Category: Featured

Addiction Expert Designated White House Champion of Change. BUSM’s Daniel Alford has a question for you: How often do you drink?

August 3rd, 2011 in Featured

The White House is honoring Daniel Alford for his work with addiction.

The White House is honoring Daniel Alford for his work with addiction.

President Obama’s father was an alcoholic whose drunken driving killed a friend and put the elder Obama in the hospital with two broken legs. 
That unfortunate bit of history may help explain the White House’s interest in addiction, which includes honoring BU addiction expert Daniel Alford with a visit there on August 5.

Alford (SPH’86, MED’92), a School of Medicine associate professor, is the medical director of MASBIRT (Massachusetts Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral and Treatment), a federally funded program at Boston Medical Center and seven other hospitals and community health centers in the state that screens for risky alcohol, tobacco, and drug use. “When you come to see your doctor for your diabetes management or hypertension or just for your annual visit, you’ll be asked questions about unhealthy substance use,” Alford says.

Alford will be in Washington Friday, courtesy of Obama’s Champions of Change program, which hosts weekly White House visits for innovators in various fields. He’ll participate in a roundtable with federal drug policy experts, write a short blog entry about his work, and film a short biographical piece for the White House website.

Through MASBIRT, BMC and participating organizations now have trained health promotion advocates, who work throughout the institutions, from primary care offices to emergency rooms, screening people for risky substance use and assessing what the next step should be to help those with problems. The goal is to identify people at risk of addiction before the addiction consumes them, an approach that Alford says has been overlooked by the medical establishment. “If we waited for patients with kidney disease to need dialysis, that would be malpractice,” he says. “That’s kind of what we’ve done with addiction. We basically ignore unhealthy substance use until the person’s coming in with alcoholism or drug addiction.”

Alford, who joined the BU faculty in 1996, also leads BMC’s program to train medical residents in a new (for nonpsychiatric doctors) subspecialty, addiction medicine. BMC recently appointed its first addiction resident, one of only 20 such residents nationwide. BU Today spoke with Alford about his work and Friday’s event.

BU Today: My doctor asks me, “Do you smoke? Do you drink?” Is that a result of MASBIRT?

Alford: Certainly some doctors were doing it before. But there are ways of asking it, and then there are ways of asking it. You can say, “You don’t drink or use drugs, right?” as opposed to asking it with questions that have been shown to be more reliable. When you phrase a question as, “How often do you do something?” it normalizes it, and patients feel more comfortable answering.

The state would like to expand this approach. The majority of our work this past year has been, how do we sustain these efforts? Is it trying to sustain this health promotion advocate model? Nurses, medical assistants, docs could probably ask those questions. It’s probably going to be different, depending on the treatment center.

Is training in addiction medicine feasible when there are so many addictions out there? Being addicted to drugs or alcohol is different from being addicted to gambling or the Internet or sex.

There’s a lot of commonality, no matter what the substance or behavior. Addiction starts to disrupt someone’s life, despite negative consequences. It turns out that a lot of the neurobiology—what’s happening in the brain—that reinforces those unhealthy behaviors is similar as well. And they respond to a lot of treatments in a similar way.

Have there been advances in treating addiction?

The answer’s definitely yes. A perfect example is methadone maintenance. Methadone was developed for pain, but was found to be effective in treating opiate addiction. There’s a lot of stigma around it and people who don’t believe in methadone for treatment, but there’s more evidence over the last 40 years showing efficacy around methadone than pretty much anything else that I do in primary care.

A lot of behavioral therapies can be effective in treating lots of addictions as well as behavioral addictions, like gambling. All of the medications work better when you include nonpharmacological therapy, like counseling. In order for treatment to work, it needs to be continued. Historically, people got treatment, they stopped using, they then got discharged, they relapsed, and we said, “Aha, the treatment doesn’t work because they relapsed,” as opposed to saying, “The treatment works; it just needs to be continued.” Some people are cured permanently and don’t require extensive treatment. But the large majority needs sustained treatment.

What got you interested in addiction?

When I finished my residency, there was an opportunity, part-time, to be the medical director of a methadone maintenance program at the Boston Public Health Commission. I loved it immediately. I realized there were a lot of success stories within that treatment model that we as physicians didn’t know about.

This BU Today story was written by Rich Barlow. He can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

School of Medicine Receives LCME Reaccreditation

June 28th, 2011 in Featured

BUSM faculty, staff and student members of the LCME self-study and site-visit team

BUSM faculty, staff and student members of the LCME self-study and site-visit team

BU President Robert Brown and School of Medicine Dean Karen Antman received notification from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) that the School of Medicine has been reaccredited for the next eight years.

The LCME is the only nationally recognized accrediting body for all medical education programs in the U.S. leading to the medical education degree. Accreditation signifies that national standards for structure, function, and performance are met by a medical school’s education program.

“The School of Medicine is a leader in education, research and clinical training,” said Antman. “The LCME accreditation confirms the quality and the standards that we have developed and continually refine and enhance. My colleagues at the School have my sincerest congratulations on this recognition.”

The School received high marks from the accreditation survey committee for the strong support provided by central administration for the teaching mission; the robust series of faculty development activities that are well attended by MED faculty; the mission-based allocation model that allows all components of the School’s mission to be strongly supported by department chairs and faculty; and the dedicated leadership at the School’s affiliated hospitals that strongly support its educational mission.

“Receiving this accreditation is an endorsement of the quality of the education we provide, our pedagogical process, and the outcomes—our graduates who are highly prepared both clinically and scientifically to contribute to health care at the bedside and in the laboratory,” said Antman.

Students and graduates of LCME-accredited medical schools are eligible to take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). These graduates are also eligible to enter residencies approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Graduating from an LCME-accredited U.S. school and passing the national licensing examinations are accepted as prerequisites for medical licensure in most states. LCME accreditation establishes eligibility for select federal grants and programs, including Title VII funding administered by the Public Health Service. The accrediting body comprises medical educators and administrators, practicing physicians, public members and medical students.

Hundreds of faculty, staff and students participated in the three-year self-analysis that preceded the site visit by an LCME evaluation team in February, providing the platform for the LCME team to comprehensively examine our institutional setting, governance, academic and student support programs, as well faculty development and evaluation and educational resources. About 120 participated in the actual visit.

“I was very impressed by the dedication and hard work of the BUSM community,” Antman said. “The outstanding effort of the hundreds of faculty, students and staff involved in conducting the self-study illuminated our strengths as an academic institution. We have extensive and purposeful student involvement especially in service learning; a deep sense of collegiality among faculty, students, and staff; responsive institutional structures; mission-based budgeting that reinforces our emphasis on quality teaching; diverse clinical opportunities for our students; and a cutting-edge research program fully open to our students that enriches their educational experience.”

US News & World Report: DASH Diet Number One, BU-created plan tops magazine’s list

June 9th, 2011 in Featured

Want the inside scoop on dieting? Ask BU’s Thomas Moore. The Medical Campus associate provost helped create the best diet plan going, according to US News & World Report.

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The DASH diet was codeveloped by BU’s Thomas Moore. Image courtesy of US News & World Report.

DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) topped 19 other diet plans in the magazine’s “Best Diets Overall”  category, beating out such popular plans as Atkins, Jenny Craig, and Slim-Fast. The accolade is eye-catching for two reasons: DASH hasn’t been commercially marketed like those other plans—you don’t “see it at halftime during the football game,” notes Moore, a School of Medicine professor. And it wasn’t even designed to shrink waistlines. Rather, it’s a doctor-devised regimen to help people lower high blood pressure.

Several studies have confirmed DASH’s calorie-cutting potential, including this  one by researchers who looked at adolescent girls using the diet. The plan was devised in the 1990s in a multi–medical center trial led by Moore, who was a Brigham and Women’s Hospital researcher at the time. Since then, it has anchored a BU-developed weight reduction regimen offered free to University employees. Moore says several companies, including CVS, offer DASH to workers.

The benefits of DASH, which is similar to the Mediterranean diet, won’t surprise followers of nutrition news. The diet stresses fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and avoiding high-fat dairy products and high-sugar foods. Cutting salt intake enhances the diet’s potency. DASH’s key insight is that a nutritional diet can reduce high blood pressure, just as losing weight and cutting your salt intake can. It also recommends exercise as a complement to the menu.

“DASH is really better known to the medical community,” says Moore. “To get it out in the lay press like this is always lots of fun,” not to mention great publicity: the day US News announced its rankings, traffic to the DASH website jumped 20-fold, he says.

“It’s OK to ease into DASH,” US News writes. “Try adding just one vegetable serving to a meal, and a fruit serving to another. Go (sort of) vegetarian by preparing two or more meat-free dishes each week. And start using the herbs and spices hiding in the back of the pantry—they’ll make you forget the salt’s not on the table.”

Thomas Moore

Thomas Moore

“Because DASH emphasizes so many healthful foods, it can easily support weight loss,” the magazine writes, adding that the diet also improves heart health: “Rigorous studies show DASH can lower blood pressure, which if too high can trigger heart disease, heart failure, and stroke.…It’s also been shown to increase ‘good’ HDL cholesterol and decrease ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, a fatty substance that in excess has been linked to heart disease. Overall, DASH reflects the medical community’s widely accepted definition of a heart-healthy diet.”

The magazine includes some caveats: people seeking to lose weight above all else might prefer to choose plans from its “Best Weight-Loss Diets” category, since DASH’s primary goal is to reduce hypertension. (The magazine also graded the “Best Diabetes Diets.”) Moore’s plan can cost a bit more than some, it adds, since fresh produce is more costly than the processed foods beloved by Americans and larded with ingredients subsidized by the government.

“We worried about that from the time we did the research,” says Moore. “You can eat cheaper than this, but it’s not by any means off the charts.” He and his colleagues found that a week’s worth of groceries under the DASH plan fell in the middle-price range. Dieters can save some money, he says, by replacing fresh produce with frozen varieties.

This BU Today article was written by Rich Barlow.  He  can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

BUSM Instructional Building Lobby Renovations Start Monday, May 23

May 19th, 2011 in Featured

Renovations to the BUSM Instructional Building, also known as the L-Building, begin Monday, May 23. During this initial phase some items in the lobby will be removed.

Lobby Closed to Pedestrians May 27 – August 8

Image A

Image A- Exterior view temporary entrance

Image B

Image B - Interior view temporary exit

Beginning Friday, May 27, access to the lobby will be closed to all pedestrian traffic. This will be in effect until completion of the renovation, which is expected on or about August 8.


New Temporary Entrances
There will be a handicapped ramp at the entrance between the L and Evans buildings (see image A). This doorway also may be used as the temporary main entrance for the entire complex. Image B shows this door from the interior of the building.

A-building Access
A-building occupants may use the door closest to East Concord Street as shown in image C. There will be an ID-card reader installed to allow access as well as a vision panel so that people on either side of the door are visible. Picture D shows this door from inside the building. This entrance should be available by May 23.

Visitors to A-Building may enter the complex through the new temporary entrance between the L and Evans buildings. They may take the L-building elevators to the basement and follow the  hall past Chequers  to the staircase at the end of the hall on the right. Then visitors  may take these stairs to the first floor and follow the corridor past Bakst Auditorium to the A-building elevators.

Image C

Image C - A-Building occupants may use this entrance

Image D

Image D - Interior view of exit for A-Building

Lobby Statues
The statues that had been displayed in the lobby are being carefully packed by a company that specializes in moving delicate materials. They will be stored off-site and will be reinstalled at a later time.

If you have any questions about the renovation, please contact John Barton at 638-4211. For urgent issues, please call the Control Center at 638-4144.

Topping Off Ceremony Held at New Student Residence

May 18th, 2011 in Featured

A significant milestone has been reached at the new Student Residence — the topping off ceremony marking the completion of the steel erection phase was held on Friday, May 13. Participants in the ceremony signed the beam and then it was raised. Following the raising of the beam, iron workers shared a meal and received a shirt commemorating the event. This is traditional practice in the industry dating back to the turn of the century.

The topping off ceremony means that the crane is now no longer required on the site and can be dismantled.  Other work recently completed includes the top track layout for the wall studs on the second and third floors.

Topping off ceremony participants, May 2011

Topping off ceremony participants. BU representatives included Gary Nicksa, Bill Gasper, David Flynn, Derek Rodgers, John Barton. (May 2011)

Topping off ceremony -- signing the final beam. (May 2011)

Topping off ceremony -- signing the final beam. (May 2011)

Raising the final beam. (May 2011)

Raising the final beam. (May 2011)

Dismantling the crane. (May 2011)

Dismantling the crane. (May 2011)

The plumbing and the roof steel frame work have been started. Pouring of the concrete on the fifth floor begins on Friday, May 20. Fireproofing the basement has begun and will move to the first floor on Monday, May 23. In addition duct work layout will start of the first floor on Monday, May 23.

Please keep in mind that Albany Street roadwork starts Wednesday, June 1.

The nine-story, $40 million structure is designed by Beacon Architectural Associates with a brick and limestone façade. Its 104 two-bedroom suites that include bath, kitchenette and living spaces will accommodate 208 students, each with individual bedrooms, the standard for graduate student housing. Walsh Brothers is the contractor for the building, which is expected to take 18 months to complete.

Click below to see earlier updates on the student residence construction.

Student Residence May Update

May 12th, 2011 in Featured

Significant progress has been made at the new student residence on Albany Street. Many phases of the construction are now nearing completion including:

  • First and second floor slabs – completed!
  • Steel framing – complete by May 13!
  • Crane work – complete by May 13!

    Student residence - last week of crane on site. (May 10, 2011)

    Student residence - last week of crane on site. (May 10, 2011)

Close up of steel frame. (May 10, 2011)

Close up of steel frame. (May 10, 2011)

The steel framers are onsite and their work should be completed by the end of the week. This is the last week to see the crane onsite, as it should come down on Friday. The third and fourth floor slab work are scheduled for this week. Top frame tracking in the basement and the first floor has begun. It is anticipated that backfilling will be complete by May 20.

Up to this point all work has been contained on the site of the residence. Beginning June 1 Albany Street road work will begin.

The nine-story, $40 million structure is designed by Beacon Architectural Associates with a brick and limestone façade. Its 104 two-bedroom suites that include bath, kitchenette and living spaces will accommodate 208 students, each with individual bedrooms, the standard for graduate student housing. Walsh Brothers is the contractor for the building, which is expected to take 18 months to complete.

Click below to see earlier updates on the student residence construction.

Student Residence Update: First Floor Steel Work Complete! Slab Work to Begin!

April 21st, 2011 in Featured

Despite the rainy weather of April, progress at the student residence at 815 Albany Street on the Boston University Medical Campus (BUMC) continues.

April 20, 2011

Slightly rainy view of steel. (April 20, 2011)

The first floor steel work that began on April 11 will be completed by April 22. In addition, both the first and second floor slab work is expected to begin the week of April 25.  If weather permits, a floor slab will be poured every four days.

April 20, 2011

Steel on a clear afternoon. (April 20, 2011)

The nine-story, $40 million structure is designed by Beacon Architectural Associates with a brick and limestone façade. Its 104 two-bedroom suites that include bath, kitchenette and living spaces will accommodate 208 students, each with individual bedrooms, the standard for graduate student housing. Walsh Brothers is the contractor for the building, which is expected to take 18 months to complete.

Click below to read other student residence stories

Early April update

Late March story

Feb/March progress

Mid January update

Ground breaking event

Foundation Complete! Crane Arriving! Progress Continues at the Student Residence

April 6th, 2011 in Featured

April traditionally brings showers, but more importantly this year it marks the achievement of several milestones in the construction of the new student residence at 815 Albany Street on the Boston University Medical Campus (BUMC).

Foundation complete! (April 5, 2011)

Foundation complete! (April 5, 2011)

Foundation work has now been completed! Work on the grading for the underground drainage and waste pipes will continue and beginning Friday, April 8, the crane will arrive at the site. This means that the erection of the steel will begin on Monday, April 11.

Close up of complete foundation. (April 5, 2011)

Close up of complete foundation. (April 5, 2011)

The nine-story, $40 million structure is designed by Beacon Architectural Associates with a brick and limestone façade. Its 104 two-bedroom suites that include bath, kitchenette and living spaces will accommodate 208 students, each with individual bedrooms, the standard for graduate student housing. Walsh Brothers is the contractor for the building, which is expected to take 18 months to complete.

Click  below to read other student residence stories

On the Road to Residency, the Class of 2011 Match Across the Country

March 18th, 2011 in Featured

With a countdown from Dean Antman to the stroke of noon, members of the BUSM class of 2011 excitedly stepped forward to receive their Match Day letters from faculty and administrators. With 161 BUSM students in the match this year, 33 of them will be staying on campus for residency at Boston Medical Center, others are heading across the country from New England to California and Canada. Forty-five percent of the class is pursuing internal medicine, pediatrics and family medicine.  See the video here.

Graduating medical students Ricardo Cruz, from left, Arun Ganesh, Luis Meggo Quirros, Pranab Barman, and Shethal Bearelly celebrate during Match Day  March 17, 2011 in Hiebert Lounge.

Graduating medical students Ricardo Cruz, from left, Arun Ganesh, Luis Meggo Quirros, Pranab Barman, and Shethal Bearelly celebrate during Match Day March 17, 2011 in Hiebert Lounge.

The annual event held this year on March 17 marks the day when medical students around the nation receive notification from the National Residency Matching Program about which residency program they will be attending and where they will spend the next three to five years of their lives following graduation.

“You were already accomplished on your arrival to BUSM,” said Dean Antman. “We know when we survey residency program directors, we will hear that you are exceptionally prepared clinically, with exemplary professional behavior.”

The students and their guests, who were gathered for an awards ceremony prior to the event, made their way up to the 14th floor of the Instructional Building minutes before noon where the letter-opening ritual was held for the first time in the Hiebert Lounge.

“This year’s graduating class is quite special in their support for each other. They didn’t sit down to lunch today until they were sure of how everyone else had done in the Match,” said Phyllis Carr, MD, BUSM associate dean for student affairs. “Our students all did extremely well, getting into many top programs across the country, and the students matched to BMC will bring a great esprit de corps.”

American Medical Association Names New JAMA Editor-In-Chief: Howard C. Bauchner, MD, to Become 16th Editor in Journal’s 127-Year History

March 10th, 2011 in Featured

Howard C. Bauchner, M.D., from Boston University School of Medicine and Public Health, will become the next JAMA Editor-in-Chief on July 1, 2011, according to Michael D. Maves, M.D., the executive vice president and chief executive officer of the American Medical Association. Dr. Bauchner will be the 16th editor in the journal’s 127-year history.

Howard Bauchner

Howard Bauchner

Dr Bauchner is a professor of pediatrics and community health sciences. He also is the vice chairman of the department of pediatrics at BMC/BUSM and assistant dean, alumni affairs and continuing medical education at BUSM. He currently is the editor-in-chief of the Archives of Disease in Childhood, the official publication of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in the United Kingdom. He is the first U.S.-based editor of that journal and has held that position since 2003. He has served on many editorial boards, including currently for the British Medical Journal and Journal Watch. Dr. Bauchner has published more than 125 papers in peer-reviewed journals. His research interests include health promotion, clinical trials and quality improvement.

“We are pleased that Dr. Bauchner will be the new editor of JAMA,” Dr. Maves said. “JAMA is a world-class medical journal and we’re confident the journal will continue to grow and prosper under his leadership. The future of JAMA – one of the AMA’s most treasured assets – is in great hands.”

As Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Bauchner will have editorial oversight of JAMA and the 9 Archives journals, the specialty medical journals published by the AMA. Dr. Bauchner was chosen after an international search conducted by a committee comprised of members of the Journal Oversight Committee, JAMA Editorial Board, the AMA’s Board of Trustees and senior management and with help from the executive search firm, Russell Reynolds Associates. Dr. Bauchner is following Catherine D. DeAngelis, M.D., M.P.H., who is leaving the post after 11 years to return to Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.

“I have tremendous respect for JAMA and the prestige and stature it has achieved under Dr. DeAngelis,” Dr. Bauchner said. “JAMA is among the elite medical journals in the world and I am excited and honored by the opportunity to be its new editor.”

Dr. Bauchner completed his undergraduate training at the University of California, Berkeley, and graduated from Boston University School of Medicine in 1979. He completed his internship and junior-year residency at Boston City Hospital, his senior-year residency at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and then returned to be Chief Resident at what was then Boston City Hospital. He received additional training in epidemiology and statistics as a Robert Wood Johnson General Pediatrics Academic Development Scholar at Yale-New Haven Hospital and has been on sabbatical twice, first as a Scholar in Residence at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and then as a Scholar in Residence at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.