The current issue of AAMC News and Leadership Announcements is now available:
Ann Arbor police on Thursday announced the arrest of three people in the July murder of Paul DeWolf, a University of Michigan medical school student and Air Force Second Lieutenant. According to the police statement, “No other suspects are believed to be outstanding. There does not appear to be any previous affiliation between the suspects and Paul DeWolf nor any connection with the University of Michigan or the U.S. Air Force.” The Ann Arbor News this afternoon reported, “DeWolf’s death appears to have been the result of a home invasion gone wrong.”
NIH on Thursday announced, “NIH is pleased to inform the community that we have been able to reschedule the peer review of applications that were originally due for review during or immediately following the lapse in appropriations in October 2013 such that those applications will still go to the January Council.” More than 200 review meetings were canceled due to the government shutdown.
The Syracuse Post-Register reported on Thursday night that SUNY Upstate President Dr. David R. Smith is resigning. SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher on Tuesday named Dr. Gregory L. Eastwood officer-in-charge of SUNY Upstate Medical University, effective immediately. Dr. Eastwood previously served as president of Upstate from 1993-2006. Dr. Smith was been placed on leave. A letter from Dr. Zimpher to Dr. Smith has been posted by the Albany Times Mirror. The letter said that Dr. Smith is under review for allegedly receiving unapproved compensation. The paper reported, “Penn State trustees were close to announcing that Smith would be the next president at the home of the Nittany Lions, according to the people familiar with the search. Instead, the public announcement planned for last Friday was canceled after questions about Smith’s compensation in New York arose.”
The AAMC has posted for comment a new resource, “Core Entrustable Professional Activities for Entering Residency.” The panel that drafted the posting was asked, “To delineate those professional activities that all entering residents should be expected to perform on day one of residency without direct supervision, regardless of specialty.” The posting on MedEdPORTAL’s iCollaborative is a penultimate draft of the resulting set of core competencies.
Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, and Dean, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, announced on his blog site on Thursday a number of steps to reduce costs and maximize resources, including revealing that the school is reducing the number of matriculating medical and graduate students by about 10 percent. Dr. Balser wrote, “…our central focus is to train the extraordinary clinicians and scientists who will become leaders. As such, the individuals we train are a precious national resource. Our priority must be quality, not quantity. So in many cases we are capping the number of trainees in our residency and fellowship programs to assure we can continue to provide the meaningful research and scholarship training experiences that are signatures of the nation’s leading clinical training programs. And we are reducing our M.D. and Ph.D. matriculating classes by approximately 10 percent…these modest adjustments will assure we can provide unparalleled student mentoring by a faculty committed to hands-on engagement with students, even as they treat ever-larger numbers of patients, and write ever-larger numbers of applications for research funding.”
Physician workforce proposals that rely exclusively on implementing new models of care or changing the distribution of medical specialties to address shortages are likely to fall short in meeting the health care needs of a growing, aging population unless the number of physicians is increased, according to a new article published in the November issue of Health Affairs. “Health care workforce projections have been notoriously unreliable because they are often based upon idealized future delivery systems rather than current utilization trends,” write authors Dr. Atul Grover, M.D., Ph.D., chief public policy officer of the AAMC and Lidia Niecko-Najjum, J.D., R.N., AAMC senior research and policy analyst.
The focus of the November issue of Health Affairs is “Redesigning The Health Care Workforce.” In addition to the article mentioned above, the issue features many other articles of possible interest on workforce and related medical education issues.
Tuesday’s Cincinnati Enquirer featured an important essay on academic medical centers and urban health disparities. Dr. Santa J. Ono, president of the University of Cincinnati and a professor of pediatrics in the College of Medicine and Dr. Greer Glazer, dean of the UC College of Nursing and associate vice president of health affairs, wrote, “In academic medicine, we chart the credentials of our staff and the test scores of our students. We tout the wizardry of the medical technology we bring to bear on exotic maladies. But too often we lose sight of the fact that the ultimate test of an academic medical center isn’t what’s inside the building, it’s what’s outside. If we are improving the health of the communities we serve, then we are truly succeeding. By that score, we are falling short.” Drs. Ono and Glazer concluded, “No child should be 88 times more likely to be sick because he or she comes from a poor neighborhood. Yet, ignoring the urban health disparity is a common response. A medical school that lowers the incidence of asthma hospitalizations – or for that matter heart attack and stroke deaths – in the city it serves gets precisely zero ranking points from U.S. News and World Report for its triumphs. We need policy makers, prospective students, the public at large and our peer institutions to see the bigger picture and to work with us. Because collaborating in the quest for health equity – to prevent the preventable – is the best medicine.”
The NIH has rejected a “march-in” petition filed by several public interest groups and others regarding the Norvir HIV medication sold by AbbVie, which was spun off by Abbott last year. The drug was developed with federal funds and is significantly more expensive in the United States compared with other countries. The Bayh-Dole Act allows NIH to “march-in” under certain circumstances to advance the public’s interests, but has never done so.
Dr. Sally Rockey, deputy director of NIH for extramural research, has posted data concerning the average R01 project period length each year from 1999 to 2012. She reported, “…the length of R01s actually has increased slightly over this period and is currently closer to an average of 4.5 years.” She also posted data showing that “…slightly over half of R01 awards are 5 year awards and this has been quite constant since 2005.”
The updated 2013 “Medical Student Education: Debt, Costs, and Loan Repayment Facts,” card is now available. Also known as the “Debt Fact Card,” it contains student loan indebtedness figures for the Class of 2013, sample repayment data, and information on tuition/fees and resident stipends. The card is regularly updated and available from the AAMC Financial Information, Resources, Services, and Tools web site. A 2013 medical school graduate has a median level of indebtedness by $175,000. Seven percent of medical school graduates have debt of more than $300,000.
The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday announced the publication of a Federal Register notice with its preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the major dietary source of trans fat in processed food, are no longer “generally recognized as safe,” or GRAS, for short. The FDA said, “If this preliminary determination is finalized, then PHOs would become food additives subject to premarket approval by FDA. Foods containing unapproved food additives are considered adulterated under U.S. law, meaning they cannot legally be sold. If FDA determines that PHOs are not GRAS, it could, in effect, mean the end of artificial, industrially-produced trans fat in foods, says Dennis M. Keefe, Ph.D., director of FDA’s Office of Food Additive Safety.” The FDA is soliciting comments “on how such an action would impact small businesses and how to ensure a smooth transition if a final determination is issued.”
Mike Duggan, the former CEO of Detroit Medical Center, was elected mayor of Detroit on Tuesday.
The Las Vegas Sun reported on Tuesday, the presidents of the University of Nevada, Reno and University of Nevada, Las Vegas “are close to signing a preliminary partnership agreement that could lead to a school in Southern Nevada that would mint medical doctors…The agreement, or memorandum of understanding, outlines a vision for UNR and UNLV to work together to create a UNLV medical school that would open in the next several years and eventually become independent…”
Modern Healthcare reported on Wednesday, “Tony Trenkle, the laconic federal official who was both the CMS’ point man on the $16.6 billion electronic health-record incentive payment program and its technology leader during the launch of the troubled HealthCare.gov, will be stepping down as the agency’s chief information officer and its director of information services to work in the private sector…The announcement of his exit came Wednesday in an e-mail to staff from CMS Chief Operating Officer Michelle Snyder. It named Dave Nelson, currently director of the office of enterprise management, as acting CIO. Trenkle’s last day at the CMS will be Nov. 15. Trenkle’s new position was not announced.”
The text of the AAMC Chair’s Address, delivered by Dr. Valerie Williams on November 2 at the AAMC Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, is now available on-line.
The AAMC’s 2013 State Physician Workforce Data Book is now available. While there were small increases in the median number of active physicians and median number of students enrolled in medical school by state —relative to the U.S. population between 2008 and 2012— the number of students enrolled in graduate medical education per 100,000 people has remained flat. The 2013 State Physician Workforce Data Book includes data by state for physician supply, undergraduate and graduate medical education, and in-state retention rates, as well as interactive summaries for each state.
The New York Times Magazine on Sunday featured a story asserting, “The crusade to sign up Americans is getting all the attention. But behind the scenes, investors are seeing dollar signs.” The article highlighted the activities of Tom Scully, a former director of CMS. He is involved with a firm seeking to promote and profit from better-coordinated post-acute care.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, “The medical-device industry, struggling to adapt to a thriftier health-care system, is getting squeezed by a venture-capital drought. Investment in the medical-device and equipment industry is on pace to fall to $2.14 billion this year, down more than 40% from 2007 and the sharpest drop among the top five industry recipients of venture funding, according to an analysis of data compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association. Venture money received by the biotechnology sector declined 28% over the same period, while software startups recorded a 75% increase.”
The NIH Sequester Fact Sheet has been updated. NIH now reports that 640 fewer competitive research project grants were awarded due to the sequester.
A new AAMC Analysis in Brief examines “whether U.S. health care providers ask about their patients’ military service and presents data on health care access for the nation’s military personnel and veterans.” According to the report, “Results suggest that as those who have served in the military move into the private sector health care system, their military status may be increasingly under-identified, and current and former military personnel relying on private health care insurance may be indistinguishable from other patients in private health care settings. The findings may encourage medical educators in U.S. medical schools and teaching hospitals, where many current and former military service personnel receive their care, to introduce curricular or clinical experiences in medical training that address this issue.”
The University of Utah Health Sciences Center’s web page includes numerous interesting resources related to their “Algorithms for Innovation” initiative. The initiatives are searching for solutions to “impossible problems.” The site also features numerous blog entries and interviews with attendees at the 2013 AAMC Annual Meeting.
T. Denny Sanford, a businessman and philanthropist, has committed $100 million to the creation of the Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center at the University of California, San Diego. According to the announcement, “The Sanford Center will integrate operations at four locations: the UC San Diego Jacobs Medical Center and a nearby proposed clinical space, both scheduled to open in 2016; the UC San Diego Center for Advanced Laboratory Medicine (CALM); and the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine (SCRM). It will provide essential physical and human resources needed to leverage stem cell research currently being conducted at the Sanford Consortium – an innovative “collaboratory” of San Diego scientists from UC San Diego, the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, The Scripps Research Institute and the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology – and other institutions on and around the Torrey Pines mesa, such as the J. Craig Venter Institute.”
Investor Richard Rogel and Susan Rogel have made a $50 million gift to the University of Michigan. The gift — $30 million for scholarships at the U-M Medical School and $10 million in support for faculty, students and programs at the Center for Chinese Studies in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, plus $10 million for future university initiatives – helps kick off a new development campaign at the school.
The research community is invited to provide input to the VA/Veterans Health Administration Office of Research and Development as they initiate a strategic planning process for FY 2015.
UCLA has launched the first university-based military medicine center on the West Coast, thanks to a generous donation from two sons in honor of their father. The Ronald A. Katz Center for Collaborative Military Medicine at UCLA, established by an initial $2 million gift from Todd and Randy Katz and their families, “will work with the U.S. military to address the unique challenges of healing and caring for the nation’s most critically wounded warriors.”
Crain’s Chicago Business this week reported, “The health care system anchored by Northwestern Memorial Hospital is paying nearly a quarter of a billion dollars as part of the deal to acquire the powerful doctors group of Northwestern University, which is likely one of the highest prices ever paid for a physician practice. Northwestern Memorial HealthCare is paying the tidy sum of $230.5 million upfront, plus annual payments totaling at least $118.5 million through 2016, to acquire Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation, a 900-doctor practice loaded with specialists, according to a filing submitted last week to investors who own bonds issued by the Streeterville-based hospital network.” Northwestern Memorial CEO Dean Harrison and Dr. Eric Neilson, CEO of NMFF and dean of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, announced the deal in March and it was completed on Sept. 1. The financial terms had previously had not been disclosed.
Dr. Joanne Conroy, AAMC Chief Health Care Officer, authored an essay this week on the Wing of Zock transformation blog site on teaching hospitals and bundled payments. She provides specific recommendations on what teaching hospitals and faculty can do to get ready for the change.
The Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine program is now accepting applications for its 2014-2015 class through their online application process. This presents a great opportunity for institutions to sponsor a talented woman leader in a fellowship that both strengthens her leadership skills and in turn her institution’s capacity for innovation. Since 1995, ELAM has enrolled nearly 800 women leaders in academic medicine, dentistry, and public health. More than 50 percent of them currently hold senior administrative positions ranging from department chair to dean, center director to provost and president, at more than 180 institutions of higher education and health care in the United States and Canada. Applications are due by January 16, 2014.
The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation is inviting applications for its fourth class of Macy Faculty Scholars. The program is designed to identify and nurture the careers of promising educational innovators in medicine and nursing. With support from the Macy Foundation, scholars “will implement new educational innovations at their home institutions and participate in career development activities.” In addition to $200,000 salary support over 2 years, chosen scholars also will receive opportunities for further career development through national meetings and participation in Macy Foundation activities. The deadline for applications is February 26, 2014. The Foundation is also hosting an informational webinar for potential applicants on January 7.
The Economic Development Administration of the Department of Commerce issued a new report this week, “Higher Education, Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Focus.” The report asserts, “Faculty and doctoral graduate students conduct the research powering many of the innovations that spawn high-growth startups. However, even at our nation’s most entrepreneurial universities, many faculty and graduate students do not always consider the market and societal relevance of their research. To address this issue, universities are putting in place a series of policy changes to encourage more faculty entrepreneurship, which in turn will complement the student entrepreneurship. These changes include greater recognition of faculty entrepreneurs, integrating entrepreneurship into the faculty tenure and selection process, and increasing faculty connections to outside partners – through externships, engagement with business, and targeted resources for startup creation.”
The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported on Thursday, “UPMC saw growth in three key areas — patient volume, health plan membership and core operating earnings — during the first quarter of the current fiscal year.” The system reported a 1.9 percent operating margin.
Joseph Woo, MD, has been appointed chair of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He will start Jan. 1. Philip Oyer, MD, the Roy B. Cohn-Theodore A. Falasco Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery, has been acting as interim department chair since the former chair, Robert Robbins, MD, left Stanford a year ago to head up the Texas Medical Center in Houston. Dr. Woo is currently a professor of surgery at the University of Pennsylvania, where he has been on the faculty since 2002 and directs the Minimally Invasive and Robotic Cardiac Surgery Program and the Cardiac Transplantation and Mechanical Circulatory Support Program.
The University of Oklahoma has established a new Department of Medical Informatics within the OU School of Community Medicine. David Kendrick, M.D., has been named the first Chair of the new Department. He has been serving as Director of Medical Informatics since its inception at the OU School of Community Medicine. Dr. Kendrick is a Clinical Associate Professor in the departments of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and holds the George Kaiser Family Foundation Chair in Community Medicine. Additionally, he serves the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center as Associate Vice Provost for Strategic Planning.
Sheila M. Crow, PhD, has been named Assistant Dean for curriculum and faculty affairs and the George Kaiser family foundation chair medical education at the University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine. She has been at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine for more than 20 years.
Martina Jelley, M.D., MSPH, FACP, Vice Chair for Research and Vice Chair of Clinical Quality in the Department of Internal Medicine at the OU School of Community Medicine, has been appointed Interim Chair for the OU School of Community Medicine’s Department of Internal Medicine. Dr. Jelley has more than 20 years of service to the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine.
Western Michigan University School of Medicine (WMed) has announced the appointment of Cheryl A. Dickson, MD, MPH, as its new associate dean for health equity and community affairs. She is also an associate professor in the department of pediatric and adolescent medicine.
Dr. Klara Papp has been appointed as associate dean for assessment and program evaluation in the Office of Medical Education at Penn State College of Medicine. She joins the College of Medicine after serving as the associate dean for assessment at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.
The Kansas City Star reported on Tuesday, “Cardiologist E. Grey Dimond, founder of the School of Medicine at University of Missouri-Kansas City, died Sunday evening at his home at age 94.”
And finally…A new video posted by students associated with the UCSD Neuro Program is targeted to those who “Are Up All Night To Get Data.” You know who you are.
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PPS: Registration is now open for the 2013 AAMC Annual Meeting, November 1-6, in Philadelphia.