Ryerson University is a public research university located in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Its urban campus surrounds the Yonge-Dundas Square; located at the busiest intersection in Downtown Toronto. It is seen as one of Canada's leading universities and has a focus on applied, career-oriented education. The majority of its buildings are in the blocks northeast of the Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto's Garden District. Wikipedia.
News Article | April 17, 2017
10SEOS, one of the oldest and largest directories of SEO companies around the world, has rated Green Lotus Digital Marketing Agency as the #1 SEO company in Canada! Green Lotus Digital Marketing Agency, founded by Bassem Ghali in 2012, provides high-level online marketing (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO) services to maximize lead generation and ROI for medium and large businesses. It’s all about results at the SEO and Online Marketing Agency! Green Lotus prides itself in providing high-quality services and detailed reports to all clients. The numbers don’t lie. Demonstrating the effectiveness of each service provided is how Green Lotus has managed to develop a loyal client base that continues to grow. The Green Lotus Small Business Marketing Hub is held to the same high standards, providing small businesses with a feasible, reliable alternative to costly marketing services. 2015 marked the launch of Green Lotus SEO Tools, the first Canadian SEO Tools for entrepreneurs, with a suit of over 35+ tools specifically designed to help small business owners, entrepreneurs and startups get a handle on their own SEO activities, develop an SEO strategy, and measure results. Green Lotus SEO Tools can also scale to meet the needs of savvy Internet marketers, and be white-labelled for marketing agencies who manage multiple client websites. More About Founder, Bassem Ghali: Bassem Ghali is a Search Engine Marketing Strategist and Speaker with more than 10 years of experience managing online marketing strategies for some of Canadian’s largest corporations including Canadian Tire, Direct Energy, and Toronto Star - New in Homes. Bassem is the founder and driving force behind Green Lotus and has a knack for creating innovative online marketing strategies for small, medium and large businesses. Bassem Ghali recently received the Entrepreneur of Year Award from the Canadian Association of Marketing Professionals. Demonstrated success in online marketing has led to speaking engagements at various events including Search Engine Strategies (SES) Toronto, University of Toronto, Ryerson University, Humber College, American Marketing Association, SOHO Business Expo, Online Revealed Canada Conference, Newmarket Chamber of Commerce, and more.
News Article | May 8, 2017
Impact Summit 2017 keynote speaker, The Honourable Ratna Omidvar, is an internationally recognized voice on migration, diversity, and culture. In addition to being the Senator for Ontario, she is the founding executive director and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Global Diversity Exchange (GDX), Ted Rogers School of Management at Toronto's Ryerson University. Dutch designer and entrepreneur Richard van der Laken of "What Design Can Do" will deliver the lunchtime keynote address. "Impact Summit brings together some of the finest minds working in the fields of migration, culture, and diversity," says Clinton Hummel, IDC's President of the Board of Management. "Through interactive sessions, Summit attendees will work alongside these experts to identify key challenges then generate practical solutions which can be taken forward, reflecting how important our built environment is to the future of communities in which we live and work." Impact Summit attendees will receive curated tours through Toronto's Regent Park, a groundbreaking example of how a city can transform a community into a successful, mixed-income, and mixed-use neighborhood, with rental buildings, market condominium buildings, townhomes, commercial space, community facilities, active parks, and open space. The thriving area embraced migration to build a successful, inclusive, and evolving community. Through expert-led presentations and audience collaboration, the goal of Impact Summit 2017: Migration, Culture, and Diversity in the Built Environment is to expand attendees' knowledge base while creating ideas to foster culturally diverse, highly functioning, and economically stable communities. About IDC Interior Designers of Canada (IDC) is the national advocacy association for the interior design profession in Canada with a mandate to provide a unified voice to advance and promote the Canadian interior design industry locally, nationally, and internationally. With this goal in mind, IDC provides valuable and quality professional development opportunities; educates the public about the importance of hiring qualified interior designers; protects members' right to practice through government relations; and works with the media to promote understanding of the interior design profession. About ASID The American Society of Interior Designers believes that design transforms lives. ASID serves the full range of the interior design profession and practice through the Society's programs, networks, and advocacy. We thrive on the strength of cross-functional and interdisciplinary relationships among designers of all specialties, including workplace, healthcare, retail and hospitality, education, institutional, and residential. We lead interior designers in shared conversations around topics that matter: from evidence-based and humancentric design to social responsibility, wellbeing, and sustainability. We showcase the impact of design on the human experience and the value interior designers provide. ASID was founded over 40 years ago when two organizations became one, but its legacy dates back to the early 1930s. As we celebrate nearly 85 years of industry leadership, we are leading the future of interior design, continuing to integrate the advantages of local connections with national reach, of small firms with big, and of the places we live with the places we work, play, and heal. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-interior-designers-of-canada-and-american-society-of-interior-designers-present-impact-summit-2017-migration-culture-and-diversity-in-the-built-environment-300453086.html
News Article | May 5, 2017
The five new international conferences that will take place in Toronto as a result of the dedication from Leaders Circle Ambassadors will take place between 2017 and 2024 and will gather worldwide thought leaders across a variety of subjects including immigration law, industrial technology, and public health. The combined estimated economic benefit generated for Toronto by these new international meetings is estimated to be more than $22 million. A research grant awarded by the Leaders Circle was presented by Ontario's Minister of Research, Innovation and Science, Minister Moridi, to Dr. Patrizia Albanese from the Department of Sociology at Ryerson University to acknowledge her efforts in leading the successful convention bid for the 2018 ISA World Congress of Sociology and to support the Project named "What are International Meetings Worth on an Intellectual Level? An Ethnographic Case Study & Evaluation of an International Networking Opportunity among Canadian Junior Scholars in the Lead-Up to a World Congress". "High-profile international meetings in Ontario provide a spotlight for our leading researchers, entrepreneurs and innovators to shine," said Reza Moridi, Ontario's Minister of Research, Innovation and Science. "The Leaders Circle acknowledges and rewards the efforts of professionals who bring important international meetings to Toronto. For the province's researchers and innovators, this recognition is an added bonus that helps sustain them on their path to discovery." "Toronto has a rich research and innovation story to tell and The Leaders Circle is proud to help members tell these stories to the world," said Kathy Nicolay, Leaders Circle Manager. "Tonight's theme of 'coming together' reflects our successful bidding partnerships and also celebrates new strategic partnerships with thought leaders from various industries." "I absolutely would recommend working with Leaders Circle and Tourism Toronto for anyone who is beginning down the path of trying to bid for an international congress," said Ambassador Corinne Eisenbraun, Director of Education & Policy Programs at Dietitians of Canada. "They had the depth in their support staff to really help us put forward a highly professional presentation. We can bring the content expertise and the subject matter expertise, but the real business of hosting a congress and of putting such an event on needs professional support through the Leaders Circle and Tourism Toronto." Dr. Maurice Bitran Chief Executive Officer & Chief Science Officer at the Ontario Science Centre Association of Science – Technology Centres 2019 Annual Conference Ms. Catherine Paisley Vice President, Science Education & Education Experience at the Ontario Science Centre Association of Science – Technology Centres 2019 Annual Conference Dr. Dimitri Androutsos Chair and Professor, Ryerson University Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering 2021 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP) Dr. Kostas Plataniotis Professor, University of Toronto Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering & Bell Canada Chair in Multimedia 2021 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP) Dr. Xiao Ping (Steven) Zhang Professor, Ryerson University Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering 2021 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP) Dr. Sheldon Williamson Associate Professor, University of Ontario Institute of Technology Department of Electrical, Computer and Software Engineering IEEE 18th International Conference on Industrial Technology Ms. Corinne Eisenbraun Director of Education Policy & Programs, Dietitians of Canada 19th International Congress of Dietetics About the Leaders Circle The Leaders Circle program partners with top thinkers, innovators, and researchers throughout the Toronto region to bring international meetings to the city. These meetings showcase Toronto as a place of innovation, excellence and opportunity. Supported by the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and Tourism Toronto, the Leaders Circle ensures Toronto hosts international meetings that provide a transfer of knowledge, build on the city's global reputation, promote innovation and ground breaking institutions, and leave a legacy of social and economic benefits to the city and region. For more, please visit www.theleaderscircle.ca.
News Article | May 16, 2017
Toronto, May 16, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- XOR-Labs Toronto Inc. (XOR), a spin-off from Toronto General Hospital at the University Health Network, the world's leading center for lung transplantation, and a MaRS Innovation company, announces today the addition of health care business veterans, Mr. Scott Langille as Chief Financial Officer and Mr. Joel Liederman as Senior Advisor, Planning and Pipeline, to the growing list of seasoned industry leaders that make up the XOR Business and Clinical Leadership team. Mr. Scott Langille has defined his career by holding leadership positions in various pharmaceutical and life sciences organizations and by being very hands-on in their financial and business development . Scott was Chief Financial Officer of Tribute Pharmaceuticals listed on the Toronto Venture Stock Exchange and the OTC QB exchange in the US. Tribute was sold to Pozen in February 2016 for $160M USD which formed Aralez Pharmaceuticals. Prior to Tribute Pharmaceuticals, Scott was Chief Financial Officer of Virexx Medical Corp, a biotechnology company located in Alberta listed on the American Stock Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange. Past financial experience includes Director, Corporate Finance at Biovail Corporation, Director of Finance at Biovail Pharmaceuticals Canada, Biovail's sales and marketing division in Canada, as well as Vice President at Biovail Pharmaceuticals Inc., Biovail's sales and marketing division in the United States. Mr. Joel Liederman is a respected and exceptionally accomplished senior executive with more than 40 years of advanced technology company leadership, domestic and international marketing expertise, and venture capital experience in high technology industries. As Senior Advisor, Planning and Pipeline, Joel will focus on managing various growth opportunities for XOR. Joel most recently served as Vice President, Physical Sciences at MaRS Innovation until retiring in December 2016. During his tenure at MaRS Innovation, his previous roles have included CEO of a next generation mammography machine company, XLV Diagnostics, and CEO of a solar materials company, QD Solar. For both of these corporations, Joel managed the transition from an academic organization where the company’s core technology was developed, to the point where they secured their first round of venture capital investment funding. “It is with great pleasure that I welcome Mr. Scott Langille and Mr. Joel Liederman to the XOR team, where they join Alan Coley and Paul Kirkconnell, experienced leaders in their own right, in QA/RA and Corporate Development, respectively. Messrs. Langille and Liederman have already begun to make a significant impact within our organization and will unquestionably continue to do so.” said Dr. Tom Waddell, XOR’s CEO. “It is an exciting time at XOR as we continue to expand the management team, and be at the forefront of developing organ perfusion technology that has the ability to richly change the lives of so many.” XOR-Labs is a medical device company focused on leading advances within the fields of organ transplantation and diseased organ treatment. XOR’s ultimate goal is to become the worldwide leader in advanced multi-organ therapies, a market valued at $3-$5 billion. MaRS Innovation is the commercialization agent for 15 of Ontario's leading academic institutions, including the University of Toronto and its ten research hospitals, as well as Ryerson University and York University. Collectively, this group invests almost $1.5 billion annually in scientific research. MaRS Innovation has created and supported over 50 innovative and game-changing start-up companies based on the world-class science from these members -- start-ups that, through MaRS Innovation's strategic international networks, have attracted local and global industry partnerships and investments. Supported by the Government of Canada through the Networks of Centres of Excellence; by the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Centres of Excellence, Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science; and by its members, MaRS Innovation maximizes the commercial and social return on its member institutions' research assets, thereby converting great science into commercially viable products and services. A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/8136f986-0add-44aa-acfe-454905ea2fb2
News Article | April 26, 2017
As part of a partnership with APA and Harvard University's Graduate School of Design that brings planning directors from the nation's largest cities to the Lincoln Institute each year, Armando Carbonell, chair of the institute's Department of Planning and Urban Form, will moderate a panel, Big City Planning Directors on Equitable Redevelopment and Food Access, which will examine the economic, planning, and equity issues facing St. Louis, Milwaukee and other cities. The session, from 2:45 to 4:00 p.m. Monday May 8, will include a discussion of redevelopment surrounding the nearly $2 billion National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency facility planned in St. Louis near the site of the former Pruitt-Igoe housing complex. The Lincoln Institute's recently published book Nature and Cities: The Ecological Imperative in Urban Design and Planning will also make its debut at the conference. Featuring essays by leading landscape architects, planners, and urban designers, the book calls for integration of nature more fully into cities as the world urbanizes and the effects of climate change grow more severe. A complete list of the Lincoln Institute's sessions at the conference follows (all sessions at the Javits Convention Center): Fiscal Analysis, Municipal Finance, and the Economy, from 10:45 a.m. to noon Saturday May 6, kicking off the conference's fiscal track with a discussion of the pillars of municipal fiscal health, why they are relevant to the planners, and how cities and towns can make better land use decisions, with George "Mac" McCarthy of the Lincoln Institute and L. Carson Bise of TischlerBise (Room 1E07). Benchmarking and Municipal Fiscal Health, from 1 to 2:15 p.m. Saturday May 6, exploring ways planners can use the Fiscally Standardized Cities (FiSC) database to make meaningful budgetary comparisons across the largest 150 U.S., with Lincoln Institute Senior Research Analyst Adam Langley and Research Fellow Andrew Reschovsky, as well as Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center Senior Fellow Tracy Gordon and Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning Deputy Executive Director for Planning Bob Dean (Room 1E08). Infrastructure Public Finance 101, from 4 to 5:15 p.m. Saturday May 6, surveying the financial avenues available to cities to pay for critical projects and the relationships between finance, project planning, and capital project administration, with Lourdes Germán of the Lincoln Institute and Susan Kendall of FirstSouthwest/Hilltop Securities (Room 1E15). Best Practices for Using Tax Incentives, from 1 to 2:15 p.m. Sunday May 7, detailing the costs and benefits of tax incentives, ways to make incentives more effective, the value of taking a regional approach, and alternative economic development strategies, with Edward Hill of Ohio State University, Daphne Kenyon of the Lincoln Institute, Greg LeRoy of Good Jobs First and Ronald Rakow of the City of Boston (Room E116). Nature and Cities: Ecological Planning and Design, from 1 to 2:15 p.m. Sunday May 7, looking at how ecological understanding can help planners respond to urban challenges like climate change with a focus on resilient urban design, with Timothy Beatley of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Armando Carbonell of the Lincoln Institute, Nina-Marie Lister of Ryerson University, and Forster Ndubisi of Texas A&M University (Room 1E10). Financing NYC's Hudson Yards, from 4 to 5:15 p.m. Sunday May 7, examining how the city of New York used the value of land to finance the multi-billion-dollar Hudson Yards infrastructure project on the city's Far West Side, with Lourdes Germán of the Lincoln Institute, and William Glasgall of the Volcker Alliance (Room 1A07). Applying Big Data to Small Projects, from 4 to 5:15 p.m. Sunday May 7, highlighting projects in California and Virginia to show how to gather and deploy big data to help achieve planning and transportation goals, with Amy Cotter of the Lincoln Institute, Chris McCahill of the State Smart Transportation Initiative, Chris Pangilinan of TransitCenter, and Laura Schewel of StreetLight Data (Room 1A08). Advancing Equity Analysis in Scenario Planning, from 7:30 to 8:45 a.m. Monday May 8, investigating how social equity concepts can be implemented in planning practice using innovative scenario planning tools, with Colbey Brown of the Manhan Group, LLC, Arnab Chakraborty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Robert Goodspeed of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Jennifer Minner of Cornell University, Peter Pollock of the Lincoln Institute, Alex Steinberger of Fregonese Associates, and Bev Wilson of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Room 1A10). Big City Planning Directors on Equitable Redevelopment and Food Access, from 2:45 to 4:00 p.m. Monday May 8, confronting the economic, planning, and equity issues facing St. Louis, Milwaukee and other cities, with David Rouse of APA, Armando Carbonell of the Lincoln Institute, Vanessa Koster and Tim McCollow of the City of Milwaukee, Donald Roe of the City of St. Louis, Karen Shore of The Food Trust, and Toni Griffin of Urban Planning for the American City (Room 1E10). Scenario Analysis for Urban Planners, from 2:45 to 4 p.m. Monday May 8, on how scenario planning can acknowledge the inherent uncertainty of the future, using case studies that incorporated a wide range of voices, with Arnab Chakraborty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Amy Cotter of the Lincoln Institute, Janae Futrell of the city of Atlanta, and Kenneth Snyder of PlaceMatters (Room 1E07). Using the CIP to Make Plans Happen, from 4:15 to 5:30 p.m. Monday May 8, on how capital improvement plans can be used as vehicles to achieve planning goals, with Jean Gatza of the City of Boulder, Colorado, Julie Herlands of TischlerBise, and Peter Pollock of the Lincoln Institute (Room 1E09). Fiscal Policy and Land Use Interaction, from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. Tuesday May 9, looking at how fiscal policy decisions affect land use outcomes and vice versa, and how to promote cooperation between city planners and public finance experts, with Amy Cotter of the Lincoln Institute, Julie Herlands of TischlerBise, Michael Pagano of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Andrew Reschovsky of the Lincoln Institute (Room 1A06). Planning Directors' Perspectives on the Region, from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. Tuesday May 9, providing a forum for planning directors form the New York City region to share the results of an all-day retreat, with Purnima Kapur of New York City, Peter Pollock of the Lincoln Institute and a number of planning directors from throughout the region (Room 1A21). Weighing the Future of Buyouts, from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. Tuesday May 9, exploring the structure and function of buyout programs in flood-prone communities, and the improvements that can be made, with Robert Freudenberg of the Regional Plan Association and Deborah Hoffman of the County of Passaic, Totowa, New Jersey (Room 1E15). Improving Fiscal Impacts Analysis, from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. Tuesday May 9, taking a deep dive into traditional methods used in fiscal impact analysis, critiques of traditional fiscal impact analysis, and alternative methodologies, with Peter Angelides, Daniel Miles, and Steven Nelson of Econsult Solutions, Inc. and Sidney Wong of Community Data Analytics (Room 1E14). The Lincoln Institute has been a longstanding partner with the American Planning Association's National Planning Conference, which is in its 109th year. The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy is an independent, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to help solve global economic, social, and environmental challenges to improve the quality of life through creative approaches to the use, taxation, and stewardship of land. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/lincoln-institute-at-the-american-planning-association-2017-national-planning-conference-300446392.html
News Article | May 15, 2017
IOANNINA, GREECE—Hazim Shingali and his family had no time to gather their belongings on 3 August 2014, when they heard that hundreds of armed Islamic State (IS) group fighters were storming toward their town of Sinjar in Iraqi Kurdistan. The 22-year-old college student, his parents, and his five younger sisters fled on foot to an arid mountain near the Syrian border, along with about 50,000 other Yezidis, members of a religious minority. “We did not have enough water and food. We all ate the leaves of trees,” Shingali says. Members of the IS group massacred 3100 Yezidis who stayed behind, according to a study published this month. The group also abducted some 6800 women and children, many of whom they tortured, raped, and forced to convert to Islam. Shingali’s family hid on the mountain for 10 days before escaping in a 3-day march to Syria and later to a refugee camp in Turkey. “Many women and children died of thirst or hunger,” he says. Half of his family sought asylum in Germany, but they didn’t have enough money for everyone to go. Shingali and his sisters, then 10 and 14 years old, stayed in Turkey for a year and then made it to Greece. But by March 2016, Germany had tightened its borders, stranding the siblings and more than 3000 other Yezidis in Greece. Four years after the attack, Shingali and his family have escaped grave bodily harm. But like thousands of other exiled Yezidis, they are still dealing with the psychological aftermath of a forced migration that tore families apart. When political or religious violence drives people from their homes, “there’s confusion, loss, a rupturing of all sorts of bonds,” says cultural psychiatrist Laurence Kirmayer of McGill University in Montreal, Canada. According to Kirmayer, Yezidis serve as an extreme case study of the psychological challenges that refugees face at every stage of forced migration, from the initial trauma of violent upheaval to the stress of uncertain asylum status and eventual resettlement. In a 2016 study of Iraqi Yezidi adults in a Turkish refugee camp, nearly 30% showed symptoms of both posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depression. Yet psychologists and psychiatrists working with Yezidis today also note their remarkable resilience. This stems in part from their tight-knit communities and the rituals and storytelling traditions that have helped them weather centuries of persecution, says Jan Kizilhan, a German psychologist of Yezidi descent at Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University in Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany. “Yezidis know what it means to survive genocide,” he says. “It’s in our music, our narratives, our behavior.” By studying how Yezidi refugees are coping, he and others hope to learn how to better support the mental health of the more than 60 million people worldwide who have been forced to leave their homes. Because they are targeted for their religion, Yezidis suffer not just as individuals, but as a group, says Andres Barkil-Oteo, a psychiatrist with Yale School of Medicine and Doctors Without Borders who has worked with Yezidis in Greece. So the traditional Western model of one-on-one, individualized psychological treatment is not always adequate, he says. “The problem is collective—how do you treat a community?” Yezidi rituals may trace back to nature-worshiping traditions of ancient Mesopotamia, although their monotheistic religion contains elements of Islam and other faiths. In addition to one God, Yezidis worship seven divine beings, including a peacock angel called Tawûsî Melek. Yezidis believe that souls are reborn until they achieve perfection, says Khanna Omarkhali, a scholar of Yezidi religion at the University of Göttingen in Germany. One can only be born a Yezidi; no conversions are allowed. Directed by a spiritual leader named Baba Sheikh, Yezidism is mostly an oral tradition, with few, if any, texts. That lack of texts has left Yezidism vulnerable to misinterpretation, including the accusations of devil worship that the IS group used to justify slaughter and rape and that have fueled persecution of Yezidis for centuries. Yezidis consider the 2014 attacks the 74th genocide in a series dating back to the Ottoman Empire. Today, about 420,000 Yezidis remain in Iraqi Kurdistan, with 350,000 displaced in formal and informal camps. About 300,000 are scattered throughout about a dozen countries worldwide, with the largest population in Germany, says Murad Ismael, executive director of the Yezidi advocacy group YAZDA in Houston, Texas (see graphic). He fears that the genocide may sever Yezidis from their sacred sites in the Middle East forever. Yet throughout their ordeal, Yezidis have maintained a common core of belief and culture. At a refugee camp called Faneromeni in northern Greece last December, Shingali, his sisters, and 20 other Yezidi families were preparing for a holy day in a crumbling two-story building surrounded by industrial lots and dormant potato fields. Women chopped parsley and tomatoes for the holiday meal while men shared cigarettes outside and stoked fires. Everyone wore bracelets of twisted red and white thread, which Shingali said symbolize peace and love. Few in the camp felt festive, however. One of Shingali’s sisters, now 17, sat on the floor in the room the siblings shared, fiddling with the bracelet on her wrist. When she tried to speak, her words stopped in her throat in a series of violent hiccups. A psychologist who visited weekly attributed the worsening speech impediment to stress, Shingali said. The strain of becoming a refugee can exacerbate existing problems and eventually develop into mental illness. According to a 2016 survey of 38 Yezidi children in a refugee camp in Turkey, all had symptoms of at least one psychiatric illness, with sleep disturbance and depression the most common. In a second 2016 survey of 238 Iraqi Yezidi adults who had recently fled to a camp in Turkey, 40% had symptoms that fit a diagnosis of depression or PTSD. Diagnosing mental illness in refugees is difficult, Barkil-Oteo says. People’s normal reactions to poor living conditions and uncertain status are hard to disentangle from symptoms of an anxiety disorder or depression. At the same time, signs of distress are easy to miss because people vary in how they express suffering. The terms that many Yezidis use to describe their psychological burden—“heavy heart” or “burning liver”—don’t appear in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Yet researchers studying refugee mental health have made great strides over the past 20 years, says physician Richard Mollica, director of the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In the 1980s, “we had no idea how to provide treatment” for people fleeing violence, he says. Now, tools such as a checklist of traumatic experiences and symptoms that can be adapted to most cultures have helped identify mental health needs shared by many refugees, he says. Maggie Schauer, a psychologist at the University of Konstanz in Germany, is helping treat more than 1000 Yezidi women who escaped from the IS group. Kizilhan helped bring the women to a small town in Germany’s Black Forest for psychological treatment. Although classic PTSD focuses on the aftermath of previous events, Schauer says these women still experience fresh trauma when they hear of assaults on relatives and friends still captive in Iraq. For example, one woman recently learned that her two young sisters are missing. She feels guilty for not being there to protect them, Schauer reports. “She says, ‘I can’t sleep, because I know what [the IS group] will do to them at night.’” When such news arrives via WhatsApp and Facebook, the women often experience depression, nightmares, flashbacks, and hypervigilance—an ongoing sense of threat. The woman’s experience shows how Yezidis experience trauma collectively. When someone is attacked simply for being Yezidi, their compatriots suffer even if they don’t know the person, Kizilhan says. For example, in February, the community saw a video that showed two Yezidi boys apparently forced to convert to Islam and then carry out a suicide bombing. “Every Yezidi felt that,” he says. The IS group’s attacks are so traumatic in part because they violate the strictest laws of Yezidi society—taboos against conversion and sexual relations outside the community—and so isolate victims from their own people. “Traditionally, in Yezidism if a person has accepted another religion even once, they are not able to come back,” Omarkhali says. Women raped by outsiders have faced similar ostracism. “When we take Yezidi girls from Iraq to Germany, they can be very confused,” Kizilhan says. “Are they Yezidis, are they Muslims?” At Faneromeni, a man named Falah who was once a barber in Iraq invites a guest into the room that he shares with his family. Everyone drinks tea and smokes cigarettes, and Falah brings out a stringed instrument called the tembûr. He plays a song about the sadness of leaving Iraq while his two toddler boys bob up and down, kicking their feet to the music. Next, Falah plays a second song about his hope for relocation to “anywhere that’s good for life,” he says. Yezidis often prefer to talk about ferman—their history of genocide and forced migration—than about their own traumatic experiences, Kizilhan says. For Western psychologists trained to focus on the individual, “it can be frustrating when someone begins their own story by talking about their great-great-grandparents,” he says. But those collective, historical stories can be helpful. “Talking can bring more clarity about what happened before, during, and after a trauma, which then opens the door to begin talking about a brighter future,” he says. Through a technique called narrative exposure therapy (NET), Schauer uses storytelling to help the Yezidi women in Germany heal. Together, therapist and survivor create a narrative of the survivor’s life from birth to the present, putting the most disturbing events, discussed in detail, in a broader context. In more than a dozen controlled trials across cultures, the approach has reduced symptoms of PTSD, says Schauer, who helped pioneer the method. Unlike therapies that focus on a single event, NET accounts for the importance of cumulative trauma. The approach reflects robust, growing scientific evidence that the number of traumatic events a person has experienced is the most important predictor of PTSD and depression, Schauer says. NET also incorporates ritual. Survivors use flowers and stones to lay out good and bad life experiences. In working with Cambodian refugees, psychiatrist Devon Hinton of Harvard Medical School in Boston encouraged patients to make customary offerings to the dead. Doing so can help assuage recurrent nightmares involving visits from deceased relatives. For Muslims, practices such as ritually washing the face, arms, and feet—signifying spiritual purification—can help refugees recover a positive self-image. The ability to reconstitute community of some kind is one of the most potent protective factors for refugee mental health, Kirmayer says. For Yezidis, Kizilhan and others pushed for a collective response to the rapes and forced conversions: a change in religious laws to allow women and forced converts to again become official Yezidis. Baba Sheikh and other religious leaders agreed. They developed a new, collective ritual in which a sheikh declares that Yezidis who were raped or forced to convert are once again true Yezidis. The ritual “blesses these women as Yezidis,” Omarkhali says. If boys and men manage to escape captivity, “they are accepted back into the community,” she says. The ritual works, Schauer says: “The women strongly believe that this blessing makes them part of the group again.” Yezidis stand out for the communities they forge in refugee camps, which they often set up on their own, separate from Muslims and other groups. That the Faneromeni camp contained only Yezidi refugees “was no accident,” Barkil-Oteo says. It formed when dozens of Yezidis, saying that people from other groups had insulted them, together walked out of a larger camp and demanded their own location. With an established leader and defined roles for community members, Yezidis at Faneromeni seemed to have an easier time than other groups solving challenges in camp, Barkil-Oteo says. When one of his patients had to be hospitalized, for example, the group designated two people to always stay with the patient—an impressive display of social support, he says. In Germany, the women Kizilhan works with “are like sisters; they take care of each other,” he says. Despite their penchant for sticking together, the current exodus is testing Yezidi unity, Kizilhan says, as Yezidis from different regions and perhaps different religious practices resettle in new host countries. Without a safe haven in their ancestral homeland, “I’m not sure what will happen” to the community in coming decades, he says. In the long term, the traumas Yezidis experienced in Iraq are unlikely to be the only important factors in their mental health. What happens to them in their new homes also is crucial, Kirmayer says. Discrimination and social isolation in a new country can boost rates of mental illness, says Morton Beiser, a psychiatrist and epidemiologist at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. In a June 2016 study in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, Beiser found that refugee children had higher rates of depression, anxiety, and other ills than other migrant children from the same countries. Some people might assume that past traumas explain the elevated rates. But Beiser’s team found that the differences among children were best explained by what happened after arriving in Canada. Refugee children experienced more discrimination: Peers more often called them names, hit them, or swore at them, and some teachers treated them unfairly. Today, some countries are working to reduce such discrimination, although some strategies, such as splitting refugees into smaller groups, may test Yezidis’ bonds with each other. In recent years, Germany has provided a tolerant environment, says Sebastian Maisel, a professor of Middle Eastern studies at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. In the 1990s the country opened its borders to all Turkish Yezidis after reports of human rights abuses. Roughly 20,000 Yezidis came, leading to a generation of well-integrated German Yezidi professionals, including Kizilhan, who immigrated to Germany as a boy. “It was a model of success,” Maisel says. Shingali says he hopes his family will repeat that history. Throughout the winter, the girls still were not sleeping, and their psychological state deteriorated. Then, in March, he and his sisters were approved to go to southern Germany, where the family will be reunited. On the cusp of yet another journey, Shingali voices the wish of refugees everywhere: “I hope the future will be better.” This reporting was made possible by a Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism.
Ryerson University | Date: 2016-11-01
Systems and methods for surgical guidance and image registration are provided, in which three-dimensional image data associated with an object or patient is registered to topological image data obtained using a surface topology imaging device. The surface topology imaging device may be rigidly attached to an optical position measurement system that also tracks fiducial markers on a movable instrument. The instrument may be registered to the topological image data, such that the topological image data and the movable instrument are registered to the three-dimensional image data. The three-dimensional image data may be CT or MRI data associated with a patient. The system may also co-register images pertaining to a surgical plan with the three-dimensional image data. In another aspect, the surface topology imaging device may be configured to directly track fiducial markers on a movable instrument. The fiducial markers may be tracked according to surface texture.