Two Yale Faculty Members Elected to Institute of Medicine

Two Yale School of Medicine researchers have been elected by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., to membership in the organization that recognizes major contributions to health and medicine and whose members advise the nation on health policy.

Bennett A. Shaywitz, M.D., professor of pediatrics and of neurology and in the Child Study Center, an expert on reading and dyslexia, and Bradford H. Gray, lecturer in public health in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH), an authority on health care policy and the ethics of human research, were elected members in mid-October. Current IOM members choose new members. Members work on behalf of the organization and assist on committees engaged in studies of health policy issues.

Director of Child Neurology in the Department of Pediatrics, Shaywitz has been recognized by the IOM for (along with his wife, Sally Shaywitz, M.D., who was elected to the IOM in 1998) transforming studies of dyslexia (reading disability) from a social-cultural movement into its current status on the cutting edge of neuroscience. Their pioneering studies have revolutionized understanding of reading and dyslexia. The Shaywitzes are the founders and serve as co-directors of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development-Yale Center for the Study of Learning and Attention, which is widely regarded as the premier center of its kind nationally.

Shaywitz joined the Yale faculty in 1972 and is the author of more than 300 scientific papers. In the late 1980’s he brought the new technology of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to the study of children with dyslexia and currently leads a research group that is using this technology to investigate the neural basis of reading and dyslexia. These ongoing studies have resulted in the first demonstration of sex differences in the functional organization of the brain for higher cognitive function. Recently he and his colleagues have used this technology to discover differences in brain organization and function in children and adults with dyslexia. He is now using fMRI to study how the brain changes as children with dyslexia are taught to read.

Gray, who holds a doctorate in sociology from Yale, is Director of the Division of Health and Science Policy at the New York Academy of Medicine and editor of The Milbank Quarterly, a leading health policy journal. He came to the Academy in 1996 after eight years at Yale where he was adjunct professor in EPH and director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies and the Program on Non-Profit Organizations, an internationally recognized research center. He retains a faculty appointment at Yale. He also has the unusual distinction of being an elected fellow of both The Hastings Center, the internationally recognized bioethics research institute, and the Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy.

He has served on the staff of the Institute of Medicine, the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research and the President’s Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Research. He has published extensively on matters pertaining to the ethics of human experimentation, for-profit and nonprofit health care, and the changing conditions of medical professionalism.

Gray has produced a notable body of innovative, policy-oriented research on how organizational and institutional factors shape the performance of healthcare professionals and organizations in an array of contexts. He began with an empirical study of how the organization of research interferes with informed consent. He led the first national study of institutional review boards. He planned and directed five Institute of Medicine studies, including For-Profit Enterprise in Healthcare.

In recent years, he and colleagues have done empirical research on key issues regarding managed care and for-profit/nonprofit healthcare: the comparative performance of for-profit and nonprofit managed care organizations, tax-exemption policy for healthcare organizations, the meaning of community benefit in the HMO context, the role of nonprofit hospital trustees, the viability of health plans created by safety-net providers, and the causes and consequences of the for-profit conversion of nonprofit hospitals. His books include “Human Subjects in Medical Experimentation: The Conduct and Regulation of Clinical Research” and “The Profit Motive and Patient Care: The Changing Accountability of Doctors and Hospitals.” His current research is concerned with managed care and with ownership issues in health care.

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