Are Physicians Prepared to Respond to the Changing Healthcare Landscape?

A conference at the New York Academy of Sciences will focus on how to effectively train physicians and health researchers to provide high-quality, equitable care in light of widespread health disparities.

The American healthcare landscape is changing rapidly due to shifting demographics, rising costs, and policy changes such as the Affordable Care Act. In light of these changes, physicians and clinical researchers are challenged to acquire the necessary tools to provide high-quality, affordable, and equitable care to all. On Tuesday, October 2, representatives from medical schools will convene to discuss Prioritizing Health Disparities in Medical Education to Improve Care, presented by The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, the Associated Medical Schools of New York, NYU School of Medicine, and the New York Academy of Sciences.

“There is national emphasis on the priorities of reducing healthcare cost and improving quality,” says Marc Nivet, EdD, Chief Diversity Officer, Association of American Medical Colleges. “These are laudable goals, but these efforts alone will not be sufficient to tackle health disparities with deep structural and societal origin. Ensuring a diverse, linguistically and culturally competent clinical and biomedical research workforce must also be a national priority, if we’re serious about health equity.” Nivet will be speaking on the topic of “Diversity as a Driver of Health Equity.”

Reducing inequities in healthcare will require broadening medical training to include health disparities education and research beyond the current focus on race and ethnicity to consider determinants such as socioeconomic status, environmental conditions, gender identity, sexual orientation, behavioral choices, and access to medical care.

“Understanding and correcting health disparities is an important national priority. Educating the next generation of students in this area is essential if we are to achieve that goal,” says George Thibault, MD, President, The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation.

Designed for medical school administrators, policy makers, clinicians, and researchers, and medical students, the conference, to be held at the Academy’s headquarters in New York City, will convene representatives from medical schools that have incorporated emerging health disparities themes into their curricula to discuss three major topics. These topics include:

  • Innovative teaching models for incorporating health disparities research into the curriculum while emphasizing the role of physicians in preserving health;
  • Attracting medical trainees to health disparities research; and
  • Improving the recruitment of underrepresented minority medical students with a health disparities curriculum.

“To adapt the training of 21st century physicians to the ever-changing and increasingly diverse population healthcare landscape, it is critical to not only teach bedside skills for culturally competent care of the individual patient, but also to take the vitals of a family, a neighborhood, or a community linked to that patient in order to address possible barriers to achieving and maintaining optimal health,” says Conference Organizer and Chair Fritz François, MD, MSc, FACG, Associate Dean for Diversity and Academic Affairs, NYU School of Medicine, who will be giving a lecture on “Addressing Health Disparities through Molecular Epidemiology.”

A special panel discussion organized in collaboration with the New York Academy of Sciences’ Science Alliance program will allow medical students from health disparities research programs at various institutions to discuss their own experiences and provide recommendations to further improve student training.

“Now more than ever before there is a clear understanding that cross-cultural medical education is critical in preparing our healthcare workforce to deliver high-quality, equitable care to an increasingly diverse population. Our rapidly changing healthcare system requires that we are all prepared to take care of any patient, at anytime, anywhere—and students recognize this need and are calling for our leadership in preparing them to meet this challenge,” says Conference Chair Joseph Betancourt, MD, MPH, Director, The Disparities Solutions Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, who will be giving a lecture on “Improving Quality and Achieving Equity through Cross-cultural Education.”

“The NYS medical schools are training a diverse and culturally competent workforce that recognizes that part of their collective responsibility is to address issues of access and health equity,” says Jo Wiederhorn, President and CEO of the Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY). “AMSNY remains committed to promoting diversity in medicine as a means to eliminate health disparities and significantly improve healthcare outcomes.”

Additional lectures will cover topics such as linking university health resources to social determinants in the community, training medical students to deliver comprehensive LGBT patient care, and health disparities and social justice. A networking reception will follow the conference programming.

For more information, including the full conference agenda, visit

Media must RSVP to:
Diana Friedman
(212) 298-8645

About The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation
The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation is a privately endowed philanthropy located in the borough of Manhattan, New York City. The Foundation supports programs designed to improve the education of health professionals in the interest of the health of the public, and to enhance the representation of minorities in the health professions. Visit the Foundation at

About the Associated Medical Schools of New York
Incorporated in 1967, the Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY) is a consortium of the sixteen public and private medical schools in New York State. Working in partnership with its members, AMSNY’s mission is to promote high quality and cost-efficient health care by assuring that the medical schools of New York State can provide outstanding medical education, care, and research. Visit the Associated Medical Schools of New York at

About NYU School of Medicine
NYU School of Medicine is one of the nation’s preeminent academic institutions dedicated to achieving world class medical educational excellence. For 170 years, NYU School of Medicine has trained thousands of physicians and scientists who have helped to shape the course of medical history and enrich the lives of countless people. An integral part of NYU Langone Medical Center, the School of Medicine at its core is committed to improving the human condition through medical education, scientific research and direct patient care. Visit NYU School of Medicine at

About the New York Academy of Sciences
The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been committed to advancing science, technology, and society worldwide. With 25,000 members in 140 countries, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. The Academy’s core mission is to advance scientific knowledge, positively impact the major global challenges of society with science-based solutions, and increase the number of scientifically informed individuals in society at large. Please visit us online at

For the original press release, click here.
© 2012 The New York Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Early Activation of Immune Response Could Lead to Better Vaccines

Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have discovered a new “first response” mechanism that the immune system uses to respond to infection. The findings challenge the current understanding of immunity and could lead to new strategies for boosting the effectiveness of all vaccines.

“The important concept to take from this study is that it may be possible to improve vaccines by making this early, generalized immune response persist for a longer time until the later, targeted immune response kicks in…”

For the full news release, click here.
© 2012 Albert Einstein College of Medicine. All rights reserved.

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Awards $1.8 Million to Weill Cornell for Translational Research in Blood Cancers

Weill Cornell Medical College received three research grants from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, totaling $1.8 million. The funds will be used to support translational research for blood cancers. The $600,000 awards are part of the nationwide $12 million investment by the L&LS’ Translational Research Program.

“The funds will support critically-needed translational research for blood cancers, accelerating promising discoveries from the laboratory to the patient’s bedside…”

For the full news release, click here.
© 2012 Weill Cornell Medical College. All rights reserved.

NIH Awards O’Brian $1.1 Million to Study Regulation of Metabolism

A grant was awarded in the amount of $1.1 million by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to Mark R. O’Brian, PhD, a professor of biochemistry at the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York (SUNY). Led by Dr. O’Brian, the study being funded seeks to further explore the regulation of bacterial manganese metabolism and make new strides in this type of research.

“O’Brian hopes the research will illuminate manganese’s role in cells, something researchers don’t fully understand…”

For the full news release, click here.
© 2012 University at Buffalo. All rights reserved.

New York's Investment in Stem Cell Program Continues to Generate New Medical Treatments and Innovative Research

Government Relations Committee”Public Relations Committee”

The Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY) today released a 2012 report showing how New York’s stem cell program has enabled it to emerge as a leader in stem cell research, and strengthened the state’s economy through job creation.

“This report demonstrates the foresight of New York’s leaders in funding stem cell research. Not only are scientists across the state making progress towards understanding how to treat or prevent debilitating diseases, New York’s stem cell program generates jobs, attracts promising young women and men into medical and scientific careers, and enhances our state’s leadership in biomedical research,” said Dr. Lee Goldman, AMSNY’s chair, and executive vice president and dean of the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons.

In 2007, New York State allocated $600 million over 11 years to the Empire State Stem Cell Program (NYSTEM), making it the second largest publically-financed stem cell program in the country. To date, New York has awarded nearly $223 million of the $600 million to support stem cell research for the purpose of exploring innovative cures and treatment to life threatening and chronic illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s, and Arterial Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

In addition to supporting ground-breaking stem cell research projects, the state’s investment has been a tool for economic development by creating or maintaining more than 400 jobs at AMSNY institutions since the program’s inception, and is attracting world-renowned researchers and scientists to New York.

Dr. Ronald G. Crystal, chairman and professor of Genetic Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, said, “Stem cell research holds the promise of tomorrow’s medical breakthroughs to improve human health. Continuing to advance stem cell research in New York is vital since we are one of the strongest and largest centers of stem cell science in the world and home to some of the most talented medical researchers. Funding for stem cell research in New York is critical and any reduction in support will slow our progress toward securing the important discoveries and cures for the devastating diseases that affect New Yorkers.”

Dr. Allen M. Spiegel, dean of Albert Einstein College of Medicine said, “The Albert Einstein College of Medicine has made a major commitment to the stem cell research field because it offers tremendous potential for understanding the causes of and developing better treatments for diseases like cancer, type 1 diabetes, and Parkinson’s. The NYSTEM program has been critical in helping Einstein support innovative and technically advanced work in this vital field.”

Dennis S. Charney, MD, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and executive vice president for Academic Affairs at the Mount Sinai Medical Center said, “Stem cell research has the potential to transform the way medicine is practiced and it is an area that has been one of Mount Sinai’s top priorities. Our researchers at the Black Family Stem Cell Institute, with funding from The Empire State Stem Cell Program, were the first to develop abnormal heart cells from human stem cells, allowing them to study potential treatments for cardiomyopathy. Maintaining funding for stem cell research is essential to the continued success of our research programs which, in addition to studying heart disease, include researching potential treatments for schizophrenia, autism, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes.”

Ruth Lehmann, PhD, Director of the Kimmel Center for Stem Cell Biology and the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine at NYU School of Medicine, part of the NYU Langone Medical Center, said, “In the current political and economic climate, where the government’s funding choices are being scrutinized, it is important to realize the impact of continuing to support early stage research and development, particularly in stem cell biology. The majority of scientific and medical discoveries originate in early stage laboratory research. By focusing its support on early stage research, NYSTEM has attracted new researchers to the field of stem cell biology who are bringing creative ideas and new approaches to this important field. At NYU Langone, this support has contributed to understanding the underlying causes of leukemia and to developing new approaches for cancer stem cell therapies. Without this funding, academic medical centers cannot thrive, and our leadership as innovators in health and science is threatened.”

According to the report, New York’s funding commitment is critical to the state’s stem cell research and patient communities given its unique nature. NYSTEM funds early stage projects that have not been able to access other funding sources such as those granted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NYSTEM also is distinct among other research grants in that it provides funding for capital projects and equipment, allowing institutions to develop or expand their stem cell research infrastructure.

“NYSTEM has made it possible for cutting-edge stem cell research to thrive in New York,” said Jo Wiederhorn, AMSNY’s president and CEO. “Across the state, medical schools and research institutions have been renovating laboratories and building state-of-the-art stem cell centers – spurring economic development and fostering medical innovation. None of this would have been possible without NYSTEM.”

The program also has stimulated state research institutions to make their own investments in stem cell research, which in turn has improved their ability to win additional NIH grants and attract private sector and philanthropic funding.

For the full report, click here.

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The Need To Incorporate Health Information Technology Into Physicians’ Education And Professional Development

Educational Innovations Committee”

Abstract: Nationwide, as physicians and health care systems adopt electronic health records, health information technology is becoming integral to the practice of medicine. But current medical education and professional development curricula do not systematically prepare physicians to use electronic health records and the data these systems collect. We detail how training in meaningful use of electronic health records could be incorporated into physician training, from medical school, through licensure and board certification, to continuing medical education and the maintenance of licensure and board certification. We identify six near-term opportunities for professional organizations to accelerate the integration of health information technology into their requirements.

This paper was co-authored by:
Pierce Graham-Jones; Sachin H. Jain; Charles P. Friedman; Leah Marcotte; and David Blumenthal.

For the full paper, click here.
© 2012 Health Affairs. All rights reserved.

Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY) Diversity Programs Profiled

The Capitol Press Room, a daily radio program broadcast from the Capitol, and produced by WCNY radio profiled two initiatives championed by the Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY) that are designed with a two-fold purpose: encouraging young people from low-income communities to pursue careers in the health sciences; and addressing the challenges of New York’s anticipated physician shortage.

Featured on the program were Jo Wiederhorn, AMSNY’s President and Chief Executive Officer; and a 25-year-old graduate student, Kevin Frison, who upon completion of AMSNY’s Post-Baccalaureate Program at the University at Buffalo will enroll later this year at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

For the full podcast of the program, click here.
© 2012 The Capitol Bureau. All rights reserved.

The Associated Medical Schools of New York Successfully Held its 2011 Symposium

Educational Innovations Committee”

The Associated Medical Schools of New York successfully held its 2011 Symposium “The Challenge of Competencies in Undergraduate Medical Education” on September 16th in the Goldwurm Auditorium at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Its goal was to share approaches, solutions to key challenges and best practices with regard to the implementation on competency-based education and assessment in undergraduate medical education. This event hosted more that 50 faculty members from medical schools and health care systems across the tri-state region, as well as representatives from the AAMC .

The event started with a panel of distinguished faculty members from three of AMSNY’s member institutions; each of whom is nationally known for scholarly work in competency based curriculum, assessment and curriculum design. The panel, included Latha Chandran, MD, MPH, Vice Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education at Stony Brook University School of Medicine; Stephen Lurie, MD, Director of Evaluation, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry; David Battinelli, MD, Senior Associate Dean for Education, Hofstra Northshore-LIJ School of Medicine. The keynote speaker Maryellen Gusic, MD, Executive Associate Dean for Educational Affairs, Indiana University School of Medicine (IUSM), provided a look inside the IUSM and the competency-based curriculum model it implemented in 1999. Panelists’ bios and speaker slides are available for download on the sidebar.

Leading Health Care Teams in an Era of Continuous Change: The AMSNY and NYSADC Conference on Interprofessional Leadership

Educational Innovations Committee”

The Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY) and the New York State Academic Dental Centers (NYSADC), with support from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation and the ADEAGies Foundation, convened an interprofessional group of more than 60 state and national leaders from academic health centers to envision the future health care delivery environment of the mid-21st century.

Representatives from medicine, dentistry, nursing, public health, social work, psychology, hospital systems, health policy and management, including recent inductees into the Institute of Medicine (IOM), discussed the future direction of health care education and delivery. They sought opportunities for working collectively across the professions, to help bridge the widening gap between the current training and practice of health care professionals and society’s needs.

George E. Thibault, MD, president of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation; and Richard W. Valachovic, DMD, MPH, president of ADEAGies Foundation gave opening remarks at the conference and noted the significance of the initiative and its importance for bringing together health professionals to work toward the same goal of improved health care outcomes. The conference was based on the following premises:

  • Health professions’ education must evolve beyond 20th century models; as such educational content and learning experiences must be pertinent to practice in the 21st century.
  • The development of interprofessional teams offers the potential to significantly improve the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of health care delivery; structural changes to the educational system need to be implemented in order to foster collaborative models of interprofessional training.

Conference participants were asked to identify educational challenges and areas for curricular reform, and determine organizational change strategies for transitioning outdated models of education into models that are better aligned with contemporary health care delivery. Participants also worked to develop a leadership curriculum for health professions educators who would adequately prepare them to educate future health care teams practicing in the mid-21st century.

The conference yielded a set of recommendations for health professionals leading in an era of uncertainty and continuous change related to the training and leadership of interprofessional teams across the continuum of education and practice, educational informatics, systems-based quality improvement, and change management.

According to Jo Wiederhorn, AMSNY/NYSADC president and chief executive officer, AMSNY and NYSADC plan to facilitate increased opportunities for interprofessional collaboration across health care institutions in NYS and nationally.

“No single action can transform the way health care is delivered,” said Ms. Wiederhorn. “However through collaboration across all of the health professions, we can significantly improve the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare delivery.”

AMSNY and NYSADC will release a full report of the conference proceedings in early winter of 2010.

AMSNY Releases the Full Report from the 2010 Interdisciplinary Leadership Conference

Educational Innovations Committee”

On October 17-18, 2010, the Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY) and the New York State Dental Centers (NYSADC), with support from the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation and the ADEAGies Foundation, convened an interprofessional conference of more than 60 state and national leaders from academic health centers to envision the future healthcare delivery environment and leadership competencies that will be critical in the continually evolving health system of the mid-21st Century.

Representatives from medicine, dentistry, nursing, public health, social work, psychology, hospital systems, health policy and management, including recent inductees into the Institute of Medicine, discussed the future of health professions education and delivery and how to work collectively across the professsions to bridge the widening gap between the current training and practice of healthcare professionals and society’s needs.