Tuesday, March 31, 1998 / 3 p.m. / 810th Meeting
Members Present: Drs. Steven Knapp, James Anthony, Diane Griffin, Robert Lawrence, Ellen MacKenzie, Roger McMacken, W. Henry Mosley, Jonathan Samet, Alfred Sommer, Donald Steinwachs, Scott Zeger, and Barry Zirkin; and Ms. Robin Fox, staff.
Members Absent: Drs. William Brody, Robert Black, John Breitner, John Groopman, Bernard Guyer, and John Scocca.
Guests: Drs. Margaret Bentley, Ronald Gray, Sharon Krag, Noel Rose, Andrea Ruff, and James Tielsch; and Ms Diane Glover.
Meeting Convened: Provost Steven Knapp convened the meeting at 3:00 p.m.
Approval of the Minutes: Minutes of the 809th meeting on February 17, 1998 were approved.
Report from the Committee to Review the Department of Maternal and Child Health
Drs. Margaret Bentley, Andrea Ruff, and James Tielsch (Committee chair) joined the Advisory Board. Dr. Tielsch described the Committee's deliberations and summarized its findings. He remarked that the Department of Maternal and Child Health, under Dr. Guyer's distinguished leadership, has grown and strengthened substantially in the past few years. The Review Committee suggested the Department consider several issues in the future, including: allowing increased flexibility of academic program requirements so that students with interests in maternal and child health issues in other countries can interact more closely with the Departments of International Health and Population Dynamics; that the Department take steps to reorganize its administrative and financial management to better deal with its increased size; and that the Department consider other models of governance as its growth may preclude continuing the current "governance as a whole." Dr. Tielsch noted the Department has been aware of these issues and is already addressing them.
Dr. Tielsch then commented that the coincident review of the Department of Population Dynamics, which has areas of expertise and interests closely aligned with those of the Department of Maternal and Child Health, and in fact grew from the Department of Maternal and Child Health 25 years ago, offers the opportunity for the Departments to merge and reorganize themselves. The goal of such a merger would be to strengthen and join two strong academic programs to better address both domestic and international issues. The MCH Review Committee recommended that this option should be further evaluated.
Dr. Bentley commended Dr. Tielsch on his chairmanship of the Review Committee and remarked that students in the Department of Maternal and Child Health are pleased with their training. The students hoped that changes in departmental governance would not affect the many positive aspects of the program regardless of a possible merger with the Department of Population Dynamics. Dr. Guyer then thanked the Review Committee members for their careful and thoughtful review of the Department. He commented that the field of maternal and child health is changing and is now being seen in a broader context. The Department has chosen to focus on human development as the cornerstone of their training, which then can be applied to many populations. He noted a certain level of anxiety among some faculty regarding the future of the department. The DHHS Bureau of Maternal and Child Health, which has funded the Department's training grant for 45 years, is also redefining itself.
Dean Sommer commented that he had appointed an ad hoc joint committee of the Departments of Maternal and Child Health and of Population Dynamics to study a possible integration of the two departments and make recommendations to the May Advisory Board. He noted that a merger would be for academically compelling reasons such that education would remain the top priority. Definition of a common mission for a fully integrated department will be important for this effort to succeed, but a final vision and organizational structure would be left to the two departments once a decision on whether or not to integrate them was made by the Advisory Board. After further discussion, the Advisory Board voted to accept the report of the Committee to Review the Department of Maternal and Child Health, and thanked Dr. Tielsch and the Committee members for their efforts.
Remarks by the Provost: Provost Knapp reported that searches for the deans of Schools of Arts and Sciences and of Engineering are expected to conclude within a month. The Comprehensive Health Initiative, convened to address the health of East Baltimore residents and others, applied for, but did not receive funding from the Kellogg Foundation. The steering committee appointed by President Brody continues the work of the Initiative.
Remarks by the Dean: Dean Sommer reminded the Advisory Board that all former Surgeons General and Dr. Satcher, the current Surgeon General, will take part in a symposium at the School on April 2. There will be a number of overflow rooms to accommodate the crowd. Attorney General Janet Reno will make closing remarks. Dinner following the symposium has been moved to the Belvedere Hotel.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:25 p.m.
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