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2004 Press Releases 

 

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints Michael A. Greeley as New Trustee

Contact: Public Affairs
617-573-3341

Boston (Dec. 29, 2004)—The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary has appointed Michael A. Greeley, a resident of Beacon Hill, as trustee. Mr. Greeley received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Williams College and a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School.

As the founder and currently Managing General Partner of IDG Ventures, Mr. Greeley has more than 15 years of investment experience. Formerly a Vice President at Wasserstein Perella & Co., he has also served as Senior Vice President and Founding Partner of GCC Investments. He has also held positions with the Mergers and Acquisitions Department of Morgan Stanley & Co., Inc., and Polaris Venture Partners, where he focused on financing for emerging growth companies.

 

Dr. Daniel Deschler Appointed Director of Head and Neck Surgical Oncology At the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary

Contact: Public Affairs
617-573-3340

(BOSTON) – Daniel G. Deschler, M.D., F.A.C.S., has been appointed Director of the Head and Neck Surgical Oncology at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary effective Nov. 1, 2004. The announcement was made by Joseph B. Nadol, Jr., M.D., Chief of Otolaryngology at MEEI and Chairman of Otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School (HMS).

A graduate of Creighton University and HMS, Dr. Deschler is an Assistant Professor of Otology-Laryngology at HMS. He joined the medical staff of MEEI in 2000 and serves as associate coordinator of medical student education for Otolarynology and on hospital numerous committees.

Dr. Deschler has an active clinical practice and treats patients with head and neck cancer, with a specialization in laryngeal disorders and microvascular free flap reconstruction. His primary research focus is in the evaluation of laryngeal speech following total laryngectomy and pharyngeal reconstruction. He is the author of numerous papers and serves as editor and co-author for Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Clinics of North America on the topic of “Voice Following Laryngeal Cancer Surgery.”

“Dr. Deschler is a very talented clinician, teacher and researcher and a valued member of our faculty, and I look forward to working with him in his new role,” said Dr. Nadol.

Dr. Deschler and his wife, Eileen Reynolds, M.D., live in Lexington, Mass., with their two children, Jack and Will.

 

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints Director of Infectious Diseases

Contact: Public Affairs
617-573-3340

Boston (Oct. 25, 2004)—The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary has appointed Irmgard Behlau, M.D., as Director of Infectious Diseases. Dr. Behlau’s responsibilities include directing Infection Control and Clinical Microbiology, in addition to inpatient and outpatient services.

A resident of Westwood, Mass., Dr. Behlau received her B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her M.D. from Dartmouth Medical School. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Dr. Behlau was formerly a Clinical and Research Fellow in the Infectious Disease Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. She has also served as Clinical Director for the Center of Biodefense at New Jersey Medical School. She is currently an instructor at Harvard Medical School.

 

 

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints New Administrative Manager

Contact: Public Affairs
617-573-3340

Boston (Oct. 26, 2004)—The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary has appointed Janet Cohan as the new Administrative Manager for the Department of Ophthalmology. A resident of West Roxbury, Mass., Ms. Cohan received an M.B.A. from Boston University and a B.A. from Clark University. With over 20 years in the field of health care delivery and management, her experience includes fiscal management and analysis, program implementation, and operations improvement.

Prior to joining the Infirmary, Ms. Cohan served as the Lead Service Line Analyst for Partners Healthcare Systems, where she was responsible for specialty financial reporting, planning and analysis for two academic medical centers and three community hospitals. In addition, she was previously Assistant Director for Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, where she coordinated specialty annual and capital budgets, and collaborated in new systems integration, clinical office operations improvements, and compensation design. Ms. Cohan has also worked for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, where she held positions in managed care programs, including Assistant Health Center Administrator and Healthcare Network Manager.

 

 

Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary Physician Named Professor of Otology and Laryngology at Harvard Medical School

Contact: Public Affairs
(617) 573-4170

Boston (Oct. 25, 2004) – Roland Eavey, M.D., S.M., Director of Pediatric Otolaryngology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI), was recently promoted to Professor of Otology and Laryngology at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Eavey joined the Infirmary in 1978 as a medical resident. He is board certified in pediatrics as well as otolaryngology. His clinical specialization is pediatric otology and in treating conditions such as microtia and cholesteatoma, for which he has devised new surgical techniques.

Dr. Eavey is an active researcher, with basic research interests in tissue engineering to grow external ear structures, the discovery of genes for sensorineural hearing loss and microtia, and pediatric temporal bone histology. For public health prevention, he co-investigated a phase II trial of the conjugated pneumococcal vaccine, organized primary ear care programs in Latin American countries, represented the United States for ear care at the World Health Organization, and worked with MTV regarding noise-induced hearing loss. Dr. Eavey has published more than 160 original papers and medical publications.

Dr. Eavey is a resident of Brookline, Mass. He is married to Sheila Desmond, M.D., Chief of MGH Pediatrics-Chelsea. They have three children.

 

 

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints Child Life Specialist

Contact: Public Affairs
617-573-3340

Boston Boston (Oct. 19, 2004)—The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary has appointed Kristine Oldenburg, a resident of Somerville, Mass., as Child Life Specialist. In the position, she will provide support to children and families that receive treatment at the Infirmary.

Ms. Oldenburg earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wheaton College and a master’s degree in child life and family centered care from Wheelock College. Prior to joining the Infirmary, Ms. Oldenburg worked for the Kingston Hospital in London, England, where she gained experience in the diabetes clinic and surgery unit. In addition, she has worked in child life services at both Boston Medical Center and Boston Children’s Hospital. Most recently, Ms. Oldenburg was Early Intervention Service Coordinator for Harbor Area Early Childhood Services in East Boston. 

 

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary receives NEI grant for ‘growing’ clinical/scientists

Contact: Public Affairs
(617) 573-4170

Boston (Oct. 5, 2004) - The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) of the Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology has been awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health, National Eye Institute (NEI), to recruit, train and support first-rate clinician scientists to promote translational and clinical research into cures for eye disease. This award is integral to the strategic priorities of the Department's new Chair, Joan W. Miller, M.D.

The NEI awarded a five-year K12 grant to the Infirmary for the HMS Department of Ophthalmology last week to fund the new Harvard Vision Clinical Scientist Research Program. With this program, financial support, protected research time, mentorship and didactic training will be provided to a select group of clinically trained candidates at the junior faculty level. The Harvard Vision Clinical Scientist Research Program will be directed by Reza Dana, M.D., administered by MEEI, and guided by a Program Advisory Committee comprised of faculty from the ophthalmology divisions at Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, and other Harvard institutions, including the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

"This new program allows us to exploit the considerable strengths we have at our many Harvard Institutions (namely our faculty, research and teaching programs) to offer a unique mentored learning and career development program to trainees," said Dr. Miller, Chief of Ophthalmology at MEEI and Chair of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. "We anticipate this mechanism will enable us to identify, recruit and train the best and brightest junior faculty who will become productive physician scientist leaders of the future while enriching the research programs of the HMS Department of Ophthalmology and potentially countless individuals who suffer from eye disease."

"We are extremely gratified about this award for several reasons. The current educational and patient care needs of most large academic hospitals are not designed for optimizing the training of clinician-scientists, since the latter requires a structured program and protected time designed exclusively for in-depth commitment to research. The Harvard Department of Ophthalmology, with 123 full-time clinical and research faculty, is not only one of the largest academic departments of ophthalmology in the U.S., indeed in the world, but the breadth and depth that its faculty and research laboratories apply to virtually all aspects of vision research is unparalleled. This program will assist us in simultaneously attracting and retaining the best and brightest young minds in clinical ophthalmology who are committed to research, while maintaining our rich tradition of excellence in patient care and research," said Dr. Dana.

 

 

Researchers Discover New Treatment for Retinitis Pigmentosa

Study published in two papers in Archives of Ophthalmology September 2004 issue

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(617) 573-4170

(Boston) Sept. 13, 2004 -- Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of hereditary retinal diseases that affect about 100,000 people in the United States and 2 million people worldwide. Patients usually develop night blindness in adolescence, loss of side vision in young adulthood, and eventual loss of central vision around age 60. Abnormal pigment develops in the retina due to degeneration of the rods and cones in the retina. The majority of patients with RP are legally blind with less than a 20 degree diameter field of vision by age 40 (normal individuals have an 180 degree field).

In 1993, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary researchers at the Berman-Gund Laboratory for the Study of Retinal Degenerations, led by Eliot L. Berson, M.D., Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, reported the first treatment for most adults with the typical forms of this condition, namely supplementation with vitamin A palmitate 15, 000 IU/day (not beta-carotene). Vitamin A palmitate was estimated to provide 7 years of additional vision for those who began this supplement in their 30s. This was reported in the Archives of Ophthalmology 111:761-772, 1993.

Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid, is in high concentration in the retina and is thought to provide a fluid, fat-soluble environment for vitamin A to change its shape as the initial step in the retinal response to light. Several laboratories observed a slight deficiency of DHA in the blood of patients with RP. This prompted an intensive investigation of the potential value of DHA in supplements and omega-3 rich food for RP that began in 1996. The study evaluated 221 patients ages 18-55, from around the United States over a four-year interval. The results have just been published in the Archives of Ophthalmology in two papers, (Volume 122:1297-1305, 2004 and 122:1306-1314, 2004).

In summary, among all randomized patients DHA supplementation by capsules in a dose of 1200 mg/day, given in combination with vitamin A palmitate 15,000 IU/day, did not, on average, slow the course of this condition over a four-year interval. However, in a subgroup of randomized patients starting vitamin A palmitate for the first time at the beginning of this study (30 patients in the DHA + A group and 35 in the control + A group), DHA supplementation by capsules did slow the loss of visual field sensitivity for two years.

Among those on vitamin A palmitate (but not on DHA capsules), the investigators also observed that those with a higher omega-3 rich diet intake (i.e., equivalent to eating 1-2 three ounce servings per week of omega-3 rich fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, or sardines which contain among other constituents considerable DHA) had, on average, a 40-50% slower annual rate of loss of visual field than patients with a lower omega-3 rich diet.

Based on the subgroup analyses, the research team has recommended that non-pregnant adult patients with RP who are currently taking vitamin A palmitate 15,000 IU/day should continue this treatment and, in addition, eat 1-2 three ounce servings per week of omega-3 rich fish. For those starting vitamin A palmitate 15,000 IU/day for the first time, the researchers advise taking DHA in capsules 600 mg twice each day for two years. After two years they should continue only the vitamin A palmitate and eat 1-2 three ounce servings of omega-3 rich fish per week.

The potential benefit of combining vitamin A palmitate with the omega-3 rich fish diet could achieve almost two decades of visual preservation. Whereas the typical patient with RP loses virtually all vision by age 59, patients who start this regimen in their 30's can now look forward to retaining some vision until age 78. The investigators emphasize that the conclusions are based on group averages and therefore no assurance can be given that this regimen will benefit a specific patient. They also stated that the regimen should be done only under medical supervision as periodic blood tests are recommended to test serum vitamin A and liver function and to assure adequate blood DHA levels.

Dr Berson stated that "this is a simple, safe, and cost-effective treatment regimen that has the potential of adding almost 20 years of visual preservation for patients with RP."

The research was supported by the National Eye Institute and in part by the Foundation Fighting Blindness, Owings Mills, Maryland and more detailed information can be found at www.meei.harvard.edu or www.FightBlindness.org.

The Berman-Gund Laboratory for the Study of Retinal Degenerations, a Harvard Medical School laboratory at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, was established in 1974 to understand the causes and seek treatments for hereditary retinal degenerations.

 

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Resident Receives Chief Resident Teaching Award

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617-573-3340

Boston (July 26, 2004)—Stacey Gray, M.D., an Otolaryngology Resident at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, recently received the Chief Resident Teaching Award. The award, whose purpose is to encourage resident teaching, is presented by fellow medical residents to a graduating senior.

Dr. Gray attended the Honors Program in Medicine at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, and received her medical degree from Georgetown University. She is a recipient of the Cabot Award in General Surgery and has published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Dr. Gray is currently a Clinical Fellow in Rhinology with Ralph Metson, M.D.

 

 

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Physician Receives William Montgomery Award for Excellence in Teaching

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617-573-3340

Boston (July 26, 2004)—Daniel Deschler, M.D., an Otolaryngologist at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, recently received the William Montgomery Award for Excellence in Teaching. The graduating class of medical residents presents the award to a medical staff member who has been instrumental during their training.

Dr. Deschler received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and is certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology. Dr. Deschler is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School and is the author of numerous publications. He is currently conducting research on the quality of life in patients after head and neck surgery, among other topics.

 

 

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Employees Receive James Schneider Memorial Scholarship Award

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617-573-3340

Boston (July 12, 2004)—Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary employees, Ann Cola and Rachna Chawla, recently received the James Schneider Memorial Scholarship Award. The award is presented to employees to promote the enhancement of patient services through education and collaboration with other allied health professions.

Ms. Cola has been employed at the Infirmary for 18 years. She has worked in various Infirmary departments and is currently an Ambulatory Data Analyst in the Health Information Department. Ms. Chawna was previously a coordinator for release of information and is now a Medical Record Coordinator in the Health Information Department.

 

 

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Employees Receive Charlie Wood Award

Contact: Public Affairs
617-573-3340

Boston (July 21, 2004)—Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary employees, Judy Kelley, Michelle Hasberry and Elizabeth Arnold, recently received the Charlie Wood Award. The award is presented to employees whose professional activities benefit the well-being of patients and the Infirmary.

Ms. Kelley is the lead medical staff assistant in otolaryngology. Ms. Hasberry currently works in Communications. Ms. Arnold has been an employee since 1988. As the Senior Clinical Social Worker, she coordinates discharge planning and provides psychological counseling to patients.

 

 

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Nurses Receive Norman Knight Clinical Practice Awards

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617-573-3340

Boston (July 12, 2004)—Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary nurses Socorro Pendon, R.N., Rosaida Shkliew, R.N. and Patti Donovan, R.N., recently received the Norman Knight Clinical Practice Award. The award honors nurses who have demonstrated a long-term commitment to providing quality care to patients at the Infirmary.

Ms. Pendon and Ms. Shkliew are currently Clinical Resource Nurses on the Medical and Surgical Unit, where they mentor other nurses. Ms. Donovan has been working at the Infirmary for over 20 years and is an educator in the Operating Room.

 

 

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Nurses Receive Norman Knight Nursing Leadership Award

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617-573-3340

Boston (July 12, 2004)—Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary nurses, Linda Belkner, R.N., and Eileen Lowell, R.N., recently received the Norman Knight Nursing Leadership Award. The award recognizes nurses who demonstrate leadership qualities that inspire others.

Ms. Belkner has been working at the Infirmary for 24 years and has been a nurse manager for 15 years. She currently works in the Intermediate Care Unit. Ms. Lowell previously worked in Pediatrics and is now a Clinical Leader in the Ambulatory Unit.

 

 

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Employee Receives Rita Kelley Scholarship Award

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617-573-3341

Boston (July 12, 2004)—Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary employee, Amanda Janiak, recently received the Rita Kelley Scholarship Award. The award recognizes employees who demonstrate a dedication to learning and a motivation for professional development.

Ms. Janiak has worked at the Infirmary for the past five years, where she has held a number of positions, including operator and coordinator of Interpreter Services in the Communications Department. She was previously a unit coordinator for the Morse Laser Center and is currently the unit coordinator for the Ambulatory Unit.

 

 

Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology Awarded Research to Prevent Blindness Grant

Contact: Public Affairs
617-573-3340

BOSTON (July 21, 2004)—Harvard Medical School’s Department of Ophthalmology has been awarded a grant of $110, 000 from Research to Prevent Blindness. Under the direction of Joan W. Miller, M.D., Professor and Chair of Ophthalmology at HMS and Chief of Ophthalmology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, the grant will support research into the causes, treatments, and prevention of diseases that cause blindness.

“It is funding such as this that allows the department of ophthalmology to continue the research necessary to determine the factors involved in vision loss and ultimately provide the best treatment to patients,” Dr. Miller said.

 

 

Highly Targeted Photodynamic Therapy Found Helpful in Treating Wet Age-related Macular Degeneration in Animal Models

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(617) 573-4170

Boston (July 12, 2004) –- Photodynamic therapy (PDT), using a laser with verteporfin, has been used to treat some of the leading forms of visual disability such as wet age-related macular degeneration and myopic degeneration, diseases that characterized by the abnormal growth of blood vessels in the back of the eye that can leak and cause loss vision. Although there is no cure for such eye diseases, PDT can sometimes slow the progression of vision loss. While PDT treatment has been shown to be effective, efforts to further improve selectivity of PDT were pursued.

In a paper published in this month’s Archives of Ophthalmology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary researchers used a rat model of abnormal blood vessel growth in the retina (angiogenesis-wet AMD in humans) and further refined the use of PDT. A modification of the photosensitizer, verteporfin, was made by taking this photosensitizing dye, binding it to a specialized polymer, and then joining this newly formed molecule to a peptide that could specifically target the abnormal blood vessels, leaving the surrounding healthy tissue unharmed. The researchers were able to accomplish this because the abnormal blood vessels express high levels of VEGF-2 (vascular endothelial growth factor 2) receptors.

This basic step towards refining therapy for treatment of angiogenesis in the eye has far reaching implications. “By making PDT more selective for its target,” said Joan W. Miller, M.D., one of the study’s authors, “visual outcomes for patients suffering from such debilitating eye diseases could be improved. More preclinical research needs to be done before clinical trials can be initiated. However, this promising finding is a step towards improving treatment for patients with disease such as wet AMD.”

 

 

Mass. Eye and Ear Ranked a Top Hospital for Otolaryngology, Ophthalmology, in U.S. News’ “America’s Best Hospitals”

Contact: Public Affairs
(617) 573-4170

Boston (July 1, 2004) -- The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary ranked third in the nation for otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat) and fourth in the nation for ophthalmology (eyes), according to U.S. News and World Report’s “America’s Best Hospitals” survey.

“The Infirmary’s reputation as one of the nation’s best hospitals is made possible by the dedication of the physicians, researchers, nurses, employees and volunteers who live and breathe our mission to provide excellence in care every day,” said F. Curtis Smith, president, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

The "America's Best Hospitals" survey was conducted in conjunction with the National Opinion Research Center, a noted social-science research group at the University of Chicago. The survey assesses hospital care in 17 medical specialties.

 

 

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Elects Burke New Trustee

Contact: Public Affairs
617-573-3341

Boston (June 14, 2004)— Shawn Burke, Ph.D., a resident of Andover, Mass., was recently elected a Trustee of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. Dr. Burke holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University and graduate degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Burke is currently Chief Technology Officer for Senera Corporation and is the founder and president of Spacetime Systems. He is the co-founder of three other Boston-based high-tech companies and was previously deputy director for the Boston University Photonics Center.

Dr. Burke is a two-time recipient of the Draper Laboratory Best Patent Award. In addition to holding several U.S. patents, he is the author of numerous publications and has been listed in the Who’s Who in American Science and Engineering.

 

 

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Elects McGrath Lewis New Trustee

Contact: Public Affairs
617-573-3341

Boston (June 14, 2004)— Marlyn McGrath Lewis, Ph.D., a resident of Brookline, Mass., was recently elected as a Trustee of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Dr. McGrath Lewis holds degrees from Radcliffe College and Harvard University. Dr. McGrath Lewis has been director of admissions for Harvard College since 1987. She was formerly assistant dean of Harvard College, and of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. She has also served on several Harvard University committees, including the Harvard-Radcliffe Child Care Council, the FAS Committee on the Use of Human Subjects and the Committee on Athletic Sports. In addition to serving as president of the Corporation of the Winsor School, Dr. McGrath Lewis is a trustee of the Belmont Hill School.

 

 

Infirmary Physician Receives Prestigious Ophthalmology Hall of Fame Award

Contact: Public Affairs
617-573-3341

Boston (May 21, 2004)- Claes H. Dohlman, M.D., Ph.D., corneal specialist at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI), was recently inducted into the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery’s (ASCRS) Ophthalmology Hall of Fame. The Ophthalmology Hall of Fame includes 25 ophthalmologists of world distinction (12 still living). Their contributions to the field have shaped the way ophthalmology is now practiced. Dr. Dohlman was chosen, by his peers, from more than 30,000 ophthalmologists from around the world.

“Dr. Dohlman has spearheaded cornea as a specialty within ophthalmology, has trained and influenced numerous leaders within ophthalmology, and continues to make important contributions to the field,” says Joan W. Miller, M.D., Chief of Ophthalmology, MEEI and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. “His legacy will continue for years to come.” Dr. Dohlman established the Infirmary Cornea Service in 1964 and served as Director of the service until 1974, when he was named chief of ophthalmology at MEEI and Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School.

Since 1965, Dr. Dohlman has worked on numerous designs of the keratoprosthesis, a tiny plastic, button-like prosthetic “window” used to restore vision to patients with severely damaged corneas. Dr. Dohlman also began the first academic cornea fellowship program in the world. In addition to the many years of caring for patients and conducting research, Dr. Dohlman has published more than 250 papers. He has trained more than 200 clinical fellows of which 35 have gone on to become chairmen of Ophthalmology departments throughout the country.

 

 

Pediatric Otolaryngologist Joins Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary

Contact: Public Affairs
617-573-3341
 

Boston (May 6, 2004)- Maynard C. Hansen, M.D., a resident of Harvard, Mass., joined the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary's West Suburban Satellite Center, where he will practice pediatric otolaryngology.

Dr. Hansen completed his residency at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in 1982 and has been a member of the Infirmary's medical staff since 1990. He holds a degree in medicine from Michigan State University and was previously Director of Pediatric Otolaryngology at University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center.

A member of a number of professional organizations, including the Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Dr. Hansen has published articles in the American Journal of Emergency M edicine and American Journal of Otolaryngology, among others.

 

 

Cigarette Smoking Increases Risk of Neovascular Age-Related Macular Degeneration

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617-573-3341

Boston (April. 12, 2004) - Researchers at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary found that smoking cigarettes increases the risk of developing the neovascular (wet form) age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by 2 percent. AMD is the leading cause of blindness and vision impairment in those 50 years of age and older in the United States. More than 200,000 people lose their vision to wet AMD every year. The findings are published in a paper in the April issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

Using a methodology designed to identify the factors that increase the risk of neovascular AMD as it relates to genetics and epidemiological factors, Margaret M. DeAngelis, Ph.D., lead author and Instructor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, along with her co-authors, Joan W. Miller, M.D., Thaddeus P. Dryja, M.D., and Anne Marie Lane, M.P.H., studied extremely discordant sibling pairs. Of the sibling pairs, the affected (index) sibling had neovascular AMD in at least one eye and the unaffected sibling, older than and past the age of diagnosis of the affected sibling, had normal eyes.

Using this novel epidemiological approach, the study confirms findings from other studies showing that smoking increases risk of neovascular AMD. Specifically, the present study showed that for each pack year of cigarettes smoked, an individual's risk of neovascular AMD was slightly increased. Increased risk, though not statistically significant, was suggested for people who had high blood pressure and those who consumed high levels of alcohol. Seventy-three sibling pairs and 50 families were studied. The participants' approximate age was 70 years old.

"The extremely discordant sibpair methodology used in this study may be an important tool for understanding the role and interactions of epidemiological and genetic factors contributing to the onset and progression of complex diseases such as AMD," DeAngelis said.

 

 

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Launches New Website

Contact: Public Affairs
617-573-3341

Boston (April 5, 2004) - The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) recently redesigned its website. Located at www.meei.harvard.edu, the newly streamlined site provides easy access to patient information, information on doctors, descriptions for recent and ongoing research and much more. Among the new features are drop down menus, new images and design, and more flexibility to allow for easy navigation and updates.

Webmaster Nancy Kalinski worked closely with all department heads to come up with a new, functional and aesthetically pleasing design. "I worked hard to translate all the ideas from the different departments into one working site, where visitors could easily find what they need," says Kalinski.

 

 

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints Post Anesthesia Care Unit Nurse Manager

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617-573-3341

Boston (March 24, 2004) - The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary recently promoted JoAnn Graziano R.N., to nurse manager of the Infirmary's Post Anesthesia Care Unit, (PACU). In this position, she will be responsible for maintaining the department and staff with round-the-clock accountability.

The PACU provides quality primary nursing care in a highly specialized area. This specialty requires that nurses monitor their patients closely and utilize specialty equipment and advanced cardiac support skills to maintain quality care.

A resident of Kingston, Mass., Ms. Graziano joined the Infirmary seven months ago as a clinical coordinator of the Morse Laser Center. Ms. Graziano brings extensive experience in emergency care and nursing management to the position.

 

 

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints Director of Radiology and Facility Safety

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617-573-3341

Boston (March 19, 2004) - The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary recently promoted Greg Donnelly to director of Radiology and Facility Safety. In this position, he will be responsible for directing all functions and staff of the general radiography, computerized tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging systems.

A resident of Bridgewater, Mass., Mr. Donnelly joined the Infirmary more than seven years ago. In addition to his new responsibilities, Mr. Donnelly will continue to serve in the role as the Infirmary's Safety Officer and Radiation Safety Officer to ensure a safe environment for patients, visitors and staff.

 

 

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Nurse Receives 2004 Black Achiever Award

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617-573-3341

Boston (March 15, 2004) - Michaelle Laguerre, R.N., of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary was honored by the YMCA of Greater Boston at the 2004 Black Achiever Recognition Awards. The Black Achiever program recognizes African-Americans in the Boston area and regions served by 75 other YMCAs around the country. Recipients are nominated for their professional accomplishments and their volunteer community service with young people. As part of the program, they agree to spend at least 40 hours with youths in the Black Achievers Community Service Program.

Ms. Laguerre is a dedicated clinician who is a registered nurse in Pediatrics. She joined the Infirmary as a nursing assistant, and then worked as a patient care technician before receiving her nursing degree. She is currently working both in Pediatrics and on the 11th floor adult unit at the Infirmary. Ms. Laguerre is a valued member of the nursing team and is known for providing excellent care in a kind and caring manner.

 

 

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints Director of Compliance

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617-573-3341

Boston (March 15, 2004) - The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary recently promoted James C. "Chuck" Roach to Director of Compliance. Mr. Roach has been with the Infirmary for nine years. Prior to his new position, the Boston, Mass., native has held numerous positions, within many departments at the Infirmary. He was a compliance trainer, a manager of the cornea and refractive surgery department, and a registration supervisor.

As Director of Compliance, Mr. Roach will be responsible for the oversight of the Infirmary's compliance program and affiliated physician group and will serve as the point person for all operational and clinical departments related to compliance matters.

 

Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary Physician Named Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School

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(617) 573-3341

Boston (Mar. 5, 2004) - David S. Walton, M.D., a pediatrician, pediatric ophthalmologist and glaucoma specialist at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, was recently promoted to Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Walton is the first pediatric ophthalmologist at the Infirmary to be promoted to Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology.

A resident of Marblehead, Mass., Dr. Walton joined the staff of the Infirmary's pediatric ophthalmology service in 1972 and is internationally known for his expertise in the treatment of pediatric glaucomas. His research efforts have focused on the development of surgical procedures for children with aniridia, a congenital cause of glaucoma, and for treatment of other pediatric glaucomas.

"Dr. Walton's dedication to the care of his young patients and their families is the foundation of his gifted clinical skills as a physician. His keen observations and contributions to our understanding of pediatric glaucoma have made him a leader in the field," said Joan Miller, M.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Ophthalmology at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Walton has been recognized for his work including the distinguished service award from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and the honor award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology. He has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed articles and 25 textbook chapters on pediatric ophthalmology including important contributions to the understanding of childhood cataracts and glaucoma.

 

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints Director of Regulatory Affairs

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617-573-3341

Boston (Feb. 18, 2004) - The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary recently promoted Lesley Hawes to director of regulatory affairs, quality management, utilization review, and patient safety. She was formerly the director of compliance.

A resident of Salem, Mass., Ms. Hawes joined the Infirmary more than four years ago. In addition to her new responsibilities, Ms. Hawes will retain oversight of the compliance department and the role of privacy officer. Ms. Hawes received her health care compliance certification in September of 2003.

 

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Appoints Emergency Department Nurse Manager

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Boston (Feb. 18, 2004) - The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary recently promoted Chris Weeks, R.N., to Nurse Manager of the Emergency Department. Ms. Weeks has been with the Infirmary for 28 years.

Prior to her new position, the Plympton, Mass., native was the Clinical Leader in the Pediatrics department for approximately 10 years, helping in other departments when needed.

In 2003, Ms. Weeks won the Norman Knight Preceptor of Distinction Award given for Nursing Leadership. She also won a third prize last year from the American Academy of Ophthalmology for a paper she wrote on pediatric uveitis.

 

Researchers find association between c-reactive protein (an inflammatory marker for cardiovascular disease) and age-related macular degeneration

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Results published in Feb. 11 issue of JAMA

Boston (Feb. 11, 2004) Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a burden to the elderly population, and its consequences are increasing because treatment options are limited. Prevention remains the best approach for decreasing the impact of this leading cause of blindness.

According to lead author, Johanna M. Seddon, M.D., Sc.M., director of the Epidemiology Unit at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, the investigation of inflammatory biomarkers in AMD was rendered plausible by the observation that many factors associated with AMD are also related to cardiovascular disease. One of these factors is C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of systemic inflammation which has been shown to be an independent indicator of risk for cardiovascular disease and peripheral arterial disease. Furthermore, inflammation is associated with angiogenesis (excess blood vessel growth) and neovascularization can occur in inflammatory eye diseases, similar to the most advanced form of AMD.

It is possible that AMD represents another chronic, age-related inflammatory disease that is manifested in the eye and other organs such as the heart and brain, Seddon said. Therefore, we examined the relationship between CRP levels and AMD in an ancillary study of 930 individuals from the multi-center Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS). AREDS is a prospective study designed to assess the incidence, clinical course, prognosis and risk factors for AMD and cataract. AREDS also includes a double-masked randomized clinical trial to assess the effects of high-dose antioxidants on eye disease.

After adjustment for age, sex and other variables, including smoking and body mass index, CRP levels were significantly higher among individuals with intermediate and advanced stages of AMD as compared with controls, Seddon said. A two-fold increased risk of AMD was associated with highest levels of CRP for both smokers and non-smokers. These results may shed light on the mechanisms and pathogenesis of AMD development and prognosis. Moreover, CRP levels may add clinically relevant predictive information about risk of AMD in addition to known risk factors. Anti-inflammatory agents might have a role in preventing AMD, and inflammatory biomarkers such as CRP may provide a method of identifying individuals for whom these agents and other therapies would be more or less effective.

Their findings have important implications and suggest that inflammation is associated with the pathogenesis of AMD. Several mechanisms could potentially lead to inflammatory responses, other than smoking, including oxidative stresses, insufficient antioxidants in the diet, dietary fat and obesity, which Dr. Seddon and colleagues have previously shown to be associated with AMD, as well as other independent factors. (Co-authors are Gary Gensler, M.S., and Roy Milton, Ph.D., from the EMMES Corporation, Rockville, Maryland, Michael Klein, M.D., from Casey Eye Institute, Portland, Oregon, and Nader Rifai, Ph.D., from Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass.).

This research was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

page updated: 8/24/06