Community (5/15/09)

Proceedings of the HMS Faculty Council

Patricia Donahoe, the Marshall K. Bartlett professor of surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, who chaired the March 11 meeting of the Faculty Council on behalf of HMS Dean Jeffrey Flier, opened by asking Ellice Lieberman, dean for faculty affairs, to say a few words in remembrance of Michael Shannon, a professor of pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Boston who passed away earlier in the month. A moment of silence followed.

Donahoe next introduced David Blumenthal, the Samuel O. Thier professor of medicine at MGH, who addressed “Perspectives on Health Care Reform.” Blumenthal, who has been tapped to serve as the national coordinator for health information technology in the Obama administration, focused on the areas of policy, politics, process and products. He noted several potential tools to achieve near-universal health coverage, including employer and individual mandates and an employee tax exclusion. He described several points of political alignment that could make near-universal health coverage and delivery system reform possible, including the national economic crisis, a popular new president, and single-party control of Congress and the White House.

Blumenthal then took questions from council members. Dan Brock, the Frances Glessner Lee professor of legal medicine at HMS, asked if the public-plan option, being the most controversial, will survive. Blumenthal said that it will be opposed by many moderate Democrats as well as Republicans and likely will be bargained away, adding that many European countries are backing away from public plans. Felton Earls, HMS professor of social medicine, asked if preventive medicine is included in the stimulus bill. Blumenthal said that it is included in the section on infrastructure. Jo Shapiro, HMS associate professor of otology and laryngology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, asked Blumenthal what advice he would give faculty here on how to practice better. Blumenthal noted that it is a challenge to get specialists to work together and that quality healthcare will not be achieved until the psychological and financial boundaries between specialties are broken down. HSDM dean Bruce Donoff named two principal arguments against universal healthcare—excessive cost and lack of choice—and asked if a campaign could overcome them. Blumenthal said probably not because the goal of such arguments is to make people fearful.

Jules Dienstag, dean for medical education, then gave a presentation titled “The New Integrated Curriculum: Scholarship in Medicine,” which focused on the implementation of the in-depth scholarly experience, the Scholarship in Medicine program. He said that the scholarly experience as envisioned by the medical education reform committee would engage faculty in intimate experience with the students, anchor students in areas that give them scholarly ownership, provide faculty mentors and model the inquisitive physician. The requirements would be flexible and the in-depth experience would provide a broad range of academic activity. The areas of concentration would be biology in medicine, medicine in society and patient-oriented research, and the program would be anchored in the first-year Role of Discovery in Medicine course. He then described HMS-PRIME, the Program for Research in Medicine, an integrated five-year program for students committed to a career in medical research. Designed to engage students who wish to expand their in-depth projects, HMS-PRIME will lead to the MMSc degree for New Pathway and HST students who fulfill specified research and curriculum requirements and submit an approved master’s thesis.

Dienstag described challenges to the Scholarship in Medicine program, including lack of time, lack of faculty and lack of funding. He said that there will be a phased implementation, delaying the scholarly project requirement beyond the original 2010 start date, in which elements will be put into place when necessary funding becomes available. The broad impact of the program throughout the implementation stages will be considered.

Election to NAS Another Laurel For Cancer Scientist

Rakesh Jain, the A. Werk Cook professor of radiation oncology (tumor biology) at Massachusetts General Hospital, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the progress of science. New members are chosen in recognition of their achievements in original research. Jain studies tumor pathophysiology using innovative imaging techniques. His lab discovered that angiogenesis-inhibiting drugs repair the leaky, disorganized blood vessels in tumors and have recently been shown to reduce edema in the brains of mice with glioblastoma. Jain is only the ninth person in history and the first HMS faculty member to be elected to the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Engineering as well as the NAS.

Students Join New Class of Soros Fellows

Three HMS students have been named 2009 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellows, out of 31 graduate students selected nationwide. The fellowships are given to naturalized citizens, resident aliens and the children of naturalized citizens to help them pursue graduate education and prepare them for leadership opportunities in a variety of fields.

MD–MBA student Chitra Akileswaran, whose parents emigrated from India, intends to combine her knowledge of medicine, global health and business practices to provide effective health financing options in the world’s poorest areas. Currently a third-year student at HMS, she will begin at Harvard Business School in September. She has studied sexual violence and HIV among female migrants as a Fulbright grantee to South Africa, traveled to the Dominican Republic to address the needs of Haitian batey communities and, most recently, collaborated with a private bank in southern India to create a maternity financing product for rural women.

First-year student Shantanu Gaur plans a career as a physician-scientist, translating his work from bench to bedside. As a sophomore in college, he co-authored a paper in Human Molecular Genetics and recently cracked a major problem in the field of cell biology, earning first-authorship on an article submitted to Nature. In addition to his studies, Gaur, whose parents are Indian immigrants, cofounded the Harvard Online Pharmacy Project, established the Harvard Undergraduate Research Symposium and jump-started the Harvard Cricket Club.

Tomasz Stryjewski, an HMS first-year, plans a career in medicine and public health with a focus on blindness. Among many honors, he was named to the All-U.S.A. College Academic First Team by USA Today. A native of Poland, Stryjewski, along with his family, immigrated to Louisiana when he was 2, where he eventually became aware of the health disparities in his home state. He went on to log 952 hours as an emergency first responder, including working in hurricanes Ivan, Katrina and Rita. He also served in a leprosy hospital and several years in an organization recovering corneas for transplantation.

Richmond Award Recognizes Leader in Closing Health Disparities

HSPH presented the 2008–2009 Julius Richmond Award to David Satcher, a former U.S. Surgeon General and currently the director of the Center of Excellence on Health Disparities and of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. The award, named for former U.S. Surgeon General and HMS professor emeritus of health policy Julius Richmond, is given to those who promote high public health standards among vulnerable populations. Satcher’s career has been dedicated to eliminating health disparities; improving the sexual health of young people, including encouraging sexual health education in schools; and reducing the social stigma associated with mental illnesses while raising awareness of these conditions globally. Satcher served simultaneously as Surgeon General and as assistant secretary of health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and was interim president of Morehouse School of Medicine from 2004 to 2006.

Satcher received the award at the annual Richmond Lecture on May 4, where he also gave an address.

Reflection in Action Brings Art to Science

On April 14, students from Boston and Cambridge gathered in the Joseph B. Martin Conference Center for the seventh annual Reflection in Action program for sixth-, seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders and their teachers and parents. Students submit written, visual and performance pieces on health-related topics that affect communities such as heart, lung, and blood disease; sleeping disorders; oral health; urban health issues and health disparities, and the winners are invited to display or perform their projects at the event. This year, 332 students submitted entries. The participants also compete in a Health Bowl to test their science knowledge and attend the Community Health Fair, which includes exhibitor booths and activities.

The third annual Ruth M. Batson Social Justice Award was presented at the event to JudyAnn Bigby, the Massachusetts secretary of health and human services and formerly an HMS faculty member and director of community health programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The award is named for the first black woman on the Democratic National Committee and the first woman elected president of the NAACP’s New England Regional Conference. It is presented to individuals whose actions exemplify a commitment to social justice, civic engagement, building community and the furthering of equity.

Commencement Keynotes

Commencement exercises at Harvard University will take place on Thursday, June 4. At HMS, the graduation ceremony begins at 2 pm on the Quad, with a keynote address by psychiatrist and author Stephen Bergman. A former faculty member and graduate of HMS (’73), Bergman is best known for his novels The House of God and Mount Misery, written under the pseudonym Samuel Shem. The HSPH commencement ceremony begins at 2:30 pm in the Kresge Courtyard and will feature keynote speaker Atul Gawande, Class of ’94, HMS associate professor of surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at HSPH. Gawande is a staff writer for The New Yorker and has published two books, Complications and Better.

In Memoriam

Harvey Goldman, HMS professor of pathology and an international leader in the field of gastrointestinal pathology, died on April 6. He was 76.

Goldman graduated from Temple University in Pennsylvania, receiving his BA in 1953 and his MD in 1957. After an internship at Philadelphia General Hospital, he joined the HMS community in 1958 at what is now Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he completed his residency and trained in pathology. He remained at BID for the next five decades, save for two years of service in the U.S. Navy from 1962 to 1964. Goldman was a senior pathologist at Beth Israel and chairman of Pathology at the former New England Deaconess Hospital and New England Baptist Hospital. Following the 1996 creation of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, he was named vice chairman of Pathology. He was known foremost as a clinician and teacher.

Goldman was promoted through the ranks and became professor of pathology in 1976. He was dedicated to medical education at HMS and held several educational leadership positions, among them faculty dean for medical education. He received numerous teaching awards, including the first faculty teaching award from the Boylston Medical Society in 1970, which was presented by HMS students.

Goldman was a widely recognized expert in gastroenterological pathology. His research focused on inflammatory conditions of the esophagus, stomach and intestines. In the early 1980s, he published sentinel papers describing mucosal biopsies of the gut and also served as a member of the team that developed the criteria and classification of colonic dysplasia that complicates inflammatory bowel disease. He authored numerous academic texts related to the pathology and the mucosal biopsy of the gastrointestinal tract.

Goldman is survived by his wife, Eleanora Galvanek; daughter, Vierka; sons, Sasha and Palko Goldman and his wife Lida Nabati; grandson, Jasper; nieces, Ava and Tamara; and nephew, Morton. He was predeceased by his brother, Stanley.

Memorial services have been held. A celebration of his life and contributions will be planned for a future date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Goldman to the Newman School, 247 Marlborough St., Boston, MA 02116, or to the Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116.