Sunday, October 31, 2010


COLLEGE PARK, MD. – The David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora was recently awarded a $149,719 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services [IMLS]. The two-year grant will provide support for documenting and presenting the Professor David C. Driskell Archive of African American Art, a task central to the Center’s mission to expand and replenish the field of African American art. The grant is awarded as part of the Museum Grants for African American History and Culture to organizations committed to preserving and sharing the history of African American life from the period of slavery through present day.

The IMLS grant will provide support for documenting Professor Driskell’s one-of-a-kind archive, assembled over more than six decades and consisting of an estimated 50,000 objects. IMLS funds will be used to hire an archivist and two graduate student interns, as well as a consulting archivist, to guide the process. The archivist will develop procedures for inventorying and accessing the collection, supervise students in data entry, and write a manual of procedures to be used by the Center’s future students, archivists, and staff. Accessibility to the archives will be enhanced through an online presence, thus increasing outreach and exchange of ideas with the surrounding community as well as with researchers and art professionals both nationally and internationally.

David C. Driskell

David C. Driskell
“With these grants, museums dedicated to the African American experience will be able to preserve their collections, train their staff, and reach out to their communities. IMLS is proud to support these institutions as they work to protect our shared American history,” says IMLS Acting Director Marsha L. Semme. IMLS awarded Grants for African American History and Culture to 14 organizations, for a total amount awarded of $1,485,000.

Professor Emeritus of Art David C. Driskell -says that “Having received this major grant from IMLS will enable the David C. Driskell Center to provide research tools and access to important documents in the area of African diasporic studies and African American art for scholars around the world.
We are profoundly grateful to IMLS for this vote of confidence in the work of the Center.”

Among the unique objects in the Driskell Archive are exhibition catalogues; lectures; students’ dissertations; slides; art projects; children’s art kits about African American life and culture; magazines; and, most importantly, correspondences with such nationally known artists as Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Aaron Douglas, Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O’Keefe, and James Porter. Most of the material included in the archive has yet to be explored; however, the contribution of Prof. Driskell to the field of African American art is unquestionable. Using the words of Professor Keith Morison, retired Dean of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University, PA, and a Driskell Center Advisory Board Member, “The Framework of African American art and its relationship to people of African descent was set forth by three people: Alain L. Locke, James A. Porter, and David C. Driskell…he established African American art as a legitimate and distinct field of study.” (David C. Driskell: Artist and Scholar. Julie L. McGee. Pomegranate Communication Inc., Petaluma, CA. p. 9-10. 2006).

Dr. Robert E. Steele, who serves as the Executive Director of the David C. Driskell Center since 2004, says: “It has been my contention that one of the hidden treasures of the David C. Driskell Center is the invaluable archive of Prof. Driskell’s personal papers. This archive demonstrates the rich history and development of the field of African American art within the canon of American art history. I am pleased that IMLS provided this award in recognition of this treasure.”

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the Nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit

The David C. Driskell Center celebrates the legacy of David C. Driskel—Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Art, Artist, Art Historian, Collector and Curator—by preserving the rich heritage of African American visual art and culture. The Driskell Center is committed to preserving, documenting and presenting African American art, as well as replenishing and expanding the field of African American art. The Center exhibition program is supported, in part, by a special fund from the Office of the President at the University of Maryland, and a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.

The Driskell Center Exhibition Program is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council. All programs at the David C. Driskell Center are free and open to the public. The facility is wheelchair accessible. The Driskell Center Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 11AM to 4:00PM with extended hours on Wednesday until 6PM. For further information regarding exhibitions and activities at the Driskell Center, please call 301.314.2615 or visit ###

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NEWS RELEASE Contact: Ms. Dorit Yaron Title: Deputy Director Phone: 301.405.6835 Email:

IMLS Contact: Ms. Jeannine Mjoseth Phone: 202-653-4632 Email:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

"Make a Splash with Cullen Jones" to raise awareness of importance of learning to swim

Olympic Gold Medalist to visit Centenary Nov. 10

SHREVEPORT, La. (Centenary News Service) — Following the tragic drowning deaths of six teenagers in Shreveport earlier this year, Olympic gold medalist and African-American swimmer Cullen Jones and USA Swimming Foundation will visit the city, including Centenary College on Thursday, Nov. 10 to raise awareness about the importance of learning to swim.

Cullen along with three time Olympic gold medalist, Rowdy Gaines, will speak to the community at a breakfast held at the College beginning at 7:30 a.m. in the Whited Room of Bynum Commons. He will speak about life-saving learn to swim programs, his personal story of near-drowning and what it took for him to later become an Olympic champion. While the event is free and open to the public, there is limited seating and it is required to RSVP (contact information below). Later, Cullen will speak directly to hundreds of children at a youth assembly and then give a swim lesson as part of the team’s efforts to shine a light on water safety and save lives.

Cullen JonesThe visit is part of “Make a Splash with Cullen Jones, presented by ConocoPhillips,” a six city event series focused on the statistics and factors impacting a child’s ability to swim and educating families about solutions to the drowning epidemic, including the availability of free or low cost swimming lessons in hundreds of cities across the country. In addition to Shreveport, “Make a Splash with Cullen Jones” will visit five other cities this year – Omaha, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Santa Ana, Calif., and New York.
Jones burst onto the swimming scene at the 2005 World University Games. He easily won the Gold Medal in the 50 freestyle and became the first African-American Male to win a Gold Medal at the World University Games. Cullen continues to dominate the 50 meter sprint event and has also become a threat in the 100 meter freestyle. At the 2006 Pan Pacific Games, Cullen became the first African American to break a world record in swimming in an Olympic contested event as a part of the USA’s 4 X 100 Freestyle Relay Team. He also won the 50 meter freestyle swimming the fastest time in the world for 2006. Cullen was a 4 time ACC Champion and 2006 NCAA Champion from North Carolina State University. In 2008 he became the second African-American in history to win an Olympic Gold medal in swimming.


7:30 – 8:30AM – Breakfast with community leaders regarding building more learn to swim programs in Shreveport; Cullen Jones is keynote speaker*
Centenary College: Whited Room – 2911 Centenary Blvd., Shreveport, La 71104

10:30AM – 11:30AM – Youth assembly
Creswell Elementary – 2901 Creswell Ave., Shreveport, La

11:45AM – 12:15PM – Cullen gives five children a swim lesson
Centenary College: Pool - 2911 Centenary Blvd., Shreveport, La 71104

* The breakfast event is free and open to the public, however seating is limited. Contact Guillermo Rojas at or 719-866-4573 to attend.

About Centenary College of Louisiana

Centenary College is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and has been recognized as "One of the Best 373 Colleges" by the Princeton Review and one of "America's Best Colleges" and one of "America's Best Private Colleges" by In 2008 Centenary College celebrated 100 years in Shreveport and Bossier City. - 30 -

Centenary College of Louisiana FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (October 28, 2010) Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Study finds race, ethnicity impact access to care for children with frequent ear infections

Study finds race, ethnicity impact access to care for children with frequent ear infections.

Ear infections are one of the most common health problems for children, with most kids experiencing at least one by their third birthday. Annual costs in the United States alone are in the billions of dollars.

When these infections are left untreated, complications can include hearing loss, speech problems and more severe infections that can spread to bone and brain, causing meningitis. But not all kids have the same access to medical specialists and medicines.

A new study by researchers at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Harvard Medical School has found that racial and ethnic disparities among children with frequent ear infections can significantly influence access to health care resources.

The findings, published in the November 2010 issue of the journal Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, show that compared with white children, African American and Hispanic children are at increased odds of not being able to afford prescription medications, not having medical insurance and not being able to see a specialist.

Nina Shapiro, MD

Nina Shapiro, MD
The study also shows that African American and Hispanic children are more likely than white children to visit the emergency room for an ear infection. "Our goal was to provide an accurate demographic picture of the U.S. so that we could identify disparities to target for intervention," said study co-author Dr. Nina Shapiro, director of pediatric otolaryngology at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA and an associate professor of surgery at the Geffen School of Medicine. "Clearly, we found that children of certain ethnicities who suffer from frequent ear infections are more likely to face greater barriers to care. This information provides an opportunity for improvements in our current health care reform."
Researchers used data from a 10-year period (1997–2006) taken from the National Health Interview Survey, a large-scale, household-based survey of a statistically representative sample of the U.S. population.

Parents of children under the age of 18 were asked various questions, including whether their child had three or more ear infections over the previous 12 months. For those who answered yes, researchers pulled demographic data — including age, sex, race/ethnicity, income level and insurance status — to determine the influence of these variables on frequent ear infections.

The study found that each year, 4.6 million children reportedly had "frequent" ear infections —defined as more than three infections over a 12-month period. Overall, 3.7 percent of children with frequent ear infections could not afford care, 5.6 percent could not afford prescriptions and only 25.8 percent saw a specialist.

Among the study's other findings for children with frequent ear infections:

* A greater percentage of African American children (42.7 percent) and Hispanic children (34.5 percent) lived below the poverty level than white children (12.0 percent) and those of "other ethnicity" (28.0 percent).
* A greater percentage of Hispanic children (18.2 percent) and "other ethnicity" children (16.6 percent) were uninsured, compared with whites (6.5 percent).
* A greater percentage of white children (29.2 percent) reported having access to specialty care than African American children (20.0 percent), Hispanic children (17.5 percent) and "other ethnicity" children (18.9 percent).
* A greater percentage of African American children (28.4 percent) and Hispanic children (19.8 percent) visited the emergency room at least twice for ear infections over a 12-month period than white children (15.5 percent).

"Emergency room visits for ear infections by African American and Hispanic children may represent their source of primary care services, which is more costly and a significant burden on the health care system," Shapiro said. "This finding, along with the fact that fewer Hispanic and African American children were insured or received specialty care, highlights the importance of targeting interventions that help children with frequent ear infections."

The next stage of the research is to follow the racial and ethnic groups prospectively and to monitor whether changes stemming from health care reform influence disparities in these groups over time.

Co-authors of the study included Dr. Kalpesh T. Vakharia of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Harvard Medical School, and Dr. Neil Bhattacharyya, of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

The research was not funded. Bhattacharyya is a consultant for Intellus and Intersect ENT, and Shapiro is a consultant for ArthroCare ENT. Vakhaira has no disclosures.

University of California Media Contacts: Amy Albin, 310-794-8672

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

UT Alumnus and Art Historian Robert Hobbs to Lecture on Thursday

KNOXVILLE — UT Knoxville alumnus Robert Hobbs has curated dozens of exhibitions around the globe. This week, he’s visiting the UT Knoxville for a lecture at the School of Art.

A renowned and accomplished art historian, Hobbs will present “The Contemporary Sublime and the Art of Wade Guyton, Meredyth Sparks, and Kelley Walker,” a look at the work of three prominent UT Knoxville alumni, two of whom received their degrees in printmaking.

The free lecture will begin at 7 p.m., Thursday Oct. 28, in the Art and Architecture Building room 109.

Since 1991, Hobbs has held the Rhoda Thalhimer Endowed Chair of American Art in the highly respected School of Arts at the Virginia Commonwealth University. Since 2004, he has served as a visiting professor at Yale University.

Robert Hobbs
Robert Hobbs
Hobbs, who received his bachelor’s degree in art history from UT in 1969, specializes in both late modern and post-modern art. His work joins social history with literary criticism and aesthetics and also relies on feminist and postcolonial theory. He has published widely and has curated dozens of exhibitions, many of which have been shown at important institutions in the U.S. and abroad.

Hobbs’ publications include monographs on Alice Aycock, who designed the sculpture on the Johnson-Ward Pedestrain Mall at UT Knoxville, as well as on Milton Avery, Edward Hopper, Lee Krasner, Mark Lombardi, Robert Smithson and Kara Walker.
In addition, he has written on many mainstream modern and post-modern artists. His published research also includes in-depth studies of regional, self-taught, African-American and American Indian artists, as well as investigations of contemporary craft media.

For four years, Hobbs served on the College Art Association Millard Meiss Committee, which awards money for publications. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Grove Encyclopedia of American Art (Oxford University Press). He also has held positions at Cornell University, University of Iowa, Florida State University and Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in Iran, and is known for a number of books, in-depth essays and exhibitions.

His visit is sponsored by the Visiting Artists Scholars and Designers Committee in the School of Art.

TEXT CREDIT: The University of Tennessee • Knoxville, TN 37996 • (865) 974-2225

Monday, October 25, 2010

UB Law School Mitchell Lecture Features International Law Scholar Henry J. Richardson III

Henry J. Richardson III, a leading international law scholar with special interest in Africa, will deliver the 2010 Mitchell Lecture at the University at Buffalo's Law School from 2-4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 27.

Richardson will speak on "The Origins of African-American Interests in International Law" in Room 106, John Lord O'Brian Hall on UB's North Campus. Richardson, professor of law at the Beasley School of Law at Temple University, plans to draw on two themes featured in his recent book: the birth of the African-American international tradition and the roots of African-Americans' stake in international law.

The Mitchell Lecture, which is free and open to the public, continues a distinguished tradition that began when the lecture series began in 1950. Richardson is the latest in a list of respected and prominent speakers who includes Irene Khan, C. Edwin Baker, Derrick Bell, Barry Cushman, Carol Gilligan, Elizabeth Holtzman, Stewart Macaulay, Catharine McKinnon, Carrie Menkel-Meadow, Richard Posner, Clyde Summers and John Payton.

Henry J. Richardson IIIA reception will follow Richardson's presentation.

For more details, visit Members of the media who plan to cover the lecture are asked to contact Charles Anzalone in UB's Office of Communication, 716-645-4600, or 716-440-8824 onsite.

Contact: 716-645-4600.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

African American Males Drive City Schools’ Record Improvements in Dropout, Graduation

The record, three-year gains Baltimore City Public Schools reported in its dropout and graduation rates earlier this month were largely driven by the academic progress of its African American male students, new data show. City Schools’ overall dropout rate is down 56 percent and its graduation rate is up 10 percent in the last three years. According to district analysis, the gains for African American male students during this time outpaced the district rates: Their dropout rate is down 59 percent, and their graduation rate is up 12.4 percent. Local leaders and national education experts are hailing the Baltimore findings as an important exception to what have been troubling national trends for this group of students.

The number of African American male dropouts in City Schools decreased from 1,439 in 2006-07 to 593 in 2009-10. At the same time, the number of African American male graduates increased from 1,537 in 2006-07 to 1,724 in 2009-10. The bottom line: In 2006-07, City Schools had nearly equal numbers of African American male dropouts and graduates; by 2009-10 the district had nearly three times as many graduates as dropouts among African American males.

African American Males“These new results indicate that Baltimore City Public Schools is making unusual and outsized gains with African American males,” added Michael Casserly, Executive Director of the Council of Great City Schools.
“Graduation rates are up substantially and dropout rates are down, exactly the trend line that every other major city school system wants, but too rarely achieves. Cities across the nation will beat a path to Baltimore to find out what the district is doing to make this kind of progress.”

“This is a noteworthy national accomplishment,” said Dr. Robert Balfanz of Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Social Organization of Schools. “District-level declines in dropout rates and gains in graduation rates often show little or no improvement among African American males. The Baltimore school district was able to move from nearly equal numbers of dropouts and graduates to three times as many graduates as dropouts in a short period of time. This should serve as a challenge to other districts, that rapid and large gains are possible.”

After releasing its high school performance results for 2009-10 on Oct. 6, City Schools continued to analyze the data to identify specific growth trends and challenges, and it zeroed in on a significant finding. One of the student subgroups that has historically struggled most, drove the overall progress of the district in graduation and dropout gains in the last three years.

City Schools had 1,481 fewer dropouts in 2009-10 than in 2006-07; of these, 846 were African American males, accounting for 57 percent of the district’s overall reduction in dropouts over three years. Similarly, the district had 303 more graduates in 2009-10 than in 2006-07; of these, 187 were African American males, accounting for 62 percent of the district’s overall increase in graduates over the last three years.

“This is very heartening news for everyone who cares about our schools and our city,” said Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners Chair Neil E. Duke. “These figures are testimony to a great deal of hard work by schools and community partners, and most of all by our students.”

“These numbers show that African American male students are not just improving—they are leading the way for the entire district,” said City Schools CEO Andrés A. Alonso. “I thank all of our students, and our school staff, parents and community partners whose hard work and commitment is reflected in these important results. Today we are able to affirm, with hard data, the insistence of our community for so long that our African American male students can and must succeed. But even as we celebrate this news, we must double and redouble our efforts until all of our students are succeeding.”

When it comes to actual dropout rates, the progress of City Schools’ African American males is outpacing that of the district overall:

* City Schools’ African American male dropout rate declined from 11.9 percent in 2006-07 to 4.9 percent in 2009-10—a 59 percent decrease.
* City Schools’ district dropout rate declined from 9.4 percent in 2006-07 to 4.1 percent in 2009-10—a 56 percent decrease.

Ditto with graduation:

* City Schools’ African American male graduation rate increased from 51 percent in 2006-07 to 57.3 percent in 2009-10—a 12.4 percent increase.
* City Schools’ district graduation rate increased from 60 percent in 2006-07 to 66 percent in 2009-10—a 10 percent increase.

“Baltimore’s schools continue to improve and move forward because we refuse to let anyone slip through the cracks,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “I am proud of Dr. Alonso, his administrators, principals and teachers for creating an environment where every student can be nurtured and succeed. I am also grateful for the parents and families of our most vulnerable students for giving them the support they need to stay in school and earn their diploma.”

“I commend Baltimore City Public Schools for taking important steps to tackle an issue that exists throughout our state and nation,” said State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick. “Strengthening the achievement of African American male students must remain a priority if we are to ensure that every student who exits Baltimore City schools is college and career-ready. These students must be given the opportunity to take their rightful place in our society.”

City Schools officials attribute the graduation and dropout gains among African American males to a range of strategies to reach out to students and support them in school. In the last two years the district has conducted several Great Kids Come Back campaigns, knocking on the doors of students who have dropped out of school and encouraging them to return; expanded middle and high school options so that more students have an easier middle to high school transition, and increased access to advanced academic, alternative and accelerator programs. At the same time, many schools are partnering with community-based organizations to pair those students who may be most marginally connected to school and vulnerable to gangs and other negative influences with youth specialists.

“The movement in these numbers reflects a wide range of strategies to get our students in school, engage them in learning and help them succeed,” said Jonathan Brice, Executive Director of Student Support for City Schools. “School staff and community partners have worked together, in many cases working long and unusual hours to help our students succeed. We have a lot more work to do, but it is great to know all their efforts are showing results.”

Local leaders and organizations that have focused for years on improving results for African American males stress the significance of the dropout and graduation gains among City Schools’ African American male students.

“Based on the progress we are making in turning around the black male graduation and dropout rates in Baltimore City’s public schools, we can expect to see an increase in the number of black males entering college and a reduction in the high unemployment and incarceration rates that plague our community,” said Baltimore Urban League President and CEO J. Howard Henderson. “Today’s news is not only encouraging, but it validates what so many of us have been saying for so long—our African-American males can succeed when schools and community partners work together.”

“We celebrate the progress made to date because of the increased involvement of men, particularly African American men, with the city’s schools,” said Bishop Douglas Miles, co-chair of the Baltimore Interfaith Coalition. “But we cannot begin to relax our efforts until the graduation rate for African American males is 90 percent or better. The faith community will continue to press for even greater involvement.”

“This is important and encouraging news, because these improvements among our African American males in school will lead to improvements in so many other aspects of city life,” said Baltimore civic leader Marvin “Doc” Cheatham. “This is a critical step in the healing of Baltimore.” ###

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 20, 2010 CONTACT Ryan O’Doherty (410) 818-4269

Saturday, October 23, 2010

UND political scientist writes new book about Voting Rights Act

Associate Provost Steven Light says Act didn't end racial discrimination

Barack Obama crushed a major racial barrier in 2008 when he was elected 44th president of the United States. People across the globe celebrated the Obama victory as a huge political milestone.

“Basking in the spotlight of history on election night as he addressed tens of thousands of supporters, the president-elect acknowledged the magnitude of what had just occurred,” writes Steven Light, professor of political science and public administration and associate provost for undergraduate education at the University of North Dakota, in the opening chapter of a new book that spotlights the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and its effects on minority representation.

President Obama told the cheering crowd in Chicago election night that “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, tonight is your answer.”

Steven Andrew LightSteven Andrew Light (Ph.D. & MA Northwestern, B.A. Yale) is Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education, Professor of Political Science & Public Administration, and Co-Director of the Institute for the Study of Tribal Gaming Law and Policy at the University of North Dakota (UND).

Phone: 701.777.3549 Fax: 701.777.2085. EMail:
So, some folks argued that we had now reached the “post-Obama era” when the country no longer had to worry about racial equality, especially at the polls.

But not so fast, argues Light in “The Law is Good:” The Voting Rights Act, Redistricting, and Black Regime Politics, which reads a lot more like a fascinating social novel full of interesting characters than the political science text it was written as.

“The end of the story has yet to be told,” Light says.

“As it happened,” Light writes, “Obama’s election corresponded with the timing of an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the most important and effective civil rights law in U.S. history, and the major reason why, as an African American, Obama could vote, let alone become president.”

That challenge was struck down and the Voting Rights Act has been re-authorized, yet ongoing voting discrimination based on race or ethnicity underscores the continued need for vigilance on political equality,
Light says in his book, recently released by Carolina Academic Press, which publishes books that address law and policy issues by making them accessible to a general readership.

“The Law is Good” addresses three questions of central importance to scholars, students and anyone else interested in the intersections of race and American politics, especially during the “post-Obama era”: What is the Voting Rights Act; how does it work; and do we still need it?

Light’s story revolves around an account of the struggle for minority voting rights and representation in the small-town south.

He deftly highlights how electoral success of African-American officials in Tallulah, Louisiana, stems from electoral districts drawn to comply with the Voting Rights Act. Light shows that despite that success, many challenges to equality still remain in towns like Tallulah. And, he notes, the upcoming round of redistricting following the 2010 Census is sure to generate lots more controversy about the ongoing role of race in America.

Light wrote the book not only as a scholarly work with significant research behind it, but also from his personal experience serving as a civil rights analyst in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Voting Section, where he looked closely at the politics and policy of race-based redistricting.

“The Law is Good” is a must-read for understanding the political process of voting in the United States. The book will generate great discussions about the continuing role of race in American political, economic, and social life—yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

About Steven Light
Distinguished University of North Dakota political scientist and Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education Steven Light is a Yale graduate who received his Ph.D. from Northwestern.

Light—who is responsible for providing strategic vision and leadership on innovative and high-impact best practices in undergraduate education and also teaches and conducts research on American government, constitutional law, and race politics—joined the UND faculty in 2000. Before that, he taught at Marquette and Northwestern Universities, and served as a civil rights analyst in the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, where he enforced the Voting Rights Act and assessed the effects of redistricting on minority representation.

Light also is co-director of UND’s Institute for the Study of Tribal Gaming Law and Policy, the first academic institute in the U.S. dedicated to understanding the impacts of casinos owned and operated by tribal governments.

With more than 40 articles and three books on the subject, Light is widely recognized as a leading national expert on Indian gaming. With frequent collaborator Kathryn R.L. Rand (dean, UND School of Law), Light has testified on Indian gaming regulation and oversight before the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C., and his first book was featured on C-SPAN’s Book TV. He is quoted regularly in such media outlets as the New York Times, public radio’s Marketplace, and Bloomberg. Light and Rand blog on Indian gaming at their Web site, Indian Gaming Now

In addition to tribal gaming, Light has published on best practices in university teaching and learning, including assessment and diversity, the policy effects of court decisions, and affirmative action. – 30 –

Contact: Juan Miguel Pedraza UND Office of University Relations 701-777-6571 office 701-740-1321 cell

Peter Johnson, Office of University Relations | Tel: (701)777-4317 |

Friday, October 22, 2010

HHS' Office of Minority Health Awards $16.2 Million to Help Eliminate Health Disparities among Racial and Ethnic Minorities

HHS' Office of Minority Health Awards $16.2 Million to Help Eliminate Health Disparities among Racial and Ethnic Minorities.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health (OMH) announced $16.2 million in grants and cooperative agreements for demonstration projects aimed at eliminating health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities. Recipients include states, territories, national and community organizations, organizations serving tribes, and post-secondary educational institutions.

"We're living in extraordinary times with many opportunities to improve the nation's health and ultimately achieve health equity," said Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Howard K. Koh. "These grants will provide much needed support for a variety of programs that will improve health outcomes among racial and ethnic minorities."

The funds come from five different programs:

Dr. Howard K. Koh * $5.9 million was awarded for the State Partnership Program to Improve Minority Health for strategic partnerships with state offices of minority health.

* $3.8 million was awarded for the Partnerships Active in Communities to Achieve Health Equity program to establish community-based networks that collaboratively employ evidence-based disease management and preventive health activities; build the capacity of communities to address social determinants and environmental barriers to healthcare access; and increase access to and utilization of preventive health care, medical treatment, and supportive services.
* Nearly $2.8 million was awarded to address gaps in healthcare, social, and supportive services for high-risk minority families living with HIV/AIDS or at risk for HIV infection, who are in transition from incarceration, domestic violence, and/or substance abuse treatment. The Linkage to Life Program: Rebuilding Broken Bridges for Minority Families Impacted by HIV/AIDS, will identify barriers caused by system and service fragmentation and establish Health and Social Service Resource Networks, whose member organizations are equipped to meet the complex needs of minority families in transition.

* More than $2.4 million was awarded to the National Umbrella Cooperative Agreement Program to demonstrate the effectiveness of collaborations among Federal agencies and national organizations to: improve access to care for targeted racial and ethnic minority populations; address social determinants of health to achieve health equity for targeted minority populations through projects of national significance; increase the diversity of the health-related work force; and increase the knowledge base and enhance data availability for health disparities and health equity activities.

* $1.15 million was awarded for the Minority Community HIV/AIDS Partnership: Preventing Risky Behaviors among Minority College Students program to demonstrate the effectiveness of partnerships in improving the health status, relative to HIV/AIDS, of young adults. The projects involve national organizations, community-based healthcare facilities, and accredited post-secondary institutions with a demonstrated history of serving minority populations.

"These projects will help us work with public and private organizations nationally and locally to help achieve health equity for communities, families, and young people," said Dr. Garth Graham, deputy assistant secretary for minority health. "We must all work together to close the health gap and transform our communities into safer and healthier places for all people."

The competitive grants awarded under these programs are going to a diverse set of organizations. For a full list of grantees visit:

The Office of Minority Health is dedicated to improving the health status of American Indians, Alaska Natives, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders; eliminating health disparities; and achieving health equity in the United States.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Office of Minority Health John West (240) 453-6903 Blake Crawford (240) 453-6905

Thursday, October 21, 2010

New Data Shows Chicago Racial Disparities in Breast Cancer Mortality Continue to Be Significantly Higher than National Average

Disparities in breast cancer mortality continued to be unacceptably high in Chicago and significantly larger than the national average according to new data released today at a rally sponsored by the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force. The task force also announced results of the first year of data collection by the Chicago Breast Cancer Quality Consortium, which found many hospitals in Chicago are not meeting accepted quality standards.

The Sinai Urban Health Institute has been tracking mortality data since it first brought attention to the problem in 2006 and can now better demonstrate long-term trends. In the early 1980s, although the breast cancer mortality rates for white women in Chicago were higher than that of black women, the disparity between the two was comparatively low, only about 9%. Then, rates for white women went down dramatically but the rates for black women did not go down at all; in fact, they increased. Disparities began to widen dramatically in the early 90s and continued to widen through 2007. From 2005 through 2007, the death rate from breast cancer for black women was an average of 62% higher than that for white women.

Dr. David Ansell

Dr. David Ansell
These levels continue to be much higher than breast cancer mortality disparities found across the United States (41%), and in New York City (27%).

At the rally held at the First United Methodist Church, The Chicago Breast Cancer Quality Consortium, a project of the task force, also released new data collected during its first year.

In 2009, the Chicago Breast Cancer Quality Consortium became the nation’s first federally designated Patient Safety Organization dedicated solely to breast health.
With the federal protections provided by this designation, 55 hospitals and the Chicago Department of Public Health signed up in 2009 to join the Chicago Breast Cancer Quality Consortium project and share quality data to identify deficits and implement strategies to improve breast cancer screening and treatment and reduce disparities. This represents 70 percent of metropolitan Chicago hospitals.

“We have achieved a remarkably high level of participation in this quality data sharing project, which is entirely voluntary,” said Dr. David Ansell, chair of the task force and chief medical officer, Rush University Medical Center. “This demonstrates a very strong commitment on the part of our medical community to impact on the overall quality of care for breast health in Chicago and gives us every reason to believe that this project will have a significant long-term impact.”

In this first phase of data collection, the consortium received screening data from 37 hospitals and treatment data from 19 hospitals. The consortium analyzed the results and provided individual reports to each participating hospital showing them how they did and how they compared to all the others.

The current data shows that there are many opportunities for improvement.

* About 60% (22 of 37) of reporting facilities reporting were able to demonstrate that they met the quality standard for finding cancers. The quality standard is defined as finding between 4 and 9 cancers for every 1,000 mammograms.

* About one- third (12 of 37) of reporting facilities were able to demonstrate that they met the quality standard for early detection, or finding cancer when it is still small. The quality standard is defined as at least 30% of detected breast cancers should be very small or low-risk.

* About one-third (6 of 19) of reporting facilities were able to demonstrate meeting the standard for timely treatment. The quality standard is defined as 80% of patients receive treatment for breast cancer within 30 days of diagnosis.

Moving forward, the consortium will continue to collect quality data from an increasing number of participating hospitals and will continue to assist them with successfully implementing this new data collection process

Following the rally, hundreds of women marched to the Thompson Center offices of the governor to demand increased funding for the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP).

Only 1 out of 8 uninsured Illinois women over age 40 is currently funded to receive a mammogram through the program. In Illinois, there are 300,000 uninsured women eligible for the IBCCP, but in FY09 and FY10, the program was funded to serve about 40,000, or only 13% of eligible, uninsured women.

“Every woman should have the same access to affordable mammograms and high quality care regardless of her race or ethnicity, where she lives, how much money she has or her insurance,” said Anne Marie Murphy, PhD, executive director of the task force. “Too many African-American and other women of color are dying. In Illinois we have a program, IBCCP, which is supposed to provide free mammograms to all uninsured women, but the program is severely underfunded. We know the dire budget challenges we face in Illinois, but sacrificing women’s lives is not an acceptable budget solution.”

Today, over 100 organizations and more than 200 breast cancer experts make up the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force. In October 2007, the task force released its first major report, “Improving Quality and Reducing Breast Cancer Mortality in Metropolitan Chicago,” with 37 recommendations for addressing racial disparities in breast cancer mortality. In October 2009, the task force announced the creation of the Chicago Breast Cancer Quality Consortium.

TEXT CREDIT: Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Betty Lester, Renee Weeks and Michael Wright, Distinguished Jurists and Rutgers–Newark Law Alums, to Be Honored at “Jazz for Justice”

NEWARK, NJ – The Association of Black Law Students (ABLS) at Rutgers School of Law–Newark will recognize the contributions to the State’s legal and social communities of the Hon. Betty J. Lester ’71, the Hon. Renee Jones Weeks ’73, and the Hon. Michael Wright ’89 at the group’s 20th Annual Jazz for Justice. Keynote speaker for the Friday, November 12, 2010 dinner is Julien X. Neals, City of Newark corporation counsel. Music will be provided by the Bradford Hayes quartet.

Jazz for Justice will take place at Newark’s Best Western Robert Treat Hotel from 7 pm to midnight. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Wanda Green Memorial Scholarship Fund, established by Donita Judge ’03 and ABLS to provide tuition assistance to a law student who in some way was affected by the events of September 11, 2001 or Hurricane Katrina. Wanda Green was a flight attendant on United Flight 93. Contact or 201-349-1301 for information about tickets and sponsorship opportunities.

Rutgers Law SchoolAfter her graduation from Rutgers Law School, Betty Lester worked for the Office of the Public Defender, the Office of the Public Advocate, and a private corporation.
She was appointed to the Newark Municipal Court in 1977 and served as Presiding Judge of the Newark Municipal Court from 1979 until1985, the first woman to hold that position. In 1985 Judge Lester became the first African-American woman appointed to the Superior Court in Essex County and the second in the State. She was the first woman to serve as the Presiding Judge of the Criminal Division of the Essex County Superior Court (1996-1999). She retired from the bench in 2009.

Renee Weeks spent 20 years on the bench, retiring as a judge of the Essex County Superior Court in 2009. She served in the Family Part, Criminal Part, Civil Part, and General Equity and Probate Part, principally in Essex County. She was the first African‐American woman to preside in New Jersey’s General Equity and Probate Court as well as Essex County’s first African‐American appointed to that court. After law school she worked in the New Jersey Attorney General’s office before becoming the first African-American woman assistant general counsel at Prudential Insurance. In 1975 she co‐founded and was the first President of the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey.

Following law school Michael Wright served as a clerk for the Hon. Marianne Espinosa, J.S.C. In 1990 he became the first African-American assistant prosecutor in Morris County. He established a solo practice four years later, focusing on criminal defense representation. He returned to the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office in 2005 as chief assistant prosecutor. Two years later he became the first African-American appointed to the Superior Court in the Morris/Sussex vicinage, assigned to the Special Civil Part of the Civil Division. In 2009 he was assigned to the Family Division.

Media Contact: Janet Donohue 973-353-5553 E-mail:

Sunday, October 17, 2010


(Boston) - Investigators from the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have reported that African American women who consume more vegetables are less likely to develop estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer than women with low vegetable intake. The study results, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, were based on data from the Black Women’s Health Study (BWHS), a large follow-up study of 59,000 African American women from across the U.S. conducted by investigators at the Slone Epidemiology Center since 1995.

The investigators followed 51,928 participants in the BWHS for 12 years, during which time 1,268 cases of breast cancer developed. Among cases on which hormone receptor status was obtained, 35 percent were estrogen receptor-negative/progesterone receptor-negative (ER-/PR-) breast cancers. The incidence of ER-/PR- breast cancer was 43 percent lower among women consuming at least two vegetables per day compared with women who ate fewer than four vegetables per week.


Brassica oleracea viridis Cabbage at a market near Greenville, Mississippi.
African American women are more likely than white women to be diagnosed with estrogen receptor-negative tumors, which have a poorer prognosis than estrogen receptor-positive tumors.

According to the BUSM researchers, specific types of vegetables may play a greater role in reducing breast cancer risk.
The investigators reported that high intake of cruciferous vegetables in particular may be associated with reduced risk of breast cancer overall. Cruciferous vegetables, which include broccoli, mustard and collard greens, and cabbage, are sources of glucosinolates, which may play a role in preventing the development of breast cancer through their effects on both estrogen metabolism and detoxification enzymes. The researchers also observed evidence suggesting that increased carrot consumption may be associated with lower risk of breast cancer. Carrots are rich sources of carotenoids, which may reduce cancer risk through their antioxidant properties.

Funding for this study was provided by the National Cancer Institute. — 30 —

For Release Upon Receipt - October 12, 2010 Contact: Jenny Eriksen, 617-638-6841,

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Genetic data related to sodium-regulating hormone may help explain hypertension risk in populations of African ancestry

These news tips provide information reported from research presented at the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure research 2010 Scientific Sessions.

Abstract P298

New research points to the existence of a gene on chromosome 5 that influences how much aldosterone is produced — which may be excessive in African-descended populations.

“Aldosterone was very important to their early ancestors living in the arid climate of Africa,” said J. Howard Pratt, study co-author. “Dietary intake of sodium in today’s world is much higher, and there may not be the need for the amount of aldosterone produced, leading to a level of sodium balance that places individuals at risk for hypertension.”


Among people of African descent, plasma concentrations of the sodium-regulating hormone, aldosterone, are under genetic influences and are associated with higher diastolic blood pressure readings, new research shows.

Aldosterone is produced by the adrenal gland. It regulates a region in the kidney called the distal nephron, which is critically important for controlling sodium balance and blood pressure.
The study examined genetic data from families on the Caribbean island of Tobago. Researchers determined that the population has about 94 percent African ancestry.

After adjusting for the effects of age, gender and body mass index on plasma aldosterone concentration and blood pressure, genes account for 34 percent of the variation in aldosterone concentration among individuals, and about 25 percent of the variation in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, according to Candace M. Kammerer, study co-author.

Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position. The association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at

Friday, October 15, 2010

Focused, Personal Approach for African American Women Aims to Increase Breast Imaging to Reduce Breast Cancer

An African American woman in Chicago is more than twice as likely to die of breast cancer compared with a White woman according to the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force. A new program at Rush University Medical Center aims to bridge this large disparity by adding a breast health nurse navigator to the Rush team to help overcome barriers such as language, health literacy, logistics and fear that have been identified by the task force as reasons why African American women are less likely to get a mammogram than White women.

“The task force found that an estimated 70 percent of White women in Chicago over the age of 40 have received a mammogram in the last two years compared to 55 percent of African American women,” said Sharon Brown-Elms, manager, Rush Breast Imaging Center. “The recommendations of the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force, a group whose leadership includes Rush’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. David Ansell, have guided our approach.”

Rush University Medical CenterDuring the initial year, the nurse navigator will focus on decreasing no-show rates,
discouraging women from delaying or interrupting treatment, and increasing patients’ comfort level in the hospital environment.

“As a nurse, our navigator is equipped to explain complex concepts. As an individual intimately familiar with the target community, she is attuned to the needs and cultural assets of her audience,” said Brown-Elms.

When women arrive at the Rush Breast Imaging Center or Coleman Foundation Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center at Rush, the navigator will provide assistance as needed throughout the continuum of care. Her responsibilities will include ensuring timely communication of test results; coordinating appointments; mitigating fears by explaining screenings and procedures; arranging for transportation when necessary; and connecting women to support services and integrative medicine resources that can improve quality of life.

The navigator will conduct follow-up for all women who receive services at Rush’s Breast Imaging Center, contacting approximately 5,000 women during the course of the year via phone, mail, or in person. She will track the weekly no-show rate, calling those who don’t keep appointments and compassionately communicating the importance of screening.

Shama Shrestha, RN, is Rush’s first Breast Health Nurse Navigator. She sees herself as an advocate, teacher, resource and someone to talk to.

“As an advocate I help women come in for mammograms and return for biopsies by helping them overcome powerful, potentially life-threatening barriers to mammograms, whether it is fear, finances, lack of knowledge, time or transportation,” said Shrestha. “Sometimes women just need a simple reminder call with some assurance that it is important to come back and get checked out.”

The project, which is supported by a $75,000 grant from the Chicagoland Area Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, is designed to improve access to high quality breast cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment and support services.

“Studies have shown that patient navigators who understand the strengths and needs of the target population can make a real impact on the timeliness of screenings and diagnoses as well as the coordination of treatment,” said Norma Melgoza, assistant vice president, Hospital Operations, Rush University Medical Center.

The navigator will make a special priority of building relationships in predominantly African-American neighborhoods on the South and West Sides of Chicago, offering educational presentations to church and community groups to emphasize the importance of quality in cancer screening and diagnosis.

While the nurse navigator services are available to all who need them, the program strives to reach those who are low income, uninsured and lack a regular medical provider. In 2008, Rush became the first of Chicago’s academic medical centers to serve as an Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program site through a partnership with the Chicago Department of Public Health. On an annual basis, Rush provides screening and diagnostic services to approximately 700 wait-listed public health patients.

“At the Komen Chicagoland Area Affiliate, we conducted a needs assessment of our community and realized that we must address breast health disparities in underserved communities,” said Executive Director Michael Ziener. “We are confident that Rush’s Breast Health Patient Navigator Program will improve access to high-quality breast cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment services for African American women.”

Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Christopher Paul Curtis to speak at University of Minnesota Book Week 70th anniversary, Oct. 21

Award-winning author Christopher Paul Curtis will help the University of Minnesota celebrate 70 years of Book Week when he gives a lecture Thursday, Oct. 21. Since the 1940s, Book Week has celebrated the impact of children’s literature by hosting some of the most notable writers of books for young readers, including Marguerite Henry, Madeleine L’Engle, Beverly Cleary, and Laurence Yep.

Curtis's last Twin Cities appearance was in 2003 as part of Minnesota Public Radio’s Talking Volumes series. His book, The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963, was the Saint Paul Reads citywide book club selection that same year. The Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis produced Bud, Not Buddy in 2008. Curtis will speak about his forthcoming book, The Mighty Miss Malone, which tells the story of Deza, to whom we were briefly introduced in Bud, Not Buddy.

Christopher Paul Curtis

Christopher Paul Curtis’s work often couples African-American history with fiction. He shows the role that children’s literature can play in educating children about social issues, ideas of citizenship, and history.
Book Week event activities begin at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21, at the McNamara Alumni Center, 200 Oak St. S.E., Minneapolis, when faculty and graduate students from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction will present reviews of some of their top picks from children’s literature published in 2010. Curtis will sign his books during a reception beginning at 5:30 p.m. To register for the reception, which costs $10, go to Curtis’s 6:30 p.m. lecture will be followed by another opportunity to have books signed. New Books for Young Readers will be on display from 12 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21, and from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Friday, Oct. 22.
Book Week is produced by the children’s literature program in the university’s College of Education and Human Development, which is one of the oldest and broadest of its kind. University of Minnesota research has demonstrated that children’s literature plays a vital role in teaching children reading comprehension -- a vital foundation for academic success in all subjects. A compelling story on a topic that captures a young person’s imagination can help them connect to the material, provide fertile ground for higher-level thinking, and foster a love of reading that can improve academic success.

Curtis’s work often couples African-American history with fiction. He shows the role that children’s literature can play in educating children about social issues, ideas of citizenship, and history.

He is the winner of the Newbery Medal, the Coretta Scott King Author Award, and the Scott O’Dell Award. For the upcoming Mighty Miss Malone, Curtis says that while it took some time to capture protagonist Deza’s voice, “when I finally caught her, I couldn’t help falling in love with this bright, tough, kind and loving child.” Curtis says he hopes to finish the novel soon, “because if anyone deserves a break it’s Deza.”

Book Week is sponsored by the Ruth Mitchell endowment, the Children’s Literature Area of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, CEHD, the Red Balloon Bookshop, and the Children’s Literature Research Collections of the University of Minnesota Libraries.

A complete schedule of Book Week events and registration information is available at

University of Minnesota Contacts: Diane Cormany, College of Education and Human Development,, (612) 626-5650 Patty Mattern, University News Service,, (612) 624-2801

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Southern Stitches to be on display at KFAC

Morehead State University’s Kentucky Folk Art Center has announced a new exhibition titled “Southern Stitches: African-American Quilts from the Collection of Larry Hackley” will be on display.

The exhibition opening reception will be held on Thursday, Oct. 21, 5-7 p.m. in conjunction with the MSU Reading Series presentation by poet Honorée Jeffers at 7 p.m.

The display at KFAC will run through February 2011.

The exhibition features 16 bold and colorful quilts made by six African-American quilters from Mississippi and Alabama. The quilts were loaned to KFAC for this exhibition by Hackley, a prominent dealer and collector of folk art from Berea. Southern Stitches presents quilts produced during a 10-year period, from the late 1970s through the 1980s.

Southern Stitches African-American QuiltsBy the 1980s, there was an active market for grassroots quilts. Collectors sought quilts made by southern African-American quilters. For their part, many of those quilters responded with increased production to satisfy demand for their work. This period was also a time when formerly isolated American regional cultures became faced with the forces of commercial homogenization and the explosion of mass media. The quilts featured in this exhibition reflect those tensions and changes.
“Together, these quilts offer a snapshot of the changes that occurred at the confluence of tradition, market forces, and media-driven popular culture,” said Adrian Swain, KFAC artistic director. “That the outcome was vibrant and exhilarating is a reassuring testament to the creative imagination of these six self-taught artists.”

“Certainly quilts are one of those cultural artifacts most often associated with life in Appalachian Kentucky,” said Matt Collinsworth, director. “Many households in our region can boast more than one hand made quilt, and quilting groups are organized and active in many counties in the region. We’re pleased that Larry Hackley offered us the opportunity to present these quilts as important and interesting documents of another American regional culture. I’m sure our visitors will be eager to see them.”

Kentucky Folk Art Center is a cultural, educational and economic development service of Morehead State University. The Center is open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Additional information is available by calling (606) 783-2204 or visiting the Web site at

TEXT and IMAGE CREDIT: Morehead State University 150 University Blvd. Morehead, KY 40351 • 1.800.585.6781

Saturday, October 9, 2010

African-Americans with high blood pressure need treatment sooner, more aggressively, according to international medical group

Study highlights:

* An international medical group recommends African-Americans be treated for blood pressure at lower threshold levels than the general population.
* The International Society of Hypertension in Blacks’ consensus statement also suggests doctors should move from single drug therapy to combinations of up to four drugs to keep blood pressure comfortably below target levels more quickly.

DALLAS, Oct. 4, 2010 – According to a consensus statement by the International Society on Hypertension in Blacks (ISHIB), high blood pressure in African-Americans is such a serious health problem that treatment should start sooner and be more aggressive. The ISHIB statement is published in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

John M. Flack, M.D., M.P.H.

John M. Flack, M.D., M.P.H. Chair of Internal Medicine 2E University Health Center Phone: 313-745-8244 Fax: 313-993-0645
Complications related to high blood pressure such as stroke, heart failure and kidney damage occur much more frequently in African-Americans compared with whites.

“Evidence from several recently completed studies converged to convince our committee that we were waiting a little bit too long to start treating hypertension in African-Americans,” said John M. Flack, M.D., M.P.H., lead author and chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at Wayne State University in Detroit.

The update to the ISHIB’s 2003 consensus statement makes two major recommendations: First, the thresholds at which African-American patients begin treatment should be lowered.
Second, doctors should move quickly from single-drug therapy to multi-drug therapy to keep a patient’s blood pressure comfortably below the thresholds.

“We believe that these recommendations will lead to better blood pressure control, and a better outlook for African-Americans with high blood pressure,” Flack said.

Blood pressure is reported as two numbers, measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). The top number represents the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and the lower number reflects the pressure when the heart relaxes between beats.

Blood pressure below 120/80 is considered normal for healthy U.S. adults. However, the ISHIB proposes that doctors recommend lifestyle changes to lower blood pressure in otherwise healthy African-Americans with blood pressure at or above 115/75. Those changes include reduced dietary sodium (salt) and increased potassium from eating more fruits and vegetables, as well as losing weight if necessary, getting regular aerobic exercise and drinking in moderation, Flack said.

“Epidemiological data shows that 115/75 is the critical blood pressure number for adults, and every time that figure goes up by 20/10 the risk of cardiovascular disease essentially doubles. We think it makes perfect sense to start lifestyle changes at that lower threshold,” he said. “The natural history of blood pressure is that it continues to go up as a person ages. In fact, from the age of 50 and onward, Americans have a 90 percent chance of developing hypertension.”

Doctors currently begin drug therapy to reduce blood pressure in patients without a history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes or high blood pressure-related organ-damage when blood pressure is at or above 140/90. This is referred to as primary prevention. The ISHIB recommends tightening the primary prevention threshold to 135/85 for African-Americans.

In addition, the ISHIB recommends starting treatment earlier for African-Americans who have cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney disease or damage to target organs (the heart, brain, kidneys). This treatment, known as secondary prevention, should start when blood pressure is at or above 130/80, according to the ISHIB statement.

The ISHIB also recommends that doctors move swiftly from single-drug therapy to multi-drug therapy if one agent doesn’t lower the pressure.

“The majority of patients of any race, and certainly African-Americans, are going to need more than one drug to be consistently controlled below their goal,” Flack said. “The debate in the medical community over which single drug is best overwhelms the most pressing question: Which drugs work best together?”

Based on a review of recently completed studies, the ISHIB document provides doctors with step-by-step guidance on the best second, third and fourth drugs to add based on individual patient characteristics. The ISHIB statement provides charts with alternate multi-drug combinations so physicians have several options for keeping patients’ blood pressure under targets, Flack said.

Flack stressed that the ISHIB tried whenever possible to suggest cheaper generic drugs to keep cost from becoming a treatment barrier.

“These guidelines raise the question for addressing issues surrounding treatment strategies and goals for African-Americans with hypertension,” said Sidney C. Smith Jr., M.D., an American Heart Association spokesman and professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, N.C. “Studies continue to accumulate that address ethnic, age and gender differences, as well as optimal therapies.”

A major comprehensive statement regarding hypertension is expected to be published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by late 2011, Smith said.

The American Heart Association participates as a member organization in the NIH Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC) guidelines.

Co-authors of the ISHIB statement are: Domenic A. Sica, M.D.; George Bakris, M.D.; Angela L. Brown, M.D.; Keith C. Ferdinand, M.D.; Richard H. Grimm, Jr., M.D., Ph.D.; W. Dallas Hall, M.D.; Wendell E. Jones, M.D.; David S. Kountz, M.D.; Janice P. Lea, M.D.; Samar Nasser, P.A.-C., M.P.H.; Shawna D. Nesbitt, M.D.; Elijah Saunders, M.D.; Margaret Scisney-Matlock, R.N., Ph.D. and Kenneth A. Jamerson, M.D. Individual author disclosures are on the manuscript. ###

Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association’s policy or position. The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at

Friday, October 8, 2010

Award-winning Filmmaker Addresses Black Aesthetics as Politics

The award-winning African-American author and filmmaker M.K. Asante will speak about the role that art plays in black political life.

The Office of Multicultural Affairs, the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts and the Departments of Philosophy and English are teaming up with the August Wilson Center for African American Culture to co-sponsor Asante’s address at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 15, at the Wilson Center. His presentation will be followed by a book signing and reception, with music provided by vocalist Carolyn Perteete, a graduate of Duquesne’s Mary Pappert School of Music.

Asante, who the Philadelphia Inquirer has described as “a rare, remarkable talent that brings to mind the great artists of the Harlem Renaissance,” is a professor of creative writing and film at Morgan State University in Baltimore. He is known internationally for nonfiction, poetry and films that interpret the African Diaspora and the African-American experience. Asante’s most recent book, It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop: The Rise of the Post-Hip-Hop Generation, uses hip-hop as the springboard for examining a variety of social and political issues.

M.K. AsanteAsante is also the author of two volumes of poetry and has several films to his credit, including The Black Candle, an exploration of the meaning and significance of the Kwanzaa holiday, which he co-wrote with poet Maya Angelou, the film’s narrator.

For his writing, Asante has received the 2009 Langston Hughes Award and a Jean Corrie Prize from the Academy of American Poets. His films have earned numerous international prizes, including an Africa World Documentary Film Festival award and the Breaking the Chains award from UNESCO.
The event is free and open to the public. Call 412.396.6500 for more information.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. The University is nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review for its rich academic programs in 10 schools of study for 10,000-plus graduate and undergraduate students, and by the Washington Monthly for service and contributing to students' social mobility. Duquesne is a member of the U.S. President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for its contributions to Pittsburgh and communities around the globe. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Princeton Review's Guide to Green Colleges acknowledge Duquesne's commitment to sustainability.

Media Contacts: Karen Ferrick-Roman Media Relations Manager 412.396.1154 412.736.1877 (cell) Rose Ravasio Media Relations Manager 412.396.6051
412.818.0234 (cell)

IMAGE CREDIT: Author Throwacoup This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

WSSU Group Working to End Strokes Through Education and Awareness

Rams Fighting Against High Blood Pressure and Stroke at Winston-Salem State University began their work this semester by presenting a special educational program featuring Dr. Chere M. Chase, medical director for neuroscience and neuro-critical care with Forsyth Medical Center, on Monday, October 4.

The “Power to End Strokes” (PTES) is a campus-based initiative that began last spring. It is part of a national campaign designed to educate Americans about the signs and symptoms of stroke, particularly African Americans.

“Strokes used to be a condition of older individuals, but now is a condition that can happen to anyone at any time, regardless of age, race or gender,” said Dr. Sylvia Flack, executive director of the Center of Excellence for the Elimination of Health Disparities. “While everyone can be at risk, strokes do occur in African Americans at twice the rate of the white population.”

Winston Salem State University LogoMore than 300 Winston-Salem State University students took a pledge to indicate their understanding of the importance of healthy living as part of the awareness event “Come meet stroke, the OTHER silent killer” which kicked-off the effort in April. ###

Winston Salem State University CONTACT: Nancy Young Director of Public Relations 336-750-8764

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Children, males and blacks are at increased risk for food allergies

A new study estimates that 2.5 percent of the United States population, or about 7.6 million Americans, have food allergies. Food allergy rates were found to be higher for children, non-Hispanic blacks, and males, according to the researchers. The odds of male black children having food allergies were 4.4 times higher than others in the general population.

The research, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health and appears in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, is the first to use a nationally representative sample, as well as specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) or antibody levels to quantify allergic sensitization to common foods, including peanuts, milk, eggs, and shrimp. The hallmark of food allergy is production of IgE antibodies to a specific food protein. Once IgE antibody is made, further exposure to the food triggers an allergic response. IgE levels are often high in people with allergies.

National Institutes of Health Logo"This study is very comprehensive in its scope. It is the first study to use specific blood serum levels and look at food allergies across the whole life spectrum, from young children aged 1 to 5, to adults 60 and older," said Darryl Zeldin, M.D., acting clinical director at the NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and senior author on the paper.
"This research has helped us identify some high risk populations for food allergies." In addition to the identification of race, ethnicity, gender, and age as risk factors for food allergies, the researchers also found an association between food allergy and severe asthma.

Food allergy rates were highest (4.2 percent) for children 1 to 5 years. The lowest rates (1.3 percent) were found in adults over the age of 60. The prevalence of peanut allergies in children aged 1 to 5 was 1.8 percent and in children aged 6 to19, it was 2.7 percent. In adults, the rate was 0.3 percent.

The odds of patients with asthma and food allergies experiencing a severe asthma attack were 6.9 times higher than those without clinically defined food allergies.

"This study provides further credence that food allergies may be contributing to severe asthma episodes, and suggests that people with a food allergy and asthma should closely monitor both conditions and be aware that they might be related," said Andrew Liu, M.D., of National Jewish Health and the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, and lead author on the paper.

The data used for the study comes from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005-2006. NHANES is a large nationally representative survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Zeldin and Liu note more research is needed to understand why certain groups are at increased risk for food allergy. The authors comment in the paper that food allergies may be under-recognized in blacks, males, and children, because previous studies relied on self-reporting and not food-specific serum IgE levels.

"Having an accurate estimate of the prevalence of food allergies is helpful to public health policy makers, schools and day care facilities, and other care providers as they plan and allocate resources to recognize and treat food allergies," said Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., NIEHS director.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

Reference: Liu AH, Jaramillo R, Sicherer SH, Wood RA, Bock SA, Burks AW, Massing M, Cohn RD, Zeldin DC. National prevalence and risk factors for food allergy and relationship to asthma: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006. J Allergy Clin Immunol. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2010.07.026

Monday, October 4, 2010 12 a.m. EDT Contact: Robin Mackar, NIEHS 919-541-0073

Monday, October 4, 2010

Honorée Jeffers to be featured in Reading Series

Morehead State University’s Reading Series will feature poet and scholar Honorée Jeffers for a poetry reading on Thursday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. at the Kentucky Folk Art Center.

A reception before the reading will be held in conjunction with the opening of "Southern Stitches: African American Quilts from the Collection of Larry Hackley” from 5-7 p.m.

“Turning History into Poetry” will be held Friday, Oct. 22, from 9:30-11:30 a.m.

MSU’s Reading Series is sponsored by the B.F.A. degree in Creative Writing Program in the Department of English, MSU’s Arts and Humanities Council, Caudill College of Arts,

Honorée Jeffers Humanities and Social Sciences, Kentucky Folk Art Center, Multicultural Student Services, International/Interdisciplinary programs, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Morehead State Public Radio.

Additional information is available by calling the Department of English at (606)783-9448 or by e-mailing Crystal Wilkinson at

Morehead State University 150 University Blvd. Morehead, KY 40351 1.800.585.6781

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Marygrove College and DTE Energy bring Nomkhubulwane to Detroit

Globe-traveling elephant sculpture aims to start discussions about conservation.

DETROIT, Mich., —In specific response to pressing local and global issues involving environmental sustainability and earth care, Marygrove College, with funding support from DTE Energy, will host Nomkhubulwane (Nom-koo-bull-WAH-nee, Zulu for Mother Earth), an elephant sculpture created by South African sculptor Andries Botha. This life-size sculpture, made of galvanized steel and recycled truck tires, is traveling around the world to raise awareness about how people can creatively address issues caused by the expanding human ecological footprint. Nomkhubulwane is one of 17 elephants on display globally by the Human Elephant Foundation (

Nomkhubulwane will arrive on the Marygrove College campus on Oct. 8 and will be at Marygrove College for the first week of its stay before moving to Detroit’s Cultural Center, Oct. 20 - Nov. 1, 2010.


Picture: Lux Themba. Photogragher: Garth Walker.
During Marygrove’s hosting of Nomkhubulwane, which also coincides with its hosting of the 2010 Great Lakes Bioneers Conference in Detroit, over 300 children from 20-30 area elementary, middle and high schools will participate in projects on the Marygrove College campus about how they can help care for “Mother Earth.” Their education will be based on lesson plans and activities developed for The Human Elephant Foundation by the Civic Knowledge Project at the University of Chicago.
Subject matter will include:

o “Elephants and “Emotion,”
o “The Three Rs: Recycle, Reduce & Reuse,”
o “Making Better Food Decisions,”
o “Soil Painting,”
o “Elephants and Trauma,”
o “Environmental Terms & Crossword Puzzle,”
o “How We Perceive the World” and
o “Biodiversity and Me.”

* Marygrove College’s Beyond Words Gallery will display student works related to the project. The Gallery will also have an exhibit that further explains the project, its purpose and the migration tour.
* Once the sculpture travels to Detroit’s Cultural Center, Marygrove will continue to be involved by partnering with other institutions on educational projects that engage area youth in Nomkhubulwane’s message.

“The Nomkhubulwane project’s focus on raising awareness about environmental issues through education and artistic expression make this effort one that the College gladly supports,” said David J. Fike, Marygrove College President. “With the help of our sponsor DTE Energy, we are empowering over 300 Detroit school children with the knowledge and means of expression to begin meaningful conversations around ecological issues affecting their community.”

On Oct. 20, after her stay at Marygrove College, Nomkhubulwane will “migrate” to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in the Detroit Cultural Center, where she will reside until Nov. 1, 2010. ###


Founded by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) in 1905, Marygrove College is an independent liberal arts college and a Catholic institution of higher learning committed to developing leaders for the new global society. The main campus is situated on 53 wooded acres in northwest Detroit.

8425 W. McNichols Rd., Detroit, MI 48221

CONTACT: Karen Wood Director of Communications and Marketing Marygrove College
Ph: (313) 927-1446 Cell: (313) 316-6456 Fax: (313) 927-1595

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Winston-Salem State University's Diggs Gallery to celebrate its 20th anniversary

Winston-Salem State University's (WSSU) Diggs Gallery will celebrate its 20th anniversary on Friday, October 15, 2010, with an evening of art, dinner, jazz and poetry.

Hosted by Chancellor Donald J. Reaves and Dr. Deborah R. Reaves, the reception will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner and a program at 7:00 p.m. Former artists who have been featured in past Diggs Gallery exhibitions will be in attendance.

“Have Art, Will Travel – Remembering The Past, Investing In The Future,” is the theme for this 20th anniversary celebration. Attendees will travel through time with a festive tour through the Diggs Gallery by costumed actors from WSSU’s Drama Department. Pride and Dignity from the Hill: A Celebration of the Historic Happy Hill Community, an art exhibit inspired by Winston-Salem’s oldest African American Community, will also be on view. This exhibition pays homage to the struggle and progress of all African Americans through a vibrant interplay of stories and family photos from Happy Hill intermixed with important works by nationally celebrated artists.

Diggs Gallery

Diggs Gallery is named for James Thackeray “T” Diggs, Jr. (1915-1989), a 1934 graduate of Winston-Salem State, a painter and a former WSSU art professor for more than 40 years. The gallery is the major cultural center at Winston-Salem State University and offers one of the largest exhibition spaces dedicated to the arts of Africa and the African Diaspora in North Carolina. Exhibitions, publications and programs address abroad range of artistic expression, with special concentration on African-American and regional art.
The Joe Robinson Quartet will provide the jazz. Robinson, who grew up in the Happy Hill Community himself, has captivated audiences with his music for 40 years and is recognized as a musical pioneer. James Funches also grew up in Happy Hill and is a visual artist as well as an accomplished saxophonist. Several local poets will perform their works to round out the evening.

“Diggs is a cultural meeting place where tens of thousands have been inspired over the years,” said Belinda Tate, director of the gallery. “We are inviting the community to come out and take part in this very special, one-time celebration. It is not only for arts patrons, but for all of us who believe that art can bridge cultures and broaden our understanding of the world around us.”
Tickets for the 20th Anniversary Celebration are $50. For ticket information please call 336‐750‐2458, e‐mail The Gallery relies on donations to provide activities and exhibitions related to the visual arts for the community.

Diggs Gallery, one of the South’s leading showcases dedicated to African and African‐American art, is located on the lower level of the O’Kelly Library on the campus of Winston‐Salem State University, 601 South Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, Winston‐Salem, N.C. The gallery is a major cultural center at Winston‐Salem State and offers one of the largest exhibition spaces dedicated to the arts of African and the African Diaspora in North Carolina. In 2007, the gallery was identified as one of the top 10 African‐ American galleries in the nation. For more information visit the website: ###

CONTACT: Nancy Young Director of Public Relations 336-750-8764 (office) 336-413-1472 (mobile) Belinda Tate Diggs Gallery Director 336-750-2460 October 1, 2010. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE