AAMC News and Leadership Announcements, 2012 June 11

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Monday delivered the keynote address at a daylong conference titled “Moving Academic Medicine Forward,” held by Johns Hopkins Medicine to honor Dr. Edward D. Miller, the longtime dean of the medical faculty and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine.  He will step down from his post on June 30, ending a distinguished 15-year tenure. Secretary Sebelius said we “… need academic medicine to further explore the importance of primary care in your research and underscore it in your training. Far too often, especially at our leading teaching hospitals, primary care has been treated like it was less challenging, less important, and a less worthy use of a physician’s skills. We need to change these attitudes, and that starts with our medical schools. But ultimately, the choice belongs to the next generation of doctors. So, to the medical students here today, I ask you, directly, to consider becoming a primary care physician. If you want to help lead the biggest transformation of medicine in decades, there’s no better place to be.”

The Cleveland Clinic and Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM) announced on Monday they have signed an affiliation agreement to develop a Northeast Ohio regional extension campus of the medical school to be located on Cleveland Clinic’s South Pointe Hospital campus.

The cover story of a recent issue of Congressional Quarterly was titled, “Rebranding NIH.” It discussed how, “Increasingly, [Dr. Francis Collins is] describing NIH not just as a powerful force in the war against disease thanks to its focus on basic research, but also as an incubator of new jobs and new products. As the nation struggles to spur growth and cut debt, he is presenting medical research as key to economic renewal.” The article is now available on-line to non-subscribers.

The deadline to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) for the first cycle of funding announcements issued by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is Friday, June 15. A webinar on June 13, from 3:00-4:30 p.m. ET, will review PCORI’s Research Agenda, introduce the four funding announcements, and explain the registration and LOI process.

Dr. Robert J. Glaser died recently at the age of 93, after a long illness. He resided in Menlo Park, CA. In a distinguished career, he served as dean at the University of Colorado and Stanford Schools of Medicine. At Harvard, he served as president of the Affiliated Hospital Group. He earlier had faculty and administrative appointments at Washington University. Later in his career, he held major leadership positions with the Commonwealth Fund, the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation, and the Lucille P. Markey Charitable Trust. In honor of his long-time service as AOA’s executive secretary, the medical honor society in 1988 created the Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Awards, which are presented annually at the AAMC Annual Meeting. Dr. Glaser served as AAMC’s first Chair, leading the organization in 1968-69, immediately following fundamental changes in the AAMC’s leadership and organizational structure that he helped enact.  He was awarded the Abraham Flexner award in 1984.

NIH announced on Monday that beginning with the September 25, 2012 due date and thereafter, applications proposing the use of human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESCs) must: specify a cell line(s) from the NIH Stem Cell Registry that will be used in the proposed research, or provide a strong justification for why an appropriate cell line cannot be chosen from the Registry at this time and a certification that one from the Registry will be used. According to NIH, “Reviewers will be instructed to evaluate the scientific appropriateness of the proposed cell line(s)…This evaluation will be allowed to affect individual criterion scores, assessments of overall merit, and overall impact scores during initial peer review.”

An article in Sunday’s Riverside Press Enterprise profiled Dr. G. Richard Olds, dean of the UC, Riverside School of Medicine. The article highlighted some of the school’s planned innovations. The school is currently listed by the LCME as one of six “Applicant Schools.”

The Austin Statesman American on Sunday reported, “A proposal by a medical school on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten to send some of its students to Texas for clinical training has divided the governing board of the state’s higher education agency, led to a review by the attorney general and prompted key lawmakers to weigh in. Leaders of the state’s nine medical schools — eight of them public and one private — and the Texas Medical Association, which represents nearly 45,000 physicians and medical students, have responded to the proposal by the for-profit American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine with alarm.” The article further reported, “Although the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has stipulated that only students who had graduated from a Texas high school would be eligible, the medical school leaders and association officials say an influx of students from foreign schools could displace students at Texas medical schools from required training slots that are already in short supply.”

AM Classics, Academic Medicine’s collection of articles with 50 or more citations each, continues to expand. The full collection of 213 articles can be found online. The journal was cited 7,580 times in 2011 — the most in its field.

The New York Times on Monday featured an article about the evolution of hospitals, noting that many of the changes will proceed regardless of how the Supreme Court rules on health care reform legislation.

Dr. Teresa A. Sullivan, a labor force demographer, will step down as President of the University of Virginia in August as the result of “a philosophical difference of opinion” with the UVA Board of Trustees. Dr. Sullivan, the former provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Michigan, took office as the University of Virginia’s eighth president on August 1, 2010. She received her undergraduate degree from Michigan State University’s James Madison College.

University of Florida President Dr. Bernie Machen announced on Friday his plans to step down next year, saying he expects to continue to lead the university until its governing board completes a search for his successor. He has served as UF President since January 2003. Dr. Machen served for six years as president of the University of Utah before moving to Gainesville. Prior to that, he was provost of the University of Michigan and dean and associate dean of dentistry at Michigan and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, respectively.

The Nashua (NH) Telegraph reported last week, “Officials from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have given the [NH] Health Department 30 days to prove that access to medical coverage has not been diminished for Medicaid patients due to recent budget cuts. Last year, state legislators cut more than $230 million from state Medicaid payments, forcing a wave of layoffs and program cuts at the state’s eight largest hospitals. Hospital administrators, who have waged a lawsuit in federal court, have complained in the months since that the cuts have reduced medical access for Medicaid patients, typically the elderly and disabled. And the federal health officers are looking to see if they need to intervene.”

Sunday’s Baltimore Sun reported that Maryland’s system for regulating hospital rates is in jeopardy as “The state has come dangerously close to failing a test it must meet every three months to keep the exemption, under which the federal government gives Maryland larger Medicare payments than other states. To pass, the state must show federal officials that its Medicare costs have grown more slowly than in the rest of the country. For years, clearing that bar wasn’t a problem, but that changed as health care costs in the state soared in recent years. The margin keeps narrowing and is all but nonexistent this year.” The state would like to redefine the waiver test “that would take into account the total cost of caring for a patient that looks beyond a hospital stay.”

The Houston Chronicle on Sunday published the results of a review into the MD Anderson grant application that led to the resignation in protest of Dr. Alfred Gilman as head of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, or CPRIT. The paper said its investigation “suggests that CPRIT, a 3-year-old initiative backed by $3 billion in taxpayer funds, handled the grant application in a hasty manner designed to circumvent its own scientific reviewers.”

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a memo to federal agencies last week detailing the Administration’s science and technology priorities for the fiscal year 2014 budget.

According to a statement released on Thursday, “Partners HealthCare, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and South Shore Hospital have taken a formal step toward South Shore becoming part of Partners to fulfill a vision to improve the coordination, accessibility and affordability of quality health care for patients in Southeastern Massachusetts. The non-profit organizations have entered into a memorandum of understanding in which South Shore Hospital would become a member of Partners HealthCare.” South Shore and the Brigham have had a long-standing relationship.

Representatives from Mayo Clinic, Fairview Health Services and Fairview Red Wing Health Services signed a tentative agreement on Thursday for Fairview Red Wing Health Services to become part of Mayo Clinic Health System. The parties will work to finalize the details of the agreement and acquisition during the next several weeks, targeting July 1 for Mayo Clinic Health System to assume operations. Fairview Red Wing Health Services is an integrated health care system providing primary and specialty care in the Medical Center in Red Wing with outreach clinics in Zumbrota, Minn., and Ellsworth, Wis.

Mount Sinai School of Medicine has announced the establishment of a new Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, opening July 1, 2012. The Department was created in collaboration with the Institute for Family Health, one of the largest networks of community health centers in New York State, and will be chaired by Neil S. Calman, MD, the Institute’s President, Chief Executive Officer, and Co-Founder.

UCLA has launched the new Center for Biological Physics within the UCLA Department of Physics and Astronomy, “which will approach questions about living systems in a new light, based on the study of physics.” Dr. Alex Levine, a professor of physics and astronomy and of chemistry and biochemistry, will serve as director.

The Association of Learned, Professional and Society Publishers and The Publishers Association have released a new study on “The potential effect of making journals free after a six month embargo.” The study concluded, “…that an across-the-board mandate would have a material effect on libraries’ subscriptions; and that the impact on all publishers’ revenues would be considerable. HEI [Higher Education Institution] libraries would be impacted by the collapse or scaling down of academic publishing houses. The world’s most distinguished research institutions would be impacted most, since published outputs are essential for the work carried out by their researchers.”

On Friday, The Hill, a newspaper popular on Capitol Hill, featured a story on the public debate on the Federal government’s public access policy regarding the publication of research findings funded by federal agencies. The UK’s Guardian newspaper on Friday featured a report on a “briefing by academic publishers on open access at the Science Media Centre.”

Ochsner has signed a contract with King Abdulaziz University of Saudi Arabia. As part of this contract, faculty, staff and students from the King Abdulaziz University College of Medicine will be educated and trained at various Ochsner healthcare facilities in Louisiana. The two institutions will also be engaged in faculty exchange programs and collaborations in the areas of tele-stroke, eICU, simulation labs, research, and other academic activities. Ochsner Health System is southeast Louisiana’s largest non-profit, academic, multi-specialty, healthcare delivery system with eight hospitals and over 38 health centers in Louisiana. Earlier this year, Ochsner entered a long-term partnership with the University of Tabuk System, also in Saudi Arabia.

The Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, formerly known as Children’s Memorial Hospital, moved 3.5 miles to its new location in the Streeterville section of near northside Chicago on Saturday. 126 patients were moved in the carefully choreographed operation.

Sunday’s Baltimore Sun featured an architectural and design review of the new hospital recently opened by Johns Hopkins, “…Baltimore’s first $1 billion building…”

An essay by Peter B. Bach, M.D., in the New York Times discussed the “deluge of do-less recommendations” that are resulting “from research into tests and procedures that have been arguably overused.” Dr. Bach writes, “You’d think these pronouncements would bring a sea change in the way patients are treated in this country. But my guess is that little will change. Many doctors, maybe most, will ignore these findings and keep doing what they have been doing all along… [as] most of us still feel that our own experiences and insights are the most relevant factors in medical decision-making.” To change practice, he concluded, “…we must start by acknowledging a hard fact: Doctors sometimes don’t know best.” Dr. Bach is the director of the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

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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