Rosalind Segal, HMS associate professor of neurobiology at Dana–Farber Cancer Institute, was one of 13 scientists to be awarded a 2006 NIH Director’s Pioneer Award. The five-year, $2.5 million grant will support her research into how proteoglycans affect stem cell growth in normal development and in brain tumors. The Pioneer Awards are part of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research, which supports scientists taking innovative approaches to biomedical research.
The Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention’s Drug Policy Research Group has received a grant of $1.3 million over four years from the International Institute on Aging to monitor the impact of Medicare’s prescription drug coverage program. Stephen Soumerai, HMS professor of ambulatory care and prevention at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, will lead the group in comparing drug coverage, use, spending, and cost-related underuse before and after the implementation of prescription drug coverage. The team will particularly focus on beneficiaries with hypertension and diabetes who either qualify or just miss qualifying for the maximum amount of coverage. Data will be collected from the six years prior to coverage and the first two years of the new program.
HSPH has launched a program for students interested in the generation and dissemination of health-related information to the public. The new Health Communication Concentration is open to all students in any of the School’s master’s or PhD programs. The coursework covers theoretical and practical application of health communication and includes the study of health literacy research methods and evaluation, the media’s role in public health communication, and the production of communications materials. The concentration allows students to take courses within the School and in Harvard departments outside of it. The concentration will not result in a degree, but students will receive a letter indicating they have completed the requirements.
• Massachusetts General Hospital has appointed Thomas Burke, HMS instructor in medicine, as the director of the Center for Global Health and Disaster Response. Burke will lead the center in its response to disasters worldwide and maintain relationships with governmental and other organizations to help aid victims of disease and disaster. As director, Burke also will focus on global health care, professional training and education, and consultation and research. Burke most recently served as the associate clinical director in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
• The International Critical Incident Stress Foundation honored Raymond Flannery, HMS associate clinical professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Cambridge Hospital, with a lifetime achievement award for excellence in crisis intervention research. Flannery’s work focuses on human violence, psychological trauma, and crisis intervention procedures. He designed the Assaulted Staff Action Program to address the psychological needs of victims in the aftermath of violence.
• Karen Levine, HMS instructor in psychology in the Department of Psychiatry, is a co-recipient of the Deborah Munroe Noonan Memorial Fund. Levine will use her share of the $80,000 grant to study the clinical effectiveness of a drama-based approach to teaching social skills to adolescents with developmental disorders. The Deborah Munroe Noonan Memorial Fund supports innovative and collaborative clinical research, demonstration projects, and pilot studies that help improve the lives of children with disabilities.
• David N. Louis, a neuropathologist and pioneer in deciphering the molecular structure of tumors, has been named chief of the Massachusetts General Hospital Pathology Service, effective Sept. 1. A leader in both the clinical and research arenas, Louis was serving as associate chief of the service and director of the hospital’s Molecular Pathology Unit. He is also a professor of pathology at HMS. Louis succeeds Robert Colvin, who, after leading the MGH Pathology Department since 1991, last year announced his intention to step down from his role as chief. Colvin will continue on staff as a senior faculty member in pathology.
• HSPH has recently appointed Kenneth Olden as a Yerby Visiting Professor in Environmental Health. As the former head of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Olden was the first African American to direct an institute of the NIH. His work focuses on the interaction between genetics and the environment and how it affects human health and disease. Olden is an advocate for the role of community groups in conjunction with research institutions to address environmental health problems. In 2005, HSPH honored Olden with the Julius B. Richmond Award.
• Benjamin Sommers, who received his PhD from Harvard University’s Health Policy program in June 2005, was honored with the AcademyHealth Dissertation of the Year award at a meeting last June. Sommers, a joint MD–PhD student in his fourth year at HMS, wrote his dissertation on “The Dynamics of Public and Private Health Insurance Coverage in the United States.” AcademyHealth is a professional organization for health services researchers, policy analysts, and practitioners.