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November/December Issue of Vein Specialist

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Newsflash! The AVF Welcomes APPs

Lorraine Loretz, DPM, MSN, NP

Member, The American Venous Forum

Two years ago my AVF ”Allied Health”’ membership was up for renewal, and I had decided not to rejoin. When I got a call from AVF staff encouraging me to renew, I expressed my reasons: AVF didn’t offer anything specific to my needs as an advanced practice provider (APP) in venous practice. APPs (which include nurse practitioners and physician assistants) seemed invisible on the AVF front, and networking opportunities were nonexistent. Imagine my surprise when the next day I got a call from John Forbes, the Executive Director of AVF. He asked me what AVF could improve so that APPs like me would join. I told him. He listened. I was invited to join the Membership Committee and help make these things happen. Challenge accepted.

The majority of vein centers employ APPs who serve an integral role in patient evaluation, treatment, and education. They perform cosmetic vein services, coordinate accreditation management, and more. What guidance is there for these professionals for their role in venous practice? APPs do not have opportunities for residency or fellowship training in venous disease. Learning is often on the job by shadowing, but without a formal curriculum. AVF could fill this gap by developing specific materials to assist APPs in transition to vein practice, provide ongoing support, and create opportunities for networking with our physician colleagues. To help meet this need, an entire day and evening of continuing education for new and experienced APPs and RNs is planned for VENOUS24 on March 3, 2024. Don’t miss this one!

When APPs join AVF, they have access to many benefits, including a reduced rate for the annual meeting, digital educational resources, regular webinars on venous topics, and research opportunities. Patient education materials, an insurance policy navigator, and clinical practice guidelines help your daily practice. You get direct access to the Journal of Vascular Surgery: Venous and Lymphatic Disorders (JVS-VL) that arrives by email, including early access to In-Press articles. You can participate in the online Vein Forum and AVF Exchange to get your questions answered. Join the new monthly journal club for CME credit; APP focused topics will be included in coming sessions. Watch for development of APP vein practice orientation and mentorship opportunities.

Speaking, writing, and research opportunities are also extended to APPs who wish to become more involved. Want to participate in creation of clinical practice gGuidelines? The door is open. Come on in! It is the goal of the American Venous Forum to have an APP on every committee. Join us!

Physicians in Venous Practice

Do you employ nurse practitioners or physician assistants in your practice? American Venous Forum is expanding its outreach to include these advanced practice providers (APPs) in educational offerings, forums, research, and other committee activities. If your APP employees seek further professional development, writing and speaking opportunities, or mentorship, the American Venous Forum is a good place to start. Please contact Kirsten Myers, AVF Member Services Manager ([email protected], 847.752.4636) for more information.

A Journey of Passion in Vascular Surgery: Making a Lasting Impact

Rashad Bishara, MD

Member, AVF International Committee

My journey in vascular surgery has been defined by a deep passion for the field and an unwavering commitment to making a difference. After completing my medical education at Cairo University, I pursued further training as a general surgeon in the United Kingdom. It was during my time in the United States that I discovered my true calling in vascular surgery.

Returning to Egypt, I achieved a significant milestone by establishing the first specialized vascular surgery unit in the entire Middle East and Africa. This accomplishment marked a turning point in the advancement of vascular surgery in my country, and I take great pride in contributing to this transformative change.

Recognizing the potential of catheter-based interventions, I introduced these techniques to my fellow vascular surgeons in Egypt, empowering them to perform independent catheter-based procedures. Additionally, I prioritized vascular ultrasound training for young vascular surgeons, to enhance their diagnostic capabilities and improve patient outcomes.

A particular focus of mine has been on the treatment of venous diseases. Through comprehensive approaches and innovative techniques such as thermal and non-thermal ablation, thrombolysis, and stenting, my team and I have made significant strides in improving the quality of life of patients suffering from these conditions.     

Beyond my local practice, I established the Egypt Africa Venous & Lymphatic Association (EAVLA) as a not-for-profit organization. EAVLA aims to raise awareness about venous diseases in the region and to provide education and training for physicians interested in this field.

My involvement with the American Venous Forum (AVF) further enriched my professional journey. I proposed a webinar series where authors of high- quality publications from the Journal of Vascular Surgery: Venous and Lymphatic Disorders (JVS-VL) would present their work to an international audience. The AVF leadership embraced my idea with enthusiasm, providing invaluable support in selecting publications and encouraging authors to present. The success of these webinars led to the establishment of monthly webinars by the AVF leadership, along with an international webinar every 3 months.

As I reflect on my journey, I am humbled and grateful for the opportunities to contribute to the growth and development of vascular surgery. Looking ahead, I am filled with gratitude and a renewed commitment to advancing vascular surgery, inspiring future generations to push boundaries and improve patient lives.

The Inspiring Journey of Dr Thomas Wakefield: Pioneering Venous Research

Oscar Moreno, MD

Conrad Jobst Research Fellow
Vascular Surgery – Michigan Medicine
Ann Arbor, MI

In vascular surgery research, few names command as much respect and recognition as Dr Thomas Wakefield. With a career spanning several decades and a legacy defined by breakthroughs in venous thrombotic disease and superficial venous disorders, Dr. Wakefield’s journey is a testament to the dedication, innovation, and the pursuit of scientific excellence.

Marking the Milestones: The Establishment and Growth of the Venous Research Lab

Dr Wakefield’s journey began during his formative years when he had the opportunity to work in the laboratory of Dr Jim Stanley at the University of Michigan Medical Center. This marked the nascent stages of what would evolve into his renowned venous research lab. Reflecting on those early days, Dr Wakefield recalls, “I joined faculty in 1986, wasn’t exactly sure where my research was going to go from that point on.” The journey was set in motion, driven by a curiosity to explore uncharted territories in medical science.

Overcoming Challenges: A Path Paved with Skepticism

The path to success was not without  its challenges. Dr Wakefield said, “Hardly anyone believed that there was associated inflammation with venous thrombosis.” Confronted by skepticism, he and his team persevered through iterations of research and writing before securing the grants to fund their groundbreaking work. The early stages were marked by resilience and an unwavering commitment to prove the validity of their ideas.


Dr Thomas Wakefield

Unveiling Key Factors in Success and Development

As Dr Wakefield’s research gained momentum, he uncovered the intricate relationship between inflammation and venous thrombosis. Looking ahead, he notes that the journey has just begun. “We’ve only really started to scratch the surface… now the work will have things like epigenetics and metabolomics.” The laboratory’s continued success lies in its ability to evolve and adapt to emerging scientific paradigms.

Building the Dream Team: Successor and Collaboration

A cornerstone of Dr Wakefield’s success has been his ability to assemble an exceptional team. He underscores the importance of finding team members who are driven, hardworking, and passionate about making discoveries directly impacting patient care. As he enters a new retirement chapter, Dr Wakefield remains confident that the legacy will be carried forward by the dedicated researchers he has mentored.

Navigating Funding and Establishing Collaborations

Securing funding for research endeavors is a constant challenge. Dr Wakefield advises a diversified approach, “a mixture of funding from all sources is the recipe for success.” This includes government grants, industry collaborations, and philanthropic contributions. Dr Wakefield’s strategic funding approach has allowed him to weather the inevitable ups and downs of the research funding landscape.

Balancing Work and Life: A Delicate Dance

Dr Wakefield’s journey offers insights into achieving work-life balance in a demanding profession. He acknowledges the challenges but emphasizes the significance of quality time spent with family and loved ones. “You want to have extra hobbies outside of work,” he suggests, highlighting the importance of pursuing interests beyond the lab and clinic.

A Legacy Defined by Impact

As Dr Wakefield embraces retirement, his legacy endures through the researchers he has nurtured, the patients he has impacted, and the milestones he has achieved. His journey is a testament to the power of dedication, collaboration, and the pursuit of knowledge. Dr Thomas Wakefield’s legacy inspires all those who aspire to make a lasting mark in the world of vascular surgery research.

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