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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday morning announced that it would not hear an appeal of a lower court ruling upholding the federal funding of human Embryonic Stem Cell Research (hESC). This ends the case. The plaintiffs, represented by an anti-abortion legal group, contended that the NIH Stem Cell Guidelines violated the so-called Dickey-Wicker provision contained in the annual NIH appropriations bill that bans federal funding of embryo research. They also contended that the Administrative Procedures Act was violated during when the NIH Guidelines were issued. A panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the plaintiff’s claims in August, as did a lower court in 2011.
AAMC President and CEO Dr. Darrell Kirch issued a statement on Monday concerning the Supreme Court’s stem cell decision: “”The AAMC applauds the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling not to review lower court decisions allowing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fund human Embryonic Stem Cell (hESC) research. This is good news for patients. Research using hESCs conducted under rigorous ethical standards continues to offer great promise in the search for cures and treatments for a variety of intractable diseases. With the legislative, regulatory, and legal barriers cleared, we hope the promise of hESC research can now be realized. We congratulate and thank the U.S. Department of Justice and the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, of which AAMC is a founding member, for their persuasive and successful legal defense of the Administration’s hESC policy and the NIH Stem Cell Guidelines.”
Leaders of the three Washington, DC medical schools authored a commentary in Monday’s Capital Business section of the Washington Post that discussed the long-term harm that could result from cuts in medical research funding due to the budget crisis. The essay was written by Dr. Howard J. Federoff of Georgetown, Dr. Jeffrey S. Akman of George Washington, and Dr. Mark S. Johnson of Howard University.
An article in Mondaqy’s issue of Politico, a newspaper popular on Capitol Hill, reported on the active engagement of local hospital leaders and faculty in the effort to avoid even deeper cuts in reimbursement as part of the ‘fiscal cliff’ legislation.
The University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences and UPMC have announced the creation of a new Institute for Personalized Medicine that “will apply new knowledge in genetics, genomics and other disciplines to advance evidence-based medicine.” The new Institute will be led by Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D., associate senior vice chancellor for science strategy and planning, Pitt Schools of the Health Sciences, and professor of computational and systems biology, Pitt School of Medicine. Dr. Berg joined Pitt in August 2011 after eight years of service as director of the NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS).
Canada’s National Post on Sunday reported, “Medical schools across Canada are training far too many doctors for some pediatric specialities — but failing to produce enough in other key areas of child health care, concludes a new study that starkly illustrates the surprising disconnect between physician education and real-world demands. The findings are symptomatic of an ‘astonishing’ problem that has left many freshly minted doctors unemployed, even as patients continue to face long wait lists in some areas, says an official with the national body that oversees specialty accreditation. The authors of the new study, including heads of university pediatric departments, compared the number of medical graduates training in various pediatric sub-specialties with the projected demand in those areas. There was a close match in just one of 16 sub-specialites…While cautioning that the results were based on projections of demand and are not definitive, the researchers call it the first attempt to gauge how well pediatric training programs respond to what the system needs.”
Reuters on Monday reported, “Pediatricians-in-training are more likely to plan to go into primary care – rather than a specialty field – if they have lots of debt from college and medical school, according to a new study. Researchers also found the average pediatric resident’s debt increased 34 percent between 2006 and 2010. That suggests financial considerations may keep young doctors out of medical specialties, they said, especially those fields that aren’t known for paying big bucks but still require extra training.”
The “call for proposals” deadline for the AAMC Group on Diversity and Inclusion’s annual professional development meeting is January 18th. The meeting will be held May 16-19, 2013 in Toronto.
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