It's Academic

October 2016 

Seven Texas Med Schools Get Primary Care Innovation Grants

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board announced the 2016–18 awards under the Primary Care Innovation Grant Program, which provides awards on a competitive basis to medical schools that administer innovative programs designed to increase the number of primary care physicians in Texas. The Texas Legislature appropriated $2.037 million for this program. The board reports "four of the recipients are continuation applications, building upon the first two years in the program. The three new recipients are developing curriculum, building peer-mentorships, advocating from local to state levels, and fueling the passion for primary care through dynamic programming and engagement opportunities." 

Grants were awarded to:  

  • Baylor College of Medicine, Primary Care Pipeline Advocacy: $173,256
  • Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Family Medicine Accelerated Track: $230,155
  • Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, Paul F. Foster School of Medicine, Longitudinal Primary Care Track: $351,721
  • The University of Texas at Austin, Dell Medical School, Preparing Primary Care Faculty Members as Preceptors for a Longitudinal Continuity Clerkship in Community and Preventive Medicine: $362,688
  • The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, “Llama:” Igniting and Keeping the Primary Care Flame Alive: $267,939
  • The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Student Continuity of Practice Experience (SCOPE): $351,241
  • University of North Texas Health Science Center, Community College Pathway Program: $300,000 

For more information on the program, visit, or contact Jennifer Nailos, program director, at or (512) 427-6218.  

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Register for the Texas Quality Summit

 This fall, TMA is hosting a unique event designed to help you improve performance, increase efficiency, and continue to deliver high-quality care. Join your colleagues for the Texas Quality Summit Nov. 18–19, and get the latest resources and hands-on training to take your practice to the next level. Register now, as seating is available to a limited number of participants on a first-come, first-served basis. 

The Texas Quality Summit, cohosted by the TMA Council on Health Care Quality and the American College of Medical Quality (ACMQ), begins with a powerful pre-conference workshop, ACMQ's Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Workshop, on Friday, Nov. 18. Next, attend the full-day summit on Saturday, Nov. 19, for in-depth presentations, physician panels, and case studies addressing quality strategies to enhance your practice. Programming will include an update on health population trends in Texas, transitioning to value-based care, alternative payment models, implementation of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), and much more. 

The 2016 Texas Quality Summit will be held in Austin at the TMA building in the Thompson Auditorium. Discounted room rates are available to attendees at the Doubletree, conveniently located across the street from the TMA building. 

Space is limited, so register online today, or visit the TMA website for more information. 

For more information about the summit, read "Learn From the Experts" in the October issue of Texas Medicine

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 Texas A&M Health Science Center Names New Medical School Dean

The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents has approved the appointment of Carrie L. Byington, MD, to lead health education-related efforts as vice chancellor for health services, dean of the College of Medicine, and senior vice president for the Health Science Center at Texas A&M University. Her role will begin in January.  

Dr. Byington thanked the Board of Regents, chancellor, president, and provost for the opportunity. "I believe that I have the right skills to transform the Health Science Center and College of Medicine, and my confidence is bolstered by my faith in the culture of excellence that exists at Texas A&M. It's an exciting time to join a comprehensive health science center that fosters opportunities for interprofessional education and team-based clinical care," she added. “I am committed to educating and building the health care teams of the future at Texas A&M. I am grateful to be considered for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and hope to contribute my skills to building a research-intensive and patient-centered enterprise that will serve the state of Texas and the nation."

Dr. Byington is a national leader in pediatrics and infectious disease, having worked for 21 years at the University of Utah Health Science Center. She currently holds the HA and Edna Benning Presidential Professor of Pediatrics and since 2012 has served as the vice dean for academic affairs and faculty development for the School of Medicine. 

"I continue to believe the next great opportunity for the Texas A&M System's collective impact across Texas will be in the health arena," said Chancellor John Sharp. "We have made a number of strategic transitions over the last three years to better position our Health Science Center and health-related degree programs. The hiring of Dr. Byington will elevate our efforts and signal our commitment to be among the very best."

Dr. Byington is nationally renowned in general pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases. She was born in Bryan and is a 1985 graduate of Texas A&M University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biology before receiving her medical degree from the Baylor College of Medicine at the Texas Medical Center in Houston, both with honors. 

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  Academic Health Centers Look at Complexities of GME Reform

A Sept. 7 AMA Wire article highlights a recent report from the Association of Academic Health Centers that outlines the current state of graduate medical education (GME) and complexities of GME reform. The report cites input from physicians and residents, several medical societies, accreditation bodies, regional experts, and other organizations interested in GME. The article lists these six specific areas where changes to GME structure and strategy could enhance residency programs and better prepare physicians: 

  1. Resolving organizational conflict between teaching hospitals and medical schools,
  2. Examining private sector influence on the health care system,
  3. Addressing mental health and well-being of residents,
  4. Program and accreditation structure,
  5. Providing health care to rural and underserved areas, and 
  6. Health care workforce planning.  

The Association of Academic Health Centers is a nonprofit organization founded in 1969. University-based academic health centers from across the United States make up its membership.

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 AMA Health Workforce Mapper Highlights Regions That Need Physicians

The American Medical Association's (AMA's) Health Workforce Mapper Version 2.0, developed in collaboration with the American Academy of Family Physicians Robert Graham Center and HealthLandscape, illustrates the geographic distribution of the U.S. health care workforce. Users can filter physician and non-physician health care professionals by specialty and employment setting at the state, county, and metropolitan levels. The tool, funded by the AMA Scope of Practice Partnership, also features data on health professional shortage areas, hospital locations, and population indicators. 

Access to the mapper is free and open to the public. AMA members may export customizable Excel files ranking health workforce and demographic data by county. For more information, contact the AMA Advocacy Resource Center

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Harvard Professor Warns of Threats to U.S. Teaching Hospitals

In an April 27 Washington Post commentary David Silbersweig, MD, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and co-director of the Institute for the Neurosciences at Brigham and Women's Hospital; and Stanley Cobb Professor of psychiatry and academic dean at Harvard Medical School, says teaching hospitals are under threat. He cites "ever-increasing regulation" that "brings more and more unfunded mandates and documentation requirements, which while very important to a degree, require extensive amounts of organizational and personnel time, detracting from patient care and increasing professional burn out." The commentary concludes with a call to "protect and support" teaching hospitals and medical schools in academic medical centers, adding that "without academic medicine, there is no engine for health care, life-sciences advancement, and societal well-being." 

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 Academic Medicine Examines Resilience in Medical Education

A September commentary published in Academic Medicine, the journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, focuses on an increase in "awareness of the risks of burnout, depression, learner mistreatment, and suboptimal learning environments" in academic medicine. The authors found the emerging wellness and resilience movement has given little attention "to the role of belonging and connection at work." The authors say "connection to colleagues, patients, and profession is fundamental to medical learners’ resilience, highlighting 'social resilience' as a key factor in overall well-being." They list "the impact of shift work, the impact of the electronic medical record, and the impact of 'work-life balance' " as forces driving disconnection in medical education. The commentary features "ways to overcome these forces in order to build meaningful connection and enhanced resilience in a new era of medicine."  

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This Month in Texas Medicine

The October issue of Texas Medicine features a cover story on complementary and alternative medicine. In the issue you'll also find coverage of five steps physicians can take right now to prepare for the transition to the new Medicare payment system; TMA's Hard Hats for Little Heads program, which has given away almost 205,000 helmets to Texas children in the past 22 years; a negligence lawsuit with broad legal implications; and the Texas Quality Summit, hosted by TMA and the American College of Medical Quality.

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It's Academic is for physicians in academic settings. For more information about TMA’s efforts on behalf of medical education and academic physicians, visit the TMA Council on Medical Education’s Subcommittee for Academic Physicians page and Advocacy page on the TMA website.

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