School Update

July 2014

As we begin a new academic year, I’d like to thank you for your contributions to our progress in the 2013-2014 academic year.

Major accomplishments include:  

  • More than $30 million increase in research funding for BUSM faculty! Our three largest infrastructure grants include those for the Framingham Heart Study, Clinical and Translational Science and the National Emerging Infectious Disease Laboratories (NEIDL).
  • Judgments in the remaining court case that will allow the NEIDL, already open to BL2 and BL3 research, to now work with the Boston Public Health Commission and Centers for Disease Control processes to prepare for BL4 research.
  • The Physician Assistant (PA) Program welcomed its inaugural class of 25 students on April 23. Forty percent of them come from the New England and Mid-Atlantic states, while 20 percent come from the south, Midwest and California. Eleven percent have master’s degrees and 35 percent are fluent in a second language. On July 1 a White Coat Ceremony was held to recognize their entrance into the profession.
  • Over the summer we: 
    • Replaced the concrete sidewalk edging the Talbot green with a brick walk and added some landscaping and seating areas.
    • Built a testing center on L11 to free up classrooms to be used for didactics.

We have continued the process of moving faculty out of rented space rather than renewing leases. Faculty relocated to central campus space seem to be happy about again being part of the core campus.

Our faculty continue to be recognized locally and nationally for their research, clinical expertise, community service or contributions to their profession. More than 100 faculty members received such awards during this academic year.

Research Accomplishments

Major faculty grants :

  • Ann McKee, MD, professor, Neurology & Pathology, Director, Neuropathology Core of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center, received $6 million from the NIH to define criteria for CTE stages & distinguish it from Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, etc.
  • Terry Keane, PhD, professor, Psychiatry, was awarded $12 million from the DOD for PTSD research.
  • Gerald Denis, PhD, associate professor, Medicine (Hematology & Medical Oncology), and Julie Palmer, ScD, Professor, Epidemiology (BUSPH) and senior epidemiologist at the Slone Epidemiology Center, were awarded $3 million from the NCI to study implications of obesity on breast cancer in African-American women.

Five research workshops were held in FY14 that brought distinguished scientists from across the country on campus to discuss successful aging, military medicine, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer biomarkers, and immunology.

Laboratory of Zebrafish Genetics and Cancer Therapeutics was established. The lab focuses on identifying novel genes and pathways of gene-related tumor transformation and progression.


In keeping with tradition, BUSM held two commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2014.  Approximately 180 students were awarded master’s degrees at the GMS commencement held May 16.  Doctoral and medical graduates were sent off to postgraduate training with more than 300 faculty members in attendance at the May 17 commencement, at which we also honored four faculty with Educator of the Year Awards:  Michael Holick, MD, PhD; Graham Shipley, PhD, DSc; Jarrett Rushmore, PhD; and Sonia Ananthakrishnan, MD.  Thomas Barber, MD, received the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award and Miriam Hoffman-Kleiner, MD, received the School’s highest teaching award, the Stanley L. Robbins Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Academic Affairs

  • Revision to the first-year curriculum began to better align teaching and learning with student, professional and societal expectations.  Members of the Pre-clerkship Curriculum Subcommittee co-chairing the revision process, Shoumita Dasgupta, Rob Lowe and Ann Zumwalt, are proposing an integrated foundational science course to allow students to learn the material in the same manner in which it will be included on their USMLE Step-1 examinations. The revised curriculum will be implemented in August 2015 for the incoming class of 2019.
  • The MD-JD degree program was created for those students interested in health care administration, NGOs, research-related intellectual property issues, medical licensing, health policy, legislation, government regulation and mandates.
  • The Department of Surgery launched Surgery Bootcamp, a prep course for students entering general surgery or a surgical subspecialty that includes the critical information and technical skills required for a surgical internship and career.
  • Through the Office of Enrichment, more than 100 students are engaged in International Health Scholarship programs and f fourth-year electives around the world, and are engaged in research through the Medical Student Summer Research program being mentored by a cohort of senior faculty.

Student Affairs

  • The Medical Student Resident (MSR) garden is now open to all BUSM students who want to plant, grow and harvest.
  • The Class of 2014 received excellent MATCH results, with 37 percent of the class entering primary care and a significant increase in the portion of students entering surgery.
  • New interactive workshops have been implemented to better prepare students for the residency application process. Workshops on “Making a Statement: How to Write a Great Personal Statement” began in June.  Students Personal Statements are edited by OSA deans and faculty.

Graduate Medical Sciences (GMS)

  • The first class of Programs in Biomedical Sciences (PIBS) participants successfully matriculated this year. PIBS is the new GMS umbrella program that integrates the foundations of interdisciplinary biomedical research with focused investigation and preparation for career advancement.
  • The Genetic Counseling program received full accreditation for eight years.
  • The Summer Training as Research Scholars (STaRS) program, welcomed 17 students from across the country who are working in labs across the Medical Campus.

Green Initiatives: LEED certification for MSR: In April, we celebrated the certification of the Medical Student Residence as a LEED Gold building. LEED, an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally-recognized certification system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council to promote sustainable building and development practices. This is the second building on the Medical Campus to achieve LEED certification. The first was 670 Albany Street in January 2008. Throughout the University eight buildings have been certified; this is the fifth to achieve Gold.

Campaign Update: The seven-year, $200 million campaign for BUSM has raised $112.2 million ($96.7 million permanently restricted and $15.5 million current-use), including more than $7.4 million for student scholarships as well as six full and two assistant professorships established and faculty installed, and 54 planned gifts established since the start of the campaign. The annual fund has raised $2.6 million with 1,901 alumni participating. In addition, we have received $72.2 million from corporations and foundations.


The Department of Pediatrics received the annual Academic Pediatric Association Health Care Delivery Award, which recognizes an innovative and effective program that provides health care in the context of a teaching setting. Pediatrics is being recognized for its outstanding leadership in the area of child health, for its years of program development for underserved populations and for the department’s commitment to education both locally and nationally. 

For the complete list of the more than 100 faculty members who received local, regional and national honors this year, click here.

Best wishes for an interesting and enjoyable rest of the summer.


July 2013

Thank you for your hard work during the 2012-2013 academic year. We certainly face new challenges.


Sequestration has resulted in about a 10 percent decrease in funding current grants and a delay in funding new applications. Program project and center grants have virtually disappeared. We have accepted fewer graduate students because of the uncertainty of funding. Many of our faculty members have had extensive discussions with our congressional representatives who certainly support the NIH budget. We will continue to press our case because the importance of the research we and other academic medical centers do. We continue to look for ways to mitigate the effects on our programs and to protect our faculty and research investments.

Partly as a result of sequestration, Boston University has been notified that the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) will lose $4 million, or 40 percent, of its funding from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), effective August 1. This loss of funding will reduce the study’s workforce affecting a variety of clinical and administrative areas.”

Accomplishments and News

We have accomplished a number of document reviews and revisions. The School of Medicine’s By-Laws now reflect our current policies and procedures and have incorporated the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences into the document.  The Executive Committee also approved the revised Student Disciplinary Code to better serve the needs of our students.

 The Office of Proposal Development was established to provide professional proposal preparation to permit investigators to focus their efforts on the scientific components of proposals and permit all BUSM faculty to readily respond to complex, interdisciplinary grant applications. Renna Onario Lilly and Molly Baker are the director and associate director respectively.

 We have launched another outstanding group of physicians and scientists, our Class of 2013. The student speakers at the medical and graduate medical sciences ceremonies talked of the outstanding mentoring and support provided by faculty and staff. One of those highly regarded faculty members is Debbie Vaughan, who was honored with the Metcalf Cup and Prize, BU’s highest teaching award at Commencement this year. The 2013 CFA, Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine and Stanley Robbins awardees Lorraine Stanfield, Dave McAneny, Matthew Nugent, and Shoumita Dasgupta also are examples of the quality of our teachers and their impact on our students.

The John McCahan Medical Campus Education Day ( keynote address by David Keegan, MD, undergraduate education director for family medicine at the University of Calgary, discussed “strategic capacity”, how to adapt within education teams. The many members of the planning committee led by Ann Zumwalt constructed an excellent program that offered campus faculty and staff the opportunity to learn from and engage with colleagues who have made the education enterprise a focus of their research and practice. Workshops covered current technologies and ways of approaching the teaching enterprise including reflective learning, the flipped classroom, how to involve stakeholders in educational projects, incorporating evidence-based skills into educational practices, and using technologies such as AdobeConnect to engage students outside the classroom. The day also featured a poster presentation by members of the campus community to demonstrate education technology and education innovation and research projects.  

 On April 15, members of the Medical Campus were on the scene when bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon. They provided outstanding care that prevented an even greater loss of life. Our faculty, staff and students performed at the highest level for patients and their families. GMS faculty and students were active participants in the forensics investigation. All have our deepest appreciation and respect. The remarkable response, caring and competence of the health care team underscores the importance of our work.

 We were honored to have Gary H. Gibbons, MD, the newly named director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) visit the Medical Campus recently to speak on “Setting a New Agenda for the NHLBI: Imagining Our Future.” Dr. Gibbons is an eminent physiologist who is the founding director of Morehouse School of Medicine’s Cardiovascular Research Institute.

 Recent appointments

Anna DePold Hohler, MD, ’98 as assistant dean of academic affairs effective July 1. Her focus is on both clinical site development for medical students and faculty development. 

 William R. Creevy, MD ’85, as chief executive officer and president of the Faculty Practice Foundation (FPF) and assistant dean for faculty practice at BUSM. He is responsible for the overall strategic direction of the FPF and direct fiscal and operational oversight of the physician organization.

 Drs. N. Joseph Espat and Steven Sepe, both from Roger Williams Medical Center (RWMC) as assistant deans of clinical affairs.

 Vincent Falanga, MD, as the Barbara A. Gilchrest Professor of Dermatology as well as the director and vice chair of research in the Department of Dermatology.

 Aviva Lee-Parritz, MD, as chief and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at BMC and BUSM.

 Robert J. Vinci, MD, as the Joel and Barbara Alpert Professor and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics and chief of pediatrics at BMC.


Daniel P. Alford, MD, MPH, BUSM associate professor of medicine and program director for the Addiction Medicine Fellowship, has been elected president of the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA) for a two-year term starting in November 2013. AMERSA is a multidisciplinary organization of health care professionals dedicated to improving education in the care of individuals with substance abuse problems.

 Lewis E. Braverman, M.D., professor of medicine in the section of endocrinology, diabetes and nutrition received the Master of the American College of Endocrinology (MACE) Award at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) 22nd Annual Scientific & Clinical Congress. The MACE Award is given to an AACE member who has received the Fellow of the American College of Endocrinology (FACE) distinction, is recognized as a distinguished practicing endocrinologist as well as a role model for developing endocrinologists, and is a contributor to AACE and to the art and science of endocrinology.

Domenic Ciraulo, MD, chair of psychiatry, has been selected as one of the co-recipients of the inaugural Drew-Foley award by the Massachusetts Association of Mental Health (MAMH).

 Gerard Doherty, MD, James Utley Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery, has been elected president of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons (AAES). He will serve as president-elect through 2014 and as president through 2015.

Alik Farber, MD, associate professor of surgery and radiology, was elected a distinguished fellow of the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) at its annual meeting.

 Barbara Gilchrest, MD, professor and chair emeritus of the Department of Dermatology, was named a 2012 Charter Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). Gilchrest is among four faculty members at Boston University nominated to the NAI in 2012.

 Francis Kim, a third-year medical student was, been named a recipient of the American Medical Association (AMA) Foundation’s 2013 Leadership Award. The award recognizes outstanding non-clinical leadership skills in advocacy, community service and education.

 Karsten Lunze, MD, research assistant professor of medicine in the Section of General Internal Medicine, received an Early Career Investigator Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The award was issued by NIDA in collaboration with the National Health Research Institutes Taiwan, the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration and the UCLA Center for Advancing Longitudinal Drug Abuse Research

 Allen Mitchell, MD, professor of public health and pediatrics, received the Godfrey P. Oakley, Jr., Award at the annual meeting of the National Birth Defects Prevention Network. Mitchell was recognized for his significant lifetime contributions to the field of birth defects.

 Stephanie Oberhaus, PhD, assistant professor, microbiology, received the GSDM Spencer N. Frankl Award for Excellence in Teaching.

 Thomas Perls, MD, MPH, professor of medicine, has been honored with the Ewald W. Busse Research Award. One of the most prestigious in the field of gerontological research, the award is given every four years in conjunction with the World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics.

 Elizabeth Rivera, Office of Medical Education, received the 2013 Office of Academic Affairs Excellence in Service Award.

 David Salant, MD, professor of medicine, pathology and laboratory medicine, has been named the recipient of the 2013 Jean Hamburger Award from the International Society of Nephrology (ISN). The award recognizes outstanding research in nephrology with a clinical emphasis.  He also has been selected to receive the John P. Peters Award from the American Society of Nephrology.  The Peters Award recognizes individuals who have made substantial research contributions to nephrology and have sustained achievements in one or more domains of academic medicine including clinical care, education and leadership.

 Robert Sege, MD, PhD, professor of pediatrics, has been named a senior fellow of The Center for Study of Social Policy (CSSP).  Fellows are recognized as distinguished figures in their fields whose work CSSP honors, and who will engage in special projects that help accomplish the organization’s priorities.

 Matthew Spitzer, MD, endocrine fellow in the Department of Medicine was recognized by the Annals of Internal Medicine and the American College of Physicians (ACP) with a Junior Investigator Recognition Award. Annals and ACP award the most outstanding article by a first author who is in an internal medicine residency program or a general medicine or internal medicine subspecialty fellowship program. An award also is given for the most outstanding article with a first author who is within three years of completing his or her training in internal medicine or one of its subspecialties.

 Elizabeth Whitney, PhD, assistant professor, anatomy and neurobiology, received the GSDM Crest Oral B Outstanding Faculty Award: Basic Sciences.

 Benjamin Wolozin, MD, PhD, professor of pharmacology and neurology, was named chair of the National Institutes of Health Cellular and Molecular Biology of Neurodegeneration Study Section.

 BUSM’s AMA-Medical Student Section was awarded a Section Involvement Grant (SIG) from the American Medical Association (AMA) in support of “Miles for Healthier Lifestyles 2013.”

 I hope you are enjoying a summer of interesting experiences and some relaxation.


June 2011

The close of another academic year gives rise to reflections of the year’s events and significant advancements and passages.

The 2011 BUSM Commencement and GMS Commencement, launched 158 new physicians, 44 new doctoral scientists, and 128 recipients of master degrees in arts and sciences.

Alumni Weekend was very successful and gave us the opportunity to share with our alumni the many outstanding achievements and changes at the School.

After three years of preparation for the LCME accreditation site visit we received positive reviews.

With pride, we wish the best to two of our most highly regarded colleagues who have entered the national stage. Jonathan Woodson is serving as the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs in Washington DC and Howard Bauchner will become the new editor-in-chief of JAMA in Chicago on July 1. Both are on faculty leaves of absence.

We continued to pursue new initiatives reflecting the challenges and opportunities of our teaching and research missions and responding to the needs of faculty and students.

Under the direction of Dr. Mya Mangawang, assistant provost, faculty development programs included faculty orientation, and with Dr. Jane Mendez, associate professor of surgery, the Emerging Leaders Forum .

Dr. Linda Hyman, associate provost for Graduate Medical Sciences, established the Office of Post-doctoral Affairs to support PhDs.

Researchers now have a platform to share their work with campus colleagues with the implementation of an Interdisciplinary Research Symposia program.

Among the important capital improvements set in motion this year is the construction of the New Student Residence which began with the groundbreaking in October and is progressing on schedule for its planned opening in June of 2012. Renovations to the Instructional Building lobby are on the fast track for completion before the White Coat Ceremony and Welcoming Reception for the Class of 2015, scheduled for August 8.

In addition to two new assistant professorships in dermatology, we added an endowed Professorship in Child Health and Well-being in the Department of Pediatrics and celebrated the installation of Dr. Deborah Frank as the first incumbent.

Recognizing its importance, we added a new Department of Radiation Oncology.

The Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy garnered national attention with their ongoing research linking repetitive head trauma to neurodegenerative disease.

Despite reductions in NIH funding, we remain cautiously optimistic that we will see growth in our non-recovery act grant funding for the academic year ending June 30, 2011. For this we thank our outstanding researcher faculty who have garnered some impressive funding including the nanomedicine grant to advance cancer research; grants from the NCI Early Detection Research Network and the Department of Defense to develop procedures for early detection of lung cancer; an NIMH BRAINS award to Pietro Cottone and Michael Silverstein; and the NIMH grant to the Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine program to provide counseling to the mentally ill to help stem HIV infection and transmission.

Particular congratulations to Catherine Costello and Allen Mitchell for their new grants of more than $1 million per year and to David Center, Ken Walsh and Phil Wolf for their renewals of their grants of more than $1 million per year.

Thank you for your dedication and support for BUSM.

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