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Firsts, records dot UMMC’s 2018 top stories list

Published on Thursday, December 27, 2018

The University of Mississippi Medical Center experienced a number of firsts and records in 2018.

After the first year of construction, the expansion of the Children’s Hospital now stands several stories high and is well on the path to projected completion in the fall of 2020. The School of Medicine welcomed its largest-ever first-year class of 165 students, and a team of surgeons successfully completed UMMC’s first heart-liver transplant. At the age of just over three months, patient Kadence Lane became one of the youngest in the world to receive a cochlear implant after a bout of meningitis.

After an extensive review process, a clinical trial to study the safety and tolerability of a new drug derived from marijuana for children with severe epilepsy is underway on UMMC’s Jackson campus. During the School of Dentistry’s Dental Mission Week, more than 500 children from elementary schools and the Stewpot After-School Program received free dental care as part of Give Kids a Smile Day.

Thank you to everyone – students, faculty, staff and patients – who contributed to the success stories of this year. We look forward to what’s to come in 2019.


‘A healthier Mississippi’ goal of new residency program

For the first time ever, medical school graduates can train at UMMC to specialize in preventive medicine. Accreditation for this new residency program had been a goal of the Department of Preventive Medicine since 2015. 


Century Club Charities sets record with gift to Friends of Children’s Hospital

UMMC’s pediatric health care operation, including Batson Children’s Hospital, received a $1.2 million donation from the host of the PGA TOUR’s Sanderson Farms Championship.


Otolaryngology team’s wise blood calcium protocol earns national award

For patients who have had thyroid removal surgery, new procedures for measuring blood calcium amounts at UMMC have reduced the number of tests they must undergo, decreased their operating room time and allowed them to be safely discharged more quickly.


Donna Edwards, dental assistant, and Curtis Porter, U.S. Army veteran, are all smiles during Dental Mission Week 2018.

Photos:Record number of patients receive free dental care

During Give Kids A Smile Day, part of the School of Dentistry’s Dental Mission Week, more than 500 children from elementary schools and the Stewpot After-School Program received free dental care.


UMMC and Vanderbilt University Medical Center announce affiliation agreement

The Medical Center and Vanderbilt University Medical Center agreed to share new clinical programs and services, work together on wellness programs, as well as on medical education, and more.


Memorial Hospital, UMMC announce pediatric collaboration

Children’s of Mississippi and Memorial Hospital in Gulfport agreed to work together to heighten medical care services for Gulf Coast children and families.


Bryant helps realize dream of building that now bears his name

The Phil Bryant Medical Education Building, which houses the Medical Center’s School of Medicine, was officially named for Mississippi’s current governor during a sign-unveiling ceremony.


Reckelhoff earns SEC Faculty Achievement Award

Representing the University of Mississippi, UMMC’s Dr. Jane Reckelhoff received the 2018 Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award for her extraordinary teaching record and renowned scholarship in the field of cell and molecular biology.



Kadence and her father, Rashaun Lane, share a touching moment during the activation of her cochlear implants.

Children’s of Mississippi cochlear implant patient among youngest in world

After receiving a cochlear implant at UMMC to treat a hearing loss caused by a bout with meningitis, Kadence Lane made history at the age of 3 months and 1 day.


UMMC confers 930 degrees in health science professions

Fulfilling its role as the state’s only academic medical center, UMMC conferred degrees in health science professions to 930 students during the Medical Center’s 62nd Commencement May 25.


UMMC focuses on higher quality, increased efficiency at lower cost

When patients are hospitalized at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, the goal of their caregivers is not just to restore their health, but to give them a quality experience from admission through discharge while keeping costs as low as possible.


OCH Regional Medical Center, UMMC announce affiliation

A new affiliation between Oktibbeha County Hospital Regional Medical Center in Starkville and the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson will strengthen and expand health care services in Starkville and the Golden Triangle counties of Oktibbeha, Clay and Lowndes.


Batson clinical quality results rank among best children’s hospitals

Health care statistics show Batson Children’s Hospital is achieving results similar to or better than those of other pediatric hospitals around the country.


Ray Gustafson, left, his neighbor, Dale Wilson, and his granddaughter, Haley Blount, pet Bobo the donkey.

AirCare, blood clotting drug save man from death by donkey bite

Rapid response from the state’s most advanced helicopter transport team kept Ray Gustafson of Eupora from bleeding to death after he was bit by his donkey, Bobo.


New Emergency Services home to enhance disaster response

The Mississippi Center for Emergency Services is getting a new home. Ground was broken Aug. 9 on a state-of-the-art facility, which is expected to open in 2020.



Dr. Jennifer Reneker watches Victor Bazan and Jorge Fernandez, Mississippi College soccer players, play a virtual reality game.

Clinical trial explores physical therapy for sports-related concussion, leg injury prevention

An innovative new clinical trial at UMMC is evaluating the effectiveness of aggressive physical therapy in lessening athletes’ chances of concussion and allowing a faster, fuller recovery if they do suffer one.


NHLBI renews landmark Jackson Heart Study for six more years

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health renewed funding for the Jackson Heart Study, the largest long-term study of cardiovascular health in a closed, defined group of African-Americans. UMMC has been part of the one-of-a-kind study since 1998.


A class apart: Medical school breaks admissions record

The School of Medicine at UMMC broke a record this year, welcoming its largest first-year class ever. At the Aug. 9 White Coat Ceremony, 165 students were initiated into medical school, compared to 155 students last year.


STEMI receiving center ensures swift care for heart attack patients

The state Health Department recognized UMMC as a ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) Receiving Center for its expertise in STEMI care, a highly time-sensitive process that requires victims to quickly reach the emergency room and sometimes receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation of the heart muscle.


Pop music icon Cyndi Lauper performs during a concert to benefit Alzheimer's and dementia research at The MIND Center.

Lauper shows “True Colors” during concert supporting MIND Center

Long-time singer and songwriter Cyndi Lauper performed at a benefit concert for The Mind (Memory Impairment and Neurodegenerative Dementia) Center, a national leader in Alzheimer’s research and patient care at UMMC. Her performance highlighted the unique and important work of The MIND Center, which looks for risk factors, causes and treatments of Alzheimer’s and dementia.


Medical Center among ELP research, patient leaders

Thanks to several faculty, UMMC is one of the nation’s leaders in developing elastin-like polypeptides, or ELP, for applications ranging from drug delivery to tissue engineering. The Medical Center holds five patents related to ELP’s use as a drug-delivery tool – the most recent of which deals with a drug-delivery method to increase the safety of medication use in pregnancy.


Clinical trial for marijuana-derived drug under way at UMMC

A clinical trial to determine the safety and tolerability of an oral cannabidiol oil in children with severe epilepsy is underway on UMMC’s Jackson campus. Ten patients whose seizures are not able to be controlled by other means are receiving the medication during the six-month trial after a rigorous review process.


‘The shoulders of those who came before us:’ SON turns 70

The School of Nursing, the second-oldest school at UMMC, celebrated its 70th anniversary this year. The anniversary was commemorated with a reception, tours of the school, remarks from nursing and UMMC officials and a panel featuring students from each of the past seven decades.


Dr. Blair E. Batson, first pediatrics chair at UMMC, dies at age 98

On Nov. 26, Dr. Blair E. Batson, first pediatrics chair at UMMC, died at 98 years old. Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, described Batson as “the father of organized pediatrics in Mississippi.” He will be memorialized at a service on Jan. 11 at the Student Union on UMMC’s Jackson campus.


Surgeons; anesthesiologists; nurses; OR support staff; abdominal and heart transplant coordinators; intensive care staff; and others celebrate after making Davis Beasley's heart-liver transplant a success.

Heart-liver transplant one for UMMC history books

A team of six surgeons performed UMMC’s first heart-liver transplant in December. The rare procedure has been performed only 35 other times nationally in 2018.


One year after groundbreaking, UMMC pediatric expansion structure rises

On the first anniversary of the $180 million pediatric expansion at UMMC, the structure stands several stories tall and is on the path to completion in fall of 2020. The new tower will double the square footage of the Children’s Hospital, the state’s only pediatric hospital.