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News for BCM Faculty, April 15, 2021
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College News


Spring Fling: While the weather’s still nice, why not take a walk in the park? The med center’s neighbor, Hermann Park, recently was named one of America’s great public spaces by the American Planning Association. Its McGovern Centennial Gardens, pictured here, are open 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. every day of the week.

Academic Council: President Paul Klotman said Baylor College of Medicine is following CDC guidelines closely and may loosen its restrictions on in-person meetings by July 4, if community COVID-19 numbers decline to about 150 new cases a day.

  • Chief Operations Officer Joe Doty reported that plans to return telecommuting employees to the campus are underway, with training materials and a survey rolled out to pilot groups. While 40% of those surveyed said they had sufficient information and resources to return to the workplace, the most common requests for additional support focused on childcare concerns, vaccine access for family members and co-workers, and mental health resources. About 26% of respondents said they felt they have been as effective – if not more so – working at home rather than on campus. Doty said alternative workplan policies and processes are in development.
  • Chief Communications Officer Claire Bassett announced that graduation will be an in-person event only for degree candidates and speakers at Bayou City Event Center May 27, with a live stream for family and mentors. Baylor alumnus Dr. Carl June, the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, will deliver the commencement address.
  • Clinical Affairs Dean Jim McDeavitt said Baylor Medicine hired 237 new physicians in growth positions during FY 2020, in line with its long-term staffing plan. Baylor providers are now responsible for the majority of volume at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center.
  • Dr. Leanne Scott, executive director of research administration, presented significant changes to the NIH templates for the biosketch and other support documents that become effective May 25. Researchers will need to make updates before their next submissions.

Faculty Senate: Senators had the opportunity to ask Chief Information Officer Lee Leiber questions about technology issues raised by their constituents at the April 8 meeting. Website concerns centered on access. While departments cannot maintain their own online content at this point, they may request updates to content on the public and intranet sites by submitting a “JotForm” service request with 24-hour turnaround during the work week. Individuals may request updates to their Signature profiles by completing an IT work order, located in the IT service portal.

  • Other issues involved changes to College-wide applications Zoom and Box. Leiber said the goal is to gradually transition Baylor to Microsoft Teams, which includes a video meeting platform and a cloud-based storage system, One Drive, in the next 12-18 months.
  • The Communications & Public Affairs Committee shared information on Baylor COATS, a community outreach initiative with research, shadowing, mentoring and service opportunities for faculty members as well as learners and staff.
  • The Faculty Affairs & Benefits Committee reported on a conversation with COO Joe Doty about the pace of the phased return to the 8% College retirement contribution. Currently at 5%, the contribution will increase an additional 1% every six months, depending on Baylor’s financial health. Any expedited return to 8% must be sustainable with budget constraints and commitments for fiscal year 2021.
  • Dr. Jonnae Atkinson, senate secretary, reminded senators of the April 29 deadline to sign up as a candidate in the 2021 elections. With 12 term-limited senators, there is opportunity for fresh faces to represent departments, centers and faculty at-large.

Take the Faculty Survey: You received a link to the AAMC StandPoint Faculty Engagement in your email this week. Please take a few minutes to respond. Your opinions will help shape initiatives throughout the College for years to come. Since the first faculty survey in 2012, the data have been used to inform decisions to launch or enhance initiatives that impact nearly every aspect of the workplace for faculty at Baylor (see outcomes of previous surveys). If you don’t recall seeing the survey, please search your email (including junk folders) for the link to it in a message from StandPointSurveys@aamc.org.

Faculty Kudos

image The St. Baldrick’s Foundation-Stand Up 2 Cancer Pediatric Cancer Dream Team has been selected as this year’s recipient of the American Association for Cancer Research Team Science Award. Drs. Nabil Ahmed, D. William Parsons, Meenakshi Hegde, Sujith Joseph, and Bambi Grilley, all in pediatrics–hematology-oncology, are among those recognized. The team of some 200 researchers across the country has resulted in 319 peer-reviewed published manuscripts, 44 patent applications, the generation of more than $118 million in additional grant funding, the creation of a new pediatric clinical trials network and the treatment of more than 1,113 children through early-phase clinical trials.

Dr. ZoAnn Dreyer, professor of pediatrics–hematology and oncology and clinical director of the Texas Children's Cancer Center Long-Term Survivor Program, was recognized by Northwest Mutual as a female hero in the fight against childhood cancer. Her program sees more than 1,000 survivors of pediatric cancer each year, without an upper age limit and regardless of where they were treated.

Dr. Toi Harris, associate provost for Institutional Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Student & Trainee Services, has been named a Top 100 Diversity Officer at the 2021 National Diversity & Leadership Conference. The award highlights officers who provide innovative solutions to strategically prioritize developing and advocating for diverse talent.

image A Baylor team led by Dr. Jason Heaney, associate professor of molecular & human genetics, Dr. William Lagor, associate professor of molecular physiology & biophysics, and Dr. Mary Dickinson, senior vice president and dean of research, is participating in the Somatic Cell Genome Editing Consortium, a massive research effort funded by the National Institutes of Health that aims to accelerate genome editing research and the development of related technologies and therapeutic approaches. The Baylor team is responsible for developing new reporter mice to detect somatic genome editing events, such as small insertion and deletion mutations, homology directed repair and off-target editing.

College (Virtual) Events

Cancer Grand Rounds: Dr. Claire Hoppenot, assistant professor of gynecologic oncology, and Georgiann Garza, genetic counselor, present “What You Need to Know about Hereditary Uterine and Ovarian Cancer Syndromes” at 12:30 p.m., Friday, April 16, via Zoom, meeting ID: 387 923 767, passcode: 831342.

Health Equity Grand Rounds: “Acing Race: A Strategy for Child Health Equity” is the topic of a talk by Dr. Ashaunta T. Anderson, assistant professor of Pediatrics at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, at noon Tuesday, April 20, via Zoom, meeting ID: 930 0636 2884, passcode: 867116, sponsored by the Center of Excellence in Health Equity, Training and Research.

Ethics Grand Rounds: The Center for Medical Ethics & Health Policy hosts two programs next week:

  • “Brain Death or Donation after Cardiac Death,” an interfaith panel discussion at 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 20, via Zoom, event ID: UZADEG.
  • Human Trafficking 101: A Primer,” a presentation by Kimberly Williams, director of the Anti-Human Trafficking Initiative at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, at 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 21, via Zoom, event ID: 937 1482 9716.

Compassionate Conversation: Dr. Francis Lu, emeritus professor of psychiatry at University of California, Davis, leads a discussion on “Addressing Asian, Asian-American and Pacific Islander Discrimination,” at 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 21, co-sponsored by the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and the Chinese Student Scholars Association. Register to participate.

Space Travel: “Why We Go” is the topic of a conversation with NASA astronaut Nicole Stott, Emily Thomas, author of “The Meaning of Travel: Philosophers Abroad,” and Dr. Dorit Donoviel, director of the Translational Research Institute for Space Health and a faculty senator, at 11 a.m. Thursday, April 22. Register online.

Education Grand Rounds: Learn how the Baylor peer coaching program helps facilitate self-improvement through guided reflection and feedback at a presentation by Dr. Sandra Haudek at noon Thursday, April 22, via Zoom, passcode: 865864, sponsored by the School of Health Professions and the Faculty Development Office.

Alumni Reunion: Virtual Reunion starts Thursday, April 22, for all alumni from the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the School of Health Professions. Hear from Baylor leadership on the latest clinical, research and education advances and get continuing education credit.

Genetics Seminar: Take a look at Long Read Sequencing Opportunities at the Human Genome Sequencing Center, with a focus on the Pacific Biosciences sequencing platform, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday, April 23. Register to attend.

Fragile X Webinar: Dr. Daryl Scott, associate professor of molecular & human genetics, and Laura Buckner, program manager for the UT Texas Center for Disability Studies, discuss the genetics and care of children and families with Fragile X Syndrome at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 24. Registration is required for this free webinar.

Faculty Commons is taking a break and will next publish Thursday, April 29.

Faculty Opportunities

Senate Elections: Thursday, April 29, is the final day to sign up as a candidate for the Faculty Senate. With many senators facing term limits, this is your opportunity to get involved with the Senate and participate in shared governance and strategic planning for the College.

  • You may apply to represent one of the following electoral units with which you are affiliated: Anesthesiology (2 seats), Dermatology, Education Innovation & Technology, Emergency Medicine (2 seats), Huffington Center on Aging, Medicine (2 seats), Molecular Virology & Microbiology, Neurology (2 seats), Neuroscience, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Ophthalmology, Orthopedic Surgery, Pathology & Immunology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences (2 seats), Surgery and Urology.
  • Or consider running for one of nine at-large faculty positions; the Senate particularly encourages those in the basic sciences to apply. Information about the elections and a link to the application form are online.

Curriculum Committee: The School of Medicine Curriculum Committee is soliciting nominations for three faculty member positions. The committee has the integrated institutional responsibility for the overall design, management and evaluation of a coherent and coordinated curriculum. It seeks a broad representation of the faculty and encourages interested faculty members from all disciplines to consider applying. See Faculty Opportunities online for more information.

Faculty Resources

Committees Election: Faculty members have through Thursday, April 22, to cast ballots for their candidates for at-large seats on the Faculty Committee on Awards, Institutional Committee Governance and Student Services Committee. The election is sponsored by the Office of the President and Institutional Committee Governance, chaired by Dr. Christie Lincoln, to increase faculty engagement and participation in the life of the College. Additional institutional committees will open their membership to at-large faculty in the coming months, providing more opportunities to self-nominate for service on these important, College-wide committees.

Girls Elevated: Don't miss Girls Elevated 2021 on Saturday, April 24! This event arms teens, tweens and their caregivers with expert advice to help navigate the changes and challenges associated with growing up. Register online.

Helis Cancer Lecture: Dr. Mary-Claire King, professor of medicine and genome sciences at University of Washington, delivers the Diana Helis Henry and Adrienne Helis Malvin Medical Research Foundations 2021 Joint Lecture in Cancer Research on “The Genetics of Inherited Breast and Ovarian Cancer: From Gene Discovery to Precision Medicine and Public Health” at 3 p.m. May 4, via Zoom.

Faculty Awards Day: Cheer for your peers at the virtual awards ceremony encompassing the Barbara and Corbin J. Robertson, Jr. Presidential Award for Excellence in Education, Ben and Margaret Love Foundation Bobby Alford Award for Academic Clinical Professionalism, Norton Rose Fulbright Faculty Excellence Awards, Faculty Awards for Excellence in Patient Care, Clark Faculty Service Award and John P. McGovern Outstanding Teacher Award. The award video, webpages and commemorative program will be online starting May 19.

Educator App: Do you work with medical students? If so, please check out this new app, focused on the “Top 10 things to know when working with medical students at BCM.” Though geared towards residents, the School of Medicine hopes all clinical educators will find this to be a useful resource for understanding the learning goals and policies relevant for student learners. Please feel free to contact curriculum@bcm.edu with any feedback.

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.

Items for Faculty Commons: To submit items for this weekly email update for Baylor College of Medicine faculty, please contact us.

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