Tag Archive: School of Medicine

  1. Yale Medicine rebranding to prioritize patients

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    This fall, Yale doctors donned lab coats embroidered with a new logo — on Aug. 31 “Yale Medicine” replaced “Yale Medical Group” as the brand name of the clinical practice of the Yale School of Medicine.

    Efforts to rebrand Yale Medical Group as Yale Medicine have been underway for years, according to Mary Hu, the associate dean for communications at the medical school. The rebranding, which goes beyond a simple name change, is a multipronged initiative aimed at providing a more cohesive patient-centered care experience, Hu said. To this end, the new brand is pursuing multiple strategies, including establishing consistent naming conventions for programs and services offered by Yale physicians, creating a more patient-friendly website and increasing its social media presence.

    “[The initiative] is far more than just a name and logo change.” Hu said. “It is about making our entire care experience more consistent, in line with a core set of values which have been defined for the practice.”

    Hu described the core values as “compassionate, human, innovative, passionate and inquisitive.”

    Dean of the Yale School of Medicine Robert Alpern said the initiative allows the practice to unify under a common name and purpose, thus ultimately provide a better patient experience. He added that academic medical centers in the past have often been heavily focused on education and research and provided patient care largely in service of those two aims. In the last 20 to 30 years, however, there has been a realization among academic clinical practices that if they are “going to provide patient care, they need to do it really well,” he said.

    According to Alpern, the rebranding will allow Yale Medicine to develop systems that will maximize patient convenience.

    “Typically patients who come to academic medical centers know that they’re getting the best quality care but they don’t always get the most convenient care,” Alpern said.

    Yale Medicine’s new website is due to launch in early 2017, according to Connie Branyan, the director of strategy and program development at the medical school. Branyan said that the website will include new search functionality that is not available on the current site. This will allow patients visiting the site to type in a condition, a procedure or a physician’s name so that they can “find the most appropriate doctor more easily,” she explained.

    Though in the past individual departments populated the website with their own content, giving rise to some inconsistency, the new website will operate under the purview of a central communications team, Hu said. This team will be responsible for generating communications and features about the practice.

    In order to acquaint members of Yale Medicine with the new brand, the practice has created an online training program, according to Hu. Yale Medicine worked with a consultant who is aware of the most “up-to-date training pedagogy,” in order to create an intranet via which small learning modules are pushed to Yale Medicine physicians and staff on a regular basis.

    Maryam Saeri, chief operating officer of Yale Medicine, said that the program is due to last seven weeks.

    “[These] online training modules help to familiarize the staff and the faculty with the new brand,” Saeri said. “[This] e-learning platform covers things such as, who we are, what our organization is and who are partners are, what our business context and aspirations are and how to ‘live the brand’ every day.”

    Saeri added that the practice also held a few large-scale meetings over the summer to introduce the rebrand to “physician and department leaders,” as well as other faculty and staff members.

    Babar Khokhar, the medical director of ambulatory services for Yale Medicine, also expressed his enthusiasm for the rebranding, stating that it will allow the practice to maintain a seamless patient experience across all of its care sites.

    “Our patients, staff and providers expect a high level of care and service at an institution such as Yale and we hope our brand will help achieve that goal,” Khokhar said.

    With over 1,400 practicing physicians, Yale Medicine is one of the largest academic multispeciality group practices in the United States according to its website.

    Correction, Oct. 27: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this article quoted Maryam Saeri as saying that the practice held events to introduce the rebrand to “leading physicians,” and other faculty and staff members. In fact, she said “physician and department leaders.”
  2. Med School study deemed unethical

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    A five-year study performed on premature babies has been deemed unethical by the Public Citizen Health Research Group.

    The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), lasted from 2004 until 2009, and was led by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham along with 22 other medical centers across the nation – including the Yale School of Medicine. Consent forms given to parents to sign were approved by local ethics committees, but did not include an adequate description of the risks to the premature infants, said Michael Carome, deputy director of the Health Research Group.

    On April 10, Public Citizen issued a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the NIH, calling for an apology to all the parents who entered their children in the study, according to the New Haven Register.

    The 1,300 premature babies enrolled as subjects were randomly divided into two groups. The first received high levels of oxygen exposure, which Carome said increases the risk of eye injury or blindness, while the second received low levels of oxygen exposure, which Carome said increases the risk of brain damage and death. But the consent forms did not clearly stipulate any of these risks, instead “misleading” parents, Carome added.

    “Consent is an absolutely essential ethical requirement, and we consider this research highly unethical,” he said. “The Department of Health and Human Services should apologize to parents of the children and that apology should be accompanied by a detailed description of what they weren’t told.”

    Yale University spokesman Tom Conroy declined to comment on the issue, and told the New Haven Register that the Department of Health and Human Services is investigating the flawed protocol.

    Carome said the study is indicative of a “systemwide failure” to protect the rights of human subjects in clinical trials and medical research. In order to prevent further dangerous trials on premature infants without “valid” consent from parents, he added that he suggests thoroughly investigating why this unethical procedure occurred at 23 prestigious medical centers and making documents on research protocol publically available.

    “Independent experts and patient advocate groups like ours can make sure other trials aren’t conducted that are unethical – we can take action to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Carome said.

    The University of Utah and Duke University were also among the 23 medical centers conducting the study.

  3. Med School certified in addiction medicine

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    Yale School of Medicine is now certified to offer a program in addiction medicine, bringing the total of similar programs across the nation up to 18.

    On Tuesday, the American Board of Addiction Medicine Foundation accredited Yale for the new two-year program, which will train doctors in addiction diagnosis and treatment, including counseling and medication skills. The program will launch officially in July 2014 and will offer four fellowships, two for each year.

    The fellows will mostly work in a clinical care setting, helping patients with both physical and psychological symptoms of addiction. While the treatment of addictions has typically been the role of psychiatrists, the program aims to offer the training to other physicians as well. After completing the program, the board-certified doctors can work in individual offices specialized in addiction treatment or in health centers and facilities with addiction patients.

    Yale has been leading addiction research and currently has relationships with addiction-treatment agencies, including the APT Foundation and the South Central Rehabilitation Center, and is expected to be an ideal host for the program. Although the University already has an addiction psychiatry program, it does not have a program similar to the new one.

    Jeanette Tetrault, an assistant professor of internal medicine, will direct the new program.

  4. Dept. of Defense will not fund training center

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    The Department of Defense will no longer award a $1.8 million grant to the School of Medicine to open a training center for Army soldiers, according to a statement from Deputy Public Affairs Officer for U.S. Special Operations Command Kenneth McGraw to the New Haven Register this morning.

    The Department of Defense retracted its original statement to the Register, in which it confirmed awarding the grant to School of Medicine psychiatry professor Charles Morgan, who would propose to use the center for teaching interview techniques to soldiers.

    “U.S. Special Operations Command has not and will not provide Yale funds to establish a USSOCOM Center for Excellence for Operational Neuroscience,” McGraw told the Register in an email.

    “We sincerely apologize for any problems, concerns or confusion releasing the erroneous information has caused Yale, its student body and the citizens of New Haven.”

    The statement follows a release last night from School of Medicine Dean Robert Alpern, indicating the School of Medicine would not move forward with the proposal for the center until the University fully investigated concerns over the project’s academic integrity and morality from members of the Yale and New Haven communities.

  5. Proposed DOD center on hold

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    The University will not move forward with development of the proposed Center for Operational Neuroscience until concerns raised by members of the Yale and New Haven communities are fully investigated, School of Medicine Dean Robert Alpern said in a Thursday night statement.

    “Members of the Yale and New Haven communities have raised concerns about a possible Center for Operational Neuroscience that was reported in the press,” Stern said in the statement. “In light of the issues raised, we are not moving forward on any such center until we have fully investigated all these issues. It is a very important value of both the Yale School of Medicine and the broader University that all research participants, including all members of the New Haven community, are given the highest respect and protected from any unethical treatment.”

    The statement is the second release about the proposed center from the University this week, following press coverage and opposition to the partnership with the Department of Defense. School of Medicine psychiatry professor Charles Morgan told the News he hoped to propose the center formally, which would teach soldiers interviewing techniques, once the Yale Office of Grant and Contract Administration secured a $1.8 million dollar grant from the Department of Defense.

    The previous statement maintained that the potential program would meet appropriate academic standards, and denied that the center had been formally proposed.

  6. Yale medical team returns from Haiti

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    The small commuter plane had to make two rounds in the sky before it could land on the oddest of runways: a playground with goats, pigs and donkeys roaming around.

    The plane carried a team of five physicians and medical professionals trained in emergency response from the School of Medicine and Yale-New Haven Hospital. They arrived in Hinche, Haiti on Jan. 26 to provide trauma relief and surgical assistance and to deliver donated medical equipment and supplies. The team returned early Monday morning with stories of hardship, accomplishment and a commitment to future relief efforts.

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    Emergency medicine specialist Gregory Larkin, who headed the team, said the Jan. 12 earthquake did not affect Hinche as much as Port-au-Prince, the country’s capital. Many of the injured patients received at Hinche’s hospital — one of the poorest hospitals in Haiti, according to Larkin — traveled from Port-au-Prince on an unpaved, dusty road, said team member Nousheh Saidi, an anesthesiologist.

    Peter Boone, an orthopedist from St. Vincent’s Hospital in Bridgeport, Conn., said he was saddened by the destruction he saw.

    “We saw people who had nothing, and had [an earthquake] thrown on top,” he said. “They were really refugees within their own country.”

    Larkin recalled seeing refugee camps set up outside the hospital, with UN and Red Cross officers patrolling the area. Boone described scenes of patients’ family members sleeping in the corridors because they had lost their homes; he saw malnourished Haitians walking miles to get water from a single pump, people defecating in covered pots under beds and amputations conducted with only mild painkillers.

    Boone and Saidi said the obstacles the team encountered at the hospital would not be found at a normal American hospital. Because of the Hinche hospital’s fragile infrastructure, Boone said, it ran out of water at one point. He said that while the facilities ran on off-the-grid electricity, it only had 30 days’ worth of fuel. Because of this, the hospital ran on electricity until the sun went down, after which flashlights became the primary source for light.

    In addition to sweltering heat, overcrowded wards full of insects and rat-infested operating rooms, the walls of hospital were cracked and the air conditioners were leaking fluid profusely, Saidi said. The hospital, she added, also lacked medical and basic supplies such as light bulbs, blankets and splints. The intensive care unit had only one oxygen tank, and the operating room was heavily disorganized, with all medical provisions dumped in one place, Saidi said, forcing her to rummage through boxes to get a syringe. She added that doctors had to rely on one small, slow autoclave to sterilize their instruments.

    While the team brought along a year’s supply of painkillers along with defibrillators and other medical equipment, team member Donald MacMillan, a physician assistant, said hospital conditions forced doctors to find creative ways to treat patients, such as using PVC pipes, sand and duct tape to hold fractured bones in place.

    The four team members interviewed described Haitian citizens as stoic. Boone talked of patients’ blank expressions, showing neither anger or happiness. He added that they never heard a wounded patient complain or scream out in pain. Saidi said she was shocked when a patient’s family member thanked Saidi for amputating the patient’s leg, which Saidi said was a surprising act of gratitude for such a brutal operation. Despite all the tragedy that has enveloped the island nation, they said they agreed on the Haitian community’s strong and resilient spirit.

    Larkin, who met with the dean of the medical school in Port-au-Prince, said the team was invited back for further relief efforts. Larkin said he hopes Yale takes steps towards forming a lasting commitment.

    “Whether or not Yale makes an official commitment, I know I will definitely be going back myself,” Larkin said. “But Yale as an institution has the clout to bring about more change.”

    A second Yale team is expected to travel to Haiti in the near future.