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Devin D. Thorpe

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Monthly Archives: April 2016

Stop That Deer! Camera-Traps Help Conservationists Track Speeding Wildlife

Camera traps can be used to track the movements of wildlife without having to catch, tag or directly observe them, shows a study by leading scientists at international conservation charity the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), published in the journal Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation.

Travel speed and day range are key behaviours that critically influence a range of processes affecting wildlife conservation, including energy use, feeding success, the spread of disease and human-wildlife conflict.

Currently, data on speed and range are usually collected via invasive telemetry technology, or time-consuming direct observation. The use of camera-traps to collect these data is an entirely new approach that allows us to gather data on many individuals of many species at the same time, with potential for positive impacts across the conservation research sector.

The paper tests the new method with a study of 12 terrestrial mammal species in Panama. Estimates of travel speeds were made from camera trap images and then compared with independent estimates obtained by traditional animal tracking methods. The resulting comparisons showed that camera-based estimates were in line with speeds that would be expected, providing strong support for the camera methodology.

Commenting on the research, lead author Dr Marcus Rowcliffe from ZSL’s Institute of Zoology said: “While camera traps are now widely used to estimate the abundance and diversity of wildlife, using them to estimate animal speeds brings their use into the realm of tracking studies for the first time.

“This approach doesn’t replace tracking, but it does provide an exciting new dimension to camera trap surveys. Coupled with emerging techniques in computer vision, we hope that these methods will allow us to accurately estimate movement rates in the wild for a wider range of species than ever before, contributing to our conservation research efforts.”

This study was conducted in collaboration with scientists from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Wageningen University, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and the Max Planck Institute. More information on ZSL’s work with camera-trapping technology for conservation science applications can be viewed here: https://www.zsl.org/conservation-initiatives/conservation-technology

For more information on ZSL’s Institute of Zoology, please visit: https://www.zsl.org/science

Trinity Health and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Partner to Reduce Tobacco Use with Focus on Raising Tobacco Age to 21

Press Release – LIVONIA, MICH. & WASHINGTON, D.C., APRIL 28, 2016 – Trinity Health, one of the nation’s largest Catholic health systems, and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll, announced a new partnership to promote federal, state and local policies that can help reduce tobacco use. The initiative brings together two organizations committed to achieving better health by reducing tobacco use, the nation’s No. 1 preventable cause of death.

Much of the initial work will focus on promoting laws that raise the age of sale of tobacco products to 21. So far, the state of Hawaii and at least 140 cities and counties have enacted such laws. California’s similar legislation, passed in March, was supported by both Trinity Health and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and awaits the governor’s signature.

“Trinity Health and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids are people-centered organizations committed to improving wellness,” said Bechara Choucair, M.D., senior vice president for Safety Net and Community Health for Trinity Health. “With our combined wide reach, resonating advocacy voices and proven expertise and capabilities, we are well positioned to collaborate to help people – especially kids – win in the fight against tobacco and its detrimental health effects.”

A March 2015 report by the prestigious Institute of Medicine concluded that increasing the tobacco sale age would yield substantial public health benefits. The report found that increasing the sale age to 21 would significantly reduce the number of adolescents and young adults who start smoking; reduce smoking-caused deaths; and immediately improve the health of adolescents, young adults and young mothers who would be deterred from smoking.

Under the agreement, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids will produce public educational materials; develop research and written briefs, fact sheets, and white papers; promote coalition development; and conduct advocacy trainings in communities across the country.

“With the support and partnership of Trinity Health, we will promote new opportunities for combating tobacco use across the country, through campaigns like Tobacco 21,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Raising the tobacco age to 21 is a critical step to accelerate progress in the fight against tobacco and make the next generation tobacco-free. Nationally, we know that 95 percent of adult smokers began smoking before they turned 21. So if we can get them to 21 without having smoked, they almost certainly never will.”

Tobacco-Free Kids is one of six participating organizations in Trinity Health’s “Transforming Communities” initiative, an $80 million program focused specifically on policy, systems and environmental changes to improve health and well-being in numerous communities. Groups involved will work with Trinity Health to reduce tobacco use and obesity; achieve better health, better care, and lower costs for high-cost, complex patients, especially vulnerable populations and the poor; reduce health disparities; and enhance community wellness and resiliency.

“Trinity Health has long been an innovative leader in health care delivery. We look forward to a successful and rewarding partnership that will help improve the health and well-being of people in communities across the country,” Myers added.

About The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Our vision: A future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco. We work to save lives by advocating for public policies that prevent kids from smoking, help smokers quit and protect everyone from secondhand smoke.

About Trinity Health

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. It serves people and communities in 21 states with 90 hospitals, 120 continuing care locations – including home care, hospice, PACE and senior living facilities – that provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $15.9 billion and assets of $23.4 billion, the organization returns about $1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity Health employs about 95,000 full-time employees, including 3,900 employed physicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity Health is known for its focus on the country’s aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services – ranked by number of visits – in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs. For more information, visit www.trinity-health.org. You can also follow @TrinityHealthMI on Twitter.

WFP’S ShareTheMeal App Now Raising Funds for Syrian Refugee Children in Lebanon

Press Release – ROME – ShareTheMeal, the award-winning app developed by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is switching its fundraising efforts to support Syrian refugee children in Lebanon.

ShareTheMeal’s fundraising goal in Lebanon will support 1,400 refugee children aged 3–4 in Beirut for a full year. The children’s parents receive funds transferred to their regular WFP electronic food vouchers, allowing them to buy the foods they want in local shops which also supports host communities and the Lebanese economy.

“With ShareTheMeal, you can easily help parents who have lost everything provide for their children,” said WFP Lebanon Country Director Dominik Heinrich. “Nutritious home cooked meals are essential to children’s physical and mental development, and they help provide a sense of stability that is critical in children’s lives.”

Through the app, smartphone users can join thousands of other people in support of a selected community or project goal and monitor its progress. Donations can range from US$0.50, the global average for feeding a child for a day, to a monthly gift. Since its launch in November, almost half a million people have helped ShareTheMeal reach funding goals in Lesotho, Jordan and Syria. The goal changes once the app users have reached a particular target. Most recently, the app raised funds for women and children in the devastated Syrian city of Homs.

On 26 April, it was announced that ShareTheMeal will receive the prestigious Webby People’s Voice Award for Mobile Sites & Apps—Best Practice Category. ShareTheMeal was also named among the best apps by both the Google Play and Apple App stores and recently won the SXSW Interactive Innovation Award.

With the Syrian conflict in its sixth year, more than a million Syrians now live in Lebanon, including vulnerable children. Many refugee families have exhausted their savings and are unable to earn an income, making them increasingly reliant on food assistance.

Network for Good Announces Donor Management Made for Small Nonprofits

The company that made online donations easy aims to make donor management easy, too

Press Release – WASHINGTON, DC – April 21, 2016 – Network for Good, a nonprofit-owned B Corporation that provides fundraising software for small and mid-sized nonprofits, today announced the release of a new donor management software solution that will help organizations be more efficient and effective.

Through the acquisition of Indianapolis-based tech startup, evrconnect, Network for Good adds an integrated nonprofit CRM to the company’s fundraising platform.

Bill Strathmann, Network for Good’s chief executive officer, said, “We’re excited to add the evrconnect team to our family, because we believe that small organizations deserve great technology, too. By creating an easy-to-use donor management system that fits the needs of these nonprofits, we can help them raise even more money for their missions.”

Citing the importance of accessible data for smarter fundraising, Strathmann said, “As nonprofits’ donations grow, they need a place to store and analyze information about their donors, both online and offline. We now offer an easy way to do this that was built specifically for small and midsize nonprofits.”

“A good donor management tool should lead nonprofits to do what’s next and make it simpleto take action,” added Strathmann. “That’s what we’ve always done with our fundraising software, and that’s what we’re doing with donor management.”

The evrconnect staff have been fully integrated into the Network for Good product development team and together will serve over 6,200 customers and employ 72 people in Washington, DC, Baltimore, Chicago, San Francisco, and Indianapolis.

This addition of donor management, on top of Network for Good’srecently announced acquisition of DonorPath’s on-tap network of fundraising experts, provides both the modern tools and hands-on coaching that smaller organizations need to build capacity and achieve sustainability.

Network for Good serves nonprofits with online donation pages, peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, event ticketing, and email marketing. The new donor management system is now available to current clients as well as new customers and integrates with Network for Good’s other fundraising products to create a best-in-class giving experience coupled with a powerful yet simple-to-use database.

For more information on Network for Good’s donor management software and other fundraising products, visit http://www.networkforgood.com/products/donor-management/

Easter Seals New Jersey Launches ‘Life’s Moments’ Advertising Campaign

Ad campaign encourages New Jersey residents to take on disabilities together through heartwarming Life’s Moments

ESNJNewCampaignPhotos

Press Release – East Brunswick, N.J. – April 21, 2016 – East Brunswick, N.J. – April 20, 2016 – Easter Seals New Jersey recently launched a multi-platform community engagement project aimed at raising awareness and promoting discussion about people with disabilities in New Jersey. The advertising and online marketing campaign features a set of six videos telling short stories about “life’s moments” for select Easter Seals NJ participants (eastersealsnj.org/lifesmoments). Created by the agency Tronvig Group, the campaign is featured in outdoor boards, online web banners, Facebook and staff posters.

“The challenges in the disability community are more complex and the definition is broad, going beyond physical conditions to include invisible, emotional, social and educational challenges. To respond to this and re-introduce our organization to the public, we embarked on a rebranding journey. One thing we aren’t changing is who we help or how we make a difference,” said Brian Fitzgerald, president and CEO, Easter Seals NJ.

This campaign is focused on sharing these life’s moments of program participants while introducing Easter Seals brand renaissance.The campaign’s primary targets include those with disabilities, their families, and caretakers that help them along the way. But it is also directed at Easter Seals New Jersey donors, board members, staff, volunteers and supporters.

Easter Seals New Jersey strongly believes that everyone should have a chance to experience life’s special moments such as graduating from school, starting a job, driving a car for the very first time, or experiencing travel.

“Our goal is to engage and motivate people to share our campaign videos with their networks and participate by contributing their own stories about life’s moments,” said Fitzgerald. “We know that people with disabilities and special needs face many more obstacles to achieving these life’s moments than others, which is why we encourage people share their real world experience, to help change the conversation and stigma surrounding those who are different. Easter Seals New Jersey is committed to helping them reach their goals and live the best life possible.”

According to Disabled World, an estimated 995,000 people in the state of New Jersey over the age of five have some form of disability. Approximately 2.4 percent of the state’s population (193,000 people) experience difficulties with performing life’s daily activities including bathing, or simply getting around. About 30,000 people with disabilities in the state are unemployed, while 262,000 are currently not in the workforce.

About Easter Seals New Jersey

Easter Seals New Jersey is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that has helped individuals and families with disabilities or special needs by providing opportunities to live, learn, work, and play in their communities since 1948. Annually, nearly 9,000 people and families in New Jersey affected by, physical disabilities, developmental disabilities including autism, mental illness, and other special needs, receive services. Our programs are designed to help them achieve independence and full community-integration. For more information on Easter Seals New Jersey and its statewide disability services, please contact 732-257-6662 or visit www.eastersealsnj.org or www.facebook.com/eastersealsnj

Momentum Builds: Over Half of Ebay Shareholders Vote In Favor of Gender Pay Equity Resolution, Company Reacts By Saying It Will “Fix” Problem

Online Auction Site is 6th of 9 Major Tech Companies to Feel the Heat From Investor Push for Equal Pay for Equal Work; 2016 Vote is Five Times Higher than 2015 Support for Same Resolution.

Press Release – BOSTON///April 27, 2016//// Today, 51.2 percent of eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) shareholders voted for a resolution calling for the tech giant to take action to close the gender pay gap. In response to the vote, the CEO of eBay promised to “fix” the situation at the company. eBay is the sixth of nine tech companies at the focus of gender pay equity resolutions advanced by Arjuna Capital, a division of Baldwin Brothers Inc., a registered investment advisor. Pax World Management co-filed the eBay proposal.

The eBay vote and company reaction reflect the major momentum building for tech companies to improve the treatment of women in the workplace. In the case of eBay, the greater than 50 percent of voting shareholders (when factoring in abstentions) reflected a huge jump in support from the 8 percent backing the same resolution received at the company’s 2015 annual meeting.

Commenting on the eBay vote, Natasha Lamb, director of equity research and shareholder engagement, at Arjuna Capital said: “Investors are no longer putting up with the status quo, which is resoundingly clear from today’s momentous vote to close the gender pay gap at eBay. It is time for companies like eBay to step up, be fully transparent, and pay women a fair wage. Without that kind of leadership, the pay gap will not close until 2058. Another 40 years is an unacceptable timeline that places not only women at a disadvantage, but keeps businesses from realizing their full potential and the financial benefits diversity affords.”

How significant is the eBay vote today?

Consider this statement issued by CEO Devin Wenig: “At eBay’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders today, our shareholders voted on a proposal regarding gender pay equity, put forth by a shareholder. While the proposal did not pass, it garnered significant support. The views of our shareholders, many of whom are also our employees, are important to me. So let me reiterate what we believe and what we are doing about it. Gender pay equity is an important issue for our company, our industry and the economy as a whole. Prior to receiving this year’s shareholder proposal, eBay had begun a process to conduct a global analysis of gender pay equity. This analysis, which considers salary, bonus and stock, is currently underway. We expect to complete our internal review by October 2016. We will publicly share key findings of our analysis. Importantly, if we find that we have an issue, we will fix it.” (See https://www.ebayinc.com/stories/news/ebay-ceo-devin-wenig-on-gender-pay-equity/.)

On April 11, Microsoft became the fifth major U.S. tech company this year to respond to shareholder calls for action on closing the gender pay equity gap. Arjuna Capital and Baldwin Brothers filed resolutions this shareholder season at nine technology companies asking them to commit to closing the gender pay equity gap. Already this year, Arjuna Capital has announced success in its shareholder engagements at Expedia (March 24th), Amazon (March 23rd), Apple (March 2nd), and Intel (February 3rd) all of which reported the gender pay gap is closed, near closed, or will be closed shortly.

Shareholder votes and/or ongoing dialogues are still in the works on gender pay equity at Facebook, Google, and Adobe.

Microsoft, Expedia, Amazon, Intel and Apple joined the ranks of very few US companies – The Gap, Salesforce.com, and GoDaddy—that have been accountable and transparent in their commitment to gender pay equity.

On a national level, women, who are paid an average of 78 cents for every dollar men earn, will not reach pay parity until 2058. In the technology industry, which struggles to recruit and retain a diverse workforce, recruiting firm Dice reports men earned nearly $10,000 dollars more than women on average in 2014.

Largest Ever Tech for Development Conference May 16-19 Nairobi

ICT4D Key Tool for Reaching UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Press Release – BALTIMORE, MD, April 27, 2016 – Hundreds of experts from the relief and development and technology worlds are gathering in Nairobi, Kenya on May 16-19 to focus on the latest ways to harness cutting-edge information technology to help the world’s poor at the eighth annual Information and Communications Technologies for Development (ICT4D) conference.

For the first time the conference has been organized by a consortium of organizations on the leading edge of ICT4D: Accenture, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Esri, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, iMerit Technology Services, Mercy Corps, NetHope, Oxfam, Pandexio and World Vision with support from Microsoft, RTI international, Qualcomm Wireless Reach and Making All Voices Count.

This group of organizing partners and sponsors believe information and communication technology (ICT) can be used to accelerate achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aimed at eliminating extreme poverty around the world. The ICT4D Conference is intended to be a catalyst that will move the entire the relief and development community forward with strategic use of ICT to support the SDGs.

“The innovation and partnerships that ICT enables can make the sustainable development goals a reality,” said Carolyn Woo, President and Chief Executive Officer of CRS which started the conference in 2010. “At CRS we firmly believe that technologies are key to accelerating the end to poverty and inequality – an essential enabler of all nations’ ability to develop a strong, viable local economy and to offer a safe, inclusive, and healthy environment to all its citizens, now and for decades to come.”

“Today across the developing world, people from all walks of life – farmers, teachers, mothers – are using mobile devices to access weather data, market information, financial services, and medical advice,” said Carol Bothwell, CRS’ Director of Technology Innovation for Development. “Local governments, development organizations, and social enterprises are harnessing the power of real-time data, social media, and analytics to improve the quality and reach of the services they provide to those living in extreme poverty. We can improve the speed with which we achieve the sustainable development goals if we share these innovations and create more.”

The conference has grown from the 80 development professionals who met in Nairobi for one day in 2010, to an expected 700 plus professionals from 270 organizations and 75 countries who will meet for four days this year. Speakers include leadership from a wide range of international and local organizations – the World Health Organization, the International Telecommunications Union, the UN Conference on Trade and Development, the governments of Kenya, Sierra Leone, Indonesia and Bangladesh, CISCO, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, Equity Group Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations, ICRISAT, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Nairobi, and the University of Notre Dame – as well as the CEOs of a wide range of entrepreneurial businesses and social enterprises.

For a full list of speakers and conference agenda, go to ICT4Dconference.org

Unboxing Helena, A New Non-Profit Aimed At Giving The Under-25 Set A Seat At The “Ted Talks” Table

The story is originally Posted here on Apr 19, 2016 by Jonathan Shieber (@jshieber)

screen-shot-2016-04-19-at-7-51-37-am

UPDATE: Because my prose is too purple for some people, here’s a TL; DR summary of the piece below.

The son of a private equity fund manager has put together a marketing push around the non-profit he’s trying to get started.

The idea of the non-profit, called Helena, is to bring together 30 successful people who are demographically representative of the age difference in the world’s population (which means half are under the age of 25).

The non-profit will operate as a think-tank and issue-focused organization whose goal is to discuss global problems and create and fund solutions to those problems that are especially relevant to people under the age of 25 (again, because they’re half of the world’s population).

There are both some really famous people and some really talented tech people purportedly involved in the organization. Along with old people who are both famous and accomplished in tech, government, and media.

Article follows:

There’s been a lot of speculation around the startup non-profit, Helena.

Operating somewhere at the intersection of a think-tank and a mission-driven non-profit, the whole thrust of Helena is to bring together successful people across a range of demographics while privileging the one number that the organization’s founder, Henry Elkus, thinks truly matters — that 50% of the world’s population is under the age of 25.

Elkus wants this under-25 set to have a seat at the policy table that’s proportional to their demographic weight, and he thinks that his organization, Helena, is a means of getting them there.

Let’s be clear, Helena is a very slick 501(c)(3) non-profit launched by the well-connected son of a private equity investor that wants to bridge the generational divide between young successful people and old successful people to tackle global issues.

What makes Helena different from most non-profits launched by the well-meaning wealthy (because I’m not sure pedigree is the issue), is that it has adopted the tools of the startup marketing machine to engage its audience of potential donors.

That, and it has some serious firepower when it comes to the list of bold-faced names that the group says is involved in getting its mission off the ground.

In addition to celebrities like Selena Gomez, Chloë Moretz, Deepak Chopra, and political movers like retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, there’re some more familiar tech-world names including: Vitalik Buterin, the creator of the Ethereum blockchain; Nick D’Aloisio, the founder of Summly; and Divya Nag, the founder of StartX Med and a member of Apple’s special projects group.

screen-shot-2016-04-19-at-7-58-09-am

“The main focus right now is that we’re going to be getting these people in the same room,” says Helena vice president Sam Feinburg. Then the group of 30 will determine what issues it wants to address and how it wants to address them.

So Helena basically wants to introduce smart, talented people of varying ages to other smart, talented people (some of whom with a massive social media following) to discuss the issues of the day and come up with potential solutions.

“We want to be careful to choose something that we can really have a tangible impact on when it’s time,” says Feinburg.

He laid out five ways in which Helena hopes to make a difference: the first is simply in serving as a connector among successful people in different industries; the second is by using the social media reach of certain members to call attention to the work that other members are already doing; the third is by using that social media reach (I’m looking at you Gomez, Moretz, and Chopra) to call attention to other organizations that are doing good work; the fourth is working directly with non-governmental organizations and corporate partners and finally, the group will look to work directly on issues that it identifies.

“We’re bringing things that other organizations don’t have,” says Feinburg. “In terms of reaching people under 25.”

So there you have it, gentle reader, all there is that’s fit to print about Helena. Is it a textbook example of noblesse oblige? Almost definitely. Is its launch strategy in the current anti-bourgeois environment a mistake? Oh my yes.

But, is it as tasteless and misguided as another project named Helena from another scion of a successful father? Nope. And are its (stated) intentions, which are simply to get to work solving the problems that the younger generations on the planet will inherit from us “olds” problematic? Not at all.

“This is what’s important now and what’s worth writing about now,” says Elkus. “There are existential global issues that lie in our future and it’s going to take the people under the age of 25 who are most affected by them to solve them.”

Article updated with additional context.

Girls More Anxious about Mathematics, STEM Subjects Compared to Boys

Gender equality and female role models not making a positive difference, study finds

Press Release – COLUMBIA, Mo. – Global studies have shown that women are underrepresented in some science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and fields. Even in countries with higher gender equality, sex differences in math and technical scores persist. Now, using international data, a team of psychologists from the University of Missouri, the University of California-Irvine and the University of Glasgow in Scotland, have determined that, overall, girls experience negative emotions about mathematics that can result in avoidance of math topics. Often called “mathematics anxiety,” scientists believe that several factors other than math performance are resulting in higher mathematics anxiety in girls compared to boys.

“We analyzed student performance in 15-year olds from around the world along with socio-economic indicators in more than 60 countries and economic regions, including the U.S. and the United Kingdom,” said David Geary, Curators Professor of Psychological Sciences in the MU College of Arts and Science. “Analysis revealed that girls’ mathematics anxiety was not related to the level of their mothers’ engagement in STEM careers, nor was it related to gender equality in the countries we studied. In fact, the gender difference in mathematics anxiety was larger in more gender-equal and developed countries. In more developed countries, boys’ and girls’ mathematics performance was higher and their mathematics anxiety was lower, but this pattern was stronger for boys than for girls.”

According to the study, in 59 percent of the countries analyzed, gender anxiety differences are more than twice the magnitude of gender differences in mathematics performance, indicating that factors other than performance are resulting in higher mathematics anxiety in girls than boys. Altogether, the study highlights the complexity of the gender differences in mathematics performance and anxiety, Geary said.

The study also analyzed the possible role of parental views on the value and importance of mathematics for their daughters and sons. In contrast with what many believe, parents in more developed countries placed a stronger emphasis on the mathematical development of their sons than their daughters — despite the fact that these more developed countries actually have larger proportions of mothers working in the STEM sector.

“Policies to attract more girls and women into subjects such as computer science, physics and engineering have largely failed,” said Gijsbert Stoet, reader in psychology at the University of Glasgow and a co-author of the study. “Gender equality is a key humanistic value in enlightened and developed societies, but our research shows that policy makers cannot rely on it as the sole factor in getting more girls into subjects like physics and computer science. It is fair to say that nobody knows what will actually attract more girls into these subjects. Policies and programs to change the gender balance in non-organic STEM subjects have just not worked.”

The study, “Countries with higher levels of gender equality show larger national sex differences in mathematics anxiety and relatively lower parental mathematics valuation for girls,” was published in PLOS ONE.

Source:
http://munews.missouri.edu/news-releases/2016/0421-girls-more-anxious-about-mathematics-stem-subjects-compared-to-boys/

Cancer, Meet Your Match: Andrew Sabin Family Fellows Announced

$30 million gift establishes program to advance MD Anderson’s goal to end cancer

Andrew Sabin

Andrew Sabin

Press Release – HOUSTON — Eight of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center’s top young researchers today were formally named Andrew Sabin Family Fellows at an event honoring their benefactor, Andrew Sabin, and representatives of the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation.

In late 2015, Sabin, of East Hampton, N.Y., and his family foundation committed $30 million to establish an endowment funding the Andrew Sabin Family Fellowship Program. Designed to encourage creative, independent thinking and high-risk, high-impact research, the program supports the novel work of world-class cancer researchers in four categories: basic science, clinical, physician-scientist and population and quantitative science. Eight cancer research fellowships providing $100,000 over two years are to be awarded annually.

The inaugural recipients, selected among 65 applicants through a rigorous peer-review process, are:

  • Ken Chen, Ph.D., assistant professor, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology: Chen is involved in analyzing The Cancer Genome Atlas and the 1000 Genomes project data and has helped develop novel methods for precise characterization of heterogeneous cancer genomes and precision oncology.
  • David Hui, M.D., assistant professor, Palliative, Rehabilitation and Integrative Medicine and General Oncology: Hui focuses on cancer-related dyspnea (difficult or labored breathing) and is involved in clinical trials examining interventions such as rapid onset opioids, corticosteroids and oxygen delivery modalities.
  • Nicholas Navin, Ph.D., assistant professor, Genetics and Bioinformatics: Navin aims to use single cell sequencing technologies to investigate tumor evolution in breast cancer patients and understand how they evolve resistance to chemotherapy. These studies are expected to lead to new diagnostic modalities and therapeutic targets to improve treatment and outcomes.
  • Katharina Schlacher, Ph.D., assistant professor, Cancer Biology: Schlacher studies DNA replication fork protection at in-depth molecular and biological levels to provide biological insights and the framework to develop disease understanding, enabling prevention and treatment strategies.
  • Ferdinandos Skoulidis, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology: Skoulidis’ research is building on his discovery of co-mutation-defined subsets of KRAS-mutant lung cancer, with a focus on identifying predictive biomarkers of response or resistance to immune checkpoint inhibitors.
  • Benjamin Smith, M.D., associate professor, Radiation Oncology and Health Services Research: Smith’s research includes population-based survey studies of a statewide cohort of older breast cancer survivors and population-based research using registry and claims data.
  • Cullen Taniguchi, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, Radiation Oncology: Taniguchi studies hypoxia (low oxygen levels) to find therapies that protect normal tissue from chemotherapy and radiation damage without compromising tumor kill. These pathways could be exploited to prevent tumors from growing and spreading.
  • Shannon Westin, M.D., assistant professor, Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine: Westin’s research focuses on the use of novel agents to treat gynecologic malignancies and the use of biomarkers to predict response and resistance to these therapies. She is the director of Phase I trials in the Gynecologic Center.

“I wanted to provide a vehicle so that highly qualified researchers at the world’s premier cancer center can focus on important work that can truly help people who suffer from cancer,” said Sabin. “This fellowship program will be at MD Anderson in perpetuity. I hope one of the fellows comes up with a cure. It would make me very proud to know that this gift made a difference.”

Sabin has served on the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors since 2005 and is president of Sabin Metal Corporation, the largest privately owned precious metals refiner and recycler in the country. He devotes much of his time and energy to advocating on a national level for increased cancer research funding. He is widely known as an avid environmentalist, conservationist and wildlife enthusiast.

“The exceptional generosity of Andy Sabin and his family will decisively advance MD Anderson’s commitment to Making Cancer History,” said Ronald DePinho, M.D., president of MD Anderson. “As the program continues for generations to come, the Sabin family’s generosity will touch the lives of many, and the potential for enhanced contributions toward MD Anderson’s mission to end cancer will grow exponentially. This gift and the research it funds will help give hope to cancer patients and their loved ones around the world.”

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