The Department of Internal Medicine is pleased to highlight the following appointments and promotions to professor of medicine. Fadi Akar, PhD (Cardiovascular Medicine) MS: Case Western Reserve University, Bioengineering PhD: Case Western Reserve University, Biomedical Engineering What does your promotion mean to you? This promotion represents a tangible recognition of my academic, scholarly and research contributions to my chosen field of study and to the University. What was the first thing you did when you found out you were promoted to professor? I called my wife who was on a Zoom meeting, and so she handed the phone over to my 8 year old whose first reaction was to console me for having “lost” a job which she knew I really enjoyed. What are you proud of most thus far in your career? I take pride in having built lifelong relationships with numerous mentees, who have excelled in their own rite, both in academia and biotechnology industries. Having been able to make my mark on the field of basic cardiac electrophysiology and arrhythmias is a major source of pride. What is your favorite part of academia? The joy of discovery ranks very highly on my list. The ability to conduct cutting-edge research in order to answer fundamental questions that impact society is a major source of satisfaction. I consider myself extremely lucky to hold a position which requires a lifelong commitment to learning and exploration. Tell us a fun fact about you—something people may find surprising. As a 9 year old I traveled from Beirut to Larnaca aboard the USS Trenton – and watched the newly released Star Wars Trilogy along the way. William Becker, MD (Internal Medicine) BA: Yale University MD: Temple University School of Medicine (2001) Residency: Yale New Haven Hospital Fellowship: Yale School of Medicine What does your promotion mean to you? It feels very validating that my career-long work has had an impact on improving the lives of persons living with chronic pain and opioid use disorder. What was the first thing you did when you found out you were promoted to/appointed as professor? I told my wife—we high fived and went out for burritos! What are you proud of most thus far in your career? Through a series of studies and clinical innovations, I have helped discover effective treatments and care management strategies for people prescribed opioids who are struggling with poor quality of life and are at high risk for adverse outcomes. What is your favorite part of academia? I really enjoy working in multidisciplinary teams to design and execute studies, publish research and care for patients. Tell us a fun fact about you—something people may find surprising. To break up the monotony of lockdown, I kayaked the Niantic River every month of pandemic, year-round. Gretchen Berland, MD (Internal Medicine) BA: Pomona College MD: Oregon Health Sciences University Residency: Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis, Barnes Hospital Fellowship: UCLA Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program What does your promotion/appointment mean to you? It's exceptionally gratifying to know that one's professional community believes in what you do. I've been incredibly lucky to be able to work with students on both campuses and cultivate relationships and friendships with so many colleagues since coming to Yale. I've been a general internist working with very vulnerable populations throughout my career and my work in direct patient care has been influenced by my background in the media. Yale allowed and encouraged me to pursue those very different disciplines, what a gift! What was the first thing you did when you found out you were promoted to/appointed as professor? I told my family. What are you proud of most thus far in your career? I'm proudest of my ability to be able to help others, whether in the form of direct patient care and advocating for my patients, or working with students and residents to help them in their professional careers. I'm also very proud of how the medical community came together during the COVID pandemic and being a part of that inpatient journey was something I'll remember with pride. What is your favorite part of academia? The relationships you are able to develop over time with a wide range of people who think about the world across so many venues. Never stop learning. Tell us a fun fact about you—something people may find surprising. I'm a devoted Grateful Dead fan. Jonathan Bogan, MD (Endocrinology) BS: Yale University MD: Harvard Medical School Residency: Massachusetts General Hospital Fellowship: Massachusetts General Hospital What does your promotion mean to you? It is recognition by the university that our work has had an impact on the field. Over the past twenty-five years, we have identified and characterized a key mechanism by which insulin stimulates glucose uptake. Insights from our work are important for understanding type 2 diabetes, and also have broad significance for basic cellular processes. To secure acceptance of our ideas has taken a lot of effort – not just by me, but by a whole team of lab members, collaborators, colleagues, and others – and it is gratifying to have that recognized. What was the first thing you did when you found out you were promoted to professor? I told my wife, Kerstin Calia, who is a hospitalist. I was attending on the Peters inpatient internal medicine service at Yale New Haven Hospital, and she was in West Pavilion, so I found her and showed her the email. She has made a lot of sacrifices for this, so it was meaningful to her. What are you proud of most thus far in your career? There are two things I am most proud of. First, I am enormously proud of the students and postdocs who have been in my lab. Their persistence and creativity have overcome many obstacles, including some that I wasn’t sure we would solve. I am very lucky to have worked with such a talented group. Second, I am proud of what we accomplished together. We discovered a biochemical pathway that mediates insulin action in muscle and fat cells. Alterations in this pathway may explain, at least in part, why people with impaired glucose uptake also develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and increased body weight. The pathway itself involves a protein we discovered, which sequesters glucose transporters deep inside cells. Insulin stimulation causes this protein to be chopped in two to mobilize the transporters to the cell surface, and thus to promote glucose uptake from the bloodstream. Other proteins that move together with the glucose transporters can impact blood pressure and cholesterol metabolism. Finally, a protein fragment that is produced by this cleavage pathway enters the cell nucleus and regulates genes to burn fat and to produce body heat. This effect controls how many calories we burn after we eat food. Much current work in the lab focuses on understanding how this pathway develops in muscle and fat, on how it goes awry during the development of type 2 diabetes, and on how we might be able to target it to prevent or treat metabolic disease. What is your favorite part of academia? I love the variety. I get to puzzle over fascinating scientific problems, and I love brainstorming and debating with people in my lab about how to interpret data or what experiment to do next. I also get to share the joy of teaching and learning with our amazing students, and to provide clinical care with terrific colleagues and clinical trainees. Tell us a fun fact about you—something people may find surprising. A few years ago, I ran the New Haven Road Race Half Marathon and I managed to beat an undergraduate who was in my lab at the time. Neither of us knew the other was running, until after the race. We both broke two hours and I barely edged him out, based on our net times. This provided fodder for some good-natured ribbing. Since the pandemic, I have lost fitness and I am now slowly regaining it. It is always helpful to have an event to work toward. Maintaining fitness takes a lot of work, but given my field of research I know how important it is!E. Jennifer Edelman, MD, MHS, BS (General Medicine) MHS: Yale University MD: Columbia University Clinical Scholar: Yale School of Medicine Chief Resident: Yale New Haven Hospital Residency: Yale New Haven Hospital What does your promotion/appointment mean to you? I feel very fortunate to work in such a supportive environment and to be honored in this way. What was the first thing you did when you found out you were promoted to/appointed as professor? I reached out to my mentors and close family members as they have been a key part of this journey. What are you proud of most thus far in your career? Contributions to improving the health and lives of my patients through direct patient care and our research efforts with clinical and community-based partners as well as contributions to education of trainees and junior faculty. What is your favorite part of academia? Working with my amazing colleagues and clinical and community-based partners to address important challenges at the intersection of substance use and HIV. Tell us a fun fact about you—something people may find surprising. I enjoy [slowly] doing a sprint triathlon annually. David Felson, MD, MPH (Rheumatology) AB: Harvard University MD: Johns Hopkins University Residency: Case Western Reserve/University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center MPH: Boston University School of Public Health Fellowship: Boston University School of Medicine What does your promotion mean to you? It is exciting to be associated with such a terrific institution. Being appointed professor not only affirms my career path but also opens up new opportunities for further growth and collaboration in this academic community. What was the first thing you did when you found out you were promoted to professor? I shared the news with my family, and we all celebrated with a drink. What are you proud of most thus far in your career? I am most proud of all of the scholars I have trained. Witnessing their growth and success brings me immense joy. What is your favorite part of academia? I love the back and forth discussions over challenging scientific questions, especially if the discussion includes those from different academic backgrounds. Tell us a fun fact about you—something people may find surprising. I have taken many Indian cooking classes and love to make Indian cuisine for friends and family. James Freeman, MD, MPH, MS (Cardiovascular Medicine) BA: Dartmouth College MD: Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine MPH: Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health Residency: Stanford University Hospital and Clinics Fellowship: Stanford University Hospital and Clinics What does your promotion mean to you? I deeply appreciate the support of the Department of Internal Medicine and the School of Medicine. The promotion will allow me to continue to grow our clinical and research program nationally and internationally. What was the first thing you did when you found out you were promoted to/appointed as professor? I told my wife. The support of family and friends is the foundation on which we all achieve anything. My wife and I have worked hard to support each other in our respective careers since we first started dating. What are you proud of most thus far in your career? We have significantly grown the size and national profile of our clinical program, trained some remarkable physicians, and we have published some important research that has informed and changed practice in the arrhythmia care. That’s three things—but I really couldn’t prioritize any one of the tripartite missions over another. What is your favorite part of academia? I love the complementary aspects of touching the lives of individuals, and also the opportunity to have a broader impact through scientific research and training the next generation of physicians and leaders in our field. I’ve had single days during which a patient has hugged me, a paper has gotten national attention, and a former trainee has been promoted to a leadership position at their home institution. Tell us a fun fact about you—something people may find surprising. I have done a lot of mountaineering over the years and have been fortunate to work for the US Park Service doing search and rescue in Alaska and as a guide and medical personnel on expeditions all over the world. Medicine can offer incredible opportunities to work with amazing people doing a broad array of interesting things all over the world. Inginia Genao, MD (General Medicine) BS: Marymount College MD: University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry Residency: Strong Memorial Hospital/University of Rochester What does your promotion mean to you? Promotion to professor brings a sense of fulfillment and a feeling of having completed a long phase in my academic career. What was the first thing you did when you found out you were promoted to professor? I took a deep breath, allowing the significance of the moment to sink in, and a smile formed on my face. What are you proud of most thus far in your career? I am most proud of the impact I am making in the space of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. In my time at Yale, I have worked on initiatives to create a more diverse and supportive environment in education and the medical workforce. I believe that this work impacts people in a very profound way. Personally, I still remember the feeling of the first time I felt belonging at Yale; it felt like freedom. What is your favorite part of academia? My favorite part of academia is the opportunity it gives me to collaborate, learn, and teach. Tell us a fun fact about you—something people may find surprising. A fun fact about me is that I love to dance. Daniel Greif, MD (Cardiovascular Medicine) BS: Stanford University MD: University of California-San Francisco Residency: University of Washington (junior resident), Brigham & Women’s Hospital (senior resident) Fellowship: Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Stanford University What does your promotion mean to you? It means that the work of my lab is appreciated by the scientific community at Yale as well as nationally and internationally. It gives me pride in and gratitude for all the diligent and bright trainees in my lab who have spearheaded their projects. What was the first thing you did when you found out you were promoted to professor? I immediately texted my wife, and she notified my parents and her parents. What are you proud of most thus far in your career? That I have helped train the next generation of scientists in both academia and industry. And these young scientists are building their own careers and are on their way to becoming leaders in their fields. What is your favorite part of academia? Working with enthusiastic, bright trainees and with inspiring, intelligent and supportive colleagues. I continue to mentor these trainees after they have moved on from the lab and many of these colleagues have become my very good friends. Tell us a fun fact about you—something people may find surprising. When we retire, my wife and I have mused about trying to become park rangers in a National Park. Stephanie Halene, MD (Hematology) MD: Eberhard-Karls-Universitat Tubingen Residency: Yale New Haven Hospital Fellowship: Yale School of Medicine What does your promotion mean to you? I want my scientific work, mentorship, clinical and leadership roles at Yale to point in one direction: forward. The promotion means more leverage and momentum in helping the best colleagues bring the best science and medicine to people, with the highest attention to ethics, precision, and care. What was the first thing you did when you found out you were promoted to professor? I went to an interview dinner to convince a wonderful candidate that they should join our department. What are you proud of most thus far in your career? If it's not too grand, I think there is a "torch of mentorship." I'm honored and humbled every day to name the great mentors who gave me the schema, stories, and pieces of identity needed to sustain this kind of work. And I'm a little bit proud to offer some of those qualities to the next generation of doctors and scientists. What is your favorite part of academia? Making connections is the most exciting moment, the "lightning in a bottle" that can come seemingly at random after years of preparation, weeks of specialized study, hours of conversation with brilliant colleagues. Academia is the fertile soil, and the processes of tilling, seeding, sunshine and water for these ideas. When the seedlings of a new idea appear, it seems both natural and magical. Tell us a fun fact about you—something people may find surprising. I'm a black belt in a form of practical jiu-jitsu. Jiu-jitsu teaches us not to confront power with power, because there's always something more powerful than we are. Instead, we learn to be light on our feet and pivot, then find the precise point to strike at the problem. My teacher calls this "having an understanding." This is how I approach many moments of scientific problem-solving. Robert McLean, MD (Rheumatology) BA: Williams College MD: University of Maryland Residency: Yale New Haven Hospital Fellowship: Yale School of Medicine What does your promotion/appointment mean to you? As a voluntary clinical faculty, my becoming a clinical professor of medicine at Yale is truly an honor. Practically, it means I can finally update the auto-signature on my emails. What was the first thing you did when you found out you were promoted to/appointed as professor? I smiled. What are you proud of most thus far in your career? The balance I have maintained between being an actively practicing physician with opportunities to teach the next generation of physicians in different settings (medical students, residents, & fellows) and with extensive involvement in organized medicine and advocacy, culminating in serving as president of the American College of Physicians in 2019-20. Feeling I can make a difference in the lives of my patients and in addressing the challenges of our health care delivery systems is immensely fulfilling. What is your favorite part of academia? My involvement in academia has been as a member of the voluntary clinical faculty since I finished my rheumatology fellowship training and initially joined a small private practice group in New Haven. After my training, I found the Yale New Haven Hospital medical community to be a wonderful intertwining of the full-time academic faculty with a high-quality community of private practices—both primary care and specialties. Becoming part of that community with ongoing part-time involvement in our stimulating academic health center environment was an appeal I could not resist. So I stayed, now in New Haven for 35 years. Tell us a fun fact about you—something people may find surprising. I can be found on most Thursday evenings during the academic year at the famous Yale institution Mory’s, where I am part of a trivia team that has been a dominant force for a few years. While my medical knowledge is reliable, I am a killer in sports, film, geography, and music from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. I think that maintains my two sons’ admiration more than an academic title.The Department of Internal Medicine at Yale is among the nation's premier departments, bringing together an elite cadre of clinicians, investigators, educators, and staff in one of the world's top medical schools. To learn more, visit Internal Medicine.