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Monthly Momentos: June 2024

This ongoing blog series celebrates people, milestones, and achievements from across our health system. Content is adapted from monthly updates shared with the University of Utah Board of Trustees.

Summer kicks off with the launch of a first-of-its-kind pregnancy after loss program, major construction milestones, national rankings, and well-deserved recognition for the exceptional people driving our work.


Sabrina Malone Jenkins, MD, presents "Unraveling the Mystery:  Exploring the Impact of Rapid Whole Genome Sequencing in the NICU" at Vitae 2024.
Sabrina Malone Jenkins, MD, presents "Unraveling the Mystery: Exploring the Impact of Rapid Whole Genome Sequencing in the NICU" at Vitae 2024.

Welcoming New Leaders

  • Kerry McPhail, PhD, joins U of U Health as the next chair for the Department of Medicinal Chemistry in the College of Pharmacy. beginning October 2024. McPhail is nationally recognized for her research in natural product chemistry and drug discovery. She is currently a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Oregon State University. McPhail succeeds Darrell Davis, PhD, who is stepping down after 15 years of outstanding service as department chair.

Achievements in Clinical Care

  • U of U Health is among the first health systems in the nation to launch a multi-disciplinary program to provide comprehensive support and care for individuals and families that have experienced pregnancy loss, stillbirth, or a severely complicated pregnancy.
  • U of U Health is one of 30 U.S. health systems selected by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to participate in a first-of-its-kind collaborative to accelerate and spread the adoption of age-friendly care for older adults.

Achievements in Education

Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine beam topping event, June 4, 2024.
Spencer Fox Eccles (center), with Katie Eccles and Michael Good, signing the final structural beam for the new Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine, June 4, 2024.
  • On May 24, U of U Health broke ground on the James LeVoy Sorenson Center for Medical Innovation (SCMI). Scheduled for completion in 2026, SCMI will be a hub and national model for transformative research and medical device innovation.
  • On June 4, the final structural beam was placed on the new home for the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine at the University of Utah. This is where the majority of Utah’s future doctors will train to provide compassionate, state-of-the-art medical care for generations to come. Special thanks to Spencer Fox Eccles, the Eccles family and foundations, and other generous donors and partners who made this day possible.
  • The Eccles Health Sciences Library (EHSL) is officially a “Free Share” library, eliminating fees associated with sharing resources in our collection with patrons at other libraries. Since starting this service, EHSL has lent ~1,000 items throughout Utah, including rural areas such as Cache, Iron, Sanpete, and Washington Counties—without incurring any costs to those libraries. In return, EHSL has received 2,863 items at no cost to support teaching and research of our faculty, staff, students, and clinicians.

Achievements in Community Collaboration

Elementary school students learning about intubation at Imagine U Day.
Elementary school students learning about intubation at Imagine U Day.
  • Collaboration On May 15, U of U Health participated in the University of Utah’s Imagine U Day event. The U partnered with five West Valley City schools to introduce 233 5th and 6th graders to career possibilities ranging from health and education to athletics and law. Students from the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine and College of Nursing led interactive learning sessions about CPR, intubation, surgical fracture repair, and using ultrasound probes to observe heart, vein, and organ functions.

Achievements in Research

  • A gene therapy for age-related macular degeneration, led by ophthalmology and visual sciences professor Gregory Hageman, PhD, is currently in clinical trials at Moran Eye Center. The therapy introduces a gene designed to protect the eye, aiming to slow or halt the progression of one of the most common causes of vision loss.
  • Research led by social work professor Eric Garland, PhD, shows that a particular form of mindfulness meditation is proven to work as well as a starting dose of a narcotic for pain and better than a traditional psychotherapy treatment for substance abuse.
  • Amanda Stark, PhD, a speech-language pathologist in otolaryngology, leads a first-ever comprehensive study of the harsh vocals that characterize heavy metal, deathcore, and other genres. By uncovering the complex internal acrobatics that produce these unique sounds, the research aims to help artists learn to perform harsh vocals safely, reduce stigma around these singing styles as inherently damaging, and empower everyday people to explore the full potential of their voices.
Michael Good, MD

Michael Good, MD

Michael Good is CEO of University of Utah Health and A. Lorris Betz Senior Vice President for Health Sciences. Good ensures the professional and educational success of 25,000 talented faculty, staff, and students who comprise U of U Health, one of the nation’s premier academic health systems. He received an MD from the University of Michigan and completed residency and a research fellowship in anesthesiology at the University of Florida.