AAMC News and Leadership Announcements, 2012 July 13

Here’s the July 13 list of news updates from the AAMC.  Among the highlighted stories:

  • The AAMC is piloting a new junior faculty development initiative — the K-Writers Coaching Group, a coaching program to support the writing process for the NIH Career Development Award.  This year’s Seminar will be held in Chicago from September 7 – 10th. Registration is open and additional information is available online.
  • AAALAC International’s Council on Accreditation has approved and posted three new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to address topics including: the use of non-pharmaceutical-grade compounds; AAALAC’s expectation regarding social housing and social experience; and how “should” vs. “must” recommendations in the recently revised Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals translate into the mandatory items for correction and suggestions for improvement.
  • The new issue of Stanford Magazine focuses on issues related to “Data Deluge: Mastering Medicine’s Tidal Wave.”
  • FASEB has released a new publication, “Conquering Pain and Infection with Drugs from Nature’s Medicine Cabinet.”

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Monday announced that as of July 1, 89 new Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) began serving 1.2 million people with Medicare in 40 states and Washington, D.C. ACOs are organizations formed by groups of doctors and other health care providers that have agreed to work together to coordinate care for people with Medicare. The 89 ACOs announced Monday bring the total number of organizations participating in Medicare shared savings initiatives to 154, including the 32 ACOs participating in the testing of the Pioneer ACO Model by CMS’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (Innovation Center) announced last December, and six Physician Group Practice Transition Demonstration organizations that started in January 2011. In all, as of July 1, more than 2.4 million beneficiaries are receiving care from providers participating in Medicare shared savings initiatives.

The AAMC has begun a search for the position of Senior Director, Clinical Effectiveness and Implementation Research. The incumbent will help lead Association efforts aimed at assessing the needs of member institutions and assisting them in expanding their capacity to engage in clinical effectiveness, quality improvement, care delivery and implementation research; to facilitate their research agendas that will help enhance the translation of research results into clinical practice; to inform changes in health care delivery systems and models; and to connect the academic research enterprise more synergistically to health care delivery systems and educational activities. The full job description and details on how to apply are available on-line.

The AAMC is piloting a new junior faculty development initiative — the K-Writers Coaching Group, a coaching program to support the writing process for the NIH Career Development Award, as a preconference component of the Minority Faculty Career Development Seminar. The Seminar includes a series of skill-building workshops in grant writing, tenure and promotion, networking and mentoring, research, and communications to support the career development of junior faculty (senior fellows, instructors, and assistant professors) in academic medicine. Please help spread the word and support a junior faculty member’s participation in this valuable Seminar. This year’s Seminar will be held in Chicago from September 7 – 10th. Registration is open and additional information is available on-line.

In a posting this week on the New York Times web site, Dr. Pauline Chen reports, “Elisabeth Askin and Nathan Moore, medical students from the Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis, have set out to help all of us understand. Motivated by their own anxiety about the future, they have written ‘The Health Care Handbook’ (self-published with their medical school), an astonishingly clear ‘user’s manual’ that explains our health care system and the policies that will change it. It’s the kind of book to share not only with your doctors and colleagues, but with your friends and Aunt Dorothy, too.” Dr. Chen reports, “With the future of health care wide open, ‘The Health Care Handbook’ is being published primarily in e-book form to allow for quick revisions (the newest edition came out within a week of the Supreme Court decision). A paperback edition is scheduled to come out at the end of the summer, and there are plans to offer video modules and other supplemental materials.”

Nature reported on Wednesday that “The major science funders in the United Kingdom are to introduce a set of principles on research integrity as a condition for receiving their grants.” The Concordat to Support Research Integrity “describes itself as an attempt to provide ‘a comprehensive national framework’ for research governance. The initiative is led by Universities UK, the umbrella body for British higher education institutions and is backed by the country’s research councils and higher education funding councils as well as the medical research charity the Wellcome Trust. At [Wednesday’s] launch of the concordat in London, all the grant-giving bodies, which distribute much of the research funding in the UK, confirmed that they would seek to incorporate its principles into their funding conditions.”

“Millions of baby boomers will likely face difficulties getting diagnoses and treatment for mental health conditions and substance abuse problems unless there is a major effort to significantly boost the number of health professionals and other service providers able to supply this care as the population ages,” says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. “The magnitude of the problem is so great that no single approach or isolated changes in a few federal agencies or programs will address it,” said the committee that wrote the report.

A study released on Wednesday by the Center for Studying Health System Change found that contrary to conventional wisdom “that Medicaid patients often use hospital emergency departments for routine care, the majority of ED visits by nonelderly Medicaid patients are for symptoms suggesting urgent or more serious medical problems.” Separately, on Thursday, the New England Journal of Medicine published a perspective essay concerning, “The Growing Role of Emergency Departments in Hospital Admissions.”

AAALAC International’s Council on Accreditation has approved and posted three new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to address topics including: the use of non-pharmaceutical-grade compounds; AAALAC’s expectation regarding social housing and social experience; and how “should” vs. “must” recommendations in the recently revised Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals translate into the mandatory items for correction and suggestions for improvement used by AAALAC International’s Council on Accreditation. These and other FAQs are now available online.

The new issue of Stanford Magazine focuses on issues related to “Data Deluge: Mastering Medicine’s Tidal Wave,” both related to research and health information in patient records. It is a provocative set of articles and features.

Johns Hopkins has announced the establishment of a Center for Population Health IT, or CPHIT. It said the Center “will draw on faculty skilled in public health, medicine, informatics, computer science, business and systems engineering and will focus on helping public health agencies and private healthcare organizations utilize e-health tools to increase the efficiency and equity of healthcare delivery.” Although based in the Bloomberg School of Public Health, it also will draw faculty from the School of Medicine and other academic units.

The inaugural $100,000 Taubman Prize for Excellence in Translational Medical Science has been awarded to Harry Dietz, M.D., of the Johns Hopkins University, the University of Michigan’s A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute announced this week. Dr. Dietz, a cardiologist and genetics researcher, “has made groundbreaking progress in the understanding of aortic aneurysm and related tissue disorders.” The Taubman Prize “was established to annually recognize the clinician-researcher who has done the most to transform laboratory discoveries into clinical applications for patients suffering from disease.” Nominations for next year’s award are currently being accepted.

The New York Times on Thursday reported on the high cost to insurers of physician dispensing of pharmaceutical products under state worker comp programs.

NIH on Thursday announced that Catherine Bushnell, Ph.D., a pain and neuroscience researcher, has been appointed scientific director of a new research program focusing on the role of the brain in perceiving, modifying, and managing pain. Based in the NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), “this collaborative effort will complement basic science and clinical research efforts of other ongoing intramural neuroscience, imaging, and mental and behavioral health research programs.” Dr. Bushnell joins NIH from McGill University, where she was the Harold Griffith Professor of Anesthesia and professor in dentistry and neurology.

Our colleagues at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) have released a new publication, “Conquering Pain and Infection with Drugs from Nature’s Medicine Cabinet,” the latest edition in their Breakthroughs in Bioscience series. The article describes the basic research foundations of the development of natural product-derived medicinal compounds that are used in the treatment of pain and infection.

Joel Kupersmith, MD, and Seth Eisen, MD, MSc, both at the Veterans Administration, have written a commentary in the new issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, titled “A New Approach to Health Services Research.” They argue that the January article “Overuse of Health Care Services in the United States: An Understudied Problem,” by Dr. Deborah Kornstein and colleagues, “not only demonstrates the need for more research on a critically important topic but also shows why a new approach to health services research (HSR) is needed.”

In the same issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, Donald M. Marcus, MD, and Arthur P. Grollman, MD, wrote a commentary on, “The Consequences of Ineffective Regulation of Dietary Supplements.” The authors discuss “the growing health problems caused by nonvitamin, nonmineral dietary supplements and the need to take action to protect the public.”

The House Ethics Committee announced on Monday that it had appointed a formal investigative panel to review allegations that Cong. Shelley Berkley (D-Nevada) used her office to help her husband’s medical practice.  The New York Times reported that the allegations involve Ms. Berkley “pushing an agenda advocated by the Renal Physicians Association, while her husband, Dr. Larry Lehrner, served as a national leader in the group. That included appealing to House colleagues to prevent cuts in Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors like her husband who perform dialysis. The investigation was started last year after an article in The New York Times examined the overlap between Ms. Berkley’s actions in Washington and her husband’s business affairs. The article noted that the contract between Dr. Lehrner’s medical practice and the kidney transplant center, University Medical Center, was expanded to a $738,000-a-year deal after the transplant center was saved.”

The program is now available for PRIM&R’s 2012 Advancing Ethical Research Conference: Guided by Principles in an Era of Change. This important meeting for those involved in the research mission will be held December 4-6 in San Diego, CA, with 11 pre-conference programs on December 3.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has implemented a new initiative, Specialty Care Access Network-Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (SCAN-ECHO), to increase access to specialty care services for Veterans in rural and medically under-served areas through the use of telemedicine.  According to the VA, SCAN-ECHO is modeled after an outreach program developed by the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center’s Project ECHO.  It enables specialty care teams in areas such as diabetes, pain management, and Hepatitis C to use videoconferencing equipment to connect with Veterans’ local primary care providers (PCPs) and Patient Aligned Care Teams.

Karen L. Furie, M.D., M.P.H., has been appointed chair of the department of neurology at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and chief of neurology at Rhode Island Hospital, The Miriam Hospital and Bradley Hospital, effective Aug. 6, 2012. She also has been named executive chief of neurology at each of the Alpert Medical School’s affiliated hospitals including Butler Hospital and the Providence VA Medical Center. Dr. Furie is currently associate neurologist and director of the stroke service at Massachusetts General Hospital. She also holds the roles of associate faculty at the Center for Human Genetic Research and associate professor in neurology at Harvard Medical School.

University of Utah pediatrician Carrie L. Byington, M.D., a highly regarded clinician, teacher, mentor, and researcher, has been appointed vice-dean for academic affairs and faculty development at the University of Utah School of Medicine, effective July 1, 2012. Dr. Byington, a professor of pediatrics, joined the medical school faculty in 1995.

Also at the University of Utah, Sunil Sharma, M.D., professor of internal medicine, has been appointed chief of the U of U’s Division of Oncology. Dr. Sharma has served as senior director of clinical research at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI), director of HCI’s Center for Investigational Therapeutics, and member of the Colon Cancer and Imaging, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics program at HCI.

Former Maine Congressman Peter Kyros died earlier this week, a day before he would have turned 87.  After his service in Congress, he served as an advocate in Washington for several associations and societies representing biomedical researchers and was instrumental in the creation of the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus.

Dr. David Kawatu has joined the faculty of the UC Davis School of Medicine as chief of the Section of Pediatric Gastroenterology in the Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Kawatu comes to UC Davis from Hasbro Children’s Hospital/Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he was associate director of pediatric gastroenterology since 2010 and held positions in pediatric gastroenterology since 2000. He also was the director of the pediatric gastroenterology fellowship training program at Brown University.

Our colleagues at ELAM report that Dr. Deborah Deas has been named Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education, overseeing education, diversity, admissions and student affairs, at Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine. She has been Senior Associate Dean for Strategic Diversity Initiatives at the Charleston institution.

Also at MUSC, Bruce Ovbiagele, MD, MSc, has been named Co-Chair of the Department of Neurosciences. He most recently was on the faculty of the University of California San Diego (UCSD) as Professor of Neurosciences and Director of the San Diego Veteran Affairs Medical Center Stroke Program.

Dr. Howard Ozer has been named director of the University of Illinois Cancer Center. He joined the UIC faculty in 2010 as the Eileen Lindsay Heidrick Professor in Oncology and chief of hematology/oncology. Dr. Ozer has served as interim director of the cancer center since January 2011, following the death of Dr. Gary Kruh.

CORRECTION (titles were reversed in my earlier posting): 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 for continuing medical education and Dr. William Fales as the assistant dean for clinical applications. 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.

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
+AAMC Second Opinion, news and perspectives from AAMC’s Chief Public Policy Officer
Subscribe by emailing: SecondOpinion@aamc.org
+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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