Health Briefs

Health Briefs

Stavas Named Radiology Department Chair

Returning to the place where his medical career began, Joe Stavas, MD’82, is looking forward to helping the Creighton University School of Medicine embark upon its next phase as he becomes chair of radiology in April.

Bridging a career as a community radiology practitioner with one in academe, Stavas said he’s focused on collaboration with the medical community, with students and with the larger Omaha community. As Creighton prepares to open its new University Campus site, Stavas said he sees the effort as linked to a new understanding of personal health care and a way to reach out to a wider group of people seeking to get and stay healthy.

Since 2009, Stavas has been a professor of radiology and taught and practiced in the Department of Radiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Physical Therapy Faculty Honored for Research

Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Professions faculty in the Department of Physical Therapy have earned recognition for publishing groundbreaking research on clinical reasoning and physical therapy education.

Jennifer Furze, P.T., DPT; Lisa Black, P.T., DPT; Julie Hoffman, P.T., DPT; JB Barr, P.T., DPT; Teresa Cochran, P.T., DPT; and Gail Jensen, P.T., Ph.D., authored “Exploration of Students’ Clinical Reasoning Development in Professional Physical Therapy Education” in the Journal of Physical Therapy Education in September. Furze, Black, Cochran and Jensen, along with Judith Gale, P.T., DPT, published “Clinical Reasoning: Development of a Grading Rubric for Student Assessment” in the same journal.

Furze, as first author on both articles, earned the coveted 2015 Stanford Award, bestowed on the writers of a manuscript containing the most influential educational ideas published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Education in the calendar year.

Recearchers Awarded NIH Grant to Study Treatment of Hearing Loss

Two Creighton University School of Dentistry researchers have been awarded a National Institutes of Health grant to explore cell processes in the inner ears of mice that may prove beneficial in treating human hearing loss.

Michael Weston, Ph.D., and Sonia Rocha-Sanchez, Ph.D., both professors in the Department of Oral Biology, have earned the three-year, $436,550 grant to study the effects of small noncoding RNAs on the forced generation of sensory cells in the mouse inner ear with the goal of improving the process of cell renewal as a way to treat human hearing loss.

“This study will provide important scientific insights that could translate into future medical treatments for human hearing loss diseases,” said Weston, principal investigator on the grant.

Faculty to Study Youth Brain Development with Help of NSF Grant

The collection of vast stores of data that may unlock new information about the development of the brain as it transitions to adolescence from childhood will soon begin for neuroscientists in Nebraska with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Two Creighton University psychology professors, Amy Badura Brack, Ph.D., and Maya Khanna, Ph.D., are part of a four-year, $6 million National Science Foundation Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) grant. The grant funds neuroimaging research exploring the developing brains of children ages 9 to 14, as well as the development of the Nebraska Cognitive Neuroscience Training Program.

Khanna plans to look more closely at the potential effects of lead exposure in children, while Badura Brack will look at how traumatic childhood experiences and psychological distress affect brain growth.

“We have an exceptional opportunity to bring together neuroimaging, psychological and genetic data to model the process of brain development in children,” said Badura Brack.

Roberts Receives New Investigator Grant

Drew Roberts, Pharm.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor of pharmacy sciences, is one of six recipients of an AcademyHealth New Investigator Small Grant. Roberts received the grant for research he has done on Medicaid prescription drug abuse prevention policy. The grant is funded through a partnership with the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP).

Roberts is also on the faculty of Creighton’s Center for Health Services Research and Patient Safety, where he has established a health services research program aimed at improving the quality, accessibility, and outcomes of medication use, particularly in low-income populations. Roberts’ current work is focused on improving the public health benefit of policy interventions designed to combat prescription drug abuse and prevent overdose deaths.

The AcademyHealth New Investigator Small Grant Program is designed to support the early careers of new health services researchers.