AAMC News and Leadership Announcements, 2013 March 10

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

Dr. Rodney Ulane died suddenly on Thursday evening. He was the NIH Training Officer and Director of the Division of Scientific Programs in the Office of Extramural Programs of the NIH Office of Extramural Research. He earlier served as associate dean and director of MD/PhD programs at both the New York University School of Medicine and at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Texas Southwestern Graduate and Medical Schools in Dallas. While at UT, Southwestern and NYU, Dr. Ulane was a leader in the AAMC Graduate Research, Education, and Training (GREAT) Group and its MD-PhD Section. Our deepest sympathies to Dr. Ulane’s family and colleagues.

Stanford announced on Thursday that it will “increase its central support to pay 40 percent of the tuition for graduate students on research assistantships beginning in the 2014 fiscal year, up from 35 percent for the past several years.”  According to a University posting, “Currently, students funded by research assistantships receive a salary, plus tuition. Sixty-five percent of the tuition is paid by the source of funding paying the salary – typically a principal investigator’s research grant. The remaining 35 percent is paid by the university’s general funds. The increase in general funds support to 40 percent will reduce the pressure on principal investigators who are managing their research grants in a context of great uncertainty, given the across-the-board cuts mandated by sequestration.”

Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s CEO, Dr. Steven G. Gabbe, wrote a letter to the editor in the Columbus Dispatch. He discussed the physician shortage and the impact sequestration may have on GME. He wrote, “Sequestration could mean every teaching hospital in the nation, including those here in Franklin County, will have to shrink their residency programs to absorb these cuts. Residents provide valuable patient care — often to vulnerable patient populations — in teaching hospitals, emergency rooms and community clinics. Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center, for example, has more than 800 residents and fellows. Currently, Medicare and Medicaid partially fund these positions. We anticipate sequestration could cause a 25 percent funding decrease, or the equivalent of about 200 residency positions.”

Raynard S. Kington, M.D., Ph.D., president of Grinnell College and the former principal deputy director of the NIH, authored an important commentary posted by The Scientist this week. Dr. Kington’s essay is titled, “On Being an ‘African-American Scientist.'” He discussed subtle cases of the differential treatment of African-American researchers that must be stamped out if equal opportunities in science are to be achieved.

The six finalists to succeed Dr. D. Craig Brater as dean and VP for clinical affairs of the Indiana University School of Medicine have been identified and on-campus visits have been scheduled. Dr. Brater earlier announced he will retire in June after having served as dean since 2000.

The Tampa Bay Times on Saturday published an article concerning the relationship between Tampa General Hospital and the University of South Florida.

Sunday’s Atlanta Journal Constitution featured a Q&A with John Haupert, CEO of the Grady Health System. He discussed his background and the value of his mentors. He also discussed “clueless CEOs” and how he’s managing Grady’s financial issues.

The NIH last week posted three new Funding Opportunity Announcements responding to the recommendations from workforce and diversity working groups of the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director. The FOA’s are: the NIH Directors Biomedical Research Workforce Innovation Award: Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) (DP7); Planning Grants for the NIH Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Initiative (P20); and, Planning Grants for the NIH National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) (P20). All three initiatives are being funded by the NIH Common Fund.

The Charleston Post and Courier newspaper on Sunday profiled Dr. Etta Pisano, the Medical University of South Carolina’s vice president for medical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine. Dr. Pisano, a radiologist, is the first woman to hold the position at MUSC. The article highlighted the efforts of Dr. Pisano and her husband, ophthalmologist Dr. Jan Kylstraher, to balance their professional and family responsibilities.

The new issue of the AARP Bulletin contains a featured article on the primary care physician shortage and how it affects seniors.

Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) has announced the formation of a Center for Translational Transplant Medicine. The center brings to bear the expertise of a wide variety of laboratory scientists at GUMC — immunologists, cell biologists, biostatisticians and a host of others, to collaborate with physicians at the MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute (MGTI). The center’s co-directors are Thomas Fishbein, MD, executive director of the MGTI, and Michael Zasloff, MD, PhD, director of surgical immunology and scientific director at MGTI.

Science reported on Friday that recent testimony by the NSF Inspector General disclosed “The National Science Foundation (NSF) is investigating nearly 100 cases of suspected plagiarism drawn from a single year’s worth of proposals funded by the agency.”

Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services announced the first recipients of the State Innovation Models initiative. Twenty-five states will be working to design and implement improvements to their health care systems that are intended to bolster health care quality and decrease costs. The CMS Innovation Center will be hosting a conference call on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 from 3:00pm to 4:00pm ET to provide an overview of the Model Testing, Pre-Testing and Model Design awards as well as additional information on how providers can participate in the State Innovation Models initiative. No pre-registration is necessary. To join the call, dial 1-800-837-1935, Conference ID: 18153851.

PRIM&R is sponsoring a webinar titled “Online Research, Social Media, and the IRB: Assessing Ethics, Norms, and Risks,” on Tuesday, March 12, 1:00-2:30 PM ET. Registration closes on Monday, March 11. Please visit the PRIM&R website to register.

On Tuesday, April 9, PRIM&R is hosting a webinar titled “Overcoming Obstacles to Research with Pregnant Women.” This intermediate-level webinar will be of interest to anyone involved in the conduct and review of research with pregnant women, including IRB members, chairs, administrators, and staff, as well as researchers.

The cover story of Sunday’s New York Times Magazine focused on efforts to treat children who suffer from multiple severe food allergies with desensitization therapy.

An article in the new issue of The New Yorker considers the science of insomnia.

The School of Medicine and the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) will now share the faculty, resources and expertise of the Department of Neurobiology, which formerly was only in the School of Medicine.

The Fourth Annual International Science of Team Science (SciTS) Conference will be held June 24-27, 2013 at Northwestern University. Abstracts may be submitted as an Oral Presentation (Paper, Panel, or Lightning Round) or Poster Presentation. The abstract submission deadline is Friday, March 15, 2013.

The University of Vermont College of Medicine has appointed David Adams, M.D., as interim chair and physician leader of anesthesiology. He is an associate professor and vice chair for education and research for anesthesiology, and also serves as associate dean for graduate medical education at the College of Medicine and designated institutional official at Fletcher Allen. Dr. Adams succeeds Howard Schapiro, M.D., who was recently appointed interim president and CEO of the UVM Medical Group at Fletcher Allen and interim senior associate dean for clinical affairs at the College of Medicine.

The NBME has written a response, posted by the New England Journal of Medicine, to a perspective essay asserting that the Step 2 Clinical Skills exam is “a poor return on investment and [of] little appreciable value to the U.S. health care system — and should therefore be eliminated.”

Clarification: I mentioned on Wednesday a Boston Globe story that indicated the Massachusetts secretary for environmental affairs recently issued a certificate “indicating that an environmental impact report submitted by BU for the National Emerging Infectious Disease Laboratory is complete enough to comply with state law.” According to the Globe, “BU said it now would begin performing research in the lab on less dangerous ‘level 3’ germs.” A Boston University Official clarified that the facility was designed to house BSL-2, 3, and 4 research and researchers have been using the building for BSL-2 research for several months. This new approval will allow researchers to apply for permits to begin BSL-3 research. BSL-4 research will await the outcome of pending legal cases.

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.

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