Victoria J. Fraser: Missouri has much to show our lawmakers about our coronavirus needs

Victoria J. Fraser, MD, Adolphus Busch professor of medicine, and Chair of the Department of Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine discusses the need for more support from lawmakers against the spread of COVID-19.

Read the Full Article


Wenners Ballard III, MD Speaks About Racial Disparities in Covid-19

Hospitalist, Wenners Ballard III, MD discusses systemic racism on an episode of “Show Me the Science” podcast. The podcast highlights research and patient care on the Washington University Medical Campus in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wenners Ballard III, MD

Show Me the Science

Welcome New Hospitalists!

Please join us in extending a big, warm welcome to our new faculty members:

Erin Baum, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Ashley Brown, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Evan Dupart, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Cady Edwards, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Syed Ehsanullah, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Tim Evans, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Jaime Flores-Ruiz, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Tracey Godbold, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Lucas Gu, DO – Instructor in Medicine
Lana Hamieh, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Katherine Hemingway, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Michael Hendrix, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Jordan Jacquez, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Lalit Kalvala, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Vasanthan Kuppuswamy, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Randy Laine, MD, PhD – Instructor in Medicine
Kevin Li, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Jason Liu, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Ian Murphy, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Sameera Natarajan, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Faran Polani, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Karen Shen, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Corey Shy, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Debra Yen, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Eman Yousif, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Diana Zhao, MD, PhD – Instructor in Medicine

18 of our new physicians finished residency from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. 8 of our new physicians were external candidates.

General Internal Medicine Teachers of the Year – Dennis Chang, MD and Eric Johnson, MD

The teacher of the year award for inpatient medicine is an award selected by the Internal Medicine residents.  All internal medicine residents are invited to submit 2 names of the top teachers on inpatient medicine from the attendings in the Divisions of General Medicine and Hospital Medicine.  The two attendings who receive the most nominations win the award.  The awards are presented each year at the Senior Celebration.

Dennis Chang, MD

Eric Johnson, MD

The Division of Hospital Medicine proudly announces that Dennis Chang, MD and Eric Johnson, MD, were the 2 recipients of this year’s prestigious award. Dr. Johnson is a second time recipient of the teacher of the year award.

“It is a huge honor to be selected for the teacher of the year award and it’s an amazing privilege to be a small part of the education of such talented and amazing residents.”
– Dennis Chang, MD

SHM St. Louis Chapter – Gold Chapter of the Year

The St. Louis Chapter of the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM), for which Crystal Atwood, MD and Matt Brinkmeier, MD serve as officers, won the Gold Chapter of the Year award for 2019.  SHM recognizes its chapters for their hard work and dedication as they strive to demonstrate growth, sustenance, and innovation within their chapter activities.

Crystal Atwood, MD

Matt Brinkmeier, MD

For more information: shm gold chapter of the year

Leading the Capstone Paracentesis Experience – Dr. Matt Freer

Matt Freer, MD

The Capstone experience is a required rotation for 4th year medical students to prepare them for internship.  As part of this rotation, students attend a Capstone Procedural Workshop for an afternoon.  This involves training with ultrasound equipment and hands-on teaching on how to perform various invasive bedside procedures. Matt Freer, MD, director of the Internal Medicine Procedure Service, has been coordinating the paracentesis portion of this training for the last 7 years.  During the workshop, a hospitalist demonstrates how to perform a paracentesis, including use of an ultrasound machine and discussion points regarding the safety of the procedure, to small groups of 4th year medical students over three hours. The workshop runs for five afternoons in the late winter to early spring every year.

For More Information: Capstone Course

Interim Chief of the Division of Hospital Medicine – Dr. Michael Lin

The Division of Hospital Medicine is excited to announce that Michael Lin, MD SFHM, Associate Professor of Medicine, has been named Interim Chief of the Division of Hospital Medicine, effective January 1. While a national search for the next chief of the Division of Hospital Medicine has been initiated, Dr. Lin will serve as the interim chief for the division.

Michael Lin, MD SFHM

Michael Lin, MD, SFHM graduated from the University of Iowa School of Medicine in 1994 and completed residency in Internal Medicine at Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. In 2006, Dr. Lin joined as a hospitalist for the Division of Hospital Medicine. In 2010, he was appointed one of two assistant clinical directors for the division. Dr. Lin also serves as a Physician Advisor for Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Assistant Patient Safety Officer for the Division of Hospital Medicine, and is part of the Core Faculty for the Internal Medicine Residency Program. He has received numerous awards, including the ICARE Award for Patient Recognition for Caring, Compassion, and Respect and the P.R.A.I.S.E. Award (Patient Recall Appreciation in Staff Excellence) for “Providing Exceptional Care”. Dr. Lin is a Senior Fellow in Hospital Medicine for the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM). He is also a Society of Hospital Medicine Academic committee member and a contributor to the SHM Preparation Resource for the American Board of Internal Medicine Focused Practice in Hospital Medicine Maintenance of Certification Exam. In 2019, Dr. Lin was the Chair for the Academic Hospitalist Leadership Summit for the Society of Hospital Medicine National Conference in National Harbor, MD. In April, he will be the Chair for the Academic Hospitalist Leadership Summit for the 2020 Society of Hospital Medicine National Conference in San Diego, CA.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Lin in his new role as Interim Chief of the Division of Hospital Medicine!

Honoring 11 Years as Chief of the Division of Hospital Medicine – Dr. Mark Thoelke

Mark Thoelke, MD SFHM is stepping down as Chief of the Division of Hospital Medicine, as of Jan 1, 2020 to have more time and flexibility for travel with his family.  Dr. Michael Lin, Associate Professor of Medicine, will be the Interim Chief of the Division of Hospital Medicine while we initiate a national search for the next Division Chief.

Dr. Thoelke will continue on the faculty as an academic hospitalist teaching residents and medical students. We are incredibly grateful for Dr. Thoelke’s leadership of the Division of Hospital Medicine and the extraordinary service he has provided to Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the Department of Medicine over the past decade.

Dr. Thoelke completed his residency and Chief Residency at Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.  He became the first hospitalist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in 1998. He helped form the Division of Hospital Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in 2000, one of the first Hospital Medicine divisions in the U.S. He became the Division Chief in 2009. The division has grown to 84 physicians and 10 Nurse Practitioners, and consistently provides superior performances on publicly reported clinical outcomes as measured by Vizient. The Division of Hospital Medicine has led the way with innovative patient care and teaching models. The division developed one of the first sub-internship experiences on a non-teaching service and developed a very successful co-management care model with the oncology service in 2002.

Dr. Thoelke is a Senior Fellow of Hospital Medicine and a recipient of the Award for Clinical Excellence from the Society of Hospital Medicine. He formed and presided over the St. Louis Hospitalist Society in 2000, which later became the St. Louis Chapter of the Society of Hospital Medicine. He began a “Care of the Hospitalized Patient” CME course, now in its 12th year. He formed the “Evening Grand Rounds” at Washington University to spotlight clinical topics pertinent to hospital care. He has been part of the editorial staff for the Journal of Hospital Medicine, has published novel research, and written numerous book chapters.  Dr. Thoelke was honored as the Department Teacher of the Year.  He was recently awarded the Neville Grant Award for Clinical Excellence.

Please join me in thanking Dr. Thoelke for his many years of service and his tremendous leadership of the Division of Hospital Medicine.

Victoria J. Fraser, MD
Adolphus Busch Professor of Medicine
Chair, Department of Medicine
Washington University School of Medicine

Department of Medicine Vice Chair of Patient Safety – Dr. Andrew Odden

It is my pleasure to announce that Andrew Odden, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Divisions of Hospital Medicine and General Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) has been appointed as Vice Chair of Patient Safety for the Department of Medicine. Dr. Odden has been an esteemed member of the Washington University community since 2015 and currently serves as the department’s Patient Safety Officer and a Physician Adviser for Barnes-Jewish Hospital. He is co-chair of the department’s Operations Executive Committee and is a member of the hospital’s Safety and Quality Council. In addition to his involvements within the department, Dr. Odden is active in numerous local, regional, and national quality initiatives. He is a current member of the Hospital Quality and Patient Safety Committee of the Society of Hospital Medicine and was recognized as a Senior Fellow of Hospital Medicine in 2016. Dr. Odden’s scholarly interests focus on improving the outcomes of patients with sepsis on general medical wards and he is a recognized national speaker on this topic.

In addition to his significant clinical contributions, Dr. Odden is a valued educator within our community and has served as a faculty preceptor on a variety of patient safety education initiatives within the department.

Dr. Odden has already enriched our safety and quality initiatives and we look forward to continued enhancements under his leadership. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Odden on his new role.

Victoria J. Fraser, MD
Adolphus Busch Professor of Medicine
Chair, Department of Medicine
Washington University School of Medicine

Happy Retirement, Anne Hilliker!

Please join us in congratulating Anne Hilliker, NP, on her retirement!

She began her nursing career at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in 1999, working as a staff nurse in Emergency Medicine. Anne continued her medical education becoming a Nurse Practitioner for Emergency Medicine, followed then by working in the PICRU until she joined the Division of Hospital Medicine in 2010.

Anne has had many accomplishments during her professional career.  She has been an author in multiple publications along with several journal and textbook publications focusing on sleep disorders.  Anne has also been a guest speaker for several symposiums, most recently highlighted by her discussion on “A History of Social Evil” for the 2019 Care of the Hospitalized Patient.

A farewell celebration was held in her honor to recognize her contributions to the division over the past 9 years. We wish Anne a long and wonderful retirement. She will certainly be missed!

Inaugural Chairholder for the Stokes Family Endowed Chair in Palliative Medicine and Supportive Care – Dr. Patrick White

The Stokes Family Endowed Chair in Palliative Medicine and Supportive Care for The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital celebrated the installation of Dr. Patrick White as the inaugural chairholder. Dr. White’s interest in palliative medicine started at a young age watching his father, a physician, care for patients with chronic illnesses. It was his personal experience at the end of his grandmother’s life that instilled his resolve to change the way people think about of dying in America.

Dr. White graduated summa cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 2002. In 2007 he received his medical degree from The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health. Dr. White continued his education with residency training in internal medicine at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis. He completed a fellowship in Palliative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and is currently completing a PhD in Comparative Effectiveness through the University’s Clinical and Translational Science Program. In his current role as Chief Medical Director of BJC Homecare and BJC Hospice, Dr. White supports and provides clinical oversight to more than 650 clinicians caring for more than 11,000 patients annually.

Since joining the faculty of Washington University, Dr. White has received funding for two research initiatives from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—they are the first in palliative medicine and supportive care for Washington University. He was named one of the 40 under 40 by the St. Louis Business Journal, which introduces a class of 40 young professionals who are already making their mark on the local business community. Dr. White was selected as an Emerging Leader by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. He was also appointed by the Governor to the Missouri Palliative Care and Quality of Life Interdisciplinary council and has been selected by the federal government’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid as a technical expert to help redesign national quality standards at end-of-life.

In January of 2019, Dr. White was appointed Chief of the Division of Palliative Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine. The Division of Palliative Medicine, established officially at the end of 2018, grew from the vision that the exceptional care patients and families receive throughout BJC Healthcare is informed and enhanced by innovative, translational research. While training, medical professionals and future caregivers are taken from bench to bedside to immerse themselves in the science of best practices and the art of compassionate communication. This vision for a comprehensive “Institute” model is being realized as a result of collaboration between the leadership of BJC Healthcare, Washington University School of Medicine, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, BJC HomeCare, and The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Dr. Vicky Fraser, Dr. Patrick White, Bob Cannon

Palliative care was recognized as a medical subspecialty by the American Board of Medical Specialties in 2006, making it a relatively new area of practice though not necessarily a new idea. The word “palliative” is derived from the Latin root palliare meaning “to cloak”—as in protecting patients from suffering and pain. Palliative medicine proactively emphasizes the importance of addressing patients’ symptoms, using compassionate communication combined with increased psychosocial and spiritual support to provide families with valuable information, comfort, and resources.

The Stokes Family Endowed Chair in Palliative Medicine and Supportive Care was created through a 2018 gift to The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital from Aja and Patrick Stokes. Aja and Pat began championing the need for expanded hospice care in St. Louis after Aja’s sister’s end-of-life experience in a hospice house in Sweden. They led the Foundations’ campaign to build a home for BJC Hospice which culminated with the 2017 opening of Evelyn’s House. Their compassionate supportive care in St. Louis has been a catalyst to create a new model focused on discovery and innovation that invigorates and challenges the status quo to improve the delivery of patient care across all stages of life. The Stokes’ investment in this chair is a direct reflection of their commitment to elevating the important role education and research play in the delivery of palliative and hospice care.

Their philanthropy positions BJC Healthcare and Washington University School of Medicine to influence the national conversation about care at the end-of-life and also for people living with chronic and painful diseases. The evening’s festivities, highlighted by the installation of Dr. Patrick H. White as the inaugural Stokes Family Endowed Chair in Palliative Medicine and Supportive Care, recognize philanthropy as the catalyst, facilitating measurable impact and achieving change here in our community.

2019 Neville Grant Award Recipient for Clinical Excellence – Dr. Mark Thoelke

The Division of Hospital Medicine proudly announces that Division Chief and Professor of Medicine, Dr. Mark Thoelke, was presented with the 2019 Neville Grant Award for Clinical Excellence by the Medical Staff Association. The award is bestowed on a clinician who through his or her daily actions serves as a role model for fellow caregivers at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. It is named for the late Neville Grant, MD, a revered physician who practiced medicine at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and taught at Washington University School of Medicine. In 1999, after 39 years of service, Dr. Grant retired, and Barnes-Jewish Hospital created the award to honor outstanding clinicians like Dr. Grant. On November 14th, Dr. Thoelke and fellow awardee, Dr. Dan Picus, were celebrated at the association’s semi-annual general staff meeting at the Eric P. Newman Education Center. Dr. Picus and Dr. Thoelke were cited for their exceptional compassion toward patients and their outstanding clinical skills.

“It was great to have a large group of the hospitalist team out to share the night wth my family and me. This is the biggest honor awarded at BJH, and I owe it to all of our great people.” – Dr. Mark Thoelke

Dr. Thoelke is one of the founders of Washington University School of Medicine’s Division of Hospital Medicine. After completing residency in internal medicine, he became director of the Gold Service at Barnes Hospital and the Private Medicine Service at the Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. During his time as director, he began to offer hospitalist coverage for primary care physicians. Dr. Thoelke, along with fellow colleagues, organized and officially established the Division of Hospital Medicine, making it one of the first in the nation. In 2009, he became chief of the Division of Hospital Medicine. Dr. Thoelke is noted for his efforts in making Hospital Medicine at WUSM one of the largest divisions in the Department of Medicine.

He is considered by his peers as a “a superb clinician and leader”. Dr. Thoelke has received the Teacher of the Year Award by the Washington University Department of Medicine, which is voted by the house staff. He has been the recipient of the Friend of Nursing Award by Barnes-Jewish Hospital. In 2010, Dr. Thoelke was inaugurated as a Senior Fellow in Hospital Medicine by the Society of Hospital Medicine. In 2016, out of approximately 15,000 members, he received the National Award for Clinical Excellence in Hospital Medicine from the Society of Hospital Medicine.

Dr. Mark Thoelke, his wife, Gail, and daughters, Jessica and Mariah

Dr. Mark Thoelke and part of the Hospitalist Team

* Dr. Thoelke is also featured in BJC Today January 2020/ Volume 23, No. 1

Now Open! Newly Renovated Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital

The new Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital officially opened for business on November 5, 2019. It is a 64-bed hospital with all private rooms and state of the art facilities located in Creve Coeur, Missouri on Olive Boulevard.  All medicine patients admitted to the hospital will be cared for by a Washington University Division of Hospital Medicine physician.  Our hospitalists also provide consultative services to patients admitted by our surgery colleagues.  We have worked closely with BJWCH over the last few years in the planning, design, and transition to this new hospital.  We are extremely excited that it is open and ready for patient care!

Dr. Adam Littich illustrated on a pancake. A pancake artist was on site as part of the festivities at the unveiling of the new BJWCH.

“The best thing about Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital has always been the people that work there–friendly and welcoming to everyone.  Now, they finally have an amazing facility to match.  I am excited to continue the tradition of the family-like atmosphere in the new space. As many of you know, Sharon Baker recently passed away.  She has been described as the “Den Mom” of the medical staff office at BJWCH, and has been providing introductions and tours of BJWCH to new physicians for years.  Hers was the smiling face that greeted everyone who walked into the old Physicians Lounge.  I was involved in the efforts to create the Sharon Baker Patient Care Fund, which successfully raised $100,000 dollars to name the new Medical Staff Lounge in honor of her. This fund will be used to provide medications and supplies to less fortunate patients at BJWCH.  We have never had a dedicated fund like this at BJWCH, so I am incredibly thankful to all those who donated to this important cause.”                                – Dr. Adam Littich


For more information on the newly renovated Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital:

Academy of Educators Inductee – Dr. Dennis Chang

The Division of Hospital Medicine is proud to announce that one of our faculty members, Dennis Chang, MD, FHM, was among 42 Washington University School of Medicine educators inducted into the newly created Academy of Educators.

The Academy of Educators seeks to nurture a culture of educational excellence and an institutionally valued community of leaders in health science education and in education across all Washington University Medical Campus departments and programs. It is led by founding director, Mary Klingensmith, MD, the Mary Culver Distinguished Professor and vice chair for education in the Department of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine. As part of its overall objective, members of the academy will work together to help other faculty members adopt creative and high-yield teaching methods, foster an environment where education is highly valued, provide advocacy for education in the promotion process, organize mentorship and faculty development programs in medical education, and support educational research and scholarship. Members were chosen through an application process and were reviewed by both a committee of educators from WUSM and external reviewers.

Dr. Dennis Chang

“ It is truly an honor to be selected to the Academy of Educators and to be working with such a distinguished group of fellow educators. I could not have done this without the support of all my colleagues in the Division of Hospital Medicine.”  – Dr. Dennis Chang





Dr. Lois Richard, Guest Speaker at Evening Grand Rounds

Grand rounds help physicians and other healthcare professionals keep up-to-date in evolving topics.

On October 22nd, fellow hospitalist, Dr. Lois Richard, will be presenting “Patient Advocacy on The Hill” as the invited guest speaker for Evening Grand Rounds.

Dr. Richard has visited members of Congress in Washington D.C. numerous times as part of “Hospitalists on The Hill” sponsored by The Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM). She will draw on these experiences of visiting lawmakers to encourage other healthcare providers to get involved in advocating for their patients. Dr. Richard strongly encourages colleagues to visit congressional leaders while in Washington and to write letters in support of issues to improve delivery of healthcare. Her presentation will include tips for visiting Capitol Hill and delivering an effective presentation to lawmakers.

Two pressing issues affecting hospitalists and patient care will be highlighted: observation care reform and high-skilled visa reforms. Dr. Richard will discuss two bills currently in Congress: 1) The Improving access to Medicare Coverage Act of 2019 (H.R. 1682, S. 753) and 2) Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 (H.R. 1044, S. 386).

Resources and website links for contacting congressional lawmakers will be provided. Details of SHM advocacy resources can be found under Policy and Advocacy on the SHM website:

Leading the Patient Experience Effort for BJH- Dr. Caroline Kahle

Fellow hospitalist, Dr. Caroline Kahle, is leading the Patient Experience effort for Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Patient Experience has been identified as one of the priorities for the 2019-2023 BJH/BJWCH/WUSM Joint Clinical Strategic Plan. The joint clinical strategic plan is a five year plan that has joint goals, strategies, and tactics; all with a common vision to make Washington University in partnership with Barnes-Jewish Hospital a Vizient 5-star, top-ranked, healthcare leader of choice by operating in a culture of excellence and professionalism.

The goal of the Patient Experience task force is to define strategies and metrics to improve the BJH/BJWCH/WUSM patient experience. These strategies will drive a unique, seamless, and frictionless patient experience between BJH, BJWCH and WUSM that utilizes communication, collaboration, and innovation.  Dr. Kahle’s work thus far has focused on physician to physician communication and developing professional and communication standards for the consistent care of patients. She works closely with Jennifer Carron, MSOM, CPXP, Executive Director of Patient Experience at BJH.

“Whether it’s for patients or physicians, to be steadfast in our delivery of an excellent experience is one of the greatest challenges in the modern health care environment. We owe it to our patients and to each other to strengthen our culture through improved communication and professionalism.” – Dr. Caroline Kahle

Meet Palliative Medicine’s New Associate Professor of Medicine – Dr. Maria Dans

We are pleased to announce that the Executive Faculty has approved the promotion of Dr. Maria Dans to Associate Professor of Medicine.

Dr. Dans graduated from Washington University School of Medicine in 1999. She completed residency in Internal Medicine, followed by fellowships in Hospice & Palliative Medicine and Critical Care Medicine at Stanford University in California. Dr. Dans is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Critical Care Medicine, and Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

Prior to working at Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Dr. Dans worked as a Surgical Intensive Care physician at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC.  Dr. Dans still works in the ICU occasionally, but currently, she spends most of her time as the director of the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Palliative Care Service and as the Fellowship Director of the Washington University Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship.  She also serves as an associate editor for the American College of Surgeons ethics webpage, as a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), and is Chair of NCCN Guidelines Review Panel in Palliative Care.  In 2017, Dr. Dans was named as a Fellow to the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.  She has a strong interest in adapting Hospice & Palliative Care principles in the ICU and recently partnered with the WUSM and BJH MICUs on a project examining the benefits of early Palliative Care consultation in the MICU.

Meet Our New Assistant Professor of Medicine – Dr. Crystal Atwood

We are pleased to announce that the Executive Faculty has approved the promotion of Dr. Crystal Atwood to Assistant Professor of Medicine.

Dr. Atwood graduated from University of Illinois at Chicago Medical School in 2009. She completed Internal Medicine residency at Washington University School of Medicine at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in 2012. Dr. Atwood is board-certified in Internal Medicine. After completing residency, Dr. Atwood remained at Washington University where she joined the Division of Hospital Medicine. She worked as a nocturnist for 5 years. In 2017, due to her interest in teaching residents and medical students, she joined the academic faculty. When she has free time, she is a volunteer attending for the Washington University Medical Students at the Saturday Neighborhood Health Clinic.

In addition to working as one of the teaching faculty in the Division of Hospital Medicine, Dr. Atwood has played an active role with the Society of Hospital Medicine, serving as president of the St. Louis Chapter of the Society of Hospital Medicine from 2016-2019. During her tenure, the local chapter received Platinum Chapter status 2 years in a row followed by Silver level status the third year. She is currently serving as SHM St. Louis Chapter’s Treasurer.

Dr. Atwood serves on several committees for both Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Society of Hospital Medicine, including the Transfusion Committee, Drug Utilization Evaluation Subcommittee, and the SHM Chapter Support Committee.

Meet Our New Associate Professor of Medicine – Dr. Andrew Odden

We are pleased to announce that the Executive Faculty has approved the promotion of Dr. Andrew Odden to Associate Professor of Medicine.

Dr. Odden received his medical degree and completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Minnesota in Ann Arbor, where he was awarded the Bruce Jones Award for House Staff Spirit. He joined the hospitalist faculty at the University of Michigan and the Ann Arbor VA. Dr. Odden founded and served as the inaugural Section Chief of Hospital Medicine at the Ann Arbor VA and became Associate Chief of Medicine where he was responsible for inpatient medical care. He directed the Inpatient Nurse Care Coordinator Program and led the Hospital Medicine section’s medicine consult program, procedure service, night hospitalist service, and observation program. Dr. Odden won numerous teaching awards at the University of Michigan, including the Richard D. Judge Award for Medical Student Teaching, the Special Contribution to the Medical Student Teaching Program, and served as Prefect and Faculty Honorary for the Galen’s Medical Society. He developed a quality improvement sub-internship at the Ann Arbor VA which integrated inpatient medical care with the principles of quality and safety.

In 2015, Dr. Odden joined the faculty at Washington University in St. Louis in the Divisions of Hospital Medicine and Medical Education. He currently serves as the Patient Safety Officer for the Department of Medicine, co-chairs the departmental Operations Executive Council, and is a Physician Utilization Management Advisor for Barnes-Jewish Hospital. He is a Senior Fellow of Hospital Medicine (SFHM) and is a member of the Society of Hospital Medicine’s Hospital Quality and Patient Safety Committee and the Quality Improvement Strategy Subcommittee. Dr. Odden has a scholarly interest in the care of patients with sepsis on the general medicine floors and has given numerous national and international talks in addition to having served as a faculty member for both the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the Surviving Sepsis Campaign on ward sepsis initiatives.

Welcome New Hospitalists and Nurse Practitioners!

Please join us in extending a warm welcome to our new faculty members and nurse practitioners:

Faris Bakeer, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Sydney Blount, MD- Instructor in Medicine
Natalia Brito Rivera, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Benjamin Buettner, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Anthony Dao, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Hanan Dihowm, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Jack El Sawda, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Kathleen Evans, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Ian Green, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Syed Hasan, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Thomas Hoyt, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Ajitha Kommalapati, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Han Li, MD – Instructor in Medicine
James Mendoza, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Jaspur Min, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Kahee Mohammed, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Jacob Murray, DO – Instructor in Medicine
Tahsin Mustaque, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Arjun Natarajan, MD- Instructor in Medicine
Roland Njei, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Gregory Ogunnowo, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Holly Perry, NP – Nurse Practitioner
Mark Pinkerton, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Elaine Shao, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Jaclyn Silverstein, NP – Nurse Practitioner
James Watson, MD – Instructor in Medicine


Congratulations Division Of Palliative Medicine!

With great enthusiasm, we are pleased to announce that palliative care services is now its own division: Division of Palliative Medicine.

Palliative care services has been part of the Division of Hospital Medicine for many years. The Palliative Care Service is a collaborative effort between Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. Launched in September 2005, it is the first comprehensive hospital-based palliative care program in Missouri. The service assists with pain and symptom management and addresses quality of life issues for patients and families coping with serious illness. Its mission is to improve symptom management and support the best quality of life for patients with life-limiting illness and their families through specialized, interdisciplinary clinical care, education, and research.  The Palliative Care Team believes in treating the whole person, not just the disease. They focus on quality of life for each individual and the family they serve. They help patients and their caregivers clarify their goals in order to make the best possible choices.*

Dr. Patrick White, assistant professor of medicine, is the director for the Division of Palliative Medicine. We wish Dr. White, Dr. Dans, and the rest of the palliative care team the best of luck as they separate into the newly formed Division of Palliative Medicine.


Dr. Rachel Bardowell Receives Annual Teaching Award in General Medicine

The annual teaching awards are voted on by third year medicine residents. One faculty member from each subspecialty and two from general internal medicine are presented with awards at the annual senior house staff luncheon.

“It was a surprise and an honor!” – Dr. Rachel Bardowell

Washington University School of Medicine Internal Medicine Residency Teaching Faculty of the Year in General Internal Medicine was awarded to fellow hospitalist, Dr. Rachel Bardowell.

Seventh Inning Stretch with the Hospitalists!

“Spring nights and baseball lights” was the theme Monday night as the Division of Hospital Medicine gathered at Busch Stadium to watch the Cardinals take on the Phillies. Besides enjoying endless ballpark hotdogs and nachos, the division cheered on the Cardinals as they took home the win for St. Louis!


Dr. Lois Richard Joins Hospitalists on The Hill in Washington, D.C.

As part of the SHM annual national meeting, The Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM) sponsored “Hospitalists on The Hill” in Washington, D.C. Hill Day ’19 was a huge success with 160 hospitalists attending 189 meetings in offices of 36 states.

The day started with a morning briefing, after which participants boarded buses and headed to Capitol Hill for meetings with their individual Congressional and Senate offices. Hill Day participants asked their legislators to co-sponsor and support the passage of the following bills:

“I’ve enjoyed Hill Day three times and come away feeling good each time. SHM does a great job making all the arrangements.” – Dr. Lois Richard

1) The Improving access to Medicare Coverage Act of 2019 (H.R. 1682, S. 753) and 2) Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 (H.R. 1044, S. 386). Fellow hospitalist, Dr. Lois Richard, participated in “Hospitalists on The Hill” in 2013, 2015, as well as in 2019.  Dr. Richard strongly encourages colleagues to visit congressional leaders while in Washington and to write letters in support of these important issues

“On March 27, 2019, the final day of HM19, 160 of our fellow hospitalists fanned out across Capitol Hill to advocate for our patients and our specialty. In Congressional meetings throughout the day, hospitalists drew attention to two pressing issues, observation care reform and high-skilled visa reforms, while educating Congress about the critical role and impact of hospital medicine on the healthcare system.” – Grassroots Newsletter

Details of the above congressional bills and other advocacy resources can be found on the SHM website:  (Policy and Advocacy).

Dr. Michael Lin – Chair at the Academic Leadership Summit at HM19

The SHM Annual Conference is created By Hospitalists, For Hospitalists. and is the “fastest growing conference in healthcare.” The Annual Conference is more than a meeting, it’s a movement.*

Dr. Michael Lin

Fellow hospitalist, Dr. Michael Lin, SFHM, chaired the Academic Leadership Summit at Hospital Medicine 19. Dr. Lin led the Summit organization and curriculum development. He also moderator for the expert panel.

The Academic Leadership Summit is the premier gathering of current and future academic hospital medicine leaders. Colleagues from a variety of academic settings join together to learn, brainstorm, and share knowledge to advance their academic hospitalist program. Nationally renowned leaders in academic hospital medicine present and serve as panelists to share expertise on a variety of contemporary challenges in academic hospital medicine. Breakout tables allow for exchange of ideas, networking, and collaboration with colleagues from around the country.


“Care of the Hospitalized Patient” Marks its 13th year!

“Care of the Hospitalized Patient 2019” was presented by the WU Division of Hospital Medicine on April 27th at Eric P. Newman Education Center (EPNEC).  The planning committee included Dr. Lois Richard (Chair), Nancy Anne Hilliker, NP, and Dr. Eli Deal.

Dr. Lois Richard

“Care of the Hospitalized Patient” is a full-day Continuing Medical Education seminar presented at EPNEC on the BJH campus and serves as both a showcase for Washington University expertise and an outreach to healthcare providers in the region surrounding St. Louis.   Invited speakers are faculty of Washington University in St. Louis and practicing physicians and pharmacists at Barnes-Jewish Hospital who provide valuable instruction on current practices and timely updates on advances in their specialty field. This year’s speakers included Dr. Marina Litvin, Dr. Sara Richter, Dr. Andrej Spec, Dr. Michael Rich, and Dr. Eli Deal.   In addition to WU faculty, COHP2019 also included invited speakers Dr. Amanda Kracen from Webster University, Dr. Shiraz Daud from Missouri Baptist Medical Center, and Dr. Katherine Kush from Goldfarb School of Nursing.

Participants earn continuing education credits (CME, CEU or MOC) through the Washington University CME Department, organizers of the event.  This year, the program awarded CME/CEU and MOC credits to 69 attendees, including physicians, physician assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners and pharmacists.

The annual CME conference was supported once again by a grant from The Foundation for Barnes Jewish Hospital, as well as various commercial organizations. Many thanks to the WU Continuing Medical Education Department, eloquent speakers, and devoted supporters of this successful program!

Dr. Carol Faulk, Guest Speaker at Evening Grand Rounds

Grand rounds help physicians and other healthcare professionals keep up-to-date in evolving topics.

On April 30th, fellow hospitalist, Dr. Carol Faulk, will be presenting “Physician Wellbeing” as the invited guest speaker for Evening Grand Rounds.

Burnout can be defined as a triad of emotional exhaustion, callousness and a low sense of personal achievement. There has been increasing recognition of burnout in physicians and especially physicians-in-training. Burnout in physicians has been linked to increased medical errors and depression. As a result, there have been a wealth of research on strategies to combat burnout, new ACGME requirements for residency programs to promote resident wellness, and a better understanding of how burnout develops. Duty hour restrictions, systemic changes to the way medicine is practiced, stress management workshops, and mindfulness training are a few of the interventions used to help prevent burnout.

Dr. Carol Faulk

“I have been passionate about physician wellness since helping to co-found the “Balance in Medicine” program for Washington University in St. Louis Internal Medicine program in 2016. This program includes providing a wellness curriculum with small group discussion sessions led by a clinical psychologist for the residents. I am looking forward to helping educate my colleagues about physician burnout and wellness. I believe this is an important topic for physicians to discuss and understand because of the impact burnout has on ourselves and our patients.”


Dr. Dennis Chang Presents at SHM Annual Meeting in National Harbor, MD

Since 2012, during every SHM Annual meeting, the PIT (Physicians in Training) Committee, runs a track called Early-Career Hospitalists which caters their content towards students, residents, and early career hospitalists. This year the PIT committee graciously asked fellow hospitalist, Dr. Dennis Chang, as well as Dr. Daniel Ricotta, a colleague from Beth Israel Deaconess in Boston, to present at the 2019 SHM Annual Meeting in National Harbor, MD.

Their presentation was titled:

A Whirlwind Tour of Famous Landmark (Articles): Must-Know Literature to Impress Your Peers and Attendings.

After previously giving an Updates in Hospital Medicine presentation, feedback from students and residents who really enjoyed the talk wanted to know more about articles from the past that changed how physicians practice hospital medicine. The overall goal was to summarize landmark articles and help people both apply it to practice and give hospitalists a way to quickly teach about these articles.

From a list created by the PIT committee, Drs. Chang and Ricotta picked articles that hospitalists most commonly see such as pneumonia, sepsis, deep vein thrombosis, and congestive heart failure.

They choose 6 total articles with 2 fun articles that they titled “quick hits”:

  1. High-Flow Oxygen through Nasal Cannula in Acute Hypoxemic Respiratory Failure (NEJM)
  2. Duration of Antibiotic Treatment in Community Acquired Pneumonia (JAMA Internal Medicine)
  3. Treatment of Venous Thrombosis with Intravenous Unfractionated Heparin Administered in the Hospital as Compared with Subcutaneous Low-Molecular-Weight Heparin Administered at Home (NEJM)
  4. Transfusion of fresh frozen plasma in critically ill patients with a coagulopathy before invasive procedures: a randomized clinical trial (Transfusion Practice)
  5. Goal-Directed Resuscitation for Patients with Early Septic Shock (NEJM)
  6. Corticosteroids for severe sepsis: an evidence-based guide for physicians (Annals of Intensive Care)
  7. Aggressive Fluid and Sodium Restriction in Acute Decompensated Heart Failure (JAMA Internal Medicine)
  8. Diuretic Strategies in Patients with Acute Decompensated Heart Failure (NEJM)

Dr. Chang

“I thoroughly enjoyed putting together this talk as it gave me an opportunity to read these articles again in depth and to work with another hospitalist at a different institution. Every time I read an article I learn something new that helps me take better care of my patients.  For example, it has become standard of care that we treat community acquired pneumonia (CAP) for 5 days. However, in the article almost 80% of patients received a fluoroquinolone. This won’t change my practice of 5 days for CAP but it is an interesting factoid. And now I certainly will not salt and fluid restrict my patients with acute systolic  heart failure. Overall this was an incredible enjoyable experience, and I hope to be able to give further talks at the SHM annual meeting next year.” – Dr. Dennis Chang

Dr. Chang has been a member of the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM) since 2008 and named a fellow of SHM in 2013. Since 2013, he has been a member of the SHM Physicians in Training (PIT) Committee.

Strikes, Spares, and Gutterballs – This is How the Hospitalists Roll

Saratoga Lanes was Saturday night’s hot spot for hospitalists to gather and enjoy good food, music, pool, and bowling.


Passing the Torch – SHM St. Louis Chapter

The Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM) St. Louis Chapter celebrated its last annual meeting at Pastaria in Clayton before changing hands to a new leadership team. For the past 9 years, all leadership positions of the SHM St. Louis Chapter have been led by hospitalists from the Washington University in St. Louis Division of Hospital Medicine.

The annoucement congratulating the new leadership of the Society of Hospital Medicine St. Louis Chapter was welcomed with thunderous applause and open arms. New leadership include:

  • President: Hiral Choksi, MD, SFHM (Saint Louis University)
  • Vice President: Adam Merando, MD (Saint Louis University)
  • Director of Membership Development: Keniesha Thompson, MD (Saint Louis University)
  • Secretary: Matthew Brinkmeier, MD (Washington University in St. Louis)
  • Treasurer: Crystal Atwood, MD (Washington University in St. Louis)

Between 2016-2017, Dr. Crystal Atwood was co-president of the SHM St. Louis chapter. In 2018, Dr. Atwood became president of the chapter. At the meeting, she was recognized for her role in the SHM St. Louis Chapter and its chapter achievements, which included back-to-back SHM Platinum Chapter Awards for 2016 and 2017.

Dr. Crystal Atwood and Dr. Myra Rubio

Fellow colleague, Dr. Myra Rubio, SFHM, Associate Professor of Medicine, who also served as a past SHM St. Louis Chapter president and currently serves as the SHM District Chair for five states (IL, MO, NE, OK, KS), presented Dr. Atwood with a plaque commemorating her leadership role.

Dr. Hilary Reno

The evening’s speaker was fellow hospitalist, Dr. Hilary Reno, PhD, whose topic was, “Management of STDs for the Hospitalist.” Presentation included details of management of inpatient syphilis scenarios, discussion of less common presentations of STDs in admitted patients, descriptions of recent changes in recommended STD treatments, and descriptions of the challenge that AMR Neisseria gonorrhoeae presents.



Dr. Wael Toama and Dr. Venkata Vosuri Take On Houston at Annual TCT Meeting

Hospitalists, Dr. Wael Toama and Dr. Venkata Vosuri, had the great opportunity to participate in the 2019 Transplantation & Cellular Therapy (TCT) meeting, held Feb 20-24 in Houston,Texas. The TCT meeting combined annual meetings of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT) and the Center for International Blood & Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR). TCT is an important event gathering the most current projects and proposals by investigators, clinicians, clinical research professionals and others that work in hematopoietic cell transplantation and cellular therapy. Highlights of the meeting was the emerging role of CAR-T cell therapy in hematological malignancies.

Dr. Wael Toama

Dr. Venkata Vosuri

For the TCT event, Dr. Toama presented two posters of retrospective analysis of patients who used Ruxolitinib for steroid refractory Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD).

GVHD is still one of the most leading causes of non-relapse morbidity and mortality following allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant. Incidence rate differs between acute and chronic GVHD but in general 60%-85%. In acute GVHD, steroids are the first line and mainstay of therapy with response percentage 50-55% leaving around half of patients in need for the second line. Many viable options have been using for steroids refractory acute GVHD but none is FDA approved yet. Ruxolitinib is one of these options and now used compassionately or under research umbrella. Their analysis discloses 58% response rate with improvement in overall survival from 0.9 to 7.4 months.

Dr. Vosuri presented a poster titled “Outcomes of Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation in Multiple Myeloma Patients with Renal Insufficiency: A Meta-Analysis.”

Autologous stem cell transplantation, (ASCT) is used sparingly among myeloma (MM) patients with renal impairment due to concerns of morbidity and mortality. A meta-analysis was performed of the published literature. Their study found that treatment related mortality (TRM) occurred in 12% of the patients. Complete response was achieved in 39% of above patients.


Dr. Stephen Chi Awarded Prestigious “Star Research Award” at the 48th Critical Care Congress

The Society for Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) held its 48th Critical Care Congress in San Diego, California. The Society of Critical Care Medicine is the largest non-profit medical organization dedicated to promoting excellence and consistency in the practice of critical care. With members in more than 100 countries, SCCM is the only organization that represents all professional components of the critical care team. The Society offers a variety of activities that ensures excellence in patient care, education, research and advocacy.*

Dr. Stephen Chi

For the 48th Critical Care Congress, abstract contributions of original investigative research and case reports for the advancement of critical care were requested. If accepted, the abstract would then be considered for presentation at Congress. Hospitalist, Dr. Stephen Chi, was chosen to present his abstract on “Early Palliative Care Consultation in the Medical ICU.” His abstract was selected from over 1800 submitted abstracts.

Not only did Dr. Chi present his research at the 48th Critical Care Congress, but he was also one of the recipients of the prestigious Star Research Award. The Star Research Award is in recognition of high quality original investigative research. The Congress published Dr. Chi’s abstract in Critical Care Medicine, the #1 critical care subspecialty journal.

In this randomized controlled trial, high-risk ICU patients received either standard of care or a proactive palliative care consult within 48 hours of ICU admission. Patients seen by the palliative care team were then followed through transfer to the hospital floor until discharge. His study found that these early palliative care consults were associated with significant increases in code status de-escalation and hospice transfers, as well as decreases in mechanical ventilator days, tracheostomies, and post-discharge emergency room visits and readmissions.

Read more about Dr. Chi’s research at:



Now Open! New 3500 Observation Unit

Dr. Margo Girardi

The Division of Hospital Medicine has recently opened the new 3500 observation unit in the Peter’s building under the care of the unit’s new medical director Dr. Margo Girardi.  This state of the art 24 bed unit will house medicine observation patients with anticipated length of stay of less than 24 hr.  It is currently open to 10 beds but will continue to expand throughout the upcoming year.  It is being run by Hospital Medicine physicians as well as Mid-Level Providers.  The most common diagnoses being cared for in this unit include low risk chest pain, syncope, asthma/COPD, community-acquired infections, diabetes complications, and post procedural observation.  However all medicine patient’s with observation admissions can be considered ideal candidate and utilize this space.

The goal of this unit is to provide expedient testing, protocol focused treatment, and personalized discharge planning in order to efficiently care for patients with anticipated short length of stay.  Our mission will also be to alleviate congestion in the ER and improve throughput throughout the hospital.  We anticipate improved patient satisfaction as they receive personal and efficient care from there observation treatment team, with the goal to get them back home safely and quickly avoiding unnecessary testing and increased healthcare costs.This unit is currently open 24 hrs 7 days a week and is actively seeking patients.

Dr. Robert Mahoney Co-hosts HCLDR Twitter Chat

Dr. Robert Mahoney

Join us tonight, January 22nd, at 7:30pm CST on #hcldr as fellow hospitalist, Dr. Robert Mahoney, leads the discussion on physician burnout and how we might combat it with co-host Dr. Chuck Webster.

Discussion will be guided by blog post, “Burnout”, by Drs. Mahoney and Webster. Article can be found on: 

The Healthcare Leadership Blog is a weekly educational tweetchat created by Colin Hung and Lisa Fields in 2012. The original idea was to establish a “virtual space” where people who were passionate about healthcare could gather and discuss issues via social media. #HCLDR is a strong and vibrant online community of people who all share a passion for improving healthcare. The community includes patients, physicians, nurses, CEOs, IT folks, caregivers, policy makers and students from all around the world. #HCLDR is open to anyone and everyone.*

Don’t have a Twitter account?                                                                                                      Follow the chat at


Meet Our Newest Associate Professor of Medicine – Dr. Dennis Chang

We are also pleased to announce that the Executive Faculty has approved the appointment of Dr. Dennis Chang as Associate Professor of Medicine.

In July 2018, Dr. Dennis Chang joined the Division of Hospital Medicine and became the Interprofessional Education (IPE) MD Thread Director at Washington University in St. Louis. He was previously affiliated with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

Dr. Chang received his BS from Yale University, his MD from University of Chicago and completed his Internal Medicine residency at NYU. At Mount Sinai, he ran the Medicine Consult Service and Perioperative clinic and has lectured regionally and nationally on Perioperative medicine. At Mount Sinai, he also served as the Internal Medicine Clerkship Director at Mount Sinai, the Associate Division Chief of Hospital Medicine and the Director of Education. His research interests are in developing and assessing the effectiveness on new curricula in medical student education and faculty development. He has developed medical school curricula on patient safety and quality improvement, leadership, teaching skills and the business and law of medicine. He has also developed teaching courses for faculty development as well as communication skills. Dr. Chang has lectured nationally on mentorship and faculty development. He has received numerous teaching awards from medical students and residents and was elected to the Faculty Alpha Omega Alpha Society by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai graduating class. At Washington University, he is the chair of the IPE Curriculum Assessment Committee.

Meet Our Newest Assistant Professor of Medicine – Dr. Christine Heumann

We are pleased to announce that the Executive Faculty has approved the appointment of Dr. Christine Heumann as Assistant Professor of Medicine.

Dr. Christine Heumann earned her medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine in 2011.  While there, she was elected to the Gold Humanism Honor Society.  She then completed an internal medicine residency at McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University in 2014 and an infectious disease fellowship at the University of Washington Medical Center in 2016.  While at the University of Washington, she earned a Master of Public Health degree in epidemiology and began to develop her clinical and research interests in public health, HIV, and STDs.  After fellowship, Dr. Heumann joined the Division of Infectious Diseases at Wayne State University.  While there, she was the medical director of the Detroit Public Health STD Clinic.  In this role, she developed programs for HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and the clinic was awarded Outstanding Achievement in HIV Prevention from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Heumann also received grant funding to start an HIV care program in the STD clinic for patients newly diagnosed with HIV, with a goal of improving the HIV care continuum.  While at Wayne State, Dr. Heumann was the site principal investigator for a prospective cohort study evaluating the implementation of HIV PrEP in Detroit, Michigan and was also the principal investigator for a study evaluating sexual healthcare preferences.

In July of 2018, Dr. Heumann joined the Division of Hospital Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis as a bone marrow transplant hospitalist where she continues to care for immunocompromised patients.

Extraordinary Compassionate Care – Dr. Devin Odom

Amber Sweeten, RN, and Devin Odom, MD

Dr. Devin Odom was featured in the November issue of Physician Connect by Barnes Jewish Hospital for his exceptional patient care during a patient’s last moments in the hospital. The family of the 94-year-old woman sent a letter to BJH President, Bob Cannon, expressing their gratitude to Dr. Devin Odom and Amber Sweeten, RN, for the compassionate care and respect the family experienced. Below is the excerpt from Physician Connect.


My 94-year-old mother was a patient on 11100. Though she died – she noted several times, “I can’t live forever!” – I still want to let you know about the extraordinary care she received.

The nursing care was exceptional by all of the nurses. I want to give special recognition to a nurse named Amber who cared for Mom on her last day of life. The floor was full. There were many demands on Amber’s time and energy. But she made time for Mom. She was cheerful every time she entered the room. She took care to closely monitor Mom’s deteriorating condition. She went above and beyond to bring Mom comfort, even tenderly massaging her back when Mom simply couldn’t get comfortable. Amber was responsive to our questions and concerns; she called the hospitalist when she noticed changes, and when we wanted more information. After Mom died, I asked Amber to read a prayer that my niece had written for Mom because I knew I couldn’t read it aloud without losing my composure. Amber read the loving remarks in a firm, clear voice. My sister and I will never forget Amber’s competence, sensitivity, tenderness and good cheer.

In most hospital experiences, it is the nurses patients remember most, for better or for worse, because they usually have the most contact with patients and families. I also want to acknowledge the physician who cared for Mom on her last day of life, Dr. Devin Odom. I regret the lack of personal connection patients in the hospital have with their doctors since the advent of hospitalists. They are strangers treating strangers. Dr. Odom, however, delivered the type of care that patients used to receive when their own doctors treated them in the hospital.

The most essential need patients and their families have is information. Dr. Odom followed Mom’s condition closely and regularly communicated with us. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, powerless and ignored in hospitals but this was not our experience. Dr. Odom asked me to talk to him in the hallway, away from Mom, when he told me he was “very concerned” about her decline. We discussed options and realistic expectations. He explained the issues patiently and clearly. He did not rush or push. He helped us make decisions by simply listening and answering our questions honestly but with compassion. I felt that he really cared.

He was with Mom when she drew her last breath. My sister and I stroked Mom, and Dr. Odom knelt on the floor at her bedside while Amber read my niece’s prayer for a peaceful journey from life to whatever comes next. Before he left, he expressed his sympathy and hugged me.

Every minute we were in the hospital with Mom was painful. Yet, Amber and Dr. Odom made a solemn, sad experience peaceful for Mom and us. I wish you could use their faces and voices in posters and videos to advertise what patients deserve and can receive in a hospital experience. It was surprising and extraordinary.” *

*Physician Connect – November 27, 2018



SHM St. Louis Chapter’s Annual Research, Innovations and Clinical Vignettes Competition Begins!

The Society of Hospital Medicine St. Louis Chapter began its search to award two $1000 scholarships. Medical students and residents who submit an abstract by December 3rd to SHM’s Research, Innovations and Clinical Vignettes Scientific Abstract and Poster Competition for Hospital Medicine 2019 (the Society of Hospital Medicine annual meeting) and receive confirmation that their abstract was accepted, will be eligible to compete.

Two Scholarship Award Recipients will each receive $1000 towards:

• One-year SHM Membership
• Complimentary Registration to attend HM19 in National Harbor, MD
• Poster Printing Expenses
• Airfare and Hotel Accommodations

The kick-off event took place on November 15th at Scape American Bistro. Sixteen posters showcasing the work from previous abstracts from hospitalists, residents, and medical students were on display that evening.

To commemorate SHM St. Louis Chapter’s 8th anniversary, Dr. Ron Greeno, MD, FCCP, MHM, and past president of the Society of Hospital Medicine was the invited speaker who discussed MACRA, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. MACRA provides new guidelines on ways physicians who care for Medicare beneficiaries will be paid based on quality, resources utilized, practice improvement, and use of electronic health records. His keynote address was titled “Under the MACRA scope: A Hospitalist Perspective.”


Dr. Wenners Ballard III, Guest Speaker at Evening Grand Rounds

Grand rounds help physicians and other healthcare professionals keep up-to-date in evolving topics.

On November 13, fellow hospitalist, Dr. Wenners Ballard III, was the invited guest speaker for Evening Grand Rounds. His presentation titled, “The Opioid Effect: The Present and Future”, discussed present opioid options and addressed future strategies to fight the opioid crisis.

“In October 2017, the opioid epidemic became a nationwide public health emergency.

A 5 point plan was outlined by HHS:

1. Better prevention

2. Better data

3. Better pain management

4. Better availability of reversal agents

5. Better research on pain and addiction

In September 2018, HHS awarded over $1 billion to combat the opioid crisis.” *

Dr. Ballard summarized his presentation by focusing on future endeavors such as improved overdose reversal agents, compounds that target nonopioid pain pathways, and effective nonaddictive interventions for chronic pain.

*Healthcare information provided by Dr. Ballard’s PowerPoint presentation



Dr. Caroline Kahle Named Chair of the BJH Ethics Committee

It is our distinct pleasure to announce that fellow hospitalist, Dr. Caroline Kahle, Assistant Professor of Medicine, has been named Chair of the BJH Ethics Committee.

“The Barnes-Jewish Hospital ethics consultation team provides guidance on challenging issues such as those related to end-of-life care, the application of advanced directives and surrogate decision making. Consultations may be requested by family members of the patient or by any individual involved in the patient’s care.

The role of medical ethics consultation is to provide a forum for the discussion of patient-related ethical issues. Such consultations may be requested by any of the patient’s health care providers, by the patient or by the patient’s family.

The ethics committee consists of representatives from many patient care and service areas throughout the hospital as well as members of the local community. Its mission is to further the delivery of excellent health care. The ethics committee strives to accomplish this mission by:

  • educating members of the medical center, the community and themselves about bioethical issues
  • providing medical ethics case consultations regarding a specific patient’s care
  • providing advice on the ethical dimensions of existing hospital policies or proposing new bioethics policies to the Medical Executive Committee” *

* For more information on the BJH Ethics Committee, please visit:

Dr. Mark Thoelke, Invited Speaker at the Annual Missouri Chapter ACP Meeting

Division Chief, Dr. Mark Thoelke, Professor of Medicine, was invited to present at the Missouri chapter of the American College of Physicians annual meeting on September 16th at Osage Beach, MO.

“The American College of Physicians (ACP) is a diverse community of internal medicine specialists and subspecialists united by a commitment to excellence. Internists apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. With 154,000 members in countries across the globe, ACP is the largest medical-specialty society in the world. ACP and its physician members lead the profession in education, standard-setting, and the sharing of knowledge to advance the science and practice of internal medicine.” *

Dr. Thoelke

Dr. Thoelke’s topic was on ” Anticoagulation Cases in the Hospital 2018.”

His presentation focused on four main ideas: properly targeting at-risk patients for DVT prophylaxis, when to use NOACs and which one to use, anticoagulation bridging therapies, and anticoagulation reversal agents.


*For more detailed information on Dr. Thoelke’s presentation and on the American College of Physicians (ACP), please visit their website at

Take Me Out To The Ball Game!

After many months of hard work preparing for new faculty orientation, the division showed their appreciation by treating the administration staff to a day at the ballpark. With the support from the faculty, the administration staff, along with Dr. Mark Thoelke, Division Chief, spent an afternoon watching the St. Louis Cardinals compete against the Pittsburgh Pirates. They enjoyed a day in the sun bonding over baseball and hotdogs.

Even Warren Smith, Scheduling System Coordinator, managed to make it onto the jumbotron.

It was the perfect day for everyone to spend some time soaking up the sun, eating ballpark food, and enjoying the company of fellow co-workers. Even though the Cardinals ended the game with a disappointing loss that day, the administration staff all still came out as winners!

Welcome New Hospitalists!

Please join us in extending a big, warm welcome to our new faculty members:

Jordan Atkins, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Wenners Ballard, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Dennis Chang, MD – Associate Professor of Medicine
Ramya Chelapareddy, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Stephen Chi, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Amir Esmaeeli, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Kathryn Filson, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Anjali  Gupta, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Christine Heumann, MD – Assistant Professor of Medicine
Nhila  Jagadeesan, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Tushina Jain, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Joyce Ji, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Jimmy Ma, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Zachary Morgan, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Ivan Mugisha, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Eze Okeagu, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Alex Thomas, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Stephanie Velloze, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Venkata Vosuri, MD – Instructor in Medicine
Peter Zhao, MD – Instructor in Medicine

Newly Appointed Assistant Professors of Medicine

The Division of Hospital Medicine is pleased to announce the appointments of fellow hospitalists, Drs. Eric Johnson and Adam Littich, to Assistant Professor of Medicine. We congratulate them on their well-earned promotion.

Dr. Johnson

Dr. Littich




Epic Ready!

Due to launch in early June, the Division of Hospital Medicine has been busy preparing for the transition to Epic, our new electronic health record system. The division held numerous meetings to address any and all Epic questions. Our clinicians spent countless hours in classroom training. The division also requested Epic trainers to be brought into the office to offer all our clinicans personal one-on-one training.

Our clinicians have not only spent many hours training in order to create a seamless transition, but they have also been an intregal part on the teaching end as well. Drs. Devin Odom, Andrew Odden, and Crystal Atwood became Epic provider educators. Nurse practitioner, Cheryl Reinarman, also completed additional training to become an Epic Super User.

The new system will help reach the ultimate goal of providing world-class care to patients by providing reliable, usable, and integrated clinical information systems.

We Are Family!

Meet the 2018 Leukemia Lymphoma Society’s Student of the Year, Alexandra Hayes, better known as Ali to those who have come to know and adore her. Ali is the daughter of Christal Mills, Special Projects Administrator for the Division of Hospital Medicine.

Five years ago at the age of 16, Ali’s life changed forever when she was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). She immediately began aggressive chemotherapy treatments. After being hospitalized for 97 days, she achieved remission where she thankfully remains today.

Ali Hayes and Glenn Markway

The day after her admission she met Glenn Markway, a 21 year old college student who received the same diagnosis of AML. Glenn and Ali endured the same treatments, yet Glenn relapsed and immediately underwent a stem cell transplant. Sadly, Glenn passed away on August 1, 2015, just two years after their initial diagnosis.

The Leukemia Lymphoma Society is doing its part in this search for a cure by funding promising research and helping patients and families through financial aid, education, and support groups. This is an organization that not only raises money for LLS but honors the memory of lives like Glenn.

In January, Glenn’s mother, Carol Markway, nominated Ali to carry on the 2018 Student of the Year fundraising mission for LLS.  Ali gladly accepted the challenge and committed to working with others to fight for a cure. Every dollar Ali raised was not only a vote for her but a vote to cure cancer. She had 7 weeks to reach her goal of $20,000.

The Division of Hospital Medicine immediately rallied with Ali. They raised a total of $7,000. With the contributions made from the division and with Ali’s other fundraising efforts, not only did she reach her personal goal but surpassed it with a grand total of $30,038!

2018 Leukemia Lymphoma Society Student of the Year, Ali Hayes, accompanied by Drew Modzinski

Keep a lookout for Ali as you drive along the highways of St. Louis. The Leukemia Lymphoma Society is displaying her amazing accomplishment on her very own billboard!

Hospitalist Finalists are Orlando Bound!

After being named one of the finalists in the Society of Hospital Medicine’s Research, Innovations, and Vignettes (RIV)  Poster Competition, Division of Hospital Medicine colleagues, Dr. Nathan Martin, Dr. Margo Girardi, and Warren Smith, will be heading to SHM’s National Conference in Orlando, Florida to await the final results.

Dr. Nathan Martin, Dr. Margo Girardi, Warren Smith

Their poster titled, “360° Evaluation of Fellow Hospitalists Via A Redcap Survey”, utilizes the Redcap survey feedback tool to anonymously evaluate fellow hospitalist faculty members. Their ongoing research encourages hospitalists to provide both positive and negative feedback to improve patient care. Completing the anonymous evaluations and providing feedback to colleagues will hopefully help increase the quality of clinical care, quality of physician handoff, and the quality of the hospital discharge summaries.

SHM’s RIV competition features more than 1,700 applicants vying for approximately 900 poster spots. Plenary and oral sessions are chosen from the pool of abstracts prior to the meeting, and their authors are invited to present on-site at HM 18. This is one of the most popular events at SHM’s Annual Meeting. It enables hospitalists from across the country to discuss emerging science and clinical cases, share clinical and professional experiences, and make valuable professional connections. Many of the cutting-edge abstracts that are first presented at SHM’s RIV sessions go on to be published in respected medical journals.*





The Fight for a Cleaner Living Environment Continues

Quote from Pitterson in Haiti: “Hey guys, we don’t have the correct words to thank you!! The only words that we think we have is God bless you cause all of you worked like Giants to make this possible!!”

The “Hope for Soap” initiative is back in full swing as the hospitalist group gathers bars of Irish Spring soap to send as a relief effort to Haiti. This is the third year for the hospitalist group to sponsor the “Hope for Soap” initiative. Bars of Irish Spring soap are sent to Haiti communities that are living without clean water and missing basic essential items. Many Haitians have never experienced taking a shower or bath with clean water and soap. Last year the hospitalist group gathered and boxed up more than 1000 bars of soap. Local Haitians continue to pour out their gratitude for the support for their fight for a cleaner living environment.

“My children need water. So I dig! 150 feet down.”

March 2017- Arrival of 1176 bars of Irish Spring Soap in Haiti from the Division of Hospital Medicine








Irish Spring soap donations can be dropped off at the Division of Hospital Medicine office. Monetary donations are also welcomed and will be used to purchase Irish Spring soap. Collections will be made until March 9, 2018.



It’s a Match!

The first Wednesday of December is known throughout the U.S. medical community as Match Day.

The anticipation of future plans filled the air as many of our hospitalists logged into the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) to see where they matched. The NRMP organizes the matching process by combining the ranking of the applicants preferences with those of program directors who also submit their rank order of the candidates.

With great excitement we announce our hospitalists who have accepted the following fellowship positions:

Dr. Alaa Ali, Hematology/Oncology, The Ohio State University

Dr. Dhruv Bansal, Hematology/OncologyLoma Linda University

Dr. Michael Biersmith, Cardiology, The Ohio State University

Dr. Philip Chu, Rheumatology, Duke University

Dr. Maté Gergely, Gastroenterology, Washington University in St. Louis

Dr. Scott R. Goldsmith, Hematology/Oncology, Washington University in St. Louis

Dr. Walter Gribben, Pulmonology/Critical Care, University of California- Irvine

Dr. Christopher Jones, Pulmonology/Critical Care, Washington University in St. Louis

Dr. Mary-Kate Malecek, Hematology/Oncology, Washington University in St. Louis

Dr. Shivaprasad Gowda Manjappa, Hematology/Oncology, Case Western Reserve

Dr. David Pham, Pulmonology/Critical Care, University of Texas Southwestern

Dr. Samuel Reinhardt, Cardiology, Yale University

Dr. Michael Tang, Infectious Disease, University of California – San Diego

Dr. Kevin Yuan, Critical Care, Washington University in St. Louis


Hospitalists Helping Kids with Cancer…Be Kids!


One can always find Hospitalist Special Projects Administrator, Christal Mills, supporting various charitable events throughout the year. Whether Christal is chairing the event or showing her support through donations, her generosity is limitless. One of the many non-for-profit organizations that runs near and dear to her heart is Friends of Kids with Cancer.

Friends of Kids with Cancer is devoted to enriching the daily lives of children undergoing treatment for, and survivors of, cancer and blood-related diseases. Their mission is to be an advocate for these special kids and provide them and their families with the educational, emotional, and recreational support needed as a result of the long hours of chemotherapy, illness, and isolation. Hospital stays and medical procedures can cause significant financial stress for the families. These burdens become especially difficult during the cold, holiday season.

This November, Christal “adopted” a family with six children. The children range in age from 6 years old and younger. Two of the siblings are currently undergoing treatment. Enlisting support from other colleagues, such as Mary Russell, Melinda Rubio, and Dr. Myra Rubio, they were able to provide all the necessary items to keep the family warm during the winter weather. Their collection of new winter items, such as coats, scarves, gloves, and hats, allowed the family to focus on spending more time together.

Consider making a donation to Friends of Kids with Cancer.

Donations may be made at: