Department of Medicine announces 2022 Faculty Innovation Awards

Arif Sarwari, M.D., chair of the Department of Medicine and Judith Feinberg, M.D., vice chair of Medicine for Research, are pleased to announce the awardees for the 2022 Faculty Innovation Awards.

These proposals demonstrate support of the Department of Medicine’s core missions to strengthen education, develop research and scholarship, provide faculty development and strengthen our clinical programs.

Amirahwaty Abdullah, M.D. and Edward Rojas, M.D., received the award for their research proposal titled “Exploring the use of virtual reality for delivery of mindfulness-based interventions in the critical care unit.”

“It’s an honor being selected for this innovation grant award. It will make something that would otherwise not be feasible from traditional funding sources an opportunity. These funds will aid in getting equipment for the project,” said Dr. Rojas. “This will also help in arranging statistical analysis and data gathering. Without this institutional support I don’t think this project would be able to be done.”

Asad Pervez, M.D. and T. Brooke Kenneda, M.D., received the award for their research proposal titled “Comparison of Semaglutide with lifestyle modifications for management of NAFLD in patients with type II diabetes mellitus.”

“I am extremely grateful to the Department of Medicine for selecting me for the Faculty Innovation Award. This initiative is reflective of the department’s vision for promoting research and faculty development,” said Dr. Pervez.

Dr. Pervez is hopeful the award will aid in providing future treatment options for patients.

“This funding will be used to conduct a clinical trial that investigates the role of novel anti-diabetic agents in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease,” said Dr. Pervez. “This is a prevalent condition to our patient population with limited pharmacological treatment options. We are excited at the prospect of being able to offer novel therapeutic agents to our patients based on this clinical trial.”

Laura Davisson, M.D., received the award for her research proposal titled “WVU Medicine Produce Prescription Program: Expansion to Medical Weight Management.”

“Medical Weight Management is thrilled to be selected for an Innovation Award for a Produce Prescription Program. This project will fund the building of garden beds so that our patients can receive fresh, locally grown and sourced vegetables,” said Dr. Davisson.

Dr. Davisson believes the award will aid in supporting patient’s access to nutritious foods.

“Registered Dietitians will conduct groups and produce videos about cooking and growing the vegetables. Changes in food intake, engagement and qualitative health measures will be assessed,” said Dr. Davisson. “Our team members are committed to health and community outreach. This project is an opportunity to support our patients, many of whom have diet-related health risks and challenges accessing nutritious foods.”

Rachel Leonard, M.D. and Lauren McGee Stawovy, M.D., received the award for their research proposal titled “Peak Flow Meters for diagnosis and treatment of asthma.”

“We are certainly excited to be selected for the Innovation Award so we can move forward with the project. With many conditions mimicking asthma, incorporating Peak Flow Meters into the routine care of asthma patients will help confirm asthma as the etiology of symptoms,” said Dr. Stawovy. “We anticipate a positive impact for our patients, clinicians and learners in our clinic.

Shubekchha Aryal, M.D. et al., received the award for her research proposal titled “Testing the validity of high-resolution pulse oximetry in the ambulatory setting – going beyond hospitalized patients.”

Varun Badami, M.D. et al., received the award for his research proposal titled “A novel sleep telemedicine pilot program to streamline care in patients undergoing joint replacement.”

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