Alumnus Donald Hopkins works to end the scourge of guinea worm

first_img Read Full Story A New York Times profile of HSPH alumnus Donald Hopkins, MPH ’70, describes his impressive efforts to battle guinea worm disease and his prior involvement with the eradication of smallpox. Former deputy director and acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1984-87), former assistant professor of tropical public health at HSPH, and currently vice president for health programs at the Carter Center, Hopkins has played a lead role in the guinea worm eradication effort since 1986. At that time there were 3.5 million cases of the disease worldwide; now there are fewer than 600.Another prominent HSPH alumnus—William Foege, MPH ’65, also a former CDC director and a major player in the war on smallpox—told the Times that Hopkins is “one of the most tenacious people you’ll ever find.”Hopkins, who won an HSPH Alumni Award of Merit in 2012, said he doesn’t get discouraged about the long years of fighting diseases. He recalled a man he met in India 25 years ago who said, “ ‘We’re never going to get rid of smallpox here.’ ”“But we did,” Hopkins told time Times. “So I’m sort of immunized against skepticism.”Read the New York Times article and watch a videolast_img read more

Group continues debate on student handbook

first_imgThe Campus Life Council (CLC) debated potential recommendations for changes to the du Lac student handbook — including the creation of a student medical amnesty policy and the handling of discipline for first-time alcohol offenses in residence halls — at its meeting Monday.“The whole process in my opinion is very difficult because we are just giving recommendations instead of voting on policies,” student body president Grant Schmidt said.The need for an established medical amnesty policy has recently gained traction in student government, he said. CLC is struggling with how to balance its desire for a medical amnesty procedure with the Office of Residence Life and Housing’s (ORLH) need for flexibility to deal with exceptions to the policy.“In order for this to be effective, we do need it to be in du Lac and be clear to students,” student body vice president Cynthia Weber said.CLC did not approve a specific recommendation for ORLH, but Monday’s draft will be clarified and presented again to the Council members.“We need to clarify that assisting students would not be held liable except under extenuating circumstances,” Schmidt said.Council members also recommended that in the case of a first time alcohol offense in a residence hall, the student’s rector would be responsible for discipline, instead of sending the case to ORLH.Schmidt said this recommendation arose from a standard that is “already in place but should be stated clearly.”The current du Lac policy allows for in-house discipline when the offense takes place within a student’s own residence hall, but the council wants to include offenses that occur elsewhere on campus in the language of this policy.“One of [Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Bill] Kirk’s desires was that the policies in du Lac address current practice,” Weber said. “We need what is written to be adjusted accordingly for clarification.”Many Council members hope to recommend the rector handle discipline before ORLH takes action.“We are asking education to happen at a more localized level, which we consider to be more effective,” Weber said.The issue of how discipline is handled is particularly important for students hoping to apply to graduate schools, Weber said.Some of the rectors on the Council cautioned that setting up a policy with only loose definitions could cause confusion for students.“If I were a student, I would want more structure on this,” Fr. Pete McCormick, rector of Keough Hall, said. Weber said because rectors have a strong connection to the average student, she thinks they should be allowed to handle discipline whenever possible.“We can keep it at the level where it’s appropriate so as not to unnecessarily tarnish a student’s reputation or record,” Professor of Army Science Jon Crist said.Discussion of this recommendation will continue at the Council’s next meeting. Other issues for upcoming CLC debate are recommendations on the undergraduate tailgating policy and drinking games.last_img read more

Hackathon aims to better the lives of the disabled

first_imgThe USC Association for Computer Machinery hosted the SS12 Hackathon: Code for a Cause on campus this weekend to increase awareness of issues in accessible computing. The hackathon encouraged the participants to create applications that will help better the lives of those who are disabled.Teamed with Project:Possibility, an open source project that makes a powerful difference in the lives of disabled persons and software developers through open source software development, this event had more than 60 student sign-ups, including both undergraduate and graduate students.Angelica Huyen Tran, a junior majoring in computer engineering and computer science, said that the event was  not just a regular hackathon because the apps that result from it will be used to benefit disabled people’s lives. Tran has been on the executive board of ACM for three years.“In the previous year, we had an app that took in sound and identified whether it was a siren or a baby crying for people who are deaf. The app would flash the color on the screen corresponding to the respective sounds,” Tran said. “It’s really cool because you can get a bunch of apps for a good cause.”The hackathon started Friday evening with a presentation on possible projects. Then, teams were formed and were given until 12:30 p.m. to code and until 2 p.m. on Sunday to prepare a presentation and a demo of their app. Food was provided throughout the event and prizes awarded included an external battery and Tetris lamp.One group created an app in both Android and iOS versions for the hearing impaired.“It relies heavily on visuals and tactile stimulus in order to convey rhythm. We wanted to emulate Dance Dance Revolution-type interface. We had to make a bunch of compromises moving forward given the time constraint,” said Joseph Goelz, a sophomore majoring in computer science.Goelz said it was a valuable learning experience for him and helped him improve his coding skills.“I feel this was the perfect way to get further involved [in programming] and my app development skills were nonexistent before,” Goelz said. “I’ve always been meaning to do it but I’m always afraid to set aside the time. It’s a big commitment, for a full weekend because I’ve always had homework assignments.”Goelz said Professor David Kempe inspired him to stay in computer science through his unique and interesting approach to learning. In the future, Goelz hopes to improve his app.“Realistically, it’s about a two-star app because there are bugs still and lots of functionalities that still could be added but for effort, five stars,” Goelz said.In order to prepare the participants for this 36-hour hackathon, ACM hosted two workshops last week on Android and web development because these were the two most common ways people build apps for hackathons.Another group created a multiplayer game app that uses a combination of high and low pitches. The goal of this game is to avoid crashing into obstacles by deciding whether to lean left or right using the emitted sounds.Tran said there were mentors, mostly alumni, who are now working in the industry, throughout the event to help the participants.“Hackathons in general are very useful to pick up some good computer science skills outside of the classroom. Participants also got to learn the full cycle of a project from start to finish while also learning to work in a team environment,” Tran said.last_img read more