Alumni News: Summer 2010


From the President

Michael Salem, MD, FACS Lung Cancer Center Opens

Tuberculosis was the number one medical problem in the 19th Century and the reason our doors opened in 1899. Since then, not only have we developed the expertise to diagnose and treat this disease with unparalleled success, but we also expanded into other cardiothoracic and immune system diseases. As a result, we've been ranked as the #1 Respiratory Hospital in America since 1998 (U.S. News & World Report).

Today, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in our country, and, therefore, warrants substantial focus and new approaches. We have been diagnosing and treating lung cancer for years, but now are thrilled to announce the opening of our Lung Cancer Center that expands the scope of our services to your patients.

We will lead the fight against lung cancer today and into the future by utilizing our institutional strengths—pulmonology, oncology, advanced diagnostics, research and unique patient care model.

We look forward to collaborating with you to the benefit of your patients with lung cancer.

Michael Salem, MD, FACS
President and CEO of National Jewish Health


Advanced and Personalized Lung Cancer Care

The National Jewish Health Lung Cancer Center integrates multispecialty clinical care, cutting-edge research and the most advanced diagnostic imaging with current and novel treatments for lung selectivity in the nation.

The National Jewish Health Lung Cancer Center has the clinical resources onsite and the ability to coordinate care among its many specialists to diagnose lung cancer in a matter of days depending upon the patient's situation. We can alleviate the long wait patients typically have for a diagnosis and treatment.

Our program offers

  • Personalized diagnosis and staging (within days for most patients) with cutting-edge diagnostics: Bronchoscopy; Chest X-Ray; CT; CT-guided Needle Aspiration; MRI; PET/CT; Pulmonary Function Test; Thoracentesis
  • Second opinions
  • Treatment plans that consider genetics and patient physiology -- chemotherapy, radiation therapy* and surgery* (* these services will be coordinated with the University of Colorado Hospital, Rose Medical Center and other local hospitals.)
  • Comprehensive long-term management strategies -- ongoing therapy, surveillance, airway management, pleural effusion care and palliative care
  • Access to novel diagnostics, radiation techniques and chemotherapy drugs through ongoing clinical research trials will soon be available
  • Behavioral health care for the patient and the whole family
  • Onsite, full service rehabilitation program
  • Palliative procedures and counseling
  • Nutrition counseling

The Lung Cancer Center Team

Our team includes pulmonologists, oncologists, immunologists, radiologists, and surgeons who are dedicated solely to lung cancer and who are experts at predicting, diagnosing, treating, managing and tracking it.  Complete biographical sketches are at

Jeffrey Kern, MD, FCCP, Pulmonologist

Laurie Carr, MD, Medical Oncologist

Ali I. Musani, MD, FACP, FCCP, Interventional Pulmonologist

Bronwyn Long, DNP, MBA, RN Program Coordinator
Certifications: Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse, (ACHPN), Clinical Nurse Specialist in Adult Health (ACNS-BC), and Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN)

David Bekelman, MD, MPH, Palliative Care Physician

David Lynch, MD, Thoracic Radiologist

Steve Groshong, MD, PhD, Anatomic and Clinical Pathologist

Rosane de Oliveira Duarte Achcar, MD, Anatomic and Clinical Pathologist

David Schwartz, MD, Genetics Specialist

Jill Slansky, PhD, Immunologist


Former Fellow Highlight

Former Fellow Releases Vitamin D and Asthma Research and Joins Pediatric Faculty

Daniel A. Searing, MD, et al recently published an article in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology on vitamin D and asthma. The research found that low levels of vitamin D are associated with lower lung function and greater medication use in children with asthma.  In the laboratory, the investigators found that vitamin D can enhance the activity of corticosteroids.

"Asthmatic children in our study who had low levels of vitamin D were more allergic, had poorer lung function and used more steroid medication," said Dr. Searing. "Conversely, our findings suggest that vitamin D supplementation may help reverse steroid resistance in asthmatic children and reduce the effective dose of steroids needed for our patients."

Dr. Searing worked closely with Dan Atkins, MD, Joe Spahn, MD, and Donald Leung, MD, PhD, during his training.  Upon completion of his Fellowship in June, he will see pediatric patients in our Denver and Highlands Ranch locations where his treatment focus will be on allergic diseases.  He will continue his research related to environmental factors and the development of asthma and allergy, as well as research looking into different ways to improve medication adherence in adolescents with asthma.

Research results overview in audio.

Dr. Searing selected National Jewish Health as the institution for his Fellowship following a rotation here during his Pediatric Residency.  He was impressed by our unique organization that treats some of the most severe presentations of diseases irrespective of socioeconomic status, our collegial culture and state-of-the-art research.


Nelson Fellowship

Help Fund Harold Nelson Endowed Fellowship

Watch your mail for a letter about helping fund the Harold Nelson Endowed Fellowship.

What do you remember about Dr. Nelson? He has been a friend, mentor and extraordinary example to students and physicians for many years. Please help us honor him with this endowment that will create a self-sufficient Fellowship to further the education and training of a deserving student.

Designate your contribution to The Harold Nelson Endowed Fellowship.


Research News

National Jewish Researchers Discover Fundamental Step in Immune-System Development

Researchers at National Jewish Health have discovered a fundamental step in the development of the immune system, one that allows B cells to mature and fight disease by producing effective antibodies. Immunologist Roberta Pelanda, PhD, and her colleagues have demonstrated that immature B cells in the bone marrow must receive a positive signal before they can migrate to the spleen where they mature and are activated. In the March 15, 2010 issue of The Journal of Experimental Medicine, the researchers also reported that a protein known as Erk helps deliver that positive signal.

New Strategy Produces Promising Advance in Cancer Vaccines

Researchers at National Jewish Health and the University of Colorado School of Medicine have used a new strategy to develop cancer vaccines that are remarkably effective in mice. In the February 16 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Kimberly Jordan, PhD, Jill Slansky, PhD, and John Kappler, PhD, report that 100 percent of the mice vaccinated with a peptide they developed remained alive and tumor-free for at least 60 days after inoculation with colon cancer cells. The research suggests a method for developing vaccines against a wide variety of cancers.

Researchers Discover How Virulent Bacteria Sabotage Immune Response Against Them

Researchers at National Jewish Health have discovered how the virulent food-borne bacteria Listeria monocytogenes induces infected immune cells to sabotage their own defensive response. The studies offer insight into host-pathogen interactions and suggest potential therapeutic targets for food poisoning, tuberculosis and autoimmune diseases.

In the Feb. 15 issue of the Journal of Experimental Medicine, Laurel Lenz, PhD, and his colleagues report that macrophages infected by the bacteria Listeria release interferon-aß (IFN- aß), which makes them and nearby immune cells unresponsive to activation signals. This reduces immune resistance to the bacteria, which causes thousands of cases of food poisoning -- and more than 500 deaths -- each year in the United States.


Marrack in Hall of Fame

National Jewish Health Researcher Pippa Marrack, PhD, Named to Colorado Women's Hall of Fame

Pippa Marrack, PhD, world-renowned immunologist at National Jewish Health, has been named to the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame. She was officially inducted to the Hall of Fame on Thursday, March 18.


Faculty Publications -- Related to articles in this issue

Ali I. Musani, MD, FCCP, FACP
Treatment Options for Malignant Pleura Effusion

Jeffrey Kern,MD
Cooperative interaction between protein inhibitor of activated signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 with epidermal growth factor receptor blockade in lung cancer.

Steve Groshong, MD, PhD
A 45-year-old man with a history of hepatitis C and testicular cancer presents with cavitary lung lesions and palpable purpura.


Allergic Rhinitis

Dr. Katial Leads Panel -- Rethinking Allergic Rhinitis Treatment

In October 2009, a Consensus Panel was held at National Jewish Health focused on the topic — Rethinking the Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis: The Role of Intranasal Antihistamines: 'Me Too Drugs" or a Novel Class?  The project was chaired by Dr. Rohit Katial, Professor of Medicine, Program Director, Allergy and Immunology, and Director, Weinberg Clinical Research Unit, National Jewish Health.

The objectives of this symposium were to: 1) describe the patient's perspective of the burden of allergic rhinitis and unmet needs, 2) discuss the new place of intranasal antihistamines as first-line therapies and compare and contrast this class of medication to the traditionally available medications, 3) discuss the potential for intranasal antihistamines to provide relief superior to second-generation oral antihistamines, and 4) explain how intranasal antihistamines fit into the latest guidelines.

National Jewish Health was honored to have the preeminent leaders in the field contributing to a supplement based on this symposium, including: Rohit Katial, MD; Phil Lieberman, MD; Eli O. Meltzer, MD; Paul H. Ratner, MD; William E. Berger, MD; Michael A. Kaliner, MD; Charles J. Siegel, MD; Don A. Bukstein, MD; Carman A. Ciervo,  DO; and Bradley Marple, MD. The supplement will be published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology.

In addition to providing a historical perspective of allergic rhinitis, an overview of histamine mechanism of action, and reviews of current allergic rhinitis therapies, the monograph will also include updated suggested approaches to patient management.

Dr. Katial has also prepared a slide kit which covers the same topic and sections.  This information is available for your presentation use on  If you have questions contact the Office of Professional Education at 800.444.2305 or 800.423.8891, extension 1000.

Disclosure: The Consensus Panel, and the resulting Consensus Statement and journal supplement were funded through an educational grant from Meda Pharmaceuticals Inc. The commercial supporter was not involved in the content development.


Pro-Ed Opportunities

Upcoming 2010 CME Activities

Presented by The Office of Professional Education at National Jewish Health.

The world-class faculty and staff at National Jewish Health set national treatment guidelines and provide exceptional professional education, fellowships and other education programs, which serve to elevate the standard of patient care and teach the next generation of health professionals.

Live Courses - Advance registration is required

For more information or to register visit or call 800.844.2305.

Fundamental Critical Care Support Course*   Wednesday-Thursday, September 29-30, 2010

The Denver TB Course*   Wednesday-Saturday, October 13–16, 2010
(The longest running TB course in the US)

All activities are subject to change.  Courses held in the Molly Blank Conference Center on the National Jewish Health campus, unless otherwise noted.  1400 Jackson Street | Denver, CO 80206

Online Courses

  • Recognition and Management of COPD*
  • An Evaluation of Restless Leg Syndrome*
  • Obesity and Asthma: CAUSE OR EFFECT?*
  • Excessive Daytime Sleepiness*
  • Diagnosing, Managing and Treating COPD*
  • Role and Mechanisms of Controller Medications for Asthma*
  • Food Allergies - Principles and Practices*

Certified Enduring Materials - DVDs

Atopic Dermatitis - The Itch That Rashes: Order your copy of our Soak and Seal Skin Care DVD ($24 includes shipping to any address in the USA). Atopic dermatitis is a common, complex disease seen by many health care providers. Learn more about "Soak and Seal" skin care and topical medications. View this DVD intended to teach both patients and health care providers about proper skin care techniques.

*This activity has been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.