AAMC News and Leadership Announcements, 2013 April 24

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

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) on Tuesday issued two funding announcements for up to $68 million “to improve the nation’s capacity to efficiently conduct patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER). The two linked cooperative agreement funding announcements will support development of a National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network designed to unite millions of patients through a coordinated collaboration with researchers and healthcare delivery organizations.” The two announcements will support Clinical Data Research Networks (CDRNs) and Patient-Powered Research Networks (PPRNs). Required letters of intent (LOI) from applicants are due June 19 and applications are due September 27.
http://tinyurl.com/bvebtpm (news release)
http://tinyurl.com/7l7sqz3 (funding announcements)
http://tinyurl.com/chj4z27 (related ScienceTranslationalMedicine commentary)

Harvard Medical School announced on Tuesday “that it would wind down operations of the New England Primate Research Center (NEPRC) over the next 12 to 24 months rather than seek to renew a five-year federal grant to continue operating the Center, and indicated its leadership had begun to work with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on a transition plan.” NEPRC is one of eight regional primate centers. The center reportedly houses 1,700-1,800 monkeys.
http://tinyurl.com/cdexcza

The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved the nomination of Marilyn B. Tavenner to be Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. CMS has not had a confirmed director since 2006.
http://tinyurl.com/d2v9q7n

An Associated Press article distributed this week reviewed “the obscure process known formally as ‘medical repatriation,’ which allows hospitals to put patients on chartered international flights, often while they are still unconscious. Hospitals typically pay for the flights.” According to the article, “Hundreds of immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally have taken similar journeys through a little-known removal system run not by the federal government trying to enforce laws but by hospitals seeking to curb high costs. A recent report compiled by immigrant advocacy groups made a rare attempt to determine how many people are sent home, concluding that at least 600 immigrants were removed over a five-year period, though there were likely many more.”
http://tinyurl.com/buweqr3

The Sacramento Bee on Sunday reported that “Rawson-Neal, Nevada’s primary psychiatric hospital, has bused more than 1,500 mentally ill patients out of southern Nevada in the last five years, sending at least one person to every state in the continental United States. It was further reported, “The Bee interviewed mental health officials in counties across California that received high numbers of patients from Nevada, and none could recall Nevada contacting them to arrange for care. In addition, none of the 10 state mental health agencies contacted by The Bee said that placing a psychiatric patient on a bus without a chaperone would be permissible, and none recalled being contacted by Rawson-Neal.” An on-line interactive map shows where the hospital shipped patients by tracking its bus ticket purchases.
http://www.sacbee.com/leavinglasvegas/

The New York Times on Monday featured an article titled, “Cancer Centers Racing to Map Patients’ Genes.” The article reported that, “Major academic medical centers in New York and around the country are spending and recruiting heavily in what has become an arms race within the war on cancer. The investments are based on the belief that the medical establishment is moving toward the routine sequencing of every patient’s genome in the quest for ‘precision medicine,’ a course for prevention and treatment based on the special, even unique characteristics of the patient’s genes.” The article noted, “Even optimists warn that medicine is a long way from deriving useful information from routine sequencing, raising questions about the social worth of all this investment at a time of intense fiscal pressure on the health care system.”
http://tinyurl.com/bm9otvh

The Oregonian on Tuesday reported that the Oregon Health Sciences University and Intel are partnering to develop new supercomputing resources to support personalized genetic therapies in cancer treatment.
http://tinyurl.com/awpczht

Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) on Wednesday announced the launch of the Center for Innovation and Leadership in Education (CENTILE). According to the school, “CENTILE will amplify faculty’s efforts to create, maintain and grow educational programs across all sectors of GUMC through excellence, innovation and leadership in teaching…CENTILE will explore the development of new educational programs, provide administrative resources to support existing educational programs and monitor the impact of GUMC’s educational programs on students to ensure they are of the highest quality.” Aviad Haramati, PhD, a professor in the department of biochemistry and molecular & cellular biology, will serve as the Center’s inaugural director.
http://tinyurl.com/a87nrx4
http://gumc.georgetown.edu/news/stories/379593.html

A new Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of the nation’s health spending concluded “that the record slow growth rate of recent years stems largely from economic factors beyond the health system, with the economy explaining 77 percent of the slowdown, and more rapid growth expected in coming years if the economy strengthens as expected.”
http://tinyurl.com/d7dxs6c
http://tinyurl.com/bm4zveb

The Cleveland Plain Dealer on Monday reported that a state agency has provided funding to support the Ohio Clinical Trials Collaborative, which includes Case Western, the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, MetroHealth Medical Center, Ohio State University, the University of Cincinnati, and the children’s hospitals in Cincinnati and Columbus. The funding “will be used toward creating secure communication systems among the eight institutions.”
http://tinyurl.com/cw88a36

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, “The Mayo Clinic has big plans to join other top-flight medical centers in an expensive fight for well-heeled patients, but it faces a problem: Its sleepy hometown needs a face-lift. Mayo, the biggest private employer in Minnesota, is proposing to invest $3 billion to $3.5 billion over 20 years to transform its already big operation here into a ‘destination medical center.'” The article also reported that “Mayo officials want Minnesota taxpayers to kick in $585 million to revamp the city’s infrastructure over 20 years to make Rochester more attractive for development – and suggests the clinic could expand elsewhere if the money doesn’t come through.” The article discussed investments by other hospitals to improve their destination appeal, including Johns Hopkins, the Cleveland Clinic, and Mass. General.
http://tinyurl.com/bvmkc96

The Supreme Court on Monday heard arguments concerning the conditions the federal government can put on grantees. The specific case involves whether AIDS grant recipients working abroad can be required to adopt policies opposing prostitution or otherwise be barred from receiving funding. According to press reports, some justices appeared leery of allowing the government to compel the speech of grantees.
http://tinyurl.com/cevwkv3

Dr. Pauline Chen, in an article in Tuesday’s issue of the New York Times, discussed the ACGME’s resident duty hour restrictions. Dr. Chen wrote, “Now, two years after the 16-hour mandate was established, studies on the outcomes are being published, and the results reveal one thing. Maybe we should have thought a little harder about the arithmetic. Contrary to expectations, these studies have shown that interns have not been getting significantly more sleep. Moreover, they are not happier, nor are they studying more…In addition, there has been no significant improvement in the quality of care since the work limits took effect.” Dr. Chen concluded, “The problem? Trying to do the same amount of work in fewer hours.”
http://tinyurl.com/csrdpoe

Bryan R. Luce, PhD, MBA, has been named as the first Chief Science Officer (CSO) at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Dr. Bryan joins PCORI from United BioSource Corporation (UBC), where he served as Senior Vice President for Science and Policy “and focused on CER and the development of novel methods to support a more patient-centered approach to research.”
http://www.pcori.org/2013/chief-science-officer/

The House of Delegates of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) has approved a resolution calling for the FSMB “to formally explore the creation of a new system that would utilize an ‘interstate compact’ to increase efficiency in the licensing of physicians who practice in multiple states.”
http://tinyurl.com/d6b6lmw

An op-ed in The Hill, a newspaper popular on Capitol Hill, discussed how teaching hospitals are engines for reform. The essay was written by Kenneth L. Davis, M.D., of Mount Sinai Medical Center and Steven M. Safyer, M.D., of Montefiore Medical Center
http://tinyurl.com/axq2owh

Nature reported on Monday that animal-rights activists ruined years of psychiatric research last weekend at the University of Milan. The University is planning to press charges. In reaction, more than 60 scientists on Sunday demonstrated in favor of animal research “to protest what they call the ignorance and bullying tactics” of animal-rights extremists.
http://tinyurl.com/c7xp29o

The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) has released another edition of its Breakthroughs in Bioscience series, titled, “Conquering Cancer with Drugs from Nature’s Medicine Cabinet.”
http://tinyurl.com/c5dndmn
http://tinyurl.com/c7psy6x

The Association of American Indian Physicians will hold its annual national health conference July 29 – August 4, 2013 in Santa Clara, CA. The conference is a forum for healthcare professionals, medical students, policy makers, government officials and tribal/community members concerned with American Indian/Alaska Native health issues.
http://www.aaip.org

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) on Monday announced that Shalom “Shal” Jacobovitz has been selected as the College’s new chief executive officer (CEO). He joins the ACC from Actelion Pharmaceuticals U.S., a biopharmaceutical company specializing in cardio-pulmonary therapies, where he has served as president since 2004.
http://tinyurl.com/brdr3m8

Robert S.D. Higgins, MD, MSHA, has been named chair of the Department of Surgery in The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Dr. Higgins joined Ohio State in July 2010 as director of the Comprehensive Transplant Center and chief of the Division of Cardiac Surgery. He holds the John H. and Mildred C. Lumley Chair in Medicine.

Tony Mazzaschi
AAMC

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