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News for BCM Faculty, June 11, 2020
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From the Labs: June’s image of the month is a sample of adult astrocyte diversity in the brain, as revealed by Anna Yu-Szu Huang, working with Dr. Benjamin Deneen, professor and Russell J. and Marian K. Blattner Chair of Neurosurgery. Image courtesy of Huang, the Deneen lab and Neuron.

Academic Council: News headlines again dominated the agenda as pandemic recovery reports shared time with the College’s response to the death of George Floyd at the June 8 meeting.

  • Dr. Toi Harris, associate provost for diversity, inclusion and equity, announced upcoming Compassionate Conversations on systemic racism (see item below) and described the resources available to develop listening and learning skills and raise awareness among different perspectives. She reminded chairs and center directors of the Faculty Inclusion Ambassadors, who champion inclusion and diversity in each unit, and the Integrity Hotline, which may be used to report racism and other incidents that do not reflect Baylor’s values.
  • Dr. Jim McDeavitt, clinical affairs dean, noted with concern the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the community. Sentinel (random) testing of Baylor employees has started and surveillance testing of high-risk and patient-facing providers is ongoing. The College also has trained contact tracers to follow up on any positive tests.
  • Dr. Mary Dickinson, research dean, said the research mission is at 25% occupancy, with all the Advanced Technology Core labs open and clinical research resuming at Baylor and affiliate sites. Beginning June 15, the main campus will be open to researchers from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., allowing an additional three hours daily for lab work.
  • Provost Alicia Monroe reported that students have returned to their clinical experiences and will have limited in-person courses like anatomy and simulation labs in the fall. Most classes and all recruitment interviews will be virtual.
  • Chief Operating Officer Joe Doty said the majority of staff currently telecommuting would remain off campus until research activity returned to pre-coronavirus levels.
  • Dr. Bradley Lembcke, chief medical officer for Catholic Health Initiatives Texas Division, thanked the College for its true partnership with the hospital system during the pandemic.

Compassionate Conversations: The Baylor College of Medicine community will gather virtually for important discussions on violence against African Americans, racism, inequality and community healing on Thursday, June 25. Two Compassionate Conversations will be held by Zoom, from noon to 1:30 p.m. and again from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The formats for both will be the same: Opening remarks from President Paul Klotman; an overview of available resources by Dr. Toi Harris, associate provost for diversity, inclusion and equity; and a presentation on the “8 Rs of Racism” by Dr. Rayne Rouce, assistant professor of pediatrics, associate director of community engagement in the Office of Institutional Diversity, Inclusion and Equity and a faculty senator. Following the presentations, attendees will have small-group discussions, then reconvene to present feedback, moderated by Provost Alicia Monroe. Please register in advance so that you can be assigned to a small group for discussion. CME credit is available.

Faculty Kudos

Toni Gray has been named director of Title IX and disability services. A native Houstonian, she previously served as interim Title IX coordinator and ADA investigator at Texas Southern University. She also has worked at UTHealth, Houston Community College and Prairie View A&M University.

Dr. Norman Sussman, associate professor of medicine – hepatology with the Baylor St. Luke’s Liver Center and a faculty senator, is featured in a NASHNetwork podcast miniseries to promote awareness of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a type of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Baylor and the Southwest National Pediatric Device Consortium, led by Dr. Chester Koh, professor of urology, pediatrics and obstetrics & gynecology and a faculty senator, recently awarded seed grants for novel pediatric medical device development. Winners are:

Dr. Arvind Chandrakantan, assistant professor of anesthesiology, who is developing a stabilizing rod introducer device for endotracheal intubation in children with difficult airways.

Dr. Daniel DeSalvo, assistant professor of pediatrics – diabetes & endocrinology, who is working with the SWPDC Real World Evidence team to develop an acute event detection and management (ADEM) platform device for acute glycemic events in pediatric patients with type 1 diabetes.

Dr. Aloysia Schwabe, associate professor of physical medicine & rehabilitation, who is conducting an early feasibility clinical study with the Abilitech Assist device with the goal of improving upper limb mobility in pediatric patients with cerebral palsy.

Dr. Ronald Vilela, assistant professor of otolaryngology, who is conducting a pilot clinical trial of the BiZact Tonsillectomy device in children to decrease the risk for post-operative pain and dehydration, intra-operative and post-operative blood loss, and postop ER visits.

College (Virtual) Events

Portfolio Workshop: The Office of Faculty Development offers a workshop on preparing your Norton Rose Fulbright portfolio from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday, June 15, via Zoom. RSVP to attend.

Toastmasters Open House: Learn how Medically Speaking Toastmasters can help improve your public speaking and leadership skills when the club hosts a virtual open house from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 16, via Zoom.

Medicine Grand Rounds: Dr. Andras Attila Heczey, assistant professor of pediatrics – hematology/oncology and a member of the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center, discusses “IL15 and IL21 armored GPC3-CAR T cells for the immunotherapy of hepatocellular carcinoma” at 12:30 p.m. Friday, June 19, via Zoom.

Blood Donations: The Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center hosts an appointment-only blood drive from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, June 23, at main Baylor. Please schedule your time at giveblood.org (sponsor code 4402) or contact Lauren Warren. You can find a mobile drive near you online.

Faculty Resources

Call for Abstracts: The Academy of Distinguished Educators invites you to submit your educational scholarship abstract to the virtual Annual Showcase of Educational Scholarship by Aug. 3. See the academy’s website for guidelines; the event is set for Sept. 18.

Mental Health: In these challenging times, the Human Resources Employee Assistance Program is here to help Baylor faculty and staff. Visit the website or call 713-500-3008, (1-866-893-3776 outside Houston).

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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