Obesity still on the rise

first_imgEighty per cent of men and almost seventy per cent of women will be overweight by 2020 according to a study by Oxford University’s Professor Klim McPherson.Unlike childhood obesity rates, which according to a previous study have now peaked, adult obesity is expected to continue to rise.The study predicts that 41 per cent of men aged 20 to 65 will be obese by 2020, along with 36 per cent of women.McPherson stated, “We are being overwhelmed by the effects of today’s ‘obesogenic’ environment, with its abundance of energy-dense food and sedentary lifestyles.” He warned, “The Government needs to redouble its efforts to tackle obesity.”last_img

Claire Verschraegen to lead UVM/Fletcher Allen cancer center

first_imgThe University of Vermont and Fletcher Allen Health Care have announced that Claire F Verschraegen, MS, MD, FACP, has been appointed Professor and Chief of Hematology-Oncology and Interim Director of the Vermont Cancer Center, with oversight for cancer care and research at Vermont’s academic medical center.A board-certified oncologist, Verschraegen specializes in rare cancers, such as mesothelioma, metastatic melanomas, sarcomas, and gynecologic malignancies, as well as the study of new anticancer drugs and treatments for solid tumors.”Dr. Verschraegen will bring a new dimension to our cancer program,” said Melinda Estes, M.D., president and CEO, Fletcher Allen Health Care. “Her leadership in the field of oncology will serve us, and our patients, well in the years ahead. I look forward to working with her.”Verschraegen joins Vermont’s academic medical center from the University of New Mexico (UNM) Cancer Center, where she is a tenured Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology, and Director of Translational Therapeutics and Clinical Research. She also oversaw the Clinical Protocol and Data Management Core at the UNM Cancer Center, which received National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation in 2005. She also serves as the principal investigator for the New Mexico Minority-based Community Clinical Oncology Program, which offers participation to NCI-sponsored clinical trials to all New Mexicans, who receive cancer care at affiliated private oncology practices throughout the state.”Dr. Verschraegen is recognized nationally as an accomplished clinician, investigator and mentor,’ said Frederick C. Morin III, M.D., Dean of the University of Vermont College of Medicine. “Her work has been continuously funded during the past 15 years, including support for Phase I, II and III clinical trials, and she has been appointed by the National Cancer Institute to serve on a number of their important committees. Her experience and track record of success will be of great value to the cancer research program at our institutions.’Verschraegen earned her Medical Degree at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium and trained at the Institute Bordet. She then completed a Medical Oncology fellowship at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas and joined the faculty there. She was recruited to the Cancer Research and Treatment Center at the University of New Mexico in 2002. Verschraegen and her husband will relocate to Vermont in spring 2011.Source: UVM. 12.15.2010###last_img read more

Mizzou tension hits close to home

first_imgRacial slurs are thrown at the student body president. Systematic inequality comes back into focus on campus. Student groups propose resolutions to help tackle this deeply ingrained problem. The response from the University president, who appears flustered when physically confronted by protestors and seems more concerned with the traditions and fundraising efforts of the institution, is slow and weak.Sounds like the University of Missouri? Well, I was thinking of a school about 1,500 miles west.While Mizzou was dominating the headlines with the resignation of its president amidst racism issues at the school, our own Undergraduate Student Government voted on a resolution to address the campus climate toward racial minorities.The news out of Columbia shocked me. Plenty of colleges have protested discrimination recently. Athletes had taken protests to social media before. Portions or entireties of professional sports seasons have been robbed by labor disputes and subsequent strikes. But never before has a group of student-athletes, along with its coaching staff, leveraged its influence in such an impactful way on a social issue.What I found most striking from the news, though, were the similarities between the circumstances at Mizzou that sparked the protest and the recent racial controversy at USC. Of course, the situations are not identical. The history of oppression runs deeper on the Midwest than in the West Coast. The Columbia campus is not far from Ferguson, where race riots captured the nation’s attention last summer. The number of specific incidents of discrimination was greater at Mizzou, and the response from the administration was arguably worse.But at the heart of both instances, we see a student leader personally attacked because of his or her race, proposals for university policy to combat campus racism and criticism over the response of school administrators. Yet the uproar at Mizzou over the instances seems a world away. The problem feels like it’s on another level there; I could never imagine something like that happening on our campus.But it’s not that far of a stretch to say that something like that could happen at USC. The Mizzou Tigers have totally shifted the power balance in college sports, and with great power comes great responsibilityPersonally, I’m still a bit surprised at how quickly things escalated at Mizzou. Yes, the incidents on campus were bad. Yes, the school could have done a better job addressing them. Yes, there’s probably some university administrator in the country better fit to handle those incidents than former university President Tim Wolfe was. But his resignation isn’t really an accomplishment for diversity in and of itself.When the Mizzou student group for diversity met with Wolfe in October before the hunger strike, one of its demands on a list of eight proposed policy changes was the immediate resignation of Wolfe. It’s not surprising that this aggressive bargaining accomplished nothing. What is surprising is that the sticking point of the subsequent hunger strike was not any of the seven other resolutions, but the career of an individual. If I were thrown into the negotiation room with the Mizzou student group pushing for change, I can’t say that it would be a very trusting relationship, knowing that the group might come for my head before we had a chance to compromise.There are obviously important issues regarding socioeconomic inequality in this country and around the world, and I’m inspired to see the impact students can have on these issues. But if there is a role that students, and especially student-athletes, can play in this discussion here, I think it’s foolish for us to look at it as a battle against the administration, or “the system.”University administrations aren’t heartless bureaucracies with no concern for its students’ well being, even though most of their work revolves around financial stability of the institution. Sure, the fact that change only happened in Mizzou once a major source of revenue for the athletics department was threatened is proof that “money talks.” But that doesn’t mean Wolfe and the rest of the Mizzou administration are a bunch of corrupt, materialistic and selfish power mongers.The reality is that even at an institution with millions of dollars in its endowment, resources are scarce. Whether it’s the number of faculty, the funding for certain programs or the time of administrators to deal with problems, all of these things represent some value because they don’t come in unlimited quantities. You can criticize an organization for putting too many resources here and not enough there, but you can’t criticize an organization for attempting to quantify the value of those resources with dollar signs. If the football team really did hold out and forfeit its game this weekend, not only would it have cost the community a beloved social event — which isn’t the most important thing in this issue, but still matters — but it also would have substantially reduced the ability of Mizzou’s athletics department to pay for the scholarships of its non-revenue generating student-athletes.That being said, it’s now more obvious than ever how valuable efforts of football players are to the University. What precedent this sets in the future collective bargaining between athletes and universities is to be seen, but it certainly throws another wrench at the idea of amateurism in the NCAA.So could the Trojan football team hold President Nikias hostage if he doesn’t implement the USG Campus Climate resolution? Yes, probably. If every player on the roster agreed not to play until the resolution would pass, at least some of the policies would go through before the scholarships of the entire roster were revoked. It would be fascinating; a whole new level of drama for a team that really, really doesn’t need any more story lines — which is why this is such a wild hypothetical. And it would be inspiring.But I’m also skeptical of USG’s proposed resolution on campus diversity. I have no idea what the proposed vice president of diversity will do besides add one more administrator to the University’s payroll — and, ironically, USG is proposing a separate resolution on freezing tuition costs. One hundred million dollars to fund scholarships for underrepresented students sounds great, and George Lucas has already pledged $10 million to that cause at the School of Cinematic Arts, but for an organization with an annual budget of about $2 million, that’s asking a lot. The issue is important, and I don’t question the intention of USG leaders at all, but I think it only jumped to the top of the agenda once it started to personally affect our student leaders.Ultimately, if USC tried that kind of a holdout, I don’t think it would really help achieve the ends of activists around the country. Yes, accessibility to education is a huge part of the structural inequality. But if serious systematic change will come to the opportunity in this country, it will probably come through much broader national policy, not through diversity training for a very small proportion of the population. How much money universities can and should devote to financial aid for low-income students is a significant issue, but it is beyond the expertise of any undergraduate. The arrival upon $100 million for the scholarship fund seems very arbitrary; I can’t think of any justification for why it wasn’t $75 million, or $150 million.What we should take away from the Mizzou protest is that power only matters when it is unified. There certainly wasn’t much unity between the administration and the student body, but it was the unity across the football team that allowed it to leverage its power for change. That’s not to say everyone on the team was totally on board with the protest. At least one anonymous player said it wasn’t a unanimous effort. But when the support on the team reached a critical mass, and the leadership of the team in head coach Gary Pinkel got behind it as well, the team couldn’t be stopped. If it had been just five or 10 athletes refusing to participate in team practices, they would have lost their scholarships and we wouldn’t still be talking about it.It will take unity among administrators for change to be substantial. The key to progress is empathy, or being able to feel what someone else feels and respects that other person. We must extend that same respect to the decision-makers across universities.We are all young. We all started attending this university because we knew that the professors and administrators of the school had valuable expertise, that they had something to offer us, that we could learn something from them. We have a unique perspective to offer them in discussions about University policies, and we should take that responsibility seriously.But we need to first acknowledge who all is on our team. Sports have an amazingly unique ability to unite school, communities and generations, and they must be used to do just that. Luke Holthouse is a junior majoring in policy, planning and development and broadcast and digital journalism. His column, “Holthouse Party,” runs Wednesdays.last_img read more