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News for BCM Faculty, Jan. 14, 2021
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The Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine recently celebrated 10 years of innovation, world-renowned research and scientific breakthroughs. Read about its history and future plans.

Academic Council: Baylor’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic was again the main topic of discussion at the Jan. 11 meeting. Kristin Wade, chief operating officer for Baylor Medicine, reported on the vaccination rollout. As of Monday, Baylor had administered 2,591 shots to phase 1A and 1B personnel and learners and 1B patients. She said the College is vaccinating with integrity and that the challenge is balancing the vaccine supply against demand.

  • Clinical Affairs Dean Jim McDeavitt reported that Baylor is doing all it can to advocate for more vaccine but it is the State of Texas that determines allocation. He predicted that the holiday surge of COVID hospitalizations may continue into February.
  • Dr. Hashem El-Serag, chair of medicine, described preliminary efforts to establish a multidisciplinary post-COVID clinic to address the needs of “long hauler” patients. Dr. Fidaa Shaib, associate professor of medicine – pulmonary, critical care & sleep medicine and a faculty senator, is leading the project.
  • Research Dean Mary Dickinson gave an update on coronavirus research. Baylor is contributing to the science in a meaningful way, with more than 300 publications in PubMed and 55 projects with $23 million in grant funding in progress. The Novavax vaccine clinical trial has started at the College.
  • Provost Alicia Monroe said student and trainee virtual recruitment for the 2021-2022 academic year is going well. Planning is underway for spring graduation and summer research programs.
  • General Counsel Bob Corrigan reminded the chairs and center directors that, with the start of the 87th Texas legislative session this week, faculty should be aware of Baylor’s guidance on advocacy as a tax-exempt organization. Only President Paul Klotman, the Board of Trustees and its designees may speak for the College.

Faculty Kudos

Dr. Benjamin Arenkiel, associate professor of molecular & human genetics and neuroscience, is the recipient of the 2021 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award in Medicine from TAMEST (The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas). The McNair Scholar was chosen for his breakthrough identification of the brain’s neural pathways that are connected to eating disorders, addiction and other neuropsychiatric disorders.

Dr. Tom Kosten's recent article in JAMA Psychiatry on opioid overdoses during the coronavirus pandemic was highlighted in the JAMA Network COVID-19 update email. In addition, a 2018 article by the professor of psychiatry & behavioral sciences, "Opioid Use Disorder after Self-medicating Pain from Traumatic Brain Injury," was listed among top CME articles in JAMA Psychiatry.

Based on her service on the mayor’s COVID-19 Health Equity Response Task Force, Dr. Keila Lopez, assistant professor of pediatrics – cardiology, has been appointed to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Hispanic Advisory Board. Her contribution as the only healthcare provider on the board will provide insight in the care of the city’s Latino populations.

The American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer has confirmed the reaccreditation of Ben Taub Hospital as an Academic Comprehensive Cancer Center for another three-year period. Dr. Nathan Deal, executive vice president of Ben Taub Hospital, credited the leadership and dedication of Dr. Martha Mims, professor and chief of hematology/oncology, for the accomplishment.

The Narrative Medicine Program led by Dr. Ricardo Nuila, associate professor of medicine, has received a grant for $25,000 from the Association of American Medical Colleges to incorporate arts and humanities within medical education. The program will use the funds to support arts and humanities educational activities for internal medicine residents and students with a goal of improving communication and lessening burnout.

Dr. Huda Zoghbi, professor, director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, is one of five leaders in medicine to be elected to the National Academy of Medicine Governing Council for a three-year term. She joins Dr. Jeffrey Balser, dean of the School of Medicine at Vanderbilt University; Dr. Claire Brindis, professor of health policy at University of California, San Francisco; Dr. Eve Higginbotham, professor and vice dean of the Perelman School of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania; and Dr. Linda McCauley, dean of the School of Nursing at Emory University.

College Events

COVID-19 Town Hall: Dr. Peter Hotez, professor and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine, participates in “United to Debunk Misinformation in Our Communities: A Town Hall on COVID-19” with panelists Venus Ginés, Dia de la Mujer Latina, Inc., Dr. Monica Webb Hooper, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, and Mia Wright, Fountain of Praise Church, at 5:30 p.m. today, Jan. 14, via Zoom. Register online for this event sponsored by Texas Community Engagement Alliance Against COVID-19 Disparities.

Dismantling Racism: Members of the Baylor community are invited to attend a virtual lecture on "Dismantling Structural Racism" by Dr. Shannon Guillot-Wright and Dr. Premal Patel, both of the University of Texas Medical Branch. The lecture at noon Friday, Jan. 15, is part of UTMB’s Provost's Lecture Series and is open to the College through its involvement in the Texas Medical Schools’ Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

MLK Jr. Day: The College is closed on Monday, Jan. 18, to honor the memory and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

  • In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service, Baylor invites faculty members, staff and learners to find a way to serve the community while still remaining safe during the pandemic. The intranet lists several socially distanced opportunities.
  • Be sure to read the winning MLK Day essays by Baylor community members on the student blog, Progress Notes, co-sponsored by the Office of Institutional Diversity, Inclusion & Equity.
  • You also are invited to join the virtual parade hosted by the Black Heritage Society and the City of Houston. This year’s virtual celebration, with the theme “Truth, Love and Justice,” will be broadcast online at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 18.

World Religion Day: The Rev. Dr. John Graham, president of the Institute for Spirituality and Health, hosts Dr. Sheldon Rubenfeld, ethicist, Dr. Anne Kein, professor at Rice University, and Dr. Basem Hamid, imam, in an interfaith panel discussion to highlight perspectives on the relationship between health and religious identity, belief and practice at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19, via Zoom. Register online to attend.

Faculty Opportunities

Baylor COATS: The newly launched Baylor COATS (Community Outreach, Action, Training and Service) program is seeking staff, faculty, students and trainees who are interested in activities and opportunities to advance the College’s diversity, inclusion and equity goals. Learn more about Baylor COATS and to participate, email institutionaldiversity@bcm.edu.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Awards: Nominations are now open for the Women of Excellence, Allies of Women of Excellence and Equity Trailblazer awards administered by the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The Award Selection Committee reviews all complete nominations and identifies each year’s recipients. Learn more about the Women of Excellence, Allies of Women of Excellence and Equity Trailblazer Award. Complete nominations should be submitted to the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion by 5 p.m. Feb. 5.

Faculty Resources

Welch Grants: The Welch Foundation is accepting proposals to support research in chemistry. Grants provide a minimum of $80,000 per year in funding for fellowships, equipment, services and travel. More information is available online. Proposals are due Jan. 29.

Blood Drive: Get a free COVID-19 antibody test when you donate blood at Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center’s drive, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2, in the BCM Gym on the 8th floor of Garage 6. Appointments are required and can be made online.

Brody Lecture: Dr. Camisha Russell, assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Oregon and co-editor of Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, delivers the Baruch A. Brody Lecture in Bioethics at noon Tuesday, Feb. 2, via Zoom. Register online to attend.

Bioethics Course: The Intensive Bioethics Course offers physicians the opportunity to develop core competencies and integrate innovations in their ethics consultations during a virtual five-day course April 12-16. More information is available online.

Paid Time Off: Baylor values a work-life balance through approved vacation and paid time off for faculty and staff. The following policies are listed for your convenience: Faculty Vacation, Staff/Instructor Vacation, Staff Personal Day, Sick Pay and Holiday/FTO. To request time off, please contact your direct supervisor.

Questions or Comments?

Faculty Senate: Please contact your senator for faculty-related questions or suggestions.

Institutional Policy Committee: Contact the Policy Committee to learn more about College policies and procedures.

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