Snapshots: Winter 2015

Vital Signs » Winter 2015
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News briefs from Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine

Surgery resident selected for NIH fellowship with National Cancer Institute

Sadia Ilyas, M.D., a Boonshoft School of Medicine resident in surgery, is in her second year of a three-year National Institutes of Health fellowship with the National Cancer Institute.

The Surgical Oncology Fellowship Program trains surgeons committed to academic careers in surgical oncology. Eight positions per year are available for this fellowship program.

Ilyas began the fellowship in 2013, focusing on immunotherapy, a treatment that uses the body’s immune system to help fight cancer. She is now in the surgical oncology research program, which includes six months in clinical services and 18 months in the research laboratory.

Ilyas, who plans to become a physician-scientist, was interested in the fellowship because of the clinical experience in the field of immunotherapy and clinical trials.

“This fellowship allows significant, dedicated time in the laboratory in a highly translational setting,” she said. “It provides me with the opportunity to work with and learn from top researchers.”

Debate 16

The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) has selected Wright State University to host the first national presidential debate in fall 2016 prior to the November general election.

The debate will be held September 26, 2016, at the Wright State University Nutter Center.

“I could not be any prouder of our university and the fact that the Commission on Presidential Debates has entrusted Wright State to host such an important event,” said Wright State University President David R. Hopkins. “The commission had the daunting challenge of selecting just a few institutions, and the fact that Wright State was selected is very gratifying and humbling. I am confident that our university will excel in supporting the commission and represent our students, faculty and staff, community, and the state of Ohio in a way that will make us all proud. This is a huge win for all of us.”

The CPD is a nonprofit, nonpartisan corporation and has sponsored all general election presidential and vice presidential debates since 1988. To learn more about the CPD visit

2015 grad received Young Physicians Patient Safety Award

Class of 2015 graduate Charles N. Spear, M.D., was one of six medical students and residents nationwide who received the 2015 Young Physicians Patient Safety Award for their essays detailing personal insights into the significance of patient safety work.

Spear and the other winners were recognized at the annual Association of American Medical Colleges’ Integrating Quality meeting and received $5,000 each from The Doctors Company Foundation, which cosponsors the annual contest with the Lucian Leape Institute.

In addition to Spear, winners included medical students from Georgetown University School of Medicine and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, among other medical schools.

The Doctors Company Foundation was created in 2008 by The Doctors Company, the nation’s largest physician-owned medical malpractice insurer. The foundation supports patient safety education for health care professionals, patient safety research with clinically useful applications and medical professional liability research. The essays can be read on The Doctors Company Foundation website at

Spear is completing his pediatrics residency at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.

Department of Surgery receives second grant to study impact of inter-facility transfers between hospitals

Research by a multi-disciplinary team of researchers and surgeons from the Department of Surgery has found that trauma victims are sometimes transferred unnecessarily from one hospital to another. Their research has led to another grant from the Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS).

The team’s initial findings were part of study funded through a $56,126 grant from the ODPS awarded in July 2014.

Led by Priti Parikh, Ph.D., assistant professor and director of research in the Department of Surgery, the multidisciplinary team focused on improving patient triage by emergency medical services at roadside accidents. The team studied how errors affect the efficiency of the trauma system.

While efficiently matching patients’ needs to hospitals’ resources and capabilities is vital to improving the trauma system, the research team found that a lot of people are transferred unnecessarily from one hospital to another.

“The data was very intriguing,” Parikh said. “So we decided to dig deeper to identify reasons for inter-facility transfers.”

This finding led to the ODPS awarding a $75,790 grant to Parikh and her team in July 2015. The multidisciplinary team includes Melissa Whitmill, M.D., Randy Woods, M.D., and Kimberly Hendershot, M.D., in the Department of Surgery, and Pratik Parikh, Ph.D., in the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

With the 2015 grant, the team will study and determine the rate of inter-facility transfers along with secondary over-triage, which occurs when patients are transferred to a Level I trauma center for nonmedical reasons and are discharged shortly after admission.

“This practice can overwhelm medical resources and delay recommended treatment,” Priti Parikh said. “It can be costly and inconvenient for patients.”

In Ohio, patient-transfers between hospitals have increased because of regionalization, specialization, and facility designation. The emergence of specialty systems, such as cardiac and stroke centers, often determines the ultimate destination of patients rather than proximity of the facility and the patient’s needs.

“The secondary over-triage rates affect the quality and efficiency of trauma care and resource utilization,” Parikh said. “We expect our study’s findings to support Ohio’s efforts to improve access to care and trauma system efficiency, while alleviating unnecessary costs.”

School of Medicine expert tapped to evaluate EPA’s effort to address lead exposure in buildings

Adults and children are exposed to lead and its associated health risks following renovation, repair, and painting activities in public and commercial buildings, a Wright State University assistant professor told an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) peer review panel.

Because of her extensive research on lead, Naila Khalil, M.B.B.S., M.P.H., Ph.D., associate professor of community health in the Center for Global Health, was invited to be one of 12 scientific and academic professionals to evaluate the EPA’s Approach for Estimating Exposures and Incremental Health Effects from Lead Due to Renovation, Repair, and Painting Activities in Public and Commercial Buildings.

In addition to Khalil, the peer reviewers included researchers and experts from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rutgers University, University of Texas, Arlington, Harvard School of Public Health, and the California Environmental Protection Agency, among other organizations.

 “It was an honor to be selected to serve on a peer review panel that was involved in evaluating the scientific basis of EPA’s approach,” said Khalil, who holds an M.P.H. from Pakistan, where she was the national program manager for environmental health, a collaborative effort with the World Health Organization. “To my knowledge this approach is the first of its kind that offers plausible adverse health effect estimates due to lead paint exposure of adults and children. These projected results could be used in public health decision making.”

Khalil serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Family Medicine & Community Health and as a reviewer for Environmental Health Perspectives and the British Medical Journal.

Last edited on 02/19/2016.