Back to the Future: Past RIV Winners Talk About What the Recognition Meant for Their Careers

Larry Beresford


The Hospitalist. 2013;17(9):1,35-38. 

In This Article

Twylla Tassava, MD

Title: Administrator, academic consult service; teaching staff physician

Institution: Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital, Ypsilanti, Mich.

Year: 2008

Riv: "A Case of Salty Voluminous Urine" (clinical vignette)

Dr. Tassava was honored two years in a row for topics drawn from her experience as a hospitalist working in the surgical ICU. Her HM08 entry won top poster, and her HM09 poster, "Permissive Hypernatremia: Co-Management of Intracranial Pressure in a Patient with Diabetes Insipidus," was selected for an oral presentation.

The HM09 vignette described how the hypernatremia that occurs with diabetes insipidus could be used in a novel way to control intracranial pressure in a 17-year-old patient who had a traumatic brain injury from an auto accident.

"She had a beautiful outcome," Dr. Tassava says. "She started college and she came back to our unit for a visit after her recovery."

Dr. Tassava enjoyed the opportunity to explain to her peers how diabetes insipidus presented and how she managed the case. "I was a little surprised at how much discussion was generated by my case," she says, "even though I knew this was an important and novel approach."

When her hospital added intensivists, her work and research in the ICU ended and her career moved more toward hospitalist administration. She now runs the academic consult service at St. Joseph, serves as lead physician for the orthopedic surgery floor, instructs and mentors medical residents, and chairs the hospital's Coagulation Collaborative Practice Team (Coagulation CPT). She credits the RIV honors with helping her to gain recognition as an academic hospitalist who was nominated for leadership roles. She has moved out of research for now but plans to pursue anticoagulation research in the future.

"I really appreciated the recognition for my curiosity and scientific approach, which was acknowledged by my surgical colleagues," Dr. Tassava says. "I absolutely love the CPT. I am the hospital's principal educator with regard to anticoagulation. Over the past year, I have given medicine and cardiology grand rounds, and have presented on the newest anticoagulants."

Dr. Tassava still collaborates with her residents on abstracts, several of which have been submitted to SHM, the American College of Physicians, and other medical societies.

"I still love research," she says. "I have a million ideas."