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Archive for October, 2009

UT offers savings accounts, road map to college

Unfortunately, many people give up on the dream of going to college at a young age because they don’t think their family would ever be able to afford it.

Lawrence J. Burns talked about the new Scholarly Savings Account Program during a press conference in the Memorial Field House.

Lawrence J. Burns talked about the new Scholarly Savings Account Program during a press conference in Memorial Field House.

The University of Toledo has developed an innovative new program that reinforces the concept that college can be a reality for students willing to work for it.

UT’s new Scholarly Savings Account Program will make annual deposits of $2,000 into individual student scholarship accounts beginning with the successful completion of the eighth grade and for completion of each successful year of high school. The first deposits will be made in June 2010.

Upon graduation from high school, a student may have accumulated a maximum of $10,000 through the Scholarly Savings Program that can be used toward tuition at UT. The scholarship funds will then be disbursed in annual increments of $2,500 for each of four years of attendance at the University.

UT’s requirements for students are that they graduate high school with a minimum 3.0 grade-point average and meet core curriculum criteria for regular admission to the University.

“I believe this provides a road map for students and families beginning at a young age to make higher education a reality,” said Lawrence J. Burns, vice president for external affairs and interim vice president for equity and diversity. “It’s a powerful message to be able to say, ‘Here is money on the table; if you work hard in school, it’s yours.’”

For students to be eligible, their school districts must sign a participation agreement with UT, including the development of its own requirements and an annual tracking process. The program is open to all school districts, including parochial schools.

Besides providing scholarship dollars, the Scholarly Savings Account Program aims to give school districts leverage to require students to do things such as take the necessary college prep courses, participate in activities and meet attendance requirements.

UT officials believe that this will result in improved high school graduation rates and better prepare students for the rigor of a UT education.

UT named Center of Excellence for renewable energy, environment

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland announced Wednesday that The University of Toledo has been named a Center of Excellence in Advanced Renewable Energy and the Environment.

The center will tap UT’s academic and research strengths to address the need for new clean-energy technologies and a better understanding of complex environmental systems necessary for solving global challenges.

UT’s Center of Excellence in Advanced Renewable Energy and the Environment’s core areas of research and technology development will be focused around solar, biomass energy, wind, energy storage, conversion and management, and environmental and ecosystems. These efforts will support local industrial growth in companies that are expanding their products to become competitive in the global markets.

Strickland will visit and tour UT’s Clean and Alternative Energy Incubator Thursday, Oct. 29. He is expected to talk about the future of alternative energy in Ohio.

During the last decade, UT has invested heavily in faculty and research infrastructure in the area of alternative energy and recently created a School of Solar and Advanced Renewable Energy and dedicated the Scott Park Campus of Energy and Innovation.

The Centers of Excellence, as outlined in the state’s 10-year Strategic Plan for Higher Education, will position the University System of Ohio to be a magnet for talent and a leader in innovation and entrepreneurial activity by developing distinct missions for each institution that are recognized by students, faculty and business leaders, while eliminating unnecessary competition for resources, students and faculty in the state.

In all, the state named nine Centers of Excellence focused in different areas of advanced energy at eight universities throughout Ohio. The centers are expected to help the state meet the requirements of Senate Bill 221, an energy reform bill signed by the governor last year. The bill mandates that 25 percent of all Ohio’s electricity production come from advanced energy sources by 2025. The bill also aims to ensure predictability of affordable energy prices and attract new jobs to the state.

Jefferson honoree to leave legacy of service

Once William Schmitt becomes Dr. William Schmitt in June, he will probably leave this area to fulfill his goals of practicing reconstructive and plastic surgery.

William Schmitt listened to the heart of a patient in Nicaragua as Dr. Anna Rohrbacher reviewed information.

William Schmitt listened to the heart of a patient in Nicaragua as Dr. Anna Rohrbacher reviewed information.

Even after he’s gone, however, a spirit cultivated during four years of Schmitt’s training will remain in The University of Toledo Medical Center. It will spark every time a UT volunteer checks the heart rate of a child, prepares a patient for surgery, and dispenses medication for dengue fever in Leon, Nicaragua.

Schmitt, who earns his medical degree in June and has applied for residencies outside of northwest Ohio, has been honored as UT’s monthly Jefferson Awards “Champion” recipient for creating a medical mission program.

“Not only is Will committed to serving people, but his passion to serve is inspirational,” said Denise Oancea, faculty member in the College of Nursing. “He’ll be leaving us this year, but the tradition he’s started with the mission program will carry on.”

Schmitt’s dedication to service began with a somber realization.

“I had been asked for three examples of altruism on my medical school applications and was completely stumped,” he recalled. “I hadn’t done anything altruistic.”

Shortly after, he was accepted into medical school. The same week, he bought a one-way plane ticket to Nicaragua. The five months he spent there would set the tone for a program that, today, assists thousands of Nicaraguan patients.

“Being in Nicaragua was the most incredible experience,” Schmitt said. “When I came back, I knew I wanted to go on more of these trips and get other medical students involved. It would be a great chance to help people and promote a learning experience for the clinical participants.”

During Schmitt’s first year of medical school, he hosted fundraisers, recruited volunteers, and secured donations of supplies and equipment. With $8,000, he and a team of about 20 volunteers treated more than 1,000 patients during eight days in Leon.

As he continued the demanding curriculum of a medical student, the mission expanded. With $13,000 annually secured through numerous fundraisers, Schmitt and his team have returned to Nicaragua for three years to treat more than 3,000 indigent natives — some of whom haven’t seen physicians in months or even years. Their maladies include tropical illnesses, parasite infections, nutritional deficiencies and other, more common conditions, including surgical procedures performed in Nicaraguan facilities far different from the state-of-the-art technologies at UTMC.

“We practice in a hospital that has no air conditioning or sophisticated imaging equipment, such as CT scans or MRIs,” Schmitt said. “IV tubing is hung on sticks, and sometimes the electricity just goes off and you don’t know when it’s coming back on.”

Despite the rustic conditions, membership on Schmitt’s teams has increased.

“We’ve all grown very attached to the Nicaraguan people, and we can see how much of a need they have for medical care,” he said. “They’re very gracious, welcoming and so grateful for any help we can give.”

Oancea marvels at Schmitt’s dedication to the cause. “He’s done whatever he has to for the mission to continue,” she said, “even being the DJ at one of our fundraisers. I can’t wait to see what he’s going to do as a physician. I have a feeling he’s one of those people we’re going to read about someday with all of the great things he’s going to do.”

Breast cancer awareness subject of UT Matters

UT Matters is a partnership with The Blade and Buckeye CableSystem to bring the community health science education and the latest news about how University of Toledo faculty, staff and students are changing Toledo and how the community can be a part of it.

Esther Fabian, director of health-care marketing at UT Medical Center, fought breast cancer and won.

Esther Fabian, director of health-care marketing at UT Medical Center, fought breast cancer and won.

This month’s UT Matters topic is increasing awareness about breast cancer and women’s health.

“In June, I found a lump. I do not have a family history of breast cancer, but I still got it,” said Esther Fabian, cancer survivor and director of health-care marketing at The University of Toledo Medical Center.

The American Cancer Society recommends women between the ages of 20 and 30 have a clinical breast exam at least every three years. When they reach age 40, women should have a clinical breast exam and mammogram every year.

“Every woman should seek a physician who listens to her concerns and is an advocate for her well-being,” said Dr. Donna Woodson, director of women’s health at UT Medical Center. “Her physician should be up-to-date in evidence-based medicine and testing interventions and should provide comprehensive care, not only for disease prevention, but for wellness promotion.”

There are many reasons patients get a higher degree of healing at UT Medical Center. “The availability of multiple specialists in one location offers a complete package for excellent, coordinated and gender-specific care for women of all ages,” Woodson said.

To learn more about comprehensive women’s health services at UT Medical Center, call 877.451.2299 or visit UTMatters.com.

Author to discuss role of women in Islamic faith

In order to fill the Islamic obligation known as hajj, each year more than two million Muslim men and women from all over the world travel to the city of Mecca, the holiest meeting site of the Islamic religion, to demonstrate religious harmony and their submission to Allah.

webstanding-alone-pb-11Faced with a new life as a single mother, Asra Nomani, author and then Wall Street Journal correspondent, made the dangerous journey from America to the Middle East in efforts to investigate and rediscover her religion.

Inspired by her personal pilgrimage, Nomani returned to America to confront religious sexism and intolerance and to fight for the rights of modern Muslim women.

Nomani will discuss and sign her book, Standing Alone in Mecca: An American Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam, Thursday, Oct. 29, from 7 to 9 p.m. in The University of Toledo Law Center Auditorium on Main Campus.

In her book, Nomani explains that many religious freedoms enjoyed centuries ago have been replaced today by the conservative brand of Islam, which labels Muslim women as veiled and isolated from the world. Through personal narrative, Nomani compares the modern-day lives of Muslim women to the lives of those living centuries ago to show the changing face of women in Islam.

A graduate of West Virginia University and American University, Nomani serves as
a visiting journalism scholar at Georgetown University, where she leads the Pearl Project, a faculty-student investigation into the 2002 murder of her close friend and journalist, Daniel Pearl.

“As a child of West Virginia, I have looked to Toledo as a shining beacon in the American-Muslim community,” Nomani said. “For years, I have heard the stories of the courageous citizens of Toledo, who have been leaders and pioneers for an expression of Islam that is tolerant and just.”

A reception, including refreshments, will be held in the Law Center Auditorium from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. preceding the lecture.

This free, public event is sponsored by the Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women, the UT Program in Religious Studies, and the departments of Philosophy and Women’s and Gender Studies, and is part of the President’s Lecture Series on Diversity.

“The Eberly Center is extremely pleased to be a part of the effort to bring Asra Nomani to UT,” said Charlene Gilbert, director of the Eberly Center for Women. “She is a strong voice encouraging an important dialogue about the role of women in the Islamic faith. History has shown that one of the first steps on the road to change in any community is dialogue.”

For more information, contact the Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women at 419.530.8570.

UTC3 program enters third week

The University community has already pledged $85,000 to the annual Community Charitable Campaign, with more activities planned as it enters its third week.

A bake sale featuring autumn treats is slated for Wednesday, Oct. 28, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Skyview Food Court on Health Science Campus, and the online auction program, UTBay, is in full operation. Items are added weekly to the auction, which can be viewed at www.utbay.org. New selections include UT outerwear, artwork and more.

The prize patrol found its first winners last week, with Robert Hogle and Dave Horvath, both in Information Technology, receiving gift items simply for adding their pledges to the campaign. Two winners — one from Health Science Campus and one from Main Campus — will be selected each week.

UT’s goal is to pledge $250,000 or more by the conclusion of the campaign Nov. 20. Donations may be made via e-mail or pledge cards, which are available throughout campuses. Credit cards, cash, checks and payroll deduction will be accepted.

Check the University’s donation progress at UTC3 thermometers located at the Glendale and Arlington avenues entrances on Health Science Campus or in the Student Union on Main Campus.

UTC3 evolved as a means to diversify the available philanthropic choices. Through this campaign, donors may contribute to a variety of causes, including those related to health, animals, legal aid, environment, poverty and children. The United Way is one of four organizations, including Northwest Ohio Community Shares, Community Health Charities of Ohio and Earth Share of Ohio, that accepts pledges and can distribute them to specific organizations, depending on the donor’s preference.

H1N1 here, faculty asked to help by relaxing attendance policies

The Main Campus Medical Center has been dealing with a long and steady stream of students that are not feeling well in recent days.

Dr. Christopher Halasy, medical director and chief of medicine of the Main Campus Medical Center, said since more than a dozen students have tested positive for influenza A in the past week, it can be assumed that if students have a cough and/or a sore throat and a fever, they likely have influenza A and H1N1. Therefore, the Medical Center is no longer testing for the virus unless the patient has a chronic condition and is at higher risk of complications.

The Student Medical Center also is reminding students that unless they are pregnant or have a chronic condition, such as diabetes or asthma, they should not need to seek care at the center. However, students who still feel they need to be seen should make an appointment.

“It is critical that people isolate themselves when they get sick to prevent the spread of the flu,” Halasy said. “For the majority of students, there’s not much we can do other than recommend that they take Motrin or Tylenol, not aspirin, for fever and aches, get rest, keep up their fluids and self-isolate.”

If students get sick, they should stay home or in their residence hall rooms away from others until it’s been 24 hours since they’ve had a fever.

In addition to exposing others to flu by visiting the Medical Center, the large volume of students also is causing access issues, which may impede those at high risk of flu complications from being seen and getting treatment.

“Many of the students that we’re seeing just have colds and are apprehensive about H1N1,” Halasy said.

The University’s Faculty Senate has endorsed a relaxed attendance policy related to H1N1 illnesses, and on Friday Dr. Rosemary Haggett, Main Campus provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, underscored the importance of faculty cooperation in preventing the spread of disease.

“I am asking that faculty refrain from asking students for a doctor’s note if they’re sick with the flu,” Haggett said. “One, the Medical Center is not providing notes for the flu, and two, it is contrary to our message that encourages students to remain isolated. Further, faculty play a critical role in letting students know about their relaxed attendance policy and encouraging students to not attend class if they have the flu.”

Students should, however, contact their professors and inform them that they are sick and will be absent. That communication remains the student’s responsibility, and it should take place at the front end of an illness, not after the fact.

Forum explores medical, mental, spiritual breast cancer treatment

As health organizations across the nation recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month during October, The University of Toledo Cancer Center is co-sponsoring a program for cancer survivors, their caregivers and the health-care professionals who work with them.



Author and breast cancer survivor Caren Goldman will highlight a series of speakers on the disease at a forum titled “About Healing” Thursday, Oct. 22, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Waterford at Levis Commons, located at 7100 South Wilkinson Way in Perrysburg.

Goldman is the author of Healing Words for the Body, Mind and Spirit. Her writing specializes in the crossover between spirituality, psychology, health and the humanities as cancer patients and survivors struggle to confront the complex and conflicting emotions that breast cancer generates for those afflicted and their family and friends.

Additionally, Dr. Iman Mohamed, UT associate professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Hematology and Oncology, and Tina Ferner, coordinator of integrative medicine at the Mercy Cancer Center, will talk about efforts to bring together the various services and medical disciplines a patient faces when confronted with a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment regimen.

This program is sponsored by The University of Toledo Cancer Center, the Mercy Cancer Center, the American Cancer Society, the Victory Center and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

For more information, contact Sue Carter at 419.383.3913.

Softball team hits home run at Apple Tree Nursery School

Senior catcher Mica Sanchez read to children at Apple Tree Nursery School.

Senior catcher Mica Sanchez read to children at Apple Tree Nursery School.

A sacrifice hit is a critical component to winning on the softball diamond.

The University of Toledo softball team is showing that it knows how to make sacrifices off the field as well.

The 22 players and three coaches take time out of their Friday mornings to volunteer at Apple Tree Nursery School on Main Campus. Children vary in age from infants to preschoolers, and it’s been a rewarding experience for both them and the team.

“At first, the kids were shy,” said senior utility player Lacey LeVier. “But once you’re around them for a few minutes, it wears off. They’re throwing balls at you, laughing, playing, giving things to you and telling you to pick them up. It makes you feel like you’re making a difference in their lives.”

“[The team] came on the playgrounds the first day and provided a tremendous amount of energy,” said Sherry Roush, Apple Tree director. “They were ready to run and play, and the children just loved it.”

Sophomore utility player Melissa Rons cheered on some finger painting during a visit to Apple Tree Nursery School.

Sophomore utility player Melissa Rons cheered on some finger painting during a visit to Apple Tree Nursery School.

The idea to volunteer at Apple Tree came from first-year Head Coach Tarrah Beyster, who approached Roush about it several weeks ago. Roush admitted to being overwhelmed at first with the prospect of having 25 volunteers, but it was something she wanted to try.

“It was a good overwhelmed because I have so many people that I don’t know what to do with them,” Roush said. “I want it to be a positive experience for everyone. Right now I’m enjoying the fact I can share them with the children.

“We want to show the children all of the choices they have in life. By turning on the television, they know men can be athletes, but they may not know women can be athletes, too,” Roush continued. “That’s what I really like about having the softball team coming. They identify themselves as athletes.”

The team was more than eager to participate in the program. The first week involved time on the playground, with kids chasing players and players chasing kids. With the weather starting to turn, activities have shifted indoors. The team splits up to work with the different age groups, taking turns reading to the kids, building blocks and painting.

“Giving our time to make the little kids happy — this is something they remember and enjoy,” said junior pitcher Trisha Rons. “It’s a great place and what they have going here is really special.”

“Everyone is so excited that we’re doing this,” LeVier added. “Most girls love babies. It’s exciting to work with the kids and cute to see them laughing and playing. I’ve seen this place so many times, and I always wondered what it took to work or help out here. It’s a good opportunity to have the whole team here, give back to the community, and help shape the kids’ future.”

Apple Tree Nursery School has been awarded a three-star rating by the state of Ohio and is accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs.

UT continues efforts to prevent H1N1 spread through hygiene tools, vaccinations

As part of the constant effort to prevent the spread of the H1N1 flu virus, UT recently installed 354 new hand-sanitizing stations around the University.

In addition to the existing dispensers in each restroom on Main, Scott Park and Health Science campuses, the installations were made in residence halls, academic buildings and Apple Tree Nursery School.

Along with the sanitizer, The University of Toledo Medical Center and its clinics have placed masks, gloves and tissues at each entrance.

“The best way to prevent the spread of disease at UT is for everyone to practice good hand hygiene and to cover his or her nose and mouth when sneezing,” said Sandy Hensley, infection control practitioner.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the definition of influenza-like illness is fever of 100 degrees or higher, plus either cough or sore throat. That’s why the University has made more than 1,000 disposable thermometers available for students at the front desks of residence halls.

“If you think about it, packing a thermometer probably wasn’t on the list for most students when they moved in this fall, so we thought this would be helpful,” said Dr. Mike Valigosky, director of Safety and Health.

If students do have flu-like symptoms, a limited supply of H1N1 kits that include a mask, gloves, thermometer and hand sanitizer also are available in residence halls. Residents concerned about the health of a roommate may request a kit, which includes instructions on how to properly care for a sick person.

The University has received a limited allotment of H1N1 vaccine, and it will be offered first to health-care workers and then to other at-risk groups on campus. To register for the H1N1 vaccine, visit https://h1n1vaccine.odh.ohio.gov. Further information about the vaccination schedule will be forthcoming.

Due to a shortage of the seasonal flu vaccine, it will not be available this year at the Student Medical Center on Main Campus. However, a limited number of seasonal flu vaccinations will be available for people in high-risk categories at the Well-O-Ween Health Fair Friday, Oct. 30, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Student Recreation Center.

For the latest information on H1N1-related information at UT, visit www.utoledo.edu/fluprep.