2014: Year in review

UMass Medical School Communications

December 28, 2014

It’s been another banner year at UMass Medical School. Whether it was news about the Ebola crisis, the urgent need for increased NIH funding or recognition of the groundbreaking programs and scientists here, UMassMedNow kept the medical school community informed every day. Here are some of the biggest stories we covered in 2014. We’re looking forward to an even bigger 2015.

  white coat, primary care education, UMass Medical School, UMMS, School of Medicine, White Coat Ceremony
  UMMS was ranked fifth in primary care education among 128 medical schools and 25 schools of osteopathic medicine surveyed by U.S. News & World Report.

U.S. News & World Report ranks UMMS fifth in primary care
UMMS was ranked fifth in primary care education among 128 medical schools and 25 schools of osteopathic medicine surveyed by weekly news magazine U.S. News & World Report in its 2015 edition of the “Best Graduate Schools” issue. UMMS has been listed near the top of the category since 1994 when the magazine began publishing the rankings. U.S. News also ranked UMMS 49 among research schools and 50 in the biological sciences.

The ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ captivates the country and the campus
Just as the nation was beginning to get swept up in the “Ice Bucket Challenge” to raise awareness of ALS, UMass Medical School Chancellor Michael F. Collins and Chair and Professor of Neurology Robert H. Brown Jr., DPhil, MD, took the plunge. The viral social media campaign highlighted the need for an ALS cure and brought attention to the cutting-edge research done at UMMS.  The inaugural Governor Cellucci Tribute Road Race in Hudson in August benefitted the UMass ALS Cellucci Fund.
Video: UMMS chancellor, ALS researcher take ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’
Video: Scientists at UMMS working toward ALS cure
Video: Inaugural Cellucci tribute race draws huge crowd, supports ALS research at UMMS

  Donna Gallagher, GSN, Liberia, Ebola relief, UMass Medical School, PPE
  Nurse practitioner Donna Gallagher, MSN, MA, helped coordinate a coalition of partners to ship life-saving medical equipment to partners in Liberia. 

UMMS focuses on Ebola relief in Liberia
Building on a long relationship with Liberia, UMMS as a community has been deeply involved in the global response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. From providing direct care to sending supplies and partnering to rebuild the health care infrastructure, UMMS is committed to seeing Liberia emerge from this crisis as quickly as possible.
UMass Medical School partners to send Ebola relief to Liberia
Ebola free, Rick Sacra continues call for prayers, support for his ‘adopted country’
UMMS Ebola Relief effort launched with $7.5M Paul G. Allen Family Foundation grant

Victor Ambros awarded 2015 $3M Breakthrough Prize for co-discovery of microRNAs
Victor R. Ambros, PhD, was awarded a $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for his co-discovery of a new world of genetic regulation by microRNAs, a class of tiny RNA molecules that inhibit translation or destabilize complementary mRNA targets.

NIH awards Schiffer $7.9 million to attack drug resistance
Internationally renowned drug resistance expert Celia Schiffer, PhD, is exploring why diseases rapidly develop resistance to drugs, a growing problem in the treatment of some of the deadliest diseases. Her approach aims to tackle resistance in the drug design process.

Rando receives NIH Director’s Pioneer Award for epigenetic inheritance research
Oliver Rando, MD, PhD, received one of 10 highly competitive NIH Director’s Pioneer Awards, which challenge investigators to develop groundbreaking approaches. His work is changing preconceived notions about how inheritance works and could lead to better understanding of complex heritable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

Anderson Cooper turns to UMMS for 60 Minutes report on mindfulness
As the mindfulness movement continues to gain momentum worldwide, 60 Minutes correspondent Anderson Cooper spotlighted the renowned UMMS Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society in a report, interviewing Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD; Judson Brewer, MD, PhD; and Jean King, PhD.

  James McGovern, Rep. James MecGovern, UMMS, research funding, NIH research funding, UMass Medical School
  Rep. James McGovern twice visited campus in 2014 to call attention to potentially devastating consequences of reduced funding for research.

Confronting the challenge of declining NIH funding
As shrinking NIH funding continues to be a significant challenge to academic medical centers, institutional and local leaders worked to keep attention focused on what’s at stake. U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern used the occasion of Commencement to call for increased funding to sustain the remarkable medical research advances happening here and efforts continued throughout the year to maintain the drumbeat.
Sen. Warren calls for hike in NIH funding
UMMS rallies with Congressman McGovern in push for increased NIH funding
Amid NIH funding decline, Collins calls on campus to ‘Take a leap of faith with me’

Advancing public health
One of the pillars of the institution’s mission is to advance public health and 2014 brought a number of important developments that strengthened partnerships and placed prevention at the forefront of improved public health.
UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center awarded $4.4 million from CDC
Meyers Primary Care Institute at UMMS part of $30 million national falls study
DPH, UMMS researchers discover increased cigarette nicotine yield

  David Clive, Michael F. Collins, UMass Medical School, UMMS, Convocation, Chancellor's Medals
  David Clive, MD, was recognized for excellence in teaching by Chancellor Collins.

Chancellor Collins recognizes faculty with Chancellor’s Medals
Chancellor Michael F. Collins awarded Chancellor’s Medals to four faculty members at Convocation in recognition of their commitment to teaching, scholarship, clinical excellence and service: David Clive, MD;  Allan Jacobson, PhD; Karen Green, MD; and Michele Pugnaire, MD. 

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