A snowy February day at the UA! Photo by Miles Fujimoto. View more photos>>


Dear Colleagues and Friends,

February has been unseasonably cold, but we were rewarded with a beautiful snowstorm that blanketed our city for a couple of days. Now, it feels like spring is just around the corner. The stunning beauty of our Sonoran Desert never ceases to amaze me.

I am very pleased that our two residency programs have been selected to participate in the national AFMRD Clinic First CollaborativeClinic First aims to improve primary care ambulatory residency training for residents and patients. 

We continue to work hard to improve the health of our patients, train the next generation of family medicine physicians, conduct impactful research and engage our community. I'm impressed and inspired by the dedication of our faculty, residents, fellows and staff—we truly have a great team.  

In gratitude,

Myra Muramoto, MD, MPH
Professor and Chair, Department of Family & Community Medicine



Anthony Arnold, MD,
medical director of the South Campus Family Medicine Clinic (SC FMC), and his leadership team organized a full clinic staff retreat to discuss, identify and create a uniform Mission Statement and Value set for South Campus. Fifty-six members participated in an afternoon of discussion, creative thinking and bonding during the four-hour session. The retreat included a residency-sponsored lunch and team-building activities directed by chief residents, Sarah Hutchison, MD and Phillip Call, DO. Pictured above, left to right: Neyda Rosenberry, Tracy Zellner and Eli Almanza
A one-hour general session solicited input and reflection on what Pride, Purpose and Passion in work and life means, was followed by a 45-minute breakout into three forums facilitated by clinic leaders and residency faculty. Each of the three groups created a mission statement and value set. The session concluded with the groups reconvening, and each presenting their mission statements and value sets to the larger audience. 

Dr. Arnold and the clinic leadership will next weave these statements and value sets into a single Mission Statement and supporting Values unique to South Campus to represent, inspire and support the staff, patients, the FCM department and community!



Dr. James K. Cunningham is a social epidemiologist at FCM who provides evaluation services to projects at multiple UA colleges and conducts research on substance misuse.

Currently, at FCM he is the evaluation consultant for the Workforce Development Program, which develops training programs for peer support specialists. At the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, he directs evaluation services for a SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) project that designs, provides and promotes public health education in rural/underserved areas in the western United States and Pacific Islands.

Dr. Cunningham’s research examines drug policies, use and consequences, and societal beliefs about drugs. For example, Dr. Cunningham led a study (with FCM’s Teshia Solomon, PhD and Myra Muramoto, MD) that debunked the stereotype that Native Americans have higher rates of alcohol use. It showed that across a wide range of alcohol measures, Native Americans, compared to whites, consumed either the same or lesser amounts of alcohol. The study garnered widespread national attention and received the most hits of any research study on UA’s media websites in 2016.

Dr. Cunningham has made a significant impact on the field of international drug policy. He introduced and helped develop the study of “essential/precursor chemical control,” a major, internationally supported policy designed to prevent illicit drug producers from accessing the large amounts of chemicals needed to illicitly mass produce drugs such as methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine. His work in this area showed for the first time that government policies can significantly impact drug use and consequences. Because of this work, drug policy studies in peer reviewed journals no longer assert that all government policies on illicit drugs are ineffective.

Regarding service, Dr. Cunningham has been the Arizona representative to the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Drug Abuse, Community Work Group/National Drug Early Warning System for more than 10 years. He also is a U.S. Fulbright Scholar, who has represented the UA and the U.S. while conducting research at the invitation of universities in Mexico and Canada.

At FCM, he teaches and mentors individuals and small groups, including students at FCM’s Native American Research and Training Center (NARTC), two of whom have gone on to medical school. His research and work with Native Americans has been recognized by the U.S. House of Representatives. He has also directed the Resident Scholarly Project Program where he mentored family medicine resident for their scholarly projects.

In his free time, Dr. Cunningham likes hiking, mountain biking and practicing Kundalini yoga. He also plays the guitar (jazz and blues) and enjoys Greek and Roman history.

We are tremendously proud of the impact Dr. Cunningham's research has had in the filed of substance abuse, and are grateful for his ongoing commitment to excellence in all of his work here at FCM and the UA!


"On Our Own Time" Art Exhibit Well Represented by FCM!

Congratulations to the following FCM faculty/staff (and their family members), who participated in the University of Arizona "On Our Own Time” Art Exhibit, sponsored by the National Arts Program. Our very own Pamela Wagner (pictured here with her photography), who works as center support for FCM's Camp Wellness, served as the event's coordinator for the second year in a row.

FCM-affiliated participants:
  • Hailey Koellisch, PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD and  HONORABLE MENTION for "Why Can't No Mean No" photograph (daughter of Valerie Koellisch, FCM research admin)
  • Winona Esher, ART EDUCATION AWARD for "Water Glass" illustration (daughter of Melanie Esher-Blair, FCM clerkship program)
  • David Delawder, Workforce Development Program, “Untitled,” works on paper and “Stark,” photography
  • Pamela Wagner, Camp Wellness, “Baby Girl,” photography
  • Freya Armin-Welch, “Paper Mache Cat,” mixed media (daughter of FCM faculty member, Dr. Julie Armin)
  • Jon Erath, ArtWorks volunteer, “Armor of God,” painting
  • Mark Trommer, “Geisha—Kyoto, Japan,” photography (husband of FCM faculty member, Dr. Tammy Bassford
    UANews article>> | View photos>>
Dr. Amy Rogers, Chosen for 2019 AzAFP Brazie Award

Congratulations to Alvernon Family Medicine Residency second-year resident, Amy Rogers, MD! She was chosen by the Arizona Academy of Family Physicians (AzAFP) Awards Committee to be the 2019 Statewide Brazie Award Winner. which recognizes outstanding second year residents. She will be recognized at the Awards Reception March 29th, during ACE. Thank you, Dr. Rogers, for your work to make the communities in which you live a better place! 

Congratulations also go to South Campus Family Medicine Residency second-year resident, Emma Goodstein, MD who was nominated for the Arizona Academy of Family Physicians (AzAFP) Brazie Award and to third-year residents, Christine Chan, MD, Alvernon Family Medicine resident and Philip Call, DO, South Campus Family Medicine resident who were nominated for the Arizona Academy of Family Physicians (AzAFP) Grobe Award.
Dr. Shannon Bybee-Driscoll, Awarded GME Resident Excellence and Leadership Scholarship

Shannon Bybee-Driscoll, MD, Alvernon Family Medicine Residency second-year resident, has been awarded a $5,000 GME Resident Excellence and Leadership Scholarship! Her proposal will support her scholarly project proposal to evaluate the efficacy of LED for weight loss, and she’ll partner with her engineneering colleagues on the design of her device, and with Dr. Amit Algotar in the Clinical Weight Loss Program for the data analysis. Congratulations on the award, and the innovative idea Shannon!



On Feb. 14, Tammie Bassford, MD, associate professor, and Yumi Shirai, PhD, assistant professor presented, "Critical Role of Primary Care and Caregiver Partnership for Promoting Early Detection and Health Care Advocacy: Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementia in Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities." They discussed the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias in adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), and highlighted the unique considerations of screening and diagnostics, and supporting families and care partners. They shared about the process and outcomes of the Arizona implementation of a National Dementia Capable Care Curriculum on individuals with IDD, developed by the National Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices. View presentation>>
FCM Participates in Interprofessional Poverty Simulation

On Jan. 31, Alvernon Family Medicine Residency program director, Jessie Petit, MDJanet Cooley, PharmD (College of Pharmacy) and Kimberly Barnes,  MPH (College of Public Health, Phoenix), partnered to host an interprofessional poverty simulation for pharmacy and medical residents, MPH students and DNP nursing students, at Kiewit Auditorium. Second and third-year Alvernon family medicine residents and first-year South Campus family medicine residents participated in the simulation. The poverty simulation experience is designed to help participants begin to understand what it might be like to live in a low-income family trying to survive week to week, and to sensitize participants to the realities faced by low-income families (who represent nearly a quarter of those living in Tucson). This poverty simulation experience was unique, because it was an interprofessional experience. Residents and Masters students from many different health profession programs were brought together, not only to understand poverty from a new perspective, but also to apply their unique role as a public health practitioner or health care provider, to deepen relationships across disciplines and better meet the needs of our community. Pictured left to right, residents Christine Chan, MD; Joshua Jean, MD; associate Alvernon residency director Tai Elliott, DO; resident Michael Setareh, MD.
Dr. Jerry Koleski Appointed to Student Progress Committee

Congratulations to Jerry Koleski, MD, assistant professor and co-director of the Global Health Program, was appointed to the Student Progress Committee on Jan. 10 for a three-year term. The Student Progress Committee reviews matters of students’ progress from one academic year to the next, grade appeals and leaves of absence. The committee also reviews discipline related to academic progress and findings by the student members of the Honor Code Committee. The final task of the Student Progress Committee is to certify that students have met the criteria for graduation and receipt of the MD degree.
Dr. Victoria Murrain Presents at African American Heritage Month Series

On Feb. 21, FCM's Victoria Murrain, DO, presented at COM-Tucson's African American Heritage Month Series, with her presentation, Meet Them Where They're At - Filling the Gap One Community Project at a Time. She shared about her childhood, about her path to become a doctor, her passion for family medicine, her commitment to the underserved, her dedication to resident education and commitment to community outreach. She concluded her presentation with an inspiring quote from Michelle Obama: "Empower yourselves with a good education, then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise." View her presentation>>



On Feb. 13, COM-Tucson hosted Research Day 2019—an all-day research event that connected innovative research by faculty, staff, post docs, residents, graduate and medical students across COM. It was held at the gorgeous new Health Sciences Innovation Building. Alicia Allen, PhD, participated in a Data Blitz and discussed how ovarian hormones influence substance use disorders in women. During the Networking Session, FCM faculty members Drs. Wendy Parent-Johnson, Alicia Allen, Julie Armin and Amit Algotar (pictured above), discussed their research in addiction, obesity, cancer survivorship and disability. View photos>>


Sonoran UCEDD Faculty and Staff Volunteer at Special Olympics Event

On Feb. 9, Tammie Bassford, MD, associate professor, and Valerie Mata medical home coordinator with FCM’s Sonoran Center for Excellence in Disabilities, participated in the Healthy Athletes Program at the Special Olympics Coronado area competition event for basketball and cheerleading. The event took place at Sporting Chance Gym. Students from  MedCats for Developmental Medicine and several other COM-Tucson medical students worked at different health promotion stations that included blood pressure monitoring, height/weight, nutrition, hydration, physical activity and sun safety. Valerie helped to provide health information at the nutrition and sun safety stations, and Dr. Bassford helped oversee the health promotion event, along with Amanda Metcalf, health programs manager at Special Olympics. View photos>>
South Campus Resident Dr. Josh Blessing Leads Walk With a Doc

On Saturday, Feb. 9, second-year resident, Josh Blessing, MD, from the South Campus Family Medicine Residency program, led the monthly Walk With a Doc event and talked about opioid addiction. Walk With a Doc is a walking program for everyone interested in taking steps for a healthier lifestyle. The program was started in 2005 by Dr. David Sabgir, a cardiologist in Columbus, Ohio. Learn more about Walk With a Doc>>  | Learn more about upcoming walks in Tucson-Pima County>>


Dr. Patty Wang, 3rd-year resident, South Campus Family Medicine Residency Program

Languages spoken: English, Mandarin
Why did you choose South Campus FM residency?: Excellent faculty, staff, and residents from a menagerie of backgrounds. Commitment to the underserved and rural communities. Opportunity to do the Global Health Track and to learn more about Integrative Medicine. Living in Tucson, Arizona!
What do you love most about Tucson?: The colors, the vibe, the monsoons amongst the mountains, the people, the community, the quirks.
Tell us about your family (including pets): Mama, Papa, and two older brothers.
Tell us some fun facts about yourself:
1: Enjoy playing the piano, making melodies, and singing into the night.
2: Love playing in the rain.
3: I secretly liked to watch Barney as a kid but wouldn’t admit it.
Dr. Melissa Lectura, 3rd-year resident, Alvernon Family Medicine Residency Program

Where are you from?: Brooklyn, NY
Why did you choose UA Family Medicine?: I really liked the residents I met on interview day and felt that I would get great training in family medicine.
What is your favorite thing about living in Tucson?: The proximity to the outdoors.
What are your interests or hobbies outside of medicine?: Traveling, food, art
What are your professional interests within Medicine?: Global health, geriatrics, working in underserved areas.
Favorite Vacation spot?: Italy
Favorite outdoor activity in AZ?: Marshall Gulch Loop trail
Best Arizona getaway?: Mt. Lemmon and my mother's house 


Wilton I. Hall III started on Feb. 11 in a new Banner position as Health and Wellness Program Manager. In this role, Wilton's primary functions will include identifying patients with behavioral health needs who engage in primary care with FCM, and connecting them to services to meet their behavioral health and social determinants of health (SDOH) needs. Benefits of this type of coordination to services include less hospital and emergency department visits, better understanding for the patient’s physical and behavioral conditions, and an overall increase across all spheres of wellness.

Wilton's previous position was with Banner - University Medicine Whole Health Clinic (WHC) where he served as a Recovery Coach. While there, he facilitated therapy groups, coordinated care for patients in an integrated setting, and provided support for patients across various demographics. He also assisted in a health and wellness initiative and assisted with creating a collaboration between the WHC and the Petersen Clinics to provide behavioral and primary care services to the patients at the Petersen Clinics.

Wilton studied psychology at the UA, and has worked for several community-based organizations providing behavioral services to various populations. He is also the managing member of a small Tucson-based wellness company providing wellness coaching and other services to clients. Welcome, Wilton! 


Ivo Abraham, RN, PhD 
  • Amit Algotar, MD, PhD; Chiu-Hsieh Hsu, PhD; HH Sherry Chow, PhD; Shona Dougherty, MBChB, PhD; Hani M Babiker, MD; David Marrero1 PhD; Ivo Abraham, RN, PhD; Rachit Kumar, MD, PhD; Jennifer Ligibel, MD; Kerry S Courneya, PhD; Cynthia Thomson, RD, PhD Comprehensive Lifestyle Improvement Program for Prostate Cancer (CLIPP): Protocol for a Feasibility and Exploratory Efficacy Study in Men on Androgen Deprivation Therapy JMIR Research Protocols 2019 Feb 5;8(2):e12579. doi: 10.2196/12579.
  • Eckstrom J, Bartels T, Abraham I, Patel H, Elquza E, Scott A, Malangone S, Hollings J, McBride A. A single-arm, retrospective analysis of the incidence of febrile neutropenia using same-day versus next-day pegfilgrastim in patients with gastrointestinal cancers treated with FOLFOX and FOLFIRI. Supportive Care in Cancer 2019;27:873-878
Amit M. Algotar, MD, PhD, MPH
  • Amit Algotar, MD, PhD; Chiu-Hsieh Hsu, PhD; HH Sherry Chow, PhD; Shona Dougherty, MBChB, PhD; Hani M Babiker, MD; David Marrero1 PhD; Ivo Abraham, RN, PhD; Rachit Kumar, MD, PhD; Jennifer Ligibel, MD; Kerry S Courneya, PhD; Cynthia Thomson, RD, PhD Comprehensive Lifestyle Improvement Program for Prostate Cancer (CLIPP): Protocol for a Feasibility and Exploratory Efficacy Study in Men on Androgen Deprivation Therapy JMIR Research Protocols 2019 Feb 5;8(2):e12579. doi: 10.2196/12579.
  • Alvarez S, Algotar AM. Prediabetes. 2019 Jan 28. StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2018 Jan. Available from PubMed PMID: 29083606.
Alicia Allen, PhD, MPH
  • Allen A. Recent Stressful Events Linked With Smoking During Pregnancy Science Trends Feb 13, 2019
Julie Armin, PhD
  • Armin J. Administrative (in)Visibility of Patient Structural Vulnerability and the Hierarchy of Moral Distress among Health Care Staff. Med Anthropol Q. 2019 Jan 22. doi: 10.1111/maq.12500. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30667109.
Susan Marie Schembre, PhD, RD
  • Mason TB, O'Connor SG, Schembre SM, Huh J, Chu D, Dunton GF. Momentary affect, stress coping, and food intake in mother-child dyads. Health Psychol. 2019 Mar;38(3):238-247. doi: 10.1037/hea0000714.PMID: 30762403
  • O'Connor SG, Huh J, Schembre SM, Lopez NV, Dunton GF. The Association of Maternal Perceived Stress With Changes in Their Children's Healthy Eating Index (HEI-2010) Scores Over Time. Ann Behav Med. 2019 Jan 12. doi: 10.1093/abm/kay095. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 30649162

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