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Dr. Ram Nirula Alumni Newsletter - November 2021 Update

Nov 22, 2021

Mark Savarise, MD MBA FACS Elected to ACS Board of Regents

Our own alumni/faculty, Mark Savarise, recently received the great honor to serve of the ACS Board of Regents. Mark has spent several years working for all of us at the College in the area of coding and billing.  He has spent a great deal of effort lobbying for surgeons at the state and federal level to ensure adequate support for the work that we do. We are very fortunate to have him represent our interests. Congratulations Mark and thank you!


Jessica Cohan, MD, MAS, FACS Improving Access to Care

Jess Cohan, one of our clinician-scientists in colorectal surgery, received a grant from the Utah Cancer Action Network (part of the Utah Department of Health) to perform a community needs assessment for colorectal cancer screening. They identified a number of barriers to screening within our local community and have developed a program where medical students offer FIT tests on the Wellness Bus (addressing structural barriers to screening by giving tests out in the community). The Wellness Bus never had a colorectal cancer screening program before as it was focused on nutrition, blood glucose and blood pressure screening. They started in July and have already enrolled 24 patients (19 Spanish speaking). These grass roots efforts not only serve the community but they engage our medical students teaching them the importance of service for our patients and efforts to reduce health disparities and access to preventive services. Awesome job Jess and company!

General Surgery Residents On Top!

Alumni, you can be proud of the residency program as our residents continue to receive accolades for their outstanding research. Below are just a few examples of their work:

Dr. Alex Tran (PGY4) was awarded a Poster of Distinction designation (top 10% of all scored poster abstracts) for her abstract presented at the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). The AASLD is one of the top international meetings in Liver Transplant so this was a great honor. Excellent work Dr. Tran and Dr. Di Alonso (Faculty). 




Dr. Jessica Blumhagen (PGY 5) won 1st place in the resident/fellow presentation category at SAGES for her work entitled Patient-Reported Outcomes Demonstrate Improvement in Both Depression and Satisfaction with Social Roles One Year After Bariatric Surgery. Fantastic job Dr. Blumhagen and Dr. Ellen Morrow (Faculty).




Dr. Brian Cain (PGY 4) received an AAST meeting scholarship where he presented work on social determinants of health and their impact on emergency general surgery outcomes. An impressive presentation of some enlightening work Dr. Cain and Dr. Marta McCrum (Faculty).