Bloomberg School of Public Health
Members Present: Drs. William Brody, Steven Knapp, Miriam Alexander, Robert Black, John Breitner, Margaret Ensminger, Diane Griffin, John Groopman, Bernard Guyer, Robert Lawrence, Jonathan Links, Roger McMacken, Noel Rose, Jonathan Samet, Alfred Sommer, Donald Steinwachs, James Yager, and Scott Zeger; and Ms. Robin Fox, staff.
Members Absent: Dr. Edward Miller.
Guest: Drs. James Anthony, Cheryl Alexander, Martha Hill, Sharon Krag, Constance Nathanson, Sandra Newman, and Oliver Schein; Mr. Herbert Hansen; and Ms Diane Glover.
Meeting Convened: Provost Steven Knapp convened the meeting at 3 p.m.
Approval of the Minutes: Minutes of the 851st meeting on July 31, 2001 were approved.
Remarks by the Provost
Provost Knapp acknowledged the deep loss felt by the entire country and the Hopkins community as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
He then remarked on the hectic and very busy summer experienced by the University as a result of several unfortunate occurrences. First, the tragic death of a healthy volunteer in a research study led to temporary halt in all human research at Johns Hopkins Medicine and Bayview, followed by internal and external scrutiny of the IRB procedures of both institutions. Secondly, there have been allegations that a study was conducted in Kerala, India by a Hopkins faculty member who did not seek approval from a Hopkins IRB, although the study received approval by an IRB in India. A formal internal investigation is now underway at the University and a conclusion is expected in a few weeks. While this process is underway, stories continue to appear in the Indian press that might cause difficulty for other Hopkins projects in India. Dr. Knapp noted that no direct contact with Hopkins has been initiated by the Indian government nor by any health facility in India. Thirdly, the organization that accredits institutions for animal care and research in the U.S. has pointed out several deficiencies in Hopkins' procedures that have not been rectified in the past. The University is now making facility improvements and reducing animal populations, and will make a direct appeal to the organization.
Remarks by the President
Dr. Brody joined the Advisory Board and acknowledged Dr. Knapp's role in leading the University crisis management team since June. He then commented on the lawsuit brought by two families against the Kennedy Krieger Institute and others over lead paint exposure and abatement. The lawsuit has received much local press coverage. While there is much misinformation about the study, Dr. Brody stated it was well- designed and reviewed by many groups prior to being conducted. While the merits of the cases will be decided in the courts, the Court of Appeals in Maryland appears to have used this case to issue a ban on pediatric research where no direct benefit is gained by the study patient/subject. This decision, if put into effect, has far-reaching consequences for many types of research conducted throughout Maryland. The Kennedy Krieger Institute and several other universities and organizations are now asking the Court of Appeals to narrow their decision. Until the Court issues its final ruling, research on pediatric populations can continue.
Dr. Brody noted that this is a difficult and time-consuming situation. He has met with a number of community and political groups to clarify some issues raised about lead paint and other research and feels he has been well-received. The members of the Advisory Board then thanked Dr. Brody for his efforts in trying to resolve this complicated situation.
Dr. Brody then commented that the IRB procedures in Medicine and at Bayview have improved, and increased collaboration with the FDA and OHRP has been achieved. Other areas of grants management will also be examined with the help of the JHU Business Practices Improvement Committee chaired by Dr. Sommer.
Dr. Brody announced that an APL employee who was on duty with the Naval Reserves was killed at the Pentagon on September 11. A number of former students, parents of students, and alumni were killed in Washington, D.C. or at the World Trade Center in New York on September 11. He thanked the Advisory Board for their leadership during this difficult time.
Remarks by the Dean
Dr. Sommer welcomed Dr. Rose as president, Dr. Ensminger as past- president, and Dr. Links as president-elect of the Faculty Senate for the 2001-02 academic year. Dr. Miriam Alexander, representing the MPH program, also was welcomed.
Dr. Groopman reported that the School will host the initial meeting of the five University-based centers of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and its director. The group will develop a strategy to deal with the environmental health ramifications of the destruction of the World Trade Center and surrounding areas. Drs. Groopman and Samet are involved in developing this strategy.
Dr. Sommer reminded the Advisory Board that the major topics at the October 25-27 retreat will include review of departmental strategic plans and the next fund-raising campaign. Information about the format of the departmental strategic plans will be circulated shortly.
Dr. Sommer reported on his visit to the World Health Organization, where the potential for paid student internship opportunities, with mentoring from WHO staff, was identified. He invited suggestions of former students, particularly from developing countries, to recommend to the WHO senior management as future health leaders.
Report of the Faculty Senate
Dr. Rose reported that the first meeting of the year was primarily organizational. The agenda for the year will be derived from the relevant items raised in the School Strategic Plan. A number of small working groups will be convened around specific topics and will then present white papers to the Committee of the Whole or Advisory Board. Dr. Rose noted that the first joint meeting of the Faculty Senate and Committee of the Whole has been canceled so that the Senate could further discuss the Strategic Plan.
Report from the Committee to Review the Department of Health Policy and Management
Dr. Anthony and members of the Committee to Review the Department of Health Policy and Management (Drs. Cheryl Alexander, Hill, Nathanson, Newman, and Schein, plus Drs. Samet and Yager) joined the Advisory Board. Dr. Anthony thanked Dr. Steinwachs and the members of the Department of Health Policy and Management (HP&M) for their cooperation during the Review. Dr. Anthony also thanked Ms Barbara Diehl for expertly staffing the Review Committee.
Dr. Anthony reviewed the main findings of the Review Committee. First, the Committee commended Dr. Steinwachs for his leadership, as was evident from the high regard accorded to him by every member of the Department. Second, Dr. Anthony noted that any concerns raised about HP&M's academic programs during the review process are now being addressed by the Department. Third, the Review Committee recommended that role and visibility of the social and behavioral sciences in the Department and the School should be further examined. While HP&M has a Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, there are also faculty with similar training and interests in several other departments. Greater understanding about the biological determinants of behavior, and the recent availability of monies from the Tobacco Restitution Fund also have led to increased interest in improving the visibility of social and behavioral sciences.
The Review Committee therefore felt that the role of social and behavior sciences should be reviewed broadly in the School, rather than being focused on one department. Dr. Anthony enumerated a few possible scenarios for social and behavioral sciences in the School, including creation of a new department that would draw upon faculty now in several departments, or development of another mechanism for increasing the visibility of the social and behavioral sciences in the School. Dr. Anthony briefly mentioned other issues raised during the review process that were not specific to HP&M, including increased support for faculty involved in the School's distance education program.
Dr. Steinwachs thanked Dr. Anthony and the Committee members for their thorough and fair review of a large and complex department. He noted that the Department "adopted" what is now the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences 8 years ago and have spent much time and effort integrating it with the rest of the Department. Since one recommendation of the Review Committee is for the Department to articulate in a timely fashion its core areas, this process could be significantly altered or delayed if the social and behavioral scientists were to move en masse to another department. Dr. Steinwachs commented that social and behavioral scientists fill critical roles in HP&M such that the remainder of the Department might find it difficult to determine their mission without that part of their core group. In addition, successful creation of a new department requires the commitment of significant resources, and careful definition of its roles in the School's educational, research, practice, and service missions.
The Review Committee found that the health economics area might benefit from some strengthening and increased coordination among the departments, but felt that existing models for training programs could be explored to achieve that goal.
Several chairs commented that any change in one department has a ripple effect on the other departments, and that alternate configurations to increase the visibility of the social and behavioral sciences should be explored, in addition to the creation of a new department. Most schools of public health have social and/or behavioral science departments, however this covers a wide spectrum, from genetics to health education. The Advisory Board discussed how to approach this important issue that the School has grappled with over the years. Dean Sommer remarked that a committee of faculty internal and external to the School will be convened to develop some alternatives, and that they may range from simple to complicated scenarios.
After further discussion, the Advisory Board moved to accept the Report of the Committee to Review the Department of Health Policy and Management, and thanked the members of the Committee.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:55 p.m.
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