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AHA council pays tribute to biology chair’s HTN research excellence

Published on Monday, August 9, 2021

AHA council pays tribute to biology chair’s HTN research excellence

Portrait of Jane Reckelhoff

Dr. Jane Reckelhoff, UMMC professor and chair of the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, has received the 2021 Excellence Award for Hypertension Research from the American Heart Association’s Council on Hypertension.

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.

"This award is a tremendous honor for me, but it would not have been possible without the hard work of all of my postdoctoral fellows, students and collaborators with whom I have worked over the years," Reckelhoff said.

Reckelhoff’s research focuses on the mechanisms responsible for the sex differences in blood pressure control and renal disease, postmenopausal hypertension and polycystic ovary syndrome. She is founding director of the Mississippi Center of Excellence in Perinatal Research, which studies health conditions associated with pregnancy and childbirth through basic, clinical and population science methods.

A faculty member in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics since 1991 and chair of cell and molecular biology since 2017, Reckelhoff was a Billy S. Guyton Distinguished Professor, the university’s highest faculty honor, in 2010 and 2015.

Reckelhoff has received numerous awards for her research, including the Harry Goldblatt Award in Cardiovascular Research from the AHA, the Young Scholar Award from the American Society of Hypertension/Monarch Pharmaceuticals, the Lewis K. Dahl Award for Hypertension Research from the AHA Council on Hypertension, and the Ernest Starling Lecture Award from the American Physiological Society. She was also the University of Mississippi’s 2018 Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award winner.

Reckelhoff will give a presentation during the Hypertension 2021 Scientific Sessions, a virtual conference planned for Monday-Wednesday, Sept. 27-29. She shares the 2021 award with Dr. Alan Johnson of the University of Iowa and Dr. Daniel Levy of the National Institutes of Health.

“The Excellence Award is the highest recognition that can be achieved in the field of hypertension research,” said Dr. Joey Granger, dean of the School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences at UMMC and former chair of the AHA’s Council on Hypertension. “Dr. Reckelhoff was a trailblazer in the field of sex differences in cardiovascular disease. She was there when the field emerged and is now a world leader.”

PHIL Awards go to Sills, Dardar

Dariane Dardar, left, and Jenna McWilliams Sills are Children’s of Mississippi’s PHIL Award winners for 2021 and 2020, respectively.

Dariane Dardar, left, and Jenna McWilliams Sills are Children’s of Mississippi’s PHIL Award winners for 2021 and 2020, respectively.

Jenna McWilliams Sills, Registered Respiratory Therapist supervisor, and Dariane Dardar, Registered Respiratory Therapist, are Children’s of Missisippi’s recipients of the FACES Foundation’s PHIL Award.

The PHIL Award, the FACES Foundation's signature program, is the only nationally recognized hospital-based recognition program honoring outstanding respiratory therapists who provide exemplary care and treatment. PHIL Award winners are chosen through nominations by patients, family members and other caregivers.

The honor was created in 2006 in honor of Philip C. Lamka, who died from Interstitial Lung Disease. FACES, an acronym for Family and Caregiver Education and Support, is a nonprofit based in Michigan. Sills and Dardar were awarded a plaque, signature lapel pin, butterfly sculpture, and they have received invitations to attend next year’s Tri-State Respiratory Care Conference in 2022. 

Sills is the 2020 recipient (award delayed during COVID) and Dardar is the 2021 recipient.  Both received numerous compliments (paper submissions and via UMMC Awards page) from family members and coworkers for their compassion, hard work and dedication in providing the best care possible.

 This is the third year that UMMC has participated in the FACES foundation’s PHIL Award program and UMMC is the first and only hospital in the state of Mississippi to partner with the FACES foundation to showcase the great work of our amazing Respiratory Therapists.

State family physician group honors OMPW director

John Mitchell

Dr. John Mitchell, associate professor of family medicine at UMMC and director of the Office of Mississippi Physician Workforce, has received the Humanitarian Award from the Mississippi Academy of Family Physicians.

Mitchell is just the fourth recipient of the honor, which is not awarded every year. He was one of three School of Medicine alumni recognized by the MAFP at its annual meeting in July.

Under Mitchell’s leadership since 2013, the OMPW has helped establish 13 new residency programs in the state to train medical school graduates in their respective specialties.

“Dr. Mitchell has quietly and methodically made the OMPW office the most meaningful force solving the seemingly unsolvable problem of not enough physicians in the state of Mississippi,” said Dr. Tim Alford of Kosciusko, a 1983 graduate of the SOM and an MAFP past president who has served on the OMPW Board of Trustees for the last nine years. “He has drawn from the deep well of his experience as a family physician to make the case at a community level.

“He has been steady at the wheel without fanfare, and he has put all Mississippians in a better place.”

A native of Lafayette Springs, Mitchell earned his bachelor’s degree in pharmacy at the University of Mississippi. After practicing pharmacy, including a stint in the U.S. Army, he graduated in 1986 from the SOM. He completed his family medicine residency at the Tuscaloosa College of Community Health Sciences and a fellowship at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.

Mitchell practiced family medicine in Pontotoc and Tupelo for more than 25 years; for most of those years he was associated with the North Mississippi Medical Center Family Medicine Residency Program.

The two other SOM alumni honored were:

Dr. James Dustin Gentry of Louisville, named New Physician of the Year for 2021. He graduated from the SOM in 2011 and is an attending physician for Winston Medical Center in Louisville, where he has practiced for seven years.

Dr. Robert Lee Giffin of Vicksburg, named Family Physician of the Year for 2021. Giffin, who graduated from the SOM in 1982, is in private practice at Mission Primary Care Clinic. He has practiced in Vicksburg for 36 years.