Friday, July 22, 2011

UCLA life scientists and colleagues have produced one of the first high-resolution genetic maps for African American populations

UCLA life scientists and colleagues have produced one of the first high-resolution genetic maps for African American populations. A genetic map reveals the precise locations across the genome where DNA from a person's father and mother have been stitched together through a biological process called "recombination." This process results in new genetic combinations that are then passed on to the person's children.

The new map will help disease geneticists working to map genetic diseases in African Americans because it provides a more accurate understanding of recombination rates among that population, said the senior author of the research, John Novembre, a UCLA assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and of bioinformatics. The map could help scientists learn the roots of these diseases and discover genes that play a key role in them.

The study was published July 20 in the online version of the journal Nature Genetics and will be published in the print edition at a later date.

"Research aimed at finding disease variants will be improved by this tool, which could lead to better medications to help ameliorate the effects of those disease variants," Novembre said. "Health researchers can use a recombination map to refine where a disease gene might be."

John Novembre

John Novembre (Credit: Reed Hutchinson/UCLA)
Prior to this research, which was conducted by scientists from seven institutions, recombination had mainly been studied in European populations.

"Now we have a map for African Americans that researchers can use as a tool, instead of using a European map or an African map," said Novembre, a member of UCLA's Interdepartmental Program in Bioinformatics.

A second, independent study, led by David Reich at Harvard University and Simon Myers at Oxford University, used a similar approach to infer an African American recombination map. That research was published this week in Nature.

"While recombination rates between populations are very similar when you look at the broadest scales of the genome, we start to see variation in recombination between populations when we zoom in," said Daniel Wegmann, a UCLA postdoctoral scholar in Novembre's laboratory and the lead author of the study. "There are clear differences in recombination between Africans and Europeans, and African Americans tend to have a map that is a mixture between the African and European map, reflecting the mixture that took place between these two groups.

"If the position of a mutation is unknown and you want to pinpoint a gene linked to a disease, then recombination is important to help reveal in what region the gene lies," Wegmann said.

The mixture of African and European ancestry typical in the DNA of African Americans is reflected in recombination rates, Novembre said.

"No high-resolution recombination map has been inferred before for populations where the individuals have ancestry from different parts of the globe," Novembre said. "African Americans represent a unique combination of African and European ancestry. We found that if you know an African recombination rate for one region of the genome and you know the European rate, the African American rate sits about 80 percent of the way between the two. That is interesting, because the ancestry of African American DNA, on average, is 80 percent from African ancestral sources and 20 percent from European ancestral sources. The recombination rate reflects the ancestry."

The life scientists used an innovative method involving population genetic models in which they scanned the individual genomes of 2,565 African Americans, as well as 299 African Caribbeans, to study where in the genome each had African ancestry, where they had European ancestry, and where the "switch points" were that mark the location where the ancestry of a DNA segment changes.

Novembre and colleagues studied the ancestry of DNA segments to reconstruct where recombinations have occurred.

"The key is to uncover the ancestry of each segment of the genome," Novembre said. "Switch points enable us to identify recombination 'hot spots,' where recombination rates are high."

Explaining recombination, Novembre said, "When we pass on DNA to our children, we stitch together the DNA we received from our mother and father. The resulting DNA alternates between DNA from your mother and from your father, and the recombination points are the boundaries. Those points could be chosen uniformly across the whole chromosome, but studies have found that recombinations occur in some locations in the chromosome more than in others. Locations in the chromosome have particular recombination rates — the rate at which break points occur in that location.

"It is difficult to identify, by studying chromosomes directly, where the stitch points are between maternal and paternal DNA," he said. "In individuals of mixed ancestry, however, such as African Americans and African Caribbeans, we can identify switch points between African ancestry and European ancestry. These switch points mark locations where recombinations have occurred at some point in the past."

"There are regions of our map that differ from what we would expect," Wegmann said. "We see locations where there are deficiencies in recombination, and they line up with the locations of mutations that rearrange the genome and flip a piece of DNA to invert it. When you have a normal copy of the DNA and an inverted copy of the DNA, one from your mother and one from your father, this inversion suppresses recombination."

Of some 3 billion base pairs in a person's genome, the scientists were able to resolve recombination rates down to 50,000 base pairs of the DNA — an impressive figure.

Comparing this African American recombination map with that of other populations enables researchers to locate recombination hot spots, which have highly elevated rates of recombination.

In addition to the applications for disease mapping, the research provides broad insights into the fundamental biological process of recombination.

"We want to learn how recombination rates vary across the genome," Novembre said.

Nelson Freimer, director of the UCLA Center for Neurobehavioral Genetics and a professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, is a principal investigator on the research, along with Novembre and Wegmann, and helped to organize the collaborative effort to bring together the large sample used in the study.

The effort was made possible by the cooperation of investigators from five large consortia: the Genetic Study of Atheroscleoris Risk (GeneSTAR) consortium; the Genetic Network of Arteriopathy (GENOA) consortium; the Chicago Asthma Genetics (CAG) and the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Asthma (CSGA) consortia; the Genetic Research on Asthma in the Africa Diaspora (GRAAD) consortium; and the Severe Asthma Research Program (SAARP).

The consortia were funded by the STAMPEED (SNP Typing for Association with Multiple Phenotypes from Existing Epidemiological Data) program run by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. Novembre's research was also funded by the Searle Foundation.

UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of more than 38,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer 328 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Six alumni and five faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize.

Media Contacts Stuart Wolpert, 310-206-0511

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Professor N W Harllee A. M., A. B

The subject of this sketch was born a siave in Robeson county, near Lumberton. North Carolina, July 15th, 1852. His father was a Methodist preacher who exhorted the plantation slaves, and was noted as "a natural mathematician." His mother was deeply religious.

Mr. Harllee is a self-made man, for he taught himself to read and write after being taught to spell about a third through Webster's blue-back spelling book, and with this small beginning he laid the foundation for a collegiate education and for the active work of life.

In 1881 he was elected register of deeds in Richmond county, N. C, where he had taught school for a number of years, and in 1882 was appointed United States postal clerk on the Carolina Central Railway and transferred to Charlotte, Columbia and Augusta Railway, which position he held till 1885. In 1879 he was graduated at the Biddle University, Charlotte, N. C, with honors. In 1885 he went to Texas and engaged in the profession of teaching, and served for a number of years as principal of the Grammar School No. 2 of Dallas, Texas. Afterward he was promoted to the principalship of the Colored High School of the Dallas City Public Schools, which position he now holds.

Professor Harllee has taken an active part in the educational work of his state, and has served as president and secretary of the Teachers' State Association of the state of Texas; he has also held the position of Superintendent of the Colored Department of the Texas State Fair for eight years, and still holds that position. He is a practical staff reporter on the Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Tex.

Mr. Harllee was married to Miss Florence Belle Coleman of Dallas, Tex., 1891, and has three children, Lucretia, Chauncey Depew and Norman W., Jr.

Professor  N W Harllee A. M., A. BHe is author of "Harllee's Tree of History," a new and graphic method of teaching history; also Harllee's "Simplified Long Division," a new graphic method of teaching long division; also Harllee's "Diagram System of Geography."

He has for a number of years advocated the establishment of a State University for the youth of Texas, and is also working with the Rev. W. Lomas and D. Rowens to establish an industrial school for his people at Dallas.

He is also chairman of the Y. M. C. A. board of education of Dallas, and along with Messrs. Rice, Darrell, Polk. Weems and Anderson is conducting a successful Y. M. C. A. night school for all ages and sexes.

Twentieth century Negro literature: or, A cyclopedia of thought on the vital topics relating to the American Negro

Title: Twentieth century Negro literature: or, A cyclopedia of thought on the vital topics relating to the American Negro. Editor: Daniel Wallace Culp. Publisher: J. L. Nichols & co., 1902. Original from: the University of Michigan. Digitized: Sep 17, 2008. Length: 472 pages. Subjects: African American authors African Americans Afro-Americans.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Gov. Rick Snyder today announced appointments made Freedom Trail Commission

LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder today announced that Ronald Brown is appointed and Juanita Moore and Veta Tucker are reappointed to the Michigan Freedom Trial Commission.

The board was created to preserve, protect and promote the legacy of the Freedom Trail in Michigan.

"These individuals will use their unique backgrounds and expertise to support and preserve a rich part of Michigan's history," Snyder said.

Brown, of Ypsilanti, is an associate professor at Wayne State University where he teaches classes in African American politics, politics and elections and public opinion. In 1994 he was awarded the Probus Club Academic Achievement Award for Social Sciences and Humanities. He has authored several publications on African American politics. Brown earned a bachelor's degree from Southern Illinois University and a doctorate in political science from the University of Michigan. He represents members at large and replaces Rochelle Danquah.

Moore, of Detroit, is president and CEO of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the largest museum of its kind in the nation. She previously served as executive director of both the American Jazz Museum and the National Civil Rights Museum. She earned both a bachelor's and master's degree from North Carolina Central University. Moore represents the Museum of African American History.

Rick SnyderTucker, of Kentwood, is associate professor of English and African American studies at Grand Valley State University. She also serves as the director of the Kutsche Office of Local History at GVSU. Tucker earned a doctorate in English language and literature from the University of Michigan. She represents the academic community knowledgeable in African American history.

Appointees will serve four-year terms expiring Feb. 1, 2015, and are not subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, July 15, 2011 Contact: Sara Wurfel P: 517-335-6397 or E:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The first African-American to walk in space returns to the NJIT campus on July 19, 2011

The first African-American to walk in space returns to the NJIT campus on July 19, 2011 to inspire 55 middle-school students from throughout New Jersey (47) and New York City (8) to seek a career in science. The event will launch the free, two-week ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp (EMBHSSC) for middle-school students. Bernard Harris, MD, of Houston, veteran of two space shuttle missions and founder of the camp, will assist students in a hands-on activity led by the EMBHSSC staff and representatives from ExxonMobil Corporation, Clinton.

Teachers are calling this year’s activity the space suit challenge. Students will investigate how an object’s kinetic energy affects the impact it has upon a surface. Students will work in teams to make and test a durable space suit sample capable of withstanding the impact of micrometeoroids.

ATTENTION EDITORS: Don’t miss Harris. He’s a great champion of science education and an inspiration. He’ll teach the class at approximately 10:30 a.m. At 12:30 p.m., he will address students. NJIT is the only college campus in the New York metropolitan region to offer the program.

See students happily participating in a fun and exciting science adventure, and who are excited to learn more about science careers from ExxonMobil engineers and scientists. The piece de resistance is always Harris, who, following lunch, speaks from the heart for 30 minutes about how he became interested in science and why students should too.

Bernard Harris, MDThe program is based on studies showing that the US faces a critical shortage of engineers, scientists and other technically trained workers. To help address this crisis, Harris and ExxonMobil provide 30 free two-week summer camps across the country. The camps offer innovative math and science programs to encourage middle-school students to develop their knowledge and foster their interest in engineering and other areas in science.

New Jersey students are from: Bayonne, Belvidere, Bergenfield, Butler, Camden, Carteret, Cranford, East Orange, Englewood, Fair Lawn, Forked River, Fort Lee, Great Meadows, Harrison, Haskell, Hoboken, Jersey City, Kearny, Lodi, Mercerville, Metuchen, Montclair, Newark, North Bergen, Old Bridge, Orange, Pemberton, Piscataway, Plainfield, Point Pleasant, Princeton, Somerset, Teaneck, West Orange and Willingboro.

New York students are from: Brooklyn, Forest Hills, Hollis and Manhattan.

NJIT, New Jersey's science and technology university, enrolls more than 8,900 students pursuing bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in 121 programs. The university consists of six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, College of Architecture and Design, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, College of Computing Sciences and Albert Dorman Honors College. U.S. News & World Report's 2010 Annual Guide to America's Best Colleges ranked NJIT in the top tier of national research universities. NJIT is internationally recognized for being at the edge in knowledge in architecture, applied mathematics, wireless communications and networking, solar physics, advanced engineered particulate materials, nanotechnology, neural engineering and e-learning. Many courses and certificate programs, as well as graduate degrees, are available online through the Office of Continuing Professional Education.

Contact Information: Sheryl Weinstein Public Relations 973-596-3436

Friday, July 8, 2011

“Binding Wounds Pushing Boundaries” Highlights Medical Contributions of African Americans as Nurses, Surgeons and Hospital Workers

Brooklyn, NY - Coney Island Hospital today opened a historical exhibition in observance of the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War which highlights the untold history of medical contributions made by African Americans during the war. The traveling exhibition, developed and produced by the Exhibition Program at the National Library of Medicine, tells the unique story via archival images and historical documents from the period.

According to the National Library of Medicine, many histories have been written about medical care during the American Civil War, but the participation and contributions of African Americans as nurses, surgeons and hospital workers has often been overlooked. Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries: African Americans in Civil War Medicine looks at the men and women who served as surgeons and nurses and how their service as medical providers challenged the prescribed notions of race and gender pushing the boundaries of the role of African Americans in America.

The exhibit explores the life and experiences of surgeons Alexander T. Augusta and Anderson R. Abbott, and nurses Susie King Taylor and Ann Stokes as they provided medical care to soldiers and civilians while participating in the fight for freedom. “Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries opens the door to this rarely studied part of history and brings a voice to those that have remained silent for nearly 150 years,” says Curator Jill L. Newmark.

African Americans as Nurses, Surgeons and Hospital WorkersThe four year civil war claimed the lives of approximately 620,000 out of the three million who fought, and countless others received severe debilitating injuries. The 150th Anniversary observation serves to remind us all of what was at stake: the preservation of the fledgling union and the resultant freedom of millions of men and women enslaved by the Confederate states.

“Hosting this national exhibition is the hospital’s way of observing the anniversary of the beginning of our country’s civil war and more importantly, paying tribute to the little known but significant contributions made by African Americans towards preservation of the union, and in the areas of medicine and human rights,” said Arthur Wagner, Senior Vice President / Executive Director of Coney Island Hospital.

“Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries” will be on display now through August 3, 2011. The exhibit is located in the gallery space on the 2nd floor of Main Hospital Building and is open to the public Monday through Friday, from 9:00 AM – 5:00PM.

About Coney Island Hospital

From its early beginnings in 1875 as a first-aid station for summer beach goers, Coney Island Hospital has grown into a multi-site community medical center with more than 350 beds. Part of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), Coney is a designated Stroke Center and provides over 267,000 clinic visits and 70,000 Emergency Room visits to the communities of southern Brooklyn. For more information about Coney, visit

About HHC

The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) is a $6.7 billion integrated health care delivery system with its own 385,000 member health plan, MetroPlus, and is the largest municipal health care organization in the country. HHC serves 1.3 million New Yorkers every year and more than 450,000 are uninsured. HHC provides medical, mental health and substance abuse services through its 11 acute care hospitals, four skilled nursing facilities, six large diagnostic and treatment centers and more than 80 community based clinics. HHC Health and Home Care also provides in-home services for New Yorkers. HHC was the 2008 recipient of the National Quality Forum and The Joint Commissions John M. Eisenberg Award for Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality. For more information, visit, # # # FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 6, 2011

Monday, July 4, 2011

CT Angiography Improves Detection of Heart Disease in African Americans

OAK BROOK, Ill. — Researchers may have discovered one reason that African Americans are at increased risk for heart attacks and other cardiovascular events.

According to a new study published online in the journal Radiology, African Americans have increased levels of non-calcified plaque, which consists of buildups of soft deposits deep in the walls of the arteries that are not detected by some cardiac tests. Non-calcified plaque is more vulnerable to rupturing and causing a blood clot, which could lead to a heart attack or other cardiovascular event.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, African American adults are more likely to be diagnosed with coronary heart disease and are at greater risk of death from heart disease than white adults. In 2007, African American men were 30 percent more likely than non-Hispanic white men to die from heart disease.

"For a long time, physicians have searched for explanations as to why African Americans have higher rates of heart disease and higher cardiac death rates, but less coronary artery calcium than Caucasians," said U. Joseph Schoepf, M.D., professor of radiology and medicine and director of cardiovascular imaging at Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. "We show that one possible explanation for the discrepancy may be found in the higher rate of less stable, non-calcified plaque in the heart vessels of African Americans."

U. Joseph Schoepf, M.D.

U. Joseph Schoepf, M.D.
Calcium scoring with CT is a common screening tool for patients at risk for cardiovascular disease, because increased levels of calcified plaque in the coronary arteries generally correlates with a greater risk of heart attack or other cardiovascular event. However, calcium scoring does not detect non-calcified plaque.

For the study, researchers compared 301 patients who underwent both calcium scoring with CT and contrast-enhanced coronary CT angiography (cCTA). cCTA provides a more comprehensive picture of the arteries, including the presence of non-calcified and mixed plaques.

The study group comprised 50 percent each of African American and white patients, 33 percent of whom were male (mean age 55).

Calcium scoring revealed that calcified plaque was much more prevalent in the coronary arteries of white patients than in the African Americans (45 percent, versus 26 percent). The cCTA revealed that, compared with the white patients, many more African American patients had non-calcified plaque (64 percent, versus 41 percent), and in greater amounts. The median volume of non-calcified plaque among the African American patients was 2.2 milliliters (mL), compared with 1.4 mL among white patients.

Based on these results, the researchers suggest that the value of calcium scoring as a screening tool for African Americans should be reexamined.

"The results of coronary artery calcium scoring studies are to be treated with caution in African Americans, because they may not reflect the true extent of cardiovascular disease," Dr. Schoepf said.

While cCTA does expose patients to ionizing radiation, according to Dr. Schoepf, the effective dose of this procedure has been considerably reduced over the past few years, making it a viable screening option, if other prerequisites of a successful screening test are also met.

"For African American patients, coronary CT angiography may be a more appropriate screening tool for cardiovascular risk," he said.

# # #

"Coronary Atherosclerosis in African American and White Patients with Acute Chest Pain: Characterization with Coronary CT Angiography." Collaborating with Dr. Schoepf were John W. Nance Jr., M.D., Fabian Bamberg, M.D., M.P.H., Doo Kyoung Kang, M.D., J. Michael Barraza, Jr., B.S., Joseph A. Abro, M.A., Gorka Bastarrika, M.D., Ph.D., Gary F. Headden, M.D., Philip Costello, M.D., and Christian Thilo, M.D.

is edited by Herbert Y. Kressel, M.D., Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass., and owned and published by the Radiological Society of North America, Inc. (

RSNA is an association of more than 46,000 radiologists, radiation oncologists, medical physicists and related scientists committed to excellence in patient care through education and research. The Society is based in Oak Brook, Ill. (

For patient-friendly information on CT angiography, visit

Media Contacts: RSNA Media Relations: 1-630-590-7762 Linda Brooks 1-630-590-7738 Maureen Morley 1-630-590-7754

Saturday, July 2, 2011

African-American women are more likely to have a basal-like subtype of breast cancer

DETROIT - Wayne State University researchers believe medical practitioners can help reduce the number of breast cancer deaths among low-income African-American women by more effectively educating their patients about the importance of mammography screening.

In a study published in the June issue of the Journal of Cancer Education, Rosalie Young, Ph.D., associate professor; Kendra Schwartz, M.D., M.S.P.H., interim chair; and Jason Booza, Ph. D., assistant professor, all from the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences in WSU's School of Medicine, examined clinical, structural and personal barriers known to prevent such women from having mammograms. Overcoming those barriers is important, the researchers said, because of higher mortality rates for African-American women than other groups. In 2007, Detroit statistics showed a rate of approximately 35 deaths per 100,000 among African-American women versus about 26 deaths per 100,000 for white women.

Between 2004 and 2007, WSU researchers randomly surveyed 178 African-American women age 40 or older from a high cancer-risk area of Detroit. They found that all three barrier types were strongly associated with a lack of breast cancer screening.

Kendra Schwartz, M.D.

Kendra Schwartz, M.D.

Rosalie Young, Ph.D.

Rosalie Young, Ph.D.

Jason Booza, Ph.D.

Jason Booza, Ph.D.
Young said, however, that interventions to increase mammography utilization often focus on structural barriers, which include lack of health insurance or lack of medical care facilities in low-income areas. Removing those barriers is difficult, she said, because it requires systemic change.

The study brings good news, however, by showing that medical care providers are capable of removing some clinical and personal barriers. Young said the WSU study also could serve as a springboard for future analyses of particular barrier combinations to determine which ones predict whether women will undergo mammograms.

One clinical barrier is that fewer board-certified physicians work in lower-income areas. Providers in those areas often are less informed about preventive care or less likely to adhere to cancer screening recommendations. Additionally, time constraints may limit patient education efforts, leading to inadequate recommendations for screening, and physician-patient interaction may be culturally or educationally inappropriate for lower-income or minority populations.

To help break down those barriers, along with personal barriers such as patients' fear, or their lack of trust or knowledge, Young said clinicians could be more proactive in communicating with patients to build trust. They also can offer more culturally appropriate health education that includes general information about disease risk and the importance of breast cancer screening, as well as more education about patients' personal breast cancer risk, such as genetic information and specific family history risk.

Clinicians also can make referrals specifically for mammograms, Young said, as African-Americans often expect them to initiate such conversations.

"The physician-patient interaction is extremely important," she said. "Physicians are not only gatekeepers to services; they also can motivate their patients."

Part of what may be hindering such interaction now, Young said, is that practitioners in facilities serving low-income people may be under too much pressure simply to see patients.

"There may be a desire on the part of the physician to be more involved with their patients in terms of educating and communicating with them," she said, "but the constraints of their situation may be limiting their ability to do that."

Still, more proactive practitioners can make a real difference. "African-American women are more likely to have a basal-like subtype of breast cancer that is harder to treat and should be detected early," said Young. "Health providers have an excellent opportunity to reduce mortality by emphasizing the importance of screening."


Release Date: July 01, 2011 Contact: Tom Tigani Voice: 313-577-1494 E-mail:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fred Rodriguez has been named the University of Kansas’ first-ever vice provost for diversity and equity

LAWRENCE — Veteran educator Fred Rodriguez has been named the University of Kansas’ first-ever vice provost for diversity and equity.

Rodriquez has served as interim associate vice provost for diversity and equity since April 2009. The position has been elevated from associate vice provost to vice provost in recognition of the importance of the university’s mission of creating a diverse community of scholars.

“In visiting with members of the KU community over the past year, many suggested the creation of a vice provost for diversity and equity position,” said KU Provost Jeffrey Vitter. “We’re excited to elevate the status of this position, and we couldn’t ask for a better person to assume the role than Fred. We look forward to Fred’s continued leadership and expertise in making KU a more diverse and inclusive community.”

Rodriguez’ new role will largely resemble his previous role as interim associate vice provost, with some additional duties. As vice provost, Rodriguez will report directly to the Provost’s Office and focus on the recruitment, retention and development of under-represented faculty, staff and students, as well as on the overall climate of diversity and equity at the Lawrence and Edwards campuses.

Fred Rodriguez

Fred Rodriguez
“KU has always been motivated by serving the public good, and I can see no higher ideal than working toward a more diverse, equitable and inclusive campus for all,” Rodriguez said. “I am honored and humbled by the role and responsibility that I have been offered, and I look forward to engaging with the campus community to promote and support a diverse and inclusive KU environment.”

Since 1995, the number of multicultural faculty members has increased by more than 80 percent, and the number of female faculty members has increased by nearly 60 percent.

KU has increased multicultural student enrollment each year since 2002. The 2009 and 2010 incoming freshman classes both set all-time high marks for diversity. And in 2010, the university had the most diverse student body in KU history, with 14.4 percent of students identifying as American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian, African-American, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander or multiple ethnicities. That was up from 12.8 percent in 2009.

Rodriguez’ specific responsibilities will include: university leadership and planning oversight for diversity and equity; fostering a supportive university climate for faculty, staff and students that values and supports inclusiveness and diversity; development of active links with the community and alumni groups in support of campus diversity and equity; coordination of the efforts of diversity and multicultural initiatives; and development of evaluation methods and implementation of systems of accountability to promote diversity programs and plans.

Under his leadership as interim associate vice provost for diversity and equity, the university adopted a formal policy statement on diversity and inclusion in fall 2010; launched a Spanish-language version of the KU website; elevated the status of the Langston Hughes Visiting Professorship; established the first-ever Spring Symposium on the Scholarship of Diversity; and established two monthly e-newsletters – Diversity Outlook and La Visión.

An associate professor in the School of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Teaching, Rodriguez also serves as director of both the Multicultural Scholars Program and the Professional Development Schools Alliance.

Rodriguez has held a number of administrative positions in the School of Education, including interim dean from 2004 to 2005. He was director of the Center for Teaching Excellence from 1997 to 2001.

Rodriguez earned his bachelor’s degree from Chadron State College before going on to earn his master’s and doctorate from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.


The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

Contact: Joe Monaco, University Relations, 785-864-7100, | (785) 864-3256 | 1314 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Help @Sookietex to win a walk-on role in the new TNT show Falling Skies

Hello artofthepossibleonline Subscribers sookietex here. As twitter's @sookietex, please follow. i'm taking part in a promotion by, [great service] and the new TNT show "Falling Skies" [great show]. i was chosen, along with other tweeters, to receive swag, an ‘Alien Invasion Survival Kit’ and to be part of the Show's Army of Influence.

The goal for our Army of Tweeters is to inspire interest and watchers for Falling Skies using Social Media. Participants are listed on the "Army of Influence Leaderboard" and whomever is at the top of board at the end of the promotion wins a walk-on role in a upcoming episode of Falling Skies.

Now Gentle Readers here’s what I would like YOU TO DO:

During the promotion, i’ll be tweeting A LOT about alien invasion, Falling Skies and the Human resistance movement known as the 2nd Mass [because of their location in Boston, Mass.] using the #fsincentivized hashtag. Please Retweet [RT] those tweets. Or if that's not your thing, please tweet this for me:

I want @Sookietex to win a walk-on role in the new TNT show #FallingSkies #fsincentivized

Just click the above link and hit ‘Tweet’!

Thank You

New Effort to Address Health Disparities Highlights Baltimore's Innovative Barbershop Men's Health Outreach Program

BALTIMORE, Md. – Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown announced that he is leading a new effort to address health disparities in Maryland. As co-chair of the Maryland Health Quality and Cost Council (HQCC), Lt. Governor Brown will oversee a new health disparities workgroup within the HQCC. The workgroup, which will be led by Dr. E. Albert Reece, Dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, will design strategies and initiatives to address disparities inside the health care system.

“Addressing health disparities among Maryland’s racial and ethnic communities is a moral imperative,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “We have new tools for early diabetes detection and kidney care, and yet in Maryland about twice as many African Americans suffer from diabetes compared to whites. We have state-of-the-art neo-natal intensive care units, but African American babies are three times more likely to die before the age of 1 than white babies. For where we are and how far we have come as a nation and a state, it is unacceptable that these inequities persist. All Marylanders deserve the best possible care and the opportunity to improve their quality of life, which is why Governor O’Malley and I are putting a renewed focus on addressing disparities in Maryland.”

“There are reasonably achievable programs and policies that will reduce health disparities, enhance health care delivery, and improve the health and well-being of all Maryland’s citizens,” Dr. Reece said. “The workgroup will aim to identify the areas where such programs, policies, and legislation can be implemented and have the broadest, most immediate, and sustained impact. Maryland is fortunate to have leadership that is committed to the health of all citizens, and it is the responsibility of all health care professionals in our state to help the Governor and Lt. Governor realize their vision for a healthier Maryland.”

Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown

Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown
The Lt. Governor was joined by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore City Commissioner of Health Dr. Oxiris Barbot and Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Deputy Secretary Frances B. Phillips for the announcement at Blade Master Barbershop on Reisterstown Road, a local business that participates in Baltimore’s innovative barbershop men’s health outreach program. As part of the health disparities effort, Lt. Governor Brown will be working with local communities to identify innovative approaches and effective efforts for addressing disparities that could be expanded or replicated in other areas of the state.

Baltimore’s men’s health outreach program uses the established “barbershop engagement” approach. The program provides free screenings for hypertension, diabetes and obesity, as well as nutritional education and information on accessing primary care, while men are waiting for services at barbershops.

“Barbershops are uniquely positioned for health outreach to African American communities, especially men, who are at high risk for cardiovascular disease and typically are less engaged in health care than women,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “By ensuring at-risk men are referred to care for effective treatment, we are reducing the risk that they will suffer a costly and potentially deadly stroke or heart attack.”

“Delivering important public health interventions in barbershops is an example of how businesses can facilitate healthier living," said Dr. Barbot. "As outlined in Healthy Baltimore 2015, we all play a role making healthy options default options for all residents.”

“A healthy Maryland means leaving no community behind,” said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and former Commissioner of Health for Baltimore City. “I look forward to sustained progress in addressing health disparities.”

Addressing health disparities is an important factor for reining in rising health care costs, a priority of national and state health care reform efforts. A 2006 report found that blacks in Maryland are nearly twice as likely be hospitalized for such treatable conditions as asthma, hypertension and heart failure, costing Medicare an additional $26 million. Nationally, a 2009 report estimated that between 2003 and 2006, nearly $230 billion could have been saved in direct medical care costs if racial and ethnic health disparities did not exist.

“If we want to reach health equity and stem the tide of rising health care costs we must seize the moment and use the tools provided by the Affordable Care Act to expand access, eliminate disparities and make Maryland the healthiest state in the nation,” added Lt. Governor Brown.

Maryland’s Health Quality and Cost Council’s new health disparities workgroup will consider a wide range of policies to reduce disparities within the health care system, including possible financial and performance-based incentives such as encouraging doctors to practice in underserved communities or rewarding reductions in preventable hospitalizations among racial and ethnic communities. At the end of the year, the Lt. Governor will take the lead in combining the workgroup’s efforts with the expansion of innovative community programs and additional State-level policy changes to form a blueprint for how Maryland can address and reduce disparities throughout the State.

As Co-Chair of Maryland’s Health Quality and Cost Council and the Maryland Health Care Reform Coordinating Council, Lt. Governor Brown leads the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s efforts to reduce costs, expand access, and improve the quality of care for all Marylanders. Under the leadership of Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown, Maryland has implemented reforms that have expanded health coverage to over 260,000 Marylanders and put the State in position to maximize the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA).

TEXT CREDIT: Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown 100 State Circle • Annapolis, Maryland 21401 • 410.974.3901 • 1.800.811.8336 • MD Relay 1.800.201.7165

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Genetic variants in major histocompatibility complex (MHC) confer a higher risk of systemic lupus erythemathosus (“lupus”) in African American women

(Boston) - Researchers from Boston University’s Slone Epidemiology Center have found four new genetic variants in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) that confer a higher risk of systemic lupus erythemathosus (“lupus”) in African American women. The study, which currently appears on-line in Human Genetics, is believed to be the first to comprehensively assess the association between genetic variants in the MHC region and risk of lupus in African American women.

The findings were based on the ongoing Black Women’s Health Study, a prospective study of the health of 59,000 African American women conducted by the researchers since 1995.

African American women have a higher risk of lupus compared with white US women. It has been known that the MHC region in chromosome 6 carries genetic factors associated with several auto-immune disease, and recent studies have reported several genetic variants in the MHC region associated with risk of lupus. However, these previous studies were carried out in European and Asian ancestry populations.

The researchers genotyped more than 1,500 genetic variants single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 400 lupus cases and 800 controls. They found four independent SNPs associated with higher risk of lupus. Through the construction of a genetic score consisting of those four SNPs, the researchers found that risk of lupus increased by almost 70 percent for each extra high risk allele. One of the SNPs reported in the present study was also found in a study in Chinese women, and the researches were also able to replicate some previous findings from a study in women of European ancestry.

Edward A. Ruiz-Narvaez

Edward A. Ruiz-Narvaez
According to the researchers, their results show the presence of several independent genetic risk factors in the MHC region in African American women. Some of those genetic variants may be shared among women of different genetic ancestries.

“Taken together, our results and previous genome-wide association studies in European and east Asian ancestry populations show that women of different ancestral origins may share some genetic components for the risk of lupus,” said lead author Edward A. Ruiz-Narvaez, ScD, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Boston University School of Medicine. “The identity of the causal variants that are being tagged by the reported SNPs is still unknown. Further studies are needed to narrow the position of the potential causal variants,” he added.

The researchers point out that the identified genetic variants are not necessarily the ones directly involved in the pathogenesis of lupus, and further research is needed to identify the true causal genetic variants. Identification of the true causal genetic variants should lead to a better understanding of the biology of lupus.

Funding for this study was supported by grants from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Cancer Institute, and the National Center for Research Resources.

— 30 —

For Release Upon Receipt - June 24, 2011 Contact: Gina M. Digravio, 617-638-8491,

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Florida Atlantic University was ranked one of the top 100, four-year colleges in the nation conferring bachelor’s degrees on to minority students

BOCA RATON, FL -- Florida Atlantic University was ranked one of the top 100, four-year colleges in the nation conferring bachelor’s degrees on to minority students, according to a survey in Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, a magazine published bi-weekly that informs leaders from academe, industry and public policy about current trends and issues that are going on in the United States.

The National Center for Education Statistics tracked the 2009-10 academic year from U.S. Department of Education reports submitted by the four-year institutions.

“To be ranked in the nation’s top 100 schools for minorities within several categories is a true indicator of FAU’s success in its mission to provide access to education,” said FAU President Mary Jane Saunders. “The University takes pride in its diverse student population, proactively promoting cultures from all walks of life.”

FAU ranks 32nd in the nation for conferring bachelor’s degrees on to all minorities combined, a 3 percent increase compared to last year. The survey findings consist of four different minority groups: African-American, Native-American, Asian-American and Hispanic.

The newly released survey indicates that FAU ranks 12th in the nation for conferring bachelor’s degrees on to African-American students, an 8 percent increase compared to last year’s numbers. FAU is 28th in the nation for conferring bachelors’ degrees on to Hispanic students, who represent 18 percent of the total number of graduates, and is a 2 percent increase over the previous year.

Florida Atlantic University signThe report breaks down the data by academic disciplines as well, with the study focusing on minority students who have earned degrees in biological and biomedical sciences; business, management, marketing and related support services; education; engineering; registered nursing, nursing administration, nursing research and clinical nursing; and social sciences.

FAU ranks seventh in the number of education degrees conferred on to minorities, a 13 percent increase compared to last year’s numbers. For biological and biomedical sciences, FAU is ranked in 45th place for bachelor’s degrees conferred on to minorities, a 14 percent increase.

In the business, management, marketing and related support services category, FAU ranks in 21st place with a 12 percent increase. The University also ranks in 21st place in the nursing category.

FAU also ranks in 12th place among the top 100 degree producers among traditionally white institutions, an 8 percent increase from last year’s report.


About Florida Atlantic University: Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. In commemoration of its origin, FAU is celebrating its 50th anniversary throughout 2011. Today, the University serves more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites.

FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering & Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit

MEDIA CONTACT: Lisa Metcalf 561-297-3022,

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Hakim Weatherspoon encourages minority computer science students to build more than the Internet

Follow sookietex on Twitter ITHACA, N.Y. – The Sonic Workshop – an undergraduate clinic in Internet computing – brought five students from Howard University and one from the University of Puerto Rico to the Cornell University campus June 12-18 to learn about encoding digital bits for Internet transmission … and to learn a little bit about themselves.

In addition to teaching about fiber-optic networks and how Internet errors might be caused, Hakim Weatherspoon, Cornell assistant professor of computer science, offered an ulterior motive: He wanted to encourage the African-American and Hispanic students – mostly juniors and seniors – to consider pursuing high-level graduate work and a career in research.

“The whole time we were exposing the technical subject we were letting them know they can pursue research careers instead of just going into industry,” Weatherspoon said. He recruited minority students for his workshop because only about 3 percent of Ph.D.s in computer science and engineering are underrepresented minorities. About 1,500 students were awarded Ph.D.’s in the United States in 2008-09. Of those, of those 17 were African-American, 22 were Hispanic and three were Native American, according to most-recent Computing Research Association’s Taulbee Survey.

Hakim Weatherspoon

Hakim Weatherspoon
Throughout the week, the students heard many Cornell faculty presentations. After each presentation, Weatherspoon asked the presenters, “Why did you get a Ph.D.?”

Weatherspoon’s favorite answer came from Michael Spencer, Cornell professor of electrical and computer engineering, who said it was a “spiritual decision.” That spirituality arguably applies to Weatherspoon, who had planned to get a job at Microsoft or Intel after graduating from the University of Washington, but then started thinking about changing the world. He went to the University of California-Berkeley for graduate school and earned a doctorate.

“In an academic position, you can have tremendous influence and impact. You can affect the national agenda,” he said.

The Howard University students who attended the workshop were: Jay Jackson, of Roswell, Ga.; Qi’Anne Knox, of Chicago; Bathiya Senerinatha, of Sri Lanka; Wardell Samotshozo, of Annandale, Va.; and Keesha Joseph, of Severn, Md. (Joseph is pursuing her master’s degree at Howard University currently.) Also attending was Hector Tosado, an undergraduate student from the University of Puerto Rico.


Contact Blaine Friedlander for information about Cornell's TV and radio studios.

CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESS OFFICE June 22, 2011 Media Contact: Blaine Friedlander (607) 254-8093 Twitter: @BlaineCornell

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Park University ranked in the top 100 of bachelor's degrees conferred to students of color in the United States

Park University has once again been ranked in the top 100 of bachelor's degrees conferred to students of color in the United States, according to Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine.

In its June 9 issue, DIHE ranked Park in the top 100 in 28 categories of race/degree major combinations, including Hispanic, African-American, Native American, Asian-American and all minorities combined, and degrees ranging from psychology, computer and information sciences and various business-related degrees.

Park ranked No. 78 in the nation in the "Total Minority-All Disciplines Combined" category with 991 degrees awarded. Of colleges/universities within the West North Central states of the Midwest region (among Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota), Park ranked No. 3 and was the only institution in Missouri or Kansas ranked in the top 100.

The University earned national top 5 rankings in three categories, including two No. 1s in the categories of "Hispanic-Human Resources Management and Services" and "Total Minority-Human Resources Management and Services." Park also was ranked No. 2 for "African-American-Human Resources Management and Services."

Other category rankings included:
• No. 6 — "African-American-Psychology"
• No. 10 — "Hispanic-Psychology"; and "African-American-

McKay Hall at Park University in Parkville

McKay Hall at Park University in Parkville
Business, Management, Marketing and Related Support Services"
• No. 11 — "Hispanic-Health and Medical Administrative Services"
• No. 12 — "Native American-Psychology"
• No. 15 — "Total Minority-Psychology"; and :Native American-Business, Management, Marketing and Related Support Services"
• No. 17 — "Asian-American-Human Resources Management and Services"
• No. 18 — "Hispanic-Business, Management, Marketing and Related Support Services"; and "Total Minority-Business, Management, Marketing and Related Support Services"

• No. 21 — "Native American-Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Related Protective Services"
• No. 22 — "African-American-Business Administration, Management and Operations"; and "Native American-Business Administration, Management and Operations"
• No. 23 — "Hispanic-Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services"
• No. 25 — "Hispanic-Business Administration, Management and Operations"
• No. 28 — "African-American-Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Related Protective Services"; and "Hispanic-Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Related Protective Services"
• No. 29 — "Total Minority-Business Administration, Management and Operations"
• No. 30 — "Total Minority: Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Related Protective Services"; and "Total Minority-Health and Medical Administrative Services"
• No. 43 — "African-American-Health and Medical Administrative Services"
• No. 55 — "African-American-All Disciplines Combined"
• No. 62 — "Hispanic-All Disciplines Combined"
• No. 68 — "Native American-All Disciplines Combined"

Park University • 8700 NW River Park Drive • Parkville, MO 64152 News Tel. (816) 584-6211 or (816) 584-6888 • E-mail: University Tel. (816) 741-2000 or (800) 745-7275 •

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Deliberate discrimination against job seekers based on their race, sex, age, national origin or other prohibited basis remains major national problem

WASHINGTON – Deliberate discrimination against job seekers based on their race, sex, age, national origin or other prohibited basis remains a major national problem, a battery of experts told the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at a Commission meeting today.

“Intentional discrimination in hiring remains a significant problem,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. “The EEOC will continue to address this problem through enhanced education and outreach and through vigorous enforcement of the law.”

At the start of the meeting, EEOC General Counsel P. David Lopez recounted a hiring case he litigated against WalMart when he was an EEOC trial attorney in Phoenix. The case arose out of a charge by two deaf applicants who were expressly denied by the company because they were deaf. As part of a negotiated settlement, the company aired a commercial on Arizona television stations featuring the two, telling viewers in sign language, with a voiceover, their story and educating the public about the nation’s equal employment laws. A video of that commercial was shown at the meeting.

“Unfortunately, discriminatory hiring practices such as conformity to discriminatory customer preferences, employing prohibited stereotypes about jobs, and targeted recruitment procedures aimed at only attracting certain racial or national origin group member applicants, continue to exist,” Lopez said. “Where necessary, the EEOC will use litigation to stamp out these practices and provide relief to the victims of discrimination.”

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Bill Lann Lee, a former U.S. Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, called on the EEOC to combat hiring discrimination as part of its systemic initiative. “Systemic discrimination in hiring today is particularly disheartening to communities where joblessness has put the American Dream on hold,” he said. “Hiring discrimination is a fundamental problem; it often denies more than one employment opportunity, cutting off future opportunities as well. It is impossible to climb the rungs of a ladder if an individual cannot get a foot on the first rung.”

Katherine Kores, the EEOC’s Memphis district director, told the Commission that “hiring cases can be extraordinarily difficult to identify and investigate.” Because applicants often have no information about who was hired, or the composition of the employer’s workforce, she said, they do not realize that they have been the victims of hiring discrimination.

Other EEOC officials cited recent agency lawsuits. Kate Boehringer, a supervisory trial attorney in the Baltimore Field Office, detailed the EEOC’s suit against Area Temps, a northeast Ohio temporary labor agency, which agreed to pay $650,000 in July 2010 for its systematic practice of considering and assigning (or rejecting) job applicants by race, sex, Hispanic national origin and age. The EEOC said that Area Temps used code words to describe its clients and applicants for discriminatory purposes, such as “chocolate cupcake” for young African American women, “hockey player” for young white males, “figure skater” for white females, “basketball player” for black males, and “small hands” for women in general.

Ana Lopez-Rodriguez, who worked for Area Temps, told the Commission that the company fired her for refusing to help it conceal evidence from the EEOC. Lopez-Rodriguez said she had left demographically coded cards, which the company used to discriminate, in her Rolodex, instead of cooperating with the company’s request to destroy them prior to the EEOC investigator’s visit.

In November 2010, Scrub, Inc., which provides janitorial services to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, agreed to pay $3 million after the EEOC sued the company for failing to recruit and hire African-Americans. Diane Smason, an EEOC supervisory trial attorney in Chicago who handled the Scrub case, said an economist’s report showed that “the statistical disparity in hiring rates between African-American applicants and non-African-American applicants was so high that there is effectively zero probability that Scrub’s failure to hire African-Americans occurred by chance.”

Jeanette Wilkins, one of the African-American discrimination victims in the Scrub case, told the panel how she tried to apply for a job at Scrub. Despite janitorial experience and 15 advertised openings, she said she was told she would be contacted if the company was interested. By contrast, a Hispanic woman who applied at the same time was asked to stay for an interview. Ms. Wilkins said an African-American friend “went to Scrub’s office later that same day. She told me that she had a similar experience. The receptionist took her application and told her that someone would call her if Scrub was interested in her. While she was there, there were four Hispanic women and one Hispanic man filling out applications. All five of the other applicants were asked to stay for an interview,” but she was not.

Rae T. Vann, general counsel of the Equal Employment Advisory Council, an organization of major employers, stressed the need to train staff involved in the hiring process. She urged the EEOC to update a 1998 “Best Practices” manual for employers to give more real-life examples from private companies. But she also cautioned the EEOC to allow flexibility in requiring employer training, rather than imposing a one-size-fits-all approach on a range of employers, to prevent hiring discrimination.

The Commission will hold open the June 22 Commission meeting record for 15 days, and invites audience members, as well as other members of the public, to submit written comments on any issues or matters discussed at the meeting. Public comments may be mailed to Commission Meeting, EEOC Executive Officer, 131 M Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20507, or emailed to All comments received will be made available to members of the Commission and to Commission staff working on the matters discussed at the meeting. Comments will also be placed in the EEOC library for public review.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at Information about this meeting, including witness statements and biographies, is available at

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Demographic factors significantly affect mental health concerns among black men

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Demographic factors significantly affect mental health concerns among black men, according to a study by the University of Michigan and University of Southern California that provides the first-ever national estimates of several mental disorders for black men.

Advanced age was linked to better mental health status, the research showed. Older men had fewer depressive symptoms, lower levels of psychological distress and lower odds of having 12-month major depressive disorder than their younger counterparts.

However, the study found that lower socioeconomic position—lower levels of education, being unemployed or out of the labor market and being in poverty—was associated with poorer mental health status.

Researchers used data from 1,271 African American men from the National Survey of American Life: Coping with Stress in the 21st Century. The study examined three types of mental health issues: depressive symptoms, serious psychological distress and major depressive disorders among black men.

Only one out of 20 respondents reported major depressive disorder during the previous 12-month period, and nearly 10 percent reported having had the disorder at some point over the course of their lives.

Robert Joseph Taylor

Robert Joseph Taylor
Roughly 3 percent of men indicated the presence of serious psychological distress, while 6 percent had significant levels of depressive symptoms. Overall, these prevalence rates are relatively low compared to non-Hispanic whites.

Other findings indicate that married men and Southerners had lower odds of 12-month and lifetime major depressive disorder than men in the North Central region and those who were previously married (separated, widowed or divorced).

The authors said that noted demographic differences indicate that life circumstances are meaningful for the mental health of black men.

U-M researchers are Robert Joseph Taylor, the Sheila Feld Collegiate Professor of Social Work; Daphne Watkins, assistant professor of social work; and Linda Chatters, professor of social work and professor of health behavior and health education.

Karen Lincoln is an associate professor of social work at USC and the study's lead author.

The study appears in Research on Social Work Practice.

WEB: University of Michigan Contact: Jared Wadley Phone: (734) 936-7819

Monday, June 20, 2011

Appointment of Marie Foster Gnage to the West Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission

Parkersburg, W.Va. 6/20/11 – Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Friday the appointment of five individuals to the West Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission. Of those five is West Virginia University at Parkersburg President Marie Foster Gnage, Ph.D.

The mission of the West Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission is to promote awareness and celebrate the unique creation of the State of West Virginia, the role of its citizens during the Civil War era, and the continuing effect of the war on our people. The 13-member commission is comprised of representatives from the Legislature, key state agencies, historians and scholars.

“It’s an honor to represent our community in this commission to preserve the state’s Civil War heritage,” said Gnage. "The war played a significant role in the development of our Parkersburg, and it is important to continue educating people about our unique history.”

Gnage brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the commission with an extensive background in American literature and a research emphasis on early Southern African American writers. She holds a bachelor's degree in English from Alcorn A&M College, a master's degree in English from University of Southwestern Louisiana and doctoral degree in English from The Florida State University. Gnage became the sixth president of WVU Parkersburg in 2004.

Marie Foster Gnage, Ph.D.

Marie Foster Gnage, Ph.D.
Always taking an active role in the community, she serves on various boards, including the Parkersburg Art Center; the Economic Roundtable of Ohio Valley; the West Virginia Humanities Council; the Black Diamond Girl Scouts; the United Way of the Mid-Ohio Valley; and the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley.

She has authored several publications including “Voice, Mind, Self: Mother and Daughter Relationships in Amy Tan’s Fiction,” in Women of Color, UP Press (Fall 1996), A Bio-bibliography of Southern Black Creative Writers, 1829 – 1953, Greenwood Press, Inc., (1988), and “Reconfiguring Self: A Matter of Place in Selected Novels by Paul Marshall,” in Middle Passages and the Healing Place of History: Migration and Identity in Black Women’s Literature, The Ohio University Press (2006).

CONTACT: Patsy Bee, executive assistant to the president, 304-424-8200

For additional information, contact: Katie Wootton WVU Parkersburg Director of Marketing and Communications 304-424-8203 E-mail

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO), the nation’s second-longest running voluntary school desegregation program

Expanding School Choice through METCO Non-partisan Research Groups Urge Lawmakers to Expand Minority Students’ Access to Proven Program

BOSTON, MA – Pioneer Institute, in collaboration with the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice (CHHIRJ) at Harvard Law School, two research institutes that are often on opposite sides of public policy issues, today published a review of the nation’s second longest running, voluntary, choicedriven, school desegregation program, the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity. METCO sends Boston and Springfield to public schools in the surrounding suburbs.

METCO Merits More: The History and Status of METCO, co-authored by Susan Eaton, research director at CHHIRJ, and Gina Chirichigno, a post-doctoral researcher at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University, is the first comprehensive review of the program in nearly a decade. It includes data on student enrollment, performance, demographics, graduation and college attainment rates, waiting list, and funding.

The program serves over 3,300 students. Most live in Boston, though a much smaller program serves Springfield students. More than three-quarters are African American or Latino. Half of METCO’s students come from low-income families and one in four has special needs.

Charles Hamilton Houston Institute LogoState funding for METCO has declined from $20.2 million in FY 2008 to $16.5 million in FY 2011, despite growing waitlists that result in students waiting an average of five years to enter the program. MCAS data indicate that METCO students have outperformed their African-American and Latino peers in the school districts they come from, and enjoy graduation rates that exceed the state averages.

"In a context of vast, long-standing educational inequalities in the Boston and Springfield regions, METCO offers educational and life opportunities both to students who go from city to suburb and to the students in the suburban towns who participate in the program," said co-authors Susan Eaton and Gina Chirichigno. "Based on METCO's enduring popularity and its solid track record, educational leaders should seriously consider expanding METCO to students in other highly challenged districts and at the very least, provide adequate funding. Among national leaders concerned with educational equity, METCO is viewed as a model program. It deserves to be better recognized and more enthusiastically supported here at home."

The authors account for factors such as “self-selection” bias to avoid conclusively crediting METCO for increases in student achievement. Nonetheless, they find that between 2006 and 2010, METCO students out-performed their African-American and Latino counterparts on MCAS, and performed competitively in college preparatory settings. METCO students had a 93 percent graduation rate in 2009, compared with 81.5 percent for students statewide and about 61 percent in both Boston and Springfield.

The 2009 dropout rate for METCO students was only 2.8 percent, compared to 9.3 percent statewide. The students thrive despite facing the logistical and cultural challenges such as early risings and late arrivals home.

“METCO successfully offers a high quality school choice option for urban students, which should compel lawmakers to clear its lengthy waitlists and expand the program to other Massachusetts cities,” said Jamie Gass, Director of the Center for School Reform at Pioneer Institute. “The METCO students’ experiences and their performance data are quite clear—METCO works.”

According to internal surveys reported by METCO Inc., 90 percent of METCO graduates enroll in postsecondary education.

• Increase state funding to incentivize educational leaders to expand the program, and provide more funding to participating suburban districts, to bring the METCO reimbursement in line with per pupil expenditures.
• State leaders must provide incentives for suburban participation in METCO through school building funds or grant programs. Approximately 40 districts currently take part in the program, 90 percent of which are in the greater Boston area.
• Use public awareness to encourage suburban districts to enroll METCO students.
• Data like METCO student performance and improvement, educational attainment, attendance, graduation and suspension rates should be made public by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Pioneer has highlighted the need for expanded school choice for many years, advocating a menu of options that includes charter schools, private and parochial schooling, vocational-technical schools, and virtual learning. It has published a series of reports, opinion pieces, and events designed to build public awareness and a sense of urgency in ensuring that all students have access to excellent educational options.


Pioneer Institute is an independent, non-partisan, privately funded research organization that seeks to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts through civic discourse and intellectually rigorous, datadriven public policy solutions based on free market principles, individual liberty and responsibility, and the ideal of effective, limited and accountable government.

The Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School honors and continues the work of one of the great civil rights lawyers of the twentieth century. Litigator, scholar and teacher, Charles Hamilton Houston dedicated his life to using the law as a tool to reverse the unjust consequences of racial discrimination. CHHIRJ is committed to marshalling the resources of Harvard and beyond to continue Houston’s unfinished work.

Contact Micaela Dawson, 617-723-2277, ext. 203 or

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Marietta honors historical significance of Lemon Street School

Marietta mayor Steve Tumlin and Ward 5 City Councilman Anthony Coleman honored Lemon Street School in recognition of its importance to the city's history. They presented a proclamation to Louis Walker and his wife, Josetta. June 9.

Marietta built a wood school for black students on Lemon Street, which was completed in 1894. Until the 1920s, the Lemon Street School offered seven years of education. In 1947, Marietta City Council toured Lemon Street Elementary School and was shocked to find the school was in bad condition. The school lacked indoor plumbing, had poor lighting, and was heated by one coal stove in each room. The inside hadn't been painted in years, and the blackboards bulged. Embarrassed that the city still held class in a building regarded as a fire hazard, Marietta began construction on a safe brick building, and the new Lemon Street Elementary School opened in 1950.

In 1968, the school board changed the name of Lemon Street Elementary School to Eastside School. The next year, now known as Central Elementary, the school became home for the city's sixth grade classes. After Marietta Junior High School was completed in 1971 on Aviation Road, the school system no longer needed the Lemon Street facility and the school was closed. Since then, the building has been used for several purposes including the site of the Hattie Wilson Library.

Lemon St School 06082011 005

Lemon St School 06082011 005

Proclamation presented to Mr. and Mrs. Louis Walker for the Lemon Street School June 8, 2011.

This city of Marietta photograph is being made available for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, e-mails, products or promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the city of Marietta, its elected officials or staff. Publication of this photograph must include a credit: "Photo courtesy of the city of Marietta."

"It's been a labor of love for us to be here all these years in Marietta City Schools and also to have the opportunity to work in the old Zion heritage Museum and the Lemon Street School," Josetta Walker said.

More info: Mayor's Office, 770-794-5502

TEXT CREDIT: City of Marietta, Georgia

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Enemy at Home: Confederate and African American Women within the Missouri Wartime Household

QU History Professor Presents Paper at Conference.

Megan Boccardi, Quincy University visiting assistant professor of history, recently presented her paper, "The Enemy at Home: Confederate and African American Women within the Missouri Wartime Household,” at the 53rd Annual Missouri Conference on History. This year’s conference was held in Kansas City, Mo., on April 14 and 15.

The paper explores the relationship between southern sympathizing white women and African American women in the shared environment of the wartime household in Missouri during the Civil War. Boccardi argues that the household became a battleground during the war as women at home struggled over the contentious issues at the core of the larger war, most importantly the issue of slavery. White women tried to maintain the institution and the structure of the white household as African American women worked to break down those same institutions.

A link to the conference program can be found here:

Megan Boccardi

Megan Boccardi
Founded in 1860 by Franciscan friars, Quincy University ( is a Catholic, co-educational, residential university offering undergraduate, graduate, and adult education programs that integrate liberal arts, active learning, practical experience, and Franciscan values. Quincy University’s intercollegiate sports are members of the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference for men and women. For more information, please contact the Quincy University office of communications by calling (217) 228-5275. --QUcjl230--

The News Releases are a service of the Quincy University Office of Communications. They are designed to keep you informed of all the latest happenings on campus, upcoming events, and coverage of activities, honors and accomplishments of our student body, faculty, and staff.

1800 College Avenue • Quincy, IL 62301-2699 Roman J. Salamon, Director of Communications Contact: 217-228-5275 / FAX: 217-228-5473