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Accolades: Awards, honors and appointments May

Postdoc funding, presentations, honorary visits and more
OHSU Accolades: Awards, honors and appointments. Image is a close-up of several different people's hands clapping.

Soto-Faguas awarded $100,000 for Alzheimer's research

Carlos M. Soto-Faguas, Ph.D., has short dark hair, a white sweater, smiling against a black background.
Carlos M. Soto-Faguas, Ph.D.

Carlos M. Soto-Faguas, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher working in the laboratory of Vivek Unni, M.D., Ph.D., has received a $100,000 award from Stop Alzheimer’s Now to explore a mutation that may forestall dementia in people genetically predisposed to the disease.

Soto-Faguas will put the award to immediate use. He and colleagues have modified a single amino acid in the APOE protein of a mouse so that it carries the same mutation, called APOE Christchurch, as a case reported in 2019 of a woman from Colombia. The woman avoided cognitive impairment for decades, despite also carrying an inherited mutation — PSEN1 E280A — that strongly predisposes people to Alzheimer’s. Soto-Faguas will now cross that mutation with other mice genetically modified to carry amyloid and tau pathologies in the brain, a condition commonly associated with Alzheimer’s. 

“We’re going to first aim to determine if this mutation actually prevents the development of Alzheimer’s,” Soto-Faguas said. “This project will help unravel the mechanisms involved in Alzheimer’s disease dementia resilience mediated by APOE, opening windows for new therapeutic strategies.” 

The award from Stop Alzheimer’s Now will support a full year of research along with behavioral testing of mice in collaboration with the lab of Jacob Raber, Ph.D., a professor of behavioral neuroscience in the OHSU School of Medicine, and under the supervision of Randy Woltjer, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine. Stop Alzheimer's Now, founded in 2013 by Shaun and Kristin McDuffee, is a nonprofit organization committed to funding research, education and support initiatives aimed at eradicating Alzheimer's disease. 

OHSU Care Management groups present at American Case Management Conference

Aaron Kerr and Kayla Freudenthal, left to right. Aaron wearing a gray suit, and Kayla wearing a lime green top with black pants, on a stage at the ACMA conference.
Aaron Kerr and Kayla Freudenthal

Members of the care management department represented OHSU and the Oregon ACMA chapter at the American Case Management Association’s 25th anniversary national conference, April 19 to 21, in Nashville, Tenn.

The Oregon chapter — including OHSU’s Isaac Olds, RN, and Jennifer Leitch, administrative director of the Division of Care Management — received the 2024 Chapter Merit award.

Four members presented at the conference on some of the innovative programs in practice at OHSU. Aaron Kerr, a clinical expediter, and Kayla Freudenthal, program administrator for care management, presented their roles as the first non-clinical, clinical expediters, who remove barriers from care progression and discharge within the system. The presentation consisted of guidance for other institutions on how to implement this role and expedite the flow of patients in their hospitals.

Leitch and Jennifer Grail, assistant nurse manager, presented on the Post-Acute Resource Center, a program that delegates lower acuity patients to specific case managers, allowing other case managers to focus on complex, length-of-stay patients. This program supports an increased focus earlier in the patient’s hospital stay and promotes earlier discharge planning. We are proud of our case management team, which has consistently set the bar for the standards of case management across the nation and the patient care continuum.

ACMA chapter - photo of 24 people gathered and smiling all together.
ACMA chapter

OHSU Hemostasis and Thrombosis Center group visits D.C.

During the week of April 15 and honoring World Hemophilia Day on April 17, 2024, members of the Hemostasis and Thrombosis Center at OHSU traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with legislators. In partnership with the Hemophilia Alliance and patient representatives, the OHSU team provided education about the importance of HTCs and the 340b program, and the impact of alternate funding programs on patients, payers and taxpayers. 

OHSU Hemostasis and Thrombosis Center group visits D.C - of alternate funding programs on patients, payers and taxpayers. In this photo, left to right: Eleanor Carrick, administrator; Susan Lattimore, research nurse; Leah Hueser, factor program manager; and Taryn Johnson, program director of the Hemostasis and Thrombosis Center.
of alternate funding programs on patients, payers and taxpayers. In this photo, left to right: Eleanor Carrick, administrator; Susan Lattimore, research nurse; Leah Hueser, factor program manager; and Taryn Johnson, program director of the Hemostasis and Thrombosis Center.

Cowdery earns Best Original Research Lightning Oral Presentation Award

Colleen Cowdery, M.D. , has long light brown hair, wearing a red top and black blazer, smiling against a gray background.
Colleen Cowdery, M.D.

Colleen Cowdery, M.D., a toxicology fellow in emergency medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine, recently won the Best Original Research Lightning Oral Presentation award by the American College of Medical Toxicology (ACMT) during its 2024 Annual Scientific Meeting in Washington, D.C. The award was for her platform presentation, "Calcium Precipitation in Bedside Calcium Gel Mixing for Dermal Hydrofluoric Acid Exposure Treatment," which focuses on issues with mixing calcium gluconate with gel for dermal application in hydrofluoric acid exposures. Cowdery determined that the standard recommendations provided by textbooks and most poison centers of give — mixing ca with gel — lead to precipitation of the calcium and reduction of available calcium to treat the hydrofluoric acid burn with most gels. 

Senior Awardee, American Academy of Neurology Health Care Equity Research Award


Raina Croff, Ph.D., center, has long braided hair pulled back from the top, glasses, wearing a white top, black blazer and black pants, smiling with two award presenters at the conference.
Raina Croff, Ph.D.

Raina Croff, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Layton Aging and Alzheimer's Disease Center at OHSU, is a recipient of the scientific research award from the American Academy of Neurology. This award recognizes a neurologist or neuroscientist who has demonstrated their commitment to health equity and addresses health disparities through clinical research, service, or leadership role. 

“Equity research first takes equity work,” Croff said. “Only through first investing in DEI — like creating research pathways for underrepresented scholars and connecting meaningfully with the underrepresented communities we wish to engage — can equity research be impactful. My own research, and receipt of this award, are possible because of the time and energy poured into DEI, and with the tremendous support of my team, mentors, department, and the AAN. Thank you.”

Ajit Jetmalani honored at Oregon Alliance Oregon Child & Family Center for Excellence Summit 

Ajit Jetmalani, M.D. (OHSU) has short wavy dark hair, wearing a suit, smiling.
Ajit Jetmalani, M.D.

On May 9, the Oregon Alliance Oregon Child & Family Center for Excellence presented Ajit Jetmalani, M.D., with the Rose Otte Award. The Rose Otte Award is given to a professional who has demonstrated leadership, innovation and unwavering commitment, placing children and youth as a high priority in their personal and professional lives. Jetmalani was noted as having a passion for children, which is present in his work and inspires others.

The award is given to Oregonians who have made significant, long-term commitments that further the well-being of children, youth and families. This award is given to recognize extraordinary individuals like Rose Otte, who was a committed community leader focused on advocacy and policy in the public and private sectors. Otte’s goal was to move an agenda that would ensure the well-being of Oregon's children, youth and families. She lived in Ashland and was the first executive director hired by the Oregon Alliance after a merger in 1994. She passed away in 1996, and in her honor, the Oregon Alliance created this award to recognize others who also dedicated their work to achieving a vision for children and Oregon's future.

This year's summit was titled, "Meeting the Moment: Addressing the Youth Mental Health Crises in Oregon Across Systems of Care" and was held in Redmond, Ore., from May 8 to 10, 2024. Please join us in celebrating Dr. Ajit Jetmalani's dedication and commitment to children, youth, and their families at OHSU and throughout Oregon.

Melanie Gillingham earns Society for Inherited Metabolic Disorders award

Melanie Gillingham, right, has short brown hair, a floral top and brown pants, being presented an award on a stage.
Melanie B. Gillingham, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.

Melanie Gillingham, Ph.D., R.D., L.D., a professor of molecular and medical genetics in the OHSU School of Medicine, recently won the Emmanuel Shapira Society for Inherited Metabolic Disorders award for First Author of Best Publication in Molecular Genetics and Metabolism. Established in 2003 in memory of its eminent member Emmanuel Shapira, M.D., Ph.D., this annual award is given for the best paper in the field of biochemical genetics and metabolism published in Molecular Genetics and Metabolism by a Society for Inherited Metabolic Disorders member or member's trainee. This is Gillingham’s second time winning this honor from the SIMD, a national society for biochemical genetics; the first was in 2007.

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