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Friday, July 30, 2010

Interns and friends

It really is awesome to work with so many fun-loving and just all-around cool people at the Emory Alumni Association (EAA). I am totally not trying to be a sycophant, either. I promise!

Yesterday, right when the clock struck 5:00 p.m., Kristin (far right), Matt (in the chair), and I (far left) decided that we wanted to take an intern picture together. Since the summer is coming to a close, we want to make sure we will always remember the fun times we’ve had at the EAA—which, in a nutshell, consist of things like lunch outings, field trips, helping each other with various work projects, and Facebook chatting each other while in the office (I promise we get our work done!).
We have worked very hard and been there for each other this summer. Our tasks have consisted of everything from blogging, to coding, to planning reunions and homecoming. We will continue to work hard and enjoy these last few weeks as interns at the EAA!

Well here we are, posing just a bit awkwardly—awkward in a good way of course because we all shared a good laugh after we took this—with our friends Prentice Miller 27C 28G and Jake Ward 33C 36G!

--Farah Shackelford, communications intern, EAA

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Emory's own World Cup in Washington, DC


The Emory alumni soccer team in Washington has been successful in not only keeping up their Emory spirit, but also in stomping other alumni soccer teams.

I had the opportunity to speak with one of the players, Krister Holladay 90C, who updated me on the team’s progress and success.

The Washington, DC Chapter of Emory Alumni, first joined the Capital Alumni Network (CAN) co-ed 7 vs. 7 soccer league three seasons ago. They were first coached by Steven Hunt 98Ox 01PH and his wife, Heather. Rob Rutland-Brown 01C coached the team with Tahir Duckett 08C last year, and in 2010, Duckett and Dana Alsen 06C led the squad.

Under their leadership, the Eagles alumni soccer team recently won the CAN sports league 7 vs. 7 soccer championship! “It was a long, hot couple of back-to-back games, but well worth it,” Holladay said.

The Eagles finished the regular season with five wins and three losses, but really hit their stride in the playoffs, first defeating Tulane (5-0), then Boston College (3-2, OT). In the semifinals, the Eagles started off slow in the sweltering summer heat against Elon College. Elon scored the first goal and then a second goal on a penalty kick in the first half to take a 2-0 lead.

However, the Eagles soared back in the second half scoring three unanswered goals, the clincher from Drew Mincheff’s 06C, to cap a 3-2 come-from-behind win.

After a much-needed half-hour rest, the Eagles took to the field again for the championship game and quickly scored two goals against Wisconsin. Emory dominated the rest of the game crushing the Badgers 4-1 to win its first CAN soccer title thanks to Philip Goo’s 06C hat trick and a goal from Jeff Collins 06C.

“I moved to Washington after college and found myself working in a small office of five people,” Alsen said. “Involvement in the alumni community was an opportunity to broaden my social circle and make friends in a new town.

“With the CAN team sports, it has been a way to see a group of alumni on a weekly basis, allowing us to get to know each other while working together as a team,” she continued. “And it’s been a great way to celebrate the blue and gold.”

Not only is being a part of the Emory alumni soccer team a way to meet new people, it is a good way to “win with class, have unselfish play, and perform with hard work,” Duckett said. “To win a championship in any sport you have to like your teammates, and that's never been truer for me than with this team.”

The rewarding experience of being a part of the Emory alumni soccer team stretches far beyond a championship. “Our Emory bonds have stayed with us long after we left campus, and that shared loyalty to Emory provides an instant network of friends who socialize, play, and in some cases, work together,” Holladay said. “The DC alumni group is a dynamic, diverse, and talented group of people of which I very much enjoy being part. We had a great soccer team this past season and winning the championship against our friends from other peer institutions was really a great feeling.”

Learn more about DC's CAN alumni softball team ...

-- Farah Shackelford, communications intern, EAA

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Photo of the Day: Flying the coop

Swoop's ready for a late summer vacation!

Are you?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Providing 'Comfort'

In the aftermath of the January 12 earthquake that devastated Haiti, the United States Navy was among the first to respond with humanitarian aid. Leading the way was the hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, and in command of the Comfort was an Emory alumnus, CAPT James Ware 76Ox 78C.

Ware visited the Emory Conference Center and Hotel Tuesday morning as the keynote speaker for "Disaster Response Utilizing Academic Institutional Resources," a symposium dedicated to demonstrating the symbiotic relationship between academic and public health institutions regarding emergency response and preparedness. The conference, which concludes tomorrow, is presented by Emory's Southeastern Center for Emerging Biologic Threats (SECEBT), and three other entities.

Ware's personal story of his and his staff's experience in Haiti put a compelling human face on what was a necessarily clinical agenda.

"The emotional aspect in these times is as important as the academic aspect," said Ware of his crew's approach to their work in Haiti. The Comfort arrived in Port-au-Prince less than a week after the quake, although the ship had already seen its first patients--the most critical ones had been airlifted onto the ship while it was still at sea.

In other words, the "care" part of health care was just as crucial to saving earthquake victims' lives as medical skills of the Comfort's doctors.

As he spoke, Ware flashed though more than 100 slides highlighting the Comfort's staff (more than 1,200 doctors nurses and other personnel, both military and civilian) what they accomplished under remarkably stressful conditions (834 major surgeries, conducted in the 10 weeks docked in Haiti's capital city), and even some interesting trivia (162,000 pairs of gloves were used in the first 30 days).

In many ways, Ware and the Comfort were ideally suited for the Haiti mission. In 2009, the ship and its commander took part in "Continuing Promise" a humanitarian medical mission that visited more than a half dozen nations in Central and South America and the Caribbean. One of those was Haiti, and during that time Ware became acquainted with Haiti's Minister of Health Alex Larsen.

Larsen was the leader of Haiti's domestic relief efforts and Ware learned early on that assisting him would save more lives more quickly. "I saw myself working for the minister of health," Ware said. "And I told my staff of 1,200 that you work for the minister of health, too."

In his 50 minute address, Ware deftly translated his team's complicated mission for his audience and outlined its many successes without bragging. He also provided advice directly related to the conference's theme of disaster preparedness: have a plan in place to identify an optimal medical package for earthquake victims.

You'll never know how many people you'll need, he said, noting that the Comfort was chronically short on nurses the entire time. It also needed more pediatric kits ... 35 percent of the Comfort's patients were children. As a combat hospital, the ship wasn't set up for that kind of volume.

A native of Savannah, Ware graduated from Oxford in 1976, then earned his bachelor's in biology from Emory College in 1978. In 1983, one year after receiving his doctor of dental medicine degree from the Medical College of Georgia, Ware entered the service.

His assignments have ranged from peacekeeping missions in Lebanon and other international assignments in Japan and Kuwait to stateside tours stretching from Florida to Maryland to Texas. In June 2008 he was named commanding officer of the USNS Comfort. Including its mission in Haiti, the Comfort has treated well over 100,000 patients and completed more than 2,600 surgical operations.

Ware has earned a Bronze Star, Navy Meritorious Service Medal, and many other commendations.

-- Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

Monday, July 26, 2010

My kind of town

“Now this could only happen to a guy like me, and only happen in a town like this…” So begins Frank Sinatra’s classic ode to the Windy City that I could not get out of my head last weekend during the EAA’s Regional Leadership Conference – Central.

Emory alumni chapter leaders from Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and Nashville gathered in Chicago last weekend to share ideas and best practices from their respective chapters. Everyone had a really terrific time meeting new people and reconnecting with long-lost friends.

We kicked the weekend off with a casual mixer at Crimson Lounge in the lobby of Hotel Sax, where we hosted the conference. This fun, laid back Friday night was merely a prelude to the razzle dazzle we had planned for everyone on Saturday, which began with breakfast (obviously) and an overview of some of the changes currently happening in the EAA.

Throughout the day, we discussed the Alumni Admission Interviewing program (which each Central city currently participates in) and delved deep into best practices for chapter events and marketing. Everyone had wonderful ideas to share, and it was so great to see the folks from different cities sharing ideas and collaborating on the best ways to build the Emory community in their areas.

Following a long (but very enjoyable) day of conferencing, we concluded the Saturday festivities with dinner at Fulton’s on the River. (DELICIOUS!) After dinner, some of us ventured out to see the 11:00 (PM) performance of “Spoiler Alert: Everybody Dies” at The Second City. Though we were exhausted at this point, the show was hilarious (as if you couldn’t tell by the name) and everyone had so much fun.

The Second City show was one of two optional add-ons we included as part of the conference to give everyone a taste of Chicago. We relied on our host chapter, the folks who call Chicago home, for recommendations for these field trips, and they did not disappoint.

Their other suggestion that we included as an option was an architectural river cruise along the Chicago River, which we did on Sunday morning. Watching the spectacle of burning boats in the river next to us (they were filming Transformers 3 this weekend) only added to what turned out to be a fantastic river cruise. (Another fun Transformers 3 sidebar: I walked out of the hotel on Monday only to see three guys parachuting off Trump Tower to a haze of machine gun fire below…very cool, I must admit!)

As the newest EAA staff member, this trip was a great learning opportunity for me during my first two months on the job to meet some of our fantastic alumni, while enjoying all that is Chicago, that toddlin town.

It wasn’t all sunshine and roses, however. As the new guy, I was drafted to take all of the photos for the weekend (you can check them out here), and when the clouds gathered and the rain began to pour during the last three minutes of the river cruise, I had to use my body to shield everyone from the rain. (Don’t believe me? Here’s a picture.) The good news is that the hazing is complete and I have been fully initiated as a member of the EAA.

After such a great weekend, I think I can speak for everyone who attended the Regional Leadership Conference – Central when I say that Chicago truly is my kind of town!

-- Shawn Scott 09T, assistant director, regional volunteer programs, EAA

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New additions to Emory!

Come beginning of fall or spring semester, the long, winding lines and rush to buy books will no longer be at the Dobbs University Center (DUC). That’s right students and parents, it’s about time to turn around and hop on over to the Oxford Circle Building. Today is the official opening day of this massive, three-story bookstore—we will no longer have to peek inside tinted windows to try and get a glimpse of what’s inside! Welcome, Barnes and Noble at Emory University!
Two days prior to the grand opening, I had the opportunity to wander around the Oxford Building with a few of my colleagues from the Emory Alumni Association (EAA). As we entered the building, the smell of paint and books showed me how brand new this building really is. I was in awe of how large the building is (the bookstore is THREE stories … does not compare to our teeny bookstore at Samford) and I also loved the funky, modern architecture. The Oxford Circle Building is also home to the largest Starbucks on a college campus in the United States. Cassie Young 07C even said “This is a SICK Starbucks!” Sick meaning totally cool, of course.

It was one of the biggest Starbucks Coffee shops I’ve ever seen, and I could already imagine groups of students collaborating and cramming for exams.

Happy studying and coffee-drinking!

--Farah Shackelford, communications intern, EAA

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Yet another work field trip!

A big plus about working at the Emory Alumni Association (EAA) is that we can channel our inner child and sometimes take short field trips during the day. Don’t worry, these ARE work related field trips, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun!

Today Kristin (one of the other EAA interns) and I braved the Atlanta summer heat and walked to Cox Hall Bridge where the Emory Farmer’s Market is held. As we ate our lunch at a quaint table, we soaked in the atmosphere around us. There was a high school girls’ volleyball camp going on, so things weren’t so peaceful. Other than that, it was a pleasant experience.

The Emory Farmer’s Market was family-friendly. Most kids would probably rather do ANYTHING else than shop for organic produce on a summer day. I noticed there were a lot of children actually enjoying themselves. I guess we have those who coordinated the watermelon seed spitting contest to thank! It looked to me as though the Emory Farmer’s Market was a success. Both the organic vegetable and bakery booths had several customers throughout the entire time we were there!

What a great way to expose the Emory community to the importance of eating local and organic!

--Farah Shackelford, communications intern, EAA

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Playing ball

See the photos

"You put on a great party," said one of the guests as he and his wife gathered their belongings for the long walk up the stairs and to the parking lot. Thank you very much, but we did have help. From the Tampa Bay Rays, Tropicana Field, the U.S. men's soccer team, and the Barenaked Ladies.

Bet you never thought you'd see those four things in the same sentence, now, did you?

Sporting events, like the Tampa Bay Chapter of Emory Alumni's June 26 outing to Tropicana Field, home of the Rays, really do attract the broadest range of alumni. Young and old ... singles, couples, and families ... urban dwellers, suburbanites, and those from the hinterlands ... all come out for sporting events. In in St. Pete, all did. More than 50 Emory guests enjoyed the Rays' 5-3 victory.

The half-price box seats and free Rays caps definitely played a role in the fun, as did our pre-party in the Center Field Street Brewhouse, where we watched the exciting albeit eventually disappointing U.S.-Ghana World Cup knockout game.

The most fun part for me was simply talking to everyone (both in the seats and at the brewhouse) about Emory, Tampa Bay, the Rays, even the Barenaked Ladies, who closed out the evening with an hour-long concert (it was 90s night at the Trop). Several alumni stayed 'til the end, too.

So many different alumni, so many different stories ... we had a family from Lakeland, a pediatrician with a very pretty new baby daughter, a doctor who is just one of more than a half dozen Emory grads in his family, and so many more.

And to top it all off ... a free concert from the Barenaked Ladies ... and the new stuff was pretty good, too!

-- Eric Rangus, director of communications, Emory Alumni Association


Barenaked Ladies set list

The Old Apartment
Get in Line
Falling for the First Time
Ad Lib (The Start of a Pattern)
Who Needs Sleep?
Another Heartbreak
Every Subway Car
Theme from The Big Bang Theory
Four Seconds
You Run Away
One Week
Too Little Too Late
It's All Been Done
Pinch Me
If I Had $1,000,000
Brian Wilson

Monday, July 12, 2010

Photo of the Day: Outside looking in

The scene inside the Michael C. Carlos Museum at the EAA's Jewelry and Jazz social on Thursday, July 9 was something to behold. Just as memorable though, and a little haunting, was the view from outside the museum.

Photo by Cassandra Young 07C.

See more photos by Cassandra Young on the EAA's Facebook fan page.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A jazzy and jewel-tastic evening at the Carlos

On Thursday, July 8 the Emory Alumni Association (EAA) and the Michael C. Carlos Museum hosted a swanky, fun event for the Atlanta Young Alumni and Alumnae & Women of Emory (AWE) to explore a sparkling jewelry exhibit and enjoy wine, light fare, and jazz music from the Gary Motley Trio while mingling with friends.

The atmosphere was exceptionally great. In the area outside the ballroom and the Carlos’ third-floor ballroom itself had gorgeous stone column-like replications hanging on the walls. I personally felt like I was in the midst of the ancient Greek or Roman times (despite the painted walls and guests wearing clothes that looked like they came straight out of a SAKS Fifth Avenue catalog instead of togas).

After a glass or two of wine, delicious, gourmet meatballs and veggies from a colorful platter, the guests were free to wander through more than 150 pieces of Indian jewelry from the Susan L. Beningson Collection. This collection celebrates the amazing technical craftsmanship of the jewelry and the inspiration of nature on the designs, as well as the importance of jewelry in Indian people’s lives. The guests were eager to learn more about this, so bright-faced, informative docents were scattered throughout the exhibition to share information about the jewelry and provide answers to questions.

As I admired the dazzling earrings, necklaces, and objects fit for a deity, I noticed the audience around me was thoroughly enjoying the exhibit as well. They were ooh-ing and ahh-ing while saying things like “I have a dress that would match perfectly with this necklace!” and “I am so glad you brought me to this event.” Yes, since this was a jewelry exhibit, the majority of the guests were women; however, I noticed the men there were enjoying themselves to the fullest.

Jazz and Jewelry was the first event I staffed as an intern. I have experience working events with an internship I had in college, but this event was better than any I’ve ever worked! The registration process went smoothly and there were absolutely no glitches with the event itself. It was wonderful to meet so many Emory alumni and others who work at the University, such as Aimee Nix, the museum’s associate director of development. I also befriended the volunteers who helped work the registration table—now I can say I have friends who went to Emory! (Since I am a graduate of Samford University). I also got to explore an amazing jewelry exhibition thanks to the EAA!

Thank you, Carlos Museum for partnering with us to host this wonderful event! The guests thoroughly enjoyed themselves and it was a great way to explore the Indian jewelry exhibition before it comes to a close.

Photos to come!

--Farah Shackelford, communications intern, EAA

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Civil rights at Emory: A tour

Hannah Frankel 12C and I decided to take Emory’s Civil Rights’ Tour on a lovely, HOT afternoon in early July. The tour is part of the newly released Sustainability Map launched by the Office of Sustainability Initiatives this past May.

We began the tour at the Haygood-Hopkins gate and then headed toward Glenn Memorial Auditorium. Soaking in the cool air-conditioning and reading the tour's description regarding Emory’s religious roots, I reflected how I often don't associate Methodist leaders with conflicts regarding slavery. The tour was yet another reminder that slavery permeated all aspects of society during this important time in American history.

On the way to our next stop, Hannah and I discussed the interesting differences in the way Civil War history is taught in various parts of the country today, noting many regional differences and unresolved issues that still exist. One of the things I loved most about Emory was the opportunity to meet students from all parts of the country, as well as the world, and learn about their background. I always found both similarities and differences in comparison to my own.

When we arrived at our next stop, Pitts Theology Library, we were again relieved to escape the 90 degree heat. We introduced ourselves to the students working at the front desk and used the opportunity as an excuse to promote the map.

In addition to its historical connection to the 1969 Black Student Alliance protest which led to the formation of the Department of African American Studies, Pitts is a sometimes undiscovered study sanctuary. It’s interesting looking back to imagine the juxtaposition of a sit-in protest in this calm, serene space.

The next stop on the tour was all too familiar to me, but in a good way. Being a former history major it is easy to remain fond of the classic Quad landmark that is Bowden Hall. I have many memories of classes held in its dimly lit rooms, chatting with the friendly administrative assistant in the history department and waiting nervously outside the door for an appointment with my thesis adviser.

Yet, despite a large plaque hanging at the entrance of the building, I was unaware as an undergraduate of the important connection between Henry Bowden 32C 34L, the building’s namesake, and the historic Supreme Court of Georgia decision that led to the enrollment of Emory's first black students.

The last two stops on the tour went by quickly, a trip to the top of Woodruff Library for the amazing balcony view of the campus and the surrounding city, followed by the Dooley Statue with its provoking insight about the Spirit of Emory’s complex past.

Heading back toward Emory Village, I felt grateful for the pleasant break from my usual work day, but still craved more history, more stories of Emory's civil rights history. I guess my next visit will have to be to Manuscript and Rare Books Library (MARBL) to look at Emory’s rich civil rights collections.

-- Jessica Levy 08C, intern, Office of Sustainability Initiatives

Photo by Cassandra Young 07C

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cambodian fortnight (third in a series)

Read part 5 ...

Read part 4 ...

Read part 2 ...

Read part 1 ...

As the skyline of Singapore fades into the hazy gray of the equatorial summer and Malaysia passes by to the port (left) and Indonesia to the starboard (right), I am again writing from USNS Mercy (the ship at the top of the photo) to update you on the progress of Pacific Partnership 2010. I will apologize at the outset—it’s a long one, but worth it.

Another few weeks have gone by, and at the time of my last message we were just getting ready to pull into Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Right on schedule, the anchor was let go and we sprung into action. Our 60-person surgical screening team tromped down the three decks of noisy steel ramps and took a fairly smooth and mercifully dry boat ride to the pier.

During the 20-minute trip we passed an island with a solitary Buddhist temple and then looked over the bow toward the lush green landscape giving ample credence that it was wet season in Cambodia. I am still amazed that it is dry season in Vietnam and just around the peninsula in the Gulf of Thailand; it is full-blown rainy season.

After passing our Partner Nation vessel, the Japanese Self Defense Force ship Kunasaki (above, center), we caught our first glance of the breasting dock through which we would make our way to shore. It is a sight that I will not soon forget.

The fact that this rusty contraption stayed afloat was a testament to applied physics, some good old-fashioned twine and a few empty 55-gallon drums. Getting off the band-aid boat and onto the flat portion of the dock was easy enough—it was the next series of maneuvers that bear mentioning.

First you have to climb a very narrow and very vertical ladder to reach a small platform that was still about three feet below the edge of the pier due to the low tide. Hanging on both sides and overhead was a tangled mess of wires leading to a few naked low-wattage bulbs. The lower loops of wire bobbed up and down in the water as small waves lapped at the side of the barnacle-covered concrete pilings. The entire inner core was covered with some ill-defined layer of marine slime. By the time I negotiated this maze without being electrocuted, I dusted off my rust-covered hands and was pretty sure that I needed both a tetanus booster and a strong dose of antibiotics.

Being the first group ashore at each new mission site has its challenges. Asking myself, “What could possibly go wrong?” I walked up to the pier boss and made sure that our group had transportation to the screening site. He pointed down the length of the pier, made a series of contorted hand gestures and said something about Cambodian border patrol.

The 60 of us then gathered our gear and trudged through the early morning humidity with a glowing sheen of sweat across our brows. As we dropped our bags at the container boxes that held our precious bottled water (also sitting in the morning heat), we were greeted by RADM Nora Tyson, the Navy one-star who is in charge of these parts.

The first pleasant surprise of the day came when I saw that we had large air-conditioned tourist buses rather than open-window, painted-over school buses that probably drove Beaver and Wally to school in the 1950s. (Score one for the Advance Party guys).

Comfortably seated in the buses, we proceeded with a police escort to Sihanoukville General Hospital. It did not give me great comfort, however, to be sitting right in front of the preventive medicine guy who kept saying "Neat, I caught another one, and look, it's full of blood." He of course was referring to the mosquitoes that had joined us for the trip to the hospital. Head in hands, I cracked open my first bottle of pre-heated water for the day.

Fifteen minutes, a few ignored red lights, and dozens of narrowly avoided mopeds later, the buses turned off the relatively well-paved road and onto a winding and deeply rutted dirt path that led to a faded yellow, one-story building—Sihanoukville General Hospital. About 200 patients already were waiting in line and were very glad to see us drive up.

We jumped off the buses, covered ourselves with bug spray and set about our work. About mid-morning, my big boss, RADM Christine Bruzek-Kohler paid a visit. Fortunately, everything was running smoothly and she leapt at my offer to join the action. With full credit due, she rolled up her sleeves and worked at the anesthesia screening table for about two hours before her aide insisted that she leave to attend a lunch function. She was having a good time and was reluctant to depart.

I spoke with her later that evening back on the ship and she conveyed great appreciation for the opportunity to take part in the mission. All told, we saw 247 patients that day and scheduled 132 for surgery. As we were packing up in the late afternoon, we were treated to another site that you don't get to see back in the states—a couple of very scrawny cows wandering right through the middle of our screening site.

Monkeys and cows are all over the place here. We treated the veterinarians for two monkey bites and one laceration that was delivered by the horns of a water buffalo who opposed getting vaccinated. Feral monkeys are nasty little creatures and bear close watching.

The day ended favorably; we got back to the ship without difficulty and we had a very productive visit. We were joined by our Operation Smile colleagues for five of the 12 days and had a great time. They brought a multinational team with individuals from nine different countries. The common language was English (or some variation thereof). They were gracious partners and treated us to an end-of-mission dinner at a nice resort hotel—The Sokha.
The local seafood was delicious and for dessert we had fresh dragonfruit and pineapple. At the end of our two weeks in Cambodia, we had performed 272 surgeries and were all thoroughly exhausted.

Cambodia is a very interesting place, filled with interesting people, and I had the good fortune of making the acquaintance of one Mr. Lim. I was seated next to him at a luncheon to honor CAPT Sasaki who is the commanding officer of the aforementioned Kunasaki. Mr. Lim is a master brewer who studied for years at the Guinness brewery. He now runs Cambrew and makes the very tasty Angkor beer.

A few toasts to CAPT Sasaki later, and I was invited to join Mr. Lim and a few others from the ship at the Cambrew tasting room. In my wildest dreams, I could never imagine myself sitting in a lavishly decorated tasting room in Cambodia, sipping a wide variety of beers with an accomplished Malaysian brewmaster. The Angkor lager was exceptional, but the stout came up just short of Guinness, something about the water, Mr. Lim explained.

On a more somber note, on the second to last day, we were involved in the initial treatment and medical evacuation of a U.S. Embassy employee who was severely injured in a car crash; the Australian ER nurse and the Army medic who were the first responders are directly responsible for her being alive today.

The helicopter pilots made a heroic effort to find her in the midst of a downpour with only a few sketchy landmarks for navigation and an underpowered flashlight to guide them down to the makeshift landing zone. A few blown over fruit vending stands were a small price to pay to save a life. Within 30 minutes of picking up our patient, she was aboard MERCY.

We don't have a neurosurgeon aboard during the humanitarian assistance missions, so the duties of performing a craniotomy fell to the plastic surgeons. Alan Lim (no relation to my brewer friend) is another Navy plastic surgeon aboard, with advanced craniofacial training. As Alan was getting the OR set up, I was dialing my neurosurgeon buddy back in San Diego.

To his credit, he didn't mind being awoken at 2:00 a.m. to field this particular call. A few jpeg images emailed rapidly to his home, and both Alan and I were relieved to hear him confirm our own diagnosis - no burr holes or craniotomy necessary, just a lot of close ICU monitoring.
Her husband and two small children were flown to MERCY via helo and I had to have one of those very difficult conversations with the husband. I keep two small stuffed animals in my office that my own kids gave me for the trip. I looked into the eyes of this poor little 4-year-old girl who was just whisked aboard this giant ship knowing that her mom was very sick.

I gave her Laurel-the-Lamb in some small hope that it would comfort her a bit. She clung to that scruffy old stuffed lamb for the entire time she was aboard the ship and never let go, even as she climbed aboard the helo to go back to Phnom Penh to meet up with her aunt who was flying in from the States.

The next day, the trauma surgeon, a nurse anesthetist, and a respiratory tech escorted her safely from MERCY all the way to Singapore where she was admitted, is getting state-of-the-art care, and is doing well. We even remembered to leave them the wrench to take the external fixators off later (the medical people will understand).

After leaving Cambodia we sailed straight for Singapore and a well deserved four days off. More on that next time....

As I conclude this lengthy message, we are preparing for three stops in Indonesia during July before pulling into our next resupply port in Darwin, Australia. My experiences in Cambodia, especially dealing with the critically injured embassy employee, have left me with a much greater appreciation for all of the good that we are able to do out here.

We are touching many lives in a great ways, and have saved at least one that I can count. Through our multinational partnerships and great teamwork, our mission is proving to be a huge success and we are all better doctors and better people for the small part that each of us play.

Happy belated 4th of July!

-- CDR Trent Douglas 95M, director, surgical services, USNS Mercy

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Photo of the Day: Happy Birthday, America!

You look great for a 234-year-old, and the Administration Building joins in the Independence Day celebration. Congratulations also to all the Emory alumni who ran in today's Peachtree Road Race.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Yes, MWAH has a lot going on, but we have quiet days too!

So things are a little eerie and quiet around the Miller-Ward Alumni House today.

It's the start to a holiday weekend jam-packed with fireworks, hot dogs, hamburgers, watermelon, and the hot summer sun! I am used to hearing things like laughing in the kitchen, meetings gathering in the staff conference room, and the tap-tap of keyboards throughout the house--the sounds of a hard day's work!

We work hard here at the MWAH, but everyone deserves a vacation day every once in a while! Even the "Untitled" chair, which can be found on Emory's art walk tour (via sustainability map) is empty!

Happy Independence Day!

--Farah Shackelford, communications intern, EAA

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Who says field trips are only for kids?

This morning was a little bit different than most mornings at the Miller-Ward Alumni House.

One of my tasks since the first week I started here was to take one of the walking tours on Emory’s sustainability map. I took the art walk tour—and also brought some friends along—Kristin and Matt, who are the other interns at MWAH. (You can read Tammie Smith' 08Ox 10C post about how the map was built right here.)

At first, I was nervous to take this tour on my own because I have never explored this campus. Luckily, Matt, who graduated from Emory in May, was our fearless leader on this exploration of the artistic side of Emory. We braved the humidity and threatening clouds while we stopped at the different art installations around campus.

Each art installation has its own unique story and look to it, whether it is a sculpture with a long, thorough history or an object simply named “Untitled," which was actually one of my favorites. It was an almost creepy looking chair-fit for a small child-that had claw-like feet and snake-like shapes that slithered up the back. It was the weirdest chair I've ever seen. It is even weirder that no one could think of a name for it.

"Stone Grove" was another art installation that stood out in my mind (probably because of the extremely awkward photo Kristin and I took there). When I first saw the name "Stone grove," I pictured an arrangement of stones similar to Stonehenge. It actually looked nothing like it--it was two skinny rocks shaped into chairs. However, we were not disappointed! We had a chance to take a load off of our feet while taking in the Emory scenery.

As Kristin, Matt, and I approached the Woodruff P.E. Center, we suddenly became envious of the children having a water balloon fight on the McDonough Field. Those were the days ... we found "The American Dream" statue with the abnormally skinny guy watching the girl's perfect form for a layup. Is the "American Dream" for those of us who went on the art walk tour playing sports, like the statue shows, or playing with friends and water balloons on a hot, summer day? Hmm...

It was a fun experience—Kristin, Matt, and I channeled our inner children as we discovered each item on the tour like it was a treasure hunt. Kristin and I also got a tour of Emory’s Clairmont Campus, which is a plus!

The photo posted above is “Dooley” by Matthew Palmer, one of the items on the tour list. This statue stood in an extremely busy area of campus (Asbury Circle)—does this mean Dooley watches you as you walk to class?!

--Farah Shackelford, communications intern, EAA