AAMC News and Leadership Announcements, 2013 February 22

The February 14 issue of AAMC News and Leadership Announcements is now available:

NIH on Thursday issued a notice titled, “NIH Operation Plan in the Event of a Sequestration.” The notice reads, in its entirety: “The NIH continues to operate under a Continuing Resolution as described in NOT-OD-13-002, and therefore all non-competing continuation awards are currently being funded at a level below that indicated on the most recent Notice of Award (generally up to 90% of the previously committed level). Final levels of FY 2013 funding may be reduced by a sequestration. Despite the potential for reduced funding, the NIH remains committed to our mission to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce the burdens of illness and disability. Should a sequestration occur, NIH likely will reduce the final FY 2013 funding levels of non-competing continuation grants and expects to make fewer competing awards to allow the agency to meet the available budget allocation. Although each NIH Institute and Center (IC) will assess allocations within their portfolio to maximize the scientific impact, non-competing continuation awards that have already been made may be restored above the current level as described in NOT-OD-13-002 but likely will not reach the full FY 2013 commitment level described in the Notice of Award. Finally, in the event of a sequestration, NIH ICs will announce their respective approaches to meeting the new budget level. Inquiries: Questions regarding adjustments applied to individual grant awards may be directed to the Grants Management Specialist identified on the Notice of Award.”

An article posted on Thursday by Science discusses HHS’s “framework for funding decisions about research with HPAI H5N1 viruses.” The article is by Amy P. Patterson, Lawrence A. Tabak, Anthony S. Fauci, Francis S. Collins, and Sally Howard. Concurrently, two related policy documents were released. From the Office of Science and Technology Policy a proposed “Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern” and from HHS a “Framework for Guiding Funding Decisions about Research Proposals with the Potential for Generating Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 Viruses that are Transmissible among Mammals by Respiratory Droplets.”

NIH on Thursday issued a Request for Information (RFI) inviting comments and suggestions on the implementation of the recommendations of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (ACD) Working Group on the Biomedical Research Workforce. The comment deadline is April 22. Separately, NIH issued an RFI concerning training needs related to NIH’s Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative, which is seeking to address how best to manage and utilize the large amounts of biomedical data that new technologies can generate. The comment deadline for that RFI is March 15.

An article posted on The Atlantic magazine’s web site features seven charts purportedly describing the bleak employment outlook for newly minted Ph.D.s.

J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD, dean of the Perelman School of Medicine and executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System, authored an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer calling on Congress to preserve federal support for biomedical research in the face of sequestration. “Cutting biomedical research,” he wrote, “will cripple one of our most promising economic engines, slow the pace of scientific discovery by dismantling research teams, abandon a generation of young scientists, and, most importantly, cost lives.”

The University of Michigan Health System has named Carmen R. Green, M.D., as the Health System’s inaugural Associate Vice President and Associate Dean for Health Equity and Inclusion, effective Feb. 1. Dr. Green, a graduate of the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, is a tenured professor of anesthesiology at U of M, with joint appointments in the Medical School’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Department of Health Management and Policy in the School of Public Health. She is co-director for the Community Liaison Core and director of the Healthier Black Elders Center for the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research at the U-M Institute for Social Research.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force on Thursday announced the addition of three new members: Francisco A.R. García, M.D., M.P.H. (Director and Chief Medical Officer, Pima County (AZ) Department of Health); William R. Phillips, M.D., M.P.H. (Professor, Family Medicine and Health Services, University of Washington), and Michael P. Pignone, M.D., M.P.H. (Chief, Division of General Internal Medicine, UNC, Chapel Hill). Outgoing Task Force members are: Joy Melnikow, M.D., M.P.H.; Carolina Reyes, M.D., M.P.H.; and Timothy J. Wilt, M.D., M.P.H.

Michael E. Goldberg, M.D., professor of neuroscience and neurology at Columbia University and a past president of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), and Larry Swanson, Ph.D., professor of biological sciences at the University of Southern California and the current president of SfN, co-authored an op-ed column in the Boston Herald last week titled, “Animal extremists make monkey out of airlines.” The researchers concluded, “We know that the majority of the public supports research on animals as a means to help cure disease. We also know that the airlines operate in the public interest, and strive to be responsible corporate citizens. They should therefore understand the long-range impact of this decision and reverse it. The future of science, research and public health requires no less.”

The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania on Thursday announced the creation of the Institute for Biomedical Informatics (IBI). John Hogenesch, Ph.D., professor of Pharmacology, has been named interim director of the IBI. A national search will be launched this spring for the institute’s permanent leader. Three associate directors have also been named: John Holmes Ph.D., associate professor of Medical Informatics in Epidemiology; Klaus Kaestner, Ph.D., professor of Genetics; and Curtis Langlotz M.D., Ph.D., professor of Radiology.

The Chicago Tribune reported this week that Dr. John Jay Shannon will serve as chief of clinical integration at the Cook County Health & Hospitals System in Chicago. His responsibilities include overseeing operations at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital. Dr. Shannon is the former chief medical officer of Parkland Hospital in Dallas.

In 2012, 57 grant recipients were tasked with attempting to answer one of 24 Provocative Questions generated by the National Cancer Institute and the cancer community’s researchers and patients. Applications for the second round of Provocative Questions grants are due this spring. Ed Harlow, Senior Advisor to the NCI Director, was recently interviewed about the Provocative Questions Project.

FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg has announced that Dr. Lawrence Deyton (known to many as “Bopper”) is stepping down as director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products to assume a position at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences as Clinical Professor of Medicine and Health Policy, effective March 4, 2013. Dr. Hamburg also announced that Mitchell Zeller, J.D., will assume the role of director of the Center for Tobacco Products on March 4, 2013. Earlier in his career, Mr. Zeller was the founding director of FDA’s Office of Tobacco Programs.

UnitedHealth announced this week a partnership with the Villages, the country’s largest retirement community, located in central Florida, to create a private Medicare plan that will exclusively serve its residents. The Washington Post reported this week, “The Villages will build eight primary-care centers throughout its community, ensuring that it can meet the 10-minute golf cart ride litmus test. Each will be staffed by eight doctors who will handle a panel of 1,250 patients. The doctors will all be paid by salary as employees of Villages Health, taking away some of the incentives for faster care that exist in a fee-for-service system.” Villages Health, which is affiliated with the the University of South Florida’s USFHealth, is headed by Dr. Elliot Sussman, former chair of the AAMC, and a professor of medicine at USF’s Morsani College of Medicine.

Rodrigo Vianna, M.D., has been named Director of Transplant Services and Chief of Liver and Gastrointestinal Transplant at the Miami Transplant Institute, a collaborative program between the Miller School of Medicine and Jackson Memorial Hospital. Dr. Vianna, who completed his training at the University of Miami at Jackson Memorial Hospital, has been on the faculty of Indiana University School of Medicine.

Dr. Janice M. Lage is the new chair of the Department of Pathology at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine. She began on February 1. Dr. Lage most recently served as professor and chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina, a position she held since 1999.
http://tinyurl.com/awnhjsq (page 35)

The Los Angeles Times on Thursday reported, “City of Hope, a leading cancer hospital and medical research center, has tapped one of its veteran leaders to take over as chief executive in January. Dr. Michael Friedman, 69, said he plans to retire as CEO at year’s end after 10 years at the helm. Robert Stone, 44, currently City of Hope’s president and an executive there since 1996, will take the top job in January.” Dr. Friedman held leadership positions at the FDA, NCI, and Pharmacia before joining City of Hope.

Robert Mecham, PhD, has been named interim head of the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He will succeed Helen Piwnica-Worms, PhD, who was named vice provost, science, at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center earlier this week.

Jerome I. Rotter, MD, a medical geneticist, is joining the faculty at Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed) to lead a new institute focused on improving the health of the diverse communities served by LA BioMed and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, David I. Meyer, PhD, LA BioMed president and CEO, announced this week. The new institute will be called the LA BioMed Institute for Translational Genomics and Population Sciences. Dr. Rotter most recently has been Director of Research and Co-Director of the Medical Genetics Institute, Director of the Division of Medical Genetics (Department of Medicine) and Director of the Common Diseases Genetics Program at Cedars-Sinai.

Tony Mazzaschi


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