Vol. 13 No. 1
Fall 2010

Return to Contents

The Well Being
Health care reform examined around the university

Health Care Reform
Key provisions from the Accountable Care Act

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Opportunity and uncertainty for academic health centers

"Among the most immediate challenges we face . . . is our communication efforts with the American public: we need to keep everyone informed about what the new law does and doesn't do, and how it will work for them."

"I'm a great believer that what medicine does best is to think about multiple causes for complex outcomes. And much of what I"ve heard over the last couple of years both in the medical science, sadly, and also in the political realm is exactly the opposite."

Ahead of the Curve
Challenging conventions with predictive health

Broadening our Lenses
Ethical reflections on health care reform

Thomas Jefferson: No Happiness Without Health

Cost Control and Health Care Reform
Defusing a fiscal time bomb

The Affordable Care Act
Will the bill improve coordination of care in the U.S.?

Health Reform Law and its Impact on Physical Therapists
Value across the spectrum of care

Placing Addiction in Historical Perspective
Health care reform and the limits of abstinence policies

Further Reading


Superhero physics

I don’t see my job as just being Dr. No, Professor of Wrong, saying, Well, this could never happen, and this is impossible, and what’s the deal with the Hulk’s pants, anyway? What I’d rather do is grant each character a miracle exemption from the laws of nature and say, If you were super strong, or could stretch like a rubber band, or run at super speed like The Flash, could you run across the ocean, or up the side of a building? Could you drag people behind you in your wake—all things these characters are shown doing, all things that are correct from a physics point of view once you make that suspension of disbelief? . . . Electro is a Spiderman villain who was up on a high tension line when he was struck by lightning and thus gained the ability to store electric charge and discharge it at will in the form of lightning bolts. Obviously. As a kid I could probably be forgiven for thinking that getting hit by lightning was one of the greatest things that could ever happen to me, second only to wallowing in radioactive waste. Personally—and this is just me, and you may have a different opinion on this—but if I gained mastery over one of the fundamental forces of nature, I don’t know if those are the clothes I’d wear in public.

--James Kakalios, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, University of Minnesota, from his talk “The Uncanny Physics of Superhero Comic Books,” September 24, 2010, sponsored by the Physics Department

Writing disaster in Haiti

Disaster and catastrophe were in fact among the most common terms found in titles of pamphlets and memoirs by former colonists of Saint-Domingue in the course of the Haitian Revolution. The emergence of a free black state in the Americas was openly qualified as “catastrophe.” Colonists, including planters, who were free persons of color, wrote to the National Convention to denounce the disaster’s causes, authors, and narratives, often citing a terrible analogy between the destabilizations of the French Revolution and the disasters in Saint-Domingue. . . . In the first decade of the new millennium, a period marked by the bicentennial of Haiti’s independence in 2004, discourses of disaster again rise prominently to the researcher’s eye in texts about Haiti. The expressions “ecological disaster,” “humanitarian disaster,” “disaster management,” “disaster capitalism” have all proliferated around Haiti, well prior to the recent 2010 disaster that has reset the bar on the meaning of disaster. Among this proliferation of discourses about Haiti’s vulnerability one can find references to the Haitian disaster as a kind of metonymy for the Haitian state and its history. These crop up particularly frequently in assessments of corruption in Haiti’s political economy, an approach which I find very worrisome, as it unintentionally closes the loop with that earlier tradition regarding the advent of a black state as disaster, and replaces a whole national tradition with a kind of apocalyptic signifier, as if nothing were there but what might replace it.

--Deborah Jenson, Professor of French studies at Duke University, from her talk “New Directions in Afro-Diasporan Studies via Haiti,” September 17, 2010, sponsored by Emory’s Department of French and Italian

Gender in the legal workplace

We’re all familiar with the stereotypes of women lawyers. We’ve all heard it said that women are better negotiators than men because they’re more comfortable with collaboration and conflict avoidance. Others have claimed that women are better at recognizing interdependencies and establishing relationships. In 1991, even Sandra Day O’Connor discussed the differences that women brought to the bench in an essay about women judges speaking in a different voice. Just last year the “wise Latina” comment by Supreme Court Justice nominee Sonia Sotomayor sparked national debate on the impact one’s gender and experience would or should have on judicial decisions. While there seems to be a lot of anecdotal evidence supporting claims that women lawyers have different skills than men, I don’t know that there’s any scientific evidence to that effect. . . . You can ask whether the skills that made me succeed and thrive in cross-cultural negotiations grew out of nature or nurture. Was it my nature as a woman to be a good negotiator and mediator, or did my ability to deal successfully with other cultures emanate from the fact that I grew up in a multicultural environment? I really don’t know the answer, and moreover I’m not sure that it matters. What was infinitely more important was that these were the skills that I brought to McDonald’s because of my unique background, and that [the company] found these skills to be of value and rewarded me for using them in the workplace.

--Gloria Santona, Executive Vice President and General Counsel at McDonald’s Corp., from her talk about diversity in the workplace, September 9, 2010, sponsored by Emory Law’s Latin American Students Association