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News for BCM Faculty, Sept. 17, 2020
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Lab Style: Maricela Ramirez, laboratory director for Dr. Sarah Elsea, professor of molecular & human genetics, stays on-brand while following masking and social distancing guidelines in the research environment. The latest information on surviving the pandemic, including the new “Planning for Healthy Schools: A Guide to Reopening and Safe Operations,” is available on the coronavirus website.

Academic Council: COVID-19 loomed large in the fiscal year-end reports presented by President Paul Klotman and mission leaders at the Sept. 14 meeting of chairs, center directors and administrators. Highlights included:

  • Baylor College of Medicine met its budget through “traditional, non-traditional and exceptional means,” as COO Joe Doty said. That included assessing and maximizing recovery funds from FEMA and the CARES Act.
  • Baylor Medicine provided more than 35,000 telehealth visits and anticipates a return to 90% of baseline activity this month.
  • Research saw a strong increase in grant submissions and received $11 million more in outside grants than in FY2019, including $5.7 million in coronavirus awards and $28 million in CPRIT grants.
  • Education launched the new Department of Education Innovation and Technology and expanded resources for the recruitment of diverse faculty, students and trainees.
  • The College executed a new contract with Harris Health System.
  • The academic integration team aligned COVID-related testing, education and clinical trial policies and procedures with all affiliates and managed the faculty surge planning process. It developed three convalescent plasma study protocols.

Rare Diseases Grant: The College has received a $9.94 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for the new Center for Precision Medicine Models to facilitate the study of rare genetic diseases. It will use precision animal models of a specific genetic variation to study why the change causes disease and how the disease can be treated. The center will take nominations for genetic variants to model from patients, patient groups, clinicians, researchers and NIH-funded consortiums like the Undiagnosed Diseases Network and the Centers for Mendelian Genomics.

Breast Cancer Renewal: The National Cancer Institute has renewed the SPORE program in breast cancer awarded to the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center for more than $11 million over five years. The center, directed by Dr. Matthew Ellis, has had NCI funding since 1992 when Dr. C. Kent Osborne, founding director of the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center, and his team were awarded one of the first four SPOREs while at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. This additional funding will help with research for better treatment and a potential cure for metastatic breast cancer.

Faculty Kudos

image Two Baylor graduate students have received prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute 2020 Gilliam Fellowships for Advanced Study. Gabriella Perez and her Neuroscience adviser Dr. Joanna Jankowsky, and Jacob Ortega and his Developmental Biology adviser, Dr. Swathi Arur of MD Anderson Cancer Center, were recognized by the program, which seeks to increase the diversity of scientists in academia by supporting future scientific leaders. Advisers participate in a year of mentor training focused on cultural identity and engaging across cultures. Fellows are invited to attend the annual Gilliam meeting and HHMI scientific meetings.

image The Southwest Pediatric Device Consortium has announced the winners of its 2020 Impact Grants for COVID-19 and Other Critical Needs Areas. Dr. Rohith Malya, assistant professor of emergency medicine and adjunct assistant professor of bioengineering at Rice University, and his team received funding for the ApolloBVM, an automated bag valve mask resuscitator that won emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. A Baylor-Texas Children’s Hospital team including Dr. Zbigniew Starosolski, assistant professor of radiology and a senior research scientist at TCH, received a SWPDC award for a 3-D printed pediatric nasopharynx swab stick.

Dr. Arthur Bracey, professor of pathology & immunology, was awarded the President's Award by the Society for the Advancement of Blood Management. The award recognizes contributions to the public good in the area of blood safety and reduction of unnecessary transfusions. Bracey is chief of clinical pathology at Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center and co-chair of the CommonSpirit Health Blood Therapeutics Clinical Council.

Dr. Arindam Sarkar, assistant professor of family & community medicine, is featured in “Growing Up Baylor” on the Momentum blog. The Summer Medical and Research Training program was his introduction to the College and his career.

College (Virtual) Events

Off Script: “Stories from the Heart of Medicine,” Baylor’s Narrative Medicine Program and UT Health’s McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics storytelling event, is back with tales on the theme of Hope at 6 p.m. today, Sept. 17, via Zoom. Register to attend.

Cardiometabolic Conference: The inaugural Houston “Prevention Rules for Cardiometabolic Diseases” virtual course offered by the Department of Medicine starts at 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 19. Designed for primary care providers, cardiologists, allied health professionals and endocrinologists, the course offers 7 AMA PRA Category 1 credits. Register online.

Blood Donations: Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center hosts an appointment-only blood drive from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22, in the BCM Gym, 8th floor of Garage 6, main Baylor. Participants receive a free COVID-19 antibody test and blood center socks. Please schedule your time online or contact Lauren Warren. You also can find a mobile donation site near you online.

Postdoc Town Hall: Join the virtual Postdoctoral Affairs Town Hall at noon Tuesday, Sept. 22, for an overview of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and highlights of the PROS recruitment program, policy updates and professional skills development for postdocs. Register to attend.

Faculty Opportunities

Diversity Showcase: What is your clinic, lab, academic program or administrative unit doing to address diversity, equity and inclusion at the College? Highlight your programs in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Showcase, at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7. Complete an application by Wednesday, Sept. 23, to participate.

Health Equity RFA: The Office of the President seeks proposals for grants of up to $50,000 for diverse multidisciplinary research teams to address the root causes of health disparities and ensure equitable health outcomes. The RFA document provides more details and submission information. The proposal deadline has been extended to 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2.

Faculty Interviewers: The Office of Student Affairs and Career Development Center seek faculty support to assist medical students in residency interview preparation, Oct. 5-23. This year all mock interviews will be conducted via Zoom and will consist of a 20-minute interview followed by a 10-minute debrief/feedback session with the student and an observer from Career Development. A minimum two-hour commitment is required. Sign up for your interview slot.

Committee Members: The School of Medicine Committee for Student Promotion and Academic Achievement seeks faculty members to participate in this committee charged with reviewing the academic and professional progress of each medical student. Broad faculty representation from both clinical and basic sciences is highly desired. More information is available online. Please apply by close of business Friday, Oct. 2.

Faculty Resources

Career Workshops: The Office of Faculty Development hosts workshops this month to help you advance in your career. RSVP to attend either workshop virtually:

  • Patient Care Awards Portfolio, 2 to 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 21
  • Norton Rose Fulbright Portfolio, 2 to 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28

Compassionate Conversation: The Office of Institutional Diversity, Inclusion and Equity hosts a virtual discussion of Bryan Stevenson’s book, “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption,” at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24. Panelists include Dr. Ricardo Nuila, associate professor of medicine, and Dr. Marc Robinson, assistant professor of medicine. Register to attend.

Pediatrics Symposium: The Children's National - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases virtual symposium is set for Tuesday, Sept. 29. The theme is the COVID-19 pandemic in the pediatric population, featuring Dr. Anthony S. Fauci and Dr. Peter Hotez. See the agenda and register.

Ethics Grand Rounds: The Center for Medical Ethics & Health Policy and Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center present “Supporting Families and Managing Moral Distress During COVID-19,” a panel discussion with Drs. Eric Storch, Andrew Childress, Charu Agrawal, Claire Horner and Deborah Whisnand, BSLMC clinical pastoral education, at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30, via Zoom. Text 713-903-7277 and enter event ID: REVRON.

Voter's Guide: Find what you need to make your vote count Nov. 3. Baylor's voter's guide includes links to voter information for Harris, Fort Bend, Brazoria and Montgomery counties as well as links to register to vote, check your voter registration status and request to vote by mail. A few key dates to note:

  • Last day to complete the 2020 Census: Wednesday, Sept. 30
  • Last day to register to vote: Monday, Oct. 5
  • Last day to request a mail-in ballot: Oct. 23
  • Early Voting: Oct. 13-30
  • Election Day: Nov. 3

Drug Roundup: The Office of Environmental Safety hosts a DEA Controlled Substances Collection/Disposal Event on Wednesday, Oct. 7. Sharps Compliance, Inc., will accept controlled substances from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the ground floor ABBR Access Hallway from the Jewish Institute/Jones Building.

LCME Update: The School of Medicine's September LCME Newsletter features recent subcommittee work and an overview of Element 6.1 – Programs and Learning Objectives, and Element 10.5 – Technical Standards.

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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