|2011 William J. Bicknell Lectureship in Public Health
Friday, October 28, 2011
670 Albany Street, first floor auditorium
Boston University Medical Campus
8:30 a.m. continental breakfast
9 a.m. to noon, lecture and panel discussion
Free and open to the public
Directions to campus
2011 William J. Bicknell Lecturer
H. GILBERT WELCH
Professor of Medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice and author of Over-Diagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health
H. Gilbert Welch, MD, MPH, is a general internist at the White River Junction VA, White River Junction, VT and a Professor of Medicine in the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice and the Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH.
Dr. Welch was raised in Boulder, Colorado and majored in economics at Harvard College (1976). He eventually obtained a medical degree at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in 1982 (after taking a year off to teach high school math in North Andover, Mass and another to work as a disc-jockey, salesman and news director for a country radio station in Thermopolis, Wyoming). After completing a rotating internship in western Pennsylvania, Dr. Welch was commissioned as a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Public Health Service. He served for two years at a 50-bed hospital in Bethel, Alaska and volunteered for various short tours in subsequent years: at other Indian Health Service sites (Warm Springs, Oregon and Navajo Nation, Chinle, Arizona), covering physicians in the National Health Service Corps (Copalis Beach, Wash. and Dungannon, Va.) and serving a ship's physician on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration vessel "Oceanographer." Dr. Welch completed internal medicine residency training at the University of Utah (1977) and was a VA Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar Program at the University of Washington (1990).
Dr. Welch moved to Northern New England in 1990 to join Dr. John Wennberg at the Center for the Evaluative Clinical Sciences at Dartmouth Medical School. In 1991, he was named a Senior Research Associate in the VA Career Development Program. Working with Dr. Elliott Fisher, he created the VA Outcomes Group – a small research group and fellowship housed in the White River Junction Veterans Affairs Hospital. Dr. Welch has been elected as a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and to the American Society for Clinical Investigation. In 2001-2002, Dr. Welch received the Visiting Scientist Award at the International Agency for Research on Cancer - the cancer section of the World Health Organization in Lyon, France.
For the 25 years he has been practicing medicine, Dr. Welch has also been asking hard questions about his profession. He has published on a variety of topics: health policy for bone marrow and organ transplantation, health care for the uninsured, geographic variation, physician profiling and diagnostic testing. His arguments are frequently counter-intuitive, even heretical, yet have regularly appeared in the country's most prestigious medical journals — Annals of Internal Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the National Cancer Institute — as well as op-eds and essays in major newspapers.
His current research has focused on the problems created by medicine's efforts to detect disease early: physicians test too often, treat too aggressively and tell too many people that they are sick. Most of this work has focused on overdiagnosis in cancer screening: in particular, screening for melanoma, cervical, thyroid, breast and prostate cancer. His first book, Should I be tested for cancer? Maybe not and here's why (UC Press 2004) was written while he was a Visiting Scientist at the International Agency for Research on Cancer. It was one of six "best books" listed by Malcolm Gladwell in The Week and (amazingly) was also translated into French. He has recently published his second book (with colleagues Drs Schwartz and Woloshin), Overdiagnosed: Making people sick in the pursuit of health (Beacon Press 2011).
PROFESSOR DEBORAH BOWEN
Chair of the Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health
Dr. Bowen is Professor and Chair of the Department of Community Health Sciences. She is currently an investigator in the regional Cancer Prevention Network, focused on community-based research of cancer-prevention targets. She is a coinvestigator on the regional Native American Community Health Network, a group of investigators and community health experts working to conduct research and training in Native communities.
Dr. Bowen is also the principal investigator of the BUSPH Prevention Research Center, focused on the health of public housing residents, and for a grant to identify the causes of the SES and obesity relationship in middle aged women. She recently completed a Melanoma study, which adapts a cancer-related behavior change intervention for delivery via the Internet. She has been the principal investigator of several NIH-funded grants involving breast cancer risk communications, including the Breast Cancer Risk Counseling Studies, the RISK study and the WIRES study. Dr. Bowen has been an investigator in the coordinating centers of three large multi-center prevention trials: the Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial (CARET), the Women's Health Trial: Feasibility Study in Minority Populations (WHT:FSMP) and the Women's Health Initiative (WHI).
In addition, she has led or participated in numerous community-intervention studies that have successfully recruited and maintained advisory committees, including members of the community representing the target audience. She was a coinvestigator and member of the steering committee for a large R25T training grant for pre- and postdoctoral fellows at the University of Washington, focused on health communications and biobehavioral cancer prevention. She was the principal investigator for a church-based, dietary-intervention trial and in that role chaired an advisory committee of local church leaders representing a broad variety of denominations. She is currently engaged with Native American tribal settings to improve the health behaviors of tribal members.
Senior Vice President and Chief Physician Executive, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
John is Senior Vice President and Chief Physician Executive for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the largest private health plan in Massachusetts, and one of the largest, independent, not-for-profit Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in the country, serving nearly 3 million members.
John is responsible for ensuring the highest standards of medical care for the company's members, and is accountable for helping to expand health care strategies involving quality, effectiveness, efficiency and their relationships to new payment methodologies. He oversees the consistency of medical policies across the organization, acts as the main liaison with the plan's provider network, reviews upcoming legislation for medical impact, manages the company's medical directors, acts as primary spokesperson for medical inquires and is the main medical contact for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and its 39 plans.
John practiced Internal Medicine for over 20 years. Prior to joining Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, he was the CEO for the entire clinical enterprise at the State University of New York's Downstate Medical Center, including University Hospital of Brooklyn. His professional experience also includes the Partners Healthcare System, where he was Chairman of the physician network. He was also the founder and CEO of North Shore Health System, a large physician-hospital organization in Massachusetts.
John serves on many boards. Locally among them are the Neighborhood Health Plan, MASSPRO, and the New England Healthcare Institute; nationally the NCQA Medical Standards, and Temple University School of Medicine Board of Advisors. He is currently co-chair of the State of Massachusetts Patient Centered Medical Home Initiative Coordination Council, and Chair of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association National Council of Physician Executives.
John has a master's degree in Business Administration, is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a Clinical Professor in the School of Public Health at SUNY Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine.
KENNETH W. LIN
Assistant Professor of Clinical Family Medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine
Kenny Lin, MD is a board-certified Family Physician practicing in the Washington, DC area. He serves as an Associate Editor of the journal American Family Physician and the point-of-care clinical resource Essential Evidence Plus and teaches family and preventive medicine at the Georgetown University School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Dr. Lin obtained his medical degree from the New York University School of Medicine and completed a Family Medicine residency at Lancaster General Hospital (PA) and medical editing and faculty development fellowship in the Department of Family Medicine at Georgetown University. From 2006 to 2010, Dr. Lin served as a Medical Officer for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force program at the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), where he performed research to support the USPSTF’s recommendation statements on screening for COPD, hepatitis B, oral cancer, testicular cancer, and prostate cancer, among others. He was the recipient of AHRQ’s “Article of the Year” Award for his 2008 systematic review of the benefits and harms of prostate-specific antigen screening for prostate cancer.
Dr. Lin is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a member of the Maryland Academy of Family Physicians and the District of Columbia Science Writers Association. He serves on the Editorial Board of Family Practice Management and is a peer reviewer for Annals of Family Medicine and Annals of Internal Medicine. He posts regularly to his personal blog, Common Sense Family Doctor, and U.S. News and World Report’s consumer health blog Healthcare Headaches. Dr. Lin’s blog posts have been featured in KevinMD.com, Better Health, and HealthNewsReview, as well as on the websites of the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Boston Globe. Dr. Lin lectures widely on the benefits and harms of cancer screening, medical writing and publication, and the uses of social media tools in health care and policy.
Over the past several decades, enthusiasm for early diagnosis has grown, engaging many physicians in a systematic search for abnormalities in people who are well. While most consider only the potential benefits, in this talk Dr. Welch exposes the often-ignored harm: over-diagnosis.
The William J. Bicknell Lectureship in Public Health at the Boston University School of Public Health is named in honor of William J. Bicknell, chair emeritus and professor of international health at Boston University School of Public Health and professor of sociomedical sciences and community medicine at Boston University School of Medicine.