Duke Digest — May 24, 2016

In today’s issue:

  • Sanford Dean, Food Policy Expert, Unveils Big Sugar’s Secret Playbook
  • New Research Urges Caution in Expansion of Drug Development Incentive Program
  • Connecting Expertise with Policy: Duke-Margolis Center
  • Study Shows Hurricanes Key to Carbon Uptake by Forests
  • Duke Trustees Name Presidential Search Committee

SANFORD DEAN, FOOD POLICY EXPERT, UNVEILS BIG SUGAR’S SECRET PLAYBOOK
Kelly Brownell, Dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy, shared his expertise on food policy in a recent episode of DecodeDC. The conversation examined the parallels between the developments between tobacco policy and its lobbying community and the recent developments involving sugar policies.

The conversation was a continuation of Brownell’s appearance on the Ways & Means podcast, a production of the Sanford School.

Episode 139: Big Sugar’s Secret Playbook (decoded.com)
Episode 4: Sugar Fix (waysandmeanshow.com)

 

NEW RESEARCH URGES CAUTION IN EXPANSION OF DRUG DEVELOPMENT INCENTIVE PROGRAM
Expanding the federal program set up to reward development of new treatments for tropical diseases could reduce the incentive for drug companies to use it, according Professor David Ridley professor at the Fuqua School of Business, in a recently released study.

“We found that if there’s one voucher per year, the value is over $200 million,” Ridley said. “But the value curve slopes downward steeply. The value could be below $100 million if we have four or more vouchers in a year.”

Ridley said there are two ways to control the supply of vouchers: one is to limit the number of eligible diseases. The other is to limit the characteristics of eligible drugs. For example, Congress could add diseases, but then narrow the types of eligible drugs for those diseases, such as only drugs that have not been available anywhere else in the world.

Congress and the FDA have expanded the program several times, adding Zika in April.

New Research Urges Caution in Expansion of Drug Development Incentive Program (fuqua.duke.edu)

CONNECTING EXPERTISE WITH POLICY: DUKE-MARGOLIS CENTER
The Duke Margolis Center for Health Policy was established in October 2015 with a $16.5 million gift from Duke medical school alumnus Robert J. Margolis and his wife Lisa, through the Robert and Lisa Margolis Family Foundation. We sat down with DC-based Deputy Director Gregory Daniel, PhD, MPH, to learn more about how the center will connect cutting-edge research with policymakers and policy analysts in DC and beyond.

“The Margolis Center offers us an important and timely opportunity to transcend customary disciplinary boundaries and connect clinicians, specialists, economists, policy scholars, legal scholars – truly any field that touches how healthcare is delivered and paid for — around the problems facing patients, providers, systems and populations,” Daniel said.

Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy Connects Duke Expertise with the Policy Community (governmentrelations.duke.edu)

STUDY SHOWS HURRICANES KEY TO CARBON UPTAKE BY FORESTS
While hurricanes are a constant source of worry for residents of the southeastern United States, new research from Duke environmental engineer Ana Barros reveals that an increase in forest photosynthesis and growth made possible by tropical cyclones in the southeastern U.S. captures hundreds of times more carbon than is released by all vehicles in the U.S. in a given year, therefore counteracting global warming.

“Our results show that, while hurricanes can cause flooding and destroy city infrastructure, there are two sides to the story,” said Barros, the James L. Meriam Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Duke University. “The other side is that hurricanes recharge the aquifers and have an enormous impact on photosynthesis and taking up carbon from the atmosphere.”

This research was funded in part by the National Science Foundation Coupled Human and Natural Systems  Program (CNH-1313799) and an earlier grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NA08OAR4310701)

Hurricane Key to Carbon Uptake by Forests (pratt.duke.edu)

DUKE TRUSTEES NAME PRESIDENTIAL SEARCH COMMITTEE
Duke University trustees have begun the process of selecting the university’s 10thpresident by announcing the membership of the search committee of trustees, faculty, students, alumni and administrators.

In a message to the Duke community, trustee Chair David Rubenstein said the 19-member committee will be led by current trustee Vice Chair Jack O. Bovender Jr., the retired chair and CEO of the Hospital Corporation of America.

Advice and comments from the members of the Duke community will be an essential part of the search process. Duke alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends are encouraged to use the Presidential Search website to submit feedback about the opportunities and challenges facing the next university president and the attributes desired in the next president. Nomination of candidates may be submitted on the website.

President Richard Brodhead had previously announced his plans to step down on June 20, 2017, at the conclusion of his current term.