High above Talbot Green a pair of watchful eyes scopes the concrete canyon below looking for its next prey. This isn’t a scene from Mission Impossible. It’s more like a National Geographic documentary.
Perched on a window ledge atop the Solomon Carter Fuller Mental Health Building, two peregrine falcons have decided to make the BU Medical Campus their home.
“It’s simply fascinating that such beautiful wildlife can exist in this urban area,” said Anita DeStefano, PhD, professor of Biostatistics and associate director of the BUMC Genome Science Institute.
DeStefano noticed the male and female falcons in late spring and began taking pictures of the birds from the rooftop of the medical campus parking garage. In early summer, she observed two falcon chicks in addition to the adults. After reading a recent article on BU Today about another pair of falcons on the Charles River campus, DeStefano contacted Ursula and Dave Goodine, certified volunteer observers for Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.
That evening, DeStefano met with the Goodines to point out the nest site and to observe the adults with one of their fledglings.
According to Ursula Goodine, peregrine falcons are the fastest flying birds in the world – reaching speeds of 200 miles per hour during a dive. They feed on pigeons and other small birds.
In 1964 nesting pairs of Peregrines were extinct in the eastern United States, but over time, conservation success was responsible for changing them from “endangered” to “protected” status. There are now more than 30 nesting pairs in Massachusetts.
Contrary to popular belief, peregrine falcons do not build a nest. They lay their eggs on cliffs.
“As the falcon population increased, some birds looked for other territories and began using tall buildings instead of the natural landscape of cliffs and quarry ledges to raise their young,” said Goodine. “This just reveals how adaptable peregrines have become in order to perpetuate their species.”
In an effort to help facilitate a safer environment for the birds, experts from the MassWildlife Natural Heritage and Endangered Species program have set up simple wooden “nest-boxes” lined with gravel in several locations throughout the city.
The Goodines now are working on a plan to have one installed on the BU Medical Campus this fall to give the birds time to acclimate to its presence. They hope the pair of falcons will use it next spring.
“Reintroduction programs have helped Peregrines make an amazing recovery,” said Goodine. “While city living poses all kinds of dangers to these birds, they are resilient and their population has rebounded quite well.”
BU Medical Campus Investigators, graduate students and faculty members are invited to a grant preparation workshop on Thursday, Sept. 17 to learn more about the process of submitting individual research grants (R01) to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This workshop, which will be held on the BU Medical Campus, will include presentation by Sarah Yeboah of the Office of Sponsored Programs and Renna Lilly of the Office of Proposal Development and will cover the necessary steps to submit a NIH proposal through Boston University’s Office of Sponsored Programs. Dr. Carter Cornwall will discuss the NIH study section review and a general structure to follow when writing your grant.
Grant Preparation Workshop – Administrative Presentation
- Thursday, Sept. 17
- 2-4 p.m.
- BUSM Housman Building, R-115
The second part of this series includes a small group session, where investigators will present drafts of their actual grant applications for feedback from peers and faculty who have successfully been awarded grants and served on NIH study sections. This session will be especially helpful to those who plan to submit NIH grants for the February/March submission cycle.
Grant Preparation Workshop -Grant Critiques
- Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 9 and 10
- Location and time to be determined
Interested investigators, graduate students and faculty members are invited to attend the Sept. 17 session. For a more thorough critique of your grant in December, you must attend this first session. You are not obligated to participate in the critique if you attend the administrative portion.
If you have any questions, please contact Renna Lilly, Office of Proposal Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More than 100 faculty, staff, residents and students attended John McCahan Medical Education Day at the BU Medical Campus. Hosted by the Department of Medical Sciences and Education, it was held on May 20. This was the 10th anniversary of the annual event that showcases academic innovation and teaching ideologies. The theme of the day was “Teaching Professional Competencies,” and it covered a variety of topics relating to how educators can improve and reevaluate teaching models.
The day-long event included five workshops and a poster session displaying nearly 50 abstracts. The keynote address “Changing Culture: Upending Our Notions of Professionalism,” was given by Jo Shapiro, MD, FACS, associate professor of Otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School. She shared her particular interest in professionalism and peer support programs.
Dr. McCahan attended and remarked on the history of this event and was honored for his outstanding commitment to medical education. In addition, past chairs of the planning committee, Drs. Sharon Levine (BUSM), Ann Zumwalt (BUSM) and Robert Schadt (SPH), were honored for their dedication to this event.
Please visit the McCahan Day website here to view Dr. Shapiro’s presentation.
Carine Lenders, MD, MS, ScD, Associate Professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Physician Nutrition Specialist at Boston Medical Center (BMC), and Elizabeth Henry, DrPH, MHS, who will graduate from BU’s School of Public Health (BUSPH) in September, have received the People’s Health Medal from the Social Republic of Vietnam’s Ministry of Health for their work on behalf of the Abbott Fund Institute of Nutrition Science (AFINS).
Lenders and Henry were recognized for advancing hospital nutrition in Vietnam using a three-prong approach based on education, clinical service and research. The commemorative medal is the highest honor awarded to nationals and foreigners who make a major contribution to health care in Vietnam.
Beginning in 2010, Lenders and Henry led AFINS, a unique effort that brings together Vietnamese and U.S. nutrition and global health experts among hospitals, academia, government and foundations.
The program is a partnership between BUSM, Bach Mai Hospital (BMH), Hanoi Medical University (HMU) and the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) in Vietnam and the Abbott Fund to address hospital malnutrition and strengthen hospital nutrition knowledge, attitudes and practices.
These collaborative efforts would not have been possible without the vision and investment from the Abbott Fund, the foundation of the global health care company, Abbott, which awarded more than $4.4 million to implement this multifaceted project, oversee nutrition medicine fellowships for Vietnamese health professionals and provide mentoring.
Additional alliances were formed with experts in dietetics, pharmacy, nutrition medicine, education and global health from BU’s Sargent College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences, Emory University, University of Texas and Boston Children’s Hospital in the United States and with Children’s Hospital 1 (CH1) in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
The AFINS experts provided technical support for the development of nutrition and dietetics degrees at HMU with more than 30 nurse-nutritionist and 50 bachelors in nutrition and dietetics graduates, six research projects with the NIN tracking hospital nutrition, and the training of more than 2,000 Vietnamese health care professionals to improve capacity in nutrition departments. Additionally, AFINS’ partners found that hospitalized patients surveyed in 2013 at BMH were 29 percent less likely to be malnourished compared to those surveyed in 2010.
“It is a tremendous honor to receive the People’s Health Medal from Vietnam’s Ministry of Health,” said Henry, also a former instructor in BUSM’s Department of Family Medicine. “The advances AFINS has made to improve outcomes and educate medical professionals about the importance of nutrition will have a lasting impact on the health care system in Vietnam.”
Lenders accepted the People’s Health Medal on behalf of the AFINS partners on May 27, 2015, in Hanoi. Lenders continues to lead the AFINS project in Vietnam with an extension grant from the Abbott Fund that builds on the initial approach but also focuses on pediatric nutrition training and research in the southern region of Vietnam and provides support for the development and implementation of standards and assessments of provincial hospitals nationwide.
“Higher education and more training are critical to enhance hospital nutrition in Vietnam,” said Lenders. “Moving forward we hope to learn more about the impact of medical nutrition interventions involving a younger patient population in a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings for a sustainable future.”
Dan R. Berlowitz, MD, MPH, has been selected as the recipient of the VA’s 2015 Under Secretary’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Health Services Research,the highest honor for a VA health services researcher. It represents exceptional achievement in improving the health and quality of care of Veterans, inspiring and training the next generation of health services researchers, and enhancing the visibility and recognition of VA research nationally.
Berlowitz, professor of Medicine and Health Policy Management at BUSM and BUSPH, is a leading health services researcher and former Co-Director of HSR&D’s Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research, located in Bedford, Mass., and Boston. From 2004 to 2013, he served as Director of HSR&D’s Center for Health Quality, Outcomes and Economic Research, and since 2012, he has served as Acting Chief of Staff for the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial VA Hospital in Bedford. A former HSR&D Research Career Development Awardee (CDA), Dr. Berlowitz’s research relies on strong methodological expertise in the areas of quality assessment, risk adjustment, and the use of large databases. His work focuses on assessing and improving the quality of healthcare for Veterans, with particular emphasis on ambulatory and long-term care settings.
He received his bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University, his medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine-Yeshiva University and his MPH from Boston University.
Research led by a NEIDL scientist finds hope in Zoloft, Vascor
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.