Western News https://news.westernu.ca Western University's newspaper of record since 1972 Fri, 20 Sep 2019 20:45:36 +0000 en-CA hourly 1 https://news.westernu.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/back_issues/2018/06/WN_June_21-web.pdf https://news.westernu.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/back_issues/2018/06/WN_June_21-web-114x150.jpg 5.74MB Study targets graduate student stress https://news.westernu.ca/2019/09/study-targets-graduate-student-stress/ Fri, 20 Sep 2019 20:44:33 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=34198 Rebecca Fried readily acknowledges her doctoral research addressing stress among graduate students was, well, stressful. “The irony was never lost on me.”

The post Study targets graduate student stress appeared first on Western News.

]]>
Rebecca Fried readily acknowledges her doctoral research addressing stress among graduate students was, well, stressful. “The irony was never lost on me.”

Even as she dug into her studies, sweated through deadlines and edited her dissertation, Fried knew her postgraduate peers were going through something similar.

“Mental health is not an issue just for undergraduate students on campus; it’s also an issue for graduate students. But graduate students don’t tend to get studied a lot,” said Fried, BHSc’12, MSc’14, who will convocate with her PhD in October.

In a newly published study, Fried uncovered the benefits of a peer-coaching program focused on mentorship, motivational interviewing and life coaching among graduates – leading her to suggest the idea could be expanded.

Her paper, Breaking Grad: Building Resilience Among a Sample of Graduate Students Struggling with Stress and Anxiety via a Peer Coaching Model, appears in the International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring.

Study participants – all Western students – attended a full day of training and then took part in four sessions per month, over eight months. They alternated between being a coach and receiving coaching for an average of 28 sessions each. As receivers, they learned resilience and mindfulness techniques. As coaches, they learned active-listening skills and how to guide questions and answers without trying to ‘fix’ the receiver.

Participants included only full-time postgraduate students experiencing stress and anxiety that interfered with daily living, but were not receiving counselling/therapy or taking anti-anxiety medication.

By the end of the program, students credited the program with helping them identify and manage their stresses. The program had provided them with social supports; the tools and techniques helped them take control over their own health and well-being. They also learned more about how, when and where to seek mental-health support.

Only 11 students took part in the program – too few to produce quantitative results. But the qualitative responses suggest the program should be tried in a larger sample size or that the methodology be integrated into existing wellness services that target postgraduate students, Fried said.

“It’s not necessarily getting rid of programs we have, but about restructuring to what we could have (and shifting) towards peer mentorships.”

Fried has experienced stresses both as an undergraduate and as a graduate student and said the two deserve to be treated differently.

Graduate students often face more isolation, and sometimes less structure and less regular feedback. “It just feels like it’s just you and your paper. You’re dealing with funding. You’re often working as a teaching assistant in addition to your studies.”

Between degrees, Fried also earned certification as a life coach using these techniques and strategies.

“Having to learn to navigate my own anxiety and having to deal with all the stressors that had come up, I wanted to do something that had an impact in an empirical way.”

The post Study targets graduate student stress appeared first on Western News.

]]>
https://news.westernu.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/09/091919_BREAKING_fried3-220x150.jpgWestern News Featured Image for Study targets graduate student stressfalse
Senate OK’s second look at Convocation process https://news.westernu.ca/2019/09/senate-oks-second-look-at-convocation-process/ Fri, 20 Sep 2019 20:31:23 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=34197 Two longstanding groups charged with overseeing Convocation – the Convocation Board and Honorary Degrees Committee – will work together to propose improvements to the process surrounding the biannual event.

The post Senate OK’s second look at Convocation process appeared first on Western News.

]]>
Two longstanding groups charged with overseeing Convocation – the Convocation Board and Honorary Degrees Committee – will work together to propose improvements to the process surrounding the biannual event.

University Senate approved a plan Friday that will see the two groups talk together about next steps, after two recent Convocation ceremonies resulted in apologies from honorary degree recipients for inappropriate comments.

“We’re going to work together to have a Convocation that doesn’t have those moments” – and at the same time update and modernize the process in time for implementation during Convocation next June, President Alan Shepard said.

The decision was a softer response to a recommendation from English and Writing Studies professor Jane Toswell, who proposed the governing body consider an ad hoc committee be formed to revamp Convocation. She asked such a committee consider the number of honorary degrees and ceremonies; what instruction is provided to honorary degree recipients; improved equity, diversity and inclusion among recipients; and other options that would help ceremonies centre on graduates.

“I love Convocation and I particularly love Western’s Convocation,” Toswell said. “I love it for the dignity and respect with which we treat everyone who crosses the stage.”

But she lamented what she called the events’ change in focus away from graduates and towards honorary degree recipients. She also said the increasing number of ceremonies has become “worrisome,” noting 14 honorary degrees were granted in 2010 and 26 conferred or to be conferred in 2019.

“Everybody’s on the same team with needing to address some of the issues of Convocation,” said Senate Vice-Chair Michael Milde.

A second motion to have the Convocation Board and Honorary Degrees Committee discuss next steps and report back to Senate passed by a 37-27 vote.

Milde noted both those groups ultimately report to Senate, which has jurisdiction over Convocation.

In October 2018, honorary degree recipient Aubrey Dan, BACS’85, apologized after citing in his remarks a Playboy magazine article’s description of women students at Western. This past June, honorary degree recipient Stephan Moccio, BMus’94, apologized for comments he made about a Highway 401 sign, comments he said were wrong and undermined Western’s long-standing efforts in women’s justice issues.

The post Senate OK’s second look at Convocation process appeared first on Western News.

]]>
https://news.westernu.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016/11/CONVO_general1-220x150.jpgWestern News Featured Image for Senate OK's second look at Convocation processfalse
Alzheimer’s drug increases risk of muscle breakdown https://news.westernu.ca/2019/09/alzheimers-drug-increases-risk-of-muscle-breakdown/ Fri, 20 Sep 2019 17:42:06 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=34190 A drug commonly used to manage symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias may double the risk of rhabdomyolysis, a painful condition of muscle breakdown that can affect the kidneys,...

The post Alzheimer’s drug increases risk of muscle breakdown appeared first on Western News.

]]>

Paul Mayne // Western NewsDr. Amit Garg, a Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry professor and Lawson scientist, led a study exploring the role of donepezil, the leading drug used for treatment of Alzheimer’s, in patients contracting a painful condition of muscle breakdown that can affect the kidneys.

A drug commonly used to manage symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias may double the risk of rhabdomyolysis, a painful condition of muscle breakdown that can affect the kidneys, according to a Western study.

The study, Risk of rhabdomyolysis with donepezil compared with rivastigmine or galantamine: a population-based cohort study, was published recently in the Canadian Medical association Journal.

Led by Western and Lawson Health Research Institute researchers, the study looked at data from 2002-17 on 220,353 patients aged 66 years or older in Ontario, with a new prescription for donepezil, rivastigmine or galantamine – three inhibitors used to manage dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Donepezil, the leading drug used for treatment of Alzheimer’s, is prescribed to millions of Canadians dealing with the disease, with almost 10 million patients worldwide are given a new diagnosis each year.

“The relative risk was small but statistically significant, and most hospital admissions were not severe,” said Dr. Amit Garg, a Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry professor and Lawson scientist. “Patients should not be alarmed. The chance of being hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis after starting donepezil remains very low and they should not discontinue their prescription medication without speaking to their doctor.”

Rhabdomyolysis damages the kidneys, and in the most severe forms need dialysis treatments to survive.

In 2015, Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued warnings about the risk of rhabdomyolysis with donepezil. This warning, however, was based on fewer than 100 cases.

With data provided through the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, the Western-led study looked at a larger cohort and compared their 30-day risk of a hospital admission with rhabdomyolysis to patients newly prescribed other drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

While there was a two-fold higher risk of rhabdomyolysis with donepezil, Garg said the risk for patients remains low. Even if the study were underestimating the risk by 10-fold, still the increased risk of a hospital admission with rhabdomyolysis is only one in every 300 patients.

“We saw that even though they were admitted to hospital, the rhabdomyolysis was not so severe to require a patient to receive urgent dialysis or a mechanical ventilator,” he said, adding it’s important for physicians to be mindful of the possible risk to their patients who are using donepezil.

“If someone presents to the hospital with rhabdomyolysis, they should look for donepezil on their medication list as a possible cause. If a patient is tolerating the drug and has no difficulties in the first 30 days, and they remain on the same dose, the chance they will develop rhabdomyolysis in the future would be expected to be quite low.”

The post Alzheimer’s drug increases risk of muscle breakdown appeared first on Western News.

]]>
https://news.westernu.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/09/092019_ALZKIDNEY_featured2-220x150.jpgWestern News Featured Image for Alzheimer’s drug increases risk of muscle breakdownfalse
Two all-way stops added for campus safety https://news.westernu.ca/2019/09/two-all-way-stops-added-for-campus-safety/ Fri, 20 Sep 2019 17:21:29 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=34186 Two new all-way stops being added to campus look to improve safety for all in areas where high volumes of pedestrian and vehicular traffic intersect, Facilities Management officials announced today.

The post Two all-way stops added for campus safety appeared first on Western News.

]]>
Two new all-way stops being added to campus look to improve safety for all in areas where high volumes of pedestrian and vehicular traffic intersect, Facilities Management officials announced today.

The first location will be on Middlesex Drive at the Middlesex College entrance. The location, already adorned with pedestrian crossing lines painted on the asphalt, will now require all vehicles heading west along Middlesex Drive to come to a full stop and only go when the crosswalk is unoccupied.

“When evaluating where we can improve pedestrian safety, the crossing on Middlesex Drive is an obvious spot for an all-way stop,” explained Elizabeth Krische, Associate Vice-President (Facilities Management). “We recognize that through traffic, delivery trucks and buses are often using that route and the stop is an added measure of security for those needing to cross the road.”

The crosswalk is currently a popular crossing that connects many of the buildings along Perth Drive, such as Visual Arts and North Campus Building, with the core of campus. Between classes, the crosswalk can become crowded. Middlesex Drive is also a heavily used route for traffic passing through campus, as well as the central hub for public transit.

The second location will be located at the entrance of the South Valley parking lot along Huron Drive. The new stop signs will help calm this stretch of road, make getting in and out of the parking lot easier, and prioritize pedestrian traffic, Krische said.

“The location along Huron Drive is unique in that it’s busy during special events at the stadium, is on a tight corner, and is right beside the Student Recreation Centre,” she continued. “There are large fluctuations in the volume of people and vehicles in this location and it will benefit from a change of pace.”

Krische stressed calming traffic and providing pedestrian priority space is at the forefront of Western’s Open Space Strategy. Recent projects, such as the Alumni Circle reconfiguration and the addition of Kent Walk to the summit of University College Hill, are shining examples of putting pedestrians first.

The post Two all-way stops added for campus safety appeared first on Western News.

]]>
https://news.westernu.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/09/092019_NEWSTOPSIGN_campus-220x150.jpgWestern News Featured Image for Two all-way stops added for campus safetyfalse
Gibson remembered as ‘cutting-edge’ author https://news.westernu.ca/2019/09/gibson-remembered-as-cutting-edge-author/ Fri, 20 Sep 2019 16:48:13 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=34183 Author and conservationist Graeme Gibson, BA’58, is being remembered as a writer who was in the vanguard of Canadian literature. The London, Ont., native died this week at the age of 85, following a recent stroke.

The post Gibson remembered as ‘cutting-edge’ author appeared first on Western News.

]]>

Author and conservationist Graeme Gibson, BA’58, is being remembered as a writer who was in the vanguard of Canadian literature. The London, Ont., native died this week at the age of 85, following a recent stroke.

“He was a cutting-edge writer, someone who was breaking new ground,” said novelist Nino Ricci, holder of Western’s Alice Munro Chair in Creativity. “Certainly, he is going to be remembered as someone at the birth of what we know as the ‘Era of Canadian Literature.’”

Gibson, BA’58, was co-founder of the Writers’ Trust of Canada and The Writers’ Union of Canada and was a president of the writers’ human rights organization, PEN Canada.

Born in London in 1934, he went on to study at Western and later taught English at Ryerson University in Toronto.

Gibson’s first novel, Five Legs, published 50 years ago, was loosely inspired by his experiences at Western. It sold 1,000 copies in its first week and introduced Canadian and international readers to his uniquely Canadian work.

GIBSON

In addition to his works of fiction, Gibson wrote Eleven Canadian Novelists, a 1973 book of extended interviews with authors who, like him, shaped the Canadian literary landscape.

Ricci, a past-president of PEN, met Gibson in the early 1990s and knew him as being generous with time, energy and guidance. “I found him to be such a personable guy and such a gentleman and such a pleasure to be around. He was also so supportive of other authors.”

After one of Ricci’s books received an unkind review, Gibson “sent me a note commiserating and quoting a nasty review he had got about another book – and basically saying it wasn’t anything to be bothered about,” Ricci recalled.

Gibson was a longtime partner to writer Margaret Atwood and died in hospital while accompanying Atwood during her book tour in the UK. In recent years, he had dementia.

Gibson was “indefatigable” in working beside Atwood to support her novels and their mutual causes of writing, championing authors and environmentalism, Ricci said.

“He was always incredibly supportive of Margaret and the phenomenon that she was,” he said.

English and Writing Studies professor Manina Jones, who also services as department chair, knew Gibson through his writing and reputation as a community-builder and supporter of other writers.

To Jones, Five Legs is the most memorable among Gibson’s works. “It’s an extravagantly experimental, erudite, often funny, and trenchantly satirical story that made a significant contribution to the development of modern Canadian fiction,” she said.

Set in Stratford and at Western in the wake of a student’s death, it may or may not reflect on Gibson’s time as a Western student, “but it certainly reflects revealingly on the workings of the scholarly mind and the culture of the academy at a particular moment,” she said.

An avid birdwatcher (and writer of The Bedside Book of Birds and the Bedside Book of Beasts), Gibson and Atwood founded and continued to support the Pelee Island Bird Observatory. For their conservationist work he and Atwood were awarded the Royal Canadian Geographic Society Canadian Geographic Gold Medal in 2015.

He was a member of the Order of Canada (1992).

The post Gibson remembered as ‘cutting-edge’ author appeared first on Western News.

]]>
https://news.westernu.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/09/092019_GIBSON_legacy-220x150.jpgWestern News Featured Image for Gibson remembered as ‘cutting-edge’ authorfalse
Garland named to Canadian Academy of Health Sciences https://news.westernu.ca/2019/09/garland-named-to-canadian-academy-of-health-sciences/ Fri, 20 Sep 2019 16:31:58 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=34180 Health Sciences Dean Jayne Garland has been recognized for her advances in the neural control of movement – particularly relevant to muscle fatigue and the recovery of standing balance and mobility after stroke – with a fellowship in the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

The post Garland named to Canadian Academy of Health Sciences appeared first on Western News.

]]>
Health Sciences Dean Jayne Garland has been recognized for her advances in the neural control of movement – particularly relevant to muscle fatigue and the recovery of standing balance and mobility after stroke – with a fellowship in the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

Garland, MClSc’85, has held numerous leadership roles in education and research for the academic development of rehabilitation sciences in Canada, most recently as chair of the Physiotherapy Specialty Certification Board of Canada. She was instrumental in expanding physiotherapy education in British Columbia to include a northern and rural cohort to mitigate the disparity of access to physiotherapy services across the province.

Garland, who also earned a BSc in physical therapy from Queen’s University in 1981 and a PhD in neuroscience from McMaster University in 1989, returned to Western to take on the role of Dean of Health Sciences in 2016.

She is best known for her study of the motor control of force production, particularly under conditions of muscle fatigue, and for applying her work in muscle fatigue to several clinical populations including breast cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and end-stage renal disease.

The Canadian Academy of Health Sciences informs policy and practice by mobilizing some of the country’s top scientific minds to provide independent and timely evidence-based assessments of critical health challenges affecting Canadians.

The post Garland named to Canadian Academy of Health Sciences appeared first on Western News.

]]>
https://news.westernu.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/09/092019_ACADOFHEALTH_garland-220x150.jpgWestern News Featured Image for Garland named to Canadian Academy of Health Sciencesfalse
Alumnus tapped for top Bank of Canada role https://news.westernu.ca/2019/09/alumnus-tapped-for-top-bank-of-canada-role/ Fri, 20 Sep 2019 14:51:23 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=34177 With the appointment of Toni Gravelle, BA’88, PhD’96 (Economics), as a Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada, Western continues its tradition of leadership at the bank, with four of the top six positions being held by alumni.

The post Alumnus tapped for top Bank of Canada role appeared first on Western News.

]]>
Western alumnus Toni Gravelle, BA’88, PhD’96 (Economics), has been named a Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada, effective Oct. 1, the Board of Directors announced this week. Gravelle fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Lynn Patterson, HBA’83, in July.

GRAVELLE

As Deputy Governor, Gravelle will join the Bank’s Governing Council, which sets the strategic direction of the bank as its policy-making body. He will share responsibility for overseeing the bank’s financial system activities with Deputy Governor Paul Beaudry.

With this appointment, Western continues its tradition of leadership at the Bank of Canada, with four of the top six positions being held by alumni, including Stephen Poloz, MA’79, PhD’82 (Economics), Governor, and Carolyn Wilkins, MA’88 (Economics), Senior Deputy Governor, along with Timothy Lane, PhD’83 (Economics), Deputy Governor, and Gravelle.

“We are delighted to welcome Toni Gravelle to Governing Council. He is a versatile, thoughtful and experienced leader who is already well-known in Canada’s financial markets,” Poloz said. “His deep knowledge of markets, proven leadership skills and capacity for innovative thinking will make an invaluable contribution to our conduct of monetary policy and promotion of financial stability.”

Since May 2015, Gravelle has been Managing Director of the Bank’s Financial Markets Department, leading the execution of the bank’s financial market activities as they relate to monetary policy implementation and financial system liquidity and overseeing domestic debt and foreign reserve operations on behalf of the Government of Canada.

Since joining the bank in 1996, the North Bay, Ont., native has held various positions, including Deputy Managing Director of the Financial Stability Department. He was an economist at the International Monetary Fund from 2002-05 and was seconded to the Department of Finance Canada from 2013-15, where he was General Director, Financial Sector Policy Branch.

 

The post Alumnus tapped for top Bank of Canada role appeared first on Western News.

]]>
https://news.westernu.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/09/092019_BANKOFCANADA_featured-220x150.jpgWestern News Featured Image for Alumnus tapped for top Bank of Canada rolefalse
Western mourns death of Engineering student https://news.westernu.ca/2019/09/western-mourns-death-of-engineering-student-3/ Fri, 20 Sep 2019 14:07:19 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=34175 The Western community is mourning the death of Denver Gray Chamberlain, 26, a Faculty of Engineering student, who died Sept. 8.

The post Western mourns death of Engineering student appeared first on Western News.

]]>
The Western community is mourning the death of Denver Gray Chamberlain, 26, a Faculty of Engineering student, who died Sept. 8.

A memorial gathering will be held 4-7 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Masonic Centre of Elgin, 42703 Fruit Ridge Line, St. Thomas, with words of remembrance shared at 6 p.m. Cremation has taken place; a private family interment will be held later at the Old St. Thomas Church Cemetery.

CHAMBERLAIN

Denver enjoyed team sports including baseball, football, soccer, badminton, and squash, and had many great years playing hockey with the Lambeth Lancers. He loved spending summers at his cottage where he enjoyed fishing and waterskiing, and also spent several summers as a fishing guide at lodges on the French River and Lac Seul. He loved animals, especially his dog, Bowser. He played the piano and guitar, enjoyed woodworking and was an expert at solving the Rubik’s Cube.

Denver is survived by his parents, Doug and Lori; sister, Mallory, a Faculty of Education student; grandparents, Larry and Lynn Smith; as well as aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Hon. Lt. Col. Robert and Norma Chamberlain.

On Sept. 27, Western will lower the flag on University College in Denver’s honour.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital through Williams Funeral Home, 45 Elgin Street, St. Thomas.

Western reminds its campus community that counselling services are always available to assist faculty, students and staff. Visit the Health and Wellness website for help today.

The post Western mourns death of Engineering student appeared first on Western News.

]]>
https://news.westernu.ca/wp-content/themes/western/library/images/crest.pngWestern News Featured Image for Western mourns death of Engineering studentfalse
BrainsCAN partnership bolsters dementia support https://news.westernu.ca/2019/09/brainscan-partnership-bolsters-dementia-supports/ Thu, 19 Sep 2019 18:59:58 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=34172 BrainsCAN, Alzheimer Society London and Middlesex partnership helping improve quality of life for those affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

The post BrainsCAN partnership bolsters dementia support appeared first on Western News.

]]>
Tony Paul and his wife Susan were teenagers when they met in London. Now married 45 years, they have raised two children and are proud grandparents. Like many couples, they were looking forward to retirement.

But two years before Tony was set to retire, Susan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

“After a while you suspect all kinds of things, and Alzheimer’s was certainly in there,” said Tony, who is Susan’s primary care partner. “But it’s still a shock when you get the official diagnosis.

“You go through your whole life making plans for what you’re going to do when you finally have time and, suddenly, you have to rewrite your whole existence.”

The Alzheimer Society London and Middlesex knows the Paul’s story all too well.

Over the last year, the organization has supported more than 2,700 care partners and people living with dementia. For those experiencing the disease, the Alzheimer Society’s programs and services provide a valuable resource for a journey down an unpredictable path.

“Our staff provide emotional support, essential information, and assistance with caring for someone with dementia,” said Carol Walters, CEO of the Alzheimer Society London and Middlesex. “We know the impact our programs and services have on those experiencing dementia, but establishing quantifiable evidence of this impact is not a simple process.”

That’s where BrainsCAN stepped in.

Since 2016, Western’s cognitive neuroscience research initiative has supported researchers in the hopes of transforming how brain diseases are understood, diagnosed and treated. A large part of that work is providing support to a variety of research, including studies aimed to assist those living with dementia.

“Brain diseases and disorders are significant health crises, so working collaboratively to lessen the impact of neurodegenerative conditions is really important,” said Fay Harrison, Executive Director for BrainsCAN. “We see our role as not only supporting high-impact brain research, but also connecting with organizations in the community like the Alzheimer Society to help them with their work.”

In 2018, the Alzheimer Society London and Middlesex and BrainsCAN first developed a pilot project to analyze the society’s existing client survey. The final results revealed that society’s services were a lifeline for its clients yet more could be done to assist the organization in delivering those services to people living in London and Middlesex.

This year, those findings led to a formal partnership with BrainsCAN, the Alzheimer Society London and Middlesex, and the Alzheimer Society of Ontario to bring that analytical survey method to six Alzheimer societies in southwestern Ontario.

“Currently in Ontario, there are more than 240,000 Ontarians living with dementia and that number is expected to double in the next 20 years,” said Christina Stergiou-Dayment, First Link Program Director for the Alzheimer Society of Ontario.

“The partnership with BrainsCAN helps us maximize the learnings from client feedback, which is especially important to understand and communicate the impact of our local societies across Ontario at both client and system levels. This enables us to enhance and grow our education and support programs and services to continue to contribute to improved quality of life for those affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.”

BrainsCAN’s analytical survey was distributed to Alzheimer Society clients over the summer. More than 500 care partners and those with dementia in southwestern Ontario completed the survey. The data will be analyzed this fall, culminating in a formal report in early 2020.

“Partnerships are essential to reducing the impact of dementia,” Walters said. “Families experiencing a dementia journey face many challenges. Helping them through these challenges is essential to ensuring they live well with the disease.”

For Tony, he knows the Alzheimer Society London and Middlesex has made an impact on his and Susan’s life.

“The Alzheimer Society is one place we can go where people know what we’re going through,” he said. “Susan is at a stage now where I don’t think she’d be at home if it hadn’t been for our experience with the Alzheimer Society. It’s given us a little more time together.”

The post BrainsCAN partnership bolsters dementia support appeared first on Western News.

]]>
https://news.westernu.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/09/091919_ALZDAY_brainscan_jaw-220x150.jpgWestern News Featured Image for BrainsCAN partnership bolsters dementia supportfalse
New space opens doors to wellness at Brescia https://news.westernu.ca/2019/09/new-space-opens-doors-to-wellness-at-brescia/ Thu, 19 Sep 2019 17:36:56 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=34168 Wellness has a new home at Brescia University College – a campus location organizers hope students make their first stop when the first signs of personal crisis arise.

The post New space opens doors to wellness at Brescia appeared first on Western News.

]]>

Paul Mayne//Western NewsOrganizers gather in the newly launched Peer Support Space at Brescia University College, a drop-in wellness space offering students support from their peers.

Wellness has a new home at Brescia University College – a campus location organizers hope students make their first stop when the first signs of personal crisis arise.

This week, the Western affiliate college opened its Peer Support Space, a drop-in wellness centre staffed to offer students support from their peers.

Supported through funding from The Gerald C. Baines Charitable Foundation, the space is located in the St. James Building (Room 157), and offers a “calming aesthetic” with candles and air diffusers, items to help with grounding such as weighted blankets, slap bracelets, white noise machines, and resources for students to learn from, and with, their peers.

“As a student, I believe it’s crucial for Brescia to have a program where students have the opportunity to support one another, and seek out care from their peers in a safe space as they make their way through university,” said Cassandra Cozman, Wellness Peers student coordinator.

Previously known as Wellness Education Peers, Wellness Peers are Brescia students interested in mental health and wellbeing. Advised and trained by Student Life Centre, Wellness Peers undergo extensive training informed by the recommendations from Peer Support Canada, knowledge regarding resources and referrals, ongoing in vivo practice of soft skills, and safeTALK.

Within the new space, Wellness Peers will be available for 10 hours a week Monday-Thursday for Brescia students experiencing mild-to-moderate mental-health concerns. This service is the first stop for many students before accessing further services, if needed.

“Peer to peer is a platform that has proven to be effective when it comes to mental wellness for students,” said Cozman, adding no identifying information will collected from students seeking assistance.

“It can be intimidating for a student to go in and seek support from a staff or faculty member. Being able to come to a space that’s calm and comforting, and be able to talk to a fellow student who is going through similar situations that you are, makes it more comfortable and less intimidating.”

Marianne Simm, Vice-Principal of Students at Brescia, sees the new space as continuing an important push for mental-health and wellness supports by Brescia and Western.

“Throughout the past decade, Brescia has worked proactively to offer a variety of mental-health opportunities, designed to educate and assist our students,” Simm said. “While many of our students are now more aware of identifying signs of mental health, they may not be entirely sure of their next steps. This new Peer Support Space is a natural next step for our community, and a wonderful way for our students to support one another.”

Cozman sees the program and its new space as a “wonderful opportunity” for students to not only support one another, but also help themselves.

“Sometimes, if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, just being able to talk someone and have them listen and tell you they understand and it’s going to be OK can be so important,” she said. “We want every student that comes to this space to feel safe, to feel welcome.”

The post New space opens doors to wellness at Brescia appeared first on Western News.

]]>
https://news.westernu.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/09/091919_PEERTOPEER_featured-220x150.jpgWestern News Featured Image for New space opens doors to wellness at Bresciafalse
Architect named to shape new Indigenous space https://news.westernu.ca/2019/09/indigenous-architect-to-help-shape-campus/ Thu, 19 Sep 2019 17:02:55 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=34166 Redquill Architecture, led by Wanda Dalla Costa, a firm that specializes in Indigenous architecture, planning and design, has been enlisted to help the Western community shape a new Indigenous space on campus.

The post Architect named to shape new Indigenous space appeared first on Western News.

]]>
Canada’s first female First Nations architect has been enlisted to help the Western community shape a new Indigenous space on campus.

Redquill Architecture, led by Wanda Dalla Costa, specializes in Indigenous architecture, planning and design. A member of the Saddle Creek Cree Nation in northern Alberta, she will be leading consultations and design for Western’s repurposing of the iconic, round Althouse College library into an Indigenous Learning Space.

Renovation and construction are set to start early in 2020.

Before that, though, Dalla Costa and the Indigenous Space Advisory Council will lead public consultations with elders and Western’s community from 5-7 p.m. Oct. 3 at the Education Library, John George Althouse Building, 1137 Western Rd. RSVPs are due by Sept. 27.

With 20 years in the field, Dalla Costa was the first Indigenous woman – one of fewer than 10 in the country even today – to be certified as an architect.

“We’re really blessed to have someone with this record,” said Candace Brunette-Debassige, Special Advisor to the Provost (Indigenous Initiatives).

Dalla Costa also teaches architecture, specifically Indigenous architecture, as a professor at the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University.

Her projects have included the Niitsitapi Learning Centre in Calgary; several buildings at Red Crow Community College in Cardston, Alta.; and, with 17 other Indigenous architects, was part of the Douglas-Cardinal-led UNCEDED architectural project at the 2018 Venice Biennale and then at the Canadian Museum of History.

To design or repurpose spaces, Dalla Costa uses a four-part Indigenous framework: led by community; driven by reciprocal relationships; focused on inclusion; and underpinned with understanding of the locale.

Said Dalla Costa, “It is very much (focused) on doing the work of the place, in the place where it is based, with the people where it’s based.”

She holds a Master of Design Research and a Master of Architecture (University of Calgary) and her work emphasizes structures that have strong connections to the environment, land and culture.

The soon-to-be-redesigned Western building is easily identifiable by its domed roof and rounded walls. Its circular patterns echo Indigenous precepts of equity and the interconnection of everything in creation.

More than 10,000 square feet of interior space over three levels will include a gathering area, mezzanine and teaching/classroom spaces. Outdoors, it will also feature a classroom, relocated Indigenous food and medicine garden and ceremonial space.

Dalla Costa loves it already and sees its design and structural possibilities. “The building is fantastic. I feel like it’s a really conducive space for gathering,” she said.

Brunette-Debasigge said a lot of consultation has already taken place, but the open house will be an opportunity to offer new, different and more refined ideas of how the building and its environs should be configured.

About a year ago, Brunette-Debassige began a consultation that took an inventory of spaces and programming needs as Western strives to meet the aims of its Indigenous Strategic Plan.

This redesigned space will be a home where Indigenous and non-Indigenous people can gather to learn and practise Indigenous ways of knowing.

Western’s Indigenous Services, part of the Student Experience portfolio, will continue to have a home in the Student Services Building where it has offered a gathering space, student lounge, computer lab and elders’ office.

The post Architect named to shape new Indigenous space appeared first on Western News.

]]>
https://news.westernu.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/09/091919_INDIGLEARNSPACE_architect-220x150.jpegWestern News Featured Image for Architect named to shape new Indigenous spacefalse
Hibbert tapped as Acting Dean of Education https://news.westernu.ca/2019/09/hibbert-tapped-as-acting-dean-of-education/ Thu, 19 Sep 2019 16:27:16 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=34165 Veteran Education researcher and administrator Kathy Hibbert has been named Acting Dean of the Faculty of Education, for a term that runs Oct. 1-June 30, 2020, Andrew Hrymak, Provost and Vice-President (Academic) announced this week.

The post Hibbert tapped as Acting Dean of Education appeared first on Western News.

]]>
Veteran Education researcher and administrator Kathy Hibbert has been named Acting Dean of the Faculty of Education, for a term that runs Oct. 1-June 30, 2020, Andrew Hrymak, Provost and Vice-President (Academic) announced this week.

Hibbert has played many roles at Western since first joining the Faculty of Education as an instructor in 2000. In addition to her current roles as Associate Dean of Teacher Education, as well as Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Research in Curriculum as a Social Practice, she is also cross-appointed to the Department of Medical Imaging in the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, and an affiliate member within the Department of Women’s Studies & Feminist Research and the graduate program of Health & Rehab Sciences.

For 18 years prior to joining Western, she held several teaching positions with regional school boards in southwestern Ontario.

“With the support of her colleagues within the Faculty, across campus and among our external institutional partners, I am confident Kathy will provide strong leadership while we undertake the search for the next Dean of Education,” Hrymak said on Tuesday.

The decanal selection committee has not yet been formed. A slate of candidates to serve on the committee comes before university Senate Friday.

The post Hibbert tapped as Acting Dean of Education appeared first on Western News.

]]>
https://news.westernu.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/09/092019_ACTINGDEAN_hibbert-220x150.jpgWestern News Featured Image for Hibbert tapped as Acting Dean of Educationfalse
Study eyes ‘silent’ stroke threat after surgery https://news.westernu.ca/2019/09/study-eyes-silent-stroke-after-surgery/ Wed, 18 Sep 2019 13:56:59 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=34135 Seniors who suffered a ‘silent stroke’ after surgery faced double the risk of dementia or further strokes than those patients who did not have a stroke, according to a recent Western-led international study.

The post Study eyes ‘silent’ stroke threat after surgery appeared first on Western News.

]]>

Paul Mayne//Western NewsSchulich School of Medicine & Dentistry professor Dr. Marko Mrkobrada’s latest study shows an increase in covert strokes – known as ‘silent’ strokes – can be a common occurrence among seniors following surgery, leading to cognitive decline.

Seniors who suffered a ‘silent stroke’ after surgery faced double the risk of dementia or further strokes than those patients who did not have a stroke, according to a recent Western-led international study. These findings open the door to revolutionizing stroke care and prevention for millions of patients.

“Although we know stroke affects cognitive function, it was still surprising that it created this toxic stew where it doubled the risk of delirium,” explained Dr. Marko Mrkobrada, a Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry professor and co-principal investigator of the NeuroVISION study. “It is very surprising that something so small could have such a profound affect.”

The study, Perioperative covert stroke in patients undergoing non-cardiac surgery (NeuroVISION): a prospective cohort study, was recently published in the medical journal The Lancet.

When people think stroke, they usually picture what is known as an overt stroke – recognizable from paralysis that occurs in the face, arm or leg, often just on one side of the body. These strokes are fatal within 90 days in 13 per cent of patients.

A silent stroke – officially known as a covert stroke – is far more difficult to detect as there are no obvious immediate physical damage and does not affect muscle or motor skills. However, it occurs five times more often than overt strokes and can be far more deadly.

In a surgery setting, those numbers mean a lot.

“If you look at patients who are having surgery and they have a stroke, their mortality rate is about 30 per cent,” Mrkobrada explaining, noting half of the surviving patients will end up in a nursing home. “We’ve established the fact the injuries we’re seeing to the brain has real and measurable consequences. This is clinically significant.”

NeuroVISION involved 1,114 patients aged 65 years and older (who underwent inpatient, elective, non-cardiac surgery and had brain MRI after the operation. They were drawn from 12 academic centres in nine countries (Canada, Chile, China, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Poland, and the United States).

Non-cardiac surgery was studied because it does not affect the blood supply to the brain.

The research team followed patients for one year after surgery to assess cognitive capabilities. They found those who had a silent stroke during that time were at double risk to experience cognitive decline, perioperative delirium and an overt stroke or transient ischaemic attack within the year, than those who did not have a stroke.

“These silent strokes were much more serious than overt strokes. Why is that? Is it that strokes after surgery are so much more different than not after surgery? Or is it strokes after surgery are much more severe because we are missing a large proportion of very, very small strokes that we’re not picking up?”

For example, if someone has a hip operation and can’t move their hip or leg due to a silent stroke, they’re likely not going to complain about it, assuming its part of the surgery. Or if they’re slurring their words, perhaps they assume it’s the pain medication and it will go away.”

Mrkobrada continued, “What we found was there are these silent strokes. But the question is, ‘Are they truly silent?’ Around surgery, it’s a time of stress, both physiological and emotional. There are changes in blood pressure. There’s clotting. There are inflammations, different kinds of heart rhythms.

“It’s probably a combination of all these things that are going on that’s triggering this. Anesthetic and surgical techniques have improved substantially, and we’re operating on older and older people. No question surgery is getting safer and safer. But having said that it’s still a huge stress to the system.”

Moving forward, Mrkobrada looks to determine the cause of the strokes and, more importantly, how to deal with them. His next research project, NeuroVISION 2, will explore heart rhythms and blood pressure during surgeries in an effort to spot potential bio-marker for strokes.

“Is it blood pressure going really high and low during surgery? We can we control that. Is it bad heart rhythms, like atrial fibrillation? If we’re able to prevent that, or potentially put people on extra blood thinners, could that be it? This would revolutionize stroke care.”

The post Study eyes ‘silent’ stroke threat after surgery appeared first on Western News.

]]>
https://news.westernu.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/09/091719_SILENTSTROKES_featured-220x150.jpgWestern News Featured Image for Study eyes ‘silent’ stroke threat after surgeryfalse
Professor, students find art in chemistry https://news.westernu.ca/2019/09/professor-students-find-art-in-chemistry/ Wed, 18 Sep 2019 13:55:13 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=34157 Chemistry professor Mark Workentin’s students are merging art and science in a novel project that harnesses their scholarly imaginations.

The post Professor, students find art in chemistry appeared first on Western News.

]]>

Debora Van Brenk // Western NewsIn a marriage of art and science, all 1,300 members of Chemistry professor Mark Workentin’s Organic Chemistry 2213 have been asked to compose a piece that depicts chemical structures as an art form – and then post it to Twitter with the hashtag #orgo2213art.

Science is science. Art is art.

Two. Separate. Disciplines. Except when they’re not.

Chemistry professor Mark Workentin’s students are merging the two disciplines in a novel project that harnesses their scholarly imaginations. All 1,300 members of Organic Chemistry 2213 have been asked to compose a piece that depicts chemical structures as an art form – and then post it to Twitter with the hashtag #orgo2213art.

“Science isn’t all about books and reports. It’s creativity, expressing yourself creatively,” Workentin said. “No matter who you are, to be a good scientist you need to be creative.”

In the first week alone, about 100 students have come through with rap songs, videos, illustrations and photos that are by turns whimsical, thought-provoking and even vulnerable:

The project is optional but comes with a 2 per cent bonus mark for participants.

Last year, in a similar project, when Workentin urged students to produce an infographic showing chemistry in their everyday lives, 98 per cent of the class did.

He doesn’t know of any other class where this takes place on a large scale, although he drew inspiration from Maria Gallardo-Williams, a chemistry professor at North Carolina University whose much smaller class of about 20 did similar projects.

Examining each submission is time-consuming – Workentin also comments on many of them from his Twitter account – but rewarding. Each week, he chooses the five best projects and invites those students to have ‘Coffee with the Prof.’

The second-year class is designed for non-Chemistry majors. “We’re covering a lot of material and sometimes it’s not clear to them why they’re learning what they’re learning,” he said.

This project helps provide both context and application. “I tell them, there is a connection with organic chemistry somewhere in your lives, through song, art, drawing.”

He has encountered little resistance but some reluctance. “Some students have said, ‘I’m not artistic. I don’t know what to do.’ I say, ‘How do you know you’re not artistic?’ I just started painting and I wish I’d started when I was their age or younger.”

The projects also help build other skills. Last year, several students told him they learned how to use design tools in Canva, how to edit video in iMovie and illustrations in Photoshop – tools they then brought to other classes and other disciplines.

They’re also required to display their art on their own Twitter accounts, even though few ordinarily use the platform. “I know Twitter is not the social media of their choice, but the chemistry community has a strong Twitter presence for research and ideas and has a broad reach.”

As examples, some of these illustrations have been retweeted by chemists from across the world, including by the Royal Society of Chemists.

By being a part of Twitter, the students also get a chance to know more about their professor’s research group and work and interests. “You (as students) get to know your instructor beyond the front of the room.”

Educators have increasingly focused on science, technology, engineering, arts and math, but have sometimes de-emphasized the fourth element of the quintet, he said. “We’re putting the A back in STEAM.”

He offered few guidelines, except that their work had to include some element of organic chemistry. “I’m like, ‘Impress me.’ Some are really investing some thought and time into it.”

Working well ahead of the November deadline, some students have come up with eye-popping designs.

One person drew themselves with a trans flag that showed the molecular image of testosterone on a transgender flag. Another rapped her submission:

“I get my day started waking up with serotonin; take one look at my clock and epinephrine starts flowin’”

Two students brought video work to their project by showing their homemade recipe for casein – a milk protein they derived from heating milk, adding vinegar and then straining the product through a cloth. Then they ‘drew’ the molecular structure with the casein bits they’d created.

Workentin said the course covers essentially the same ground he has taught for 25 years, so students’ creativity energizes him as well. “I do my best to show my enthusiasm for the topic. This is one way to keep it fresh for me.”

The post Professor, students find art in chemistry appeared first on Western News.

]]>
https://news.westernu.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/09/092419_ORGCHEMART_featured-220x150.pngWestern News Featured Image for Professor, students find art in chemistryfalse
Ndashimye: ‘This is the story of who I am’ https://news.westernu.ca/2019/09/this-is-the-story-of-who-i-am/ Tue, 17 Sep 2019 20:48:20 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=34151 Twenty-five years after his family fled the Rwandan genocide, Emmanuel Ndashimye is completing his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. His experiences have led him across borders and to the heights of academia.

The post Ndashimye: ‘This is the story of who I am’ appeared first on Western News.

]]>
Under the cover of night, the van carrying Emmanuel Ndashimye and his family approached the Rwanda-Uganda border. Alongside his mother and four siblings, he lay flat on the floor, hidden from sight and silently praying as the vehicle stopped at the checkpoint.

With no documents, they faced death if discovered. Ndashimye heard their driver speaking to border guards, but he could not understand the English words being exchanged.

Time ticked by slowly. He squeezed his eyes shut and held his breath. Suddenly, the van was moving again. The guards had waved them on without an inspection.

Immediate relief washed over the quiet, tired passengers, but hope had vanished. “There comes a point when you no longer feel life. You just accept whatever comes,” explained Ndashimye, a PhD Candidate at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry.

Ten years old at the time, Ndashimye was escaping the terror and violence that had consumed his native country. During the course of 100 days in 1994, more than 800,000 Rwandans were killed and thousands more were displaced from their homes.

“As a child, I would be walking in the street and see people holding machetes and blunt objects, hear people screaming, see bodies being dragged and dumped,” he said. “The trucks that drove by were full of blood; it was running out of them like water. Death was everywhere.”

“It’s something you don’t want to remember; it still haunts me,” he added quietly.

As the violence escalated in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city, Ndashimye’s family took cover in a local church each night, along with hundreds of others. Then one day as they were eating lunch at home, the sound of bullets closed in. “We knew this was it,” he said. “We left everything, even the food on the plate.”

Twenty-five years after these horrific events, Ndashimye is completing his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology at Schulich. His experiences have led him across borders and to the heights of academia.

“This is the story of who I am,” he said.

Starting over in Uganda was hard. Ndashimye’s family settled in a small remote village, focused on learning a new language, school system and rural way of life. Trained as an engineer, his father turned to farming, harvesting food and rearing cows.

“Life was very hard, but we embraced it because we were together. We knew that to survive, we had to change,” he said.

Ndashimye and his siblings excelled in school and quickly advanced, despite being bumped back to lower grades to learn English. His parents greatly valued education and believed it was a path to a better life for their children. “Their passion became seeing us succeed in school,” he said.

Emily Leighton // Special to Western NewsTwenty-five years after his family fled the Rwandan genocide, Emmanuel Ndashimye is completing his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. His experiences have led him across borders and to the heights of academia.

As a bright and motivated student, Ndashimye moved to Mityana, a nearby town, to continue his education, renting a small room with his older brother. “We would ride the 30 kilometres back home on bicycles each weekend,” he said.

Ndashimye completed high school in Kampala and received a scholarship to study laboratory sciences at Makerere University.

During his university studies, another tragedy struck the family. Ndashimye’s father fell ill suddenly and passed away. The family buried him in the small village that had first welcomed them to Uganda.

“Without him and my mother, I wouldn’t be where I am,” he said. “They sacrificed everything.”

After graduation, Ndashimye needed to find a job to support his younger brothers, who were in primary school at the time. He found work with the Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC) in Kampala, providing treatment and care for HIV/AIDS patients. In his role, he coordinated research projects focused on HIV drug resistance testing.

“Seeing what HIV does to patients, it highly motivated me. Patients in Uganda are stigmatized and discriminated against,” he said. “Most of them are poor, without the basic necessities of life. There is no public health insurance and antiretroviral therapy costs are high, so patients depend on foreign aid. Their stories touched me so much.”

Ndashimye also had another reason to empathize so intently with patients.

During a clinical placement at the end of his university degree, he had pricked his pinky finger while taking blood from an HIV-positive patient. Immediately, he started on pre-exposure prophylaxis, a medication that stops the virus from initiating infection within the body.

Side effects included abdominal pain, nausea, fever and headache. Ndashimye got tested at the one-month, three-month and six-month marks after the incident. The experience shook the resilient, hardworking man.

“I had been so strong with everything in my life, but this was going to be hard to overcome,” he said. “When the tests came back negative, it added more drive in me.”

Working in the lab at JCRC, Ndashimye met researchers from across North America, who spoke with him about the opportunities for graduate training and the promising research studies being undertaken. With this encouragement, he decided to apply for graduate school at Western.

“I wrote a statement of intent explaining who I was and what I wanted to do. I was so happy to come to Canada. My heart was telling me that I should keep doing HIV research, so this was my dream,” he said.

He received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship to study as a master’s student and arrived in London, Ont., in September 2016. Two years later, he switched into the PhD program, supervised by Schulich professor Eric Arts.

Ndashimye is focused on HIV treatment and drug resistance. “We are trying to understand why some patients fail treatment, despite having good adherence to their medication,” he explained.

There is a gap in scientists’ knowledge around why and how HIV drug resistance occurs. Ten to 15 per cent of patients initiating antiretroviral therapy fail treatment at 12 months. Ndashimye looks at patients undergoing treatment to study their specific virus, examine how the virus has changed or mutated to cause resistance and determine what types of medications may be most suitable. He is also studying novel pathways that lead to drug resistance.

“Finding a vaccine is challenging because we can’t reach every site that HIV has infected. The virus modifies so quickly and it establishes latent reservoirs that hide from treatment,” he said. “We know that treatment is the next best strategy, so we want to maximize the efficacy of these drugs.”

This spring, Ndashimye’s wife and young son joined him in London.

“My memories can sometimes pull me down. I can wake up in the morning with a lot of emotions,” he said. “They keep me going. They put my mind at ease. My mother and siblings have also been a great influence in my life.”

With such a powerful story of survival and strength, he says it’s important to focus on the things that truly matter.

“Try to be happy with what you have and what you are,” he said. “We ask for much, but actually we don’t need much. To me, it’s about having what you need. If you’re with your family and friends, and you are happy, that is what life is all about.”

The post Ndashimye: ‘This is the story of who I am’ appeared first on Western News.

]]>
https://news.westernu.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/09/091719_ESCAPE_ndashimye2-220x150.jpgWestern News Featured Image for Ndashimye: ‘This is the story of who I am’false
Alumni take top honours among world’s best https://news.westernu.ca/2019/09/alumni-earn-top-honours-from-undergraduate-awards/ Tue, 17 Sep 2019 19:53:30 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=34148 Research papers by two recent Western graduates – Cynthia Qi and Madelaine Coelho – have been selected as the best in the world in their fields in the 2019 edition of The Undergraduate Awards.

The post Alumni take top honours among world’s best appeared first on Western News.

]]>
Research papers by two recent Western graduates – Cynthia Qi and Madelaine Coelho – have been selected as the best in the world in their fields in the 2019 edition of The Undergraduate Awards, an international, cross-disciplinary competition that awards undergraduate students for outstanding coursework.

Western ranked second in the world for the number of Highly Commended entrants, representing the Top 10 per cent in their fields, behind only Nanyang Technological University of Singapore. For the fifth year in a row, Western was tops in North America.

The 2019 Undergraduate Awards competition had 3,437 submissions from 338 institutions in 50 countries. Qi and Coelho are among only four papers from Canada to be selected as global winners.

*   *   *

Special to Western NewsResearch papers by two recent Western graduates – Cynthia Qi, above, and Madelaine Coelho – have been selected as the best in the world in their fields in the 2019 edition of The Undergraduate Awards.

Cynthia Qi, BMSc’19, received a gold medal in the category of Linguistics for her paper, Acoustic Characteristics used to Differentiate Speech from Song and Individual Factors that Impact their Effectiveness.

Qi, who completed her Honours Specialization in Physiology, studied how humans are able to distinguish between speech and song.

“I am always looking to learn more about new fields. For my fourth-year thesis paper, I chose a discipline quite different from my main program – the study of music cognitive neuroscience,” Qi explained.

A classically trained pianist, she was always fascinated by how human brains process and identify music versus speech. Qi worked with supervisors Western professor Jessica Grahn, along with Postdoctoral Scholars Christina Vanden Bosch der Nederlanden, of the Brain and Mind Institute.

For the research, Qi and colleagues conducted an online survey, and worked directly with 30 study participants on campus at Western. By manipulating different physical aspects of sound, such as pitch, she was able to discover how individual factors affected the brain’s interpretation of music versus speech.

“We knew before from theory that it was likely physical aspects played a role in the brain’s understanding of music but this was the first study of its kind actually showing that physical features of sound affect how the brain interprets it. In future studies, we will also look at manipulating the rhythm.”

“I can’t believe it,” Qi said of the global recognition of her work. She will collect her medal at the Undergraduate Global Summit in November in Dublin, Ireland. “I am looking forward to all the aspects of diversity – from the people I’ll meet to all of the different disciplines represented. It’s an amazing opportunity.”

Qi is now pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) at Western’s Faculty of Health Sciences.

*   *   *

Special to Western NewsResearch papers by two recent Western graduates – Cynthia Qi and Madelaine Coelho, above – have been selected as the best in the world in their fields in the 2019 edition of The Undergraduate Awards.

Madelaine Coelho, BA’19, King’s University College, won in the category of Sociology & Social Policy for her paper, Rape Myths in Digital Spaces: An Analysis of High-Profile Sexual Assault Cases On Twitter.

Using recent high-profile cases of sexual assault, Coelho analyzed the responses on Twitter over an extended time period and found that many users of the social network – specifically feminist users – used the platform to counter common myths and stereotypes about rape and sexual assault.

“There is a strong, symbolic and consistent message in support of survivors,” said Coelho, who worked with supervisor, King’s professor Jordan Fairbairn.

“For example, in the (former Stanford University swimmer and convicted sex offender) Brock Turner case, one of the responses of the university was to ban liquor at certain events. In the analysis, there was a trend that showed multiple counter posts to that, dispelling the myth that the consumption of alcohol is the sole factor in sexual assault.”

Coelho said the results of her study were somewhat surprising. “In general, I wasn’t expecting to see as much support for victims or counter narratives that help dispel rape culture.”

She also found a lot of consistency in voice between tweets, regardless of whether hashtags such as #metoo and other movements were referenced.

A sexual assault survivor herself, Coelho says she understands the importance of the narratives around sexual assault and gender violence on social media. In addition to studying gender violence in specific courses through her undergraduate degree at King’s, she received training on sexual violence through her previous role as a Soph, and volunteers to help survivors through the London-based organization Yotuni, which works with Indigenous women and youth.

“It’s such a prevalent issue right now, and specifically on universities campuses. We can use this research as a tool to understand sexual assault better, and how we frame sexual assault in the media.”

Coelho is continuing her research in the area of gender violence through the Master of Arts program in Sociology at the University of Toronto.

Both scholars will attend the Undergraduate Global Summit in November, along with Qi.

*   *   *

Other highly commended entrants from Western and its affiliate university colleges included:

  • Christopher Anthony, King’s University College, Political Science;
  • David Cohen, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry;
  • Marisa Coulton, Faculty of Social Science;
  • Abbey Edwards, Faculty of Arts and Humanities;
  • Kevin Ho, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry;
  • Kristopher Kowalchuk, Huron University College, Political Science;
  • Kailee Liesemer, Faculty of Social Science;
  • Bertina Lou, Faculty of Social Science;
  • Georgia McCutcheon, Faculty of Social Science;
  • Sarah Menzies, King’s University College, English Language & Literature;
  • Mackenzie Mountford, King’s University College, Childhood & Social Institution;
  • Ashlee Quinn-Hogan, Faculty of Social Science; and
  • Nicole Szklarczyk, King’s University College, English Language & Literature.

 

 

The post Alumni take top honours among world’s best appeared first on Western News.

]]>
https://news.westernu.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/09/091719_UA_featured-220x150.jpgWestern News Featured Image for Alumni take top honours among world's bestfalse
Passion for nursing furthered by honour https://news.westernu.ca/2019/09/passion-for-nursing-furthered-by-honour/ Tue, 17 Sep 2019 19:07:03 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=34145 Growing up, Enrique Quintanilla-Riviere was into cars, anticipating becoming a mechanical engineer. But there was one problem.

The post Passion for nursing furthered by honour appeared first on Western News.

]]>
Growing up, Enrique Quintanilla-Riviere was into cars, anticipating becoming a mechanical engineer. But there was one problem.

“There’s a lot of math involved with that field and I quickly learned math wasn’t for me,” laughed the Western Nursing student. “So it was like, ‘Now what do I do?”

Today, Quintanilla-Riviere cannot wait to be a nurse. Following his mother into the profession, he recalls a specific moment when he got that boost of confidence to pursue nursing.

“I was sick quite a bit in high school. One time at the hospital, there was a male nurse there and he was so cool and so chill, I found that inspiring,” he said. “There were barely any male nurses at that time that I saw. He was a real role model.’”

Beginning his third year in the program, Quintanilla-Riviere was recently selected as one of 17 students to receive a Canadian Hearing Society (CHS) scholarship, offered to deaf and hard-of-hearing postsecondary students. This is the second time he won the award.

The CHS national scholarship program helps students with their added accessibility costs many other students don’t experience. Winners are chosen based on their community service, letters of reference and essays detailing how the scholarship will transform the future of deaf and hard of hearing individuals.

King’s University College student Corinna Den Dekker, a Disability Studies major, also received a CHS scholarship.

For Quintanilla-Riviere, the $3,000 scholarship will help alleviate additional expenses he incurred for his program, including a specialized amplified stethoscope.

Outside of heavy bass sounds, Quintanilla-Riviere cannot hear without the help of his cochlear implant, which he got when he was 5 years old.

For medical professionals who are hard of hearing, traditional stethoscope can be frustrating and ineffective. “Everyone has a regular stethoscope, but I can’t hear through those,” he explained.

However, an electronic amplified stethoscope helps compensate for hearing loss. It is a powerful tool that lets him go about his daily tasks without concern.

Since coming to Western, Quintanilla-Riviere has come into his own socially. He recalls the difficulty of going through elementary school, and parts of high school, as the hard-of-hearing student.

“You don’t develop those social skills with other normal hearing students,” he said. “I noticed a change in my first year of postsecondary, when I had to speak up for myself, talk to other students. That has helped me.”

It has also helped him zero in on where he wants to take his nursing career. While no fan of theory – although he admits its relevance – he is more attracted to the opportunity “to be on the front line” when it comes to making a difference in someone’s life.

“I’ve always been a compassionate person and enjoyed helping others in the community. It’s part of my nature,” said Quintanilla-Riviere, who look to specialize in neurology. “Nursing is a lot of one-on-one with patients. I’m enjoying those social dynamics, being able to interact with the patients.”

The post Passion for nursing furthered by honour appeared first on Western News.

]]>
https://news.westernu.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/09/091719_HEARINGSCHOLAR_riviere-220x150.jpgWestern News Featured Image for Passion for nursing furthered by honourfalse
Innovators, champions among honorary degrees https://news.westernu.ca/2019/09/western-convocation-fall-2019-honorary-degrees/ Tue, 17 Sep 2019 05:00:42 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=34138 Life-saving and game-changing innovators, award-winning artists and international sporting champions stand among seven distinguished individuals to receive honorary degrees when Western hosts its 314th Convocation this fall.

The post Innovators, champions among honorary degrees appeared first on Western News.

]]>
Life-saving and game-changing innovators, award-winning artists and international sporting champions stand among seven distinguished individuals to receive honorary degrees when Western hosts its 314th Convocation this fall.

The ceremonies, featuring addresses by the honorary degree recipients, are scheduled for the following days:

Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue
10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LLD)

At the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were not only the first ice dancers from North America to win the Olympic gold medal, but they were also the first ice dance team to win on home ice, the first to win gold in their Olympic debut, and the youngest pair to win. At the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, they won silver medals in ice dancing and in the team event. After taking a two-year hiatus, Virtue and Moir won two more gold medals at the PyeongChang 2018 Games securing their titles as the most decorated figure skaters in the history of the sport.

Mina J. Bissell
3 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 23
Doctor of Science, honoris causa (DSc)

A Distinguished Senior Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Mina J. Bissell pioneered the field of tumor microenvironment. Investigating mammary glands and breast cancer, her body of work proved the pivotal role that extracellular matrix signaling plays in regulation of gene expression in both normal and malignant cells. Her laboratory pioneered the use of 3D organoids and techniques.

Donald Franklin Gerson
10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 24
Doctor of Science, honoris causa (DSc)

Dr. Donald Gerson, BSc’68 (Chemistry), is Founder, President and CEO of PnuVax, Inc. and PnuVax SL Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., developers and manufacturers of vaccines. PnuVax is dedicated to the development of vaccines for underserved populations worldwide, and is focusing on new low-cost vaccines to prevent pneumonia, yellow fever, and other neglected diseases. Gerson taught biophysics and biochemical engineering from 1972 to 1979.

Max Tibor Eisen
3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LLD)

Max Eisen was born in Moldava, Czechoslovakia in 1929 into a large orthodox Jewish family. His extended family including parents, two younger brothers and baby sister, his paternal grandparents and uncles, aunts and cousins all perished in Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Camp in May of 1944. His memoir, By Chance Alone, was the winner of Canada Reads 2019.

Tim David Hockey
10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 25

Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LLD)

Tim Hockey, President and CEO of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation, is a financial services leader with more than 35 years of experience in banking and wealth management. A philanthropist and impassioned volunteer, Hockey, EMBA’97, is heavily involved with The Hospital for Sick Children and the Mattamy National Cycling Centre. Hockey serves on the Advisory Board of the Ivey Business School.

Anita Gaffney Misener
3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LLD)

Since being appointed Executive Director of the Stratford Festival in 2012, Anita Gaffney has guided the launch of a number of new initiatives including The Forum, The Laboratory, the HD film series and the Stratford Direct bus service. Gaffney, BA’90 (English Language and Literature), MBA’02, was named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network.

 

The post Innovators, champions among honorary degrees appeared first on Western News.

]]>
https://news.westernu.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/09/091719_HONDEGREE_scottessa-e1568655431783-220x150.jpgWestern News Featured Image for Innovators, champions among honorary degreesfalse
Alumnus targets public health via social media https://news.westernu.ca/2019/09/alumnus-harnesses-social-media-for-health-in-tanzania/ Mon, 16 Sep 2019 14:48:15 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=34127 As celebrity gossip and jokes long dominated social media in Tanzania, Sajjad Fazel, MPH’18, was convinced social media could be used for social good.

The post Alumnus targets public health via social media appeared first on Western News.

]]>
As celebrity gossip and jokes long dominated social media in Tanzania, Sajjad Fazel, MPH’18, was convinced social media could be used for social good.

Working as a clinical pharmacist and newspaper health columnist in Dar es Salaam, a major commercial port on Tanzania’s Indian Ocean coast, he decided to combine his interest in public media with his passion for public health.

“I’ve always had this belief that public health information should go viral,” he said.

In 2016, Fazel began Tanzania’s first online health-promotion initiative, Afya Yako, Swahili for Your Health. Its accompanying Twitter account – with weekly tips on exercise, healthy eating, mental health, smoking cessation and diabetes management – soon swelled to include Facebook and Instagram and then short videos and accompanying info-graphics.

The posts drew the attention of Tanzania’s Minister of Health and Social Welfare, who began retweeting his accounts.

Soon, Fazel’s public health advocacy became public health policy.

Sajjed Fazel

Western UniversitySajjed Fazel, MPH’18, began a social-media blitz for public health in Tanzania – and launched a movement that continues to grow in the east African country.

Within six months, the Health Minister had declared a national day of exercise, in response to Fazel’s call to combat obesity. The country’s president banned shisha smoking nationwide, after Fazel hammered home its health hazards.

“People don’t generally assume that Twitter can change government policy – but it can,” Fazel said.

By the time he left the country in 2017 to enrol in Western’s Masters of Public Health (MPH) program, Fazel’s one-year experiment in public-health advocacy had spread to politicians, bloggers, entertainment figures and other influencers across the east African country of more than 55 million people situated just south of the Equator.

While the official Afya Yako accounts are mostly dormant now, Fazel is conducting cancer-related research in Alberta and still tweeting health promotion from his personal account.

At least 10 public-health promoters in Tanzania are using Twitter, Instagram and blog posts to share information about diabetes, heart disease, good hygiene, healthy eating, regular exercise and smoking cessation. The Ministry of Health now has an online division.

In the country, there has been an upswell in apps intended to help people get healthy, and Swahili-language websites that translate to Community Health, Health Tracker and Pocket Doctor.

Their collective efforts fill an important void in a country where non-governmental organizations have focused efforts on preventing communicable diseases – but where non-communicable diseases are also endemic and less well-understood.

Fazel surveyed some of those who had seen the Afya Yako campaign up to a year after the program officially ended and half said their health literacy had improved and that they had spread the word to their home communities.

As many as 20 per cent had also changed their health behaviours he found, in a study that became a poster presentation, through a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) travel grant, at the Canadian Public Health Association Conference in 2018.

Since graduating, Fazel’s work has included health promotion in tobacco control. He was a policy researcher whose work spearheaded smoke-free campus policies across the country.

He is also researching what makes online health misinformation – the myth that sunscreen causes cancer, for example – more compelling than the truth, and how best to counter the falsehoods.

He has also become a member of the Global Shapers Community, an initiative of influencers selected by the World Economic Forum.

Fazel said his time at Western helped shape him to become an effective, multi-disciplinary researcher.

“Canada has a great reputation in a lot of developing nations,” he said of his decision to study here. “I’ve known Canada as a country where science and research are valued.”

He “fell in love with the MPH program at Western” because it was the only one in Canada to offer a breadth that included policy, research and health promotion; the only one with a case-based approach; and the only one with Indigenous health as a specific course and module.

“I advocate whenever I can for the program. It’s wonderful and it’s something I really, really value.”

The post Alumnus targets public health via social media appeared first on Western News.

]]>
https://news.westernu.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/09/091619_SOCIALMEDIA_featured-220x150.jpgWestern News Featured Image for Alumnus targets public health via social mediafalse
Finding ways to share stories https://news.westernu.ca/2019/09/finding-ways-to-share-stories/ Mon, 16 Sep 2019 13:00:26 +0000 https://news.westernu.ca/?p=33977 From an early 20th century businessman-turn-author, to a performer who will rock you, to a legendary country outlaw, Visiting Elder Myrna Kicknosway shares some favourite stories when she takes a turn on Read. Watch. Listen.

The post Finding ways to share stories appeared first on Western News.

]]>
Read. Watch. Listen. introduces you to the personal side of our faculty, staff and alumni. Participants are asked to answer three simple questions about their reading, viewing and listening habits – what one book or newspaper/magazine article is grabbing your attention; what one movie or television show has caught your eye; and what album/song, podcast or radio show are you lending an ear to.

Myrna Kicknosway is a Visiting Elder with Student Experience.

Today, she takes a turn on Read. Watch. Listen.

*   *   *

Read.

I don’t read much, like fiction, but when I am interested in something I will read into it. I often read about nutrition and how life challenges affect our health, how nutrition can reverse things like diabetes, hearing problems, etc. I have been reading a book written in the early 1900s called The Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel. In it, he talks about how powerful our thoughts are. It’s very interesting and still applicable today even though it was written a long time ago.

Watch.

I watch a little TV, but as I love sewing, and so I do that more often than watching TV. I do love movies though and recently saw Bohemian Rhapsody – it was so good. I like to watch movies at home and with my grandchildren. I do not like to watch any kind of news besides the weather; the news is based in fear and that’s not good for anyone.

Listen.

I love country-and-western music because it tells stories. (I quite like Waylon Jennings.) Even with the older music, you can still see the connection to life today. Creative energy is an expression of who the artist is and their life experience, it makes many connections for people throughout many generations. Stories are very important.

*   *   *

If you have a suggestion for someone you would like to see in Read. Watch. Listen., or would like to participate yourself, drop a line to inside.western@uwo.ca.

 

The post Finding ways to share stories appeared first on Western News.

]]>
https://news.westernu.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/09/READWATCHLISTEN_featured-220x150.jpgWestern News Featured Image for Finding ways to share storiesfalse