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Minutes: January 23, 2008

3 p.m., Wednesday, January 23, 2008
School of Medicine Administration, Board Room 103

PRESENT: Drs. Argani, Armstrong, Bluemke, Cooke, Cromwell, Dagnelie, Efron, Geller, Goldstein, Halushka, Honeycutt, Maragakis, Mears, Mooney, Pidcock, Pomerantz, Robinson, Schramm, Siberry, Stivers, Tufaro, Whitmore, Yaster, Zellars,  Mr. Pirruccello, Mss. Fairman, Foy, and Oliver.

ABSENT: Drs. Allaf, , Bergles, Bhatti, Brayton, Chan, Choi, Cormack, DeLeon, Flynn, Huang, Jia, Kravet, Leahy, Li, MacDonald, Magaziner, McCarthy, Peters, Sterni, Tompkins, Woolf, Yehia, Mss. Nguyen and Warner.

GUESTS: Dr. Dang, Ms. Heiser 

I.  Minutes

The minutes of the December 12, 2007 meeting were approved. 

II.  Presentation by the Vice Dean for Research - Dr. Chi Dang

      Dr. Dang reviewed the sponsored project sources of research funding noting that over the past ten years the School of Medicine NIH funding more than doubled.  Hopkins remains the number one institution in NIH support with over $414 million received in 2006.  He noted the School of Medicine infrastructure was modified to accommodate the increased support. 

      A September 1995 article in the New England Journal by Dr. Harold Varmus that addressed biomedical research funding was cited.

      Since the doubling of the NIH budget in the 90’s NIH funding has become flat and the success rate for funding has dropped.  The NIH roadmap is redirecting dollars from investigator initiated research and commercial funding is trending down.

      Dr. Dang addressed the metrics of measuring impact and quality which included publication citation impact, translation to the marketplace, faculty excellence as recognized through honors and awards, and transformation of clinical practice through research.  He reported the 2001-05 citation impact comparing Hopkins with peer institutions and addressed changes in our technology transfer program which should enhance faculty efforts.  The new clinical science translation award will provide additional opportunities for translational research.  It was noted that 30 start-up companies have been developed from JHU technologies over the past five years.

      An internal structure has been put in place to nominate faculty for awards and honors.

      Dr. Dang spoke to the impact of research funding threats noting it is harder now to transition to independent investigatorship, more proposal writing effort is required as success rate decreases, there is an inability to maintain research teams at the lab level, and there is limited space for successful programs.  A look at School of Medicine space assignment policy is underway in an effort to maximize space.  It was reported the dean has allocated funds for bridge funding and a pilot program in the IBBS is underway.

      In addressing management and compliance processes, Dr. Dang commented on the need for an electronic management system, the new eIRB protocol system, the eOPC for conflict of interest, the eTT for technology transfer processes, effort reporting, and Export Control compliance training.

      With regard to the future of research, Dr. Dang commented on the need for a JHM strategic plan considering the diminishing external resources, a transition plan from small scale to large scale science, an interdisciplinary approach to research, the creation of institutes and the opportunities the Life Sciences and Technology Park will provide.

      In response to questions, Dr. Dang noted:

  • Bridge funding comes from philanthropic dollars.
  • There has been no impact on promotions due to funding.
  • IBBS bridge funding: applications have been received from three senior faculty.
  • Indirect costs are not enough to cover research costs. Commercial sponsors are not as high as NIH indirects.
  • The technology transfer operation has been reorganized with new leadership.

      Dr. Honeycutt thanked Dr. Dang for his presentation.

III. Medical Student Mental Health Coverage - Mary E. Foy, Associate Dean/Registrar

      Ms. Foy reported the staffing issues in the Student Mental Health Service have been addressed and two recruitments have been finalized.  The Department of Psychiatry leadership has been responsive in redeploying faculty to the student mental health service during the recruitment period.  A new administrator for the service has also been hired and students are being scheduled in a timely fashion.

      The effective date of student health insurance coverage was previously brought to the Council’s attention.  Ms. Foy reported EHP is unable to start health insurance coverage in mid-month.  Incoming students will be informed to keep their current health insurance through August 31 as the School of Medicine plan will be effective September 1.

Dr. Honeycutt thanked Ms. Foy for her presentation.

IV. Health Care Benefits - Dr. Honeycutt

Response to the Medical School Council’s formal complaint about the changes in health care benefits.

      Dr. Honeycutt shared with the Council the response letter from Human Resources Vice-President Charlene Hayes regarding the change in health care benefits and the changes in the benefits election process.

      Ms. Hayes agreed, in the future, to work with Wellsource and Johns Hopkins Healthcare to create consent language for future administrations of the HRA survey that will prevent confusion regarding who has access to an employee’s personal information obtained through the HRA.  Vice-President Hayes also addressed her willingness to improve communication with faculty and staff regarding benefits and other HR issues.  The Medical School Council request that the $100 “bonus benefit dollars” for completing the HRA be offered to every employee, whether or not they complete the survey was denied.

      Ms. Hayes will raise with the School of Medicine administration whether a representative of the Medical School Council should be included in future benefit advisory groups.

      Dr. Honeycutt reported on the meeting she had on this topic and other issues with Provost Johnson on January 11, 2008.  The following points were discussed:

  • The decrease in benefit dollars is viewed by the faculty as a decrease in compensation.
  • The University is paying more for benefits because of the increase in costs, especially for health care benefits.
  • The language “formal grievance” was withdrawn from the Medical School Council’s December 2007 letter to Ms. Hayes as the School of Medicine grievance policy excludes grievances pertaining to benefits.
  • There was discussion of creating a MSC oversight group to monitor benefit issues.
  • Provost Johnson is interested in raising faculty salaries.  This topic will be addressed with Dean Miller when he meets with the Council in the spring. 


      There was general discussion regarding changes in the benefit plan especially the new pharmacy plan through MEDCO which has higher co-pays.  The implementation of this plan was not smooth and many faculty reported not receiving membership cards and information in a timely fashion.  There was a general consensus that transparency and communication was lacking.  Dr. Honeycutt was asked to communicate the issues discussed at today’s meeting with Provost Johnson.

V. Other Business

There being no further business this meeting was adjourned at 5:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Mary E. Foy

Future Medical School Council meetings:

All meetings will be held in the School of Medicine Board Room (SOM 103), 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

February 20, 2008

March 19, 2008

April 16, 2008

May 14, 2008

June 18, 2008