Emory Report
April 21, 2008
Volume 60, Number 28


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April 21, 2008

Dean: State of the Graduate School
In her annual address to the graduate faculty, held on April 15, Dean Lisa A. Tedesco spoke about the Graduate School’s priorities in the context of Emory’s aspirations.

Tedesco spoke about plans to support professional development for graduate students, opportunities to engage complex problems in innovative ways, measures to reform the funding of graduate education at Emory, and about the challenge to grow with excellence and creativity.

“We are at an exciting moment in graduate education at Emory,” she said, ready to launch “a campaign guided by an ambitious vision of progress.” — Ulf Nilsson

Political perils in clinical trials
“We live in a world where biomedicine and government are intertwined,” said Steve Epstein, author of “Inclusion: The Politics of Difference in Medical Research,” speaking at a Center for Health, Culture and Society lecture.

The rise of the modern, randomized clinical trial brought a shift in the makeup of human study subjects, from primarily vulnerable populations to primarily middle-aged white males, Epstein said. In recent decades, however, the push for less homogeneous clinical trials caused the NIH to create new research models. “Not only do researchers have to find willing subjects, they have to be diverse,” Epstein said.

Ironically, attempts to address the needs of formerly excluded groups through stringent guidelines can also skew data in ways that don’t benefit anyone, while actually reinforcing stereotypes. “Instead, what we ought to think about is being more flexible,” Epstein said. — Carol Clark

Art is trauma, says author Chris Abani
“I try to create a kind of narrative where the readers have to bring their baggage, too,” author Chris Abani told Candler School of Theology students who met with him before his public lecture on April 11. Abani, raised in Nigeria and London, spent several years as a political prisoner in Nigeria. He is now a professor at the University of California, Riverside.

Abani spoke of the nature of trauma, suffering and art. “All identity is figured around trauma,” Abani said. “All art is trauma. It’s a break linearly where you have to stop the flow of time. All religions, all art is about the transformation of trauma. Over time, we’ve come to view it in different ways.” — Margaret Harouny