Receiving the Family Medicine Research Award (from left) is Stephanie Shaw and...
As if the fourth year of medical school is not busy enough, Brian Honeyman, (MED’15) chose to spend October interning at the editorial office of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).
This four-week elective, offered by NEJM for medical students from Massachusetts medical schools, exposed Honeyman to the world of medical publishing and allowed him to learn how editorial decisions are made. Honeyman wanted to get a sense of how novel and innovative medical findings are reviewed and disseminated to the medical community.
During his internship Honeyman supported individual NEJM editors, worked on a number of pieces including a letter to the editor, summaries and critiques of potential articles, and a decision letter. He also prepared a piece for NEJM’s online blog “Vaccination and Pneumococcal Disease in South Africa,” which reviewed the importance of vaccination in US communities through the lens of pneumococcal vaccination in South Africa.
Submitted by Adil Yunis, MD
A new study has found it is possible to distinguish between different hemorrhagic fevers, including Marburg (Ebola cousin) and Lassa before the person becomes symptomatic.
The study, which appears in the journal BMC Genomics, will allow for the development of better diagnostics, especially during the early stages of disease, when treatments have a greater chance of being effective.
Hemorrhagic fevers include Lassa, which is endemic in Western Africa and Marburg, which causes sporadic outbreaks in Africa associated with high rates of mortality. The early symptoms of these viruses (fever, flu-like symptoms) are not unique, making it difficult to diagnose properly. More disease-specific symptoms and the ability to spread the virus from person to person, do not begin until virus has accumulated in the blood. Current diagnostics detect the virus after it spills out of primary sites of infection into the blood. The ability to identify the infection prior to this point would significantly aid early intervention and containment, and could improve outcomes.
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) approached the diagnostic dilemma by trying to “see” infection prior to the point where viruses enter the blood stream. Collaborating with researchers at the U.S. Army Medical research Institute (USAMRIID), they used two experimental models: one that had involved Lassa virus, and one that involved Marburg virus infection. The researchers extracted genetic material (RNA) from a sample of white blood cells from each infection group at multiple times after the models were infected. Using next-generation sequencing techniques, gene expression changes in hosts cells that “recognize” early stages of infection were identified. This was seen prior to clinical symptom onset and before the models became infectious.
According to the researchers, distinguishing between these viruses early can guide treatment and containment efforts. “The ability to distinguish between different types of infection before the appearance of overt clinical symptoms has important implications for guiding triage and containment during epidemics,” explained corresponding author Nacho Caballero, a PhD candidate in the Bioinformatics Program at Boston University. “We hope that our study will help in the development of better diagnostics, especially during the early stages of disease, when treatments have a greater chance of being effective,” he added.
As exciting as the prospect of this testing is, the research team is setting a realistic time line. “We want to stress that this is not a finding that can be translated into a test tomorrow. This study supports the idea that early markers of infection are there, but significant work will still need to be done to extend these findings,” said Caballero.
This work was supported by the United States Army contracts W81XWH 100-02-0008 and 11-02-0130. NC was supported in part by the Fulbright Commission Spain and the Regional Government of Andalusia.
Gen Guyol and Janine Petito took a break from their busy schedules as second year medical students at BUSM to raise money for Boston Medical Center’s Department of Pediatrics.
On Sept. 20, they joined Team BMC in the sixth annual Rodman Ride for Kids, a fundraiser for children’s charities. Joining more than 50 other riders representing BMC—including physicians, residents, staff, BUSM students and friends—Gen and Janine each rode 50 miles and together raised more than $3,000 for the department.
Gen also took the time to encourage other medial students to take part in the charity by riding or becoming virtual riders. Overall, her group raised more than $5,000 for pediatrics. Their donations will be earmarked toward medical student initiatives within the pediatric department.
The BU Arts Outreach Initiative, BUSM Office of Multicultural Affairs and Diversity, and the BMC Neurology Department announce the third annual “When Patients Heal You” concert on Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. in Keefer Auditorium. A creative collaboration between neurology patients and BU/BUMC musicians, the concert features musical performances by patients of the BMC Neurology Department accompanied by the BU Jazz Combo and BUMC Band.
Discover the talents of this group of patients and enjoy jazz, French, Creole and Latin music performed at its best. “When Patients Heal You” is an opportunity for these musicians to celebrate and thank their care givers.
Admission is free and a reception follows the performance.
The stethoscope is considered the symbol of medical professionals. On Tuesday, Oct. 28, each member of the BU School of Medicine’s MD Class of 2018 received one as a gift from a BUSM alum.
“This is a special day for first-year medical students as they receive their medical equipment that will serve as their clinical tools for years,” says Nanette Harvey, MD, BUSM course director for the Introduction to Clinical Medicine course and coordinator for the medical equipment distribution to first-year students. “When we announced to the class that they would all be receiving their stethoscopes compliments of the School’s graduates, they broke into applause. They are so appreciative of alumni generosity.”
More than 160 alumni participated in the Stethoscopes for Students program, now in its seventh year and coordinated by the BUSM Alumni Association. Along with the stethoscope, the distribution of medical equipment included a blood pressure cuff, ophthalmoscope, otoscope, reflex hammer, tuning fork and a CD of heart sounds. Harvey notes that by the School organizing the distribution of medical equipment for the students, the difficulty and worry about purchasing the tools has been alleviated for them.
Students wrote thank-you notes to the alumni who purchased their stethoscopes.
“What makes this gift so meaningful is that it is something we will carry with us for our entire medical careers,” said first-year student Gareth Marshall. Tovah Koswosky noting the milestone of receiving her stethoscope also was especially gratified, “that she received this from alumni who were in my exact shoes at one time. This makes them present.”
Alan Alda, famous for his roles in M*A*S*H* and PBS’s Scientific American Frontiers, made a guest appearance on the Medical Campus – via video recording, that is. On Oct. 21, the School of Medicine welcomed faculty from the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science for a one-day workshop to help BU scientists communicate their work more effectively to the public, policymakers, funders, policymakers and colleagues.
Forty-one scientists from the Medical and Charles River campuses learned how to communicate their work, connect with their audience, and speak clearly and conversationally about why their work matters by attending two three-hour workshops on improvisation and message delivery.
Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs Suzanne Sarfaty, MD, previously had attended a workshop at the Alda Center at Stony Brook University in New York and was eager to bring the workshop to the Medical Campus. “I was so impressed with the thinking behind and the power of the program,” she said. “I knew it would be a valuable experience for our scientists and would enrich the BU community.”
During the “Distilling Your Message” workshop, participants had to explain their research as though they were pitching their story to a TV show producer, a non-scientist. The scientists practiced finding common ground with an audience, speaking at different levels of complexity for different audiences, and answering questions about their work. Later, the “Improvisation for Scientists” workshop used improv theater techniques to help participants speak more spontaneously and responsively with their audience.
The improvisation exercises were particularly helpful for Isabel Dominguez, PhD, assistant professor of hematology and medical oncology, who says she was excited to share the ideas and techniques with her lab colleagues and trainees. “This was a very valuable workshop that I feel will make me better at explaining my work and better able to train others in my lab to be more effective in telling their ‘stories’ as well,” she said.
The exercises challenged BU scientists, through both discussion and practice, to pay close attention to others and be aware of the two-way nature of communication.
Boston University Health Promotion Series
When: Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014; 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Who: Karen Brouhard, BU Faculty and Staff Assistance Office
Where: BUSM Instructional (L) Building; Room L201 (72 East Concord St., Second Floor)
Description: Life is full of challenges. While we often have no choice over which challenges we encounter, we do have some control over how we respond. This presentation will focus on cultivating resilience — the ability to cope effectively with crises and bounce back quickly from setbacks. Many factors contribute to resilience, some of which can be learned and developed. Mindfulness practices help us observe rather than react to upsetting events and negative feelings, facilitating our responding with greater wisdom and effectiveness.
What You Will Learn:
- How to explore the sources of your own resilience
- About the use of mindfulness in cultivating resilience
- How to practice several mindfulness approaches
This presentation is open to all Boston University employees. Lunch will be served.
If you have any questions, please contact Yuliya Labkovskaia at BU Occupational Health Center at 617-353-6630 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please register online.
In 2011 the White House established the Joining Forces initiative to promote the education, research and clinical care for military members with TBI and PTSD. The Boston University Medical Campus (BUMC) was one of the original participants in the program. This year the Medical Campus will host the Third Annual Joining Forces Conference on Tuesday, Nov. 4, from 8 a.m.-noon in Hiebert Lounge. Faculty, students and staff are invited to attend guest lectures and participate in the poster session.
Speakers at the event include internationally renowned faculty researchers at BU School of Medicine and the VA Boston Healthcare System. BU is among the leaders in research and collaborative care for concussions and PTSD. VA Boston is a national leader in clinical care and research for veterans with post-deployment disorders, including TBI, PTSD, other anxiety disorders, affective disorders and comorbid substance abuse. VA Boston also has one of the most comprehensive mental health treatment systems in the country for veterans and is the nation’s largest recipient of VA research dollars supporting more than 150 research projects on PTSD, traumatic brain injury and other post-deployment disorders. VA Boston also is the home of the Behavioral Sciences and Women’s Health Sciences divisions of the National Center for PTSD.
Mark your calendar to learn about the cutting edge research being performed at our institutions in these fields. Hear how advances in research may be used to identify individuals at risk for prevention, intervention and treatment. After the formal lectures a poster session will highlight additional areas of research.
BUMC and VA Boston Joining Forces TBI/PTSD Conference
Tuesday, Nov. 4, 8 a.m.-Noon
BUSM Instructional Building, Hiebert Lounge, 14th Floor
- 8 – 8:30 a.m. Registration and Breakfast
- 8:30 – 8:50 Introductions and Welcome (Drs. Anna Hohler and Gary Kaplan)
- 8:50 – 9:35 “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Female OEF/OIF/OND Veterans: Overview of Recent Research Findings” by Dawne Vogt, PhD, acting deputy director, Women’s Health Sciences Division, National Center for PTSD, VA Boston Healthcare System and associate professor of Psychiatry, BUSM
- 9:35 – 9:45 Break
- 9:45 – 10:30 “Current Concepts in Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy” by Ann McKee, MD, Chief of Neuropathology, VA Boston Healthcare System, professor of Neurology and Pathology, BUSM
- 11:15 – noon Poster Viewing
Rafael Ortega, MD, the associate dean of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, has been selected by the Boston Business Journal as an honoree for the Annual Leaders in Diversity Awards. This award honors companies and individuals for their leadership in successfully promoting inclusiveness and opportunity. This year, the Leaders in Diversity program will feature nine winners in four categories and Ortega will be awarded the Corporate Leadership award for his exceptional work at the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. Ortega also serves as professor of anesthesiology at the School and attending physician in anesthesiology at BMC.
As associate dean of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs at BUSM, Ortega is responsible for fostering diversity and cultural competence among students, faculty and staff. He works with four Assistant Deans and together they strive to make the campus as heterogeneous and inclusive as possible. He is committed to unquestionable openness and inclusion, promoting relations among all groups, and inspiring students and faculty to learn from each other while appreciating their differences. He envisions an environment that demonstrates BUSM’s belief that diversity is essential to the development of future leaders in healthcare and research to serve the community, nation and world.
This year marks the 26th Evans annual research celebration, which was established in 1985 to acknowledge and foster the research activities of the Evans Department of Medicine. This two-day event features distinguished clinical and basic science lectures (Ingelfinger Visiting Professor and Wilkins Visiting Professor respectively), and poster and oral presentations of ongoing research. Faculty, students and staff are invited to attend these events.
Thursday, Oct. 16
Research Poster Session, 9 a.m.- noon, Hiebert Lounge
Wilkins Visiting Professor Lecture, 3:30 p.m., Keefer Auditorium
“Genetic Determinants of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis”
David A. Schwartz, MD
Professor of Medicine and Immunology, Robert W. Schrier Chair of Medicine
University of Colorado
Friday, Oct. 17
Ingelfinger Visiting Professor – Grand Rounds, noon, Keefer Auditorium
“Joy in Practice: Innovations in Ambulatory Care”
Christine Sinsky, MD, FACP
Medical Associates Clinic and Health Plans