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Six UA Students Earn Centennial Achievement Awards

Tue, 12/09/2014 - 09:21

They have founded organizations to support underserved students, conducted research to aid in improved support for low-income students, completed service work in international communities and earned advanced degrees while raising a family.

These are some of the stories of six students who have earned the University of Arizona's Centennial Achievement Awards.

The awards were established in December 1984 by what is now Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. They recognize students who are expected to graduate within the academic year and who have demonstrated integrity, overcome enormous challenges to achieve a college education, and made contributions to self, community and family.

The Centennial Achievement Award recipients, and their degree programs, are:

Jessica Chavez, bachelor's in elementary education

Chavez, the child of a single mother, lived in a women's shelter during her youth. Although the odds were stacked against her at an early age, her desire to succeed was strong.

After graduating from high school, Chavez joined the U.S. Army as a military police officer, later earning the Army Achievement Medal. Injured during her service, she was forced to leave the military, receiving an honorable discharge. 

Chavez began her college education at Pima Community College, later transferring to UA South to pursue a bachelor's degree in elementary education. As a non-traditional student at the UA, she has had the added responsibility of being a mother to two young children, a wife and an employee. Chavez said she wants to prove to her children that there are no barriers to success.

Chavez received the UA South merit-based scholarship and has made the Dean's List, working to keep a 4.0 grade-point average. She is a Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society member and participates in community service opportunities, such as raising money to provide clothes and blankets for women's shelters and hosting holiday food drives.

After graduating, Chavez plans to teach in low-income schools. She plans eventually to pursue a graduate degree and work as a school principal.

Lysette Davis, master's in higher education, Center for the Study of Higher Education

In 2009, California native Davis completed a bachelor of arts in political science and government from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. During her studies, she was a research intern and assistant in the British Parliament as part of a prestigious study-abroad program.

After graduation, Davis served in the U.S. Peace Corps as a teacher of English fluency, then decided to pursue a master's degree to promote education globally and address issues of access.

At the UA, Davis was a representative for the Graduate and Professional Student Council and founded the College of Education Student Government to better serve students in the college. Davis also was on the board of directors for the Arizona Student Association and focused on student advocacy through policy change. Most recently she has become a board member of She's the First, an organization committed to sponsoring girls' education in low-income countries with the goal of creating first-generation graduates and the next generation of global leaders.

She was promoted to the role of community director for the Residential Honors Experience to work as a liaison between Residence Life and the Honors College, and she has extended her interest in sustainability and service in her work with Residence Life. Davis also holds an internship in Leadership Programs, where she instructs two courses that focus on social change and advocacy. All of these roles contributed to her selection for the Lexie Kamerman Award at the 2014 UA Student Affairs Symposium.

Henry Gonzalez, doctorate in family and consumer sciences, specialization in family studies and human development

Gonzalez was born in an inner barrio in East Los Angeles to immigrant parents with only an elementary school education. His parents encouraged him to stay in school and graduate from his inner-city public high school.

It was not until fourth grade that he took his first English-only course. The language limitations of his parents motivated him to better understand the sociocultural context of immigrant and Hispanic families.

As a first-generation student, Gonzalez earned a bachelor of science in human development and a bachelor of arts in psychology from the University of California, Davis.

With a minor in public health, Gonzalez's dissertation project is focused on examining how cultural values among Mexican-origin fathers may serve as buffers from discrimination, English-language competency pressures, economic hardship and psychological distress. Through his dissertation, he will develop specific recommendations for practitioners promoting responsible fatherhood and healthy family relationships among Mexican-origin families.

Gonzalez recently was awarded a two-year dissertation fellowship as a Family Strengthening Scholar by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Earning an National Science Foundation predoctoral fellowship at the UA provided him with the opportunity to launch a program of research specifically on low-income Hispanic fathers.

Also motivated by his public health minor, Gonzalez secured a selective summer fellowship with the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families in Washington, D.C. There, he received extensive training in conducting practitioner and policy-relevant research focused on fathers and Hispanic families.

Sharlot Marie Dunfield Hart, master's in applied archaeology

Hart, a UA School of Anthropology student, graduated from the UA in 2003 with a bachelor of art in history. In May 2014, she earned a master's degree in library and information sciences.

In graduate school, Hart maintained a 4.0 GPA while participating in two master's programs, working for the National Park Service and holding a graduate assistantship. She also served as president of the UA Chapter of the Society of American Archivists. In that capacity, she received a Graduate and Professional Student Council grant to organize a hands-on book repair workshop for archival graduate students.

As an applied archaeology master's candidate, Hart participated in various research projects.

She researched and wrote the report "Ethnographic Overview of Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments," which will be used by the National Park Service in management decisions for some of its cultural resources. 

This year, she is performing field work for her own thesis under her archaeological internship with the Pima County Office of Sustainability and Conservation, investigating the extent of archaeological site boundaries for the University Indian Ruin, a Hohokam site in the eastern Tucson basin.

The Paul D. Coverdell Peace Corps Fellowship supports Hart's scholarship. The fellowship requires 900 volunteer hours over the course of her master's program. Many of those hours are fulfilled by her internship. 

Semiramies S. Hastain, bachelor's in psychology

Hastain will graduate May 2015, also taking a commission as an officer in the U.S. Army. 

Completing her education has been a long journey for Hastain, who is from Los Angeles. Unable to immediately afford college, Hastain enlisted in the Army in 2003, which provided her the opportunity to serve her country and complete her education.

During deployments and stateside assignments, Hastain continued to make earning her degree a priority. In February 2013, she received an honorable discharge from the Army and enrolled as a full-time student. 

Hastain has received multiple scholarships, and she said her husband supports her desire to fulfill her dreams.

Hastain serves as the Associated Students of the University of Arizona South president and is a member of the Military Affairs Committee, which supports UA South military students. She also is involved with the Student Services Committee for UA South.

Currently, she is working on collaborating with local military organizations to better serve active duty, reservist, National Guard, veteran and dependent students.  In the future, she plans to pursue a master's degree in organizational leadership.

Matthew T. Matera, doctorate in higher education, Center for the Study of Higher Education

Originally from New Jersey, Matera holds a bachelor of arts in history from the College of William & Mary and a master's degree in higher education from the UA.

After working in student affairs at Pima Community College, Matera learned about the struggles and resiliency of immigrant families through conversations with undocumented students. In 2009, he co-founded Scholarships A-Z, a nonprofit organization that helps students and families access resources to achieve their educational goals. 

Throughout his doctoral studies, Matera and the Scholarships A-Z team have organized efforts that helped PCC grant in-state residency tuition to immigrant students with Deferred Action, helping about 1,000 students enroll in college and find scholarships. The team also implemented the first conference in Arizona to train 150 educators on how to work with — and for — undocumented students.

Matera's dissertation examines how educators support the access and success of undocumented immigrant students attending community colleges.

On a national level, Matera connects his research and activism through his leadership-team position with the Dream Educational Empowerment Program of United We Dream. At the UA, he serves as an adviser to the Asian Pacific American Student Affairs Student Board of Directors, which implements programs that celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander identities and creates awareness about oppression and resiliency in our communities.  

Matera has been recognized as a 2013 Erasmus Circle Graduate Scholar and is the recipient of NASPA Latino/a Knowledge Community's 2012 Amigo Award, given to educators who bring to the forefront the needs of Hispanic students and professionals in higher education. 

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: For 30 years, the UA has recognized outstanding undergraduate and graduate degree students for the challenges they have overcome and contributions they have made. Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: 

Photo Essay: Our Edible Campus

Mon, 12/08/2014 - 15:28

Many of the nearly 8,000 trees on the UA campus produce edible fruit. Linking Edible Arizona Forests on the UA Campus, or UA LEAF, is a grassroots organization dedicated to making this food available to the community. 

From left: Ashley Hodes, Ryan Lee and Haley Anderson drop off olive oil harvested from campus trees at the UA BookStores. The oil is now for sale. (Photo: Melanie Lenart)

The carob tree, Ceratonia siliqua, a Mediterranean native, has edible pods that are used as a chocolate substitute. This plant is dioecious, which means separate trees make male and female flowers. The UA campus has both a male and female tree planted near Roger’s Way and Park Avenue. (Photo: Ursula Basinger)

Carob pods also are called locust bean. (Photo: Sequoia Fischer/UA Campus Arboretum) 

Unlike most citrus, Calamondin lime trees produce fruit year-round. (Photo: Sequoia Fischer/UA Campus Arboretum)

These Calamondin lime trees are growing along the Physics and Atmospheric Sciences building. (Photo: Ursula Basinger)

The sweet fruit of the true date palm, Phoenix dactylifera, has been a part of Middle Eastern diets for thousands of years. This is one of two palms growing on South Campus Drive, west of Cochise Residence Hall. (Photo: Ursula Basinger)

The common fig, Ficus carica, native to the Mediterranean, produces a sweet and fleshy fruit. The tree pictured here is near Physics and Atmoshpheric Sciences. (Photo: Ursula Basinger)

 A ripe fig. (Photo: Sequoia Fischer/UA Campus Arboretum)

Graduate students (from left) Julio Cesar Ignacio Espinoza, Ann Gregory and America Lutzley volunteer to pick olives on campus. (Photo: Ursula Basinger)

Pomegranates, Punica granatum, have been cultivated as food for centuries, with records going back to Babylonian texts and the Bible, and are now used in cuisine globally. (Photo: Sequoia Fischer/UA Campus Arboretum)

Sour orange, Citrus x aurantium, is widely considered to be an ornamental by Westerners but is used in cooking worldwide. These trees are growing near the entrance of the Arizona State Museum north building. (Photo: Ursula Basinger)


Categories: Campus NewsThis is a Wildcat Corner feature: Images: Tags: StudentsOutreachByline: Ursula Basinger-Walholm, Linking Edible Arizona Forests On The UA CampusEditor: dougcarrollInclude in UANow: yesDate of Publication: Monday, December 8, 2014Medium Summary: An olive tree harvest leads to olive oil sales at the UA. Feature on Front: NoShort Summary: An olive tree harvest leads to olive oil sales at the UA. Send to Never Settle Site: 0

Vizio Fiesta Bowl Tickets on Sale

Mon, 12/08/2014 - 11:23

Wildcat fans are now able to request tickets for the New Year's Eve Vizio Fiesta Bowl football game between Arizona and Boise State.

The Wildcats will meet the Broncos at 2 p.m. Dec. 31 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, and the game will air on ESPN.

"This is a great thing for our football program and a wonderful thing for our fans," said Greg Byrne, the UA's director of athletics. "We want to compete for national championships in every sport, and this is certainly an indication that we are heading in the right direction. I think it is great for the future of Arizona football."

Wildcat Club members, football season-ticket holders and members of the general public can make ticket requests online or by contacting the McKale Ticket Office during regular business hours, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

More detailed instructions for requesting tickets is available online, as is information for travel packages.

Here is some of what you'll need to know:

  • Ticket prices range from $150 to $300 each (ZonaZoo instructions are listed below).
  • Those who previously requested tickets for a Pac-12 affiliated bowl must submit a new request for the Vizio Fiesta Bowl.
  • Current Wildcat Club members and football season-ticket holders receive preferential seating based on the Wildcat Club Priority Points System.
  • Seat location and the number of tickets received will be based on the Wildcat Club Priority Points system.
  • Those who are not current Wildcat Club members or football season-ticket holders can join the Wildcat Club online for as little as $100 or make a deposit for 2015 football season tickets online and take advantage of the early request window.

Current ZonaZoo members can request tickets at the special student price of $50, and 500 student tickets are available. UA students who are not current ZonaZoo members may request tickets at the general-public price of $150.

ZonaZoo tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis, and each ZonaZoo member will be allowed to request one ticket to ensure that more members can attend the game. Additional tickets may be requested at the general-public price of $150.

"I'm really happy for our players, staff and especially our fans," said head coach Rich Rodriguez. "We have a lot of fans and alumni in Phoenix and hopefully everyone else in Tucson can get up there."

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: Arizona AthleticsWhat: Vizio Fiesta BowlWhere: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale When: Dec. 31 at 2 p.m. ( MT) Extra Info: 

For more information, call the McKale Ticket Office at 520-621-2287 during regular business hours (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.), email or send a tweet via Twitter to @AZATHLETICS.

Header image: YesNo Image: Subheading: This is the third time that the Arizona Wildcats have been invited to the Fiesta Bowl — and the first since 1994, when they defeated the Miami Hurricanes, 29-0.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: 

Collaboration Creates New Tool for Southern AZ

Fri, 12/05/2014 - 17:34

Southern Arizona residents now will have unprecedented access to continually updated, comprehensive economic and lifestyle data — information that will indicate trends and offer comparisons to other communities. The new resource will be an important tool for business leaders, government officials and the public to make more informed decisions regarding economic and quality-of-life choices for their communities.

MAP — or Making Action Possible for Southern Arizona, and referred to as the MAP Dashboard — is a partnership of the UA's Eller College of Management, the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona and the Southern Arizona Leadership Council. The UA’s Eller Economic and Business Research Center has built the MAP Dashboard and will keep the information current.

The MAP Dashboard Project provides the region’s first common set of indicators in a single, easy-to-access source of reliable information. That information is available at or for anyone to use. The MAP Dashboard Project was created to measurably improve southern Arizona through data-driven collective civic action and education.

The MAP Dashboard mirrors more than 125 similar projects across the country. The website aggregates the information in a colorful graphic format, allowing visitors to look at communities, counties, Western states and national data for current comparison as well as evaluating trends over time.

"We anticipate the MAP Dashboard Project will be used by community members, organizations and leaders to help identify potential areas of improvement in their community," said Jennifer Pullen, project manager and analyst for the MAP Dashboard and research economist in the UA's Eller Economic and Business Research Center. "We'd like to see the entire community use the dashboard to facilitate conversations on where we've been and where we should head."

"We are proud to give this gift to our community and we value our partners in this important project," said UA President Ann Weaver Hart. "Having this information accessible to everyone gives us the tools to build a successful future for our region."

Three dozen areas of measurement are grouped into six categories:

  • Education
  • Health and social well-being
  • Infrastructure
  • Quality of place
  • Workforce
  • Demographics

The data will be updated bimonthly. The website also will include periodic in-depth reports on the 25 largest southern Arizona cities. These comparison snapshots will allow users to identify areas in which cities and counties are making progress or falling behind.

"As we work to support local business and encourage new businesses to locate in our region, the MAP Dashboard Project will provide our leadership valuable information to make positive changes in our economy," said Ron Shoopman, president of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council.

Said Clint Mabie, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona: "It’s important to have that 360-degree view that we can provide well-paying jobs and a community that helps families thrive through education, culture and our beautiful outdoors.” 

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Partnership involving the UA, the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona and the Southern Arizona Leadership Council will make database resources available as never before.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: 

Food With Thought: The UA's Edible Campus

Fri, 12/05/2014 - 13:04

The University of Arizona enjoys a reputation for having a beautiful campus paired with a great setting and ideal weather. At a time in the spring when much of the country is still covered in snow, students can stroll to class in flip-flops, under a grove of citrus trees in fragrant bloom. The fruit these trees produce goes largely unnoticed and unused.

While the primary function of these trees — almost 8,000 of them — is to provide beauty and shade, they serve an additional purpose: Many produce food in the form of fruit such as citrus, figs and pomegranates.

Linking Edible Arizona Forests on the UA Campus is a grassroots organization that takes advantage of this readily available food. Members of UA LEAF collect and distribute edible fruit growing on campus that otherwise would go to waste. Current projects include harvesting olives for olive oil, which is now available for purchase at the UA Bookstore.

"We’re focused on harvesting fruit on trees that are already maintained as ornamentals," said Tanya Quist, director of the UA Campus Arboretum and LEAF affiliate. "It’s a great step towards promoting sustainability."

UA LEAF was started by a group of students and faculty. Melanie Lenart, UA LEAF coordinating lead and adjunct professor in the UA Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science, which is part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, helped to develop the LEAF network, a statewide effort to support and guide people interested in gleaning food from untapped resources. She teamed up with then-graduate students Angela Knerl and Alex Arizpe, both in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment, who had a vision to make use of the olives that grow on campus.

A UA Green Fund grant to support graduate and undergraduate interns made these goals attainable. UA Green Fund is a sustainability initiative that uses a portion of student tuition fees to support environmental sustainability projects on campus.

"UA LEAF’s pursuit of sustainability reflects our campus legacy," Quist said, explaining that as Arizona’s only land-grant university, the UA has a long tradition of practical research and education that benefits society. Much of the early research was agricultural, with the search for arid-adapted plants that could serve as cash crops.

These efforts date back to the 1880s and 1890s, when Robert Forbes, the first head of the UA Agricultural Experiment Station, traveled throughout the Mediterranean in search of trees suitable for the Sonoran desert. He is responsible for the olive trees on the western part of campus. These trees were planted more than 120 years ago to determine varieties and methods that would provide the highest yields of crops.

In acknowledgment of the historical and aesthetic value that trees add to the campus, the UA Campus Arboretum was designated as a member of the American Public Garden Association in 2002.  The Campus Arboretum offers several campus tree tours, including one that highlights food-providing trees. 

Members of LEAF harvest olives from these historic campus trees and have them pressed into olive oil at the Queen Creek Olive Mill in Queen Creek, Arizona. This year, Nov. 11 marked the second annual olive harvest. The event drew more than 50 volunteer olive pickers.

"It went really well," according to Ryan Lee, UA LEAF graduate coordinator. "It was a beautiful day, everyone said they had fun and we got over 350 pounds of olives."

The olive oil made with this year’s harvest is available as Bear Down Olive Oil at the UA Bookstore. This project is the result of cooperation across campus involving UA facilities management, the UA BookStores, UA Student Union Dining Services, the Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science, and the UA marketing department. All helped UA LEAF coordinators make the olive oil a reality.

Other UA LEAF efforts have focused on fruit harvests in conjunction with the nonprofit Iskashitaa Refugee Network. "Iskashitaa" is the Somali word for working cooperatively together. Serving refugees from more than 30 countries, the network encourages cross-cultural learning and education. Iskashitaa coordinators emphasize food-based programming for refugees.

"The common denominator of food is a great entry point in building community, and it makes people feel at home," said Iskashitaa's director and founder, Barbara Eiswerth, an adjunct professor with Arid Lands Resource Sciences and a coordinator for UA LEAF. "The smells and traditions of cooking bring people together."

Many of the refugees Iskashitaa serves are from countries in northern and eastern Africa and the Middle East. These regions have hot, arid environments similar to Tucson’s. Many of the trees that the refugees know from back home grow on campus.

Dates, carob, figs and pomegranates thrive in those areas and can be found on campus. Some of these fruits are not commonly considered food by Westerners. For instance, some citrus on campus, such as Seville oranges and Calamondin limes, are too sour for the typical American palate. However, those from other cultures appreciate their intense flavor.

Iskashitaa members share their cultural knowledge in trade for harvested fruit to distribute among refugees.

"Barbara discusses how people use these plants in different cultures and helps us with harvest timing and methods," said Lee, a Ph.D. candidate in the UA's Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Arid Lands Resource Sciences. This collaboration benefits many UA students, who participate either as volunteers or paid interns.

"We’ve done some cool stuff, like the pomegranate harvest with Iskashitaa members and a gardening workshop about pruning trees and planting cuttings. It’s a fun job," said Tori Scaven, a UA LEAF intern and agriculture and life sciences major.

Added Eiswerth: "Off and on campus, we have lots to teach students about the food-based wisdom and knowledge of other cultures."

UA LEAF has the potential to broaden perspectives on cultures and environment. All are encouraged to join UA LEAF’s harvesting efforts. Events are posted on LEAF's Facebook page.

"This can be an experience that changes expectations of a desert environment and makes students feel more connected to the campus landscape," said Quist, who also is an assistant professor in practice in the UA School of Plant Sciences.

Personal fruit picking on campus, however, is discouraged because improper methods can result in long-term damage to trees.

"That’s why I feel so strongly about supporting UA LEAF," Quist said. "We’d like to facilitate harvests on campus that respect the health of the plant."

Next for UA LEAF: getting more products on the shelf.

"We’re working with Iskashitaa members to make campus fruit preserves, bay leaves, mesquite flour and other products available," Lenart said. "This will bring more awareness of the abundance of food growing on campus."

Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Ursula BasingerByline: Ursula Basinger, UA Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Extra Info: 

This story was researched and written by Ursula Basinger, a graduate student in the UA Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, as part of the course "Communicating Science," offered through the UA College of Science.


The UA Campus Arboretum offers themed tours, including an Edible Landscapes Tour. 


If you are interested in volunteering at a UA LEAF campus harvesting event, visit UA LEAF on Facebook


Header image: YesNo Image: Subheading: With almost 8,000 trees, the UA is an arboretum inviting strolls among citrus, olive and many other trees that produce fruit. Thanks to an initiative, fruit that otherwise would go unused is made available to the community. Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: 

UAMC Designated ‘Infectious Disease Treatment Center of Excellence’

Fri, 12/05/2014 - 10:36

The University of Arizona Medical Center has accepted a request by the Arizona Department of Health Services to become one of the state's first Infectious Disease Treatment Center of Excellence, making it southern Arizona's designated hospital for the treatment of emerging infectious diseases, such as Ebola.

Maricopa Integrated Health System in Phoenix was the first. There are no confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola in Arizona. Public health officials said the step is precautionary.
"As an academic medical center, our mission is to provide cutting-edge medical care, research and leadership, especially in any public health emergency," said Karen Mlawsky, chief executive officer of the Hospital Division of the UA Health Network, which operates both UAMC-University Campus and UAMC-South Campus.
Details of the agreement will be worked out between hospital leadership and state and county public health officials over the next few weeks.
Dr. Sean Elliott, a nationally known pediatric infectious disease specialist and head of infection prevention at the UA Health Network, said the network's hospitals and clinics have been preparing for months for the possibility of a patient arriving with Ebola.
"Even though the likelihood of us seeing an Ebola patient is remote, we are working every day to be ready for that possibility," Elliott said. "Our responsibility for the health and safety of our patients, our health-care workers and the public at large is uppermost in all our minds."
Both hospitals draw on the expertise of dozens of clinicians and researchers who specialize in infectious disease, emergency medicine and critical care, said Elliott, who recently was appointed to the Governor's Council on Infectious Preparedness and Response.
Although both hospitals are prepared to identify and diagnose Ebola, UAMC officials are still debating which hospital is better suited to handling the long-term isolation and treatment of a patient with a highly infectious virus. Because of its location, UAMC-South Campus may be the better choice in the unlikely event an Ebola patient needs treatment in southern Arizona, Elliott said.
Dr. Francisco Garcia, Pima County Health Department medical director, said the designation does not lessen the need for all Arizona hospitals to be able to appropriately and rapidly identify, isolate, diagnose and stabilize suspected Ebola patients. However, the designation allows health officials to focus training and equipment resources instead of diluting them over many health-care facilities.
"We're grateful that UAMC is willing to take on this responsibility," Garcia said. "Pima County Health Department is prepared to work in lock step with UAMC throughout this process and do everything possible to ensure the hospital is fairly compensated for its efforts."
ADHS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Cara Christ said the state also is eager to support UAMC, including assistance in obtaining the necessary personal protective equipment should the hospitals have sourcing challenges. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated PPE guidance.
"We are erring on the side of caution to protect the public’s health and safety," Christ said. "Even though the risk is small, Arizona residents should be reassured we are doing everything necessary to safeguard against the disease."

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: Arizona Health Sciences CenterHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: The UA Medical Center has accepted the state's request to treat emerging infectious diseases such as the Ebola virus. Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: 

Tiny Artists Get Exclusive Exhibition

Fri, 12/05/2014 - 09:32
Date of Publication: Monday, December 8, 2014

Never Settle: David Allen

Wed, 12/03/2014 - 18:06

The vice president of Tech Launch Arizona, the UA's commercialization arm, discusses TLA's mission and how it complements the "Never Settle" strategic plan.

Video Thumbnail: Category(s): Science and TechnologyYouTube Video:  Never Settle: David Allen Video of Never Settle: David Allen Feature Sticky: OffFeature on Front: NoMedium Summary: The vice president of Tech Launch Arizona, the UA's commercialization arm, discusses TLA's mission and how it complements the "Never Settle" strategic plan.UANow Image: Date of Publication: Wednesday, December 3, 2014Send to Never Settle Site: 0

Public Forum to Focus on UA-Neighborhood Relations

Wed, 12/03/2014 - 13:28

Members of the University of Arizona community and surrounding neighborhoods are invited to attend a special public forum focused on creating "livable communities" in the campus area.

The Livable Communities Forum will address topics such as off-campus student behavior, landlord responsibilities and city code enforcement. 

The meeting will be held from 6-8 p.m. Monday in Room S202 of the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Building. It is being hosted by the Campus Community Relations Committee, or CCRC, which includes representatives from the UA, UA Health Network and campus-area neighborhoods.

"At the U of A, we are committed to making sure that our students are good neighbors," said Tannya Gaxiola, UA assistant vice president for community relations. "That's part of what we want them to learn."

Anyone can attend the forum to share ideas for how UA students can be good neighbors and how the University can build and maintain strong relationships with surrounding neighborhoods.

Speakers at the event will include representatives from UA Community Relations, the UA Dean of Students Office, the City Attorney's Office, Tucson Police Department and campus-area neighborhood associations. Tucson City Council member Steve Kozachik will moderate the panel.

"This is an opportunity for people to come together and have their questions answered," said Chrissy Lieberman, UA associate dean of students. "It's important that the community understands what the University needs to know to be proactive in addressing our students' behavior off campus."

The UA already has a number of initiatives in place to support good University-neighborhood relations.

As part of a "Good Neighbors" initiative, Community Relations representatives routinely go door-to-door in campus-area neighborhoods, distributing information to student and non-student residents.

Students are educated, for example, about "red tags," which the Tucson Police Department may issue to residences after a noise complaint. Non-student residents receive letters informing them that UA students live nearby and are told about resources they can turn to — such as UA Community Relations and the UA Dean of Students Office — in the event of an issue involving students.

This fall, UA Community Relations also launched a 24-hour Neighborhood Hotline that residents can call if they have concerns or questions involving their UA student neighbors. That number is 520-282-3649.

When a behavioral issue does arise involving a student living in a campus-area neighborhood, the issue may be reported to the Dean of Students Office online if the name of the student in question is known.

The Dean of Students Office investigates all reported incidents to determine if a student is in violation of the Student Code of Conduct, which does apply in certain off-campus instances, Lieberman said.

If found to be in violation of the code, a student may be subject to disciplinary action ranging from a warning to suspension or expulsion in severe cases. The Dean of Students Office also works to connect students with resources to help educate them on how to be better citizens. (Details on the Student Code of Content process are available here.)

For questions about Monday's forum, contact Mary Laughbaum with UA Community Relations at or call the UA Neighborhood hotline at 520-282-3649.

Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Alexis BlueByline: Alexis BlueByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: The Campus Community Relations Committee is hosting the event, which will include representatives from the UA, UA Health Network and campus-area neighborhoods.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: 

The Lord of the Tree Rings

Wed, 12/03/2014 - 12:53

Thomas W. Swetnam, Regents' Professor of dendrochronology and director of the University of Arizona Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society. 

Election as a AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed on AAAS members by their peers. This year, 401 members have been awarded this honor by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. Being chosen as an AAAS fellow signifies that colleagues in the field deem the nominee among the best in the country. 

New Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and rosette pin of gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2015 AAAS annual meeting in San Jose, California.

As part of the Section on Geology and Geography, Swetnam was elected as an AAAS Fellow for his investigations of tree rings as a record of past changes in climate, allowing scientists to predict future forest-fire frequencies in the Southwest.

"It is very nice to be recognized in this way by my colleagues and AAAS, which is such a venerable scientific society," Swetnam said. "In addition to publishing Science Magazine, one of the top scientific journals in the world, I especially admire AAAS for their leadership in communicating science to the public and decision makers."

As one of the world's leading scientists in dendrochronology, or tree-ring research, Swetnam studies tree rings from the world's largest trees, the giant sequoias found on the West Coast of the U.S., and the oldest, the bristlecone pines in the highest mountains in the West dating back 9,000 years.

In particular, he specializes in analyzing climate changes through history and prehistory, dangerous insect outbreaks and forest fires. In recent years, enormous blazes, some 10 times greater than those that firefighters have been accustomed to seeing in California and Arizona, have forced scholars to attempt to understand this phenomenon. The conclusions from Swetnam's studies of these so-called megafires and their alarming size, duration and frequency have made the scientific community, governments throughout the world and media to pay close attention. Swetnam has appeared on programs such as PBS' "NewsHour" and CBS' "60 Minutes."

Swetnam graduated with a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of New Mexico in 1977, and he has a master's in watershed management and a doctorate in geosciences, both from the UA. He spent two years as a professional firefighter in New Mexico's Gila National Forest.

"It's entirely appropriate that Tom Swetnam has been named an AAAS Fellow," said Malcolm Hughes, a Regents' Professor of dendrochronology who was named an AAAS Fellow last year. "Tom has made major contributions to our scientific understanding of the relationship between climate, wildfire and forests. He is a globally recognized pioneer in using tree rings and other observations to 'get under the hood' of forest ecosystems, and he is a gifted and engaged communicator of his science."

The resulting insights already have great relevance to policy at local, state, national and international levels and will surely increase in relevance in coming decades, Hughes added. 

UA College of Science Dean Joaquin Ruiz said: "Tom is an extraordinary scientist, arguably the leading scientist in understanding forest fires and their history. Consequently, he absolutely deserves this honor. The award also thrills me because Tom is such an extraordinary human being. He cares greatly about people and about our environment."

The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. Currently, members can be considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the steering groups of the association’s 24 sections, or by any three Fellows who are current AAAS members (two of the three sponsors cannot be affiliated with the nominee’s institution), or by the AAAS chief executive officer. Fellows must have been continuous members of AAAS for four years by the end of the calendar year in which they are elected.

Each steering group reviews the nominations of individuals within its respective section and a final list is forwarded to the AAAS Council, which votes on the aggregate list.

The council is the policymaking body of the association, chaired by the AAAS president and consisting of the members of the board of directors, the retiring section chairs, delegates from each electorate and each regional division, and two delegates from the National Association of Academies of Science.

AAAS, founded in 1848, includes 254 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals.

Editor: dougcarrollByline: Mari N. Jensen, College of Science and Daniel Stolte, University Relations, CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Thomas W. Swetnam, director of the UA's Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, has been elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: 

Cats Vs. Ducks, Part 2

Wed, 12/03/2014 - 11:14

Football season isn't even over, and already the honors are rolling in for the University of Arizona football team on the eve of its biggest game.

This week, Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year and sophomore linebacker Scooby Wright III was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. The Wildcats will face Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, on Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. (Arizona time) on the Fox network.

For Tucson fans, the UA Alumni Association will host a game-watching party at the Aloft Hotel, 1900 E. Speedway Blvd. The event will start at 5:30 p.m., 90 minutes before kickoff, and the first 100 people will be eligible for raffle prizes including a two-night stay at the hotel, a football autographed by Rodriguez and a two-night getaway to any Island Hospitality Hotel.  

In only his third season at Arizona, Rodriguez led the Wildcats to a 10-2 overall record and 7-2 mark in conference play, claiming the South Division title after a hard-fought victory over Arizona State.

This is the UA's third season in school history with at least 10 wins — and its first 10-win regular season since 1998. Rodriguez is the UA's first to earn the Pac-12 coaching honor since Dick Tomey in 1992.

The Wildcats closed the regular season with back-to-back wins over ranked opponents, defeating No. 20 Utah (42-10) and No. 13 Arizona State (42-35). Arizona also defeated No. 2 Oregon on the road (31-24) on Oct. 2.

Wright, a sophomore from Windsor, California, is Arizona's eighth Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and first since Tedy Bruschi in 1995. He anchored an Arizona defense that led the conference in forced fumbles and ranked third in the nation in sacks. A finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Lombardi Award, Wright led both the conference and the nation in tackles for loss.

Wright III also is one of five finalists for Walter Camp Player of the Year, it was announced by the New Haven, Conn. foundation on Wednesday. Wright is one of two Pac-12 players recognized and the only defensive player. 

Wright recorded a total of 139 tackles during the regular season and was selected as the Pac-12’s Defensive Player of the Week three times.

In this video, Rodriguez and senior safety Jared Tevis discuss the Wildcats winning the Pac-12 South championship with their Territorial Cup triumph over ASU:

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: Arizona AthleticsExtra Info: 

Championship game ticket information is available online.


For continued coverage of Arizona football, follow the team on its Facebook page and on Twitter via @ArizonaFBall.

Header image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Arizona will face Oregon for the Pac-12 Conference football championship on Friday, in a rematch of a game won earlier in the season by the Wildcats.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: 

UA Receives $3.6M Grant to Improve Public Health

Wed, 12/03/2014 - 10:42

Under the University of Arizona's lead, a new consortium of public health training centers is being launched to improve public health, especially in underserved areas across the country.

The UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health has received a $3.6 million, four-year grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to establish the Western Region Public Health Training Center.

The project expands the reach of the UA Arizona Public Health Training Center to provide training to HRSA Region 9, which includes all of Arizona, Nevada, California, Hawaii and the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands. The staff will work with numerous groups in these states to assist with the establishment of their own Public Health Training Centers.

"The funding to expand our current Arizona Public Health Training Center to be a regional center is a testament to the infrastructure that we have built and the accomplishments that we have had over the years," said Douglas Taren, associate dean of academic affairs for the College of Public Health and project director for the new center.
HRSA's Public Health Training Center Program is aimed at improving the nation's public health system by strengthening the technical, scientific, managerial and leadership competence of the current and future public health workforce.

Public Health Training Centers are partnerships between accredited schools of public health, related academic institutions, and public health agencies and organizations. Such centers assess the learning needs of the public health workforce, provide accessible training and work with organizations to meet other strategic planning, education and resource needs.

To open Public Health Training Centers in other states, the UA-based Western Region Public Health Training Center will work with the University of Nevada, Reno School of Community Health Sciences; the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Hawaii, Manoa; the Pacific Island Health Officers Association; and the California Area Health Education Center Program at the University of California, San Francisco.

Each center will conduct competency-driven training needs assessments and, based on findings, the staff will deliver training programs across the state. The assessments will focus on rural areas where health disparities are greatest and training opportunities are least available.

"I am really pleased that we were recognized as a training center that is able to meet the needs in Region 9 for the Department of Health and Human Services," Taren said. "We will continue to work with our public health colleagues in Arizona, and I look forward to working with our partners in the West to support the continual training of public health professionals."

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public HealthHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Under a new four-year grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, the UA is helping organizations across the nation to establish training centers to improve public health, especially in underserved areas. Include in UANow: 0Include in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: 

News That Knows No Borders

Tue, 12/02/2014 - 16:13

The University of Arizona is expanding its efforts to inform Spanish-language citizens on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border through regional news stories in English and Spanish — all produced by students.

The UA School of Journalism and UA Department of Spanish and Portuguese, which have produced the bilingual news publication "El Independiente" since 1976, are expanding their efforts by producing news stories in Spanish through Arizona Sonora News for media organizations to publish anywhere in the world. The student-produced stories will be published in community newspapers, news websites and Spanish-language publications on both sides of the border.

"News knows no borders, by boundary or language," said School of Journalism director David Cuillier. "Students in journalism and Spanish are serving the residents of the Sonoran Desert by delivering information they might not get elsewhere. This helps the students, news organizations and all the peoples of our region."

Students write in-depth stories for class, directed by such instructors as Terry Wimmer, a former Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Students from the Translation and Interpreting Program, led by its director, assistant professor Jaime Fatás-Cabeza, translate stories and then the work is posted online at Arizona Sonora News and is available for publication in newspapers and on news websites.

The UA has a long history of providing the residents of the region news through its publications, including "El Independiente," which was one of the nation's first bilingual student newspapers, focusing on the town of South Tucson. The school also has produced a newspaper for the town of Tombstone and has provided news for Arizona newspapers through its classes since the 1970s.

During the fall semester, the School of Journalism expanded its Spanish-language news by translating stories for Arizona Sonora News, reaching millions of potential readers throughout the region and world.

Mariah Chloe Swickard, Natasha N. Moushegian and Andrea Castillo, students in the Translation and Interpretation Program of the Spanish and Portuguese department, translated the original stories into Spanish, assisted by journalism student Maizie Simpson, adjunct instructor Cathalena Burch, who also writes for the Arizona Daily Star, and assistant professor Mike McKisson, who facilitated online posting.

"Cross-cultural, multilingual interfaces like the ASN are an optimal vehicle to communicate, news, ideas and points of view in diverse, global communities," Fatás-Cabeza said. "Our students bridge the gap through translation and cultural adaptation. Translations also serve as a magnificent tool to improve proficiency in another language and help students — everyone, actually — develop their bilingual skills. Multicultural media enhances the wonderful diversity of our region and brings people together because it fosters respect and promotes understanding. It is a global trend in advanced societies because it facilitates the flow of information and peaceful, productive cohabitation. A win-win proposal."

Cuillier said the expansion is another step to toward building relationships with news organizations in Mexico. Already the school offers a border reporting class in Nogales, Arizona, where UA students report on pressing border issues firsthand.

"We want students on both sides of the border to work together on reporting projects of regional importance," Cuillier said. "The only way to do that is to be on the ground, talking to real people, pressing for answers, and communicating in ways everyone can understand."

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: UA School of Journalism students are providing news services in both English and Spanish for an entire region.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: 

UA Dance: More Than a Few Good Men

Mon, 12/01/2014 - 13:28


Just as the University of Arizona’s athletic teams will have the words of John "Button" Salmon to inspire them forever, so will the University’s acclaimed dance program have the memory of Ralph Romero Jr.

Romero, a UA dance student from Tucson, was slain in June 2007, only two days before his 20th birthday. And although he never said anything quite so memorable as Salmon’s "Bear Down," his buoyant enthusiasm lives on in the Ralphie Spirit Award, given annually to the dance student who best exhibits optimism, kindness, aspiration, sense of self and a positive attitude.

Max Foster won the award for 2013-14, and it would surprise no one in the program if Andrew DiGerolamo were to succeed Foster. The two juniors are regarded as rapidly developing talents and — like Romero before them — represent an unusually strong male program-within-a-program at the UA.

More than a third of the UA’s 125 dance majors are men, and that percentage is uncommonly high for a college dance program. Only 15 years ago, there were no more than a dozen male dancers at the UA — and even lower numbers are the norm at most institutions today.

The UA program caters to men with gender-specific and partnering classes designed to build technique and enhance versatility. The current season’s opening production, "Premium Blend," put nearly three dozen men onstage in various pieces — and that was before intermission. This week’s student-produced "In Focus" will use men as performers and choreographers.

Andrew DiGerolamo compares the camaraderie of the UA's male dance students to that of athletic teams he has been on. (Photo: Bob Demers/UANews)

James Clouser, a UA dance professor who performed with the American Ballet Theatre and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and taught at the Juilliard School, says male dancers often are fast learners.

"A man can start later than a woman," Clouser says, "and men make significant progress if they’re dedicated and talented and they really want it.

"Little girls may start at 6, and by the time they’re 17 they have had years of training. They could be burning out and in need of revitalization. But men come in at the beginning of a quest…. Guys can learn something for the first time without having to unlearn anything."

DiGerolamo, from Louisiana, has been that kind of a blank canvas. A football player in high school, he decided that he would pursue dance with everything he had — and drove to the UA with little more than a tank full of hope.

"He had been identified for us by a former UA grad student," Clouser says. "He came here with nothing but his talent and has done amazingly well. He wasn’t totally natural but he was totally dedicated."

DiGerolamo says the UA’s "pre-professional environment," in which all students learn ballet, jazz and modern styles in equal measure, helped him ramp up swiftly.

"Our faculty is roughly half men and half women," he says. "All of them know how to train men. They understand the differences between the sexes and are able to really help us grow."

It’s not unusual, Clouser says, to see Foster, DiGerolamo and their male peers putting in extra time after class to perfect a certain technique.

"The men know they have to work — and work hard," says Clouser, who will be part of a panel next June with CORPS de Ballet International, an academic organization, that will discuss the training of male dancers. "Someone like Max will use a spare 15 minutes to have a pirouette contest."

DiGerolamo, who will graduate early, in May, says the men in the UA program have developed a camaraderie similar to what he experienced in athletics.

"It’s the feeling of a team: all being on the same page, living in a friendly competition to better each other day after day," he says. "There’s never going to be a time when I’m going to compete with a woman for a spot in a Broadway show or a (dance) company. There are many things in dance that men can’t do but women can, and vice versa. It’s not only a matter of style, but genetics and structure as well.

"You come to form a competitive bond (with men) that gets stronger the more you work in this environment."

Also in the men’s favor: the astute leadership of Jory Hancock, dean of the College of Fine Arts and director of the School of Dance. A former dancer, he is the biggest reason for the UA program’s growth and stellar reputation nationally.

Hancock’s 27-year tenure at the University has been a highlight film all its own, and it includes the opening in 2003 of the 30,000-square-foot Stevie Eller Dance Theatre, which is used exclusively by the dance program for classes, rehearsals and performances.

"Even Juilliard’s facility is split between dance and music," Clouser says. "The (Eller) theatre has made our program possible…. Before Jory got here, dance was a hole-in-the-wall branch of physical education."

Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Doug CarrollByline: Doug CarrollByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsWhat: 'In Focus' student spotlightWhere: Stevie Eller Dance TheatreWhen: 7:30 p.m. Dec 4-6, 1:30 p.m. Dec. 7Extra Info: 

For tickets: 520-621-1162 or

Header image: NoNo Image: Subheading: The highly regarded program goes out of its way to identify and develop male talent, and the common denominator is hard work.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: 

In Focus: The UA School of Dance

Mon, 12/01/2014 - 13:28

The Bachelor of Fine Arts program at the UA School of Dance provides rigorous training in a liberal-arts setting.  Students are prepared for professional careers via a triple-track program that affords the opportunity to study ballet, modern and jazz forms.  The BFA degree in dance places an emphasis on technique and performance, combined with a well-rounded education within a nationally recognized institution.

Video Thumbnail: Category(s): Arts and HumanitiesTeaching and StudentsYouTube Video:  In Focus: The UA School of Dance Video of In Focus: The UA School of Dance Feature Sticky: OffFeature on Front: NoMedium Summary: The BFA program at the UA School of Dance provides rigorous training in a liberal-arts setting. Students are prepared for professional careers via a triple-track program that affords the opportunity to study ballet, modern and jazz forms.UANow Image: Date of Publication: Monday, December 1, 2014Send to Never Settle Site: 0

Wildcats Stick a Fork in ASU

Mon, 12/01/2014 - 11:20
Date of Publication: Monday, December 1, 2014

UA Engineering Turns Smartphones Into Eye-Screening Tools

Wed, 11/26/2014 - 16:37

University of Arizona researchers are developing technology that converts smartphones into powerful eye-examining instruments that could prevent millions of people from going blind.

Wolfgang Fink, professor of electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering, is principal investigator of a new project funded by the National Science Foundation Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity program to create "smart ophthalmoscopes," specialized instruments for examining various parts of the eye’s interior. The devices, which can be attached to any smartphone, and accompanying software will enable health care providers, particularly in remote areas, to quickly and easily determine if patients are at risk of losing their vision. 

The need is great. The World Health Organization has estimated that of the 285 million people worldwide who are visually impaired, 39 million are blind. Tragically, nearly 80 percent of this blindness is caused by treatable conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. Available treatments can slow and even stop the progression of vision loss when these conditions are caught early enough. 

But for those in remote areas — rural populations, boat crews and military service personnel, for example — eye exams are not readily available, and patients who do reach medical centers often arrive too late. 

Equal-Opportunity Screening

"Our hand-held ophthalmoscopes will permit eye exams in places they would otherwise be impossible," said Fink, the Edward and Maria Keonjian Endowed Chair and director of the UA Visual and Autonomous Exploration Systems Research Lab. "These are not passive recording instruments but investigational tools with sophisticated data-processing and analytical capabilities." 

Fink said they would be comparable to typical eye-exam equipment used in an eye doctor’s office, yet they would be affordable, highly portable and mobile, and easy to use.

"All that’s needed is a person on a bicycle with a smart ophthalmoscope," he said. "They can visit and examine clients of any age, in any language — anywhere, anytime. No trucks, heavy equipment or extensive training required. I believe this portable vision-screening capability will revolutionize the availability and economy of rural health care, and the field of ophthalmology at large."

Here’s how it works: The user (who might be a health care provider, aid worker, nurse, paramedic or caregiver) attaches the ophthalmoscope to a smartphone, points it at the eye and takes a picture. Taking advantage of the smartphone’s ability to take high-resolution pictures, the ophthalmoscope captures detailed images of the interior segments and surfaces of the patient’s eye, with no need for dilating eye drops, chin rests or other gear typically used for an eye exam.

Next, the user runs a custom app on the smartphone that relays these images to a remote "expert system" — which uses intelligent software to suggest diagnoses much like a human medical expert — for processing and analysis. In seconds, the results are relayed back to the user and displayed on the smartphone’s screen.

A single health care provider could conduct as many as 100 initial assessments in one day and immediately put patients on the fast track to accurate diagnosis and treatment for potentially vision-robbing ailments.

Fink stressed that smart ophthalmoscopes are no substitute for examinations and diagnoses by a trained eye specialist. However, in the absence of a trained specialist, he said, people in the field can make initial assessments, such as suspicion of cataracts or glaucoma, and refer patients for follow-up.

Engineering Vision

The National Science Foundation has awarded $800,000 for this three-year research project. The trans-disciplinary research study has three main parts to be tackled in parallel:

•  In collaboration with an optical engineering design firm, Fink is designing and building prototype smartphone attachments that soon will be tested on patients in the UA College of Medicine, under the direction of Dr. Joseph Miller, the project’s co-investigator and head of the department of ophthalmology and vision science.

•  Senior research scientist Mark Tarbell and Fink will create a framework for a central expert system that can extract, process and analyze the data from smartphones and relay information back to the smartphones.

•  Fink and Tarbell will implement image analysis algorithms to provide medical reports that will help ophthalmologists and other eye-care specialists make diagnoses and recommendations for patients.

In 2012, Fink was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. He holds more than a dozen issued patents and several pending patent applications — many for vision-related products, some of which constitute the background intellectual property for this project. 

Fink has brought several partners on board for the new NSF project. They include Breault Research Organization, an optical engineering design firm; the Center for Military Medicine Research at the University of Pittsburgh; Tech Launch Arizona; and Caltech, where he holds an appointment as visiting associate in physics.

The Vanguard of Telemedicine

Fink is a pioneer of teleophthalmology, a fast-growing branch of telemedicine that merges mobile technology and medical services. Smartphones already are being used to monitor blood pressure, blood glucose levels and heart rate. Soon they may be widely used to assess eye health not only on Earth but also on long-duration space missions and even on the International Space Station. Fink has made presentations to NASA proposing his visual field test for use on the station. 

Fink’s work in telemedicine recently led to an invitation to participate in a panel, Telemedicine Pioneers, at the Western Pennsylvania Healthcare Summit outside Pittsburgh and to present at an invitation-only MIT-NSF workshop, Smarter Service Systems, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

Biomedical engineering major Jerri-Lynn Kincade is participating in the UA research project for her senior design project.

"Dr. Fink has had a huge impact in helping me pursue my career goal of applying biomedical engineering to improve people’s lives," said Kincade, a Black Alumni Scholar and vice president of the UA chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers, which Fink advises. "I’m getting valuable hands-on experience. Not only am I learning about the functional requirements for developing a biomedical device, I am also learning about software and hardware development and different systems processes."

Editor: dougcarrollByline: Jill GoetzByline Affiliation: UA College of EngineeringHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Professor Wolfgang Fink, whose innovations have helped restore partial sight to the blind, takes on a new challenge: creating telemedical devices that can prevent blindness. Include in UANow: 0Include in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: no

The problem with prostate screening

Wed, 11/26/2014 - 13:03
Date of Publication: Tuesday, November 25, 2014 Organization : The New York TimesCategory(s): HealthOther Story Image: Short Summary: Richard J. Ablin, a professor of pathology at the UA College of Medicine, worries that the public trust regarding prostate cancer is now at risk.Include in Olympic coverage: noFeature on olympic page: noMedium Summary: Richard J. Ablin, a professor of pathology at the UA College of Medicine, worries that the public trust regarding prostate cancer is now at risk.

'Dynamic Earth' Goes Inside the Weather Machine

Tue, 11/25/2014 - 13:26

Set to premiere the day after Thanksgiving, "Dynamic Earth," a new FullDome show at Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium, will take audiences inside the hidden machinery that shapes the earth's climate.

With visualizations based on satellite monitoring data and advanced supercomputer simulations, the production follows a trail of energy that flows from the sun into the interlocking systems that create our climate: the atmosphere, oceans and biosphere. Actor Liam Neeson narrates the award-winning show.

"You’ll float around the planet on swirling ocean and wind currents, plunge into the heart of a monster hurricane, dive underwater to swim with sharks and gigantic whales, and swoop into roiling volcanoes — it's a wild ride and fascinating science all in one great show," said Bill Plant, Flandrau's exhibits director. "And soon you begin to understand the incredible combination of natural systems that make life on Earth possible."

The Flandrau FullDome is a state-of-the-art digital projection system that covers the entire planetarium dome with high-resolution imagery. It uses two ultra-high-resolution digital projectors driven by powerful computers that digitally "stitch" the images together to deliver crisp, detailed pictures that cover the planetarium dome and surround the audience.

A leap beyond old projection systems, the Flandrau FullDome software makes it possible to "fly through" real three-dimensional scientific data. Installed at Flandrau during the summer, the system captivates visitors as they tour the Earth, the universe, the human body and virtually any other part of the natural world as never before.


Dynamic Earth Trailer from Spitz Inc on Vimeo.


"Dynamic Earth" explores concepts and terms essential to understanding the climate — for example, the relationship of Earth and sun. The Earth is close enough to the sun to bask in its warmth, yet able to ward off the solar wind thanks to its magnetic field. The solar wind would otherwise make life impossible and strip away the atmosphere. A comparison with our sister planet, Venus, shows just how unique Earth is in its ability to regulate atmospheric CO2 and global temperatures.

Audiences will learn about plate tectonics and its role in the carbon cycle. Volcanoes produce carbon dioxide, and they occur along the boundaries of tectonic plates, yet carbon dioxide emissions from human activities now outpace volcanoes 200-fold. Traveling into the microscopic world of plankton, the show explains how Earth's climate-control system depends on the ability of living organisms to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and store it long term. Providing a scientific perspective on climate, the program fills in major gaps in the public's understanding of climate change by placing it in a broader context of the systems that shape Earth's climate.

"Dynamic Earth" is the result of a two-year collaboration among Spitz Creative Media, the Advanced Visualization Lab at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois, NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio and Thomas Lucas Productions Inc. The 24-minute show was produced in association with the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and NASA Earth Science.

Along with "Dynamic Earth," Flandrau's annual family show, "Seasons of Light," will debut as an updated FullDome production. The holiday classic explores the science of the seasons and traces the many festivals of light, across times and cultures, that celebrate the spirit of renewal around the winter solstice. The show illuminates the history of our own Christmas stories, songs and traditions.

Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Daniel StolteByline: Daniel StolteByline Affiliation: University Relations – CommunicationsExtra Info: 

Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium is open to the public and school groups Monday through Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday for Family Night from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"Dynamic Earth" showtimes: 4 p.m. Wednesday, 8 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 8 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday.

"Season of Light" showtimes: 7 p.m. Thursday for Family Night, 7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. Additional times starting Dec. 12: 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Header image: YesNo Image: Subheading: In time for the holidays, a new Flandrau FullDome show hits the screen at the UA's science center and planetarium. "Dynamic Earth" takes viewers on a wild ride from Earth-orbiting satellites to submarines, revealing the hidden machinery that drives the Earth's climate. Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: 

Researchers connect insomnia, higher death risk

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 16:03
Date of Publication: Monday, November 24, 2014 Organization : Medical XpressCategory(s): HealthOther Story Image: Short Summary: Data from a long-running UA respiratory study shows that chronic insomnia was associated with higher levels of inflammation in the blood and an increase in risk of death. Include in Olympic coverage: noFeature on olympic page: noMedium Summary: Data from a long-running UA respiratory study shows that chronic insomnia was associated with higher levels of inflammation in the blood and an increase in risk of death.