well as they did before the damage occurred, but we’re hoping to get them to a more normal point.”

UC Riverside launched the research project after audiologists at the Veterans Administration hospital in Loma Linda approached UCR neuroscientist Khaleel Razak about the hearing difficulties faced by returning combat veterans after he presented a seminar on age-related hearing loss. Razak is a consultant on the project.

In addition to Seitz and Smith, team members include Frederick J. Gallun, a researcher at the National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research and associate professor in otolaryngology and the Neuroscience Graduate Program at Oregon Health and Science University; Victor Zordan, UCR associate professor of computer science who specializes in video game design and intelligent systems; and Dominique Simmons, a cognitive psychology graduate student studying audiovisual speech perception.

Seitz said he hopes to begin testing the game on veterans by summer 2015.

“Whether or not you agree with the war, these are people who have gone overseas to serve their country,” he said. “When they come back, it’s our responsibility to care for them. We have to find a way to help our disabled vets. Right now, there’s nothing out there for veterans who are suffering this kind of hearing loss. This is our best shot.”

Contributions made through experiment.com are not tax-deductible. Individuals who wish to make a tax-deductible donation may give to the UCR Brain Game Center through UCR Online Giving and use the “special instructions” field to designate the gift for the “Can brain training help soldiers with brain injury regain hearing?” project.
Many combat veterans suffer hearing loss from blast waves that makes it difficult to understand speech in noisy environments – a condition called auditory dysfunction – which may lead to isolation and depression. There is no known treatment.
UCLA Study Finds Men with Life Expectancies of Less Than 10 Years Still Receive Aggressive Treatment for Prostate Cancer Despite Guidelines
Aggressive Treatment Doesn’t Benefit Patient Survival and Causes Potentially Debilitating Side Effects




surgery, since they are unlikely to live long enough to benefit from treatment. Yet it is unknown whether such men are unnecessarily receiving these aggressive local treatments, putting them at risk for potentially debilitating side effects.

In the first study to rigorously address prostate cancer treatment trends by life expectancy in a large, nationally representative sample, UCLA researchers found that more than half of prostate cancer patients 66 years and older have life expectancies of less than10 years, but half of those still were over-treated for their prostate cancer with surgery, radiation or brachytherapy, the implantation of radioactive seeds in the prostate.

Randomized controlled studies have suggested that significant differences in survival between watchful waiting – monitoring the cancer closely but not treating it - and aggressive therapies don’t develop until 10 years after treatment. It only makes sense to not treat men expected to die of something else within 10 years. But the UCLA researchers found that men were being treated aggressively anyway, with little regard for their quality of life, said study first author Timothy Daskivich, a UCLA Robert Wood Johnson fellow. 

“Life expectancy is poorly integrated into treatment decision-making for prostate cancer, yet it is one of the primary determinants of whether a patient will benefit from treatment with surgery or radiation,” Daskivich said. “Because these treatments have side effects such as erectile dysfunction, urinary incontinence and bowel problems, it’s critical for men with limited life expectancies to avoid unnecessary treatment for low- and intermediate-risk prostate cancer.”

The study is a cover article in the Dec. 1, 2014 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Cancer.

Researchers sampled 96,032 men aged 66 and older with early-stage prostate cancer diagnosed during 1991 to 2007 from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Medicare database. They calculated life expectancy using the patient’s age and other medical conditions at diagnosis and then determined treatment patterns in those men whose life expectancies were less than 10 years.

The research team found that men aged 66 to 69 with life expectancies of less than 10 years based on their health status were treated aggressively with radiation, surgery or radioactive seed implants 68 percent of the time. Men 70 to 74 with life expectancies of less than 10 years were treated aggressively 69 percent of the time, and men 75 to 79 with life expectancies of less than 10 years received aggressive treatment 57 percent of the time. Men 80 and older with life expectancies of less than 10 years were treated aggressively 24 percent of the time.

“Describing treatment trends by both age and health status is key, because younger, sicker men may have life expectancies of less than 10 years, while older, healthier men may have life expectancies longer than 10 years,” Daskivich said. “This information will help men with newly diagnosed low- and intermediate-risk prostate cancer understand their likelihood of living long enough to benefit from aggressive treatment. It will also raise awareness among clinicians that a large number of men older than 65 are at risk for having life expectancies of less than 10 years. Hopefully, these results will promote integration of this information into treatment decision-making discussions.”

Going forward, Daskivich and his team will attempt to determine how these findings will affect treatment decision-making for men with prostate cancer, and whether the trend to over-treat men aged 66 and older with low- and intermediate-risk prostate cancer continues.

Prostate cancer affects one in six men and is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in males aside from skin cancer. An estimated 233,000 new cases of prostate cancer will occur in the United States in 2014. Of those, nearly 30,000 men will die. For reasons that remain unclear, incidence rates are about 60% higher in African Americans.

“We observed that greater than half of men aged 66 years and older had life expectancies of less than 10 years and that nearly half of those received aggressive treatment, mostly with radiation therapy,” the study states. “Because of their low likelihood of 10-year survival, these men are unlikely to live long enough to substantially benefit from aggressive treatment, but they still incur its associated side effects and financial burden. We hope that this information will promote greater awareness of the role of life expectancy in treatment decision-making for men with low- and intermediate-risk disease.”

The study was funded by  the American Cancer Society, the Urology Care Foundation and the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (HHSN27620200016C).
National guidelines recommend that men with low- and intermediate-risk prostate cancer and life expectancies of less than 10 years should not be treated with radiation or
Researchers Identify Chemical Compound That Decreases Effects of Multiple Sclerosis






Now, a research team led by a biomedical scientist at the University of California, Riverside has identified a chemical compound that minimizes axon degeneration, reducing the rate and degree of MS progression. This chemical stimulates axon re-sheathing, restoring uninterrupted flow of nerve impulses.

“This compound works after disease onset,” says Seema Tiwari-Woodruff, an associate professor of biomedical sciences in the School of Medicine at UC Riverside whose lab led the research.  “This makes it promising because a patient with MS typically first visits the doctor when he or she has noticed some motor deficits.”

Her team found that indazole chloride, the compound, inhibits selective inflammation of the central nervous system.  Further, the research, which was done on mice, suggests that its effect is permanent.

For more information, please visit: http://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/25997
Multiple sclerosis is triggered when the immune system attacks the myelin sheath, the protective covering around the axons of nerve fibers.  Unfortunately, currently available therapies are only partially effective in preventing the onset of permanent disability in MS patients.
UCLA study: To stop spread of HIV, African governments should target hot zones




34 million people are infected with HIV; in sub-Saharan Africa alone, 3 million new infections occur annually.

In an attempt to stop the spread of HIV, governments in the region are considering providing antiretroviral drugs to people who do not have the virus but are at risk for becoming infected. Such drugs are known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP.

Although the conventional strategy — attempting to attempt to distribute the drugs to people in every city and village — might seem logical and equitable, researchers at UCLA have devised a plan they say would be much more effective in reducing HIV transmission.

The strategy, developed using a complex mathematical model, focuses on targeting “hot zones,” areas where the risk of HIV infection is much higher than the national average. In South Africa, where 17 percent of the population is infected with HIV, the model predicted that targeting hot zones would prevent 40 percent more HIV infections than using the conventional strategy — and would therefore be 40 percent more cost-effective.

“Stopping the HIV pandemic is one of the greatest challenges facing the global community,” said Sally Blower, the paper’s senior author and the director of the Center for Biomedical Modeling at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.

The report appears in the current online edition of Nature Communications.

“Since results from clinical trials have shown that antiretroviral drugs are effective in protecting individuals against HIV, the big question now is how best to use them,” said David Gerberry, the study’s first author and a former UCLA postdoctoral fellow who now is an assistant professor in mathematics at Xavier University.

To develop the strategy, UCLA researchers designed a computer model that calculated and mapped the incidence of HIV in South Africa and identified hot zones. The model featured three important components: the geographic dispersion of the population, the geographic variation in the severity of the HIV epidemic and the geographic variation in the level of risk behavior. The model revealed that two of South Africa’s nine provinces are hot zones.

The researchers then used the model to predict where, and how many, new HIV infections would occur based on using either the conventional strategy or a strategy targeting hot zones for distributing the drugs.

“Our results are quite striking,” Blower said. “Both strategies would provide PrEP to the same number of people, but using the hot zones plan would prevent 40 percent more HIV infections than using the conventional plan.” 

Gerberry said the team’s strategy could be applied to other nations as well. “The methods we developed can be used to find hot zones in any other sub-Saharan countries that have geographic variation in the severity of their HIV epidemic, such as Lesotho, Botswana, Nigeria and Uganda,” he said. “Once the hot zones have been found in these countries, our spatial optimization algorithm can be used to identify the geographic targeting strategy that would be the most cost-effective.”

Blower said the study holds great significance for global health policy. “The findings show that, when interventions are rolled out, governments in sub-Saharan Africa will have to choose between maximizing equity in access to the drugs and minimizing transmission of HIV.”

The study’s other authors were Bradley Wagner of UCLA, and J. Gerardo Garcia-Lerma and Walid Heneine of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Funding was provided by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (Grant R01 AI041935).
While Ebola has attracted much of the world’s attention recently, a severe HIV epidemic rages on around the world and in sub-Saharan Africa in particular. Globally, more than
USC Eye Institute opens state-of-the-art Arcadia clinic
Nation’s top-ranked university-based ophthalmology clinic moves to new location after 20 years, continues to provide comprehensive eye care to local community




at 65 N. First Ave., Ste. 101, in Arcadia, California. As part of USC’s commitment to Southern California, the ophthalmology clinic has served the San Gabriel Valley community for 20 years. The new clinic, which moved two miles north from its previous location, expands its services in a 3,161-square-foot state-of-the-art space adjacent to the Metro Gold Line’s future Arcadia Station.

As one of six locations in Southern California where USC Eye Institute experts practice, the new Arcadia clinic offers comprehensive eye services, with sub-specialty expertise in glaucoma, cornea and retina care as well as ocular plastic surgery. Staffed to serve the Arcadia community, the clinic’s ophthalmologists also speak Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Korean, Hindi, Spanish and German.

The grand opening event welcomed 150 people and was hosted by USC Health Senior Vice President and CEO Tom Jackiewicz, Keck School of Medicine of USC Dean Carmen Puliafito, M.D., MBA, and USC Eye Institute Director Rohit Varma, M.D., M.P.H. Also in attendance were Arcadia Mayor John Wuo and Chamber of Commerce CEO Scott Hettrick.

“Keck Medicine of USC is dedicated to bringing our exceptional medical care to the local communities of greater Los Angeles by expanding our clinic locations. We want to be closer to where our patients live,” Jackiewicz said. “Two miles is not a far move, but this new location is closer to the soon-to-be-built Metro station, making it more convenient for the local community to receive great patient care.”

The city of Arcadia, home to the Santa Anita Park racetrack, is predominantly Asian, a population that is more susceptible to high myopia (near-sightedness), myopic retinal degeneration including retinal holes and retinal detachments and narrow angle glaucoma.

“We specialize in understanding and treating both the common and the most complex and challenging eye diseases that other eye centers may not be able to manage,” said Varma. “Asian-Americans should pay special consideration to eye conditions such as myopia, narrow angle glaucoma, cataracts, dry eye, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration. We want our community in Arcadia and the surrounding cities to know that we have the expertise in the early diagnosis and treatment of these conditions before they can become blinding.”

Varma, who also is professor and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, is a glaucoma specialist and has dedicated his career to studying the development of eye diseases in minority populations. He is the principal investigator for multiple National Institutes of Health-funded epidemiological studies, including the Chinese American Eye Study.

Other ophthalmologists who will see patients at the Arcadia clinic include Linda Lam, M.D. (retinal diseases); Bibianna Reiser, M.D. (corneal disease, cataract and refractive surgery); Jonathan Song, M.D. (corneal disease, cataract and refractive surgery) and Sandy Zhang-Nunes, M.D. (oculo-facial plastic surgery).

The newly expanded Arcadia clinic becomes the latest location where USC Eye Institute experts practice in Southern California, including: Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Pasadena, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center.

ABOUT USC EYE INSTITUTE: The USC Eye Institute, part of Keck Medicine of USC, is led by Rohit Varma, M.D., M.P.H., and has more than 20 full-time faculty physicians covering all subspecialties of ophthalmology. USC's ophthalmology program has been ranked in the Top 10 by U.S. News & World Report for 20 years and is No. 3 in research funding from the National Eye Institute. The USC Eye Institute is headquartered near downtown Los Angeles at the USC Health Sciences Campus in Boyle Heights and has satellite clinics in Pasadena, Beverly Hills and Arcadia. The institute’s ophthalmologists also practice at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center. For more information, go to eye.keckmedicine.org.

ABOUT KECK MEDICINE OF USC: Keck Medicine of USC is the University of Southern California's medical enterprise, one of only two university-based medical systems in the Los Angeles area. Encompassing academic, research and clinical excellence, the medical system attracts internationally renowned experts who teach and practice at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, the region’s first medical school; includes the renowned USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of the first comprehensive cancer centers established by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States; has a medical faculty practice, the USC Care Medical Group; operates the Keck Medical Center of USC, which includes two acute care hospitals: 401-licensed bed Keck Hospital of USC and 60-licensed bed USC Norris Cancer Hospital; and owns USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, a 158-licensed bed community hospital. It also includes more than 40 outpatient facilities, some at affiliated hospitals, in Los Angeles, Orange, Kern, Tulare and Ventura counties.

U.S. News & World Report ranked Keck Medical Center of USC among the Top 10 in ophthalmology (No. 9), and among the Top 25 hospitals in the United States for urology (No. 20) and cancer care (No. 23). The medical center was also awarded an “A” grade from The Leapfrog Group in 2014, representing outstanding patient safety practices and overall patient outcomes.

For more information, go to www.keckmedicine.org/beyond
The University of Southern California (USC) Eye Institute, one of the nation’s Top 10 ophthalmology departments nationwide according to U.S. News & World Report, opened its latest community clinic at an event there last night
USC Eye Institute adds 12 faculty physician scientists in 2014
Approaching its 40-year anniversary, Los Angeles ophthalmology clinic sets sights on growth




The recruitment is part of an overarching growth strategy that anticipates increased demand in eye care services. According to the National Eye Institute, more than 65 percent of Americans 40 years or older suffer from some sort of vision impairment – ranging from near- or far-sightedness to blindness. That number is expected to swell as the population ages.

Each physician recruit contributes expertise in a unique area of specialization, expanding the depth and breadth of services offered at the USC Eye Institute in ocular oncology, glaucoma, orbit and oculo-facial reconstructive surgery, cornea and external diseases, refractive surgery, neuro-ophthalmology, pediatric ophthalmology, adult strabismus and retinal diseases.

Most of the new physicians also boast a multi-cultural pedigree.

“Los Angeles patients represent a diverse, multicultural population and require more than a ‘one-size-fits-all’ health care approach,” said Tom Jackiewicz, senior vice president and CEO of USC Health. “At Keck Medicine of USC, we take a more personalized patient-centered approach. We welcome patients from all backgrounds, and we are proud to hire specialists who mirror that diversity.”

The institute’s new hires include Hossein Ameri, M.D. (retinal diseases and degeneration); Jesse L. Berry, M.D. (ocular oncology); Charles W. Flowers, Jr., M.D. (cornea, cataract and refractive surgery); Veronica L. Isozaki, O.D. (complex contact lens care); Andrew A. Moshfeghi, M.D., MBA (retinal diseases); Arlanna Moshfeghi, M.D., M.P.H. (pediatric ophthalmology); Vivek R. Patel, M.D. (neuro-ophthalmology and adult strabismus); Alena Reznik, M.D. (glaucoma); Grace Richter, M.D., M.P.H. (glaucoma); Damien C. Rodger, M.D. (retinal diseases and uveitis); Jonathan Song, M.D. (corneal disease, cataract and refractive surgery) and Sandy X. Zhang-Nunes, M.D. (oculo-facial plastic surgery). Andrew and Arlanna Moshfeghi, Richter and Rodger are scheduled to begin seeing patients in 2015.

The Department of Ophthalmology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC began seeing patients in 1974. As the cornerstone of the department, the USC Eye Institute celebrates its 40th anniversary in June 2015 as an internationally recognized center of excellence in vision research, clinical care and education.

“The USC Eye Institute is pioneering the development of novel treatments for eye diseases that cause vision loss and contributing critical scientific knowledge to advance the field of ophthalmology,” said Carmen A. Puliafito, M.D., MBA, dean of the Keck School and professor of ophthalmology. “This can only be done successfully by organizations like USC that emphasize the importance of integrating research, patient care and education.”

Over the past four decades, USC Eye Institute faculty members have received international acclaim for their contributions to vision research and patient care, including the development of optical coherence tomography, a non-invasive imaging technique used to diagnose glaucoma and retinal disorders, and the Baerveldt glaucoma implant, the world’s most widely used glaucoma implant. USC Eye Institute physician scientists developed the only commercially available retinal prosthesis to restore vision to those blind from retinitis pigmentosa and a long-term ocular drug delivery pump for the treatment of diabetic eye disease and macular degeneration. The USC Eye Institute also is one of the leading eye centers in the world studying the burden of vision loss and its impact on quality of life among vulnerable populations such as children and minorities.

“I am extremely pleased to welcome the new faculty hires, and it is my privilege to lead this extraordinary group going forward,” said Rohit Varma, M.D., M.P.H., director of the USC Eye Institute and professor and chair of ophthalmology at the Keck School of Medicine. “We hope to bring several more talented academic physicians on board within the next year, but I believe we are well-positioned to build on all of our strengths and continue to innovate, develop and fulfill our collective mission of providing the highest quality of patient-centered care.”

ABOUT USC EYE INSTITUTE: The USC Eye Institute, part of Keck Medicine of USC, is led by Rohit Varma, M.D., M.P.H., and has more than 20 full-time faculty physicians covering all subspecialties of ophthalmology. USC's ophthalmology program has been ranked in the Top 10 by U.S. News & World Report for 20 years and is No. 3 in research funding from the National Eye Institute. The USC Eye Institute is headquartered near downtown Los Angeles at the USC Health Sciences Campus in Boyle Heights and has satellite clinics in Pasadena, Beverly Hills and Arcadia. The institute’s ophthalmologists also practice at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center. For more information, go to eye.keckmedicine.org.

ABOUT KECK MEDICINE OF USC: Keck Medicine of USC is the University of Southern California's medical enterprise, one of only two university-based medical systems in the Los Angeles area. Encompassing academic, research and clinical excellence, the medical system attracts internationally renowned experts who teach and practice at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, the region’s first medical school; includes the renowned USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of the first comprehensive cancer centers established by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States; has a medical faculty practice, the USC Care Medical Group; operates the Keck Medical Center of USC, which includes two acute care hospitals: 401-licensed bed Keck Hospital of USC and 60-licensed bed USC Norris Cancer Hospital; and owns USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, a 158-licensed bed community hospital. It also includes more than 40 outpatient facilities, some at affiliated hospitals, in Los Angeles, Orange, Kern, Tulare and Ventura counties.

U.S. News & World Report ranked Keck Medical Center of USC among the Top 10 in ophthalmology (No. 9), and among the Top 25 hospitals in the United States for urology (No. 20) and cancer care (No. 23). The medical center was also awarded an “A” grade from The Leapfrog Group in 2014, representing outstanding patient safety practices and overall patient outcomes.

For more information, go to www.keckmedicine.org/beyond
The University of Southern California (USC) Eye Institute has recruited 12 physician scientists from some of the world’s leading institutions, specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide spectrum of vision disorders.
Acute Kidney Injury Test Now Available










The good news is today, a first-of-its kind test to assess risk for AKIs recently approved by the FDA called the NEPHROCHECK® Test System from Astute Medical, is now available nationwide. With NephroCheck, healthcare providers can identify risk early, within 12 hours of initial assessment, and prevent permanent kidney damage or death.
Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) is a common, costly and potentially fatal complication in hospitalized patients. Resulting in a sudden loss of kidney function, AKI is marked by increases in serum creatinine and decreases in urine output and can develop as a result of sepsis, pneumonia, major or cardiac surgery or drugs that are toxic to the kidneys.

Identifying risk of AKI is paramount because AKI usually lacks signs and symptoms and can potentially result in irreversible kidney damage if recognition is delayed.
Providence Health & Services Nurse Leader Named to Statewide Quality Institute Board





         Harren, a long-time nursing administrator with Providence, was appointed this week to the California Hospital Quality Institute board of directors. Jim Barber, president of the Hospital Association of Southern California, nominated Harren to the post.

         “I’m grateful for this opportunity to represent the voices of nursing leadership and of Providence at the state level,” Harren said. “It is the priority of nurse leaders to advance clinical care by participating in high-profile organizations that advocate for patient quality and safety.”

         Harren will join the 14-member board early next year.

         The quality institute is dedicated to advancing and accelerating patient safety and to improving quality patient care throughout California. It focuses on eliminating problem areas, optimizing care and treatment and enhancing the health care experience for patients and their families.

         Harren joined Providence Health & Services, Southern California, in1989, holding various nursing roles and leadership roles at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance until her appointment in 1998 to chief nurse executive for the hospital. In 2011, she was named to head the new Providence Nursing Institute, established to advance quality patient care through professional development, education, technology and research.

         Harren has held several leadership and board positions in the community and at the state level. She has served as president and as board chairman of the Association of California Nurse Leaders and as member of the ACNL Health Policy Committee. She was a member of the clinical faculty for the UCLA School of Nursing from 2011-13 and is the current board chairwoman for CALNOC – the California Alliance for Nursing Outcomes in Advancing Global Patient Care Experience.

About Providence Health & Services: Providence Health & Services, Southern California, is a Catholic not-for-profit, mission-driven healthcare system. Providence Southern California operates six award-winning hospitals and a comprehensive, fully-integrated network of primary care clinics, urgent care centers, home care, TrinityCare and TrinityKids Care hospice as well as Providence High School. Providence is anchored locally by Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Providence Tarzana Medical Center and Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Centers in Torrance and San Pedro. With more than 3,400 physicians, Providence provides coordinated primary and specialty care through an array of physician groups and individual providers including Providence Medical Institute and physician groups in the South Bay, the West Valley and Santa Clarita. Providence affiliate, Facey Medical Group, provides primary and specialized care in the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and San Gabriel valleys. For more information, visit California.providence.org.
Kathleen Harren, RN, director of Providence Health & Services’ Providence Nursing Institute, has been named to the board of a statewide organization advocating for patient safety.