Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Howard University Alumna becomes First African-American Woman Sworn into Maryland Court of Special Appeals

WASHINGTON (August 30, 2010) – The Honorable Michele D. Hotten (J.D. ‘79) became the first African-American woman to be sworn into the Court of Special Appeals, Tuesday, Aug. 17, by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. Judge Hotten is the first African-American woman to hold a position on any appellate court in the state of Maryland.

“It is an honor and a privilege to swear in the Honorable Michele D. Hotten to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “Many judges and lawyers have written to me to describe Judge Hotten as impeccably prepared, uniformly fair, and a devoted legal scholar with a truly legendary work ethic. I am confident that she will serve well on the Court of Special Appeals and handle its notorious case loads with efficiency, integrity, and fairness. Those qualities, in addition to her sense of justice, compassion, and wisdom – qualities that made Judge Hotten such a fine Circuit Court judge – will also cause her to excel as an appellate judge.”

Michele D. HottenLast month, Governor O’Malley announced the appointment of Judge Hotten to the Court of Special Appeals for the Fourth Appellate Circuit (Prince George’s County). Judge Hotten will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of the Honorable James P. Salmon. Judge Hotten brings to the appellate court extensive experience as a trial judge, as well as a diverse legal background in both private practice and government service.

For 15 years, she has been an Associate Judge on the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County, where she serves as the Civil Coordinating Judge. Prior to joining the Circuit Court, she served for one year as an Associate Judge for the District Court for Prince George’s County.
Before her appointment to the bench, Judge Hotten worked in private practice, representing individuals, companies and local government on a variety of matters, including insurance cases, medical malpractice lawsuits, criminal trials and administrative law issues. Among other positions in public service, Judge Hotten has served as Special Counsel to the Prince George’s County Human Relations Commission. In addition, Judge Hotten served as a prosecutor for several years in the State’s Attorney’s Office for Prince George’s County.

Judge Hotten is a past president of the Prince George’s County Bar Association, and a past president of the J. Franklyn Bourne Bar Association. In 2008, she received the Daily Record’s Leadership in Law award.

About Howard University School of Law:
Howard University School of Law opened its doors in 1869 during a time of dramatic change in the United States. The School of Law was created to provide legal education for Americans traditionally excluded from the profession; especially African Americans. The objective of the School of Law is to produce superior professionals, capable of achieving positions of leadership in law, business, government, education, and public service. Most importantly, Howard School of Law is dedicated to producing “social engineers.” ###

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contacts: Kerry-Ann Hamilton Media Relations Manager k_hamilton@howard.edu 202.238.2332

Monday, August 30, 2010

Black Public Opinion: Moving to the Center

WASHINGTON D.C. — In political opinion surveys from the 1950s through the 1970s,
African Americans were consistently among the most liberal groups in the United States and were much further to the left than White Americans on most issues. Starting in the 1980s, Black public opinion began to move to the center, and this trend has deepened since. Why is this the case?

In her recent book, What’s Going On?, political scientist Katherine Tate contends that Black political incorporation and increased affluence since the civil rights movement have made Black politics and public opinion more moderate over time. Based on solid analysis of public opinion data from the 1970s to the present, Tate examines how Black opinions on welfare, affirmative action, crime control, school vouchers, civil rights for other minorities, immigration, the environment, and U.S. foreign policy have changed.

Katherine Tate

Professor, Political Science. School of Social Sciences. Professor, African American Studies, School of Humanities. PH.D., University of Michigan. Phone: (949) 824-1869, Fax: (949) 824-8762 Email: ktate@uci.edu
Blacks are now looking to elected officials for political leadership instead of civil rights leaders who in the 1970s tended to be radical influences forced to work outside the political mainstream. Now Blacks serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, in almost equal proportion to the population in the U.S. Congress, and in powerful positions in presidential administrations—including our current president. Tate suggests that Blacks are taking more of a mainstream line as they are now truly part of the political process.

An additional determining factor is that Black socioeconomic concerns have moved to the center as poverty has declined and economic opportunities have improved. Fifty years ago, over half of Black families resided below the poverty line. By 2001, that number had decreased to roughly 23 percent.
Vincent Hutchings, of The University of Michigan, declares What’s Going On? to be “a
provocative and informative examination of African American public opinion. Scholars of Black politics will consult and debate this important work for many years to come.” And Hanes Walton Jr., also of the University of Michigan, agrees, adding that the book is “a fascinating read . . . a brilliant and original work.”

Katherine Tate is a professor of political science and African American studies at the University of California, Irvine. She is the author of Black Faces in the Mirror and From Protest to Politics.

PUBLICATION DATE: September 2010, 208 pages ISBN 978-1-58901-702-3, paperback $29.95 / £20.75

CONTACT: Jacqueline Beilhart, Publicist, (202) 687-9298, jb594@georgetown.edu
# # # NEWS RELEASE August 31, 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

SILS alumna, Dr. Irene Owens, receives award for Excellence in Librarianship

Dr. Irene Owens, SILS 2006 distinguished alumna (Ph.D. '95) and dean of the School of Library and Information Sciences at North Carolina Central University, was awarded the DEMCO/ALA Black Caucus Award for Excellence in Librarianship in Birmingham, AL at the annual Black Caucus of the American Library Association's National Conference of African American Librarians earlier this month. The award recognizes "significant accomplishments to promoting the status of African Americans in the library profession," or the development and implementation of resources and services for the African American community.

Owens was recognized for the significant impact she has had on the lives of many young professionals. Through the support of several IMLS-funded initiatives, Owens and the School of Library Science at the North Carolina Central University have recruited more than 100 new librarians into the profession. Over the course of five years, she has balanced a graduation ratio that was 70 percent white and 30 percent people of color to a ratio of 51 percent white and 49 percent people of color.

Dr. Irene Owens

Dr. Irene Owens
In presenting the award, John Ison, DEMCO director of library relations, said "DEMCO and BCALA honor Dr. Owens for her diligent commitment to leading the library school and her professional example of leading the students as well. Her significant contributions absolutely promote the status of African-Americans in the profession."

"This prestigious award couldn't have gone to a more deserving person," said Dr. Gary Marchionini, dean of SILS and Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor. "Through her many accomplishments, Irene continues to demonstrate excellence in the profession while providing opportunities for her students and colleagues. She is a model for the library and information science community."
"While I feel a personal sense of gratitude, I think one of the greatest outcomes of the award lies within the overall strength and contributions of the North Carolina Central University's School of Library and Information Sciences from its beginning until now, and hopefully well into the future," said Owens.

Previously, Owens has been an elementary school teacher, a classification record assistant at the Library of Congress, and has held several positions at Howard University in Washington, D.C. - including director of the Consciousness IV Undergraduate Library Project (funded by the Council on Library Resources) - head of the Reference Department and director of the Divinity Library. She has served as a consultant in several capacities, including the Triangle Research Libraries Network (the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University and North Carolina State University); the U.S. Office of Education funded Library Evaluation Project with Tribal Librarians, conducted in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin; and for the U.S. Embassy in South Africa. She was also selected by the State Department to serve as a speaker for National Library Week and as a consultant in Pristina, Kosova.

Published widely, Owens has had entries in the International Information and Library Review, College and Research Libraries, the Bulletin of the American Society of Information Science (ASIS), the Journal of Management, The Journal of Library Administration, and Library Management. She is the editor of Acquisitions and Collection Development in the Humanities and Strategic Marketing in Library and Information Science. She is currently working on a book with Greenwood Press entitled, The Management/Leadership of Staffing in Libraries and Other Information Agencies.

Owens is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2006 SILS Distinguished Alumna Award, the 2007 North Carolina Library Association's Roundtable for Ethnic Minority Concerns (REMCo) Roadbuilders' Award for Library Education, an Outstanding Service Award from Howard University and the Texas Excellence in Teaching Award. She is a life-long member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society.

DEMCO Inc. of Madison, Wisconsin, presented Owens with a $500 check and a commemorative statue. They also provided $500 to the E. J. Josey Scholarship Fund in her name.

School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 216 Lenoir Drive • CB #3360 • 100 Manning Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3360
(919) 962-8366 • Fax: (919) 962-8071 • info@ils.unc.edu

Thursday, August 26, 2010

UNC Charlotte Eliminates Graduation Rate Gap

CHARLOTTE - Aug. 26, 2010 - Nationwide, significant gaps exist between six-year graduation rates of white students at colleges and universities and the rates of African-American and Hispanic students. UNC Charlotte is among a handful of public and private institutions that systematically have closed the race gap, according to two recent reports by the Education Trust, an organization whose mission is to promote high academic achievement for all students at all levels—pre-kindergarten through college.

According to Education Trust, 60 percent of whites who start college earn bachelor’s degrees six years later. For African-Americans, that rate is just 40 percent with a 49 percent rate for Latinos.

UNC Charlotte joins the University of California-Riverside and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro on the list of institutions that have eliminated their white-black graduation disparities.

Dr. Cynthia Wolf Johnson

Associate Provost Academic Services 240 Cato 704-687-7226 cwolfjo@uncc.edu
In an interview with Inside Higher Ed, Cynthia Wolf Johnson, associate provost for academic services, discussed some of the University’s tactics that have worked to close the gap. She talked about the summer bridge program, which just celebrated its 25th anniversary, and the Student Advising for Freshman Excellence program, which provides intensive advising and support for between a third and half of first-year students.

She credits the University’s “longstanding commitment to retention and graduation of minority students” for black student graduation rates that mirrors white students’ six-year rate of 50.1 percent. Overall graduation rates are significantly higher for participants in the University’s bridge and advising programs.
That commitment could factor into prospective students’ decision making. This year’s freshman class is more diverse than last year’s with 7.7 percent more African-American and 22.3 percent more Hispanic students; and these numbers don’t include students who identify themselves as belonging to two or more ethnic or racial groups. ###

Public Relations media contact: Buffie Stephens, 704.687.5830, BuffieStephens@uncc.edu

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ronald R. Davenport will receive the Ronald H. Brown Leadership Award at MED Week 2010

WASHINGTON – Today the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) announced that Ronald R. Davenport, chairman of Sheridan Communications Corporation and co-chair of the American Urban Radio Networks, has been selected as the winner of the 2010 Ronald H. Brown Leadership Award. The award will be presented at an awards gala on Friday, August 27, at 7:00 pm at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. during the annual Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Conference. U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Dennis Hightower and MBDA National Director David A. Hinson will participate in the awards presentation.

The Ronald H. Brown Leadership Award recognizes individuals who are willing to take risks and innovate to achieve change and have demonstrated exceptional leadership by significantly enhancing the development of diversity in the domestic and global economies. The award is named in honor of Ronald H. Brown, the first African American Secretary of Commerce.

Minority Business Development Agency“Ronald Davenport has spent a lifetime enacting change and encouraging innovation in our communities and has paved the way for many of us to reach success,” Hinson said.
“We are proud to recognize him for his business acumen that has given voice to so many and for exemplifying some of the most notable traits of former Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown.”

Davenport grew up in Philadelphia and attended Penn State University where he earned a B.S. in economics. From there he attended Temple and Yale Law schools and began his career as a law professor at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. In 1970, Davenport was the first African American man to become dean of the predominantly white law school. Davenport continues to be an active leader in the Pittsburgh community.

Over his lifetime, Davenport has given his time to a wide variety of organizations including serving on the board of Colgate University. He is chairman of the Visiting Committee of African American Studies at Harvard and is on the board of ARAMARK. He is also the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, having been awarded Man of the Year by the Masons and honored at the “Celebration of Giants” by the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation in New York City.

WHO: Dennis Hightower, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce

David A. Hinson, National Director, MBDA

Litefoot, Native American entertainer, role model and entrepreneur

WHAT: Gala to honor National Minority Business Award winners

WHERE: Omni Shoreham Hotel. 2500 Calvert Street Northwest Washington, D.C. 20008 (202) 234-0700

WHEN: Friday, August 27, 2010 7:00 – 10:00 p.m.

MEDIA COVERAGE: MED Week and this awards gala are open to the press. Interviews with award winners can be scheduled by contacting Lahne Mattas-Curry at 202.482.4690 or lmattascurry@mbda.gov.

About the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)

MBDA (mbda.gov), U.S. Department of Commerce, serves minority entrepreneurs across America who are building and growing enterprises. MBDA helps minority-owned firms become better equipped to create jobs, impact local economies and compete successfully in domestic and global marketplaces. With a nationwide network of more than 40 business centers and strategic partners, MBDA assists minority entrepreneurs and business owners with consulting services, contract and financing opportunities, bonding and certification services, building business-to-business alliances and executive training.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Paramount Staffing To Pay $585,000 To Settle EEOC Lawsuit

Temporary Staffing Agency Preferred to Place Hispanic Workers Instead of African American Employees and Retaliated Against Person Who Complained of Discrimination

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Paramount Staffing, Inc., a temporary staffing agency, headquartered in Northbrook, Ill., will pay $ 585,000 to resolve a race and national origin lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The EEOC charged in its suit against Paramount Staffing, Inc. (Civil Action No. 2:06-cv-02624-JPM-cgc filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee) that Paramount Staffing failed to place a former employee and a class of African Americans into warehouse positions because of their race and their national origin, American, when it took over operations from a predecessor company. Instead, it preferred placing Hispanic workers. The EEOC complaint included an allegation that a former employee was terminated from the warehouse job in retaliation for complaining about the alleged discrimination.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits race discrimination and retaliation against people who complain of discrimination.

The two year consent decree resolving the suit, signed by U.S. District Chief Judge Jon Phipps

McCalla, enjoins Paramount Staffing from: failing to hire African American applicants on the basis of race or national origin, American; discriminating against African American employees on the basis of race or national origin, American; and retaliating against any employee or applicant for employment. In addition, Paramount Staffing agreed to create and publish a written hiring and placement policy prohibiting discrimination, to post such policy at its Memphis facilities, and to provide race and national origin discrimination awareness training for all recruiters, and onsite personnel employed by Paramount. Prior to the training, Paramount’s Regional Vice President shall announce to each management employee about the resolution of this lawsuit, including that Paramount has a strong and clear commitment to a workplace free of race and national origin discrimination and that such discrimination is expressly prohibited and not tolerated. Paramount also agreed that if it advertises, it will devote a portion of its advertising budget to placing ads in diverse media outlets.

Faye A. Williams, regional attorney in Memphis, in charge of the litigation program in Tennessee, Arkansas and 17 counties in Northern Mississippi, said, “we commend the former employee who had the courage to step forward and file a charge of discrimination under Title VII. Her action allowed the Commission to challenge the employment practice, preferring one group of employees over another based on race or national origin. Part of the Commission’s mission is to aid in the establishment of fairness in the hiring process and to eradicate patterns of discrimination in the workplace. We believe that we accomplished that mission with this resolution.”

Supervisory Trial Attorney Deidre Smith, who led the litigation team, added, “this lawsuit should place employers on notice who are operating such practices in the workplace, that the Commission is serious about its commitment to challenge employment practices that violate Title VII.”

Paramount Staffing places workers on a permanent, temp to perm, or temporary basis for a wide variety of businesses. It has 12 offices across the United States including Illinois, Tennessee, Texas, Georgia, and Arkansas.

PRESS RELEASE: 8-23-10 The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Black Middle Class Delinquents

School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University in Newark Receive National Honors

Dr. Constance Hassett-Walker culminated her doctoral studies at SCJ with a Social Issues Dissertation Award from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues for her research on delinquency among African-American youths. Shifting her focus from African Americans residing in poor neighborhoods to middle-class blacks living in affluent communities, Hassett-Walker’s research revealed that despite improving socioeconomic status, young middle-class African Americans are nearly as much at risk to engage in criminal activity as economically-disadvantaged blacks of comparable ages. Based on her findings, which she published in the book Black Middle Class Delinquents (LFB Scholarly Publishing, 2009), Hassett-Walker ultimately concluded that the degree of association with delinquent peers is a better predictor of criminal behavior among middle-class black teenagers and young adults than parenting variables.

Dr. Constance Hassett-WalkerHassett-Walker, a resident of North Plainfield, New Jersey, earned her bachelor’s degree in French from Rutgers College, master’s degree in public administration from New York University, and master’s and doctoral degrees in criminal justice from SCJ.
She is interested in issues related to race, class, crime and violence, and her research has been published in Justice Research and Policy, the Journal of Criminal Justice, the Journal of School Violence, and the Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Hassett-Walker is an assistant professor of criminal justice at Kean University in Union, New Jersey, where she recently received the university’s President’s Research Initiative Award.

Media Contact: Helen Paxton 973-353-5262 E-mail: paxton@andromeda.rutgers.edu Contact: Ferlanda Fox Nixon 973-353-5262 E-mail: ferlanda@andromeda.rutgers.edu

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Black patients, women miss out on strongest medications for chronic pain

University of Michigan Health System study shows blacks are prescribed fewer pain medications, women get weaker doses from primary care physicians,

ANN ARBOR, Mich.– Black patients are prescribed fewer pain medications than whites and few women receive medications strong enough to manage their chronic pain, according to a study in the August issue of Journal of Pain.

Younger men received better pain management, and the U-M found other racial and gender gaps in the pain care journey that suggests changes are needed beginning in primary care.

“Most patients first seek help for pain from their primary care doctor,” says University of Michigan Health System pain medicine specialist and anesthesiologist Carmen R. Green, M.D., lead author of the study. "If we are to reduce or eliminate disparities in pain care, we have to support successful primary care interventions,” she says.

Dr. Carmen R. Green

Dr. Carmen R. Green
U-M Health System researchers studied nearly 200 patients with chronic pain who sought help from a specialty pain center. Researchers analyzed the number and potency of medicines they were taking and the adequacy of pain management.

Before referral to the specialty pain center, black patients were on 1.8 medications compared to 2.6 medicines among white patients. The gender gap was worse: only 21 percent of women were prescribed a strong opoid, compared to 30 percent of men taking a strong painkiller.
Problems with access to pain care and previous research suggests that overall, the pain complaints of women and minorities get less attention and lesser quality treatment from health care professionals.

It’s a variance that can lead to differences in outcomes such as disability, sleep disturbance and depression. U-M researchers did not ask physicians about their prescribing practices, but they did examine barriers to treatment from a patient’s point of view.

“Men and women differed on a single item -- the notion, primarily among women, to save medication in case pain gets worse. Blacks also more strongly endorsed that it was easier to put up with pain than the side effects of medicaion," Green says.

Chronic pain is increasingly common and there are many options to treat it successfully, yet people continue to suffer with inadequate pain management, authors say.

The proper assessment and treatment of chronic pain presents significant public health challenges because pain can hinder ability to work or care for families.

Green, a professor of anesthesiology, obstetrics and gynecology, health management and policy and faculty associate with the U-M Program for Research on Black Americans, worked with Tamera Hart-Johnson, M.S., senior research associate, on her latest study to examine health disparities in pain management.

Through previous research Green has shown blacks, women, the elderly and patients from lower socio-economic backgrounds are more severely impacted by pain and minorities have a harder time filling prescriptions for painkillers at their local pharmacies.

Journal of Pain is published by the American Pain Society.

Reference: "The adequacy of chronic pain management prior to presenting at a tertiary care pain center: The role of patient socie-ecomonic characteristics," Journal of Pain, Vol. 11, Issue 8.

Funding: Aetna Quality Care Fund

Resources: U-M Back and Pain Care Center

Written by Shantell M. Kirkendol

Media contact: Shantell Kirkendoll E-mail: smkirk@umich.edu Phone: 734-764-2220

Thursday, August 19, 2010

2010 Lillian Smith Book Award to Amy Louise Wood, Charles W. Eagles

Athens, Ga. – The Southern Regional Council, the University of Georgia Libraries and DeKalb County Public Library/Georgia Center for the Book will present 2010 Lillian Smith Book Awards to Amy Louise Wood, author of Lynching and Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America, 1890-1940, and Charles W. Eagles, who wrote The Price of Defiance: James Meredith and the Integration of Ole Miss, on Sept. 5 at 2:30 p.m. during the Decatur Book Festival.

The SRC established the awards shortly after Smith’s death in 1966. Internationally acclaimed as author of the controversial novel, Strange Fruit (1944), Smith was one of the most liberal and outspoken of mid-20th century Southern writers on issues of social and racial injustice. The Lillian Smith Book Awards honor those authors who, through their writing, carry on Smith’s legacy of elucidating the condition of racial and social inequity and proposing a vision of justice and human understanding.

After her death, her family donated the historic collection of her letters and manuscripts to the UGA Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

The winners were chosen out of 43nominations and both authors have connections to the program: Eagles is a previous recipient of the Lillian Smith Book Award, and Wood served as an intern with the Southern Regional Council. Both books also were published by the University of North Carolina Press.

Wood, a history professor at Illinois State University, chronicles the lynching of more than 3,000 African Americans in the 50-year span she studied.

“Wood unearths photographs, early films and local reports and records to explore the critical role lynching spectacles played in establishing and affirming white supremacy in towns and cities experiencing great social instability and change at the turn of the century,” according to the UNC Press. “Wood also shows how the national dissemination of lynching images fueled the momentum of the anti-lynching movement and ultimately led to the decline of lynching.”

Her book also was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award in 2010. In addition to this book, Wood has co-edited, with Susan Donaldson, a special issue of Mississippi Quarterly (Spring 2008) focused on lynching, representation, and memory, and is currently editing the volume on violence for the New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture (University of North Carolina Press). In 1997, she worked as an intern for the Southern Regional Council.

Eagles draws from previously untapped sources, including FBI files and James Meredith’s personal papers, to chronicle the desegregation of Ole Miss in 1962. In describing Meredith’s family background and U.S. Air Force service, Eagles paints a portrait of a complicated man who endured constant hostility, even death threats, isolation and pressure in order to defiantly integrate a university which, along with most of the state, had aggressively resisted.

Eagles is at professor of history at the University of Mississippi, where he has taught since 1983.

In 1993, his Outside Agitator: Jon Daniels and the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama won the Lillian Smith Award for nonfiction. His other books include Jonathan Daniels and Race Relations: The Evolution of a Southern Liberal (1982), Democracy Delayed: Congressional Reapportionment and Urban-Rural Conflict in the 1920s (1990), and, as editor, The Civil Rights Movement in America (1986). His articles have appeared in the Journal of American History, the Journal of Southern History, the Historian, the Journal of Mississippi History, and the New York Times.

University of Georgia: News & Information Writer: Jean Cleveland, jclevela@uga.edu, 706/542-8079 Contacts: Toby Graham, tgraham@uga.edu, 706/542-7123; Charles Eagles, eagles@olemiss.edu; Amy L. Wood, alwood@ilstu.edu Aug 19, 2010, 12:00

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wayne State University study shows children born to older drinking mothers have significantly more attention deficits

DETROIT- Identifying maternal characteristics that increase the risk of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is a critical step toward creating targeted pregnancy intervention. A Wayne State University researcher recently discovered that one such characteristic is maternal age.

Lisa M. Chiodo, Ph.D., assistant professor in the College of Nursing, has found that children born to older mothers who binge drink during pregnancy are not as attentive as children whose mothers were younger when exposing them to alcohol prenatally. The longitudinal research study will be published in the October 2010 edition of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research and currently is available online.

Attention problems are understood to be among the more common FASD in children, which can affect physical, mental and behavioral development.

Nearly 40,000 babies are born with FASD each year, and statistics show that women 34 or older are 37 percent more likely to report drinking while pregnant than their younger counterparts.

Chiodo and her colleagues examined 462 children born to inner city African-American women who were recruited from a university antenatal clinic. At the age of 7, each child took the Conners' Continuous Performance Test (CPT) to measure his or her inattention and impulsivity, and their teachers completed the Achenbach Teacher Report Form to assess attention problems in the classroom.

Overall, the results indicated that children whose mothers were 30 years of age or older when they were born had poorer attention scores than children born to younger mothers when exposed prenatally to higher levels of alcohol. The CPT in particular revealed that children born to older drinking mothers had the most difficulty sustaining attention during the test and made more mistakes compared to children born to younger drinking mothers.

"It is very important that women are warned that with increasing maternal age, fetuses may be more severely affected by alcohol exposure, even when the mother's alcohol intake during pregnancy has not increased from previous pregnancies, and even if prior pregnancies and older children may appear to have been unaffected," said Chiodo.

Moreover, Chiodo and her colleagues believe that understanding the influence of maternal age on the relation between prenatal alcohol and neurobehavioral outcome might assist in the development of focused primary care interventions for older drinking mothers.

"Our findings may justify targeting older drinking mothers for particular attention in primary care settings because their fetuses are at greater risk than those of younger drinking mothers for alcohol-related deficits in attention," said Chiodo. "Health care professionals need to be aware that increased maternal age among their pregnant patients increases the susceptibility of the fetus to effects of alcohol. Physicians need to be able to appropriately tailor their interventions to patients during standard clinical visits about the relative risks of maternal drinking to fetuses when mothers are older."

Chiodo's collaborating partners from Wayne State University include Virginia Delaney-Black, M.D., professor of Pediatrics, who is the principal investigator on this National Institute of Drug Abuse-funded project. Other collaborators were John H. Hannigan, Ph.D., deputy director of the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute for Child and Family Development; Robert J. Sokol, M.D., director of the C.S. Mott Center for Human Growth and Development, and distinguished professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology; James Janisse, Ph.D., assistant professor of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences; Mark Greenwald, Ph.D., associate professor of Psychiatry; and Joel Ager, Ph.D., retired professor in the Department of Family Medicine & Public Health Sciences. Chandice Covington, Ph.D., interim dean at the Anita Thigpen Perry School of Nursing at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center also is a partner.

Wayne State University is one of the nation's pre-eminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit www.research.wayne.edu.

Wayne State University Contact: Julie O'Connor. Voice: (313) 577-8845. Email: julie.oconnor@wayne.edu. Fax: (313) 577-3626

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Making Happiness in Early African America

Emory to Host 'Pursuit of Happiness' Lecture Series in September

Revenge and forgiveness, America's pursuit of happiness, and making happiness in slave-era America are the topics of the Pursuit of Happiness Lectures Series 2010, hosted by Emory University's Center for the Study of Law and Religion (CSLR) in September.

The lectures are free and open to the public. They begin at 7 p.m. at Emory Law's Tull Auditorium, 1301 Clifton Rd., Atlanta.

Frances Smith Foster, Charles Howard Candler Professor of English and Women's Studies at Emory and CSLR senior fellow, will explore the issue of domestic happiness and loving bliss many Afro-Protestant families of the Antebellum era experienced despite the many obstacles they faced.

Frances Smith FosterFoster has written about this happiness and the resilience of African-American families in "'Til Death or Distance Do Us Part: Love and Marriage in Early African America" (Oxford University Press, 2009) and "Love and Marriage in Early African America" (Northeastern University Press, 2007). Both volumes were products of the CSLR's Sex, Marriage and Family Project.

Contact: April L. Bogle: 404.712.8713 Elaine Justice: 404.727.0643

Monday, August 16, 2010

Eyes of Millions on DePaul in Bud Billiken Day Parade

While education was at the forefront of the 81st annual education-themed Bud Billiken Day Parade, DePaul University’s sponsorship and participation was also an example of the university’s deep engagement with the community, a legacy of St. Vincent de Paul.

Over one million people annually turn out along the 15-block parade route. The eager crowd – and tens of millions more watching the live broadcasts on ABC 7, WGN and TV One – were treated to a live performance by an ensemble of the DePaul Gospel Choir, flanked by DePaul cheerleaders, school mascot DIBS, and representatives from DePaul student groups including Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Delta Sigma Theta, Sigma Gamma Rho, the Black Student Union, the School for New Learning, and S.T.R.O.N.G (Sisters Together Recognizing Our Never-ending Growth).

DePaul supports diversity as well as open access to education. Many DePaul students are the first in their families to attend college. The university seeks to encourage students in Chicago and around the country to celebrate education by preparing to meet the upcoming school year with enthusiasm and focus, starting with the school’s return to the Bud Billiken Day Parade – the nation’s oldest African American parade – for the first time since 1998.

DePaul students

DePaul students march in the 81st annual Bud Billiken Parade.
Media Contact: DePaul University Media Relations newsroom@depaul.edu (312) 362-8591

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Diabetes or not, dietary habits of African Americans are similar

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Researchers looking for differences in eating habits of African Americans based on whether or not they had Type 2 diabetes uncovered an unexpected result: No matter what the blood sugar level was, the dietary intakes were pretty much the same.

According to the study, the average diet of African-American adults is higher in carbohydrates and fat and lower in beneficial minerals and nutrients than are federally recommended for daily consumption. The researchers take that as a sign that culturally relevant nutrition education could benefit all black citizens because of their higher risk for diabetes and would be especially prudent for those already diagnosed with the disease.

African Americans are 1.8 times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes and 1.4 times more likely to be obese than are non-Hispanic whites, according to federal health agencies. Obesity is a leading risk factor for development of diabetes, a condition that results when the body cannot properly use insulin to transfer sugar from the blood to muscle and fat cells that use glucose for energy.

Jonathan Scott

Jonathan Scott
In general, the study showed that African Americans consume more fat and saturated fat than is recommended and lower-than-recommended levels of minerals associated with bone health - which can be compromised by diabetes.

Blacks with diabetes got about half of their total energy from carbohydrates, and their intake of whole grains was well below recommended levels.
"This means people who do have the condition aren't doing anything different from when they didn't, and those who don't have the condition don't appear to be trying to prevent diabetes," said Jonathan Scott, a graduate student in medical dietetics at Ohio State University and lead author of the study.

"We still don't fully understand why some people get diabetes and some don't, especially if they're eating the same kind of diet. But what we can see from this study is that there is potential to use nutrition education to both improve the chances of preventing diabetes and other diseases and to help those with diabetes better manage the condition with some lifestyle changes."

The study is published in a recent issue of the journal Ethnicity & Disease.

The findings led Scott and his colleagues to assert that nutrition education materials that reflect black culture could help promote overall improvement in the diets of African Americans. Comprehensive nutrition education for diabetics is already hard to come by in the current health-care system, researchers say, and the materials available tend to be geared toward a homogeneous group of consumers eating a generic diet.

The researchers have used these findings to identify dietary habits to target in an intervention led by Leon McDougle, assistant professor of family medicine at Ohio State, with African Americans in central Ohio. The cultural specifics featured in the materials range from the inclusion of photos of African Americans to the acknowledgment that eating soul food is part of many black family traditions. Typically high in fat and calories, these foods can be modified or used in moderation rather than eliminated completely from the diet, Scott noted.

The researchers examined the dietary intake of 2,589 African-American adults recorded in the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Scott and colleagues organized the research participants into three diabetes status groups with the goal of identifying whether having the disease appeared to influence eating habits among black adults.

The three groups studied were those with normal blood sugar levels, those with pre-diabetes and those with a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis. Pre-diabetes indicates elevated blood sugar levels that haven't crossed the threshold for an actual disease diagnosis. Among the participants, 1,863 had normal blood sugar levels, 321 were in the pre-diabetes range and 405 had diabetes.

Besides the findings of high consumption of carbohydrates and fat among the majority of African Americans in the study, the researchers did find a bright spot: Black adults with diabetes and pre-diabetes ate more dietary fiber than did participants with normal blood sugar.

Overall, however, the intake of nutrients recorded by the national study indicated the average African-American diet tended to be low on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy, and high on meat and non-whole grains.

Christopher Taylor, senior author on the paper and assistant professor of medical dietetics at Ohio State, noted that the national survey represents a snapshot rather than eating trends over time.

"But the data shows that those with diabetes don't seem to be doing the things that we would educate them to do, such as controlling carbohydrates and eating more fruits and vegetables," Taylor said. "We also don't know why those with normal blood glucose levels are normal. They show up as having normal levels in the data, but that doesn't mean their blood sugar levels will stay normal."

Besides diabetes, the researchers noted another risk associated with these dietary habits: Among the African Americans surveyed, almost half - 44.6 percent of women and 49 percent of men - over age 20 had cardiovascular disease.

The researchers also could see from the data what else contributed to diabetes risk: For every one-year increase in age, there was a 7 percent greater likelihood that those studied would have diabetes, and for every centimeter increase in waist circumference came a 5 percent increase in the risk for having diabetes. The data also showed that as income increased, risk for diabetes decreased. For example, among the adults surveyed, if income rose from 100 percent of the federal poverty rate to 200 percent, the risk of having diabetes was cut by 14 percent.

Though dietary habits are just one likely contributor to a higher risk of disease, the researchers say nutrition is an important part of diabetes management that often goes unrecognized.

"Our health-care system in general isn't set up very well to provide nutrition counseling," Taylor said. "For the most part, individuals don't get access to a dietitian that is covered by their insurance. So the ability to get nutrition education out there and get people to change the habits they've had for so long becomes a barrier."

Taylor and Scott have partnered with Ohio State family medicine specialists to manage a community-based diabetes education program for African Americans living in central Ohio. The local and national projects inform each other, Taylor said.

"We looked at dietary intake habits locally as well. It gives us a comparative piece and has helped us identify what some of the major dietary habits are that can be addressed," he said. "And on a national scale, we wanted to identify some of the most important trends that we could then address through the local education program."

The program has helped the researchers identify other barriers to educating the African-American community about nutrition, which range from the lack of fresh foods in certain neighborhood markets to misconceptions - expressed in focus groups - about what it means to manage Type 2 diabetes.

"Some people think prevention of diabetes is getting their blood sugar checked. But that doesn't tell you how to prevent the disease from happening," Taylor said. "And because medications exist, people might think they don't have to eat better because they have a pill that takes care of blood sugar. So there is a big behavioral side to this."

Co-authors on the paper include McDougle and Kent Schwirian, of Ohio State's Departments of Sociology and Family Medicine (emeritus), who also helped design and operate the central Ohio nutrition education program.

Contact: Emily Caldwell, The Ohio State University News Room

Saturday, August 14, 2010

UNL digital scholars net major grant for Civil War-era explorations

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has earned a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to expand its digital research on Civil War-era Washington, D.C., especially its pivotal role in the antislavery and civil rights movements.

The three-year, $220,000 "We the People" grant will support the interdisciplinary Civil War Washington project that examines the war's impact on the nation's capital. The "We the People" designation recognizes projects that advance the study, teaching and understanding of American history and principles.

The grant will enable researchers to study how race, slavery and emancipation changed the capital a century and a half ago. Researchers will investigate how African Americans living in Washington during the Civil War gained their freedom, won the fight for the Union and against slavery and achieved legal equality, said Ken Winkle, professor of history and co-director of the Civil War Washington project.

Kenneth J. Winkle

Kenneth J. Winkle Thomas C. Sorensen Professor of American History Contact Information: Department of History University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, NE 68588, USA Phone: 402-472-2414
"That story is a critical piece of our nation's history and it has not been thoroughly studied," he said.

History and English faculty are working with digital scholarship experts in UNL's Center for Digital Research in the Humanities for this project, which began in 2007. The goal is to create an interactive online resource that integrates maps, data, government records, newspaper and narrative accounts, images, photos and other information. Some of the collection is available in a prototype site at www.civilwardc.org, which will be enhanced as a result of the funding.

At the project's core is a map documenting the physical changes to the city in response to the demands of the war, the emancipation of slaves, the dramatic population growth and the increased size and importance of the federal government.

Winkle said the award further distinguishes the role the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities plays in digital scholarship.
The center is a joint initiative of the University Libraries and the College of Arts and Sciences. It focuses on interdisciplinary research that gathers unique, digital content and develops digital research tools.

"UNL is a national leader in digital humanities research," said Prem S. Paul, vice chancellor for research and economic development. "This major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities is the latest recognition of our faculty's innovative research in this exciting area."

The idea for the project grew from a conversation about shared interests between Winkle, an Abraham Lincoln scholar, and English professor Ken Price. A Walt Whitman scholar, Price is co-director of the Civil War Washington project and the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities who is building a digital archive of Whitman's Civil War writings. Winkle and Price initially wanted to focus on the lives of Whitman and Lincoln in Washington during the Civil War, but the project soon evolved into an exploration of the city itself.

Washington underwent a major transition during the war when soldiers, including the wounded and sick, flooded the city from nearby battlefields. It drew tens of thousands of fugitive slaves and antislavery leaders and was the site of several contraband camps and freedom villages.

The city was a microcosm for the new nation, said Susan Lawrence, associate professor of history and an associate director of the project.

"America was a country before the Civil War, of course, but the Civil War fundamentally redefined the nation," she said.

Ideally, the project will serve as a resource that's beneficial to everyone from academics to Civil War buffs, Price said.

"This work is potentially for the junior high school student in Korea and for the retiree in Ogallala," he said. "It's for everybody."

WRITER: Jean Ortiz Jones University Communications, (402) 472-8320 Released on 08/11/2010, at 2:00 AM Office of University Communications University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

UNO Art Gallery Welcomes African American Works

Omaha - Works by African-American Masters from the Sheldon Museum of Art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will be featured at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Art Gallery Friday, Aug. 27 through Thursday, Sept. 23.

The public is invited to a free opening reception at the gallery on Friday, Aug. 27, from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

These poignant and intimate works by important 20th Century artists – Aaron Douglas, Charles White, Alvin Loving, Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Charles Alston and Elizabeth Catlett – express the struggles, joys, triumphs and creativity of African Americans.

Power Plant, Harlem by Aaron Douglas

Power Plant, Harlem by Aaron Douglas in oil, 1939
In conjunction with the exhibition, Peggy Jones, UNO assistant professor of Black Studies, will present a slide lecture in the gallery – "Aaron Douglas, UNL Class of ’22: Visual Artist of the Harlem Renaissance" – on Thursday, Sept. 16, at 6 p.m. Douglas was the first African American to graduate with a bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Four of his woodcuts created to illustrate Eugene O’Neill’s racially charged play, Emperor Jones, are included in the exhibition.
The Nebraska Humanities Council (NHC) provided funding for Jones’ public lecture. The NHC receives support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Nebraska State Legislature, the Nebraska Cultural Endowment and private donations.

The UNO Art Gallery is located on the first floor of the Weber Fine Arts Building on the UNO campus, 6001 Dodge St. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday. In addition, appointments at other times are encouraged. All events are free and open to the public, and the gallery is accessible to people with disabilities. The gallery is closed on Labor Day.

Call (402) 554-2796 for more information or to arrange an appointment.

The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.

2010.08.10 > For Immediate Release contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@unomaha.edu

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Some Colleges and Universities Do Better Than Others in Graduating African-American Students

One of the problems with using averages to understand the state of higher education is that the patterns they show gain an air of inevitability. This is especially true when those patterns conform to our sense of how things are or should be.

So when we see data suggesting that the average graduation rate for black students in four-year colleges and universities is about 20 points below that of their white peers, we are hardly surprised. The average black student, we know, leaves high school with a weaker academic record than the average white graduate, so where’s the mystery? Until somebody fi xes the high school problem, there’s not much colleges and universities can do.

Or is there?

For the past several months, we’ve been digging beneath the averages and looking at data from individual institutions in our College Results Online database.

Black Graduation Rates Vary Widely Across InstitutionsWe’ve found that some institutions have horrendous graduation-rate gaps between white and black students—well above the national average. And it turns out that other institutions have no gaps at all. Indeed, in dozens of colleges, black students graduate at rates equal to or higher than their white counterparts.

In other words, it’s not entirely about preparation, and wide gaps in the graduation rates of white and black students are not inevitable.
Our analysis strongly suggests that what colleges do with and for the students they admit matters a great deal.


Nationally, African-American students earn bachelor’s degrees from four-year institutions at rates 20 percentage points below those of their white peers. In this analysis, we exclude for-profi t institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities and concentrate on the 293 public and 163 private nonprofi t colleges that have suffi cient numbers of students of both races to calculate reliable gaps.

The graduation rate for African-American students in the private colleges and universities in our analysis is 54.7 percent, compared with 73.4 percent for whites—an 18.7 percentage-point gap.2 Similarly, at public institutions, only 43.3 percent of African-American students graduate within six years, compared with 59.5 percent of whites—a 16.2 percentage-point gap.

Download FULL TEXT IN PDF FORMAT: CRO Brief-AfricanAmerican.pdf Publication date: August 9 2010

www.edtrust.org 1250 H Street, N.W., Suite 700, Washington, D.C. 20005 Tel: 202/293-1217 Fax: 202/293-2605

Monday, August 9, 2010

IU professor's book examines immigration and racial politics

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The United States is often called a nation of immigrants, a "melting pot" where people from across the globe can pursue their dreams. But waves of immigrants from Latin America, Asia and Africa have strained that image, raising questions about the resilience of American democracy.

In Newcomers, Outsiders and Insiders: Immigrants and American Racial Politics in the Early Twenty-first Century, Indiana University professor Yvette Alex-Assensoh and three co-authors examine how changes in immigration have affected the efforts of long-standing U.S. minority groups to gain full democratic inclusion in American society.

Immigration has always had a transformative impact on America, said Alex-Assensoh, dean of the Office for Women's Affairs and professor of political science in the College of Arts & Sciences. But while earlier immigrants from Europe added to the nation's diversity, they assimilated politically in ways that muted their differences from native-born whites.

Newcomers, Outsiders and Insiders"Today's immigrants are less capable of merely fitting in because they are of color, speak different languages, are often more highly educated and are, in some ways, engaged in transnationalism," she said. "To that end, they are not only concerned about establishing a home in the United States, but they are also interested in maintaining connections with their kith and kin in their native countries."

The researchers analyze the impact of recent immigration on existing African-American, Latino and Asian-American minorities in the United States, examining four ways in which groups achieve political incorporation: assimilation, pluralism, bi-racial hierarchy and multi-racial hierarchy.
While they find evidence for each of the theories, the data show that there will continue to be a multi-racial hierarchy and race will not be irrelevant to America's future.

The book, published by the University of Michigan Press, resulted from three years of research and collaborative work, which began when the authors worked on a collaborative project on the relationship between racial politics and immigration for the American Political Science Association. It is particularly timely, appearing soon after the election of the first African-American president and during a fierce national debate over the status of immigrants and immigration reform.

"America has largely benefited from immigrants in terms of its culture, economy and politics, thereby creating the proverbial 'tossed salad,'" Alex-Assensoh said. "However, when the economy is down, citizens tend to look for a scapegoat, and immigrants are easy targets."

Alex-Assensoh said that Newcomers, Outsiders and Insiders attempts to advance the discussion beyond concerns about how immigration and race affect individuals to consideration of their place in American society.

"There is an ongoing racial rhetoric in American society that peaks and wanes in terms of the level of venom," she said. "About now, it is very high, and our book suggests that the way to turn these problematic discussions around is to focus on policies that balance our country's needs, legal framework and values with the needs, as well as the resources, of today's immigrants."

Additional authors are Ronald Schmidt Sr., professor of political science at California State University, Long Beach; Andrew L. Aoki, professor of political science at Augsburg College; and Rodney E. Hero, the Packey J. Dee Professor of American Democracy at the University of Notre Dame.

To speak to Alex-Assensoh, contact Jennifer Piurek at the IU Office of University Communications, 812-856-4886 or jpiurek@indiana.edu.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Culturally Informed Interventions Show Value for Abused and Suicidal African American Women

A study published in the August, 2010, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology shows that abused, suicidal African American women assigned to a culturally informed, empowerment-focused educational group were less depressed and had lower levels of psychological distress than their peers who received usual psychiatric and psychological care in the community.

Study data also show that when confronted with stressful life events, the women who were in this empowerment intervention coped much better than those women who did not receive the specialized services.

The study is based on an intervention called the "Grady Nia Project." Nia is a counseling program for abused and suicidal African American women that began its evolution in the 1990's at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

Nadine Kaslow, PhD

Nadine Kaslow, PhD, psychologist and professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine, led the development of the Grady Nia Project.
Nadine Kaslow, PhD, psychologist and professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine, led the development of the program. It was named Nia in 1999, a word that comes from the Kwanzaa term that means "purpose." The program aims to help women who have been abused find meaning and purpose in their lives so that they feel empowered to live violence free, and no longer feel that they need to end their own lives in order to escape their pain.

Nia includes regularly scheduled group sessions targeted to teach such things as resiliency, problem solving, self-efficacy, social connectedness and other protective factors to enhance coping with stress exposure.

The sessions incorporate culturally relevant variables such as African proverbs, African American heroines and personal positive female mentors and role models, which aids the women in creating purpose and hope.
The counselors emphasize culturally relevant coping strategies, such as spirituality and religious involvement, to enhance self-awareness and connection.

Nia staff is on-call 24/7 to handle a host of issues, from thinking through a safety plan and finding shelter, to finding help for addiction problems and securing resources from community agencies.

Kaslow says the women who participate in Nia have made some remarkable progress over time. "They feel more positive about themselves, more hopeful about their lives, and better able to cope with stress. They feel less depressed, anxious, and suicidal, and they feel connected to a strong community of people."

Study investigators include Amy S. Leiner, Susan Reviere, Emily Jackson, Kafi Bethea, Jeshmin Bhaju and Miesha Rhodes, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine; Min-Jung Gantt and Herman Senter, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Clemson University and Martie P. Thompson, Department of Public Health Sciences, Clemson University.

The program is funded by grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Mental Health.

The Nia Project helps women who are trying to break free from intimate partner abuse. If you or someone you know needs help, contact 404-616-2897 or for more information, visit the Grady NIA project web site.

Reference: Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology: Suicidal, Abused African American Women's Response to a Culturally Informed Intervention, 2010, Vol. 78, No. 4, 449-458, American Psychological Association, DOI: 10.1037/a0019692 ###

The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. Its components include the Emory University School of Medicine, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, and Rollins School of Public Health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University; and Emory Healthcare, the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia. Emory Healthcare includes: The Emory Clinic, Emory-Children's Center, Emory University Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown, Wesley Woods Center, and Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has a $2.5 billion budget, 17,600 employees, 2,500 full-time and 1,500 affiliated faculty, 4,700 students and trainees, and a $5.7 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.

Contact: Kathi Baker: 404-727-9371

Friday, August 6, 2010

Judge Marcella Holland Takes Helm of National Bar Association Judicial Council

Media Advisory Baltimore City Circuit Administrative Judge Marcella Holland Takes Helm of National Bar Association Judicial Council

Baltimore City Circuit Administrative Judge Marcella Holland will be sworn in as the new chair of the National Bar Association Judicial Council during the association’s 85th Annual Meeting in New Orleans. Chief Judge Robert M. Bell of the Maryland Court of Appeals will administer the oath of office to Judge Holland and the other members of the Judicial Council’s executive committee during the Thurgood Marshall Award Luncheon on Wednesday, Aug. 11, at the J.W. Marriott in New Orleans.

Judge Holland has served on the Baltimore City Circuit Court since September 1997, and was appointed circuit administrative judge in November 2003. She is the first and only African-American woman administrative judge in Maryland.

Marcella A. Holland

Marcella A. Holland
The National Bar Association (NBA) was founded in 1925 and is the oldest, largest bar association for people of color, predominantly African Americans. One of its founders, the late Charles Howard, Sr., was the father of former Baltimore City Circuit Court and federal judge, the late Joseph C. Howard, and his brother, the late Charles Howard, Jr., who was the only president of the NBA from Baltimore.

The organization was formed because African Americans were not permitted to join the American Bar Association.

The Judicial Council of the NBA is similar to the Judicial Division of the ABA, and was founded in 1971. One of its founders, Joseph C. Howard, was the second chair of the Judicial Council and the only chair from Baltimore or Maryland until Judge Holland’s election.
The Judicial Council strives to eradicate racial and class bias in every aspect of the judicial process; to improve public’s trust and confidence in the judiciary; to provide seminars, conferences and fora for the exchange of judicial experiences and the training of new judges; and to improve the ethnic balance of the federal and state judiciary. # # #

Office of Communications and Public Affairs Maryland Judiciary 2011D Commerce Park Drive Annapolis, Maryland 21401 (410) 260-1488 CONTACT: Angelita Plemmer (410) 260-1488

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Brind School Faculty Member Forrest McClendon Named to Broadway Cast of 'The Scottsboro Boys'

Forrest McClendon (center), adjunct assistant professor in the University of the Arts' Ira Brind School of Theater Arts, will move to Broadway as a cast member of the acclaimed musical "The Scottsboro Boys."

McClendon primarily plays "Mr. Tambo," a role he originated in the Off-Broadway production that is now on its way to Broadway's Lyceum Theatre, and he moves in and out of other characters as well during the production.

Directed by Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Susan Stroman, the musical was created by the legendary songwriting team of John Kander and Fred Ebb ("Cabaret," "Chicago") and is based on the notorious "Scottsboro" case from the 1930s, in which nine African-American men were unjustly accused of raping two white women on a train in Alabama. The young men were convicted by an all-white jury and spent years in jail while the case was tried and retried.

Forrest McClendonVariety described the show as "A musical about racial injustice sardonically presented with all the crude stereotypes and vaudevillian humor of a minstrel show," and said that "'The Scottsboro Boys' dares you to be entertained – and you will be – while it makes you squirm."
The reviewer described McClendon as slipping "with chameleonic prowess and leering complicity into the oily skins of a series of characters toying with the boys' fates," and the New York Daily News called him "charismatic."

The musical opens its Broadway run on October 31.

The University of the Arts 320 South Broad Street • Philadelphia, PA 19102

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

SUNO hosts special advanced screening of CNN's New Orleans Rising

NEW ORLEANS, LA - Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) served as the host site for a special advanced screening of CNN's New Orleans Rising on Monday, August 2, 2010. An overflow audience watched the report that is hosted and produced by CNN's Soledad O'Brien. New Orleans Rising is a documentary which primarily focuses on the post effects of Hurricane Katrina on Pontchartrain Park, the historic African-American neighborhood that surrounds SUNO, and the efforts of veteran stage and screen actor Wendell Pierce to bring his neighborhood back.

"It was an honor for us to host this important event," said Victor Ukpolo, SUNO's Chancellor. "We are proud to share a wonderful history with the residents of Pontchartrain Park, and it is this pride that inspires all of us to strive to make this neighborhood and our institution even more viable for the immediate and long-term future."

The evening was hosted by Pierce, who grew up in Pontchartrain Park and currently stars in HBO's critically-acclaimed series Tremé. At the conclusion of the report, Pierce, Ukpolo, O'Brien and others participated in a panel discussion. New Orleans Rising premieres Saturday, August 21st, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Central on CNN.

For Immediate Release. Contact: Eddie Francis (504) 286-5343 or (504) 236-1009 efrancis@suno.edu

Image License: Copyright All rights reserved by SUNOPR

Monday, August 2, 2010

Architecture professor and activist Kenneth Simmons dies at 77

BERKELEY — Kenneth Harlan Simmons, a professor emeritus of architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, died of cancer in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 6 at the age of 77. He was known for his work in equal rights, urban planning and community development from San Francisco to Detroit, Harlem and South Africa.

Simmons was born June 28, 1933, in Muskogee, Okla. His father, Jacob Simons Jr., who attended the Tuskegee Institute and founded the Simmons Royalty Company, was considered the most successful African American in the history of the oil industry.

During Simmons’ summer breaks from high school and college, he worked as an oil field hand and tool dresser on family-owned oil drilling rigs.

Simmons earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Harvard University in 1954 and a bachelor’s degree in architecture from UC Berkeley in 1969.

Kenneth Simmons

Kenneth Simmons (Sara Ishikawa photo)
He joined UC Berkeley a lecturer in architecture in 1968 and became an associate professor there in 1969. Simmons played a lead role in helping the university to divest from South Africa and helped establish the Black Environmental Student Association at UC Berkeley.

Simmons also worked as an architect and planner. He was a partner with Ishimaru, Oneill and Simmons and the Community Design Collaborative, both in Oakland, Calif.,
and with the Bay Group Associates architectural, planning, environmental research and design firm in San Francisco.

Some of his most noted work included the Dock of the Bay restaurant near the Berkeley Marina, the Black Repertory Community Center in Berkeley, and the Robert Pitts public housing development in San Francisco.

While an architect and professor at UC Berkeley, Simons was appointed to the East Bay Municipal Utility District Board of Directors, where he helped to establish the district’s affirmative action program and contract equity program.

Simmons also was a director of the New Oakland Committee civic organization; co-director of the Architects Renewal Committee of Harlem, New York; coordinator for housing and community development for the San Francisco Equal Opportunity Council; and project director of the Urban America Hunts Point Multi-Service Center in South Bronx, New York.

“We were both on the faculty at UC Berkeley, where he was an inspiration to students and was of crucial practical help to many of them in following whatever goals they set out for themselves,” said Sara Ishikawa, one of Simmons’ Community Design Collective partners and a UC Berkeley professor emerita of architecture.

John Liu, a former UC Berkeley lecturer and a partner of Community Design Collaborative with Simmons in the 1980s, said Simmons inspired some of his own work in Taiwan involving social justice and community participation. “Right ideas have no boundaries,” Liu said.

Henry Ramsey Jr., a retired Alameda County Superior Court judge who met Simmons while Ramsey was a UC Berkeley law student, called Simmons “a powerful force for meaningful social and political change throughout his adult life.”

Shortly after retiring from UC Berkeley in 1994, Simmons began teaching at University Of The Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, first at the School of Town and Regional Planning and later at the School of Architecture. He also worked for the city planning department in Sandton, near Johannesburg.

At Witwatersrand, Simmons advocated for increasing the numbers of black students enrolling at the previously mostly white university. At a public speaking engagement, he recalled how he advised students: “First, I gave my students actual academic credit if they could demonstrate they were helping other students...And then I would try to address their feelings of inadequacy. 'How many languages do you speak?' I would ask them. Almost always, the black kids would say five, six or eight or nine.” Simmons said he would tell the students that some of their teachers and fellow students who might try to make them feel stupid speak two languages at the most.

Simmons loved jazz, books and art, and was well known for supporting community artists. He was a lifetime member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

Kenneth married his first wife, Christine Morgan, in 1955, and they had two children, Margot and Kenneth II. With Joyce Redmond, he had one daughter, Annette. He married Gloria Burkhalter in 1988, and they had one daughter, Jalia.

Simmons is survived by his companion, Sebiletso Mokone of Johannesburg; four children, Margot Simmons of Baltimore, Md.; Kenneth II of Johannesburg, Annette Redmond-Simmons of San Jose, Calif., and Jalia Burkhalter-Simmons of Oakland, Calif.; five grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews and friends.

A memorial service for Simmons will be held at 3 p.m. on Aug. 21 in the Newton-Seale Conference Room in the R-Building of Merritt College, 12500 Campus Dr., Oakland.

UC Berkeley By Kathleen Maclay | 02 August 2010