The current issue of AAMC News and Leadership Announcements is now available:
Dr. Sally Rockey, NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research, distributed the following email message to the NIH extramural research community on Friday: “This is a brief communication to update the biomedical research community of the current status of extramural operations at NIH. The NIH continues to be shut down for all non-excepted activities. This means that the vast majority of NIH staff that oversee program, review, and grants management are furloughed, NIH grants and contract submissions are not being processed, reviews are not occurring, and no awards are being made. As described in NOT-OD-13-126, the Payment Management Systems remains operational and funds for most grants awarded before the shutdown can continue to be drawn down. As the shutdown drags on, the challenge of reestablishing normal operations quickly is growing. Once the shutdown is over, NIH will need time to set new dates for grant and contract submissions, review meetings, conferences, and other activities that were scheduled to happen during and immediately following the period of the shutdown. It will take us a few days after this is over to communicate our plans, so please bear with us. You can find the current guidance posted at grants.nih.gov. Once we reopen, additional information will be posted and published in the NIH Guide as quickly as we can make it available. All of us at NIH hope the current situation is resolved soon, but we don’t know when that will be. We appreciate your patience as we go through this difficult experience together.”
Dr. Betsy Nabel, president of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in an op-ed in Tuesday’s Boston Globe, wrote, “Of all the hardships imposed by the federal shutdown, none may be more tragic than its impact on a field that had already sustained devastating budget cuts: biomedical research. That is an impact measured in human terms. The National Institutes of Health, for example, is turning away patients seeking to enroll in clinical trials. The impact will ripple outward from them to other patients who might have benefited from what researchers would have learned from those studies.”
Several stories were published last week on the impact of the government shut down on the research enterprise. An article in Nature was titled, “NIH Campus Endures Slow Decay.” The article discussed how even those intramural researchers who are allowed to work are being hobbled by restrictions, such being unable to order essential lab supplies. The Raleigh News-Observer reported on the impact on the Research Triangle Park area. The Hill newspaper reported, “Four of five Nobel Prize winners now in the employ of the federal government have been furloughed, as research grinds to a halt at agencies darkened by the lingering shutdown…”
An article posted by JAMA Internal Medicine on Monday found, “Compensation of CEOs at nonprofit hospitals was highly variable across the country. Compensation was associated with technology and patient satisfaction but not with processes of care, patient outcomes, or community benefit.”
The new issue of JAMA Internal Medicine featured an essay “Academic Medicine in the 21st Century,” by Mark R. Laret, MA, CEO of UCSF Medical Center. The essay is based on his outstanding AAMC Chair’s address delivered at the November 2012 AAMC Annual Meeting.
Monday’s New York Times reported, “In dentists’ and doctors’ offices, hearing aid centers and pain clinics, American health care is forging a lucrative alliance with American finance. A growing number of health care professionals are urging patients to pay for treatment not covered by their insurance plans with credit cards and lines of credit that can be arranged quickly in the provider’s office. The cards and loans, which were first marketed about a decade ago for cosmetic surgery and other elective procedures, are now proliferating among older Americans, who often face large out-of-pocket expenses for basic care that is not covered by Medicare or private insurance.” The article further reported, “… some practitioners refuse to use them, saying they threaten to exploit the traditional relationship between provider and patient.”
A new resource on the AAMC Careers in Medicine Web site is designed to help students determine their competitiveness in a specialty during the residency application process. “Characteristics of Entering Residents” provides information on board scores, research, volunteer and work experiences, and other relevant qualifications of first-year residents of the 2012–2013 academic year. Sixteen specialties are currently included, and more specialties and fellowships will be added over time.
An article in Thursday’s issue of the Wall Street Journal discussed a legal dispute between UCLA and Wake Forest concerning a colony of 410 vervet monkeys. The article used the financial dispute to assess the “cloudy future” of primate research.
The San Francisco Chronicle on Wednesday featured an article on San Francisco General Hospital’s use of Toyota’s management philosophy and its utility in managing fiscal constraints.
The Arizona Republic on Saturday reported, “Lisa Wynn, the years-long executive director of the Arizona Medical Board, was fired Saturday during a special board meeting.” The paper further reported, “The vote followed a detailed report released Wednesday by the Arizona Ombudsman-Citizens’ Aide that found the state Medical Board’s staff has violated an array of rules and statutes involving the way doctors’ credentials are investigated when they apply for licenses or renewals.”
Reuters on Thursday speculated on the possible retirement of Dr. Janet Woodcock, the director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. The article highlighted her contributions to the FDA. A side-bar article discussed possible successors.
Jerod M. Loeb, Ph.D., Executive Vice President for Healthcare Quality and Evaluation at the Joint Commission, died last week. Dr. Loeb, a physiologist, was an associate vice president for science, technology and public health at the American Medical Association earlier in his career.
Monday’s Washington Post featured an article on the performance and style of Dr. John Kitzhaber, an emergency room physician, now serving his third term as governor of Oregon. The terms have not been not consecutive. The article reported, “Observers who recall Kitzhaber’s bumpy first two terms in office barely recognize the collegial, calmer, happier person they see now.”
Todd P. Margolis, MD, PhD, has been named head of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He will also become ophthalmologist-in-chief at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Dr. Margolis joins Washington University from the University of California, San Francisco, where he is a professor of ophthalmology and the Rose B. Williams Chair for Research in Corneal Diseases.
A page one story in Sunday’s Washington Post reported on the Children’s National Medical Center’s Asthma Clinic, “the only ER in the country that tries to do what other doctors do not: teach families how to manage the chronic condition with medication so they can avoid terrifying and costly trips to the ER.” A page one article the same day in the New York Times focused on the soaring costs of asthma medication. The article also compared the high prices of asthma medications in the U.S. compared to much lower prices for the same medication in Europe.
The current issue of Academic Medicine features a paper, “Managing Conflicts of Interest in Clinical Care: The Race to the Middle at U.S. Medical Schools,” from faculty associated with the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP). The paper concluded, “Schools have made great progress toward national standards, yet room for improvement remains: The data reveal not a race to the top but a shift from the bottom to the middle. Follow-up research should explore whether stronger policies emerge in the future.” IMAP on Friday launched a new Conflict of Interest Policy Database “that houses policies from medical schools across the country. The publicly accessible database allows anyone to search a school’s policy, compare it with other institutions, and learn best practices.”
The CBS program 60 Minutes on Sunday broadcast a segment on Jack Andraka, a 15-year-old student who won the grand prize at the Intel International Science Fair. His project, an effort to develop an early diagnostic test for pancreatic cancer, has drawn both academic and industry interest.
The Pittsburgh Tribune Review on Sunday published an investigative report concerning alleged privacy breeches involving the Department of Veterans Affairs. According to the article, “A two-month Tribune-Review investigation found VA workers or contractors committed 14,215 privacy violations at 167 facilities from 2010 through May 31, victimizing at least 101,018 veterans and 551 VA employees.”
An article posted last week by PLoS Medicine is titled, “Completeness of Reporting of Patient-Relevant Clinical Trial Outcomes: Comparison of Unpublished Clinical Study Reports with Publicly Available Data.” The authors concluded, “In contrast to CSRs [Clinical Study Reports], publicly available sources provide insufficient information on patient-relevant outcomes of clinical trials. CSRs should therefore be made publicly available.”
Groundbreaking ceremonies will be held on Tuesday for the new $375 million Buffalo Medical Campus of the University at Buffalo Medical School.
Monday’s issue of the Las Vegas Review Journal included an essay by Dr. Michael Harter, senior provost and chief executive officer of Touro University’s Western Division. He urged the funding of new GME slots rather than new medical schools. He also proposed that the LCME require “…start-up medical schools to provide documentation of adequate financial reserves to maintain this medical education program in the event of unexpected revenue losses. In layman’s terms, this means a new medical school would need to have millions set aside in a separate account in case the program fails and is required to arrange for enrolled students to transfer elsewhere to complete their medical education.” Touro’s western division includes osteopathic schools not accredited by the LCME. Dr. Harter is silent on whether new school’s accredited by the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) should be subject to the same reserve account requirements.
Agence France-Presse posted an article on Monday reporting, “Hundreds of US colleges and universities have created incubators, aiming to provide a different kind of educational experience, and a chance for a successful company.” The article further reported, “According to the National Business Incubation Association, a third of the 1,195 incubation programs in North America had a college or university as their primary sponsor in 2012, compared with 20 percent in 2006.”
Dr. Etta Pisano, Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine and a noted radiologist, on Wednesday was awarded the Dr. Helen Taussig Living Legacy Award by the National Women’s History Museum. Dr. Taussig, who died in 1986, was the founder of the field of pediatric cardiology and a long-time faculty member at Johns Hopkins.
Paul J. Kenny, PhD, has been named Chairman of the Dorothy H. and Lewis Rosenstiel Department of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics, and Ward-Coleman Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He succeeds Ravi Iyengar, PhD, who has chaired the department for the past 15 years. Dr. Kenny joins Mount Sinai from Scripps Research Institute, Jupiter, Florida, where he was an Associate Professor.
Erin S. DuPree, M.D., has been appointed chief medical officer and vice president of the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare. Dr. DuPree joins the Center from The Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York City, where she was chief medical officer and senior vice president for medical affairs.
NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center has appointed two new chiefs at its Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. Dr. James J. Riviello Jr. has been named chief of child neurology, and Dr. Steven Stylianos has been named chief of pediatric surgery and surgeon-in-chief. Both also join the faculty at Columbia University Medical Center. Most recently, Dr. Riviello was director of the pediatric neurology division and professor of neurology and pediatrics at the NYU School of Medicine. Dr. Stylianos most recently was chief of the pediatric surgery division and associate surgeon-in-chief at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, North Shore-LIJ Health System, and professor of surgery and pediatrics at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine.
NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center has appointed Dr. Felice Schnoll-Sussman director of its Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health. Dr. Schnoll-Sussman has served as the center’s director of research since 2007 and acting director since 2012.
James Abbruzzese, M.D., has been named chief of the Division of Medical Oncology and associate director for clinical research at the Duke Cancer Institute. Dr. Abbruzzese, currently chairman of the Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology and Digestive Diseases at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, will assume his new roles at Duke on Nov. 11, 2013.
P. Michael Conn, Ph.D., has been named the senior vice president for research and associate provost of the Texas Tech University Health Science Center. Dr. Conn will also serve as a professor in the School of Medicine’s Department of Internal Medicine, with a joint appointment in the Department of Cell Biology and Biochemistry. He joins TTUHSC from the Oregon Health and Science University where he currently serves as the director of research advocacy and professor of physiology and pharmacology, obstetrics and gynecology and cell biology and development. In addition, he serves as senior scientist of the Oregon National Primate Research Center.
Kent Hance, J.D., has announced he will retire next year as chancellor of the Texas Tech University System. Mr. Hance, a former congressman, has been chancellor of the Tec