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National science leader and Toledo native to deliver UT commencement address Dec. 15

The head of the nation’s oldest and one of its most prestigious laboratories will return home, as Toledo native Michael Witherell is set to deliver the address during The University of Toledo’s undergraduate commencement ceremony Saturday, Dec. 15.

Witherell, director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) in Berkeley, Calif., will address 1,474 candidates for degrees, including 1,437 bachelor’s and 37 associate’s candidates. The event will take place at 11:30 a.m. in Savage Arena on Main Campus.

Witherell

UT’s graduate commencement ceremony is scheduled at 8 a.m. in Savage Arena and will commemorate 641 candidates for doctoral, education specialist and master’s degrees, as well as graduate certificates. Md Kamal Hossain, emerging cancer researcher and candidate for a doctoral degree at the University, will be the speaker.

Both ceremonies are open to the public and can be viewed live on the UT Views website.

Witherell, a distinguished physicist, educator and science leader, developed the foundation for his future at Toledo’s St. Francis de Sales High School. Salutatorian at age 15, he earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of Michigan and a doctorate in experimental physics from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. After a distinguished career as a university professor performing research in particle physics, he devoted himself to leading large research institutions.

In 2016, Witherell was named director of Berkeley Lab, the oldest of the 17 labs in the
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories systems. Berkeley Lab is a global leader in fundamental and applied scientific research in physical, biological, energy, computing and environmental sciences. The lab’s employees have earned 13 Nobel Prizes and played a role in the discovery of 16 elements on the periodic table, among its honors. The lab is managed for the DOE by the University of California.

“Our mission at Berkeley Lab is solving the nation’s most challenging problems through great scientific and technological discoveries. I believe that the national assets in addressing these problems include public universities and the students whom they are educating,” Witherell said.

Before joining Berkeley Lab, Witherell spent six years as director of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois. He was vice chancellor for research at the University of California in Santa Barbara, where he also held a presidential chair in the Physics Department.
His primary research interest is in studying the nature of dark matter. He was a contributor to the LUX experiment, which in 2016 published the most sensitive search for interactions of dark matter particles with normal matter. He is now part of an international research team that is building a successor to LUX, known as LZ, which will be three orders of magnitude more sensitive. Data collection is expected to start in 2020.

Witherell is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He chairs the Board of Physics and Astronomy of the National Academies and serves on the National Academies’ Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy.

“As a nationally recognized, public research university, The University of Toledo is pleased to have Dr. Witherell as our fall commencement speaker. Research not only helps us to discover new knowledge that advances all areas of study, but also instills critical thinking skills that our students can use to approach problems systematically and come up with solutions that improve everyday life,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “We look forward to Dr. Witherell sharing his insights with our graduates, especially since he grew up in Toledo and has since made tremendous contributions through research.”

Witherell’s personal success can be traced back to the Glass City, as well. He and his wife, Elizabeth Hall Witherell, head of the Princeton Edition of Henry Thoreau’s writings, grew up in the same west Toledo neighborhood and were high school sweethearts. They have a daughter, Lily.

“The foundation for my career and life was my extended family in Toledo,” Witherell said. “Their support and the value they put on education and public service were central to my personal and professional development.”

Hossain

Hossain, the graduate ceremony speaker, is a native of Dhaka, Bangladesh, who came to UT as an industrial pharmacist with a passion to develop innovative medicines.

“I’ve always been interested in studying health-related fields due to the suffering of people in my homeland from different types of disease,” Hossain said. “My focus is to develop a specific targeting approach for a more effective cancer vaccine. My research examined the utilization of a natural antibody already present in human serum that makes the vaccine more convenient to target tumor cells.”

He is a candidate for a doctor of philosophy degree in medicinal chemistry in UT’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

UT’s fall commencement ceremonies will recognize graduates from the colleges of Arts and Letters; Business and Innovation; Judith Herb College of Education; Engineering; Graduate Studies; Health and Human Services; Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Nursing; Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and University College.

The College of Law will host its commencement ceremony Sunday, May 5, at 1 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium. Later that week — Friday, May 10, at
4 p.m. — the College of Medicine and Life Sciences will hold its commencement ceremony in Savage Arena.

For more information, visit the UT commencement website.

UT nursing student credited with saving life of motorist after crash

Hanan Ramadan was on her way home from her mosque when she came upon a minor car crash. It looked like a simple fender-bender, but something about the way bystanders were crowded around the open car door made her stop.

“Something didn’t seem right,” said Ramadan, who is working toward a bachelor’s degree in nursing at The University of Toledo. “I just wanted to make sure everything was OK. Honestly, I thought maybe she had a broken arm, or she hit her head and there was a small cut.”

Ramadan

As Ramadan got closer, she realized the situation was far more dire — and she quickly sprang into action that likely helped save the woman’s life.

The driver’s face was blue. Ramadan, who also works as a nursing assistant in The University of Toledo Medical Center Emergency Room, looked for a pulse — there wasn’t one.

Ramadan’s training took over. She asked the person who had called 911 to put the phone on speaker and briefed the dispatcher on the situation. Ramadan told them she was basic life support-certified and asked for permission to begin CPR.

Unable to remove the driver from the car, Ramadan lowered the seat back as far as she could and started chest compressions. A police officer soon arrived and helped her safely get the woman onto the ground, where she could continue administering chest compressions.

“It was just us for a good five to 10 minutes before the ambulance showed up and the medics took over,” Ramadan said. “We were all very exhausted but doing our best.”

Sylvania Township Police Sgt. Lee McKinney, who was the first officer on the scene and helped get the victim out of the car, praised Ramadan for her quick thinking and readiness to help.

“The fact that you’ve got somebody who’s willing to be a good Samaritan, recognize a problem, and has some ability to jump in and help, that’s tremendous,” McKinney said. “Those few seconds were irreplaceable. She did an outstanding job in getting involved.”

Ramadan later learned the woman, Deborah Teachout, had been having chest pains and was on her way to urgent care when she lost consciousness.

Teachout’s sister, Bambi McNamara, credits Ramadan and another bystander, Jill Lynam, with helping to save her life.

“We will be forever indebted to Hanan and Jill for saving my sister’s life,” she said.

McNamara said Teachout has regained most of her strength after a week in rehab and should be back home soon.

Ramadan credits her training from the UT College of Nursing and hands-on experience at UTMC for giving her a clear mind in what could have been a moment of chaos.

“It was like muscle memory to me. I just instinctively knew what to do. All of the courses I’ve taken and all the training I’ve gone through, everything my instructors have told me for years, it all came together and just made sense to me in that moment,” she said.

“It made me confident. I knew this is what I’ve been taught and trained to do for years now — this is what I’m supposed to do, and this is what is going to help this person.”

Nov. 27 deadline to order poinsettias from Satellites

Make the season even more festive: Order a poinsettia from the Satellites Auxiliary.

The poinsettias range in price from $6 to $16 and are available in an array of colors, including red, white, pink, and blue with gold. The plants vary in size from 4.5 inches to 7.5 inches and by the number of blooms.

UT students Andrew Yim and Jessica Shippy checked out some poinsettias at the Satellites Auxiliary’s sale last year in Rocket Hall.

Fresh wreathes measuring 14 inches also are available for $11.

“Every year we do this sale as more of a service for our campuses than as a fundraiser,” Lynn Brand, president of the Satellites, said. “We keep our costs very low, and the small amount of profits benefit our scholarships for the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, the College of Nursing, and the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.”

Poinsettia order forms must be received by Tuesday, Nov. 27. Email lynn.brand@utoledo.edu, fax to 419.383.3206, or drop off to Volunteer Services in Dowling Hall Room 75.

Orders will be available for pickup from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Main Campus Monday, Dec. 3, in the Rocket Hall Lobby and on Health Science Campus Tuesday, Dec. 4, in the Four Seasons Bistro Atrium. All poinsettias will be foiled and sleeved.

Payment is due at the time of pickup; options include cash, checks, and payroll deduction on Health Science Campus.

The Satellites Auxiliary is a group designed to promote education, research and service programs; provide support of patient programs in accordance with the needs and approval of administration; conduct fundraising events; and offer volunteer services.

For more information on the annual sale, contact Brand at lynn.brand@utoledo.edu.

UPDATED: Influenza vaccine schedule

The University provides free influenza immunization for students and employees.

Walk-in clinics will be held on Health Science and Main campuses in October and November. Nurses and nursing students will administer the vaccines.

President Sharon L. Gaber, Dan Barbee, chief executive officer of UT Medical Center, center, and Dr. Christopher Cooper, executive vice president of clinical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, received influenza vaccines last week on Health Science Campus. Administering the shots were UT nursing students, from left, Zachary Douglas, Stephanie Ruzzin and Taiwo Akinwole.

Save time and register at influenza.utoledo.edu before going to a clinic.

Clinics will take place:

• Tuesday, Oct. 23 — Health Education Building Lobby from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Pinnacle Lounge from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Wednesday, Oct. 24 — Collier Building Lobby from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Main Campus Medical Center from 10 a.m. to noon.

• Thursday, Oct. 25 — Health Education Building Lobby from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Main Campus Medical Center from 10 a.m. to noon.

• Friday, Oct. 26 — Pinnacle Lounge from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• Tuesday, Oct. 30 — Main Campus Medical Center from 10 a.m. to noon.

• Wednesday, Oct. 31 — Stranahan Hall Lobby from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Thursday, Nov. 1 — Savage Arena Lobby from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Friday, Nov. 2 — Pinnacle Lounge from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Thursday, Nov. 6 — Pinnacle Lounge from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Wednesday, Nov. 7 — Health and Human Services Building Lobby from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Thursday, Nov. 8 — Thompson Student Union Lobby from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Glendale Medical East Main Conference Room from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Friday, Nov. 9 — Pinnacle Lounge from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Tuesday, Nov. 13 — Glendale Medical Center from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. and Academic Services Center on Scott Park Campus from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Wednesday, Nov. 14 — Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center from 7:30 to 11 a.m.

• Thursday, Nov. 15 — Pinnacle Lounge from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Monday, Nov. 19 — Kobacker Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Tuesday, Nov. 20 — Ruppert Health Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Wednesday, Nov. 21 — Pinnacle Lounge from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Tuesday, Nov. 27 — Pinnacle Lounge from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Wednesday, Nov. 28 — Pinnacle Lounge from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Thursday, Nov. 29 — Pinnacle Lounge from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Friday, Nov. 30 — Pinnacle Lounge from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In addition, vaccines will be available at the hospital from midnight to 3 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24; Thursday, Nov. 1; Monday, Nov. 5; Wednesday, Nov. 7; Friday, Nov. 16; Monday, Nov. 19; Tuesday, Nov. 20; Monday, Nov. 26; Wednesday, Nov. 28; and Thursday, Nov. 29. Nurses and nursing students will walk the halls and administer shots.

UT faculty recognized for tenure and promotion

Sixty-four University of Toledo faculty members were honored in a special 2018-19 tenure and promotion celebration Sept. 28 in Carlson Library. Last year, 53 faculty members earned tenure and promotion.

Each honoree was asked to select a book that was instrumental to his or her success, and these books — each containing a bookplate commemorating the honoree’s milestone — are now housed in the library.

“We began this tradition when I joined UT because we believe recognizing faculty helps to foster excellence in research and academics, and helps fuel innovation in all fields of study,” said President Sharon L. Gaber.

“Faculty success, together with student success, are two of the highest priorities of the University and of the Office of the Provost,” said Provost Andrew Hsu. “We have implemented a number of new programs to enhance faculty success since President Gaber joined The University of Toledo. And while the large number of faculty honorees this year demonstrates the progress that we have made in faculty success, the credit goes to the hard work and dedication of our faculty.”

UT faculty receiving tenure are Dr. Hossein Elgafy and Dr. Xin Wang, College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

Appointed as professor with tenure are Dr. Anne Balazs, College of Business and Innovation, and Dr. Raymond Witte, Judith Herb College of Education. And appointed as associate professor with tenure is Dr. Denise Bartell, Jesup Scott Honors College.

Faculty members who were promoted to professor are Dr. Tomer Avidor-Reiss, Dr. Maria Diakonova, Dr. Timothy Mueser and Dr. Michael Weintraub, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Dr. Amanda Bryant-Friedrich and Dr. Frederick Williams, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; Dr. Florian Feucht and Dr. Tod Shockey, Judith Herb College of Education; Dr. Bashar Gammoh and Dr. Margaret Hopkins, College of Business and Innovation; Dr. Tavis Glassman and Dr. Sheryl Milz, College of Health and Human Services; Dr. Edmund Lingan, Dr. Mysoon Rizk, Dr. Sujata Shetty and Dr. Jami Taylor, College of Arts and Letters; Elizabeth McCuskey and Evan Zoldan, College of Law; Dr. Azedine Medhkour, Dr. Theodor Rais, Dr. Tallat Rizk and Dr. David Sohn, College of Medicine and Life Sciences; and Dr. Devinder Kaur, Dr. Scott Molitor, Dr. Youngwoo Seo, Dr. Gursel Serpen, Dr. Chunhua Sheng, Dr. Sridhar Viamajala and Dr. Hongyan Zhang, College of Engineering.

Promoted to professor with tenure are Dr. Guillermo Vazquez and Dr. Hongyan Li, College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

Faculty members who received tenure and promotion to associate professor include Dr. Wissam AbouAlaiwi, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; Dr. Halim Ayan and Dr. Eda Yildirim-Ayan, College of Engineering; Dr. Liat Ben-Moshe, Daniel Hernandez, Dr. Jason Levine, Dr. Thor Mednick and Dr. Daniel Thobias, College of Arts and Letters; Dr. Joseph Cooper and Dr. Kainan Wang, College of Business and Innovation; Dr. Rafael Garcia-Mata, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Dr. Mouhammad Jumaa, Dr. Krishna Reddy and Dr. Diana Shvydka, College of Medicine and Life Sciences; and Dr. Aravindhan Natarajan, College of Health and Human Services.

Faculty promoted to associate professor are Dr. Daniel Gehling, Dr. Claudiu Georgescu, Dr. Bryan Hinch, Dr. Kimberly Jenkins, Dr. Jeremy Laukka, Dr. Terrence Lewis, Dr. Jiayong Liu, Dr. Sumon Nandi and Dr. Syed Zaidi, College of Medicine and Life Sciences; and Dr. Randall Vesely, Judith Herb College of Education.

Faculty who received renewal of their titles with tenure are Michelle Cavalieri and Bryan Lammon, College of Law.

And Dr. George Darah was promoted to clinical associate professor in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

“We wish each of these individuals continued success at the University, and ask our campus community to join us in congratulating them,” Hsu said.

Faculty members posed for a photo with President Sharon L. Gaber and Provost Andrew Hsu during the tenure and promotion celebration held last month in Carlson Library.

Day of Giving set for Oct. 16

The University of Toledo provides students with so many opportunities for success, and UT’s annual Day of Giving is a chance for the entire campus community to help students reach their goals by giving to Rocket Forward: You Launch Lives.

Alumni, faculty and staff members, students and friends of the University who support its mission are encouraged to give during this second annual Day of Giving. The fundraising campaign will begin at midnight Tuesday, Oct. 16, and will last until noon Wednesday, Oct. 17.

Every donor and every dollar will make a difference in this 36-hour campaign to raise money for student scholarships, athletic and educational programs, and resources for UT’s academic colleges, among many other areas.

“We encourage Rockets everywhere to join together on Oct. 16 and 17 to give back and have a significant impact on the lives of our students and all that The University of Toledo does to support them,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “Philanthropy is essential to continuing the University’s mission to educate the next generation of leaders. I look forward to the possibilities of the combined efforts of our global, national and local alumni and friends when they support our Day of Giving and keep UT moving forward.”

Participation is an important goal for Day of Giving, which aims to encourage as many people as possible to support the University. Gift matches and gift challenges are ideal options for making a donation because they double the investment and double the impact.

In 2017, an anonymous donor challenged the colleges to compete for Day of Giving participants to support them. The College of Nursing and the College of Arts and Letters led the colleges, garnering the support of 99 and 95 donors, respectively. The colleges also received the additional $5,000 (Nursing) and $4,000 (Arts and Letters) for their progress funds via the donor’s gift.

“Last year was our first Day of Giving and it was a huge success,” said Charlene Gilbert, dean and professor of the College of Arts and Letters. “Our faculty and staff had the second highest number of donors. Their generosity demonstrated their deep belief in the mission of the University and the college. The money raised last year allowed us to provide strategic support to students who were close to graduating and just needed a little financial assistance. The result of that was our ability to graduate a record number of students and contribute to the University’s overall increase in our six-year graduation rate.”

Despite the rain last year on Day of Giving, students, faculty and staff members came out to Centennial Mall for free cupcakes handed out by the president, to hear the UT Rocket Marching Band perform, and to cozy up with some canines at a popular dog-petting station. Multiple activities are planned for Oct. 16 to celebrate the day and raise awareness of the opportunity to give.

For early risers, the Student Recreation Center will offer a Rise and Shine cycling class at 6:15 a.m. Oct. 16. With a $5 donation to Rocket Forward: You Launch Lives, you can attend the class, which also will be open to non-members of the center.

The UT community is invited to Centennial Mall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 16 when WXUT FM 88.3 will provide popular music entertainment. Student-run organizations will offer booths featuring carnival-style games. Participants can donate dollars for game tickets, and donations may be made with cash, credit cards and Rocket dollars. Dog-petting will return to this year’s Day of Giving Centennial Mall event, and for a $1 donation you can pet a pup. Foodies can get their fill by visiting three food trucks that will be on the scene: Koral Hamburg, The Leaf and Seed, and Holey Toledough Handcrafted Doughnuts.

On Health Science Campus, giving stations will be located in the Collier Building and the Four Seasons Bistro inside UT Medical Center. The College of Nursing will host activities, as well.

Click here for a full list of Day of Giving events.

Gifts to rocketforward.utoledo.edu during the Day of Giving can be designated to specific funds that support causes donors are passionate about, and there are more than 2,000 funds to support.

Support UT Oct. 16 and 17 during its Day of Giving, Rocket Forward: You Launch Lives fundraising campaign, and remember to share messages and encourage others to give using #rocketforward.

Influenza vaccination schedule announced

It’s time to get a flu shot.

“Recent news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases that 900,000 people were hospitalized and 80,000 died from the flu in the U.S. last season represents a dramatic increase from past years,” Dr. Susan Batten, UT associate professor of nursing, said. “The loss of life from communicable disease is always tragic; however, there are hidden costs as well.

“Health-care professionals who get influenza will miss work or worse yet try to provide care while ill. Students and teachers will be absent from school, and parents will need to juggle family and work responsibilities in order to stay home with sick children.”

UT students, staff and faculty can minimize the risk for getting seasonal flu by practicing good handwashing and by getting a flu shot, Batten said.

“The vaccine contains four strains of virus A and B lineage; each dose contains only non-infectious viruses, so it does not cause influenza,” she said. “The single-dose vaccine that is provided does not contain mercury-based preservatives. Regular-dose, high-dose for those 65 and older, and egg-free vaccines are available.”

The University provides free influenza immunization for students and employees. Walk-in clinics will be held on Health Science and Main campuses in October and November. Nurses and nursing students will administer the vaccines.

UT Medical Center faculty, staff, students and volunteers not granted a waiver for medical or religious reasons are required to receive an influenza vaccination. Prior to their vaccination, employees must fill out a consent form, which is available at influenza.utoledo.edu. Those who have received flu shots elsewhere also may upload documentation of their vaccination at the same website. Proof of immunization must be received by Dec. 1.

Main Campus students and employees can save time and register at influenza.utoledo.edu before going to a clinic.

Clinics will take place:

• Tuesday, Oct. 9 — Pinnacle Lounge from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• Wednesday, Oct. 10 — UT Medical Center Gift Shop 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Thursday, Oct. 11 — Pinnacle Lounge from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• Tuesday, Oct. 16 — Main Campus Medical Center from 10 a.m. to noon.

• Wednesday, Oct. 17 — UTMC third floor from 7 to 11 a.m. and UTMC Gift Shop from 11:15 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• Thursday, Oct. 18 — UTMC Gift Shop 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Main Campus Medical Center from 10 a.m. to noon.

• Friday, Oct. 19 — Main Campus Medical Center from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Tuesday, Oct. 23 — Health Education Building Lobby from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Pinnacle Lounge from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Wednesday, Oct. 24 — Collier Building Lobby from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Main Campus Medical Center from 10 a.m. to noon.

• Thursday, Oct. 25 — Health Education Building Lobby from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Main Campus Medical Center from 10 a.m. to noon.

• Friday, Oct. 26 — Pinnacle Lounge from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• Tuesday, Oct. 30 — Main Campus Medical Center from 10 a.m. to noon.

• Wednesday, Oct. 31 — Stranahan Hall Lobby from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Thursday, Nov. 1 — Savage Arena Lobby from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Wednesday, Nov. 7 — Health and Human Services Building Lobby from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Thursday, Nov. 8 — Thompson Student Union Lobby from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In addition, vaccines will be available at the hospital from midnight to 3 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10; Friday, Oct. 12; Monday, Oct. 15; Friday, Oct. 19; Monday, Oct. 22; and Wednesday, Oct. 24. Nurses and nursing students will walk the halls and administer shots.

Filmmaker to discuss ‘Recovery Boys’ documentary, opioid epidemic

Every day, approximately 130 people die from opioid overdose, and nationally 11.4 million misuse prescription opioids — nearly as large a population as the state of Ohio. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death for Americans younger than age 50.

Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon focused on this crisis gripping her home state of West Virginia, the broader Rust Belt, and much of the nation.

Sheldon

Sheldon, an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker and director of the Netflix original documentary “Heroin(e),” will speak at the next Jesup Scott Honors College Distinguished Lecture Thursday, Oct. 4, at 6 p.m. in Collier Building Room 1000 on Health Science Campus.

Attendees will see a screening of her debut feature documentary, “Recovery Boys,” which documents the lives of four men working to transform themselves after years of addiction. A Q&A session and dessert reception will follow.

“The number of people we lose to opioid overdoses daily tragically could not fit into most lecture halls on this campus,” said Dr. Heidi Appel, dean of the Jesup Scott Honors College. “Sheldon’s powerful message in the film is that despite all of the suffering reflected in this statistic, we can find hope.”

Not succumbing to sobering statistics representing all too familiar stories of grief and loss, the film is optimistic. The documentary’s path for these men runs through shattered relationships and strained sobrieties, but also new communities and the promises of lives better led. Their rehabilitation is facilitated by Jacob’s Ladder, a rural West Virginia farmstead that promotes healing through mindful living and the natural rhythm of farm work.

“Whether you’re a fan of documentaries, in the health professions, have had your life touched by the opioid crisis, or just want to meet an amazing young filmmaker out to change the world, you’ll want to join us for this event,” Appel said.

The event is free: Register at utoledo.edu/honorslecture.

While on campus, Sheldon also will screen portions of “Heroin(e)” Friday, Oct. 5, at 8 a.m. in Rocket Hall Room 1520.

At this second free, public event called “Coping With the Toll of Responding to Opioid Overdoses,” Sheldon will participate in a discussion led by Dr. John Lewton, trauma intervention counselor and owner of Workplace Resources, and Dr. Cheryl McCullumsmith, UT professor and chair of psychiatry. The trio will talk about strategies and resources to promote the well-being of front-line responders and clinicians.

For more information about the Oct. 5 event, contact Betsy Martin in the College of Nursing at betsy.martin@utoledo.edu or 419.530.5888.

Opioid epidemic’s impact on older adults topic of upcoming UT, BGSU seminar

The University of Toledo is partnering with Bowling Green State University’s Optimal Aging Institute, the Wood County Committee on Aging and the Area Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio to hold a town hall discussion on how the opioid crisis is affecting older adults and what the community can do to help.

The program, called Opioid Misuse and Addiction Among Older Adults, will be held Friday, Oct. 5, from 7:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Penta Career Center in Perrysburg.

Among the scheduled speakers will be Lance Robertson, assistant secretary for aging at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Opioid abuse is often seen as a problem that only affects young adults, but experts say misuse among older Americans is a real and rapidly growing concern.

“We don’t think of it as much in older adult populations, and it’s probably not as prevalent, but it certainly is a problem that exists and needs to be addressed,” said Dr. Victoria Steiner, associate professor in the UT School of Population Health and assistant director of the Center for Successful Aging.

Overdose incidents among older Americans are rising sharply. Earlier this year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the number of emergency room visits for suspected opioid overdoses among those aged 35 to 54 increased by 37 percent. Among those 55 or older, ER visits were up by 32 percent. More than 44 percent of overdose deaths in 2016 occurred in those 45 and older, the CDC reported.

Beyond overdoses, there are other unique concerns related to prescription opioid use in older populations.

“Even if they’re not addicted, opioids can cause problems with breathing, with confusion and with falls in older adults,” Steiner said. “There’s also a risk that somebody else in the family could be diverting their medications.”

Topics to be addressed at the seminar include warning signs that older adults may be suffering from opioid addiction; examples of situations that increase the risk for abuse or addiction; evidence-based pain management in the era of the opioid crisis; and public policy and resources for health-care professionals who work with older adults and their families.

“Older adults are interfacing with so many different health-care professionals and our hope with this Oct. 5 presentation is to bring in all these providers so they receive the same prevention education messages and recognize the importance of assessing opioid use and misuse,” said Dr. Nancy Orel, executive director of research at BGSU’s Optimal Aging Institute and interim chair of the Department of Human Services.

To register for the free, public event, call the Wood County Committee on Aging at 419.353.5661 or email oai@bgsu.edu. The event does not offer continuing medical education credits.

UT faculty awarded $1.3 million in federal grants for medical research, education, technology

Faculty members at The University of Toledo were awarded $1.3 million in federal grants for projects related to opioid abuse, mental health, cancer and antimicrobial technology.

“The University of Toledo continues to advance its strong research base, this time in the two critical areas of innovative drug targets for cancer risk and also to public health and opioid crisis education,” said Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur. “The University of Toledo’s leadership in pioneering treatments and therapies for everything from heart disease to detecting a substance-use relapse has earned it the attention of granting agencies. Securing competitive federal awards is no easy task. Congratulations to UT for identifying and competing in very competitive space.”

Dr. Cheryl McCullumsmith, professor and chair of the UT Department of Psychiatry, was awarded a three-year, $449,076 grant from the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment to expand education about opioid use disorder across all disciplines within UT’s College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

“The College of Medicine and Life Sciences will equip all medical students with the knowledge and the skills they need to appropriately manage opioid treatment and confidently identify opioid use disorders, regardless of their planned specialty. We are training a generation of family medicine doctors, surgeons and internists to actively prevent and treat opioid use disorders,” McCullumsmith said.

Dr. Linda Lewandowski, dean of the UT College of Nursing and co-chair of the UT Opioid Task Force, was awarded a three-year, $371,723 grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for an interdisciplinary public health project that will provide evidenced-based mental health awareness training to UT students, faculty and staff, as well as the wider northwest Ohio community.

The training includes appropriate responses, materials on available community resources, and information about the unique mental health needs of active-duty military and veterans. The program is built with a specific emphasis on issues related to the opioid epidemic.

“With one in five Americans experiencing mental health problems in a given year, it is more likely that an individual will come across someone having an emotional or mental health crisis than someone having a heart attack. By providing ‘mental health first aid,’ we will empower our students, faculty and community to recognize mental health and substance abuse problems and respond appropriately. This type of training is especially important during this time of the pervasive opioid crisis affecting our state and the nation,” Lewandowski said.

Dr. Maria Diakonova, professor in the UT Department of Biological Sciences, was awarded a three-year, $449,667 grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to focus on a protein called JAK2 as she works to identify new drug targets to reduce the risk of cancer.

“Our goal is to explain the JAK2-mediated intracellular pathways and have a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in cell proliferation, or cell division, which could provide insight into future therapeutic approaches to cancer,” Diakonova said.

Dr. Terry Bigioni, professor in the UT Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, was awarded a $50,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to research broad-spectrum antimicrobial coatings for garments and textiles. Antimicrobial treatments are already used in medicine as anti-infective treatments and in garments and textiles for odor control. This technology could bring odor control to a wider range of products and reduce the need to launder many garments, improving garment lifespan and reducing their environmental impacts.

“We think our antimicrobial technology could bring a lot of added value to the garment and medical industries and create new manufacturing jobs right here in northwestern Ohio,” Bigioni said.