How doctors think, past and present

first_imgWhite man’s diseases, more than guns or famine, wiped out Native Americans. It’s a ubiquitous, simple argument, found everywhere from children’s American history textbooks to Jared Diamond’s Pulitzer Prize–winning tome “Guns, Germs, and Steel.” The explanation says that when European colonists landed on North American shores, they brought with them a vast array of deadly diseases for which native populations lacked immunity.There was only one problem, according to David Jones: From his standpoint as a student of medicine and history, the theory didn’t make sense.“There was a big disconnect between what thoughtful medical scientists would know about infectious disease and what many historians and scientists were saying about it,” Jones said.The question became his dissertation and then his first book, “Rationalizing Epidemics: Meanings and Uses of American Indian Mortality since 1600,” a sweeping survey that cut through much of the conventional wisdom about why Native Americans have long suffered worse health than their white or black counterparts.Now, as Harvard’s first A. Bernard Ackerman Professor of the Culture of Medicine, Jones ’93, A.M. ’97, M.D. ’01, Ph.D. ’01 will try to bridge the gap among scientific, clinical, and historical understandings about medicine that plagued him as a graduate student.Jones’ work tore down many of the popular arguments about why native populations first died in the early modern era and exposed the social factors such as poverty, displacement, and malnutrition that have long left Native Americans more vulnerable to epidemics, from small pox in the 17th century to diabetes and obesity today.“I think it’s just a critically important book, and it’s extremely impressive in that it was done by a young scholar,” said Allan Brandt, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and a former professor of Jones. “His work has a lot of strong historical content, but it’s very forward looking.”In his dual appointment at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Medical School (HMS), Jones will have the difficult task of looking to the past and future of medicine simultaneously.But, as Jones argues, the two are closely linked.“Historical arguments then serve as precedents for contemporary arguments,” he said. “For example, if this genetic determinist theory of [American Indians having] no immunity captures our imagination in the way that it does, what kind of precedent does that set for how we explain health disparities today?”Just as genetics dominate the cutting edge of medical research today, he said, they also loom large in the study of diseases past. Jones’ mission — whether in studying history or teaching medical students in the present — is to make sure social factors get their due in explaining disease. In the process, he tries to reveal the unconscious biases in doctors’ thinking.Jones grew up in Wellesley, Mass., and attended Phillips Exeter Academy, then Harvard. At the College, he dabbled in history, paleontology, geology, and premedical courses, completing a senior thesis in the history of geology under the legendary evolutionary biologist — and notoriously imperious professor — Stephen Jay Gould.“It took me a long time to get up the nerve to talk to him,” Jones said. “I think he was just pleased someone had finally come by his office hours.”He continued on to HMS, where he got involved with a study of Cold War-era government radiation testing on unwitting human subjects, a scandal that had just been uncovered. The work fascinated him and persuaded him to put his medical training on hold to pursue a doctorate in the history of science, then an uncommon course of study.“The fear was always that people will always ask you, ‘Why aren’t you trying to cure cancer?’ ” Jones said. “But in working on a project that was in the news, the importance of history became self-evident.”After finishing both degrees in 2001, Jones completed his residency in psychiatry at McLean Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. Hoping to balance his academic and clinical passions, he took an assistant professorship in Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Program in Science, Technology, and Society, and in his spare time worked shifts at Cambridge Hospital’s psychiatric emergency service — “a fascinating site for anyone interested in the social roots of disease.”In 2006, Jones made his way back to HMS when the school decided to revamp its curriculum to include a greater emphasis on social science courses. HMS leading lights Paul Farmer, Jim Yong Kim (now president of Dartmouth College), and Brandt hired Jones to help them create and teach a mandatory course for first-year students in social medicine.Jones’ behind-the-scenes grunt work paid off, as students responded enthusiastically to the course. Last year, Jones was one of two winners of HMS’s prestigious Donald O’Hara Faculty Prize for Excellence in Teaching.“He can be soft-spoken and low-key, but students really appreciate his commitment, his wry sense of humor, and his analytic sophistication,” Brandt said. “He cares deeply about other people.”Jones is now turning his research to how doctors make treatment decisions, and the subtle ways in which outside factors, from reimbursement to public policy to medical culture, influence what constitutes “evidence-based medicine.” His study of the changing perception of heart disease and its treatment in the 20th century — a complete departure from his past work — will be published in two forthcoming books.After juggling three jobs over the past several years, Jones breathed an audible sigh of relief at the thought of spending the upcoming academic year in one place. But he’s under no illusions about his new role.The message that came with his tenure offer was clear, he said with his trademark wry grin. “They told me, ‘It’s a sign of how much we respect you, and how hard we expect you to work.’ ”last_img read more

Saint Mary’s 2018 student government association committee reviews

first_imgCommunity CommitteeCommunity Committee chair and sophomore Maria Bruno works to promote what it means to be a Belle by encouraging students to participate as much as possible in a variety of events — not just those on the Saint Mary’s campus, but in the greater tri-campus community. In the future, the committee plans to improve event publicity within the community by encouraging more advertising across the three campuses. Additionally, it plans to foster a sense of community at Saint Mary’s by hosting a letter-writing event where students can write thank-you notes to faculty and staff, as well as welcome letters to newly accepted students. While the group has made efforts to bring students at Saint Mary’s closer together, it could take more initiative in its event planning.Grade: B Food Services CommitteeFood services committee chair and sophomore Giavanna Paradiso said the committee has had multiple meetings this year with Saint Mary’s dining general manager Ken Acosta. Working with Acosta, the committee has implemented small changes to the dining hall’s menu, such as adding marinated chicken on Tuesdays and Thursdays and a refrigerator featuring gluten-free options. The committee also arranged Food Week, which brought a cake decorating contest, a trail mix bar and an ice cream sundae bar to campus. Paradiso said the committee has plans to make Food Week an annual tradition. The committee also aspires to add more off-campus options for Munch Money and incorporate more student recipes from home in the dining hall, she added. Though the committee has made a few changes to improve dining at Saint Mary’s, it has yet to make any sweeping improvements.Grade: B+ SOPHIA Oversight CommitteeThe SOPHIA Oversight Committee — which changed its name this semester from the SOPHIA Curriculum Committee — allows students to provide suggestions about how the SOPHIA program is implemented. The program has and will still be the core of Saint Mary’s Liberal Arts education — it works toward improving the Saint Mary’s educational experience. The SOPHIA program is not perfect, and the committee has not done many tangible things to improve the program this semester. However, the group is in regular communication with the Saint Mary’s administration and looks forward to identifying issues with the program and rising to reform them. The committee honors the SOPHIA program’s focus on a complete and liberal education and believes that this innately benefits every Saint Mary’s student, neglecting to address the program’s faults.Grade: C+ Mission CommitteeJuniors Terra Nelson and Anna Zappa co-chair the mission committee. They act as liaisons between Campus Ministry, vice president of mission Judy Fean and SGA, while working to increase student connection with the Sisters of the Holy Cross to promote Saint Mary’s core values. Their biggest accomplishment of the semester was establishing a weekly “Lemonade and Le Mans” Mass, which helped increase weekly Mass attendance, drawing an average of 25 attendees each Wednesday. The committee is also in the process of confirming details for a class ring blessing Mass. In addition, it is working to plan a heritage tea at Reidinger House in the spring. While the group has been active this semester, it has yet to execute any substantial plans to further the College’s mission.Grade: B- Big Belle, Little Belle CommitteeThe Big Belle, Little Belle Committee helps freshmen form relationships with juniors. “The relationship between the pairs is to have a mentorship, sister, friendship,” said Moira LeMay, chair of Big Belle, Little Belle. “The committee hopes to encourage belles across classes to interact and build a strong community at Saint Mary’s.” LeMay said Big Belle, Little Belle is currently working to allow transfer students to participate in the program. Big Belle, Little Belle organizes several events each year for big and little Belles alike. Although most of the events are intended for junior and first-year pairs, LeMay said former Big and Little Belles are welcome at activities and events. Overall, Big Belle, Little Belle has done its best to continue programs from previous years. One of its biggest goals has been finding ways to incorporate transfer students, and although they haven’t figured out a set overall plan, they’re working on it.Grade: Bcenter_img Dominique DeMoe | The Observer Tags: 2018 Student Government Insider, Corcoran-Ogden, Saint Mary’s Student Government Association Market and Media CommitteeThe market and media committee did not respond to multiple requests for comment. However, the aim of the committee is to keep students aware of events happening around campus in clubs, departments and other organizations. Additionally, the group aspires to strengthen the connection between the SGA, its executives and the student body. It typically uses social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to engage with students and publicize SGA events. However, while the committee does important work, it has failed to make any major strides this year.Grade: C Sustainability CommitteeThe sustainability committee is led by juniors Courtney Kroschel and Kassidy Jungles. The pair has worked to represent student sustainability interests at faculty meetings throughout the semester. Establishing more opportunities for recycling on campus was one of the committee’s main goals this year. To do so, they have installed recycling bins in the Cushwa-Leighton Library and other places on campus. Next semester, the committee plans to spearhead a campaign to educate students on responsible recycling. The group has also expressed interest in providing more composting bins at Saint Mary’s, including bringing composting to the dining hall. Overall, the sustainability committee is completing the goals that they set forth for themselves in a timely fashion — however, the committee could take much broader steps to make Saint Mary’s environmentally friendly.Grade: Blast_img read more

Jeff Augustin’s Little Children Dream of God Begins Performances Off-Broadway

first_img The cast will also include Gilbert Cruz, Dashiell Eaves, Maurice Jones, Chris Myers, Carra Patterson, Crystal Lucas-Perry and Carl Hendrick Louis. The world premiere of Jeff Augustin’s Little Children Dream of God begins previews off-Broadway on January 24. Starring Deirdre O’Connell and directed by Giovanna Sardelli, the play, which launches Roundabout Underground’s eighth season, will run through April 5. Opening night is set for February 17 at the Black Box Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre. Show Closed This production ended its run on April 5, 2015 Related Shows View Comments On a balmy night in Miami, a soon-to-be mother, Sula, floats ashore on a car tire. Having braved a perilous journey to escape her native Haiti, Sula is determined to forge a better life in America for her unborn son. She soon finds safety in an apartment building that shelters refugees in need, joining a diverse community of immigrants, each with their own unique dreams and dilemmas. But even though the life she has hoped for seems within reach, Sula knows she can’t outrun her demons forever. Little Children Dream of Godlast_img read more

Movie Musical La La Land Dominates 2017 Golden Globes

first_img Great news for “musical theater nerds everywhere” and anyone who has an aunt who used to live in Paris. La La Land celebrated a record-breaking sweep at the 74th annual Golden Globe Awards on January 8, earning trophies for all seven categories it received a nomination, including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.Tony nominees Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, whose music can be heard on Broadway in Dear Evan Hansen, shared the award for Best Original Song with Justin Hurwitz for the number “City of Stars.” In their speech, the duo dedicated their award to “musical theater nerds everywhere.” Hurwitz also won for Best Original score.Ryan Gosling and Broadway alum Emma Stone brought the movie musical two more awards for their leading performances, and Damien Chazelle won for both his direction and screenplay.Moonlight, based on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue and featuring Jitney’s André Holland, received the award for Best Motion Picture – Drama.More stage favorites to win big with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association were Viola Davis, picking up another trophy for reprising her Tony-winning performance as Rose Maxson in the film adaptation of Fences, National Theatre-bound Olivia Colman for The Night Manager and Broadway alum Sarah Paulson, who can now put a Golden Globe next to her Emmy for The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. Additionally, Tony-nominated playwright Peter Morgan’s Netflix series The Crown won the award for Best Television Series – Drama.Click here for a complete list of winners. Check out Pasek and Paul’s acceptance speech below! Ryan Gosling & Emma Stone in ‘La La Land'(Photo: Dale Robinette) View Commentslast_img read more

Vermont Contractors Win Prestigious Building Awards

first_imgBethel, ME – Sunday River Ski Resort – March 2007 At this year’s Package Industries Builder Conference, Vermont contractors G.P.I. Construction of Brattleboro and Connor Contracting of St. Albans win prestigious building awards.G.P.I. Construction won best of category for Most Unusual Building for Cersosimo Lumber of Brattleboro and Connor Contracting was awarded Silver Level Package Industries Buildership.Package Industries was founded in 1962. Since then, they’ve become the #1 manufacturer of high quality steel buildings in New England. They are very proud to offer the Package Steel Building System” exclusively through their builder network, which represents some of the best contractors in the Northeast.Package stands behind every building they manufacture. A promise made is a promise kept. Period. Package knows customers always have a choice – and they want to make it easy for them to choose Package Steel Buildings. That’s why they’re #1 in New England.last_img read more

The Reel Challenge

first_imgThe Quest for a Petroleum Free LawnIt’s early morning and the neighbors are still asleep when I roll the mower out of the garage. I quickly position the machine to make the first pass and I’m off, grass flying and weeds tumbling. Half-an-hour later I’m starting to see progress. Half of my front yard looks as tidy as a new Marine’s head. The neighbors are still asleep. The birds are still chirping. The symphony of a rural morning is barely interrupted by the soft, sewing machine-like hum of my reel mower.For the sake of full disclosure I will state this up front. I think mowing grass is a complete waste of time.  It’s not that I mind the work, that I don’t like to be out in the sun, get dirty or break a sweat.  It’s just that the mindless riding in circles, week after week, summer after summer that produces nothing besides giving my lawn the awkward nakedness of a freshly shorn sheep makes no sense to me.Over my years of mowing grass I’ve also become conscious of another big, dirty fact. Lawn care requires oil. Lots of oil. It’s a vicious little cycle. The petroleum-based herbicides and fertilizers make your lawn grow so well you have to mow more which means pouring more oil into that gasoline-powered lawn machine of yours. The EPA estimates the mowing part alone uses 800 million gallons of gas in the U.S. each year. In fact according to their estimates 17 million more gallons of gas are spilled while we’re refueling our mowers (the oil it takes to make that much gas is as much as the Exxon Valdez spilled). The petroleum consumed in lawn care isn’t limited to the $4 a gallon gas we put into our mowers. Remember all the watering and applying pesticides and fertilizers and taking grass clippings to the landfill? Those products and processes are using as much oil as the act of mowing itself. Sounds like the value our culture places on a beautiful lawn was dreamed up in the marketing department of a petroleum company.The environmental impact doesn’t end with oil consumption. Most powered lawn tools have little or no emissions control equipment. The EPA quantifies the pollution they create at nearly 125 pounds of CO2 and other pollutants per mower each season. To put that number into perspective for every hour that your mower runs it’s like eleven cars are being driven at interstate speeds. Is it possible that your lawn care is outweighing the fact that you own a Prius?You would think that a person who has my reservations about mowing would live in an apartment, but my rural home is surrounded by acres of woods, orchards, gardens and grass. Literally acres. I fought back, planted flower beds, expanded the garden, let as much of my property go “natural” as possible, but in the end there was a certain amount of grass that had to be maintained to keep the skunks and ticks at bay. Factor in the orchard, the outbuildings and the walking paths and I was still stuck with about an acre and a half left to mow.According to the experts I’m the wrong person to use a reel mower. My yard is too big and too bumpy. I have too many trees to mow around that drop branches that jam the reel. According to them I’m probably morally justified in continuing to use my gasoline mower. I could keep riding and still sleep at night. But something about all the oil that was going into my lawn nagged at my conscious. So last spring after doing the research and considering the options I downgraded from a riding mower to a walk behind reel mower and spent the summer with a human powered yard.Green living Web sites and retailers trying to sell you a reel mower can spend hours extoling the virtues of the human-powered machines. They cut grass cleaner, leaving the grass healthier, more resistant to disease, pests and drought and spray your yard with a fine coat of mulch as they go. I have to admit in that first summer I didn’t notice any difference in how my lawn looked. Then again, I couldn’t care less if the neighbors admire the PGA qualities of my crab grass.But I also discovered that using a reel mower gave me benefits beyond aesthetics or the money I was saving from not buying gasoline. I never used a stopwatch, but in the end, mowing with a reel mower seemed just as fast as my riding mower. This factors in not only the “seat time” involved in mowing but also the time spent on “support activities.” No dead batteries as you’re scrambling to beat the rain. No broken belts at 4:50 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon. No special trips to town for mower gas. And I was getting exercise. Health experts estimate using a reel mower burns about 375 calories an hour. Every spring my exercise time gets crammed to the edge of my schedule by mowing. By using the reel mower I was getting both done at the same time.Reel MowerReel mowers are good for the environment and allow you to exerciseThen there were the small things. I didn’t have a front row seat to breathing in lawn mower exhaust. My clothes didn’t smell like gas fumes. I wasn’t exposed to gas or oil spills. I didn’t have to wear ear plugs for hours. The quietness of the mower allowed nature to continue on its business uninterrupted and allowed me to better observe it. Mowing had ceased to be an industrial activity in spite of nature and became an activity within nature, like hiking or biking.Then one day, sometime in the fourth straight hour of pushing a mower around my lawn, it struck me. America’s energy crisis is not simply about the price of gas, or whether coal can be mined and burned cleanly, it is a crisis of our personal energy and how we spend it. Our lives are cluttered with time saving gadgets. We mount our lawnmowers and then, expending nearly no personal energy, blast through our yards. Why?  So that we have the time to go to a gym and sit under fluorescent lights watching T.V. while riding a bike that doesn’t go anywhere?It’s hard for me to understand how anyone with an average-sized backyard would use anything besides a reel mower. How did these little, practical machines get replaced by the hassle of the internal combustion engine? Maybe mowing is just another aspect of our suburban automobile culture. Gasoline gives you the upper hand on nature. It allows you to do things your way, on your schedule in the shortest amount of time. We clutter our life with technology that is supposed to save us time and effort, but how do we use the time and effort we save and at what expense to others and our environment is our leisure purchased?I finished the lawn, quickly tucked my mower back in the garage and stepped back for a moment to admire my work. I expected to feel a rush of self-righteous satisfaction knowing that another week had passed without a drop of oil going into my lawn. But instead all I could see were the rest of the places in my life where my energy was being wasted, the places where my convenience was coming at the expense of others. Sometimes by taking a step in the right direction you can see more clearly how far you are from where you want to be. For me the real challenge lies ahead. Maybe the best place I could have started was in my own back yard.Sidebar – Reel Mower Tips and Tricks1. Keep your reel mower sharp and adjusted. A sharp properly adjusted mower requires less effort and cuts the grass cleaner. Most new mowers come with instructions and tools on how to do this. If not, find a shop that can do it for you.2. Don’t let the grass get too high. Reel mowers do not cut effectively once the grass gets higher than the reel.3. Pick up branches and other yard debris. Twigs, nuts, fruit and seeds will jam the reel.4. If you have a large yard, divide it into parts and mow it over the course of several days.5. Buy used – A brand new reel mower will cost you somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 to $300, comparable to slightly cheaper than their gasoline powered equivalents. Used reel mowers can often be found at garage sales or on Craigslist for less than $50.last_img read more

HSV Swift begins SME exchanges in Barbados

first_imgBy Dialogo August 17, 2010 I lived in Barbados in 1952 and I now witness with admiration the level of technology which Barbados has reached, I hope they keep growing because they are a hard-working people. Sailors and Marines deployed aboard High Speed Vessel (HSV) Swift 2 began subject matter expert (SME) exchanges in Bridgetown, Barbados. Swift’s crew is scheduled to conduct SME exchanges in Barbados for the next two weeks, and will continue the deployment throughout the region until early this fall. The exchanges support Southern Partnership Station (SPS) 2010’s primary mission of information sharing with navies, coast guards, and civilian services in the U.S. Southern Command’s Area of Responsibility throughout the Caribbean and Central America. “These professional exchanges between the U.S. and Barbados are what SPS 2010 is all about,” said Capt. Kurt Hedberg, mission commander, SPS 2010. “Over the upcoming weeks we will forge a valuable partnership with defense forces in Barbados, which we hope will result in long-lasting maritime security for both nations in the future.” “It’s always great to get together with another nation’s military and show them what we know, but it’s also exciting to learn about their way of doing the same job,” said Hedberg. “While we hope we have a lot to offer with our knowledgeable facilitators, we know we’re also going to learn a lot from the experts here in Barbados.” While each exchange includes some lecture and group discussion, much of the time is spent in hands-on exhibitions of one another’s knowledge and expertise on a particular topic. Scheduled SME exchanges for the upcoming weeks include small boat maintenance, port and physical security, visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) operations, and tactical land navigation and martial arts facilitated by the embarked Marine Corps detachment. last_img read more

Diversification is a big deal. Here’s why.

first_img continue reading » Although lengthy books have been written about diversification, we’ll boil it down to this statement: Diversification means putting your money in a variety of different types of investments—sometimes called assets—to help reduce risk.Notice, please, we didn’t say diversification eliminates risk. That’s impossible. But it can help reduce it. That’s because if you have a variety of investments, good performance in one can offset less desirable performance in another. Keep in mind diversification does not assure a profit or protect against market loss.How do you diversify? Good question Did you hear the one about the man in his early 60’s who had been saving diligently for retirement, had his entire retirement plan invested in the stock market – and then the stock market crashed? Obviously, it’s no joke.If you’re saving money for retirement, congratulations, smart move. Chances are you’re making decisions about how to invest that money and you’ve heard you need to diversify. Want to know what that means and why it’s important—in simple language? 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Experian says still waiting for explanation from Equifax

first_img 14SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Equifax Inc.’s lack of transparency about its massive data breach makes it difficult for the credit-rating firm’s competitors to check the security of their own information, according to Experian Plc.“We don’t have a conclusive statement from Equifax,” Alex Lintner, Experian’s president of consumer information services, said Tuesday in an interview. “We’re trying to get one about what happened, so we can double-, triple-, quadruple-check whatever equivalent we have.”Atlanta-based Equifax last week reported a cyberattack that may have affected 143 million people — or about half the U.S. population — revealing Social Security numbers, driver’s license data and birth dates. Experian, which collects similar customer information, said it has confidence in its underlying security and technologies. continue reading »last_img read more

Indonesian diplomats injured in Texas car crash

first_imgA car carrying three Indonesian diplomats crashed in San Antonio, Texas, United States, on Thursday at 3 p.m. Central Standard Time (4 a.m. on Friday in Jakarta), injuring the passengers, Indonesia’s mission in Washington, DC confirmed.The United States Diplomatic Security Services (US DSS) told the Indonesian Embassy in Washington, DC that the accident involved three vehicles, one of which was an official vehicle carrying the Indonesian consul general in Houston, Nana Yuliana, consular officer Dian Hapsari and the vehicle’s driver, identified only as Dede.The accident was caused by a swerving truck that hit two other cars around it. Nana and the two other staff members were immediately taken to Broke Army Hospital in San Antonio, according to a statement from the Indonesian Embassy.Foreign Ministry spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah confirmed the incident with The Jakarta Post.”Currently, Dr. Nana Yuliana and the staff are in intensive care at the hospital. According to information from Texas’ DSS, their condition is not life-threatening, but they must stay in the hospital’s care,” the embassy said.Officials from the Indonesian Consulate General in Houston, Texas have arrived at the San Antonio Military Medical Center to ensure the chief of mission’s condition was stable but that he was being examined further in the emergency room, alongside driver Dede.Meanwhile, consular officer Dian is still in the ICU to receive treatment for fractured ribs, the embassy said.Their families and staffers from the consulate general are making their way to the hospital, located some three hours away from Houston. (asp)Topics :last_img read more