Bloomberg School of Public Health
Members Present: Drs. Robert Blum, Ron Brookmeyer, William Eaton, Diane Griffin, John Groopman, Martha Hill, Robert Lawrence, Roger McMacken, Jonathan Samet, Alfred Sommer, E. William Spannhake, Donald Steinwachs, James Yager and Scott Zeger; and Ms. Robin Fox, staff.
Members Absent: Drs. William Brody, Steven Knapp, Robert Black, Marie Diener-West, Edward Miller, and Jonathan Weiner.
Guests: Drs. Donald Burke, Josef Coresh, Alan Goldberg, J. Marie Hardwick, Sharon Krag, Christian Newcomer, Sekhar Reddy, John Scocca, and Keerti Shah; Professor Stephen Teret; and Ms. Diane Glover.
Meeting Convened: Dean Alfred Sommer convened the meeting at 3 p.m.
Approval of the Minutes: Minutes of the 889th meeting on October 28, 2004 were approved.
Remarks by the Dean
Dean Sommer announced the promotion of Ms. Robin Fox, currently Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, to the position of Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
Society of Scholars nominations are due by December 2. Dean Sommer stressed the importance of nominating School representatives and the Advisory Board discussed the nomination criteria.
Dean Sommer commented that department chairs agreed to help support the recruitment of 2-3 junior faculty in bioethics who could hold primary appointments in one of a number of departments. Dr. Kass will convene a search committee that involves faculty from across the School.
Remarks by the Faculty Senate
Dr. Spannhake reported on the Faculty Senate meeting held earlier in the day and noted that the Faculty Senate will meet jointly with the Committee of the Whole in early December. The faculty will become substantially involved in the CEPH self study. The Senate was happy to hear of the Senate's future opportunities to meet with candidates for the deanship. Dr. Kanchanaraksa gave an interesting presentation to the Faculty Senate on the Open CourseWare initiative; a number of interesting questions remain about the long-term direction of this activity from the faculty perspective.
Report of the Committee to Review the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing
Drs. Scocca, Hardwick, Newcomer and Shah, Chair and members of the Committee to Review the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) respectively, and Dr. Goldberg, CAAT Director, joined the Advisory Board. Dr. Scocca thanked the members of the Review Committee and Ms. Laurel Bodie, staff, for their participation. He then reviewed the central conclusions of the Committee: acknowledging the significant contributions made by the Center and by its founding Director Dr. Goldberg; CAAT should continue its mission by supporting quality research and the School's educational agenda; a new CAAT director should be identified, and if need be, recruited to the faculty; CAAT should continue to be housed and more actively administered (as other centers) within the Department of Environmental Health Sciences; and the Center should be fully integrated into the academic environment consistent with the mission of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences within the School. He then reviewed some of the more detailed recommendations that focus principally on strengthening CAAT's local scientific program and increasing ties to the scientific investigator community. The orientation and utility of the CAAT website should also be scrutinized as it consumes a significant portion of the CAAT budget. The Committee noted there were other areas within the JHU where CAAT could logically be housed, but none of those divisions/departments were willing to take it on.
Dr. Scocca commented on the diversity and breadth of research involving animals in four departments of the School. Dr. Newcomer stressed the importance of the academic linkages between CAAT and the University community and noted that CAAT has an important role to play in serving as an educational vehicle for animal researchers in academia. While the Review Committee made a number of specific recommendations, Dr. Scocca commented that they were meant to guide the thinking about CAAT's future directions and were not meant to be rigidly prescriptive. He again acknowledged Dr. Goldberg's unique contribution as founding director of CAAT.
Dr. Goldberg then offered a response to the report of the Review Committee. He thanked the Review Committee for accurately reflecting CAAT's current status and salient issues. He noted that the CAAT model recently has been adopted by the British Government, which developed a similar organization affiliated with the British Medical Research Council. Dr. Goldberg then commented that new developments in the animal research community include an increased focus on in vitro testing, and emphasis on training in "humane science" as a new requirement for the regulatory animal research community. He described CAAT's major purpose as "incubator of ideas." While he expects that CAAT's future directions will include foci on toxicology, comparative medicine (with the veterinary community), policy, bioethics, and biostatistics with respect to experimental design, Dr. Goldberg concurs with the recommendation of the Review Committee that CAAT focus on toxicology. While there is a diverse part-time faculty affiliated with CAAT, he commented that resources would need to be provided to support full-time CAAT faculty. Dr. Goldberg once again expressed appreciation to the Review Committee for their thorough assessment, and to Dean Sommer for initiating the review.
In response to a question, it was noted that the new in vitro and molecular technologies have led to the use of greater numbers of animals in research, rather than fewer. After further discussion, the Advisory Board passed a resolution accepting the Report of the Committee to Review the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, and thanking the members of the Review Committee. Dr. Groopman noted that the Department of Environmental Health Sciences will begin to develop a plan to assess and integrate CAAT into the Department.
Report of the Committee to Review the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology
Drs. Burke, Coresh and Reddy, members of the Committee to Review the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology (MMI), joined the Advisory Board. Dr. Samet, chair of the Committee, thanked the members of the Review Committee as well as the MMI faculty, staff and students with whom the Committee met. He reviewed the substantial strengths of the Department, including the exceptional leadership of Dr. Griffin, the infrastructure of the Department that has improved substantially under Dr. Griffin's tenure, the exciting new research programs initiated by the Department, and its strong faculty and student bodies. The Department is uniquely positioned to be the model department of its type.
A number of interesting issues face the Department as a result of its success. Dr. Samet noted that the Department has grown substantially and houses the Malaria Research Institute (MRI), which also is headed by Dr Griffin. The major topics for the Department to consider include: a self assessment of the Department's governance in the face of it's growth and close interdigitation with the MRI; enhancement of the impact of the Department through additional outside collaboration; a more intensive evaluation of the Department's academic programs (doctoral, post-doctoral, MHS, and interactions with the MPH program); and exploration of the most appropriate balance between field and laboratory -based science within the Department. The Review Committee recommended that these topics be addressed through a comprehensive strategic planning process to be undertaken by the Department. Dr. Samet ended his formal remarks by congratulating Dr. Griffin and the Department on their considerable successes.
Dr. Griffin thanked the Review Committee for its wide-ranging review. She questioned the Review committee's comments about a perceived lack of external collaboration. She remarked that MMI faculty collaborate extensively externally; such collaborations are encouraged although that assistant professors with laboratory-based programs must necessarily develop their independent programs during their first few years. She provided information on external MMI faculty collaborations.
Dr. Griffin reported that MMI students take a wide variety of extra-departmental courses, including a new requirement for a Biostatistics course. She commented on apparent misperceptions about oversight of the MRI and noted the involvement and funding of faculty from several departments and divisions. Dr. Griffin will provide an update on the MRI at a future Committee of the Whole meeting.
Dr. Griffin commented that while the Department's "peers" are located in schools of medicine, the Committee was not in a position to evaluate MMI in relation to these peers and this feedback could be valuable for the Department. In answer to Dr. Burke's question "What is public health microbiology?" Dr. Griffin commented that MMI's curriculum is broader than would be found in a school of medicine, for example by requiring coursework in ecology. The Department studies the broad array of human infectious pathogens starting at the basic level, and acts as the basic microbiology department for JHMI. There are no equivalent departments in other schools of public health. MMI graduates go on to a wide variety of careers in academia, governmental agencies and industry. Dr. Sommer noted that Dr Burke has been asked to lead the development of an interdepartmental curriculum or sequence in infectious diseases that will appeal to students across the School, an initiative that will further bring together faculty involved with infectious diseases from several departments.
After further discussion, the Advisory Board passed a resolution accepting the Report of the Committee to Review the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology and thanking the members of the Review Committee.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:30 p.m.
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