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UMMC faculty members receive kudos

Published on Monday, August 22, 2022

AHA recognizes Granger for hypertension research excellence

Portrait of Dr. Joey Granger

Dr. Joey Granger, UMMC associate vice chancellor for research and dean of the School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences, has received the 2022 Excellence Award for Hypertension Research from the American Heart Association’s Council on Hypertension.

He will be recognized at the annual Council on Hypertension in San Diego next month.

The award recognizes researchers who have had a major impact in the field of hypertension and whose work has contributed to improved treatment and greater understanding of high blood pressure. Nominees are assessed by a committee on their impact in the field of hypertension throughout their careers, as well as any single discovery.

Granger’s “translational research throughout his extremely productive career has made a significant impact on the hypertension field,” Dr. Barbara Alexander, UMMC professor of physiology and biophysics, said in her letter of nomination. “Besides his personal research accomplishments, Dr. Granger is a dedicated mentor to students and fellow faculty members.”

Granger is the Medical Center’s Billy S. Guyton Distinguished Professor of Physiology and Medicine and former chair of the AHA’s Council on Hypertension. He also serves as director of the Cardiovascular-Renal Research Center and of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences-funded Mississippi Center for Clinical and Translational Research. 

He came to the Medical Center in 1990 as a professor of physiology and was named director of the Cardiovascular-Renal Research Center in 2008. He has served as dean since 2007. Granger was named associate vice chancellor for research earlier this year.

During his 40-year career, Granger has studied numerous elements of the molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis of hypertension, and in particular, preeclampsia in pregnancy. Using a model developed in his lab, Granger and his laboratory discovered and quantified unique molecular pathways that link placental ischemia and cardiovascular dysfunction in preeclampsia and identified compelling drug targets for future preeclampsia treatments.

He is the author or co-author of more than 300 manuscripts that have been cited more than 24,000 times.

Granger and his colleagues, Dr. Heather Drummond and Dr. Michael Ryan, have also made significant contributions to the understanding of cerebrovascular dysfunction during preeclampsia which can lead to acute and long-term cerebral complications in the mother. His laboratory has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1985, and while at UMMC, he has been principal investigator of grants that have brought in more than $50 million in extramural funding. As a co-investigator, he is responsible for extramural grants totaling more than $20 million.

“Dr. Granger is a leading international expert on the endothelial and neurohormonal factors in mediating hypertension. He has amassed an amazing body of evidence that has informed our knowledge and understanding of the most common chronic disease in the world,” said Dr. Alan Jones, associate vice chancellor for clinical affairs.

“This award is the ultimate recognition in the field of hypertension research, which established Joey as a key foundational contributor to the field.”

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Fletcher named fellow in AACN leadership program

Portrait of Dr. Audwin Fletcher

Dr. Audwin Fletcher, professor of nursing and assistant dean for graduate programs in the School of Nursing at UMMC and director of its Adult-Gerontology Acute Care and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care nurse practitioner tracks, is a fellow of the Elevating Leaders in Academic Nursing (ELAN) program of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

ELAN is a program designed for aspiring deans and senior faculty in leadership roles that provides participants with a focused assessment experience and a range of content and exercises related to successful executive leadership.

The program also offers the opportunity to establish a peer network that fosters long-term partnerships and collegial support, Fletcher said.

 “ELAN includes 48 participants from across the country and world,” he said. “The networking in and of itself is amazing.”

The year-long fellowship kicked off earlier this summer with an in-person weeklong workshop that included leadership immersion through peer coaching, team building and simulations. During the program, participants have access to an online community, e-learning workshops, and discussions among peers that expose participants to differing points of view.”

“This program helps participants hone their skills by thinking more deeply about our strengths and challenges as leaders in nursing,” he said. “Being chosen to participate in ELAN is an honor and is allowing me to learn from others and share UMMC’s successes.”

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Dr. Joe Tacy completes AACN-Wharton Executive Leadership Program

Portrait of Dr. Joe Tacy

Dr. Joe Tacy, associate professor of nursing and associate dean for academic affairs at the School of Nursing, was selected to attend the American Association of Colleges of Nursing-Wharton Executive Leadership Program Aug. 1-4 in Philadelphia.

Offered by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in conjunction with the AACN, the four-day program was taught by Wharton faculty.

The program provides concepts and tools to enhance leadership skills in an academic setting. Leading change, uniting a diverse set of stakeholders, negotiation, strategy, developing value-based innovation and building strategic relationships in volatile environments are some of the topics included in the program. Collaboration among cohort members is encouraged.

“Being chosen to participate in the AACN-Wharton Executive Leadership Program is allowing me to grow as a leader within the School of Nursing and the nursing profession at large,” Tacy said. “Our cohort will continue to learn together and share ideas.”