The current issue of AAMC News and Leadership Announcements is now available:
UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann on Tuesday announced that she will step down as Chancellor on March 31, 2014 and will become the CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on May 1, 2014. She has been at UCSF for the past five years.
The AAMC has selected 13 winners of Learning Health System Challenge and Planning Awards, which recognize innovations in medical education, care delivery, research, and diversity and inclusion. The awardees represent institutions that have implemented innovations to (or are planning to enhance their capacity to innovate) system-wide processes that improve the opportunity for research within key research areas (quality improvement, health equity, and research using data from electronic health records).
On Tuesday, GlaxoSmithKline announced it will no longer pay doctors to promote its products and will stop tying compensation of sales representatives to the number of prescriptions physicians write.
In a commentary in The Guardian newspaper last week, Dr. Randy Scheckman was highly critical of what he called “luxury journals.” He wrote that science “…is disfigured by inappropriate incentives. The prevailing structures of personal reputation and career advancement mean the biggest rewards often follow the flashiest work, not the best.” Critical of Science, Cell and Nature, Dr. Scheckman wrote, “These journals aggressively curate their brands, in ways more conducive to selling subscriptions than to stimulating the most important research. Like fashion designers who create limited-edition handbags or suits, they know scarcity stokes demand, so they artificially restrict the number of papers they accept. The exclusive brands are then marketed with a gimmick called ‘impact factor’…” He concluded, “…science must break the tyranny of the luxury journals. The result will be better research that better serves science and society.” Dr. Scheckman is a cell biologist at UC, Berkeley. He shared the 2013 Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology.
The Orlando Sentinel on Tuesday reported, “Ending a 23-year relationship with the world-renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Orlando Health announced [Monday] that it will end its affiliation, and no longer be MD Anderson Cancer Center-Orlando effective Jan. 30. The next day, it will officially become UF Health Cancer Center at Orlando Health, announced officials from Orlando Health and University of Florida Health.”
A research letter published in the new issue of JAMA Internal Medicine reports that less than 15 percent of internal medicine residency programs have a formal curriculum addressing the cost of care.
In an essay posted on the Wing of Zock blog site, Dr. Joanne Conroy, AAMC Chief Health Care Officer, discussed pay-for-performance programs. She wrote, “…there is an incredible amount of scientific evidence that says these types of incentives are ineffective and even demotivating for creative, conceptual, complex work.” She posed some important questions regarding the use of financial incentives in the health care sector.
In a new posting on Wing of Zock on Tuesday, Dr. James Lewis discusses, “‘Inextricably Intertwined:’ Income Streams in Academic Medicine.”
Dr. Gail Wilensky, a senior fellow at Project Hope and the former director of the HHS Health Care Financing Administration, has written a new article posted by Health Affairs, that reviews new Medicare physician payment strategies under consideration. Some of the models she discusses “would reimburse physicians to improve quality and lower costs – two things that the current system does not do.”
“Academic Medical Centers: Too Big to Fail” is the provocative title of an editorial in the new issue of Clinical and Translational Science. Written by Arthur M. Feldman, M.D., Ph.D.; Verdi J. DiSesa, M.D., M.B.A.; and Larry R. Kaiser, M.D., of Temple, the editorial argues that academic medical centers face “financial challenges that are unprecedented in the history of American medicine.” The authors write, “To put this in a perspective more likely to capture the attention of our fellow citizens and political leaders, we would make the argument that the current plight of the nation’s AMCs harkens back to the economic challenges that led to the near bankruptcy of the auto industry in 2008. Congress and the AMCs can learn some important lessons from that unprecedented event.”
A new study from Dr. Jeff Botkin of the University of Utah School of Medicine and colleagues reports on “public attitudes regarding access to EMRs and residual clinical biospecimens” based on “the results of 12 focus groups with 131 participants conducted in Utah, Washington, Arizona, and Minnesota.” According to the report, published in the new issue of the Journal of Community Genetics, “Results indicate strong support for biomedical and genetic research in general and clear support for improved patient education regarding research access to individual data and biospecimens. Our participants were supportive of an opt-out approach to patient decision-making regarding research access to clinical data and biospecimens for research in general.”
The Cancer Letter reported on December 13 that Thomas Burke has stepped down as EVP and physician-in-chief at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. He will serve as EVP of the MD Anderson Cancer Network. The newsletter further reported that Tom Buchholz, recently interim provost, was appointed to a reconfigured EVP and physician-in-chief position. Gerard Coleman, M.D., senior VP and chief of clinical operations is leaving the Houston institution on January 17. His responsibilities will be filled by Dr. Buchholz on an interim basis.
http://www.cancerletter.com (subscription required)
Two new webinars have been scheduled as part of the AAMC Diversity 3.0 Learning Series. The webinar “Charting a Course as a Clinician Investigator,” has been scheduled for January 30th, from 2-3 pm. A second webinar, “Navigating through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) Career Development Opportunities,” has been scheduled for February 13th, from 2-3 pm.
The business section of Sunday’s New York Times featured an “Economic View” commentary about the primary care shortage. The author discussed resident compensation and Medicare subsidies and concluded that to address the primary care shortage “…reshaping the physician work force through targeted subsidies for residents might be a good first step.”
http://tinyurl.com/mzoa6bp (subscription may be required)
Dr. Edward F. Jackson has been named chair of the Department of Medical Physics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Dr. Jackson joins UW from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he is professor and deputy department chair in the department of imaging physics and director of the medical physics graduate education program.
A lengthy article in Sunday’s New York Times explored “The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder.” The article reported, “The rise of A.D.H.D. diagnoses and prescriptions for stimulants over the years coincided with a remarkably successful two-decade campaign by pharmaceutical companies to publicize the syndrome and promote the pills to doctors, educators and parents. With the children’s market booming, the industry is now employing similar marketing techniques as it focuses on adult A.D.H.D., which could become even more profitable.” The article further reported, “The disorder is now the second most frequent long-term diagnosis made in children, narrowly trailing asthma, according to a New York Times analysis of C.D.C. data.”
http://tinyurl.com/q68wjbe (subscription may be required)
A new report in Science Translational Medicine discussed the “Stewardship Practices of U.S. Biobanks.” Based on a survey of 456 US biobank managers, the authors assert, “Biobanks now need guidance to fully articulate stewardship practices that ensure respect for contributors while facilitating research.”
On Saturday, the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents named Mark Hussey as the interim president of Texas A&M University. He will succeed R. Bowen Loftin. Dr. Hussey is the system’s vice chancellor and A&M’s dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
The American Public Radio program “Marketplace” on Friday featured a segment titled, “Why do big donors give away millions?” The segment highlighted the $50 million donation of former pharmaceutical company executive Dr. Roy Vagelos and his wife Diana for “the construction of a new graduate and medical education building for Columbia University Medical Center, that will bear their names.”
An article in Thursday’s Denver Business Journal reported, “University of Colorado Health will offer third-party administration service for companies’ self-funded health insurance plans beginning in 2014, becoming the first hospital system in the state to get into that business. The new division — UCHealth Plan Administrators — expects that it can enable companies of at least 75 workers that have not self-funded their coverage before to do so, thereby learning more about how their disease-management and other health plans are effective or ineffective, said Kathy Major, executive director and vice president of the effort.”
The Arnold P. Gold Foundation, a not-for-profit that works to promote healthcare that is as compassionate as it is clinically competent, sponsored a speech by Pulitzer prize winning author, Anna Quindlen, at this year’s AAMC Annual Meeting. The full text of the speech was posted on The Arnold P. Gold Foundation blog for the month of November. Back by popular demand, the speech has been posted again until the end of January 2014.
The 2014 LGBT Health Workforce Conference will be held May 1-3, 2014 in New York City, NY. The conference theme is “Engineering Institutions and Empowering Individuals To Better Serve LGBT Communities.” Workshop and poster presentation proposals are being accepted until January 15, 2014.
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