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CFAS News Current Edition


Macy Foundation Report on the Learning Environment; ACA Market Payments Halted; CFAS Rep Named UF Interim Dean; and Other Items of Interest

A new report from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation issues a series of recommendations outlining how to design and create optimal learning and work environments for students, educators, and practitioners. The report emerged from an April 2018 conference the foundation hosted “to identify the elements of optimal health professions learning environments and recommend actions needed to better align them with patient needs and societal goals for better health.”
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The Trump administration announced it would stop a government program under the Affordable Care Act that provides money to insurance companies as a “risk adjustment” to help stabilize insurance markets, reports the New York Times. The move is expected to make 2019 health insurance plan premiums significantly more expensive for individuals beginning this fall.
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Adrian Tyndall, MD, MPH, has been named interim dean of the UF College of Medicine, effective July 30. Dr. Tyndall is professor and chair of emergency medicine at the College of Medicine and physician in chief of emergency services for UF Health. Dr. Tyndall is a CFAS rep and had also recently been named a 2018-19 AAMC Council of Deans fellow.
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Agustin Rodriguez, MD, has been appointed interim dean of the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, effective July 4.

The Trump administration’s attempts to deter an international resolution promoting breastfeeding is stirring the ire of many medical organizations and public health experts, reported the New York Times. In a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, Donna Petersen, MHS, ScD, chair of the board of directors of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) and dean of the University of South Florida College of Public Health, and Sandro Galea, MD, chair-elect of the ASPPH board of directors and dean of Boston University School of Public Health, expressed dismay at the development.
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Even when considering efforts to boost diversity at the leadership level in medicine, the overwhelming number of department chairs and chiefs at top hospitals are white and male, reports the Boston Globe. The article notes that the problem is compounded by a pipeline that remains limited in diversity — and is notably more pronounced in Boston than in other parts of the country.
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“As institutions throw more effort and attention towards improving diversity, parallel efforts towards ensuring inclusion are trailing behind. The gulf between the two creates a work environment that is often unkind, undermining the very diversity of professional staffing that hospitals need and purport to value,” reported Scientific American in an article on diversity and inclusion in medical education. The author is Jennifer Tsai, a fourth-year medical student at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
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FierceHealthcare covered activity in Congress and the administration signaling that action might be coming soon in efforts to reform the 340B drug discount program.
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Rep. Doris Matsui of California contributed an op-ed published in The Hill in support of 340B, explaining why attacks on the discount drug program are not necessarily the “reforms” that their proponents say they are. “The benefits of this program are clear. Clinics in my district of Sacramento have shared story upon story with me about how this program has helped them serve their patients,” she writes.
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The AAMC, the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw a rule that would require all the science it would consider in rule-making to be publicly available for analysis. “While our Associations strongly support transparency, reproducibility, and open science, we have never suggested that scientific research lacks merit or value if the data, for legitimate reasons, cannot be made publicly available or reproduced,” wrote the associations.
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The Trump administration has no clear plan to reunite migrant families separated at the Southern border, and the prolonged absence of their parents could negatively affect the mental health of the children for the rest of their lives, reports the New York Times.
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NPR featured a piece describing the work of the medical clinics that help refugees fleeing from violence gain asylum in the United States.
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Despite efforts at schools such as Stanford, UNC, and others to boost medical school education in nutrition, the Washington Post covered the ongoing lack of training med students receive in this arena, and how it affects the health of their potential patients over time. The piece also mentioned that doctors themselves can play a role in modeling good eating behavior for their patients, similar to the transformation that occurred when doctors generally stopped smoking years ago.
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Clay Marsh, MD, vice president and executive dean for health sciences at West Virginia University, contributed an opinion piece to STAT on the deeper causes of West Virginia’s particularly severe opioid crisis and how to alleviate some of the chronic social stress that contributes to a poor health environment for so many West Virginians.
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The Trump administration’s escalating trade war with China could exacerbate the opioid crisis since China currently cooperates in controlling the flow of fentanyl into the United States, reported Kaiser Health News. However, if the tariffs become permanent on Chinese goods, “China could say ‘We are no longer going to cooperate with the United States on controlling these synthetic opioids,’” said Jeffrey Higgins, a former DEA supervisory special agent, quoted in the piece.
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Bernard Lo, MD, professor emeritus at UCSF, contributed a perspective to NEJM, “A Parallel Universe of Clinical Trials,” which explores the landscape of the clinical trials environment that led to the controversy surrounding a herpes simplex treatment at SIU and what may be “ongoing zealous attacks” on clinical trial standards. Researchers need to ensure they are taking steps to address patient need, he argues.
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Julie K. Wood, MD, MPH, senior vice president of health of the public and interprofessional activities, American Academy of Family Physicians, contributed an op-ed to Becker’s Hospital Review on the value of the NIH All of Us Research Program. “All of Us is committed to changing this so that no community is left behind. Family physicians are on the front lines of delivering care in every neighborhood across the nation. A diverse group of doctors serving diverse communities deserves medical treatments to match,” she writes. AAFP is a CFAS member society.
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Becker’s Clinical Leadership and Infection Control covered a study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, co-authored by Tait Shanafelt, MD, Colin P. West, MD, PhD, and Liselotte Dyrbye, MD, which showed that physicians experiencing burnout were more prone to making medical errors, and burnout may be to blame for more errors than unsafe workplace conditions. “If we are trying to maximize the safety and quality of medical care, we must address the factors in the work environment that lead to burnout among our healthcare providers,” said Dr. Shanafelt.
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Research originating from NYU School of Medicine, as reported in MD Magazine, shows that physicians employed in small, independent practices experience significantly lower levels of burnout than their colleagues in larger organizations.
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CNN covered news related to advances in an HIV vaccine in its coverage of a paper published in The Lancet last week.
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Veterans who receive cancer care from the VA will have easier access to clinical trials of novel cancer treatments through the NCI and VA Interagency Group to Accelerate Trials Enrollment (NAVIGATE). The program is a collaborative effort between the VA and NCI, and is launching at 12 VA facilities across the country, said an NIH press release.
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Roshini Pinto-Powell, MD, associate professor of medicine and medical education at Dartmouth College, wrote an op-ed in The Hill describing the need to reinforce the primary care pipeline.
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Issues of overtesting, misinformation, and misallocation of resources could possibly tip the scales against the net benefits of direct-to-consumer genetic testing, said a viewpoint in JAMA.
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Anthony A. James, PhD, professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine, wrote an opinion piece in STAT on the possibility of using “gene drives” to genetically reengineer problematic organisms such as mosquitoes. “Genetically engineering mosquitoes to stop the spread of malaria offers great promise in saving [hundreds of thousands of] lives, and could add an estimated $4 trillion to the global economy over the next 14 years,” he said, noting the need for caution in developing tools that could spread new genes through populations.
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Registration is open for the NIH Scientific Workforce Diversity Interactive Toolkit on July 30 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Eastern. NIH Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity Hannah Valantine, MD, will describe the NIH’s current approach and activities for inclusion in the U.S. scientific workforce.
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The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) announced several new appointments to its board of directors and council. M. Safwan Badr, MD, and Amy W. Williams, MD, join the board. Jeffrey S. Berns, MD, has been appointed council chair, and Bruce A. Leff, MD, is chair-elect. George M. Abraham, MD; Ashok Balasubramanyam, MD; and Asher A. Tulsky, MD, have been appointed members of the council.
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Lorraine Frazier, PhD, RN, has been appointed dean of the Columbia University School of Nursing, the Mary O’Neil Mundinger, DrPH Professor of Nursing, and senior vice president at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, effective Sept. 1. Dr. Frazier is professor and dean of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.
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Charles Taylor, PharmD, has been named provost and executive vice president of academic affairs at University of North Texas Health Science Center, effective Aug. 1. Dr. Taylor previously served as dean of the UNT System College of Pharmacy.
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Marina Kaufman Holz, PhD, has been appointed dean of the Graduate School of Basic Medical Sciences at New York Medical College, effective Sept. 1. Dr. Holz serves as the Doris and Dr. Ira Kukin Chair in Biology at the Stern College of Yeshiva University.
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Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine has established a new urology department. James C. Jensen, MD, has been appointed the inaugural chair of the department. Dr. Jensen serves as a professor and urologic oncologist at the School of Medicine and acting medical director of the Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center at Cabell Huntington Hospital.
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Allen M. Chen, MD, has been appointed chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine, effective Oct. 5. Dr. Chen is professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Kansas Health System.
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Sherree Wilson, PhD, has been named associate vice chancellor and associate dean for diversity and inclusion at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Her appointment begins Oct. 1.
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Kit Pogliano, PhD, has been appointed dean of UC San Diego’s Division of Biological Sciences, effective Sept. 15. Dr. Pogliano serves as a molecular biology professor and dean of UCSD’s Graduate Division.
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Laura Hutchins, MD, has been appointed interim director of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. Dr. Hutchins serves as a professor in the UAMS College of Medicine’s Division of Hematology/Oncology.
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Margot Kushel, MD, has been named director of the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations at Zuckerberg San Francisco General and Trauma Center. Dr. Kushel is a professor of medicine at the UCSF Division of General Internal Medicine.
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And finally, research out of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School suggests that a boost in testosterone appears to inspire men to appreciate the finer things a bit more, particularly when it comes to expensive doodads that denote higher status, such as premium clothing or fancy watches or sunglasses. The study came out of an effort from the school’s Neuroscience Initiative to “disentangle power from status,” reports Science Daily in a piece that also notes how animals like male peacocks through their plumage, and stags through their antlers, have biological cues that showcase status. So to boil it down, all that separates a human male from his brethren in the animal kingdom is purchasing power.
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Find more news items on AAMC's Research Clips page, and visit the CFAS Resources page for an archive of the previous four editions of CFAS News as well as our People of Academic Medicine page, which features a running list of academic promotions, appointments, and departures.

Your comments and news tips are always welcome. Please email them to Eric Weissman at eweissman@aamc.org.

Read the previous edition of CFAS News.

Eric Weissman
Senior Director, Faculty and Academic Society Engagement
AAMC
eweissman@aamc.org
www.aamc.org/members/cfas

Alex Bolt
CFAS Communications Specialist
AAMC
abolt@aamc.org

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