Saturday, February 25, 2017

Here we go again

From the Dean:

Dear Colleagues,

I write to update you on a leadership team change. Dr. Clifford Steer is taking on a new role as Associate Dean for Industry Partnerships in the Medical School. The purpose of this function will be to increase relationships between the University of Minnesota Medical School and biomedical and pharmaceutical industries to enhance funding and scientific opportunities.

Cliff’s specific duties will include:
  • Developing relationships with key industries
  • Organizing Medical School efforts to initiate industry partnerships and support
  • Facilitating faculty/industry partnerships; and
  • Engaging in fundraising activities and goals as it relates to industry
In a time of limited resources, enhancing our partnerships with industry is key to success. With Cliff’s experience and expertise, he is the right leader to create and drive this type of function in our organization. Cliff will begin his new role on March 1, 2017.

Dr. Mark Rosenberg, Vice Dean for Education and Academic Affairs, will assume leadership of the Office of Faculty Affairs for an interim period.

Sincerely,
Brooks Jackson, M.D., MBA
Dean of the Medical School
Vice President for Health Sciences 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Minnesota health regulators can't keep up with abuse reports

From The Star Tribune:

Nearly two years after launching a statewide abuse reporting hot line, Minnesota regulators are overwhelmed by a deluge of new reports alleging abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults in nursing homes, hospitals and other state-licensed facilities.

The hot line has produced a surge in maltreatment complaints that far exceeds the investigative resources of the Minnesota Department of Health. As a result, thousands of injuries, assaults, thefts and medical errors alleged by friends and relatives are going uninvestigated — depriving families and facility managers of vital evidence that could be used to improve care.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Same as it ever was

If you're weary of the U's scandals, the administrative bloat, the rising tuition, the increasing reliance on adjunct faculty, don't look to the Regents for change. The legislature has just nominated three current Regents for repeat performances, plus Steve Swiggum, a Republican political operative who was forced to resign from the board in 2012 because of conflicts of interest.

Steph Curry was asked if Donald Trump is an asset to the country.

“I agree with that description,” Curry said, “if you remove the ‘et’ from asset."

Monday, February 6, 2017

If you are looking for the 84 Lumber ad that Fox refused to air in full during the Super Bowl

You can find it here.

“The ranking slide happened relatively quickly, but the climb back to the top is a much slower process.”

Well, that's true. The slide did happen quickly, and we all know why, even if nobody at the medical school or in the legislature will talk about it.  It happened when a whistleblower alerted the feds of a massive research scandal. As the Department of Justice put it, the University of Minnesota “illegally profited by selling an unlicensed drug (ALG), failed to report to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) income from selling the drug, improperly tested the drug on patients without their informed consent, and inflated billings on 29 federal grants.”

The result?  NIH probation, a hugely damaging criminal prosecution, and a pay-out of $32 million to federal authorities. Eighty-six faculty members left the medical school in the wake of the scandal.

Twenty years later, after a series of even more spectacular scandals, the U is back at the legislature asking for money to repair its tarnished reputation. The solution?  A new building. It will cost $69 million, but hey, that's a small price to pay to bring the medical school back to its former glory.  After all, medical students currently sit in “very dark, stadium-style classrooms, many of which don’t have windows."

Defining mendacity down

Ron Rosenbaum, author of Explaining Hitler, explores how the behavior of seemingly ridiculous political figures becomes normalized.

Now Trump and his minions are in the driver’s seat, attempting to pose as respectable participants in American politics, when their views come out of a playbook written in German. Now is the time for a much closer inspection of the tactics and strategy that brought off this spectacular distortion of American values.

What I want to suggest is an actual comparison with Hitler that deserves thought. It’s what you might call the secret technique, a kind of rhetorical control that both Hitler and Trump used on their opponents, especially the media. And they’re not joking. If you’d received the threatening words and pictures I did during the campaign (one Tweet simply read “I gas Jews”), as did so many Jewish reporters and people of color, the sick bloodthirsty lust to terrify is unmistakably sincere. The playbook is Mein Kampf.

I came to this conclusion in a roundabout way. The story of Hitler’s relation to the media begins with a strange episode in Hitler’s rise to power, a clash between him and the press that looked like it might contribute to the end of his political career. But alas, it did not. In fact, it set him up for the struggle that would later bring him to power.