Perspectives

A Word From the President

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Truth, Science, and the American Dream

by Darrell G. Kirch, MD, AAMC President and CEO
The following are abridged remarks delivered to more than 4,500 participants at Learn Serve Lead 2017:  The AAMC Annual Meeting, in Boston on Nov. 5.
 
Recently, one particular issue has been weighing heavily on my mind. That issue is the threat to truth. The kind of threat that comes from opinion masquerading as fact, especially on the web and in social media. The threat of confusing “fake news” with real news. The threat that exists when bias and fear distract and distort a debate. For us, this threat to truth represents a fundamental challenge to science—the science we depend on to reveal truth in medicine. Our patients depend on that truth. 
 
Each time I visit one of our member institutions, I witness the power of science in action. A few months ago, I spent a day at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. For most of history, diabetes meant an early death. But a century ago, medicine found the scientific basis for the disease, leading to the discovery of therapeutic insulin in the early 1920s. Dr. Elliott Joslin, a Boston physician with a deep commitment to patients with diabetes, was a pioneer in the use of insulin and in care models that finally allowed patients to manage their diabetes effectively. 
 

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Viewpoints

Friday, November 03, 2017

Suicide Prevention: My Top Clinical Priority

by David J. Shulkin, MD, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

In September 2017, I testified before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee on efforts at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to reduce suicide among military veterans. Our nation has an obligation to protect those who have served us, and that’s why suicide prevention is my top clinical priority. 

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Where Should We Stand on DACA? Flexner Would Answer the Call

by  Sunny Nakae, MSW, PhD

I first became aware of undocumented students in medicine around 2001. At the time, I was a program coordinator, running a pipeline program for prehealth students. My director advised me to process a stipend differently for one of our scholars and explained that she was undocumented. 

Ten years later, a young woman at the AAMC Career Fair approached me after my presentation. She explained that she was an undocumented immigrant and dreamed of becoming a physician.

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Electronic health records (EHRs) weren’t originally designed to predict disease risk or determine a more precise treatment. But when combined with artificial intelligence (AI), EHR data could do both, transforming health care in the process.

At the Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, a project referred to as “Deep Patient” is using AI to comb through mountains of health data, uncovering new insights and connections to predict disease risk. More specifically, Deep Patient uses deep learning, a machine-learning approach that essentially mimics the neural networks of the brain, allowing the computer system to learn new things without being programmed to do so.

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Academic Medicine in the News

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Merging Medicine and Engineering

Texas A&M University Health Science Center has launched Engineering Health (EnHealth), the nation’s first comprehensive educational program to fully integrate engineering into all health-related disciplines. EnHealth is a multi-college initiative designed to produce health care professionals with an engineering mindset who can invent transformational technology to address  health care’s greatest challenges.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Electrical Bandages Help Prevent Infections

Researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center have shown—for the first time—that special bandages using weak electric fields to disrupt bacterial biofilm infection can prevent infections, combat antibiotic resistance, and promote healing in infected burn wounds. The dressing becomes electrically active upon contact with bodily fluids.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Cancer Patients Now Can See a 3D Preview of Radiation Treatment

Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) has been using 3-D images and simulations to teach students about administering radiation therapy for a year. Now OHSU will use Virtual Environment Radiotherapy Training—or VERT™—to help patients and their families understand radiation therapy and to alleviate their concerns about upcoming procedures.

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