program, and it’s through this network that we hope our research program will be community engaged. We have such a diverse culture here in Hawaii that it’s impossible to fully understand all the cultural issues that exist, but we’ve put a lot of effort into having our students culturally sensitized so they can appreciate that they have limitations and can reach out for appropriate consultation. I think any efforts from the school are driven more by what the community has asked of us, and one of our challenges is to share our knowledge so that what we know can be more useful for their needs.”
Dr. Wessner asked Dr. Hedges, in regard to the traditional orientation of the medical school faculty, what might be done immediately to change incentives toward innovative behavior, such as giving tenure credit for work with start-ups or patents. For Dr. Lee, he asked what kinds of activities at the medical school might attract new investment by the NCI.
New Incentives for Faculty
Dr. Hedges replied that, in fact, within the past month, the process of promotion and tenure had been reviewed, and the institution had decided to shift its reward system toward teamwork and partnerships of various kinds. “We want to reinforce that the landscape has changed and we’re expecting a different level of performance on the part of our faculty.” A related incentive, he said, was to reward contributions to collaborative (U54) grants and accomplishments in the private sector, such as the generation of patents and work with start-up companies.
Time to Invest in Data Analysis—For Medicine
Dr. Lee responded to Dr. Wessner’s question by referring to a point made earlier about informatics and support of computer infrastructure. “I think that would be a very wise investment down the road because many of these postdocs and graduate students who are working with medical and clinical issues are looking at the data and beginning to use it for patient care.” Data analysis, he said, has the potential to find molecular signatures that can be “worth more than any new drug.” It is time to invest in that activity, he said, because the need is growing more quickly than the analytical or storage ability. NIH is running out of storage space, he said, and The Cancer Genome Atlas is having to send discs of data to other centers for processing. “I think there’s some real power to be investing both in the manpower and in the informatics and IT infrastructure.”
Dr. Hedges added that a previous dean was a “champion of problem-based learning” who had changed the curriculum. While this was an extremely positive step, he said, it meant that much student teaching was based on the ability to access information online and to synthesize that information in solving problems. “Getting essential information to make a clinical decision will be more and more challenging,” he said. “We need to enjoin our colleagues from computer science