Bloomberg School of Public Health
Members Present: Drs. Steven Knapp, Robert Black, John Breitner, Margaret Ensminger, Bernard Guyer, Robert Lawrence, Roger McMacken, Wayne Mitzner, Noel Rose, Jonathan Samet, Alfred Sommer, Donald Steinwachs, James Yager, and Scott Zeger; and Ms. Robin Fox, staff.
Members Absent: Drs. William Brody, Diane Griffin, John Groopman, and Edward Miller.
Guest: Ms Diane Glover.
Meeting Convened: Provost Steven Knapp convened the meeting at 3 p.m.
Approval of the Minutes Minutes of the 848th meeting on May 15, 2001 were approved with one correction, and minutes of the 849th meeting on May 22, 2001 were approved.
Remarks by the Provost
Provost Knapp commented that the city and University were able to compromise on the proposed permanent energy tax for non-profit organizations in the City. He noted that the precedent of taxing non-profit institutions that create many jobs for city residents remains troubling, and solicited input and advice from Advisory Board members on this issue.
Dr. Knapp reported that the tragic death of a research volunteer in a Johns Hopkins Medicine/Bayview campus asthma study has raised a number of issues about the regulation and oversight of research studies by several federal agencies, including NIH and the FDA. A University response team is being headed by Dr. Brody. Communication to the appropriate agencies has been accomplished in a timely fashion, but information has not been disclosed to the public out of concern and respect for the family of the volunteer, and while an investigation of this event is underway. Dr. Knapp noted that an investigation by experts external to the University will be conducted after the internal Hopkins investigation is completed. While this study was reviewed and approved by the Bayview Institutional Review Board, Dr. Knapp raised concern about the increasing regulatory burden on faculty as a result of this and other highly visible adverse events.
Remarks by the Dean
Dean Sommer commented that the first round of awards from the Hopkins Cancer Center as part of the Tobacco Restitution Fund have been made, and several public health faculty successfully competed. Another funding cycle will start soon. Resources for faculty recruitment are available in the general areas covered by the Tobacco Restitution Funds. It is useful to discuss these planned recruitments with Drs. Ableoff or Groopman.
Report of the Faculty Senate
Dr. Ensminger reported that elections for departmental representatives to the Faculty Senate members and for the position of President-elect are now taking place.
Faculty Reappointments for 2001-02
Faculty reappointments for 2001-02 were approved as submitted.
Department of Epidemiology Self Study
Dr. Samet reviewed the process for and findings of the Department of Epidemiology Self Study, and commented that the self study process and its timing was positive in light of his 7-year service as chair of the Department. He noted that Epidemiology as a science has changed rapidly in the past decade, during which time the size of the Epidemiology faculty and research enterprise have increased substantially, while the size of the student body has remained relatively stable. A Self Study Oversight Committee and four subcommittees drafted the Self Study, and information was collected from faculty, staff, students and alumni via questionnaires. While response rates were lower than desired, a great deal of helpful information was collected. The Self Study was finalized at faculty meetings and at a departmental retreat.
Dr. Samet noted that the Department enjoys an excellent reputation, and that many features of it are working well, including its research profile and ability to attract excellent students. Alumni reported that the research and related skills acquired during their training in the Department were appropriate for their careers, but both alumni and current students would like more hands-on training in other aspects of research (e.g., management and staff supervision.)
Major areas for improvement identified by the Department include an assessment of the curriculum for departmental students and other students who need epidemiologic tools. Dr. Samet noted that a new course will be developed in response to this specific need. Other key needs are for administrative training for faculty and staff, and assessment of whether core laboratory resources should be shared within the Department.
Departmental governance and administration also were identified as issues requiring attention. Recent administrative staff changes will allow the rebuilding of an appropriately trained and responsive staff. It is not clear whether the Department should be organized along the lines of academic or research programs, or whether a matrix of the 2 frameworks should be developed. Dr. Samet reported that the faculty would like increased structure, but not formal divisions, and would also like to have closer interdigitation between centers and the Department as a whole. A faculty committee advisory to the Chair will be implemented, and will include faculty from across the ranks.
Dr. Steinwachs asked if and how the Department of Epidemiology distinguishes between tenure-track and non- tenure-track faculty. Dr. Samet noted that the faculty survey did not examine responses separately for tenure- and non-tenure-track faculty. He commented that the schism between faculty in each track remains a source of some tension although it has improved. While the quality and criteria for tenure- and non-tenure-track faculty are the same or similar, the Department's distinction between the two tracks has been its commitment to long-term growth in an area. Dr. Steinwachs commented that the Department of Health Policy and Management uses the terms "teaching" and "non- teaching" faculty as a way of distinguishing between tenure- and non-tenure-track faculty.
Dr. Guyer noted that the Self Study did not take into consideration the large number of epidemiologists in other departments in the School. Dr. Samet commented that many epidemiologists outside of the Department are linked in one way or another to the Department, but that mentoring models and formal linkage between epidemiologists within and outside of the Department are not apparent. Dr. Zeger noted that the Department of Epidemiology is mostly applied rather that methodologic, which may limit interest in the Department by epidemiologists outside the Department.
Dr. Samet remarked that while funding of students is not a major problem at this time, the probable expansion of the doctoral curriculum will have financial implications. While the pool for masters' students remains strong, the Department believes the program can be better marketed. Dr. Knapp commented that Epidemiology faculty often draw on many areas of expertise, and that much epidemiologic research appears to be highly multidisciplinary. As research becomes larger, more multidisciplinary and multicenter in nature, Dr. Samet acknowledged the challenges faced by Epidemiology faculty in demonstrating their intellectual independence and unique contributions.
After further discussion, Dr. Knapp thanked Dr. Samet for his presentation. A Committee to Review the Department of Epidemiology will be convened shortly.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:15 p.m.
GO TO PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY BOARD MEETING MINUTES
GO TO JHUNIVERSE
© 2001 The Johns Hopkins University.
Baltimore, Maryland. All rights reserved.