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Putting health in context

first_imgOn his office wall, Dwayne Proctor has a map of the Metro system in his hometown of Washington, D.C. His version of the map shows life expectancy around each subway stop — where you get off as a measure of how long you’ll live.“If you live in the inner loop of the Beltway, then chances are your life expectancy is lower than if you live in one of the outer loops going out toward Maryland or Virginia,” said Proctor, a panelist at a March 3 forum at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.Proctor directs a portfolio of initiatives at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation aimed at eliminating disparities in health care. “It’s very, very clear that nonmedical social and economic disparities drive health outcomes,” he said.“If a child is growing up in an environment that has high stress [or] high trauma, she is more likely to have illnesses in her adult life,” Proctor said. If her neighborhood lacks access to quality health care, or supportive schools, or healthy food, or quality housing, or a clean environment, he said, she is more likely to face health complications later on.“When I look at that map on my wall I don’t see just the subway stops,” he said. “I see this little girl.”Proctor and fellow panelists at the “What Shapes Health” forum examined some of the factors — from childhood experiences and housing conditions to poor diet and access to health care — that make certain people likelier to end up sick than others.Presented in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and National Public Radio as part of the Policy Controversies series at the Harvard Chan School, the forum coincided with the release of a poll that found more than six in 10 people in the United States concerned about their future health.Nearly four in 10 of those surveyed reported having had one or more negative childhood experiences that they believed had a harmful impact on their adult health.“When the public thinks about the causes of ill health, it’s not just about germs,” said Robert Blendon, the Richard L. Menschel Professor of Public Health and professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard Chan School. “They also see access to medical care, personal behavior, stress, and pollution as affecting health.”Poll respondents saw the top five potential contributing factors to ill health as lack of access to high-quality care (42 percent); personal behavior (40 percent); viruses or bacteria (40 percent); high stress (37 percent); and exposure to air, water, or chemical pollution (35 percent).The rankings diverged among ethnic groups. African-Americans (56 percent) were more likely than whites (41 percent) to perceive lack of access to high-quality medical care as an extremely important cause of individual health problems. African-Americans also were likelier than whites to cite income (45 percent to 23 percent) and insufficient education (41 percent to 26 percent) as potential factors in ill health. Hispanics were more likely than non-Hispanic whites (46 percent to 31 percent) to say bad working conditions were extremely important.Low-income respondents (with annual household incomes of less than $25,000) were likelier than high-income people ($75,000 a year or more) to regard poor neighborhoods and housing conditions (40 percent to 27 percent) and bad working conditions (40 percent to 26 percent) as extremely important.Each panelist was asked by moderator Joe Neel, senior health editor at NPR News, to share a policy takeaway from the poll.“My sense is families do everything they can to take care of their children and each other and we constantly make that really hard,” said Lisa Berkman, professor of public policy and epidemiology at the Harvard Chan School. “The way that we could make that easier is to think about labor policies: living wages, sick days, family leave flexibility.”Rebecca Onie, co-founder and CEO of Health Leads, which connects low-income patients with nonmedical resources such as food and heating assistance, said: “For far too long we’ve allowed the health care system to operate in kind of a ‘data-free zone’ with respect to patient social needs.”Too often physicians “have no idea” whether “a patient is running out of food at the end of the month [or] can’t pay their heating bill or is living doubled or tripled up with another family,” Onie said. She recommended health care institutions be required to collect information about patients’ social needs, the better to engage and address them.Proctor said the findings made clear that people connect experiences in childhood with health in adulthood. “We really need to make certain we can find ways to improve the social and emotional well-being of children in this country.”The challenge is “getting people who don’t confront these issues every day to focus on them,” said Blendon. He suggested a national shift to themes that resonate universally, namely work and the welfare of children. “You have to have things people relate to,” he said.He cited efforts in Tennessee to address so-called “food deserts” — low-income neighborhoods in Nashville without grocery stores or ready access to healthy food — through such innovations as “mobile markets.” These efforts have taken hold because the wider public outside the food deserts agrees that access to healthy food is “incredibly important,” Blendon said.Workplace issues strike a similar chord. “The issue of work structure affects every family in America today,” he said. “The minute I take that as an issue, I can have people in suburban Topeka, Kansas, shaking their heads about how we have to do this.“To reach people we have to structure the issue in a way that people who don’t live with these problems every day can get in the middle of them,” Blendon said. “To me, kids and work cross a lot of boundaries. The poll could look a lot different if we focused on some of these issues in the future.”The panel discussion was streamed to the Web and is available for viewing here.last_img read more

Student senate discusses Dorm Week, Design for America

first_imgStudent senate met Wednesday night to talk about Dorm Week and to learn about human-centered design projects on campus currently being carried out by Notre Dame’s chapter of Design for America (DFA). The meeting opened with a discussion about the first-ever Dorm Week, which took place last week. Several senators criticized the timing of the event, both in the year and the day. McGlinn Hall senator Christina Murphy and Howard Hall senator Amy Smikle both said Dorm Week could be improved by hosting it at a different point in the year. “I think fall, especially football season, is a really busy time for a lot of people and they have to prioritize what they want to do,” Murphy said. “I know we did it because of the weather and all the outdoor activities the dorms wanted to include, but I think we could look at doing it another time when people have more opportunity and desire to look for things to keep them busy.”  “During the day it was a little early,” Smikle said. “For people who have late classes and for people who get out of class and want some down time and don’t really want to go straight from class straight to go dunk someone or go to a cookout, I think it could be beneficial to move it later in the day when people are trying to procrastinate homework or are coming back from dinner and see something on the quad.”Several senators also lodged complaints about communication on all fronts. Badin Hall senator Alexandra Fincher said some hall presidents felt they were not given enough time to come up with events, while Pangborn Hall senator Taylor Still said issues communicating with the Student Activities Office led to the cancellation of Pangborn’s karaoke event because the speakers were never delivered. Several senators also said many students were not sure of what Dorm Week was for, or what they were supposed to be doing. Carroll Hall senator Ryan Heard said a possible miscommunication prevented Carroll from fully participating.  “Technically, Carroll is on South Quad, but I don’t think we were included on South Quad festival day,” Heard said. “Carroll just didn’t really do anything at all for the entire dorm week. So next year if we could get included on South Quad, that’d be great.” After the Dorm Week discussion, John Wetzel, a leader of the DFA chapter, led the student senators in a workshop on human-centered design. The workshop took senators through DFA’s project at Notre Dame to reduce food waste in the dining halls. Wetzel said the DFA model was a good example for the senators to adopt when solving problems in student government. “The human system, such as a government or a university, requires a little bit of a different process than a mechanical, biological or financial system, when you’re addressing the problems that are faced by those communities,” he said. “They’re very contextual, so you need to know what’s going on in your dorm and in the specific population you’re looking at and targeting, or within the university as a whole.”  Wetzel also said the model would help to provide solutions in addition to identifying problems.“Your goal, in general, is to move beyond our discussions and complaints,” he said. “We heard a lot today about feedback on Dorm Week as one example. But you should try to move beyond those into solutions, proposals and constructive dialogue.”Tags: design for america, dorm week, Student government, student senatelast_img read more

UGA Awards

first_imgBy Kelly Simmons and Maegan SnyderThe University of Georgia’s Office of Vice President for Public Service and Outreach honored UGA Extension specialists Eric Prostko, Clint Waltz and Alfredo Martinez for their outstanding service to the state. Prostko, Waltz and Martinez traveled to Athens for the 24th annual Public Service and Outreach Meeting and Awards Luncheon on April 13. Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, who was on hand as keynote speaker, praised the value that UGA’s Public Service and Outreach provides the state. “Life is about service and service to others,” Cagle told an audience of about 300 gathered in Mahler Hall in the Georgia Center for Continuing Education. “When we commit ourselves to service we truly find the greatness this world has to offer.” Each of the Extension specialists honored have dedicated their careers to this philosophy. Hill FellowProstko, a professor and Extension specialist in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, received the Walter Barnard Hill Distinguished Public Service Fellow Award. The award, which is UGA’s highest honor for public service and outreach, recognizes sustained, distinguished and superb achievement in university public service that improves quality of life. It is named for the chancellor who led UGA from 1899 until his death in 1905. Prostko is responsible for the statewide weed science programs in field corn, peanut, soybean, sunflower, grain sorghum and canola. In addition, he provides training and education programs for county Extension agents and at local county crop production meetings. You can learn more about Prostko’s public service and Extension program here AwardsMartinez and Waltz received Walter Barnard Hill Awards for Distinguished Achievement in Public Service and Outreach in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the improvement of the quality of life in Georgia and beyond. Martinez, a professor of plant pathology in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, focuses on disease management and production practices for turfgrass, small grains and grass forages in Georgia. Waltz, professor and turfgrass Extension specialist in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, has statewide responsibilities in all turfgrass management areas, including turfgrass water management. Other Public Service and Outreach unit employees who were honored this week include Hill Award winners Raye Rawls, public service associate at the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, and Paula Sanford, a public finance and organization specialist at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government. Anna Karls, faculty member in the Department of Microbiology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, won the office’s Engaged Scholar Award. Sandy Christopher, program coordinator and assistant to the director at the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, won the office’s 2015 Staff Award. For more information about the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach, visit read more

High prices for coal power, dirty air spark growing support for renewable energy in Poland

first_imgHigh prices for coal power, dirty air spark growing support for renewable energy in Poland FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:As he stood outside a coal mine during a campaign stop last month, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki surprisingly touted the project’s green credentials. “Without investments like this one, we wouldn’t have renewable energy and other industries that we are betting on,” Morawiecki told a crowd of miners in Silesia, the country’s coal heartland.The mention of renewable energy at all, in the weeks leading up to an election on Sunday, marks a change of tone in the country, which gets most of its power from coal and has previously stifled renewable investments. With wind and solar costs plummeting and an increasing public backlash against some of the dirtiest air in the region, the government is changing its rhetoric on energy and looking to the European Union to help finance the transition.Morawiecki’s Law & Justice party came to power in 2015 thanks in part to support from miners. In its first year, the government nearly halted the fast-developing onshore wind industry with restrictive laws. At the same time, it revived a 1 gigawatt coal-fired power plant project in Ostroleka — whose backers now struggle to find financing.A tripling in the price of emission permits last year also hit Polish coal hard, with wholesale power prices currently about 25% above levels in neighboring Germany. The government stymied the impact to consumers by freezing household electricity rates and limiting the increase for businesses.Then last year, the government held an auction for new onshore wind projects. Developers, including state-owned utility PGE SA and international players EDP Renovaveis SA and Innogy SE bid to sell power at prices that were far below what the market had expected. “That was a big turning point,” said Bart Dujczynski, founder of Proventus Renewables Ltd., which advises on renewable energy projects in Poland. “It made opposition to renewables quite difficult to justify because economically, it was very attractively priced.”Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski, a major proponent of coal power, has championed a 1 billion-zloty ($255 million) solar subsidy program. Additionally, the government plans to auction a record 3.4 gigawatts of renewable energy this year. The country’s photovoltaic capacity passed the 1 gigawatt mark on Oct. 1, up 158% from a year earlier, as households and enterprises sped up installations of solar panels.More: Poland’s backing wind power in the heart of coal countrylast_img read more

The Salvadoran Civil War (1980–1992)

first_imgBy Dialogo October 01, 2011 El Salvador’s military confronted insurgents from the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, a coalition organization of five left-wing militias. May 1984 — A young child sleeps in the arms of a Salvadoran Soldier with an automatic weapon leaning against his knee, after field operations in the Cabañas province in El Salvador. The Soldier is one of about 3,000 government troops that participated in an anti-guerrilla operation. Source: The Associated Presslast_img read more

2 issuers to pay NCUA $378M over faulty RMBS

first_img 9SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr NCUA on Monday announced $378 million in settlements, combined, with Barclay’s Capital and Wachovia over now-defunct corporate credit unions’ purchases of faulty residential mortgage-backed securities and said net proceeds will go toward a reduction in credit unions’ corporate stabilization assessments.“We appreciate NCUA’s diligence and welcome the recovery of the funds on the sale of faulty securities that precipitated the downfall of five corporate credit unions,” said Carrie Hunt, NAFCU’s senior vice president of government affairs and general counsel. “NAFCU continues to encourage the agency to not only maintain its persistent legal recovery campaign, but we also urge NCUA to be fully transparent with the industry as to how these recoveries will eventually be returned to credit unions.”In these recent settlements – $325 million from Barclay’s Capital and $53 million from Wachovia – neither institution admitted fault for losses related to the RMBS purchases that led to the failure of five corporate credit unions.NCUA says it is continuing to pursue litigation in federal courts in New York, Kansas and California against financial firms, including Goldman Sachs, UBS, Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley, based on the sale of faulty securities that caused the collapse of five corporate credit unions. The agency says total recoveries from litigation against banks that sold faulty RMBS to the corporate credit unions will reach $2.2 billion after Monday’s settlements. continue reading »last_img read more

FHFA to make CUNA-requested question removal to URLA

first_imgCUNA ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »center_img The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make specific modifications to the Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA), including removal of a question CUNA feels could have raised legal and compliance issues.CUNA and other trade organizations requested FHFA not include a question asking borrowers their language preference, and according to the FHFA, the question will be included on a to-be-developed voluntary consumer information form.While CUNA supports efforts to ensure borrowers are well-informed during the mortgage process, it believes the language question would raise serious compliance concerns, including creating expectations among consumers that cannot be met, and potentially exposing lenders to liability if the lender is unable to proceed in the borrower’s indicated language of choice.last_img read more

How credit unions will benefit from the future of appraisals

first_imgEarlier this year, to the widespread relief of the credit union industry, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) increased the residential appraisal requirement from $250,000 to $400,000. Interestingly, at the same time, the NCUA also passed a separate interim rule that temporarily allowed credit unions to defer appraisals of all properties for up to 120 days after closing of the loan. Many in the industry might have simply overlooked this temporary rule and assumed it was nothing more than NCUA offering some flexibility during the Covid-19 pandemic. Instead, this is just one of the many indications that the appraisal industry is rapidly changing as regulators are loosening the once-stringent requirements around in person appraisals. More importantly, credit unions should recognize the value that a digitized appraisal process will provide both their internal loan processes and their members’ experiences. It is widely acknowledged that the mortgage industry is rapidly shifting towards a fully digital mortgage experience. The appraisal, often one of the lengthiest and costly components of the loan cycle, is key in this endeavor. Mortgage lenders – and borrowers – today are demanding faster appraisals and fewer compliance requirements in an effort to speed up the often arduous appraisal process. There are a handful of fintechs innovating in this space to make both desktop appraisals and automated valuation models a reality. In a nutshell, if the appraisal can be automated, then the journey towards the one click digital mortgage will be quickly realized. Many lenders understand the value that automated appraisals will provide for their internal operations. Particularly smaller credit unions in more distant regions of the country will benefit from not having to wait for the one or two appraisers in their area to become available before an appraisal can be completed. Additionally, lenders will be able to reallocate internal resources away from the labor intensive appraisal management process towards more valuable tasks.However there are also a number of benefits that automated appraisals will provide home buyers as well, which is partially why member-focused credit unions should push for this change.  First, and perhaps most obviously, borrowers will no longer have to wait for weeks for the appraisal to come back to the bank. Loan officers in particular understand that this period of time is frustrating for borrowers as the entire loan process effectively goes on hold until the appraisal is completed. Additionally, the current appraisal process often lacks transparency, so borrowers are often in the dark about what’s going on.Second, with access to accurate, digital data on various properties, homeowners will potentially be able to check in on the value of their home instantly. The countless people who Google their home daily to see if it has appreciated will finally have a reliable source of information about their most prized possession. Third, in the same vein, because both credit unions and their members will have an ongoing accurate valuation of the home, both parties will be better informed as to when is a good time to refinance or seek a home equity line of credit. Among other things, both of these transactions rely heavily on the current value of the property. With the ability to automatically access the appreciation or depreciation of a given residence, both parties will be able to make better decisions. There is no doubt that change often comes slowly in the mortgage industry. This may be even more applicable to the credit union industry specifically. However, over the past several years both credit unions and the relevant regulatory agencies have recognized that the existing laws and rules around the current appraisal process are restrictive and stifle any innovation within the space. Over the next several years, expect this trend to accelerate as more allowances are made for non-traditional appraisal methods. As this happens, all savvy credit unions should be there to capitalize for both themselves and their members. 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Pablo Aabir Das Pablo is a strategy advisor for Reggora, the modern appraisal technology platform that mortgage lenders and appraisal vendors both love. Reggora uses the latest technology, integrations, and automation to streamline … Web: Detailslast_img read more

Long Island Snow May Snarl Wednesday Commute

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Light snow is forecast to coat Long Island in up to an inch of snow starting Wednesday afternoon, which is likely to snarl the evening commute—with up to six inches possible this weekend.The flakes are expected to begin falling after 3 p.m. Wednesday and continuing through at least 1 a.m. Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. Less than an inch of snow is expected before that storm goes out to sea.“A potential nor’easter Saturday into Saturday night could result in significant snowfall accumulations across the region in excess of six inches,” the agency’s Upton-based meteorologists said in a hazardous weather outlook statement. “There is uncertainty and the precipitation in terms of amount and type will be highly dependent on the strength and exact track of the low.”Wednesday’s system, which is expected to impact the Mid-West before hitting the tri-state area, is not expected to become a major storm, but will make for slushy roadways that make driving more dangerous and increase travel times.Temperatures will hit a high oflast_img read more

Mary Poppins: Holiday Extravaganza Opens at Engeman Theater

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A holiday show is a genre all its own. It should tug on heartstrings and make the audiences smile, yet have music and glitz that fires up the imagination. The musical Mary Poppins, which recently opened at the John W. Engeman Theater at Northport, delivers all this and more.Those looking to create lasting holiday memories with their families should partake of this show, which is truly an extravaganza. Theatergoers cannot ask for more in terms of engaging, family-friendly holiday entertainment.The show is set in Edwardian London of the early 1900s. Something is sadly amiss at the home located at 17 Cherry Tree Lane. Members of the well-to-do Banks family are at odds with each other.George Banks, the patriarch, is a stern, hands-off father, who espouses the philosophy that children should be seen and not heard. Having been raised by a nanny himself, George seeks an employee who will infuse his offspring, Jane and Michael, with “precision and order.” The children act out by tormenting the nannies with pranks and shenanigans until they quit.All is not quiet on the marital front either. George is very concerned with status and insists that wife, Winifred, focus on getting into the right social circle even though it makes her uncomfortable.Having lost their sixth nanny, George is set to advertise for a replacement. But Jane and Michael have a wish list of their own: a nanny who would play games with them, read stories and simply bring childhood wonder back into their lives.In short order, Mary Poppins mysteriously appears on their doorstep. Mary immediately takes control, extoling her virtues as the quintessential nanny in the delightful song, “Practically Perfect.” She also astounds the children by taking all manner of things—including a hat rack—out of her carpet bag.The story of Mary Poppins—the inspiration for the memorable Walt Disney movie—was originally part of a series of books written by P.L. Travers. The author, who did not have a very happy childhood, spun the idealistic tale of a nanny with magical powers to entertain her siblings. She based the Poppins character on an aunt who also possessed a seemingly bottomless carpet bag.Jane and Michael often judge people by their appearances and Mary teaches them to look beneath the surface. While at first they see Bert, the happy-go-lucky chimney sweep as dirty, they find out that Bert, who will be part of many adventures, is very likeable, full of fun, and he and Mary are old friends.Similarly, when they run into the Bird Woman, who ekes out a meager living selling bags of food for the pigeons in the park, they see her as simply a bundle of rags. As the old woman (Suzanne Mason) and Mary render their heart-rendering duet, “Feed the Birds,” the children realize that the Bird Woman is really a kindly soul who has devoted her life to bringing nourishment to the tiny winged creatures.Stunning musical showstoppers abound. One of my favorites is the astoundingly enthusiastic “Jolly Holiday,” in which Mary, Bert and the children are joined by the entire ensemble and wow the audience with song and dance. The colorful costumes are a visual delight. This number elicited spontaneous applause.An extremely humorous bit of slapstick occurs when Mrs. Brill, the cook (Linda Cameron) gives Robertson Ay (Danny Meglio) some simple instructions to carry out in preparation for Mrs. Banks’ socialite tea party and things go hilariously awry. The mishap is followed by the crowd-pleasing tune, “A Spoonful of Sugar.”As an investment banker, George is not so commanding and self-assured as he is at home. Act I leaves the audience with two cliffhangers. George makes a decision to fund one of two business ventures and time will tell if he made the right choice. Then, unexpectedly, Mary leaves in order to see how the family fares without her input. As she soars above the silhouetted rooftops of London, the audience is left to wonder if the Banks family will ever learn to function as a family without her help.Directed and choreographed with great finesse and attention to detail by Drew Humphrey, Mary Poppins delights on every level. Analisa Leaming, who boasts a plethora of impressive Broadway credits, is the ideal Mary. From her very first song, “Practically Perfect,” the audience will be wowed by her melodic voice which borders on the operatic. She is a sight to behold in Kurt Alger’s spot-on period costumes. Expect to be smitten.Luke Hawkins, who plays Bert, has appeared in Xanadu and Cirque de Soleil on Broadway. His amiability makes him the perfect sidekick for Mary. He will tap dance his way into your heart in numbers like the showstopper, “Step in Time.”Katherine LaFountain (Jane) and Christopher McKenna (Michael) are no newcomers to the Engeman stage. They both have incredible stage presence and can sing and dance with the best of them.George and Winifred are played by David Schmittou and Liz Pearce, respectively. Although Mary Poppins appears on the scene to correct the damage caused to the children by these wayward parents, the fact that the parents eventually win the audience’s sympathy is a credit to their fine acting.Major kudos to Kurt Alger for his outstanding costume and hair design, which are truly an eye-catching salute to the elegant finery of the early 1900s. Jason Simms’ scenic design, showcasing the landmark London clock tower, combined with Zach Blane’s lighting, makes for dramatic silhouetted nightscapes. The six piece band directed by Michael Hopewell does full justice to the music.Mary Poppins runs through Dec. 31. Tickets can be purchased at the theater’s box office, 250 Main St, Northport, by calling 261-2900 or by visiting read more

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