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Medical Center employees, students get kudos

Published on Monday, November 15, 2021

Transplant surgeon honored by medical school alma mater

Praise Matemavi

Dr. Praise Matemavi, assistant professor of surgery at UMMC, is a recipient of the 2021 Alumni Award from her medical school alma mater, Michigan State University.

Matemavi, a transplant and hepatobiliary surgeon, graduated in 2010 from Michigan State’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in East Lansing. One of only 10 African American female transplant surgeons in the country, she performs liver, kidney and pancreas transplants, as well as vascular access and general surgery.

Before enrolling at Michigan State, Matemavi earned an associate degree in nursing at Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor, Michigan, which would later present her with the Alumni Achievement Award in 2020. As a single parent, she enrolled at Siena Heights University, where she earned the medical school’s bachelor’s degree requirement while working as a cardiac nurse.

Matemavi did a general surgery residency at New York Presbyterian Queens Hospital and an abdominal transplant surgery and hepatopancreatobiliary fellowship at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

She is the author of the award-winning book, “Passion and Purpose: Black Female Surgeons.” She is also the recipient of the 2018 University of Nebraska Medical Center`s Provider of the Quarter award and New York Presbyterian Queens Hospital's 2017 Surgical Resident of the Year award, among others.

In 2010, she received the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine's Walter Mill Award of Excellence in Surgery.

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Foundation honors UMMC employees, graduates

f-fondrenrenaissance1-300x123.jpgThe Fondren Renaissance Foundation has named nine Health Care Heroes, all of whom either work at the University of Mississippi Medical Center or have another connection to UMMC.

They are being honored for their efforts in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The recipients, with a description of their efforts from the foundation, are:

Dr. Emily Evans Grenn, UMMC general surgery resident: “After working exhaustively at UMMC in the early days of COVID, Dr. Emily Grenn would return home to make cloth masks for her fellow surgeons. She continues to be a constant, positive advocate for keeping Mississippi safe from COVID.”

Dr. John Caleb Grenn, UMMC pediatric resident: “[Grenn] worked throughout 2020, splitting his time between the adult and children’s hospitals. He is now a chief resident … and continues to work tirelessly to advocate for and provide exceptional care to the children of Mississippi.”

Dr. Emily Tarver, UMMC assistant professor of emergency medicine: “Dr. Tarver is a dedicated emergency room doctor who steadfastly provides top quality care to every patient in her care. Her colleagues have noted her positive attitude as a much-needed beacon of light during the most critical periods of the pandemic.”

Dr. John “Trey” Wofford, UMMC assistant professor of emergency medicine: “Dr. Wofford has been dedicated to every aspect of COVID response in our community. As an emergency room physician, he helped design safe and appropriate quarantine strategies for treating patients with COVID. He continues to compassionately provide expert intervention for COVID patients and is passionate about safety measures to reduce the spread of COVID.

Rebecca Butz, UMMC registered dietician: “While the focus was on COVID, Rebecca Butz kept her eye on the young patients receiving dialysis treatments at UMMC. … [Her} focus was on the pediatric patients who had special needs regarding renal conditions, ensuring that COVID did not complicate their general health and treatments.”

Lauren Pongetti, clinical research coordinator, John D. Bower School of Population Health at UMMC: “Lauren has played a critical role in establishing clinical evidence of the effectiveness of proposed treatments for COVID clinical care. Working with COVID patients and potentially exposing herself to the virus, she faithfully monitors her patients, reviewing their medications, medical visits, signs and symptoms, to add to the body of research that establishes protocols, training and ethical practices.”

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Research society recognizes UMMC clinical pharmacist

Elizabeth Hearn, left, and Carly Brown prepare a patient's prescription at the Medical Mall Pharmacy in December 2018.

Dr. Carly Brown, a clinical pharmacist at UMMC, is winner of the overall best abstract prize for her presentation at the 2021 Society for Education and the Advancement of Research in Connected Health (SEARCH) conference, held virtually November 8-10.

The poster, entitled “Using an Evidence-Based Treatment Protocol for Hypertension Management via Telehealth: Exploring Patterns of Protocol Deviation,” also includes co-authors Dr. Yunxi Zhang, UMMC assistant professor of data science; Dr. Donald Clark, UMMC assistant professor of medicine; and Dr. Julia Woods of the Mississippi State Department of Health. The work highlights the Center for Telehealth’s efforts to help patients manage their blood pressure through remote monitoring.

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Nephrology society taps SPH students for competitive program

Jacob Pruett
Xiaoqian Zhu

Jacob Pruett, an MD/PhD student in cell and molecular biology, and Xiaoqian Zhu, a biostatistics and data science PhD student in the John D. Bower School of Population Health, were selected to participate in the 2021 Kidney STARS (STudents And ResidentS) program as part of the American Society of Nephrology’s annual Kidney Week meeting.

The goal of this competitive program is to stimulate interest in nephrology careers by targeting medical students, residents and graduate students with an interest in nephrology who have not yet committed to applying to a fellowship or pursuing kidney research. Held virtually from November 4-6, the Kidney STARS program offers tailored networking and mentoring opportunities, Kidney Week meeting registration and membership in the ASN to the selected trainees.