News Article | February 16, 2017
Funding enables efforts to break down research barriers and advance the search for treatments uniquely designed for children WASHINGTON -- The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at the National Institutes of Health has awarded Children's National Health System, in partnership with The George Washington University (GW), another prestigious Clinical and Translational Science Award. The grant, made available to facilities across the nation through a competitive process, underwrites the existing Clinical and Translational Science Institute at Children's National (CTSI-CN) and provides funding that is essential to continue the collaborative pediatric-focused translational research occurring at Children's and at GW. "I am thrilled to see this innovative partnership continue to grow," says Kurt Newman, M.D., President and CEO of Children's National. "Pediatric research has always been part of our core mission. CTSI-CN takes these efforts to the next level by alleviating common challenges that researchers face in conducting pediatric research, so they can focus on the results that will really improve the lives of children." Adds Lisa M. Guay-Woodford, M.D., Director of the CTSI-CN and Hudson Professor of Pediatrics and Associate Vice President for Clinical and Translational Science at GW: "The CTSI-CN partnership was created to catalyze the translation of research into actual improvements in child, family and community health here in Washington, DC, and around the country. This institute breaks down traditional research barriers, empowers laboratory and clinical investigators to collaborate with community partners and eases the administrative burdens of conducting research. These multidisciplinary collaborations, which include GW faculty from the School of Medicine & Health Sciences, the Milken Institute School of Public Health and the School of Engineering & Applied Science, are key to really revolutionizing how we understand childhood health issues and care for children and their families now and in the future." The five-year, $24 million award provides resources to investigators working within the CTSI-CN and creates new tools and systems to assist them with planning, developing and fulfilling research improving child and family health. "The tools provided by the CTSI-CN partnership provide unprecedented support to investigators from the very beginning of their research study development process," adds Robert H. Miller, Ph.D., co-Director of the CTSI-CN and Senior Associate Dean for Research in the GW School of Medicine & Health Sciences. "This partnership will enable us to foster the next generation of researchers and instill in them the principles of collaboration and responsibility in research conduct for both children and adults." The CTSI-CN has identified several core areas to address and remove common challenges and barriers that impede medical research. Services include: * Enhanced research infrastructure, such as access for investigators to biostatistics support and informatics tools, including streamlined databases for recruiting patients for clinical trials. * Promotion of investigator education, training and career development, including mentorship for junior investigators. * Assistance with navigating administrative research steps, including Institutional Review Board review of clinical studies and trials. * Financial awards for promising junior research faculty to seed early study progress. * Accelerating discovery and the translation of discoveries into real solutions for children and families through fostering dialogue between laboratories, care providers and community organizations. * A focus on establishing partnerships locally and nationally to engage the community and the Clinical and Translation Science Award network in vital research efforts, enhance research participation and foster multi-institutional collaborations.
News Article | February 17, 2017
A team of lemur biologists and computer scientists has modified human facial recognition methods to develop a semi-automated system that can identify individual lemurs. The new technology, dubbed LemurFaceID, is reported this week in the open access journal BMC Zoology. According to the research team from The George Washington University, University of Arizona, Hunter College, and Michigan State University, USA, this is the first time that facial recognition technology has been applied to any of the over 100 lemur species endemic to Madagascar. The researchers showed that LemurFaceID can correctly identify individual lemurs with 98.7% accuracy, given two face images of the individual. Dr Rachel Jacobs, the corresponding author from The George Washington University said: "Using photos we had taken of wild red-bellied lemurs in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar, our co-author Anil Jain and members from his laboratory were able to adapt a facial recognition system designed for human faces so that it recognizes individual lemurs based on their facial characteristics. We were surprised with the high degree of accuracy that we achieved, which shows that facial recognition can be a useful tool for lemur identification." For short-term studies of lemurs, researchers often rely on unique, individual identifiers to recognize individual lemurs, such as differences in body size and shape or the presence of injuries and scars. However, relying on variations in appearance can make it difficult for different researchers to identify the same individual over time. This and other factors mean that long-term, multi-generation studies of lemur populations are limited. Stacey Tecot, senior author of the study said: "Studying individuals and populations over long periods of time provides crucial data on how long individuals live in the wild, how frequently they reproduce, as well as rates of infant and juvenile mortality and ultimately population growth and decline. Information like that can inform conservation strategies for lemurs, a highly endangered group of mammals." The researchers suggest that the new technology could remove many of the limitations associated with traditional methods for lemur identification. Dr Jacobs explained: "Capture and collar methods are a common practice for the identification of wild lemurs but these methods can pose risks to the animals, such as injury or stress, as well as costs for veterinary services and anesthesia. Our method is non-invasive and would help reduce or eliminate some of these costs." To address the challenge of developing a non-invasive method for identifying individual lemurs that can facilitate long-term research, the researchers modified and tested human facial recognition technology specifically for lemur faces, using a dataset of 462 images of 80 red-bellied lemur individuals, and a database containing a further 190 images of other lemur species. Many lemur faces possess unique features such as hair and skin patterns that computer systems can be trained to recognize. In addition to expanding longitudinal research on lemur populations and assisting conservation efforts, the researchers believe that the face recognition methods developed for LemurFaceID could be useful for identification of other primate and non-primate species with variable facial hair and skin patterns, such as bears, red pandas, raccoons or sloths. The authors also point out that in non-captive settings, where unknown individuals might enter a population, the system's accuracy was lower and further testing involving larger datasets of individuals and photographs is needed. 1. Images and videos are available from Anne Korn at BioMed Central. 2. Research article: LemurFaceID: a face recognition system to facilitate individual identification of lemurs Crouse et al BMC Zoology 2017 DOI: 10.1186/s40850-016-0011-9 During the embargo period, the article is available from Anne Korn at BioMed Central. After the embargo lifts, the article will be available at the journal website here: http://bmczool. Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy. 3. BMC Zoology is an open access, peer-reviewed journal that considers articles on all aspects of zoology, including comparative physiology, mechanistic and functional studies, morphology, life history, animal behavior, signaling and communication, cognition, parasitism, systematics, biogeography and conservation. 4. BioMed Central is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Nature, a major new force in scientific, scholarly, professional and educational publishing, created in May 2015 through the combination of Nature Publishing Group, Palgrave Macmillan, Macmillan Education and Springer Science+Business Media. http://www.
News Article | February 15, 2017
WorldatWork, a nonprofit HR association and compensation authority, is proud to announce that LifeCare has earned WorldatWork’s Seal of Distinction for 2017 for the sixth straight year. The seal is a unique mark of excellence designed to identify organizational success in total rewards effectiveness. LifeCare is one of 160 organizations to be honored as a 2017 recipient. All of the 2017 recipients will be recognized during the WorldatWork Total Rewards Conference & Exhibition, held in Washington, D.C. from May 7-10. “It is an honor to once again receive the AWLP Seal of Distinction,” said Peter Burki, LifeCare Chairman & Chief Executive Officer. “For almost 33 years we have committed ourselves to helping clients, their employees and the employees of LifeCare be successful both in the workplace and at home. We look forward to continuing our support for them as they navigate through their personal needs and life events.” Begun in 2012, the prestigious Seal of Distinction is awarded to companies that meet defined standards of workplace programs, policies and practices weighted on several factors, such as the complexity of implementation, required organizational resources, perceived breadth of access and overall level of commitment from leadership. Applicants are evaluated on: “We congratulate all of the recipients of the 2017 Seal of Distinction. These recipients represent a wide variety of industries from across the U.S. and Canada, showing that the total rewards model applies to employers and employees everywhere,” stated Anne C. Ruddy, president and CEO of WorldatWork. “This year, we saw the highest number of applicants since the Seal of Distinction was created. I’m confident that this means an increasing number of companies are recognizing the importance of a workplace environment that benefits both the employer and employee.” This year’s recipients represent industries of education, finance, government, health, law, manufacturing, and pharmaceuticals – and hail from 36 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. The 2017 list includes 80 companies who are first-time Seal of Distinction recipients. Eighty companies have received the seal in previous years. In addition, 11 organizations, including LifeCare, have qualified every year since WorldatWork started presenting the Seal of Distinction in 2012. LifeCare provides employer-sponsored work-life benefits to 61,000 clients, including Fortune 500 companies and large branches of the federal government, representing 100 million members nationwide. In addition to child and backup care solutions, LifeCare also provides a full suite of work-life solutions that save members time with personal life needs such as: elder care, legal and financial issues, health and everyday responsibilities. LifeCare also operates LifeMart, an online discount shopping website that provides real savings on everyday products and needs. LifeCare is headquartered in Shelton, CT. The Total Rewards Association WorldatWork is a nonprofit human resources association and compensation authority for professionals and organizations focused on compensation, benefits and total rewards. It's our mission to empower professionals to become masters in their fields. We do so by providing thought leadership in total rewards disciplines from the world's most respected experts; ensuring access to timely, relevant content; and fostering an active community of total rewards practitioners and leaders. WorldatWork has more than 70,000 members and subscribers worldwide; more than 80% of Fortune 500 companies employ a WorldatWork member. Founded in 1955, WorldatWork has offices in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Washington, D.C., and is affiliated with more than 70 human resources associations around the world. Below is the complete list of 2017 Seal of Distinction recipients: California ACI Specialty Benefits Actelion Pharmaceuticals US Addepar Foothill Family Fremont Bank Infoblox Inc. Intuit Inc. Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association (LACERA) Motion Picture Industry Pension & Health Plans Professional Publications Inc. Prologis UCLA Health and David Geffen School of Medicine University of California, Davis University of California, Irvine University of California San Diego District of Columbia Advanced Medical Technology Association American Gas Association DC Water Department of Transportation - Federal Aviation Administration Federal Reserve Board of Governors Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP Hill+Knowlton Strategies Raffa, P.C. Summit Consulting LLC The George Washington University U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services U.S. Department of Agriculture Florida AACSB International BayCare Health System Black Knight Financial Services, Inc. Broward Health Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority/LYNX Citizens Property Insurance Corporation Seminole State College of Florida Iowa ITA Group, Inc. Principal Financial Group Wells Enterprises Inc. Massachusetts Babson College Bright Horizons Family Solutions Inc. Globoforce Kronos Incorporated Massachusetts Institute of Technology Progress Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. Maryland Bon Secours Health System, Inc. Campbell & Company CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Continental Realty Corporation Frederick County Public Schools Johns Hopkins University and Health System Marriott International National Institutes of Health National Security Agency Target Community & Educational Services, Inc. Missouri City of Kansas City, Missouri KCP&L Nestle Purina PetCare Co. University of Missouri System Veterans United Home Loans New Jersey BASF Corporation Becton Dickinson CRP Industries Inc. Ferring Pharmaceuticals Inc. KPMG LLP Prudential Financial Sanofi US The Electrochemical Society New York Mastercard Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center MVP Health Care MetLife NYU Langone Medical Center On Deck Capital Inc. Ralph Lauren The YMCA of Greater Rochester North Carolina BlueCross and BlueShield of North Carolina NC State University Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA) RTI International Volvo Group North America Texas Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority Children's Health City of Southlake Dell Inc. Disability Rights Texas Geokinetics Lloyd's Register Americas Inc. MOGAS Industries, Inc. Ryan, LLC Southwest Research Institute Texas Instruments
News Article | February 9, 2017
Losing weight appears to reset the chemical messages that fat cells send to other parts of the body that otherwise would encourage the development of Type 2 diabetes, substantially reducing the risk of that disease, a team led by Children's National Health System researchers report in a new study. The findings offer hope to the nearly 2 billion adults who are overweight or obese worldwide that many of the detrimental effects of carrying too much weight can recede, even on the molecular level, once they lose weight. In 2015, Robert J. Freishtat, M.D., M.P.H., Chief of Emergency Medicine at Children's National and Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Emergency Medicine and Integrative Systems Biology at The George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences, and colleagues showed that fat cells (also known as adipocytes) from people who are obese send messages to other cells that worsen metabolic function. These messages are in the form of exosomes, nanosized blobs whose contents regulate which proteins are produced by genes. Exosomes are like "biological tweets," Dr. Freishtat explains -- short signals designed to travel long distances throughout the body. Dr. Freishtat's earlier research showed that the messages contained in exosomes from patients who are obese alter how the body processes insulin, setting the stage for Type 2 diabetes. However, says Dr. Freishtat, it has remained unclear since that publication whether these aberrant messages from adipocytes improve after weight loss. "We've known for a long time that too much adipose tissue is bad for you, but it's all moot if you lose the weight and it's still bad for you," he explains. "We wanted to know whether these negative changes are reversible. If you reduce fat, does the disease risk that goes along with excess fat also go away?" To investigate this question, Dr. Freishtat and colleagues worked with six African American adults scheduled to receive gastric bypass surgery -- a nearly surefire way to quickly lose a large amount of weight. The volunteers, whose average age was 38 years, started out with an average body mass index (BMI) of 51.2 kg/m2. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers a healthy BMI to range between 18.5 to 24.9.) Two weeks before these volunteers underwent surgery, researchers collected blood samples and took a variety of measurements. The researchers then performed a repeat blood draw and measurements one year after the surgery took place, when the volunteers' average BMI had dropped to 32.6. Dr. Freishtat and colleagues drew out the adipocyte-derived exosomes from both sets of blood samples and analyzed their contents. The team reports in the January 2017 issue of Obesity that at least 168 microRNAs -- the molecules responsible for sending specific messages -- had changed before and after surgery. Further analyses showed that many of these microRNAs were involved in insulin signaling, the pathways that the body uses to regulate blood sugar. By changing these outgoing microRNAs for the better, Dr. Freishtat says, adipocytes actively were encouraging higher insulin sensitivity in other cells, warding off Type 2 diabetes. Sure enough, each volunteer had better insulin sensitivity and other improved markers of metabolic health post-surgery, including lower branched chain amino acids and a two-fold reduction in their glutamate to glutamine ratio. "These volunteers were essentially cured of their diabetes after surgery. The changes we saw in their surgery-responsive microRNAS correlated with the changes we saw in their metabolic health," Dr. Freishtat says. Dr. Freishtat and colleagues plan to study this phenomenon in other types of weight loss, including the slower and steadier paths that most individuals take, such as improving diet and doing more exercise. The team expects to see similar changes in exosomes of patients who lose weight in non-surgical ways. By further examining the aberrant messages in microRNAs being sent out from adipocytes, he says, researchers eventually might be able to develop treatments to reverse metabolic problems in overweight and obese patients before they lose the weight, improving their health even before the often challenging process of weight loss begins. "Then, if you can disrupt this harmful signaling in combination with weight-loss strategies," Dr. Freishtat says, "you're really getting the best of both worlds." Eventually, he adds, tests might be available so that doctors can warn patients that their fat cells are sending out harmful messages before disease symptoms start. By giving patients an early heads up, Dr. Freishtat says, patients might be more likely to heed advice from physicians and make changes before it's too late. "If doctors could warn patients that their fat is telling their blood vessels to fill up with plaque and trigger a heart attack in 10 to 20 years," he says, "patients might be more compliant with treatment regimens."
News Article | February 21, 2017
STAMFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced the appointment of Sal Siino as Senior Vice President, Global Content Distribution & Business Development. Siino, who previously held senior leadership roles with WeMash, Bedrocket Media Ventures, T3Media and Westwood One, will report directly to Tandy O’Donoghue, WWE Executive Vice President, Strategy & Analytics. As WWE’s Senior Vice President, Global Content Distribution & Business Development, Siino will be a key member of WWE’s leadership team, responsible for the management of WWE’s worldwide content distribution business across all platforms. Siino will also manage business development initiatives and partnerships, and provide related support to WWE’s business units. Prior to joining WWE, Siino was Co-Founder, President and Chief Operating Officer of WeMash, where he connected premium content owners including movie studios, news organizations, sports entities, music labels and publishers with video artists, filmmakers, and musicians to re-imagine content beyond its original context. Before co-founding WeMash, Siino was Executive Vice President, Partnerships & Chief Revenue Officer of Bedrocket Media Ventures, where he partnered with established brands and category leaders including Univision, PGA Tour and Major League Soccer, to develop pioneering online destinations and branded YouTube channels to reach audiences on all screens. Previously, Siino was Chief Content & Revenue Officer at T3Media, a company that represented the largest library of licensable video content in the world. He also served as Executive Vice President, Sales, Marketing & Operations at Westwood One, a sports and entertainment content syndicator and the top domestic provider of traffic and news reports to television and radio stations. Siino practiced law with Kelley, Drye & Warren in New York and worked as an investment banker in Merrill Lynch’s Mergers and Acquisitions group. Siino received a BA from Georgetown University, his J.D. from The George Washington University School of Law and his MBA from Harvard Business School. WWE, a publicly traded company (NYSE: WWE), is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family friendly entertainment on its television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing platforms. WWE programming reaches more than 650 million homes worldwide in 25 languages. WWE Network, the first-ever 24/7 over-the-top premium network that includes all live pay-per-views, scheduled programming and a massive video-on-demand library, is currently available in more than 180 countries. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Mexico City, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore, Dubai, Munich and Tokyo. Additional information on WWE (NYSE: WWE) can be found at wwe.com and corporate.wwe.com. For information on our global activities, go to http://www.wwe.com/worldwide/ Trademarks: All WWE programming, talent names, images, likenesses, slogans, wrestling moves, trademarks, logos and copyrights are the exclusive property of WWE and its subsidiaries. All other trademarks, logos and copyrights are the property of their respective owners. Forward-Looking Statements: This press release contains forward-looking statements pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which are subject to various risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties include, without limitation, risks relating to: WWE Network; major distribution agreements; our need to continue to develop creative and entertaining programs and events; the possibility of a decline in the popularity of our brand of sports entertainment; the continued importance of key performers and the services of Vincent K. McMahon; possible adverse changes in the regulatory atmosphere and related private sector initiatives; the highly competitive, rapidly changing and increasingly fragmented nature of the markets in which we operate and greater financial resources or marketplace presence of many of our competitors; uncertainties associated with international markets; our difficulty or inability to promote and conduct our live events and/or other businesses if we do not comply with applicable regulations; our dependence on our intellectual property rights, our need to protect those rights, and the risks of our infringement of others’ intellectual property rights; the complexity of our rights agreements across distribution mechanisms and geographical areas; potential substantial liability in the event of accidents or injuries occurring during our physically demanding events including, without limitation, claims relating to CTE; large public events as well as travel to and from such events; our feature film business; our expansion into new or complementary businesses and/or strategic investments; our computer systems and online operations; a possible decline in general economic conditions and disruption in financial markets; our accounts receivable; our revolving credit facility; litigation; our potential failure to meet market expectations for our financial performance, which could adversely affect our stock; Vincent K. McMahon exercises control over our affairs, and his interests may conflict with the holders of our Class A common stock; a substantial number of shares are eligible for sale by the McMahons and the sale, or the perception of possible sales, of those shares could lower our stock price; and the relatively small public “float” of our Class A common stock. In addition, our dividend is dependent on a number of factors, including, among other things, our liquidity and historical and projected cash flow, strategic plan (including alternative uses of capital), our financial results and condition, contractual and legal restrictions on the payment of dividends (including under our revolving credit facility), general economic and competitive conditions and such other factors as our Board of Directors may consider relevant. Forward-looking statements made by the Company speak only as of the date made and are subject to change without any obligation on the part of the Company to update or revise them. Undue reliance should not be placed on these statements. For more information about risks and uncertainties associated with the Company’s business, please refer to the “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Risk Factors” sections of the Company’s SEC filings, including, but not limited to, our annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q.
News Article | February 15, 2017
Tompkins International is pleased to announce that Gene Tyndall, currently Executive Vice President, Chief Solutions and Business and Development Officer, is appointed President, MonarchFx, the Division of Tompkins International that provides eFulfillment services to sellers of products online. MonarchFx is a special alliance of logistics services providers, the leading supply chain technology, and transportation service providers, that provides sellers one-stop eFulfillment with reasonable pricing and high levels of service. Jim Tompkins, Chairman and CEO, MonarchFx, states, “We are excited to have Tyndall in this new role. His deep experience and knowledge will add value to the Alliance and to its customers.” Tyndall is a highly respected supply chain consultant, industry veteran, and thought leader. Prior to joining Tompkins International, he was President of Ryder Global Supply Chain Solutions, Global Leader and Senior Partner of the Ernst & Young Supply Chain Management Consulting Practice, and a United States Navy Officer. He has over 30 years experience with over a hundred multinational corporations and domestic companies, in strategy development, new process design, technology, and leading practices. Many of the best practices in place today across all industries are due to his thought leadership and leadership. Tyndall has co-authored several books and written numerous articles on supply chain management, as well as being quoted by business and public media. His book, Supercharging Supply Chains: New Ways to Increase Value Through Global Operational Excellence, is recognized as a leading guide for managers seeking to achieve higher levels of performance and thus stronger stakeholder value. Tyndall holds graduate degrees from The George Washington University and his bachelors from the University of Maryland. He is also a graduate of the Institute for Advanced International Management in Switzerland and has attended advanced management programs at Harvard University, Stanford University, and the University of Miami. He was elected to the Global Logistics Hall of Fame and has been honored as “Innovator of the Year” by Information Management. MonarchFx is honored to have Tyndall as its President.
News Article | February 24, 2017
The 5th Annual Humans to Mars Summit (H2M) will be held from May 9-11, 2017 at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. H2M is the largest conference in the world focused on the goal of sending humans to Mars and will feature some of the most prominent and influential people in business, government and academia. The conference will explore critical policy goals and technology solutions required for the human exploration of Mars and the significant progress that has been made since the first H2M was held in 2013. “Children born in 2017 are more likely than any generation before them to witness, before their 18th birthday, humans walk on another planet for the first time,” said Explore Mars, CEO Chris Carberry. “For more than five years, the Humans to Mars Summit has been at the forefront of policy and technology decisions that have had a major impact on U.S. space policy. Today we have unprecedented support for Mars exploration from Congress, industry, and the general public. If we make the right decisions, humans will be on the surface of Mars within the next two decades, and the economic and scientific benefits to our country and the world will be unprecedented.” H2M 2017 will be a platform for discussion on major technical, scientific, and policy challenges that need to be overcome in order to send humans to Mars by the early 2030s. The Summit will also feature topics such as international partnerships and cooperation, the impact on small business and innovation, Hollywood and the Mars story, risk tolerance in space exploration, the role of the Moon in sending humans to Mars, and space diplomacy. Confirmed speakers include: Buzz Aldrin (Apollo XI, Gemini XII), William Gerstenmaier (NASA: Associate Administrator, HEO), Penny Boston (NASA: Director, Astrobiology Institute), Steve Jurczyk (NASA: Associate Administrator, STMD), Clementine Poidatz (National Geographic Series, Mars), John Grunsfeld (former NASA Associate Administrator and astronaut), Artemis Westenberg (President, Explore Mars, Inc), Thomas Zurbuchen (NASA: Associate Administrator, SMD), Abigail 'Astronaut Abby' Harrison (Student; The Mars Generation), Jim Cantrell (CEO of Vector Space Systems), James Green (NASA: Director, Planetary Science), Janet Ivey (Janet's Planet), Joe Cassady (Aerojet Rocketdyne: Executive Director, Space), Mat Kaplan (Planetary Radio, The Planetary Society) and Ann Merchant (Science and Entertainment Exchange). Said Explore Mars President, Artemis Westenberg, “H2M will host substantive NASA workshops on policy, STEaM competitions for our youth and important debates on strategies for space transportation and human habitats. This is the single best opportunity for all of us to come together and advance the mission that will one day make humans a two-planet species.” For registration information visit http://h2m.exploremars.org. To become an event sponsor, please contact carberry(at)exploremars(dot)org. About Explore Mars Explore Mars was created to advance the goal of sending humans to Mars within the next two decades. To further that goal, Explore Mars conducts programs and technical challenges to stimulate the development and improvement of technologies that will make human Mars missions more efficient and feasible. To advance the idea of Mars as a habitable planet, Explore Mars challenges educators to use Mars in the classroom as a tool to teach standard STEM curricula. Explore Mars, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation organized in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Donations to Explore Mars are tax-deductible. Contact Explore Mars via its website or email info(at)ExploreMars(dot)org.
News Article | February 28, 2017
With just over 50 dentists per 100,000 residents, Kansas ranks 35th among U.S. states in access to dental care (1). In fact, 86 of the state’s 105 counties (2) have been declared Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas. Adventure Dental & Vision of Wichita is bringing additional resources to the state to help address the problem. The state’s dentist shortage impacts rural residents and those enrolled in Medicaid disproportionately. Despite having some of the strictest Medicaid eligibility requirements in the nation, the percentage of Kansans enrolled in Medicaid/CHIP has grown by 12% since 2013 (3). In 2016, the state cut Medicaid dental reimbursement rates by 4% as part of an emergency budget-balancing measure. Even before the cut, Medicaid paid dentists about 40 cents on the dollar compared to comparable private dental insurance reimbursements (4). The latest measure has caused many Kansas providers to reduce the number of Medicaid-enrolled patients they are willing to accept, or in some cases, stop seeing Medicaid patients altogether. Adventure Dental and Vision, with two Wichita locations at 1902 W. 21st Street and 980 S. Oliver Street, is focused on extending dental and vision care services to children in underserved communities. The company has built a support model to help dental providers more efficiently deliver services and manage administrative tasks in order to serve Medicaid enrolled patients despite the lower reimbursement rates. While other providers in the state are forced to turn away Medicaid patients, Adventure Dental and Vision is expanding to be able to care for more Wichita children. This month two new dentists will be joining the Adventure team; Dr. Colin Reed and Dr. Amber Royal. Dr, Royal had this to say about her decision to come serve Wichita children, “In Kansas, only 42 percent (5) of kids enrolled in Medicaid have had a dental check-up in the last 12 months, and access to quality care is a big part of the issue. I did my residency in Wichita and loved the sense of community I experienced here. I couldn’t wait to come back and help address the dentist shortage.” Tooth decay is the number one chronic disease impacting children in the U.S. and lower-income children are more likely to be impacted. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), 80% of dental caries in permanent teeth occur in just 25% of U.S. children (6). Untreated childhood dental issues can lead to pain, infection, tooth loss, missed school and more. These statistics are what prompted Dr. Reid to specialize in treating underserved children, “Working with these kids and their parents is just fun. I can coach them on how to stay healthy and get to see them again and again. It’s just a different kind of satisfaction caring for kids who might otherwise not get care, you know you’re making a difference and the families are really grateful.” See what local parents have to say about Adventure Dental & Vision. About Adventure Dental & Vision Adventure Dental & Vision is 100% focused on delivering quality care to children in underserved communities. With offices nationwide, Adventure has been helping children ages six months through 20 years gain access to the care they need since 2006. Their kid-friendly offices and caring staff take the fear out of dental visits, making it fun, easy and affordable for children to thrive. 1 America’s Health Rankings 2016 Annual Report, United Health Foundation 2 Shortage/Underserved Areas Designations Kansas Department of Health and Environment, 3 Healthinsurance.org, Kansas Medicaid. 4 Rural Dental Networks Hit Hard by Kansas Medicaid Cuts, KCUR.org, December, 2016. 5 Children’s Use of Dental Care in Medicaid: Federal Fiscal Years 2000-2012, Milken Institute of Public Health, The George Washington University, October, 2014. 6 Keep Kids Smiling: Promoting Oral Health Through the Medicaid Benefit for Children and Adolescents, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, September, 2013.
News Article | February 15, 2017
The U.S. could face a shortfall of thousands of doctors, experts warn, because Pres. Donald Trump issued an executive order last week that banned citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days. The order has created fears among foreign-born doctors and medical students—more than a quarter of the physician workforce in the U.S. comes from other countries, including Syria and Iran—that they will be persecuted in the U.S. or forced to leave. Medical school leaders say that sought-after applicants are likely to move their careers to other countries. The reasons such doctors are in the U.S. in the first place is that America does not produce enough physicians to keep up with demand. A current deficit of 8,200 primary care doctors and 2,800 psychiatrists is expected to worsen as the population grows and ages, according to report published in 2016 by the Association of American Medical Colleges . It estimates the U.S. will face a shortage of up to 94,700 doctors by 2025. Almost a third of the crunch will be primary care physicians More than 8,400 doctors working in the U.S. are from two countries listed in the executive order—Syria and Iran—according to data from the American Medical Association. Even more foreign-born physicians—close to 50,000—are from India, which is not included in the travel ban. But the fears created by last week’s executive order will ripple across Asia and the Middle East, reaching places like India, says Atul Grover, a physician and executive vice president of the AAMC. “The majority of our foreign doctors come from India and Pakistan, and while they’re not on the list I think when the environment feels this uncertain and this inhospitable, they’ll go to Canada and the U.K.,” he says. Doctors themselves say that Grover is right. Omar Alsamman, who practices in New Hampshire, wishes he had gone to work in the U.K. instead. Alsamman left Syria in 2011 after completing medical school. He did his residency in New Jersey in internal medicine. “I’ve been in paralyzing fear since the executive order was signed. My H1-B visa expires later this year and I don’t know if it can be renewed. I only came here to accomplish the American dream. I found love here. I found a home here. Now everything is in jeopardy.” Although the executive order does not mention immigrants who are already in the U.S., he says some immigrant doctors will leave and pursue their careers in a country that is more welcoming. Medical schools say the order makes it harder to recruit newly minted MDs to work in hospitals as resident physicians, says Jessica Bienstock, associate dean for graduate medical education at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. By the end of February, teaching hospitals across the country have to select the newly qualified doctors who will help staff their wards beginning in July. It is a highly competitive process known as matching. “But now we’re in a position where we could match someone who is from Syria or Iran and they won’t be able to get into the country,” Bienstock says. “And if we do match someone who can’t enter, then we end up running a residency program with holes in it and not enough doctors to take care of the patients that the program is responsible for.” Bienstock says she is advising doctors who are from foreign countries not on the list, particularly African and Middle Eastern doctors, that they should not leave the U.S. “There’s lots of jitteriness and uncertainty among our trainees,” she says. Although the executive order does not mention vetting non-U.S. citizens who are already in the U.S., Bienstock fears that an extension or broadening of the ban would prevent foreign doctors from returning to their patients if they left the country. Other nations could be added to the order, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told NBC News in an interview on Sunday. Kinan Alhalabi, a Syrian who trained in the suburbs of Damascus, is one of the young doctors worried about the match and the ban. He has been in the U.S. for two years and has done stints at top hospitals such as the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic. In recent months he got job interviews at a dozen hospitals to be a resident, he says. But in the aftermath of Trump’s order he e-mailed all the hospital program directors at the hospitals, anxious to hear if the order will affect his chances. So far, he hasn’t heard back, he says. His work permit is scheduled to run out this summer and if it is not renewed, then he will not be able to be a resident, leaving any hospital that accepted him as a resident short-staffed. “I just paid my taxes,” he says. “I see 30 American patients every day and try to heal them. It’s devastating after all this work to help American society and be a part of it that with one [presidential] signature everything could just fall apart,” he says. He and other Syrian medical students that he has been communicating with in a Facebook group are starting to think about applying for foreign residency programs in Germany, Switzerland or the U.K. These concerns are also affecting scientists, hampering their work. Some European scientists working in the U.S. have been advised by immigration lawyers to cancel travel to international conferences until details of the executive order are better understood. A Belgian researcher based in the U.S., who requested anonymity because he fears retaliation from the immigration service, says he had to cancel a field trip to study malaria in Southeast Asia. “It makes you think twice about starting a career in the U.S.,” he says. “It’s nothing compared to what people from those seven countries are going through, but it doesn't make you feel accepted.” A similar phenomenon occurred after the attacks of September 11, 2001, when stringent visa controls prevented some scientists from working in the U.S. Albert Teich monitored the impact of the travel restrictions on science for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and now researches visas and immigration policies at The George Washington University. “It looks like we’ve gone back in time,” he says. “This is an echo of what we did in 2002 and 2003. Back then it was driven by panic. You could maybe understand it. What’s happening now is a politically driven self-inflicted wound.” Teich says it is difficult to measure the direct impact these types of restrictions have on the academic landscape of a country—but the net effect is negative. These policies keep out good scientists and make scientific collaboration and communication more challenging, he says. A slowing down of scientific advancements might not be as tangible, however, as longer waiting times in the clinic. Grover, whose organization includes all 147 accredited medical schools in the U.S., worries most about foreign doctors seeking employment elsewhere. “There’s so much uncertainty,” he says. “Today it’s seven countries on the list. Who knows what it will be next year or even next week?”
News Article | March 3, 2017
Carryn Owens, widow of widow of Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens, is applauded on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, as she was acknowledged by President Donald Trump during his address to a joint session of Congress. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) CHICAGO (AP) — The televised moment moved a nation: A grief-stricken widow clasping her hands and looking skyward, tears streaming down her face as the nation's lawmakers and president delivered a deafening standing ovation in honor of her fallen husband. President Donald Trump's tribute to Navy SEAL William "Ryan" Owens during Tuesday's congressional address was seen by many as touching. But others regarded it as a calculated attempt to deflect criticism of his decision to approve a failed military operation and to turn around his administration's shaky start with a gesture that sought to unify a deeply divided country. Social media was abuzz with both praise and criticism. Trump was praised on Twitter as giving "the greatest respect to Carryn Owens" and for moving "viewers to tears with his love for our fallen military." But others said Trump was responsible for Owens' death and criticized the "exploitation of his widow for last night's dog and pony show." Perceptions of the gesture likely depended on whether viewers trust Trump, said Matthew Dallek, a political management professor at The George Washington University and speechwriter for former Democratic U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt. "Whether he seems to be exploiting (Owens') death or it seems to be heartfelt and genuine very much depends on one's political view and whether or not you trust Trump," Dallek said. "If you voted for him, you think he's honoring a patriot and this is powerful. If ... you don't trust him and don't approve of his presidency so far, I don't think this changes very much." Trump is following in the footsteps of many presidents who have introduced guests to help make a political point. But Tuesday's tribute was potentially more fraught because Owens' father has refused to meet with Trump and called for an investigation into the Yemen raid that took his son's life. Owens, a 36-year-old married father of three, was the first known U.S. combat casualty since Trump took office, and his death, as well as the killing of several civilians, raised questions about the effectiveness of the raid. Trump used the tribute to insist again that Owen's death was not in vain, saying he helped gather significant intelligence. Trump's gesture could have been genuine and calculated at the same time, said Elizabeth Sherman, a political science professor at American University. He likely knew that it would be difficult to criticize the tribute because Carryn Owens accepted his invitation and the chance for the nation to honor her husband's sacrifice. "I think Trump figured this was a brilliant PR move. How can you lose?" Sherman said. But Ryan Owens "might have been alive" if there had been a deeper assessment of the raid's risks, she said. "No one wants to say that" amid Carryn Owens' grief. Dallek said Trump also might have inflamed the politics around Owens' death when he again insisted that valuable information was gathered in the raid, despite reports to the contrary. "He could have invited Owens' widow, acknowledged her sacrifice and her husband's heroism and really left it at that," Dallek said. "But he's got to justify the raid as incredibly successful and one that is going to help him kill the terrorists."