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Medical Center earns national recognitions

Published on Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Medical Center faculty and staff often are recognized regionally, nationally and internationally for their academic or medical achievements. These accolades place UMMC among health science centers worldwide.

Continuing Health Professional Education earns national kudo

The University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Office of Continuing Health Professional Education has earned reaccreditation with commendation from the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME).

ACCME Accredited with Commendation

The accreditation is a significant honor that recognizes the hallmark of excellence in continuing health professional education. Applicants for accreditation must demonstrate excellence in mission and program improvement, educational planning evaluation, promoting team-based education, addressing public health priorities, demonstrating educational leadership and achieving performance outcomes.

“Earning accreditation, in and of itself, is a tremendous achievement and demonstrates that UMMC Continuing Health Professional Education (CHPE) delivers high-quality continuing medical education programs that meet rigorous standards for educational excellence and independence,” said Vickie Skinner, executive director of the Medical Center’s CHPE.

“Being accredited by the ACCME positions the institution as a strategic partner in health care improvement initiatives, and at the end of the day, results in a meaningful difference in the lives of our patients and the community.”

The CHPE team has worked for four years to implement new evidence-based practices and other actions to earn reaccreditation, Skinner said. The reaccreditation is for a six-year period.

Continuing medical education faculty, activity coordinators and activity directors campus-wide, and the School of Medicine lent their expertise to help achieve the reaccreditation honor, she said. “Earning this accolade is where CHPE set its sights, and achieving the award is just what the CHPE team did,” she said.

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MIS-C research including Children’s of Mississippi wins CDC’s Shepard Science Award

Charles Shepard Science Award

A MIS-C study that includes research from the University of Mississippi Medical Center is a winner in the Prevention and Control Category of the prestigious annual Charles C. Shepard Science Award from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children – Initial Therapy and Outcomes” was published in the New England Journal of Medicine July 1, 2021. The study provides evidence showing that combined treatment of intravenous immune globulin and corticosteroids was more effective than corticosteroids alone in treating cardiovascular dysfunction in children with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C.

Dr. Charlotte Hobbs, professor of pediatric infectious diseases and director of UMMC's MIS-C clinic, is principle investigator of the Overcoming COVID-19 study at UMMC. Hobbs and her research team, including nurse practitioner Lora Martin, clinical lead; and Lacy Malloch, project manager; and research assistants Kayla Patterson and Cameron Sanders led the efforts of UMMC in this study. Dr. April Palmer, professor and chief of pediatric infectious diseases; Dr. Roberto Santos, professor of pediatric infectious diseases; and Dr. Anita Dhanrajani, assistant professor of rheumatology, also contributed to the case identification and care of children with MIS-C.

MIS-C is a rare but serious condition that is thought to be a delayed reaction to COVID-19. In MIS-C, the immune system of a child who has been infected with COVID-19 attacks the body’s healthy cells, particularly those involving blood vessels, the heart and other organs. Along with Hobbs, Dhanrajani and Dr. Cathy Gordon, associate professor of hematology and oncology, in collaboration with cardiology with the administrative support of Jeanie Craft, work in the MIS-C clinic.

"Because MIS-C is so rare, our being part of a network of children's hospitals to study treatments and outcomes observationally is so important,” Hobbs said. “Our research team’s work at UMMC and within the context of this larger network have contributed to pediatric COVID-19 on a national level. It is most important that we are able to contribute to these studies so that children in Mississippi are included in these national data/epidemiology and optimized treatment studies."

Dhanrajani said the changes in treatment over the study period reflect the growth in understanding of the disease pathophysiology and severity and the physicians’ comfort level with using more immunomodulatory treatment.

“As rheumatologists, we are used to dealing with uncertainty of diagnoses and treatment and often have to change or individualize treatment based on patient response,” she said. “My clinical experience with a lot of these patients is also reflected in the results of the study. When we utilized steroids early, we often saw lesser need for other adjunctive treatments such as biologics. Clinically, we certainly migrated to utilizing steroids for all children with MIS-C at the outset, again reflected in the large multi-center study.”

The Shepard Science Award is presented to the best manuscript on original peer-reviewed research. Established in 1986, the award was named for the late Dr. Charles C. Shepard, the internationally recognized microbiologist who was chief of the leprosy and rickettsia branch at CDC for more than 30 years.

The Shepard Science Awards also include categories of assessment and epidemiology, health equity science, and laboratory and methods. An award is also presented for lifetime scientific achievement.

The study followed 518 patients who received at least one immunomodulatory treatment for MIS-C at one of the 58 participating hospitals. The study was funded by the CDC.