AAMC News and Leadership Announcements, 2013 Aug. 30

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

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) on Thursday released a new report, “Unlimited Potential, Vanishing Opportunity.” The report details the findings of a survey of more than 3,700 scientists and “depicts clearly the broad impact of cuts to federal investments in science funding.” According to ASBMB, some critical statistics from the report include:
=Private investment in academic research has been feeble. Only 2 percent of survey respondents have been able to find private funds to make up for those lost from federal grants.
=More than two thirds of survey respondents do not have the funds to expand their research operations, postponing important scientific advances in all fields.
=Research jobs have been lost. Nearly half of survey respondents have laid off researchers and 55 percent have a colleague who has lost his/her job.
=An overwhelming majority of scientists in all fields believe the U.S. has lost its position as the global leader in scientific research.

The Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday that Blue Shield of California this week “began notifying doctors statewide of its new policy for early-stage prostate cancer patients, effective in October. The San Francisco insurer says there’s no scientific evidence to justify spending $30,000 more for proton beam treatment compared with the price it pays for other forms of radiation that deliver similar results.” The article further reported, “Blue Shield said it would continue to pay for patients’ proton treatment in cases when clinical evidence supports its use, such as certain tumors in children.” Scripps Health in San Diego is preparing “to open a gleaming, $230-million proton beam therapy center this fall, only the second one in California and the 12th nationwide.” The second California center is at Loma Linda.

The Louisville Courier-Journal this week reported on a dispute related to a partnership agreement between children’s hospitals run by Norton Healthcare and the University of Kentucky. The University of Louisville had been negotiating a new agreement extending its current affiliation with Norton’s Kosair Children’s Hospital. The newspaper reported, “Officials for UK and Norton said the two organizations will remain independent operations jointly operated through the collaboration — and medical staffs won’t be consolidated. Last Friday, a day after the partnership was announced, U of L officials released a fiery response, saying it threatens to damage U of L’s relationship with Norton. Officials said they were still deciding what steps to take and have not ruled out legal action.”

In a blog entry posed on Friday, Dr. Sally Rockey, NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research, highlighted a new NIH web site that compiles implementation information on the recommendations of the NIH Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (ACD) on the Biomedical Research Workforce.

The NIH on Wednesday published its revised policy on “Mitigating Risks of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC).” On Friday, NIH issued a clarification to assure the community that the revised policy does NOT mean that institutions must now begin establishing institutional DURC review entities and conducting DURC reviews.

Applications are being accepted for the Mongan Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in Minority Health Policy (formerly The Commonwealth Fund / Harvard University Fellowship in Minority Health Policy). The fellowship is a one-year, degree-granting, full-time program starting July 2014, “designed to prepare physicians for leadership roles in transforming health care delivery systems and promoting health policies and practices that improve access to high performance health care for vulnerable populations including racial and ethnic minorities and economically disadvantaged groups.”

Eric Eichenwald, M.D., has been named chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School. As part of his position, he was also named physician-in-chief at the Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. Dr. Eichenwald joined the UTHealth Medical School in July 2010, and will continue to serve as chief of the Division of Neonatal/Perinatal Medicine and assistant dean for Children’s Health Care Quality at UT Health.

And finally…Although it didn’t make the recent Video Music Awards show, the new music video “Viva La Evidence” deserves to go viral. You won’t think about evidence based medicine and systematic reviews in the same light ever again. The brilliant music video is the work of James McCormack.

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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