News & Events Archive Prior to 2019
Five neurology faculty earn promotions
Five faculty members in the Department of Neurology at the University of Kansas Medical Center recently earned promotions.
Yunxia Wang, M.D., and William Suo, M.D., were promoted to professor, while Patrick Landazuri, M.D., Michael Rippee, M.D., and Trent Davis, M.D., were promoted to associate professor.
Wang serves as vice chair of education in neurology and chief of the Neurology Inpatient Division. She also directs the department's clerkship program. Her major teaching responsibilities include rounding and supervising residents and students in a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings. While Wang's clinical service includes working as a neuro-hospitalist, stroke physician and medical director for the neuroscience unit, she has expertise in neuromuscular diseases, neurophysiology and neuro-immunology.
Suo, a volunteer faculty member with KU Medical Center at the Kansas City Veterans Administration Medical Center, is an important collaborator with The University of Kansas Alzheimer's Disease Center. Funded by 14 grants, including nine on which he was the principal investigator, Suo has been published 53 times in peer-reviewed journals, authored or co-authored three book chapters and 26 posters, and published 44 abstracts.
Program director for the department's newly established and accredited epilepsy fellowship, Landazuri is involved in a wide range of teaching activities for attending physicians, residents, medical students and allied health professionals. He is co-investigator on several multi-center trials and has published seven peer-reviewed articles and authored three book chapters. Landazuri has developed a regional reputation for excellence in epilepsy care. Because of his dedication to this program, many patients in the Kansas City area and in Kansas have been able to become seizure-free.
A strong teacher and in-demand speaker, particularly on concussion, mild traumatic brain injury and stroke topics, Rippee has demonstrated his valuable teaching and mentorship abilities and has established a regional reputation as a leader in his field. He also launched the department's sports neurology program, the first of its kind in the region, and was instrumental in creating the University of Kansas comprehensive stroke service, which was the first in the Midwest.
In addition to maintaining a thriving private practice, Davis has made numerous presentations to medical students, physicians and family practice residents. Based at the KU School of Medicine-Salina, where he is the director of the neurology clerkship. Davis is participating in an educational project measuring inter-rater reliability of medical student competency assessments. A member of the local city council, Davis currently serves as mayor of Salina.
The University of Kansas Medical Center's Department of Neurology will present the 3rd annual Lillian Pardo, M.D., Pediatric Neurology Lecture April 12 at 8 a.m. in the Clendening Auditorium.
The event is free and open to the public.
This year's featured lecturer is Jonathan W. Mink, M.D., Ph.D., FAAN, FANA, FAAP, the Frederick A. Horner, M.D., endowed professor in pediatric neurology at the University of Rochester Medical Center, where he also serves as professor of neurology, neuroscience and pediatrics; chief of the child neurology division; and vice chair of the Department of Neurology.
Dr. Mink will present "Paroxysmal Movement Disorders in Children." In addition to sharing his personal experiences with other doctors asking for guidance on these disorders, he will discuss three primary types of paroxysmal dyskinesias in children and address specific questions related to the clinical and family history when seeing patients with episodic movement disorders.
Dr. Pardo, professor emerita in pediatrics and neurology at KU Medical Center, established the annual lectureship with her husband, Manuel P. Pardo, M.D., to help inspire today's students, residents and young faculty the way visiting professors often inspired her during her medical education and academic medical center career.
Gary S. Gronseth, M.D., was named chair and clinical service chief for the Department of Neurology at the University of Kansas Medical Center. The appointment is effective immediately.
Gronseth has been interim chair since July 2017 and interim clinical service chief since July 2016. He joined KU Medical Center in 2002 and served as executive vice chair for neurology until becoming interim chair two years ago.
"I want to thank everyone for the outstanding support I received over the past 18 months as interim chair. During that time, people would ask me, ‘Gary, what do you think?' I was a little embarrassed to say the first thing that came to mind, but I thought it was fun," said Gronseth, speaking to departmental faculty and staff gathered for the March 11 announcement of his appointment made by Robert D. Simari, M.D., executive vice chancellor, University of Kansas Medical Center and executive dean, University of Kansas School of Medicine, and Bob Page, president and chief executive officer, The University of Kansas Health System.
"The reason it's fun is because of you and working with you," Gronseth said. "I get to do the same things I used to do. I get to teach, see patients and do my methodology work for the American Academy of Neurology. Then, I get to interact with more of you, see your vision and sometimes do a little - or, on occasion, a lot - of troubleshooting for you. But, that's fun and so thanks a lot. I'm looking forward to some more fun."
After earning his medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Gronseth completed postgraduate training in aerospace medicine at the Brooks U.S. Air Force Base School of Aerospace Medicine, followed by a neurology residency at the Wilford Hall U.S. Air Force Medical Center in San Antonio. He is a decorated military physician who served 20 years in the United States Air Force before retiring as Colonel.
Gronseth has been an influential clinical leader, contributing to the exponential growth of the department and starting one of the first neurohospitalist services in the country. In addition, he was instrumental in the development of the comprehensive stroke program.
Gronseth has supported KU Medical Center's educational missions through his leadership in the Brain, Mind and Behavior block, the neurology residency and the vascular neurology fellowship. He also has been honored with numerous teaching awards including multiple Student Voice Awards, the Ruth Bohan Teaching Award, the Chancellor's Club Teaching Award and the Chancellor's Club Teaching Professorship.
He was the winner of the 2019 Rainbow Award, which honors faculty members who exemplify the attributes of professionalism in medicine and share those qualities with the students whom they mentor.
Nationally recognized for his work as chief evidence-based medicine methodologist for the American Academy of Neurology, Gronseth has authored more than 50 Clinical Practice Guidelines and developed a guideline methodology that has been used by multiple professional organizations and the Centers for Disease Control. He also serves as associate editor of the journal Neurology.
Gronseth succeeds Dr. Richard Barohn, vice chancellor for research and president of the Research Institute, who stepped down in July 2017.
Abe Teferra, senior administrator for the Department of Neurology at the University of Kansas Health System and the University of Kansas Medical Center, was featured in an exhibit included the 2019 Black History Month celebration at KU Medical Center.
Teferra was one of several black and African-American researchers, faculty, residents and staff at KU Medical Center recognized in an exhibit of biographical posters highlighting their backgrounds and careers. The exhibit was on display daily outside the Alumni Office, HEB Bridge, Hixson Atrium and other campus locations throughout February.
An avid sports fan who enjoys running and playing soccer, football and basketball, Teferra grew up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He has been in his present role for 18 years and is responsible for setting and developing the strategic direction of a comprehensive neurology program.
Displays also were on the Wichita and Salina campuses.
Race to Nowhere fund-raiser for MS Achievement Center set for Feb. 23
MS Achievement Center member Bob Carpenter with volunteer Heather Dodds
Kansas City's original stationary bike race will once again roll into the University of Kansas Medical Center to benefit people with Multiple Sclerosis.
The 21st annual Race to Nowhere will be Feb. 23 at Kirmayer Fitness Center from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Open to riders of all skill and experience levels, participants will be challenged to ride hard in pursuit of funds for the KU MS Achievement Center.
Here's how the Race to Nowhere works. Racers pedal stationary bikes as fast as they can for 30 minutes and mileage is calculated for each team and individual. Prizes will be awarded to the top racers in each age group, teams with the best average times and those who raise the most funds.
Registration is $40 until Feb. 16 then increases to $50 through the day of the event. Space is limited on race day. To register, visit www.msachievementcenter.org/events, call 913-588-8668 or email email@example.com.
All proceeds support the MS Achievement Center, which provides weekly physical and occupational therapy, cognitive stimulation activities and emotional wellness programming designed to enhance the quality of life for people with progressing MS.
MS is an isolating disease, and changes lives because of the disability it brings, said Judy Markwardt-Oberheu, MS Achievement Center executive director. Those who participate in the Race to Nowhere make it possible for individuals with advanced MS to reconnect with their community, build their strength and independence, and regain their confidence to tackle the challenges of MS head on.
"Recruit your friends and connections so we can keep offering the MSAC to those who need it the most," she said.
For almost two years, Sandy Fryer of Overland Park has benefitted from the MS Achievement Center's services. Beyond the camaraderie, encouragement and strategies for managing MS, Fryer said the weekly physical and occupational therapy sessions, tips on adaptions and equipment and guest speakers are making a difference, too.
"For example, the RideKC representative inspired me to apply for paratransit services as an option to driving. The brain balance activities are fun and provide cognitive exercise," she said. "The MSAC and its energetic and devoted staff are now a valuable and enjoyable part of my life."
Meanwhile, through the MS Achievement Center, Bob Carpenter, Kansas City, Mo., has identified areas where he needs to work and connected with others with similar, but different experiences.
"I recommend it for those seeking to learn from others with MS, specialists in the field and great students," Carpenter said.
The Achievement Center also serves individuals with neuromyelitis optica, an autoimmune disorder in which immune system cells and antibodies mostly attack the optic nerves, spinal cord and sometimes the brain.
"I love the entire program. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, brain balance and connections group are all helpful," said Michelle Finnerty, Overland Park, who has received emotional support and gained physical strength by taking advantage of Achievement Center services. "I'm grateful the Achievement Center is open to those of us with NMO."
MS Achievement Center members pay just $80 a month. The Race to Nowhere, one of the program's two major fund-raisers, is crucial to maintaining the low cost for services.
This year's fund-raising goal for the event is $81,300.
The MS Achievement Center is part of KU Medical Center's Department of Neurology. Formerly the Mid America MS Achievement Center, the program was launched in 1995 by Sharon Lynch, M.D., a Neurology professor at KU Medical Center and its purpose is to support and advocate for people with progressive MS.
E. Steve Roach, M.D., presented the inaugural Lillian Gonzalez-Pardo, M.D., Pediatric Neurology Lecture titled "Stroke Due to Sickle Cell Disease: Lessons From Two Decades of Clinical Trials," on March 17. He educated attendees about the pathophysiology of stroke due to sickle cell disease, the use of screening procedures to identify patients at high risk of stroke due to sickle cell disease and treatments for the disease that may lessen the likelihood of stroke.
Roach is professor of Pediatrics and Neurology at The Ohio State University College of Medicine; Wolfe Foundation Distinguished Chair in Child Neurology, Nationwide Children's Hospital; and Medical Director, Corporate Compliance Program of Nationwide Children's Hospital.
Pictured above (left to right) are Richard Barohn, M.D., Gertrude and Dewey Ziegler, professor of neurology and chairman, and vice chancellor for research, KU Medical Center; Lillian Pardo, M.D., and Steve Roach, M.D., speaker for the inaugural lecture.
Dr. Jill Morris, a senior scientist at the University of Kansas Alzheimer's Disease Center, was quoted in a recent New York Times article about a study she co-authored withe Eric Vidoni, Ph.D., that was published in February in PLOS ONE. The research focused on aerobic exercise for Alzheimer's disease patients. Read article.
Diamachkie discusses innovation and inspiration in Kansas City's 435 Magazine
Dr. Mazen Dimachkie is featured in the January issue of 435 Magazine. Read his interview in the article "Medical Marvels: Q&As With Five of Kansas City's Top Doctors" here.
National Center on Aging Renews KU Alzheimer's Disease Center's national designation
The KU Alzheimer's Disease Center has had its national designation renewed for five years. Douglas Girod, executive vice chancellor of KU Medical Center, announced Oct.6 that the center would have its designation and funding of an estimated $8.5 million through 2021. The KU ADC is one of only 31 nationally designated centers by the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health.
Read the KUMC press release and a news article for more details.
International publication includes interview with Dr. Russell Swerdlow, Alzheimer's Disease Center director
Russell Swerdlow, M.D., Director of the Alzheimer's Disease Center at the University of Kansas Medical Center, was featured in an August 15 International Business Times article about the obstacles to understanding and curing Alzheimer's disease. He discussed how his team's approach differs from that of many other researchers.
Dr. Swerdlow's hypothesis is that amyloidplaques and tau tangles are not drivers of the disease, but symptoms. "I think the problem lies in changes in brain energy metabolism and mitochondria," he told the magazine. He and his colleagues are looking at how energy metabolism changes in other tissues of the body, such as muscles. Since more mitochondria are created in muscles when people exercise, understanding these changes could enhance efforts to create a drug that similarly affects the brain.
Visit the International Business Times to read the complete article.
Randolph Nudo appointed director of the Institute for Neurological Discovery
Randolph J. Nudo, Ph.D., has been appointed director of the Institute for Neurological Discovery at KU Medical Center. Nudo will replace Peter Smith, Ph.D., who served as the institute's founding director since 2009. Smith is stepping down to devote more time to his role as senior associate dean for research at the KU School of Medicine. Smith is also a professor of molecular and integrative physiology and co-director of the Kansas Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center.
Nudo is vice chairman of research in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, the director of the Landon Center on Aging, and the Marion Merrell Dow Distinguished Professor in Aging. He has been on the faculty at KU Medical Center since 1997. Read more.
Ziegler Professorship Lecture
The 10th annual Gertrude and Dewey Ziegler Professorship lecture was given by James C. Grotta, M.D., Director of Stroke Research, Clinical Institute for Research and Innovation at Memorial Hermann - Texas Medical Center. Dr. Grotta discussed the current level of success in treating acute ischemicstroke as well as the potential for a hugely beneficial transformation in treatment with the introduction of mobile stroke treatment units. See photos of Ziegler Professorship lecture and related events.
KU Medical Center named "Center of Excellence" by Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation
April 29, 2016
The Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation (HNF) has named the University of Kansas Medical Center a "Center of Excellence," one of only 10 institutions in its new national network.
HNF's intention for the COE network is to benefit the hereditary neuropathypatient community, which includes those with a rare disease called Charcot-Marie-Tooth and inherited neuropathies. KU Medical Center was chosen as a Center of Excellence for its demonstrated strengths in clinical care and research.
The HNF will collaborate with its Centers of Excellence to expand their roles as patient community hubs for clinical care, community engagement, research and training/education.
Visit the HNF website for more information.
MS Achievement Center Grand Opening
April 15, 2016
Thousands of people in Kansas and the greater Kansas City area are afflicted with multiple sclerosis (MS). Now they will have a new place to seek treatment and support with the new MS Achievement Center officially opening April 7th at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Read more. Photos from the event.
George Brett Award
March 4, 2016
Congratulations to Dr. Richard Barohn, the receipient of the 2016 George Brett Award for Commitment. Richard J. Barohn, MD, distinguished professor and chairman of the University of Kansas Medical Center's Department of Neurology, has been treating people living with ALS for over 30 years and was responsible for starting the ALS Association Certified Treatment Center for Excellence at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
YouTube Videos to Watch:
- George Brett announces the 2016 George Brett Award for Commitment
- Dr. Richard Barohn's acceptance video
Epilepsy Center Receives a Level 4 Recertification
Feb. 19, 2016
The hospital's Comprehensive Epilepsy Center has been recertified at Level 4 designation, the industry's highest mark.
The designation, from the National Association of Epilepsy Centers, is for the full two years. The center was first named Level 4 in 2012 and remains one of only two Level 4 adult comprehensive epilepsy centers in the metro and the only one in Kansas.
A Level 4 epilepsy center provides:
- Complex forms of intensive neurodiagnostic monitoring
- More extensive medical, neuropsychological and psychosocial treatment
- Complete evaluation for epilepsy surgery, including intracranial electrodes
- Broad range of surgical procedures for epilepsy surgical care for epilepsy
- Access to clinical trials
Roughly two-thirds of patients with epilepsy can be treated successfully with a combination of medications. The remaining patients can benefit from an advanced evaluation by an epileptologist to determine if they are candidates for additional treatment options, including several available surgical procedures. (Link to epilepsy surgical pages).
The center also focuses on research and a wide range of support services, including treatment to ease psychological, social and financial issues.
The epilepsy center's outpatient clinic, which is on ground floor Delp, managed approximately 1,700 patient visits during 2015. Also during the year, 279 epilepsy patients were admitted; they are cared for on Neuroscience/ENT ICU and Neuroscience/ENT Progressive Care (HC 8-9).
Read more and see the center's team http://intranet.kumed.com/news-and-events/news/purple-day-epilepsy-2015
Life-Saving Treatment For Seizures
Nov. 23, 2015
KCTV5 News posted this video on their website highlighting the work in epilepsy treatment at the KU Medical Center. Watch the video here.
Kansas City Star highlights KU Medical Center's neuromuscular research program
May 3, 2015
The Kansas City Star newspaper highlighted KU Medical Center's neuromuscular research program in a series of stories, photos and videos. Read the main story and see four videos here. Read a separate story highlighting the work of Dr. Jeffrey Statland, assistant professor of neurology. Also, see the complete photo gallery.
Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorder Center earns re-designation honor
April 30, 2015
The Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorder Center at The University of Kansas Hospital and KU Medical Center has earned re-designation as a National Center of Excellence from the National Parkinson Foundation. Read more.
Neurology residents participate in ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
August 28, 2014
KU Medical Center neurology residents answered a challenge from the University of Virginia to participate in the ongoing Ice Bucket Challenge to benefit ALS research. Watch the video. Also, if interested, donate to support ALS research at KU Medical Center.
Dr. Russell Swerdlow named as Chancellors Club professor
August 27, 2014
Dr. Russell Swerdlow, M.D., professor of neurology and a leading expert on Alzheimer's disease and mitochondrial dysfunction, has been named as a Chancellors Club professor. He will receive a $10,000 award and will be honored at a reception in Lawrence, Kan. Read more.
Hope for those with multiple sclerosis
March 5, 2014
An $800,000 grant will help KU Medical Center create a new center to help patients with multiple sclerosis. Read more.
Russell Swerdlow, M.D., named Gene and Marge Sweeney Professor of Neurology
December 15, 2013
Russell Swerdlow, M.D., director of the University of Kansas Alzheimer's Disease Center, has been named the Gene and Marge Sweeney Professor of Neurology. Swerdlow studies brain energy metabolism and the role it plays in neurodegenerative diseases. His main area of clinical expertise includes the neurodegenerative diseases that affect cognition, especially Alzheimer's disease. The professorship was established through an estate gift created by Mr. and Mrs. Sweeney, who owned and operated the College Motel in Lawrence for 40 years.
KU Medical Center's partnership with Swope Health Services is giving minority populations better access to clinical trials
December 3, 2013
Researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center are continuing to build on a longstanding partnership with Swope Health Services to help involve minority populations that are often vastly underrepresented in clinical and translational research studies. Read more.
KU Alzheimer's Disease Center will use $3 million grant to study the benefit of exercise
November 2, 2013
Alzheimer's disease researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center have received $3 million from the National Institutes of Health to study the role of exercise in preventing the disease. It will be one of the first such studies in the country. Read more.
Dr. Richard J. Barohn, MD, receives University Distinguished Professorship
October 25, 2013
Dr. Richard J. Barohn, MD, Gertrude and Dewey Ziegler Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurology at the University of Kansas Medical Center, has received a University Distinguished Professorship. Watch a video of a presentation of the award, followed by a lecture by Robert C. Griggs, a former Chairman of the Department of Neurology at the University of Rochester.
Sleep Medicine Clinic receives program accreditation
August 15, 2013
The University of Kansas Department of Neurology's Sleep Medicine Clinic in Kansas City recently received program accreditation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Read more.
KU Med professor walks across Kansas to raise awareness, funds for stroke research
June 6, 2013
Sandra Billinger, PT, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, completed a 570-mile walk across the state of Kansas with her son to raise awareness and money for her stroke research. Read more.
KU Hospital one of first in the nation named Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center
December 10, 2012
The University of Kansas Hospital is one of the first five healthcare facilities in the country, and the only one in the Midwest, to be recognized as an Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center (CSC) by The Joint Commission. Read more.
KU Medical Center neurologist earns Chancellors Club honor
October 29, 2012
Richard J. Barohn, MD, chairman of the University of Kansas Medical Center's Department of Neurology, has been named as the recipient of the 2012 Chancellors Club career research award. Read more, and click here to see a video.
Alzheimer's Disease Center, other clinical and translational research featured on KCPT program
October 11, 2012
KU Medical Center's Alzheimer's Disease Center and Frontiers: The Heartland Institute for Clinical and Translational Research were featured on KCPT's "The Local Show." Click here to see the video (story starts at about 15:30).
Patients come from across the globe for study at KU's Clinical Research Center
September 20, 2012
Patients are coming from as far away as New Zealandto participate in a clinical trial at the University of Kansas Medical Center - a study that is giving new hope to people with a rare genetic condition that attacks their muscles. Read more.