Translational research was the theme of the 2015 Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM) Research Retreat which took place on April 13th, 2015, in the Hiebert Lounge. Translational research applies findings from basic science to enhance human health. Along with team science, a translational science approach to research is increasingly important in the development of successful research programs which impact public health and well-being. Faculty from GSDM and the Boston University Medical Campus community presented a variety of topics relevant to translational research, and gave an overview of its successful implementation at Boston University.
The morning began with a poster viewing session followed by opening remarks given by Dean Jeffrey W. Hutter and Associate Dean for Research Dr. Maria Kukuruzinska. Dr. Kukuruzinska then introduced the first speaker Associate Provost for Translational Research and Director of the Boston University Clinical and Translational Science Institute Dr. David M. Center. Dr. Center’s talk, “Performance Enhancing Science,” was followed by four presentations given by GSDM faculty who are engaged in ongoing translational research:
- Professor, Director for the Center of Clinical Research (CCR), and Assistant Dean for Faculty Development Dr. Judith Jones gave a presentation titled “Center for Clinical Research,” which discussed the CCR and how clinical researchers can take advantage of its services.
- Professor and Chair in the Department of Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics Dr. Leslie Will gave a presentation titled “The Use of Salivary Biomarkers in Addressing Problems in Orthodontics.”
- Professor in the Department of Health Policy & Health Services Research and Director of Behavioral Science Research Dr. Belinda Borrelli presented “Translating Basic Science and Health Behavior Theory to Improve Public Health.”
- Professor and Chair in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry Athanasios Zavras presented “Pharmacogenetics of Head and Neck Adverse Effects.”
Associate Professor of Medicine, Pathology and Bioinformatics and Chief of the Division of Computational Biomedicine in the Department of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine Dr. Avrum Spira gave the keynote address for the event. His talk titled, “Translating gene expression signatures into personalized approaches to disease management,” discussed how many clinical problems are best solved with a team science approach. Dr. Spira’s research group discovered a gene expression signature which is being used to develop less invasive clinical procedures for diagnosing lung cancer.
The retreat concluded with closing remarks followed by lunch. Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health Dr. Yvette Cozier won an award for Best Poster, as voted on by attendees. Her project was titled “Self-Reported Oral Health of Middle-Class Black Women in the United States.”
Dr. Maria Kukuruzinska said, “I am very pleased with the quality of the presentations at this year’s Retreat. I feel they truly highlighted the important translational work being conducted within our School and University.”
Submitted by GSDM Communications.
MED, SPH profs move up the ranks
Doctors can prescribe the treatment, but it’s up to their patients to follow their advice. A. Rani Elwy, a recently promoted School of Public Health associate professor of health policy and management, studies the reasons some patients seek medical help while others don’t. Elwy, who has won four SPH teaching awards and is an investigator with the Bedford VA Medical Center’s Center of Innovation, specializes in the study of patients’ perceptions of their health, doctor-patient communication, and how complementary and alternative therapies can be tailored to improve engagement and access to care.
“As a health psychologist, I felt that the patient role was not being investigated enough,” says Elwy. “Patients bring a whole host of cognitive, emotional, and cultural beliefs to the health care setting, and providers need to know these in order to facilitate appropriate care….Our job as researchers is to work collaboratively with patients and provider—learning from them, not imposing our views on them—which enables us to develop innovative methods to address these complex health care problems.”
Elwy’s work has been rewarded with a promotion to associate professor, making her one of 11 Medical Campus faculty members to be recently promoted (find Charles River Campus faculty members who have been recently promoted here).
“These promotions…mark an especially proud moment for the BU community, as we’ve had the pleasure of watching these talented women and men develop from promising junior faculty into scholars and teachers of national impact and recognition,” says Karen Antman, School of Medicine dean and provost of the Medical Campus. “We see great things ahead for them and are pleased they have chosen BU as the place to launch their independent careers.”
As well as A. Rani Elwy, promoted were:
Renee Boynton-Jarrett, School of Medicine associate professor of pediatrics
Boynton-Jarrett specializes in the study of social determinants, such as early life adversity, and their long-term impact on health outcomes for populations. A principal investigator on privately funded studies exploring child abuse prevention and early puberty and adolescent obesity, she codirects the Academies of Investigation and the Academic Development Block for the Boston Combined Residency Program in Pediatrics, which brings together the training programs of Boston Medical Center and Boston Children’s Hospital. She is a faculty mentor for the program’s Urban Health Advocacy Track for the Community Health Mentorships Group.
Christopher Connor, MED associate professor of anesthesiology
Connor, anesthesiology department director of research, specializes in inventing new technologies to improve patient safety and postoperative outcomes, such as critical care and pain management. Considered among the world’s top investigators in airway management and new technology studies, he holds the distinction of being the only scientist/innovator in his field to earn four out of the five national safety awards over the last five years. Connor has a joint appointment in the College of Engineering’s department of biomedical engineering, where he is an assistant professor.
Alik Farber, MED professor of surgery and radiology
A specialist in vascular disease, Farber is chief of the division of vascular and endovascular surgery at Boston Medical Center (BMC), where he directs the vascular surgery training program. He is a co–principal investigator on a $25 million National Institutes of Health award comparing outcomes of open vascular surgery and endovascular surgery in patients with critical limb ischemia (a severe blockage of the arteries in the legs or feet).
Devin Mann, MED associate professor of medicine
Mann is BMC’s associate chief medical information officer for innovation and population health and the physician lead on a project to standardize health information across 61 specialty clinics. He studies new ways to enhance health care delivery through novel technologies and the integration of multiple disciplines, including bioinformatics, behavioral medicine, and human-computer interactions. A presidential appointee to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s health information technology policy committee, he has written more than 50 scholarly publications.
Paul Monach, MED associate professor of medicine
Monach researches and treats vasculitis, an inflammation of the blood vessels, with an emphasis on genetics and the development of biomarkers. He is the director of the Vasculitis Center, a regionally recognized resource for patient care and research, and of the BMC rheumatology fellowship program. He is an active member of several prominent vasculitis consortia and is co–principal investigator and site investigator on a major National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases study.
Rebecca Perkins, MED associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology
Perkins has dedicated her career to cervical cancer prevention and promoting the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine into clinical practice. A member of the Society of Gynecologic Investigation, she has worked to identify social and educational barriers to vaccination coming from parents and health providers and piloted interventions to increase vaccination rates and acceptance. She has published consistently in top journals and been awarded four grants as a principal investigator and two as a coinvestigator.
Frederick L. Ruberg, MED associate professor of medicine
Ruberg is the director of MED’s cardiovascular medicine fellowship training program and is an attending cardiologist and director of the advanced cardiac imaging program at BMC. He specializes in amyloid heart disease and the use of advanced imaging technology to assess cardiomyopathy (a disease of the heart muscle). He is principal investigator of an American Heart Association Scientist Development Grant and was recently site principal investigator for an NIH-funded study on the evaluation of chest pain.
Shannon Wiltsey Stirman, MED associate professor of psychiatry
Named a “rising star” by the Association for Psychological Science, Wiltsey-Stirman has been actively funded as a principal investigator since 2007, amassing more than 1,000 citations for her work, which includes a study on technology-enhanced psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Specializing in implementation science, she focuses on the integration of evidence-based interventions into practice settings, including VA and community health clinics.
Ann Zumwalt, MED associate professor of anatomy and neurobiology
Zumwalt is an expert on perceptual changes that occur as people grow from naïve learners to experts and in pedagogical approaches that bridge the gap between basic science and clinical education. A recognized leader within her program, she has been honored with MED’s Preclinical Educator of the Year Award. She has published extensively on science education, serves in leadership posts for numerous national organizations for anatomists, and is director of her department’s Vesalius Program, which applies principles of neurobiology to education.
Edward A. Ruiz-Narváez, SPH associate professor of epidemiology
Ruiz-Narváez studies how molecular, nutritional, and cardiovascular disease epidemiology intersects, and how it can identify genetic risk factors for a variety of diseases among African American women. A principal investigator or coinvestigator on five major grant awards, including two from the National Cancer Institute, he has earned widespread recognition for studies covering diseases that disproportionately affect black women, including breast cancer, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
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“There will be few days in your lives as exciting and momentous as this one,” shared Howard Bauchner, MD, MED ’79 and editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), who delivered the commencement address at the 168th Boston University School of Medicine Commencement on Saturday, May 16. Friends and family screamed, cheered and applauded from the stands of the Agganis Arena as newly minted graduates were hooded and received their diplomas.
BU Medical Campus Provost and BUSM Dean Karen Antman, MD, reminded graduates and their families, “Commencement is the end of the beginning of your education. The diploma you get today is really a license to learn. It is a credential that grants you entry to the next stage of your education. We really hope you have acquired the most important tool of all–the capacity for continued, disciplined inquiry and lifelong learning.”
The ceremony marked the culmination of the academic journey for 144 members of the Class of 2015 receiving the MD; six the MD/PhD; 11 the MD/MPH; four the MD/MBA and 27 the PhD. “Physicians and scientists can influence many aspects of our daily lives, including the political process. Speak up, use your voice to effect change,” urged Bauchner, who also is a BU professor of pediatrics and community health sciences. He has served as the vice chairman of the department of pediatrics at BMC/BUSM and assistant dean, alumni affairs and continuing medical education at BUSM.
Bauchner reminded graduates to take time out of a busy day for a few unplanned, unscripted minutes with people important to them; to make note of good things that happen over the course of a day; and to always remember that, “relationships will sustain you throughout your life, be they with a mentor, a colleague, a friend, a spouse or a child. They must be nourished. “
Elizabeth Stanford spoke for her fellow doctoral students when she said, “All of us started this journey because of an end goal; we wanted to improve the quality of lives of others by learning more about our field of interest. This is a new beginning for us, in which all of our dreams are now a possibility due to our education from Boston University. We are now doctors of philosophy!”
Megan Janeway, who will be a sixth-generation physician, spoke on behalf of the medical students. She provided a balance of light-hearted humor and sage advice. “It has truly been a privilege to learn with you and to learn from you. More than anything it has been a privilege to laugh with you, it has carried us through the last four years. I know that you will push the envelope and challenge the hierarchy to better medicine for your patients.”
“No single profession other than health care can so impact the lives of individuals and their families,” Bauchner said. “Medicine is an extraordinary profession, filled with challenges, disappointments and anxieties, but the one constant is the ability to influence the lives of individuals every day.”
Take a look at our Facebook album for more photos.
“If you want to make a difference, think boldly, out of the box and take a chance. If we learn from our mistakes, they aren’t mistakes, they are learning experiences. Over the past two years our job has been to prepare you for professional success. Until now your job has been to answer our questions correctly. Now you have a new job. It’s time for you to start asking the right questions,“ Associate Provost for Graduate Medical Sciences (GMS) Linda Hyman, PhD, told graduates at the GMS commencement on Friday, May 15, at Metcalf Hall in BU’s George Sherman Union.
Faculty members dressed in colorful regalia lined the staircase and filed into their seats joining 341 master’s degree candidates. “Today is a day of traditions: the organ, the processional, the gathering of your mentors, friends and family. Today is a very special day. The traditions of today are important. They help us connect the dots, punctuating milestones in our lives. “
Three student speakers provided perspective on their GMS experiences and their hopes for their classmates.
According to Peter Foster, who earned a master’s in Medical Sciences, “We are all about to embark into a rapidly changing landscape of health care and health policy. Whether you go into research, business, law, medicine, public service or education, neither you nor society can continue to survive or prosper simply by implementing what is already known. Somebody is going to have to come up with meaningful new ideas, creative new approaches and important new discoveries. That ‘somebody’ is you. We owe it to our future patients, clients and colleagues to never settle for anything but our very best. “
Receiving her master’s in Medical Anthropology and Cross-Cultural Practices Bianca Bracho-Perez, shared her thoughts. “GMS allows for and encourages the cross-pollination of disciplines creating an environment where partnerships grow and innovation flourishes…It is when we open our work to those not in our field that we gain perspective and create the greatest impact.”
Michael Hendrickson a candidate for a Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine questioned, “But what do this diploma and our hoods really represent? To me, and my hope is that this extends to every graduate who crosses the stage today, our diplomas represent not only professional but personal growth. My hope is that we will each continue to encounter those challenges that make us question everything. For that is when we can grow as clinicians and as individuals.”
Take a look at our Facebook album for photos from the day.
Two Boston University Medical Campus students have been selected as 2015-16 Boston Albert Schweitzer Fellows. Amanda M. Alon, Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine and Aline Souza, Boston University School of Medicine, Physician Assistant Program will spend the next year learning to effectively address the social factors that impact health, and developing lifelong leadership skills. In doing so, they will follow the example set by physician-humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, for whom their Fellowship is named.
Schweitzer Fellows develop and implement service projects that address the root causes of health inequities in under-resourced communities, while also fulfilling their academic responsibilities. Each project is implemented in collaboration with a community-based health and/or social service organization. Fellows come from a range of academic disciplines—medicine, physical therapy, dentistry, pharmacy, and other allied health fields. Boston Fellows have contributed nearly 100,000 hours of service since 1992 to vulnerable populations in Massachusetts.
The 16 Boston Fellows will join approximately 220 other 2015-16 Schweitzer Fellows working at 13 program sites, 12 in the US and one in Lambaréné, Gabon at the site of The Albert Schweitzer Hospital, founded by Dr. Schweitzer in 1913. Upon completion of their Fellowship year, the 2015-16 Boston Schweitzer Fellows will become Schweitzer Fellows for Life and join a vibrant network of more than 3,000 Schweitzer alumni who are skilled in, and committed to, addressing the health needs of underserved people throughout their careers. Fellows for Life routinely report that ASF is integral to sustaining their commitment to serving people in need.
Amanda M. Alon, Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine
Alon is addressing oral health inequities by creating an education program for early intervention in childhood caries in low income populations in the Greater Lawrence area. The program will teach parents, caretakers, and children the importance of at-home care as well as provider care. The program aims to improve the oral health of the area as well as inspire the youth to make a difference in their community. She hopes to take small steps in order to make a big difference for an at-risk community.
Community Site: Greater Lawrence Community Action Council Child Care Center
Aline Souza, Boston University School of Medicine, Physician Assistant Program
Souza is working to increase awareness about chronic cardiac conditions through Healthy Hearts wellness groups with homeless individuals of Boston. These groups will provide a collaborative environment with stress relieving exercises and educational activities. Souza will also address health education in this community by holding individual sessions for those interested in learning more about how to care for your heart and maintain a good quality of life when faced with the obstacles of homelessness. The goals of the project are to increase awareness, improve medication compliance, and allow individuals from an underserved community to come together and take ownership of their health.
Community Site: Boston Healthcare for the Homeless
The BUSM+ Medical Education Digital Badge Program that is targeted to healthcare professionals provides the opportunity to learn the fundamentals about teaching and learning that they may have missed in their professional careers or now want to review to enhance their teaching. The online, open admissions, asynchronous program is conveniently offered 24/7 during your selected time. Take a session or sign up for a competency badge with CME credit and join the global BUSM+ learning community. The 10 sessions include video chats with teaching tips from the Boston University School of Medicine faculty and zipinars on the latest technologies and pedagogies. Registration is open now until May 30, 2015 and the first session starts June 14, 2015. Free for all BU/BUMC/BUSM faculty, staff, and students who teach at BUSM.
Do you have your badge? A digital badge is an electronic symbol embedded with your accomplishments in completing a project, mastering a skill, or documenting an experience in Blackboard that is distributed through Mozilla Open Badge to your CV, social networking sites, ePortfolio, or signature line.
For more information and to register, please go to http://www.bu.edu/busmplus . The Teaching and Learning course begins June 14, 2015 and registration is open until May 30, 2015.
“As usual, it was a marvelous display of artwork of students, faculty and staff from throughout the BU medical campus,” said Keith Tornheim, PhD, Art Days organizer.
Visitors enjoyed tasty refreshments from Chequers.
The exhibition was set up by members of the medical student Creative Art Society, chaired this year by Samih Nassif, Al Nadjarian, David Park and Nimish Bhatt, under Dr. Tornheim’s direction.
A creative and effective interdisciplinary team represented Boston University at the 2015 International Emory Global Health Case Competition in March. The five women representing the Schools of Medicine, Public Health and Business won the “Innovation Award” for their presentation, “Un Cuerpo Unido: Transforming the Judicial System in Honduras to Improve Effectiveness and Access.”
Ariel Falconer, SPH ‘15; Liz Nerad, QSB/SPH ’15; Kim Principe, QSB ‘15; Tess Timmes, BUSM ’17; and Karen Foo, MMSc, BUSM ’17, joined 24 teams representing academic institutions from Denmark, Australia and the US to develop recommendations for the President of Honduras to reduce rates of gun violence in that country by 2020.
The Global Health competition is designed to raise awareness of and develop innovative solutions for 21st century global health issues. Teams receive a global health-related case that requires an interdisciplinary approach to formulate recommendations that may involve issues such as health care policy, public health implementation and planning, business partnership/investment, medical research, logistics management, faith/cultural understanding, and international law.
In appreciation for their dedication and patience during the unusually harsh winter, Deans Karen Antman, Sandro Galea and Jeffrey Hutter invited Boston University Medical Campus staff and faculty to the Equinox Celebration of Spring on Wednesday, March 18 in the Hiebert Lounge.
Photos courtesy David Keough (BUMC Educational Media) and BUSM Communications.
On January 15, 2015, Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM) students Christopher Chan and Raman Samra (both DMD 15) traveled to Penonomé, Panama, to provide dental care. The trip was sponsored by North East Volunteer Optometric Services for Humanity (NEVOSH), a Rhode Island based organization dedicated to providing health care to those in need around the world. In addition to the dental and optometry volunteers, many other medical professionals and students comprised the NEVOSH group.
Along with Chan and Samra, three GSDM alumni (Christina Thompson DMD 06, Jose Alamo DMD 06, and Frank Casarella DMD 88), a Georgetown School of Dentistry alumnus, a hygienist, and several dental assistants comprised the dental team. With the help of a local rotary club, the clinic was set up at an elementary school—two computer labs provided a functional workspace with ample power sources to run the generator for the makeshift dental operatories. One room featured 12 oral surgery chairs and the other room consisted of two operative chairs and a hygiene chair. “We saw a lot of serious issues. It was like nothing Raman or I had ever seen before,” said Chan. ”It was pretty obvious that it had been a long time, or maybe never, since many of the patients had visited the dentist.”
The dental team was able to see 868 patients ranging from 2- to 80-years-old. “One of the great things about this experience was that we got to see a diverse group of people from the village and city of Penonomé,” said Samra, who felt that the language barrier posed the biggest challenge of the trip. “Thankfully we had a great group of students from a local college that dedicated their free time to help us with translation.”
When not at the clinic, Chan and Samra visited the Panama Canal, the historic quarter of Casco Viejo in Panama City, and a tourist village up in the mountains. “The people of Panama were extremely welcoming,” said Samra. “We were met with open arms everywhere we went.”
After leaving Panama on January, 26, 2015, both students looked back at the externship as an eye-opening and rewarding experience. “Seeing so many patients and learning from a great group of dentists—the experience was something I will remember for the rest of my dental career,” said Samra. They both agree they’d like to take part in a similar, future mission trip.
“I’m very proud of Christopher and Raman for their hard work at the clinic in Penonomé,” said Dean Jeffrey W. Hutter. “I’m also very pleased to see our alumni continuing to make time to take part in mission trips after graduation. It is gratifying to know that service to our global community is a commitment that our graduates learn here and take out into the world with them as they enter the profession.”
Submitted by GSDM Commmunications.