The current issue of AAMC News and Leadership Announcements is now available:
G. Richard Smith, M.D., has been named dean of the College of Medicine and vice chancellor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), effective May 1. Dr. Smith, a professor and holder of the Marie Wilson Howells Chair, is currently director of the UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute and chair of the Department of Psychiatry in the UAMS College of Medicine. He succeeds Debra H. Fiser, M.D., who recently announced she would step down to return full time to the Department of Pediatrics, where she earlier served as professor and chair.
Health Affairs announced on Friday that founding editor John Iglehart will return to lead the publication. Mr. Iglehart led Health Affairs for its first 25 years until retiring in 2007. He will also help lead a nationwide search for a new Vice President and Editor-in-Chief for the journal. Susan Dentzer, who had been Vice President and Editor-in-Chief, is reportedly joining the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Washington office as a consultant.
On Monday, April 15, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics. The case concerns whether isolated human genes can be patented. Saturday’s New York Times reported, “But there is another issue, often overlooked, that might make the patent question beside the point. No matter which way the patent decision goes, the company, Myriad Genetics, will still own the largest database that tells patients what various mutations mean.” The article further reported, “Some genetics researchers are furious and have now figured out a way to get the data anyway… they started a grass-roots project, Sharing Clinical Reports, and are asking cancer clinics and doctors to provide them with all the Myriad data they have from patients who have been tested.”
Sunday’s Washington Post reported, “Doctor-owned hospitals are earning many of the largest bonuses from the federal health law’s new quality programs, even as the law halts their growth. The hospitals, many of which specialize in heart or orthopedic surgeries, have long drawn the ire of federal lawmakers and competitors. They say physicians often direct the best-insured and more lucrative cases to their own facilities, while leaving the most severely ill patients to others.”
A new web posting from Dr. Sally Rockey, NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research, discussed on-going effort to provide better biomedical research workforce data to policy makers, graduate programs, and prospective students.
The New York Times on Sunday reported, “Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston have made functioning rat kidneys in the laboratory, a bioengineering achievement that may one day lead to the ability to create replacement organs for people with kidney disease.” A paper describing the research was posted on Sunday by Nature Medicine.
Uwe E. Reinhardt, an economics professor at Princeton, posted an essay on the New York Times web site on Friday critical of non-profit hospitals for making their IRS-990 forms too difficult for the public to access.
The Louisville Courier Journal reported on Sunday on the efforts of University Hospital to reduce readmissions by “super-utilizers.” The article highlighted the case of a patient who was treated in the emergency room 337 times in less than two years.
Erik Paulson, M.D., will return to the Duke University School of Medicine as chairman of the Department of Radiology, after serving as professor and chairman of the Department of Diagnostic Radiology at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Paulson was educated and trained at Duke, and spent 20 years as a faculty member. Before joining MD Anderson in 2012, he was named Duke’s division chief of abdominal imaging in 2001 and vice chairman of the Department of Radiology in 2009.
Ethan Dmitrovsky, M.D., an oncologist, has been named provost and executive vice president of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Dmitrovsky is currently professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. Dr. Thomas Buchholz has been serving as interim provost at MD Anderson.
James Chen-tson Fang, M.D., has been named chief of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine and director of the cardiovascular service line at University of Utah Health Care. He most recently was at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, where he was a professor of medicine and associate chief of clinical affairs for cardiovascular medicine.
Dr. Eric Holland has been recruited to University of Washington Medicine and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Dr. Holland is currently at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. At UW Medicine, Dr Holland will be a professor of neurological surgery, hold the Chap and Eve Alvord and Elias Alvord Chair in Neuro-oncology, and direct the Nancy and Buster Alvord Brain Tumor Center. At Hutchinson, he will be senior vice president and director of the Human Biology Division, an interdisciplinary program.
Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and House Appropriations Committee on Friday said they have “launched an examination into reports that the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Office of Communications and Education (OCE) spent about $45 million in FY2012, nearly double the entire amount the Food and Drug Administration spent on communications.” In a letter to NIH Director Francis Collins, the legislators asked NIH to provide more information on the amount of funds used by NIH and its Institutes and Centers for communications or public relations purposes.
Public Responsibility in Medicine & Research (PRIM&R) has announced several new webinars. They also have issued a “Call for Webinar Proposals.” PRIM&R has scheduled the following webinars: Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement (QA/QI): Study Review from Conception to Completion, on Thursday, April 25, 2013, 1:00-2:30 PM ET; Convergence of Biomedical and Social/Behavioral Research: Implications for IRBs and Investigators, on June 11, 2013, 1:00-2:30 PM ET; and Obstacles to Research with Pregnant Women, June 19, 2013, 1:00-2:30 PM ET. The deadline for webinar proposals is May 3rd.
The National Academic of Sciences has announced two public meetings focused on “Public Access to Federally-Supported Research and Development Data and Publications.” The meeting focusing on publications is scheduled for May 14-15. The meeting focusing on data is scheduled for May 16-17.
Dr. Atul Grover, AAMC Chief Public Policy Officer, posted a blog entry on the Wall Street Journal website on the physician shortage and Congressional inaction. The posting was in response to an article on state-by-state health-care spending and a question posed by the Journal, “Two years from now, what will doctors be saying about the Affordable Care Act?”
A “Sounding Board” essay posted by the New England Journal of Medicine discussed, “Made-to-Order Embryos for Sale – A Brave New World?” The essay by Glenn Cohen, JD, and Eli Adashi, MD, reported that “At present, the legal fabric relevant to the sale of embryos is limited. Since there is no federal law on the subject…the practice appears to be legal in all by two states (a third is more ambiguous).” The two states that have clear statutes on the matter are Louisiana and Florida; the ambiguous state is New York. The article noted that fewer than 1,000 embryo donations are recorded in the U.S. each year. The essay reviewed both the legal and ethical issues related to “made-to-order embryos.”
Hilary Koprowski, M.D., a distinguished virologist, died on Thursday at the age of 96. Dr. Koprowski was director of The Wistar Institute from 1957 to 1991, having earlier been at Lederle Laboratories. He joined Thomas Jefferson University after stepping down at Wistar. A tribute to Dr. Korowski on the Wistar web page notes that he “developed the first polio vaccine, based on oral administration of attenuated poliovirus, which proved successful in clinical trials…Under Dr. Koprowski’s leadership, Wistar scientists developed the rubella vaccine that has eradicated German measles from much of the world. During his tenure as director Wistar developed a new tissue culture-based rabies vaccine for humans that is more effective and less painful than the traditional Pasteur technique, and which is today’s standard of care for people who have been exposed to rabies. Wistar researchers also developed a rabies vaccine for animals. In the 1970s, Dr. Koprowski and his colleagues developed and patented the first technology to produce monoclonal antibodies.”
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