The Idaho Office of the Governor issued this press release and fact sheet on Feb. 25
Media contact: Jon Hanian, Press Secretary, Executive Office of the Governor, NEWS RELEASE, (208) 334-2100
IDAHO STATE UNIVERSITY AFFILIATES WITH NEW IDAHO COLLEGE OF OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE
(BOISE) – With approval from the State Board of Education, Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter announced a new public-private partnership today to create Idaho’s first four-year medical school at Idaho State University’s Meridian Health Science Center.
The Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM) will be led by Dr. Robert Hasty, founding dean and chief academic officer. John Goodnow will support the new school’s direction as its president and executive board member. The privately funded school will be governed by a board of trustees consisting of local and regional physicians and healthcare executives. The ICOM will undergo an accreditation process through the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation, and classes are expected to begin in August 2018.
“I’m confident that this groundbreaking partnership will benefit the health and wellbeing of citizens throughout Idaho and the region by helping to address our shortage of primary care physicians – especially in Idaho’s underserved rural communities,” the Governor said, citing the potential educational and economic benefits. “This is a golden opportunity for us to train more healthcare professionals to meet our statewide needs while also attracting more Idaho students into the growing healthcare field. It’s a once-in-a-generation chance for Idaho to address both our desire for better career opportunities for Idaho students and our need for more physicians.”
“Today’s announcement provides tremendous opportunities for Idaho State University to partner with the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine on clinical research and academic programs,” ISU President Art Vailas said. “This partnership will benefit the state and contribute to ISU’s healthcare mission, core themes and strategic plan. We are excited to have a strong partner who will create future opportunities for our faculty, staff and students.”
“Idaho hospitals – urban and rural – are constantly working to recruit physicians to meet our growing needs,” said Brian Whitlock, president and chief executive officer of the Idaho Hospital Association. “One of our most successful methods has been to retain those doctors who received their medical education and training here in Idaho. The Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine builds on that success by increasing the number of students who learn and train in Idaho. We look forward to working with the ICOM and all others dedicated to addressing Idaho’s significant physician shortage issues.”
The Idaho Osteopathic Physicians Association also supports the ICOM.
“We began this regional medical school initiative over a year ago and have already established clinical affiliations with outstanding health systems in Montana, South Dakota and here in Idaho,” Dr. Hasty said. “I want to express our sincere appreciation to Governor Otter for his invitation, leadership and understanding of the osteopathic medical education model – especially its success in primary care placement in rural America.”
For more information on ICOM, go to www.idahocom.org.
FACTS ABOUT THE NEW IDAHO COLLEGE OF OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE AT ISU-MERIDIAN
About The Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine, LLC:
The Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine at Idaho State University will be a freestanding, privately funded, separately licensed and independently operated entity located at ISU’s Health Science Center in Meridian. The school will be independent of ISU, but ISU will have representation on the school’s board of trustees. Initial capital investment in the ICOM project will be approximately $105 million. The full agreement between the ICOM and the State Board of Education can be found at www.idahocom.org.
As part of the collaboration and affiliation agreement with ISU, the ICOM has agreed to a long-term land lease for its facility at ISU’s Meridian Health Science Center. Construction of a roughly 80,000-square-foot, $32 million building to house the medical school will begin by or in February 2017. ICOM also will pay ISU for medical school students to use shared campus space or services. In addition, the ICOM will provide for sharing medical school space and service with ISU students. The agreement provides for joint appointments and shared faculty and joint research between ISU and the ICOM.
Additionally, the ICOM has agreed to create a significant fund to stimulate and assist sponsoring institutions to evaluate and pursue the creation of new graduate medical education residencies in Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. Details of that fund will be announced after first being reviewed by Idaho Hospital Association leaders and representatives of other entities that wish to collaborate in the program.
The ICOM plans to register with the Idaho Secretary of State’s Office as a benefit corporation or “B Corp.” Benefit corporations must make a legal change to their operating agreement or articles of incorporation regarding their commitment to the community and society rather than placing shareholder value as their highest priority.
About Idaho’s Physician Workforce:
Based on 2015 data from the American Association of Medical Colleges, Idaho is 49th among the 50 states in active physicians per capita, 46th in primary care physicians per capita, 49th in female physicians per capita, and 48th in graduate medical education per capita. Based on 2015 data from the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, 348 residents from the five-state region that will be served by ICOM are attending osteopathic medical schools throughout the United States. Of those, 171 or 49 percent are Idaho residents.
About Osteopathic Medical Schools and Physicians:
There are two types of physicians who practice medicine in the United States. Most physicians hold the Doctor of Medicine degree (M.D.), while osteopathic physicians hold the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree (D.O). Other than teaching osteopathic manipulative medicine, the medical training for an M.D. and D.O. is virtually indistinguishable. Both D.O. and M.D. students attend and complete four years of medical school, taking the same coursework during years one and two and clinical training in years three and four. There are approximately 141 allopathic (M.D.) medical schools and 30 osteopathic (D.O.) medical schools at 42 locations in the United States. D.O. physicians complete conventional residencies in hospitals and training programs, are licensed in all 50 states and have rights and responsibilities identical to M.D. physicians and surgeons.
D.O.s can practice as neurosurgeons, heart surgeons, radiologists, orthopedic surgeons and every other medical specialty. The American Osteopathic Association and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, which accredits allopathic residency programs, have combined to create a unified accreditation system for graduate medical education or residency programs in the United States. There are more than 92,000 D.O.s in the United States, making up about 11 percent of all practicing physicians nationwide. For more information, contact Dr. Robert Hasty, DO, FACOI, FACP, at 208-696-ICOM or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the ICOM Leadership:
Dr. Robert Hasty, DO, FACOI, FACP. As the ICOM’s founding dean and chief academic officer, Dr. Hasty will manage day-to-day operations and strategic growth of the medical school in collaboration with the Board of Trustees. Dr. Hasty received his undergraduate education at the University of Miami and his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine or D.O. degree from Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Most recently, Dr. Hasty became vice president of medical education and regional associate dean for Campbell University’s Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine in North Carolina. He was promoted to associate dean for postgraduate affairs in 2014.
John H. Goodnow. As the ICOM president and a member of the executive board, Goodnow will provide leadership and governance support to Dr. Hasty. Goodnow has been CEO of Benefis Health System, based in Great Falls, Montana, since 2002, and has been a hospital administrator for over 35 years. He will serve in both roles during the ICOM’s development. Goodnow received his undergraduate education at the University of California-Davis and his master’s degree in health services administration from the University of Michigan. Goodnow is a fellow of the American College of Health Executives.
Dr. Arthur C. Vailas. Idaho State University’s president will be a member of the ICOM Board of Trustees. President Vailas received his undergraduate education from the University of New Hampshire and his Ph.D. in physical education from the University of Iowa. He later completed a three-year postdoctoral fellowship in orthopedic surgery and biochemistry at the University of Iowa College of Medicine. Before coming to ISU in 2006, he was vice-provost for graduate studies and a professor and distinguished chair in biology and biochemistry at the University of Houston. He previously held various research and academic positions at the University of California-Los Angeles and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
This article originally appeared in the Boise State University Update by Kathleen Tuck
February 15, 2016
While scientists are unsure of the molecular causes of Parkinson’s Disease, they do know the disorder’s tremors and other motor dysfunctions are linked to a loss of dopaminergic neurons located in the substantia nigra, a structure in the midbrain.
Dopaminergic neurons are our main source of dopamine, which is responsible for emotional response and plays an important role in movement. For many years, their loss has been viewed as irreversible.
But a new paper by Brad Morrison’s research group in the Department of Biological Sciences suggests the possibility of regrowth of dopaminergic neurons in adult mammals. Co-authors are Joshua Albright, Iva Stojkovska, Abir Rahman and Connor Brown.
Their results, published in the journal Neuroscience Letters, also show that the rate of replenishment for these neurons is similar to the rate of loss observed in an inflammatory response mouse model of Parkinson’s Disease. This may indicate that inflammatory insult inhibits the natural generation of neurons leading to Parkinson’s Disease.
This is significant because Parkinson’s disease is the most common motor disorder and the second most prevalent neurodegenerative disease. Current medications treat only symptoms and after time lose effectiveness. Learning how to regenerate these neurons could offer potential avenues for preventing neuronal loss and better inform stem cell transplantation efforts.
Morrison hypothesized that cells could regenerate in adults but were somehow being blocked in Parkinson’s Disease, explaining progression of the disease. This goes against current dogma, which posits that only a handful of neuronal populations are able to regenerate in adult mammalian brains.
Taking a novel approach, he devised a system to genetically trace the lineage of dopaminergic neurons from stem cells. After removing the gene from stem cells using recombinant DNA technology, he then waited six months. At the end of that time, he saw that removal of the gene affected mature dopaminergic neurons, implying that they must be replenished by stem cells.
He now is characterizing the stem cells responsible for this process as well as looking at the potential correlation of inflammation and a reduction in dopaminergic neurons.
This article originally appeared in the Institute of Translational Health Sciences
March 1, 2016
Exposure to antibiotics has been shown to play a direct role in the development of Clostridium difficile, or C. diff., infections. Ironically, the standard treatment for C. diff. is more antibiotics.
Dr. Kirk Hevener, an Institute of Translational Health Sciences Rising Star and Assistant Professor of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Idaho State University, thinks an alternative treatment for C. diff.could already be on the market. But first, he has to find it.
Nearly Half a Million Suffered C. diff. Infections Last Year
C. diff. infections have been growing in both frequency and severity, causing nearly 500,000 new cases and 29,000 deaths a year in the United States alone.
The toxin-producing bacterium causes inflammation in the colon, resulting in watery stools and extreme dehydration. Like its cousins tetanus, botulism, and gangrene, C. diff. produces hardy, heat-resistant spores that can live on a surface for months. The spores can be washed away, but are not inhibited with alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Without strict precautions, spores shed through a patient’s feces can be transmitted to hands, utensils, and food, and then swallowed by someone else.
Swallowing the spores does not always lead to illness though. In fact, a small percentage of people carry the bacterium without any signs of disease. In most people, the beneficial bacteria that are normally present in a healthy gut suppress would-be pathogens, like C. diff.
That is, until antibiotics are introduced.
Broad-spectrum antibiotics destroy all bacteria in the gut, including the good guys. This disruption gives C. diff. a chance to grow and multiply, says Hevener. It is also difficult to treat. Around 35 percent of people will suffer a recurrent infection.
Drug Repurposing Could Help Find New Treatment Faster
Hevener is searching for an existing drug compound that would kill C. diff. organisms while leaving the beneficial gut bacteria intact. Compared to discovering and developing a new compound, repurposing existing drugs for different diseases is faster and more cost-effective, Hevener explained. Plus, existing drugs have already been evaluated for safety and pharmacokinetics.
As a result, Hevener is focused on identifying a compound that inhibits a unique enzyme found in the bacterial fatty acid synthesis pathways of C. diff. The unique enzyme, called FabK, is not found in other organisms that are associated with healthy gut bacteria.
To find that existing compound, Hevener plans to screen three compound libraries against the FabK enzyme to identify inhibitory agents with potential for rapid clinical translation.
From there, he will conduct whole cell antibacterial testing to confirm the compound inhibits the FabK enzyme and the growth of the C. diff. bacteria. After that, they would move to animal and, later, human trials. “It is a multi-step, multi-year process,” Hevener said. “Even repurposing drugs is still a long process.”
“More Than a Pilot Funding Program”
Hevener’s work is supported by the ITHS Rising Stars Program, which provides funding and career development support to early-stage investigators.
The program is “much more than a pilot funding program,” Hevener said. “It’s a career development program that allows me to be a part of monthly activities that will help me develop into a successful faculty member.”
Hevener added that the monthly conference calls, onsite meetings, and grant writing workshops have supported his career development. “For a junior faculty member that is still tenure-track and trying to establish himself, I’ve found the program to be extremely valuable,” he said.