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News for BCM Faculty, May 7, 2020
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From the Labs: May’s image of the month is a transverse view of the sciatic nerve, courtesy of Dr. Hugo Bellen’s lab and the journal Neuron. Read about the role that the gene ACOX1 plays in the making of myelin in this week’s post.

COVID-19 Town Hall: Executive leadership presented plans for the phased re-opening of Baylor College of Medicine facilities at the May 1 Town Hall, now available for viewing on YouTube. Advancing through the phases will be driven by Incident Command Center guidance, the spread of the virus locally and governmental guidance.

  • The pace will vary between missions but in all cases will maintain a safe environment, including universal symptom and temperature screening at employee entrances, scrupulous attention to social distancing, consistent handwashing and the wearing of cloth masks in all areas and situations where PPE is not already required.
  • President Paul Klotman cautioned that the road to recovery may not be a straight, steady path forward, which is why the ICC is developing strategies that can be reversed rapidly if there is a resurgence of the coronavirus.

Vaccine Alliance: The National School of Tropical Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development have formed a new partnership with PATH, a global nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public health. Together, these institutions will advance the development of a low-cost, safe and effective vaccine to prevent COVID-19. Through this alliance, researchers hope to accelerate the vaccine candidate into Phase 1 clinical evaluation later this year. The vaccine candidate originally was developed by a Baylor and TCH-led consortium against SARS, but it also may have the ability to prevent COVID-19 because of genetic similarities, cross-protection and neutralization between the SARS and COVID-19 coronaviruses. Material produced according to Good Manufacturing Practice standards already is available for study use, enabling an accelerated pathway to the clinic.

Top Tips for Faculty: As faculty members adjust to the “new normal” workplace, the Faculty Senate shares these tips from the Incident Command Center’s Coronavirus Preparedness website:

  • Voting for Senators: Study the slate of candidates for this year’s department, center, school and affiliate seats on the Faculty Senate and look for an emailed link to the ballot on Monday, May 11.
  • Practicing Telehealth: A Primer on Telemedicine and other telehealth resources are now available on the new Baylor Clinician Resources Platform.
  • Preparing for Summer: This is Hurricane Preparedness Week and being ready for inclement conditions and natural disasters goes a long way in helping to keep yourself and others safe.
  • Upgrading Your Zoom: Choose from a variety of Baylor-themed Zoom backgrounds to upload for your next call.

Faculty Kudos

Dr. Hoda Badr, associate professor of medicine - epidemiology & population sciences, has been accepted as a fellow in the 2020-2021 Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Program for Women. The yearlong, part-time fellowship program is for women faculty members to develop the professional and personal skills required to lead and manage in today's complex healthcare environment, with special attention to the unique challenges facing women in leadership positions.

Dr. Mark Harbott, associate professor of anesthesiology, has been named DIO (designated institutional official) and senior associate dean for graduate medical education, effective July 1. A Baylor faculty member since 2005, he has won numerous awards for his outstanding mentorship and dedication to education. Harbott became program director for the anesthesiology residency program in 2013.

Dr. Bhagavatula Moorthy, professor of pediatrics and neonatology, has been awarded a Superfund Research Program grant of nearly $10 million over five years from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to establish a Multiproject Research Center at Baylor. The grant will fund Baylor researchers and collaborators from Rice University and the University of Texas Medical Branch to study how toxicity of environmental chemicals emanating from Superfund sites impacts preterm births.

Dr. Edgardo Ordoñez, assistant professor of emergency medicine and a junior faculty scholar with the Center of Excellence in Health Equity, Training and, was honored with the 2020 Visionary Educator Award by the Academy for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Medicine. The award recognizes faculty members for their extraordinary impact on the academic success of students and residents from under-represented minority groups.

Dr. Stephanie Pangas, the Roger Rossen Professor of Reproductive Pathology and associate professor of pathology & immunology, was awarded a new five-year, $1.9 million institutional training grant from the Eunice K. Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to enhance research in reproductive biology. The T32 grant will support two graduate students and four postdoctoral fellows.

Faculty Resources

Clinician Well-Being: The National Academy of Medicine Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience offers a webinar on supporting the mental and emotional health of care providers during COVID-19 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. today, May 7, and available subsequently as a recording. Register online to view.

DocTalk: Dr. Milena Gould Suarez, associate professor of medicine-gastroenterology, and the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center Office of Outreach and Health Disparities share a short video monologue on colorectal cancer screening followed by a Q&A session at noon Tuesday, May 12. Register to receive the Zoom information.

Health Policy Research: Poster abstracts are being accepted through Friday, May 8, for the Health and Science Policy Virtual Research Day, set for May 27 via Zoom. Highlights include more than 20 Baylor faculty speakers, a keynote address by Princeton historian Dr. Keith Wailoo, a special panel with two State Legislators, plus the poster session. The virtual event provides a unique opportunity to hear experts from multiple disciplines discuss some of society's biggest challenges, including a case study on COVID-19. Submit abstracts and register today.

Admissions Interviews: Applications are open for the School of Medicine Admissions Interviewing Subcommittees, charged with interviewing and evaluating applicants with varied backgrounds, values, beliefs, interests, experiences and cultural viewpoints to ensure a diverse student body. Faculty members, fellows, residents and Baylor alumni are eligible to apply. Please see Faculty Opportunities for more information and apply by June 26.

Fasser PA Award: Nominations are sought for the Carl E. Fasser Visionary Leadership Award, established in honor of Carl Fasser, professor and founding director of the Physician Assistant Program, for his sustained demonstration of visionary leadership. PA program alumni and Baylor physician assistants who demonstrate leadership in one or more of the following domains: research, education, clinical practice, administrative and service are eligible. For more information or to submit a nomination by June 26, please see Faculty Opportunities.

Health Equity Scholars: The Center of Excellence in Health Equity, Training and Research is recruiting its 2020-2021 cohort of scholars. The program enhances the training of junior faculty members from populations underrepresented in medicine to increase the number of diverse and highly qualified medical professionals pursuing careers in academic medicine. For more information and the application form, visit the website.

Alzheimer's RFA: The Alzheimer’s Disease and AD-Related Dementias Collaborative seeks proposals to kick-start or expand cross-institutional research that has a high likelihood of receiving external funding. Up to three awards of a maximum $80,000 each are available for a 12-month period of support. Read the full RFA announcement. For questions, please contact requestforapplications@bcm.edu, referencing Alzheimer’s RFA in the subject line.

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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