School of Medicine Recognizes “Noteworthy” Faculty

On Tuesday, February 21, Dean Nancy Andrews presented 39 Duke University School of Medicine faculty members, including Dr. Joseph Mathew, chairman of Duke Anesthesiology, and Dr. Ru-Rong Ji, Duke Anesthesiology’s chief of pain research, their “Noteworthy” portraits. This distinguished honor recognizes prominent Duke faculty who have reached extraordinary levels of accomplishment. All of the portraits are on display for public viewing in the Dean’s Suite.

Duke Anesthesiology Chairman Joseph Mathew

Photo Courtesy: Duke Photography

Noted for research focused on improving perioperative outcomes, particularly neurocognitive dysfunction, alterations in brain connectivity and occurrence of atrial fibrillation after cardiac surgery, and for his leadership in perioperative echocardiography.

Dr. Ru-Rong Ji

Photo Courtesy: Duke Photography

Noted for studying molecular and cellular mechanisms of chronic pain; demonstrating important roles of MAP kinase signaling pathways, glial cells, and neuroinflammation in the pathogenesis of chronic pain; elucidating how immune mediators modulate neuronal activities; and identifying novel therapeutics for pain control.

Dean Nancy Andrews hosts a “Noteworthy” reception in the Dean’s Suite showcasing the hanging portraits

Dean Nancy Andrews hosts a “Noteworthy” reception in the Dean’s Suite showcasing the hanging portraits

Chris KeithSchool of Medicine Recognizes “Noteworthy” Faculty
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A Record-Breaking Global Health Fundraiser

2016 Pie In The FaceFor the third year in a row, a crowd gathered outside the Trent Semans Center on December 7 for Duke Anesthesiology’s Pie in the Face fundraising event to watch the top donor throw the honorary pie at the contest “competitor” who raised the most money, all in the name of global health!

This year’s winner, Dr. Eddie Sanders, came prepared as Katie Galbraith, president of Duke Regional Hospital, threw two honorary pies on behalf of the top donor, Shawn West, administrative director for Regional Anesthesia, PLLC. The tables then turned as last year’s contestants, John Borrelli and Dr. Sol Aronson, made quite the entrance and surprised Dr. Sanders with two additional pies to the tune of KISS, Dr. Sanders’ favorite rock band. And, there was no escaping a pie in the face for each of the runner-up contestants, Drs. Stuart Grant and Dhanesh Gupta!

This year’s three “competitors” raised $6,366 – the largest Pie in the Face fundraising total to-date which will go toward departmental residents’ travel expenses for their global health missions. Dr. Sanders raised $4,280, Dr. Grant raised $1,291 and Dr. Gupta raised $795. Thank you to all of the donors for their generosity and the contestants for participating in this year’s fundraiser!

Pie in the Face is an annual global health fundraiser that Duke Anesthesiology began in 2014. Three “competitors” are chosen from the department each year. The person who earns the most donations in their name receives the celebratory pie in the face; the top donor receives the honor of throwing the pie. Previous Pie in the Face winners include Duke Anesthesiology’s chairman, Dr. Joseph Mathew, and Dr. Aronson. Anesthesia plays a critical role in global health care and there is a great need for anesthesiologists abroad. In response, Duke Anesthesiology continues to take steps to encourage its global presence in countries that need it the most.

Chris KeithA Record-Breaking Global Health Fundraiser
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Doctors Featured on WRAL-TV With Carbon Monoxide Warning

Drs. Richard Moon & John FreibergerIt’s that time of year when people increase their generator and indoor heating uses which has prompted a warning from Duke Anesthesiology’s Dr. Richard Moon about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, as featured on WRAL-TV on November 29.

This warning comes one week after 16 people were sent to Duke Anesthesiology’s one-of-a-kind hyperbaric chamber to be treated for carbon monoxide poisoning, the only chamber in the state that treats patients 24/7, 365 days a year.

Dr. Moon is the medical director of the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Environmental Physiology, where the chamber is housed. He treated the 16 patients. As explained in the WRAL article by his colleague, Dr. Jake Freiberger, patients are seated in chairs, and they wear a hood over their head as the chamber washes out carbon monoxide from their bodies and replaces it with 100 percent oxygen.

According to the WRAL article, symptoms of carbon monoxide include dizziness and feeling light-headed. Doctors warn that not getting treatment quickly enough can result in long-term effects to the brain, such as memory loss or death.

Chris KeithDoctors Featured on WRAL-TV With Carbon Monoxide Warning
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Dr. Maixner Makes National Headlines About Surgeon General’s Report

William Maixner, DDS, PhDThe surgeon general released a landmark report about drug addiction and abuse on November 17 which prompted both praise and critique from pain specialists across the nation, including a world-renowned pain researcher with Duke Anesthesiology, Dr. Bill Maixner.

According to an article by Duke Today and an interview posted on YouTube by Duke Health, he commends the report for outlining ways to deal with an overt problem around addiction and substance abuse, and providing full recognition that this is a disease rather than a character flaw. But he adds that it missed an opportunity to call for research and development of additional medical alternatives to opiates for pain management.

The report serves as a call to action and tackles what Dr. Maixner calls “the hidden epidemic” of chronic pain in America which affects more than 100 million adults and costs society more than $635 billion each year. “The cost of treating chronic pain is greater than the combined costs of diabetes, cancer and heart disease,” notes Dr. Maixner. “Yet we spend just four cents per pain patient annually on research, while pain patients consume about 15 percent of health care costs annually. That’s a big imbalance.”

Dr. Maixner was also featured in an NBC News article about the report, which he believes could have gone even further. He says, “There’s very little language regarding the need for discovery of new treatments, discovery of new therapies for chronic pain — which is another epidemic. One of the reasons we have this hidden epidemic in chronic pain is the fact that we don’t have good therapies, and many physicians rely on the use of opioids.” He adds, “We find, unfortunately, that a large number of these individuals are treated by opioids by well-intended individuals who have very little option but opioids to go to.”

Following the release of the surgeon general’s report, MedPage Today formed a panel of experts in addiction, pain and emergency medicine (including Dr. Maixner) to begin a national dialogue about the crisis of addiction. Click here to watch the panel discussion.

As highlighted earlier this year in the cover story of Duke Anesthesiology’s annual magazine, BluePrint, Dr. Maixner says one-tenth of chronic pain patients are suffering from opioid addiction and abuse due to excessive exposure to opioids which are often misappropriated. He believes the only way to deal with the abuse and addiction is to discover new medications and innovative pain therapies which require research.

Dr. Maixner is the director of Duke Anesthesiology’s Center for Translational Pain Medicine. This center further expands the department’s existing clinical and research program in innovative pain therapies by bringing together, under one umbrella, leading basic scientists, clinicians and clinical researchers who have a common core mission of unraveling the causes of painful conditions to better improve patient care. He also played a key role in the opening of a first-of-its-kind pain practice, Duke Innovative Pain Therapies, located in Raleigh.

Chris KeithDr. Maixner Makes National Headlines About Surgeon General’s Report
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