AAMC News and Leadership Announcements, 2013 Dec. 24

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

Roseman University of Health Sciences has named Mark A. Penn, MD, MBA, as founding dean of the university’s planned allopathic College of Medicine, currently in development at its Summerlin (Nevada) Campus. Dr. Penn earlier served in a number of leadership positions at the Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED). The school hopes to start in the fall of 2017 with a class of 60 students. The LCME currently does not list Roseman as an Applicant or Candidate school.

HHS on Monday announced, “Doctors, hospitals and other health care providers have formed 123 new Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) in Medicare, providing approximately 1.5 million more Medicare beneficiaries with access to high-quality coordinated care across the United States.” The ACO’s will participate in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP).

The Nashville Tennessean reported last week, “The layoffs at Vanderbilt University Medical Center are officially over and the final tally was smaller than officials had previously feared, according to Jeffrey Balser, the head of Vanderbilt University’s Medical Center.” The personnel cuts were accompanied by other spending reductions, a cap on residency and fellowship slots, and reductions in the number of matriculating medical and graduate students. According to the article, Dr. Balser “has repeatedly said that there were four main reasons that academic medical centers were facing major budget cuts: the price pressure of caring for an aging population, lower reimbursement rates from insurers and the federal government, Tennessee’s choice not to expand the Medicaid program and reductions in available federal research grant money.”

The Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research has posted updated data tables of NIH Funding to US Medical Schools, which now cover fiscal years 2006-2013. The data contained in the tables were obtained from the NIH’s Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool (RePORT). Recent year tables exclude R & D contracts and ARRA awards. Other limitations and details about the data are explicitly stated and should be reviewed prior to use. Robert Roskoski, Jr., MD, PhD., BRIMR’s scientific director. He is the former chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center.

The journal Public Health Reports has published a new supplement, “Nursing in 3D: Workforce Diversity, Health Disparities, Social Determinants of Health.” Included in the set is an article, “Workforce Diversity and Community-Responsive Health-Care Institutions” by Marc A. Nivet, EdD, and Anne Berlin, MA, of the AAMC staff.

A viewpoint column in the new issue of JAMA is titled, “The Quest Toward Unsupervised Practice Promoting Autonomy, Not Independence.” Daniel J. Schumacher, MD, MEd; Corinne Bria, MD; and John G. Frohna, MD, MPH, write, “The ultimate goal of graduate medical education has often been described as supporting learners in the pursuit of independent practice. To achieve this goal, learners and supervisors attempt to balance autonomy vs supervision, defining autonomy as allowing a learner to make decisions in the absence of a supervisor, and supervision as ensuring that ultimate care decisions are in the control of a more experienced physician. These definitions are not only outmoded but perhaps were never correct. Instead, training must prepare learners for unsupervised practice, in which they interact with others (not act independently) and are afforded appropriate autonomy and levels of supervision during training.”

The weekend issue of the Wall Street Journal featured a story titled, “For the Mentally Ill, Finding Treatment Grows Harder.” According to the article, an HHS “report to Congress earlier this year said 55% of the nation’s 3,100 counties have no practicing psychiatrists, psychologists or social workers, a combination of budget cuts and doctors leaving the profession… Such shortages are expected to only grow now, as the federal health-care law goes into effect and allows more people to seek help.”

Dr. Atul Grover, AAMC chief public policy officer, discussed the causes of the nation’s doctor shortage last week on a local NPR news program. An article on the interview has been posted, along with an audio recording of the program.

Tuesday’s Cleveland Plain Dealer featured an article on a new panel formed by the United Network for Organ Sharing “to develop national standards and policies for face and hand transplants, known collectively as vascular composite allografts, or VCAs.” Dr. Sue McDiarmid, medical director of the hand transplant program at UCLA, will chair the panel.

Wright State University’s Boonshoft School of Medicine has announced an agreement with Unaizah College of Medicine of Qassim University, Saudi Arabia. According to the announcement, “Unaizah College of Medicine will become the first medical school in Saudi Arabia to offer an American-style medical education, granting the M.D. degree. Until now, Saudi medical schools have granted a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, or MBBS degree.” The announcement further reported, “The program will begin in September 2014, when 100 students who have successfully completed a pre-health professions program at Qassim University will enter Unaizah College of Medicine to complete a one-year program of course work that mirrors the first-year medical education program at the Boonshoft School of Medicine. Upon successful completion of the year, 60 students will be selected to continue with the remaining years of the program, which is modeled on the program at the Boonshoft School of Medicine.”

Gallup has partnered with Purdue University “to build and conduct the largest representative study of college graduates in U.S. history. The Gallup-Purdue Index will measure the most important outcomes of higher education – great careers and lives that matter – and provide higher education leaders with productive insights for meaningful performance improvements. The initiative aims to create a national movement toward a new set of measures, created by and for higher education, and to help foster a new level of accountability for the sector.” According to a joint press release, “The Gallup-Purdue Index provides a definitive measure of how college graduates are doing on five key dimensions of well-being: purpose, social, physical, financial, and community.” Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education, said, “The Gallup-Purdue Index is a promising new addition in the continuing efforts to advance the understanding of the benefits of higher education.”

Inside Higher Ed reported on Monday, “After four years of legal battles, a hearing-impaired student has won the court order he sought to force Creighton University’s medical school to provide specific accommodations that he says will allow him to succeed academically. U.S. District Judge Laurie Smith Camp on Friday ordered Creighton to provide Michael S. Argenyi with Communication Access Real-time Transcription (CART) and sign-supported oral interpreters. The CART service creates transcripts that one can read on a computer. Angenyi does not know American Sign Language, but has used these other methods to succeed academically.”

The NIH last week issued funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) for the “NIH Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Initiative,” and the “NIH National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN).” NIH issued a separate FOA for a related NIH Coordination and Evaluation Center.

A new study in JAMA Internal Medicine found “Between 1995 and 2006, the frequency of preoperative consultation for cataract surgery increased substantially. Referrals for consultation seem to be primarily driven by nonmedical factors, with substantial geographic variation.” Dr. Lee Fleisher, chair of the Dept. of Anesthesiology and Critical Care in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, in a related commentary, says that the ideal scenario is better communication between the anesthesiologist, when involved, surgeon, internist and other primary care provider in defining the population in need of preoperative testing to avoid unnecessary, high-cost, low-value care. Dr. Fleisher suggests that payment reform may ultimately lead to more appropriate use of consultation and testing and that it “will be important for physicians, armed with this information about current practice patterns, to take the lead in choosing wisely with respect to which patients require a consultation and test before external forces do it for us.”

An article posted by The Atlantic last week was titled, “The Budget Deal: An Okay End to a Very Bad Year for Medical Research.” The article reported, “Congress’s spending bill offers some relief to the National Institutes of Health, but Francis Collins says lawmakers are still scrimping on essential science.”

President Obama on Monday named 102 researchers as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, “the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.” The Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President coordinates the awards program, which was established by President Clinton in 1996. Awardees are selected “for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach.”

The new issue of The Physiologist, published by the American Physiological Society, features an article, “Moving from Trainee to Junior Faculty: A Brief Guide.” The article was written by Dr. D. E. Kohan, professor of medicine and pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of Utah.

A study published in the new issue of Current Biology found that “Eighty per cent of scientific data are lost within two decades…” According to a summary of the study, researchers “attempted to collect original research data from a random set of 516 studies published between 1991 and 2011. They found that while all datasets were available two years after publication, the odds of obtaining the underlying data dropped by 17 per cent per year after that.” Old e-mail addresses and obsolete storage devices were cited as part of the problem.

After 12 years in office, Michael Bloomberg steps down as mayor of New York City on December 31. An Associated Press article published on Sunday reported on the rich public health legacy he leaves behind.

An article in Saturday’s San Diego Union Tribune profiled Dr. George Koob, the incoming director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Gary C. Butts, MD, has been named Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the Mount Sinai Health System and Senior Associate Dean for Diversity Programs, Policy and Community Affairs for the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Butts holds appointments as professor in the departments of pediatrics, medical education, and preventive medicine at the school.

The 2014 AAALAC International Conference will be held on April 1, 2014 in Denver in conjunction with PRIM&R’s 2014 IACUC Conference. The PRIM&R conference will take place on April 2-3 (pre-conference programs on March 31. AAALAC’s conference is held once every five years. AAALAC International promotes the humane treatment of animals in science through voluntary accreditation and assessment programs.

An Albuquerque NPR station last week featured a story on “Get Covered New Mexico,” an app developed by an interdisciplinary team of physician residents from the University of New Mexico, students at the Anderson School of Management, and the Center on Law and Poverty. The app “can aid folks in calculating what they’re eligible for. It links directly to websites people can use to apply for Medicaid and the health care exchange. It also points the way to the nearest physical location to apply for services in-person. And it works entirely on your cell phone.”

The New York Times science section on Tuesday featured a review of “Gynecology’s Gender Question.”

A new letter report from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), issued December 18th, focused on the potential of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and related technologies. The PCAST “recommends three key steps the Federal Government can take to derive maximum benefits from new education technologies: let market forces decide which innovations in online teaching and learning are best; encourage accrediting bodies to be flexible in response to educational innovation; and support research and the sharing of results on effective teaching and learning.”

A page one article in Sunday’s New York Times reported on the spike in cases of liver damage tied to dietary supplements. The article noted that under a federal law sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch in 1994, the FDA is prevented “from approving or evaluating most supplements before they are sold. Usually the agency must wait until consumers are harmed before officials can remove products from stores. Because the supplement industry operates on the honor system, studies show, the market has been flooded with products that are adulterated, mislabeled or packaged in dosages that have not been studied for safety.”

The Honolulu Star Advertiser and the Hawaii News Now reported on Friday that “The University of Hawaii said it’s developing a plan to ‘strengthen’ the Cancer Center under the continuing leadership of Dr. Michele Carbone as director…”

Mark R. Tolosky, JD, FACHE, will step down as president and CEO of Baystate Health on July 1, 2014. Mr. Tolosky has served as president and CEO of Baystate Health since 2004. The Baystate Health Board of Trustees has unanimously approved the appointment of Dr. Mark Keroack, to assume the role of president and chief executive officer of Baystate Health next year. As an interim step, on January 1, 2014, Dr. Keroack will become president and chief executive officer of Baystate Medical Center.

Randy Seeley, Ph.D., Director of the Cincinnati Diabetes and Obesity Center at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, has announced that he and his laboratory are moving to the University of Michigan.

Our colleagues at COSSA report, “Charles Rothwell has been appointed Director of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Rothwell has been Acting Director since Ed Sondik retired in April. Before taking over NCHS, Rothwell directed its Division of Vital Statistics and led a national effort to speed up mortality reporting using new automated systems that allow for real time surveillance.”

In a column titled, “The Most Memorable Words of 2013,” in Friday’s Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan wrote, “There are also the words this year that were most conspicuous by their absence. They’re the words we don’t use when we talk about health care. Actually we don’t talk much about health care, we talk about health insurance. Fox News’s Jim Pinkerton says the absent words in the ongoing debate are ‘medicine,’ ‘research’ and ‘cure.’ Do you want to make a dent in future health-care costs? Cure Alzheimer’s. That’s where the cost will be as the health of the baby boomers falters. Insurance isn’t the key. It was never the key. It’s a product. Cure and care are the words of the future.”

Happy Holidays!

Tony Mazzaschi

P.S. CFAS-Mail is a service of the AAMC Council of Faculty and Academic Societies. The Council is composed of two representatives from each US and Canadian medical school and two representatives from member academic societies and is the voice of faculty in AAMC’s leadership structure.

P.S.S. To be added to the distribution list for these listserve messages, e-mail a request to CFAS@AAMC.ORG.


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