By Lisa Brown

BUMC Public Safety Officers Recognized for Hard Work, Dedication

October 12th, 2017 in Featured

On Tuesday, Oct. 10, BUMC Public Safety officers were honored for the work they do to ensure the safety of our patients, students, faculty, staff and visitors every day.

Congratulations to the officers who were recognized, and thank you to all members of the Department for your hard work and dedication.

Stepped Care Beneficial After Hurricanes

October 11th, 2017 in Featured

COM SPH man-in-front-of-house-destroyed-by-stormStepped care is more effective than usual care in reducing the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder in the aftermath of hurricanes, according to a new study led by a School of Public Health researcher.

The study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, suggests that the stepped care (SC) approach would have a greater population impact than previously applied interventions for early treatment of individuals with PTSD. The findings are also consistent with previous studies examining stepped care approaches to treating other mental health disorders.

“We expect that our findings will apply to areas hit by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and also man-made disasters, including acts of mass violence,” said lead author Gregory Cohen, statistical analyst in the epidemiology department.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the New York State Office of Mental Health provided crisis counselling and education sessions to an estimated 250,000 individuals between mid-November and late March 2014. A treatment modality called Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR)—a skills-building intervention to reduce stress and improve coping among survivors—was used in the effort. However, studies have shown that PTSD prevalence in New York state remained high approximately 1 to 1.5 years after the storm. Moreover, more than half of those with perceived need for mental health services did not received such services. Similar patterns were observed following a variety of disasters, such the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

The authors argued that a potential reason for the persistence in mental health conditions, despite provision of usual care such as SPR, could be ascribed to the lack of effective triage to appropriate levels of care. Evidence suggests that a stepped care (SC) approach providing screening and triage is more effective and may provide greater reach for mental health care services. The approach has been recommended in the context of disasters but has not be tested on the field.

The researchers used an agent-based model to simulate the stepped care approach for 2,642,713 agents using the sociodemographic characteristics derived from the American Community Survey estimates for New York City. Using an observational survey of residents of affected areas after Hurricane Sandy, the investigators estimated the initial distribution of the prevalence and exhibited PTSD symptoms to be 4.38 percent. They then simulated treatment scenarios starting four weeks following the landfall of Hurricane Sandy and ending two years later. Under the stepped care approach, individuals identified as PTSD cases were referred to cognitive behavioral therapists and non-cases were referred to SRP, while those receiving usual care were all referred to SRP.

The study found that three to six months after the hurricane, stepped care delivered greater reach, treatment effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness than usual care when it came to hurricane-related PTSD. The authors cautioned that the SC model would still require substantial resources for deployment: $50.94 million to $101.87 million in the simulated scenario after Hurricane Sandy.

In the absence of randomized trials, the authors wrote, the simulation results present the best evidence for establishing stepped care in the treatment of PTSD following large-scale disasters.

“These results provide further proof of concept for the SC approach to treating PTSD after a disaster, and they warrant further study and application in real-world settings,” the authors wrote.

Other SPH authors on the study were: Shailesh Tamrakar, research programmer in epidemiology; Laura Sampson, statistical analyst in epidemiology; Catherine Ettman, director of strategic development; and Sandro Galea, dean and Robert A. Knox Professor. Authors from other institutions included: Sarah Lowe, assistant professor of psychology at Montclair State University; Ben Linas, associate professor of medicine at the School of Medicine, and; Kenneth Ruggiero, professor of nursing and psychiatry at Medical University of South Carolina.

Submitted by Salma Abdalla

GSDM Student Participates in International United Nations Innovation Lab

October 11th, 2017 in Featured

COM GSDM Qari Screen-Shot-2017-09-29-at-11.38.31-AM-489x300

Dr. Alaa Qari, DScD candidate in Dental Public Health at the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM), was selected as one of the 1000 global talents from 129 countries to participate in UNLEASH, a fully-sponsored innovation laboratory that took place in August 2017 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

UNLEASH was an immersive experience designed to have participants co-create innovative, implementable, and scalable solutions to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. Dr. Qari was one of three dentists invited to attend the program and focused her efforts on designing an innovative solution to address the third UN SDG, which aims to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages.

Over the nine-day challenge, Dr. Qari’s team tackled the mothers and families subtheme –  specifically addressing lack of access to emergency care for women who experience pregnancy complications due to difficulty in reaching proper health facilities in Sub-Saharan Africa. Their solution is to leverage big data to optimize health resource deployment to maximize coverage of pregnant women.

After designing the intervention and fine-tuning the product with Deloitte facilitators, the prototype was tested in the community, and then pitched to fellow competitors and potential investors. UNLEASH is preparing a project catalog for distribution to investors, companies, mentors, and others in UNLEASH’s network who are interested in helping competitors move their solutions forward.

A video interview with Dr. Qari at UNLEASH can be seen here:

BU Medical Campus Pride Welcomes Students at Networking Event

August 29th, 2017 in Featured

Students from the three schools on the Medical Campus join BUSM faculty Ann Zumwalt, Associate Professor of Anatomy; Thea James, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine; and Rafael Ortega, Associate Dean of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, at a reception held nearby in the South End.

Students from the three schools on the Medical Campus join BUSM faculty Ann Zumwalt, Associate Professor of Anatomy; Thea James, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine; and Rafael Ortega, Associate Dean of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, at a reception held nearby in the South End.

BU Medical Campus Pride, an organization dedicated to providing a safe and supportive environment for LGBTQIA+ students, faculty and staff, held a networking reception Aug. 27.

Sponsored by the BUSM Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, more than 70 students from BUSM, BUSPH and BUGSDM attended the event and enjoyed good conversation, food and drinks. Ann Zumwalt serves as the faculty advisor of BU Medical Campus Pride. For more information contact

Rev. Julian A. Cook Visits Medical Campus

July 5th, 2017 in Featured


Rafael Ortega, MD, left, with Rev. Julian Cook.

On Monday, July 3, Rev. Julian A. Cook, assistant director for the Thurman Center at Boston University, toured the Medical Campus. The Thurman Center is dedicated to providing programs, events and experiences to students designed to encourage the creative exchange of ideas, thoughts, beliefs and opinions. Rev. Cook met with BUSM Associate Dean, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Rafael Ortega, MD, to continue exploring areas of potential collaboration between the Thurman Center and the Medical Campus. Rev. Cook also serves as Senior Pastor at Roxbury’s historic St. Mark Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, the oldest black congregational church in Boston.

Hundreds Enjoy Diversity Networking BBQ

May 30th, 2017 in Featured

Diversity BBQ 3

More than 200 students, residents and faculty with diversity-related interests from across the Boston University Medical Campus, including Boston Medical Center, gathered for a networking mixer on Tuesday, May 23, on Talbot Green. Diversity BBQ 2Sponsored by offices invested in diversity and inclusion from across the Medical Campus, attendees included BUMC Provost and BUSM Dean Karen Antman, MD; BMC Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer Ravin Davidoff, MBBCh; Assistant Deans of Diversity Samantha Kaplan, MD (BUSM) and Yvette Cozier, PhD (BUSPH); BUSM Associate Dean Academic Affairs Doug Hughes, MD; GSDM Director of Diversity Larry Dunham, DDS; GSDM Assistant Dean of Students Joseph Calabrese, DMD; and Jeff Schneider, MD, BMC Office of Graduate Medical Education Designated Institutional Official.

Diversity BBQ 1

The evening featured a lively performance by the BUMC Band, an ensemble of students and faculty, along with friends from the Berklee College of Music, all of whom enjoy a broad variety of music. The relaxed atmosphere provided an opportunity for individuals to get to know one another better, while enjoying the good weather, live music and food.

The Medical Campus is dedicated to educating, recruiting and retaining a multicultural constituency and believes that diversity is essential to the development of future leaders in healthcare and research to serve our community, our nation and the world.

Cataldo Leone Elected Faculty Council Vice Chair

May 10th, 2017 in Featured

COM Cataldo LeoneCataldo Leone, DMD, DMSc, GSDM Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor, Periodontology and Molecular & Cell Biology, has been appointed as the Vice Chair of the Boston University Faculty Council, effective at the start of the 2017-2018 academic year.

BUMC Community Spreads Message of Inclusivity at March for Science

April 22nd, 2017 in Featured

Determined to communicate their message of inclusivity and support for science, nearly 100 of BUMC faculty, staff and students braved the rainy, chilly weather to carry colorful — and sometimes politically nuanced — signs as they marched toward Boston Common for the March for Science on Saturday afternoon.

Although their motivations for participating were varied, they all hoped to share positive messages about the impact science has on their lives and the need to have their voices heard.

Faculty, staff and students gather at the steps of the Boston Public Library before marching to Boston Common.

Faculty, staff and students gather at the steps of the Boston Public Library before marching to Boston Common.

Linda Hyman, PhD, associate provost of the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences, said she decided to march because it is important to communicate to the community at large that science is important, science saves lives and science is part of our everyday lives.

“What keeps me up at night is the training of the future leaders of the biomedical workforce,” Hyman said. “I am concerned that we are sending the message that science isn’t as important as it used to be.”

Ben Wolozin, MD, PhD, professor of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics, said he was inspired to participate in the March for Science in order to stand up for what he calls “evidence-based policy.”

“I don’t see how a company can run without addressing facts, I don’t see how you can plan your budget at home without addressing facts, and I don’t see how the government or Americans can address the future well without addressing facts,” he said.

Wolozin, whose research focuses on the causes of, and potential treatments for, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, said funding cuts to the National Institutes of Health would have far-reaching effects.

“Just the threat of funding cuts to the National Institutes of Health has had an impact on science,” Wolozin said.

Jasmeet Hayes, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and research psychologist at the National Center for PTSD at the VA Boston Healthcare System, marched in order to speak up for military personnel and veterans.

“It is fundamentally important to support science,” Hayes said. “There are still a lot of treatments that don’t work for everybody, so we have to continue the scientific process and come up with the treatments that help as many people as we can.”

Hayes, whose research involves examining the effects of PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury on the brain and cognition for military personnel and veterans, said she hoped marching would raise awareness that science can affect people on a personal, day-to-day level.

“The bottom line is if you support our veterans, you need to support science,” Hayes said.

PhD candidate Alicia Wooten was one of the featured speakers at the event. Wooten is deaf, and took the opportunity to discuss the importance of inclusivity in science.

“I didn’t need to hear a single thing to know that I could make a difference in science, despite other people’s doubt,” Wooten said. “It doesn’t matter what kind of disability you have, or the color of your skin or your gender. It is about what you can bring to the table. I am a scientist who just happens to be deaf.”

Brad Zehr, a fourth-year medical student, is concerned about the national dialogue surrounding science. He feels science is being disrespected on many levels. As a student looking forward to starting his residency, he said he could be especially impacted by potential funding cuts.

“Part of the responsibility of having the privilege of being so highly educated is to be very public about why we need to respect science and fund science,” he said. “Suddenly it’s very real to me when science is threatened because that is going to be my livelihood. We need to be the generation that stands up for science.”

See the Facebook album for more photos of the March.

Nominations for 2017 BUMC Emerging Leaders Program

April 7th, 2017 in Featured

The Provost’s Office is looking for candidates for the 2017 Medical Campus Emerging Leaders Program. The two-day workshop will be held on August 9 & 10 at BU’s Questrom School of Business (on the Charles River Campus) focuses on developing the leadership skills of some of our most promising junior faculty.

Sessions taught by faculty who teach in the health management MBA program will cover:

  • Negotiating skills
  • Leadership styles
  • Financial decision making

Eligible faculty are:

  • Late assistant professor or early associate professor with a full-time appointment at one of the three Medical Campus schools
  • Willing to commit to attending both full days of leadership skills training
  • Effective, innovative, reliable, and capable of mobilizing and energizing others

Interested? Please discuss this with your department chair or center director who should submit your name, CV, and a brief description of your promise as a leader (paragraph or two, no more than one page) by April 21 to

Chairs/Center Directors: Two, diverse candidates from each department preferred.

Candidates will be chosen on the strength of their promise as a leader, balance across schools and diversity of candidates’ backgrounds and expertise.

Alumni Medical Library Offering Assistance to BUMC Authors

April 7th, 2017 in Featured


While preparing a manuscript for publication, one of an author’s chief concerns is plagiarism as even the accidental misuse of published material or the inclusion of insufficient citations can lead to serious consequences.

As a free service to authors on the Medical Campus, the Alumni Medical Library uses a program called TurnItIn to produce detailed Originality Reports, which flag each potential occurrence of plagiarism in the document along with providing an overall score indicating the possibility of plagiarism. The Librarians also provide context and commentary regarding these scores, as they can be a bit confusing to individuals unfamiliar with TurnItIn.

If you would like to make use of this service, please contact David Flynn.