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CFAS Rep Update July 2017


AAMC Leadership Forum on Achieving Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in Academic Medicine
Learn Serve Lead 2017: The AAMC Annual Meeting
CFAS Member Societies Sign Onto Letter Supporting Increased NIH Funding
CFAS Rep Profiles: Susan Nagel, PhD, and Alan Dow, MD
CFAS Advocacy Committee Co-Chair Rich Eckert, PhD, on Faculty Advocacy 101
Society Profile: The American College of Clinical Pharmacology (ACCP)
CFAS Rep Barry Stein, PhD, Presents at the AAMC’s Advisory Panel for Research (APR)
Introducing Project Medical Education (PME)
The CFAS Basic Science Listserv


AAMC Leadership Forum on Achieving Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in Academic Medicine
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CFAS Rep Joedrecka Brown Speights, MD, of Florida State University School of Medicine (left) shares with other panelists during an AAMC Leadership Forum session about her experience addressing equity in academic medicine.



In mid-June, the AAMC hosted its 2017 Leadership Forum, focused on “Achieving Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in Academic Medicine.” Approximately 70 academic medicine leaders, representing all AAMC affinity groups and councils, including CFAS, joined in discussion about racism, unconscious bias, and the effects these have on health and health care in the U.S. Dayna Bowen Matthew, JD, professor at the University of Colorado Law School and the Colorado School of Public Health, co-founder of the Colorado Health Equity Project, and author of Just Medicine, provided a perspective on how the academic medicine community can begin to address troubling health disparities. As a call to action, participants were asked to identify two ways they can serve as “opportunity makers” at their institutions. Joan Y. Reede, MD, MPH, MBA, MS, dean for diversity and community partnership and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School (and an active participant in the 2016 CFAS Spring Meeting along with the Group on Diversity and Inclusion) encouraged participants to identify ways in which each AAMC affinity group can advance the community’s work to better address the issues of diversity, inclusion, and equity. The AAMC plans to continue this collective discussion in Boston this November at Learn Serve Lead 2017.

CFAS was well represented at the Leadership Forum. Chair and Chair-elect Vin Pellegrini and Scott Gitlin both attended in their capacities as representatives of CFAS leadership and the AAMC Board of Directors. CFAS Ad Board members VJ Periyakoil, MD, who is also chair of our Diversity Committee, attended along with Sam Matheny. And CFAS Reps Joedrecka Brown, Evelyn Granieri, Dixon Santana, and David Sklar all attended. Dr. Sklar, while a CFAS rep, attended in his capacity as editor of the journal Academic Medicine.

Learn Serve Lead 2017: The AAMC Annual Meeting
Learn Serve Lead 2017: The AAMC Annual Meeting, taking place Nov. 3-7 in Boston, will feature an expansive program for making new connections and discussing pressing issues in academic medicine. The meeting will include four plenary sessions and the Voices of Medicine and Society Series, 120 education sessions, 60 networking events and receptions, more than 100 poster presentations, an exhibit hall with more than 120 exhibits, and daily wellness events. The deadline for early bird registration is August 31.

As in past years, there will be a CFAS Business Meeting, a CFAS Knowledge Sharing session, and an orientation session for new CFAS reps. A number of sessions will feature CFAS speakers and topics of interest to CFAS reps. More detailed information on programming will be shared with CFAS reps in September.

CFAS Member Societies Sign Onto Letter Supporting Increased NIH Funding
CFAS recently distributed a sign-on letter from the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research to all member societies, asking them to join in the letter’s call for an increase of at least $2 billion above FY 2017 for NIH, in addition to funds included in the 21st Century Cures Act for targeted initiatives. About 30 CFAS member societies added their names to the letter’s list of nearly 300 signatories. AAMC senior research advocacy specialist Tannaz Rasouli said, “The most powerful form of advocacy is when an entire community is unified behind a single message - that is the driving purpose of the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, the NIH funding advocacy coalition convened by the AAMC. Thanks to more than 300 academic, patient, medical, scientific, and industry organizations, we left no question that the community is united in support of steady, sustainable growth in medical research.”

CFAS Rep Profiles:
Susan Nagel, PhD, Junior School Rep, Associate Professor, OB/GYN & Women's Health at University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine

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Susan Nagel, PhD

CFAS: Tell us about your research.

Dr. Nagel: I study hormone action, particularly those hormones that act via nuclear receptors and how hormone signaling can be disrupted by chemicals in the environment termed endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). I am particularly interested in perinatal exposure to EDCs that can result in developmental origins of adult disease. For example, we have shown that many chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” can antagonize nuclear receptors, e.g., estrogen and progesterone. We recently reported that both male and female mice whose mothers were exposed to a mixture of chemicals found in water contaminated by fracking had altered pituitary hormones, altered folliculogenesis, and decreased sperm counts in adulthood. Even exposure to low levels of EDCs can be detrimental and some of the effects we observed were associated with environmentally relevant concentrations.

CFAS: What advice would you give researchers in academic medicine about the best ways to communicate science to the public?

Dr. Nagel: My approach is three-fold. First, work with your communications office before research studies are published to help disseminate your research; and work with them on initiatives and programs that are relevant to the public. Second, find a format like Randy Olson’s “And, But, Therefore” that converts your research into a story format, which increases listener engagement and understanding. Then convert a couple of your research findings into this template. Converting your research results into a story template ahead of time lends itself to easier conversation about your research. Third, learn science communication by doing it. Just go for it, keep it short, and keep it jargon-free. The good news is that scientists are feeling more and more comfortable communicating with the public.

CFAS: What are the important national issues to you as a professor of women’s health?

Dr. Nagel: I’m particularly concerned with exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, and this is on the minds of many women’s health practitioners. Several professional organizations are concerned about the detrimental effects of environmental exposures on human reproduction and have joined together to form a Working Group on Reproductive and Developmental Environmental Health, under the Federation of International Gynecologists and Obstetricians (FIGO).

CFAS: What are some accomplishments from the University of Missouri School of Medicine that would be of interest to CFAS reps?

Dr. Nagel: The University Missouri School of Medicine has several unique partnerships. The Tiger Institute for Health Innovation is a unique public/private partnership to create a national model for excellent patient care, reduced health care costs, and leadership in next-generation health sciences and technology sector jobs. Mizzou is one of 16 partners in the Coulter Translational Partnership program, which capitalizes on the best of academia and industry to accelerate the translation of biomedical innovations into products that improve patient care. We are one of ten medical centers in seven states forming the The Greater Plains Collaborative that includes over 6 million patients and is committed to a shared vision of improving healthcare delivery through ongoing learning, adoption of evidence-based practices, and active research dissemination.

CFAS: What do you like to do in your free time?

Dr. Nagel: Grow things! I’m a farmer and orchardist, and planted dozens of different peach tree varieties this spring.

Dr. Nagel presented a session on effective science communication at the 2017 CFAS-ORR Joint Spring Professional Development Conference in Orlando. She also presented on the same topic at the spring meeting for GRAND - the AAMC's Group on Research Advancement and Development.


Alan Dow, MD, MSA, Junior School Rep, Assistant Vice President, Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Care Professor, Internal Medicine at the Virginia Commonwealth University

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Alan Dow, MD

CFAS: What are the highlights from your work in interprofessional education and collaborative care that would be interesting to CFAS reps?

Dr. Dow: We think about IPE as shaping the students’ professional identities. So we’re trying to get all our students in the health professions to start thinking about themselves as part of the health care team as early as possible. We have first year medical students learning about quality and safety with nursing and pharmacy students so that they see the role of physicians as members of teams. In small groups, they work through cases and see how each profession contributes to providing the best care. Later, as the students develop their clinical abilities more, we use other methods to teach our students, including simulations, web-based collaboration, and community-based experiences.

CFAS: How will the health care workforce need to adapt to care for the population in the future?

Dr. Dow: Right now, it’s feast or famine. We do a great job caring for people with resources like insurance or high incomes, but we fail at helping rural populations or people with less income or without insurance achieve and maintain health. Part of the solution to these issues is leveraging interprofessional practice to deploy our health workforce more wisely. For example, one of the programs we have at the Virginia Commonwealth University works with seniors who live in low-income apartment buildings. Many of these folks have difficulty getting to appointments or the pharmacy or even the grocery store to get healthy food. Through the program, students and faculty work with the residents and resources in the surrounding community to better meet the needs of these people. The key here is forming the right kind of care team for each patient to help him or her get the support they need.

CFAS: You helped organize a letter writing campaign to Congressional representatives at this year’s CFAS/ORR Joint Spring Professional Development Conference – tell us more about that effort.

Dr. Dow: Four of us wrote letters to our Congressional representatives during one of the breakfast sessions at the meeting. I actually got responses back from both my Senator and Congressman. It was encouraging to see that these kinds of efforts are noticed on the Hill. One of my letters was about the Health Research Services Administration (HRSA), which funds educational programs that develop a more collaborative workforce. The reply letter I received specifically responded to that topic, which was heartening.

CFAS: What are some accomplishments at the Virginia Commonwealth University that would be of interest to CFAS reps?

Dr. Dow: Moving back to interprofessional education, we now have almost 2,000 learners and over 100 faculty members engaged in interprofessional programs each year. The institution’s focus on interprofessional programs has really brought people together and changed how we interact. I think it will pay dividends in the future as we strive to move the needle on improving health outcomes.

CFAS: Can you describe the School of Medicine’s web-based opioid education modules?

Dr. Dow: This is a continuing education project to improve the safety of opiate prescribing. Opioids now kill more people each year than breast cancer or car accidents. A lot of the problem comes from current medical practices – 80% of people who die from opiate overdoses become addicted initially by abusing prescription medications. So the problem comes from within health care. We have developed seven web-based education modules. Our modules cover guidance from the CDC on how to safely prescribe opioids, and we focus on practical recommendations for how providers can integrate the guidelines into their practice. The modules are now up and running, and we have received a lot of positive feedback on them.

CFAS: What do you like to do in your free time?

Dr. Dow: This is definitely an important question because of the growing recognition of the impact of burnout. There is so much noise in our lives from the clinical environment and from society as a whole. I’ve found that getting away on a hike or walk – even for just a half hour – helps me turn off that noise, re-center, and remember what’s important to me.

Dr. Dow oversees the creation, implementation, and dissemination of research, education, and clinical programs designed to enhance collaborative practice and improve patient outcomes at VCU. He is also a relatively new member of the CFAS Administrative Board and a member of the CFAS Communications Committee.

CFAS Advocacy Committee Co-Chair Rich Eckert, PhD, on Faculty Advocacy 101

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Rich Eckert, PhD

The lay public is a critically important audience to consider when creating a successful advocacy strategy. Conversations with people in the public is an opportunity to educate them on several themes important to academic medicine. First, biomedical researchers do work that requires NIH funding. Second, this work is the first link in a chain that leads to drug company development of new drugs that can be translated to medical practice. Third, without government funding, this all stops. Fourth, people can help researchers by contacting their congressional representatives and the White House to indicate support for the NIH and biomedical research.

Protecting NIH funding might stand out as the biggest issue in research advocacy, but advocating for funding for the NSF and other federal research agencies is also important, Dr. Eckert noted, because the ability to train physician and PhD scientists will suffer if funding is cut. “This is a problem, since progress requires a critical mass of physicians and scientists to drive therapy development. As we have reduced our investment in research, we have lost scientists to other countries that place a higher priority on research funding. I have personally seen this happen.”

Dr. Eckert wears a button that says “Ask Me About My Research,” part of an AAMC public engagement effort. It has prompted many people to ask about his research, presenting an opportunity for him to talk with them about the importance of what researchers do. “For example, at a convenience store, a young woman noticed the button and started a conversation. I told her I was a cancer researcher and she described to me the history of breast cancer in her family.” After this discussion, Dr. Eckert told her his cancer research has potential for use in treatment of disease, but that he was not sure he would be able to finish the work since it’s expensive and doesn’t generate immediate profit, so the only way it gets funded is by government investment through the NIH.

The button prompted another discussion, this time on a plane, with a woman who had squamous cell carcinoma and was a Tea Party member. After Dr. Eckert explained what he did in science, she explained that she did not want funding for NIH reduced. “I got her commitment to write to President Trump and her Kentucky representatives in support of NIH-funded discovery research,” said Dr. Eckert.

A lot of the advocacy that Dr. Eckert does involves visiting Capitol Hill with a group of scientists including faculty (senior and junior), post-docs, and graduate students. The groups usually meet with the HHS Committee members and state congressional representatives twice a year to discuss why funding biomedical research in medical centers and universities is important for developing cures for patients, stimulating the national economy, training educated science workforce, and maintaining international science leadership.

Dr. Eckert noted that academic health center leaders often worry about grass-roots faculty advocacy, but said it can be very beneficial for the medical school’s reputation, provided that the faculty advocates stick to key messages and focus on the benefits of federally supported biomedical research. “At the University of Maryland School of Medicine, we have a strong working relationship with Maryland Senators and Congressional representatives. Because we have cultivated that relationship, they know us well and consult with us when they want,” said Dr. Eckert.

For faculty members who are new to advocacy, Dr. Eckert highlights the importance of his years of advocacy training from activities in FASEB and ASBMB: “If you get involved with one of these types of organizations, they provide training and arrange for you to visit Congress with a group and these groups can give you a key experience on what to say, what not to say, and how to interact with congressional representatives,” said Dr. Eckert. “Going with a group is a smart first move, because the leader of group will usually prime people on what to say, and make the first introductions when talking to congressional members.”

Dr. Eckert also described some important mistakes to avoid when participating in advocacy: If a member of Congress is not favorable to your cause, they might say, “If we give you more money, what other federal program should we cut?” Never reply to that, he says. Congressional members are the experts about where to invest taxpayer money, faculty members can only argue that biomedical research should be high on the list. It’s also important to never get drawn into an argument with a member or bring up specific issues relevant to your institution, because that could backfire and cause political problems for university leadership.

Dr. Eckert ended with an update on the work of the CFAS Advocacy Committee, which he co-chairs with CFAS rep Joseph Hill, MD, PhD, Professor of Internal Medicine, at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. The committee is discussing ways to get faculty members more engaged in advocacy. “After learning of the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts, it’s more important than ever to mobilize faculty to weigh in on these issues by calling, writing to, and meeting with their Congressional representatives,” said Dr. Eckert. Drs. Eckert and Hill also want to get advocacy breakout sessions included in all future AAMC Learn Serve Lead, and CFAS meetings.

Society Profile: The American College of Clinical Pharmacology (ACCP)

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The American College of Clinical Pharmacology’s (ACCP) mission and vision is to advance clinical care and health through pharmacology. This includes the spectrum from basic research and drug development to direct patient care. Membership includes physicians, PharmDs and PhDs from academia, industry, regulatory agencies, clinical, and consulting entities. The ACCP is accredited by both the ACCME and ACPE to provide CPE and CME credits.

Membership in the ACCP offers multiple opportunities for professional education and career development including free access to the latest scientific research in its two publications, The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology in Drug Development. Free registration to a series of educational events and formats such as live and on-demand webinars and text-based Journal continuing education (CE) is also provided. Mentoring services for everything from CV reviews to longer-term, advisor-type relationships are provided to students, trainees, and young professionals. The ACCP also provides diversity in programming and format and ongoing quality assessments.

The ACCP Public Policy Committee is actively developing statements on topics such as the opioid crisis, regulation of medical marijuana and dietary supplements, antibiotic prescribing and the development of the next generation of antibiotics, biologics as a new and rapidly expanding class of therapeutics, and the development of Master Consortium Protocols. The ACCP is actively involved in promoting the retention and augmentation of clinical pharmacology in the medical school curriculum. The past decade has seen an exponential development of virtually every aspect of the practice of medicine, with a concomitant expansion in the number of available pharmaceuticals. Contemporary drug therapy is advancing too quickly and is too important to be learned solely through experience. The discipline of clinical pharmacology must assure that education of medical students and training of medical residents increases accordingly.

As an organization that is primarily focused on the role of clinical pharmacology in optimizing patient care and the development of pharmaceutical products, the ACCP is interested in partnering with CFAS to ensure that education for medical students, residents, faculty, and all who prescribe or administer drugs is adequate and includes education on the basics of clinical pharmacology. More importantly, CFAS is the conduit for the ACCP to be heard on the broad issues affecting medical education, research (such as NIH funding), faculty resilience, and medical systems governance. The ACCP is uniquely positioned to serve its membership, the medical community, and the medical education community by providing leadership and interdisciplinary education that will enable the generation, integration, and translation of scientific knowledge that will optimize the utilization of medications to the benefit of all.

CFAS Rep Barry Stein, PhD, Presents at the AAMC’s Advisory Panel for Research (APR)
Last May, AAMC Chief Scientific Officer Ross McKinney, MD, gathered research leaders from academic health centers across the country for one of the semi-yearly meetings of the AAMC’s Advisory Panel for Research (APR). Among the speakers was CFAS rep Barry Stein, PhD, chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at Wake Forest School of Medicine. Dr. Stein gave a wide ranging talk that included discussion on what the future of basic science in schools of medicine might look like. For more information on the APR, visit https://www.aamc.org/initiatives/research/apr/.

Introducing Project Medical Education (PME)
The AAMC is encouraging member institutions to consider hosting a Project Medical Education (PME) event, which offers members of Congress, their staff members, state legislators and staff, and other policymakers and community leaders information to make insightful decisions on issues that affect the future of medical education. Participants visit a medical campus and assume roles of a medical student, resident physician, and academic physician. The program lasts for a day and a half and gives participants a first-hand look into the process of medical education, the benefits it provides, its complex funding mechanisms, and the essential role of government in providing financial support. Newly released planning materials are available online at www.aamc.org/pme. For more information about the program, or if your institution would like to host a PME event, contact Jared Dashoff at jdashoff@aamc.org.

The CFAS Basic Science Listserv
In addition to participating in the general CFAS listserv, cfas-list@lists.aamc.org, we encourage all CFAS reps to sign up for the CFAS Basic Science Listserv. While all CFAS reps are automatically added to the general listserv, reps must opt into the Basic Science Listserv, which they can do by emailing Alex Bolt at abolt@aamc.org.

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