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News for BCM Faculty, June 18, 2020
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TMC Rally: Scientists and Health Professionals for Black Lives hosted a public rally and march through the Texas Medical Center last week to shed light on systemic racism and inequality. Dr. Waqar Qureshi, professor of medicine – gastroenterology, pictured here with his “Racism is a public health crisis” sign, was one of hundreds of faculty, staff and trainees from across the TMC to join the rally. See the video.

Faculty Senate: In response to recent events of concern, Senate Chair Christie Lincoln introduced two position statements for discussion at the June 11 meeting. One strongly promotes a culture of anti-racism, the other commits support to Chinese trainees and researchers at risk of visa restrictions. Following the meeting, the Senate voted to endorse both statements, which have been disseminated to the Baylor College of Medicine community and posted online.

  • The Senators heard updates on the mission areas’ coronavirus recovery efforts. Addressing concerns about the rise in local COVID-19 cases, Clinical Affairs Dean Jim McDeavitt detailed the ways the College and the TMC are better prepared for the surge than they were in April, including good supplies of PPE, readily available testing, a proven ability to protect employees and trainees, established protocols and effective treatments for patients, and the comfort of knowing that contingency plans exist if the health system becomes overwhelmed.
  • Research Dean Mary Dickinson reported that the main campus will be open three more hours a day to accommodate researchers starting June 15. Weekend lab access will be expanded as soon as possible. All Advanced Technology Core labs are open and research requiring surgical procedures is resuming with a new scheduling tool.
  • Provost Alicia Monroe said teaching faculty should prepare to conduct all courses and lectures virtually. The Education Innovation Core's Keep Teaching webpage provides resources to enhance online course design and teaching methods. She asked that grand rounds, faculty meetings and conferences continue to be virtual so that teaching facilities can be reserved for in-person courses following social distancing guidelines.

Senate Election Results: Colleagues have elected the following faculty members to represent the faculty at large in the Faculty Senate: Dr. Oluyemisi Adeyemi-Fowode, obstetrics & gynecology; Dr. Samiya Ahmad, Children’s Hospital of San Antonio; Dr. Kelli Barbour, obstetrics & gynecology; Dr. Tracilyn Hall, obstetrics & gynecology; Aimee Langley, MSNA, anesthesiology; Eric Martinez, MPAS, emergency medicine; Dr. Derek Meeks, medicine; Dr. Crystal Nwagwu, family & community medicine; Dr. James Orengo, neurology; Dr. Kiki Palacios, anesthesiology; Dr. Akash Patel, neurosurgery; Dr. Ashley Roark, radiology; Dr. Nihita Shah, family & community medicine; and Dr. Ruth Wooton-Kee, molecular & cellular biology. At-large and electoral unit senators’ terms begin July 1. They will be seated at the Aug. 13 meeting of the Faculty Senate.

Congratulations TCH! Baylor affiliate Texas Children’s Hospital ranks No. 4 in the U.S. News & World Report 2020-21 edition of Best Children’s Hospitals. TCH is No. 1 on the national Honor Roll for pediatric cardiology & heart surgery, while neurology & neurosurgery, nephrology, pulmonology & lung surgery, cancer, gastroenterology & GI surgery and diabetes & endocrinology services all rank in the top 5.

Faculty Kudos

Dr. Chris Amos, professor of medicine, director of the Institute for Clinical and Translational Research and associate director of quantitative science at Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center, has been honored with the 2020 American Association for Cancer Research – American Cancer Society Award for Research Excellence in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention. The award recognizes his methods for the analysis of quantitative traits using variance components and strong linkage approaches for understanding the etiological basis of complex diseases like cancer. Amos holds the Martha Ann and Harold M. Selzman, M.D. Endowed Chair.

Dr. Frank Gannon, professor of pathology & immunology and orthopedic surgery, was inducted into the School of Medicine Outstanding Faculty Hall of Fame. It honors faculty members who have won the Graduating Class Outstanding Faculty Award six times in a 10-year span and recognizes their long-term contributions and dedication to medical student education.

Kris Marsack, physician assistant and assistant professor of surgery – plastic & reconstructive surgery, is featured in “Growing Up Baylor” on the College blog Momentum. Marsack, who earned her master’s degree in the PA program, serves as assistant director of surgical advanced practice providers at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Michael Scheurer, professor of pediatrics – hematology & oncology, co-director of the Center for Epidemiology and Population Health and DLDCCC member, and his colleagues have launched a landmark online study, “The Reasons Why Us,” to investigate the environmental and associated genetic risk factors for pediatric cancer. This epidemiological study is being conducted in partnership with The Oliver Foundation and comes amid a recognized but as yet unexplained increase in the incidence of pediatric cancer in the U.S.

Dr. Jihye Yun, assistant professor of molecular & human genetics, is one of five researchers named to the 2020 class of the Pew-Stewart Scholars Program for Cancer Research. Yun, a DLDCCC member, will receive a four-year grant to decode the molecular connection between sugary drinks and the development of colorectal cancer.

College (Virtual) Events

Medicine Grand Rounds: Dr. Andras Attila Heczey, assistant professor of pediatrics – hematology/oncology and a DLDCCC member, 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, in the Gym, 8th floor of Garage 6, main Baylor. Please schedule your time at giveblood.org (sponsor code 4402) or contact Lauren Warren. You can find a mobile donation site near you online.

Compassionate Conversations: The College hosts important Baylor community-wide 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. Please register in advance so that you can be assigned to a small group for discussion. Continuing education credit is available.

Women in Medicine: The Association of American Medical Colleges has issued a report, "State of Women in Academic Medicine," highlighting key advances and challenges. The AAMC discusses findings from the report in a webinar at 1 p.m. Thursday, June 25. Register for the webinar (you will be prompted to create a AAMC account if you do not already have one). In related news, Dr. Toi Harris, associate provost of institutional diversity, inclusion and equity, has been selected as the College's liaison to the AAMC for the Gender Equity Initiative. She will work with leadership, faculty members, Human Resources and the Inclusion and Excellence Council to develop an action plan.

Faculty Resources

COVID-19 Update: Human Resources has answers to your coronavirus questions related to time off (sick, family sick, vacation, floating or other paid time off), leave of absence, medical benefits and back-up dependent care benefits. Email ASKHR@bcm.edu or call 713-798-2754. Visit the Human Resources intranet page to find additional assistance.

Data Workshop: The Department of Family and Community Medicine offers its beginner's Clinical Research Methods course entirely through Zoom June 26-27. The course aims to train health professionals to analyze simple data using statistical analysis software. More information and registration are available online.

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 Friday, June 26.

Fasser PA Award: Nominations are sought for the Carl E. Fasser Visionary Leadership Award, established in honor of the 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 Friday, June 26, please see Faculty Opportunities.

The Searle Scholars Program supports the research of early-career scientists who were appointed as assistant professors in the following fields on or after July 1, 2019: biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, immunology, neuroscience, pharmacology, and related areas in chemistry, medicine, and the biological sciences. Baylor may submit two nominations for this grant worth $300,000 over three years. If interested, please see the listing online and submit the required information by 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 30.

Brody Bioethics Award: Nominations are now being accepted for the 2020-2021 Baruch A. Brody Award & Lecture in Bioethics. The Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Houston Methodist and the Rice University Department of Philosophy sponsor this international $10,000 award and named lectureship in memory of the Center's founding director. Nominations are due Aug. 7. More information on how to nominate someone can be found online.

Advanced Technology Cores: Building on its historic leadership in genetically engineered mouse models, Baylor has established the Genetically Engineered Rodent Models (GERM) Advanced Technology Core. Dr. Jason Heaney, associate professor of molecular & human genetics, will serve as the academic director of the GERM core, which will offer all of the services of the former Mouse Embryonic Stem Cell (MES) and Genetically Engineered Mouse (GEM) cores in a single location. To facilitate the transition, the MES and GEM cores will stop accepting new project requests on their iLabs on Friday, June 19. All pending projects will be transferred and honored by the new GERM core when it begins operations Aug. 1. In the interim, contact core leadership with emergency requests or requests for essential approved COVID-19 research projects at germcore@bcm.edu.

From the Labs: Read how Dr. William Decker, associate professor of pathology & immunology, Dr. Matthew Halpert, instructor in the department, and their colleagues found evidence of a novel mechanism that triggers a cellular immune response in this week’s post. Receive From the Labs via email by entering your email address in the box at the end of any article and clicking the "subscribe" button.

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