Caduceus Newsletter  2013.09:  Week of March 4 


Image from the U.S. Department of Energy Genome Program web site:   http://genomics.energy.gov  

Dr. Stan Eisen, Director
Preprofessional Health Programs
Christian Brothers University

650 East Parkway South
Memphis, TN  38104

Home page:

Caduceus Newsletter Archives:

In case you become interested in psychiatry, you may be called in to deal with the consequences of a mass shooting. 




For more information, please go to Article #6. 


Table of Contents:


1.  Events coming up.  
2.  The Ohio State University College of Optometry will be hosting a Virtual Open House on Wednesday, March 13. 
3.  The Consortium for Optometry Summer Enrichment Programs announces a series of week-long programs for pre-optometry students. 
4.  High Debt and Falling Demand Trap New Vets:  From the New York Times. 
5.  ===AAMC STAT===, News from the Association of American Medical Colleges, February 25, 2013 edition.  
6.  In case you become interested in psychiatry, you may be called in to deal with the consequences of a mass shooting.  From Medscape Infectious Diseases:  School Shootings and Lessons Learned. 
7.  The health problems in poor countries can be overwhelming. 
8.  School for Field Studies e-newsletter, February 27, 2013 issue.  

9.  Marginalia:  Football camera provides ball’s-eye view of the field.    


1.  Events coming up.  

·         Wednesday, March 13:  The Ohio State University College of Optometry will be hosting a Virtual Open House.  For more information, please go to Article #2;

·         Saturday, March 16:  The Lincoln Memorial University – DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (Harrogate, TN) will be hosting an Open House on Saturday, March 16;

·         Saturday, March 23:  The University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy is hosting the inaugural 4-mile Race for the Summitt on Saturday, March 23, to raise funds for the Pat Summitt Foundation.  For more information, please see Article #2.      


2.  The Ohio State University College of Optometry will be hosting a Virtual Open House on Wednesday, March 13. 


Wednesday, March 13th - 2 PM or 6 PM EST


Discover the many opportunities a career in optometry has to offer! Join us for an online look at the OSU College of Optometry. High school and college students, as well as alumni, practitioners, and academic and career counselors, are welcome. Just pre-register using our online RSVP page.

    For more information, contact:

   Justin Griest
   Manager, Admission & Financial Aid
   The Ohio State University College of Optometry
   office: (614) 292-2647
   email: griest.6@osu.edu



3.  The Consortium for Optometry Summer Enrichment Programs announces a series of week-long programs for pre-optometry students. 

The Consortium for Optometry Summer Enrichment Programs is pleased to share the upcoming dates and deadlines for our individual programs.  We encourage you to share this email among your preoptometry students and we look forward to hosting them on our campuses during the summer of 2013.

Do note that prospective students may apply to and attend multiple summer programs; we do not restrict or cap an individual's participation between or among any of the programs described below:

Illinois College of Optometry, Focus on Your Future

July 15-19, 2013

The Illinois College of Optometry is pleased to announce our annual summer program for underrepresented minority undergraduate students. The program is a weeklong experience that will expose undergraduate students to the profession of optometry in a variety of settings. Participants will have the opportunity to meet and work with current optometry students, ICO Faculty & Staff, as well as practicing optometrists.  Students will be housed at no charge in our Residential Complex. There is no cost to participate in this program. Participants are responsible for their travel expenses and/or transportation cost to and from ICO.

For more information, please visit:  http://www.ico.edu/optometry2011/index.php/events-for-prospective-students/summer-program

Program Contact:  Teisha Johnson, 312.949.7407, tjohnson@ICO.EDU

 The Ohio State University, I-DOC 

June 17-19, 2013

The Improving Diversity in Optometric Careers program is an intensive three-day program for people from an underrepresented ethnicity (American Indian or Alaskan Native; Asian or Pacific Islander; African-American, not of Hispanic origin; or Hispanic) interested in finding out more about an optometric career. The program provides information about optometry through hands-on experiences, and it aims to increase the number of underrepresented ethnic minority optometrists.  Thanks to underwriting by the Vision Service Plan (VSP), there is no cost to attend the program and includes all meals and activities. There are also a limited number of scholarships for airfare reimbursement (up to $500) and accommodations for out-of-state college applicants.

 For more information about the program and information regarding the application process, please visit the I-DOC webpage:


Program Contact: Justin Griest, 614.292.8825, JGriest@optometry.osu.edu

University of California, Berkeley, Opto-Camp

Session I, June 17-19, 2013

Session II, July 15-17, 2013

The goal of Berkeley Optometry's Opto-Camp is to introduce underrepresented pre-health science majors to Optometry as a potential future career track and to prepare them to be successful applicants to optometry school.  The objective of Berkeley Optometry's Opto-Camp is to present a three-day in residence experience that will provide participants with opportunities to learn about the profession of optometry and the process of becoming an optometrist.

Program specifics and the application, available in March, 2013, are linked here:


 Cost:  $125 program fee; limited amount of scholarships to waive program fee per session, as demonstrated by financial need.

 Program Contact:  Heather Iwata, 510.642.9537, hiwata@berkeley.edu


A special thanks to the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) for providing seed funding for all of our programs and continued support as funding is available and requested.  ASCO is currently in its eighth year of the Optometric Education Diversity Mini-Grants program.  This program assists optometry schools in developing and implementing activities/programs that are designed to recruit and/or retain underrepresented minority students, financially disadvantaged, and/or first-generation college students pursuing the optometric profession.



Sharon T. Joyce
Assistant Dean
Admissions, Student Affairs and Career Services
UC Berkeley - School of Optometry
Admissions & Student Affairs Office 
380 Minor Hall
Berkeley, CA   

Phone (510) 642-5286
Fax      (510) 643-7111
Visit us on the web at:


4.  High Debt and Falling Demand Trap New Vets:  From the New York Times. 

Declining companion pet populations in the United States is resulting in decreased demand and lower pay for veterinarians.  It’s not a pretty picture:




5.  ===AAMC STAT===, News from the Association of American Medical Colleges, February 25, 2013 edition.  


News from the Association of American Medical Colleges

February 25, 2013

• AAMC Contributes to Wall Street Journal Blog, “The Experts:
  Health Care”
• AAMC Submits Testimony on Clinical, Billing Issues in Electronic
  Health Records
• “Breakthrough Prize” Recognizes Achievements in Life Sciences
• TEDMED Scholarship Applications Now Available
• NIH Issues Notice on Sequestration Operation Plan
• On the Move

AAMC Contributes to Wall Street Journal Blog, “The Experts:
Health Care”

The Experts is a new blog launched by The Wall Street Journal to provide readers with a more in-depth understanding of health issues covered in the The Journal Report section of the paper.  The AAMC’s Chief Public Policy Officer, Atul Grover, M.D., Ph.D., contributed three posts during the blog’s launch last week on a range of health care conversations that addressed ways to reduce costs in health care, the necessary frequency of disease screenings, and the effects of resident duty hours.  To read more, visit the live streaming coverage, which offers numerous viewpoints on these issues and others in health care.

AAMC Submits Testimony on Clinical, Billing Issues in Electronic
Health Records

Electronic health record (EHR) compliance requires myriad strategies that combine appropriate EHR design, adoption and implementation of institutional policies, provider education, and monitoring, according to recent AAMC testimony.  AAMC presented the testimony at a hearing of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Health IT Policy Committee’s Meaningful Use and Certification and Adoption Workgroup.  The hearing focused on clinical documentation functionality in EHRs and its effect on the delivery of high-quality clinical care and provider efficiency and collaboration.

“Breakthrough Prize” Recognizes Achievements in Life Sciences

Individuals from the academic medicine community were among the recipients of a new award that recognizes “excellence in research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending human life.”  The 11 inaugural winners of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences will receive $3 million each.  Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, his wife Priscilla Chan, M.D, and Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, are among the six funders of the award.

TEDMED Scholarship Applications Now Available

Scholarships will again be available for the 2013 TEDMED event, which will be held April 16-19 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.  The scholarships will support exceptional individuals who would benefit from attending the conference, but who could not otherwise afford to participate.  A limited number of full scholarships and a greater number of partial scholarships that cover half the fee are available.  Medical students, residents, and junior faculty are particularly encouraged to apply at http://www.tedmed.com/event/frontlinescholarship.

NIH Issues Notice on Sequestration Operation Plan

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) posted a notice last week on its operation plan in the event of sequestration.  According to the notice, if a sequester goes into effect, “NIH likely will reduce the final FY 2013 funding levels of non-competing continuation grants and expects to make fewer competing awards to allow the agency to meet the available budget allocation.”  The agency also states that regardless of the possibility of funding cuts, it “remains committed to our mission to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce the burdens of illness and disability.”  To read more about the operation plan, go to http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-13-043.html.

On the Move

Michael A. Friedman, M.D., will step down as chief executive officer of City of Hope. He is retiring after serving 10 years in the position.  Robert Stone, J.D., president of City of Hope, was selected to serve in the dual role of president and CEO.  The transition will officially take place at the end of 2013.


6.  In case you become interested in psychiatry, you may be called in to deal with the consequences of a mass shooting.  From Medscape Infectious Diseases:  School Shootings and Lessons Learned. 

The URL is http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/776891?src=wnl_edit_medn_wir&uac=40240FX&spon=34 .  Registration may be required, but it’s free:

School Shootings and Lessons Learned

Kate Johnson

Dec 31, 2012

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, that took the lives of 20 very young children and 6 adults, the experience of mental health professionals who have been at the center of similar tragedies offers up some valuable lessons.


Memorial at Dawson College. (2006/Dawson College)

Montreal is a city that has experienced 3 school shootings that included 15 dead at the École Polytechnique in 1989, 4 dead at Concordia University in 1992, and most recently, Dawson College.

Psychiatrist Warren Steiner, MD, was the McGill University Health Center's psychiatrist-in-chief when 25-year-old Kimveer Gill stormed the atrium of Dawson College on September 13, 2006, killing 18-year-old student Anastasia De Sousa and wounding 19 others before killing himself.

That moment launched a "psychological first aid" response that was very different from the city's responses to previous school shootings.

With hindsight, Dr. Warren said he would do some things differently — and some the same — lessons that he hopes might help others who are dealing with similar situations.

"The consequences do continue for years afterwards, and they were not the consequences that we expected," he said. "It went far beyond PTSD [posttraumatic stress disorder].

In fact, research carried out by the team 18 months after the Dawson College shooting shows that substance abuse and major depressive disorder emerged as bigger players than PTSD.

"One thing we would have done very differently is talk about all sorts of psychological reactions, not just PTSD," he said.

Trauma Surge

When the first shots were fired at Dawson College, Dr. Steiner was across the street having lunch with his son. He returned to a Code Orange (community emergency) at the Montreal General Hospital, in which mental health services had all but been forgotten.

"It was just chaos. I went into the control room and they had no idea why I was there. We hadn't been thought of," he recalls.

"It was clear after 9/11 that the psychological consequences of these kinds of major disasters outnumber the physical consequences about 10 to 1...yet they had no idea why I was there."

But before long it was clear.

"Some of the shooting victims were coming for surgery, but then there was a flood — it's called a surge — of nonphysical trauma. We had hundreds of kids, parents, and staff. They were feeling completely overwhelmed. They were hysterical, sobbing, terrified, and having panic attacks," Dr. Steiner told Medscape Medical News.

"One fellow had been holding Anastasia [the victim who died] and talking to the shooter. Other people were covered in blood. These were horrible things these young people experienced."

From that moment, a massive psychological first-aid effort was launched, aimed at damage control.

No Guidance

"We decided to be proactive," he explained at a recent meeting of the Canadian Psychiatric Association. "We sought out people and tried to actively identify those at risk for late-onset distress."

But there was little to guide the team's proactive instinct.

It is not known whether specific interventions can reduce the risk for PTSD, and previous tragedies have yielded little research.

Within hours, a call made to Columbine High School generated little advice about how to proceed proactively, and there was even some lingering uncertainty about the potential of retraumatizing victims.

"It was at that point we realized we were on our own and had to develop a plan very, very quickly on the fly," said Dr. Steiner.

From there, a marathon began.

For the first week, Dr. Steiner and his team were on the scene of the shooting 24/7. At one point they numbered more than 100 mental health workers.

When the school reopened, floaters scanned the crowd for traumatized individuals, approaching them and offering psychological support.

They launched a focused outreach aimed at psychoeducation.

Articles were commissioned in the school newspaper, and handouts were distributed about the risks and signs of PTSD.

For more than 6 months, a block of 12 therapy rooms at the college remained constantly staffed, attending to a steady stream of traumatized students and teachers.

The message to everyone was "be very careful not to pathologize the normal healing process," said Dr. Steiner.

"You could be waking up at night with terrible nightmares and reliving it, or jumping at the sound of someone dropping their books — these are normal reactions; you are not ill because you're experiencing them."

Psychological First Aid

"Psychological first aid" has become "the intervention of choice" in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy, agrees psychologist Christopher Flynn, PhD, director of the Cook Counselling Center at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg.

But the nature of that aid is still a subject of debate.

Within 15 minutes of the first shots in the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre — which eventually left 32 dead — Dr. Flynn too was mobilizing psychological first aid for survivors and the families of victims.

"They used to talk about critical incident stress debriefing, in which people would get together and talk about their immediate reactions to trauma, and that was thought not be particularly effective and in some cases actually did harm," he toldMedscape Medical News.

"Psychological first aid suggests that the sooner we can bring resources to bear, the more likely it is that immediate stress disorders can be handled with decreasing likelihood of posttraumatic stress."

Indeed, the study carried out after the Dawson College shootings suggests this theory may hold true when it comes to PTSD. But the research also points to the risk for other outcomes, Dr. Steiner warned.

As expected, the study, which included a sample of 949 Dawson college students and staff, showed a 3-fold spike in the prevalence of any form of mental disorder after the shooting as compared with rates reported in the Canadian Community Health Survey (30.9% vs 10.9%), which was carried out the previous year.

In addition, PTSD prevalence was higher than in a Canadian military peacekeeping cohort (3.4% vs 1.4%).

Unexpected Finding

But the unexpected finding was that the increase in PTSD was stunted compared with the increases in both alcohol and illicit drug abuse (8.7% vs 2.6% and 2.6% vs 0.8%, respectively) and major depressive disorder (12.1% vs 4.8%).

"So the rate of PTSD was not as high as we expected. Is that because we focused on that? Would it have been even higher if we hadn't focused on it?

"People react in different ways.... They may be very jumpy or very anxious all the time, and their reaction may be to turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. So one thing I would do differently is I would say, 'you are at higher risk for the development of mental health problems in general — not just PTSD,' " said Dr. Steiner.

But a similar study carried out by Virginia Tech, in collaboration with Harvard University, during the 4 months after that campus massacre shows a much higher rate of "probable PTSD" (15.4%), based on a cross-sectional survey of 4639 students.

The reasons for this apparent difference are not clear. Compared with the Dawson study, the Virginia Tech study was carried out much sooner after the tragedy and included a larger number of participants.

Despite intense counseling over prolonged periods at both schools, the nature of mental health interventions may have differed, and the time point in the school year (September at Dawson and April at Virginia Tech) may have affected the dissemination of psychological first aid.

In addition, the scope and duration of the shooting at Virginia Tech extended beyond that of the Dawson College incident.

Mental Health Prognosis

One thing both studies suggest is that the proximity of a person to a shooter or a victim can, to some extent, predict their future mental health risk.

In the case of Dawson, 13% of respondents saw the shooter, 35.8% saw someone wounded or killed, and 3.3% tried to help a wounded or dead victim.

Down the road, these were the people most at risk for psychological trauma, said Dr. Steiner, adding that in addition to degree of exposure, the study showed that female sex carried a higher risk for PTSD (odds ratio [OR], 3.54) and major depressive disorder (OR, 3.93).

At Virginia Tech, during several hours of uncertainty over the shooter's whereabouts, 64.5% of survey respondents were unable to confirm the safety of their friends, and 9.1% had a close friend who was killed.

In that study, the ORs for high levels of posttraumatic stress symptoms were highest for those who experienced the injury or death of someone close (2.6 - 3.6) and those who were unable to confirm the safety of friends (2.5).

Perhaps knowledge of these statistics may one day guide mental health professionals in counseling trauma victims about their future mental health, Dr. Steiner suggests.

"I would now say, if someone was in the atrium at the time of the shooting, it is imperative that they meet with a mental health professional to be evaluated, because they're going to be at the highest risk down the road."

Toward Healing

The long-term effect of the tragedy on the students of Sandy Hook Elementary School remains to be seen, and efforts are underway to help them recover some sense of normalcy.

When their classes resume in a new building, the pain and fear will still be fresh, but the act of returning will be an important step toward healing.

That was the case for the thousands of Dawson College students who on September 18, 2006, made a symbolic reentry into their college atrium — which just days before had been filled with bloodstained books and backpacks.

"It takes a lot of courage to come back 5 days later," Dr. Steiner acknowledged. He had fought for the resumption of classes as soon as possible, against some resistance.

"Quite a few teachers said we should just cancel the semester. But that builds up, and your negative expectations grow and grow. So we met all the teachers on the Friday in the gym and persuaded them. And they were on board after that," he said.

The following Monday, when the students returned, the teachers met them inside, and the atrium was filled with applause. Today, a peace garden stands as a memorial to the tragedy.


Medscape Medical News © 2012  WebMD, LLC 

Send comments and news tips to news@medscape.net.

Cite this article: School Shootings and Lessons Learned. Medscape. Dec 31, 2012.



7.  The health problems in poor countries can be overwhelming. 

Joe Fong, CBU alum, is doing volunteer work in Senegal, and has shared a number of photos taken in the clinic of boys with serious dermatological issues:

Just a few photos from my work the past 2 weeks. These are not the worst, just some that are not too distasteful to say the least.

[Two] photos of scabies with some secondary infection. With the picture of the hand, his skin was like that all over from his stomach down to his knees all the way around. The hand also has larva migrans.  (Ed. note:  Larva migrans is due to the larvae of dog hookworms penetrating human skin.)




Fungal infection gone wild. The hole in the boy's foot was deep enough to pack about an inch of iodoform gauze inside.


The head wound is from a boy who got hit in the head with a rock. We bandaged him Friday but he accidentally left his antibiotics over the weekend. This is what it looked like a few days later. I cleaned it and rebandaged it.




The worm is a personal favorite. It is a mango worm. We squeezed and abscess on the side of the boy's head and poww - it shot out. I was like, wow this is the most perfectly encapsulated pus pocket I've ever seen. Then it started moving.



Where is Senegal?


From:  http://www.worldvision.ca/ContentArchives/content-stories/Pages/questions-and-answers-talibes-of-senegal.aspx

Questions and Answers: Talibés of Senegal



World Vision is eager to answer any of your questions regarding talibés, and how it is working to address the exploitation of these young boys in Senegal. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions.

What is a talibé? 
Talibé is a word derived from Arabic that means disciple or follower. In Senegal, talibé is the term used for a boy who is forced to beg on the streets as part of his Koranic education.

How many talibé children are there in Senegal? 
A 2004 UNICEF report estimates that there are up to 100,000 child beggars in Senegal—constituting one percent of the country's 11.4 million people—and the vast majority of them are talibés.

Where do the talibé children live? 
Most live in a daara—a run-down shack that doubles as a Koranic school and is shared with up to 25-30 other boys. The daara is controlled by a marabout (teacher) who receives the cash collected by the boys. Their humid, cramped, airless living quarters provide ripe conditions for the spread of tuberculosis and other infectious diseases. Latrines and running water are non-existent. The children rarely bathe. They sleep, eat and work in the same clothes. Some marabouts insist that children don’t bathe or wash their clothes so people will pity them and give more. They have no choice but to beg neighbours for dinner leftovers—often their first and only meal of the day.

What physical risks do the talibé children face? 
According to a recent study, up to 80 per cent of the street children have been sexually abused, making them vulnerable to AIDS. There are also reports of talibés being abducted. Where they live in the daara, they fear not only beatings from their marabouts, but from each other. Physical abuse, including sexual exploitation, from older boys is the law of the daara.

What is the root cause of the talibé problem?
The problem is rooted in poverty. Poor rural parents who cannot afford to support their children send them to the city to learn the Koran from marabouts. Marabout (Koranic teachers) who are also trying to make a living, exploit them. This cycle has to be broken by addressing the root cause—poverty.

How do children in Senegal become part of the talibé system? 
Their parents—usually poor farmers—send their boys, ranging in age from five to 14, to the city to study Islam and memorize the Koran. But the pupils actually spend little time studying and are forced by their marabout to beg on the streets for cash and food. Many parents are not aware that their children are being exploited in the city. In Senegal, the problem is particularly complex, entangled with religion, economics, politics, social values and ethnic traditions.

How did the talibé tradition begin in Senegal? 
For centuries, rural Senegalese families selected a male child to study the Koran with a marabout, a respected scholar who taught and also preformed marriages, baptisms and funerals. Top Senegalese leaders, including President Abdoulaye Wade, studied the Koran with a marabout and still rely today on the wisdom and advice of these holy men who hold tremendous sway in the country.

The pupils were sometimes sent to study with a marabout in a neighbouring village in order to focus on their studies. Sometimes the children were required to ask neighbours for food once a week to learn humility and understand what it is to be poor. They were not required to beg for money. After a year or two, they returned home to work in their families’ fields or to tend herds of cattle and sheep.

How and when did the talibé tradition become skewed into a child exploitation issue? 
In the early 1970s, drought gripped Senegal whose economy depended largely on agriculture and livestock. At one time Senegal was the world’s largest peanut producer. But peanut prices fell, desertification permanently claimed thousands of hectares of pasture and the economy never fully recovered. Farmers and unskilled young men migrated to Dakar in search of work. Unable to support their children, parents began sending boys to the city to live and study with a marabout, who was often a relative. They entrusted their children’s lives to these men, never believing they would be forced to beg for the marabout’s gain.

By criticizing the talibé system in Senegal, is World Vision criticizing Islam? 
No. World Vision is addressing aspects of this cultural tradition that exploit children and their rights. Senegalese Muslims are also concerned about this. World Vision is working in coalition with other organizations (Muslim, Christian and secular) and the Senegalese government to ensure that children and their rights are protected, according to existing laws and conventions. Talibé children have the same right to education, health, security and protection as all other Senegalese children.

 How is World Vision helping to address the problem?
World Vision has a three-pronged approach: Prevention, care and advocacy.

Prevention: Preventing children from ending up in a Dakar daara is the first step in addressing this complex social issue. World Vision staff, comprised of both Muslim and Christian Senegalese professionals, are educating parents about the perils of sending their children to the city. They are helping them to keep their children at home by improving village living conditions and opportunities. Communities are more likely to keep their boys at home if they have school facilities, potable water, sufficient food and income-generating opportunities—all development activities that child sponsorship helps to make possible in more than 600 villages.

Care: World Vision is caring for talibés are already on the street. World Vision Senegal recently launched an innovative, pilot project. Five marabouts agreed to take their collective 150 children off the street—despite the significant loss of income—and enroll them in school. In exchange, World Vision covered school fees and supplies, and upgraded the daaras with latrines, showers and running water. Monthly stocks of vegetables, meat and rice are provided so the boys have regular, nutritious meals. The marabouts receive small, income-generating loans to help break their dependency on the children’s income. The loan of a few hundred dollars is enough to start a fruit stand or to rent a taxi to drive. The marabouts have agreed to send the boys home after two years, where World Vision will help to ensure that they are integrated back into their communities and into public school.    

Advocacy: World Vision is addressing aspects of this cultural tradition that exploit children and their rights. Senegalese Muslims are also concerned about this. World Vision is working in coalition with other organizations (Muslim, Christian and secular) and the Senegalese government to ensure that children and their rights are protected, according to existing laws and conventions. Talibé children have the same right to education, health, security and protection as all other Senegalese children. 

The government of Senegal is a signatory to the International Convention of the Rights of the Child and has other legislation in place that prohibits children under age 15 from working. However, these laws have not been enforced consistently.

Who funds World Vision’s pilot project in Senegal? 
The Government of Ireland, in partnership with World Vision Ireland, funds the project in Senegal.

As a Christian organization, why is World Vision offering financial support to marabout teachers?
As a Christian organization, World Vision has entered a dialogue with the marabouts, but the cycle of exploitation cannot be broken with words alone. Practical help must be injected into the system, therefore we are offering financial support via a pilot program.

Senegal’s population is 98 per cent Muslim. As a Christian organization, how does World Vision work in this country? 
World Vision has worked successfully in Senegal since 1986. The majority of our staff members are Senegalese and they work in partnership with people in more than 600 villages, both Muslim and Christian communities. World Vision works in Senegal in collaboration with the local government, which has recognized World Vision’s excellent community development work. Peace and respect for other cultures and faiths is foundational to Senegalese society. Muslim parents of sponsored children realize that their children may be sponsored by Canadians who are not of the same faith and do not see this as a concern.

How long has World Vision been working in Senegal? 
World Vision began working in Senegal in 1986.

What does World Vision do in Senegal?
Since 1986, World Vision and its partner communities have accomplished the following:

·         668 borehole wells drilled

·         186 classrooms constructed

·         359 literacy centres built or equipped

·         43,000 literacy students trained

·         76,520 farmers trained     

·         16,503 families granted micro credit loans

·         5,216 latrines installed

·         305 health posts equipped

·         2,062 community health workers trained

Can I sponsor a child in Senegal? 
Yes. Through child sponsorship, you can help Senegalese parents address poverty-related problems and thus help prevent children from becoming street children. Communities are more likely to keep their boys at home if they have school facilities, potable water, sufficient food and income-generating opportunities.

Can I sponsor a talibé child? 
It is not possible to sponsor a talibé child at this time. However, World Vision hopes this may be possible in the future as our pilot project evolves.

How many children are sponsored in Senegal through World Vision? 
Currently, some 56,000 children are supported by through World Vision donors worldwide, including 10,200 sponsored by Canadians.

More Information 
If you have any further questions, click here.



8.  School for Field Studies e-newsletter, February 27, 2013 issue.  



Environmental Field Studies Abroad

February 27, 2013


SFS Receives Matching Grant for New Program Development
Last week SFS announced that an anonymous donor has stepped forward with a challenge grant that will be matched dollar for dollar by donations to support the development of new programs.  read MORE


Lessons Learned from Two Years of Organic Orchard Management in Costa Rica
Dr. Achim Häger, Resident Lecturer in Principles of Natural Resources Management at The Center for Sustainable Development Studies, reflects on the many challenges and benefits of organic management on the Rainforest Alliance Certified sustainble farm at the Center in Costa Rica. "Finally we are making a true connection to our farm," he writes. READ MORE


SFS Lecture Series
SFS will be hosting the second event in our lecture series, Transcending Topography: Migration of High Altitude Birds in the Himalayas. This lecture features two SFS research partners from the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment in Bhutan. The event will be held at SFS Headquarters on March 6th in Beverly, MA, and all are welcome to attend!  LEARN MORE & RSVP


On Snakes
"I must admit I never expected to gush about snakes before I came here. I also never expected to see so many, but being in the middle of a diamond of biodiversity, even for only two weeks, has made me realize that it’s easy to have your breath taken away by what bumps in the night." Student Alan Zigler (Franklin and Marshall College), on spotting, observing, and respecting snakes in Australia. READ MORE


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9.  Marginalia:  Football camera provides ball’s-eye view of the field.    

From:  http://www.rdmag.com/news/2013/02/football-camera-provides-ball%E2%80%99s-eye-view-field


A camera embedded in the side of a rubber-sheathed plastic foam football can record video while the ball is in flight.
A camera embedded in the side of a rubber-sheathed plastic foam football can record video while the ball is in flight.Football fans have become accustomed to viewing televised games from a dozen or more camera angles, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Electro-Communications (UEC) in Tokyo suggest another possible camera position: inside the ball itself.

The researchers have shown that a camera embedded in the side of a rubber-sheathed plastic foam football can record video while the ball is in flight that could give spectators a unique, ball's-eye view of the playing field. Because a football can spin at 600 rpm, the raw video is an unwatchable blur. But the researchers developed a computer algorithm that converts the raw video into a stable, wide-angle view.

Kris Kitani, a post-doctoral fellow in Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute, is aware that a football league is unlikely to approve camera-embedded footballs for regular play. Even so, the BallCam might be useful for TV, movie productions or training purposes. Two demonstration videos are available on his website:

One of his co-authors, UEC's Kodai Horita, a visiting graduate student last year at the Robotics Institute, will present a paper about BallCam on March 8 at the Augmented Human International Conference in Stuttgart, Germany.

Kitani said BallCam was developed as part of a larger exploration of digital sports. "We're interested in how technology can be used to enhance existing sports and how it might be used to create new sports," he explained. In some cases, athletic play may be combined with arts or entertainment; a camera-embedded ball, for instance, might be used to capture the expressions on the face of players as they play catch with it.

Other researchers have developed throwable cameras that produce static images or use multiple cameras to capture stabilized video. The BallCam system developed by Kitani and Horita, along with Hideki Sasaki and Professor Hideki Hoike of UEC, uses a single camera with a narrow field of view to generate a dynamic, wide-angle video.

When the ball is thrown in a clean spiral, the camera records a succession of frames as the ball rotates. When processing these frames, the algorithm uses the sky to determine which frames were made when the camera was looking up and which were made when it was looking down. The upward frames are discarded and the remaining, overlapping frames are stitched together with special software to create a large panorama. Similar stitching software is used by NASA to combine images from Mars rovers into large panoramas and is increasingly found in digital cameras.

The algorithm also makes corrections for some distortions in the image that twist yard lines and occur because of the speed of the ball's rotation. Further work will be necessary to eliminate all of the distortion, Kitani said, and a faster camera sensor or other techniques will be needed to reduce blurring. Multiple cameras might also be added to the football to improve the finished video.

The Robotics Institute is part of Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science. Follow the school on Twitter

Carnegie Mellon University

Dr. Stan Eisen, Director
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Biology Department
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