AAMC News and Leadership Announcements

Beginning this week, we will post the contents of an email publication containing current news and other announcements from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).  This publication includes summaries of news items related to health care, biomedical research, grant funding, and other related topics, with links to full articles.  We receive this publication as a benefit of our affiliate membership in the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL).  Here’s the current issue:

The New York Times reported on Thursday, “Two of New York City’s biggest hospital systems reached agreement on Wednesday to pursue a merger that would shake up the way medical care is delivered, especially in Manhattan, where hospitals compete to serve some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the world. The proposed merger would bring together NYU Langone Medical Center, a highly specialized academic medical center, and Continuum Health Partners, a network of several community-oriented hospitals, including Beth Israel and the two St. Luke’s-Roosevelt campuses.” A MOU has been approved by the boards of both institutions, but additional regulatory approvals will be needed. The Times reported that the merger “would create one of the largest health care systems in the city, one that would have immense market power under the new federal health care system, and put pressure on independent medical practices, insurance companies and even rival medical schools, which may have to find other places to train their students.”

The Commonwealth Medical College Board of Trustees announced on Wednesday the appointment of Dr. Robert Wright as the school’s interim president and dean effective June 29. Dr. Wright announced his retirement as president and CEO of his namesake, the Wright Center for Graduate Education, earlier this week. He will succeed Dr. Lois Nora, who has been appointed the new president of the American Board of Medical Specialties.

UMDNJ announced on Tuesday that it will not oppose the absorption of its three medical schools into Rutgers University. According to the Newark Star Ledger, “The original plan, unveiled by [N.J. Governor] Christie in January, had Rutgers absorbing only the New Brunswick- and Piscataway-based pieces of UMDNJ. The new legislation calls for Rutgers to take over all of UMDNJ’s pieces across the state — except University Hospital in Newark, which would partner with a private hospital system.” The three medical schools include two allopathic schools (Newark and RWJ) and one osteopathic school (UMDNJ, New Jersey School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford). However, the situation remains murky. Thursday’s Star Ledger reported, “The already complex proposal to restructure the state’s higher education system got more complicated Wednesday when Rutgers University leaders released a new list of demands that will force lawmakers to go back to the negotiating table. In a rare joint meeting in New Brunswick, the Rutgers’ board of governors and board of trustees approved a two-page outline of terms they say must be met before their members will sign off on a major restructuring of the state’s higher education system, including a merger with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. The boards also voted to appoint a committee to negotiate with lawmakers in Trenton to reach a deal.”

Ann Bonham, Ph.D., AAMC’s Chief Scientific Officer, on Friday will receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine. Established in 1998, the Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor the college bestows upon its graduates, “recognizing their efforts to improve the delivery of health care, change the course of medical education, and advance biomedical research.”  Other awardees this year are Shlomo Ben-Haim, James Hanson, Kenneth Mann, Allan Rashford, and Laverne Wintermeyer.

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute has posted the draft report of its Methodology Committee.  A formal comment period will begin in July.

FDA Commissioner Peggy Hamburg on Wednesday announced the appointment of Richard Turman as Deputy Director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. Mr. Turman is currently Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources at HHS. He earlier served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget at HHS, Associate Director for Budget at the NIH and Branch Chief in the Health Division of the OMB. Mr. Turman also earlier served as Director of Federal Relations for the Association of American Universities.

A group of health care delivery organization executives has released an IOM Discussion Paper titled, “A CEO Checklist for High -Value Health Care.” A related commentary has been posted by JAMA.

The Seattle Times on Wednesday reported, “The University of Washington may strengthen its conflict-of-interest policies after a retired UW burn specialist landed on front pages across the country as ‘exhibit A’ in an investigative report on flame-retardant chemicals. Dr. David Heimbach, who led the burn unit at Harborview Medical Center for 25 years, was being paid by a chemical-industry organization when he testified before several state legislatures to oppose restrictions on the chemicals, according to a four-part series published by The Chicago Tribune in May and distributed widely. The stories…questioned the safety and effectiveness of flame retardants and outlined an industry campaign to promote the chemicals, in part by enlisting experts and advocates like [Dr.] Heimbach.”

The June 1 issue of the Federal Register contains a posting by NIH seeking comments on CareerTrac, a proposed web-based application that allows principal investigators, on a volunteer basis, to record the career achievement progress of trainees. Comments are due by August 1.

The Leapfrog Group, a national not-for-profit organization founded by employers and focused on safety, quality and affordability of healthcare in the U.S., has posted “Hospital Safety Scores.” According to the group, “The Hospital Safety Score is an A, B, C, D, or F letter grade reflecting how safe hospitals are for patients. For the first time ever, this score empowers you to make informed decisions about the safety of your hospital care.”

Seven new human embryonic stem cell lines were added to the NIH Registry on May 31st. Two came from Harvard, four from the Univ. of Michigan, and one from UT, Houston. This brings the total number of lines available to federally-funded stem cell researchers to 163. Under the Bush Administration’s policy, only 21 lines were available.

The June issue of Academic Medicine is now on-line. Articles from the July issue also are available on the “ahead of print” section of the Academic Medicine web site.

The new issue of The Economist featured an article on the historical evolution of the role of a physician. The article reports, “Most countries suffer from a simple mismatch: the demand for health care is rising faster than the supply of doctors. The problem is most acute in the developing world, though rich countries are not immune…One approach to making doctors more efficient is to focus what they do.”

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) has announced that to “further accelerate the pace of discovery and advance research, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Department of Defense (DoD) are collaborating to develop the Federal Interagency Traumatic Brain Injury Research (FITBIR) Informatics System. The FITBIR Informatics System will provide the traumatic brain injury (TBI) research community with a common platform for exchanging data, protocols, and research-related information. Moreover, the architecture of FITBIR supports federation with other data resources. FITBIR will begin accepting clinical data on July 16, 2012 for a variety of phenotypic assessments, including image and genomic data, in a variety of formats…TBI researchers who are collecting clinical phenotypic, genomic or imaging data are expected to share their data via FITBIR, and to use this national resource to advance their projects. This is expected of all investigators regardless of the size of the budget of their research projects, regardless of the source of support for their TBI research, including investigators supported by NIH grants awarded under focused funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) or those under parent mechanism FOAs (‘unsolicited’ applications). TBI researchers supported by non-federal sources are also encouraged to utilize the FITBIR Informatics System.”

Dr. Herbert Pardes, executive vice chairman of the board of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, authored an essay posted by The Atlantic, titled, “University Hospitals: Cost-Efficient Leaders in Care and Research.”

The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) is accepting nominations for the first Lurie Prize in the Biomedical Sciences, an annual award recognizing outstanding achievement by a young scientist in biomedical research. The deadline for nominations is August 15, 2012, 1:00 pm EDT. The prize amount is $100,000 and is made possible by a generous gift from Ann Lurie, FNIH Board Member, distinguished philanthropist, and President of the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Foundation. No self-nominations are allowed. The awardee will be selected by a jury, chaired by Solomon H. Snyder, MD, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

This week Columbia announced that Herbert and Florence Irving have given an additional $40 million to support Columbia’s Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC). With this new gift, Mr. and Mrs. Irving have generously committed nearly $200 million to CUMC and its partner, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia, of which $177 million has supported the HICCC and other cancer-related programs. An article in the Wall Street Journal on Monday reported, “When asked about the decision to support Columbia University Medical Center for so many years and with gifts of nearly $200 million, Herbert and Florence Irving have this simple rationale: ‘They took care of us there,’ says Mr. Irving. Of course, there is much more to the motivation. The giving is as much about friendships with doctors, seeing a need and supporting the city as it is about the longevity of a marriage and a love story that began some 75 years ago.”

Officials of Wayne State University and Oakwood Healthcare System have formally signed an agreement that will extend their affiliation agreement covering graduate medical education between the two entities for another 10 years. According to WSU, “Oakwood Healthcare System hospitals are home to both Oakwood and WSU residency training programs. In addition, 48 WSU medical students receive their clinical training at Oakwood in various specialties. Physicians who graduate from the WSU School of Medicine have the opportunity to further their medical education as residents in Oakwood programs, and provide care for thousands of patients served by the Oakwood Healthcare System.”

Our colleagues at AAHRPP have announced a webinar focused on “Quality Metrics for Institutional Review Board Performance.” The webinars will be held on July 24 (8:00-9:30 a.m. ET) and July 26 (3:30-5:00 p.m. ET).

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), along with the Institute of Medicine (IoM) and other members of the Health Data Consortium, are co-hosting the third annual “Datapalooza” focusing on innovative applications and services that harness the power of open data from HHS and other sources to help improve health and health care. The Health Data Initiative Forum III is featuring more than 100 new or updated solutions, up from 45 solutions last year, that help serve the needs of consumers, health care providers, employers, public health leaders, and policy makers.

Dr. Timothy E. Albertson, a pulmonary, critical care and toxicology specialist, has been named chair of the UC Davis Department of Internal Medicine. He has served as the department’s interim chair since 2009.

Dr. Richard Zane has been named the inaugural chair of the newly formed Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. The Department includes faculty based at University of Colorado Hospital and Denver Health Medical Center. Dr. Zane comes to Colorado from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Partners Healthcare, where he served as vice chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine and chair of the Medical Services Executive Committee and medical director for emergency preparedness and bio-defense for Partners Healthcare and medical director for MDConnect, a system-wide integration, referral, access and transfer program. He also was an associate professor of medicine (emergency medicine) at Harvard Medical School.

Richard D. Schulick, MD, MBA, is the new chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He also holds the Aragon/Gonzalez-Giusti Chair in surgery. Dr. Schulick came from the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions where he was chief of the Surgical Oncology Division.

Carmen A. Puliafito, M.D., M.B.A., has accepted a second five-year term as Dean of the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC). The announcement was made by Elizabeth Garrett, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Dr. Peter B. Rosenquist, Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Wake Forest University, has been named Vice Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior of the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Health Sciences University. Dr. Rosenquist, who joins the MCG faculty in July, also will serve as Director of Therapeutic Neurostimulation at the GHS Health System.

Aaron J. Shatkin, PhD, 77, founding director of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine (CABM), a joint institute of UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers University, died on June 4, 2012. Dr. Shatkin was professor of Molecular Genetics, Microbiology and Immunology, and a member of The Cancer Institute of New Jersey at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and was University Professor of Molecular Biology at Rutgers University. Dr. Shatkin was the recipient of the AAMC’s 2003 Award for Distinguished Research in the Biomedical Sciences.

Tony Mazzaschi

PS: Feel free to email <cas@aamc.org> if you have a problem accessing any article or resource mentioned in this summary. Also, have colleagues email <cas@aamc.org> if they would like to receive these news postings. We also welcome news tips and corrections.

PPS: Other news, policy, and innovation products from AAMC may be of particular interest to subscribers:
+AAMC STAT (Short, Topical and Timely), a weekly news email highlights news related to academic medicine
http://www.aamc.org/newsroom/aamcstat/aamcnews.htm (note subscription box on right)
+AAMC Washington Highlights, a weekly summary of legislative & regulatory developments affecting academic medicine
+Wing of Zock, a blog about innovation and change in medical schools and teaching hospitals
http://wingofzock.org/ and its Twitter feed @wingofzock
+AM Express, the journal Academic Medicine’s free monthly issue announcement service
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