Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Improving population health

Posted on June 29th, 2012 in General | 2 Comments »

With only a year at UC Davis Health System, Kenneth W. Kizer has made great strides at the Institute of Population Health Improvement. Kizer, the Institute’s Director, announced this week a $30 million partnership with the California Department of Public Health to run the California Cancer Registry, one of the world’s leading resources for population-based data on cancer.

In May, the California Health and Human Services Agency announced a $20 million plan to partner with the Institute at UC Davis to implement the Health Information Exchange (HIE) programs. The HIE will help strengthen health-care services in California.

The Cancer Registry and Health Information Exchange program provide important data for research that will advance the health of everyone throughout the State.

A monumental day

Posted on June 28th, 2012 in General | No Comments »

Today is a monumental day with the U.S. Supreme Court’s vote to uphold the Affordable Care Act. I am personally pleased with the decision as I think about the many people I’ve worked with in my 30 plus years of practice. Many of these people suffered from lack of affordable health care, or had pre-existing conditions such as cancer that prevented them from receiving insurance. During this time, access to affordable care became an increasing burden for many.

Our colleagues at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) have emphasized the leadership role for academic health centers in the transformation of health care and population health in an initial analysis memo sent to members earlier today. UC Davis Health System and our community will need to work together effectively for our region to accept the increased numbers of insured patients who rightfully expect to receive continuing care. While we have a limited capacity, we can use our expertise in health-care delivery service and interprofessional health education to launch the Affordable Care Act.

Research education and career development

Posted on June 5th, 2012 in General | No Comments »

One of the things I enjoy most during the year is being the director of our Clinical Translational Science Center (CTSC) Research Education and Career Development (RECD) program. This Saturday, we had our annual “graduation” exercise in the Meyers’ backyard with 93 attendees. We honored 25 junior researchers and their families, as well as their mentors who are drawn from five training grants. We have a unique model at UC Davis Health System that integrates and coordinates our core CTSC funded programs (Mentored Clinical Training Program (MCRTP), T32 and K12), our affiliated programs (Building Integrated Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH), stem cell, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), Primary Care Outcomes Research (PCOR)), and our newest additions (K12s in Oncology and in Emergency Medicine), as one for strategic career development in clinical translational research. This is a model for all types of career development, including education, clinical care, and community service, that values interprofessional and interdisciplinary research.

We have a few papers now that discuss our view points. Two from Science Translational Medicine – one from 2010 on Recombinant Innovation and Translational Science Trainees (link unavailable at this time), and one from last year on Creating the Future Biomedical Research Workforce. This year, an article on Strengthening the Career Development of Clinical Translational Scientists was published in Clinical Translational Science. Check out Science Translational Medicine for Kelly LaMarco’s new series. Kelly, Senior Science Editor of Science Translational Medicine, is passionate about career development.

Congratulations to the junior researchers who are on their way to bright careers!

Good policy makes a difference

Posted on May 23rd, 2012 in General | No Comments »

A healthy work force is foundational to the next economy of Northern Inland California (and to any economy in our world). We do not have a healthy work force. Our region, including the entire Sacramento/San Joaquin Valley, is rated among the lowest of counties in California and the nation by several assessments including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation county by county comparison.

While the incidence of cigarette smoking has decreased inCalifornia, the health inequities are glaringly obvious in the higher rates of smoking in low socio-economic regions and within vulnerable youth. The demographics of our young people reflect high rates of high school drop out, lower rates of college matriculation, high unemployment and high rates of smoking and obesity. We cannot satisfy work force needs if our young people are not healthy and well educated.

And in our already employed work force cigarette use erodes the economy by accelerating the rate of lost days of work due to chronic illness, for example 1) acute and chronic bronchitis (COPD), 2) complications of diabetes exacerbated by the huge adverse impact of cigarette smoking (more than any other factor for large blood vessel disease such as heart attack and stroke), 3) chronic congestive heart failure, and 4) premature death due to cancer and cardio-vascular-pulmonary disease.

Research may well solve some of health care enigmas. How many of us have known a young woman in her 30s or 40s stuck down by lung cancer? The epidemic of lung cancer in young women without a history of cigarette smoking is tragic and without known cause.  Cancer research will dissect the complex interaction between environmental factors, second hand smoke, and inherited genetic actors that collaborate to rob us of our beloved mothers/wives/partners/daughters.

UC Davis is a research power house including an enhanced designation as an NCI designated comprehensive cancer center, with our partner cancer centers up and down the Valley and with our VA hospital. The entire UC Davis community already works across disciplines (engineering, health sciences, agriculture, vet medicine, biology, and humanities) to drive real solutions to societal problems. Our region has an opportunity to emerge from the economic downturn as one of the newest hubs for recombinant innovation, the collaboration between diverse professions and increasingly the power of collaboration between all 10 UC campuses.

The right kind of policy will provide rewarding and high paying jobs anchored in science and technology, stimulate our economy, improve the health of our work force through prevention, treatment and public health, and promote academic and private partnerships.

However, in addition to research, good individual and community health is most of all determined by societal factors such as the eradication of poverty, higher educational attainment, access to healthy life styles, and most importantly a policy agenda that supports the public health. We need policies that will support the future of the Valley’s economy, the future of a healthy work force, and a future without health inequities.

“Would you like to know more about UC Davis?”

Posted on May 11th, 2012 in General | 5 Comments »

We all have the power to advance health by offering the opportunity to others to support the important work we do. Being ambassadors for UC Davis Health System is a responsibility shared among leadership, faculty, researchers, staff, alumni, volunteers, donors, students, and patients and their families. The easy, first step in developing a philanthropic partnership with potential supporters is sharing the remarkable ways we are advancing health.

I’ve enjoyed becoming more involved in development work and am pleased to see a significant increase in success. Today, I gave a hard hat tour of our new Comprehensive Cancer Center building. It’s a thrill to share our story. Join me in getting more people involved by asking a simple question: “Would you like to learn more about UC Davis Health System?”

With this question, there are endless possibilities to match the interest of potential donors with the many ways we are advance health through research, patient care, education, and community engagement. Philanthropy is vital to the future of our health system and health care in general. The funding environment is changing in virtually every aspect of health care. We must all become ambassadors.

I look forward to hearing how philanthropy has helped you achieve your goals or if you’re a donor, how your donation has helped UC Davis Health System. You can write a comment below or send me an email.

Harnessing the energy of team tensions

Posted on April 25th, 2012 in General | 2 Comments »

As a follow up to my last post, I want to share with you some further thoughts on my presentation on the “Science of Team Science” last week in Washington, DC.  Team collaboration has been part of team science for a century. It’s not about “if” but about “how” for team science to happen, and happen well. Fortunately, there are good resources on how team science can be done well.

Teamwork outside of science is worth exploring, particularly in the fields of technology, sports, architecture, and in literature, to name a few. Collaborative team science incorporates a variety of perspectives, and it’s the tension between these differences and how they are coordinated that lead to innovation and new discoveries, not only in research but in clinical practice and education.

I thoroughly enjoyed working with the panel on team science in DC. Here is a great resource from the NIH Office of the Ombudsman on collaboration and team science, a field guide:

http://ombudsman.nih.gov/collaborationTS.html

I also want to share Amy Edmondson’s article, “Teamwork on the Fly,” from the Harvard Business Review earlier this month:

http://hbr.org/2012/04/teamwork-on-the-fly/ar/1

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on why some research teams succeed while others do not.

The science of team science

Posted on April 17th, 2012 in General | No Comments »

I’m heading to Washington, D.C. today for Translational Science 2012, a Society for Clinical and Translational Science conference. I’m presenting on “The Science of Team Science” panel which will be chaired by Melissa Begg, ScD, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

Increasingly, advances in clinical and translational science depend upon the collaborative efforts of an interdisciplinary team. The success of any scientific team depends on the contributions of its members. Our session will address ways of preparing and supporting scholars to succeed in interdisciplinary team environments, with a focus on organizational challenges in academic settings.

My presentation is on “The Cultures of Team Science and the Value of Diversity: Views from Outside of the Scientific Community.” I’m personally interested in the tension of having different perspectives on teams. I believe it’s this tension that leads to innovation.

What do you think about team science? I’d like to hear your thoughts on what works and what doesn’t.

Qualitative health

Posted on March 26th, 2012 in General | 1 Comment »

UC Davis Health System is highly regarded in many ways, most notably for being interprofessional and collaborative. This week, I asked Heather M. Young, Dean of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, to share information about an exciting effort on a new topic–the inaugural Qualitative Health Symposium. Dean Young and I hope to see faculty, students and researchers from a variety of disciplines participate, including nursing, medicine, social sciences, and public health. Dean Young is a visionary leader and mentor, whose perspective I greatly admire.

In the words of Dean Young:

Dr. Meyers and I agree interprofessional collaboration is essential to advance and improve health care for individuals, families and communities. Teamwork is essential in the classroom and in clinical settings but also in the research necessary to fuel innovation.

Heather M. Young, Dean, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing

Today’s complex health problems require creative and multidimensional approaches to generate and test solutions. This can be advanced both through interdisciplinary team science and through the inclusion of multiple methods in study design. Interdisciplinary research teams, including nursing, social science and biomedical experts, improves the study of health and illness and promotes discovery of creative solutions that are meaningful to society.

We at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis are excited to partner with our colleagues at the Clinical and Translational Science Center, the Center for Reducing Health Disparities and the Center for Healthcare Policy and Research to provide the inaugural Qualitative Health Symposium: Using Qualitative Methods to Advance Health Research at our Sacramento campus Wednesday, May 2.

Qualitative research contributes to a more robust understanding of health issues by allowing exploration of processes and assumptions behind more quantitative manifestations and results.  Qualitative research is ideal to explore underlying causes of behaviors or actions, examining why certain solutions work or do not work. Through qualitative research, we can achieve an in-depth understanding of human behavior and the social processes involved in health and illness.

Click here for more details.

We hope to see this event grow to be an annual gathering of researchers sharing best practices and discoveries and exploring potential collaborations and other ways team-based science can lead toward transformative solutions in health care.

Register for the free symposium by April 18 at sonrsvp.com.

Heather M. Young, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dean, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing
Associate Vice Chancellor for Nursing, UC Davis Health System

Student leadership

Posted on March 16th, 2012 in General | No Comments »

I am impressed with every student at UC Davis School of Medicine. They are engaged in the greater community of UC Davis Health System and beyond, and many are active in advocacy efforts. This week, I want to highlight one student who is already making a difference in health-care leadership and policy, both critical components of advancing health.

Adam Dougherty, a second year medical student, recently won the American Medical Association (AMA) Foundation’s 2012 Leadership Award. This award provides special training to develop skills as future leaders in organized medicine and community affairs. As a way of congratulating Adam, I invited him to write a guest blog (as if he doesn’t already have enough to do). 

Adam Dougherty accepts his leadership award.

In the words of medical student Adam Dougherty:

It was an incredible honor to accept this award, and the training I received will benefit me greatly in future endeavors. The efforts and accomplishments of my fellow award recipients were inspiring, and will continue to motivate me as a leader. Since beginning medical school, I have accumulated a number of extracurricular responsibilities, including leadership roles in state and national organized medicine, organizing UC Davis students for the annual Sacramento Lobby Day for the California Universal Health Care Act (many thanks to Dr. Meyers and the Administration for their support and assistance!), writing for the local medical society journal, SSV Medicine, and a recent appointment to the Sacramento County Public Health Advisory Board.

I often get asked the question, “How do you do it all?” Medical school is, in itself, a full-time investment, and while my education is first and foremost, I understand the importance of extra-clinical development. Since obtaining a Master’s degree in Public Health and working for several years in health policy, I recognize that future physicians must take greater roles to educate, empower and lead. In an age of unsustainable growth in health care costs and major structural changes in the American health-care system, it is imperative for physicians to be a part of answering the toughest questions that we face through a combination of clinical perspective and health system governance. Through leadership positions and other streams of communication, I hope to continue to analyze, digest, translate, and steer developments in the increasingly complex health policy world while exposing my classmates and colleagues to the importance of health system reform, health policy, and advocacy.

 

Many pathways for success

Posted on March 16th, 2012 in General | No Comments »

The Spring 2012 edition of the Faculty Newsletter features an article on mentorship, something that is very important for all of us at UC Davis, particularly for those on an academic research trajectory. You can read the newsletter here: FacDevNLSpring2012.

I encourage everyone at UC Davis Health System to know the pathways available for yourself, and to guide those who would benefit from these resources. Everyone does better with mentoring and coaching.