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Campus News

Memorial, SIU launch HealthCare Quality Alliance

Memorial Health System and SIU HealthCare have launched a new partnership designed to develop innovative solutions for improving health care access, quality, safety and community outcomes across the region. The new Illinois not-for-profit limited-liability corporation, Midwest HealthCare Quality Alliance, is designed to leverage the combined strengths of the two organizations to boldly create new solutions needed to address the complex health-care requirements of today and tomorrow.

The Midwest HealthCare Quality Alliance will be governed by a 10-member board of managers and is based in Springfield in the heart of the Mid-Illinois Medical District. Charles Callahan, PhD, senior vice president and chief quality officer for Memorial Health System (MHS), and Eric Brown, MD, PhD, chief medical officer for SIU HealthCare, will serve as the Co-Executive Directors of the new organization. The governing board includes five leaders from each organization, including Callahan and Brown. The other eight are Edgar Curtis, Doug Rahn, Scott Kiriakos and Dr. Raj Govindaiah from MHS, and Dr. Jerry Kruse, Nelson Weichold, Dr. Stacy Sattovia and Dr. Harald Lausen of SIU HealthCare.

logo"This alliance will foster innovative new methods and partnerships for delivering care across our region in ways not possible today," Callahan said. "The Alliance will bring together the best thinking in emerging areas like population science, big data, lean six sigma, high reliability safety systems, chronic disease management and patient activation, all focused on improving the health of the people and communities across central Illinois."

The Quality Alliance will ultimately be housed in the new Memorial Center for Learning and Innovation, currently under construction at the intersection of Miller and Rutledge streets. The four-story building is expected to be completed in late 2014. "SIU HealthCare remains committed to improving patient health-care outcomes throughout our communities," Brown said. "This exciting collaboration gives us the opportunity to develop evidence-based clinical pathways, improve coordination of care by integrating data registries and leveraging clinical informatics, and decrease health-care costs by reducing variation and disparities in clinical care. The alliance offers a platform to transform health-care delivery through innovation in clinical care, education, research and community service."

First hand transplant program in Illinois established

The Institute for Plastic Surgery at SIU School of Medicine has launched the first clinical hand transplant program in Illinois for patients who have suffered from an amputation of their upper extremity. Dr. Neumeister

This program, which would be the 11th in the nation, builds on a long-standing history of successful replantation, or re-attachment, of amputated digits, hands and upper extremities by the plastic and reconstructive hand surgeons at SIU, said Dr. Michael W. Neumeister, professor and chair of SIU’s Department of Surgery, The Elvin G. Zook Endowed Chair in Plastic Surgery and surgical director of the Hand Transplant Program at SIU School of Medicine.

The Memorial Medical Center Foundation provided a $2.8 million grant to establish the program. The grant is expected to cover the majority of costs for up to five patients over three years.

Between 6,000 and 10,000 upper extremity amputations occur each year in the United States, and over 1,200 soldiers have lost a limb as a result of explosions in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is estimated that over 1.3 million people in the United States currently have some form of amputation.

Since microsurgery was first initiated at SIU School of Medicine in the early 1980s, plastic surgery has reattached many amputated fingers and hands, Neumeister said. Unfortunately not all amputated limbs are salvageable and these patients are destined to live as amputees with or without the use of various prosthetics. Although prosthetics can be extremely useful they do have their limitations, costs and poor ability to provide sensation, he said.

The first long term successful hand transplant was performed in Louisville, Ky., in 1999. There have been nearly 100 hands subsequently transplanted worldwide, with an overall 5-year allograft survival rate of around 90 percent, compared to 75 percent in kidney transplants.

Hand transplantation can be technically very challenging and may last from 12 to 24 hours while bones, blood vessels, tendons, muscles, nerves and skin are meticulously repaired, Neumeister said. Patients subsequently require significant monitoring of their immunosuppressive (anti-rejection) medications as well as intense physical therapy to regain function of the transplanted upper extremity.

Patients who meet the basic eligibility requirements and wish to be considered should contact the Clinical Research Coordinator at 1-855-SIU-HAND (1-855-748-4263) or Visit

awards & honors

Dr. BartkeAndrzej Bartke, PhD, professor emeritus and distinguished of internal medicine, received the 2013 Robert W. Kleemeier Award from the Gerontological Society of America (GSA). This honor is given annually to a GSA member in recognition for outstanding research in the field of gerontology. It was established in 1965 in memory of Robert W. Kleemeier, Ph.D., a former president of the Society.

Careyana BrenhamCareyana Brenham, MD, associate professor of family medicine, was honored as the Family Medicine Teacher of the Year by the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians.

Dr. Sanfey

Hilary Sanfey, MD, professor of surgery and vice chair of educational affairs, is the 2013 recipient of the Olga Jonasson Distinguished Member Award presented by the Association of Women Surgeons. The award is named in memory of Olga Jonasson, MD, the first female chair of an academic department of surgery and a leader in the American College of Surgeons. It is given to a member surgeon who exemplifies the ideals and mission of the association. The award was presented at the American College of Surgeons Annual Clinical Congress in Washington, DC. 

Dr. SiddiqueSohail Siddique, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and chief of the urogynecology division, passed the first-ever Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery Subspecialty board examination. Dr. Siddique is among the first group of physicians to be certified as an FPMRS subspecialist, administered by the American Urogynecologic Society.

Dr. VarneyAndrew Varney, MD, professor of internal medicine, was named the Illinois American College of Physicians (ACP) Laureate. The award honors fellows and masters of the ACP who have demonstrated and modeled an abiding commitment to excellence in medical care, education, and/or research and community service, their chapter and the ACP.

Family and Community Medicine in Decatur received Patient-Centered Medical Home Standard (PCMH) 2011-Level 2 recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). The NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health-care quality. The designation recognizes outstanding, innovative practices that use the PCMH model in which clinician-led teams enhance access and oversee continuity of care, especially for prevention and chronic conditions. Susan Klein, MD, assistant professor and assistant director of SIU’s Decatur Family Physicians, chaired the PCMH Standard 2011-Level 2 committee.

Employees honored for decades of service

35 years: David Steward, Community Health & Service; David King, Anatomy

30 years: Debra Phillips, FCM- Quincy; Michael Zoelzer, Education & Curriculum; Harold Bardo, MEDPREP; Barbara Szary, MEDPRE

25 years: Karen Broquet, Med Ed; Kristi Franklin, Pharmacology; Carol Gordon, Information & Communication Sciences; Tom Handy, Communications & Public Affairs; Lyn Hopkins, SIU HealthCare Managed Care; James Kane, Research Services; Mary Kienzler, Medical Library; Hilda Kohl, SIU HealthCare Core; Tim Koschmann, Med Ed; Sylvia McDonnough, HR; Melody Reynolds, SIU HealthCare Clinic Support Operations; Audrey Robinson, Education & Curriculum; Theresa Waldmire, Management & Budget; Charlotte Keller, Anatomy; Sandra Shea, FCM - Carbondale

20 years: Theresa Boley, Surgery; Christine Bosgraaf, Pharmacology; Lucinda Buescher, Internal Medicine; Robert Buzzell,Internal Medicine; Gayla Cheffy, Surgery; Deborah Clayton, IPMI; Cynthia Gorbett, Internal Medicine; Anthony Grasch, Surgery; Betty Hamilton, Internal Medicine; Todd Hammond, Office of the Dean; Stephen Hazelrigg, Surgery; Greg Kyrouac, CADRD; Sheryl Lloyd, Alumni Affairs; Dawn Moore, Surgery; Benjamin Neff, CPSO; Carol Phillips, Neurology; Kathy Sorrill, FCM-Quincy; Bethany Speilman, Med Humanities; Jennifer Worley, Student Affairs; Michael Collard, Physiology; Sarah Newlin, FCM - Carbondale.

15 years: Jeremy Anderson, Information Resources; Maria Ansley, Surgery; Cesar Arguelles, FCM-Decatur; Judy Armstrong, SIU HealthCare Coding; Margaret Boehler, Surgery; Aaron Bowman, Information Resources; Deborah Broughton, FCM-Springfield; Deborah Brown, Pediatrics; Judith Bryan, Pharmacology; Dwight Butcher, SIU HealthCare Coding; Richard Conant, Management & Budget; Lisa Deluka, Pediatrics; Eileen DiBartolomeo, Neurology; Shelly Ehrlich, Pediatrics; Suzanne Elble, Neurology; Alice Goodrich, SCI; Jill Hiler, FCM-Core; Susan Hingle, Internal Medicine; Debbie Horve, Surgery; Amy Houser, FCM-Quincy; Monica Jenot, Internal Medicine; Laurie Jessen, Internal Medicine; Richard Jordan, FCM-Springfield; Susan Klein, FCM-Decatur; Debbie Larsen, Surgery; Sharon Lokaitis, Surgery; Jean Long, Surgery; Erica Nelson, OB-GYN; Christine Salzeider, Pediatrics; Cathy Schwind, Surgery; Heidi Shaffer, FCM-Quincy; Deborah Shore, CPSO; Cindy Stelte, SIU HealthCare PBS; Alethea England, Information Systems Carbondale; Pamela Jacobini, Physiology; Thomas McDowell, Academic Support; Glenda Sullivan, MEDPREP

faculty update

Dr. Robbins

Dr. Robbins

The position held by Dr. K. Thomas Robbins at Simmons Cancer Institute (SCI) has changed from executive director to the senior level of Executive Director Emeritus. As Dr. Robbins plans for a future role in global outreach in Africa, his administrative efforts at SCI will specifically target fund raising and grant procurement. He will continue to serve his patients and hold the appointment of professor in otolaryngology and the Simmons Cancer Institute Endowed Chair of Excellence in Oncology. In addition, Dr. Robbins has accepted new responsibilities as the inaugural president of the newly formed Lakeshores Division of the American Cancer Society, representing Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.

Dr. Khan

Dr. Khan

Dr. Aziz Khan, professor of internal medicine and chief of the division of hematology/oncology at the SIU School of Medicine and chief medical officer at SCI, will assume duties as Interim Executive Director of the Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU. A national search is planned to fill the permanent executive director position. During his 10 year tenure, Dr. Robbins led the efforts to build SCI into a comprehensive academic cancer program. It now offers a robust, federally funded basic research program; multidisciplinary cancer care teams for all major cancers; grants to promote team science; behavioral oncology; complementary care; extensive outreach programs; strong community support and unprecedented philanthropy. He established the first affiliation in SCI’s cancer care network with Southern Illinois Healthcare in Carbondale to enhance specialized cancer treatment in the most southern region of Illinois. Dr. Robbins initiated staff outreach efforts in Herrin, Staunton, Alton and the Montgomery County area, while personally conducting clinics for head and neck cancer patients monthly for several years in Herrin.

new faculty

Family & Community Medicine, Springfield & Medical Humanities
Wendi El-Amin, MD, associate professor of family and community medicine, Springfield and associate professor of medical education

Family & Community Medicine, West Frankfort
Kushan Moonesinghe, MD, assistant professor of family and community medicine

Internal Medicine
Rebecca Larson, MD, assistant professor, dermatology and Mohs micrographic surgery

Fazeel M. Siddiqui, MD, assistant professor, specializing in vascular neurology and neurocritical care

Sabha Ganai, MD, PhD, assistant professor of surgery and director of gastrointestinal oncology

Tamara Pylawka, MD, assistant professor, orthopaedic medicine, Quincy and Springfield

New Faculty
Phone 217-545-8000
P.O. Box 19620
Springfield, IL 62794-9620
The mission of SIU School of Medicine is to assist the citizens of central and southern Illinois in meeting their health-care needs through education, patient care, research and service to the community.


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