For the fourth consecutive year, Clarian Health’s Methodist Hospital made the list of the top-five hospitals that are part of U.S. academic medical centers. The University HealthSystem Consortium based its rankings on its annual Quality and Accountability Study, which includes 98 academic medical centers around the country. The study examines hospitals on such issues as safety, timeliness, effectiveness, efficiency, equity and patient-centeredness. The other four hospitals honored this year were the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.; the University of Utah Hospitals in Salt Lake City; the University Medical Center in Tuscon, Ariz.; and the Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, Pa. Clarian Health is a joint venture of Methodist Hospital and the Indiana University School of Medicine.
Community Health Network will add three slots to its family medicine residency program and restructure the program’s curriculum around the medical home concept. The Indianapolis-based hospital system has received $2.4 million from three federal grants to fund the changes. Community will use $1.3 million over five years from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop the medical home concept, which attempts to let one family physician coordinate all the primary care needs of one patient, rather than having patients on their own go to numerous doctors for primary care. A second $960,000 grant will allow Community to expand yearly family residents from 21 to 24. The three extra slots will all be filled by doctors trained in osteopathic medicine. And a third grant of $213,000 will help Community buy needed equipment to support its program expansion. Community is the second local institution in a month to expand its family residency program. In late September, the Indiana University School of Medicine said it would use $1.9 million in stimulus funds to add two slots to its program in the Lafayette area.
Researchers at the University of Notre Dame and the University of Wyoming have genetically engineered silkworms to produce artificial spider silk in quantities large enough to be commercially viable. The researchers are working with Michigan-based Kraig Biocraft Laboratories to commercialize the technology for medical, industrial and consumer applications. Spider silk has significantly higher tensile strength and elasticity than natural silkworm fibers. Notre Dame researchers claim the silk produced by their genetically engineered silkworms have qualities much closer to spider silk. In the medical arena, researchers hope artifical spider silk could be used to make suture materials, wound-healing bandages, or natural scaffolds for tendon and ligament repair or replacement. They think the artifical spider silk also could be used to make bulletproof vests, strong and lightweight fabrics for athletic clothing and improved automobile airbags.