AAMC News and Leadership Announcements, 2013 June 16

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

Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine reported it is the first medical school in the nation to accept applications for admission from undocumented immigrants in response to President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The American Medical Association (AMA) on Thursday announced that 11 medical schools will receive funding as part of its Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative. The AMA will provide $1 million to each school over five years, “to fund the educational innovations envisioned by each institution. A critical component of the AMA’s initiative will be to establish a learning consortium with the selected schools to rapidly disseminate best practices to other medical and health profession schools.” The awardees are: Indiana University School of Medicine; Mayo Medical School; NYU School of Medicine; Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine; Penn State College of Medicine; The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University; The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University; University of California, Davis School of Medicine; University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine; University of Michigan Medical School; and, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

George Sheldon, MD, died on Sunday. Dr. Sheldon was chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine from 1984-2001, after earlier serving on the faculty of UCSF. He served as Chair of the AAMC from 2000-2001 and Chair of the AAMC Council of Academic Societies (CAS) from 1998-99. During his illustrious career, he also served as President of the American College of Surgeons, President of the American Surgical Association, President of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, and Chair of the American Board of Surgery. More recently, Dr. Sheldon served as founding director of the ACS Health Policy Research Institute and was a recognized leader on surgical workforce issues. He also was a noted author on academic management and surgical history topics. He was a Charter Member of the Council on Graduate Medical Education (COGME) and a member of the IOM.

Edmund Pellegrino, MD, MACP, died on June 13 at the age of 92. Considered one of the founders of the field of bioethics, Dr. Pellegrino held numerous leadership positions in higher education, including Dean and VP for Health Sciences at SUNY Stony Brook School of Medicine (1968-72), Chancellor and Vice President for the Health Sciences at the University of Tennessee, President of the Yale-New Haven Medical Center, and President of The Catholic University of America. Since 1982 he has been the John Carroll Professor of Medicine and Medical Ethics at Georgetown University and held numerous leadership positions at the school. He also served as Chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics from 2005-2009. The AAMC awarded Dr. Pellegrino the Abraham Flexner Award for Distinguished Service to Medical Education in 1997.

The AAMC Group on Institutional Planning has organized the 2013 “Creating and Implementing Strategic Plans Workshop.” The meeting will be held September 19-20, in Washington, DC. This open workshop is intended for administrators, staff and faculty who have a role in developing and implementing strategic plans. Sessions are designed for beginners as well as experienced planners and will be of value to both department and institutional leaders.

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) issued a new report to Congress on Friday. According to a summary in the New York Times, the advisory panel said “that Congress should move immediately to cut payments to hospitals for many services that can be provided at much lower cost in doctors’ offices.”

A Kaiser Health News story posted by the Washington Post on Friday discussed MedPAC’s view that Medicare readmission penalties are too harsh on hospitals serving the poor. The Commission said “Income is still an important … variable in explaining variation in readmissions.” The article stated, “[MedPAC] recommended that in future years, when determining penalties, Medicare compare a hospital’s readmission rates with those of hospitals that has comparable numbers of poor patients. MedPAC warned that if the penalty formulas aren’t changed, many hospitals will be penalized in future years even if they reduce readmissions because they will be judged on how they compare to the entire industry.”

The Tampa Bay Tribune this week published a detailed series on “America’s Worst Charities.” The series included a listing of the 50 worst charities in the country, most of which are marketed as being in health and research fields.

The Washington Post on Friday reported, “Hillary Clinton on Thursday denounced the deep federal spending cuts known as the sequester for dangerously hindering scientific research, and she urged ‘citizen action’ to raise awareness about the consequences.”

An article in Sunday’s New York Times discussed the proposed Fish and Wildlife Service notice concerning the status of research-bred chimpanzees. The article highlighted some of the impacts on research. For example, a researcher said “the new rule would require an application for a permit ‘for even sending a blood sample that is banked blood that is sitting in a freezer’ to another lab in a different state, which in the best circumstances ‘could take months and months to obtain.'” The role of chimps in hepatitis research was also noted. Almost all chimps reserved for research are not currently being used.

Dr. Andrew Thomas has been named chief medical officer of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Over the past 15 years, Dr. Thomas has served in a variety of leadership roles within the Medical Center including medical director of Ohio State’s University Hospital and associate dean for graduate medical education for the College of Medicine. Dr. Thomas succeeds Dr. Hagop Mekhjian who will continue to teach and practice at OSU.

The NIH Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) met this week. The charge and roster of the new ACD Physician-Scientist Workforce has been posted. The Workforce is being co-chaired by David Ginsburg, M.D., James V. Neel Distinguished University Professor, Departments of Internal Medicine, Human Genetics, and Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases, University of Michigan Medical School; and, Sherry Mills, M.D., M.P.H., Director, NIH Office of Extramural Programs. The ACD also discussed a new working group on the NIH review and award processes. The panel was charged with suggesting ways to streamline and shorten the length of the application and allocation processes and to consider ways to reduce the administrative burden on applicants.

An article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on Friday discussed recent discussions about the faculty’s role in the governance of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Some of the discussions center on a recent faculty pay proposal outlined in an article in the University Times, a campus paper.

Peter Doshi, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues on Thursday published a call for sponsors and investigators of abandoned studies to publish and proposed a system for independent publishing if sponsors fail to respond.

A June 13 Urban Institute/RWJF report detailed how several states have calculated the fiscal and macroeconomic impact of state Medicaid expansions. The report (Medicaid Expansion Under the ACA: How States Analyze the Fiscal and Economic Trade-Offs) illustrates that expansions can drive economic growth, increase employment/earnings, and net state budget gains. The authors stated that the report can help “facilitate the further development of solid fiscal and economic analysis to illuminate the consequences of key Medicaid decisions that face state policy-makers.”

UC Davis Health System has announced it “will become the first academic health system in the country to incorporate sexual orientation and gender identity as standard demographic elements within the electronic health records for its patients.” According to UC, Davis, “…the new measure is an important step toward improving health care for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals who often have avoided medical clinics out of fear of being humiliated or rejected.”

The Pew Charitable Trusts has announced the selection of 22 Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune on Thursday reported on a new consultant’s report on spending at the University of Minnesota in the areas of human resources, finance, purchasing and information technology. The report found that spending and FTEs generally were similar to peer institutions, but did identify potential areas for savings. The report was ordered after a Wall Street Journal article in January asserted that the University suffered from administrative bloat, a charge that the University leadership denied but promised to review.

The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors has approved the creation of a new doctor of philosophy degree in Translational Biology, Medicine, and Health. Dr. Michael Friedlander, associate provost for health sciences at Virginia Tech, will oversee the program, which will be directed by Dr. Audra Van Wart. The program will offer six focus areas: cancer; development, aging, and repair; health implementation science; immunity and infectious disease; metabolism and cardiovascular science; and neuroscience. The interdisciplinary program will draw faculty from 17 departments in seven colleges and six institutes and centers.

The Department of Defense announced on Thursday that it has established the world’s first brain tissue repository to help researchers understand the underlying mechanisms of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in service members. The Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine Brain Tissue Repository for Traumatic Brain Injury was established at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) in Bethesda with a multi-year grant from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command. Dr. Daniel Perl, a neuropathologist, is the director of the brain tissue repository.

The University of Maryland has announced the establishment of a new interdisciplinary center “to enhance the use of cutting edge medical science such as genomics and personalized medicine to accelerate research discoveries and improve health care outcomes.” The new University of Maryland Center for Health-Related Informatics and Bioimaging (CHIB) is a collaboration of the University of Maryland, Baltimore; the University of Maryland School of Medicine; and, the University of Maryland, College Park. The Center is being supported by the M-Power Maryland initiative. Co-directors of the Center are Owen White, Ph.D., and J. Kathleen “Kate” Tracy, Ph.D.

The Indiana University School of Medicine is moving forward with planning for a regional academic health science and research campus at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville.

University of Wisconsin-Madison Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Paul M. DeLuca Jr. announced on Wednesday that he will step down as the university’s chief academic officer and return to the faculty. A professor of medical physics and former vice dean for research and graduate studies in the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, Dr. DeLuca was appointed provost in June 2009. He will remain as provost until a successor is named.

Steven G. Gabbe, M.D., senior vice president of the Ohio State University and chief executive officer of the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, wrote a letter to the editor supporting Ohio’s expansion of the Medicaid program published by The Columbus Dispatch on June 8, 2013. Ohio’s governor included the expansion in his proposed budget, but the House removed it before sending the bill to the Senate. State lawmakers are to pass a biannual budget by June 30. Dr. Gabbe’s letter concluded: “Ohio is standing at the door of opportunity. Let’s not squander this chance to truly improve the lives of 275,000 of our fellow residents and enhance the economic condition of our state.”

Maricopa Integrated Health System in Phoenix has named Steve Purves as its new CEO. He is currently head of the Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Florida. Mr. Purves will succeed Betsey Bayless.

And finally (1)…Unable to join the first annual Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences award ceremony in person, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins joined the celebration of Ruslan Medzhitov, M.D., by video link. Dr. Collins serenaded viewers with his version of “The Sequester Blues.”

And finally (2)…Tuesday was the 50th anniversary of the world’s first lung transplant, which took place at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. An article posted by UMMC noted that the transplant occurred on the same evening as the assassination of Jackson, Miss., civil rights leader Medgar Evers. Mr. Evers was brought to the University of Mississippi hospital while the transplant was in progress and received care, ultimately futile, from a surgeon who was part of the transplant team. In another irony, the 12-year-old girl suffering from end-stage cystic fibrosis, whose litigation led to a change in the lung transplant waiting list rules, received her lung transplant at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on the 50th anniversary of the first one performed by UMMC’s Dr. James Hardy. Dr. Hardy, who also led the first animal-to-human heart transplant, died in 2003. About 1,800 lung transplants are now done annually in the U.S., with about the same number of people on the waiting list.

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.

PPS: Other news, policy, and innovation products from AAMC may be of particular interest to subscribers:
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http://www.aamc.org/newsroom/aamcstat/aamcnews.htm (note subscription box on right)
+AAMC Washington Highlights, a weekly summary of legislative & regulatory developments affecting academic medicine
+AAMC Second Opinion, news and perspectives from AAMC’s Chief Public Policy Officer
Subscribe by emailing: SecondOpinion@aamc.org
+Wing of Zock, a blog about innovation and change in medical schools and teaching hospitals
http://wingofzock.org/ and its Twitter feed @wingofzock
+AM Express, the journal Academic Medicine’s free monthly issue announcement service
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+AM Rounds, the journal Academic Medicine’s official blog
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