NIH seeks input on racial disparities in R01 grants

National Institutes of Health logoFrom Dr. Richard Nakamura, director of the NIH Center for Scientific Review:

“We want you to know NIH is working on multiple fronts to get to the bottom of unexplained racial disparities in R01 grant funding and to maximize fairness in NIH peer review. Since the problems and the solutions are bigger than NIH, we have reached out to the scientific community and other concerned citizens for help. Now armed with a team of experts and a set of new initiatives, we’d like to tell you about our efforts to address this important issue –- particularly an exciting opportunity for you to submit your input.”

Click here to read Dr. Nakamura’s entire statement. And don’t overlook the comments, which range from insightful to shocked — “absolutely shocked” — that anyone would even suggest that bias exists in the peer review system.

Rhetoric note: There’s really nothing like using five exclamation points at the end of a sentence to underline the thoughtfulness of your argument.

N.C. A&T microbiologist gets down to the basics with advice on good grocery shopping habits

Screenshot of Dr. Leonard Williams on "America Now"

Click the picture to see the video of Dr. Leonard Williams on “America Now.”

N.C. A&T microbiologist Dr. Leonard Williams works in one of the most advanced labs at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis. His work goes deep into the science of pathogens, contamination, and food-borne illness and disease.

Anything you need to know about the molecular, immunological and epidemiological aspects of how food can turn on you, he can tell you. But if all you want to know is what you can do to keep food healthy and safe, he has answers you don’t need a Ph.D. in microbiology to understand.

That’s why the nationally syndicated America Now TV show visited Dr. Williams at A&T’s Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies. They needed advice for a report on how consumers’ grocery shopping habits can impact the quality and safety of food.

Highlights of Dr. Williams’s advice:

  • Wash that produce!
  • Keep meat or fish from dripping possible contaminants on anything else.
  • Minimize the amount of time raw items sit in your unrefrigerated grocery cart.

Watch those microorganisms! And to see the full report, click the image above.

Sen. Hagan tours Engineering Research Center, promotes her bill to support innovation at HBCUs

Sen. Hagan speaking to reporters

Sen. Kay Hagan speaks to reporters at the Fort IRC.

Sen. Hagan and news media photographers in research lab

Sen. Hagan listens to Wayne Szafranski of A&T in the Engineering Research Center’s  Material Processing and Characterization Lab.

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan is promoting innovation at historically black universities, and on Monday she brought the news media to N.C. A&T for a close-up look at what she’s talking about.

Accompanied by a group of national and local reporters and, photographers, and videographers, Sen. Hagan toured the NSF Engineering Research Center for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials and then held a news conference to talk about her bill to create a Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Innovation Fund.

The Engineering Research Center is developing an advanced magnesium alloy to make screws, plates, and other implantable devices that could hold broken or surgically repaired bones in place for healing and then dissolve and pass out of the body when they’re no longer needed.

The technology could eliminate the need in many cases for either surgical removal or for patients to carry metal parts in their bones for a lifetime.

Sen. Hagan was joined in her news conference by Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. and two A&T bioengineering grad students, Adrienne Daley and Roman Blount.

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A&T prof is NABJ Journalism Educator of the Year

Headshot of Dr. Callahan

Dr. Linda Florence Callahan

Dr. Linda Florence Callahan has been named Journalism Educator of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists.  Dr. Callahan is a professor in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications.

From the NABJ announcement:

WASHINGTON, DC (May 27, 2014) –The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is proud to announce the selection of Dr. Linda Florence Callahan, professor in the department of journalism and mass communication at North Carolina A&T State University as the association’s 2014 Journalism Educator of the Year. The award recognizes the service, commitment and academic guidance of an outstanding journalism teacher, professor or educator who has helped increase the number of black journalists in newsrooms.

“Professor Callahan has been preparing the next generation of journalists for three decades,” said NABJ President Bob Butler. “Her dedication is evident with the number of her former students who now portray “Aggie Pride” every day in television, radio, print and online newsrooms.”

Callahan was the first educator to serve on NABJ’s Board of Directors in 1997, a position, she said, enabled her to “represent journalism educators, public relations practitioners, authors, and others who never had representation on the board before.”

Click here for the complete announcement.

Youth Mental Health First Aid: Tuesday June 3, Center for Behavioral Health & Wellness program

Flyer for June 3 youth mental health program

To register, click the image above or go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/63XYLXZ

A&T researcher’s work on COPD among ag workers wins support from NC TraCS program for scholars

Dr. Jenora Waterman has made one key discovery toward improving the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) among agricultural workers, and now she’s been accepted into a prestigious career development program to advance her research.

Headshot of Dr. Waterman

Dr. Jenora Waterman

Dr. Waterman is an assistant professor of functional genomics in the Department of Animal Sciences at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. COPD is a major cause of death in the United States, most typically found among smokers. A less studied aspect of the disease is the 7% of its U.S. victims who are agricultural workers. They can develop COPD as a result of long-term exposure to animal production facilities containing dust that contributes to respiratory diseases.

High-density swine production houses are one example of such facilities.

Dr. Waterman’s first key finding came from comparing pigs raised indoors with those raised outdoors. Pigs aren’t as severely affected by the dust as humans are, but her work demonstrated that their respiratory systems are uniquely adapted to their housing type.

“My lab recently showed for the first time that pigs reared indoors and those raised outdoors exhibit structural and cellular differences in their respiratory systems,” Dr. Waterman says.

“The next step will be studying those differences to identify potential biomarkers that could serve as diagnostic or prognostic markers of agriculture-related COPD in humans.”

Dr. Waterman will take that step as an NC TraCS K-Scholar, a professional development honor for junior faculty members funded through the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program of the National Institutes of Health.

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A&T counselors certified in trauma-focused therapy to aid children suffering after abuse, violence, loss

Four counselors at A&T’s Center for Behavioral Health and Wellness have been nationally certified in trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy. They’re the first clinicians in the Piedmont Triad to receive the certification.

Dr. Kelly Graves, Mr. Christopher Townsend, Ms. Wendy Scott, and Ms. Ashley Blanton received the certification from the Allegheny Health Network in Pittsburgh, which developed the certification program with Rowan University in New Jersey.

Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) is designed to treat posttraumatic stress and related emotional and behavioral problems in children and adolescents. The Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services describes the goal of TF-CBT as reducing negative emotional and behavioral responses following child sexual abuse, domestic violence, traumatic loss, and other traumatic events. The treatment addresses distorted beliefs and attributions related to the trauma and provides a supportive environment in which children can talk about the traumatic experience.

“Based on systematic reviews of available research and evaluation studies, several groups of experts and Federal agencies have highlighted TF-CBT as a model program or promising treatment practice,” DHHS says.

Click here for a listing of nationally certified TF-CBT therapists.

For more information about this approach or to schedule an appointment with a certified clinician at the Center for Behavioral Health and Wellness, call the center at 336 285-2605.