Month: March 2021

130 People Were Arrested In Connection To A Musician Gear Theft Ring

first_imgWhen a number of touring bands (including The Black Lillies, Zane Williams and more) had gear stolen in Houston, TX, the police department began an undercover effort to investigate. What they discovered was absolutely shocking, as over 130 individuals were arrested and over $2 million was recovered.The multi-departmental effort focused on the stealing and black market resale of all sorts of equipment, including vehicles and musical instruments. According to Lt. Mike Osina of Houston Police Department, “These thieves were stealing anything and everything they could put their hands on. They went after trailers they saw parked on the streets of Greater Houston. They stole four wheelers, quad runners, lawn equipment, motorcycle equipment.”Country artist Zane Williams was quoted in the Click2Houston report on the arrests, talking about how his van and 100-year-old violin were stolen after a performance in Houston. “Yep, they stole my van and everything in my van, then they stole my trailer too… I’m really glad they got picked up.”Titled “Operation Wheels And Deals,” many of those connected to the robberies are also connected to gangs. According to the report, there are more charges and arrests to come. Hopefully acts of justice like this will make it safer for artists to hit the road.last_img read more

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The String Cheese Incident Welcomes Scott Sharrard At Scorching Summer Tour Closer

first_imgAfter a fun first night at the Kings Theatre, the String Cheese Incident returned to Brooklyn last night to complete their two-night run and their Summer tour to a close. The show was filled with thrilling moments, excellent jams, spot-on covers, and a high octane guest spot from Gregg Allman Band’s Scott Sharrard.Coming out of the gate hot, the band opened with a thumping, extended version of “Valley Of The Jig” that really got the crowd moving. The soulful and funky “Black And White” came next, and the band took that song out for a walk before segueing into a fun, Latin-tinged “Yo Se”. After a quick version of “Farther”, the band played “Sweet Spot”, a track from the band’s new SCI Sound Lab project. SCI kept the newer songs going with a fun take on the Kyle Hollingsworth tune “Stop Drop Roll” before finishing up set one with a huge, locked in version of their classic “Round The Wheel”.After a short break, SCI returned to the stage and immediately picked up where they left off. “Desert Dawn” was the perfect set two opener. After a spirited run through the song’s form, the band performed easily the jam of the night, moving as a unit through several unique, progressive rock-like sections before bringing the song to its natural end. The impressive improv section was a true highlight in a show filled with them.After the raging set two opener, the band returned to their Sound Lab to perform another new track, “Get Tight”. After a short-but-sweet version of the new song, the band picked things back up with a funky version of “Rain” that gave the band another opportunity to stretch out their improv muscles, with Michael Kang coming in at the perfect time to bring the jam to its climax.Rhythm guitarist / singer Billy Nershi then stepped up to the microphone to introduce a special guest, none other than Scott Sharrard. Sharrard played the entire Allmans Family Incident with the band at The Peach Festival on Friday, serving as band leader as the band worked through a set of Allman Brothers classics. The band seemed to be loving the Allman Brothers musical vibe, and kept the party going with incredible versions of “Hot’Lanta” and “Southbound” that simply had the audience going bananas. Sharrard was particularly impressive, trading lead solos with Michael Kang in true tension-release fashion, creating an enormous amount of energy in the room. Anyone who was at The Peach on Friday was gifted with some bonus Allmans material, and anyone who missed The Peach was absolutely blessed to catch some of the magic from that performance. Sharrard and SCI also managed to slip in a version of “On The Road” in between the two covers, and overall created a huge, non-stop segment of musical magic.Watch “Hot ‘Lanta” below, courtesy of Gabe Sokker.Sharrard left the stage to raucous applause, and the band kicked into the evening’s final segment. Starting with “Way Back Home”, the band moved quickly into “Whiskey Before Breakfast” before landing on an out-of-left-field, set-closing cover of Led Zeppelin‘s epic rocker “Kashmir” that left the crowd begging for more.The band took a short break before delivering a three-song encore to finish their summer tour. Opening with “Honky Tonk Heroes”, the band then turned in a quick version of “Hobo Song” before creating one more opportunity to rage with their fans, bringing things to a close with a huge version of “Rosie” that had the crowd dancing all the way out of venue and into the streets of Brooklyn.After a great summer that saw the String Cheese Incident bring their carnival-esque live show across the country, the band capped off their summer with an excellent show that found the band truly locked in and in command of their collective sound. The fun covers, spirited jamming, and all-around positive vibes all add up to a band that’s currently at the top of its game.The String Cheese Incident will now take a few months off before they play three nights at Suwanee Hulaween this October.The String Cheese Incident | Kings Theatre | Brooklyn, NY | 8/15/2016Set 1: Valley of the Jig, Black and White > Yo Se, Farther, Sweet Spot, Stop Drop Roll, Round the WheelSet 2: Desert Dawn, Get Tight, Rain, Hot ‘Lanta[1], On the Road[1] > Southbound[1], Way Back Home > Whiskey Before Breakfast > KashmirEncore: Honky Tonk Heroes, Hobo Song, Rosie[1] Feat. Scott Sharrard on guitarlast_img read more

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moe. Treats Raleigh To A 30-Minute “Recreational Chemistry” & More Highlights [Review/Gallery]

first_imgThough they started the night announcing that the coming hurricane would be cancelling the last two shows of their tour, moe. seemed hell bent on making the most of the time they did have. Armed with a set list of classics and newer tunes alike, they took the Lincoln Theatre stage in Raleigh, NC last night to uproarious cheers from a packed house of fans ready to defy the storm gods and get lost in the epic jams sure to come.They didn’t have to wait long, as guitarist Al Schnier got things started with the familiar strains of “Moth,” signaling a fun show to come. Not even halfway through the much loved tune, the band took a sideways turn and morphed into “Mar-DeMa,” with the instrumental tune giving each member a chance to purge the pent up energy and frustration from being forced to cancel shows. Schnier had a impressive evening, taking numerous fiery solos and generally sounding like he was at the top of his game.Continuing the uninterrupted flow the band seamlessly went into “Y.O.Y” before stretching out with a “Sensory Deprivation Bank” that gave another perfect platform for some long jams and intense back and forth between guitarists Chuck Garvey and Schnier. Garvey, as always, was fleet of finger and ambitious in intent with his jams, mirroring the aggressive nature of the set list itself. Closing out their lengthy opening stanza by completing the “Moth,” the band took a moment to catch their breath and soak in the appreciative cheers and applause raining down on them from the crowd.The mellow intro of “Brittle End” and its languid pace in general was offset by the fierce fretwork by Garvey during his solo, as if he was single-handedly trying to change the intent of the tune itself. Strangely, his efforts created a dichotomy that enhanced rather than distracted, and the piece was made stronger by his work. Garvey and Schnier had their usual rock solid platform built by drummer Vinnie Amico and percussionist Jim Loughlin under them to operate on. That dependability enables all of the exploration that moe. so clearly loves.For their first set closer, the band chose “Plane Crash,” a song they have played roughly three gazillion times in the past. Such familiarity famously is ripe to breed contempt, but thanks to the space their beat keepers give them the string players are free to work on keeping the tunes interesting for themselves and the audience. With things like the opening sandwich and the twists and turns “Plane Crash” took on its spiral towards set break were far reaching and provocative, thanks as always to the free wheeling, bass slapping style and raucous vocals of Rob Derhak.For a band nearing the end their third decade of existence, one could understand passions waning, but their appetite for exploration and improvisation is still strong. Still hungry after their first musical sandwich, moe. started the set with what most see as their definitive song, “Rebubula,” before wandering into the true highlight of the evening, a thirty plus minute “Recreational Chemistry.” The night’s take on the song was full of musical misdirection, with traditional roles being swapped and the tour-long positive energy permeating everything the band tried.Some of their more recent creations, “White Lightning Turpentine” and “Paper Dragon,” showed that even more recent compositions are open to change, and even the tiniest of alteration seemed to give moe. a charge that was directly felt in the vibe of the room. The Garvey penned “Four” and its droning chorus settled the crowd into an appreciative trance, setting them up perfectly for the welcome surprise of the closing of the set’s musical loop, firing right back into the waiting “Rebubula.”After the always stirring closing chorus the band excused themselves to catch their breath moe. ventured back out, calming the calamitous demands of the still hungry fans with a special two song encore. While the “New York City” was spirited enough on its own, the happy blast of energy that accompanied the churning and surging “Okayalright” had everyone singing along at the top of their lungs and dancing with the fervor of a fan base desperate to savor every last possible musical drop of joy out of the evening.In speaking with fans who have seen this entire fall run, the sense was that the band is not just firing on all cylinders, but seeming to be having a great time in the process. That assumption was certainly backed up by the evidence on display during the three hour performance, and with the abbreviated tour closer coming the next night the band, had no reason to leave anything in the locker room.It’s uplifting to see the power of music sustaining its purveyors and helping elevate them to new heights and moe. is showing no signs of slowing their endless trips around the country and the world. Here’s hoping the road never ends for the five guys from New York named moe.! See you tonight in Asheville.Setlist: moe. at Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh, NC – 10/5/16I: Moth > Mar-DeMa > Y.O.Y. > Sensory Deprivation Bank > Moth, Brittle End, Plane CrashII: Rebubula > Recreational Chemistry, Do Or Die, Paper Dragon, White Lightning Turpentine >(nh) Four > RebubulaEnc: New York City, Okayalrightlast_img read more

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Joe Russo’s Almost Dead Welcomes Nicole Atkins For Their Ryman Auditorium Debut [Setlist/Videos]

first_imgJoe Russo’s Almost Dead played at the famed Ryman Auditorium last night in Nashville, Tennessee. The Grateful Dead tribute band, continuously reinventing old tunes into new, is on the road this week, hitting Charleston’s Music Farm tonight, and two Florida appearances this weekend with the Sunshine Blues Music Festival in St. Petersburg and Boca Raton.The southern run started off strong last night, with appearances from Nicole Atkins throughout both sets. The vocalist sat in on “The Music Never Stopped” and “Dancin’ In The Streets” during set one, and returned for “The Stranger (Two Souls In Communion)” during the second set.A few clips have surfaced on the Internet with from these YouTube and Instagram users, including this snippet of “Terrapin” and more! Setlist: Joe Russo’s Almost Dead | Ryman Auditorium | Nashville, TN | 1/12/17Set 1 (7:51PM – 9:08PM)Truckin’ (SM) ->Tennessee Jed @ (TH) ->The Music Never Stopped (SM & NA)>Dancing In The Streets (SM & NA) ->Brown Eyed Women (TH)Set 2 (9:47PM – 11:30PM)Help On The Way (TH) ->Slipknot! $ ->Throwing Stones % (SM) ->Dark Star Jam ^ ->Throwing Stones Reprise (SM)The Stranger (Two Souls) (NA) >Let It Grow & (SM) ->He’s Gone (All) >Terrapin Station * (TH)ENC: GDTRFB (All with NA) ->WBYGN (Instrumental ending)@ – With unknown tease MB# – With a “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough” (Michael Jackson) Jam (Band)$ – TH broke a string% – With a Dancin Tease (TH)^ – With a GDTRFB Tease (TH)& – With a “Norwegian Wood” (The Beatles) Tease (SM) & a “Kashmir” Jam (SM & Band)* – With Ruben & Cherise Teases (MB then Band) an “Eleanor Rigby” (The Beatles) Jam (TH & Band)[photo via @doranseladams on Instagram]last_img read more

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Willie Nelson Is Forced To Cancel More Tour Dates As A Result Of Illness

first_imgAfter canceling three shows set for February 6th, 7th, and 8th at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace in Bakersfield, California, Willie Nelson has been forced to cancel more dates due to his undisclosed illness. Nelson had shows set for Friday, February 10th at the Desert Diamond Casino in Sahaurita, AZ, and Saturday, February 11th at the Route 66 Casino in Albuquerque, NM, and, unfortunately those shows have now been canceled, according to a report in Rolling Stone.The report did mention that Nelson’s team is working on re-scheduling the dates and that he is still on pace to make his show at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo on Thursday, February 16th.Our thoughts are with Willie Nelson, and we hope he makes a speedy recovery!last_img read more

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Jamiroquai Announces First U.S. Show In 13 Years

first_imgAbout a year ago in the middle of January 2017, Jamiroquai announced their triumphant return after years outside the spotlight. In March of last year, the group released Automaton, a follow up to 2010’s Rock Dust Light Star marking the band’s eighth studio album. To complement their new album, Jamiroquai embarked on a global tour in 2017, hitting Tokyo and Seoul in addition to major cities across Europe. However, North American cities were conspicuously left off of Jamiroquai’s 2017 come-back tour, leading many to hope that 2018 will see the group hitting the U.S.. After Coachella announced that Jamiroquai (April 13 & April 20) would perform at the 2018 edition of the California music festival, rumors of more North American tour dates began to grow, as promoters on the West Coast, as well as band members themselves, heavily hinted at more dates to come.Today, Jamiroquai officially announces a show at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, CA, marking the first time the group has performed their own show in the United States since November of 2005, “in what will be one of their three North American dates in 2018.” Pre-sale for the April 17th show begins this Thursday, January 18, at 6pm GMT with the password “automaton”, with general on-sale on Friday, January 19 at 6pm GMT. Ticketing information can be found here.Earlier this morning, Jamiroquai released a new Bonus Track from Automaton, “Now We Are Alone”. Check it out here!last_img read more

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Khruangbin Announces 2018 Fall Tour

first_imgKhruangbin has confirmed a new set of fall tour dates in support of their sophomore album, Con Todo El Mundo. The outing will bring the band through much of the West Coast as well as parts of the Eastern Seaboard between November 6th and December 12th.Khruangbin’s newly announced dates will put them back on the road a month after they wrap up a tour in support of soul and R&B singer Leon Bridges. That run will kick off on August 9th at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, marking the trio’s debut at the picturesque Colorado music venue.Known for their laid-back, instrumental brand of world music, Khruangbin has been slowly built up its fanbase over the past five years. The group released its debut album, The Universe Smiles Upon You, in 2015 to much critical acclaim, while their latest effort, Con Todo El Mundo, was released earlier this year. Last week, the trio put out a new music video for the the single “Cómo Me Quieres,” which appears on Con Todo El Mundo.Tickets for all of the fall tour dates (except Oakland) will go on sale on June 15th. More fall dates will be announced in the near future. Khruangbin Fall Tour Dates:August 9 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Ampitheater ^September 11 – Los Angeles, CA @ Greek Theatre ^September 12 – Santa Barbara, CA @ Santa Barbara Bowl ^September 14 – Seattle, WA @ WaMu ^September 15 – Troutdale, OR @ Edgefield ^September 16 – Vancouver, BC @ PNe Ampitheater ^September 18 – Missoula, MT @ Big Sky Brewing Company ^September 20 – Saint Paul, MN @ Palace Theatre ^September 23 – Milwaukee, WI @ BMO Harris Pavilion ^September 24 – Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom ^September 25 – Detroit, MI @ Fox Theatre ^September 27 – Toronto, ON @ TD Echo Beach ^September 28 – Montreal, QC @ Place des Arts – Wilfrid Pelletier Hall ^September 30 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore ^October 3 – Washington, DC @ Anthem ^October 4 – Boston, MA @ Agganis Arena ^October 5 – New York, NY @ Radio City Music Hall ^October 6 – New York, NY @ Radio City Music Hall ^November 6 – Phoenix AZ @ Van BurenNovember 7 – Las Vegas NV @ VinylNovember 9 – Oakland CA @ Fox TheatreNovember 10 – San Diego CA @ Observatory North ParkNovember 11 – Los Angeles CA @ The WilternNovember 17 – Portland OR @ Crystal BallroomDecember 1 – Columbus OH @ Newport Music HallDecember 8 – Brooklyn NY @ Brooklyn SteelDecember 11 – Raleigh NC @ Lincoln TheatreDecember 12 – Atlanta GA @ Variety Playhouse^ supporting Leon BridgesView All Tour Dateslast_img read more

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Tune Into Free Video & Radio Streams Of LOCKN’ Festival This Weekend

first_imgLOCKN’ Festival opened its gates on Thursday morning, and fans were eager for the festival to announce a webcast, as the beloved Arrington, VA festival has done in past years. Luckily for fans unable to attend the festival this year, LOCKN’ has confirmed multiple options to watch and listen to the weekend’s festivities, including both the main stage lineup and late-night sets.SiriusXM and Relix have offered two different options for fans. SiriusXM’s Jam On (channel 29) will be broadcasting select sets throughout the weekend, starting on Friday, August 24th, at 2 p.m. (ET). SiriusXM’s coverage will include both of Dead & Company’s headlining sets, Widespread Panic with Margo Price, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Spafford, George Clinton & P-Funk, Toots & The Maytals with Taj Mahal, Sheryl Crow, Turkuaz, and many more. SiriusXM’s full schedule for the weekend can be found below. You can listen live here.Additionally, Relix has partnered with Ben & Jerry’s and Airstream to webcast a free stream from LOCKN’. As of press time, Relix has yet to share their full webcast schedule for the weekend. Follow Relix’s YouTube channel below for LOCKN’ coverage throughout the weekend. You can tune in to the LOCKN’ webcast via www.relix.com/live.Relix LOCKN’ Festival Webcast 2018 [Video: Relix]Relix and LOCKN’ Festival are encouraging viewers and fans to register to vote. Festival organizers explain, “#TheFutureIsVoting, and your voice matters!” Register to vote by texting ‘VOTER’ to 40649. Already registered? Get location election alerts: text ‘VOTER’ to 40649. Want to help register voters at concerts? Text ‘VOLUNTEER’ to 40649.Click here to see the full weekend schedule.Lettuce (left) and Umphrey’s McGee (right) mid-transition on night 1SiriusXM’s Jam On (channel 29) Lockn’ Festival 2018 Broadcast Schedule (All Times ET)Friday, August 24th2 p.m. Ghost Light4 p.m. Turkuaz5 p.m. Moon Taxi6 p.m. Toots & The Maytals with Taj Mahal8:45 p.m. George Clinton & P-Funk10 p.m. Widespread Panic with Margo PriceSaturday, August 25th3:05 p.m. BIG Something4:05 p.m. Keller & The Keels5:05 p.m. Pigeons Playing Ping Pong6:05 pm. Foundation of Funk7:05 p.m. Tedeschi Trucks Band9:15 Dead & CompanySunday, August 26th12:30 p.m. Keller Williams’ Grateful Gospel2:15 p.m. Spafford3:15 p.m. Matisyahu4:15 p.m. Blues Traveler5:25 p.m. Sheryl Crow6:35 p.m. Tedeschi Trucks Band8:45 p.m. Dead & CompanyView Full SiriusXM Schedulelast_img read more

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The Milk Carton Kids Play Intimate “Duo” Show At Tarrytown Music Hall [Photos]

first_imgOn Sunday, The Milk Carton Kids played an intimate “duo” show at Tarrytown, NY’s Tarrytown Music Hall, in support of their recent fourth studio album, All The Things That I Did and All The Things That I Didn’t Do.Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan have been touring with a band over the past few years, so it was nice to see the stripped-down indie folk duo perform a selection of originals, as well as a special cover. The evening was highlighted by noteworthy takes on “New York” and “Michigan”, followed by a special cover of Pink Floyd‘s “Wish You Were Here” in the encore slot.Check out a beautiful gallery of photos below from The Milk Carton Kids’ Tarrytown show, courtesy of photographer Andrew Blackstein.Head to The Milk Carton Kids’ website for a full list of upcoming tour dates and ticketing information.The Milk Carton Kids | Tarrytown Music Hall | Tarrytown, NY | 2/24/2019 | Photos: Andrew Blackstein Load remaining imageslast_img read more

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Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters And Nick Mason Reunite At New York City’s Beacon Theatre [Watch]

first_imgFormer Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason and his band Saucerful of Secrets were at the Beacon Theatre in New York City on Thursday night for the latest stop on their North American tour. Unbeknownst to fans in the audience, the band, which performs Pink Floyd material from their pre-Dark Side of the Moon era, Roger Waters was also in the venue last night, and gave everyone a joyous surprise when he came out to sing on “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” towards the latter half of the set. The song originally appeared on the band’s 1968 album, A Saucerful of Secrets.Related: Forty-Two Years Later, The Message Of Pink Floyd’s “Animals” Still ResonatesThe rare reunion between former bandmates (the two’s first since 2011) began following an introduction of Waters to the stage by Mason, who banged away on a gong located behind his drumset during an ominous red-themed opening. The audience gradually erupted into applause as Waters made his way onto the stage to share a hug with his old friend. The thrilling performance of the mystic rock tune stretched out to a mesmerizing 13-minutes in length, with Waters finding his way over to the gong after finishing the song’s lyrical section. Fans can check out the video below to watch the entire reunion performance from Thursday’s show.Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets with Roger Waters – “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun”[Video: allbearsrule]Waters would reportedly return to the stage to take a bow with the band following the show’s encore.Tickets for Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets’ sold-out return to the Beacon Theatre on Friday are likely in pretty high demand on the secondary market today following last night’s thrilling guest sit-in. The band will then head to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. this weekend for the final two shows of their winter/spring tour.[H/T BrooklynVegan]last_img read more

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HBS’s Charles Christenson, 80

first_imgCharles J. “Chuck” Christenson, a specialist in managerial accounting and control, died of natural causes at his Cambridge, Mass., home at the age of 80. At the time of his death, he was the Royal Little Professor of Business Administration Emeritus at Harvard Business School (HBS).A member of the active HBS faculty for almost 40 years, Christenson had a distinguished career as an innovator, teacher, and scholar. His research focused on organizations as learning systems, corporate adaptability, and the applications of social sciences to business.“He had a deep intelligence and broad training in the philosophy of science, which encompasses the social, physical, and biological sciences and examines ‘how we know what we know,’” said Baker Foundation Professor Robert S. Kaplan. “Most accounting scholars are familiar with accounting and maybe economics, but Chuck pulled from diverse disciplines to understand management behavior.”He taught the first-year M.B.A. courses in managerial economics and control. He also taught in the Owner/President Management Program for executives and a doctoral seminar on the theory and development of complex systems. He is the author of several books.“Chuck was a brilliant, gifted man, who brought a rigor and ambition to his thinking about the nature of organizations and how you derive truth from theory,” said Regina E. Herzlinger, the Nancy R. McPherson Professor of Business Administration and a former student of Christenson’s.Born on Sept. 25, 1930, in Chicago, Christenson made his first scholarly contribution at the age of only 22. He graduated from Cornell in 1952 and graduated from HBS with high distinction as a Baker Scholar in 1954.A private memorial service will be held in Chicago. Donations in his memory may be sent to Boston Baroque, 68 Leonard Street, Belmont, Mass., 02478.To read the full obituary.last_img read more

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Wyss Institute project targets sepsis

first_imgThe Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard has been awarded a $12.3 million, four-year grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a treatment for sepsis, a commonly fatal bloodstream infection. Sepsis is a major cause of injury and death among combat-injured soldiers in the field, as well as patients in hospital intensive care units.The proposed treatment would involve a miniaturized, dialysislike device that could rapidly clear the blood of a wide range of pathogens, much as a living human spleen does, without removing normal blood cells, proteins, fluids, or electrolytes. This novel “Spleen-on-a-Chip” would be portable, self-contained, and easily inserted into the peripheral blood vessels of a septic patient or soldier.The award, which was announced Sept. 28, is part of DARPA’s Dialysis Like Therapeutics (DLT) program, which seeks to develop ways to dramatically decrease the morbidity and mortality of sepsis. Worldwide, more than 18 million cases of sepsis are reported every year, with more than 6 million resulting in death.“We are very proud to partner with DARPA to pursue a research effort that could potentially transform how we treat patients with sepsis and save lives by quickly cleansing blood free of pathogens while simultaneously treating with antibiotics,” says Donald Ingber, Wyss Institute founding director and principal investigator on the grant. “This is a tremendous example of how the Wyss Institute works to bring together outstanding faculty members, expert technical staff, interdisciplinary resources, novel technologies, and clinical partner institutions, such as Children’s Hospital Boston, to bear on critical medical problems.”The project also includes George Church, a Wyss core faculty member and professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School; Joanna Aizenberg, a Wyss core faculty member and Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Materials Science at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor at the Radcliffe Institute; and Michael Super, a member of the Wyss Advanced Technology Team, as key co-investigators.Researchers plan to incorporate several of the Wyss Institute’s novel technologies in the proposed sepsis dialysis device. The sepsis therapeutic device will leverage recent Wyss Institute advances in organ-on-chip technologies in which key microstructural features of complex organs, such as the spleen, are replicated in microfluidic circuits using microfabrication techniques.Also key to the technology is the use of magnetic nano- and micro-particles coated with a human opsonin — a key component of the body’s innate immune response — that will remove pathogens from flowing human blood using magnetic forces. The opsonin is being genetically engineered to improve its already broad pathogen-binding capacity using directed evolution strategies developed at the institute.In addition, the sepsis therapeutic device will incorporate a “super” slippery surface that was developed by institute researchers as a novel material to prevent the adhesion of ice, crude oil, or even dirt. This technology, which is modeled after the slippery surfaces of carnivorous plants that trap insects sliding into the digestive juices of the plant, will be modified to prevent blood clot formation so that patients will not need to be treated with anticoagulants, such as heparin, when attached to the sepsis therapeutic device.The Wyss Institute is a division of Harvard University. Operating in collaboration with Harvard Schools, Harvard-affiliated hospitals, Boston University, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School, the Wyss Institute conducts broad interdisciplinary research into the principles that living systems use to build, control, and manufacture, and applies these insights to develop novel materials and devices in areas as diverse as architecture, medicine, robotics, manufacturing, and the environment.last_img read more

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Talent on the sidelines

first_imgEvery year on May 1, high-achieving high school seniors around the country face the final deadline for college commitment. For many middle- and upper-middle-class students, the date marks the end of standardized-test taking, application essay writing, campus visits, and financial aid planning — the complex process otherwise known as the college admissions game.This spring, the conversation about the ever-more-fraught competition for a spot in one of America’s top universities has shifted to an often-overlooked group, thanks to research by Christopher Avery, Roy E. Larsen Professor of Public Policy and Management at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS). If admission to elite colleges is a game, Avery and his longtime colleague Caroline Hoxby found, it’s one that low-income students with high potential are too often sitting out.In a National Bureau of Economic Research paper presented in March, Avery and Hoxby, an economist at Stanford University, reported that promising but poor high school students (those who scored in the top 10 percent among SAT takers and whose families make $41,472 a year or less) often do not apply to any selective universities — despite the fact that those colleges, on average, would be more affordable than less-selective schools thanks to their robust financial aid policies.“These low-income students’ application behavior differs greatly from that of their high-income counterparts who have similar achievement,” they wrote. “The latter group generally follows the advice to apply to a few ‘par’ colleges, a few ‘reach’ colleges, and a couple of ‘safety’ schools.”In short, Avery and Hoxby wrote, low-income high performers “exhibit behavior that is typical of students of their income rather than typical of students of their achievement.”The paper spurred a wave of media coverage, much of it critical of the selective colleges Avery and Hoxby studied. If poor students weren’t applying to good schools, the logic went, then it must be the fault of those colleges for not trying hard enough to attract them. In some corners, their work was taken as a sign that the country’s higher education system was broken, or as evidence that growing wealth inequality was stifling opportunity for young people at the bottom of the economic ladder.“I can see why some people take the paper that way, but I don’t see it that way,” Avery said. “We know the colleges are trying really hard to attract these students, but they’re facing a problem that is systematically very challenging. This problem is too large for a handful of selective colleges to solve on their own.”High-achieving, low-income students often live far from major urban centers and from areas with high concentrations of colleges, such as the East Coast, he said. Colleges can still reach students through mailings, “but these students are getting piles and piles of brochures,” Avery said. “They may have heard of Harvard, but there are lots of other great colleges that they haven’t heard of, and they can’t distinguish within this pile where to apply.”Compounding the issue, he said, is the fact that many of these students are the first in their families who plan to go to college. Without any insider knowledge of selective colleges from friends or family members, low-income, geographically isolated students often don’t know what their options are, Avery said — a theme that has appeared in his research on college admission over the past two decades.Avery, who attended Harvard College and received his doctorate at Stanford, hadn’t intended to study higher education when he joined the HKS faculty in 1993.“I was trained in game theory, which is about strategic interactions and incentives,” he said. “I realized the college admissions system had evolved into a situation where there was a lot of strategy involved.”At HKS, Avery began working with a mid-career student, Andrew Fairbanks, whose interest in the economics of college admissions had been sparked by his time as an admissions officer at Wesleyan University. In 2003, with co-author Richard Zeckhauser, HKS’s Frank P. Ramsey Professor of Political Economy, Avery and Fairbanks published “The Early Admissions Game,” the first academic book to fully explore the growing practice of early admission.After studying half a million applications to 14 elite colleges, the authors found, somewhat controversially, that applying early gave students a documentable advantage over peers who applied by “regular decision” deadlines.“We were estimating that at a lot of the colleges we studied, applying early was the same as increasing your SAT score by 100 points,” Avery said. More important, he added, “was that experienced college counselors at private schools already knew this. In a sense, it wasn’t a level playing field.”Since the book’s publication in 2004, many colleges have stepped up their efforts to recruit students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds by raising awareness of their early decision and financial aid programs. Harvard, with its Financial Aid Initiative, was at the forefront of the movement, Avery said.Still, colleges and students alike have opportunities to boost the numbers, he said. Selective colleges that lack broad name recognition can tap alumni to reach out to high school students in isolated towns where admissions officers can’t afford to travel. Low-income students can request application fee waivers, allowing them to apply to several more colleges than they otherwise would and to then compare their financial aid packages.“It’s like looking at a couple of houses,” Avery said. “You may need more than one option.”Working with the Strategic Data Project at Harvard’s Center for Education Policy Research, Avery advises fellows who analyze data for some of the nation’s largest public school districts. Through the project, he has become more involved in tracking students of all achievement levels as they move from high school into college — or not.“I now see that there are a lot of students who could go to good colleges but who don’t go to college at all,” he said. One of the Strategic Data Project’s goals, he said, is to help school districts track former students to see how many actually pursue higher education — instead of relying on self-reported plans — and to develop interventions to help graduating students follow through on their college goals.Collaborating with researchers from across Harvard, from the Graduate School of Education (GSE) to the Economics Department, has broadened his work over the years, he said.“There’s a growing community here of people who are really dedicated to these problems,” he said. “We’re trying to figure out what we as researchers can do to lower the barriers that have been keeping talented people from making it to college and graduating from college.”last_img read more

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Soledad O’Brien Class Day | Harvard Commencement 2013

first_imgEmmy-winning journalist and Harvard graduate Soledad O’Brien addresses graduating seniors at Harvard’s Senior Class Day ceremony on May 29, 2013.last_img

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Jesse Berlin to receive Lagakos Award

first_imgThe Harvard Department of Biostatistics has announced that Jesse Berlin will be this year’s recipient of the annual Lagakos Distinguished Alumni Award. Berlin is the vice president of epidemiology at Janssen Research & Development LLC. He will be presented with the award and will deliver a lecture on Oct. 31, preceding the kickoff of the 2013 HSPH Alumni Weekend and the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in Boston.The Lagakos Distinguished Alum award is given in recognition of Berlin’s achievements in education, scientific collaboration, and statistical methodology as well as his leadership in the pharmaceutical industry.For more information.last_img read more

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Something doesn’t smell right

first_imgFor most animals, the scent of rotting meat is powerfully repulsive. But for others, such as carrion-feeding vultures and insects, it’s a scent that can be just as powerfully attractive.The question of why some animals are repelled and others attracted to a particular scent, scientists say, gets at one of the most basic and poorly understood mysteries in neuroscience: How does the brain encode likes and dislikes?Harvard scientists say they’re closer to unraveling that question with the discovery of the first receptors in any species evolved to detect cadaverine and, two of the chemical byproducts responsible for the distinctive — and to most creatures repulsive — smell of rotting flesh. The study is described in a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.“This is the first time we’ve identified a receptor for these chemicals,” said Associate Professor of Cell Biology Stephen Liberles, a senior author of the paper. “The larger question we’re interested in is: What does it mean that something is an aversive or attractive odor? How are likes and dislikes encoded in the brain? Understanding the receptors that respond to those cues could give us a powerful inroad to understanding that.”Graduate School of Arts and Sciences student Zecai Liang with Liberles in his lab. Liberles is trying to unravel the scent question: How are likes and dislikes encoded in the brain?Though researchers have long understood that olfaction involves receptors, which detect odors and in turn activate brain neurons, Liberles, together with Nobel laureate Linda Buck, recently discovered a second family of receptors, dubbed trace amine-associated receptors, or TAARs.Though fewer in number than other odorant receptors — mice, for example, have 15, versus more than 1,000 odorant receptors, while humans have 350 receptors and just six TAARs — Liberles said the functions of the TAARs remained largely unknown.“We knew they were olfactory receptors, but we didn’t know what ligands might activate them,” Liberles said of the TAARs. “We know in the taste system there are different families of receptors for bitter and sweet, so we thought the TAARs might be doing something specific in olfaction.”To understand how the TAARs function, researchers sought to identify scents that would activate them, hoping they might offer clues into why a second olfactory system evolved. In recent years, scientists working in Liberles’ lab identified odors that activated six TAARs in mice and seven in rats, nearly all of which were highly aversive.To check TAARs in fish, Liberles’ team worked with colleagues in Germany to implant olfactory receptors in cell cultures and test them against hundreds of possible odorants, hoping to identify which ones activated the receptor.What the researchers discovered, Liberles said, was that one particular receptor appeared to act as a sensor for diamines — a class of chemicals that include cadaverine and putrescine — nearly all of which are notoriously foul-smelling. Later tests using live zebrafish showed that when researchers marked part of a fish tank with the scent of rotting fish, the fish were highly likely to avoid the area.“What’s also interesting is that this odor — like the predator odor we identified in mice — was aversive the very first time the animal encountered it,” Liberles said. “That suggests the aversion is innate — it’s not learned — and that it involves genetic circuits that are genetically predetermined, that exist, dormant, in the animal waiting for it to encounter the odor.“You might like the smell of baking cookies, but it’s only because you’ve learned to associate it with their taste, or the sugar rush you get from eating them,” he continued. “But this aversion is there from birth. That suggests there is some developmental mechanism underlying these circuits. The question is, what is that?”Though researchers have thus far only shown that the TAARs are activated by amines, Liberles said it’s unlikely that is their only role in olfaction.“We’ve been hunting for a unified theme for what the TAARs might be doing,” he said. “One model is that they’re amine receptors, and another is that they’re all encoding for aversion. I don’t think either is quite correct. I think they may have started as amine receptors, but they have since evolved to do other things.”Understanding how odorants like cadaverine and putrescine work in the olfactory system could also shed light on why some scents — such as rotting meat — repel some creatures, but attract others.“Species-specific behavioral responses suggest that somehow the neural circuits are changing from species to species,” Liberles said. “For instance, tests in our lab have shown that trimethylamine is attractive to mice, but highly aversive to rats. Something similar might be happening with cadaverine.“How does that happen? It’s not known,” he continued. “We don’t understand, as a field, how aversive and attractive odors are differentially processed … but identifying the receptor gives us a handle on the neural circuits that are involved. Now that we have the receptor, we can ask basic questions about aversion and attraction circuitry in general. From there, we can begin to understand how attractive and aversive stimuli are differentially encoded, and cadaverine is about as aversive as you can get.” <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaC2P7IU8dU” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://img.youtube.com/vi/oaC2P7IU8dU/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a>last_img read more

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Malaria: Down but not out

first_imgMalaria is like a metal spring compressed by the massive effort to suppress it, one analyst said. Authorities have to finish the fight against the disease or it will rapidly uncoil and roar back, as it did after the failure of 1950s-era eradication efforts.“If we relax our efforts, even for a moment, this thing will come back and be worse than before,” said Sonia Shah, a science journalist and author of the 2010 history of malaria, “The Fever.”Shah acknowledged that malaria is a difficult opponent, partly because it is so widespread — with 207,000,000 cases in 2012 and 627,000 deaths — partly because its biggest impact is in parts of the world with few resources, partly because traditional healers are often the first to treat sufferers, and partly because many people in malaria-endemic countries have already gotten the disease so often they can be blasé about it.Shah compared it to driving a car in this country: Many people die in car accidents, but people drive so much that most don’t worry about the dangers when they hop behind the wheel. That perception that malaria is low-risk is partly due to familiarity, but also because many adults who have had repeated cases have developed some immunity to it, so their cases are relatively mild.Shah was part of a panel that discussed malaria on Monday at the Barker Center’s Fong Auditorium. The event, “In Our Blood: Challenging Millennials to End Malaria,” was sponsored by the Harvard Undergraduate Global Health Forum, along with the Harvard Defeating Malaria Initiative. It featured Shah, Kate Otto, a global health consultant with the World Bank, and John Brownstein, associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Harvard-affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital. It was moderated by Maggie Koerth-Baker, a science journalist and Nieman Fellow at Harvard this year.Panelists questioned whether today’s strategies are most effective at the community level, or whether the success of certain strategies in attracting funding may make them more popular than others that might be just as effective. Shah said that the final eradication of malaria in the United States is often attributed to the discovery of the pesticide DDT, but malaria here was actually on the decline before DDT came on the scene. It was put on the run by practices such as draining wetlands, upgrading housing, and paving dirt roads, where standing water provided potential breeding sites for mosquitoes.Panelists said institutional failures have hampered efforts to fight malaria and resulted in rising drug resistance in the parasite, widespread counterfeiting of malaria drugs, and insecticide resistance in the mosquito that delivers the parasite. They also said solutions must reflect local concerns and values to be effective.But there have been positive developments. Recent renewed efforts have pumped billions of dollars into the fight against the disease at a time when technology has provided what Otto called “one of the greatest discoveries of the 21st century” — the cell phone. The communications revolution in the developing world has led to drastic changes in just the past five years, Otto said, providing new ways to communicate, to reach patients and providers, to order supplies, and to perform other functions that previously weren’t easily possible. Today, Otto said, she can reach someone in a rural Ethiopian village as quickly as she can a colleague down the hall, a change that provides immense opportunity.Otto urged students eager to join the fight against disease to consider whether their efforts are directed in areas that are truly useful, or instead are in areas that are appealing because they offer a quick result.“When we aim to do good in the world, we look at what it is that we can do and achieve rather than what is really needed,” Otto said. “We’re encouraged to move quickly and think quickly, to move at the speed of technology.”Brownstein added, however, that technological innovations are still needed in public health and that there are many areas where a small improvement can make a difference, even through “a little chunk at a time.”Bianca Mulaney, co-president of Harvard Undergraduate Global Health Forum, said she hoped the event would provide insights beyond just malaria.“We’re hoping this discussion is not relevant only to malaria but to all global health issues,” Mulaney said.last_img read more

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To improve bicycle safety, crash reports need to capture more data

first_imgHarvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers are calling upon police in all states to improve their reporting of crashes involving vehicles and bicycles, according to a new study. Currently, details on crashes are handwritten by police on paper and there are few bicycle-relevant codes. The researchers are calling for police to use electronic tablets that would include more options to gather bicycle-specific data, such as drawings of the scene and additional codes that could indicate, for example, if the bicyclist was riding inside a painted bike lane and ran into a driver’s open car door. This detailed information about each vehicle/bicycle crash could be automatically uploaded into spreadsheets for later analysis. Analysis, especially when combined with big data, could then guide the building of safer bicycle environments, encouraging more people to cycle, the authors said.The study was published online April 2, 2015 in Injury Prevention.“Self-driving cars have been invented and apps tell cyclists of approaching vehicles but the vehicle/bicycle crash details are still hand written and drawn on the police crash report template, making crash analysis labor-intensive. To equal other technological advancements and improve the safety of bicyclists, multiple bicycle-crash-scene codes should be created for immediate data entry,” said co-author Anne Lusk, research scientist in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard Chan. Read Full Storylast_img read more

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Harvard fencer heads for Olympics

first_img Touché: Harvard fencing “He had an immediate impact on the program right from Day One,” said Brand, who is in his 16th year with the Harvard program and who has coached three other Harvard Olympic fencers, including Emily Cross ’09, a silver medalist with the U.S. women’s foil fencing team at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing. Not only was Dershwitz “an excellent individual fencer,” said Brand, “but he was an excellent team person, which is sometimes very difficult to find in an individual sport like fencing.”Dershwitz honed his drive and devotion after taking up the sport at age 9, eager to emulate his older brother, Philip, whose regular routs and hard hits brought him to tears but strengthened his resolve. “[Philip] really pushed me to be better; he was a great role model,” said Dershwitz. “He also made me want to push myself even harder.”As Dershwitz excelled with his sword, other sports fell away. In high school he committed himself exclusively to fencing, traveling to competitions and working with his coach to “to compete at a higher level.” The commitment paid off. In 2015 he won gold at the Junior World Championship in the saber, as well as gold at the Pan American Championships. He sealed his spot on the Olympic team with another gold medal finish at the Grand Prix in Seoul in March, one of a series of fencing’s senior world cup events.“I am really happy to be able to represent my county and my school,” said 20-year-old Eli Dershwitz. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff PhotographerCompetitive fencing includes the foil, the épée, and the saber. Each comes with its own style and rules. Saber fencing involves the smallest of the three blades. Unlike épée or foil fencers, saber fencers can use the edge as well as the tip of their weapons to score points or “touches” against their opponents. The target area for the saber is the body above the waist, excluding the hands. The winner of a match is the fencer who scores 15 points or who has the most points when the three-minute match expires. Saber fencing is considered the most aggressive of the three weapon styles, with quick cutting and slashing motions and explosive movements that are key to victory.“It’s a lot faster-paced — fast reactions, fast touches, a lot of sprints,” said Dershwitz, who loves the saber’s mix of speed and complexity. “That always got to me, the amount of physical and mental ability it took at the same time, to be able to be explosive but also to be able to react quickly to what your opponent was doing.”These days a typical Olympic workout for Dershwitz includes a morning routine of weights, endurance training, and sprints, one-on-one training with his coach in the afternoon, and 2½ hours of fencing at night. When he wants to relax, the Sherborn, Mass., native often heads back to Cambridge to train or just kick back with friends. “Living so close to Harvard and being so close to all my friends and roommates from last year, it’s definitely been a big support.”Many of Dershwitz’s Crimson teammates will travel to Rio to watch him compete, including Duncan O’Brien ’16, who trained at the same fencing club where he watched Dershwitz blossom into “an unbelievable talent.” He would arrive early to jog, stretch, and practice his footwork, and he “wanted to fence until the coach turned the lights off … he inspired everyone,” recalled O’Brien, who encouraged Dershwitz to apply to Harvard.Between schoolwork and fencing for Harvard and in international competitions, freshman year was “very hectic,” said Dershwitz. He credits his family and friends with helping him through and supporting his Olympic dream. The final step is to just do his best in Brazil.“I want to look back and say I gave it everything I had … and hopefully,” he said, “I come back with a medal.”The Olympic men’s saber competition will be lived streamed at nbcolympics.com. There’s “no crying in baseball,” actor Tom Hanks famously quipped in the 1992 film “A League of Their Own,” but some fencers have been known to shed a tear. Just ask Eli Dershwitz.The Harvard undergraduate admits he has “teared up” while watching Team USA during the last three Olympic opening ceremonies. There’s a good chance he’ll be emotional again when the games kick off in Brazil next month, but this time he’ll be in the procession.Tears of joy could flow for the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic men’s fencing team during the competition as well. As the top-ranked saber fencer in the United States and current tie for 11th in the world, Dershwitz, 20, will begin his quest for a medal on Aug. 10 at the Carioca Arena 3 in Rio de Janeiro.“A lot of things have fallen into place; a lot people have helped me along the way, and I am really happy to be able to represent my country and my school this summer,” said Dershwitz, a rising sophomore who fenced for the Crimson as a freshman before taking a year off to train in his sport full-time. “I am just looking forward to putting all the hard work and dedication, all the hours of blood, sweat, and tears over the years … into one great tournament.”For many participants, those years of training culminate in a tournament that ends in a flash. Fencing matches last a maximum of three minutes, but their lightning-fast pace means bouts are often decided in 60 seconds, sometimes fewer.“You prepare yourself for four, eight, 12 years to get this one shot at the Olympic Games … and in a lot of cases you end up fencing that one match and you’re out,” said Harvard’s head fencing coach, Peter Brand, who recruited Dershwitz. The single-elimination Olympic saber competition will begin with 32 competitors and end with just two thrusting and slashing along the piste, or fencing strip, in pursuit of the gold.Eli Dershwitz is the No. 1 ranked saber fencer in the U.S., and currently tied for 11th in the world. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff PhotographerBrand calls Dershwitz the kind of fencer you see “once maybe every 100 years,” and predicts he has a good shot at the podium.“Eli is an absolute phenom. I’ve never seen anything like it before.”Experts agree it’s unusual for such a young fencer to succeed in the senior ranks; most who excel at the sport typically peak in their late 20s. Dedication, talent, and hard work have all fueled Dershwitz’s swift success, said Brand, but it’s his mental toughness that sets him apart.“That’s something you can’t teach, and he’s just wired that way,” said Brand. “He does not get rattled.”Dershwitz’s composure was key during the Crimson’s 2014-15 season, when he helped the men’s team lift the Ivy League title. He performed as both a fencer and coach, competing and leading footwork sessions during practice for his fellow fencers.center_img Relatedlast_img read more

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Preserving a culture, one speaker at a time

first_imgThousands of indigenous languages are in danger of disappearing before the end of the century, including most of those spoken in North America, according to a report from UNESCO. This is part one of a two-part series of discussions with Native American language preservationists and their efforts to revive their ancestral tongues.When Richard Grounds began the Euchee/Yuchi Language Project (ELP) in 1996, it was no light undertaking. Grounds wanted nothing less than to prevent his tribe’s cultural extinction, and he knew he must start with its words.“We are an original people,” he said. “Our elders tell us our language is a gift from the Creator, and it is our special responsibility to care for that gift and pass it on to our children.”The Yuchi people, also known as the Coyaha, traditionally inhabited eastern Tennessee, though their origins remain a mystery and their language is a linguistic isolate that does not resemble any other Native American tongue. During the 17th century the Yuchi moved south, and in the 1800s they were forcibly relocated to Oklahoma, currently one of the worst regions for language loss. A concerted assimilation effort after World War II saw thousands of Native American children enrolled in boarding schools where they were only allowed to speak English, and could be punished for using their native languages. Like many indigenous peoples, the Yuchi came close to losing their language in a single generation.Grounds, who delivered the 2015 Greeley Lecture at Harvard Divinity School and returned this year to participate in the School’s Native American Speaker Series, does not believe this was unintentional. For centuries, the U.S. government, academics, and settlers told Native American tribes that their culture was on the brink of extinction, and treated them accordingly. Yet it only became a reality when they were prevented from learning their languages.Grounds at the Yuchi Knowledge Bowl, featuring “Yuchi Einstein” who spreads the message to the community that they are as smart as he is if they can speak their language. Courtesy of the Euchee/Yuchi Language ProjectBefore the first Europeans came to the Americas, thousands of native languages were spoken across the continent. Today only about 150 remain, and three out of four are spoken exclusively by people born before World War II. When Grounds began his program there were fewer than two dozen fluent, first-language speakers of Yuchi, and all of them were grandparents of non-speakers. Only three remain, each over 90 years old.Today’s parents grew up hearing their grandparents speak Yuchi, said Grounds, but did not learn or pass it on to their children. “What we’re fighting against is a sort of internalized colonialism. People have been anaesthetized to the value of their language.”Growing up, Grounds remembers his grandmother speaking Yuchi to him and his siblings, but as children of non-speakers, they never picked it up. “We had a feel for the language, maybe a few words and phrases, but we were never fluent,” he said. Grounds went on to learn several languages, passing graduate proficiency exams in French, German, Greek, and Hebrew, “But there was no funding to learn the language of my grandmother. It wasn’t important on the scale of European intellectual history.”Grounds sought out elders and learned Yuchi from them, but he knew that few of his tribespeople would have the privilege, time, and energy to do the same. With the help of the elders and concerned Yuchis, Grounds founded the ELP as a nonprofit to pay for student transportation and class materials. But because the Yuchi are not a federally recognized tribe, there is little reliable funding available to the program. It relies heavily on grants and donations.Centered around the Yuchi House — “more or less a hothouse for growing and teaching the language,” Grounds said — the ELP provides immersion classes for Yuchi children of all grades, free of charge. Community classes for curious adults are also offered.“Maybe they spoke as kids and they want to pick it back up now that they’re adults, but they’re not ideal candidates,” Grounds said of the adult students. “The ideal situation is to get to them before they learn English.”The sense of hope in the Yuchi community is matched only by the sense of urgency. Not only have nearly all their native-speaking elders died, but none of those who remain live particularly close to each other. Simply getting them to and from classes can take more time than the classes themselves, Grounds said.Elder Maxine Wildcat Barnett teaches the children a story about shat’anA (fox) during an immersion class. Courtesy of the Euchee/Yuchi Language ProjectThe program has been able to make a few adults fluent enough to teach the roughly 60 enrolled children, but the gap between the last generation of first-language speakers and the next is so large that the program will be dependent on second-language speakers for many years to come.To make matters worse, Yuchi is a notoriously difficult language to learn. It has no known relative to compare with; it is agglutinative, so an entire sentence can be contained in one verb; glottal stops are integral, drastically changing the meaning of words that sound homonymic to an untrained ear; it is not only gendered but has different registers for men and women, and different pronouns for tribespeople and non-Yuchis.Like many Native American languages, Yuchi originally had no orthography, or standard written language. Linguists in the 20th century attempted to decode the language, but were unsuccessful until a phonetic transliteration was created in the 1970s. Grounds designed the orthography specifically as a teaching aid — the native-speaking elders do not use it outside of the classroom — knowing that there was little room for phonetic ambiguity.“The underlying concept of the writing system was to use something that would require minimum stretch for kids who were just learning to read. We had a linguist come in and pretty heavy-handedly insist on a direct IPA [International Phonetic Alphabet] system,” he said. But it would have meant that the kids would be learning that the letter E sounds like “eel��� at public school but “hey” at Yuchi House. “For the sake of young learners, we needed to minimize the shift from their already nascent expectations, [so] we went with one symbol/one sound.”He also wanted it to be easily typed, which is how the (@) symbol found its way into the Yuchi alphabet. Written Yuchi uses capital and lowercase letters to differentiate between long and short vowels, respectively, but there was still an odd sound out. In IPA, the A sound in words like “bat” or “cap” is represented by a grapheme called “ash” (æ). Æ is an official letter in a few North Germanic languages, and was used in most English-speaking countries until the 19th century, but fell out of favor when it was omitted from the first typewriter keyboards for space.Students read a prayer in Yuchi. Courtesy of the Euchee/Yuchi Language ProjectNeeding a symbol to represent the æ sound, Grounds looked at his keyboard and realized the answer was literally under his nose. It even kept with his desire to keep the letters intuitive. What better letter to signify the A sound in “at” than the symbol that means “at”?“It turned out to be very functional,” said Grounds. “Now kids are texting each other in the language.”The result of these efforts may seem modest, Grounds concedes, with the number of fluent Yuchi speakers up to just 16, but the real successes are less quantitative. In addition to daily after-school classes for children in grammar school, the ELP has started working with toddlers to create a new generation that speaks Yuchi before learning English. Grounds’ own grandson is the first child raised speaking only Yuchi in nearly 70 years.“The cultural health of our community is measured by the status of our language. It really matters in terms of our young people growing up as confident, healthy, self-fulfilled people who are able to succeed in life. It matters that they be grounded in their culture and their traditions, and nothing does that like knowing the language and being able to speak to the elders,” Grounds said.“We literally think of it as keeping the world spinning.”last_img read more

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Great War left an enduring legacy across Harvard

first_img Additional Veterans Day events Harvard Law School Thursday, 4 p.m. — Disabled American Veterans Distinguished Speaker Series: Chief Judge Robert N. Davis, U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, WCC 2036 Milstein East B, Harvard Law School. Harvard Graduate School of Education Thursday, 2-3 p.m. — Veterans and Servicemembers Virtual Information Session. Prospective students will have a chance hear from and ask questions of an admission liaison and financial aid representative in addition to current HGSE students who are veterans and servicemembers. Register online to receive a login: https://apply.gse.harvard.edu/register/military2018 U.S. Army Cpl. Arthur Briggs Church, 32, was killed on a French battlefield during an attack on Germany’s fortified Hindenburg Line on Sept. 28, 1918.Marine Lt. Carleton Burr, 26, was leading his men in an advance on the battlefields of Picardie, France, when he was struck and killed by shrapnel on Sept. 20, 1918.And in the skies over Chamery, France, on Bastille Day 1918, Lt. Quentin Roosevelt, the 20-year-old son of President Theodore Roosevelt, was shot down and killed in a dogfight with a flock of German planes.Church, Burr, and Roosevelt, who all died in the final months of World War I, are just three of the 372 students, alumni and faculty whose names are engraved on the granite walls of the Memorial Room in Harvard’s Memorial Church.The Great War left an enduring legacy on the Harvard campus. The Memorial Church, its bell, and the Memorial Room are all testaments to the sense of loss the University community felt in its wake.“The Memorial Room commemorates the Harvard men who died in World War I, and to whom the church is dedicated,” said Edward Elwyn Jones, Gund University organist and choirmaster. “The Memorial Church holds such a prominent place on Harvard’s campus, and it is first a church dedicated to peace, but also to sacrifice. I think it is wonderful for us, especially this year, to be mindful of that sacrifice.”,Over the next several weeks, Memorial Church will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the war with a series of performances featuring the music and composers of the era. The performances, which will all take place in the church sanctuary, are free and open to the public.Friday, noon — Uppsala University Chamber Ensemble musicians and French pianist Paul André Bempéchat present a concert of chamber music by Swedish romantic composers, including Wilhelm Peterson-Berger, Dag Wirén, André Chini, Christer Hermansson, and Gunnar de Frumerie.Saturday, 7:30 p.m. — Massachusetts vocalists Deborah Selig and David McFerrin and pianist Clifton J. Nobel present “Angel Spirits: Music of World War I.”Sunday, 4 p.m. — Harvard University Choir Concert, “Remembering,” featuring the music of Lili Boulanger and Charles Hubert Hastings Parry and the U.S. premiere of a new choral piece, “In Flanders Fields,” by Gareth Treseder.Friday, 9 a.m.‒noon; Saturday, 8 a.m.‒7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m.‒4 p.m. — Exhibition of the wartime etchings of Alphege Brewer.Dec 4, 8 p.m. — The Tactus Ensemble, “Songs of Farewell.”The concerts offer a teaching moment about the war’s impact. The carnage decimated a generation, including its artists. The English composer Parry, for example, lost many of his former students, Jones said.“I talk a certain amount to our students about the history of the war itself, but also the artistic endeavors and reactions to the war,” he said. “Many artists and musicians fought during the war and many lost their lives. But the ones who were left behind were deeply affected by it. Parry’s reactions to the war are very visceral and we hear that in the music.” That deep sense of loss and sacrifice also permeates the Memorial Church, which was dedicated in 1932 to honor those in the Harvard community killed in World War I.Inscribed at the top of the wall of the Memorial Room are the words of Harvard President A. Lawrence Lowell, who also donated the church’s bell: “While a bright future beckoned, they freely gave their lives and fondest hopes for us and our allies that we might learn from them courage in peace to spend our lives making a better world for others.”The Memorial Church recognizes the service and sacrifice of all Harvard veterans, especially during Veterans Day weekend. The walls of the sanctuary are dedicated to more than 1,000 members of the Harvard community who died in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.,The Rev. Jonathan L. Walton, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church, said every time he steps into the church sanctuary and the Memorial Room he is reminded of the words of the Rev. Phillips Brooks, the longtime rector of Boston’s Trinity Church and namesake of Harvard’s Phillips Brooks House.“‘How carefully most men creep into nameless graves, when occasionally one or two forget themselves into immortality,’ Brooks wrote,” Walton said. “Etched on the walls are the names of men and women who were able to live a life that was worth living because they found a cause and a purpose greater than themselves. We continue to honor their service, their sacrifice, and their memory.”On Sunday, members of Harvard ROTC will speak at the Faith & Life Forum at 9:30 a.m. in the Buttrick Room. The Commemoration of Benefactors and of the War Dead will take place during the Sunday Service beginning at 11 a.m. Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval L. Patrick will preach. The church will also be open on Veterans Day from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Morning Prayers, which begin at 8:30 a.m., will feature U.S. Army veteran Richard Martinez ’21.last_img read more

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Finding rhythm in reverence

first_img The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news. This is one in a series of profiles showcasing some of Harvard’s stellar graduates.If one mission of a minister is to bring people together, Aric Bernard Flemming Jr., M.Div. ’19, was born to the role. Only, perhaps not precisely in the way he or his family envisioned.The son and grandson of pastors, Flemming began preaching in his grandfather’s Atlanta church during his freshman year at Morehouse College. Flemming’s father, for whom he was named, had been poised to take up the leadership of the church when he was killed by a drunk driver in October of 1993. His son was born five months later and, as he finishes his degree, seems destined to take up the family mantle.Flemming’s pastoral agenda is, thus, personal as well as professional, but, for a while at least, he has other plans. “For a long time, I have wanted to do music,” says Flemming, who both sings and composes. “But growing up, there was always a disconnect between being able to do music and do ministry,” he explains about his grandfather’s church, “If you were a preacher, you couldn’t sing, and if you were a singer, you couldn’t preach.”Flemming was musically active through high school, singing with a rap group that released an EP. When he went to college, however, he believed he had to put away such dreams. In their place, he looked for ways to turn individuals into reverent communities. At Morehouse, he befriended other young preachers with whom he practiced honing his ministerial skills.“Before I knew it, I was ready to actually develop a whole sermon,” says Flemming. “I had them inside of me. My grandfather knew it the entire time.”Flemming’s skill and determination flourished at Harvard Divinity School, in terms of both secular and spiritual leadership: he has served as vice president of the Harvard University Graduate Council and as a seminarian. When a group of students sought a black worship service, he helped create the Black Student Ministry, which is now sponsored by the Memorial Church. He cited the diversity of the Harvard community as helping him grow spiritually as well as intellectually: “Moving away from exclusive practices and seeing value in everybody, in the sacred dignity of every human being.” As Commencement approached, he talked about upcoming plans to facilitate a BGLTQ Bible study with the BGLTQ office.“Students are spiritually hungry,” he says, reflecting on his experience as a proctor and in the Office of Student Life. “I’ve seen students in need of spiritual spaces where they can engage.”Flemming had originally intended to continue this work by pursuing a doctorate. When he decided on a master’s, however, he realized he had a year to himself. Committed to another season as a proctor in Wigglesworth Hall, he is giving himself over to what he calls his “year of creativity.”“I’m just going to pour myself into my art and not really worry about the future,” he says. “Performing, recording, writing — just everything I can get my hands on, I’m going for it. I’ll probably never have a wide-open opportunity like this again,” adding that moving from the structure of academia to a world of artistic exploration is “scary, but I have to find courage to go forth in this. It’s a real leap of faith.”Flemming has already released several songs on Spotify and recently made the move to iTunes. He points out that music is an extension of — rather than a diversion from — his ministerial outreach.His music, he says, “is rooted in my gospel self. It’s rooted in where I come from and the preacher in me. I’m writing the songs but they’re really sermons.”Citing as influences the gospel-rooted soul and rhythm and blues of artists like Aretha Franklin and Luther Vandross, he has come to believe art can create another kind of sacred space.“What I’m realizing,” he says, “is that I want a spiritual experience for everybody who comes in contact with my music.”Preaching, he explains, is not that different from singing. “I want to bring those methods to a concert space,” he says, “where we can create a euphoria within a moment, a collective experience for everybody.“I feel like that is spirit. I feel like that is God. I feel like that is everything about just being in community with people and having a shared experience.”This upcoming musical year may not be what Flemming or his family had initially expected. It is in many ways, however, the culmination of his time at Harvard Divinity School. When he receives his diploma, he will see his father’s name in his. “I want to carry him,” he says, as he makes his own first steps into his future.“Harvard Divinity School has been very, very instrumental in working through my own identity,” says Flemming. “Harvard Divinity School has helped to not only shape my identity, but has helped to shape how I understand people and life, living, and spirituality.”last_img read more

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As measles cases crack 1,000, a look at what to do

first_imgMeasles was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, but by early June, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 1,022 cases in 28 states, the most since 1992.The disease is occurring in clusters of unvaccinated people who, for religious, personal, or medical reasons, have refused to be vaccinated or to have their children vaccinated.Though global measles deaths are down significantly from more than half a million in 2000, the disease still killed 110,00 in 2017, according to the World Health Organization.Barry Bloom, former dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Juliette Kayyem, Belfer Senior Lecturer in International Security at the Harvard Kennedy School and a former Department of Homeland Security official, agree that additional steps are needed to address the crisis, but Bloom comes at the problem from the public-health viewpoint, and Kayyem from that of public safety.They sat down with the Gazette to share their thoughts on the outbreak and likely ways forward.Q&ABarry Bloom and Juliette KayyemGAZETTE: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that there are seven ongoing measles outbreaks in the U.S. What’s the difference between an outbreak and an epidemic? And is a measles epidemic possible in a population with the level of vaccination that we have?BLOOM: Technically, anything over three cases is an outbreak for these reportable diseases. And because over 90 percent of Americans are vaccinated, it is unlikely we’ll see an epidemic.But there are still big pockets in districts that have very poor vaccine coverage. So that leads to bigger outbreaks than three people: several hundred in New York state, for example, and prior to that in California, Minnesota, and Washington. But it’s unlikely there will be an epidemic in the sense of spreading both within those states and across the country.GAZETTE: Is there something about this moment that makes measles among the unvaccinated U.S. population more likely?BLOOM: Every outbreak but one has been attributed to someone who came from abroad. And the one exception is a direct child-to-child transmission.KAYYEM: What we haven’t seen before — or at least it’s much more intense now — is the extent to which a foreign power, Russia, is utilizing the sense of division in our country, using social media, websites targeting low-information communities, isolated communities, to propagate an unhealthy status for Americans.It’s disinformation, not unlike what we saw during the presidential campaign. But the idea that the Russians come out only every two years is nonsense. They’re waging this effort and we’ve seen it move from the election — the politics space — to the public-health space.It’s not new. During the Ebola outbreak, there were more than hints of this. But we’re seeing it now because we’re looking for it. “Since these outbreaks began, the vaccination rate in some of these communities has gone up — voluntarily — by 40 percent, suggesting that their ideological belief is only strong when it doesn’t matter. It’s just crazy. This is where I get so angry.” — Juliette Kayyem GAZETTE: So, this has been going on, potentially, for some time?KAYYEM: With the Ebola outbreak, there was a campaign launched by Russia and others to create skepticism about health care workers and their objectivity. This has always been a concern. I think what’s unique in this instance is that it targets U.S. citizens in outbreaks that are already ongoing.But it’s not like the anti-vax movement is new, just in the same way racism isn’t new. The Russians have a way of being able to bring out the worst in us.GAZETTE: And the anti-vaccine movement has been traced back to a particular — discredited — study, linking vaccines to autism?BLOOM: The first anti-vaccine association or society was created in England in 1866 and they’ve been doing great mischief ever since. So the anti-vaccine movement is hardly new.There was this dreadful paper in 1998 by [British gastroenterologist Andrew] Wakefield that is famous for making an association between the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and autism. How that paper got published is totally unclear to me.The subjects were a dozen kids attending a birthday party at his house, eight of whom were selected at some level and were probably autistic to start with. Then it was shown that Wakefield had selected and falsified data and had a financial interest in the insurance claims from that set of injuries.The other thing unexplained is why it took The Lancet 15 years to retract the paper and for Wakefield to lose his medical license — only to appear in Texas and at every anti-vaccine rally that he could muster the travel fare to get to.GAZETTE: It seems that there was fertile ground waiting for the anti-vaccination message. What is it about vaccinations that puts certain people off or about a portion of the American character that is willing to believe these sorts of things? Or is it just the luxury of the success of vaccines over recent decades?KAYYEM: Since these outbreaks began, the vaccination rate in some of these communities has gone up — voluntarily — by 40 percent, suggesting that their ideological belief is only strong when it doesn’t matter. It’s just crazy. This is where I get so angry.The public-safety side has a very different approach to this and a lot of people don’t like it. I grew up in California, where there’s always pockets of this wacky mysticism [and] where there are lower vaccination rates than in Sudan. These are not low-information communities. These are self-centered communities, these are people who have access to the best information.The other thing, at least more recently, is the sense that big, bad pharma exists only to make money. That’s what’s clearly animating at least some part of the anti-vax movement.GAZETTE: So, there’s anger there?KAYYEM: They think, “It’s a hoax, fake news.” It’s this idea that “two plus two doesn’t equal four anymore, no matter what you tell me.”They think this hoax is being led by pharma and big, bad government. That’s clearly what’s animating parts of this.Then, of course, there’s an incorrect assumption by people on the outside that some religions prohibit vaccinations, and that’s not accurate. Religious communities have been very, very good about trying to push back against all of this stuff.GAZETTE: But it also seems as if there’s real anger out there. “You can’t make me do this. This is America.” It goes back to a fundamental belief. Why should this fundamental belief not apply in this case?BLOOM: There is a fundamental-values issue that we should take seriously. And we have to take the anti-vaccine people and parents who are hesitant seriously.Because when we say vaccines are safe — and they are extraordinarily safe — there are always some adverse effects, as there would be with aspirin or any other medical intervention.There’s a feeling that there are three sets of enemies. One is the government, which doesn’t respect individual freedoms. The second, as Juliette has said, is industry, manipulating people solely for profits and exploiting children in the process. And there’s a third group of enemies, which is us, experts.One of the questions I spend a lot of waking nights worried about is how you answer the question: “How can you scientists and experts be so sure of everything that you say?” And that’s really hard.The FDA tries to look at a vast number of studies, at many, many trials of these vaccines, and to get them to the level of one adverse event per million. That would be ideal. Some have somewhat more adverse events than that, but none is anywhere close to being a high-probability event.GAZETTE: The flip side of that question, then, is to what extent do we all need to recognize that we’re part of a community and need to do things that benefit that community?KAYYEM: Every society sets rules about acceptable behavior to protect the greater good. Israel has universal conscription — everyone’s making a sacrifice.Here, seat-belt laws were passed because your freedom to fly through your windshield if you get in an accident should be limited because we, as a society, are going to have to clean it up.So, even assuming that there’s some risk to vaccination, whatever risk I’m willing to put my child through is for the greater good, including that of the anti-vaxxers and the anti-vaxxers’ child.BLOOM: Massachusetts is at the center of critical decision-making on the issue of individual rights versus the public good.One of my favorite cases that has nothing to do with vaccines had a connection to Massachusetts: Schenck v. United States, in 1919. The judge who wrote the decision is an old Harvardian named Oliver Wendell Holmes. The issue was anti-war anarchists publishing stuff that was detrimental to the war effort. In a two-page decision, the court ruled that even the First Amendment — and other amendments, in principle — has limitations. In this case, public safety trumped an individual’s right to say whatever he wanted. And that’s where the famous quote came from where you cannot yell “Fire!” in a theater.A second case, Jacobson v. United States, in 1905, was an anti-vaccine case. It was the first classic case where a person refused to accept vaccines and the court decided that the public safety and security preempted the individual right to do that. That allowed mandatory vaccines before entry to schools, now the law in all 50 states, and it’s been controversial ever since.GAZETTE: That was in the case of smallpox, wasn’t it?BLOOM: That was in the case of smallpox vaccination, the world’s greatest killer up to that time, and now eradicated globally since 1977.GAZETTE: Today, people might say, “Oh, that was smallpox. Everybody should get vaccinated for smallpox. But measles …”Should the state have a limit on its power based on the nastiness of whatever it is you’re vaccinating for, or can the state say, “Everybody needs a flu shot”?BLOOM: That’s the dilemma: What is the limit of protecting the public good?As Juliette pointed out in talking about Ebola, the four cases that occurred in the U.S. were not a lot of cases.But if you don’t do anything, it’s not four cases — it’s 40, or 400, or 4,000. And then the ability to deal with that is very different. The example for that, right in front of our eyes now, is Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.We have a vaccine for Ebola. It has been proved to be close to 90 percent protective. But because of distrust of government and breakdown in security, the disease has now gone endemic. It’s there, in a form that has the potential to spread almost no matter what you do. It will be continuing for some time. GAZETTE: And isn’t measles one of the most infectious diseases?BLOOM: It’s about the most infectious. If there’s a child with measles in an average-sized room with 10 other people who have not been vaccinated, nine out of 10 will get measles. That’s how infectious it is.GAZETTE: So, where do we go from here? The number of cases keeps climbing.KAYYEM: On the public-safety side, what’s going on now is a combination of extremist ideologies with social media platforms. But there’s a third factor that’s unique: These ideas are publicly tolerated, they are danced with, they are not sufficiently rejected in the public sphere.From ABC — one of their top actresses is anti-vaccine — to a high-profile Kennedy to a president who, until two weeks ago, never had talked about the necessity of vaccine. Without being too political, the public forum matters. And leadership matters. Even the president seems to have woken up to the necessity of saying, “Get your shots.” That stuff festers in silence. “Both sides-ism,” honestly, is dangerous.BLOOM: The challenge is that turning things around is preferably done by incentives and education rather than punishments.I think a big push should be public information from credible people, not just from experts, and we don’t have resources for that now. We don’t have the social marketers that know how to sell Juul or cannabis advocating for vaccines. We have to get some of those people talking about vaccines to ordinary people.One more positive step is that we really don’t know how many kids actually have their vaccines. When I was a kid I got a card for vaccines. Today, something like that card can lead to data sets to identify clusters of people or schools which, in various local communities, are at risk. We could anonymize the data to protect privacy, but still allow us to head off outbreaks. That would be hugely beneficial.Committed ideologues are not going to change their minds. But I believe every parent wants to do what’s best for their kid, and there’s an awful lot of people who need to see that this is not the wool being pulled over their eyes by experts or greedy vaccine companies. We all have a responsibility to do what is best, not only for our own kids, but for our communities as well. GAZETTE: And there we’re seeing serious anti-vaccination efforts, with public health workers being killed.KAYYEM: Another thing we have to remember is that if you don’t have a certain amount of your population vaccinated, then it’s like having your [whole] population not vaccinated. This goes back to the idea of “herd immunity.”That’s important because there are groups of people who can’t get vaccinated. They have certain immunodeficiencies, certain vulnerabilities, certain allergies.So, when you think about the collective good — to protect the most vulnerable — that’s also a compelling state interest. And if I have a strong belief in anti-vaccination, that actually makes more people vulnerable.GAZETTE: So people who can get vaccinated, should get vaccinated?BLOOM: No kids younger than 1 year old can get vaccinated because their immune systems aren’t developed enough and the MMR vaccine contains live, attenuated strains of measles and mumps.So that’s one population that will remain unvaccinated. A second is any child with leukemia or immunodeficiency. We also talk about vaccines being highly protective — and they are — but nothing in biology is 100 percent. So within any population, even among the vaccinated, there is a very small percentage who, if exposed, will get the disease.KAYYEM: That raises the question — and we deal with this a lot in national-security spaces — [of] knowing there will be exceptions to any rule, what do you want your rule to be? If it’s too permissive … both the anti-vaxxers and the free riders, I’ll call them, won’t get their children vaccinated.But there’s a community effort that’s needed to make this work. In my opinion, you want to make the rule the most restrictive possible. Let people fight for exemptions based on whatever core beliefs they may or may not have, rather than lowering it.GAZETTE: So make it a last resort, not a first resort?KAYYEM: You want the barrier to be high for exemptions. “When one surveys parents who are hesitant about vaccines and they’re asked ‘Where do you get your health information?’ a significant percentage of the vaccine-‘hesitants’ say they get it from the internet. The vast majority of vaccine acceptors get it from their physicians and nurses.” — Barry Bloom Despite new vaccine, Ebola responders in Africa must first work on trust The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news.center_img Related Inoculating against misinformation I want to put the onus on the parents to be responsible and educated.One way to do that — which we’re starting to hear about, at least in Germany — is you become much more penal. Monetary fines, much more aggressive isolation; you don’t have these exemptions.We have the benefit today that there’s not a lot of people dying from this. But if it came to that, you would view this very differently — you would see this as just absolutely careless behavior.BLOOM: That’s a particularly easy choice when we don’t see polio anymore. We don’t see kids dying of measles pneumonia anymore. No mom sees a kid’s death from mumps or whooping cough. That’s the price for success and we are paying it right now.KAYYEM: I travel around the world and other countries envy our lack of these diseases and our relatively low rates of death for some of them.BLOOM: Take measles. Forty years ago we had about half a million cases, 1,000 hospitalizations, 500 deaths, per year.There’s another point that you never see talked about: Who pays for all of this? This is not cost-free.We talk about vaccinations and they’re not terribly expensive. But these are not benign conditions. For those who come down with measles, between one in 10 and one in 20 gets hospitalized. Kids get pneumonia, kids get encephalitis, and they really require high-tech treatment.We’re talking about $125,000 to $140,000 per child who is hospitalized with measles. And for each infected child that enters a community, the CDC may have to track down 500 or 1,000 contacts, for which the CDC and the states have little surge money. “If there’s a child with measles in an average-sized room with 10 other people who have not been vaccinated, nine out of 10 will get measles. That’s how infectious it is.” — Barry Bloom BLOOM: We now have a circumstance where all 50 states require children to have vaccines before they go to school. So that’s the bar. Every child entering school is supposed to have a vaccine.It is widely accepted in every state that kids with leukemia or immunodeficiency or other serious medical conditions have medical exemptions. What’s new over the past 20 years are religious and personal exemptions.It might seem reasonable in some cases to consider them legitimate, but they’re not used in that way. In some states, you can just have a parent sign a piece of paper and say they have a personal objection and that kid in that school doesn’t get vaccinated.KAYYEM: And there’s no notification requirement to the other families.BLOOM: And nobody knows how many kids in any school in this country have been vaccinated. So, if you have a child with leukemia who’s mainstreamed, that kid is at risk. That was the basis for a lawsuit in California [in which the state] just took away all nonmedical exemptions, religious and personal.I would point out there are only two states in the U.S. that never had them: Mississippi and West Virginia. And none of them has had a recent outbreak of any of the vaccine-preventable diseases.KAYYEM: And the personal exemptions, you can go online and find a doctor who will give an exemption. In fact, there’s a doctor in California whose records have just been subpoenaed. In cases like this, I like the use of the criminal justice system.GAZETTE: So it’s like people going “doctor shopping” for opiate prescriptions?KAYYEM: He’s just a big fraud …BLOOM: This is a serious issue. There are constraints on parents to vaccinate their kids. But there is no constraint on physicians giving away exemptions for money.Israel has just clamped down on that and I think we should start thinking about it.There has to be some justification that medical exemptions are legitimate. Most distressing, there are doctors — pediatricians — who advertise that in their practices they do not give vaccines.In my view, that is withholding potentially life-saving care. This is a violation of the medical code of ethics.KAYYEM: That is exactly right.GAZETTE: Let’s talk about how to address the problem. Barry, you’ve written about eliminating exemptions, and I know Washington state just got rid of them.BLOOM: And California.GAZETTE: And California. Do you see that being a broad movement across the country?BLOOM: I think that would make a great deal of difference. Absolutely.GAZETTE: How about other solutions?BLOOM: The other major solution is education.With regard to misinformation, what’s really different than it was 20 years ago is the internet and social networks. We have no way to control what’s on the internet and how people are targeted, whether by the Russians, by a variety of ideologues, or people with vested interests.There is a movement, increasingly, to control what comes over the internet. That would have a very helpful effect. When one surveys parents who are hesitant about vaccines and they’re asked “Where do you get your health information?” a significant percentage of the vaccine-“hesitants” say they get it from the internet.The vast majority of vaccine acceptors get it from their physicians and nurses.KAYYEM: That’s interesting.BLOOM: Again, we believe in freedom of speech and the First Amendment. But that’s why I mentioned Schenck v. United States. It’s a case where total freedom to say anything can be constrained if it harms others.GAZETTE (to Kayyem): And your stance is a little bit harder, looking at it from a public safety viewpoint?KAYYEM: I think all the things that Barry says are absolutely right. You want to engage and educate and get this misinformation offline. But ignorance is no defense under the law, so you can think about a much more penal approach to it.I want to distinguish between two types of people. One are those in low-information communities. I think they’re rare here in the U.S., but those you can work on educating.But then there are people who are educated and searching out this stuff online.I could read online — I’m sure I could find it — that it’s unsafe to put seat belts on my kids. Or more kids die with bicycle helmets on than with helmets off. I can find that stuff if I want to. But ignorance is not a defense against being charged if my kid dies in a car accident. “I want to put the onus on the parents to be responsible and educated.” — Juliette Kayyemlast_img read more

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