The SPHHS Insider - November 2015

Kent helps to bring new, 7-ton research MRI unit to campus

The UMass Amherst Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS) took delivery of a $3.2 million, 7.3-ton, 3-Tesla magnet and related equipment for use in its Human Magnetic Resonance (MR) Center in the Life Sciences Laboratories Building. Professor of Kinesiology Jane Kent helped coordinate the effort to bring the new MR imaging and spectroscopy unit to campus, the culmination of a nearly 15-year effort to bring the technology to the university. Kent says that incorporating this resource into the Center for Personalized Health Monitoring at IALS will create a unique niche for partnering with industry and will significantly help to recruit top-tier faculty, post-docs and graduate students who do human subjects research. Others in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences have plans for research in areas such as communication disorders, epidemiology and environmental health sciences in coming years.

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Alkema co-leads global United Nations study on maternal mortality

A new analysis of maternal mortality worldwide conducted by the United Nations inter-agency group on maternal mortality estimation, with lead statistician Leontine Alkema, found that the maternal mortality ratio saw a relative decline of 43.9 percent during the 25-year period of 1990-2015. In the study, lead authors Alkema and World Health Organization (WHO) medical officer Dr. Doris Chou, with colleagues in the UN interagency group made up of WHO, UNICEF, UN Population Fund, World Bank Group and the UN Population Division, analyzed levels and trends in maternal mortality in 183 countries and found that the maternal mortality ratio declined from 385 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 216 in 2015. They also saw great variability in progress toward reducing mortality.

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Commissioner of Massachusetts Department of Public Health visits UMass Amherst

Massachusetts Department of Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel addresses public health officials on the UMass Amherst campus

Monica Bharel, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), made a daylong visit to the UMass Amherst campus on November 10. The visit, co-organized by the SPHHS and DPH Western Regional Health Office, included a luncheon with Dean Marjorie Aelion, Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, Provost Katherine Newman, and other university officials, followed by an afternoon meeting with approximately 50 local public health officials. “The goal of the meeting was for Commissioner Bharel to meet with local health officials and share DPH’s priorities, visions, and mission. We wanted to discuss ways to work together to solve critical public health issues and challenges,” says Soloe Dennis, M.S. ’07 and Regional Director of Local and Regional Health at the DPH’s Western Regional Health Office.

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Kinesiology major Diamante Spencer profiled in UMass Amherst homepage story

Diamante Spencer, a junior Kinesiology major and member of the women's track and field team, is featured in a new story appearing on the UMass Amherst homepage. Spencer is one of the first students to receive a Devonia M. and Henry Thomas III Scholarship, part of the Community Scholarship Program, a new campus initiative to help students attend UMass Amherst. The program was launched in 2014 to ensure access to the commonwealth’s flagship campus for students with financial need, with a preference for either first-generation college students or those who are underrepresented on campus. “Getting the scholarship makes you feel like everything you are doing is worth it,” says Spencer.

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Public Health major Shivaram Muruga profiled in UMass Amherst video

Shivaram Muruga, a junior public health major, recently spoke about his experiences as a leader in the new student orientation program in a video produced by the UMass Amherst Profile Series. "All these things that I experienced, I want to give back to incoming students the best I can," he says.

Watch the video here!

November 2015

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December 7, 2015: "The Heroin Epidemic in America - Why Now?" Lecture by Dr. Steven Kassels

Dr. Steven Kassels, an author and board-certified physician in addiction medicine and emergency medicine, will give a talk, “The Heroin Epidemic in America - Why Now?” at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 7 in Room N151 of the Integrative Learning Center. The addiction expert has served as a consultant to opiate treatment programs, as medical director of inpatient and outpatient addiction service at Providence Behavioral Health Hospital in Holyoke, and is now medical director and founding member of Community Substance Abuse Centers, which specializes in treating opiate addicted patients throughout New England. Kassels is also the author of a new medical murder mystery and legal thriller, Addiction on Trial, Tragedy in Downeast Maine, set in a fictional small town. Kassels will sign copies of the book from 1–2 p.m. at the UMass Bookstore and again after his evening talk. All proceeds from book sales on campus will be donated to Craig’s Doors, a homeless shelter in Amherst. In addition to the SPHHS, Kassels’ appearance is sponsored by Hillel at UMass Amherst and the Five College Culture, Health and Science Program.


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