Bloomberg School of Public Health
Members Present: Drs. Robert Black, Robert Blum, Ron Brookmeyer, Laura Caulfield, William Eaton, Stephen Gange, John Groopman, David Holtgrave, Michael Klag, Thomas Louis, Ellen MacKenzie, Roger McMacken, Edward Miller, Jonathan Samet, and Scott Zeger; and Ms. Robin Fox, staff.
Members Absent: Drs. William Brody, Kristina Johnson, Diane Griffin, Martha Hill, and James Yager.
Guests: Drs. Thomas Burke, David Celentano, Janet DiPietro, Neil Powe, and Michael Trush; Professor Stephen Teret; and Ms. Diane Glover and Ricky Fine.
Meeting convened: The meeting convened at 3 p.m.
Approval of the Minutes: Minutes of the 925th Advisory Board meeting of November 29, 2007 were approved as submitted.
Remarks by the Dean
Dean Klag wished the Advisory Board a happy holiday season. Ms. Fox then updated the Advisory Board on a new initiative to provide timely information about the major domestic and international public health challenges to Congressional staff. Ms. Fox will contact the Advisory Board members for their thoughts on the most critical public health issues and our faculty experts will be invited to brief Congressional staff on the topics identified.
Dr. Miller reported that the NIH budget will most likely increase by 0.5% in the coming year; with a present “medical inflation” rate of 3.5%, the modest 0.5% increase will in effect be a decrease. The Association of American Medical Colleges has now taken on more of a research advocacy role and will be working for adequate federal funding for medical research. Dr. Klag indicated that the Association of Schools of Public Health is also now considering advocacy of federally-funded health research as one of its top priorities.
Dr. Klag reported that the search for the chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is nearing completion as several candidates are returning for second visits. Dr. Black reported that the review of the Department of Biostatistics is also nearing completion; applications and nominations for the Biostatistics chair position are being solicited.
Report of the Faculty Senate
Dr. Caulfield reported that the Faculty Senate discussed at its most recent meeting the response from HopkinsOne leadership to the letter sent by Drs. Caulfield, Gange and Louis. They will meet with Stephanie Reel to discuss faculty concerns with HopkinsOne. Several faculty have remarked that the Senate leadership has positively affected the responsiveness of the HopkinsOne leadership. Also at the most recent Senate meeting, Mr. Seifert reviewed the activities and goals of the Office of External Affairs and Development and Dr. Zeger presented the report and recommendations on health informatics. Dr. Louis indicated he is heading a small committee to discuss end-of-career transitions among the senior faculty. The committee will meet with Mr. Hansen in early 2008 to develop a plan for tapered retirement of senior faculty and plans to present a formal proposal in January or February 2008.
Guidelines for evaluation of academic public health professional practice
Drs. Burke, Celentano and Trush joined the Advisory Board. Professor Teret, chair of the School Committee on Appointments and Promotions (A&P), indicated that that the Committee is committed to assuring that faculty with strong practice experience are evaluated appropriately. The subcommittee was charged with defining academic public health practice, developing metrics for determining its worth, and identifying evidence of the dissemination of new practice knowledge. The subcommittee’s report and recommendations were then reviewed by the full A&P Committee.
The subcommittee adopted a working definition of academic public health practice but Prof. Teret noted that several other entities in the School (e.g., the Interdepartmental Program in Applied Public Health, the Strategic Plan) are also assessing public health practice, therefore the definition needs to be flexible.
Dr. Burke indicated that evaluation of excellence in academic public health practice is also under discussion at external agencies and institutions, including ASPH. Excellence in academic public health practice necessarily involves the application of scholarship and communications to public health practice. Service activities and heading an agency are not themselves evidence of such excellence. Evidence of scholarship may include, but is not limited to, publication, financial and collaborative support, and/or policy development and adoption. Dr. Burke indicated that the main criterion will continue to be publication, although publication may not be in peer-reviewed or research-oriented journals. The nub is that faculty candidates with practice experience will also need to show evidence of scholarly contributions that includes dissemination of knowledge.
Dr. Samet suggested that the definition of practice needs to be very broad, as does the scope of scholarly evidence. Dr. Groopman commented that mentoring of practice-oriented faculty will be critical to assuring their success in the School. Dr. Miller indicated that metrics for clinician-practitioners can include evidence of program development and impact on national programs.
Dr. Black remarked that the perception among the faculty is that practice is not important and that departments and the A&P Committee are interested solely in research productivity. It will be critical to change this perception. Prof. Teret agreed that we need to better recognize and reward practitioners, and communicate with the faculty more broadly about this topic. Several practice-oriented faculty are on the A&P committee, which is helpful in evaluating candidates. Prof. Teret suggested that junior faculty should be encouraged to develop practice portfolios as part of their promotion materials; a small committee may need to be convened to think through the contents of practice portfolios. Dr. Blum seconded the notion that a successful academic practitioner will not necessarily have peer-reviewed publications, but that communication and writing about practice is critical.
Dr. Holtgrave indicated that the Strategic Plan is examining academic public health practice and thus far has found that practice is undervalued and students are interested in having greater scholarly practice opportunities. Dr. Gange noted that the Strategic Plan is likely to recommend that a standing practice committee be convened to examine these and other issues related to practice. After further discussion, the Advisory Board thanked Prof. Teret and Drs. Burke, Celentano and Trush for their thoughtful definition and examples of academic public health practice.
Follow-up on the recommendations of the Committee to Review the Welch Center
Dr. Powe was welcomed to the Advisory Board. Dr. Klag indicated that Dr. Powe was asked to review the recommendations from the review of the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research (WC) one year after the December 2006 review.
Dr. Powe reviewed the five major areas raised during the 2006 review: the WC mission; perceptions about the WC; role of the WC in clinical research and education across JHMI; diversification of the WC research program; and improved WC administration and management.
The 2006 review was highly supportive of Dr. Powe’s leadership. The WC is proud of its diverse faculty, in particular strong representation by under-represented minorities, and its role bridging the Schools of Medicine, Public Health, and Nursing. WC research funding has continued to grow every year, while the small-group environment that has been a hallmark of the WC’s success has been preserved. Dr. Samet and others remarked on the WC’s remarkable cohesiveness.
After re-examining it present mission and lengthy name, the WC has decided to retain both, and intends to continue to co-locate core faculty, despite space constraints. The WC has followed up on the recommendation to develop criteria and an evaluation process for an associate faculty. With respect to faculty recruitment, Dr. Powe indicated interest in conducing national searches for all tenure-track recruitments. Presently searches are conducted only for faculty who hold their primary appointments in the School of Public Health; additional resources would be needed to conduct national searches for the School of Medicine primary faculty. In response to a question, Dr. Powe indicated that while WC faculty have their “academic home” in the WC, they are appointed, evaluated, and promoted by the School/department where they hold their primary appointments. This has not been a concern due to the close linkages between the WC and the Schools.
The future of the WC will depend in large part on developing the next cohort of senior leaders; this will be the topic of a WC strategic plan and retreat in early 2008. A number of WC faculty are already starting to take their places through academic, service, and other leadership achievements, including Dr. Lisa Cooper, who was recently granted a MacArthur Fellowship. The Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) has stimulated a number of clinical research groups across JHMI to better integrate their research and education. The WC will have a critical role in this evolution as Dr. Powe is deputy director of the Clinical Research Career Development, Training, and Education arm of the CTSA. Dr. Powe described additional WC efforts to increase coordination of clinical research education across JHMI and the School of Public Health, as well as efforts to diversify and expand the WC research portfolio.
Dr. Powe reported that the significant changes in administrative and management structure recommended in the 2006 review have led to the identification of several options for a WC administrative reorganization. He presented these options to Deans Klag and Miller in early December 2007; new resources will be needed to effect the reorganization. Dr. Powe indicated that such administrative and organizational changes will enable the WC make other critically needed advancements. In closing, he commented that the review process has had a very positive effect on the WC, enabling it to do a comprehensive self-assessment and plan for its future in a deliberate manner.
Dr. Klag thanked Dr. Powe for his comprehensive overview of the WC. Drs. Klag noted that he and Dr. Miller have requested additional information from Dr. Powe regarding WC resource needs and will then confer.
Request to recruit two faculty members from one search in the Department of International Health
Dr. Black reviewed his request to expand an ongoing search in light of the recent departure of a faculty member in the Social and Behavioral Interventions program in the Department of International Health. Both recruitments would be at the assistant or associate professor level. Dr. Holtgrave indicated interest in pursuing joint appointments and collaborative activities with faculty in the Social and Behavioral Interventions program. The Advisory Board was supportive of Dr. Black’s request.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5 p.m.
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