By Lisa Brown
Researchers from Boston University’s Slone Epidemiology Center have developed a breast cancer risk prediction model for African- American women that found greater accuracy in predicting risk for the disease. The use of this model could result in increased eligibility of African Americans in breast cancer prevention trials.
The effectiveness of breast cancer prevention and early detection strategies depends in part on the ability to accurately identify individuals at increased risk of the disease. Models for predicting absolute risk of breast cancer have been used for chemoprevention decision-making and for determining eligibility for recruitment into prevention trials. The well-respected Gail Model has been used widely for breast cancer risk prediction in white women but has been shown to underestimate risk in African-American women. Underestimation of risk for African-American women has contributed to their underrepresentation in breast cancer prevention trials.
Researchers used prospective data from 55,000 African-American women age 30-69 at baseline in the Boston University Black Women’s Health Study to develop a breast cancer risk prediction model specifically for African-American women. It included family history of breast cancer, history of benign breast disease, age at menarche, age at first birth, bilateral oophorectomy, oral contraceptive use, hormone use, body mass index at age 18 and adult height.
“The model was well calibrated in that it predicted 486 cases in comparison to an observed 506 cases during the additional five years of follow-up,” explained senior author Julie Palmer, senior epidemiologist at Boston University’s Slone Epidemiology Center and professor of epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health. “Based on the Black Women’s Health Study model, 14.6 percent of women age 30-69 were predicted to have a five-year risk of at least 1.66 percent. This is considerably higher than the proportion predicted by previous models to be above that end point,” said Palmer.
According to the researchers previous breast cancer risk prediction models for African-American women have used information on only a few factors and may have underestimated risk. “The new model appears to improve prediction and, if used for determining eligibility for entry into prevention trials, would likely result in a greater number of African-American women invited to enroll in the trials,” she added.
Funding for this study was provided by the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation and the National Cancer Institute.
Jan. 26 Exploring the Role of Social and Cultural Determinants Influencing Latino HIV and Substance Abuse Health Disparities
BU Medical Campus faculty, residents and PhD students are invited to a colloquium sponsored by the BU School of Social Work. Join Mario De La Rosa, PhD, Professor at Florida International University, Miami as he discusses “Exploring the Role of Social and Cultural Determinants Influencing Latino HIV and Substance Abuse Health Disparities” on Monday, Jan. 26 at 10:45 a.m. Dr. De La Rosa is a candidate for the inaugural Director of the Center for Innovation in Social Work and Health. A luncheon will immediately follow the colloquium, RSVP required by Jan. 22 to firstname.lastname@example.org
- “Exploring the Role of Social and Cultural Determinants Influencing Latino HIV and Substance Abuse Health Disparities”
- Mario De La Rosa, PhD, Professor at Florida International University, Miami
- Colloquium: Monday, Jan. 26, 10:45 a.m.
- Hiebert Lounge, BUSM Instructional Building
- Luncheon following colloquium, RSVP required by Jan. 22, email@example.com
Making the Case-The Added Values of Social Work in Health Care and Service Delivery, Jan 12 Colloquium
BUMC faculty and PhD students are invited to attend a colloquium presented by Darrel Wheeler, PhD, MSW, MPH, Dean and Professor at Loyola University, Chicago. Dr. Wheeler is a candidate for the inaugural Director of the Center for Innovation in Social Work and Health and he will speak on “Making the Case-The Added Values of Social Work in Health Care & Service Delivery.”
- Monday, Jan. 12
- Colloquium: 10:45 a.m.-noon
- Lunch: noon- 1 p.m
- Hiebert Lounge, BUSM Instructional Building
BUMC Faculty and PhD students, RSVP to Patty Frasso by Thursday, Jan. 8 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jan. 22 Celebrate the Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., ” The Enduring Legacy and Lessons of MLK: From Birmingham to Ferguson”
All members of the BU Medical Campus are invited to a special presentation commemorating the legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Kermit A. Crawford, PhD is a forensic psychologist and associate professor of Psychiatry at BU School of Medicine. He is the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Marathon Bombing Victims/Survivors Resiliency Center and the Director of the Center for Multicultural Mental Health, providing leadership across the nation in the aftermath of disasters, ranging from Sept. 11, 2001, to the Boston Marathon bombings.
Crawford has been honored with a doctorate from Boston College, as well as a doctoral degree of humane letters from the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. He has a variety of peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, and is the recipient of the Commissioner’s Excellence Award, the 2012 Excellence in Diversity Training Award from APPIC, the 2012 American Psychological Association’s Minority Fellowship Program James Jones Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2014 Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services Individual Award. He also has made presentations on culturally competent practices in mental health at several acclaimed national organizations.
Following Dr. Crawford’s presentation, a musical performance sponsored by the Boston University Medical Campus Arts Program, will feature BMC patient Joseph Payne (vocals) and Moisès Fernández Via (piano).
Celebrate the Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Speaker: Kermit A. Crawford, PhD
- Topic: The Enduring Legacy and Lessons of MLK: From Birmingham to Ferguson
- Date: Thursday, Jan. 22
- Time: 12:30-1:30 p.m.
- Location: Keefer Auditorium
This event is brought to you by BUSM Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs in collaboration with BU Goldman School of Dental Medicine Office of Diversity, BU School of Public Health, BMC Human Resources Department and the BMC Minority Recruitment Program.
A Forum on the US Senate’s Committee Study of the CIA Interrogation Program
The release of the Senate’s Report on CIA Post-9/11 Interrogation Methods and Results has created wide-ranging debate on the use of torture, the results of torture (both in terms of intelligence obtained and harm done to the prisoners), and the role of physicians, psychologists and health care providers in the CIA’s torture and interrogation programs. Panelists will address these issues, national and international law on torture, the relevance of the Nuremberg Principles, applicable medical ethics standards regarding the physician’s role in torture and prison medicine, and what health and medical-related obligations, if any, the US owes.
Panelists: Sondra Crosby, MD, Michael Grodin, MD, George Annas, JD
Moderator: Leonard Glantz, JD
When: Tuesday, Dec. 16, 4-5 p.m.
Where: Bakst Auditorium
Sponsored by the Department of Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights, BU School of Public Health and Global Lawyers & Physicians.
Med schools would remain separate, safety-net hospital would stay in place
Boston Medical Center, Boston’s “safety-net hospital” and the primary teaching hospital for the BU School of Medicine, is discussing a strategic partnership, including a potential merger, with Tufts Medical Center, the primary teaching hospital for Tufts University Medical and Dental Schools.
Karen Antman, dean of the School of Medicine and provost of the Medical Campus, stressed that any partnership or merger would not include the medical schools, which are parts of their respective universities.
Robert A. Brown, president of Boston University, says it is imperative that any partnership or merger maintain Boston Medical Center (BMC) as a premier academic medical center and as a safety-net hospital, fulfilling the hospital’s mission to provide exceptional care to the city’s vulnerable populations, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. “BMC is a superb academic medical center and the city’s most important safety-net hospital,” Brown says. “If a partnership or merger can ensure that BMC continues to play both these roles in a stronger, sustainable way in the future, it is worth pursuing.”
Kate Walsh, president and CEO of Boston Medical Center, echoed Brown’s commitment to continuing to provide first-rate medical care for all. Walsh says conversations to date suggest that a strategic partnership may strengthen the missions of both medical centers and that “an affiliation that secures a long, bright future of continuing to provide exceptional care without exception would be of great interest to us.”
She says a partnership with Tufts Medical Center could have great potential benefits, including new options to serve patients, greater financial resources, and a larger referral network to attract new patients and better payments from insurers.
“Tufts Medical Center is our neighbor,” says Walsh. “We know them, we respect them, we share a common geography and a commitment to providing high-quality care to all patients. We also share a mutual commitment to our academic missions of teaching and research.”
Over the last 20 years, changes in health care models have made hospital partnerships and mergers a virtual requirement for a sustainable health care business, particularly in the Boston area. In 1994, Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s teaching hospitals teamed up to form Partners Health Care, which has since brought in several community hospitals around Boston. In a rival venture, Steward Health Care has, in the past few years, taken over 10 community hospitals as well at St. Elizabeth’s and Carney hospitals. Earlier this year, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center took control of Jordan Hospital in Plymouth and formed a joint venture with New England Baptist Hospital. Antman says many observers of Boston’s crowded health care arena consider a merger involving Boston Medical Center to be long overdue.
Similarly, changes in health care payments combined with cuts in research funding have hit academic medical centers particularly hard. An alliance between Tufts and BMC could produce efficiencies of scale, Antman says.
Walsh cautioned that while the two medical centers have much in common, “there is more work we need to do before we will know whether a partnership is the best option for our employees, and most importantly, our patients.”
A combination of the two medical centers could result in significant change for clinical faculty at both schools of medicine. Boston Medical Center currently has 724 physicians, including the clinical faculty at the BU School of Medicine, and Tufts Medical Center employs 500. BMC officials say any partnership involving the two hospitals would take years to accomplish, and that the medical center would continue to offer a full range of services.
“We do not underestimate the anxiety that this will create among our clinical faculty,” Brown says. “We also understand that the hospitals, and not the universities, control the outcome of any discussion. We will do all we can to provide support and advocacy on behalf of our clinical faculty during what will be a period of uncertainty.”
If the two hospitals merge, the two medical schools would remain separate, each with its own faculty, curriculum, and rotations, called clerkships. The merger would have no impact on the number of students enrolled at the BU Medical School or on the size of the medical sciences faculty who teach at the school. However, the consolidation may result in fewer hospital beds, which might reduce the number of clerkships and residency slots available to BU and Tufts Medical students in the consolidated hospital. Currently, 45 percent of BU medical students do their clerkships at BMC while 35 percent of Tufts medical students do theirs at Tufts Medical Center.
Antman says she does not foresee a shortage of clerkship opportunities for BU medical students. “We are affiliated with 20 other hospitals in the area,” she says, “and we have a program in place to identify even more clerkship and residency opportunities in Boston, and around the country.”
With more than 870,000 patient visits last year and more than 4,500 full-time staff, Boston Medical Center is the largest safety-net hospital in New England. Approximately 70 percent of BMC patient visits come from come from people who rely on government payers such as Medicaid, the Health Safety Net, and Medicare for their coverage.
Boston Medical Center struggled with changes to the health care business for years and only recently, under the leadership of CEO Kate Walsh, has it approached financial stability. In 2012, the hospital reversed three years of losses and posted a small but meaningful financial gain. At the same time, Moody’s Investor Service and Standard & Poor’s bumped up their ratings of the hospital from negative to stable.
“Kate Walsh’s excellent track record as our hospital leader gives us added assurance that any change is likely to be in the best interests of the hospital, the underserved, and those medical students and clinical faculty associated with the facility in the future,” Brown says.
Antman says she sees hope in successful mergers such as the 1998 partnership of New York Hospital and the Presbyterian Hospital, which created the 2,500-bed New York Presbyterian Hospital. That hospital, which has two distinct medical centers, Columbia University Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medical Center, serves as the primary teaching hospital for Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Weill Cornell Medical College.
“In these initial discussions we are all looking forward to finding a new way to educate medical students in Massachusetts,” says Antman. “There is no reason we can’t work with our partners to create a better educational experience for our students.”
This BU Today story was written by Art Jahnke.
The BU Advocacy Training Program presents December Advocacy Grand Rounds, Leadership in Healthcare: A Conversation with Former Governor Michael Dukakis.
Governor Dukakis, Massachusetts’ longest serving governor and former Democratic Presidential candidate, has lectured extensively on healthcare policy and reform. Come hear about the changing landscape of healthcare in the US.
Where: BUSM Instructional Building, L-303
When: Thursday, Dec. 4, 5-6 p.m.
Dinner will be served. Sponsored by the BUSM Alumni Association
New online program now open for registration
Many medical students dream of being able to teach one day, but the intensive rigors of their curriculum leave them little time to acquire the skills that would prepare them to do so. The same is often true for doctors and nurses who have developed areas of expertise and are interested in teaching, but lack the requisite teaching background.
Gail March (CFA’73) has witnessed this firsthand as a School of Medicine assistant professor and director of instructional design and faculty development. For the past decade, March has run a faculty development program at MED. But she realized she wasn’t reaching everyone, particularly busy health care providers who have dedicated their professional lives to caring for patients and suddenly find themselves asked to teach. That led March to propose and create a new program, the BUSM+ Medical Education Badge Program through a Digital Learning Initiative (DLI) seed grant for online innovation in higher education.
The program’s first course, Teaching and Learning, will provide health care professionals with a foundation in students’ learning styles, give them tools to design an interactive course, and teach them how to evaluate students. Registration is open now through December 15. Sessions begin January 15 and run through March 30.
“It’s a very new concept,” says March. The program is designed for health care providers of all stripes—including doctors, nurses, chiropractors, and dentists—who are preparing to enter the classroom as instructors. March says the pilot program is also ideal for health care providers already teaching who want to enhance their skills. “We wanted to introduce some new ideas in medical teaching because there have been so many advances in medical technology,” says March.
“There is growing demand for nontraditional professional development programs,” says Chris Dellarocas, director of the DLI. “Such programs are typically short, highly targeted, and do not culminate in traditional degrees, but rather in micro-credentials, such as certificates and badges. Beyond the merits of its excellent content, the MED badge program is especially interesting because it is Boston University’s first experiment with badges.”
Registrants complete up to 10 online sessions to receive the badge level that corresponds with the number of sessions they complete: competent (5 sessions), exemplary (7 sessions), or master (10 sessions). Single sessions are also an option for those not looking to earn a badge.
Each session features a video with tips from MED’s leading faculty—such as Anna Hohler, associate professor of neurology; Robert C. Lowe, associate professor of medicine; and Wayne LaMorte, professor of surgery and School of Public Health professor of epidemiology—on topics such as facilitating small-group learning, developing interactive lectures and presentations, designing multiple-choice assessments, and identifying the neurological basis for the adult learner. Participants will have a week to complete each session, which can be accessed 24/7. Those electing to take all 10 sessions will be given 12 weeks to complete the program.
Registrants receive their digital badges once they’ve completed the requisite number of sessions. March says they can use Mozilla’s Open Badge infrastructure to create a “backpack” to store their new accolades. Or, if they prefer, they can attach them to their electronic portfolio, CV, or social media sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook.
Each badge is embedded with the professional’s name and the sessions he or she completed. “No one else can claim it,” March assures. “It’s your badge.” For those who prefer recognition the old-fashioned way, physical badges and pins can be requested at registration.
March has already heard from health care professionals interested in taking the sessions from as far away as India, Armenia, and Russia. She says the program is designed to be of use to fellows, residents, medical students, physician assistants, nurses, physical therapists, and many other health care professionals—especially considering that the sessions count toward required continuing medical education credits.
Registrants who teach at MED can take the sessions for free, while those affiliated with BU or the Boston Medical Center will receive a 50 percent discount. All other students will pay a fee of anywhere from $60 to $450, depending on whether they are taking a single session or acquiring a master-level badge, or something in between. March says she chose this pay structure because she wants students to be committed to the program and not drop out, which can occur in free massive open online courses. All profits from the program will go toward funding additional courses.
If all goes well, March envisions running the course again in the summer. She also plans to launch three more courses—Curriculum Design, Academic Leadership, and Medical Education Research—covering skills, she says, that medical students and professionals want to learn, but often don’t have time to pursue in traditional classes.
Visit this site for more information about the BUSM+ Medical Education Badge Program.
Institutions and schools outside of Boston University registering more than 10 people can email email@example.com for discounts.
This BU Today story was written by Leslie Friday.
Boston Magazine has released its annual Top Docs issue.
Sixty-two BUSM faculty and BMC physicians from 29 specialties are listed as “tops” in their respective fields, and Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, assistant professor of medicine and director of infection control at the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory (NEIDL) at Boston University is featured on the cover with a story about her recent work caring for Ebola patients in Sierra Leone.
In addition, Dr. Thea James, associate professor of emergency medicine and assistant dean for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs at BUSM, was featured in a story titled “A Day in the Medical Life,” which tracked personal health stats of five health care workers in 24 hours.
Domenic Ciraulo, MD
Allergy and Immunology
Helen Hollingsworth, MD
Tania Phillips, MD
Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
Alan Farwell, MD
Michael Holick, PhD, MD
Stephanie Lee, MD, PhD
James Rosenzweig, MD
Maternal and Fetal Medicine
Robert Blatman, MD
Aviva Lee-Parritz, MD
David Salant, MD
Carlos Kase, MD
Pediatric Infectious Disease
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Susan Bergman, MD
Thoracic & Cardiac Surgery
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journals Science, Science Translational Medicine and Science Signaling has named five members of the Boston University Medical Campus (BUMC) community AAAS Fellows.
They are: BU School of Medicine (BUSM) faculty David Michael Center, MD; Ronald B. Corley, PhD; Katya Ravid, Ph.D; and David J. Salant, MD; and Josée Dupuis, PhD, from BU School of Public Health (SPH).
The AAAS selects members whose work has helped to advance science and its applications. Now in its 140th year, 401 applicants will be awarded the title of fellow at the annual Fellows Forum in San Jose, Calif., in February.
David Center, MD, Associate Provost for Translational Research, Director of BUMC Translational Research Institute and Chief of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine at Boston Medical Center (BMC) was elected as a fellow under the Section on Medical Sciences for his contributions to the field of Immunology, particularly for the discovery of the first human (IL-16) and virus-derived (HIV-1 gp120) lymphocyte chemotactic factors.
Ronald Corley, PhD, Professor of Microbiology, and Director at the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories, was elected as a fellow under the Section on Medical Sciences for his contributions to the field of immunology, particularly in elucidating innate functions of antibodies and B cells and their roles in accelerating adaptive immunity.
Josée Dupuis, PhD, Professor and Associate Chair of Biostatistics, was elected as a fellow under the Section on Biological Sciences for her contributions to the field of statistical genetics, leading to the discovery and improved understanding of the genetic basis for common diseases.
Katya Ravid, DSc, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry, and Founding Director of the Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research, was elected as a fellow under the Section on Medical Sciences for pursuing interdisciplinary research, and outstandingly combining the fields of hematology and vascular biology, leading to the discovery of transcriptional and cell cycle signatures that govern polyploidy during megakaryocyte/platelet development.
David Salant, MD, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, BUSM and Chief of the Section of Nephrology at BMC, was elected as a fellow under the Section on Medical Sciences for his contributions to the field of immunological kidney diseases, particularly for discovering that the anti-phospholipase A2 receptor is the major autoantigen in human membranous nephropathy.
Submitted by Amanda Macone, MD.