Alireza Shamshirsaz (09R–obstetrics and gynecology) ranks among the world’s foremost experts in fetal surgery and in the treatment of abnormally adherent placenta, a rare pregnancy complication also known as placenta accreta spectrum. He has pioneered novel surgical techniques for neural tube defects and twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, and he was part of the team that performed the first successful fetoscopic repair to treat spina bifida in the U.S. Shamshirsaz is board certified in OB-GYN and maternal fetal medicine and an appointed reviewer of 22 medical journals. He has published more than 250 peer-reviewed manuscripts in English language journals and 18 in Farsi. Shamshirsaz serves as director of the Maternal Fetal Medicine Care Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, part of Harvard Medical School.
Debby Tsuang (83BS, 88MD, 92MS, 92R–psychiatry) has made critical contributions to the understanding of dementia and related disorders through her research on their genetic, clinical, and neuropathological underpinnings. Tsuang’s cutting-edge studies of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) have informed its clinical classification and treatment by highlighting the role that behavioral disorders play in DLB. She is committed to compassionate clinical care for socioeconomically vulnerable populations. Her passion for helping aging veterans has influenced much of her research, and she has expanded telehealth options at the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC) of the VA Puget Sound Health Care System to increase rural veterans’ access to care. She has also achieved the distinction of being both the first woman and the first non‐white person to serve as director of the VA Puget Sound GRECC.
James Christensen (64R–­­gastroenterology) is an internationally recognized physician, scholar, and scientist responsible for major contributions to the understanding and management of gastrointestinal tract diseases. He provided the first explanation of the motions of the human esophagus in swallowing, proved the existence of the lower esophageal sphincter, and discovered the pacemaker cells of the colon. Christensen became the first director of the Division of Gastroenterology in the Carver College of Medicine in 1971, serving there for 17 years and concurrently as the director of the division’s National Institutes of Health academic training program. Christensen received the Janssen Award for Lifetime Achievement in Gastrointestinal Motility from the American Gastroenterological Association in 1997. He has been a University of Iowa professor emeritus of internal medicine since his retirement in 1998.
Recently hired early-career faculty of the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine have had their initial leadership and faculty development impacted by the pandemic. This course will provide “pandemic-informed” health care, medical education, and research leadership skills to succeed at the Carver College of Medicine in this fast-paced new environment.
Though many of Adriana's family members in Puerto Rico are in medicine, she only began to imagine herself in a health career after a professor inspired her to pursue it. Then, Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico.
Peggy Nopoulos, MD, is a triple threat in the world of academic medicine as a clinician, researcher, and mentor.
Yumeng (“Yumi”) Engelking grew up in Chaozhou, a small city in southeast China. At the age of 11, she developed a disorder that caused significant hair loss. Though the illness wasn’t life threatening, it was detrimental to her self-image, and that experience has shaped the way she views specialty care in medicine.
Sierra Sheets’ interest in medicine began at a life-changing visit with her own medical provider when she was in high school. “She gave me a listening ear, not just about my physical checkup but truly listening to any problem I had going on. She supported me in a way I didn’t feel supported at the time,” Sheets says. “The first time you feel heard is a big moment."
Stephanie Meza is excited to learn about Iowa’s communities and how she can leverage her own experience to help Iowans. “The challenges I went through developed in me an ability to find a way out of no way," Meza says. “It’s given me the confidence and tenacity to solve problems that seem unsolvable.”
Azariel Coss likes taking things apart and putting them back together. He enjoys tinkering with electronics and recently built his first gaming computer from scratch. This fall, he’ll apply his analytical skills to medical school. “I always liked breaking stuff down, seeing how it worked—which probably wasn’t fun for my mom,” Coss says.