News

AMSNY: President’s Proposed Cut to National Institutes of Health Endangers the Future of Biomedical Research and Economy of New York’s Health Care Sector

(New York, NY) — Today, President Trump proposed slashing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget by $5.8 billion, an 18% loss in funding, as part of his America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again. NIH funding is an essential element to New York State’s health care and economic sectors, and this cut is a direct threat to the future of academic research in New York State.

The NIH supports research to the tune of $32.3 billion a year in grants, including $2.2 billion in New York State alone. Because of its high concentration of world-class research institutions, New York ranks 3rd among states in total NIH funding awards, currently receiving almost 7% of total NIH funding. A reduction of the size proposed by President Trump would cut NIH funding to New York State by approximately $400 million.

NIH funding is what’s allowing researchers to discover cures and develop treatments for both the deadliest diseases and those that severely impact our quality of life. Currently researchers at medical schools across New York are working to make advancements against cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and numerous other diseases that impact countless people each year. Cuts to NIH puts the continuation of medical advancements, and our country’s health, at risk.

“The President’s proposed cuts would be devastating to academic research institutions in New York State and are a threat to future advancements in biomedical research, not to mention the serious economic impact to our health care sector,” said Jo Wiederhorn, President of the Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY). “Researchers at New York’s world-class medical centers rely on the National Institutes of Health to fund studies ranging from basic science inquiries to large clinical trials, which lead to groundbreaking medical discoveries and improve the health of our nation, while generating significant economic activity.“

In New York State, NIH funding supports more than 31,000 jobs at 176 institutions. A study commissioned by AMSNY found that for every federal research dollar invested in New York State’s medical schools, more than $7.50 in economic activity is generated within the state. If enacted, these budget cuts would be devastating to the biomedical community and economy of New York.

“The Administration’s proposed plan to slash the NIH budget is shortsighted and would damage the U.S. economy and the health of Americans. Biomedical research is one of the crown jewels of American innovation. Every modern medical advance—from statins and stents to treat cardiovascular disease, genomic analysis that identifies babies who will benefit from early interventions, to cancer immunotherapy—is the direct result of investment in biomedical research. We implore Congress to reject the proposal,” said Lee Goldman, MD, MPH, Executive Vice President and Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine, Chief Executive of Columbia University Medical Center, and Chair of AMSNY.

In addition to the loss of grant funding from NIH, the proposed elimination of key health programs as part of the 18% cut from the overall Health and Human Services budget is a serious cause for concern. These include eliminating the Fogarty International Center, block granting the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, downgrading the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and eliminating the Title VII and VIII grants for health professions training programs. These programs improve the health and safety of people in the United States and around the world, keep us safe and manage public health emergencies, and train health care professionals treating the most vulnerable citizens.

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The Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY) is a consortium of the 16 public and private medical schools throughout New York State. 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. The combined total of New York’s medical schools economic impact equals more than $85.6 billion. This means $1 in every $13 in the New York economy is related to AMSNY medical schools and their primary hospital affiliates. For more information on AMSNY, please visit: www.amsny.org

Contact: Jaime Williams

Jaime@anatgerstein.com

914-325-8877

New York’s 16 Medical Schools Call on State Legislature to Earmark $50 Million of Life Sciences Funding; Offer to Match State Investment in Biomedical Research 2:1

(New York, NY) – The Associated Medical Schools of New York is urging the New York State Legislature to dedicate $50 million of the $650 million allocated to the life sciences sector in the 2017-2018 Executive Budget, to the state’s 16 medical schools. That investment would enable medical schools to create high paying jobs and generate more medical breakthroughs. In a visit with members of the state legislature on February 14, 2017, deans from Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry reiterated that the medical schools have offered to match the state investment 2:1.

The $50 million would be available for all 16 medical schools across the state in create new biomedical researchlaboratories. The State funds would be used for laboratory construction, purchase of high cost analytic equipment and other expenses related to the recruitment and retention of scientific talent. New York State is home to more medical schools than any other state in the nation, and those medical schools contribute an estimated $85 billion to the state economy, while making groundbreaking contributions to medicine.

New York has been a hub for medical discovery, not only producing world-class cures, but also giving state residents’ access to clinical trials that have improved and saved the lives of many. Cures discovered by researchers at New York medical schools include first successful pediatric heart transplant (Columbia) first widely used vaccine against bacterial pneumonia (Downstate), the drug most prescribed for people suffering from relapsing multiple sclerosis (Buffalo), and the HPV vaccine (Rochester), .

“There is a covenant between academic medicine and government because the mission of these institutions is to ensure the State’s residents have access to the latest healthcare advances. These schools also create thousands of well-paying jobs with benefits. With the State Legislature’s support, and the generous investment made by Governor Cuomo, we can ensure that academic medicine in New York State continues to make a strong contribution to our economy, as well as advancing health within our communities,” said Jo Wiederhorn.

The past decade has seen an unprecedented investment by many states in biomedical research, but New York State has fallen behind. States like California, Massachusetts and Texas, and more recently Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Oregon, Virginia, Utah and others are appropriating billions of dollars to enable their research institutions to poach scientists and entire laboratories. These laboratories are effectively small businesses within academic institutions; they typically employ 8-10 people, develop valuable intellectual property and lead to the formation of new bioscience companies. They also strengthen the communities in which they are formed by bringing in high paying jobs and an increased tax base.

AMSNY has proposed the state invest the $50 million in NY FIRST, a program that would create and sustain thousands of high-skilled, high-wage jobs over a 10-year period. A $1 million investment by the State (matched 2:1 by the medical school recipient) is estimated to enable a school to recruit one world-class laboratory with approximately 8-10 employees. A $50 million annual investment by the State, could potentially yield 4,000-5,000 direct jobs over 10 years.

“Supporting New York State’s medical schools would have an impact well beyond simply funding more science,” saidLee Goldman, MD, MPH, Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine, and Chief Executive of Columbia University Medical Center. “Supporting our biomedical infrastructure not only can advance our scientific understanding, it will also improve health and stimulate the state’s economy.”

“New York State’s medical schools are a vital resource for research advances that touch the everyday lives of New Yorkers,” said Carlos N. Pato, dean of SUNY Downstate Medical Center’s College of Medicine and senior vice president for research. “Here at Downstate, we were pioneers in developing MRI and open-heart surgery. Today, we are conducting important research on the causes of genetic and memory disorders, as well as on the best ways to treat stroke and heart disease. An investment in New York State’s medical schools is an investment in the health of all New Yorkers.”

https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gif“With a dramatic, new building soon coming online, an important factor in the resurgence of downtown Buffalo, it is an extraordinarily opportune time for the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB to be recruiting new talent,” said Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences at UB and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “By making Buffalo and New York State more attractive to the nation’s best physician-scientists, NY FIRST will boost the economic health of our state while also helping us provide better health care to residents throughout New York.”

“New York State is a global leader in biomedical research and innovation, but we are at risk of falling behind and losing some of our brightest scientific minds as other states make substantial investments in talent and infrastructure,” said Mark Taubman, M.D., CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC). “Theresearch enterprise at URMC, which is comprised of more than 3,000 individuals, not only has a direct impact on the region’s quality of care, it serves as an engine of technological innovation and economic growth.”

A similar program that existed in New York between 2002-2009, The Faculty Development Program (FDP), resulted in a significant 7:1 return on the State’s initial $38 million investment.

Crain’s Health Pulse: Medical schools ask Cuomo for life sci funding

New York state medical schools want Gov. Andrew Cuomo to set aside $50 million of his $650 million life sciences initiative to allow them to invest in lab construction, high-cost equipment and the recruitment and retention of star researchers. The 16 medical schools promise to put up $100 million of their own money if Cuomo agrees to their plan. Several medical school deans, including Columbia University’s Dr. Lee Goldman and SUNY Downstate Medical Center’s Dr. Carlos Pato, will meet with lawmakers and Cuomo administration leaders Tuesday to make their case, said Jo Wiederhorn, president and chief executive of the Associated Medical School of New York. The deans plan to meet with Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco among other legislators. They also plan to meet with Paul Francis, Cuomo’s top health care aide, and state Budget Director Robert Mujica. Wiederhorn said the state would not pay the salaries of star researchers but would finance the labs, equipment and support staff that are vital to attracting top talent.

“We want to attract and keep entrepreneurial scientists here in New York,” she said. Cuomo’s initial announcement promised funding and tax incentives for life sciences companies and state capital grants for lab construction, but made just one mention of the role medical schools would play. It described a recruitment program to “attract top-flight life sciences researchers” but no funding was specified for that part of the initiative. “Now we’re trying to get that money,” Wiederhorn said. ‹J.L.

Capital Tonight: Funding for Medical Research

The executive budget proposal calls for 650-million dollars to go toward the life sciences industry, including tax credits to encourage businesses to come to and stay in New York state. However, according to medical school officials, none of that money is specifically allocated to help medical schools retain employees and generate more research breakthroughs. Jo Wiederhorn, President and CEO of the Associated Medical Schools of New York, explains.

Watch clip here: http://www.twcnews.com/nys/capital-region/capital-tonight-interviews/2017/02/13/jo-wiederhorn-021317.html

CBS New York: Programs Help Minority Students Fulfill Dreams Of Becoming Doctors

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As politicians battle over healthcare, there is a push to get more minority students interested in becoming doctors.

Pipeline programs across the country are working to break barriers often faced by minority students trying to make it to medical school.

CBS2’s Cindy Hsu got to see how these programs are helping dreams come true.

Watch the clip here: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2017/02/13/minority-students-doctors/.

Researchers Across NY Work to Improve Veterans Health Care

On Veterans Day, we recognize the sacrifice that our military men and women have made, including to their health. Fortunately, biomedical researchers across New York State are doing essential work to improve the health of our veterans.
Improving Diagnoses for Serious Lung Conditions
One Long Island researcher is responsible for coining the term Iraq Afghanistan War Lung Injury (IAW-LI) to describe the medley of respiratory symptoms affecting veterans returning from the wars in the Middle East. Dr. Anthony Szema, a professor at Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine and Stony Brook Medicine, has worked to improve diagnoses and treatment for serious lung conditions caused by open-air burn pits used to eliminate trash, as well as other environmental hazards encountered in combat zones.
Reducing Chronic Infections in Orthopedic Implants
A multidisciplinary team at the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is developing a novel way to treat infections of orthopedic implants. These implants have a high risk of infection, and currently chronic infections require surgical replacement followed by intensive antibiotic treatment, which takes a toll on the patient’s health and has heavy price tag. But a novel decontamination strategy in development at UB uses electrical stimulation combined with antibiotics to control infection. Led by Mark Ehrensberger, PhD, assistant professor of Biomedical Engineering and Director of the Kenneth A. Krackow, MD, Orthopaedic Research Lab, and Anthony Campagnari, PhD, Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Research and professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Medicine, the team was awarded a $500,000 grant from the Office of Naval Research to further develop the treatment.
Developing New Treatment for PTSD
And with PTSD affecting an estimated 20-35% of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as a significant number of combat veterans from other conflicts, one researcher in New York City is working to develop a new, more effective drug treatment that could make a real difference for veterans and their families, in addition to the general public. Dr. JoAnn Difede, Director of the Program for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Studies and the Military Family Wellness Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian, is currently recruiting patients for clinical trial of a new therapy for all types of PTSD.
Other research with real implications for veterans’ health care continues to happen at medical schools across the state. Supporting biomedical research is one way to support our veterans.

 

Crain's Health Pulse: New York program to encourage medical diversity helps doctors like Jaime Nieto

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New York program to encourage medical diversity helps doctors like Jaime Nieto

Dr. Jaime Nieto’s childhood idol wasn’t a sports star or a superhero. As a small boy growing up in the Andean town of Chiquinquirá, Colombia, the person he most wanted to emulate was the local doctor, the only one for 40,000 people.

“He was the guy who would take out your teeth or your appendix, treat your blood pressure and deliver your kids. He was an icon, he was respected in a way that no one else was,” recalled Nieto, now 49 years old and the chief of the section of neurologic surgery and spine surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens. “The only thing I ever remember saying was I want to be a doctor.”

But Nieto, the youngest of 10, had no clear path to achieve his “fantasy.” His own parents never went past grade school and his mother died when he was just 5 years old. Even after graduating with top exam grades in high school in Bogotá, he went to work in the emerald mines in Colombia for about a year and a half.

When he did finally make his way to the U.S. at age 19 on a student visa, he spoke little English and he had to drive trucks and do construction work to put himself through college. For a time, it didn’t seem like he’d ever get the support or the money to go to medical school, but he never stopped dreaming about it.

Nieto got his big break in 1991 from a state-funded, post-baccalaureate program run by the Associated Medical Schools of New York that prepares minorities to become doctors. The program helps get disadvantaged and underrepresented minority students ready for the rigors of medical school in a yearlong program that includes free tuition and a stipend. It also guarantees them admission to a participating medical school.

“If I didn’t have this opportunity, I probably wouldn’t be a doctor today, which means I would not have been able to touch 5,000 people’s lives,” he said.

In 2014, underrepresented minorities, including blacks, Hispanics and American Indians, made up just 9% of the state’s almost 73,000 doctors, although those groups comprised 35% of the population, according to the Center for Health Workforce Studies.

Nieto said he understands all too well the immigrant experience so many of his patients face every day.

“About 90% of my patients are Hispanic, and they speak less English than I do,” said Nieto, who became a U.S. citizen in 1995. “If you’re a foreigner, everything is uncomfortable. These people have to deal with what I used to deal with. For them to come and see me is a big relief.”

Nieto particularly likes the challenge, and the reward, of removing spinal tumors. For one recent patient, who had become almost entirely paralyzed while on a trip to China but insisted on having surgery back in New York, he removed her benign tumor with stunning success. “I got the tumor out and she came out walking fine,” he said. —R.S.

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20161031/PULSE/161039999/new-york-program-to-encourage-medical-diversity-helps-doctors-like

A neurosurgeon’s path from emerald fields to operating room

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GOTHAM GIGS

A neurosurgeon’s path from emerald fields to operating room

A New York state–funded diversity program helped this immigrant become a neurosurgeon

Robin D. SchatzBy Robin D. Schatz

Photo: Buck Ennis

As a Colombian native, Nieto can relate to his patient’s needs and welcomes the challenges and rewards that come with his work.

Dr. Jaime Nieto’s childhood idol wasn’t an athlete or a comic-book superhero. As a boy growing up in the Andean town of Chiquinquirá, Colombia, he most wanted to emulate the local doctor, the only one for 40,000 residents.

“He was the guy who would take out your teeth or your appendix, treat your blood pressure and deliver your babies. He was an icon. He was respected in a way that no one else was,” Nieto recalled.

But Nieto, the youngest of 10, had no clear path to achieve his lifelong “fantasy” to become a doctor. His parents’ education didn’t last beyond grade school, and his mother died when he was 5 years old. Despite graduating from high school in Bogotá with top exam grades, he went to work in the emerald mines in Colombia.

DR. JAIME NIETO

TITLES Chief, section of neurologic surgery and spine surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens, and clinical assistant professor of neurological surgery at Weill Cornell Medicine

AGE 49

BORN Chiquinquirá, Colombia

RESIDES Pelham, N.Y.

EDUCATION B.S. in biology, Mercy College; M.D., SUNY Upstate Medical University

WHOM HE HELPS Nieto’s surgery patients often have spinal tumors or back injuries that require removal of disks.

MOST EXCITING CASE As a surgery resident at UCLA, he helped separate Guatemalan twins who were conjoined at the head.

 

When he did finally make his way to the United States on a student visa at age 19, he spoke little English. He drove trucks and did construction work to put himself through college. For a time, it didn’t seem like he’d ever get the support or the money he needed to go to medical school.

Nieto’s big break came in 1991 from a free, state-funded postbaccalaureate program. Run by Associated Medical Schools of New York, the program encourages minorities to attend medical school and guarantees admission.

“If I didn’t have this opportunity,” he said, “I probably wouldn’t be a doctor today—which means I would not have been able to touch 5,000 people’s lives.”

In 2014, underrepresented minorities, including blacks, Hispanics and American Indians, accounted for just 9% of New York’s 73,000 doctors, even though those groups made up 35% of the state’s population, according to the Center for Health Workforce Studies.

Nieto, who heads up neurologic and spine surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens, said he understands the immigrant experience well.

“About 90% of my patients are Hispanic, and they speak less English than I do,” said Nieto, who became a U.S. citizen in 1995. “These people have to deal with what I used to deal with. For them to come and see me is a big relief. I speak their language and, for the most part, I know their culture.”

Nieto welcomes the challenges, and rewards, of his work. For one recent patient, who had become almost entirely paralyzed, he removed a benign tumor from her spine—with stunning success. “I got the tumor out,” he said, “and she came out walking fine.”

A version of this article appears in the October 31, 2016, print issue of Crain’s New York Business as “Living the dream”.

 

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20161101/HEALTH_CARE/161039997/dr-jaime-nietos-path-from-the-colombian-emerald-fields-to-newyork

 

Albany Times Union: Letter – Schools in state address shortage

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THE OBSERVATION DECK

Schools in state address shortage

By Letters to the editor on October 19, 2016 at 2:36 AM

In the commentary “Shortage of doctors treatable,” Oct. 4, the author gets the facts wrong. No New York-based medical school has called for a ban on foreign medical schools’ paid clerkships. But, to be clear, by buying slots, these foreign, for-profit schools are pushing New York students out of their clinical slots. And New Yorkers aren’t better off for it.

When foreign, for-profit schools pay for clerkships, they pass the costs to their students, who graduate with much more debt than graduates of U.S.-based schools. And those students are much less likely to become doctors – only 53 percent are accepted into a residency program, according to the National Residency Match Program.

On the other hand, New York medical schools are addressing the physician shortage by expanding class sizes – 19 percent over the past 10 years, as demonstrated by 2005-15 data from the Association of American Medical Colleges and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine. We train more medical students in New York than in any other state.

According to the Center of Health Workforce Studies’ Resident Exit Survey, New York students who graduate from New York medical schools are more likely to practice medicine in the state than those who graduate from foreign medical schools. And U.S. medical school grads are more likely to practice in underserved areas than foreign medical school grads.

We cannot and should not rely on foreign, for-profit medical schools to address our physician shortage. Thankfully, New York schools are doing their job.

Jo Wiederhorn

President and CEO

Associated Medical Schools of New York

New York City

http://blog.timesunion.com/opinion/schools-in-state-address-shortage/36571/

Medical Schools Announce: No More Unclaimed Bodies Accepted from NYC Medical Examiner

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 10, 2016

Contact: Anat Gerstein, 718-793-2211 x100 anat@anatgerstein.com

Jaime Williams, 718-793-2211 x107 jaime@anatgerstein.com

Medical Schools Announce: No More Unclaimed Bodies Accepted from NYC Medical Examiner

All Schools Will Feature Donor Programs, Work to Boost Donations to Train Future Doctors to be the Best, Meet New York’s Growing Physician Shortage, and Continue to Advance Groundbreaking Research Projects

(New York, NY) – Today, the Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY), in partnership with all eight medical schools based in New York City, announced that schools will no longer accept unclaimed bodies from the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) and will not be recommending a gubernatorial veto on S4430/A6372-A. Instead, all schools will host their own donor programs and promote those programs so that they can continue to train students to become doctors and continue to support research that leads to medical breakthroughs. New York based medical schools – there are 16 across the state – train more doctors than any other state in the nation.

“Donating your body to science is the ultimate gift a person can make. We can’t train future doctors without these donations and, in many cases, we can’t make medical discoveries that lead to cures and life improvements without them,” said Jo Wiederhorn, president, AMSNY.

The OCME began providing New York City schools with a small number of unclaimed bodies approximately 40 years ago due to a shortage of donors for medical education and research. However, due to practices at the OCME, no bodies have been accessed by schools since 2014. In 2014 only 20 bodies, of the 800 needed throughout the state for education and research, were provided by the OCME. To make up for the small shortfall, schools are boosting their donor programs.

Today, 14 of the 16 schools based in New York State have donor programs. The two remaining schools –CUNY College of Medicine and Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine – have both begun developing donor programs. School-based donor programs are licensed and regulated by New York State and all schools have a common standard for how bodies are treated.

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