VICE CHAIRMAN FOR |
B. Mark Evers, MD
Professor of Surgery
Director, Markey Cancer Center
Physician-In-Chief, Oncology Service
VICE CHAIRMAN FOR VA AFFAIRS
Eric Q. Ballert, MD
Chief, Department of Surgery
Veterans Administration Hospital
Welcome to the Surgery Department at the University of Kentucky. We are on a state supported mission to become a top 20 surgery department in the United States. As Chairman, my job is to ensure outstanding performance in every facet of the departmental mission as an academic surgical department and to lead through demonstration of excellence, innovation, compassion, and dedicated citizenry.
We are making certain that the citizens of Kentucky can stay in Kentucky for all their health care needs. Our faculty is exceptional and continues to grow as we fill areas of strategic need for services identified by the UK Medical Center as necessary for providing the best care possible to our patients. New additions to our department in 2010 included clinical specialists in the areas of trauma, pediatric urology, colorectal surgery, craniofacial plastic surgery, surgical oncology, vascular surgery, pediatric surgery, general surgery and dermatology.
We have also recruited top faculty providing translation of healthcare from bench-to-bedside. Dr. B. Mark Evers, an internationally recognized gastrointestinal and endocrine surgeon and scientist, joined us as the new Director of the Markey Cancer Center. He brought with him a top-tier program of molecular research and four new labs devoted to areas of surgical investigation.
The Department of Surgery has many faculty members who are involved in a wide variety of investigations. Though the NIH has continued to see a decline in grants submitted by first-time investigators, the Department has seen an increase. Thirteen grants were submitted by the Department in response to the Recovery Act Stimulus Funding; 9 by first-time applicants. Dr. Evers has been appointed as Vice Chair for surgical research and is now directly involved with grant application supervision.
The "Hanging with Zwisch" Research Colloquium, a lecture series dedicated to research interests, continues to grow. The Research Colloquium has been an ideal setting to flesh out ideas and to provide a forum of communication between researchers and faculty, medical students, residents and staff. Topics include NIH funding opportunities; an introduction to metastatic models of human cancer; an innovative technique for craniofacial surgery; a novel treatment strategy utilizing sterol mediators of pancreatic cancer growth and hedgehog pathways; and a guest presentation on all the new guidelines established by the NIH.
My own research interests continue to develop. Ten grant applications, including 3 submitted through the Stimulus Recovery Act, were submitted during 2009 to the NIH, DARPA, and American Lung Association. These focused on the subjects of hyperthermia, artificial lung development, the role of TRPV1 in severe lung injury, and the development of a wound stasis system. A new double lumen cannula for ECMO, developed over the last five years, was awarded a U.S. patent and received FDA approval. An additional U.S. patent (US 7,524,277) was awarded in 2009 for an Apex to Aorta Cannula Assembly designed for assisting a damaged heart with circulating blood. My lab has also initiated an application to patent a rotary pump for an artificial lung system. A provisional patent was filed for a novel delivery device for a hemostatic agent which is currently being developed by UK and Dr. David Puleo in Biomedical Engineering in partnership with LifeBond. We are also working with the UK Office for Commercialization and Economic Development to produce both a funded/publication record of the agent while still inventing new devices that require protection of intellectual property.
The Department of Surgery considers the training of residents and medical students one of its highest priorities. Our educational goals for graduate and undergraduate surgical medical education are accomplished by providing ongoing educational services, by implementing and evaluating educational innovations, and by conducting educational research to improve the quality of the medical education process. The Surgery Education Committee, chaired by Dr. Joseph Iocono, ensures the quality of surgical education and addresses such topics as test development, faculty feedback to students, and student evaluations. We currently provide five residency programs and five fellowship programs which are accredited by the American Council of Graduate Medical Education. There is a weekly General Surgery Grand Rounds which covers a broad variety of issues and surgical insights and a Teaching Conference is held on Mondays. These efforts have clearly had an impact since the Department of Surgery has won the Third Year Student Clerkship Award 2 years in a row after 20 years without a win.
The Center for Advanced Training & Simulation (CATS) has expanded its capabilities. One of our projects is an immersive 3D minimally invasive surgery training environment that includes feedback and real-time performance evaluation. Interactive video technology and wireless handheld computer technology is also used to beam endoscopic surgeries performed at UK to sites all over the world for training and international conference purposes. The CATS facilities collaborated with the UK Area Health Education Center (AHEC) to provide a program via interactive videoconference offering a first-hand look into minimally invasive surgical procedures to 218 high school students. The success and interest generated by that program has prompted the Kentucky Department of Education to request additional programs that inform public school children on the opportunities for health careers.
The Resident Writing Program was initiated in 2009 to provide education and mentorship to residents, interns and medical students. This program encourages research and publication of first author manuscripts by bringing together resources to ensure that all of our residents have an opportunity to identify areas of research interest. To this end, we initiated: 1) a dedicated biostatistician/data base investigator, 2) a full-time medical writer/editor, and 3) a Resident Publications Committee consisting of faculty, residents and staff. Our results have been good with nine first author publications published in such peer review journals as Journal of the American College of Surgeons; Journal of Vascular Surgery; Annals of Vascular Surgery; International Journal of Angiology; Journal of Forensic Science; Ear, Nose & Throat Journal; and Hernia. Ten abstracts were accepted and presented at national meetings (American College of Surgeons; Association for the Trauma of Surgery; Association for Academic Surgery, etc.) In addition, a number of investigations have been undertaken as a result of pairing faculty and residents with mutual research related interests, establishing a positive mentoring environment.
Our Clinical Operations
Our surgeons practice in a variety of operating room settings revolving around central facilities at the UK Medical Center. These include Kentucky Children's Hospital, the Center for Advanced Surgery, Gill Heart Institute, Markey Cancer Center, UK Good Samaritan Hospital , the Transplant Center, and a number of regional clinics. Despite the economic turndown, the operating rooms at UK are operating at or above capacity almost daily and the number of surgeries each month has surpassed 2000 for 10 consecutive months, an indication of our clinical success. In addition, our relationship with the Lexington VA Hospital is strong with Erik Q. Ballert, M.D. (Gastrointestinal Surgery) serving as Chief of Surgery.
The Surgery Department website features a wealth of information on our program, its educational initiatives and our faculty practice. If you are a potential medical student or resident, I encourage you to explore it in more detail and to contact us.
Finally, Lexington, KY is a wonderful community that offers something for everyone. It is one of the safest and most liveable cities in the country and many residents own homes which are close to campus. Child care is readily available and the public schools are excellent. UK itself has over 30,000 students with a vibrant campus and superb team sports!