BCM Internal Medicine Residency Newsletter - Winter Edition

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Message from the Baby Chiefs

We are excited to share with all of you our third edition of Premedicated! This winter marked many important milestones - a very successful fellowship match for our PGY3s (see pictures and match list below), transitioning to upper level for our PGY2s, and making it through over half of intern year for our PGY1s. We also had a very successful interview season thanks to the active participation of many of our residents. All of your hard work will ensure that the new incoming class of interns will be just as bright, shiny and dedicated as our current ones.

We hope that you enjoy this newsletter and as always, remember that we are here to support you in any way possible - please do not hesitate to reach out to us!


Bhavika, Dimpal, Greg, Shira & Tony

Program Director Update : From the Desk of Dr. Richard Hamill

I hope that everyone had a pleasurable holiday season! We are winding down our interview season for next year’s interns – two more weeks left. We have received a record number of applications this year, 3760, up over 600 from last year. Several factors have accounted for this impressive increase, including: (1) establishment of several new MD and DO medical schools; (2) increased enrollments at existing schools, like Baylor; (3) individual applicants who have applied to many more institutions; and (4) increased interest in internal medicine as a career. I have been very impressed with the quality of applicants this year and am very optimistic that we will have an exceptional match. We owe much of the success of our interview process to the enormous contributions of the Medicine Residency Office staff, associate program directors and all of the residents who have participated in interview dinners, escorting applicants from hotels to dinner and provided hospital tours. The applicants routinely recognize the interview dinners as their favorite part of the visits because of the comradery exhibited by the residents. I want to personally thank you for all of your work in this process.

Several projects will consume our efforts over the next few months as we prepare for the next academic year. Stacey Rose has been meeting with representatives of all of the subspecialties to prepare updated versions of curricula for each rotation. These will contain specific expectations, anticipated milestones of evaluation and reading lists. In addition, milestone-based evaluations will be developed. We have received tremendous cooperation from all of the subspecialty sections and appreciate their input in this process. We have tested the new evaluations in the continuity clinic setting in order to identify issues that need to be addressed. It is anticipated that these will all be ready in July 2016.

I have been provided with the names of a research liaison from each subspecialty section in order to facilitate the process of updating the Research Brochure for the Department of Medicine. We have developed a template for each individual faculty member to complete. The finished Research Brochures will be made available on Blackboard this Spring for all medical students, residents and fellows to utilize.

Our residency program has had a “Primary Care Track” for a number of years, but it has never been very well developed. One of the reasons has to do with the restrictions on conventional CMS funding and what can be done with that money. However, things are about to change. Recently, Dr. LaChauncy Woodard at the Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety at the MEDVAMC was awarded $2.5 M to develop a Center of Excellence in Primary Care Education at the VA. The intent is to develop a multidisciplinary clinic for education of medical residents, PA students, nursing students, pharmacy students and mental health workers. In addition, we have received the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for a Graduate Medical Education Expansion Grant to fund 4 primary care positions. The funds in this grant are much more flexible and will allow us to develop a very robust primary care experience that all of the residents in the program can benefit from. We should be notified about his grant soon, but based on our previous track record with this funding mechanism, we are very optimistic that we will be successful.

I hope that you enjoy the Winter edition of our newsletter.

Welcome from the Interim Chair of the Department of Medicine

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. 2015 was an excellent year for the Department of Medicine, and 2016 promises no less. I would like to give you an update on the accomplishments of our faculty and residents and the growth in our department over the last 6 months.

Under the leadership of Director Adam Walmus, Chief of Staff Dr. Kalavar, Dr. Biykem Bozkurt, Dr. Charlie Lan and of course with the hard work of the residents, faculty, VA hospitalists and VA support staff, the Medical Care Line at the Houston VA has made incredible strides. In less than a year, the Houston VA has gone from one-star status to 3-star status and is well on its way to achieving 4 stars! This will place our VA in the ranks of the best academic VA medical centers in the country in patient outcomes and quality of care.

As a whole, the Margaret M. Alkek Department of Medicine is in great health. We added more than 50 new faculty members in 2015, over 30 within the Sections of Cardiology, Pulmonary Medicine and General Internal Medicine.

Our faculty continue to excel and in research and education. Here is just a small sampling of the over 40 national awards within the last half year: Dr. David Y. Graham was recognized for his role as mentor with the Research Mentor Award at the annual meeting of the American Gastroenterological Association. Dr. Kay Guntupalli was desginated a "Master Fellow" of the American College of Chest Physicians, the highest honor of this organization. Dr. Biykem Bozkurt received the Gifted Educator Award of the American College of Cardiology. Dr. Anoop Agrawal received a 2015 Apple Distinguished Educator Award. Many more achievements are listed elsewhere in this edition of the newsletter.

The department's research portfolio continues to grow. NIH grant submissions increased by nearly 30%. In total, our department has received over $66 million in grant funding between October 2014 and September 2015 (a considerable increase from the year prior).

The residency program continues to be among the strongest in the country under the direction of Dr. Richard Hamill and a group of outstanding associate and assistant program directors. We had a very impressive and successful fellowship match, and a record number of applicants for all the residency tracks. We are proud of the excellent performance of our residents in patient care and education; they have also been active in a range of research endeavors and service activities that are highlighted in this newsletter.

Heartfelt thanks to all of you for your hard work and dedication to excellence in all your endeavors. We look forward to a great 2016!

All the best,

Ashok Balasubramanyam

Chief Resident Corner

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Ben Taub Chief : Dr. Ameera Ahmed

Life is good at the Taub! We had the big chief transition in January and everyone is settling in nicely at their new sites. I am very happy and excited to be at Ben Taub! FINALLY! BEN TAUB IS WHY I WANTED TO BE CHIEF!

I am very pleased to announce the formation of our new residency Diversity Council with our new APD's Stephanie Sherman's guidance. Our first order of business will be to host our first ever Diversity Second look day at Ben Taub next month. We want to showcase our diverse patient population and the exciting opportunities Baylor has to offer! If you interested in attending and helping out please let me know.

Morning report has been fun with some excellent cases. I have been really enjoying everyone's discussions on the issues facing medicine today in our new medicine in the news section. Our brand new medical students on their first rotation ever really have been stepping up with their discussions and their patient care skills! See them in action below with the medication charts they made for their patients!

As always I am humbled by what good care y'all take care of our patients. Shout out to Nicki Oakman and Harish for going above and beyond for one their very sick patients by buying balloons to brighten the room!

VA Chief : Dr. Minal Shah

Hi everyone!

Things are going well over at the VA this quarter. Last month we had a big Hail and Farewell event to celebrate the contribution of Rehman as VA Chief! We will miss you, and I definitely have big shoes to fill.

The volume of admissions at the VA has ballooned over the last few weeks, so I thank you for all of your hard work and dedication in taking care of our nation’s veterans. We’ve listened to all of your feedback over the last few months, and we’re making some changes I think you’ll appreciate. Please look out for the Learner’s Perception Survey which will make its way into your mailboxes soon—it takes a few minutes to complete, but it’s how the VA identifies issues that are important to residents (like food, EMR issues, ancillary service issues, and PARKING!). Geographic unit admissions have been a big hit with residents, nurses and patients, and we’re happy that things are going so well. Our relationship with the nurses has improved a lot since we’ve started geographic admissions, and I’ll be contacting you guys while you’re on the wards with ideas make things even better.

Our first two Town Hall meetings this year went really well—thanks to everyone that came out! We really appreciate getting your honest feedback and your ideas for how to make things better. Hopefully we will iron out a lot of these issues for next year!

We got a new bolus of short white coats last month—happy, smiling 2nd year medical students on their first clinical rotations. Thanks to our residents and faculty for being such great educators. Because of your effort, we had more than 50 categorical applicants for internal medicine from Baylor this year! That's all I have for now. For more updates, please stop by my office. Diet coke donations are welcome :)

St. Lukes Chief : Dr. Salman Ahmed

It's an honor to follow in Dr. Minal Shah's footsteps as CMR of Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center. She's done a great job working through the transition period, developing several new and exciting learning opportunities for residents.

The MICU faculty will be implementing a new curriculum both for the MICU rotation as well as the upper level MICU night float rotation. We are grateful for the continued educational support of the overnight MICU attendings.

Medical students now rotate at BSLMC for two weeks and ambulatory for two weeks. This makes for a smaller, more connected group of medical students at BSLMC, and their enthusiasm is inspiring!

Over the remainder of the academic year, we have an amazing series of BSLMC Grand Rounds planned, including plans for talks by Dr. David Hilmers (March 14), Dr. Glenn Levine (April 11), Dr. Madhuri Vasudevan (April 18), and Dr. Anoop Agrawal (April 25), among many others.

Ambulatory & MD Anderson Chief : Dr. Rehman Sheikh

I am excited to be your Ambulatory Care/MD Anderson Track Chief Resident for the second half of the academic year! I will try my best to fill Ameera’s amazing shoes. She did a phenomenal job the first half of the year and I will strive to do the same.

Over the next few months, we will be working on expanding the already diverse ambulatory experience to accommodate for an increase in the number of ambulatory residents in the 2016-2017 class. I am working on enriching the ambulatory experience with supplemental questions and literature based on the ambulatory elective and will hopefully introduce this in the next few weeks.

The Baylor-MD Anderson Track is turning into a fantastic experience under the direction of Drs. Ellen Manzullo and Amit Lahoti (along with Ameera last year) and with the help of Coordinator Charity Semberra. One exciting change on the horizon…EPIC is coming to MD Anderson in March! How we train housestaff for EPIC is still being worked out. We are also working on identifying additional rotations to offer at MD Anderson next year to accommodate the increase in MD-Baylor Track residents.

I am always amazed by how intelligent and well-rounded our residents are and how accomplished our faculty is. Keep up the incredible work! I will hopefully have many more updates in the next edition!

Associate Program Director Spotlight : Dr. Zaven Sargsyan

Zaven grew up in Armenia, Russia, and Houston. He studied bioengineering at Rice, and went to medical school here at BCM. After finishing his internal medicine residency at Mass General Hospital in Boston, he moved back to join the BCM faculty in 2014. He currently splits his clinical time between the VA and Ben Taub. At Ben Taub, he enjoys serving as the interpreter while students and residents talk to the patient, and being stumped in morning report. At the VA, he enjoys the gratitude, humility, and quirks of our veterans. Outside of work, he likes to run, travel with friends, and play ultimate frisbee. When he invariably injures himself, he likes to cook, play board games, and hang out with his nephews.

Zaven’s academic interests include physical diagnosis, medical simulation, diagnostic ultrasound, and training residents as teachers. He tries to contribute to residents’ training in many of these realms, so don’t be surprised if you see him pushing an ultrasound machine around the VA or acting encephalopathic in the sim lab. He loves working with our residents on the wards and as an associate program director, and hopes to get to know everyone even better.

Faculty Awards

Dr. Mothaffar Rimawi received the inaugural C. Kent Osborne Award for Medical Excellence.

Dr. Matthew Ellis received the Stand Up to Cancer 2015 Laura Ziskin Prize to advance studies of the defective DNA repair mechanisms in breast cancer and the 2015 Gianni Bonadonna Breast Cancer Award.

Dr. Kent Osborne was the 2015 Love Foundation Awardee.

Dr. Nasser Lakkis led the group of doctors at Ben Taub who earned the 2015 Platinum Performance Achievement Award from the ACTION Registry-Get With the Guidelines for demonstrating sustained achievement of performance measures in treatment of acute MI.

Dr. Larry Chan was conferred an honorary Professorship from the Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, and delivered the Plenary Lecture at the Chinese Endocrinologist Association Annual Congress in Suzhou, China.

Dr. Roberto Casal received the Geoffrey McLennan Memorial Award for Advances in Interventional Pulmonology from the American Association for Bronchology and Interventional Pulmonology.

Dr. Pat Herlihy received the "Innovation award" for organizing Critical Care services for the BSLMC at the annual meeting of the BSLMC staff.

Dr. Vandana Shah received the Outstanding Community Service Organization Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Houston Chapter.

Dr. Susanne Savely was elected to serve as President of the South Texas Chapter of the Health Physics Society (STC-HPS).

Drs. Robert Atmar, Rabih Darouiche, Stephen Greenberg, Daniel Musher, Richard Hamill and Maria Rodriguez-Barradas were elected to “Best Doctors in America”

Dr. Avinash Ketwaroo was elected chair of the American Gastroenterological Association, Young GI and Trainee Committee.

Quality Improvement Corner

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Hello Everyone,

This message comes to you from your QI chiefs at the VA. Now that the academic year is almost half way done, you must have heard about the IHI modules that are mandatory prior to completion of your PGY-2. Not all are required for graduation but a select group of 11 which have been deemed beneficial for you guys as you go out in to the work force, further training and for you second years as you proceed towards the completion of your QI projects.

The selected required IHI modules are listed in Blackboard under the ‘Guides’ section. Furthermore, the residency office will be tracking your progress with these modules to make sure that you guys are achieving all that is required prior to graduation. We also encourage you to save those certificates as proof of your completion. In the event that you have completed these modules during medical school, you can present your certificate to the residency office to get credit.

PGY-2s, you should be nearing the completion of your QI projects. Remember all members are expected to present during your final presentation. Additional submission of the posters to the Baylor Research day and Medicine QI symposium is required.

Please do not hesitate to contact your QI chiefs if you have any questions or concerns.

We look forward to seeing all that you have been working on.

Megan and Blaine

CRQS 2015-2016 or or

Advocacy Corner

Happy New Year everyone! 2016 marks the 10-year anniversary of Houston’s healthcare advocacy organization Doctors For Change. If you are interested in improving access to care, fighting human trafficking, reducing obesity, or strengthening mental health, consider attending an event this year or participating in a fundraiser.

The January IM noon conference lectures includes the fundamentals of human trafficking for the health care professional. Next up, we will be addressing the basics of heath care advocacy.

To join one of the DFC committees, please check out:

Or email to join the listserve for announcements.

Please make a resolution this year to help out your community!

DFC 2016 Calendar

2/01: Meeting – Mental Health Committee

2/09: Forum – Adolescent Healthcare Forum

2/16: Meeting – Access to Care Committee Meeting

2/22: Happy Hour – 10-Year Anniversary Kickoff

3/30: Forum – Healthy Eating & Active Living

6/05: Meeting – Leadership Retreat

And be on the lookout as we plan additional events throughout the year, including:

March: VegOut! Challenge with Recipe For Success

April: DocDays with the Houston Public Library

May: 2015 Spring Fundraiser

June: Anti-Human Trafficking Forum

Aug.: Access to Care Forum

Sept.: Mental Health Forum

Fall: Legislative Advocacy Training Forum

Nov: DFC 10th Anniversary Celebration & Silent Auction

On Saturday, February 6 the NMPRA local chapter is hosting a service day at the Houston Food Bank from 1-4 PM. If you'd like to volunteer please contact Nupur Agrawal ( A great opportunity to give back to the community in the fight against hunger and obesity... plus if you have any old reusable school supplies that you'd like to donate, they help distribute them among local schools.

Brought to you by : Dr. Wilson Lam

Tech Corner

Baylor has joined a number of top IM programs in Global Morning Report, a fun and engaging way for physicians to build their differential diagnosis and clinical reasoning skills outside of the wards.

Each day residents, fellows, and attendings have the opportunity to solve the best case from around the world from the prior day and submit a case for the next day. Programs are scored based on their participation and performance. The cases are entirely virtual can be solved on any mobile device or computer. It typically takes 2 minutes to solve a case and under 10 minutes to post a new case. Participants receive a daily email with the day's case, as well as the answer to the prior day's case.

You can join the Baylor team by signing up for the email list at or downloading "Human Dx" from the Apple App Store. If you have any trouble, email


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Jason Pelton BCM

David Wong BCM

Ahmed Ansari BCM

Ameera Ahmed Cedars Sinai (Los Angeles)

Jason Hoff Loma Linda

Ozlem Bilen Emory

Peter Nguyen University of California - Irvine

Rohit Maini Tulane

Neeti Reddy UT Houston

Dennis Wang U Washington


Joseph Zhang UT - Houston

Ami Panara U Miami

Meagan Walker U Indiana

Randy Chung UTSW

Anam Khan BCM

Rehman Sheikh BCM


Quillan Huang BCM

Jan Kemnade BCM


Katie Jeans BCM

Andrea Shioleno Cornell

Allison Ramsey UCLA

Megan Pate U Maryland


Prathit Kulkarni BCM


Anisha Gupta BCM


Zach Marshall BCM

Adil Zahiruddin UTMB


Salman Ahmed Brigham & Womens’


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Holidays in the Hospital

Winter Birthdays

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Sushi Making @ QM

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Resident Presentations and Publications

Society of General Internal Medicine Acceptances

"A Peculiar Case of a Young Man Presenting with Acute Myocardial Infarction." Hao Chi Zhang, Cecilia Cai, Brad Venghaus, Allison M. Pritchett, Joslyn Fisher.

"Rectal Sheath Hematoma in the Setting of Anticoagulation." Maygen del Castillo, Murtaza Saifee.

"That Which Not Only Bends Up." Gabriel G. Oaxaca, Hao Chi Zhang, Nicolas Cortes-Penfield, Hoonmo Koo.

"When the Carotid Pops." Hao Chi Zhang, Vandana G. Shah.

"My feet are killing me! - A Waitress with Asthma, Eosinophilia, and Painful Paresthesia." Cecilia Cai, Hao Chi Zhang, Brad Venghaus, Joslyn Fisher.

"Are You Sure You Haven’t Traveled Outside the US." Allencherril J, Birnbaum GD, Gold B.

"The Prevalence of OSA Among an Adult Population with Down Syndrome." Michelle Cornacchia, Janis Sethness, Philip Alapat, Cynthia Peacock.

"A Swollen Knee While Treating Latent TB." K Salciccioli, F Lacour-Chestnut, N Nowalk, P Adotama, W B LeMaster, M Vasudevan.

"Platypnea-Orthodeoxia due to an Intracardiac Shunt." Sanket Borgaonkar, Dhaval Parekh, Medhi Razavi, Wilson W. Lam.

"Hiccoughs and Hypotension: A Remarkably Unremarkable Presentation of Infectious Endocarditis." Nathan Nowalk, Prince Adotama, William Blake LeMaster, Madhuri M. Vasudevan.

"Walk a Bile in His Shoes." Saba Sheikh, Minal A. Shah.

"A Malignant Obstruction: A Rare Cause of Heart Failure Secondary to Pseudomitral Stenosis." Dimpal Bhakta. Erica Hubenthal.


Society of Hospital Medicine Acceptances

"The Entire Stomach Turned in to an Immobile Sack: An Unusual Case of Crohn Disease." Yasmin Sun, Erica Hubenthal.

"Pituitary Tumor Apoplexy: A Rare Cause of Thunderclap Headache." Sara Chen, Lee Poythress.

"Lactic Acidosis in Asthma." Rasheen Imtiaz.

"A Quality Improvement Project to Increase the Rate of Age Appropriate DXA Screening for Female Patients in a Harris Health Internal Medicine Resident Clinic." Natalie Chavarria. Rohit Maini, Nicole Zeisig, Nico Cortes-Penfield, Anam Khan, Jing Kees, Moshin Soleja, Anjali Kholi, Peter Nguyen, Erica Hubenthal, Anita Kusnoor and Diana Stewart

"More than Skin-Deep: Metastatic Melanoma of Unknown Primary Presenting as an Upper GI Bleed." Veronica Vittone and Jeffrey Bates.

"Identification and Referral of Emergency Department Patients with a Presentation Suspicious for an Underlying Malignancy." O. Bhattasali, S. Chen, R. Ran, S. Borgaonkar, M. Crawford, M. Mims, C. Dark.


Anandita Kulkarni recently published a review article in Current Atherosclerosis Reports on the role of ezetimibe in the treatment of cardiovascular disease

The Houston Chapter of the Society of Hospital Medicine held their first annual abstract competition this year. The submissions were excellent overall. This year’s winning abstract in the Clinical Vignette category belongs to Rasheen Imtiaz, who submitted “Lactic Acidosis in Asthma.” The winning Innovation/Research abstract belongs to Sara Chen, who submitted “Identification and Referral of Emergency Department Patients with a Presentation Suspicious for Underlying Malignancy.” Rasheen’s abstract was also accepted to the National SHM Meeting in San Diego in March! Congratulations to Rasheen and Sara for their outstanding work!

Physician Recruitment

Catholic Health Initiatives, a nonprofit, faith-based health system formed in 1996 through the consolidation of four Catholic health systems, expresses its mission each day by creating and nurturing healthy communities in the hundreds of sites across the nation where it provides care. The nation’s second-largest nonprofit health system, Englewood, Colorado-based CHI operates in 19 states and comprises 102 hospitals, including four academic health centers and major teaching hospitals as well as 30 critical-access facilities; community health-services organizations; accredited nursing colleges; home-health agencies; living communities; and other facilities and services that span the inpatient and outpatient continuum of care.

CHI Greater Houston Region Physician Network is building a network of providers with a common vision and shared culture. Our faith based ministry is reaching diverse populations in rural areas, small towns and cities across the United States.

CHI Greater Houston Physician Network currently has openings for Family and Internal Medicine Physicians in our East Texas region which includes; Livingston, Lufkin and Bryan College Station.

We offer:

* Competitive salary and benefits

* Up to $160,000 loan repayment through the State of Texas

* Sign-on and relocation bonus

* CME allowance

* Great school districts

* Beautiful communities with close proximity to Houston, Austin and San Antonio

* Low cost of living

Please email CV to:

Janel Greig

Physician Relations Coordinator