Remembering Bernard Forget, New National Academy of Medicine Members, and more

Bernard ForgetBernard G. Forget, MD (1939 – 2015)

Bernard G. Forget, MD, passed away on November 6, 2015, at the age of 76.

A renowned hematologist and scientist, Dr. Forget made pioneering contributions to the study of red cells, hemoglobin, and the genetics of blood disorders. During his long and distinguished career as Professor of Medicine and Human Genetics at Yale University School of Medicine, he authored many publications and held several leadership positions, including Section Chief of Hematology and Associate Dean for Research Affairs. He retired as Professor Emeritus in 2011. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the recipient of the Yale Cancer Center Lifetime Achievement Award and many other honors.

A long-time member of ASH, Dr. Forget was the 1996 recipient of the Henry M. Stratton Medal and served as a Councillor on the Executive Committee from 1990 through 1993.
Dr. Forget and his wife, Bernadette, were married for more than 50 years and had three children and three grandchildren.

In the January/February issue of The Hematologist, there will be an In Memoriam article focusing on Dr. Forget’s distinguished career.


Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation Awards Young Investigator Grants to 21 Pediatric Cancer Researchers

Several hematology/oncology researchers have received two-year, $100,000 grants from Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a charity foundation to raise funds for childhood cancer research. The awards are intended to help young researchers pursue innovative projects at leading hospitals and institutions across the country. The recipients are:

  • Rikhia Chakraborty, PhD, and Robin Parihar, MD, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine, “Elucidating the Mechanism of ERK Mediated Pathogenesis of LCH”
  • Bradley Blaser, MD, PhD, Children’s Hospital of Boston, “Regulation of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Engraftment by the Endothelial Cell Niche”
  • Tovah Day, PhD; Shuning He, PhD; Andrew Hong, MD; Ting Tao, PhD; and Leo Wang, MD, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, “The Role of PARP3 in the Formation of Chromosomal Translocations”
  • Sumit Gupta, MD, PhD, Hospital for Sick Children at University of Toronto, “The Effect of Locus of Care Upon Adolescent and Young Adults Cancer Outcomes: An IMPACT Cohort Study”
  • Daniel Herranz, MD, Institute for Cancer Genetics in New York City, “Functional Dissection of Oncogenic Enhancers in T-ALL”
  • Stacy Cooper, MD, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, “The Cebpa Downstream Enhancer as a Key Target of Transformation to Acute Myeloid Leukemia”
  • Challice Bonifant, MD, PhD, University of Michigan, “Engager T Cells: A Novel Immunotherapeutic for AML”
  • Jessica Linda Heath, MD, University of Vermont, “Critical Contributions of CRM1 to Leukemogenesis”

Source: Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation press release, September 18, 2015.


MCW Awarded $2.7-Million Grant for Outcomes Research in Children with Chronic Disease

Julie A PanepintoThe Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) has been awarded a four-year, $2.7-million grant by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support the Midwest Child Patient-Reported Outcomes Consortium, which is designed to advance the understanding and measurement of outcomes in children with chronic disease.

Julie Panepinto, MD, MSPH, professor of pediatrics and hematology and director of the Center for Clinical Effectiveness Research at MCW, is serving as lead investigator on the project. “We will place special focus on under-standing how disease, family, and environmental factors, including socioeconomic factors at both the individual and community levels, affect the health and well-being of these children,” Dr. Panepinto said in a press release. “Our objective is to better understand how diseases like sickle cell disease, asthma, and type 1 diabetes affect quality of life in children.”

The research will be conducted by a team of researchers from MCW and University of Wisconsin Madison and will take place in two clinical settings – emergency departments and health clinics.

Source: Medical College of Wisconsin press release, September 29, 2015.


University of Missouri Health Care Receives Global HIMSS Davies Award for Health Technology Innovations

University of Missouri Health Care (MU Health Care) has received the global Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Enterprise Nicholas E. Davies Award of Excellence for health-care technology innovations that are improving patient outcomes. Since 1994, the Davies Awards program has promoted electronic health record (EHR)-enabled improvement in patient outcomes through the sharing of case studies and lessons learned across a wide range of health-care efforts.

In partnership with the Tiger Institute for Health Innovation, MU Health Care submitted four case studies to illustrate a robust use of information technology to improve patient care, including using health information technology to improve communications, minimize delays, and streamline the process for operating room starting procedures, and ensuring that data captured by various medical devices were accurately and efficiently integrated into a patient’s EHR.

Source: University of Missouri press release, October 5, 2015.


National Academy of Medicine Elects 80 New Members

Mario CapecchiThe National Academy of Medicine (NAM), formerly the Institute of Medicine, recently announced the election of 70 regular members and 10 international members during its annual meeting in recognition of their outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.

“Our newly elected members represent the brightest, most influential, and passionate people in health, science, and medicine in our nation and internationally,” said NAM President Victor J. Dzau, MD. “The expertise they bring to the organization will help us respond to today’s most pressing health-related challenges and inform the future of health, science, and medicine.”

Gary GillilandThe newly elected members raise NAM’s total active membership to 1,826 and the number of international members to 137.

The following ASH members are among the newly-inducted NAM members:

  • Mario Capecchi, PhD, distinguished professor, department of human genetics and biology, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah (Honorary member)
  • Gary Gilliland, MD, PhD, president and director, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington
  • Jean-Laurent Casanova, MD, PhD, investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; professor and senior attending physician, St. Giles Laboratory of Human Genetics of Infectious Diseases, The Rockefeller University, New York City, New York

Jean Laurent CasanovaSource: National Academy of Medicine news release, October 19, 2015.


NIH Announces Common Fund 2015 High-Risk, High-Reward Research Winners

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded 78 High-Risk, High-Reward Research grants, which are designed to support the work of scientists who propose highly innovative approaches to major contemporary challenges in biomedical research. The scientists awarded in this round of funding are developing research projects that span the broad mission of the NIH, including developing methods for cells to synthesize their own drugs, using cell phones to identify and track disease-carrying mosquitoes in their natural habitats, stopping depression by monitoring and altering brain cell states, and exploring how socially learned behavior can be passed on biologically to future generations.

In 2015, NIH has awarded 13 Pioneer awards, 41 New Innovator awards, eight Transformative Research awards, and 16 Early Independence awards. The total funding, which represents contributions from the NIH Common Fund and multiple NIH institutes, centers, and offices is approximately $121 million.

Several of the recently announced winners will be pursuing projects with implications for hematology and oncology, including:

  • Ramsey D. Badawi, PhD, University of California, Davis: EXPLORER: Changing the Molecular Imaging Paradigm with Total Body PET
  • Julie C. Dunning Hotopp, PhD, University of Maryland School of Medicine: Extent and Significance of Bacterial DNA Integrations in the Human Cancer Genome
  • David A. Solomon, MD, PhD, University of California, San Francisco: Cohesin Gene Mutations in Tumorigenesis
  • Jason Sheltzer, PhD, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory: Identification and Characterization of Genomic Features Affecting Survival Duration in Cancer
  • Zhao Zhang, PhD, Carnegie Institution for Science: Somatic Transposition-Mediated Genome Variegation during Development, Disease and Aging Conditions

For a complete list of the winners, visit commonfund.nih.gov/highrisk.

Source: National Institutes of Health press release, October 6, 2015.


University of Hawaii Cancer Center Receives $5.5-Million Grant from NCI

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) awarded a $5.5-million grant to the University of Hawaii Cancer Center for its collaborative research with the University of Guam on the cancer health disparities between Pacific Islanders in Hawaii, Guam, and neighboring U.S.-associated Pacific Islands.

Carl Wilhelm-Vogel, MD, PhD, professor at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, is acting as founding principal investigator of this collaboration; he will work alongside Neal Palafox, MD, MPH, and David Ward, MD, two other senior investigators at the NCI-designated University of Hawaii Cancer Center.

The research initiative is supported by the NCI’s Comprehensive Partnerships to Advance Cancer Health Equity program. The University of Guam received $4.1 million for the combined partnership award, totaling almost $10 million in cancer research funding for the Pacific region.

Source: University of Hawaii press release, October 13, 2015.


Richard Battaglia Named Chief Medical Officer of ABIM

Richard G. Battaglia, MD, has joined the senior leadership team of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) as chief medical officer. In this position, Dr. Battaglia will lead ABIM’s effort to incorporate feedback from practicing physicians and key stakeholders into clinical aspects of all of ABIM activities, including certification and maintenance of certification (MOC). He will also lead ABIM’s Clinical Affairs efforts to support the organization’s work in defining and assessing physician competencies.

Previously, Dr. Battaglia served as a primary care internist with Health Care Plan/Univera, a multi-specialty physician group in western New York, where he also held various leadership positions, including medical director of the Medical Centers Division and senior vice president of Medical Affairs/corporate medical director.

Source: ABIM press release, October 30, 2015.


University of Rochester Begins Construction on New Cancer Center

Construction has begun on a new regional cancer center based in New York’s Livingston County – a collaboration among the University of Rochester Medicine’s Wilmot Cancer Institute, Noyes Health, Jones Memorial Hospital, and University of Rochester Medicine Radiation Oncology. The Ann and Carl Myers Cancer Center will be located on the campus of Noyes Hospital and will serve as a hub for comprehensive cancer care for patients in the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, and Western New York regions. The $5.8-million project will house a radiation oncology clinic and a medical oncology clinic, featuring three exam rooms and five chemotherapy/infusion bays. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.

Source: University of Rochester news release, October 28, 2015.


Cynthia StutzerCynthia Stutzer Wins Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses Service Award

The Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses (APHON) presented Cynthia Stutzer, MS, RN, with the 2015 Casey Hooke Distinguished Service Award, which was established to honor nurses who have demonstrated excellence in service and in leadership of APHON. Ms. Stutzer is the clinical nurse specialist in Pediatric Oncology and Palliative care at British Columbia Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, and is also assistant editor of the Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing.

Source: APHON press release, October 8, 2015.


Brian DrukerBrian Druker Receives Association for Molecular Pathology Award

Brian J. Druker, MD, director of the Knight Cancer Institute, Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Oregon, has received the Association for Molecular Pathology’s Award for Excellence in Molecular Diagnostics. The award recognizes lifetime, pioneering, and special achievements by professionals in the field. Dr. Druker is being honored for his work that led to the development of imatinib for chronic myeloid leukemia.

Source: Association for Molecular Pathology press release, October 13, 2015.

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