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CFAS News Current Edition


Hurricane Michael Aftermath; DOJ Approves CVS, Aetna Merger; Med School Leadership Appointments; and Other Items of Interest

Hospitals and other health care facilities have faced extreme challenges in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, which devastated portions of the Florida Panhandle. In its coverage, the New York Times reported on the shock many health care providers experienced by the abrupt destructive power of the storm and the ongoing difficulties they now face in treating existing and new patients.
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University of Florida Health released a statement outlining how it is assisting in providing relief to patients forced to evacuate Florida Panhandle hospitals after extensive damage from Hurricane Michael. At least 19 patients had been transported to UF Health Shands Hospital as of Thursday afternoon, with more expected. Additionally, UF Health ShandsCair helicopters have transported several patients out of the affected Panhandle area to other hospitals in Florida.
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In a brief alert, Florida State University announced its Panama City campus, which has some graduate programs related to health care, sustained damage and will remain closed until further notice. FSU advised students not to return to the Panama City campus or to the Panama City area.
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The Justice Department has given preliminary approval to CVS’ merger with Aetna, reported CNBC. The story notes CVS CEO Larry Merlo’s vision of creating “a new data-driven health-care model that’s more personal, convenient and tailored to individual patients than ever before.”
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J. Harry Isaacson, MD, has been appointed executive dean of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, and Neil Mehta, MBBS, has been appointed associate dean for curricular affairs at the Lerner College of Medicine. Dr. Isaacson has served as assistant dean for clinical education since 2010, and Dr. Mehta has been assistant dean for education informatics and technology since 2015.
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Mark B. Taubman, MD, has been appointed to a new term as dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Rochester, effective July 1, 2019. Taubman will continue his joint responsibilities as university senior vice president for health sciences and CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and UR Medicine, the university’s health care network.
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The percentage of children under 2 years old who haven’t been vaccinated has quadrupled since 2001, according to CDC data reported on by the Washington Post. The piece notes that the causes are unclear and may be in part due to lack of access to adequate health care and also belief among parents that vaccines are unproven or present health risks.
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Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., wrote to the CDC requesting an investigation into a national uptick of acute flaccid myelitis infections among children after the rare, polio-like condition infected six children in Minnesota since mid-September. Becker’s Clinical Leadership and Infection Control covered the news.
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The 2016-17 flu season resulted in an estimated 600,000 hospitalizations in the United States, but fewer than half of Americans get the flu vaccine, mostly because they don’t think it’s necessary, reported the Washington Post.
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Fewer black men entering medicine as physicians have a broad potential public health impact, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, in large part, according to the piece, because black men have an outsized impact on the communities they serve and are more likely to serve in communities with limited access to health care than their colleagues.
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Only 48% of American adults have a high level of confidence in higher education, reported Inside Higher Ed in an article that covered an analysis from Gallup. The figure was 57% in 2015.
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NEJM featured a report on the progress made by the Undiagnosed Diseases Network, an organization funded by the NIH that seeks to apply a multidisciplinary model to evaluate the most baffling medical cases and to identify biological characteristics of new diseases.
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The New York Times covered the Undiagnosed Diseases Network’s report and the progress made by the organization in finding new diagnoses.
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The negative impacts of EHRs and value-based reimbursement are causing 70% of physicians to become so disillusioned with their profession that they are unwilling to recommend a career in medicine to their children or other family members, reported HealthLeaders.
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Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, wrote a piece in the New York Times Magazine recounting his experience with burnout in medical school, highlighting how important it is for doctors to feed their particular medical interests and pursue research, which he said are powerful ways to thwart burnout. Dr. Mukherjee is the author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer and The Gene: An Intimate History. He was also a plenary speaker at Learn Serve Lead 2017: The AAMC Annual Meeting.
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The NAM has published a discussion paper, “A Vision for a Person-Centered Health Information System,” which focuses on patient-centered health care technology and its potential to improve patient care, enhance collaboration among health care providers, and reduce clinician burnout.
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A research letter in JAMA reported that firms being investigated for contributing to the opioid crisis have been making campaign donations to members of the Senate HELP and the House Energy and Commerce committees, which have been heavily involved in crafting legislative responses to the opioid epidemic. The letter was written by Matthew McCoy, PhD, assistant professor of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, and Genevieve Kanter, PhD, a research assistant professor of medicine at Perelman.
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Cheryl L. Willman, MD, CEO and director of the University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center, wrote an op-ed in the Washington Examiner defending the 340B drug discount program against potential cuts from CMS, saying that cutting the program would curtail access to lifesaving cancer treatments. Dr. Willman said that the 340B program saves the cancer center $10 million per year in drug costs.
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Kenneth Davis, MD, president and CEO of Mount Sinai Health System, wrote an op-ed in the Daily News criticizing the Trump administration’s “public charge” rule. “[The proposed rule] will cause legal immigrants, their spouses and children, including U.S. citizens, to withdraw from government assistance programs out of fear that it would endanger the chances for a family member to obtain a green card and become a legal permanent resident. Washington will, in effect, force individuals to choose between their welfare and a family member’s legal residency status,” wrote Dr. Davis.
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While no one would argue with a $50 million donation to one’s institution, Inside Higher Ed covered the controversial strings attached to one such gift to Saint Louis University. The philanthropists included specific stipulations about faculty hiring and research funding that faculty leaders at Saint Louis believed violated academic integrity and freedom. “The bottom line issue being confronted across the country is what level of control or influence should a donor have over the operation or various operations based on them giving a gift,” said Douglas Rush, JD, PhD, president of the university’s Faculty Senate and an associate professor of higher education administration.
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As government funding for higher education diminishes and the cost of university administration increases, academics are pushed to forge alliances with private sponsors, but those arrangements must be carefully managed to avoid undue influence and corruption, said the Chronicle of Higher Education.
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In many industry-funded trials, industry representatives are more involved in data analysis than the academic researchers or clinicians, stated Nature in an article on “ghost authorship” in industry-funded trials.
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Modern Healthcare discussed the increasing need for physicians with MBAs, which is partly a result of how implementation of the ACA has changed the health care industry.
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The ACA may have nine lives, but The Atlantic wondered about the fate of the law’s pre-existing conditions provision in the current election cycle.
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Students from Harvard Medical School wrote an opinion piece in STAT calling for more doctors to vote.
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The New York Times described the importance of touch to patients undergoing challenging medical treatments.
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People with high blood pressure who received therapeutic lifestyle advice and motivational interviewing in a church environment experienced a greater reduction in blood pressure levels than those who received only health education in churches, reported CNN in an article that covered a study in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.
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An NIH press release covered a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that discovered a gene mutation that lowers the risk of diabetes, obesity, heart failure, and even death. The research is led by Scott Solomon, MD, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and is largely supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).
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“[Physicians in urban areas], particularly in the Northeast Corridor between New York and Washington, D.C., tended to prescribe more expensive, brand-name drugs,” reported MedPage Today in an article that examined how a county’s racial composition, state health care laws, and wealth affect prescription rates for nearly 600 commonly used drugs.
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“Do you have guns at home?” is emerging as an increasingly important but tough question doctors need to ask as the numbers of Americans with dementia and Alzheimer’s rise, said theNew York Times.
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The Chronicle of Higher Education explored the promises and ethical challenges of a sweeping research collaboration between Facebook and the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), which will open up the social media giant’s vast stores of behavioral and social data to social scientists.
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STAT covered the FDA’s decade-old Reagan-Udall Foundation and the challenges the foundation has faced in raising the amounts of money that similar foundations for the NIH and the CDC have been able to muster.
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A research letter in JAMA Internal Medicine described the prevalence of sexual harassment in academic medicine.
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NPR covered new measures doctors are taking to reduce delirium resulting from prolonged stays in the ICU.
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An article in Nature profiled the UK Biobank, an open resource with deep genetic and phenotypic data on approximately 500,000 people across the United Kingdom. The biobank includes biological measurements, lifestyle indicators, biomarkers in blood and urine, and imaging of the body and brain, according to the article.
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Laura Forese, MD, MPH, executive vice president and chief operating officer at NewYork-Presbyterian and a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, contributed a piece to AAMCNews on why academic medicine must do a better job in providing new parents who are on faculty with the opportunity to bond with their babies. Dr. Forese notes in the piece that she was pregnant with twins during her residency.
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Vox covered the growing number of Americans taking part in medical tourism, with a focus on Mexico as a location where increasing numbers are traveling for weight loss surgery. The piece notes that it’s not just a factor of being uninsured, but also being underinsured or seeking health treatments that insurance companies may not support.
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Health care plan deductibles have grown by 212% since 2008, reported Vox.
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Just in time to shift gears to be the subject of Ken Burns’ next documentary, Mayo Clinic completed its installation of a $1.5 billion Epic EHR system, reported Modern Healthcare.
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Johns Hopkins University is naming a new interdisciplinary building in honor of Henrietta Lacks, whose cells were used to develop the HeLa cell line that has resulted in numerous medical advances. The Henrietta Lacks story has been instrumental in improving and advancing research practices.
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Applications are now open for the Association for Surgical Education (ASE) Education Awards. The ASE gives eight teaching awards, including a new Mid-Career Educator Award and Medical Student Surgery Education Research Award. ASE is a CFAS-member society.
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The American Society of Hematology (ASH) awarded eight hematology researchers $150,000 each through the ASH Bridge Grant Program. ASH is a CFAS-member society, and CFAS chair Scott Gitlin, MD, is a society rep from ASH.
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The NIH has released a Request for Information (RFI) on “Proposed Provisions for a Draft Data Management and Sharing Policy for NIH Funded or Supported Research,” which seeks to solicit public input on proposed key provisions that could serve as a foundation for a future NIH policy for data management and sharing. Responses are due by Dec. 10.
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The Harvard Gazette profiled Joan Reede, MD, dean for diversity and community partnership at Harvard Medical School, in an article, “Champion of Equity and Social Justice.” Dr. Reede has been engaged in diversity programming for CFAS and was also an early advisor in the creation of the CFAS Diversity Committee.
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The ACGME has elected three new officers to its board of directors: Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, of the University of Nebraska Medical Center is the new board chair; Karen J. Nichols, DO, dean of Midwestern University/Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine from 2002 to 2018, is the new vice chair; and Steven I. Goldstein, president and CEO of Strong Memorial Hospital of the University of Rochester, is the treasurer for the third consecutive year. Mona Abaza, MD, a CFAS Administrative Board member and a CFAS rep from the Society of University Otolaryngologists/Head and Neck Surgeons also serves as a member of the ACGME Board of Directors.
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Leslie R. Walker-Harding, MD, has been named chair of the University of Washington School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, associate dean for the University of Washington School of Medicine, and senior vice president/chief academic officer for Seattle Children’s. She is now professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, and medical director and pediatrician in chief at Penn State Children’s Hospital. Dr. Walker-Harding will begin her new position in February.
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Clem McDonald, MD, has been appointed the first chief health data standards officer at the National Library of Medicine, effective Nov. 1. Dr. McDonald has served as director of the NIH’s Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications for the past 12 years.
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Heather Campbell, MHS, has been named vice dean for finance and administration at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Campbell previously served as associate dean for administration at Feinberg.
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Hugh Taylor, MD, has been appointed president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). Dr. Taylor is the Anita O’Keeffe Young Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at the Yale School of Medicine and chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale New Haven Hospital. ASRM is a CFAS-member society.
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Peter Loomer, DDS, PhD, has been named dean of the UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry, effective Feb. 1. Dr. Loomer serves as chair of the Ashman Department of Periodontology and Implant Dentistry and director of the Center for Global Oral Health Sciences at New York University College of Dentistry.
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Christine Pham, MD, has been named director of the Division of Rheumatology in the Department of Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Dr. Pham is a professor of medicine, pathology, and immunology at the School of Medicine.
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Walter Bosch, DSc, has been elected a fellow of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine. Dr. Bosch is an associate professor of radiation oncology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
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Peter Wiklund, MD, PhD, has been appointed director of the Bladder Cancer Program at Mount Sinai Health System. Dr. Wiklund previously served as chair of urology, molecular medicine, and surgery, and as a professor of urology at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden.
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Alexander Neumeister, MD, a former neurological researcher, was ordered by a New York judge to atone for siphoning off federal research funds at New York University and Yale by a.) paying back $76,000, and b.) giving an hour-long piano recital at least twice weekly for the next three years at group facilities for the elderly in Connecticut, where he lives. Through this unusual sentence, the trained pianist will avoid serving jail time.
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And finally, there’s some good news to report this week straddling the little-explored juncture of scorpions and medicine. Researchers out of Florida State University have published an article in the journal Toxicon on 104 species of “medically significant” scorpions worldwide. What’s a medically significant scorpion, you may ask? One whose venom could be either deadly or beneficial. Makes sense.
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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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