Surgery at Iowa Newsletter: Fall 2016

Message from the Chair

Welcome to the 2016 fall newsletter from the University of Iowa Department of Surgery. We are pleased to provide you with an update on all of the exciting developments in the department. We’ve switched from a print to an electronic newsletter to take advantage of technological advances and allow for more frequent updates on developments in the department.

The UI Department of Surgery continues to experience a period of tremendous growth. We now have 60 faculty members, based in three different practice locations, including faculty embedded at Mercy Medical Center—Cedar Rapids and in a newly acquired plastic surgery practice in Cedar Rapids, Aesthetic Consultants of Iowa. This allows us to not only extend excellent care to more patients, but also to offer our residents and trainees valuable exposure to different types of practices and patient cohorts.

Our teaching programs continue to evolve in concert with national trends and changing requirements. A variety of our services offer outreach clinics across the state.

We recently welcomed back our cardiothoracic surgery colleagues as a division of the department. Our researchers continue to be recognized with funding and presentations at prominent national and international meetings. We continue to attract talented new faculty, fellows, and residents—some of whom you will meet in this newsletter—who strengthen our department not only with their skills, but also their curiosity, diversity of experience, and drive.

It’s an exciting time for surgery at Iowa, and we look forward to sharing it with you.

Ronald J. Weigel, MD, PhD
EA Crowell Jr., Professor and Chair


Featured Articles

Moving beyond the OR: Education in acute care surgery

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Division of Acute Care Surgery extends its surgical expertise beyond the operating room to offer advanced continuing medical education courses to health care professionals from across the nation. These providers not only specialize in caring for severely injured and critically ill patients 24/7, they also seek to advance patient outcomes by offering a multitude of instructor-led trauma courses, including Advanced Trauma Operative Management (ATOM), Advanced Surgical Skills for Exposure in Trauma (ASSET), Fundamentals of Critical Care Support (FCCS), and Advanced Burn Life Support (ABLS). Read More 


Double valve replacement procedure cuts recovery time for high-risk patients

University of Iowa cardiac surgeons and interventional cardiologists recently performed one of the first transcatheter double valve replacements in the country utilizing a transfemoral approach. Mohammad Bashir, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery with the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, and Firas Zahr, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, replaced the diseased mitral and aortic valves in single procedures on two patients who were not candidates for traditional surgical repairs. Read More 


GI surgery honored with 2016 Computerworld Data+ Editors’ Choice Award

John W. Cromwell, MD, Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery and Director of the Division of Gastrointestinal Surgery, Associate Chief Medical Officer, and Director of Surgical Quality and Safety, is one of the first surgeons in the country to bring predictive analytics—analyzing historical and real-time data to make predictions—into the operating room. Now, that success is being recognized as a 2016 Computerworld Data+ Editors’ Choice Award honoree. Using predictive analytics and a one-of-a-kind algorithm, developed by an interdisciplinary team at UI Hospitals and Clinics, the team has already reduced surgical site infections of colon surgery patients by 74 percent in three years. Read More 


HIPEC program is led by Iowa’s first board certified surgical oncologist

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Assistant Professor of Surgery with the Division of Surgical Oncology and Endocrine Surgery Carlos Chan, MD, PhD, became the first board-certified surgical oncologist—a new specialty board certification from the American Board of Surgery—in the state of Iowa. Chan’s experience in cytoreductive surgery and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (CRS-HIPEC) provides a treatment option for patients diagnosed with peritoneal surface malignancies (PSM). His HIPEC program officially started in January and has already reached the level of a high volume HIPEC center. He also maintains strong research collaborations, and his current research focuses on understanding the complex biological environment of PSM, the biological impact of HIPEC, and the development of novel treatments for PSM. Read More 


UI to open vein center

In response to a growing incidence of venous disease in the population, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has opened a dedicated vein center at UI Health Care—Iowa River Landing. Providing access to the region’s most advanced diagnostic and therapeutic options for venous disease, the UI Vein Center is staffed by vascular surgeons: Luigi Pascarella, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery with the Division of Vascular Surgery; Rachael Nicholson, MD, Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery with the Division of Vascular Surgery; and Neelima Katragunta, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery with the Division of Vascular Surgery. Read More


Bringing kidney transplant care to the Quad Cities

University of Iowa Health Care opened the UI Health Care—Quad Cities—Kidney Transplant Clinic at 865 Lincoln Road in Bettendorf, Iowa, this summer—a significant advantage to kidney transplant patients in eastern Iowan and western Illinois. The clinic operates from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the third Friday of every month and is currently accepting new patients. With the opening of this clinic, select patients have the opportunity to schedule their initial evaluations for kidney transplants and receive regular re-assessments in a location close to home. Read More


Pediatric surgery creates custom teaching tool

Innovation comes in many—sometimes unexpected—forms. In this case: three-foot tall, custom-made medical dolls used as teaching tools for pediatric surgical patients. The three dolls each contain free-floating cloth replicas of major organs and structures between the esophagus and pelvis, including the heart, liver, kidneys, gallbladder, intestines, pancreas, and ureters. This design allows the pediatric surgical team to remove organs to explain surgical procedures, and pediatric patients become more accustomed to the concept of surgery. Implemented this spring at University of Iowa Children's Hospital, these unique dolls have had an overwhelmingly positive reception. Watch To Learn More 


New Faculty


William Albright, MD 
Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery - Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

​Evgeny V. Arshava, MD 
Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery - Cardiothoracic Surgery

Erica Carlisle, MD 
Assistant Professor of Surgery

Patrick McGonagill, MD 
Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery - Acute Care Surgery

Andrei Odobescu, MD 
Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery - Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

UI breast surgeons are co-investigators in national cohort project

Sonia Sugg, MD, Clinical Professor of Surgery with the Division of Surgical Oncology and Endocrine Surgery, and Ingrid Lizarraga, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery with the Division of Surgical Oncology and Endocrine Surgery, are co-investigators in an ongoing breast cancer cohort project called Share Thoughts on Breast Cancer study. The University of Iowa is the lead institution for this cohort within the newly formed Greater Plains Collaborative (GPC), which consists of 10 leading medical centers in seven states. Read More 


US News & World Report’s 2016-2017 surgical procedures rankings

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics received a “high performing” score in GI surgery. UI Hospitals and Clinics also received “high performing” scores in lung cancer surgery and colon cancer surgery, both support our #34 ranked cancer care program. U.S. News & World Report evaluates how well hospitals perform across 16 specialties using data on patient survival, nurse staffing, volume of high-risk patients, and more. Hospitals receive one of three ratings: high performing, average, or below average. Read More 


Save the date, November 11, 2016

Surgery Postgraduate Conference, What Every General Surgeon Needs to Know
Maintenance of certification CME will be available

The Division of Pediatric Surgery now offers fellowship program

The UI Department of Surgery is now home to one of only 48 ACGME-accredited pediatric surgery fellowship programs in the United States. Congratulations to Joel Shilyansky, MD and the entire pediatric surgery team for this well-deserved achievement.