UA lung-transplant program returns

Tucson once again has a lung-transplant program.

The University of Arizona Medical Center announced March 15 that it had hired Dr. Jesus Gomez-Abraham to revive the hospital's lung- and heart-lung-transplant programs.

After lung-transplant surgeon Dr. Michael Moulton left the UA Medical Center in February 2012, the hospital put the program on hiatus. Moulton accepted an appointment as chief of cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Gomez-Abraham comes to the UA from the University of Utah, where he was surgical director of the lung- and heart-lung-transplantation programs. He specializes in adult cardiothoracic surgery, mechanical circulatory support, total artificial heart, robotic arrhythmia surgery, robotic heart and lung surgery and cardiothoracic heart- and lung-transplantation surgery.

Gomez-Abraham is also involved in research to preserve organs for longer periods and to optimize their function prior to heart- and lung-transplantation. He earned his medical degree from the Universidad de los Andes in Colombia and completed a two-year fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery heart- and lung-transplantation and mechanical circulatory support at the University of California-Los Angeles Ronald Reagan Medical Center.

Report: Drug deaths increased in 2012

More than 300 Pima County residents died of drug overdoses in 2012, a new county report says.

Chief Pima County Medical Examiner Dr. Greg Hess said deaths in Pima County overall were up, and included in that trend were deaths from drug overdoses - 314 last year versus 277 in 2011.

Prescription drugs were a factor in the majority of the deaths, with oxycodone the No. 1 source of overdoses and morphine the second highest.

There were 9,742 total deaths in Pima County last year, compared with 8,383 in 2011 and 8,163 in 2010.

Cardiovascular disease was the top cause of death, while the second-leading cause was chronic alcohol abuse.

In other report highlights, homicides went down in 2012, as did migrant deaths.

To read the report in its entirety, go online to and click on "Reports."

UA doctor to discuss osteoarthritis

University of Arizona Arthritis Center founder Dr. Eric P. Gall is scheduled to give his last lecture before retirement at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3.

His talk, "Osteoarthritis Under the Microscope," will be held in the Chase Bank Auditorium, Room 8403 at the University of Arizona Medical Center, 1501 N. Campbell Ave.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and most commonly involves the spine and neck, hips, knees, hands and feet.

Gall is expected to discuss the history and development of osteoarthritis and advancements in treatment.

Gall is a professor of clinical medicine in the section of rheumatology at the UA College of Medicine. A national expert on innovative teaching methods, he returned to the UA Arthritis Center in 2010 as interim director.

The talk is free and open to the public, but registration is requested. To register or get more information, send an email to or call 626-5040. Information is also available on the center's website,

There is a parking fee of $1.50 per hour, cash only, in the University of Arizona Medical Center University Campus visitor-patient parking garage.

Dr. Ornish to speak on heart, lifestyle

Best-selling author and preventive-medicine expert Dr. Dean Ornish is scheduled to speak in Tucson at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, April 29.

Ornish is an expert in fighting heart disease with dietary and lifestyle changes. His free, public talk will be held in DuVal Auditorium at the University of Arizona Medical Center, 1501 N. Campbell Ave.

Ornish is the founder and president of the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute and clinical professor of medicine at the University of California-San Francisco. He is a best-selling author of six books.

Parking is available in the University of Arizona Medical Center visitor-patient parking garage. The fee is $1.50 per hour, cash only. The talk is being funded by the endowment for the James E. Dalen Distinguished Lecture for Health Policy.

Kids' camp to focus on fun and health

The University of Arizona's Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health will offer a summer camp for children in June and July.

The Healthy 2B Me Wellness Camp is designed for kids ages 7 through 10.

Campers will learn about wellness through interactive activities that include nutrition, cooking, physical activities such as yoga, zumba, dance and swimming, along with experts from the UA College of Public Health and the Canyon Ranch Center for Prevention & Health Promotion.

The cost is $345 per student for a weeklong session, which includes a healthy lunch from the Food Conspiracy Co-op.

For more information and to register for the camp, contact Sabrina Plattner at or 906-8622.

Contact health reporter Stephanie Innes at or 573-4134.