January

UMMC's top stories from 2017

Published on Thursday, January 4, 2018

The University of Mississippi Medical Center experienced a colossal year in 2017. Two beautiful new buildings were dedicated after years of construction and planning. In spite of weathering budget shortfalls, the Medical Center received national recognition in research and health care. Conferring a record number of degrees in 2017, schools on campus continue to strive for A Healthier Mississippi by listening to community and national health care needs. The year closed out with fulfillment of a dream years in the making, the groundbreaking for the new Children’s of Mississippi pediatrics tower.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this year’s success stories: our students, faculty, staff and patients. Our achievements are due to your trust, commitment and support. We look forward to an even better year in 2018.


January

Revealing the record-setting donation of $1.125 million from Century Club Charities through the Sanderson Farms Championship are, from left, tournament executive director Steve Jent, UMMC former pediatrics chair Dr. Rick Barr, Friends of Children's Hospital former board chair Sara Ray, University of Mississippi Chancellor Dr. Jeffrey Vitter, board chairman and CEO of Sanderson Farms Joe Sanderson and Century Club Charities president Peter Marks.
Revealing the record-setting donation of $1.125 million from Century Club Charities through the Sanderson Farms Championship are, from left, tournament executive director Steve Jent, UMMC former pediatrics chair Dr. Rick Barr, Friends of Children's Hospital former board chair Sara Ray, University of Mississippi Chancellor Dr. Jeffrey Vitter, board chairman and CEO of Sanderson Farms Joe Sanderson and Century Club Charities president Peter Marks.

UMMC earns human research accreditation
As the only health-care organization in Mississippi accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, UMMC demonstrates a commitment to the safety and privacy of research participants.

Sanderson Farms Championship donation to Friends of Children's Hospital sets record
Century Club Charities, the host organization of the Sanderson Farms Championship, Mississippi's only PGA TOUR event, donated a record $1.125 million from the 2016 tournament to Friends of Children's Hospital, topping its previous record-setting amounts for four consecutive years.

UMMC makes the most of research money
A 2016 essay in the magazine ASBMB Today showed that UMMC really does put your tax dollars to hard work. For every NIH dollar invested in UMMC, our scientists publish twice as many research articles as other leading academic medical centers.

Specialty care closer to coast families thanks to Children's of Mississippi
Children’s of Mississippi representatives cut the ribbon in January on a new clinic in Biloxi. Offering cardiology and neurology services full-time, the clinic also is a home on the Gulf Coast for subspecialties, including orthopaedics, hematology and child development that are offered in monthly clinics.

Federal grant fuels first responder training
Thanks to federal funding from the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program, UMMC will have a leading role in providing education and enhanced infrastructure to improve first responders' communication and preparedness.


February

First-year dental student John Mathis assists Dr. Akilah Stringer, resident, with patient Chasity Bishop of Florence during Dental Mission Week at the School of Dentistry in February.
First-year dental student John Mathis assists Dr. Akilah Stringer, resident, during Dental Mission Week at the School of Dentistry in February.

Dental Mission Week participants care for state’s underserved
The School of Dentistry hosted its inaugural Dental Mission Week event in February finishing off the week with its annual Give Kids A Smile Day. Participants provided essential oral health care and oral health education to children and adults in underserved communities of Mississippi.

New heart surgery leader put gloves on right after Batson arrival
The UMMC community welcomed Dr. Brian Kogon as the new head of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery in February. The former head of pediatric and adult congenital cardiac surgery programs at Emory for the Children’s Heart Center has the skills and experience needed to take pediatric cardiology here to new levels of excellence.


 March

Dr. Jennifer Sasser, assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology, testified to the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee March 8.
Dr. Jennifer Sasser, assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology, testified to the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee March 8.

School of Nursing earns Governor's Award for JPS partnership
The School of Nursing and Jackson Public Schools have collaborated on school-based health and wellness clinics for years. The partnership received the District Community Governor's Award during the 2017 Governor’s Award luncheon in March.

Dr. Sasser goes to Washington
Dr. Jennifer Sasser, assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology, testified in front of a U.S. Senate Subcommittee advocating for sustained medical research funding, particularly in states like Mississippi.

Thankful Triplett siblings make $1 million gift to children's campaign
Inspired by 10-year-old Felton Walker’s treatment at Batson Children’s Hospital, the Triplett siblings made a $1 million gift to the Campaign for Children’s Hospital through a foundation set up in their parents’ honor, the Dr. and Mrs. Rodney Faser Triplett Foundation.

UMMC financial action plan addresses revenue shortfall
UMMC announced its financial action plan to address unanticipated reductions to patient care reimbursement and other revenues currently totaling $32.7 million. The Medical Center identified $24 million in savings through a combination of reduced spending and enhanced revenues.

Advanced nursing programs meet provider shortage head-on
Answering Mississippi’s and the nation’s shortage of pediatric and neonatal nurse practitioners, the School of Nursing graduated its first class of neonatal and pediatric nurse practitioners.


April

On April 3, Bettina Dixon, left center, and Roda Barnes, right center, shared the organ in a very rare split-liver surgery performed by Dr. Christopher Anderson and Dr. Mark Earl.
On April 3, Bettina Dixon, left center, and Roda Barnes, right center, shared the organ in a very rare split-liver surgery performed by Dr. Christopher Anderson and Dr. Mark Earl.

Rare procedure splits donor liver between two women
The first split liver transplant between two adults was performed at the Medical Center in April. Roda Barnes and Bettina Dixon each received half of the same donated liver in a procedure by UMMC transplant surgeons Dr. Christopher Anderson and Dr. Mark Earl.

Cancer screening deemed life-changing for Brandon woman
Tomeka Harps was diagnosed with cervical cancer after a friend insisted she take part in a cervical and breast cancer screening at UMMC. Harps now tells other women to “value life more” than the inconvenience of a screening.


May

UMMC for the fifth year broke its record for degrees conferred to health care and health science professionals.
UMMC for the fifth year broke its record for degrees conferred to health care and health science professionals.

UNACARE Mobile Clinic to take health care directly to Midtown patients
The UNACARE Mobile Clinic was officially unveiled to donors, UMMC staff and friends May 5 as part of the School of Nursing’s Honors Day ceremony. The clinic began providing care directly to patients in the Midtown area in the summer. The fully equipped “clinic on wheels” was funded by alumni and community partner donors.

Longtime Grenada nurse reflects on lifetime of nursing
The Medical Center’s oldest nurse – a spry 86 – Martha Cooley works part-time as needed at UMMC Grenada where she began her nursing career in 1948. When she’s not on the second floor, she may be found on a bush hog at her family farm.

UMMC confers record number of degrees five years running
For the fifth consecutive year, UMMC conferred a record number of degrees to health care and health science professionals. The Class of 2017 was 971 strong: Graduates of the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences, Nursing and Health Related Professions were recognized during UMMC’s 61st Commencement.


June

The success of the ARIC Jackson site - which recruited 3,722 African-Americans - was also a determining factor to create the Jackson Heart Study, the largest study of African-American cardiovascular disease.
The success of the ARIC Jackson site - which recruited 3,722 African-Americans - was also a determining factor to create the Jackson Heart Study, the largest study of African-American cardiovascular disease.

ARIC celebrates 30 years of community, research
Since 1987, the Jackson field center of the landmark Atherosclerosis Rick in Communities Study has studied the risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. The center expanded its scope and influence, forming the basis for The MIND Center and the Jackson Heart Study.

Woodward wields national influence as accreditation chief
Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs, now leads the accrediting body that governs the education of thousands of medical students. As chair of the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, she will help set and uphold educational standards for the U.S. and Canada.

Rayner's 'wonderful life' inspires $1M scholarship
Dr. Jim Rayner and his wife, Mary Sharp Rayner, reward hard-working medical school candidates, including those who might otherwise struggle to pay for their education, through a scholarship established in June.


July

Tammy Fordham Bell, a health educator in the School of Nursing's Delta-based school clinics, listens as Javarious Gilliam of Jonestown shows her the foods he eats on a chart of healthy fruits and veggies.
Tammy Fordham Bell, a health educator in the School of Nursing's Delta-based school clinics, listens as Javarious Gilliam of Jonestown shows her the foods he eats on a chart of healthy fruits and veggies.

Decades go by, yet child hunger and poverty endure in the Delta
Fifty years since Sen. Robert F. Kennedy’s well-publicized tour to the Mississippi Delta to see for himself the faces of hungry children, the state’s social and health disparities keep child hunger and poverty from being a thing of the past. The Medical Center’s outreach, however, is making a difference in health outcomes and hope for change.


August

The new School of Medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center stands five floors high and has square footage of about 151,000 feet.
The new School of Medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center stands five floors high and has square footage of about 151,000 feet.

Dedication of new medical school building bodes well for health care's future
To its champions, admirers, occupants and stewards, the new School of Medicine represents a tribute to the “giants and heroes of the past,” “state-of-the-art learning environments that are the envy of any medical school in the country,” a place that makes you feel “special and privileged,” and, most of all, “home.”

Mena, expert panel champion first-ever MSM care standard
A blue-ribbon panel co-chaired by UMMC’s Dr. Leandro Mena is changing the landscape of care for gay or bisexual men with a first-ever standard of care for men who have sex with men.

Perfect score has UMMC covered
Restaurants have Michelin. Investors and creditors have Moody’s. And institutions like the Medical Center have, among others, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, whose latest critique of this institution signifies, roughly speaking, a three-star, AAA success.

Belzoni after-hours clinic fills gap in health care access
UMMC’s new Community Care Clinic provides after-hours acute care in Belzoni, a 2,000-resident town in Humphreys County where just three primary care physicians practice. Residents can now get care at home instead of driving 30 or more minutes to another community.


September

Tyesha Younger, a biorepository specialist, checks super-chilled samples in UMMC's biobank.
Tyesha Younger, a biorepository specialist, checks super-chilled samples in UMMC's biobank.

Discovery awaits with record research funding
UMMC had a record year for extramural support, receiving 316 grants and awards totaling more than $65 million in fiscal year 2017. The money supports all aspects of the Medical Center, from basic bench science to cutting-edge clinical trials, as well as educational programs to community outreach.

UMMC joins national 'All of Us' precision medicine study
What does it take to advance precision medicine? Health data from at least one million volunteers, says the National Institutes of Health. UMMC has been selected as an enrollment site for the All of Us research program, an ambitious study of genetic, lifestyle and environmental health factors.

UMMC, MSU $10.5M grant collaboration takes aim at early childhood health
An innovative partnership between UMMC and Mississippi State University aims to solve many of the state's social problems in children through screenings. The effort is funded through a three-year, $10.5 million federal grant.


October

Joey and Amanda Vowell of Ackerman spend precious moments getting to know their newborn son, Renner, in the Mother Baby Unit at the Winfred L. Wiser Hospital for Women and Infants.
Joey and Amanda Vowell of Ackerman spend precious moments getting to know their newborn son, Renner, in the Mother Baby Unit at the Winfred L. Wiser Hospital for Women and Infants.

Baby-friendly status signals optimal mother-newborn care
UMMC earned status as a Baby-Friendly birth facility in October. It is the only hospital in the Jackson metro area to carry the distinction from Baby-Friendly USA, the U.S. authority for implementing the global Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund.

UMMC earns national Telehealth Center of Excellence designation
UMMC Center for Telehealth is a national model for telehealth technology and for building a network that brings specialty care to all Mississippians, especially those in rural, underserved areas. Those trailblazing efforts paved the way for UMMC being named a Telehealth Center of Excellence.


November

UMMC's new 124,852 square-foot building will be the home of the Gertrude C. Ford MIND Research Center, Neuro Institute, John D. Bower School of Population Health and business incubator space.
UMMC's new 124,852 square-foot building will be the home of the Gertrude C. Ford MIND Research Center, Neuro Institute, John D. Bower School of Population Health and business incubator space.

UMMC's first Norwood Procedure patient happy, healthy
Since having surgery for hypoplastic left heart syndrome at Batson Children’s Hospital, Cayson Sanderford of Mathiston has been busy growing up, playing baseball and running in the playground with his friends.

New UMMC research building to promote 'discovery to recovery'
With the Nov. 10 dedication of the new Translational Research Center, UMMC marked a new chapter in its research mission. Designed for collaborative work ranging from basic science to business partnerships, the new building will help advance discovery and, ultimately, the health of Mississippians.

In face of tragedy, Louisville family chooses organ donation
Twelve-year-old Carmen Smith of Louisville loved softball, cheerleading and saddling up for competitive barrel racing. A traumatic head injury suffered in 2015 following a competition ended Carmen's short life, but her parents’ selfless act to donate her organs allowed others to live.


December

Patients, donors and staff celebrated the groundbreaking of the new pediatric tower on Dec. 1, 2017
Patients, donors and staff celebrated the groundbreaking of the new pediatric tower on Dec. 1, 2017.

Groundbreaking kicks off construction of $180M pediatrics tower at UMMC
Cheers and confetti filled the air at the groundbreaking ceremony for a new pediatrics tower, a seven-story, 340,000-square-foot facility, which will include new space for neonatal and pediatric intensive care units, more operating suites, a pediatric imaging center and a pediatric outpatient specialty clinic.

O'Donnell's $1M gift to benefit new PICU cardiac wing
A tour of Batson Children’s Hospital was all it took for Dave and Priscilla O’Donnell to pledge $1 million to the Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi to create a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Cardiac Wing in the new children’s tower.

After denture course makeover, patients are all smiles
Tears fell as patients showed off dentures crafted by second-year dental students. A newly redesigned course in the School of Dentistry offers a hands-on learning experience for students and free dentures for the community.