The July 3 list of news updates from the AAMC has been posted. Among the highlighted stories:
- The National Institutes of Health on Friday released a new ‘Funding Opportunity Announcement’ for Institutional Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA). Letters of intent are due by December 10 and applications by January 8.
- An article in Sunday’s Washington Post discussed whether the federal government is supporting the training of too many Ph.D.s.
- Sunday’s New York Times began a three-part series by Gina Kolata that “…takes readers to the frontiers of medical research where scientists are using the most advanced genetic techniques to battle cancer.”
- Sunday’s Baltimore Sun reported on hospitals “that now allow pet visits as a means of improving patients’ moods and possibly their health.”
Here’s the full list of updates:
This weekend’s issue of the Wall Street Journal reported, “Some cash-strapped states have seized on a section of the Supreme Court’s health-law decision to pare their existing Medicaid programs, saying the ruling lifts the March 2010 law’s ban on such cuts. The court, which upheld most of the law, struck down penalties for states choosing not to expand Medicaid. A few states are also trying to go farther, arguing that the ruling justifies cuts to their existing programs.”
The National Institutes of Health on Friday released a new ‘Funding Opportunity Announcement’ for Institutional Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA). Letters of intent are due by December 10 and applications by January 8. The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), which administers the CTSA program, said it intends to commit approximately $110 million to fund up to 18 awards. Applicants may request up to 5 years of support. CTSAs support an academic home that creates an integrated research and training environment across applicant and partner institutions in order to promote and enhance clinical and translational research.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-TR-12-006.html#_Section_II._Award_1 <http://echo4.bluehornet.com/ct/16804900:19667306342:m:1:1612442508:4CC788F2A4BF9B806DA054E9314B34B2:r> http://tinyurl.com/cuj7ffs <http://echo4.bluehornet.com/ct/16804899:19667306342:m:1:1612442508:4CC788F2A4BF9B806DA054E9314B34B2:r>
The cost to attend an LCME-accredited medical school has grown at a rate roughly double that of inflation, according to the latest edition of AAMC Analysis in Brief. The study looks at cost and debt trends using a new measure that calculates the cost of the full four years of attendance, which creates a more accurate picture compared to the traditional focus on single-year tuition and fees. Over the same time span, debt has grown at a similar rate, although there was an unprecedented slowdown in the growth of average debt levels between 2008 and 2011.
Sheldon M. Retchin, M.D., CEO of VCU Health System and vice president for health sciences, Virginia Commonwealth University, wrote a commentary that appeared in Sunday’s Richmond Times-Dispatch concerning health care reform and the supply of physicians. He concluded, “The risk of health professional shortages should rally policymakers, providers, the business community and health insurers alike. Stakeholders need to seek common ground for long-term solutions. With proposed cuts to post-graduate training programs looming, and payment reductions imminent, the nation’s health care work force cannot be taken for granted if health care reform is to become a reality.”
The American Council on Education (ACE) has released the 2012 edition of “Mapping Internationalization on U.S. Campuses.” The report found that internationalization has accelerated on their campuses in the past three years, and that at institutions reporting an accelerated focus on internationalization, funding for these efforts over the past five years has either increased (47 percent) or remained steady (27 percent). Of the responding institutions, 27 percent have some type of joint degree, dual/double-degree or certificate program with overseas partners, 43 operated a branch campus in 2010-11, and more than 20,000 students were enrolled at those sites. There are no medical school specific data in the report.
An article in Sunday’s Washington Post discussed whether the federal government is supporting the training of too many Ph.D.s. The article reports, “There are too many laboratory scientists for too few jobs. That reality runs counter to messages sent by President Obama, the National Science Foundation and other influential groups, who in recent years have called for U.S. universities to churn out more scientists. Obama has made science education a priority, launching a White House science fair to get young people interested in science careers. But it’s questionable those youths will be able to find work when they get a PhD. Although jobs in some high-tech areas, especially computer and petroleum engineering, seem to be booming, the market is much tighter for lab-bound scientists — those seeking new discoveries in biology, chemistry and medicine.”
In a Wing of Zock posting, Michael K. Magill, MD, Chairman of the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine, discussed “The Goldilocks Factor.” He wrote, “Timing for AMCs transforming care delivery is critical. We need to find the perfect middle ground, or what I like to call the ‘Goldilocks Factor:’ AMCs need to transform delivery, definitely not too slowly, but not too fast for their markets either… and finding ‘just fast enough’ is not easy.”
Sunday’s New York Times began a three-part series by Gina Kolata that “…takes readers to the frontiers of medical research where scientists are using the most advanced genetic techniques to battle cancer.” Sunday’s article focused on efforts at Washington University to help a patient with adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The effort involved sequencing “the genes of both his cancer cells and healthy cells for comparison, and at the same time analyzed his RNA, a close chemical cousin to DNA, for clues to what his genes were doing.” The analysis led to the identification of a malfunctioning gene and a successful therapy. Tuesday’s article featured the story of a patient with an unsuccessful outcome and highlights the complexity of whole genome sequencing approaches. Both articles highlighted the economics of these approaches. Tuesday’s final installment focuses of “What a tumor holds in store.”
The Boston Globe on Friday evening reported the Governor Deval Patrick was scheduled to sign a new state budget that would loosen a ban on gifts from drug and medical device companies to doctors. According to the Globe, “The proposed measure scales back restrictions imposed in 2008, and would now allow companies to pay for ‘modest’ meals and refreshments for doctors as part of informational sessions about their products.”
The ECFMG has announced the launch of the ECFMG Certificate Holders Office (ECHO), a new program that provides support and service to ECFMG-certified physicians, and physicians about to be certified, as they plan their careers. ECHO expands on the resources offered by ECFMG’s former Acculturation Program.
The Los Angeles Times this weekend reported that the “Department of Homeland Security’s BioWatch air samplers, meant to detect a terrorist biological attack, have been plagued by false alarms and other failures.” An investigation by the paper found, “…BioWatch air samplers have been installed inconspicuously at street level and atop buildings in cities across the country — ready, in theory, to detect pathogens that cause anthrax, tularemia, smallpox, plague and other deadly diseases. But the system has not lived up to its billing. It has repeatedly cried wolf, producing dozens of false alarms in Los Angeles, Detroit, St. Louis, Phoenix, San Diego, the San Francisco Bay Area and elsewhere, a Los Angeles Times investigation found. Worse, BioWatch cannot be counted on to detect a real attack, according to confidential government test results and computer modeling.”
Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., was named Provost and Chief Academic Officer at Howard University, effective June 18, 2012. He has been serving as Interim Deputy Provost for Health Sciences and Director of the Howard University Cancer Center.
Dr. Philip Rubin has been named Principal Assistant for Science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), taking over the duties of Dr. Carl Wieman, who resigned as Associate Director for Science on June 2. Dr. Rubin has most recently been Assistant Director for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Science at OSTP. He is on leave as the Chief Executive Officer at Haskins Laboratories, which focuses on the science of the spoken and written word. It is affiliated with Yale University and the University of Connecticut.
Weill Cornell Medical College has appointed Dr. Michael G. Stewart to the new role of vice dean for the Medical College. He will work directly with Dean Laurie Glimcher to enhance Weill Cornell’s academic and clinical missions. He will also lead strategic planning initiatives and be the liaison with Weill Cornell’s academic partners and affiliates, including Weill Cornell Medical College–Qatar. Dr. Stewart will also continue to serve on the leadership team at Weill Cornell as the E. Darracott Vaughan Jr., M.D. Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and professor and chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery and Otolaryngologist-in-Chief at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, positions he has held since 2005.
Also at Weill Cornell Medical College, Dr. John P. Leonard has been named the new associate dean for clinical research. Dr. Leonard will lead strategic planning and implementation of all clinical research initiatives and activities, including the oversight of the Institutional Review Board, Conflicts and Compliance Programs and other clinical research resources. In addition, he will oversee Weill Cornell’s new venture to create a joint clinical trials office between the Medical College and its long-time affiliate NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Leonard will continue to serve as the Richard T. Silver Distinguished Professor of Hematology and Medical Oncology, vice chairman for clinical research in the Department of Medicine and associate director for clinical research at the Weill Cornell Cancer Center.
This weekend’s Wall Street Journal reported, “A primary goal of the 2010 health-care overhaul that the Supreme Court upheld last week is to slow the growth of costs. Even so, the law does little to address a simple fact: A sliver of the sickest patients account for the majority of U.S. health-care spending. In 2009, the top 10% of Medicare beneficiaries who received hospital care accounted for 64% of the program’s hospital spending, the Journal’s analysis found.” The article discussed issues related to such patients and the costs of their care. A separate article discussed CMS’s effort to address the cost issue.
The Miami Herald on Monday featured an article reporting, “Florida International University’s medical school — which has touted itself as an ally to the medically-underserved — is being criticized for not yet accepting Medicaid at its recently-opened physicians’ office.” The article reported, “The university’s on-campus Faculty Group Practice, comprising a handful of full-time FIU faculty physicians, does not accept Medicaid patients, and does not expect to do so for about six months.”
Sunday’s Baltimore Sun reported on hospitals “that now allow pet visits as a means of improving patients’ moods and possibly their health.”
Dr. Hal B. Jenson, founding dean of the Western Michigan University School of Medicine, has appointed Dr. Charles Zeller, Jr., as the school’s assistant dean of clinical applications and Dr. William Fales as the assistant dean for continuing medical education. Both are fellows of the American College of Emergency Physicians. Dr, Jenson last week also announced that the future home of the school, located in downtown Kalamazoo, will be named the W.E. Upjohn Campus in honor of the founder of The Upjohn Co.
Penn State Hershey Medical Center has named Rod Dykehouse as its new chief information officer. He previously served as CIO for both UCLA Medical Sciences and Froedtert Health System. Tom Abendroth, M.D., who had served as the Medical Center’s CIO since 2002, will become its first chief of medical informatics later this summer.
USA Today on Monday reminded us that “It’s been 10 years since researchers of the Women’s Health Initiative, a large randomized, controlled trial on hormone therapy sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, announced their first findings: that the health risks outweighed the benefits of estrogen plus progestin hormone therapy (HT) in postmenopausal women. Since then, additional research has advanced the understanding of the benefits and risks.” The newspaper interviewed Dr. JoAnn Manson, one of the study’s lead investigators, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and the president of the North American Menopause Society, on the study and subsequent findings.
The television series “NY Med” premieres on Tuesday on ABC-TV. It is by the same ABC News production team that developed “Hopkins” and “Boston Med”. This series focuses on New York-Presbyterian’s Columbia and Weill Cornell Medical Centers.
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