Yale Medicine Board elects new female chair, four new members

Jessie Cheung, Contributing Photographer

The Yale Medicine Board has elected a new female chair and has nominated and ratified four other female faculty members.

Nita Ahuja, the current chair of the surgery department at the Yale School of Medicine and an assistant director at the Yale Cancer Center, was elected as the new chair of the board in October. The four other women appointed to the board were Michele Johnson, Marie Robert, Marietta Vazquez and Merceditas Villanueva. The appointment of these five new members increased the gender and racial equity of the 27-member board.

“A board governing practice should have racial and gender composition matching the members of the clinical practice they represent,” Margaret Bia — professor emerita of medicine and a member of the Committee on the Status of Women in Medicine, or SWIM — wrote in an email News. SWIM aims to address issues related to gender equality at the Yale School of Medicine.

According to Bia, the Yale Medicine Board, which represents Yale Medicine, has had a problem with diversity in the past. She mentioned that Paula Kavathas — professor of laboratory medicine, immunobiology and molecular, cellular and developmental biology — noticed this issue a few years ago while she was serving on the board and resolved to fix it.

As stated by Kavathas, the board is composed of 18 clinical chiefs, which were almost exclusively men, and nine ad hoc chairs. When she was a member of the board, only three of the clinical chiefs and one of the ad hoc chairs were female.

“At the time, the Yale Medicine group was about 40 percent female,” Kavathas said. “But when I looked at the [board] structure, they were more than 90 percent male.”

In an effort to change the board’s composition, Kavathas emailed all the women faculty in the clinical departments to ask them if they would like to serve on the board as an ad hoc member. She then recommended the candidates to Paul Taheri, the chief executive officer of Yale Medicine, and Roberta Hines, the head of the nominating committee for the board. The following year, nearly 40 percent of the board was female.

According to Gary Desir, previous chair of the Yale Medicine Board, this year, the board has taken new initiative to increase its diversity by focusing on additional outreach.

“The idea was to reach out more broadly than before and include SWIM, which is the Committee on the Status of Women in Medicine, and MORE, which is the Minority Organization for Retention and Expansion,” Desir said.

As per the initiative, the Yale Medicine Board reached out to the head of SWIM, Nina Stachenfeld, and asked her to suggest two candidates to be considered for the board, according to Bia. This led to the changes and additions to board leadership — the four new faculty members and new board chair. 

Ahuja, the board’s new chair, has served as the first female chair of surgery at Yale since February 2018, as well as

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American College of Emergency Physicians Elects Dr. Mark Rosenberg as President

WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is pleased to announce that Mark Rosenberg, DO, MBA, FACEP, has been elected president during its annual meeting, ACEP20, the world’s largest emergency medicine conference.

Mark Rosenberg, DO, MBA, FACEP, president, American College of Emergency Physicians
Mark Rosenberg, DO, MBA, FACEP, president, American College of Emergency Physicians

Through his leadership role Dr. Rosenberg will focus on pandemic readiness—including the ongoing battle against COVID-19—improving health equity, and the expansion of telehealth. Reflecting on his upcoming presidency and the future direction of the college, Dr. Rosenberg said:

“Our lives are forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, as a country and medical specialty. The fight against this virus has revealed the commitment and courage of emergency physicians like few other events in our lifetime. The nation has witnessed what ACEP members have known all along: emergency physicians provide incredible value to our patients and health care system.

Now, under my leadership, we will create a stronger framework for the future that focuses on improving patient access to care and empowers and protects emergency physicians’ ability to do their job.

The pandemic also adds urgency to efforts to eliminate health disparities and improve health equity in this country. Many people rely on emergency physicians because we are the best or only option for care. We are often first to confront the consequences of gaps in care and barriers to access, so it is imperative that we seize the opportunity to factor prominently into the solutions. Emergency physicians must make sure that patients of all backgrounds have more opportunities to access treatment they need.

Further, it is time to use telehealth to extend the footprint of emergency medicine beyond hospital walls. Emergency physicians are finding new ways to deliver appropriate medical attention to patients when, and where, it is necessary. We must encourage a favorable regulatory environment that welcomes more comprehensive and better-connected care.

ACEP members are leading efforts to fight the opioid epidemic, improve mental health care, and enhance the way we treat our older and most vulnerable patients, among many other initiatives to confront the nation’s most pressing health care challenges. It is the honor of a lifetime to lead ACEP as we forge the future of our specialty and build on the remarkable value of emergency medicine to make a difference in millions of patients’ lives.”  

During his one-year tenure as ACEP president, Dr. Rosenberg will move from chair to chair emeritus of emergency medicine at St. Joseph’s Health in Paterson and Wayne, New Jersey, where he is known as the innovator behind the nation’s first Alternative to Opioids (ALTO) program.

Dr. Rosenberg was first elected to the ACEP board of directors in 2015 and has served on the board of directors of the Emergency Medicine Foundation, and on the National Pain Management Task Force of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In addition to ALTO, Dr. Rosenberg has long been a champion for advances in palliative and geriatric care, including the ACEP

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National Academy of Medicine Elects 9 HMS Faculty Members

Nine HMS faculty members are among 100 new members elected by the National Academy of Medicine. Considered one of the highest honors among scientists, engineers and health professionals, NAM membership recognizes individuals who have demonstrated commitment to service and outstanding professional achievement in the advancement of science, medicine, technology and health.

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Below are the new NAM regular members and their election citations:

Dan Barouch, the HMS William Bosworth Castle Professor of Medicine and director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

For being an international leader in virology and immunology and developing novel vaccines and cure strategies for viruses of global importance, including working on one of the first COVID-19 vaccine candidates, the first Zika virus vaccine and the first global mosaic HIV-1 vaccine, as well as defining immunotherapeutic HIV-1 cure strategies.

Myles Brown, the HMS Emil Frei III Professor of Medicine and director of the Center for Functional Cancer Epigenetics at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

For his leadership in oncology and endocrinology, whose seminal contributions have fundamentally reformulated the mechanistic understanding of hormone dependence of breast and prostate cancers, enabling the development of new therapies for these diseases.

Yolonda Lorig Colson, the  HMS Hermes C. Grillo Professor of Surgery in the Field of Thoracic Surgery and chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital.

For contributions to the fields of thoracic surgery, polymer-mediated chemotherapy release and lymphatic drug delivery and for leading a national paradigm shift to improve maintenance of certification for surgeons.

Merit Cudkowicz, the HMS Julieanne Dorn Professor of Neurology and chief of Department of Neurology and director of the Sean M. Healey and AMG Center for ALS at Mass General.

For leading the first neuroscience antisense oligonucleotide therapy trial; establishing the first platform trial in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; helping to develop a successful treatment for sporadic ALS, AMX0035; and creating global networks to accelerate treatment development for many disorders.

David E. Fisher, the HMS Edward Wigglesworth Professor of Dermatology and chief of the Department of Dermatology at Mass General.

For elucidating the ultraviolet pigmentation pathway, UV-seeking endorphin response, skin cancer prevention strategies, and hair graying mechanism; discovering melanoma and sarcoma oncogenes; and developing a routinely used melanoma diagnostic.

Joel Hirschhorn, the HMS Concordia Professor of Pediatrics and professor of genetics and chief of the Division of Endocrinology at Boston Children’s Hospital and member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

For his development of methods and standards for performing and interpreting genome-wide association studies. He leads the Genetic Investigation of ANthropometric Traits (GIANT) consortium, which identified most currently known loci associated with stature and obesity.

Aaron Kesselheim, HMS professor of medicine and faculty member of the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

For his national leadership in studying how prescription drugs and medical devices interact with regulatory practices and the law to affect patient health

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