By Lisa Brown
All Medical Campus students, faculty and staff are encouraged to share their thoughts in an anonymous survey regarding the University’s engagement with its international student population.
BU’s success in attracting students from diverse backgrounds and around the world has brought a renewed set of challenges and opportunities for self-evaluation and development of the university as a vibrant and fully international global learning community.
Please assist by suggesting the next steps the University can take to support the academic and social engagement of international students while educating all BU graduates for success in today’s global society.
A newly convened Provost’s ad hoc Committee on International Student Experiences and Institutional Impacts requests input and advice from all faculty, staff, and students. The Committee has set up a website http://www.bu.edu/provost/initiatives/iseii/ for anonymous responses to the following questions:
How has the presence of a large international student population affected your work and experience at Boston University?
- Please specify the challenges and suggest opportunities for BU to improve the academic success of a growing international student population.
- Please specify the challenges and suggest opportunities for BU to improve social interactions/dynamics, mutual understanding, and learning opportunities within its diverse student population.
- Please specify the challenges and suggest opportunities for BU to improve support to faculty and staff who work with international students.
- Please describe efforts or success stories related to international students that you would recommend or suggest as best practices, and identify experts or resources of which the Provost’s Committee should be aware.
- Other comments
- Please indicate your BU affiliation: undergraduate student, graduate student, other student, faculty, staff, research staff, other ___________.
- Please indicate your US citizenship status: US citizen, US permanent resident, foreign national (non-US citizen/non-US permanent resident.
In an effort to promote wellness, BU Human Resources is hosting a Wellness Fair on the Medical Campus for faculty and staff. In addition to cardiac screenings there are a wide range of wellness offerings.
Highlights of the fair include:
- Private cardiac screening sessions (Registration required)
- 20 min fitness workshops and cooking demonstrations (Registration required)
- Chair massages, Skin analysis for sun damage, Glaucoma screenings and ergonomics demonstrations
- Select Departments and Schools of BU will provide information on their services
- Healthy refreshments and raffle prizes, including iPad minis
The Wellness Fair is presented in collaboration with Blue Cross Blue Shield. A representative will be available with information on health and dental plans.
BU Medical Campus Faculty & Staff Wellness Fair
- Tuesday, March 25, 11 a.m.- 3 p.m.
- BUSM Instructional Building, Hiebert Lounge
Faculty and staff unable to attend this event may choose to participate in Wellness Fairs on the Charles River Campus.
BU Charles River Campus Faculty and Staff Wellness Fairs
- Monday, April 7, 12:30-5 p.m. and Tuesday, April 8, 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.
- Fitness & Recreation Center, 915 Commonwealth Ave., Court 1 Upstairs Gym
Full professorships to six, two join faculty
Six School of Medicine faculty members, whose areas of expertise range from post-traumatic stress disorder, fetal alcohol syndrome, and pediatric development to cardiovascular disease, traumatic brain injuries, and cardiothoracic surgery, have been promoted to the rank of full professor.
“We are delighted to recognize the accomplishments of these exceptional senior faculty,” says Karen Antman, dean of MED and provost of the Medical Campus. “The vigorous promotions process requires national and international recognition of a faculty member’s contributions.”
Antman says faculty promotions are awarded for the quality of both laboratory research and classroom scholarship.
Denise Sloan, formerly an associate professor of psychiatry, has been promoted to full professor. Sloan is researching more efficient ways to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. “We do have effective treatments for PTSD,” she says, “but they are typically quite time-consuming, with at least 12 one-hour sessions, and they require intensive training for therapists.”
Sloan is intrigued by the resilience of some people in the face of a traumatic event, while others develop PTSD. She believes a better understanding of that difference will inform PTSD treatment approaches.
She points to “the limited number of women at this academic rank,” saying she finds mentoring students extremely rewarding. “I have had outstanding mentors throughout my career, and I view mentorship as my chance to give back to the next generation of clinical scientists. I am particularly committed to encouraging more women to pursue academic careers.”
Sloan is the associate director of education, Behavioral Science Division, National Center for PTSD, at the VA Boston Healthcare System. She is the associate editor of Behavior Therapy and is on the editorial boards of five other scientific journals, including, Behaviour Research and Therapy, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, and Psychosomatic Medicine. Her research has received funding from several organizations, among them the National Institute of Mental Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Rhoda Au (GSM’95), formerly a research professor of neurology, has been promoted to full professor. Au, an internationally recognized leader in neuropsychology research in cognition, has directed the collection, interpretation, and publication of neurocognitive performance of Framingham Heart Study subjects for two decades. By integrating digital technology into the evaluation process analyzing brain MRI images, she has developed novel cognitive biomarkers, new scoring methods, and standardization of cognitive measures correlated to vascular risk factors. Au, who is taking a leadership role in the study of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, has been a consultant to China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, advising on a national plan for research on Alzheimer’s disease. She is currently exploring collaborations for the study of nutritional variables involved in brain function and cognition.
Marilyn Augustyn, previously an associate professor of pediatrics, who developed an online training document for Boston Medical Center’s Reach Out and Read program, has been promoted to full professor of pediatrics and division chief of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics. Her curriculum, which has won international awards, is the core of a training program offered in multiple venues on DVD and as an online CME course.
Michael E. Charness, chief of staff at the VA Boston Healthcare System, has been promoted to full professor of neurology from associate professor. Charness is an expert on the neurotoxicity of alcohol and has defined some of the molecular changes that occur in fetal alcohol syndrome. He developed the first cell culture models to study alcohol’s effects on neural signaling and demonstrated molecular adaptations associated with chronic alcohol exposure. Charness codeveloped and codirects The Other Side of the Bed, an innovative interdisciplinary training program that allows medical students to work as health techs and nurses aides at the West Roxbury Campus of the VA Boston the summer after their first year. The program has been adopted by other VA-medical school affiliations around the country. Charness is scientific director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Collaborative Initiative on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.
Hiran Fernando, a nationally recognized leader in thoracic surgery, has been promoted to full professor of surgery and division chief of cardiothoracic surgery. Fernando, who was formerly an associate professor of surgery, is known for developing new surgical procedures and for leadership in clinical trials and protocol development. His research focuses on minimally invasive CT surgery, including esophagectomy, treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease, thermal ablation for lung cancer, and robotic surgery.
Olga Gursky, director of the department of physiology and biophysics Spectroscopy and Bio-Calorimetry Core Facilities, has been promoted from associate professor to full professor of physiology and biophysics. Gursky leads a research program on the structure-function relationships involved in lipid transport that underlie cardiovascular disease. A highly regarded teacher who developed and teaches a major component of the core graduate level course Foundations of Biophysics and Structural Biology, she has led the Special Topics/Student Seminar, both mandatory components of the Physiology and Biophysics Graduate Training Program. She is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Lipid Research and a peer reviewer for the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the American Heart Association study sections.
In addition to those promoted above, two medical experts have joined the School of Medicine faculty as full professors.
Jeffrey Miller, who comes to BU from the Boston Biomedical Research Institute, is a full professor of neurology and of physiology and biophysics. He and his colleagues hope to develop new therapies for currently untreatable muscle diseases. By identifying the molecular changes that cause the loss of muscle function, and then testing methods to restore those pathways to normal, Miller’s lab focuses on finding novel treatment targets or ways to prevent neuromuscular disorders.
“BU provides an excellent combination of intellectual depth, collaborative environment, and support for research,” he says. “I hope that we will contribute to BU’s research excellence.”
Before joining MED, Miller was an associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School.
Hemant Roy is a full professor of gastroenterology as well as chief of the section of gastroenterology at Boston Medical Center. Before coming to BU, Roy was a clinical associate professor at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He is noted for fostering collaboration between basic scientists and clinicians on the development of noninvasive screening tools for gastrointestinal cancer. Roy’s research focuses on cancer risk stratification and prevention using new approaches to cancer screening, such as optical sensing of tissue to detect colon, lung, and ovarian cancers. He recently completed a National Cancer Institute investigator-initiated Phase 2b grant on the ability to predict the outcome of chemoprevention therapy.
This BU Today story was written by Kira Jastive. She can be reached at email@example.com.
In fall 2013 Boston Medical Center announced plans to redesign its clinical footprint and consolidate inpatient operations to the west side (Menino Pavilion) of campus. This multi-year redesign project will feature a number of improvements including an expanded Emergency Department (ED) unified with Urgent Care and with a separate Behavioral Health area; a consolidated state-of-the-art Radiology Department next to the ED; centralized, modernized Operating Rooms; a new women’s and children’s facility in the Yawkey Ambulatory Care Center; Intensive Care Units in one location; and a new bridge to transport helipad patients to the ED. As part of the redesign, patient services will be transitioned out of Newton Pavilion in 2017.
The month of March will bring much construction activity to the campus and will result in wayfinding changes.
March 17: Alperin Garden Closes
The Alperin Garden located next to the Moakley Building will close, enabling the start of the Moakley addition construction.
Week of March 17: E. Concord Street MBTA Bus Stop Moves
During the week of March 17, the bus stop on E. Concord Street will move 50 yards north of its current location in order to enable construction to begin on the addition to the Moakley Building. Several parking meters will be removed from the street to accommodate the new bus stop location. Pedestrian access will be redirected and new crosswalks will be paved.
This move was originally scheduled for March 14, but has been delayed pending city and state regulatory approval.
March 21: BMC Occupational and Environmental Medicine Moves
On Friday, March 21, BMC’s Occupational and Environmental Medicine Clinic will move from Yawkey Ambulatory Care Center 1 to Doctors Office Building 7. The office will close at noon that day in preparation for the move and reopen Monday, March 24, in its new space for normal business hours. The department’s phone numbers will remain the same. Patients have been notified of the move and campus signage will be updated to reflect the new location. Please direct questions about the move to 638-4144.
March 22: Emergency Department Walk-In Entrance Relocates to Harrison Avenue
At 5 a.m. Saturday, March 22, the walk-in entrance to the Emergency Department will relocate from Albany Street to the main entrance of the Menino Pavilion on Harrison Avenue. From this date forward all patients, staff and visitors will only be able to enter the Menino Pavilion from Harrison Avenue.
If you have questions or concerns about construction activity, such as noise, report them to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 638-4144. Emailed questions will be responded to the same day.
Every year the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biologists (FASEB) brings scientists to Washington DC as part of Capitol Hill Day. Scientists from across the country meet with Congressional staff to discuss the importance of federal research funding. On March 5, 2014 scientists from 21 states met with their representatives. FASEB’s specific recommendations for funding included $32 billion for the National Institutes of Health and $7.6 billion for the National Science Foundation. The $32 billion recommendation for NIH funding represents fewer actual dollars (not inflation adjusted dollars) compared to 2010. More information about federal funding for basic science research is available on the FASEB website.
Three scientists from Boston University formed the State of Massachusetts delegation for Capitol Hill Day: Shoumita Dasgupta, PhD, Department of Medicine, Biomedical Genetics Section; Daniel Remick, MD, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; and Douglas Rosene, PhD, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology. They were escorted by Joseph McInerney, Executive Vice President, American Society of Human Genetics. The group visited the offices of Senators Warren and Markey as well as Representatives Tierney and Kennedy.
At each office the group gave specific information about how reduced funding for science was having multiple negative impacts. Individual stories were told including:
- Scientists no longer doing research because of lack of funding.
- Increased scientific publications from other countries in the Journal of Immunology compared to publications from the United States.
- International genomic sequencing initiatives (e.g. Beijing Genomics Institute) surpassing efforts at the NIH.
- Loss of funding for the Framingham Heart studies and missing a generation of data.
- Decreased funding resulting in fewer experiments to examine the devastating effects of aging. These studies require a long term, consistent commitment since aging takes place over decades and it is difficult to start and stop science.
Staff members assured the delegation that the senators and representatives were highly supportive of increased funding for basic science research. Each agreed to submit programmatic requests to the budget committees. This will ensure that funding for basic science will be considered as an integral part of the budget process and not as a separate earmark. They also agreed to sign a “Dear Colleague” letter to be circulated to other senators and representatives advocating increased funding for NIH research. On behalf of Provost Antman, the Boston University faculty invited Massachusetts senators, representatives and their staff to come and visit the basic science labs at Boston University, and thanked them for their continued support.
The American Dental Association Foundation (ADAF) recently awarded two DMD 16 students—Andrew Brattain and Casey Smauder—ADA Foundation Scholarships. Smauder received the Predoctoral Dental Student Scholarship and Brattain received the Underrepresented Minority Dental Student Scholarship.
Schools may submit one application per scholarship program for about 25 awards. With 65 accredited dental schools in the US, that makes for some stiff competition!
“With the limited number of scholarships available a school is lucky to have one recipient,” said Assistant Dean of Students Dr. Joseph Calabrese. “Having two makes us all at GSDM very proud of our students and all of their accomplishments.”
ADAF scholarships aim to defray the costs of professional education for academically-gifted pre-doctoral dental students. Students who are in their second year of study at the time of application, and currently attending or enrolled at a dental school accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, are eligible to be nominated by their Schools.
• Approximately 25 Predoctoral Dental Student Scholarships, up to $2,500 each (up to $62,500 total)
• Approximately 25 Underrepresented Minority Dental Student Scholarships, up to $2,500 each (up to $62,500 total)
Last month Dean Jeffrey W. Hutter met with Brattain and Smauder to congratulate them on their achievements. Also present were Dr. Calabrese and Student Affairs Coordinator Amy Nelson, who helped in the nomination process.
“Congratulations to Andrew and Casey on their wonderful achievements,” said Dean Jeffrey W. Hutter. “ADAF awards a small group of very gifted dental students and we are all very proud of them for receiving this honor.”
Slone Study Finds Frequent Experiences of Racism Associated with Greater Weight Gain among African American Women
A recent analysis conducted by investigators from the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University has found that frequent experiences of racism were associated with a higher risk of obesity among African American women. The findings, which currently appear online in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found the relationship between racism and obesity was strongest among women who reported consistently high experiences of racism over a 12-year period. The research was based on data from the Black Women’s Health Study, a longitudinal study that enrolled 59,000 African-American women in 1995 and has followed them continually.
Rates of obesity in the United States have increased rapidly over the past few decades with the greatest increases reported for African American women. Approximately half of African American women are currently classified as obese. Obesity is a risk factor for numerous health conditions including cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, orthopedic problems, and death. Racism is a form of psychosocial stress that African Americans experience disproportionately. Experiences of racism could contribute to obesity because both animal and human data indicate that chronic exposure to stress can result in dysregulation of important neuroendocrine functions which can in turn influence the accumulation of excess body fat.
The Black Women’s Health Study collected information on lifestyle factors, experiences of racism, height and weight and other factors using biennial questionnaires. The participants were asked in 1997 and in 2009 to rate the frequency of “everyday” experiences of racism, such as receiving poorer service in restaurants and stores, and if they had been treated unfairly because of their race on the job, in housing or by the police (“lifetime” racism). The analyses were restricted to women under the age 40 at the beginning of follow-up because most adult weight gain occurs during the reproductive years. The investigators found that women in the highest category of reported everyday racism in both 1997 and 2009 were 69 percent more likely to become obese compared to those in the lowest category at both intervals. Women who reported more lifetime racism were also at increased risk of obesity.
“Experiences of racism may explain in part the high prevalence of obesity among African American women,” explained Yvette C. Cozier, DSc, MPH, assistant professor of epidemiology at Boston University who led the analyses. She suggests that work-place- and community-based programs to combat racism and interventions to reduce racism-induced stress could be an important component of strategies for prevention of obesity, especially in communities at high risk.
The present work was supported by a grant 430483 from the Aetna Foundation, and grant CA054820 from the National Cancer Institute.
Submissions due Friday, March 28
Exhibit: Monday-Tuesday, March 31-April 1
Receptions begin at 3 p.m. on both days
BUSM Instructional Building, 14th Floor Hiebert Lounge
All students, faculty and staff at the Boston University Medical Campus are encouraged to submit artwork of any medium to the 24th annual “Art Days”, founded by former BUSM Dean Aram Chobanian to foster the support and growth of the creative arts at BUMC. The exhibition is mounted by the Creative Arts Society. See images from Art Days 2013
This is the third year of a university-wide arts initiative with an annual keyword to be used as a thematic organizer for various courses and events. The Keyword for this year is “transformation”. Transformation is marked by metamorphosis or a process of profound or radical change. See http://www.bu.edu/cfa/about/initiatives/keyword/. While there may be a special section at Art Days for display of works addressing transformation, it is also fine to submit work not related to the keyword.
Submissions are due Friday, March 28. Paintings, photos, poetry, sculpture, needlework, etc. will be accepted. Pieces should be framed if possible. Security will be provided. Works will be returned April 2. Specific instructions will be sent at a later date to those who respond to this announcement.
To be placed on the submit list or if you have any questions please contact Keith Tornheim, PhD, 638-8296 or email@example.com.
Leaders at Boston University and Boston Medical Center have collaborated to produce a new guide to protect patient data. The full article, by Thomas J. Moore, MD; Quinn R. Shamblin, CISM, CISSP, PMP, GIAC GCFA; Sumit Sehgal, CISSP, CISA; Robert Sprinkle, MS; Stanley M. Hochberg, MD; and Ravin Davidoff,MBBCh; can be found at https://dcc2.bumc.bu.edu/ocr/ClinicalResearchNewsletter/article.aspx?article=484
Data breaches have made big news in recent months, and Boston-area hospitals are not immune. It is well known that hackers stole personal financial data, including credit card numbers, for millions of customers at Target and Neiman Marcus. The threat to private medical information, however, often comes from low-tech carelessness, not hackers – lost smartphones, laptops or paper documents. In 2009, a Mass General Hospital employee misplaced paper records on the MBTA with information on 192 MGH patients, which subjected the institution to $1 million in federal fines.
Tracking patient data in databases and spreadsheets is an essential part of both clinical practice and biomedical research. Even when used for legitimate purposes, however, all protected health information (PHI) is subject to HIPAA Privacy and Security rules. Databases revealing PHI must be on an encrypted, passport-protected device. PHI identifiers range from the person’s name and phone number to his fingerprints and facial photo.
Ways to Protect Sensitive Information:
1. Once all identifiers have been stripped from a dataset, it is no longer HIPAA-protected. Consider labelling patients with unique identifying numbers that are not part of PHI, linked to a master code stored on a separate, secured computer.
2. Nowadays, much work time is spent on portable devices: easy to use, easy to lose. Tablets, laptops, flash drives, and smartphones with access to PHI must be password-protected and encrypted, which greatly reduces the risk of a breach.
3. Email containing PHI must be sent securely. BU provides a secure email solution known as DataMotion SecureMail. BMC email automatically detects and encrypts BMC email containing PHI, but users should add the word “secure” to the subject line before sending PHI outside BMC.
4. When off-site, use only an approved secure remote access method when accessing sensitive information, especially when logged onto public wi-fi or travelling abroad.
5. Finally, training colleagues in proper security techniques is essential to protecting valuable and private patient data.
When patients and research subjects allow us to collect and store private information about themselves, they have a right to expect that we will keep those data secure and use them only for clinical and research purposes. Following these simple steps will help all of us adhere to this responsibility.
For additional information on how to secure devices visit http://www.bu.edu/infosec/howtos/securing-your-devices/
Failures in regulation and information dissemination by the FDA and medical licensing boards
Is there a role for regulatory agencies in creating an environment to improve the health of patients? Dr. Wolfe presents the case that, yes, some agencies have a role, but have dangerously failed to perform it adequately. A prime example is the FDA, which should be a more important source of patient protection, especially where it serves as gatekeeper for drugs and devices. Others include medical licensing boards, most of which have failed to take action against physicians who are practicing substandard medicine in their states. Dr. Wolfe offers powerful examples from his experiences monitoring and influencing the FDA and medical licensing boards, and discusses recommendations for improving their performance concerning patient safety.
Sidney M. Wolfe, MD, co-founded Public Citizen’s Health Research Group with Ralph Nader in 1971 and was its Director until June 2013, when he became its Senior Advisor. Under his leadership, the Group has published research on critical issues in health policy such as pharmaceutical safety and effectiveness, workplace safety, and human research subject protection, and advocated for transparency and accuracy in the development of policies affecting the health and safety of patients. Before moving to the Health Research Group, Dr. Wolfe, conducted research on aspects of blood-clotting at the National Institutes of Health. Since 1995 he has been an Adjunct Professor of Internal Medicine at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Senior Associate, Johns Hopkins University, School of Public Health. His received his medical degree from Case Western University and his internship and residency were in internal medicine. He is currently a member of the Society for General Internal Medicine and served on the FDA Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee from 2008 to 2012. He has published extensively in the medical and health policy literature and, since July 2013, has written a regular column for the British Medical Journal. His awards include receiving the 1990 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.
Wednesday, March 5
BUSM Instructional Building
72 East Concord St., Hiebert Lounge, 14th Floor
Free and open to the public, reception will follow
Sponsored by the Department of Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights at BU School of Public Health.