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Frank Schwartz, M.D.


 

Dr. Schwartz’ research collaborators include:

  • Compound C-10 and toll-like receptors:
    • Leonard Kohn, M.D., former J.O. Watson Chair
    • Kelly McCall, Ph.D., assistant professor of specialty medicine
    • Ramiro Malgor, M.D., assistant professor of biomedical sciences
    • Doug Goetz, Ph.D., professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering (Russ College)
  • Insulin pump artificial intelligence software:
    • Cynthia Marling, Ph.D., associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science (Russ College)
    • Jay Shubrook, D.O. (’96), assistant professor of family medicine
  • Project Active (impact of depression on type 2 diabetes patients):
    • Mary deGroot, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology (Arts & Sciences)
    • Mike Kushnick, Ph.D, assistant professor of recreation and sports sciences (Health & Human Services)
    • Jay Shubrook, D.O. (’96), assistant professor of family medicine
 

 

Frank Schwartz, M.D., appointed to diabetes research chair

James O. Watson Endowed Diabetes Research Chair supports endocrine and cardiovascular research at OU-HCOM

 

By Richard Heck and Anita Martin

March 31, 2009

Frank L. Schwartz, M.D., F.A.C.E., professor of endocrinology in the Department of Specialty Medicine, was recently appointed James O. Watson Endowed Diabetes Research Chair.

The position, endowed by the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation, was created at OU-HCOM to advance basic and clinical research into rural health management of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, both critical health issues in Appalachian Ohio.

Since coming to OU-HCOM in 2003, Schwartz has greatly expanded the diabetes research conducted at the college and university. His work ranges from research into the treatment potential of newly discovered compound C-10 for diabetes and other diseases, to various clinical studies on community health trends and endocrine disease management.

In a letter of support for Schwartz’ appointment to the chair, the first (recently retired) J.O. Watson Chair Leonard Kohn, M.D., wrote that Schwartz “has created a true bench-to-bedside research environment at Ohio University.”

Schwartz’ basic research, in collaboration with other OHIO scientists, focuses on the role of “toll-like cell receptors” in autoimmune endocrine diseases. The C-10 compound, according to Schwartz, “blocks
abnormal expression of these toll-like receptors and may offer a new
type of treatment for diseases such as type 1 diabetes, atherosclerosis and certain cancers in the near future.”

Schwartz also promotes basic research through the Diabetes/Endocrine Diseases Biorepository, which he established at Ohio University. The biorepository stores blood samples of patients from University Medical Associates and the Cornwell Diabetes and Endocrine Center at O’Bleness Hospital. The samples, which include serum, DNA and RNA, will assist OHIO research into the causes of obesity, diabetes, atherosclerosis, cancer and other endocrine diseases for the purpose of exploring better treatment and diagnostic possibilities.

In collaboration with the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, Schwartz is working to improve medical technology for diabetic patients by co-developing an artificial intelligence software program for insulin pumps for type 1 diabetes patients. The software interprets how lifestyle trends impact individual patients’ glucose levels and offers evidence-based solutions to problems. The researchers hope the software eventually can make treatment suggestions and serve all forms of diabetes.

Overall, Schwartz has helped increase the medical community’s understanding of the Southeastern Ohio population through his involvement with an ongoing 19-county comprehensive health needs assessment sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The study, conducted in collaboration with the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs and the Appalachian Rural Health Institute (ARHI), has revealed that, in the eleven counties surveyed so far, more than 11 percent of people in Appalachian Ohio suffer from diabetes—compared to the national average of eight percent.

To better serve this population, Schwartz and Jay Shubrook, D.O. (’96), assistant professor of family medicine, established the ARHI Diabetes Coalition, a group of diabetes educators, nurses and governmental agencies that supports research into cultural and economic barriers to medical access and education. In coordination with other OHIO departments, coalition members began an intervention program to study and address the impact and treatment of depression in patients with type 2 diabetes. Schwartz and Shubrook are also conducting a study to evaluate the quality of care provided to diabetes patients in rural hospitals and nursing homes.

According to Dean Jack Brose, D.O., Schwartz has attracted more than $2.6 million in external funding to OU-COM over the past five years. “His accomplishments during his time at Ohio University have significantly enhanced the reputation of the university and the College of Osteopathic Medicine,” said Brose, who initially recommended Schwartz for the position.

Brose and Kohn also lauded Schwartz’s efforts in launching the Diabetes/Endocrine Center at the Appalachian Rural Health Institute. The center is now recognized around the state for excellence in diabetes training, education and research. It offers the only osteopathic diabetes fellowship for primary care physicians in the United States. Under Schwartz’s direction, the center received the 2006 Rural Practice of the Year Award from the Ohio Department of Health.

Schwartz’ appointment will expand his current work. “The endowed chair provides sustained financial support to continue established research projects and strengthen new grant applications,” Schwartz said. “Our central focus is to continue the translational research in diabetes—taking research from the laboratory bench to patient’s bedside.”

Schwartz cites Kohn’s work as one of the central factors that originally drew him to OU-HCOM. “It is a great honor to follow Dr. Kohn in this prestigious research chair. He and I have worked in collaboration for the past six years, and I feel like I am carrying on his legacy with the many other investigators here at OU.”

Prior to coming to OU-HCOM in 2003, Schwartz worked in Parkersburg, W.Va., where he set up five diabetes education programs at local hospitals and in his own private endocrinology practice. A graduate of the West Virginia School of Medicine in 1978, he taught for 20 years as a clinical associate professor of medicine and pharmacology at his medical alma mater.

For several years before he joined the full-time faculty at OU-HCOM, Schwartz also served as a preceptor for the college’s students. During that time OU-HCOM awarded him two honors based on positive medical student reviews: a 1996 Master Clinical Faculty Award and a 1998 Outstanding Specialty Physician Award. 

 

 
 
 
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Last updated: 09/16/2011