The May 6 issue of AAMC News and Leadership Announcements is now available:
U.S. medical schools are on track to increase their enrollment 30 percent by 2017, according to results of the annual Medical School Enrollment Survey conducted by the AAMC Center for Workforce Studies. According to the survey results, released during the Center’s 9th Annual Physician Workforce Research Conference, first-year medical school enrollment is projected to reach 21,434 in 2017-18. This number represents a 30 percent increase above first-year enrollment in 2002-03, the baseline year used to calculate the enrollment increases that the AAMC called for in 2006. Of the projected growth in medical school enrollment between 2002 and 2017, 62 percent will occur in the 125 medical schools that were accredited as of 2002, 31 percent will occur in schools accredited since 2002, and 7 percent will come from schools that are currently listed as applicant or candidate schools by the LCME.
AAMC President and CEO Dr. Darrell Kirch, reacting to the new enrollment survey data, said, “We’re pleased to see our nation’s medical schools increasing enrollment to address the projected physician shortage. But as we saw in the results of this year’s Match, Congress now needs to do its part and act quickly to increase the number of federally funded residency training positions in order for all medical school graduates to be able to complete their training and become practicing physicians.” He added, “Increasing enrollments show that medical schools are doing their part to avert the shortage of more than 90,000 primary care and specialty doctors this nation faces by 2020. However, this will not result in a single new practicing physician unless Congress acts now to lift the cap on residency training positions.”
A new report from the American Academy of Arts & Sciences offers recommendations for academia, government agencies, and the private sector “to help maintain America’s leadership in science, technology, and medicine.” The report is titled ARISE 2. An earlier report (aka ARISE 1) focused on early career scientists and high reward research. The recommendations in this new report include: “Shift from interdisciplinary to transdisciplinary: develop and foster a massive ‘knowledge network’ to focus disparate expertise and approaches on problems of common interest; Promote cooperative, synergistic interactions among academia, government and the private sector throughout the discovery and development process; Set new priorities for the technology transfer function between academia and industry with the explicit goal of maximizing exchanges of knowledge, resources, and people; Enhance permeability between industry and academia at all career stages; and Develop and implement new models for research alliances between academia and industry.” The study panel was co-chaired by Dr. Venkatesh Narayanamurti of Harvard and Dr. Keith Yamamoto of UCSF.
Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) on Thursday announced they have signed an agreement to form a clinical and academic affiliation “to enhance care provided by both institutions.” According to the announcement, subject to state regulatory approval, “Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, CHA and its physicians will join the Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization (BIDCO), an accountable care organization formed by BIDMC and Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians at BIDMC earlier this year. BIDCO will become the primary physician contracting organization for CHA, allowing physicians to share risk and invest in the infrastructure and care management systems necessary to manage populations of patients and coordinate their care under a global payment structure. Approximately 20 percent of CHA’s primary care physicians will continue to be part of the Mount Auburn Cambridge Independent Practice Association (MACIPA).”
According to NIH grants policy, all grantee publications about research that are funded by NIH must include a specific acknowledgment of NIH grant support. A new web page on NIH funding acknowledgement provides grantees with useful guidance to meet the award requirements.
Dr. Autumn Klein died this week. She was the chief of the division of women’s neurology at UPMC. The circumstances of Dr. Klein’s death are still under investigation.
The University of Nebraska Medical Center and the Nebraska Medical Center announced on Friday that their cancer center project will be named the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center “in recognition of a gift from Pamela Buffett, through her foundation, the Rebecca Susan Buffett Foundation, to the University of Nebraska Foundation.” The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center includes three areas dedicated to cancer: a 98-laboratory research tower, a multidisciplinary outpatient center and a hospital with up to 108 beds. In all, the cancer center’s construction will cost $323 million, the largest project ever at the University of Nebraska. At the request of the donor, the gift amount will not be disclosed.
Dr. Pauline Chen, in a column posted by the New York Times on Thursday, explored various holistic review medical school admissions processes that are designed to produce a more diversified and inclusive medical student and physician population.
The May issue of Academic Medicine has been posted on-line. A set of articles in the issue focus on the MCAT. Also now available in the “Published-Ahead-of-Print” section of the journal’s web site are articles from the June issue. Articles from that issue include an interesting analysis of medical school mission statements, and an article titled, “Bridging the Gap: Supporting Translational Research Careers Through an Integrated Research Track Within Residency Training.”
The New York Times reported on Saturday, “The Department of Homeland Security has ordered new security checks for all foreign students entering the United States, according to officials familiar with instructions issued Friday to customs inspectors.”
The fallout continues from the Sacramento Bee’s report on the Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital’s alleged “dumping” of patients in other states. Various localities have opened criminal investigations related to patients from the hospital being given one-way bus tickets to assorted locations over the past five years. The Joint Commission arrived unannounced on Thursday at the hospital and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has opened a formal investigation. After initially defending the hospital’s practices, Nevada health officials have opened their own internal investigation. As a result, two employees of the hospital reportedly were fired this week and others disciplined. A new discharge policy also has been put in place by the hospital.
The Denver Post on Sunday featured an article, “University of Colorado Hospital tries to make its new ER run more like The Gap.” The article reported that the design team “…meticulously planned the space to employ retail magic alongside medical miracles, putting the hospital at the forefront of a national movement to deliver health care with industrial efficiency.” The article noted, “The goal was to reduce ER wait times — which the hospital calls “door to doctor” — from nearly 80 minutes to 10 to 15. Results so far have been dramatic: The average since opening the department early in April is 10 minutes.”
UCSF has announced the creation of a Center for Digital Health Innovation, which will be led by UCSF Chief Medical Information Officer Dr. Michael Blum. He has also been named Associate Vice Chancellor for Informatics. The announcement occurred in conjunction with a major UCSF-sponsored conference on precision medicine titled the “OME 2013 Summit.”
60 Minutes last Sunday broadcast a segment titled, “Angel of Death,” concerning “one of the most prolific serial killers in U.S. history…a critical care nurse who admits to killing up to 40 people. Some suspect it was a lot more. The murders took place over 16 years in seven different hospitals.” Some of the murders occurred at teaching hospitals.
The CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) this week reported, “Suicide rates among both men and women aged 35–64 years increased substantially from 1999 and 2010. This finding is consistent with a previous study that showed a notable increase in the overall suicide rate among middle-aged adults relative to a small increase in suicide rates among younger persons and a small decline in older persons during a similar period. The increases were geographically widespread and occurred in states with high, as well as average and low suicide rates. By race/ethnicity, the increases were highest and statistically significant only among whites and American Indian/Alaska Natives, widening the racial/ethnic gap in suicide rates.” According to the CDC data, “In 2009, the number of deaths from suicide surpassed the number of deaths from motor vehicle crashes in the United States.”
The Minneapolis Star Tribune on Sunday featured a lengthy story on the relationship between Sanford Health and T. Denny Sanford.
The University of Michigan Medical School has announced the creation of the Michigan Center for Integrative Research in Critical Care, or M-CIRCC. According to the school, “…the center brings together scientists, physicians and engineers in a broad range of specialties, from emergency medicine, surgery, internal medicine, nursing and pediatrics to biomedical engineering, pharmacy, epidemiology and bioinformatics.” Kevin Ward, M.D., professor of emergency medicine, will lead the center, which already includes more than 50 U-M faculty members.
The Economic View column in Sunday’s New York Times considered pandemics. The article reported, “Our current health care policies are not optimal for dealing with pandemics. The central problem is that these policies neglect what economists call ‘public goods’: items and services that benefit many people and can’t easily be withheld from those who don’t pay for them directly. Protection against communicable diseases is a core example of a public good, as is basic scientific research, which can yield new ideas that may be spread at very low additional cost.” The article further reported, “One obvious step forward would be to exempt biomedical research from cuts of the current federal budget sequestration. Research and development grants are a way to pay potential innovators up front — an important move, as an innovator can’t always charge high-enough prices for the value of its remedies when they’re actually needed.” The article discussed other reward systems for medical innovators.
Marcella “Marcy” L. Dodere has been named president and CEO of the Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH), succeeding Dr. Jonathan Bates, who is retiring. Ms. Doderer is currently vice president and administrator at Children’s Hospital of San Antonio. ACH serves as the pediatric teaching affiliate of UAMS and is home to the UAMS Department of Pediatrics.
Linda Boxer, MD, PhD, has been named the vice dean at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Boxer is currently chief of the Division of Hematology and senior vice chair of the Department of Medicine, where she also served as interim chair from August 2010 to June 2012. According to the school, “As the senior official in academic affairs, she will oversee recruitment, appointment, retention and promotion of all faculty members.”
Otis Bowen, MD, died on Saturday at the age of 95. He served as the Governor of Indiana from 1973 to 1981 and as Secretary of Health and Human Services from 1985 to 1989. He was first physician to serve as HHS (or HEW) Secretary. He was succeeded by Dr. Louis Sullivan, the only other physician to serve as HHS Secretary.
On Saturday, Saint Louis University President Lawrence Biondi, S.J., told the University’s Board of Trustees of his intention to retire from his position, which he has held since 1987. According to the announcement, “Details about transition plans and search processes will be communicated to the University community in the weeks ahead.”
Dr. José Lasalde has been appointed interim president of the University of Puerto. Dr. LaSalde, a structural and molecular biologist, is UPR’s vice president for research and technology. The president of UPR, the chair of the UPR board of trustees, and the chancellors of all 11 UPR campuses resigned last week, according to the Caribbean Business newspaper, “to protest the governor’s reform of the institution’s board.”
An essay in Friday’s Boston Globe was titled, “Medical staff needs to lose the tie and the rings.” The authors report, “Health systems in the UK and Europe have acted on studies that document the fact that pieces of standard medical equipment and attire pose the risk of harboring and transmitting a host of dangerous organisms to patients.” Rings, lab coats and ties have disappeared in the UK and European health systems. The authors question why health professionals in the U.S. and Canada are “more wedded to the trappings of status and power, or fashion” than to patient safety. The essay was written by Suzanne Gordon, author of the book “Beyond the Checklist: What Else Health Care Can Learn from Aviation Safety and Teamwork,” and Dr. Michael Gardam, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control at University Health Network and Women’s College Hospital in Toronto.
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