AAMC News and Leadership Announcements, 2013 Oct. 9

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

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2013 was awarded jointly to Drs. Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel “for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems.”  Dr. Karplus? is at the University of Strasbourg and Harvard University, Dr. Levitt? is at Stanford University School of Medicine, and Dr. Warshel? is at the University of Southern California.  Drs. Karplus and Levitt have received extensive support over the years from the NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences.  Dr. Warshel has received extensive support from NIH’s National Cancer Institute.

The San Antonio Express News reported on Wednesday that the LCME has granted full accreditation to the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.  The school has been on probation for the past two years.

An article in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal highlighted a digital dissection manual produced at Columbia by medical students. The article further reported, “Instructors and students at medical schools nationwide are experimenting with new ways to customize and enhance teaching materials, and digital textbooks, manuals and lab guides such as this are products of those efforts.”

Reuters reported on Tuesday, “The kind of basic science that helped Randy Schekman win the coveted Nobel medicine prize might never have been funded if he had applied today. Schekman, along with two other U.S.-based winners of the 2013 medicine prize, Thomas Suedhof and James Rothman, slammed recent spending cuts at the National Institutes of Health, the biggest funder of scientific research in the world. The budget curbs were undermining the chances of breakthroughs and the next generation of basic research, they said.”

At an event on Tuesday at the National Press Club in Washington, Carol Greider, PhD, winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine, and the Daniel Nathans Professor and Director of Molecular Biology & Genetics, John Hopkins University, said that the shut down and cutbacks are especially cruel on the young scientists training in her lab. “It’s often assumed that the dollars they’re talking about are for fancy equipment but the bulk of the funding in my lab goes to training the future scientific leaders. This training is truly in jeopardy with the decreased funding.” Dr. Greider said, “A generation of innovators might be lost. We can surely do better. We must.” She spoke at an event organized by the American Society for Cell Biology.

Tuesday’s Washington Post featured an interview with Michelle Langbehn, who has been diagnosed with sarcoma and has been denied entry into a protocol at the NIH Clinical Center due to the government shutdown brought on by the failure to enact appropriations bills. About 200 patients a week scheduled for admittance to the Clinical Center are being affected. Patients currently in the Clinical Center continue to be cared for and their protocols continue.

The CDC, in collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), has released a new Prevent Group B Strep (GBS) App. The App simplifies implementation of the latest guidelines for prevention of GBS disease. Newborn and obstetric providers will be prompted to input specific clinical information (max 12 questions) and receive patient-specific GBS management recommendations at the point-of-care.

An article in Healthcare IT News asks, “Are med schools failing future docs?” The article explored the lack of EHR training received by  medical students. According to the article, “Many medical students have never even had the chance to make a note in an EHR, even though the technology will be inextricable from the way they’ll practice…A study published last year by the Alliance for Clinical Education, which comprises education leaders from an array of medical specialties united to work toward better instruction of medical students, was not encouraging. It found that just 64 percent of med school programs allowed future docs any use of electronic records; of those that do, only two-thirds allowed students to actually write notes within the EHR.”

Bloomberg on Tuesday reported that jury selection has begun in a federal tax evasion case against the co-founder of two Caribbean schools of medicine, Dr. Patricia Hough.  The other cofounder, Dr. David Frederick, Dr. Hough’s husband, was also indicted but has, according to Bloomberg, vanished and has been declared a fugitive.  In 2007, Drs. Frederick and Hough sold Saba University Medical School in the Netherlands Antilles and the Medical University of the Americas in Nevis to a private equity firm that also owns St. Matthew’s University in Grand Cayman. According to Bloomberg, “At the heart of the case is whether [Dr. Hough] misused accounts associated with the Saba University School of Medicine Foundation.”

The Duke Chronicle on Tuesday featured an article that discussed how potential federal budget cuts to graduate medical education funding, if passed, would affect residency programs as well as current and future residents.

An article in the current issue of the Lancet profiled C. William Schwab, MD, professor of Surgery, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and director, Firearm Injury Center at Penn. “He’s perhaps best known as one of the chief architects of the damage control approach to treating life-threatening injuries that first came to prominence in the 1990s, and which has now become a mainstay of trauma care around the world,” the Lancet wrote. “But he’s equally respected for his long and steadfast campaign to reduce the toll of gun-related violence in the USA. And he traces everything back to those years in the 1970s with the US Navy.”

In a commentary in the new issue of Nature Medicine, Dr. Robert Winston argued, “Drug development depends on preclinical experimentation in animal models. To make the public aware of the vital role of these studies, pharmaceutical companies should be legally obliged to make note of this on their products that came to fruition through animal research.” Dr. Winston is a professor of science and society and emeritus professor of fertility studies at Imperial College London, UK, and a member of the UK’s House of Lords. Separately, an editorial in the same issue asserts, “Gains in human health come at the expense of animals in the lab. But denying those gains by hampering animal research could be far costlier.”

A study by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC), published online in the journal Health Services Research, found that, “Contrary to the popular belief that hospitals shift costs to private payers when Medicare squeezes payments, hospitals instead cut operating costs to adjust to reduced revenues.”

Dr. Harold L. Paz, chief executive officer, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State Hershey Health System, Penn State’s senior vice president for health affairs, and dean of Penn State College of Medicine, has been elected chair of the board of directors of the Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC).  Dr. Paz is the immediate past chair of the AAMC Council of Deans.

Russell Glasgow, PhD, joined the University of Colorado School of Medicine in September as associate director of the School’s Colorado Health Outcomes (COHO) research program and as visiting professor in the Department of Family Medicine. He most recently was deputy director of implementation science at the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

David L. Reich, MD, has been named President and Chief Operating Officer of The Mount Sinai Hospital, effective immediately. He has served in an interim capacity since January 2013. Dr. Reich, the Horace W. Goldsmith Professor and Chair of Anesthesiology since 2004, will continue to serve as Chair, while Mount Sinai conducts a new search to fill the Chair position.

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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