January

New Faculty

Media Contact: Gary Pettus at 601-815-9266 or gpettus@umc.edu.

Published on January 15, 2015
Medical center welcomes new faculty

Keeton to step down from leadership roles

Dr. James E. Keeton, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, has announced he will step down from his role at the end of current academic year, June 30, 2015.

Keeton has served in the position since July 2009, the first six months on an interim basis.

“This is a bittersweet decision for me,” Keeton said. “Every day I’ve worked at the Medical Center since 2002 has been a privilege.

“To be able to serve my alma mater in this way has been pretty special. I’ve had opportunities to work with people – inside and outside UMMC – that would never have come my way but for this job.”

The vice chancellor, who has a dual role as dean of UMMC’s medical school, effectively acts as the chief executive of a $1.6 billion enterprise engaged in health professions education, research and patient care. The Medical Center encompasses six (including pharmacy)health sciences schools with more than 2,900 students and employs more than 9,600 people.

Keeton, a Columbus native who turns 75 in 2015, graduated from the University of Mississippi and earned his medical degree at UMMC. He trained in surgery and pediatric urology at UMMC and in London, England. In private practice as a pediatric urologist for 27 years, he also served two years in the Medical Corps of the United States Navy at the rank of lieutenant commander.

Keeton has led the Medical Center through some challenging times, including the recession of 2008 and the rollout of the national health-care law.

During his tenure, the Medical Center has seen the planning, funding and groundbreaking for a new School of Medicine building, the installation of a $90 million electronic health record system, and a recruitment effort to fill more than 30 senior leadership positions.

A national search is underway to determine Keeton’s successor. The process will yield two to three candidates for final selection by Dr. Dan Jones, chancellor for the University of Mississippi, with the approval of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning board.

First CMO honored for years of service

Dr. William H. Cleland, who became UMMC’s first chief medical officer in 2009, retired from the Medical Center on Aug. 31.

A professor of obstetrics and gynecology, he was honored for his years of service during an Aug. 14 reception, where he was presented with a wristwatch by Dr. James Keeton, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.

Cleland, who earned his M.D. and did his residency at the Medical Center, had returned to work at UMMC in 2003.

His plans during retirement include visiting his new grandchild and spending time with his family at his second residence on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

“It’s been a pleasure. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” he said of his time at UMMC. “And I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Dr. Keeton for his guidance and support in my work.”

Douglas Bacon assumes anesthesiology chair

Dr. Douglas Richard Bacon, professor and chair of anesthesiology at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, has joined the Medical Center faculty as professor and chair of anesthesiology.

After receiving his B.A. in history cum laude and his B.S. in medicinal chemistry cum laude from the State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY AB) in 1981, Bacon earned his M.D. in 1985 at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He had residency training in internal medicine from 1985-86 at Millard Fillmore Hospital and in anesthesiology from 1986-88 at SUNY AB before serving a cardiothoracic anesthesia specialty year from 1988-89 at SUNY AB. He earned his M.A. in history at SUNY AB in 1994.

Chief resident in anesthesiology at its affiliated hospitals from 1988-89, Bacon joined the SUNY AB faculty in 1989 as a clinical instructor in anesthesiology. He was promoted to assistant professor of anesthesiology in 1990 and associate professor of anesthesiology in 1996 before joining the staff of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., in 2000. He served as an associate professor of anesthesiology from 2000-03 and professor of anesthesiology and history of medicine from 2003-12, and vice chair for faculty development at the Mayo Clinic Department of Anesthesiology before joining the Wayne State University faculty.

An active member of several professional organizations, including the Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi honor societies, American Medical Association, American Association for the History of Medicine and the American Society of Anesthesiologists, Bacon has served on numerous editorial boards, is a reviewer for 10 different anesthesiology or historical publications, and is an associate editor for the journal “Bulletin of the History of Anesthesiology.” He was named editor-in-chief of the “Journal of Clinical Anesthesiology” on Oct. 1.

A highly sought speaker for national and international symposiums and meetings, Bacon has given more than 170 invited presentations, including 29 visiting professorships. He has authored or coauthored more than 70 articles in peer-reviewed professional publications, five books and 30 book chapters, and more than 50 abstracts.

His research interests include the organizational history of anesthesiology in the United States and the world, the history of residency training in the United States, post graduate education in anesthesiology and anti-neoplastic chemotherapeutic agents and their anesthetic implications.

O’Mara takes helm as new clinical affairs associate VC

Dr. Charles S. O’Mara was appointed associate vice chancellor for clinical affairs, effective May 1.

Since August 2013, O’Mara 
has served as a special advisor to Dr. James Keeton, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. This followed O’Mara’s long and distinguished career as a vascular surgeon and leader in the private medical community in Jackson.  

In his new role, O’Mara reports to Keeton and will work with UMMC’s clinical leaders in mapping the direction of the clinical enterprise. He will continue efforts that focus on patient safety and clinical quality.

Simpson chosen as medical center’s monitoring maven

Dr. Kimberly Simpson, associate professor of medicine in the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomical Sciences, was selected to serve as the Medical Center’s director of assessment effective June 2, 2014.

The director of assessment monitors, measures and communicates UMMC’s effectiveness in meeting academic and administrative goals. Simpson will play a leading role in working with UMMC faculty and staff to coordinate and gauge the effectiveness of institutional efforts. This information will be used to guide opportunities for instructional enhancement and interprofessional education.

She will consult with Medical Center leaders and designated committees and groups that put in place the institution’s strategic planning initiative and objectives to comply with the accreditation requirements of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS COC), Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) and other school- and program-specific accreditation bodies.

Simpson will be responsible for the timely collection, analysis and editing of various data and other tasks.

Veteran physician to lead practice

University Physicians (UP):  Dr. Scott Stringer, professor and chair of the Department of Otolaryngology and Communicative Sciences, examines Allison Pitts, a physician’s assistant who is one of his patients.
University Physicians (UP): Dr. Scott Stringer, professor and chair of the Department of Otolaryngology and Communicative Sciences, examines Allison Pitts, a physician’s assistant who is one of his patients.

The management structure of UMMC’s University Physicians is being updated to ensure delivery of the best patient-centered, physician-led care.

“What we hope this will do is reorganize the clinical enterprise in a way that there is truly a physician voice and leadership in all of the areas that touch our patients when they walk into any clinical area – and everywhere that our patients are cared for, and where our providers practice,” said Dr. Diane Beebe, professor and chair of the Department of Family Medicine.

The changes include formation of a new Council of Clinical Chairs composed of the 17 clinical department chairs in the School of Medicine. Representing the chairs as chief physician executive and serving as their “managing partner” is Dr. Scott Stringer, professor and chair of the Department of Otolaryngology and Communicative Sciences.

“Health care is changing so fast, and we have to adapt,” Stringer said. “At this point, a new structure is the best way to have the best patient-centered, physician-led, and professionally managed care.”

Stringer is a former associate vice chancellor for clinical affairs and president of University Physicians when it was orgainzed as a separate entity from UMMC. It was integrated into the Medical Center in 2013.

April Mann takes reins as new alumni director

April Mann, who has spent much of her career working with students and their families, became the new director of alumni affairs on Oct. 1, replacing Geoffrey Mitchell, who retired in May.

A Birmingham native who earned her undergraduate degree at Mississippi State University, Mann arrived in Jackson from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, moving here with Lily, her 9-year-old Yorkshire terrier. 

“This is the closest I have lived to family and friends since college,” said Mann, former director of UNC’s Office of New Student and Carolina Parent Programs.

“It’s a great professional and personal move for me.”

She leads a six-member office, including Ginger Daniels, long-time associate director. The staff’s goal is to keep former Medical Center students connected and deeply engaged with their alma mater.

“For some folks, that may be speaking at an alumni luncheon, or volunteering for alumni board, or serving as a student mentor or giving back financially,” said Mann, who received her Master of Education degree at the University of South Carolina and is pursuing her Doctor of Education degree.

“What’s important is that we at Alumni Affairs provide that array of opportunities for them, whether they live in Jackson or anywhere in the world.” That’s one of her two major goals. The other is producing publications for all Medical Center alumni from all schools.

Pathology department welcomes Kim Geisinger

Dr. Kim R. Geisinger, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has joined the Medical Center faculty as a professor of pathology.

After receiving his B.S. from Drexel University in 1972, Geisinger earned his M.D. at the Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1976. He was a house officer in the Department of Pathology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, from 1977-81, and was a cytology service fellow in the Department of Pathology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, from 1981-82.

He joined the Wake Forest University-Bowman Gray School of Medicine faculty, Winston-Salem, N.C., in 1982 as an assistant professor of pathology and became an associate professor of pathology there in 1986. In 1991, he became professor of pathology and director of surgical pathology and served in those positions for 21 years. He also served as professor of internal medicine (gastroenterology) there from 2009-12. He served as director of cytology at North Carolina Baptist Hospital from 1986-2012 before entering private practice in North Carolina and becoming an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2012.

Senior associate editor of the journal Diagnostic Cytopathology since 2008, Geisinger is the author or coauthor of 257 articles and 11 invited review articles in peer-reviewed professional publications, 163 abstracts, four books and 41 book chapters, and is the book series editor of five different volumes. An accomplished speaker, Geisinger is a highly sought lecturer internationally who has given 246 invited presentations internationally. He is an active member of several professional organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American Society of Clinical Pathologists and the College of American Pathologists.

His professional interests include diagnostic cytology, gynecologic, gastrointestinal and orthopedic pathology, thoracic tumors, general surgical pathology and tele-pathology, rapid on-site evaluation of cytologic and histologic specimens and patient safety.

Blecker comes aboard as professor of pediatrics

Dr. Uwe Blecker, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Centre Hospitalier Emile Mayrisch in Luxembourg, joined the Medical Center faculty in July as a professor of pediatrics.

After receiving the B.S. in medical sciences in 1986, Blecker earned the M.D. magna cum laude at the Free University of Brussels, Belgium, in 1990. He completed a pediatric residency from 1990-93 at Academic Children’s Hospital in Brussels. From 1993-94, he was a fellow in pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pa. In 1994, he continued his fellowship in pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at Wyler Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago. In 1994, he returned to Academic Children’s Hospital to complete his fellowship in pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition.

Blecker served as director of the Sleep Lab and Pediatric Gastroenterology Admission Unit at the Free University of Brussels from 1995-96 before joining the Louisiana State University School of Medicine as associate professor of pediatrics and medical director of the LSU Medical Center Pediatric Weight Management Program. In 1998, he joined the faculty at Thomas Jefferson University as associate professor of pediatrics and director of nutrition support services at the Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, Pa.

In 2000, he became professor of pediatrics and chief of the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center in Tucson. In 2001, he joined the staff of the St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and Drexel University in Philadelphia as professor of pediatrics and chief of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. He returned to Tucson in 2002 as director of the Pediatrics and Gastroenterology Program at Tucson Medical Center and director of Pediatric Gastroenterology, P.C. He became professor of pediatrics and chief of the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at the West Virginia University Health Sciences Center in 2008.

He is board-certified in pediatrics and pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition.

Blecker has served as co-principal investigator or principal investigator for numerous studies, most recently “A Multi-Center, Randomized, Double-Blind Study of the Safety, Tolerability and Clinical Outcomes of Two Doses of Oral Pantoprazole in Children with Symptomatic GERD.”

He is the author of more than 100 articles in peer-reviewed publications, four books, six book chapters and nearly 300 communications at national and international meetings.

James Sones appointed division chief, professor

Dr. James Q. Sones has joined the Medical Center faculty as a professor of medicine and has been appointed chief of the Division of Digestive Diseases. He was formerly in private practice in Jackson.

In 1972, Sones earned his M.D. at UMMC, where he also did his internship and residency in internal medicine. His gastroenterology fellowship was at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Texas, where he was also an Upjohn Fellow in clinical pharmacology.

Board-certified in internal medicine, he has served on the staff of several Jackson-area hospitals, where he was also a consulting, courtesy or attending physician.

Sones is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Gastroenterological Association, the American College of Gastroenterology and the American College of Physicians.

His research projects date back to 1977 and embrace the treatment of such ailments as Crohn’s disease, hepatitis C virus infection, diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis and many more.

Sones has authored or co-authored several articles published in the New England Journal of Medicine and Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

James Wynn arrives as professor of surgery

Dr. James Wynn, vice-chair of the Department of Surgery and Mason Distinguished Chair in Transplant Surgery and Immunology at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University, has joined the Medical Center faculty as a professor of surgery in the Division of Transplant and Hepatobiliary Surgery.

A Davidson College undergraduate, he earned his M.D. at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta in 1980, where he also did his internship and residency in general surgery.

Wynn completed his fellowship in transplantation surgery at the University of Florida School of Medicine in 1987.

A diplomate of the American Board of Surgery, he also has served at the Medical College of Georgia as chief of the section of general surgery, chief of the section of transplant surgery and program director of the General Surgery Residency Program.

In 2013, he was honored with the Medical College of Georgia Exemplary Teaching Award.

Wynn was a visiting assistant professor of surgery at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine for six months in 1992.

He is the former president of the United Network for Organ Sharing and is former chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients.

Wynn has served in leadership positions for a multitude of other professional organizations and committees and is ad hoc reviewer for a variety of publications, including the American Surgeon, the American Journal of Transplantation, Surgical Endoscopy and the New England Journal of Medicine.

He has been published by Vox Sanguinis, Transplantation, the International Journal of Artificial Organs, the American Journal of Surgery, Critical Care Medicine, the New England Journal of Medicine and many more publications as lead author or co-author.

Wynn has been principal investigator, primary investigator or co-investigator for an array of research projects.

He is a member or fellow of multiple scientific and professional societies, such as the American College of Surgeons, the Southern Surgical Association, the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, the American Society of Transplantation, the American Society of Nephrology and the National Kidney Foundation.

His primary clinical interests include kidney and pancreas transplantation and hemo- and peritoneal dialysis access.

Anesthesiologist Castillo dons director’s mantle

Dr. Daniel Castillo, an anesthesiologist at the University of Florida at Jacksonville, has joined the Medical Center faculty as an associate professor of anesthesiology. He will serve as director of cardiothoracic and vascular anesthesia.

Castillo is an intensivist and a cardiac anesthesiologist, and his clinical interests are echocardiography, ultrasonography and the perioperative management of patients with cardiovascular diseases.

After receiving the M.D. from the Colombian School of Medicine, Bogota, in 1995, Castillo had postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School (excitation – contraction coupling) from 1995-98, an internship in general surgery from 1998-99 at Boston University, an anesthesia residency from 1999-2002, including service as chief resident from 2001-02, and a critical care medicine fellowship from 2002-03 at Harvard Medical School’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston. He also was an anesthesia fellow from 2003-04 at the University of Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital.

He joined the University of Miami faculty in 2004 as an assistant professor of anesthesiology and served as staff anesthesiologist at the VA Medical Center, Miami, where he directed the Anesthesiology Simulation Center at the Center for Patient Safety. In 2009, he joined the University of Florida at Jacksonville faculty as an assistant professor of anesthesiology and residency program director.

Recipient of the 2013 University of Florida College of Medicine Exemplary Teacher of the Year Award, Castillo has authored or coauthored 15 articles in peer-reviewed scientific publications and is an active member of several professional organizations, including the American Society of Anesthesiology, the Society of Critical Care Medicine, the Society of Education in Anesthesia and the Society of Cardiac Anesthesiologists.

Castillo has been invited to speak at grand rounds and as a visiting professor at numerous institutions in Florida, Arizona, Mississippi, Colombia and Jamaica. His research interests include improving patient safety through simulation research.