University of Iowa thinkers, explorers, mentors, creators, and inventors were celebrated for their work during the UI Office of Research and Economic Development’s annual Discovery & Innovation Awards Ceremony April 17. Titled “Celebrating Excellence,” the 2018 event at Hancher brought together faculty, staff, and students involved in research and scholarship as well as its translation into medical devices, startup companies, and other commercial ventures.
John Keller, interim Vice President for Research and Economic Development and dean of the Graduate College, said that because of the work being done by the people being recognized Tuesday night, “lives are being saved, prolonged, and improved, and our ideas about the vast universe we inhabit, and the innermost workings of the human body, are growing by leaps and bounds.”
Awardees from the College of Public Health included:
Distinguished Research Administrator Award: Dixie Ecklund, Director of Operations in the College of Public Health’s Clinical Trials Statistical and Data Management Center. The award recognizes staff members at the University of Iowa who are exceptional research administrators and/or performed exceptional service in support of research. The award is co-sponsored by the Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations and the Vice President for Research & Economic Development.
Graduate Student Research Excellence Award in Biology, Life, Mathematical and Physical Sciences. Angela Toepp, a Ph.D. candidate in the College of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology. The awards honor graduate students in terminal degree programs conducting research and scholarly activity that is recognized as highly original work.
Leadership in Research Award: Robert Wallace, Professor in the Department of Epidemiology in the College of Public Health. This is a lifetime achievement award to honor tenure- , research- or clinical-track faculty for distinguished leadership in research and scholarship accomplishments over a career.
View a full list of the award winners.
Cholesterol-lowering drugs are more likely to save thousands of additional lives when used in people with higher levels of LDL cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol, according to a new study from the University of Iowa, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Jennifer Robinson, a physician, professor of epidemiology in the UI College of Public Health, and study coauthor, says the findings show that doctors should more aggressively treat patients who have high levels of LDL cholesterol with statins, and patients should feel safe using them.
“Statins are the safest drugs we have to reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and death in a wide range of patients,” says Robinson. “Patients with higher LDL cholesterol levels are likely to experience even greater health benefits from taking statins and some of the newer cholesterol drugs.”
The study analyzed 34 previous studies that involved more than 270,000 participants. The analysis found that statins were more likely to reduce the risk of death when LDL cholesterol levels were 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) or greater, whether or not they were used with other LDL-lowering drugs.
Robinson says the study found the lives of an additional 4.3 in 1,000 people were saved every year when treated with LDL cholesterol lowering therapy. The greatest benefit—and the greatest reduction in death rates—came to those with the highest levels of LDL cholesterol, she says.
LDL cholesterol causes fat and plaque to build up in arteries, increasing the risk for heart attacks and strokes. Levels below 100 mg/dl are considered optimal, as people with that reading are less likely to develop cholesterol plaques as they age. Readings above 100 mg/dl are considered unhealthy.
Given that 12.4 percent of American adults—or about 30 million people—have LDL levels above 160 mg/dl, Robinson says the findings show statins save tens of thousands of lives annually.
“Unfortunately, most Americans with higher cholesterol levels are not treated, and lives are unnecessarily being lost,” she says.
Those with excess LDL can reduce their levels through an improved diet, increased exercise, and by taking medications such as statins. People who already have cardiovascular disease or genetic causes of high cholesterol also may benefit from adding other LDL-lowering drugs to statin therapy.
The study shows that LDL-lowering drugs can be effective for preventing heart attacks and stroke in people with risk factors even when LDL cholesterol levels are low, but even more heart attacks and death are prevented when people have LDL levels above 100 mg/dl.
The study, “Lipid lowering and mortality and cardiovascular outcomes,” was published in the April 3, 2018, issue of JAMA.
This story originally appeared in Iowa Now
Additional Media Coverage
The College of Public Health is pleased to be a co-sponsor of the 2018 Culturally Responsive Health Care in Iowa Conference.
Date & Location: Friday, June 8, 2018 | 7:15 AM – 4:30 PM | College of Public Health Building, Iowa City, IA
Intended Audience: Physicians, Nurses, Social Workers, Physician Assistants, Pharmacists, Public Health Professionals, Dentists, Health Educators, Health Administrators, Health Science Students. All personnel who provide health care services to diverse populations.
Conference Goal: To educate Iowa’s health care providers about the importance of providing culturally responsive and competent care; to improve access to quality health care; and to reduce health disparities.
Continuing Education Credit will be provided.
Information and registration:
Or go to: https://medicine.uiowa.edu/cme/ and click on Upcoming Programs
Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa sponsored events. If you are a person
with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the
Continuing Medical Education Division in advance at 319-335-8599.
Quality of life for people with type 1 diabetes who had frequent severe hypoglycemia — a potentially fatal low blood glucose (blood sugar) level — improved consistently and dramatically following transplantation of insulin-producing pancreatic islets, according to findings published online March 21 in Diabetes Care. The results come from a Phase 3 clinical trial funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), both part of the National Institutes of Health.
Eric Foster, CPH clinical assistant professor of biostatistics, is the corresponding author of the paper, and the Clinical Trials Statistical and Data Management Center served as the clinical and data coordinating center for the study.
The greatest improvements were seen in diabetes-related quality of life. Islet recipients also reported better overall health status after transplant, despite the need for lifelong treatment with immune-suppressing drugs to prevent transplant rejection. Researchers observed these improvements even among transplant recipients who still required insulin therapy to manage their diabetes.
The trial enrolled 48 people with type 1 diabetes who had hypoglycemia unawareness — an impaired ability to sense drops in blood glucose levels — and experienced frequent episodes of severe hypoglycemia despite receiving expert care.
Previously reported clinical outcomes from the trial showed that islet transplantation prevents severe hypoglycemia and improves blood glucose awareness and control. The study was conducted by the NIH-funded Clinical Islet Transplantation Consortium.
“Although insulin therapy is life-saving, type 1 diabetes remains an extremely challenging condition to manage,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “For people unable to safely control type 1 diabetes despite optimal medical management, islet transplantation offers hope for improving not only physical health but also overall quality of life.”
Read the full NIH news release…
Additional Media Coverage
HealthDay, Serena Gordon, For Hard-to-Manage Type 1 Diabetes, Transplant Makes Life Better
Healio, Regina Schaffer, Islet cell transplantation improves quality of life in diabetes, hypoglycemia unawareness
LabRoots, Kara Marker, Islet Cell Transplantation Improves Quality of Life for Diabetics
LifeScience Daily, Dave Kovaleski, New treatment for certain type 1 diabetes patients could improve quality of life
The Beckley Register-Herald, Wendy Holdren, Study shows promise for type 1 diabetes
Drug Delivery Business News, Sarah Faulkner, NIH study finds islet transplants improve quality of life for people with Type I diabetes (also appears in MassDevice)
Diabetes.co.uk, Jack Woodfield, Islet cell transplantation improves severe hypo rates in people with type 1 diabetes
MedIndia, Suchitra Chari, Type 1 Diabetes Patients Report Improved Quality of Life After Islet Transplantation
Armed with well-researched plans, information-packed slides, and seamless teamwork, six student teams competed for top honors and cash prizes in the inaugural Global Rural Health Case Competition held April 4 at the College of Public Health.
The teams were given a case centered on the ongoing power crisis in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria in September 2017. Their mission: to present feasible, sustainable solutions to restore health, hope, and resiliency to Puerto Rico. The teams were tasked with addressing multiple systems such as power, water, health, and communications as well as ideas around infrastructure, policy, and sustainability to prevent this type of breakdown in the future. The students had about two weeks to research and develop their proposals with limited guidance from a faculty mentor.
On competition day, each team had 15 minutes to present their recommendations, followed by 10 minutes of questions from a panel of five judges. The teams were made up of graduate students from a variety of academic backgrounds.
“We had students from 14 different disciplines representing five colleges across the university,” says Vickie Miene, interim director of the Institute of Public Health Research and Policy. “It was really exciting to see the collaboration with public health. All of the teams did an outstanding job.”
Bringing the experience full circle, the winning team has announced that they will donate their winnings totaling $2,500 to recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.
The top three teams were:
1st place – Aequitas
- Monisa Saravanan, Community and Behavioral Health
- Elijah Olivas, Community and Behavioral Health
- Matthew Poch, Occupational and Environmental Health
- Anthony Emigh, Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Kevin Rivera, Medicine
2rd place – The Iowinners
- Kayla Faust, Occupational and Environmental Health
- Yanni Liang, Occupational and Environmental Health
- Ben Ertl, Industrial Engineering; Finance
- Kylor Sorenson, Health Management and Policy; Business Administration
- Kirsten Carew, Medicine; Business Administration
3nd place – GlobalVill
- Whitney Bash-Brooks, Community and Behavioral Health
- Redwan Bin Abdul Baten, Health Management and Policy
- Catherine Chioreso, Epidemiology
- Arwin Shrestha, Ophthalmology; Cellular Engineering
The case competition was organized by the Institute of Public Health Research and Policy and the College of Public Health’s Global Public Health Initiative. Funding for the case competition was generously provided by John Deere and Dale and Linda Baker.
Maternal Mental Health Disparities and Patient Engagement in Research
Karen Tabb Dina, PhD
University of Illinois School of Social Work
Thursday, April 12
Abstract: Women’s mental health during the perinatal period is critically important. Currently there are no best practices for screening for depression and addressing mental health needs in public health clinics. Clinic staff are often responsible for performing depression screening, however, few studies examine staff perceptions on feasibility and acceptability of using perinatal screening for mood disorders in ethnically diverse public health clinics. We conducted focus group interviews with public health staff (n=25) to learn how a multidisciplinary clinical staff addresses mental health in their clinic. Most participants identified multiple barriers to universal depression screening in a public health clinic, but at the same time found value in the practice of screening low-income women for depression. The findings from the focus group study established the foundation for a university-community partnership to improve maternal health outcomes at the county level in Illinois. The partnership has grown into a local initiative and is now in the early stages of developing a patient centered outcomes research community.
Sponsored by the Iowa Institute of Public Health Research and Policy and the Iowa Perinatal Health Research Collaborative
Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the College of Public Health in advance at 319-384-1500.