The current issue of AAMC News and Leadership Announcements is now available:
The AAMC is hosting a free webinar on Monday, December 3 at 3pm ET focused on Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Funded Research. Although originally targeted to the leaders and faculty of new and community-based medical schools and practice-based research networks, the webinar is open to all who have an interest in patient-centered outcomes research. Although free, pre-registration is required. The webinar is being recorded and also will be available for playback later this week. Participating in the webinar are Ann Bonham, Ph.D., AAMC Chief Scientific Officer; Joe Selby, M.D., M.P.H., Executive Director, PCORI; Martin Dueñas, Director of Contracts Management, PCORI; and three current PCORI-funded researchers. Questions can be submitted on-line during the webinar. Alternatively, questions can be directed to PCORI@AAMC.org before the webinar begins.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear an appeal in the case Association for Molecular Pathology v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The case challenges the validity of patents on two human genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2. The patents were initially granted to the University of Utah, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and Myriad Genetics in 1997 and 1998, The Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether isolated human genes are “patent-eligible” material.
The December issue of Academic Medicine is now being distributed to subscribers and is available on-line. Articles from the January issue also are available on-line in the “Published Ahead of Print” section of the journal’s web page. A featured article in the January issue, “Can Medical Students Afford to Choose Primary Care? An Economic Analysis of Physician Education Debt Repayment,” is authored by James A. Youngclaus, MS, of the AAMC staff; and Paul A. Koehler, PhD, of State Street Corporation; and Laurence J. Kotlikoff, PhD, and John M. Wiecha, MD, MPH, of Boston University.
AAMC STAT, the weekly news highlights email service (subscription details below), reported on Monday about new resources available to the community:
+High-quality, peer-reviewed, competency-based learning modules for interprofessional health education are now available through a new innovative online portal launched by the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC). Based on Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice, these materials are designed to provide tools to prepare tomorrow’s health professions work force for interprofessional, team-based, patient-centered, and community- and population-oriented care.
+A new Curriculum Inventory and Reports Web site provides an extensive collection of graphical interpretations of both aggregate and historical curriculum-related data from medical schools. The site contains more than 40 new and updated Curriculum Reports, based on data from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education Annual Questionnaire Part II, which are organized into five categories: Content and Competencies, Curriculum Design and Policies, Instruction and Assessment, Programs and Institutions, and Resources and Technology.
According to a report in Thursday’s issue of the New York Times, “The conversion to electronic medical records – a critical piece of the Obama administration’s plan for health care reform – is ‘vulnerable’ to fraud and abuse because of the failure of Medicare officials to develop appropriate safeguards, according to a sharply critical report…issued Thursday by federal investigators.” The article further reported, “Medicare ‘faces obstacles’ in overseeing the electronic records incentive program ‘that leave the program vulnerable to paying incentives to professionals and hospitals that do not fully meet the meaningful use requirements,’ the investigators concluded. The report was prepared by the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees Medicare.”
Dr. Leora Horwitz, an internist and assistant professor at the Yale School of Medicine, authored an essay in the New York Times on November 22nd that argued, “The advent of electronic medical records has been a boon to patient safety and physician efficiency in many ways. But it has also brought with it a slew of ‘timesaving’ tricks that have had some unintended consequences. These tricks make it so easy for doctors to document the results of standard exams and conversations with patients that it appears more and more of them are being documented without ever having happened in the first place.” She also contended, “In short, reading the electronic chart has become a game of looking for a small needle of new information in a haystack of falsely comprehensive documentation and outdated, copied text. Why do we doctors do this to ourselves? Largely, it turns out, for the same reason most people do most things: money.” Letters in response to Dr. Horwitz’s essay appear in Monday’s issue of the paper.
Dr. Sidney Gilman, the former chair of the Department of Neurology from 1977 to 2004, and a long-time member of the faculty at the University of Michigan School of Medicine, has retired. He was named in an SEC complaint on November 20th related to insider trading involving an Alzheimer’s Disease clinical trial on which he served as chair of the data safety monitoring board. According to press reports, Dr. “Gilman has signed a non-prosecution agreement with the SEC, meaning he will not be criminally charged because he has agreed to testify and cooperate with further investigations. He will pay $234,000 in settling the suit.”
The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology released a new report on Friday, “Transformation and Opportunity: The Future of the U.S. Research Enterprise.” The report concludes, “America’s longstanding role as a leader among nations is threatened by a convergence of global economic trends that is eroding U.S. scientific and technological dominance, demanding bold investments in domestic research and a new focus on the Nation’s great universities and national laboratories.” Among the PCAST’s specific recommendations, “Total R&D expenditures should grow moderately to 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) from the current level of about 2.9 percent of GDP, and the executive and legislative branches should work together to develop policy incentives aimed at enhancing the share of that investment made by private industry (currently about two-thirds of the total).”
The NIH on Wednesday posted a new Funding Opportunity Announcement focused on “Opportunities for Collaborative Research at the NIH Clinical Center.” Twelve NIH institutes are participating in this cooperative agreement (U1) program, along with two NIH director’s offices. The FOA details the specific research priorities of the program. Extramural investigators must have a collaborating investigator in the NIH intramural research program to be eligible.
The National Science Foundation last week released a report “showing that university spending on research and development in all fields continued to increase between fiscal years (FY) 2010 and 2011, reaching $65 billion in FY 2011. This figure represents a 6.3 percent increase from the previous year and includes $4.2 billion in expenditures associated with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The majority of university R&D was concentrated in the life sciences, which grew 6.6 percent to $37.2 billion.” The report features a separate table on the ten institutions reporting the largest FY 2011 medical school R&D expenditures.
Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine at Vanderbilt University, wrote an op-ed essay in Sunday’s issue of The Tennessean. He discussed the fiscal cliff and sequestration and the potentially devastating cuts that would negatively impact medical schools and the patients they serve.
Dilip Jeste, MD, president of the American Psychiatric Association, has announced that the APA Board of Trustees has approved DSM-5, the first revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders since 1994. DSM-5 will be formally published in May. While any revision of the DSM is inherently controversial, media coverage on the final approval has focused on the decision to reclassify Asperger’s Disorder under the broader term “autism spectrum disorder.”
An article in Saturday’s New York Times discussed the implications of consolidation in the health care sector. The article reported, “An array of new economic realities, from reduced Medicare reimbursements to higher technology costs, is driving consolidation in health care and transforming the practice of medicine in Boise and other communities large and small. In one manifestation of the trend, hospitals, private equity firms and even health insurance companies are acquiring physician practices at a rapid rate. Today, about 39 percent of doctors nationwide are independent, down from 57 percent in 2000, according to estimates by Accenture, a consulting firm.”
The Cleveland Plain Dealer on Thursday featured an article on the investments that the Cleveland Clinic has made in its employees and systems to promote a culture of providing “world class care.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week unveiled the “PEPFAR Blueprint: Creating an AIDS-free Generation.” The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) document “provides a roadmap for how the U.S. government will work to help achieve an AIDS-free generation.”
The San Francisco Chronicle reported, “Children’s Hospital Oakland and UC San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital moved a step closer to an affiliation this week and said they hope for a final agreement by next summer. The two hospitals signed a letter of intent to seek ‘possible joint operations,’ leaders of both organizations said in a notice to employees.” The article noted, “Children’s Hospital Oakland had previously discussed partnering with Stanford and Sutter Health but did not reach an agreement.”
A Business Week article discussed the slow pace of medical research and the frustration of patient and their advocates. The article discussed how some patients are trying to speed up the pace of discovery and translation into clinical treatments.
In a posting on Wednesday, the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) reported, “As previously announced, changes to the USMLE Step 3 examination are scheduled to take place no earlier than 2014. The redesigned examination will include assessment of ‘a comprehensive knowledge of both foundational science and clinical medicine,’ as well as ‘a demonstration of evidence-based medicine and quantitative reasoning skills important to patient care and to life-long learning.’ Over the next few years, Step 3 examinees will see a gradual increase in test items that assess knowledge of foundational science.” The USMLE provided an example of how foundational science might be assessed in Step 3.
The Economist reported on ‘The dream of the medical tricorder.” The article noted that “the hand-held diagnostic devices seen on ‘Star Trek’ are inspiring a host of medical add-ons for smartphones.”
The University of Florida on Friday officially opened its new $53 million Research and Academic Center at Lake Nona in Orlando. The Lake Nona complex already includes the Sanford-Burnham Research Institute, the University of Central Florida College of Medicine, the Burnett Biomedical Sciences Building, and Nemours Children’s Hospital. The Orlando Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center also will be located at Lake Nona, but its opening is behind schedule due to construction delays. Also in Orlando, the construction of a $55 million BioResearch Center near Florida Hospital’s downtown campus was announced on Thursday. It is expected to have mostly corporate occupants.
The Detroit News on Monday profiled Detroit Medical Center, in light of the pending departure of CEO Mike Duggan at the end of the year, According to the article, the eight-hospital system and the region’s fourth largest health system “has made a profit for eight straight years since Duggan took the helm in 2004” but “still faces challenges as it makes the leadership transition.” DMC is owned by Vanguard Health Services, Inc.
Northeastern University last week announced the results of a national survey on public attitudes toward higher education. According to the University, “Although a majority of Americans believe higher education remains critical to the nation’s competitiveness and the best way for individuals to achieve the American Dream, 83 percent say that higher education must innovate for the United States to maintain its global leadership.” The survey results show that there are generational splits on the value of educational attainment. Meanwhile, an article in new issue of The Economist asserts that “American universities represent declining value for money to their students.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this week, “During 1961-2011, birth rates decreased for all women aged 15-44 years. During 2007-2011, birth rates decreased for all women aged <35 years, with rates for women aged 20-24 years (85.3 per 1,000 population) and those aged 15-19 years (31.3) reaching historic lows. The birth rate for women aged 25-29 years decreased 9% (to 107.2), and the rate for women aged 30-34 years decreased 6% (to 96.5). The birth rate for women aged 35-39 years was unchanged (47.2), and the rate for women aged 40-44 years increased 10% (to 10.3).”
Sandra L. Fenwick has been named the CEO of Boston Children’s Hospital. She will succeed Dr. James Mandell on October 1. Dr. Mandell is retiring after 12 years in the position. Ms. Fenwick is currently the hospital’s president and chief operating officer.
Dr. John Brennan has withdrawn as CEO- and president-designate of MetroHealth Medical Center. The appointment was announced just two weeks ago. Dr. Brennan will remain president and CEO of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, part of the Barnabas Health System. Current MetroHealth CEO Mark Moran announced his departure in February. He has continued to serve during the search.
Nitin Karandikar, M.D., Ph.D., has been named the new head of the Department of Pathology at the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine. Dr. Karandikar will also hold the Dr. Richard G. Lynch Chair in Experimental Pathology. He will join UI from the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, where he currently is the Vernie A. Stembridge, M.D., Distinguished Chair in Pathology, professor and vice chair of pathology, and professor of neurology and immunology. He will succeed Barry DeYoung, M.D., who has served as interim department head since January 2012.
Dartmouth has elected Philip J. Hanlon as its 18th president. President-Elect Hanlon currently serves as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Michigan, where he is also the Donald J. Lewis Professor of Mathematics. He succeeds Dr. Jim Yong Kim who is now president of the World Bank. Dr. Carol L. Folt, the Dartmouth Professor of Biological Sciences, will continue to serve as interim president until Dr. Hanlon arrives.
Bryan Vartabedian, MD, was interviewed recently by a Stanford University publication. He discussed physician blogging.
Rogerio C. Lilenbaum, MD, has been named Chief Medical Officer of the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven. Dr. Lilenbaum is currently Chairman of the Cancer Institute at the Cleveland Clinic in Florida and will begin his tenure at Smilow on January 1, 2013. Dr. Lilenbaum is a practicing medical oncologist and will also care for patients through the Thoracic Oncology Program.
H. Lee Sweeney, Ph.D., the William Maul Measey Professor at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, has been named the inaugural director of Penn’s Center for Orphan Disease Research and Therapy. Dr. Sweeney will continue to serve as chair of the Department of Physiology until June 2013, a position he has held since 1999. He has also directed the Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Center at Penn since 2005.
The New York Genome Center (NYGC) on Thursday announced the appointment of Robert B. Darnell, M.D., Ph.D., as its President & Scientific Director. Nancy J. Kelley, J.D., M.P.P., Founding Executive Director, takes on the additional title of Chief Operating Officer. Dr. Darnell will remain the Heilbrunn Professor of Cancer Biology at the Rockefeller University and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Founded in August 2010, the New York Genome Center (NYGC) is an independent, non-profit organization – “leveraging the collaborative resources of leading academic medical centers, research universities, and commercial organizations.” NYGC’s Institutional Founding Members include Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Columbia University, Cornell University/Weill Cornell Medical College, the Jackson Laboratory, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Mount Sinai Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, New York University/NYU School of Medicine, North Shore-LIJ Health System, the Rockefeller University, and Stony Brook University.
The Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute has appointed Professor Juleen R. Zierath as Chairman of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine. She succeeds Professor Urban Lendahl, who concluded his 6 year term on the Nobel Committee. Professor Zierath, who was born in Milwaukee and holds both Swedish and American citizenship, is the first woman to chair the panel.
An article in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine reported on the “Immortal Jellyfish,” aka Turritopsis dohrnii or the “Benjamin Button jellyfish.” The article highlighted a Japanese scientist who studies the obscure species that can transform itself back to a polyp.
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+AAMCAction, an iPhone, iPad and Android app featuring AAMC news and advocacy resources
+AAMC STAT (Short, Topical and Timely), a weekly news email highlights news related to academic medicine
+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
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+Wing of Zock, a blog about innovation and change in medical schools and teaching hospitals
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+AM Express, the journal Academic Medicine’s free monthly issue announcement service
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