AAMC News and Leadership Announcements, 2013 Aug. 16

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

Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., has been named the Senior Vice President for Medicine and Dean of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine. Dr. Vickers, a member of the Institute of Medicine, is a surgeon, and a pancreatic and health disparities researcher. He is currently the Jay Phillips Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Anupam Agarwal, M.D., who has served as interim vice president and dean since February, will return to his position as director of the Division of Nephrology and vice chair for research in the Department of Medicine when Dr. Vickers arrives later this year.

Dr. Philip C. Bagnell retired as dean of the East Tennessee State University James H. Quillen College of Medicine at the end of July. He had served since 2006 and had announced his plans to retire in January. Ken Olive, M.D., has been named Interim Dean of Medicine. A national search is underway. Dr. Olive has been Executive Associate Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs.

Dr. Richard Shannon has been named Executive Vice President for Health Affairs at the University of Virginia (UVA). As such, he will be responsible for UVA’s medical and nursing schools and also will oversee the University’s health system and practice plan. Dr. Shannon will assume this new role on November 1, 2013. Dr. Shannon has been at Penn since 2006, first as Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs, and in August 2007, he was appointed Chairman of the Department of Medicine. Dr. Shannon is an internist and cardiologist.

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday vetoed a bill allowing women to sell their eggs for medical research. The San Jose Mercury News reported, “Assembly Bill 926 was opposed by anti-abortion groups that argued eggs should be treated like organs and should not be sold. Proponents said an existing law prohibiting women from selling their oocytes, or eggs, to science has stymied fertility research in California.”

The Congressional Quarterly reported on Thursday that the Center for Studying Health System Change is being absorbed into Mathematica Policy Research. The article also reported that the Center’s president, Paul Ginsburg, is departing at the end of the year. (The CQ article is available only to subscribers.)

Dr. Claire Pomeroy, the new president of the Lasker Foundation, authored an essay posted on Wednesday by the Huffington Post, titled, “Medical Research: Don’t Let This Pillar of National Pride Crumble.” Dr. Pomeroy, the former dean at UC, Davis, wrote, “Investing in medical research anchors the government’s obligation and ability to provide health and economic security. Failing to adequately fund research as a national priority is a crisis of conscience for the nation’s moral compass and cultural identity.”

AAHRPP is seeking comment on a proposed new public disclosure Standard (I-9). According to the human subjects program accrediting body, “The new Standard is intended to ensure that research participants and their families, other organizations, sponsors, and government agencies have access to accurate information; it is not intended to add to the administrative burden on accredited organizations.” Comments are being accepted until September 30.

An article in Thursday’s Miami Herald reported that  “After months of negotiations, Jackson Health System and the University of Miami reached an operating agreement for 2013-14.  On Thursday, the Public Health Trust, which oversees Jackson, conditionally approved the agreement for $102.5 million, subject to a legal review of its fair market value. It’s the lowest-budgeted agreement in seven years.”


The Wall Street Journal on Thursday reported, “A McKinsey & Co. analysis of 955 consumer exchange-plan filings, from 13 states that were among the earliest to make them public, found that 47% were health-maintenance organizations or similarly designed plans. Such plans generally don’t pay for care provided outside their networks. A number of other plans, though classed as preferred-provider organizations, or PPOs, will also have limited choices of doctors and hospitals in their networks.” The paper further reported, “One upshot of these efforts is that some consumer exchange plans will sideline well-known institutions—some of which may be most likely to balk at discounted rates. In the Chicago area, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois said it would sell some plans that don’t have Rush University Medical Center or Northwestern Memorial Hospital in their networks. In Los Angeles, most insurers won’t include UCLA Medical Center, which struck a deal only with WellPoint. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee will have some plans that don’t include Vanderbilt University Medical Center.”

Dr. Brian Herman, vice president for research at the University of Minnesota, recently authored an essay on the innovation deficit on the MinnPost web site. Dr. Herman concluded, “As members of Congress return home this month, we have an opportunity to highlight to them why research is one of the best investments we can make in our future. Erasing the innovation deficit will allow us to maintain our leadership in the world, continue scientific progress, save lives and drive economic growth.”

Friday’s issue of Science features a report on how the NIH and NHLBI’s budget woes are threatening various long-term heart studies.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported this week on a roundtable event convened by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) to discuss the impact of the cuts to the National Institutes of Health on biomedical research and patient care. A Penn researcher discussed the impact of the sequester on specific research proposals, including a funded grant on new ways of teaching at-risk families cardiopulmonary resuscitation that will be eliminated when the funding runs out in 2015.

The Detroit News on Thursday reported, “Three months after aborting a mega-merger with its downtown rival, Beaumont Health System is back on the hunt for a potential partner.” The system’s proposed merger with the Henry Ford Health System was called off earlier this year. The paper noted, “Aging Baby Boomers, rising costs, declining government reimbursements for Medicaid and Medicare and the imminent onset of pieces of Obamacare are combining to force hospital CEOs and their boards to reassess their strengths, weaknesses and ability to navigate the change alone.”

An article the Springfield (Mass.) Republican this week reported on “four new pediatric residents – all of whom were born in Springfield – who decided to return home to complete their residencies at Baystate Medical Center.”

Mary Rodgers, PT, PhD, FAPTA, FASB, the George R. Hepburn Dynasplint Professor and Chair in the Department of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science (PTRS) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, is stepping down as Chair, effective September 1. She will now divide her time between the National Institutes of Biomedical Imaging and Engineering (NIBIB), while remaining on the School of Medicine faculty in the new administrative role of Vice Chair. Mark W. Rogers, PT, PhD, has been appointed Acting Chair of the department.

And finally…An article in the LA Times this week profiles the International Medical Leech Center near Moscow.  According to the article, “The creatures may spark revulsion in much of the West, but in Russia, the ancient practice of leech therapy remains a common form of medical care, with tens of thousands of patients undergoing treatment with hirudo medicinalis and their anticoagulant saliva for anything from infertility to high blood pressure. Because of the higher costs for more modern forms of medication, and a healthy fear of swallowing the bogus pills that have proliferated here, many Russians and their doctors continue to swear by the dark brown worms.”  The Center distributes more than 3 million leeches annually to medical clinics.

Tony Mazzaschi

PS: Feel free to email <cfas@aamc.org> if you have a problem accessing any article or resource mentioned in this summary. Also, have colleagues email <cfas@aamc.org> if they would like to receive these news postings. We also welcome news tips and corrections.

PPS: Registration is now open for the 2013 AAMC Annual Meeting, November 1-6, in Philadelphia.


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