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Friday, December 30, 2011

Emory Going Tobacco Free January 1, 2012

Dear Emory Community:

As a reminder, Emory will become a tobacco-free campus on January 1, 2012.
We now join over 580 other U.S. colleges and universities and more than 2,800 hospitals and healthcare institutions that have made the conscious decision to eliminate the use of tobacco campus-wide. As a result, our campus will transform into a healthier, cleaner environment that truly supports the overall wellness of our students, faculty, staff, patients and visitors.
For a quick overview of what this policy means, please take a few minutes to watch the following video:

Tobacco Free Emory


· TOBACCO-FREE ENVIRONMENT POLICY: The use or sale of tobacco is now prohibited on Emory owned or leased property and at Emory-sponsored or sanctioned events. The new policy is available on the University Policy web site: Policy 4.113 and Policy 8.10.
· TEMPORARY SMOKING ZONES; From January through August of 2012, there will be 14 temporary smoking zones located on Emory University and Emory Healthcare campuses. For a map of smoking zone locations, go to: http://www.tobaccofree.emory.edu/policy/coverage_area.html.
· CESSATION HELP: For those in the Emory community who need help quitting tobacco, please know that Emory is here to help. We offer numerous tobacco cessation resources and programs at no cost: http://www.tobaccofree.emory.edu/cessation/index.html.
· COMMUNITY ENFORCEMENT: We, as members of the Emory community, all have the responsibility to let others know about our new, tobacco-free policy. For more information on enforcement and tips for approaching smokers, go to: http://www.tobaccofree.emory.edu/enforcement/index.html
Thank you for your continued support and assistance with a successful transition to a tobacco-free Emory! And, best wishes for a healthy new year.
Tobacco-Free Emory Task Force

Plan long weekends in 2012

Everyone wants to know when a long weekend is ready-made for enjoyment with family and friends. Here is the list of when Federal holidays will be celebrated next year, just in case you want to book a trip somewhere exotic - or just play!

Monday, January 2 New Year's Day
Monday, January 16 Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Monday, February 20 Washington's Birthday
Monday, May 28 Memorial Day
Wednesday, July 4 Independence Day
Monday, September 3 Labor Day
Monday, October 8 Columbus Day
Monday, November 12 Veterans Day
Thursday, November 22 Thanksgiving Day
Tuesday, December 25 Christmas Day

Emory University will remain open as usual on Washington's Birthday, Columbus Day, and Veterans Day. Special acknowledgement ceremonies may take place on campus (check back closer to the date for more information). In addition, Emory considers November 23 and December 24 as school holidays.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

We'd love your feedback!

In 2012, your EAA blog will take on a fresh appearance. We'll focus on new content areas and offer beloved features and profiles. But let us know your thoughts, too! We really do want to hear from you!

Please share your ideas with michelle.valigursky@emory.edu. Thanks - and happy new year!

Holiday traditions continue

How do you celebrate the holidays with your family? Do you honor the same traditions year after year or do you recreate new ones as times change? Here's what a few more of our colleagues have to say:

Jule Taylor, assistant, alumni career services:

"A tradition from my past…No matter how cold or snowy, my family’s Christmas began with midnight mass in the beautiful church of my childhood, St. Francis. My family and all of our Kentucky relatives would assemble just before midnight in the elegant, old church. The year a new priest came to town, my grandmother, who volunteered tirelessly for the church for 50 years, called to remind the priest that hearing the Ava Maria was an important part of the service to her. I still think of the Ava Maria as my grandmother’s song, and I think of my grandmother doing her part to be sure a tradition she loved remained a part of the night that meant so much to all of us."

Kate Gregory, coordinator, regional volunteer programs:

"Although we no longer live in the same city, my brother and I always watch The Year Without a Santa Claus, a stop motion animated movie from the ‘70s, and text each other during it. On Christmas Day, my family watches The Godfather.
The day after Christmas, my father’s side gathers for a big Gregory Christmas dinner. With three generations of Oxford and Emory alumni and staff at the table, the conversation inevitably turns to the latest Emory news."

Michelle Valigursky, assistant director of marketing communications:

"When my boys were little, we always began the season on Thanksgiving by writing out our holiday cards after the turkey began to bake. While the Macy's parade marched down the avenue, we'd begin another time-honored tradition at home: the building of the candy mansion. Each year the house seemed to grow larger and take longer to finish, but our creations were the centerpiece of many a holiday photo and a true joy for every child who visited the house. The best moments were the unexpected ones - catching my toddler son licking the house's candy cane fence, discovering a nephew peeling off red licorice roof tiles for a quick snack, and witnessing ear-to-ear smiles of the little ones who would sit on the floor in front of these candyland dream homes making up stories about the families who lived inside. Before Christmas each year, we donate these sweet homes to children's hospitals to spread the holiday cheer."

Emory Cares for Newton County families and children

Every year, Emory alumni, students, staff, faculty, and friends participate in volunteer service projects around the globe. This November, Chris Arrendale 99Ox 01C, led efforts to share valuable supplies and other fun items for a local charity. Chris writes about the project:

Emory Cares is a project that I am involved because I feel that giving back to the community is important and the event is so much fun! My wife, Amanda Arrendale, and I co-chaired this year's Emory Cares event on Oxford's campus and I have been involved with the project for the past 3 years. It is a lot of fun to bring the community, alumni, families, and friends together to get this project completed for the kids. We even had alumni, staff, and students from Emory drive out to Oxford to participate in Emory Cares. This year we put together 135 shoeboxes full of items for the Newton County Division of Family and Children Services Center! These shoeboxes will be given to children at the Newton County DFACS holiday party and we are happy to bring holiday joy to these kids!

We received donations from many local businesses, as well as from volunteers and alumni. Every year I use social media websites and free sample websites to gather as many toiletries and toys for the kids as I can. My wife and I also collect these items from family, friends, and local businesses and keep these items for the upcoming event. We receive at least 1 item a day through the mail!

The Oxford College Emory Cares event had the largest turnout of volunteers, largest turnout of kids, and the largest amount of donations than any previous year! This year we used Facebook to post the event and some of us made calls to alums and family to generate more volunteers. We had so many donations, that we ran out of shoeboxes! Oxford College holds a special place in my heart and working on the Emory Cares project is something I look forward to every year.

Wilma Tilson Robinson 96C fights for healthy living; urges setting early career goals

As a high school grad from Queens, New York, Wilma (Tilson) Robinson 96C wanted to become a doctor and run a community wellness center. But life has a way of changing childhood goals. Today she is a senior health policy analyst in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in Washington, D.C. “I did not become a pediatrician and develop the wellness center, but I did receive my doctorate in organizational leadership several years ago, and I have been instrumental in developing national programs and policies around health promotion and wellness over the last 11 years,” she says. Day to day, Robinson conducts policy research, evaluates national programs and initiatives, and assists in program planning and development around women’s health, health disparities, health promotion, and disease prevention.

So how did her career evolve? It all started with a trip to Emory’s campus. “Coming from inner city New York, it was a refreshing change,” she admits, adding that she was impressed by the University’s academics, the push for civic duty and volunteerism, and athletics. In hindsight, she reflects on her college experience, “I really value the education I received at Emory. The curriculum challenged me to become a better student and helped me to gain a breadth of knowledge across a myriad of topics.”

But Robinson sidelined her goal to become a doctor after an earned visit to view a cadaver in her junior year at Emory made her realize “I really did not like blood. I wanted to help people but without the graphic visual often displayed on the television shows like ER,” she recalls. A career fair visit introduced her to the School of Public Health and her professional future crystallized.

Three major moments stand out as she looks back on her career path. She cites these as developing the Physical Activity is Fundamental to Disease report for the Secretary and attending the 2002 White House launch of the President’s Healthier US initiative, traveling the country in 2004 with the HHS Secretary to develop the National Diabetes Action Plan, and most recently “joining Secretary Sebelius in her keynote address at the annual meeting for the Society for Public Health Educators in October to present the Healthy Living Innovations Awards.”

Since leaving Emory in 1996, Robinson has accepted many personal challenges as well. Athletic since childhood, Robinson was honored to carry the Olympic torch for the 2002 Winter Olympics Torch Relay. Four years ago, she founded a community-based physical activity program through non-profit The Garment’s Hem in honor of her dear friend and Emory graduate Karen Tanner who died at age 35 of a massive heart attack.

Robinson’s commitment to good health and public education is clear. She was awarded the HHS Office of the Secretary Employee of the Quarter in 2003 and has been selected as the HHS Challenge Ambassador “for my work on the Healthy Living Innovation Awards earlier this year,” she says.

Though Robinson wishes she has done a semester abroad while at Emory, she urges students to proactively plan. “If you have not already begun, start career planning now! Many students wait until their junior or senior year to start career planning, but this process should begin in high school, continue through college and throughout life,” she suggests.

She recommends taking on focused work study jobs that support career goals, structured internships, and experience abroad. “Enjoy your time at Emory. It will be one of the most memorable times of your life.”

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It's Truly an Honor

In 1846, Emory presented its first honorary degree, a Doctor of Divinity degree, to the Rev. William H. Ellison. Since then, more than 540 men and women have received honorary degrees from the University, earning them full recognition as Emory alumni (indicated with an H following the year in which their degree was awarded).

See if you recognize these notable alumni names:

  • 2005 Tom Brokaw, journalist/author

  • 1998 His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibet, Emory University Presidential Distinguished Professor

  • 1995 Hank Aaron, Baseball Hall of Fame member

  • 1992 Mikhail Gorbachev, president, Soviet Union

  • 1991 Ted Turner, entrepreneur

  • 1988 Desmond Tutu, archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa

  • 1983 Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize winner, author

  • 1979 Jimmy Carter, president of the United States, Emory University Presidential Distinguished Professor

  • 1949 Alben Barkley 1900C, vice president under Harry Truman

  • 1902 Joel Chandler Harris, Georgia-born author of the Uncle Remus stories

Photo of His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama 98H by Ann Borden. Photo of Tom Brokaw from University Media Relations Press Release.

More Holiday Traditions of your EAA

It's always so heartwarming to hear how others celebrate their family traditions at the holidays. Here are a few more stories from our EAA family:

Leslie Wingate 82C, senior director:

"My daughters, Sarah and Emily and my Goddaughter, Isabella, sing in the choir at our church every Christmas Eve at the 5:00 p.m. service. My two sisters and their families join us for the service, which gives us the opportunity to worship and sing Christmas carols together. Following the service, we all head to either my house or my sister Laura’s house (she lives 8 houses away from me) to enjoy a Christmas Eve smorgasbord. It is truly an evening of family, food and fun."

Sarah Cook 95C, senior director:

"My son leaves peas and carrots with his cookies for Santa each year because he thinks Santa should have something healthy to eat during the night. And Santa always leaves an orange in the bottom of our stockings with a chocolate Santa for the same reason."

Our Holiday Traditions

As the holidays draw nearer, family traditions are at the forefront of all of our minds. So how does your team at the Emory Alumni Association celebrate at home with their own families? We wanted to know, so we asked for stories from our friends here at the Miller-Ward Alumni House. Here are just a few special moments to share:

Jennifer Crabb 98Ox 00C, EAA's director of communications and technology:

"It is a new tradition for our family, but we go to Berry’s Tree Farm in Covington, GA and search the fields for the perfect Christmas tree. Then we chop it down ourselves. We also ride the train on the property. It is a fun tradition!"

Kelley Quinn 08B, EAA's communications specialist:

"My family always gets together to decorate our Christmas tree. My parents have bought a Hallmark ornament every Christmas they have been married. With 35 now, those are the only ones we put on our tree because there are so many. They have been saving Hallmark ornaments for my brother and I since we were born, so that when we have families of our own we can carry on the tradition."

Martha Fagan, EAA's senior director:

"Christmas for my family is in Mobile, Alabama where my 91 year old mother still lives. My brother and his wife, four nephews (three of whom have wives/significant others), and my husband and I spend as much time as possible together. I think one of our most time-honored traditions is on Christmas Eve. We typically have an early dinner followed by church services. After services everyone comes back over to my brother's (used to be my Mother's) for snacks and killer canasta. We have a big tradition in our family of canasta. It was a real rite of passage as the nephews grew up to be old enough and good enough to play at the table. Now we are teaching our girls who are joining the family. We have two babies now, Sara is 16 months and Ethan is 6 months. They will be at the table before we know it."

Allison Dykes, EAA's vice president of alumni relations:

"We make Italian cookies called pizzelles, a recipe that has been passed down from my Italian mother’s side of the family from several generations."

Stacey Gall, EAA's associate director of communications and technology:

"Usually my in-laws come from France and take care of the four of us for 3 weeks, cooking and cleaning. They are waiting to come until late February when the baby is born. Looks like we will have to cook Christmas and New Years meals all by ourselves!
On Christmas Eve, we visit with my oldest friend. We met in 1st grade. Her parents have been throwing a Christmas Eve party since before I can remember. Neighbors, family, friends, and everyone else in southeast Atlanta comes over for a great evening of booze, food, and holiday cheer. My kids always manage to break something. The hostess always tells me that I am not allowed to worry about it the next year."

Laura Zimmerman Weekley, regional volunteer programs director:

"My family always listens to Christmas music by the Rat Pack as we’re enjoying our coffee, mimosas, and French toast casserole on Christmas morning."

Ariane Fitch, assistant director, regional volunteer programs:

"When my brother and I were kids we read J.R.R. Tolkein’s Letters from Father Christmas out loud – a letter a night leading up to Christmas. As adults our traditions center more around food. Brown sugar bacon on Christmas morning is a must, as are the chocolate cookies we make every year."

Michelle Valigursky, EAA's assistant director, marketing communications:

"Our family reminisces around the dinner table, calling up the best holiday moments and surprises we shared when we were young and our children were little. Storytelling is a great part of Christmastime, and we look forward to making new memories every year to enjoy and share for generations to come."

Monday, December 19, 2011

Belief Leads to Growth

"When you start new projects, you need a few or at least just one person to believe," Davidson says. "And then you've got to build it. When you build it and more people start believing and are more willing to put money in the league, then you become more independently owned."

Aaron Davidson 93C

For more insight, read Kicking Grass: How Atlanta's Rebooted Pro Team is Bringing Soccer Back by Eric Rangus, Emory Magazine, Summer 2011.

To listen to this article, please download from iTunes U.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Nashville Night of Merriment

Alumni in Nashville rang in the season this week at the Holiday Social held at the Tavern. Twenty-five people in the Emory Alumni Nashville Chapter gathered to trade stories and reconnect over great food and drinks in an evening that was fun, festive and familiar.

And of course, the reading material was terrific - check out fresh table copies of The Wheel!

Alumni spread holiday cheer in Denver!

The 25 guests were all smiles and good cheer at Denver's alumni holiday party this week at Brio in Denver, Colorado. Partygoers gathered to share fond Emory memories and make new ones.

Chapter events like these are great opportunities to socialize, network and reconnect with classmates. Check out alumni events in your area!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Our Martha Shares her 30-Year Christmas tradition

Today, we're honored to present an essay written by the Emory Alumni Association's own Martha "Grace" Fagan about a special friendship and holiday tradition she's enjoyed for 30 years. This essay originally appeared on the Southern culture website Like the Dew.

Earlier this week, my friend Chrys and I gathered in my kitchen to repeat what has become our Christmas present to each other for more than thirty years. For one or two days each Christmas season, we get together to cook and bake, gossip and reminisce, complain about the state of the world, celebrate our successes and watch each other like a hawk as we double, triple and quadruple recipes that we have been making since I first moved to Atlanta in 1971.

Right out of college where we had been friends, Chrys moved to Atlanta to become one of Delta’s pride of what where then called Stewardesses. After working for a year back home in Mobile, visiting several times in Atlanta with Chrys and dating a couple of brothers – mine having deployed to Cam Ranh Bay, in Vietnam — I came to Atlanta one vacation week, interviewed with three places, found a job, went back home, quit my job, packed up my 1969 green Ford Maverick and as my Momma says, “ran away from home.”

Chrys and I had to find an apartment no more than 20 minutes from the airport. We found a garden apartment in what was then a vaguely “swinging singles” complex where Troy Donahue was actually living while in Atlanta filming a rather low budget movie. We rented some furniture, begged and borrowed more, and began what became seminal years in our lives as we plunged into life in Atlanta in the early seventies, found ourselves immersed in the anti-war movement and, ultimately, worked second full-time jobs on the McGovern Campaign for President.

That first Christmas at Spanish Trace East, we were determined to do Christmas the way both of us had grown up – we wanted a tree, we wanted to entertain our friends and we wanted to make the Christmas candies, cookies and savory goodies that meant the holidays to us. We called home to our Mothers and Aunts for recipes, and we started cookin’! Some things we made together, but with Chrys’ erratic flight schedule, she was often at home when I was at work. So Chrys was busy making French Chocolate Balls, Mexican Wedding Cakes, and Ice Box Cookies while I made my toasted pecans, Cocoons, and Mrs. Peelers Tea Cake Christmas Cookies. What a fun surprise when we opened up and shared our loot to find out that Mexican Wedding Cakes and Cocoons were the exact same cookie! I was determined to make that family and southern favorite the Cheese Straw. I called my Bum Bum (my adorable Aunt), wrote down the recipe, shopped for the just right cookie press (the kind you have to twist – nothing else works right), and Chrys and I set to work making Cheese Straws. Somewhere along the line, ¼ tsp. Red Cayenne pepper turned into 4 teaspoons Cayenne pepper. Needless to say, the Cheese Straws were unbelievably hot. Our friend Eugene loved to trick everyone who came by over that Christmas season…”you just have to have some of Grace’s Cheese Straws”…we will never forget those crazy, hot cheese straws from 1971!

So, each year since then, sometime during the Christmas Season, Chrys and I get together and cook. Our repertoire of goodies has changed a bit to include homemade turtles and toffee, but we are still making everything we made in 1971, too, including Mexican Wedding Cakes/Cocoons. Somewhere along the line, we figured out that a chicken pot pie was the perfect lunch for our cooking days and now we would be scared to have anything else for fear our recipes would fail!

About twenty-five years ago, I acquired a Kitchen Aid mixer which changed our lives and has worked tirelessly over many a batch of cookie dough and cheese straws. We quickly learned that wine should NOT be involved in cooking days! Our goodies are special and looked forward to by our friends and family during the holiday season – I think because they are made with a lot of love and affection. We hope that we will still celebrate this Christmas tradition for many years to come!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Make Employees "Feel Engaged, Supported and Safe"

"We're a blue-collar industry, and I work with about fourteen unions. You don't read much about labor-management strife in the railroad industry," she says. "It's not that it's happy-happy, joy-joy all the time; we have our differences. But you get the most out of your employees when they feel engaged, supported, and safe."

Cindy Sanborn 97C

For more insight, read Planes and Trains: Alumnae in Motion by Mary J. Loftus, Emory Magazine, Summer 2011

To listen to this article,

please download from iTunes U.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Top ten must haves this holiday!

Visit your Emory Bookstore online and celebrate your alma mater!

December 9 EAA Coach Chat - "Are You Ready if Career Opportunity Knocks?"

Hundreds of alumni have benefitted from the interactive Coach Chats offered by Alumni Career Services, and this week, many more will have the opportunity to join in to reap the career rewards. Join us December 9 from noon to 1 p.m. for "Are You Ready if Opportunity Knocks?"

So what is Friday's Coach Chat all about and why should you attend?
National surveys from organizations such as Manpower, Inc., show four out of five professionals are ready to make a job change. You may be ready for change but are you ready to negotiate your next career move in a powerful and confident way? If the answer is no, then it might be time for some career readiness work. Join us for our next Coach Chat as our executive career coach, Jodie Charlop 82Ox 85C, offers tips to help you be intellectually and emotionally ready to make your next great career move.

Alumni Career Services completed its 50th Coach Chat on October 21. To participate, register for your session of choice and join the webinar. Past sessions are available for download to Emory alumni. Coach Chat is free to Emory alumni and available at a nominal charge to others.

Learn more about Coach Chat career education webinars, download podcasts of past episodes, or register for future Coach Chats here.

What's on your bucket list? Look at ours!

Everyone has created a bucket list of some sort or another. Climb Mt. Everest (sure!), cure world hunger (or nudge the goal in the right direction), save the endangered flatwoods salamander (a noble goal, indeed).

It's not surprising that the items sometimes identified on lofty bucket lists are a challenge to achieve. Efforts toward greatness and fame may need to start a little closer to home.

In response, the Emory University Alumni Association has risen to the challenge, asked our alumni for feedback, and delivered!

To view 175 things seniors should do before they graduate right here on campus and in our community, please check out the EAA's very own bucket list. Or stop by the EAA Facebook page and visit with our alumni!

Notes of joy on campus this week

As the semester winds to a close and the holidays draw nearer, you might be inspired to take a few moments to indulge in a special event or two. Here are three terrific weekend options for you this week:

Enjoy the wonder, joy and promise of Christmas with Atlanta Sacred Chorale on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. in the Emerson Concert Hall of the Schwartz Center. Tickets: $25 general; $20 discount category members; $15 students and seniors (65+). Presented by Arts at Emory.

ECMSA with the help of Santa himself presents Santa’s Favorite Chamber Music Sunday, Dec. 11 at 4 p.m. in the Carlos Museum. Jolly Old St. Nick will be on hand to introduce some of his favorite Franz Listz, played by the Vega String Quartet, and pass out early Christmas treats to good listeners. Tickets: $4; Museum members family level and above, free (limit 4).

Scott Stewart conducts the Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony Monday, Dec. 12 at 8 p.m. in the Emerson Concert Hall of the Schwartz Center.

Enjoy a magical holiday concert at home: Georgia Public Broadcasting will broadcast the Atlanta Celtic Christmas Concert, filmed live last year from the Schwartz Center. Broadcast dates are Monday, Dec. 19 at 10 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 24 at 11:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 25 at 5 p.m.

Emory images gratefully borrowed from Emory Report and Arts at Emory.edu.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Follow Passion to Evolve Career Says Sammi Sinsheimer 11C

At five, Samantha “Sammi” Sinsheimer 11C wanted to be a writer, but life gave her an intense curiosity for learning. Now as a recent graduate she has taken on a new role as a staff member at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) on their Middle East & North Africa team. After moving post-graduation to Washington D.C., she earned “an internship at Search for Common Ground, an international nonprofit based in DC that focuses on conflict resolution, facilitates constructive Muslim-Western dialogue, etc.” The assignment couldn’t have been more perfect. “I'm the xenophile of my family. I'm fascinated by all things Middle East, but my first passion is religion and interfaith dialogue,” she explains.

While a freshman at Emerson College in Boston, “I started studying the Palestinian-Israeli conflict much more in depth than I ever had while I was younger. My existing knowledge was limited from my relatively one-sided grade school education, so I began poring over different news sites to learn about the different viewpoints, the history, and so on.” She investigated transferring schools when she “realized I could do something to satisfy that desire to know more.”

It didn’t take long for the native Atlantan to make Emory University her home to pursue Middle Eastern and South Asian studies, with a minor in political science. “I may not be doing what I wanted to do when I was a kid, but I'm working in a field that I am passionate about,” she says of her career. “I am completely content where I am today.”

Reflecting on her time as a student, Sinsheimer wishes “someone had told me that it wouldn't be ‘beneath’ me or a waste of time to have an unpaid internship after college. Not that an unpaid internship is by any means ideal, especially after spending so much time (and money) to obtain a degree from a top 20 school.” She offers advice to other young professionals. “I'm a firm believer in paying your dues, and I think in this economy it is a huge misconception to think that as a 22 year old, you are above working gratis for a few months. A check would have been nice, obviously, but I wouldn't trade the experience I got my first few months here for anything.”
She extends her recommendations to the community experience. “Live up your time at Emory - and in Atlanta - to the fullest. Academically, socially, everything. It's crazy to look back and see how fast those four years go.”

Sinsheimer highly values her Emory relationships. “I remember sitting in Dr. Gordon Newby's office towards the end of my senior year, lamenting that I had no idea what the coming months had in store. He said something to the effect of, ‘I'm not worried about you.’ That meant a lot. It reminded me to keep faith in myself. Those relationships are key.”

Wall Street Plays "A Vital Role"

"And as much blame as Wall Street gets, I don't agree with it," he said. "I think it plays a vital role in society, and I think one reason the American system developed far better for two centuries than the rest of the world is that it had a much more efficient capital market that looks at a business and says that it shouldn't get funded anymore."

Jonathan Starr 99C

To listen to this article, please download from iTunes U.

Screenshot gratefully borrowed from the Emory University video on Abaarso.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Brownies and breakthroughs - the story of human success

A century ago, limb transplantation was merely a fiction writer's dream. But as medical science has advanced, so too have the life-changing opportunities for amputees. "We are interchanging tissues to reconstruct the human body," said Dr. Linda Cendales 12G, assistant professor of surgery, Emory School of Medicine, at the November 17 program of Faculty Within Your Reach at Emory Hospital Midtown. The evening was moderated by Isabel Garcia 99L, Emory Alumni Board member and Lawyer for the Piedmont Law Group.

In her presentation, Dr. Cendales cited examples of successful larynx, face, abdominal wall, and dual limb transplantations ranging from 2 months after injury to 33 years. Cendales led the interdisciplinary Emory team that performed Emory's first hand transplant and only the 14th such transplant in the United States. Experts from dozens of University departments were involved in the treatment of Linda Lu, the young patient who benefited from a new hand. Cendales recalls when the limb was finally attached to Lu's body. "The moment of reanimation was wonderful. They release the tourniquet and fresh blood surges into a hand offering a future to our patient."

That wonder was remarkable for the patient as well. Cendales said, "A very important moment for her was the moment of bonding and seeing herself back again with two limbs. She took ownership of her hand. It was immediate."

Cendales explained that surgery was just the beginning for Lu. Lu continues to undergo physical therapy and emotional support from various University departments. By week 8, Lu was very dedicated to her occupational therapy. Her first session at the Mason House kitchen was noteworthy. Cendales said with a smile, "She learned that I like brownies." At her first cooking session, Lu learned to make the treats on her own. "They were the most special brownies I've ever tasted because she baked those using her left hand."

She recalls how she and Lu experienced momentous occasions together. "The small things are not small things. Lu shared with me just how incredible she felt the first time she could walk into the room and not have people turn around to stare at her amputation," Cendales revealed. "That's powerful."

Enthusiasm for patient care is universal, but the scholarly pursuit of excellence is also academic. By maximizing "shared brilliance" between University resources and centers of excellence, the transplantation team regularly brainstormed ideas and techniques to create new approaches. "Lu gave us the privilege that we could take care of her," she says. "This one case has given us many collaborations." In reflection, she added, "It's not the end of a process as we did our first transplant, but the beginning of a program."

To experience more engaging conversations like this one, the next Emory Alumni Association's Faculty Within Your Reach program will present “A Matter of Life or Death” on January 18, 2012 featuring Jay Ewart 03L and Emory Law Associate Professor Kay Levine. Jay Ewart 03L was fresh out of Emory law school when he took on a Georgia death penalty case pro bono, supported by his Washington, DC, law firm. Seven years later, after working tirelessly and very nearly successfully to get the sentence overturned, Ewart was the attorney Troy Davis requested in his execution chamber. Ewart and Levine will discuss the complexities of the case, its twists and turns, and the definitive outcome.

A dream blossoms in Pittsburgh

Dreams often grow from a seed, as do delicate-blossomed cherry trees. Emory alumnae Yukiko Giho 08N is a big believer in dreams. Originally from Japan but now living in western Pennsylvania after graduating from Emory, Giho shares her “dream to celebrate the beauty of cherry blossoms right here in Pittsburgh,” she explains. “We people of the greater Pittsburgh area, not only Japanese but anyone who shares this dream, get together. We've been planting cherry trees and other native trees in the North Park twice yearly.”

The Pittsburgh Sakura Project began in May 2007 and Giho has volunteered her time to support the project in honor of Emory Cares Everywhere. On Saturday, November 12, Giho and friends planted 22 cherry trees along with nine native trees.” The trees Giho planted during last year’s Emory Cares International Service Day are already beautifying her new hometown.
When asked why she decided to get involved in Emory Cares Everywhere, Giho’s response was heartfelt. “Because I love the Emory spirit of commitment in serving the community.” Throughout the year, she also volunteers at area home and garden shows and benefit concerts.

On a professional level, Giho uses her Emory education as a nurse practitioner who specializes in women’s health. At Adagio Health, she provides her clients with reproductive and sexual health care, including annual well-woman visits, birth control consult and screening services for sexually transmitted infections (STI).

“Each day brings me lots of excitements as well as challenges, which I enjoy,” she says. With clients ranging in age from “tweens to 70s,” Giho embraces the challenge of educating people on “various reproductive and sexual needs across the life span.” Though most of her clientele is female, she also works with men for STI screening and treatment. Her passion for her work is evident. “I try to spend as much time as I can with each client so he or she has a better idea how to maintain and improve his or her health once they walk out the door.”