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    CFAS News Previous Edition

    Physicians on Gun Violence as Public Health Crisis; America Struggles With Mental Health; COVID-19 Vaccines May Be Available to the Very Young in June; and Other Items of Interest

    AAMC President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, wrote an opinion piece for AAMCNews, “At the Crossroads: Addressing Gun Violence as Public Health Crisis” discussing how lessons learned from the pandemic can inform approaches to reducing the level of gun violence in society. “The scale and complexity of the challenge cannot be understated,” he wrote. “Yet I believe it is not insurmountable if we each do our part to address whatever aspects are within our reach.”
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    And in the latest episode of the podcast series “Beyond the White Coat,” Dr. Skorton was joined by Roger Mitchell Jr., MD, chair of the Department of Pathology at Howard University College of Medicine, in an engaging and informative conversation on gun violence as a public health crisis and how the academic medicine community can come together to address prevention.
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    “Mass shootings have become more common during the pandemic, and so, too, have other types of gun violence. So far this year there have been more than 200 mass shootings in the United States, including the one that caused the deaths of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday. But beyond the statistics is a number that is harder to quantify: The large swath of people grappling with the psychological effects that stem from the violence,” said the New York Times.
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    The Advisory Board ran a piece describing how doctors responded to the Uvalde school shooting, providing the perspective of clinicians in academic medicine about the effects these shootings have on patients, communities, and the medical teams who respond to them. And Modern Healthcare covered how the recent hospital shooting in Oklahoma has prompted hospitals to review their safety measures.
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    Medscape told the story of John Cheng, MD, a family physician who died trying to stop a gunman from carrying out a shooting in a church.
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    People reporting symptoms of anxiety and depressive disorder nearly tripled during the pandemic and overdose deaths increased 15% in 2021, but 43% of adults in the United States said they didn’t receive needed care for substance abuse or mental health care in the past 12 months, reported The Hill.
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    “Overworked medical professionals, who risked their health and their families' well-being to help patients through the pandemic, are now dealing with a public that is increasingly distrustful in a politicized environment where hospital violence is not uncommon. Staffing shortages and the administrative demands of an increasingly complicated medical system have also created frustration for those who see care for fellow human beings as their calling,” reported USA Today in coverage of the mental health crisis confronting doctors and nurses who have served on the frontlines during the pandemic.
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    STAT covered a study published in JAMA Pediatrics showing that medical students who report being mistreated or discriminated against are far more likely to drop out of medical school. The article noted that the trend is especially pronounced among students of color.
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    “I am continually learning about being her dad. But having engaged with many girls of a similar hue who carry pain and burdens beyond their years, I know that each of them, too, is someone’s little girl. Their futures can be filled with opportunities for unencumbered discovery, growth, and learning, if they’re given space to be themselves. I write now to recognize their curiosity, freedom to be children, and experiences of maturation, hopeful that the same recognition will be afforded to my daughter. Being a Black father raising a Black girl is exciting. Being a Black pediatric and adolescent psychiatrist and addiction medicine specialist caring for Black girls and women within various systems of care troubles me. Black girls in America receive conflicting messages about who they’re supposed to be: superheroes (#BlackGirlMagic) or, more commonly, supervillains (#AngryBlackWoman),” wrote Kevin Simon, MD, in a perspective in the New England Journal of Medicine that pondered the care and treatment of Black girls in America.
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    White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Ashish Jha, MD, said in a Thursday White House briefing that Food and Drug Administration advisers will hold a committee meeting June 14-15 on Pfizer and Moderna applications of vaccines for children under five, reported Fierce Healthcare. He noted that he expects a decision soon after, followed by a decision by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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    “The COVID-19 pandemic led President Biden to recreate a position at the White House’s National Security Council to oversee global health security — and none too soon, since the man in the position, Raj Panjabi, is now in charge of the White House’s response to monkeypox,” said STAT.
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    The CDC is looking at ways to get monkeypox-specific testing to states, and plans are underway to ramp up testing if the monkeypox outbreak grows quickly, reported CNN.
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    Mike Lauer, MD, deputy director for extramural research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), published a brief discussion on research impact, evaluating how the agency’s research has contributed to our understanding of the coronavirus and our ability to overcome what was very recently a life-threatening novel virus.
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    An opinion piece in the Boston Globe noted that questions surrounding the origins of COVID-19 remain unanswered and asked why some in the intelligence community leaned toward a laboratory release theory. “When President Biden tasked the US Intelligence Community with determining the origin of SARS-CoV-2, it found that either “a laboratory-associated incident” or a “natural origin” was possible. The IC said that China should cooperate more to find the truth, but did not make clear, or perhaps did not fully realize, the role that US science might have played in the origin of the virus. More important, the IC didn’t present the details of its inquiry for independent scientific scrutiny. We don’t know whether the IC’s analysis was comprehensive or superficial.”
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    “PBS NewsHour” explored the implication of future COVID-19 infections evading the Pfizer drug Paxlovid — a near-certain inevitability — and the implications for ongoing treatment approaches. Part of the worry is that the drug may be getting overprescribed to those who don’t need it and underprescribed for those who do, which may impact its effectiveness across the population.
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    Politico critiqued the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for being ill-equipped to enforce hospital safety regulations during a pandemic.
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    Nature discussed the disappointment many are experiencing in academia and how the pandemic has spurred some, especially mid-career scientists, to leave, in part, due to “increasing teaching demands and pressure to win grants amid lip-service-level support during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
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    AAMCNews featured an interview with AAMC Chief Health Care Officer Janis M. Orlowski, MD, in which she reflected on the change she’s seen in her three decades of service to academic medicine and the challenges that lie ahead. Dr. Orlowski will retire from the AAMC on July 1.
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    The New Yorker covered medical student and resident training issues related to abortion in an article, “What the End of Roe v. Wade Will Mean for the Next Generation of Obstetricians.” The piece notes efforts in the past to include abortion training as part of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education standards for OB-GYN residency and also covers how the future will be even more complicated for future specialists as they decide where to train and launch their careers.
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    A union representing 1,300 residents and fellows at three Los Angeles County hospitals have voted to go on strike, reported Modern Healthcare.
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    The American Medical Association is resisting otherwise popular legislation that would require doctors to be trained about opioid use disorder, reported STAT.
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    A new model predicts that the opioid crisis may peak and then start to decline before 2025, but that it might claim more than half million lives from 2020 to 2032, reported Nature.
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    A growing number of medical respite care programs are providing short-term medical care and recuperation opportunities for homeless people who are sick but not sick enough to be hospitalized, reported NPR.
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    An analysis found that women are more likely to win awards that are not named after men, reported Nature.
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    “When the World Health Organization approved a malaria vaccine for the first time in October 2021, it was widely hailed as a milestone. ... What those plaudits often failed to note, though, was that the core ingredient of the path-breaking vaccine was actually almost 35 years old — and that researchers have known since the late 1990s that the formula was probably somewhat effective at protecting against malaria,” reported Undark in a piece that explored why it took decades to get a vaccine due to the complex biology of the malaria parasite and a lack of urgency and funding.
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    Augusta University is establishing a new school of public health, reported the Augusta Chronicle.
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    The University of Mississippi is developing a telemedicine project to help rural doctors identify autism in young children, reported Health Leaders.
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    The AAMC invites its constituents at the nation’s medical schools and teaching hospitals to participate in the 2022 GME Day of Action on Tuesday, June 7, on Twitter. As Senate Democrats continue to discuss new reconciliation legislation with a variety of policy priorities, the AAMC is highlighting the importance of increasing federal funding for Medicare-supported GME slots to train more practicing physicians, increase patient access to care, and improve the health for communities everywhere.
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    The Arnold P. Gold Foundation and the Vilcek Foundation have announced that Mona Fouad, MD, MPH, has been selected as the recipient of the 2022 Vilcek-Gold Award for Humanism in Healthcare. Dr. Fouad was selected for her leadership in health disparities research and for her career-long commitment to equity in health care. The award will be presented during Learn Serve Lead 2022: The AAMC Annual Meeting in November.
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    The National Human Genome Research Institute and its partners are organizing Healthcare Professionals’ Genomics Education Week. The weeklong social media campaign takes place June 6-10 and will focus on health care professionals' genomics education, including panel discussions, webinars, Twitter chats, and Q&As.
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    Applications are being accepted to join the Center for Women in Academic Medicine and Science’s Faculty Advisory Network. The deadline to apply is June 15.
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    Graciela Gonzalez-Hernandez, PhD, has been named vice chair of the Department of Computational Biomedicine at Cedars-Sinai. Dr. Gonzalez-Hernandez previously served as an associate professor of informatics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
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    Pavan Reddy, MD, has been appointed director of the Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Reddy previously served as division chief of hematology-oncology and deputy director of the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center.
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    Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber, MD, has been named president of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) for 2022-23. Dr. Rohr-Kirchgraber is a professor of medicine at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University and the University of Georgia partnership. The AMWA is a new member of CFAS.
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    Barney Graham, MD, PhD, has been named senior advisor for global health equity in the Office of the President and CEO at Morehouse School of Medicine. Dr. Graham previously served as deputy director of the NIH’s Vaccine Research Center and will also be serving at MSM as a professor in the Departments of Medicine, Microbiology, Biochemistry, and Immunology.
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    Hye-Chun Hur, MD, MPH, has been appointed director of gynecology services at NYU Langone Hospital — Brooklyn and vice chair for faculty development in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. Dr. Hur previously served as attending physician focusing on gynecologic specialty surgery and associate program director of the minimally invasive gynecologic surgery fellowship at Columbia University Medical Center.
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    After a couple of years of living through a pandemic, we might reflect on how it could have been worse (or better, depending on your perspective), but at least COVID-19 didn’t lead to uncontrollable dancing. The BBC covered the centuries-old recounting of so called “dance plagues” or “choreomania,” which led to outbreaks of small groups literally dancing themselves to death. The scenes are depicted in art and literature of the era, and while it’s not fully understood, some note the cultural appeal of being “carried away,” associating choreomania with a form of protest and liberation – albeit with bad outcomes in extreme cases.
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    And finally, what may seem like an odd parallel study, Mitchell Newberry, PhD, an evolutionary biologist and assistant professor of complex systems at the University of Michigan, researched popular baby names through multiple generations alongside popular dog breeds. His work, recently published in the journal Nature Human Behavior, shows that trendy baby names and dog breeds are akin to genes or organisms competing for limited resources — where in this case, that limited resource is a prized space in the human brain that allows us to consider something novel and interesting. Once there’s a perception of oversaturation, however, the resource dries up and suddenly the popularity of both a name (say, Linda, for example — wildly popular in the 1940s and 50s, but rare now) and a dog breed (Greyhounds, let’s say) also plummet, as new names and dog breeds fill the gap for a spell until they, too, decline in a wave. So, with the boom-and-bust cycle in place, the 1990s saw a boom of girls named Brittany hanging out with a boom of Rottweiler puppies, and just before that, a litter of boys named Jason frolicking with a litter of Dalmatians – all of whom have since found their novelty enter a relative bust cycle, while new names and new breeds capture our imaginations through the next wave.
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    Visit the CFAS Resources page for an archive of the previous edition 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.

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