Highlights: May MAC Meeting

Chair Update (Dean David Wilkes)

  • Dean Wilkes announced that, as of July 1, Brian Hoard, DDS, will be Chair of the Department of Dentistry.
  • Michael Dong

    UVA School of Medicine student Michael Dong is one of only 79 students nationwide to be accepted into the prestigious Medical Research Fellows Program at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The program provides a stipend and other funding that allows med students to take a year off from their studies for in-depth, mentored biomedical research. Mr. Dong will conduct his research in Dr. Jonathan Kipnis’ lab.

Grant Support Index (Margaret Shupnik, PhD)

  • Background: There are new guidelines being discussed at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that may limit grant support to individual principal investigators. The reasoning for this is that there are too many researchers and too few dollars. As of today, 10 percent of PIs have 40 percent of the resources. Additionally, the scientific workforce is aging more rapidly than the general work force. The current system affects young PIs disproportionately.
  • Dr. Shupnik shared that on May 2, 2017, the NIH announced that in order to protect sustainability of the research enterprise it is working on guidelines to limit the number of awards going to successful PIs. It is important to note two things:
    • The NIH will not defund any grants.
    • This only applies only to NIH awards.
  • There is a proposal in place that would take effect for grants submitted in the fall of 2017. This new process would be based on a “grant support index.” (GSI) The GSI is a function of the number of “R01 equivalents” — not dollars or percent effort on R01s.
  • Dr. Shupnik noted that there are many unknowns with this new system. Unanswered questions include:
    • How will multi-PI grants will be scored?
    • How will large, complex grants be counted?
    • How will smaller grants or institutional grants be scored?
    • Additionally: There may be institute-specific aspects to this process.
  • NIH is soliciting input from the scientific community.
    • Updates can be found on “Open Mike,” Mike Lauer’s blog on the NIH website: https://nexus.od.nih.gov/all/category/blog/
    • For previous discussions, refer to the May 2 and January 26 blogs — “Research Commitment Index”.
  • This is still an open discussion at the NIH. Dr. Shupnik, Dean Wilkes, and Dr. Shannon urged chairs to share with their faculty that now is the time to come forth with ideas.
  • Given this new process, Dean Wilkes urged for more diversification of our research portfolio, and to look to other agencies and sources of funds.
  • Please share this information with faculty.

Be Wise (Margaret Plews-Ogan, MD)

  • Be Wise is a Health System-wide effort to allow us to do our best at work and be our best at work. The program will:
    • Enhance individual resilience and interpersonal communication
    • Identify and reduce unnecessary stressors
    • Recognize caregiver stress and know how to respond
  • This leads to improved caregiver wellbeing and the ability to do our best work together.
  • The two arms to Be Wise are prevention and intervention.
  • Over past few months, Be Wise has developed coaching resources. These include: critical conversations, a conversation framework, attention/awareness, self-mastery, stress assessment, communication skills, and resilience practices.
  • Dr. Plews-Ogan shared how best to use the coaches. She asked chairs to invite the coaches to your department or division to deliver presentations or workshops on communication, resilience practices, and the stress continuum.
  • With Dr. Randolph Canterbury’s assistance, Be Wise has developed the Henry Harrison Wilson award. This award — run by students — encourages medical students to catch faculty in the process of doing something well, with regards to the humanistic delivery of healthcare.
  • Plews-Ogan also shared that as part of the Be Wise initiative there is an interdisciplinary committee working on helping people to respond effectively to discriminatory behavior whether from patients, visitors, staff or faculty. The Be Wise program will also include promoting the existing disclosure and peer-support program. Chairs can contact Dr. John Schorling for any of these coaching resources.
  • A Be Wise website with resources is coming soon.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in the BIMS classroom.