Dr. Keith Tansey, MD, PhD, FASNR - President & Fellow of the American Spinal Injury Association

From 2017-2019, Dr. Keith Tansey, MD, PhD, FASNR served as President of the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA).  Over that time period, ASIA made progress in many areas as an organization and on behalf of the field of Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Medicine.  With an agenda of “translation and integration”, Dr. Tansey led ASIA to expand at its borders to be more inclusive and work hard within the society to bring the bench and the bedside and various scientific and clinical disciplines closer to each other.  He was fond of saying that ASIA does not just want to practice the best SCI Medicine of today, but it also wants to develop the improved SCI Medicine of tomorrow. 

 Over the past two years, ASIA enjoyed highly successful annual scientific meetings with record numbers of submissions for courses, talks and posters.  ASIA membership also grew, topping 500 members by the end of Dr. Tansey’s administration.  ASIA brought on new board members and continued to benefit from the activities of its vibrant committees.  In 2018, ASIA awarded its first Fellow of ASIA (FASIA) awards, its first Translational Research or Human Neuroscience Studies award (TRoNS), which Dr. Tansey personally sponsors, and the first Mulcahey award, and in 2019 it added the first DiMarco award for physician trainees. 

 During his presidency, Dr. Tansey and ASIA started many new initiatives as well.  Members of the new Americas committee traveled to Uruguay and Ecuador as ASIA ambassadors to support development of improved SCI care in Central and South America.  The new Primary Care committee began to develop ways to reach non-SCI trained primary care providers so they can better understand what constitutes the best in SCI care.  ASIA separated the Research and Awards committee into two independent committees and the Research committee has already held a successful strategic planning session to lay out a roadmap for advancing translational SCI research within ASIA.  ASIA’s Training committee has developed for ASIA a training program product that will allow them to gain revenue by teaching ASIA’s intellectual property and the committee already has secured two significant clients for that program.  Finally, at this year’s scientific meeting, the International Standards committee released the updated 2019 edition of the International Standards for the Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury (ISNCSCI) booklet. 

 At the conclusion this year’s annual meeting, Dr. Tansey was made a Fellow of ASIA (FASIA) along with a handful of senior peers in the field.  He plans to continue his board work as Past President for 2 more years as well as his work on several ASIA committees, including completing the design of a Research Options ISNCSCI exam (RO-ISNCSCI).  Dr. Tansey is quite confident that his successor, Dr. Andrei Krassioukov, MD, PhD, FRCPC, will continue ASIA along its successful path, leading the field of SCI Medicine. 

Congratulations to Dr. Tansey on a job well done!

TIME Magazine Names VA Researchers as Most Influential People in Healthcare

Dr. Ann McKee studies the effects of traumatic brain injuries as chief of neuropathology at the the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System in Boston.

Tony Wyss-Coray uses mice to test his theories on aging and memory loss as a VA research scientist in northern California.

The two doctors — one of medicine, the other of philosophy — have been named to TIME magazine’s 2018 Health Care 50 list, topping the charts along with 48 other major influential industry leaders.

IRB Administrator Celebrates 15 Years of Service

Merchell Pittman, is the program specialist/Institutional Review Board (IRB) Administrator at the G. V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center.   Merchell joined the VA Medical Center in 2008, working as a transcription monitor before transitioning to the credentialing and privileging department after about four months.  In 2011, the army deployed her to Shindand, Afghanistan, for Operation Enduring Freedom. While deployed, Pittman furthered her education by enrolling in online courses for Columbia Southern University in Orange Beach, Ala. She eventually earned a Master's degree in organizational leadership in 2014 with a 4.0 GPA.

After 20 years of military service, Pittman retired from active duty in the Army on Sept. 30, 2014. After her retirement, she returned back to the VA in February 2015 as the program support assistant/IRB  Coordinator.  In February 2018, Merchell was promoted to IRB Administrator where she is currently working together with clinical staff who desire to conduct medical research at the VA.  Ms. Pittman is a joy to work with, very reliable and eager to do a great job and is truly an asset to the Research Service - congratulations!

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Best Presentation Award

Congratulations to Lee F. Jones, MD for winning the "Best Presentation Award" at Ophthalmology Research Day at University of Mississippi Medical Center.  Dr. Lee presented a proposal and critical review of the molecular basis of retinal adhesion and detachment.  What a super honor, great job Dr. Lee!


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2018 Fellow of ASNR

Recently, the American Society of Neurorehabilitation Education Foundation selected Keith Tansey, MD, PhD, FASNR as a 2018 Fellow of ASNR.  This is an honorary recognition begun in 2008 to honor individuals annually who have contributed significantly to the field of neurorehabilitation and to the ASNR specifically.

Dr. Tansey will be recognized as a Fellow during the ASNR Business Meeting on Friday, November 2, 2018.  The ceremony will begin at 12:30 pm and will be held at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront in San Diego, California. 

Congratulations to Dr. Tansey for his outstanding accomplishments in the field of neurorehabilitation and receiving this high honor!  Well deserved, Dr. Tansey and thank you for your dedication to this important research.

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Collaboration Abroad

Celso Gomez-Sanchez, MD has been invited to be a visiting scholar at Ludwig-Maximiliams-University of Munich, Munich, Germany by Martin Reincke, MD, Director of Medicine.

Dr. Reincke's letter complemented Dr. Gomez-Sanchez's "internationally renowned expertise in adrenal research and in particular on primary aldosteronism. This is an exciting time for research in primary aldosteronism- we will work together to break new ground in this fast moving field."

Congratulations, Dr. Gomez-Sanchez and sichere Reisen!


Investigator Award

The Junior Investigator Award is given at the National VA Sleep Practitioners Meeting held in June each year.  Prior to the meeting, young investigators are asked to submit abstracts for consideration. The committee reviews the abstracts and selects the one that they consider the most meritorious among all VA researchers. The awardee is then invited to present the research at the meeting and receives the award. In June, 2016 our very own Sadeka Tamanna, MD received the Junior Investigator Award for her research.  Congratulations Dr. Tamanna!