Bloomberg School of Public Health
Members Present: Drs. Kristina Johnson, Robert Blum, Ron Brookmeyer, Laura Caulfield, William Eaton, Diane Griffin, 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, Robert Black, Stephen Gange, Martha Hill, and James Yager.
Guests: Dr. Janet DiPietro; Professor Stephen Teret; Mss. Diane Glover and Catherine Schenk-Yglesias; and Messrs. Herbert Hansen and Michael Ward.
Meeting convened: Provost Kristina Johnson convened the meeting at 3 p.m.
Approval of the Minutes: Minutes of the 923rd Advisory Board meeting of September 27, 2007 were approved as submitted.
Remarks by the Provost
Provost Johnson reported that the new dean of the Carey Business School will be announced in several days. She thanked Dr. David Nichols for chairing the Search Committee. The next Board of Trustees meeting will be October 26-28, 2007 and will be accompanied by several leadership and alumni events. HopkinsOne is now on the agenda of every meeting of the Council of Deans and HopkinsOne representatives are spending a day with selected Hopkins researchers to examine its impact on day-to-day experiences of the researchers. Efforts are also underway to assure that faculty data contained in the HopkinsOne database are correct.
Provost Johnson announced that former provost Knapp will be installed as president of George Washington University on November 16.
Remarks by the Dean
Dr. Klag reminded the Advisory Board that the deadline for nominations for membership in the University Society of Scholars is November 2. Nominations should be forwarded to Ms. Fox. Society of Scholars nominees must have completed post-doctoral work or a second degree (e.g., an MPH) at the School/University after having completed a doctoral degree elsewhere, and have made substantial research contributions. Dr. Klag then commented on the exciting announcement that Dr. Peter Agre will return to Johns Hopkins to lead the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute. Dr. Agre will become professor in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology. The Advisory Board thanked Dr. Diane Griffin, who has led the JHMRI since its establishment.
Dr. Klag visited Beijing to attend the 90th anniversary of the Peking Union Medical University, and also visited Abu Dhabi to discuss an environmental health and planning proposal the School has been asked to submit. He then announced he would present a "State of the School" talk open to faculty on October 30.
Report of the Faculty Senate
Dr. Caulfield reported on the topics discussed at the most recent Faculty Senate meeting, including practices to help improve on declining course evaluation response rates, the public health credentialing exam, continuing concerns about HopkinsOne, and providing guidance to faculty regarding F&A recovery from foundation grants. Faculty are concerned about the impact of HopkinsOne on their potential personal liability for reporting deficiencies that are beyond the control of the faculty. Dr. Louis added that he has begun a discussion with a small faculty committee regarding end-of-career issues and that the committee is expected to make recommendations to the Senate.
Dr. Johnson asked that the Faculty Senate provide a summary of its discussions regarding continuing faculty concerns about HopkinsOne.
Report of the Committee on Health Informatics
Dr. Zeger reported on behalf of the Committee on Health Informatics. Drs. Groopman and MacKenzie and Ms. Schenk-Yglesias were also members of the Committee. Dr. Zeger noted that while Dr. Klag initially convened the Committee with members from the School of Public Health, due to great interest in the topic, faculty from the Schools of Medicine and Nursing asked to join the Committee.
Dr. Zeger reviewed Dean Klag's charge to the Committee, and defined public health and medical informatics at the intersection of "information, medicine and population health. The Committee elected to focus on public health and medical informatics rather than on the entire biomedical spectrum of informatics. The Committee next undertook an assessment of the numbers of informatics faculty and grants at Hopkins compared to peer institutions. Hopkins seems to have competed successfully in informatics, particularly in the area of bioinformatics.
Many of the services that might be needed by faculty who presently do or would like to work in health and medical informatics already exist at Hopkins in an organized manner, including IT services, access to national and international data resources, website design, and consulting centers such as the Biostatistics Center. Faculty may rely increasingly on these services. The Committee proposed developing a network of these centers that would encompass many of the service activities already available, with an infrastructure that would provide such services more comprehensively and to a larger audience. In some cases, for example database management, new groups may be needed. The Committee also recommended conducting a survey to better define informatics needs among the East Baltimore schools and the Health System. Dr. Zeger went on to describe three major opportunities for health informatics research and education, several of which are already being undertaken by the faculty.
Dr. Zeger and the Committee propose that the optimal structure to meet the challenges of health and medical informatics among the three East Baltimore Schools and the Health System is to create an interdivisional center, similar to the Welch Center, which would also include the Schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering. A new center would facilitate faculty applying for informatics-related grants. Dr. Zeger reported that the University estimates it now spends $30-40 million per year on health informatics, including patient record systems in the Hospital and Health System. A small portion of those funds could be redirected to provide core funds to support development of the new center. Dr. Zeger indicated that the development of and costs needed to support a Health and Medical Informatics Center will be discussed a meeting on November 1.
Dr. Johnson remarked that the Fraunhofer Institutes have approached the University regarding their interest in applied engineering research. She noted the diverse array of interests by the Institutes may dovetail with the mission of a new center in health and medical informatics. Ms. Schenk-Yglesias commented that other private sector segments may be interested in a new center, including the pharmaceutical and research and development industries. Dr. Johnson indicated that the Provost's office can help guide the development of a relationship between the Fraunhofer Institutes, a new health and medical informatics center, and the School of Engineering, with a shared goal of increasing interdisciplinary education and research collaboration. Dr. Zeger commented that the School of Engineering's strengths in computer science would be critical to such a collaboration, and also indicated its importance in the development of an informatics center.
After further discussion, Drs. Johnson and Klag thanked Dr. Zeger and the Committee for its comprehensive report and recommendations. The three East Baltimore deans are also reviewing the recommendations of the Committee.
Self-study of the Department of Epidemiology
Dr. Samet began his presentation by reviewing the principal recommendations of the review conducted in 2001. He reported that many of the recommendations, which included appointment of a deputy chair(s), better defining the role of the Faculty Executive Committee, and developing a departmental strategic plan, have been accomplished. The present self-study was conducted under the revised PPM for department reviews, which enables the department to identify the most salient issues affecting it. The Department selected four topics for assessment; governance; diversity; the role of the Department in the School and University; and future directions for the Department.
Since Dr. Samet became chair in 1994, the size of the faculty has doubled and the sizes of the department's research portfolio and its student body have also risen appreciably. The department is organized around academic programs; it has a relatively flat structure. A survey undertaken among the faculty, staff, and students indicated a reasonably high level of job satisfaction among the faculty. While the survey response rate among the students was low, students indicated their most pressing concerns are about funding. Departmental staff indicated they wanted to have more opportunity for professional growth. Dr. Samet went on to summarize other needs identified by the faculty including increased mentorship and better organization and support to pursue large, multidisciplinary research initiatives such as cohort studies.
The Department relies on School-wide recruitment efforts to increase the diversity of the student body. A faculty committee will be established to address diversity across the Department, and to act on related recommendations, including improving data systems to examine and evaluate diversity efforts, and further developing the area of health disparities as an academic and research focus of the Department.
With respect to future initiatives, the Department also plans to quickly expand its on-line course offerings. The Department is concerned about the flattening of the NIH budget, and will develop a business plan to sustain itself. Dr. Samet then indicated his own view of the recommendations from the Department's self-study. Faculty wish to have an increased voice in the administration and leadership of the Department and also expanded time availability of the Department's leadership. Dr. Samet will move forward to facilitate this goal. The Department needs to better monitor trends in epidemiology so that faculty searches are as strategic as possible and position the Department optimally for the future. Targeted recruitment of underrepresented minority faculty and students must be a top priority. The Department's general funds must be carefully managed and monitored and it must seek new sources of support for students, including training grants.
The Advisory Board briefly discussed the perception that underrepresented minority faculty and students cannot be targeted for recruitment, particularly with targeted funding; Dr. Johnson will clarify University policy on this topic. After further discussion, Drs. Johnson and Klag thanked Dr. Samet for his presentation of the self-study of the Department of Epidemiology.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:30 p.m.
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