Bloomberg School of Public Health
Members Present: Drs. Steven Knapp, Robert Blum, Ron Brookmeyer, Marie Diener-West, Diane Griffin, Martha Hill, Robert Lawrence, Roger McMacken, Jonathan Samet, Donald Steinwachs, Jonathan Weiner, James Yager and Scott Zeger; and Ms. Robin Fox, staff.
Members Absent: Drs. William Brody, Robert Black, William Eaton, John Groopman, Jonathan Links, Edward Miller, and Alfred Sommer.
Guests: Drs. Kathy Helzlsouer and Sharon Krag; Professor Stephen Teret; and Mss Diane Glover and Sandra Hoffman.
Meeting Convened: Provost Steven Knapp convened the meeting at 3:00 p.m.
Approval of the Minutes: Minutes of the 886th meeting on June 24, 2004 were approved.
Remarks by the Provost
Provost Knapp thanked Dr. Links for his service on the Faculty Senate and Advisory Board for the past three years. He noted that by the time of the September meeting of the Advisory Board, Dr. Weiner will be past-president of the Faculty Senate, Dr. Diener-West will be president, and the new president-elect will have been determined by the faculty.
With respect to University matters, Dr. Nicholas Jones will become dean of the Whiting School of Engineering in August following a long search. The Advisory Board congratulated Dr. Knapp on the appointment. Dr. Knapp then reported that Public Health faculty provided a number of helpful recommendations for members of the Public Health Dean Search Committee. A draft list of search committee members is now being considered by President Brody; the Committee will be convened shortly. Among the first responsibilities of the Search Committee will be to develop an advertisement and assess whether a search firm should be used.
Dr. Knapp reported that the University is moving ahead to develop a Computational Science Center with the Departments of Computer Science and Biomedical Engineering. He noted the potential to connect to activities at the Schools of Medicine and Public Health. Dr. Zeger commented that the Schools of Public Health and Medicine have significant research and training activities in Bioinformatics, and expressed interest in learning more about the proposed activities of the Computational Science Center. He hoped that the considerable efforts to develop the Bioinformatics program would not be overshadowed or duplicated by the Computational Science Center. Dr. Knapp suggested that Dr. Zeger contact the key faculty involved in the development of the Computational Science Center to discuss areas of mutual interest.
Dr. Knapp then commented briefly on the University development of a position paper on stem cell research, partly as a result of the service of three University faculty on President Bush's Council on Bioethics. The position paper is available on the Johns Hopkins Medicine website.
Remarks by the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Dean Yager reported that the draft of the revised public health accreditation criteria have been released and raise a number of concerns. He will circulate the draft to members of the Advisory Board for their comments, noting that final comments are due to the accrediting organization by November 2004. Dr. Yager asked that departments proposing to offer winter institutes in 2005 and 2006 contact him within the next few weeks. Courses that will be offered as part of those institutes must be determined by the end of August so that part-time students can plan their curricula in an efficient manner.
Remarks by the Faculty Senate
Dr. Weiner confirmed the leadership changes in the Faculty Senate. He expressed the appreciation of the Senate leadership and faculty-at-large to the Advisory Board for the recent changes in the PPM regarding faculty titles. The proposed Balance of Effort Policy will be reviewed in the fall; until then comments on the proposal are welcome. The Policy tries to combine the expectations of chairs, faculty, and the long-term needs of the departments. The University Office of Government Relations was supportive of the Faculty Senate's intent to circulate a petition to the faculty of the School. The petition expressed concern about an apparent lack of scientific integrity in the present administration's policy-making process. More than 100 faculty signed the petition.
Dr. Diener-West then commented briefly on the present activities related to the Open CourseWare initiative. Recent changes in the Office of Information Systems will be reviewed at a Faculty Senate meeting in the fall, and representatives of the Welch Library have been invited to the first Faculty Senate/Committee of the Whole meeting in the fall.
Request for authorization for the Dean or his designee to act on the Board's behalf in consultation with those Board members available during the summer months
The Advisory Board voted to approve this request.
Update on Washington County Training Center
Dr. Kathy Helzlsouer joined the Advisory Board. She provided an overview of the Washington County Training Center located in Hagerstown Maryland. The Center was established by the School in 1962 in a unique three-way partnership with Washington County and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Dr. George Comstock, who directed the center until June 2003, established the original longitudinal studies that encompass a sizeable proportion of the County's population. Dr. Helzlsouer, who now directs the Center, went on to review several generations of studies conducted by the Center and provided a brief overview of the current major projects, in particular laboratory-based development of markers for early detection of cancers that can then be validated in this population. She acknowledged the many contributions of Ms Sandra Hoffman, assistant director of the Center, in reaching out to the Washington County community and linking to the local health department.
The Center is a unique resource for students from across the School particularly in the areas of chronic diseases and aging, and investigators from several departments of the School conduct studies through the Center. Presently 11 students conduct their doctoral research as part of a Center study, and approximately 50 students have completed doctoral research or masters projects under Center auspices. In addition, a substantial number of scientific publications have resulted from studies conducted through the Center by faculty and students.
Dr. Helzlsouer remarked that much of the success, community engagement and scientific contributions of the Center should be attributed to the dedication of its longest-term director, Dr. Comstock. She suggested that Center be renamed in his honor. Dr. Yager made a motion that the Training Center for Public Health Research be renamed the "George W. Comstock Center for Public Health Research and Prevention" in honor of the many contributions of Dr. George Comstock, professor emeritus of the Department of Epidemiology. The Advisory Board voted to approve this motion.
Dr. Samet commented that the Center is a School-wide resource. While much of its focus is on epidemiology, it has active collaborations across the School and with the Washington County Health Department. He would like to see increased involvement from all segments of the School, including as a resource for MPH students. He too acknowledged the critical role of Dr. Comstock and Ms Hoffman in the Center's past, present and future successes. He anticipates that increased awareness of the capabilities and resources of the Center will serve to further develop links to the School's educational and research programs. For those links to be continuously fruitful, Dr Helzlsouer hoped that core resources might be identified. Dr. Yager remarked that improved awareness of the Center will enhance interdepartmental and interdisciplinary activities in support of the Center.
The Advisory Board thanked Dr. Helzlsouer for her comprehensive presentation.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:05 p.m.
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