What's New . . .
Check back for regular updates on subjects covered in the Academic Exchange and other matters of interest to Emory faculty.


 

Defibrillator Patients Cope Best After Counseling
November 22, 2006

Patients with newly implanted cardiac defibrillators, or ICDs, experience less anxiety and depression when they spend time with professionals who help them understand what to expect and ways they can actively cope with the challenges ahead.

ICDs can shock irregular hearts back to normal rhythms. But patients are also affected by the emotional burden associated with the device, as well as unpredictable electrical jolts that occur unexpectedly when the device discharges in response to irregular heartbeats. Apprehension over when a charge may occur often leads to anxiety, fear, and depression in some patients.

Sandra B. Dunbar, the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Cardiovascular Nursing at Emory University's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, found that defibrillator recipients who receive counseling are better able to cope with the psychological implications of the new device. During the first weeks after implantation, ICD patients are usually keenly aware of the new implant, which is inserted in the pectoral area and is slightly larger than a pacemaker, said Dunbar. In addition to psychological effects that come with having an ICD, patients may experience pain, sleep difficulties, and limited arm movement. These side effects tend to subside after the first six weeks, however.

In her study, one group of patients received counseling by telephone or in groups that focused on positive self-appraisal and proactive coping skills (such as seeking social support from family and friends), returning to activities enjoyed before receiving the ICD, and learning to turn negative thoughts about their health into constructive ones. Another group of subjects received no extra interventions. Subjects receiving the extra education and counseling reported less anxiety by three months and were less likely to have depressive symptoms at twelve months.

"Previous work has found that patients have a better psychological outcome if they were able to view their situation with hope and optimism and use more active problem solving and coping strategies," said Dunbar. "The group intervention sessions were very interesting because the patients shared their experiences in detail. They talked about what they had found that worked for them, what they could and couldn't do. And they were very concerned about each other. The telephone sessions also were informative and patients received individual education and coping assistance in a convenient, cost-effective manner."

Carlos Museum Enlists Airline Technicians to Inspect Venus
November 14, 2006

When the Michael C. Carlos Museum bought a 1,900-year-old statue of Venus—and her detached head—last summer, they gave it a high-tech physical exam to determine her internal health. Together with airline maintenance inspectors from Delta Airlines, who routinely use x-ray imaging to search for cracks in the welds and repairs in jet engines, they turned the equipment on the statue to see where it had been before and how old repairs have held up. Carlos conservators will look for rusting metal pins that might have been inserted to fix cracks, which could date from antiquity to as recently as two hundred years ago. The condition of those repairs will guide reconstruction of the 4’6” statue.

“I spend two-thirds of my time reversing other people’s good intentions,” museum conservator Renee Stein said in a November 3 Associated Press article.

The statue, by an unknown artist, is a copy of a Greek bronze sculpture that many scholars say is the most widely reproduced female statue in antiquity. This restoration is significant because few statues are as large and nearly intact as this one, missing only the right arm. The head broke off sometime in the past 170 years.
The museum bought the statue for $968,000 at a Sotheby’s auction in New York on June 6. A private collector in Houston, Texas, agreed to sell the head to the buyer of the body, and the museum purchased it for about $50,000. Delta inspectors, who have previously worked with the museum on a vase and a statue, volunteered their time.

The statue portrays Venus caught off guard as she, having removed all her clothes to take a bath, glimpses an unseen onlooker. She tries to cover herself with her hands, with a result that’s more provocative than protective. A small figure of Eros rides a dolphin at her feet, a reference to the goddess’ birth from the sea. The statue probably stood next to a fountain or pool in the gardens of a villa somewhere in the Roman Empire, possibly in today’s France. It was first documented in the collection of Napoleon’s art adviser in the 1830s, said Jasper Gaunt, curator of Greek and Roman art at the Carlos.

Stein will have to drill through the plaster keeping in place an old pin that was inserted in the head to prop it up on a display stand, as well as a lead insert on the base of the neck. She’ll most likely replace it with a stainless steel pin. Because the jagged edges in the break between the head and the neck were smoothed over, curators will have to study how much space to fill in once the pieces are superimposed again. Venus is expected to strike her pose at the Carlos sometime in the spring.

An image of the statue's body is available at http://images.usatoday.com/tech/_photos/2006/06/15/venus.jpg

And an image of its head is available at
http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/j/msnbc/Components/Photos/060613/060613_venus_bcol_7p.standard.jpg


Turkish Lecture Series Features Murat Sungar, First Deputy Secretary General of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, Thursday, November 9 Inspect Venus
November 7 , 2006

The Claus M. Halle Institute for Global Learning is hosting a reception and lecture on Thursday, November 9, as part of the Turkish Lecture Series. The event features Murat Sungar, First Deputy Secretary General of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and Former Ambassador of Turkey to the United Nations Office in Geneva.

The event will take place in the law school (Gambrell Hall) from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The reception takes place at 6:30 in the Hunter Atrium (third floor), and the public lecture, "Turkey and the U.S.: An Important Relationship for the Black Sea Region," begins at 7:15 in Tull Auditorium.

After 36 years of civil service, Ambassador Murat E. Sungar of Turkey assumed his duties as First Deputy Secretary General of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) last May. Representing nearly 350 million people, the BSEC was established in 1992 as a political and economic initiative aimed at fostering interaction and harmony among the member states in the Black Sea region. In June 2007, Ambassador Sungar will chair a meeting of twelve heads of state from the region.

From 2002-2005, Ambassador Sungar was the Turkish Government's Secretary General of European Union Affairs, responsible for all negotiations between Turkey and the EU on the issues surrounding future EU membership. From 1998-2002 he served as the Ambassador of Turkey to the United Nations Office in Geneva.

Born in Ankara, Turkey in 1942, Sungar began his career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) as third and second secretary in the NATO Department from 1970-1972. He subsequently was promoted to second and first secretary in the Turkish Delegation to NATO at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, where he served from 1972-1975.

In 1975, Ambassador Sungar moved to Islamabad, Pakistan where he became the first secretary at the Turkish Embassy. After spending two years in Pakistan, he returned to Ankara and assumed the position of head of section of the NATO Department from 1977-1979. He was then sent to Washington, D.C. for his first tour of duty in the United States as counselor at the Turkish Embassy from 1979-1983.

In 1983, he returned to Turkey to become an advisor to the under-secretary of the MFA from 1983-1985. From 1985-1989 he served as consul general of Turkey in New York City, and from 1989-1991, he served as spokesman of the MFA. His next foreign mission found him in India where he served as ambassador of Turkey for four years, after which time he returned to Ankara to take the post of senior advisor to the Prime Ministry. Between 1997-1998, he served as deputy undersecretary of the MFA.

Ambassador Sungar holds an undergraduate degree from Ankara University's School of Political Sciences and an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Cincinnati.

An initiative of Emory College, the Turkish Lecture Series has been in existence since 2003. The series brings scholars of the highest caliber in the fields of Ottoman and Turkish studies, including history, politics, and culture, to deliver speeches and visit Emory classrooms, students and faculty.


New AAUP Report Examines Gender Inequity in American Professoriate
October 31, 2006

According to a new report released last week by the American Association of University Professors, responsibility for the persistence of faculty gender inequity in U.S. colleges and universities largely falls to the institutions themselves.

Even though Title IX legislation prohibiting sex discrimination was passed thirty-four years ago, "women still find themselves struggling to be admitted to the top faculty ranks in colleges and universities," according to the report. "The academy must make further efforts to convey to women that they no longer need to make a choice between raising children and becoming tenure-track faculty members."

The report targets four "indicators" of equity within the academy: 1) The proportion of full-time faculty members who are female; 2) The percent of women within the tenured and tenure-track ranks; 3) The proportion of women who are full professors; and 4) The average salary of female faculty members compared with males. The report includes a campus-by-campus listing of how doctoral universities, master's institutions, baccalaureate colleges, and two-year colleges measure up on each. The data came from both the U.S. Education Department and an annual survey of faculty salaries that the AAUP completes each year.

Percent of full-time faculty who are women

Church-Affiliated Doctoral Universities
37
Private-Independent Doctoral Universities
32
Emory
36
Washington University
30
Duke University
27

 

Percent of tenured faculty who are women

Church-Affiliated Doctoral Universities
29
Private-Independent Doctoral Universities
23
Emory
30
Washington University
21
Duke University
23

 

Percent of tenure-track faculty who are women

Church-Affiliated Doctoral Universities
41
Private-Independent Doctoral Universities
39
Emory
45
Washington University
39
Duke University
29

 

Percent of faculty at full professor rank who are women

Church-Affiliated Doctoral Universities
22
Private-Independent Doctoral Universities
19
Emory
22
Washington University
18.6
Duke University
18.2

 

Average Salary of female faculty members as percent of men's

Church-Affiliated Doctoral Universities
90
Private-Independent Doctoral Universities
91.5
Emory
79
Washington University
75
Duke University
80

 

The entire report is available at http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/pubsres/research/geneq2006


The Dolphin in All Of Us
October 19, 2006

Frans de Waal, professor of psychology, is an unapologetic defender of dolphins, and other higher mammals) In an op-ed piece in the October 9 issue of the New York Times, de Waal took issue with claims by other scientists that dolphins’ intelligence is exaggerated and based on questionable assumptions, such as that the animal’s brains are so large in order to keep the organ warm in a cold ocean.

“Based on this observation, [South African scientist] Professor [Paul] Manger couldn’t resist speculating that the intelligence of dolphins and other cetaceans (like whales and porpoises) is vastly overrated. He offered gems of insight, such as that dolphins are too stupid to jump over a slight barrier (as when they are trapped in a tuna net), whereas most other animals will. Even a goldfish will jump out of its bowl.”

Could it be that the dolphin’s huge brain, which is about 15 percent larger than those of humans, threatens our ego? And how do you explain the billions of neurons that dolphins possess?

“What is so upsetting to some people about the closeness between animal and human intelligence, or between animal and human emotions, for that matter? Just saying that animals can learn from each other, and hence have rudimentary cultures, or that they can be jealous or empathic, is taken by some as a personal affront. Accusations of anthropomorphism will fly, and we’ll be urged to be parsimonious in our explanations. . . . Since Aristotle, humans have known that dolphins are incredibly social. Each individual produces its own unique whistle sound by which the others recognize him or her. They enjoy lifelong bonds and reconcile after fights by means of 'petting.' The males form power-seeking coalitions, not unlike the politics of chimpanzees and humans. Dolphins also support sick companions near the surface, where they can breathe. They may encircle a school of herring, driving the fish together in a compact ball and releasing bubbles to keep them in place, after which they pick their food like fruit from a tree.”
           
De Waal offers additional examples of dolphin intelligence and concludes, “I must admit that the whole dolphin affair has also offered me some fresh insights. From now on, if I find my goldfish thrashing on the floor, I will congratulate him before dropping him back into his bowl.”


Progesterone Shows Promise as Treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury
October 11, 2006

Emory researchers have found that patients who experience a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and receive the hormone progesterone shortly afterwards reduce their risk of death and degree of disability. The results of their study—the first clinical trial of its kind in the world—are available online in the October issue of the peer-reviewed journal Annals of Emergency Medicine.

“Progesterone treatment for TBI has been extensively studied in laboratory animals for more than fifteen years, but this is the world’s first use of progesterone to treat brain injury in humans,” said Arthur Kellermann, professor and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine and a study co-author.
Approximately 1.5 to 2 million people in the U.S. sustain a TBI each year, leading to 50,000 deaths and 80,000 new cases of long-term disability. It is also a major cause of death and disability among children and military personnel. Despite the enormity of the problem, scientists have failed to identify effective medications to improve outcomes following a TBI.

The phase II double-blinded study involved one hundred participants who had suffered a blunt traumatic brain injury and reached Grady Memorial Hospital (a level-one trauma center) within eleven hours. Eighty percent received intravenous progesterone, and the remainder received placebo. Thirty days after injury, objective rating scales were used to assess each participant’s neurological function and level of disability.
“We found encouraging evidence that progesterone is safe in the setting of TBI, with no evidence of side effects or serious harmful events,” said David Wright, assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine and lead author of the study. “In addition, we found a fifty percent reduction in the rate of death in the progesterone-treated group. Furthermore, we found a significant improvement in the functional outcome and level of disability among patients who were enrolled with a moderate brain injury.”

Donald Stein, Asa G. Candler Professor of Emergency Medicine and neurobiologist, discovered the neuroprotective properties of progesterone almost two decades ago. “Our research has found that male and female rats with brain injury developed less brain swelling and recovered more completely when they are treated with progesterone shortly following the injury,” Stein explains. “The hormone seems to slow or block damaging chemicals that are released after a brain injury, protecting the brain from the death of brain cells.” Progesterone is also inexpensive, widely available, and has a long track record of safe use in humans to treat other diseases.

Researchers say the next step will be to confirm their findings in a much larger group of traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients in a multi-center, phase III clinical trial, which is being planned.


Psychiatry's Nemeroff Caught in Controversy over Journal Article
October 4, 2006

Several scientists, including one from Emory, recently reviewed vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), a controversial treatment for depression, in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology. But the article failed to state that all of the authors are paid advisers to the company that manufactures a VNS device that was approved last year by the Food and Drug Administration. The resulting hubbub was described in the August 4 issue of Science.

The article’s lead author, Charles B. Nemeroff, professor of psychiatry and chair of the psychiatry department, who also happens to be editor-in-chief of the journal, said that he and his co-authors informed the journal about their ties to Cyberonics in Houston, Texas, manufacturer of the device, and that the failure to mention those ties in the article, as required by journal policy, was an “oversight and nothing more.” Nemeroff had recused himself from the journal’s editorial process for this article.

Critics were troubled not only by the convergence of Nemeroff’s position at the journal but also that the first draft of the paper was prepared by a professional writer hired by the device’s manufacturer who was not listed among the authors. Some in the field have strongly reproached Nemeroff.  Bernard Carroll, former chair of psychiatry at Duke University, emailed colleagues and the press accusing him of running a “slick public relations disinformation campaign” and “incestuously" placing the article in his own journal. Psychiatrist Richard Wurtman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said the incident has “sorely devalued” both the journal and ACNP, “and I'm afraid this perception won't disappear for a long time."
           
Others rose to his defense. Alan Schatzberg, chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford, said that “these things are being hypermagnified beyond their importance,” and called Carroll’s accusations “outlandish.” A September 19 Wall Street Journal letter to the editor, written by two Emory faculty, Boadie Dunlop, assistant professor of psychiatry, and Kerry Ressler, associate professor of psychiatry, and signed by forty-five other professional colleagues of Nemeroff, stated “the concern about this is much overdone, as Nemeroff has reported his collaboration with the maker of vagal nerve stimulators in numerous other publications, as well as public and academic presentations. Nemeroff's decision not to pursue another appointment as editor of Neuropsychopharmacology is highly unfortunate, as this journal is more focused on the biological mechanisms of psychiatric diseases and their treatments than any other, and Nemeroff is extremely well-qualified to lead it.”


An-Na'im Featured in New Yorker Article
September 28, 2006

“I was very torn. I am a Muslim, but I couldn’t accept Sharia” (Islamic law). “I studied Sharia and I knew what it said. I couldn’t see how Sudan could be viable without women being full citizens and without non-Muslims being full citizens. I’m a Muslim, but I couldn’t live with this view of Islam.” That’s what Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, Charles Howard Candler professor of law, said in the article “A radically peaceful view of Islam,” in the September 11 issue of The New Yorker.

An-Na’im, a native of Sudan, was torn between his conservative Muslim upbringing and his drift toward the political left. He found a resolution when he first heard Mahmoud Muhammad Taha, an unorthodox Sudanese mystic whose viewpoints ran counter to conservative Islamic thought. Taha favored, among other reforms, a new Sudanese constitution that reconciled “the individual’s need for absolute freedom with the community’s need for total social justice,” which, he argued, could be best achieved not through Marxism or liberalism but through Islam in its original, uncorrupted form, in which women and people of other faiths were accorded equal status.

An-Na’im told The New Yorker that hearing Taha speak created in him a profound sense of peace and changed his life. “I never saw him frustrated, I never saw him angry, I never heard him shout,” An-Na’im said. “Taha could not transmit his religious enlightenment to us by talking about it. We would see the fruit of it by his personal life style, in his attitudes. His honesty, his intellectual vigor, his serenity, his charisma—those are the things that we can observe, and from them I understood that this is someone who had a transformative religious experience.” Taha was executed in 1985 by the Sudanese dictatorship for sedition and apostasy.

To view the entire article, visit http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060911fa_fact1


Hazing Among Medical Students Can Be Fatal
September 20, 2006

U.S. medical students typically face harassment, insults, and intimidation by attending physicians and resident doctors, according to an Emory researcher. In some cases, pressure on students becomes so bad that it spurs depression and even suicide.

“Most medical students in the United States are graduating from medical school having had experiences that they report as being either belittling or harassing,” says lead author Erica Frank, an associate professor and vice chairwoman of the Emory School of Medicine. Frank was quoted in a September 17 issue of the Chicago Tribune.

She found that 42 percent of seniors said they had been harassed by other students, residents, preclinical professors, clinical professors, attending physicians, or patients. Eighty-four percent said they had been belittled, and 40 percent said they had been harassed and belittled. Some students felt faculty did not care about them, and others said they regretted training to become a doctor.

This type of treatment can have serious consequences for students’ mental health, Frank told the Tribune. “Rates of depression and suicide are higher. They are also less likely glad that they trained to be a physician if they were belittled or harassed.” The study appears in the September 6 online edition of the British Medical Journal.


Neurologist Receives First Research Award to Study ALS
September 13, 2006

Michael Benatar, assistant professor of neurology, has received the first clinical research award of its kind to study new therapeutic approaches for familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) through the ALS Association (ALSA) and the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).

Funded by the two organizations through a new initiative called Translational Research Advancing Therapy for ALS, or TREAT ALS, the initiative aims to accelerate drug discovery and create clinical trials for ALS. The award, totaling $155,000 over two years, will be granted to one clinical researcher each year.

Benatar, in collaboration with colleagues Jonathan Glass, professor of neurology, and Meraida Polak, ALS research nurse, will use the funding to continue exploring the feasibility of a research study involving people with a strong family history of ALS and people who may carry one of the inherited genetic abnormalities known to cause ALS.

“If enough of these people can be identified, then we will be in a better position to design and implement a clinical trial in asymptomatic people at risk for developing the disease, with the end goal of determining whether it is possible to delay or prevent the onset of disease,” explains Benatar.

ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that usually attacks both upper and lower motor neurons, producing progressive weakness of muscles critical for moving, speaking, and eventually, breathing. Cognitive functions are usually left intact. Familial or inherited ALS is very rare, with only 10 percent of those diagnosed inheriting the disease from a parent.

For more than a year, the team has been advertising for people who think their family carries the disease, and the response has been overwhelming. So far, 147 families have come forward with derived pedigrees that cover 7,000 people.

“This effort helps us to identify the number of people at risk of developing familial ALS, and how many would be willing to take part in a trial to test treatment and reduce that risk,” says Glass. “This research award, along with other funding, will help us move forward in our mission.”


Chimps Transmit Cultural Behavior Through Generations
August 30, 2006

For the first time, researchers have shown that chimpanzees exhibit generational learning behavior similar to that in humans. Unlike previous findings that indicated chimpanzees simply conform to the social norms of the group, the results show that behavior and traditions can be passed along a chain of individual chimpanzees. The findings will be published online in the August 28 early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Using a research design that simulated transmission over multiple generations, Victoria Horner of the University of St. Andrews and the Yerkes Research Center, along with Yerkes researcher Frans B.M. de Waal, and St. Andrews researcher Andrew Whiten, closely examined how chimpanzees learn from each other and the potential longevity of their culture. They confirmed that a particular behavior can be transmitted accurately along a chain of up to six chimpanzees, representing six simulated generations equaling about ninety years of culture in the wild.

In the study, chimps in two social groups learned a to open a special testing box one of two ways—by sliding or lifting the door—to reveal fruit inside. Chimps in a third, control group, were allowed to explore the testing box but given no instruction. Once each individual animal from the first two social groups proved successful, another animal from the same social group was allowed to observe the process before interacting with the testing box. Once the second animal succeeded, another chimpanzee would enter and observe the technique, and so on down the chain. In the two social groups trained to slide or lift the door, the technique used by the original animal was passed to up to six chimpanzees. The chimpanzees in the control group were able to discover both methods through individual exploration, suggesting the exclusive use of a single technique in the noncontrol groups was due to behavioral transmission from a previous animal.

“The chimpanzees in this study continued using only the technique they observed rather than an alternative method,” said Horner. “This finding is particularly remarkable considering the chimpanzees in the control group were able to discover both methods through individual exploration. Clearly, observing one exclusive technique from a previous chimpanzee was sufficient for transmission of behavior along multiple cultural generations.”


Gearing up for the rankings race, 2006-07
August 16, 2006

Playing the rankings games while pretending that they don’t matter has become an annual ritual in the academic calendar. As an August 16 New York Times piece noted, “Early this morning, U.S. News & World Report will send e-mail messages to hundreds of college administrators, giving them an advance peek at the magazine’s annual college ranking. They will find out whether Princeton will be at the top of the list for the seventh straight year, whether Emory can break into the top 15 and where their own university ranks.”  

One bit of news is already public knowledge:  Emory has been named in Kaplan/Newsweek’s 2007 “How to Get Into College Guide” as one of the “New Ivies”—colleges whose first-rate academic programs, combined with a population boom in top students, have fueled their rise in stature and favor among the nation’s top students, administration, and faculty.

According to Newsweek, “the demand for an excellent education has created an ever-expanding supply of big and small campuses that provide great academics and first-rate faculties.”

 At the same time, however, eleven of Canada’s universities made their opinion known about such rankings. The schools are refusing to participate in the Maclean’s university ranking issue because they hold the magazine’s methodology to be “oversimplified” and “arbitrary.” The issue is a Canadian version of the controversial college ranking issue published by US News & World Report.

According to an article in The Globe and Mail, a national Canadian newspaper, a coalition of the school presidents sent a letter to Maclean’s saying that they will no longer provide data to the magazine for it’s annual fall survey of universities. The letter stated that “ in various ways and for some years, many institutional spokespersons have expressed considerable reservations about the methodology used in the Maclean’s university survey and the validity of some of the measures used. Thus far, these serious concerns have gone largely unaddressed, and there is still no evidence that Maclean's intends to respond to them.”

Tony Keller, managing editor of special projects at Maclean’s, said that the ranking issue will continue, and that none of the boycotting schools will be “punished” or excluded from the rankings.

Peter George, president of McMaster University, said that rankings may sell magazines, but they do not provide information to students about their particular programs or university life in general.

To view the New York Times article, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/16/business/media/16leonhardt.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

To view the Newsweek story, visit http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14325172/  

To view the Globe and Mail story, visit
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20060814.wuniversities15/BNStory/Front/home

To view the AE article “By a Nose: Jockeying in the rankings race,” visit http://www.emory.edu/ACAD_EXCHANGE/2005/octnov/lead.html.


Preaching to the Pocketbook
August 9, 2006

“Recently I visited the Atlanta church led by the Reverend Creflo Dollar—yes, his real name. In the middle of an otherwise good sermon, he began to speak adoringly about a Rolls Royce given by a friend. He urged listeners not to confuse this Rolls with the one provided by the church years earlier.”

That’s how Professor of Theology Robert Franklin began a scathing commentary aired on a recent broadcast of National Public Radio’s Morning Edition.

Didn’t ministers use to promise amazing grace for people burdened by bad choices, Franklin wondered? He went on to criticize the mercenary bent of “prosperity preachers” who distort “the simple ethic of love, forgiveness and service at the heart of the religion of Jesus.” 

In Franklin’s view, such preachers do a disservice to their flocks by purveying little more than a culture of feeling good. These “religious entrepreneurs” are more concerned about wealth, success (their own), and patriotism. It was not always so, he observed, calling up images of preachers who, in troubled times, rallied the faithful by calling for repentance, intellectual clarity, and unity in pursuit of righteous goals.

“Once again, the country is in conflict,” said Franklin. “But our most visible preachers have departed from a noble American tradition of social-ethical preaching. They’ve entered the pulpit with strange manuscripts that answer questions no one’s asking. I’d love to hear fewer sermons about luxury cars and seed gifts, and more of them about economic justice for those left behind by a growing economy. Today’s preachers of prosperity and piety should rediscover the social-ethical values in that old-time religion. Maybe then our pulpits will thunder with the sounds of truth, justice, and the American way.”

To hear Franklin’s complete commentary, visit http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5624473


HIV Researchers Receive Major Grant
August 2, 2006

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has given $4.5 million to two Emory researchers seeking a vaccine for HIV and AIDS. The grant, announced last week, is part of a $30.1 million donation from the foundation to the worldwide effort to develop such a vaccine, according to a July 29 article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The two faculty spearheading the Emory effort are Bali Pulendran, an immunologist and professor in the Department of Pathology in the medical school and a researcher in the Emory Vaccine Center, and Rafi Ahmed, director of the Emory Vaccine Center and professor of immunology.

Pulendran says that vaccines are in the developmental pipeline and that “tremendous progress” has been made in finding drugs to keep people who are infected with HIV alive and living better, but an effective vaccine probably won’t emerge for another decade or longer. “There are some processes we understand very much, but there are some huge unsolved puzzles,” Pulendran says. “There is every reason to be hopeful, but that must be balanced by a sense of realism. This virus has so many tricks up its sleeve that we have to figure out how to combat those.”

Specifically, the two Emory scientists will be studying the immune system and looking for ways to encourage it to adapt to offer immunity to HIV, which means, according to Pulendran, harnessing the innate immunity to boost the body's defenses against HIV.


Transatlantic Slave Voyages Data To Go Online
July 27, 2006

Backed by grants totaling more than $350,000, Emory will revised and expand a renowned database of slave trade voyages, according to a recent article from the Associated Press. The records, which contain eight-two percent of the entire history of the slave trade, will be made available for free on the Internet for the first time.

Funding includes $324,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and $25,000 from Harvard University’s W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research. The expansion of the current database is based on the seminal 1999 work “The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade,” a CD-ROM that includes more than 27,000 slave trade voyages and has been popular with scholars and genealogists.

“We’re trying to do for African Americans what’s been done for Euro-Americans already,” says David Eltis, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of History and one of the scholars who published “The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.” Eltis and Martin Halbert, director of digital programs and systems for Emory’s libraries, are directing the project. 

“There are more data on the slave trade than on the free migrant movement simply because the slave trade was a business and people were property, so records were likely to be better,” says Eltis. “What the database makes possible is the establishment of links between America and Africa in a way that already has been done by historians on Europeans for many years.”
The expanded database making its debut on the Internet will include auxiliary materials such as maps, ship logs, and manifests. It also will be presented in a two-tier format: one for professional researchers, another for K-12 students and general audiences. At the end of the two-year project, online researchers also will be able to submit new data to an editorial board for vetting and future inclusion in the database. 

The project is part of Emory Library’s MetaScholar Initiative, which focuses on supporting a range of scholarly work with the goal of realizing the possibilities for research and scholarship in the digital age. Through the initiative, Emory is gaining a national reputation as a leader in digital library development. In the past five years, the initiative has received more than $3.6 million in grant support from organizations such as the Mellon Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and NEH.


Emory Pulls Physicians from Grady Hospital Staff
July 24, 2006

In a move reflective of tensions between Emory and Grady Hospital, Emory Medical School is dismissing seventeen physicians who work on the Grady staff, according to a recent article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“Money has gotten tighter and tighter for Emory and Grady,” Claudia Adkinson, executive associate dean at Emory School of Medicine, told the AJC. "We are trying to focus our resources more on our academic mission. These physicians in neighborhood clinics were not carrying out our academic mission.” The clinic doctors were employed as a courtesy to Grady, she added, and the amount Grady owes Emory tends to increase when Grady struggles financially. “Grady would pay us if they could,”

Emory, the article continued, said it hoped the doctors would stay at the clinics as Grady employees. The medical school plans to keep other doctors now working at Grady in place, and Grady has offered to hire the Emory physicians. But since the dismissals were announced last year, six doctors have departed, and it’s not known how many will continue at the clinics as Grady employees. The doctors will no longer be Emory employees beginning September 1.
           
The situation underscores Grady’s precarious financial position. Emory has provided physicians to the hospital for decades, and in turn the school trains medical residents and students there. Emory provides about 80 percent of the physicians who care for patients at Grady facilities. The rest come from Morehouse School of Medicine. Grady pays Emory about $60 million annually for use of hundreds of its physicians, but the hospital is currently past due on $43 million that it owes to the school.

Emory “is abandoning its commitment it made to these doctors,” said Henry Kahn, a volunteer physician at a Grady clinic and retired Emory School of Medicine professor. “Emory doesn’t appreciate the importance of primary care.”
           
Adkinson, however, said that is not the case. “Grady is undergoing difficult times. We try to work with them very closely.”


Emory Recognized as Among "Best Workplaces for Commuters"
July 12, 2006

Emory has been named one of the “Best Workplaces for Commuters” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in the EPA’s first annual list of notable schools. The school is among seventy-two institutions of higher education that earned the designation as environmental leaders that improve air quality, save energy, and reduce traffic congestion in their communities. The U.S. Department of Transportation cosponsors the recognition program with the EPA, and Emory first made the EPA’s general list of workplaces in 2001.

Emory’s administration has spent the past decade encouraging employees to ditch their cars or hitch a ride with colleagues. This fall, the number of campus shuttle routes will nearly double, and the Park-and-Ride program will expand. More than half of Emory’s buses are alternatively fueled (CNG and electric) and the university is developing a recycled biodiesel program (creating fuel from its own used cooking oil) that should help fuel the rest of the fleet by fall. The university’s efforts to ease traffic congestion and improve air quality have also been recognized each year since 2000 by Atlanta’s Clean Air Campaign, and the school has been cited by The Chronicle of Higher Education as a “green campus.”

Commuter options at Emory provide employees with a wide range of choices. The university has twenty-four vanpools operating from eight counties. Both employee and student carpoolers receive parking discounts, and employee carpools with more than three riders qualify for a free parking hangtag and a reserved parking space. Employees in the bike/walk program receive twenty one-day passes on MARTA every other month for a total of one hundred passes per year. Employees registered in the transit program receive free monthly MARTA passes.