Bloomberg School of Public Health
Members Present: Drs. William Brody, Steven Knapp, Ron Brookmeyer, Marie Diener-West, William Eaton, Lynn Goldman, Diane Griffin, David Holtgrave, Michael Klag, Robert Lawrence, Thomas Louis, Ellen MacKenzie, Roger McMacken, Jonathan Samet, and Scott Zeger; and Ms. Robin Fox, staff.
Members Absent: Drs. Robert Black, Robert Blum, John Groopman, Martha Hill, Edward Miller, E. William Spannhake, and James Yager.
Guests: Dr. Sharon Krag; Professor Stephen Teret; and Ms. Diane Glover.
Meeting Convened: President William Brody convened the meeting at 3 p.m.
Approval of the Minutes: Minutes of the 902nd Advisory Board meeting of November 17, 2005 were approved.
Remarks by the President
President Brody commented on the importance of open informed discussion about the potential for conflicts of interest by individual faculty and at an institutional level. This issue is particularly salient with respect to patient care, where research evidence suggests that physician behaviors can change depending on their financial sources of support (e.g., from pharmaceutical companies.) Public awareness about this topic is increasing as well. All members of the University community must be well- informed to prevent conflicts of interest or the perception of such.
President Brody congratulated Dr. Goldman on receiving a large grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and reported on a number of additional initiatives at the national and state levels. Among the national activities is an effort among a group of universities to increase research funding across the board; Dr. Klag expressed concern about the status of funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. President Brody also reported that Maryland's Sellinger program appears to be strong and well-managed.
Remarks by the Dean
Dr. Klag announced that a local donor has provided funds to support doctoral students interested in working to improve the health of Baltimore residents with an emphasis on health disparities and the underserved. A new Center of Global Health will be a joint activity of the Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Public Health and will report to the three deans and an interdivisional steering committee. The Center will coordinate East Baltimore resources in international health to achieve efficiencies, increase communication, and enable the East Baltimore divisions already working globally to work together to attract additional external support.
Dr. Klag reported that ASPH is working with an external group interested in establishing a school of public health in India. He also recently met with the new dean of the University of Maryland at Baltimore School of Public Health, which has a small MPH program and a few doctoral programs.
Report of the Faculty Senate
Dr. Louis reported that the Senate has co-sponsored two meetings of faculty with Professor Teret, chair of the Committee on Appointments and Promotions, to inform the faculty about the A&P process. The initial meetings were well-received and the Senate expects they will continue on an annual basis. A School-wide questionnaire is being developed that will screen for important "quality of life" issues among the faculty. They are not intended to replace existing in-depth departmental surveys. In addition, the Senate has three working groups (Diversity; Quality of Life; and Senior Faculty), each of which will develop recommendations over the next several months.
Follow-up to the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology Review
Dr. Griffin updated the Advisory Board on changes in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology (MMI) since the completion of the Review in late 2004. Decisions about the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute (JHMRI) are now made by a small executive steering committee of the full professors in the JHMRI, and a search for a dedicated director may be undertaken. The Advisory Board recognized the generally fragmented nature of the malaria research field which may pose impediments to the search for the JHMRI director.
In response to a question raised during the review process about the Department's impact on the School and the University, in particular for broader engagement in the School's educational programs, Dr. Griffin reported that the Department has developed a joint master's degree program in bioinformatics with the Department of Biostatistics and participates in the Molecular Epidemiology program. MMI has numerous bench-, field-, and population-based research collaborations across the School and University and all involve students. The Department now requires a biostatistics course and recommends an epidemiology course for their doctoral students, and co- sponsors one of the more heavily subscribed MPH concentrations, in Infectious Diseases. Other curricular goals include increasing course offerings in biology and basic immunology that will appeal to students outside the Department. The direction of the MHS program is still under discussion, as are ways to increase both the rigor and flexibility of the curriculum in general. A survey will identify issues of concern among the students.
Dr. Griffin remarked that the post-doctoral program has an active forum for research presentations. Several of the senior post-docs have been advanced to Research Associate positions to enhance their career development, although they are do not act as independent researchers. Dr. Krag noted that post-docs as a group are heterogeneous.
The "tension" between field- and laboratory-based research is a positive dynamic within the Department. Faculty and students cross from one modality or setting to others, and a number of students and faculty conduct both lab-based and human studies. In response to a question, Dr. Griffin expressed support for the new Center for Global Health. While the faculty will be working within their usual departmental-based environments, the Center can coordinate efforts across departments and divisions and increase visibility, enabling the partner schools to attract support from large funders. After further discussion, Dr. Klag thanked Dr. Griffin for the positive progress report about the Department.
Proposed revisions of Departmental Review PPM
The Advisory Board briefly discussed the revisions of the Departmental Review PPM, which had previously been reviewed and approved by the Faculty Senate and department chairs. The PPM was approved and will be used for the upcoming department reviews.
Collaboration between the School and the Baltimore City Health Department
Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, recently-appointed Health Commissioner in Baltimore City, was introduced to the Advisory Board by Dean Klag. Dr. Sharfstein reviewed his background and long-standing ties to the School. He outlined his priorities to improve the health of Baltimore residents, including preventing of incident infectious diseases such as HIV, increasing drug treatment and prevention efforts; preventing, youth violence and mental disorders, decreasing health disparities, particularly cardiovascular disease.
After more than 4 years serving as Health Policy Advisor to Congressman Waxman, Dr. Sharfstein believes that public health can be reframed to enable more comprehensive and proactive responses within a political and visible environment. He is eager to increase collaborations with School faculty and students and noted that some students and preventive medicine residents are already working with the City Health Department. He would like the Health Department to become more data-driven and evidence-based, which will be advantageous in a resource-limited environment.
Dr. Knapp commented on the continued interest by the University in working together to develop a strategic partnership to improve the health of Baltimoreans. Dr. Sharfstein thanked the members of the Advisory Board for their interest and commitment and noted the remarkable resources in Baltimore, in particular those at Hopkins.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:50 p.m.
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