Emelia J. Benjamin, MD, ScM, FACC, FAHA, professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at BUSM and BUSPH, and a clinical cardiologist at BMC, has been appointed BUMC Assistant Provost for Faculty Development and Robina M. Bhasin, EdM, also has been appointed BUMC Director of Faculty Development.
Benjamin is deeply engaged in the professional development of health care professionals and has a fundamental commitment to mentoring majority and underrepresented minority early-career, mid-career and established investigators in epidemiology, genetic epidemiology and academic medicine. She has co-developed and led faculty development efforts on the Medical Campus with her colleagues at GSDM, BUSPH and BUSM over the last five years, and also led an ACE/Sloan Foundation on Faculty Flexibility, which focused on mid-career faculty development.
Benjamin is co-PI of the Framingham Heart Study core contract, and PI or Multi-PI of ~10 RO1s since 1998, including a current MPI grant on the genetics of atrial fibrillation. She has published more than 400 original research articles and is listed on the Thomson Reuters List of Highly Cited Researchers (top 1%) in medicine.
She also is the recipient of multiple honors, including the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Paul Dudley White Award, AHA Women in Cardiology Mentoring Award, AHA Functional Genomics and Translational Biology Mentoring Awards, and Department of Medicine mentoring and inpatient teaching awards.
Robina M. Bhasin, EdM, our new director of Faculty Development, came to BUSM in 2013 as the director of Faculty Development and Diversity for the Department of Medicine. She has more than 12 years of experience in the creation, implementation and evaluation of domestic and international professional development programs for health practitioners and educators.
“Together they will continue to focus on improving the breadth of professional development and mentoring programs for our Medical Campus faculty,” said Karen Antman, MD, Provost, BU Medical Campus, and Dean, BUSM.
Beginning September 14, Linda Hyman, PhD, Associate Provost for Graduate Medical Sciences (GMS), will be ‘on loan’ to the National Science Foundation (NSF) to serve as Director of the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences. The Division comprises the areas of molecular biophysics, cellular dynamics and functions, genetic mechanisms and systems, and synthetic biology. Her duties will include assessing the needs and trends in research and education related to the Division’s programs, strategic planning, and policy setting, while providing leadership to the senior Division staff.
Dr. Hyman’s position with the NSF is part of the Intergovernmental Personnel Act Mobility Program (IPA), which provides temporary assignment of personnel between the federal government and state and local agencies, colleges, universities and other organizations. It allows visiting staff to continue participating in their home organization’s activities at .20 percent time. While Dr. Hyman is at the NSF, Hee-Young Park, PhD, Assistant Dean for GMS, will assume day-to-day responsibilities for GMS.
Filled with hope and motivation to help others, 33 new students entering the Physician’s Assistant (PA) Class of 2017 donned their white coats for the first time today as part of the program’s second annual “White Coat Ceremony.”
Surrounded by family and friends, the students – who hailed from all parts of the country – were welcomed into the profession by BU Medical Campus Provost and BUSM Dean Karen Antman, MD, Associate Provost for the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences Linda Hyman, PhD, and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Doug Hughes, MD.
“The symbolism of the white coat very much embodies our responsibility to care, to learn, to teach, to discover and ultimately to create a healthcare system that fully cares for our population in a way that we would want to be cared for as individuals,” said David Coleman, MD Wade Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine, and Physician-in-Chief at Boston Medical Center
PA Program Director Mary Warner, PA-C, introduced the keynote speaker, Captain Robin N. Hunter Buskey, DHSc, CDE, CCHP, PA-C, as her personal role model when she was a PA student.
With more than 30 years of clinical experience, Hunter Buskey is a Senior Physician Assistant with the US Public Health Service assigned to the Federal Correctional Complex in Butner, North Carolina.
“Look ahead with optimism and know that you have chosen a challenging profession of which you can be proud,” she said. “Leave your legacy of excellence, integrity, social justice and service.”
The White Coat Ceremony is part of a time-honored tradition that marks the students’ entry into the medical profession. While the PA students matriculated in April of this year, they participate in the ceremony after they have learned the history and physical exam and before they begin weekly practice in the clinical setting.
After donning their coats and reciting the Physician’s Assistant Professional Oath, the students listened to remarks from Brendan Flaherty, a patient who has received several years of care from a PA.
“Thank you for what you do,” said Flaherty. “You really help us. You really care, and you go to bat for us each day.”
Thirty-five young investigators gathered on the BU Medical Campus for the inaugural Genetic Epidemiology and Functional Genomics Workshop held in July. The meeting was hosted by the Framingham Heart Study (FHS), the Center for Translational Epidemiology and Comparative Effectiveness Research and Section of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology at BU School of Medicine (BUSM).
Hailing from nine states and five countries, attendees heard from faculty and staff from the Framingham Heart Study (FHS), BUSM, Harvard Medical School, University of Massachusetts Medical School and others who presented on how they have utilized FHS data to answer career-building questions as well as specific instruction on how to analyze and access the FHS data. The group also attended a series of working lunches led by BUSM’s Emelia J. Benjamin, MD, ScM, on professional development topics.
Program Director Vasan S. Ramachandran, MD, DM, FACC, FAHA, Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology, Chief of the Section of Preventive Medicine & Epidemiology, and Principal Investigator of the FHS, developed the program because of the burgeoning availability of data from cohort studies, including genomic data, and the urgency of training the next generation of translational scientists with a focus on early stage investigators. “We are excited that we were able to highlight cutting-edge talks on genomic research, career development and grant writing tips, and training to access and analyze Framingham Heart Study data,’” said Ramachandran.
“The meeting was organized as part of a broader series of initiatives to equip faculty and fellows to interrogate large human cohort studies to better understand human disease,” added David L. Coleman, MD, Wade Professor and Chairman of the Department of Medicine. “In so doing, we hope to expand the capacity of our research community to use the power of extraordinary biomic information in well-phenotyped cohort studies to answer clinically important questions.”
For any inquires or questions about the program, please contact Dr. Ramachandran.
Members of the Medical Campus are invited to the Feb. 6 Cancer-focused Seminar Series (CFSS). The goal of the CFSS is to promote interaction and collaboration of cancer researchers across the Medical and Charles River campuses. Three talks will be presented at this seminar.
- Tracy Battaglia, MD, MPH, Battaglia Lab, “Repairing the Disconnect: Optimizing Cancer Care Delivery Through Patient Centered Research”
- Charina Ortega, Dominguez Lab, “Mining CK2 in Cancer”
- Kevin Chandler, PhD, Costello Lab, “Studying Posttranslational Modifications of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor 2 (VEGFR-2) in Tumor Angiogenesis
What: Cancer-focused Seminar Series
When: Friday, Feb. 6, Noon-1:15 p.m.
Where: BUSM Instructional Building, L-110
Mark your calendar for future seminars March 6, April 3, May 1. All future seminars will take place noon-1:15 p.m. in Bakst Auditorium.
In two lines they marched, the 164th entering class of BUSM, greeted by the smiles and clicking cameras of family and friends. With a white coat draped over their arm, they entered the tent raised for the White Coat Ceremony held Monday, August 6. The white coats signify the students’ entry into the profession of medicine.
“The White Coat ceremony marks a major life transition, the beginning of your formal medical education,” said Dean Karen Antman. “When you put on your white coat for the first time today, the message is not that you are expected to become a professional, but that, as of today, you are now already a part of the profession. When you see your first patients in the coming weeks, you represent the profession.”
The 181 members of the entering Class of 2012 were chosen from a pool of 11,780 candidates. They represent 80 undergraduate institutions. Forty-four percent are women. Thirty-five percent hold a graduate degree at the Master’s level or above, and some have more than one advanced degree.
“All of you have met academic and personal challenges; all of you have had successes and failures; all of you have sacrificed much and accomplished a great deal to reach this moment,” noted Robert Witzburg, MD ’77, associate dean for admissions, as he presented the class for matriculation. “As you move into the next phase of your journey, your entry into the sacred trust that is the profession of medicine, each of you will struggle. What will sustain you in these difficult moments will be your own skill and talent, your own resilience and strength of character, the support of your classmates, the love of your family and friends, and the commitment of your teachers and mentors.”
For the first time at a BUSM White Coat Ceremony, the class was grouped by their Academy of Advisors. BUSM medical students are assigned an academy to which they will belong throughout their medical education. Each of the six academies provide students mentoring and career development and offer ongoing guidance and support from experienced faculty members, educators, and role models of professionalism to the students.
Douglas Hughes, MD, associate dean for academic affairs, called the students to podium, while faculty and deans helped each one don their white coat to begin their journey where upon the newest members of the BUSM community recited the Hippocratic Oath led by Samantha Kaplan, MD, assistant dean for diversity and multicultural affairs.
As the guest speaker, Kenneth Grundfast, MD, assist dean for student affairs and chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, addressed the dramatic change about to take place in their lives as they transition from student to physician. “By the time you finish medical school, you will be ready to accept the weighty responsibility that comes when people look to you to help alleviate their suffering, to cure them of cancer, to help restore their mental health, to help them give birth to their children and to be the doctor for their children. It is a sacred privilege to be given the opportunity to take care of patients. I loved it as a medical student and just as much today.”
View pictures from the ceremony on facebook.
GSDM hosted the second annual Family Weekend, which culminated with the White Coat Ceremony on Saturday, July 7, for the DMD Class of 2014 and the AS Class of 2013. Students and their families enjoyed guided tours of the School during the day on Saturday and then gathered at the George Sherman Union at 775 Commonwealth Avenue for the Ceremony in the late afternoon. Nearly 700 people attended.
The White Coat Ceremony marks the midway point of the students’ education and celebrates their transition from the classroom to the treatment center. Students will now begin managing the comprehensive oral healthcare of their assigned patients and providing them with needed treatment in the fifth and sixth floor Patient Treatment Centers of the School of Dental Medicine.
The Ceremony Processional was led by the following Grand Marshalls: Associate Chair of the Department of General Dentistry, Director of Pre-doctoral Restorative Dentistry and Professor Dr. Celeste Kong; Clinical Assistant Professor Dr. Daniel Moran; Director of Pre-doctoral Removable Prosthodontics and Clinical Professor Dr. Ronni Schnell and President of the GSDM Alumni Association and Chair of the GSDM Alumni Board, Clinical Assistant Professor Dr. Tina Valades.
Assistant Dean of Students and Assistant Professor of General Dentistry Dr. Joseph Calabrese started off the ceremony.
Reflecting back on the day, Dr. Calabrese said, “Our students have reached a significant milestone in their dental education. Receiving their white coats in front of their families and friends in such a special ceremony was inspiring. This is a tradition that I, as well as our students, look forward to every year. I know how proud I was of our students so I can only imagine how their families must have felt.”
Dr. Calabrese then introduced Dean and Spencer N. Frankl Professor in Dental Medicine, Dr. Jeffrey W. Hutter. Dean Hutter welcomed the assembled students and their families.
He said, “It is certainly an honor to welcome the friends and families of the DMD Class of 2014 and the Advanced Standing Class of 2013. As they mark this important rite of passage, I cannot tell you how much it means to them and to me that so many of you are here with us today.” He continued, “Although they have had the opportunity of treating patients since they began their dental education, they are about to begin the very important phase of their education in which they manage their own assigned patients and provide comprehensive oral healthcare to them. In so doing, they hone their clinical skills in their chosen profession of dentistry. Their participation in this important ceremony marks the beginning of their transition into professionals.”
The keynote speaker for the Ceremony was Dr. Andrea Richman. Dr. Richman, a general practitioner, graduated from Tufts in 1978 and completed a General Practice Residency at Boston City Hospital in 1979. Richman has served as the Yankee Dental Congress General Chair and in various other YDC volunteer positions. She served as MDS president in 2007, becoming the first woman to serve in that position. She is also a liaison for the MDS to the Board of Registration in Dentistry and currently serves on the board of Eastern Dental Insurance Company.
During her keynote speech, Dr. Richman remarked, “Each of you has been awarded a coveted slot in this school because you have that capacity to transition from student to Doctor. This is what it is all about. This is what your next one to two years are about—not just changing coats, but changing your mindset; learning to accept responsibility for your decisions and learning to be a professional.”
Following Dr. Richman’s address, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Periodontology & Oral Biology, Dr. Cataldo Leone officially presented the class to Dean Hutter.
Dean Hutter then commenced the White Coat Ceremony during which as Dr. DuLong read their names, the students were presented with their white coats by faculty members Drs. Joseph Calabrese, John Guarente, and Cataldo Leone, and congratulated by Dr. Janet Peters and Dean Hutter before exiting the stage. The Ceremony closed with Dean Hutter leading the students in the reading of the Professional Oath, the same oath they took at the Professional Ceremony during their respective orientations in 2010 and 2011 He also shared some personal closing remarks to the newly White Coated students.
After the Ceremony, the students proceeded to the small ballroom for their respective DMD Class of 2014 and AS Class of 2013 photos with Dean Hutter. A lovely reception, including passed hor d’oeuvres and a pasta station, was held at the Ziskind Lounge for the students and their families. The festivities were funded in part by a generous donation from the Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS). MDS regularly supports Massachusetts dental students by supporting student activities at GSDM.
What is SURP? SURP is the Summer Undergraduate Research Program, a ten week research and mentoring experience with Division of Graduate Medical Sciences faculty. The cohort is academically talented students from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds who are interested in preparing for professional roles as research scientists. SURP was launched in the summer of 2010 under the leadership of Associate Provost Linda Hyman, PhD. In addition to a mentored research experience, students attend weekly science talks, participate in a journal club, go on science-oriented field trips, and present their research in a summer research symposium. The 2012 symposium will be held on Aug. 2.
In 2012 the applicant pool for SURP tripled, due largely to visibility with offices of career services, faculty advisors, NIH funded scholar programs and word of mouth. Members of the faculty admissions committee are Carol Walsh, PhD; Lisa Ganley-Leal, PhD and William Cruikshank, PhD. Faculty mentors for the 2012 cohort include: Weining Lu, MD; Barbara Corkey, PhD; Irina Zhadanova, MD, PhD; Hui Feng, MD, PhD; Daniel Remick, MD; Barbara Smith, PhD and Andrew Taylor, PhD.
In addition to acting as mentors, other GMS faculty and advanced PhD students contribute to the program by presenting their research at weekly “science talks.” On June 6, Drs. Brady and Levy-Bell, senior faculty in the Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine Program, co-led a discussion about personality factors in career planning. During the June 13 seminar, Isabel Dominguez, PhD talked about her passion for science and long-term research in Wnt signaling. Dr. Dominguez stressed that mentors are critical for students who wish to develop robust and productive research careers.
This year a journal club was added to the SURP program. Dr. Cruikshank will facilitate the club so that students gain a better understanding of the research concepts of their labs and improve their presentation skills.
Budding research scientists, LaTayia, Aaron, Clark-Atlanta University; Juan Ballester, University of Puerto Rico; Christine Doronio, Mount St. Mary’s College; Johnny Groeling, Queens College; Lydia Ruffner, Spelman College; Taylor Harris, Winston-Salem State University and Rui Soares, Boston College will have the opportunity to continue building their professional skills by participating in upcoming national conferences such as the Annual Biomedical Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) and the Society for Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).
For more information about SURP please contact Linda Zimmerman, Program Manager at 638-5704 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Study Shows First Case Series of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in Blast-Exposed Military Service Personnel and Mechanism of Injury in Blast Neurotrauma
Investigators from Boston University (BU) and the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System have shown evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in brain tissue from blast-exposed military service personnel. Laboratory experiments conducted by the investigators demonstrated that exposure to a single blast equivalent to a typical improvised explosive device (IED) results in CTE and long-term brain impairments that accompany the disease. They also found that the blast wind, not the shock wave, from the IED blast leads to traumatic brain injury (TBI) and long-term consequences, including CTE.
This research, which represents the first case series of postmortem brains from U.S. military personnel who were exposed to a blast and/or a concussive injury, will be published online May 16 by Science Translational Medicine.
Lee Goldstein, MD, PhD, associate professor at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston University College of Engineering, and Ann McKee, MD, professor at BUSM and director of the Neuropathology Service for VA New England Healthcare System, led this international collaborative study and are the senior co-authors.
CTE, which can only be diagnosed postmortem, is a progressive neurodegenerative brain disorder that has been reported in athletes with multiple concussions or subconcussive injuries. In early stages, CTE is characterized by the presence of abnormal deposits of a protein called tau in the form of neurofibrillary tangles, glial tangles and neuropil threads throughout the brain. These tau lesions eventually lead to brain cell death. CTE has clinical features in common with TBI, including psychiatric symptoms and long-term cognitive disability involving memory and learning deficits. TBI can impact military personnel exposed to an explosive blast and may affect approximately 20 percent of the 2.3 million servicemen and women deployed since 2001.
In this study, investigators performed comprehensive neuropathological analyses on brain tissue from four military service personnel with known blast exposure and/or concussive injury. They compared these results with brain tissue samples from three young amateur American football players and a professional wrestler, all of whom had a history of repetitive concussive injury, and four samples from comparably-aged normal controls with no history of blast exposure, concussive injury or neurological disease.
The investigators found that CTE neuropathology in the brains of blast-exposed military veterans was similar to that found in young athletes with repetitive concussion and consistent with what has previously been observed in brain samples from other athletes with a history of repetitive concussive injury.
“Our results showed that the neuropathology from blast exposure, concussive injury, or both were virtually indistinguishable from those with a history of repeat concussive injury,” said McKee, who is the director of the Brain Banks for BU’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center and the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, which are based at the Bedford VA Medical Center. McKee said that these findings indicate that TBI caused by different factors may trigger similar disease pathways in the brain.
“The neuropsychiatric symptoms of CTE that have previously been associated with athletes diagnosed with CTE could also be attributed to military personnel who were exposed to blast,” said Goldstein, who also is affiliated with the BU Photonics Center and served as the study’s lead author.
To examine the impact of a single blast exposure, the investigators collaborated with leading experts in blast physics, experimental pathology and neurophysiology at Boston University, VA Boston Healthcare System, White River Junction VA Medical Center, New York Medical College, Fraunhofer Center for Manufacturing Innovation, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Oxford. The team’s experimental data showed that one blast comparable to that experienced by military service personnel in the field resulted in both neuropathological and behavioral evidence of CTE. Surprisingly, the long-term impairments in brain function, including impaired learning and memory, were observed just two weeks after exposure to a single blast.
The blast wind from an IED can reach a velocity of up to 330 miles per hour, which is greater than the largest wind gust ever recorded on earth. “The force of the blast wind causes the head to move so forcefully that it can result in damage to the brain,” said Goldstein.
Based on the results, the investigators went a step further and explored how they could prevent the brain injury. They demonstrated that immobilizing the head during a blast exposure prevented the learning and memory deficits associated with CTE that occurred when the head was not immobilized.
“Our study provides compelling evidence that blast TBI and CTE are structural brain disorders that can emerge as a result of brain injury on the battlefield or playing field,” added Goldstein. “Now that we have identified the mechanism responsible for CTE, we can work on developing ways to prevent it so that we can protect athletes and our military service personnel.”
The study results provide a pathway for the development of novel diagnostic strategies for blast-related brain trauma, as well as to treat and rehabilitate those who have been exposed to blast and/or a concussive injury.
Save the date, May 17! Join Howard C. Bauchner, MD, Editor-in-Chief of JAMA and Scientific Publications and Multimedia Applications as he speaks on “My First Year at JAMA.” Dr. Bauchner was named Editor-in Chief on July 1, 2011, after serving as a faculty member of pediatrics and community health sciences on the Medical Campus for 25 years. He also served as the vice chair of the Department of Pediatrics at BMC/BUSM and assistant dean, alumni affairs and continuing medical education at BUSM.
Dr. Bauchner is coming to the Medical Campus as the Joel and Barbara Alpert Lecturer in General Pediatrics. This is the 16th year of the lectureship and the associated fund supports the pilot research of pediatric residents, fellows and junior faculty largely directed at the medical and social needs of children at risk. Click here for information on the fund.
A BUSM alumnus, Dr. Bauchner is the 16th editor in the journal’s 127-year history. As Editor-in-Chief, he has editorial oversight of JAMA and the nine Archives journals, the specialty medical journals published by the AMA.
Dr. Bauchner will speak on Thursday, May 17 at 12:15 p.m. at 670 Albany St., in the Ground Floor Auditorium (lunch will be served).
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.