Reminder – Symposium on Institutional Financial Conflicts of Interest in Research Universities

Friday, November 2, 2012
8:30am – 6:30pm (reception to follow)
Milstein Conference Rooms, 2nd Floor
Wasserstein Hall
1585 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA

Just a reminder that next week the Petrie-Flom Center and the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics will be co-sponsoring a day-long symposium organized by Dr. David Korn on institutional financial conflicts of interest in research universities. The speaker line-up is incredible, including Derek Bok and Zeke Emanuel, among other experts from academia and government.

For more information, and to register (attendance is free), check out the symposium webpage.  We hope to see you there!

Petrie-Flom Interns’ Weekly Round-up: October 13 – October 19

By Hyeongsu Park and Kathy Wang

  • In England, a High Court judge ruled that a profoundly brain damaged 3-year-old boy in foster care should not be given life support when his condition deteriorates, despite the wishes of his birth mother.
  • The lower house of the Swiss parliament declined to tighten controls on assisted suicide, which has been allowed in Switzerland since 1941 on a conditional basis.
  • Health officials are warning that more people may be at risk from contaminated drugs made by the New England Compounding Center (NECC), a Massachusetts company linked to a growing meningitis outbreak. The FDA reported on October 15 that the company’s products used for open heart surgery and eye operations may have also caused other types of infection. The FDA’s reports regarding the meningitis outbreak can be found here.
  • Health organizations wrote a letter to the president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, urging him to support developing countries that want to introduce universal healthcare coverage.
  • The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues released a report last week that set down principles for regulation and legislation in the whole genome sequencing field. The report pointed out that the regulatory safeguards are necessary in order to protect the patients’ privacy. The report is available online.

Upcoming Event: 11/01/12 Obamacare on Trial – Book talk and panel discussion with Einer Elhauge

Obamacare on Trial

Book talk and panel discussion by Einer Elhauge, Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Law, Harvard Law School (and founding director of the Petrie-Flom Center)


November 1, 2012, 6:00 pm

Wasserstein Hall, Milstein East A

Harvard Law School

1585 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA

Sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library

Upcoming Event – Open Acccess to Health Research: Future Directions for the NIH Public Access Policy

Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Wasserstein Hall 3019
Harvard Law School

In 2008, the NIH Public Access Policy entered into force, requiring “that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication.”  Four years later, about 25% of NIH-funded manuscripts are not being made publicly accessible.  This not only limits important progress in health research and clinical practice, but also means that academic institutions must rely on highly expensive journal subscriptions to access tax-funded research. Importantly, Harvard’s Open Access Mandate has not yet been extended to Harvard Medical School or the Harvard School of Public Health. In May, the Harvard Library Faculty Advisory Council issued a public letter calling on faculty to promote open access scholarly publishing, noting that “Many large journal publishers have made the scholarly communication environment fiscally unsustainable and academically restrictive.”

In recognition of Open Access Week 2012, four distinguished panelists will explore the challenges and opportunities for increasing NIH Public Access Policy compliance and open access efforts at Harvard.

The panel will be moderated by Scott LapinskiHMS Digital Resources and Services Librarian and Open Access Liaison, and June Casey, Librarian for Open Access and Scholarly Communication.  It will be followed by two brief “101” sessions on individual-level implementation of both the NIH’s Public Access and Harvard’s Open Access mandates.

Co-sponsored by the Petrie-Flom CenterOffice of Scholarly CommunicationsRight to Research CoalitionUniversities Allied for Essential Medicines, and HLS Advocates for Human Rights.

Al Roth – Nobel Prize Winner!

Congrats to our blogger, Al Roth, for his Nobel Prize in economics (alongside Lloyd S. Shapley of UCLA)!  Al built on Shapley’s theories about the best ways to match “agents” in markets — for example, students matched with schools or organ donors with patients needing organs — and conducted experiments to further illuminate Shapley’s work.  Al presented a really fascinating paper (with his colleague Judd Kessler) at one of last year’s Harvard Health Law Policy workshops on organ allocation policy and the decision to donate, and you can find lots more about his interesting work over at his Market Design blog.

Congrats again, Al! (Probably the best 4AM wake up call a person could get!)

Health Services Research Postdoctoral Fellowship and Research Scientist Positions

Liberty Mutual Research Institute/Harvard School of Public Health + Univ. of Massachusetts – Health Services Research Postdoctoral Fellowship and Research Scientist Positions

HEALTH SERVICES RESEARCH POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP: The Center for Disability Research (CDR) at the Liberty Mutual Research Institute in Hopkinton, MA and the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) are seeking applicants for a two-year postdoctoral position in health services/work disability research. This is a fully-funded, joint appointment based at the HSPH, involving faculty at both locations. We are also accepting applicants through a similar collaborative program based at the University of Massachusetts/Lowell.

The postdoctoral fellow will design and implement original studies at the CDR related to understanding and preventing work disability, conduct data analyses, and prepare first-authored scientific publications. The research focus is on the role of health care in work disability outcomes, through analysis of our extensive, longitudinal medical claims and disability data. After completion of the fellowship, transition to a full-time faculty-level position is quite possible.

For over a decade, this has been an excellent opportunity for postdoctoral fellows to develop expertise in health services research, build a strong publication track record, and begin a successful academic career. We have had considerable success in pursuing innovative analytic approaches to answer important research questions.

APPLICATIONS/FURTHER INFORMATION: Applications are due Nov. 15. More information is available at: Interested persons should contact the Program Director, Glenn Pransky MD MOccH, at

RESEARCH SCIENTIST: The Center for Disability Research is also recruiting a Research Scientist, to develop new studies on the return to work process, focusing on organizational and social aspects. Qualifications include a solid research background, and ability to implement innovative approaches to investigate the early phases of returning to work after injury or illness. This is an excellent opportunity – collaborative environment, all results are published in high-quality scientific journals, competitive salary and benefits, and a permanent fully-salaried position (not grant dependent). Although advanced training in a related, relevant field ­ such as economics or sociology – is required, experience in work disability is not necessary. A new perspective from outside the work disability field would be very welcome.

APPLICATIONS/FURTHER INFORMATION: A more detailed job description is at: The application deadline is Nov 30.

Petrie-Flom Interns’ Weekly Round-up: October 6 – October 12

By Kathy Wang and Hyeongsu Park
  • Despite protests, Rhode Island instituted a mandate for flu shots for all healthcare workers. This includes doctors, nurses, other employees, and volunteers at hospitals, nursing homes, and health-related organizations.
  • Earlier this week, the FDA announced it would be taking action against thousands of illegal Internet pharmacies. This initiative is targeted towards protecting consumers from potentially unapproved, dangerous drugs or medical products.
  • British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline released its findings on data for drug trials while also pledging to devote more resources towards the discovery of new medicines. This move towards transparency and collaboration is thought to be a response to critics suspicious of secretive pharmaceutical practices.
  • In the midst of a recent meningitis outbreak spread from the use of medical steroids that have left over 130 sickened, lawmakers have calling for increased regulation of the pharmacy industry. Despite this, pharmacies have resisted and argued that regulation will only worsen the industry.
  • After a US government advisory panel in January suggested that research using deliberately modified strands of the bird flu could possibly endanger the public, most research was halted. However, 9 months after this moratorium, the debate continues.
  • On Thursday, the Journal of the American Medical Association published on online guide to the major health care and health policy issues that are shaping discourse in the 2012 election. Included are diagrams and tables representing voter demographics, political views, and economic implications of the different policies.
  • When two stem-cell scientists were announced to share the 2012 Nobel Prize for Medicine this week, some began to question the ethical implications of this award. A Bioedge article probes some of these concerns and finds the scientists should be also honored with a “Nobel Prize for Ethics” for their upstanding handling of contentious bioethical issues.

**And a few more from the editors:

Attention Disorder or Not, Pills to Help in School

This Election, a Stark Choice in Health Care

Pepsi and Coke to Post Calories of Drinks Sold in Vending Machines

Before a Wave of Meningitis, Shots Were Tied to Risks

Oakland Sues U.S. to Prevent Closing of Marijuana Dispensary

Suit Is Filed Over Move to Regulate Circumcision

Redefining Medicine With Apps and iPads

The Ups and Downs of Electronic Medical Records