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CFAS News Previous Edition


“All of Us” Enrollment Opening; Wayne State, Detroit Medical Center Split; VA Staff Exodus; and Other Items of Interest

The NIH’s All of Us Research Program will open national enrollment on May 6. People ages 18 and older will be able to join the 25,000 participants who have already enrolled, said the NIH in a news release. Speaking on the program, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, “NIH’s unprecedented effort will lay the scientific foundation for a new era of personalized, highly effective health care. We look forward to working with people of all backgrounds to take this major step forward for our nation’s health.” The AAMC has an archived webinar available that covers how providers and researchers at academic health centers can get involved with All of Us.
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STAT covered the upcoming launch of the program and explored its history.
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“The vast majority of participants in worldwide genomics research are of European descent. This disparity could potentially leave out minorities from benefitting from the windfall of precision medicine,” reported Smithsonian in an article that discussed the All of Us program.
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Wayne State University and the Detroit Medical Center have ended their nearly 100-year partnership, reported the Detroit News. The story was also covered in Crain’s Detroit Business, which described how Tenet Healthcare, the parent company of the Detroit Medical Center, decided to terminate the longtime affiliation on May 15 when an 18-month contract expires.
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The VA is facing ongoing staffing challenges as dozens of senior-level career employees have departed the agency over the past several weeks—both voluntarily and involuntarily—or have been sidelined, reported the Washington Post.
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Illnesses from mosquito, tick, and flea bites have tripled in the United States since 2004, reported the Washington Post in its coverage of a report from the CDC focused on the explosion in related infections and illnesses. Factors contributing to the trend include climate change, increasing overseas travel and commerce, and the fact that germs spread by mosquitoes and ticks are increasing in number and moving into new areas.
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“The Trump administration, concerned about China’s growing technological prowess, is considering strict measures to block Chinese citizens from performing sensitive research at American universities and research institutes over fears they may be acquiring intellectual secrets,” reported the New York Times in an article that covered concerns over espionage from Chinese researchers gaining access to American trade secrets.
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The AAAS voiced concern over the announcement of limits on research by Chinese citizens, saying that “scientific progress depends on openness, transparency, and the free flow of ideas,” reported STAT. Atul Grover, MD, PhD, executive vice president of the AAMC, is quoted in the piece.
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The NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) is planning to reduce the number of investigators with $1 million or more in NIH grants in an effort to fund more early stage investigators, said Science magazine.
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Physician burnout is costing hospitals and health systems $1.7 billion a year, reported Healthcare Dive in an article that covered the work of the newly launched National Taskforce for Humanity in Healthcare.
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MedPage Today reported on the recent suicide of a medical student in New York, describing efforts in place now and proposed for the future to help address the ongoing crisis. The piece quotes AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD.
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The VA is using more alternative pain treatments, such as physical therapy and acupuncture, to help protect veterans from becoming dependent on opioids, reported the Boston Globe.
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Giving patients’ ownership of their data can dramatically improve interoperability and the ease with which data travel from provider to provider, reported Modern Healthcare. The article commented on a proposed rule from CMS that would reform meaningful use by giving patients more control over their health information.
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Bloomberg BNA covered congressional posturing over potential changes to the 340B Drug Pricing Program. On a related note, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia today heard oral arguments on the 340B lawsuit. Much of them focused on jurisdictional issues. A decision is expected this summer.
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HHS Secretary Alex Azar said that the White House’s forthcoming drug-pricing strategy will be more ambitious than the proposal outlined in the president’s 2019 budget and will include negotiation tools to strengthen the government’s ability to negotiate with drug makers over high list prices, reported Modern Healthcare.
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NPR covered calls for more research into using probiotics to help reduce the risk of infection in premature babies and children.
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NPR also relayed concerns from some addiction specialists over the efficacy of “the Bridge,” an electronic nerve stimulator worn behind the ear, which is supposed to ease opioid withdrawal by delivering electronic pulses.
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As proton centers struggle to find firm financial footing, an article in Kaiser Health News asked whether there were signs of a health care bubble. “For years, health systems rushed enthusiastically into expensive medical technologies such as proton beam centers, robotic surgery devices and laser scalpels—potential cash cows in the one economic sector that was reliably growing.... But now that employers, insurers and government seem determined to curb growth in health care spending and to combat overcharges and wasteful procedures, such bets are less of a sure thing,” said the piece.
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Seventy-one percent of accountable care organizations (ACOs) said they are likely to disband and leave the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) if they have to take on financial risk next year, reported Modern Healthcare.
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The New York Times explored the issue of implicit biases among health care providers who downplay women’s health concerns.
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Paul Kivela, MD, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, wrote an op-ed in The Hill criticizing certain insurance companies’ moves to dictate what symptoms should be considered cause for a trip to the emergency room. “Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is trying to make it your job to diagnose yourself by warning you not to go to the emergency room unless you know that it’s a medical emergency. The company has developed secret lists of diagnoses that they say are ‘avoidable’ ER visits,” wrote Dr. Kivela. Conditions on the list include influenza, which kills tens of thousands of people each year, and blood in the urine, which also can be a symptom of a medical emergency, he wrote.
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Have you ever wondered about Francis Collins’ thoughts on gene editing, his truck-driving aspirations, and what he would change about science? An interview with the NIH director in STAT has you covered.
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A hormone that regulates blood pressure in male monkeys might be the first, long-awaited biological marker for autism, reported an article in STAT that covered a study in Science Translational Medicine.
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A letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal commented on the issue of reproducibility and stressed the need for more nuanced discussions about how to address the problem, noting that a failure to reproduce an experiment doesn’t necessarily mean the original work was incorrect. The letter was cowritten by Jeremy Berg, PhD, editor in chief of Science, and William Barker, MD, professor emeritus in the Department of Public Health Sciences at University of Rochester Medical Center.
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Nature reported on the multiple complaints and lawsuits alleging harassment and discrimination that have plagued California’s prestigious Salk Institute.
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The Scientist described how government incentives and a large number of patient advocates, among other factors, made the orphan drug industry so profitable.
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Another article in the Scientist explored how parent-led campaigns use crowdfunding and other resources to drive the development of gene therapies for diseases that would otherwise receive little attention.
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Computers were just as accurate in predicting women’s risk of breast cancer, found and not found by mammography, as subjective evaluation done by radiologists, according to findings of a study from researchers at UC San Francisco and Mayo Clinic. The study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
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The National Academies’ Action Collaborative on Bridging Public Health, Health Care, and Community launched a call for abstracts concerning health care and public health collaboration around community health needs assessments (CHNAs). The deadline for submissions is May 30.
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FASEB updated its federal funding fact sheet with data on how much funding states and districts receive from the NIH, NSF, USDA, and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The reports are free, and the website includes interactive maps that let you see how your region measures up.
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Omar Atiq, MD, has been named chair-elect of the board of governors of the American College of Physicians (ACP). Dr. Atiq is a professor of medicine and otolaryngology–head and neck surgery at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). ACP is a CFAS member society.
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Andra Blomkalns, MD, has been appointed the inaugural chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Blomkalns is professor of emergency medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
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SUNY Downstate president Wayne J. Riley, MD, has been appointed a trustee to the board of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.
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Lisa Willett, MD, has been named president-elect of the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine (APDIM) Council, effective July 1. Dr. Willett serves as program director for the Tinsley Harrison Internal Medicine Residency Program and vice chair for education and professor in the Department of Medicine at the UAB School of Medicine. APDIM is a CFAS member society.
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Nicholas Van Wagoner, MD, PhD, has been appointed associate dean for students at the UAB School of Medicine. Dr. Van Wagoner previously served as the assistant dean for students and as an associate professor in the Department of Medicine and Division of Infectious Disease at the UAB School of Medicine.
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Michael Dake, MD, has been appointed senior vice president for health sciences at the University of Arizona, effective June 4. Dr. Dake serves as Stanford University’s Thelma and Henry Doelger Professor of Cardiovascular Surgery.
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Linda Worley, MD, has been named the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) associate dean for northwest Arkansas. Dr. Worley previously served as physician mental health chief officer for the South Central United States Veterans Integrated Services Network.
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Hilary Godwin, PhD, has been named the next dean of the University of Washington’s School of Public Health, effective July 15. She is now professor and associate dean in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.
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Researchers led by Nenad Sestan, MD, PhD, professor of neuroscience at Yale School of Medicine, were able to restore circulation to the brains of decapitated pigs and keep the brains reanimated for as long as 36 hours, according to an article in MIT Technology Review. The article claimed that if the experiment were tried on a person, it might feel like awakening in the “ultimate sensory deprivation chamber.”
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RIP, Number 16. The oldest known spider in the world died, likely at the hands? stinger? of a wasp, a common predator of the species. Number 16, who lived in Australia, was studied by researchers to understand how sustainability and frugality can lead to a long life, reported National Geographic. She was 43.
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And finally, are you doing it all wrong simply by being a living, breathing human when it comes to counseling patients on making healthier lifestyle choices? New research suggests people may feel more motivated when hashing things out with robots over their fellow humans, according to research out of the University of Plymouth in England. Why? Science Daily reported that participants preferred talking freely and openly to nonjudgmental, supportive robots because they don’t interrupt.
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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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