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2016 Recipients of the ISHLT Leach-Abramson-Imhoff Links Travel Awards

Over the past year, the ISHLT again was very fortunate to have nearly 100 writers contributing to the ISHLT Links Newsletter. Attention to appropriate treatment strategies and drug monitoring for nontuberculous mycobacterial and fungal infections in our patients can contribute to better outcomes. Although expensive, innovative CFTR modulator therapies in cystic fibrosis continue to help patients suffering with cystic fibrosis and delay deterioration in their lung function. The dreaded clot through the heart in patients with LVAD compels us to fine tune our prevention and treatment anticoagulation strategies in this rapidly growing population. With the swift pace of innovation and focus on what's best for our patients we need to keep our senses and sensibilities, address our own confessions especially in terms of blame yet recognize that life is not fair as we keep asking ourselves, who has time to be still? This year's Writer of the Year Award goes to none other than Kyle Dawson. Our First Runner-Ups are Adam Cochrane and Christa Kirk, and Honorable Mention awards go to Angela Velleca and Erin Wells.

Let's extend warm ISHLT congratulations to these writers.


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Kyle Dawson, PharmD, MBA, BCPS
Houston Methodist
Houston, TX, USA

Although this year's winner is not in the heart of Texas like last year's winner, Pam Combs, instead Kyle Dawson is a clinical pharmacy specialist for the lung and heart transplant services at Houston Methodist in Houston, TX. His role is paramount in assisting heart and lung transplant specialists with managing complex medical regimens including the festering problem of nontuberculous mycobacteria infections. His article on Pharmacotherapy Considerations for Agents Used in the Treatment of Non-Tuberculosis Mycobacterial Infections in Cardiothoracic Transplant Recipients earned him this award.In the past, he co-authored an article for the ISHLT Links, Carbapenem's Role in Empiric and Directed Therapy for Bacterial Infections in Cardiothoracic Transplantation: Are All Carbapenem's Created Equal? He has been a member of the ISHLT Council of Pharmacy and Pharmacology for over 5 years and is this council's representative for the Education Committee. He is also a member of the Infectious Disease and Pulmonary Transplantation Council. He has also recently secured a Master's in Business Administration which will be an added bonus for his career and the ISHLT.


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Adam Cochrane, PharmD, BCPS
Inova Fairfax Hospital
Falls Church, VA, USA

Another Pharmacist claims another Links Award, Adam Cochrane. He is part of the INOVA Advanced Lung Disease and Transplant Program where he serves as the Clinical Transplant Pharmacist Specialist, a key member of an outstanding transplant team. Today, he is Vice-Chair of the Pharmacy and Pharmacology Council and has been an active member of the ISHLT for years. He is a member of all Councils, except the Pediatric, Pathology, Basic and Translational, and Junior Faculty and Trainees Councils. His article on Antifungal Therapeutic Drug Monitoring: Confessions of a Pharmacist is an insightful and important article about drug monitoring in our patients. He also provided an update on the Links on Orkambi™ For Cystic Fibrosis Before and After Lung Transplantation and in the past he gave us a summary on CMV and Thoracic Transplantation.

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Christa Kirk
Seattle Children's Hospital
Seattle, WA, USA

Yet is another Clinical Pharmacist claiming another runner-up Links Award. Christa Kirk is a Critical Care Pharmacist at Seattle Children's Hospital and in her first article for the Links, a Clot Through the Heart...And You're to Blame? proved to be insightful, creative and exactly what the ISHLT Links Newsletter expected. Of course, referencing Bon Jovi's "Shot through the Heart" didn't hurt.


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Angela Velleca, RN, BSN, CCTC
Cedars Sinai Heart Institute
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Our two honorable mentions are nurse coordinators. Angela Velleca comes from the Cedars-Sinai Heart Transplant Program as one of the lead coordinators. She has been part of the ISHLT for years and is an active member of the Nursing, Health Science and Allied Health Council. Her article on the Sense and Sensibilities: Finding Consensus in Adult Cardiothoracic Transplant Nursing alluding to Jane Austen, is the result of a consensus reached in an effort to better elucidate the staffing levels and models of care from the time honored importance of nurse coordinators for heart failure, lung failure, and recipients of heart and replacement therapies.

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Erin Wells, RN, BSN, CPN
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Cincinnati, OH, USA

Erin Wells, a Care Manager of Cincinnati Children's Lung Transplant Pediatric Team, is now a repeat recipient of the Links Travel Award in the category of honorable mention. Last year, we learned lessons from her article Lessons Learned. This year she delivered another clear and concise essay on Life Is Not Fair. She also provided us with another article Who Has Time To Be Still?

Congratulations on your honorable mention award for two years in a row.

History of the Leach-Abramson-Imhoff Links Travel Awards

The ISHLT Leach-Abramson-Imhoff Links Travel Awards, funded in part by the generous support from W.O. and Joan Leach (Gadsden, Alabama, USA), Mrs. Sue Abramson (Birmingham, Alabama, USA) and Mr. Larry Imhoff (La Place, Louisiana, USA), were created to support the growth and development of our future leaders from within our society including physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals. Those motivated enough with investigation, communication, and dissemination of new ideas for the betterment of patients with failing lungs and/or a failing heart including such conditions as pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, emphysema, pulmonary hypertension, and from ischemic, nonischemic to congenital heart diseases should be awarded for their efforts.

Eligibility requirements include:

  1. Any healthcare professional including but not limited to nurses, nurse coordinators, social workers, pharmacists, therapists, dietitians and early career physicians are eligible and must be a member of the ISHLT regardless of duration in their career.
  2. An imposed restriction on physicians is that they must be in their Early Career-within 7 years of training, Assistant Professor equivalent, or junior faculty level with rare exceptions.
  3. Individuals must display some form of research interest, basic, clinical, translational or outcomes investigations or at a minimum display some skill in journalism best exemplified by their contributions to the Links Newsletter engendering fresh and creative ideas.

Each year, the winners are selected from a pool of nominees by the ISHLT Links Travel Award Committee (LTAC). This committee includes the following individuals: the Links Editor-in-Chief, ISHLT Executive Director, ISHLT President, ISHLT Program Chair, and the Links Managing Editor. ■

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