By Lisa Brown
Thea James, MD, associate professor of Emergency Medicine at BU School of Medicine, is the recipient of the 2014 Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver Award, which recognizes health care providers who demonstrate extraordinary compassion in caring for patients and families.
One of the region’s most prestigious honors, recipients are chosen based on how well they embody the characteristics of compassionate care, including effective communication, emotional support, mutual trust and respect, involving patients and families in health care decisions, and treating patients as people, not just illnesses.
James is an attending physician in Boston Medical Center’s (BMC) Emergency Department and Director of BMC’s Violence Intervention Advocacy Program (VIAP). She also cofounded Unified for Global Healing, an organization that seeks to improve health outcomes across the globe.
“Dr. James interacts with patients in a truly authentic and compassionate manner. She sees the person behind each injury and searches for that person’s story. Her sensitivity, communications skills, optimism and kindness have deeply impacted the lives of her patients and families. We’re so pleased to honor her and our extraordinary finalists,” said Schwartz Center Executive Director Julie Rosen when presenting James with the award.
This past September, two Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM) students volunteered their time and talent treating Honduran residents in a very small, remote town called Gracias. During the week of Sept. 13–20, Stephanie Leung DMD 15 and Thomas Mosley DMD 15 participated in an externship under the guidance of Medical, Eye, and Dental International Care Organization (MEDICO), a nonprofit humanitarian service organization based in Austin, Texas, that has provided comprehensive health care in Central America since 1990. Its mission is to deliver medical, eye, and dental care and educational services to people in developing countries who have little or no access to health care.
Prior to their arrival in Gracias, Leung and Mosley admitted that they didn’t know what to expect and what oral-related challenges they would see in such a remote location. Since Honduras has a population of 8 million, with 65 percent of the population at or below poverty and a physician density of 57 physicians per 1,000 people, they felt it was safe to assume they would be exposed to somewhat complex cases.
Their assumptions were confirmed on the first day the makeshift dental treatment center opened, when patients began lining up to be seen in the early morning hours. Working under the supervision of and alongside MEDICO’s President, Dr. Robert Gurmankin and GSDM alum, Jahan Monirian DMD 13, Leung and Mosley hit the ground running providing amalgams, cleanings, composites, and a large number of tooth extractions.
Extensive tooth decay was common among the patients. Dental floss is very hard to come by in the region and the students noted that the majority of patients had already undergone multiple tooth extractions in the past and many specifically requested more due to continuing pain. At the end of the week, the team had seen a total of 364 patients. They performed 204 extractions, 112 composites, 143 cleanings, and 55 amalgam restorations (mainly in the back teeth).
When asked how the trip to Honduras contributed to their education, Mosley said, “A lot more practice.” He continued, “There were a limited number of providers and an unlimited number of patients waiting to be seen. The volume of hands-on patient contact each day was eye-opening.”
Leung added, “As GSDM students, work integrity is paramount. Due to the high volume of patients we saw in Honduras, we learned to think fast and work efficiently, while providing excellent dental care.”
Dean Hutter commended Leung and Mosley, “I appreciate and applaud their enthusiasm and willingness to volunteer for this elective externship to Honduras,” he said. He continued, “I am very proud of all of our students who commit to serving those in need.”’
A BU School of Public Health and School of Medicine researcher will lead a $3 million study aimed at addressing racial and economic disparities in the early identification and treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among young children.
The five-year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health will allow a team led by Emily Feinberg, associate professor of community health sciences at BUSPH and associate professor of pediatrics at BUSM, to test an intervention at three urban primary care centers: Boston Medical Center, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Yale University. Feinberg and her collaborators from the national Developmental and Behavioral Research Network – Dr. Amanda Bennett of the Children’s Hospital and Carol Weitzman of Yale — will target low-income and minority children, who are most likely to experience delays in ASD diagnosis and service provision.
All children between birth and age 2 will be screened as part of routine practice, and some of those with a confirmed risk for ASD will be assisted by “family navigators” to access high-quality ASD services. Patient “navigation” is a lay-delivered case management approach that focuses on overcoming logistical hurdles to care – such as transportation, language barriers or insurance complexities.
Emerging evidence shows that ASD can be reliably diagnosed by age 2, and that early screening and intervention can improve outcomes. However, service delivery changes that support early identification and linkage to services “have not kept pace with advances in diagnosis and treatment,” Feinberg said.
“Barriers are heightened for low-income and minority children with ASD, and contribute to disparities in age of diagnosis, timeliness of service provision, and access to quality services,” Feinberg said. “Feasible, culturally appropriate interventions are needed to reduce these disparities and to improve the developmental outcomes of children with ASD.”
ASD symptoms emerge in early childhood. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent data regarding ASD prevalence, released in March 2014, estimates that about 1 in 68 children are identified with ASD. The central features of ASD are deficits in social communication and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior and interests.
The grant to Feinberg’s team was one of five grants recently awarded by the NIMH for research into ASD early detection and treatment.
Despite increasing numbers of people of all ages identified with ASD, “access to effective services remains inconsistent, at best,” NIMH Director Dr. Thomas Insel said in announcing the grants. “Parents are often left to navigate what is available as best they can, and worry for the future as their affected children grow into adulthood . . .
“This research is aimed at testing care strategies, adaptable across communities, in which identification of need and engagement in optimal interventions and services will be standard for all ages.”
The BU-led study seeks to screen at least 80 percent of all young children across the three primary care sites, shorten the time to diagnosis, and increase engagement in evidence-based treatments. The research team also will examine key barriers to care and gauge caregiver stress.
Feinberg has led previous research on ASD, including a study published earlier this year in JAMA Pediatrics that found that a brief, problem-solving intervention helped to reduced stress and depressive symptoms in mothers of children who had recently been diagnosed with ASD.
Submitted by: Lisa Chedekel
U.S. News released its latest rankings tool, Best Global Universities, today and Boston University is listed 37.
The new rankings offer the most comprehensive assessment of research universities worldwide as well as by region and country. As an interesting comparison, U.S. News ranks BUSM 32nd, BUSPH 11th and BU 42nd in the U.S. on its list of Best U.S. Graduate Schools and National Universities, respectively. Thus both BUSM and BU are ranked higher globally (30th and 37th respectively), than they are ranked in the U.S. (32nd and 42nd).
As per the table below, the U.S. News Global rankings lists BUSM 20th in the US compared to 32nd in the U.S. in the U.S. News National rankings.
U.S. rank in Global rankings
U.S. rank in Natl rankings
The rankings also feature the top 100 global universities in 21 subject areas, including fields such as economics and business, engineering, computer science and clinical medicine. In these subject areas, BU ranks in the following 10 categories:
- #25 in social sciences/public health
- #30 in clinical medicine
- #30 in physics
- #33 in molecular biology/genetics
- #45 in psychiatry/psychology
- #46 in neuroscience and behavior
- #54 in biology and biochemistry
- #55 in economics and business
- #55 in immunology
- #76 in environment/energy
For a complete list of the rankings, visit http://www.usnews.com/education/best-global-universities
As a result of the ongoing BMC construction project there are significant changes to vehicular and pedestrian traffic patterns on Albany Street and Massachusetts Avenue. Please follow the appropriate walking paths http://www.bumc.bu.edu/2014/10/02/bmc-construction-update/. If you have questions or concerns, please contact email@example.com or call 638-4144.
- The sidewalk on the north side of Albany Street is closed from the Shapiro driveway to the Dowling building, and the crosswalk from Menino Pavilion to the Power Plant has been removed. This means pedestrians need to walk on the Power Plant side of Albany Street. Please do not walk in the street.
- There is no pedestrian access from Menino Pavilion/Dowling to Albany Street. Please enter and exit these buildings through the main hospital entrance on Harrison Avenue.
Tips for Getting Around Campus
- Utilize designated walking paths;
- Give yourself extra time when driving into work;
- Allow extra time when crossing the campus;
- Pay extra attention to pedestrian crossings as some have changed.
NIH Appropriations for FY 2015 [Under the Current Continuing Resolution (CR)]:
Following previous practice under continuing resolutions (CR), the NIH on Oct. 1 announced it will issue non-competing research grants “at a level below that indicated on the most recent Notice of Award (generally up to 90 percent of the previously committed level).” The notice states that upward adjustments will be considered once a FY 2015 appropriations bill is enacted. The current CR funds the NIH at 99.9 percent of the FY 2014 enacted level through Dec. 11.
Find the guidance at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-15-001.html
Dr. Richard Saitz, chairman of BUSPH’s Community Health Sciences Department, has been named the senior editor of the Journal of Addiction Medicine, the official journal of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).
Saitz, a general internist and primary care physician who is also a professor of medicine at the BU School of Medicine, will assume the leadership position Jan.1, when the current senior editor, researcher Dr. George Koob, steps down. Koob has been appointed the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at the National Institutes of Health. Saitz will join current journal co-editors Drs. Shannon Miller, Martha Wunsch and Frank Vocci.
“As a general medicine internist with leadership and expertise in addiction medicine, Dr. Saitz will tactically position ASAM’s journal amidst the Affordable Care Act, the patient-centered medical home, addiction parity, and the new national recognition of the importance of placing addiction medicine central to primary care,” said Dr. Lori D. Karan, treasurer and publications council chair for ASAM, who led the recruitment.
Saitz is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and by the American Board Addiction Medicine. He has received numerous awards for his research contributions to the field of addiction medicine, including an RSA Distinguished Researcher Award from the Research Society on Alcoholism.
His studies, supported by federal agencies and foundations, have focused on integrating care for addictions into general health settings, including identification and brief interventions in primary care.
“Journal of Addiction Medicine is well on its way as a prominent journal in the field, and Dr. Richard Saitz can continue and facilitate this trajectory,” Koob said.
ASAM President Dr. Stuart Gitlow said Saitz has “the strong medical and research background to continue the incredible growth of ASAM’s journal that we experienced with Dr. Koob’s leadership. “
Saitz, the author of over 160 peer-reviewed publications, previously served as a board member of the International Society of Addiction Journal Editors; as editor-in-chief of Alcohol, Other Drugs and Health: Current Evidence, Evidence-Based Medicine and Addiction Science & Clinical Practice; and as an editorial board member on numerous addiction and other medical journals. He also served as a leading editor of The ASAM Principles of Addiction Medicine.
Abuse of Mentally Ill Patients at Bridgewater State Hospital: How the Media Can Help Medicine and the Law Protect Patients
Michael Rezendes of the Boston Globe will review a year of investigative reporting on the state’s prison for the mentally ill and explain how his reporting led to revelations of major abuses and significant reforms.
Michael Rezendes is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who has played a key role in many of the Globe’s most significant investigations, including those probing the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, financial corruption in the nation’s charitable foundations, and the plight of mentally ill state prisoners. As a member of the Globe’s Spotlight Team he shared a 2003 Pulitzer Prize for investigating the cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. More recently, Rezendes has uncovered the widespread abuse of mental health patients at Bridgewater State Hospital, including the soaring use of isolation and restraints, and the death of a 23-year-old mental health patient who was killed while prison guards were placing him in four-point restraints.
The annual Pike Lecture on Health Law is held in honor of Boston University School of Law alumni Neal Pike (‘37), a distinguished lawyer and lifelong advocate for individuals with disabilities.
Abuse of Mentally Ill Patients at Bridgewater State Hospital: How the Media Can Help Medicine and the Law Protect Patients
- Thursday, Oct. 16
- Noon-1 p.m.
- BUSM Instructional Building, L-112
- Open to students, faculty, staff, general public
Co-Sponsored by BU School of Law and Department of Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights at BU School of Public Health. For more information, contact Gina Duong.
The inaugural class of BUSM’s Physician Assistant (PA) Program celebrated National Physician Assistant Week, Oct. 6-12. First-year PA students organized events to share information about and appreciation of PAs.
The week’s activities included the distribution of appreciation buttons, complementary treats and bookmarks with facts about the PA profession. In addition, the BU PA Program hosted a luncheon Oct. 9 with BMC PAs, first-year PA students and BU undergraduate members of the Pre-PA Club.
Physician Assistants are crucial members of today’s healthcare team. PAs are versatile and skilled clinicians that provide effective, quality care to their patients. The inaugural class of the BUSM PA Program is proud to represent an incredible profession at an institution famous for its medical achievements.
To learn more about the program, please contact PA Program Director Mary Warner, PA-C, 617-638-5744, firstname.lastname@example.org
Submitted by Douglas-Jarrett Cole Turno , a first year physician assistant student at BUSM
BUSM/VA Research Team to Study Effectiveness of LED Helmets for Treating TBI and PTSD in Returning Vets
Yelena Bogdanova, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry at BUSM and a psychology researcher at the VA Boston Healthcare System, was recently awarded a 2-year, $200,000 grant from VA Rehabilitation Research & Development for her project titled “Noninvasive LED Treatment to Improve Cognition and Promote Recovery in Blast TBI.”
Rehabilitation of blast traumatic brain injury (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans is a very important topic and a new area of research,” explained Bogdanova, principal investigator of the study. The clinical trial will utilize cutting-edge technology (LED helmets) to treat cognitive and neuropsychiatric symptoms in returning veterans with TBI and PTSD.