AAMC News and Leadership Announcements, 2012 Aug 20

Here are the highlights from the current issue:

NIH on Monday announced “a new Special Council Review (SCR) policy to help NIH effectively manage resources. The policy will require NIH Institute and Center (IC) Advisory Councils to perform additional review of grant and cooperative agreement applications from Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) [PD(s)/PI(s)] who receive $1.0 million per year in direct costs from active NIH awards.”  NIH stresses that this policy does not represent a cap on NIH funding. A number of awards are exempt from the policy. An earlier pilot of this special review was based on $1.5 million in total costs.

http://tinyurl.com/9rz9bo7 <http://echo4.bluehornet.com/ct/17373378:20095246033:m:1:1612442508:E72F77487609F022CA8644604D5D1254:r

An essay in Monday’s New York Times asserted, “Isn’t it time to learn which practices, in fact, improve our health, and which ones don’t? To find out, we need more medical research. But not just any kind of medical research. Medical research is dominated by research on the new: new tests, new treatments, new disorders and new fads. But above all, it’s about new markets. We don’t need to find more things to spend money on; we need to figure out what’s being done now that is not working. That’s why we have to start directing more money toward evaluating standard practices — all the tests and treatments that doctors are already providing. ” The essay by Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, concludes, “A call for more medical research might sound like pablum. Worse, coming from a medical researcher, it might sound like self-interest (cut me some slack, that’s another one of our standard practices). But I don’t need the money. The system does. Or if you prefer, we can continue to argue about who pays for what — without knowing what’s worth paying for.”

http://tinyurl.com/9reqp8s <http://echo4.bluehornet.com/ct/17373383:20095246033:m:1:1612442508:E72F77487609F022CA8644604D5D1254:r>

An op-ed in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times discussed “How curiosity begat Curiosity.” The essay by Dr. Ahmed Zewail, who shared the 1999 Nobel Prize in chemistry, celebrates curiosity-driven research. He laments, “In much of academia today, however, curiosity-driven research is no longer looked on favorably. Research proposals must specifically address the work’s ‘broad relevance to society’ and provide ‘transformative solutions’ even before research begins. Professors are writing more proposals chasing less research money, which reduces the time available for creative thinking. And with universities facing rising costs generally, professors are more and more involved in commercial enterprises, which may not always push basic research forward. Even faculty tenure may be driven less by how good one is at science than how good one is at fundraising.” Dr. Zewail urges, “We must nurture creative scientists in an environment that encourages interactions and collaborations across different fields, and support research free from weighty bureaucracies… In sum, a renewed vision for investment in fundamental research is needed, especially in Washington, where further cuts across the board in science funding are being contemplated.”

http://tinyurl.com/97ps6ux <http://echo4.bluehornet.com/ct/17373384:20095246033:m:1:1612442508:E72F77487609F022CA8644604D5D1254:r>

The full list of announcements is below.

—–

NIH on Monday announced “a new Special Council Review (SCR) policy to help NIH effectively manage resources. The policy will require NIH Institute and Center (IC) Advisory Councils to perform additional review of grant and cooperative agreement applications from Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) [PD(s)/PI(s)] who receive $1.0 million per year in direct costs from active NIH awards.”  NIH stresses that this policy does not represent a cap on NIH funding. A number of awards are exempt from the policy. An earlier pilot of this special review was based on $1.5 million in total costs.

http://tinyurl.com/9rz9bo7 <http://echo4.bluehornet.com/ct/17373378:20095246033:m:1:1612442508:E72F77487609F022CA8644604D5D1254:r>

 

A new Health Policy Brief from the journal Health Affairs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation discusses the debate over the size and scope of federal subsidies to support residency training of the nation’s physicians.

http://www.healthaffairs.org/healthpolicybriefs/brief.php?brief_id=73 <http://echo4.bluehornet.com/ct/17373379:20095246033:m:1:1612442508:E72F77487609F022CA8644604D5D1254:r>

 

The three Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) institutions in Ohio — Case Western Reserve University, University of Cincinnati and The Ohio State University — and their partnering institutions have established a statewide collaborative agreement allowing a single organization’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) to assume IRB responsibilities on behalf of multiple institutions when conducting multicenter studies. The institutions report, “This collaborative effort will serve to accelerate research by streamlining human subject protection processes when participating institutions are partnering on research projects requiring IRB approvals. This is the first reciprocity agreement among multiple CTSA organizations and encompasses eight legally separate institutions in Ohio.”

http://tinyurl.com/d28p2l2 <http://echo4.bluehornet.com/ct/17373380:20095246033:m:1:1612442508:E72F77487609F022CA8644604D5D1254:r>

 

Several industry groups last Tuesday wrote the acting administration of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) urging the publication of final rules implementing the Physician Payments Sunshine Act provisions of the Affordable Care Act. CMS earlier announced that it would not require data collection before January 1, 2013, but final regulations have not yet been submitted to OMB for review.

http://tinyurl.com/bqgpblr <http://echo4.bluehornet.com/ct/17373381:20095246033:m:1:1612442508:E72F77487609F022CA8644604D5D1254:r>

 

There is still time to submit proposals for the AAMC’s second Readiness for Reform Innovation Challenge, which recognizes transformational care delivery programs that integrate innovations in research and education. The deadline to submit a proposal is Sept. 7, and submissions are sought in four topic areas around care delivery redesign and innovations in training. Three institutional winners will receive $5,000 each and be recognized at the 2012 AAMC Annual Meeting.

http://www.aamc.org/initiatives/r4r/challenge/ <http://echo4.bluehornet.com/ct/17373382:20095246033:m:1:1612442508:E72F77487609F022CA8644604D5D1254:r>

 

An essay in Monday’s New York Times asserted, “Isn’t it time to learn which practices, in fact, improve our health, and which ones don’t? To find out, we need more medical research. But not just any kind of medical research. Medical research is dominated by research on the new: new tests, new treatments, new disorders and new fads. But above all, it’s about new markets. We don’t need to find more things to spend money on; we need to figure out what’s being done now that is not working. That’s why we have to start directing more money toward evaluating standard practices — all the tests and treatments that doctors are already providing. ” The essay by Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, concludes, “A call for more medical research might sound like pablum. Worse, coming from a medical researcher, it might sound like self-interest (cut me some slack, that’s another one of our standard practices). But I don’t need the money. The system does. Or if you prefer, we can continue to argue about who pays for what — without knowing what’s worth paying for.”

http://tinyurl.com/9reqp8s <http://echo4.bluehornet.com/ct/17373383:20095246033:m:1:1612442508:E72F77487609F022CA8644604D5D1254:r>

 

An op-ed in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times discussed “How curiosity begat Curiosity.” The essay by Dr. Ahmed Zewail, who shared the 1999 Nobel Prize in chemistry, celebrates curiosity-driven research. He laments, “In much of academia today, however, curiosity-driven research is no longer looked on favorably. Research proposals must specifically address the work’s ‘broad relevance to society’ and provide ‘transformative solutions’ even before research begins. Professors are writing more proposals chasing less research money, which reduces the time available for creative thinking. And with universities facing rising costs generally, professors are more and more involved in commercial enterprises, which may not always push basic research forward. Even faculty tenure may be driven less by how good one is at science than how good one is at fundraising.” Dr. Zewail urges, “We must nurture creative scientists in an environment that encourages interactions and collaborations across different fields, and support research free from weighty bureaucracies… In sum, a renewed vision for investment in fundamental research is needed, especially in Washington, where further cuts across the board in science funding are being contemplated.”

http://tinyurl.com/97ps6ux <http://echo4.bluehornet.com/ct/17373384:20095246033:m:1:1612442508:E72F77487609F022CA8644604D5D1254:r>

 

The Scientific Education and Professional Development Program Office (SEPDPO) within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) funds to support enhanced teaching of concepts of population health and provide practical, hands-on experience at the community level for public health, medical, and nursing students. The new cooperative agreement drives improvement of health outcomes by strengthening academia’s linkages to public health practice through: improved integration of public health concepts into health profession education; increased hands-on experience for students working with communities and public health partners; an expanded fellowship model that opens the door for field placements in health agencies and communities; fostering inter-professional collaboration and learning in health professional education; and, providing options for other workforce improvement projects. The cooperative agreement is for a period of five years which started on August 15, 2012.

 

With funding provided by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) will be awarding funding to 16 interprofessional teams to accelerate educational content refinement and submission to MedEdPORTAL for peer review. Once accepted, these open-access instructional modules will represent the beginning of a national clearinghouse of competency-linked learning resources for interprofessional education and models of team-based or collaborative care. After a national search, Sonia J. Crandall, Ph.D., M.S., has been named associate editor for the IPEC Collection. Dr. Crandall is a tenured professor in the departments of physician assistant studies and family and community medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine. The IPEC is a new national organization that is focused on better integrating and coordinating the education of nurses, physicians, dentists, pharmacists, public health professionals, and other members of the patient health care team to provide more collaborative and patient-centered care.

http://www.mededportal.org/ipe <http://echo4.bluehornet.com/ct/17373385:20095246033:m:1:1612442508:E72F77487609F022CA8644604D5D1254:r>

 

The cover story of the new issue of The Economist is “Microbes maketh the man.” In a related editorial concerning the microbiome, the magazine states, “Political revolutionaries turn the world upside down. Scientific ones more often turn it inside out. And that, almost literally, is happening to the idea of what, biologically speaking, a human being is. The traditional view is that a human body is a collection of 10 trillion cells which are themselves the products of 23,000 genes. If the revolutionaries are correct, these numbers radically underestimate the truth. For in the nooks and crannies of every human being, and especially in his or her guts, dwells the microbiome: 100 trillion bacteria of several hundred species bearing 3m non-human genes. The biological Robespierres believe these should count, too; that humans are not single organisms, but superorganisms made up of lots of smaller organisms working together.”

http://www.economist.com/node/21560523 <http://echo4.bluehornet.com/ct/17373386:20095246033:m:1:1612442508:E72F77487609F022CA8644604D5D1254:r>

http://www.economist.com/node/21560559 <http://echo4.bluehornet.com/ct/17373387:20095246033:m:1:1612442508:E72F77487609F022CA8644604D5D1254:r>

 

The new issue of The Economist also features a review of the U.S. Catholic Church’s finances and highlights its important role in health care. According to The Economist’s review, there are now over 630 Catholic hospitals, (11 percent of the national total) in addition to other smaller health facilities. The Economist estimates that the church spent about $170 billion in the U.S. in 2010, with 57 percent ($98.6 billion) by its health-care networks. Overall, the review is critical of the church’s financial management and business practices, but is not critical of its health care operations.

http://www.economist.com/node/21560536 <http://echo4.bluehornet.com/ct/17373388:20095246033:m:1:1612442508:E72F77487609F022CA8644604D5D1254:r>

 

A new report from the National Research Council offers a roadmap for glycoscience research. According to the NRC, “A focus on the field of glycoscience — which explores the structures and functions of complex carbohydrates called glycans that are one of the four fundamental molecules of living systems — could lead to advances in medicine, biofuels, and materials science… Despite their potential, glycans remain less studied than other biological molecules, such as DNA and proteins, and research gaps remain in areas such as the synthesis of glycans and analytical techniques to determine their structure and function. The report offers a strategy for transforming glycoscience from a field dominated by specialists to a widely studied and integrated discipline.”

http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13446 <http://echo4.bluehornet.com/ct/17373389:20095246033:m:1:1612442508:E72F77487609F022CA8644604D5D1254:r>

 

NIH on Friday issued a notice of changes to policies and procedures for FY 2013 awards to foreign institutions. NIH said that these changes to not affect the payment method or Federal Financial Report (FFR) requirements for domestic institutions with foreign components.

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-12-139.html <http://echo4.bluehornet.com/ct/17373390:20095246033:m:1:1612442508:E72F77487609F022CA8644604D5D1254:r>

 

ScienceInsider, the daily news service of Science/AAAS, featured a detailed posting on Friday of the public record of Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) on science and research issues.

http://tinyurl.com/cnsuhj8 <http://echo4.bluehornet.com/ct/17373391:20095246033:m:1:1612442508:E72F77487609F022CA8644604D5D1254:r>

 

In a commentary published on Monday, Boston Globe columnist James Carroll wrote, “The best way to assure that science is at the service of society, and not merely of its privileged and powerful segments, is to make sure that society itself is its main sponsor. That has been the genius of the American public funding system. The money paid in taxes by ordinary citizens has been the dominant resource for research and development, which undergirds the right ordinary citizens have to the benefits of R&D. Federal funding of science, that is, not only drives the scientific enterprise, but shores up the link between that enterprise and the culture.” He laments proposed federal research funding cuts and contends that “This radical abandonment of public support for science would not only gut the enterprise (leaving, say, disease to grow, the food supply to shrink). Equally disturbing would be the mortal weakening of the precious tie between the broad citizenry and the ingenious project of human self-surpassing. Up till now, science has belonged to everybody — chemistry flunkers included.”

http://tinyurl.com/98vbrd6 <http://echo4.bluehornet.com/ct/17373392:20095246033:m:1:1612442508:E72F77487609F022CA8644604D5D1254:r>

 

Dr. Carol Z. Garrison, president of the University of Alabama Birmingham, has announced that she will step down from office. She will continue serving until a successor or interim president is named. Dr. Garrison, an epidemiologist, has served as president for ten years. Earlier in her career she was provost at the University of Louisville and a long-time faculty member and department chair at the University of South Carolina.

http://tinyurl.com/c7ex9jc <http://echo4.bluehornet.com/ct/17373393:20095246033:m:1:1612442508:E72F77487609F022CA8644604D5D1254:r>

 

UW [University of Washington] Medicine has announced several new leadership appointments. Among the appointments, Dr. Eileen Bulger, UW professor of surgery, has been named Harborview Medical Center’s new chief of trauma. In addition, Kera Rabbitt, has been named Assistant Administrator of Finance at Harborview, where she will serve as a financial resource for the medical center’s executive team and as a primary point of integration between Harborview and the UW Medicine health system finance team. Previously, Ms. Rabbitt served as Director of Finance for the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) and the Knight Cancer Institute at OHSU, and as Manager of the Finance Division at University Medical Center in Tucson.

 

The Dallas Morning News on Saturday reported that Dr. Robert Rege has announced he is stepping down as chair of surgery at UT Southwestern. He will remain on the faculty.

http://tinyurl.com/9376pf8 <http://echo4.bluehornet.com/ct/17373394:20095246033:m:1:1612442508:E72F77487609F022CA8644604D5D1254:r>

http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/fis/faculty/35637/robert-rege.html <http://echo4.bluehornet.com/ct/17373395:20095246033:m:1:1612442508:E72F77487609F022CA8644604D5D1254:r>

 

BNA and The Hill reported on Friday that Gary Cohen has been named deputy administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) within CMS. Mr. Cohen had earlier been at HHS and left in April to join California’s health insurance exchange. He will succeed Steve Larsen, who left CCIIO in mid-July to be executive vice president of Optum, a health services and information technology company that is part of UnitedHealth Group Inc. Mike Hash, director of HHS’s Office of Health Reform, has been serving as interim director of CCIIO. Mr. Hash will remain as director of the HHS Office of Health Reform.

 

Dr. Nicole Stern is the new president of the Association of American Indian Physicians (AAIP). Dr. Stern, a member of the Mescalero Apache Tribe of New Mexico, serves as an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

http://tinyurl.com/9n9awg6 <http://echo4.bluehornet.com/ct/17373396:20095246033:m:1:1612442508:E72F77487609F022CA8644604D5D1254:r>

 

Tony Mazzaschi

AAMC

 

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.

 

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