Robert Plant Announces New ‘Digging Deep’ Podcast

first_imgFormer Led Zeppelin frontman and current Sensational Space Shifters leader Robert Plant has announced a new podcast, Digging Deep, The Robert Plant Podcast. The podcast is set to debut on Monday, June 3rd via all of the major streaming platforms including iTunes, Spotify, Acast, YouTube, and more.In an intro audio clip shared via his social media accounts, Plant explains,Making records is a very personal experience. I was so ready to get away from that environment, then I was saying, lets get out of here. But then, now and again down the line, opening up some of the songs and looking back at ’em, I marvel at some of it.Mostly wherever I am even now all these years later, I really wanna be there. I’m going to be picking out some songs from here and there along the way, mixing constant shifts and sound and intention. Men and women who encouraged and enlightened the themes and the stories.A voice narration goes on to describe the show as, “the moments, people and places that have inspired some of his most treasured music.”Listen to the brief intro clip for Robert Plant’s Digging Deep podcast below, and head here on June 3rd to listen to the first episode! Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters will hit this road for a number of dates this fall. The band’s brief North American tour will include a trio of previously announced festival performances at Canada’s Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival (9/13), the Indianapolis stop on Willie Nelson‘s traveling Outlaw Music Festival (9/20), and Louisville, KY’s Bourbon & Beyond Festival (9/21) in addition to a co-headlining performance with Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats at Philadelphia, PA’s Mann Center on September 17th.The tour will continue from there with performances in Clear Lake, IA (9/23); Moorhead, MN (9/25); Missoula, MT (9/27); Spokane, WA (9/29); Salt Lake City, UT (10/1); and Bend, OR (10/3). Each of the tour’s non-festival performances will feature support from Lillie Mae.See below for a list of upcoming North American Robert Plant tour dates. For complete details and ticket availability, head to Plant’s website here.Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters – North American Tour 2019:SEPTEMBER13 – Fredericton, NB – Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival *17 – Philadelphia, PA – The Mann Center #20 – Indianapolis, IN – Outlaw Music Festival *21 – Louisville, KY – Bourbon & Beyond Festival *23 – Clear Lake, IA – Surf Ballroom25 – Moorhead, MN – Bluestem Center For The Arts Amphitheatre27 – Missoula, MT – KettleHouse Amphitheater29 – Spokane, WA – First Interstate Center For The ArtsOCTOBER1 – Salt Lake City, UT – Eccles Theater3 – Bend, OR – Les Schwab Amphitheater* FESTIVAL PERFORMANCE# CO-HEADLINE WITH NATHANIEL RATELIFF AND THE NIGHT SWEATSView Tour Dates[H/T LIVE music blog]last_img read more

Dark Star Orchestra Welcomes Marcus King At Dark Star Jubilee [Audio]

first_imgOver the weekend, the eighth annual Dark Star Jubilee returned to Legend Valley Music Center (formerly known as Buckeye Lake Music Center, home to some of the largest outdoor Grateful Dead concerts) in Thornville, Ohio. Dark Star Orchestra, the festival host band, performed three full, two-set shows over the course of the Memorial Day weekend event.On Friday, the Grateful Dead tribute act chose to offer up an “elective” set, as Dark Star Orchestra generally recreates exact setlists from the past. The band opened up their show with “Jack Straw”, followed by “Cold Rain and Snow” and “Broken Arrow”. DSO then invited up young guitar virtuoso Marcus King to lend a helping hand on the traditional blues number “Walkin’ Blues”. King had performed with The Marcus King Band at the festival earlier in the day, and delighted the crowd with some explosive blues guitar solos he was trading off with DSO’s Jeff Mattson. “Walkin’ Blues” was first covered by the Grateful Dead in 1966, then was shelved until 1982 and stayed in the band’s rotation through their final summer 1995 tour.Sans Marcus King, Dark Star Orchestra continued on with “Loose Lucy”, “Black Throated”, “West L.A. Fadeaway” “Hard To Handle”, which was followed Bob Dylan‘s “Visions of Johanna” and “Tangled Up In Blues” in honor of lighting director Dave Quinn and Dylan’s birthdays.DSO opened up their second set with “Not Fadeaway”, followed by an electric, seamless segue of “Scarlet Begonias” into “Fire On The Mountain”. The band continued on with an “Unbroken Chain” > “Drums” > “Space” segment before launching into “St. Stephen”. “St. Stephen” flowed perfectly into “The Eleven”, which was followed up by “Comes A Time” and a reprise of “Not Fade Away” to close out the second set. On Friday, the band offered up a cover of The Band‘s “The Weight” as their lone encore.Luckily for fans who were unable to attend, you can listen to a great audio recording courtesy of taper Toaste below:Dark Star Orchestra – Dark Star Jubilee – 5/24/2019[Audio: Toaste]Head to Dark Star Orchestra’s website for a full list of their upcoming tour dates and ticketing information.Setlist: Dark Star Orchestra | Dark Star Jubilee | Thornville, OH | 5/24/2019Set One: Jack Straw, Cold Rain And Snow, Broken Arrow, Walkin’ Blues (w/ Marcus King), Loose Lucy, Black Throated Wind, West L.A. Fadeaway, Hard To Handle, Visions Of Johanna (Happy Birthday to lighting director Dave Quinn and Bob Dylan) > Tangled Up In BlueSet Two: Not Fade Away > Scarlet Begonias > Fire On The Mountain, Unbroken Chain > drums > space > Dark Star > Saint Stephen (w/ William Tell) > The Eleven > Comes A Time > Not Fade Away (reprise)Encore: The Weightlast_img read more

Julius Benjamin Richmond

first_imgJulius Benjamin Richmond, M.D., Professor of Health Policy, Emeritus in the Faculty of Medicine was born in Chicago, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, on 26 September, 1916. He died at his home in Brookline, MA on 27 July, 2008. Few individuals have had as great an impact on health, health care, and the well-being of children. He left us all a rich legacy.To understand his many contributions as a mentor, author, expert witness, designer and implementer of programs and policies, and concerned citizen, one must first understand the man. Julius Richmond — known to all as “Julie” or as “JBR” — was a son of Chicago, the Chicago of Carl Sandburg, Studs Terkel, ­­­­­­­­­­­­­Daniel Burnham, and Jane Addams. The first wrote the epic poem “The People Yes,” the second had a love affair with the “common” folk whose lives he chronicled, the third reminded us to “Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood,” and the last translated her ideas into social activism. Julie was about people, all people, about great ideas and plans, and about seeking social justice. Julius Richmond spent most of his life in the East. Nevertheless, though he left Chicago, Chicago never left him.His early years were difficult, but he found the groundwork for his life’s concerns on a farm midst goats and lambs. He observed and studied the relationship of lambs to their mothers and to goat foster mothers, the capacity of sheep and goats to adopt strange kids and lambs, and the impact of the infant on the mother and of the mother on the infant. These experiences fueled his deep interest in and commitment to issues in child development, a field which he pioneered after graduating the University of Illinois Medical School in 1939, doing his internship at Cook County Hospital, serving as a flight surgeon in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II, and — after discharge — completing his residency in pediatrics at Cook County and Chicago’s municipal contagious disease hospitals.In 1953, he moved to the State University of New York at Syracuse College of Medicine (now known as the Upstate Medical Center). There he and his colleague, Bettye Caldwell, established a pioneering daycare center for infants as young as six months of age and focused their research efforts on cognitive abilities developed during a child’s first years. They devoted particular attention to children who faced special risks due to their family’s social and disadvantaged economic status.This pioneering work demonstrated that cognitive and emotional stimulation made a substantial difference in the development of children. It helped focus attention on psychological, social, and behavioral dimensions of health in addition to the more traditional narrower focus on physical well being. It was this work that led Sargent Shriver, the “general” in President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, to recruit Julie to serve as the first National Director of Project Head Start. The call came in January of 1965 and by that summer half a million children from poor families were enrolled in Head Start programs. The programs went beyond learning letters, numbers, and colors and involved the acquisition of concepts and social skills. Parents were intimately involved in the effort and in a broad conceptual scheme health and nutritional needs were addressed as well. What Julie helped put into place, survives. Head Start recently enrolled its 25 millionth child, is deeply embedded in our national strategy on behalf of children, and provides a daily reminder of how much can be accomplished through vision, conviction, commitment, dedication, and hard work.Had Julie only launched Head Start on its high-impact trajectory, it would have been enough. But he did much more and did it at the very same time. While at the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) he worked informally with the health staff of the OEO community action program to develop the neighborhood health centers program that brought needed health and other services to deprived neighborhoods and populations. It is worth remembering that it was Senator Edward Kennedy who steered the first $50 million Neighborhood Health Center amendment to the Economic Opportunity Act to passage. That was not the only time that Dr. Richmond “recruited” Senator Kennedy in support of forward looking legislation. Many of the services offered in these centers were provided by newly-trained members of the affected communities. In time, those neighborhood health centers evolved into the community health centers that now are an important part of the infrastructure undergirding America’s health care delivery system. Today there are over 1,100 such centers servicing more than 17 million individuals. If Julie was the father of Head Start, it can be said that he was the midwife at the birth of Neighborhood Health Centers.And, of course, there is much more. In 1966, Julie was honored by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) with the C. Anderson Aldrich award in Child Development, the Academy’s highest honor in the field. In accepting the award Julie challenged the profession to view child development as a basic science of pediatrics in which theory and methodology would guide rigorous investigation. Further, he argued that psychosocial aspects of child development needed to be incorporated into pediatric training. He understood that this view would face opposition from those who considered biologic research as “hard” science and were loath to incorporate what they viewed as “softer” social science data. He, therefore, influenced the Executive Committee of the AAP to establish a Section on Child Development to provide a forum for communication, stimulate interest in research, and foster educational activities for pediatricians and others. For Julie it was not enough to “have an idea.” It was necessary to translate the idea into action, to institutionalize child development as a basic science for pediatrics. A younger generation may not grasp how “radical” his views were. Today, forty years after his Aldrich address, developmental and behavioral pediatrics is recognized as an academic discipline with subspecialty board status. As with Head Start and Neighborhood Community Health Centers which remain integral to the American scene, so with Julie Richmond’s vision for pediatrics.Julius Benjamin Richmond was not yet done. He came to Harvard University with appointments in the Medical School, the School of Public Health, and the Kennedy School of Government, serving at the same time at Boston’s Children’s Hospital and as Director of the Judge Baker Guidance Center and for a time as Chair of the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. But Washington and public service called once again. In 1977 he took leave from his Boston activities and accepted appointment as both Assistant Secretary for Health and Surgeon General in the Carter administration.He accomplished much even in a period of fiscal retrenchment. During his tenure he issued two highly influential reports: a 1,200 page Report published on the 15th anniversary of Surgeon General Luther Terry’s original report linking smoking to lung cancer and other serious diseases and a second report Healthy People: The Surgeon General’s Report on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. The smoking report was praised for its comprehensiveness and rigor, the scrupulous review process of research studies on smoking and its health effects, and its medical precision. It is fair to say that the report ended the so called “debate” about tobacco and its effects. Julie had declared “case-closed.” It took years for the full impact of the report to be felt and for the “cover-up” to be fully exposed and recognized, but the trend was inexorable. Not surprisingly, this work equipped him to be an expert witness in various class action suits brought against the tobacco industry. His credibility and knowledge were important in the suit brought by non-smoking flight attendants who had suffered harm from passengers who smoked. The industry settled this suit for $300 million which was used to create the Flight Attendants Medical Research Institute (FAMRI), a foundation which sponsors scientific investigation of the harms of second-hand smoke. Dr. Richmond served as FAMRI’s first medical director. Once again his efforts were institutionalized.The second report on health promotion and disease prevention redirected attention from the traditional emphasis on resource inputs and access to assessments of outcomes, including assessments of health functioning, reductions in morbidity and increases in life-expectancy, and changes in health status. Importantly, the Report set specific and measurable goals for health promotion for various population groups. The shift in emphasis was yet another “big idea” and once again Julie created something which endures: the assessment and setting of goals has been followed at ten year intervals and is now part of the American health scene. We measure where we are and agree upon attainable goals that require sustained action. We return to see whether we have achieved those goals, assess why we have failed on those that proved beyond our reach, and set out anew to seek improvement.Dr. Richmond returned to Harvard and to his work in Boston. He did not come back to “rest on his laurels,” though there were many lectures, commemorations, commendations, and honorary degrees in the offing. Rather, he returned to resume his activities in planning research activities across the university, meeting with colleagues, writing numerous articles, editorials, op-ed pieces, and a book on health care. He raised his voice and pen against complacency, on behalf of major reform of the health delivery and financing system, and on behalf of social justice. He believed that success is based on three interacting ingredients: a requisite scientific knowledge base, a social strategy that would utilize that knowledge base, and a political strategy that would gain support for the strategy. That is how he fought for a better world.Even so, he found the time to meet with all who wanted to come through his open door. Those who did benefitted from his remarkable capacity for meeting with, listening to, inspiring us all and somehow getting us – perhaps especially younger colleagues – to offer comments and ideas we had never believed we had in us. Like the greatest ball players he made those on his team (and all were on his team) perform better. He worked to build bridges between disciplines and as well between individuals who might learn from one another’s ideas and activities. In his writing and lectures, and perhaps above all in his conversation in which he wanted to talk about you and your ideas, he inspired a long list of persons who would wish to carry on his work.Julie Richmond lived a full life. He was blessed with his first wife Rhee, who died in 1985, and as well with his surviving wife Jean. He was proud of his three sons, Barry, Charles, and Dale, and grieved deeply at Dale’s untimely death. He accomplished much and much of what he accomplished was due to his love of people. Harvard put it well when, in awarding him an honorary degree, it stated: “Farsighted architect of initiatives in health, master builder of bridges linking academy and community, for whom nothing is more precious than the life of a child.”Respectfully submitted,Rashi Fein, ChairpersonAllan BrandtLeon EisenbergNancy OriolJudith PalfreyLisbeth SchorrJack Shonkofflast_img read more

Women in life sciences still lag in compensation, advancement

first_imgWomen conducting research in the life sciences continue to receive lower levels of compensation than their male counterparts, even at the upper levels of academic and professional accomplishment, according to a study conducted by the Mongan Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital.In their report in the April issue of Academic Medicine, the research team also finds differences in the roles female faculty members take as they advance in their careers.“The gender gap in pay has been well documented, but what was not understood was whether academic accomplishments could overcome the pay gap,” says Catherine DesRoches, Dr.Ph., of the Mongan Institute, who led the study. “Our study found that, across the board, men are being paid substantially more than equally qualified and accomplished women at academic medical centers.”Previous studies that documented disparities in compensation and academic rank between male and female faculty members did not examine differences in professional activities, such as leadership positions held. The current study was designed to investigate whether professional activities differ by gender, whether professional productivity — reflected by scientific papers published — continued to vary, and if differences in salary would persist after accounting for professional activities.In 2007 the researchers surveyed more than 3,000 randomly selected investigators from life science departments at the top 50 academic medical centers receiving National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding in 2003 or 2004. The anonymous surveys included questions about respondents’ professional activities — such as leadership positions at their universities, on federal panels or at scientific journals — total and recent numbers of publications and the journals they appeared in; the numbers of hours spent on all professional, scientific and clinical activities; and total compensation.The results indicated that women who reached the rank of full professor worked significantly more hours per week than men of the same rank, a difference primarily accounted for by more time spent in administrative and other professional tasks and not patient care, teaching or research. There was no significant difference in hours worked among associate professors, but women at the assistant professor level worked fewer hours overall, primarily spending less time doing research.Even after controlling for the differences in academic ranking, research productivity and other personal characteristics, women earned from $6,000 to $15,000 less per year than men of similar levels of accomplishment. “These differences may seem modest,” DesRoches says, “but over a 30-year career, an average female faculty member with a Ph.D. would earn almost $215,000 less that a comparable male. If that deficit were invested in a retirement account earning 6 percent per year, the difference would grow to almost $700,000 over a career. For department of medicine faculty, that difference could be almost twice as great.”While the study did not investigate reasons underlying the differences found by the survey, the researchers theorize that the greater number of professional responsibilities taken on by female full professors could result from organization’s efforts to improve the diversity of their department and committee leadership. Salary discrepancies could result from continuing discriminatory practices or from the choices women make regarding specialties.“Women working in the life sciences should not assume they are being paid as much as equally qualified men, and academic institutions should look hard at their compensation and advancement policies and their cultures,” says Eric G. Campbell, principal investigator of the study.  “In the end, I suspect major systemic changes will be needed if we ever hope to achieve the ideal of equal pay for equal work in academic medicine.” Campbell is an associate professor of Medicine and DesRoches an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School.Co-authors of the Academic Medicine report – supported by a grant from the Human Genome Project of the National Institutes of Health – are Sowmya Rao and Lisa Iezzoni of the Mongan Institute for Health Policy at MGH and Darren Zinner of Brandeis University.last_img read more

Harvard’s historic mark

first_imgAs Elena Kagan becomes the 112th Supreme Court justice, she adds to an impressive list of 22 other justices who have one thing in common: Not only have they shaped the law in influential and historical ways — they all hail from Harvard.William Cushing graduated from Harvard College in 1751. Nominated to the Supreme Court by President George Washington in 1790, Cushing served until his death in 1810.Joseph Story graduated from Harvard with the Class of 1798. He was appointed to the Supreme Court by President James Madison, and served from 1812 to 1845.Benjamin Robbins Curtis, of the Harvard College Class of 1829, went on to graduate from Harvard Law School (HLS) in 1831. Nominated in 1851 by 13th President Millard Fillmore, Curtis resigned in 1857 from the court over its Dred Scott v. Sandford verdict, which upheld the legitimacy of slavery.Boston-born Horace Gray enrolled in Harvard College in 1841 at the age of 13. He graduated four years later, and eventually studied law at Harvard, though he did not earn a degree. President Chester Alan Arthur nominated Gray in 1882, and he served until his death in 1902.Melville Weston Fuller was the eighth chief justice of the United States. He left Harvard after one year, graduated from Bowdoin College, and returned to Cambridge, to HLS, for just six months, leaving in 1855 without graduating. Grover Cleveland nominated Fuller in 1888, and he served until his death in 1910.Like Fuller before him, Henry Billings Brown joined the Supreme Court without completing a HLS degree. Nominated in 1891 by President Benjamin Harrison, Brown retired from the court in 1906.Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. was not only an alumnus of Harvard College and HLS, he also taught at the latter. After joining the Civil War his senior year of college, Holmes graduated in 1861 before returning to Cambridge and enrolling at HLS. President Theodore Roosevelt nominated Holmes in 1902, and he retired after a 30-year career in the court.William Henry Moody graduated from Harvard in 1876. After four months at HLS, Moody left to work under a local lawyer and pass the bar.  Also nominated by Roosevelt, Moody served four brief years, from 1906 to 1910.Woodrow Wilson nominated Louis David Brandeis to the court in 1916. Brandeis graduated from HLS at the age of 20 with the highest-grade average in the School’s history. He served as a justice from 1916 to 1939.Tennessee-reared Edward Terry Sanford was nominated to the court by President William G. Harding in 1923. He received a B.A. from Harvard in 1885, an M.A. in 1889, and an LL.B. from HLS also in 1889. Sanford served until his death in 1930.Felix Frankfurter, who graduated from HLS with a stellar academic record, was nominated to the court by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1939. He taught at Harvard for many years, and Harvard possesses one of the largest collections of Frankfurter’s papers. He served the court until retirement in 1962.Harold H. Burton was born in Jamaica Plain, Mass., and graduated from HLS in 1912. Nominated by Harry S. Truman, Burton served the Court from 194510011945 to 1958.A 1931 graduate of HLS, William J. Brennan Jr. was nominated by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1956 and was succeeded by Justice David Souter in 1990.Harold Andrew Blackmun, author of Roe v. Wade and a passionate advocate of abortion rights, attended Harvard College on a scholarship, earned a degree in mathematics, sang with the Harvard Glee Club, and studied under Felix Frankfurter at HLS before graduating in 1932. He was nominated by President Richard Nixon in 1970 and served the court until 1994.Lewis Franklin Powell Jr. graduated from HLS in 1932 and was nominated to the court in 1972 by President Nixon. He served until 1987.Also nominated by Nixon, William Rehnquist earned an M.A. in government from Harvard in 1950. He served from 1972 until his death in 2005, when he was succeeded by Justice Antonin Scalia.Antonin Scalia is the longest-serving justice. A 1986 nominee of President Ronald Reagan, Scalia is still serving. He is a 1960 graduate of HLS.Also nominated under Reagan, Anthony Kennedy earned an LL.B. from HLS in 1961. He began his service to the court in 1988 and is still serving today.David Souter was appointed in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush and retired in 2009. At Harvard, Souter was a philosophy concentrator, and after graduation attended Magdalen College, University of Oxford, U.K., on a Rhodes Scholarship before receiving his J.D. from HLS in 1966. He was Harvard’s Commencement speaker this year, when he also received an honorary degree.Appointed in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, Ruth Bader Ginsburg enrolled at HLS in 1954 before transferring to Columbia Law School when her husband took a job in New York City. She was the first woman to be on the staff of two major law reviews — the Harvard Law Review and Columbia Law Review. She is still serving on the Court today.Stephen Breyer, also appointed by Clinton, received an LL.B. from HLS in 1964. Nominated in 1994, he is currently serving the court.John G. Roberts is the current chief justice of the United States. Nominated in 2005 by President George W. Bush, Roberts graduated Harvard College in 1976 and HLS in 1979, where he was managing editor of the Harvard Law Review.last_img read more

Lost in translation

first_imgCelebrated Israeli novelist David Grossman immerses himself so deeply in his writing that the surrounding world becomes reflected in the words he crafts, and finishing a book after years in its grip becomes a harder task than beginning it.“Everything suddenly fits into what I’m writing,” Grossman told a packed Science Center Tuesday night. “When I write about love, all the world is in love. When I write about jealousy, everyone is jealous.Grossman, the internationally known author of eight novels and two nonfiction works, described the strange alchemy that occurs during writing, how authors are “fed” by their characters, and how sentences that they didn’t know were inside them emerge on the page.Grossman, who is also a prominent peace activist, discussed his latest novel, “To the End of the Land,” whose U.S. edition was published last year. Grossman opened his talk by describing the book, which was acclaimed in a New York Times review by writer Colm Toibin, who wrote: “To say this is an antiwar book is to put it too mildly, and in any case such labels do an injustice to its great sweep, the levels of its sympathy.“To the End of the Land” tells the story of Ora, a mother whose son Ofer has enlisted in the military. She had planned a hike with him in Israel’s north when his three-year enlistment ended, but at the last moment he re-enlisted, volunteering for a major offensive. Ora is stricken, and decides to avoid any painful notification of his death by going on the hike anyway, taking along Ofer’s father, Avram, the love of her life, but a man broken by his experience as a POW during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. As they walk, she tells Avram about her son’s life, in which he had been uninvolved.“I believe books are much more clever, courageous, and generous than their writers,” Grossman said.Grossman began writing the book in 2003 and was almost done with it in 2006, when his own suffering melded with his character’s fears. His youngest son, Uri, was killed during the Second Lebanon War.The heart of writing, Grossman said, is getting to know a book’s characters intimately, in a way that is impossible with other human beings. Even when it comes to those with whom we are most intimate, we shy away from complete knowledge, Grossman said. With our children, we avoid the darker corners of their characters; we may know our lovers better than others, but still not completely.“To me, the heart of writing is the privilege of knowing other people from within,” Grossman said. “Usually, we are quite protected from the other. … We develop an instinct of not being totally exposed to the hell within the other.”Writing a novel involves creating a suite of characters whom you know so intimately that they become like a family you’re hiding during wartime and to whom you take food and news daily. The whole of a book, he said, somehow becomes greater than the writer.“I believe books are much more clever, courageous, and generous than their writers,” Grossman said.Grossman wrote about a family, he said, because he has always been fascinated by the concept and believes it is the unit where the most important moments happen — not in the corridors of power but in kitchens, bedrooms, and children’s rooms.The setting of the book is in Israel’s north, which some people view as dangerous. But Grossman said the only danger there is from animals. To look around at nature, he said, is to understand how permanent the Earth is and how temporary humans, their wars, and their problems are.“You realize how terrible it is that we’re wasting our time and wasting our lives on something that could and should have been solved years ago had we been more courageous,” Grossman said.His appearance was sponsored by the Center for Jewish Studies and co-sponsored by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. He was introduced by Shaye Cohen, Littauer Professor of Hebrew Literature and Philosophy and director of the Center for Jewish Studies.last_img read more

Public opinion analysis shows big gap between experts, public on Medicare spending

first_imgAs debate over the national debt and the federal budget deficit begins to heat up again, an analysis of national polls conducted in 2013 shows that, compared with recent government reports prepared by experts, the public has different views about the need to reduce future Medicare spending to deal with the federal budget deficit. Many experts believe that future Medicare spending will have to be reduced in order to lower the federal budget deficit but polls show little support (10% to 36%) for major reductions in Medicare spending for this purpose. In fact, many Americans feel so strongly that they say they would vote against candidates who favor such reductions. Many experts see Medicare as a major contributor to the federal budget deficit today, but only about one-third (31%) of the public agrees.This analysis appears as a Special Report in the September 12, 2013, issue of New England Journal of Medicine.One reason that many Americans believe Medicare does not contribute to the deficit is that the majority thinks Medicare recipients pay or have prepaid the cost of their health care. Medicare beneficiaries on average pay about $1 for every $3 in benefits they receive. However, about two-thirds of the public believe that most Medicare recipients get benefits worth about the same (27%) or less (41%) than what they have paid in payroll taxes during their working lives and in premiums for their current coverage. Read Full Storylast_img read more

Recalling a lab-led rescue

first_img HMS Professor Howard Green developed the first therapeutic use of cells grown in the lab. Before stem cells gained fame, he cultivated them to generate skin grafts for burn patients. <a href=”” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a> His young body ravaged by fire, the boy looked at the nurse wheeling him into the operating room.“Don’t let me die.”The words have echoed through the decades, from a Boston operating room in the summer of 1983 to similar places around the world where similar sentiments have accompanied similar operations, and lost none of their power. In a neat house on a quiet Brookline street a Harvard Medical School (HMS) professor’s wife tells the story.Those words changed everything, she adds.It was either 5-year-old Jamie Selby or his brother, 6-year-old Glen, who spoke on that summer day. The plea’s power rather than who said it struck the doctors and nurses caring for them.The adults were attempting what they deemed the boys’ only hope: transplanting laboratory-grown skin created through a new procedure pioneered by Professor Howard Green. It had been tried in small test cases before, but in those, the patient could have been treated with traditional skin grafts, where skin from another part of the body is taken to cover a burned area. Cases like that of the Selbys, where there was little unburned skin left to graft, had left doctors with few options. They could provide medication for the constant pain and wait for death. The new procedure offered hope where there had been none.“He basically turned his whole lab to the effort to save those boys.”The boys had been burned when flammable solvent caught fire while they were playing in a vacant house near their Wyoming home. A friend died in the fire; the Selbys were flown to burn specialists in Denver, who had heard of the work being done in Boston.From a small patch of unburned skin, Green and the fellows and students in his lab on HMS’s quadrangle had grown healthy skin that, once transplanted, would develop and thicken until it became nearly indistinguishable from normal skin.But the doctors and nurses treating the boys still had their concerns. They questioned the wisdom of attempting unproven measures on little boys in constant pain, with bodies difficult to look at, so scorched that the only patches of healthy skin were on the soles of their feet and the crease at the top of their thighs. But the words banished any lingering doubt.“There’s no question they would have died [without the treatment],” said Nicholas O’Connor, then-chief of the burn unit at the Shriners Burns Institute of Boston, who conducted the transplant operations. “[But] they were game to live. . . . Taking care of burn patients is difficult sometimes. You do all this for them but they may not make it out of the hospital.”The Selby boys survived to leave the hospital and lived for decades. The treatment proved the power of lab-grown human skin, and provided hope for victims of severe burns. Green’s method was the first to harness the power of stem cells to regenerate a patient’s tissues, ushering in an era of regenerative medicine that continues to develop today.“It’s really the first stem cell therapy. It was way ahead of its time,” O’Connor said.Insight from teratomasIn 1974, neither Howard Green nor graduate student James Rheinwald was thinking of burns and skin transplants. In Green’s lab, then at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the focus was on embryos and embryonic development.To gain insight into how a few cells can develop into the body’s diverse array of tissues, they were studying teratomas, tumors that, like embryos, are made up of many different tissues, including teeth, bone, and hair.While examining a mouse teratoma, Rheinwald noticed a smooth patch of what looked like skin. It was made up of cells called keratinocytes, a skin building block. Prior attempts to culture keratinocytes had failed, but the key observation from the teratoma was that the keratinocytes were growing together with structural cells called fibroblasts.Green, who had successfully cultured fibroblast cells years earlier, had a ready supply. He and Rheinwald first irradiated the fibroblasts to stop them from crowding out the keratinocytes, and then incubated the two cell types together.The keratinocytes grew readily, so Green and Rheinwald tried the same experiment on human keratinocytes and got the same result. Green, realizing that the advance had the potential to help burn victims, contacted O’Connor, who before moving to Shriners was head of the burn unit at what was then the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital.“[Green] was unusual in having both extraordinary scientific instinct and rigor … while, with his medical training, he always had a good sense of when something might be applied to a clinical problem,” said Rheinwald, today an associate professor of dermatology at HMS and at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.O’Connor, working with physicians at the Brigham and, later, at Shriners, began experimenting using Green’s lab-grown skin for transplants. The pair did the first human transplant in 1980 — the same year Green moved to HMS — on two patients, growing skin patches from biopsies of the patients’ healthy skin and transplanting them.“Once we learned how to grow the cells, it was obvious what we were going to do,” Green said. “Use them for people with third-degree burns.”The effort to treat the Selbys consumed Green’s lab. To provide enough skin to help the boys, it had to be converted overnight from a research operation to one dedicated to manufacturing grafts of their skin.“He basically turned his whole lab to the effort to save those boys,” said O’Connor.Green realized that research was incompatible with growing large amounts of skin for grafts, so he founded a company, Biosurface Technology — bought by Genzyme in 1994 — to handle commercialization of the process.Stem-cell treatmentLicensing the process to an outside company allowed Green to return his focus to research. Later work in his lab showed that the keratinocytes in the skin grafts consisted of three cell types, one of which is an adult stem cell that provides most of the grafts’ proliferative capacity. The presence of stem cells explains why the grafts, transplanted as thin sheets mainly made up of the skin’s upper layer, the epidermis, continue to grow and thicken, adding a deeper layer, the dermis, over ensuing months.In the decades since, stem cell research has grown rapidly. Today, researchers are generating new knowledge about how our bodies function and making advances in regeneration of damaged tissue — as Green did in the early 1980s.Green, now the George Higginson Professor of Cell Biology, has won accolades for his efforts, including the 2010 Warren Alpert Foundation Prize, which recognized his work with skin stem cells, and the 2012 March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology, which went to Green and a former fellow, Elaine Fuchs of Rockefeller University, for their insights into skin stem cells and skin diseases.In recent years, research associate Shiro Iuchi has continued to investigate keratinocytes in Green’s lab. Iuchi, who started in the lab in 1994, is a microbiologist who was drawn to the field by his curiosity about how organisms work and to the lab by the chance to work with Green. Iuchi has generated keratinocytes from embryonic stem cells and, using insights gleaned from them, is investigating chemical factors that play an important role in keratinocyte growth. Though the clinical application of keratinocytes has been known for some time, research using embryonic stem cells further illuminates how keratinocytes function, Iuchi said.“There’s always the basic question of how it’s made.”Lasting powerLast year, Green and his wife, Rosine, were having dinner at home when the phone rang. It was Anice Kruger, a South African mother whose daughter, 3-year-old Pippie, had sustained burns over 80 percent of her body — “everywhere but her bum” — in an accident at a family barbecue. Anice had found the Greens’ number on the Internet.Green referred Anice to Genzyme, which is still using his technique to grow skin for badly burned patients. Samples of Pippie’s skin were flown to Boston, where technicians grew grafts and handed them to a medical courier for a race against the clock. The grafts are viable for 24 hours; the long flight to South Africa left little time to spare. When the plane landed, an ambulance was waiting and sped the grafts through Johannesburg’s rush-hour traffic to surgeons ready to operate. A week later, the procedure was declared a success, with 90 percent of the 41 grafts taking hold. Anice spoke to a local newspaper after the operation.“It’s perfect,” she said.Skin engineeringlast_img read more

Courage is rooted in knowledge, Faust tells seniors

first_imgIn a world that blares fear from many megaphones, Harvard President Drew Faust told graduating seniors on Tuesday that their College education can help them to discern real threats from imagined ones, and she recommended they not let fear keep them bound to life’s predictable path.“The point is, do what you love, whether it is drama or physics or finance. And don’t be afraid to reimagine yourselves. Conan O’Brien thought he was going to devote his life to politics until he discovered the Lampoon, thus launching a brilliant career in comedy,” Faust said. “Digress. Wander.”Faust spoke at the annual Baccalaureate Service that is held in the Memorial Church, and serves as a farewell to graduating seniors from University president and clergy. The event is restricted to members of the College’s graduating class. First held in 1642, it dates back to Harvard’s earliest days.To laughter, applause, and cheers, Faust treated the Class of 2015 to a walk down memory lane, from dancing in the mud and rain of Harvard’s 375th birthday party during their first fall to last winter’s historic snowstorms, when in three weeks the University shut down three times, as much as it had in the entire 20th century.In between, today’s seniors saw victory on the playing field. They innovated and built even as they learned. They rallied to help people affected by Superstorm Sandy, a Philippine typhoon, and Nepal’s recent earthquake. And they helped create the most activist campus year in recent memory. They were the most diverse class in the College’s history and supported an array of causes, including bisexual, lesbian, gay, transgender, and queer rights. They told the world that “I, too, am Harvard,” protested to fight climate change, and marched to emphasize that “Black lives matter.”Wearing their caps and gowns, the students gathered in the Old Yard in early afternoon. Shortly before the 2 p.m. service, they processed through the Yard, past the John Harvard Statue, into Tercentenary Theatre, and up the stone steps into the church.The service, hosted by Jonathan Walton, the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church, featured readings from several holy books, including Islam’s Quran, Christianity’s New Testament, Judaism’s Pirkei Avot, Zoroastrianism’s Yasna, Hinduism’s Upanishads, and Buddhism’s Sutra of Forty-Two Chapters.Walton, who made introductory remarks, reminded the graduating seniors that this week is called Commencement not because it’s the end of their college careers, but because it is “only the beginning,” and there are always opportunities to continue learning as they make their way through life.Faust’s speech was part of a program rich in tradition, marked by prayers for the students’ welfare, ancient anthems, and time-honored hymns.Jake Montgomery, a graduating senior from Cabot House, said Faust’s message resonated with him. The class, he said, probably has a mix of people who are following their dreams and people who are taking a safer route.“I liked the president’s message,” Montgomery said. “I’m following my dream … to be a poet.”Montgomery, an English concentrator, said he’s excited for what comes next. He’s enrolled in the University of Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop and will begin working toward a master of fine arts degree in the fall.Bryan Li, an economics concentrator from Cabot, said he’s planning to work in Taiwan as a tutor for a couple of months this summer and then take the plunge to follow his dream. He plans to move to Los Angeles to work in the film industry, hoping to write and produce.“It’s cliché, but it’s bittersweet,” Li said of his final days on campus. “I don’t know what I feel. It hits you that you’re leaving.”To read President Faust’s full address, visit her website.last_img read more

Abdul-Jabbar on what America needs

first_img Sarah Lewis guest edits Aperture magazine as she readies a new class on African-Americans, race, and photography Related Curating a visual record Abdul-Jabbar replied yes when Gates asked if that was because of race, and said that race also played a role in the rise of Donald Trump. “For people who thought that everything was good and as it should be when white people were in charge of everything,” said Abdul-Jabbar, “they started to get a little shaky when they saw a black person elected as president.” Returning to the topic later, he said “Whoever wins the election, and I think Hillary will, people need to understand that the complexion of Americans is getting darker, and that’s nothing to be afraid of. We’re all Americans despite the pigmentation. We don’t need a wall; we need common sense.”Some of Abdul-Jabbar’s thoughts on race and equality are collected in his new book of essays, “Writings on the Wall: Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black and White,” which he promoted over the weekend with a book-signing at the Harvard Square Coop. The talk with Gates expanded on some of those thoughts, getting into the roots and motivations of his own activism. In particular, he discussed the inspiration he got from the boxer and activist Muhammad Ali, who also risked his athletic career by taking a stand.“He decided in 1967 that the Vietnam War was unjust. And if he’d joined the Army, they would have given him a cushy position. He could have gone on boxing and doing his thing. But because of his feelings about the war, he was not going to go ahead with that. People who cared about him, including Bill Russell and Jim Brown, convened a summit meeting of black athletes, and I was the youngest to be involved.” What Abdul-Jabbar learned, he said, was the best ways to get activism across. “To have a positive effect on American society, you need an idea that people can get behind. Do the changes you want to suggest make sense, and can you make them work for our community?”As Gates pointed out, the black middle class may have doubled since King’s day, but the percentage of black children living in poverty is about the same. “I think the negativity comes from the fact that certain black families cannot educate their children,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “People with no roof over their head can’t go to parent-teacher conferences. So their children join the drug culture, which is the one business that doesn’t discriminate according to race. So what we need is to help black parents find a way to get their kids educated.” That’s especially true, he said, because of institutionalized racism. “The crime and suffering in the black community has a lot to do with the way black people are viewed. In 200 years, that hasn’t changed.”In terms of bridging the racial divide, he said that his basketball stardom has been a mixed blessing. “It enables other Americans to see that we enjoy the same things they do, that we have courage and the ability to compete, and to be smart — remember that for a long time there were no black quarterbacks. I think that had a lot to do with how people saw our intelligence. We were seen as being not quite up to par, something less than an intellectual.”Responding to an audience question, he talked about the challenges and responsibilities of being a Muslim American. “As a Muslim you have to engage; you can’t be insular. You have to let your fellow Americans know what you’re all about, and they need to learn what it means to be discriminated against for things that aren’t necessarily your fault. We need to understand that they may be afraid — and there were things that happened that everybody should be afraid of.”His own conversion, he said, happened after he read “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” while attending the University of California, Los Angeles. “The important thing is that we all worship the same creator. We worship the God of Abraham, as do Jews and Christians. Which is why I get so tired of people on TV saying, ‘They worship a false God,’ because we don’t. We worship the same God that you do.”When another student asked what Harvard students could do to make a change, Abdul-Jabbar offered some simple advice: “Get to know other students who don’t look like you.” There are a few familiar sides to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: NBA legend, celebrity author, social and political activist. But it was mostly the activist who showed up Saturday evening for a conversation with Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African & African-American Research, before a packed house at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum.The longstanding friendship between the two was evident as the talk flowed freely. Gates warmed up by asking “If you were my height, would you have been a professor?” The 7-foot-2 Abdul-Jabbar said that was likely, given his love of books. “My dad would never answer a question; he’d hand me a book instead. So I realized at an early age that there’s a lot of information in them.”From there the talk took a topical turn. Early in the hour, Gates asked a question that set the tone: If Martin Luther King Jr. paid a visit to modern-day America, would he find that things have changed for better or worse? Abdul-Jabbar said there would be some of both.“I’d say there’ve been some improvements, some things have gone south, and we still have a lot of work to do,” he said. “The best thing that’s happened was the rise and success of President Obama. He gave black Americans a person they could identify with and respect. He could have done a lot better if he’d had the cooperation of Congress, but Republicans have decided to sabotage everything [Obama] did.”last_img read more