Late Breaking News
Progress Notes January 2010
- Categorized in: January 2010
THE COMMERCIAL TARGETING AND ANALYSIS CENTER FOR IMPORT SAFETY was opened last month in a joint effort by HHS and Homeland Security to ensure the safety of food coming into the US. Created on the recommendation of President Obama’s Food Safety Working Group, which is charged with advising the President on how to upgrade the US food safety system for the 21st century, it is under the operation of the Customs and Border Patrol. The import safety CTAC, located in Washington, DC, is one of CBP’s six commercial targeting centers in the US. It will specifically target shipments of imported cargo, including food, for possible safety violations. The US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and other partnering government agencies, including FDA, the EPA, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, will provide on-site expertise at the Center.
SAMHSA ADDED A NEW SEARCH FEATURE to its National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) web site last month. The feature allows users to identify NREPP interventions that have been evaluated in comparative effectiveness research studies. The new NREPP feature can provide added information for states and communities seeking to determine which mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment interventions may best address their needs. To use this new search feature, interested parties should go to www.nrepp.samhsa.gov , click on the “Find Interventions” tab, then click in the checkbox labeled “Evaluated in comparative effectiveness research studies.”
OVER $22 MILLION IN SUICIDE PREVENTION RESOURCE GRANTS will be made available from SAMHSA during fiscal year (FY) 2010. The purpose of the program is to provide prevention support, training, and resources to assist organizations and individuals to develop suicide prevention programs, interventions, and policies, and to establish public and private partnerships, including the establishment and implementation of the National Action Alliance as a major support for the advancement of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. SAMHSA expects that the funds will allow the allocation of one grant of up to $4.4 million per year for five years. Annual continuation awards will depend on the availability of funds, grantee’s progress in meeting project goals and objectives, timely submission of required data and reports, and compliance with all terms and conditions of the award. The grant will be administered by SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services. The agency is accepting applications now. More information is available at www.samhsa.gov.
A VA RESEARCH FACILITY IN ALBURQUERQUE, NM, is the recipient of the 2009 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest award for organizational excellence. The VA’s Clinical Research Pharmacy Coordinating Center was judged outstanding in seven areas: leadership; strategic planning; customer focus; measurement, analysis, and knowledge management; workforce focus; process management; and results. As part of the VA Research and Development Program, the Center manages the devices and pharmaceuticals that are used in research trials conducted within the VA health care system. In the last three years, the Coordinating Center supported studies involving 90,000 patients per year across the country, ultimately benefitting millions of Veterans and other Americans. The center manufactures drugs, placebos, and devices, distributing them throughout the VA system to various clinical trial sites. Recent VA research trials supported by the Coordinating Center include the use of robotic arms to help stroke patients regain limb function, treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder, a comparative effectiveness research study of optimal medical therapy to angioplasty for coronary artery diseases, and effective approaches for diabetes management. Congress established the Malcolm Baldrige award program in 1987 to recognize US organizations for their achievements in quality and performance. This is only the second time the award has gone to a federal agency.
VA HAS LAUNCHED A SURVEY OF VETERAN HOUSEHOLDS, including Active Duty, Reserve, and National Guard members to gauge their awareness of VA resources available to them. In addition to assessing awareness levels, the National Survey of Veterans will collect important health care, benefits, employment, and demographic information that VA will use to inform policy decisions and improve benefits. Recognizing a broader client base than just Veterans, this is the first time VA has included others, such as Veteran family members, in its survey population. This is the sixth VA National Survey of Veterans since 1978. The information collected will be used to help VA in its efforts to design and conduct outreach to veterans. In addition, VA hopes it will provide a clearer picture of the veteran population’s characteristics to help evaluate existing programs and policies and measure their impact. The data collection is expected to be finished by the end of February and the final report released by December 2010.
DOCTOR ROBERT PETZEL WAS APPROVED BY THE VA SENATE COMMITTEE last month to become the next VA Under Secretary for Health. Doctor Petzel was appointed Acting Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Health in May 2009. He is the VISN 23 network director, overseeing eight medical centers and 42 community-based outpatient clinics that serve veterans in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Western Illinois, and Western Wisconsin. He was appointed to that position in October, 2002. From October 1995 to September 2002, he served as the director of VISN 13. Prior to that, he served as Chief of Staff at the Minneapolis VAMC. Doctor Petzel co-chairs the National VHA Strategic Planning Committee and the VHA System Redesign Steering Committee.
THE NIH CENTER FOR SCIENTIFIC REVIEW last month announced its top honor for extraordinary commitment to peer review will go to veteran reviewers Dr John Raymond from the Medical University of South Carolina and the Ralph H. Johnson VAMC. Doctor Raymond will receive the 2009 Marcy Speer Outstanding Reviewer Award, which highlights the vital contributions of CSR reviewers who evaluate NIH grant applications. In an average year, about 16,000 reviewers volunteer about 150,000 days to assess the scientific merit of approximately 56,000 applications. Their scientific evaluations help NIH invest more than $20 billion in the most promising research grants, paving the path to biomedical breakthroughs that improve public health and save lives. Doctor Raymond’s many years of service include a 4-year term as a chartered member of CSR’s Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Neurosciences-5 study section. When this study section evolved into the Molecular Neuropharmacology and Signaling study section, he took on the role of chair for 2 years to help it get established. Most recently, Dr Raymond began another 4-year term on CSR’s Pathobiology of Kidney Disease study section.