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Professor of medicine, trauma services director, professor emeritus earn accolades

National gerontological group bestows fellow status to UMMC professor

Gewn Windham

Dr. Gwen Windham, professor of medicine, was selected as a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America.

The status of fellow is an acknowledgment of outstanding and continuing work in gerontology. This recognition can cover a broad scope of activity, including research, teaching, administration, public service, practice and notable participation within the organization.

Windham directs the Neuroepidemiology Core for The MIND Center at UMMC, a leader in research and clinical care for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Her research focuses on aging and cognitive decline.

She is the principal investigator for a National Institutes of Health-funded study on mobility and cerebrovascular diseases and a co-PI on the forthcoming UMMC MIND Center – Mayo Clinic Study of Aging.

The Gerontological Society of America is the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education and practice in the field of aging. The principal missions of the society are to advance the study of aging and to disseminate information among scientists, decision makers and the public.

Trauma services director receives Tulip Award for exceptional service

Amber Kyle

Amber Kyle, director of trauma services, received the Mississippi Trauma Care System Foundation’s 2021 Red Tulip Award for Exceptional Trauma Service during a May 18 ceremony at the School of Nursing.

The honor recognizes trauma program managers who have made a significant and sustained contribution to the Mississippi trauma system of care.

According to the foundation, Kyle has been instrumental in educating and training trauma care professionals statewide and improving systems of care to meet national standards.

The broken red tulip, adopted by the American Trauma Society, symbolizes the pain, suffering and lifestyle changes that can be caused by traumatic injury.

The award came as the nation observed National Trauma Awareness Month in May.

John Gardner, director of trauma systems for the foundation, and his team lauded Kyle during the ceremony.

“It’s important that our Level I trauma centers are recognized, and this award couldn’t go to a better person,” Gardner said. “Amber has made significant contributions to the Mississippi trauma system.”

“The Mississippi Trauma Care System was the state’s first formal system of care and is designed to provide patients with traumatic injuries the best chance for survival and recovery,” said Dr. Jonathan Wilson, UMMC chief administrative officer. “Amber being recognized as the recipient of the inaugural Red Tulip Award is reflective of the tireless effort she has poured in to the trauma system over her career.

“This award is significant for both her work here at UMMC leading our trauma program, as well as the work she does at the state and national levels to improve the care of patients injured by traumatic events.”

Kyle received a glass trophy and a painting by Canadian artist and emergency responder Daniel Sundahl. A former trauma victim, Sundahl painted a picture of himself being treated in a hospital emergency room.

On hand for the presentation were representatives of UMMC’s trauma services team, including Marjolyn Brock, trauma registrar; Aleta Guthrie, supervisor of trauma management data; and Maggie Woolley, clinical outcomes coordinator in Trauma Management.

“She really inspires us,” Brock said of Kyle. “We love her to death.”

ASA presents governmental excellence prize to professor emeritus

Claude Brunson

Dr. Claude Brunson, professor emeritus of anesthesiology, has been recognized by his peers for service to patient care.

The American Society of Anesthesiologists awarded the 2021 Bertram W. Coffer, MD Excellence in Government to Brunson, executive director of the Mississippi State Medical Association. The honor recognizes his “tireless leadership in protecting patient safety in Mississippi,” ASA officials announced.

Citing his accomplishments, the ASA said, “Dr. Brunson, MSMA and the Mississippi Society of Anesthesiologists successfully led a charge to preserve the safest, high-quality anesthesia care for the citizens of his state, including an innovative social media campaign ending with the first public denial of a request to opt-out of the federal physician supervision requirements for nurse anesthetists.

“His impressive determination to preserve physician-led care for the citizens of Mississippi is a testament to his dedication to the specialty and to patients,” said Dr. Beverly K. Philip, ASA president.

The award is made in the name of Coffer, its first recipient, for his work on behalf of the ASA. An anesthesiologist is recognized each year for contributions to the specialty which promote the organization’s main legislative, political and regulatory concerns.

Brunson has been a longtime member of the ASA board of directors and is a past president of MSMA and MSA. He began his term as MSMA executive director in 2019.

He made history as the first African American physician elected president of the MSMA, and then as its first African American executive director. At UMMC, he was senior advisor to the vice chancellor for external affairs.

“I am honored and humbled to receive this recognition from my colleagues and peers at the ASA,” Brunson said. “The advocacy we do as physician anesthesiologists is more critical now than in any time in our history as we work to maintain a high quality and safe delivery of anesthesia and pain medical services to Mississippians … and to Americans across our nation.

“None of the successes I or my colleagues have had in protecting the public safety in our specialty would be possible without the support of ASA leadership, staff and its excellent Government Affairs Division.”