Hannah Duncan

Duncan named Truman Scholar

Hannah Duncan, a junior from Phoenix, Ariz., has been awarded a 2014 Truman Scholarship. A classics concentrator, Duncan is one of 59 new Truman Scholars selected from among 655 candidates who were nominated by 293 colleges and universities nationwide. Established in 1975 as a federal memorial to the 33rd president, the scholarship supports outstanding college juniors who are committed to careers in public service. Truman scholars receive up to $30,000 for graduate study and participate in a leadership development program in Liberty, Missouri, in May. At Brown, Duncan has focused on education reform, including involvement in the Choices Program and as a coordinator of the Brown Refugee Youth Tutoring and Enrichment Program (BRYTE). Currently studying abroad at Oxford, Duncan has participated in the Lawyers Without Borders campaign against gender-based violence in Kenya.

 Long-term and post-acute care

New Brown center for long-term care

The American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living have awarded the Brown University School of Public Health $1 million to launch the Long Term Care Quality and Innovation Center. The center will work to improve the quality of long-term and post-acute care by studying best practices, conducting other research, and developing training and leadership programs in the field. “A major goal of our research and teaching is to improve the quality of care, and therefore the quality of life, for our nation’s elderly and post-acute populations,” said Vincent Mor, the Florence Pirce Grant Professor of Health Services, Policy, and Practice, who will direct the center. “We look forward to working with AHCA and NCAL’s support to discover, evaluate, advance, and apply practices that could benefit millions of people and their loved ones.” The center is designed to become self-sustaining after three to five years.

 Green Colleges

Brown ranks as a “Green College”

The Princeton Review has included Brown University on its list of 322 “Green Colleges.” The 2014 list, the Review’s sixth year of green ratings, includes schools that scored 83 or higher on the Review’s green scale, which runs from 60 to 99. Scores are assigned in 10 categories ranging from the percentage of dining service purchases that use locally grown organic food to transit (mass transit programs, bicycle sharing, carpooling, telecommuting) to LEED-certified buildings to academic majors in environmental studies. The Review does not rank-order schools in its “Green Colleges” guide, nor does it report ratings for individual schools.

 Techstyle Haus

Textiles arrive for Techstyle Haus

Techstyle Haus is about to get its textiles. The steel structural ribs of the Brown/RISD/Erfurt Solar Decathlon house went up Monday night, April 14, with the textile shell to be stretched over them the next day. The heavy-duty fabric will be re-tensioned until it fits snugly over the steel. From there, the students will begin installing insulation, fitting the solar array, and finishing the interior. Stateside construction is expected to wrap up in early May, when the house will be disassembled and shipped to France for the 2014 Solar Decathlon. A live webcam of the construction site is up and running.

 Nicosia Shakes

Shakes is research fellow in Jamaica

Nicosia Shakes, a Ph.D. student in Africana studies, was awarded an Inter-American Foundation Grassroots Development Field Research Fellowship for the 2014-2015 academic year. The Inter-American Foundation Grassroots Development Fellowship Program awards fellowships to scholars studying at U.S. universities who are conducting field research related to grassroots development in Latin America and the Caribbean. Shakes’ research project, “Mobilizing Women through Performance in Jamaica: A Study of Sistren Theatre Collective,” is a part of the larger comparative work to be reflected in her dissertation. Shakes will be a fellow at the Institute for Gender and Development Studies Regional Coordinating Unit at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica.

 John Bodel

Bodel named 2014 ACLS Fellow

John Bodel, professor of classics, has been named a 2014 fellow to the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). ACLS Fellowships provide salary replacement for scholars who are embarking on six to 12 months of full-time research and writing in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. The program is funded by ACLS’s endowment, which has received contributions from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the ACLS’s college and university associates, past fellows and individual friends of ACLS. Bodel was one of 65 fellows chosen from 1,000 applications. Bodel will be researching ancient Roman funeral practices, specifically an argument that the basic institutional structures of the Roman funeral provided a continuity of cultural practice that promoted social and psychic stability in the Roman response to death across widely differing historical periods. His work will also attempt to link the two “halves” of the cultural history of death in the West by identifying which functions and forms of Roman funerals survived antiquity and which ones were lost or transformed.

Chronotherapy and perinatal anxiety

The inaugural research grant from the Seleni Institute, a women’s health nonprofit organization, will allow sleep expert Katherine Sharkey to test the feasibility, safety, and efficacy of chronotherapy in women with clinical levels of anxiety in the third trimester of pregnancy. Sharkey, assistant professor of medicine and psychiatry and human behavior in the Alpert Medical School, said, “It has only recently become apparent that sleep patterns during the third trimester of pregnancy impact postpartum mood and affect a new mother’s adaptation to the round-the-clock caregiving demands of her infant. This funding will help us to produce substantial evidence-based research for the global health community as it seeks to improve the wellness of pregnant women and mothers everywhere. It is a very great honor to be the inaugural recipient of this Seleni Institute award.” Seleni founder Nitzia Logothetis is featured in the current edition of the Brown Alumni Magazine.

 Amal Trivedi

No less access after Medicaid growth

Medicaid has added about 3 million people to its rolls under “Obamacare.” A new study in JAMA Internal Medicine finds that based on the recent history of Medicaid expansion in individual states, the increase in people with the insurance won’t result in reduced access to care of those who already have it. The study, led by Brown School of Public Health alumnus Chima Ndumele, now at Yale, and Amal Trivedi, associate professor of health services policy and practice at Brown, found that in 10 states that expanded Medicaid eligibility between 2000 and 2009, existing Medicaid enrollees were not any more likely to report increased problems with access to care than Medicaid enrollees in comparable states that had not expanded eligibility. Emergency department usage also did not change significantly in expansion or non-expansion states. “Some policy observers have raised concerns that the increased demand for care generated by new enrollees ... has the potential to erode access to care for individuals already enrolled,” the researchers wrote. “Our results indicate that previous Medicaid expansions did not produce significant changes in perceived access to care or emergency department utilization among adult Medicaid enrollees.”

 Stephen McGarvey

Study of Kenyan breastfeeding

Kenya has made progress promoting breastfeeding among mothers who deliver at the hospital, but about 60 percent of the nation’s babies are born outside a health care facility. A new three-year USAID “PEER” grant of nearly $450,000 will allow a team led by Judith Ongaji Kimiywe of Kenyatta University with guidance from Stephen McGarvey of Brown University’s School of Public Health to conduct a pilot implementation of the “Baby Friendly Community Initiative” in the rural district of Igembe North. They will measure the nutrition and health status and practices of more than 1,000 mother-child pairs. Some will receive the program’s support and counseling, while others will remain with typical care as part of a control group. A variety of cultural issues make breastfeeding a complicated issue in community settings, said McGarvey, who has also studied breastfeeding in American Samoa. “Women now play major economic roles, and breastfeeding can be seen as an impediment, for instance while running a market stall,” he said. “There are also concerns in this setting about transmission of HIV in breast milk.” McGarvey credits the idea of a statistically rigorous pilot study of the initiative in the community to collaborator Elizabeth Wambui Kimani, whom he met through an ongoing collaboration and scholarly exchange program among Brown, Kimani’s institution the African Population and Health Research Center, the University of Colorado, and the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa.

 Erik Sudderth

NSF CAREER grant for Sudderth

Erik Sudderth, assistant professor of computer science, has been awarded a National Science Foundation Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, the agency’s most prestigious award for junior faculty scientists. He joins two other recent CAREER winners, Baylor Fox-Kemper whose award was announced earlier this spring, and Thomas Serre whose award began this past fall. Sudderth’s work focuses on using machine learning to analyze large data sets. His approach is to develop machine learning algorithms capable of “unsupervised” learning, with less help from human operators. The award provides funding in the amount of $509,000 over five years.