The Magazine for Human Ecology ALUMNI Fall 2011
A Hunger for Knowledge The inside scoop on the Division of Nutritional Sciences page 10
Silvestre Arcos ’00
Kevin Charlotten ’94
Ed Pettitt ’05
Ronni Chernoff ’67
from the Dean
Dear alumni and friends of Human Ecology, In the College of Human Ecology, our relevance to the world is an outgrowth of our mission to improve the human condition, and our success makes us a natural partner for collaborations across the university. Discoveries in labs, engagement in classrooms, and connections to communities in New York and around the world continue to define the student experience and shape our college’s ongoing impact on real-world problems. This issue of LINK highlights the vibrant and growing Division of Nutritional Sciences. In these pages, you will see that our faculty, students, and alumni are meeting the challenge of better understanding the social and biological factors that influence the health and diet of a growing global population. In doing so, they are creating a deeper understanding of the human relationship to food and applying that knowledge to improve health and empower communities.
link is published two times a year by the New York State College of Human Ecology of Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. Cornell University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action educator and employer. REBECCA Q. AND JAMES C. MORGAN DEAN Alan Mathios SENIOR ASSOCIATE DEANS Carole Bisogni BS ’70, MS ’72, PhD ’76 Kay Obendorf MS ’74, PhD ’76 ASSOCIATE DEAN Karl Pillemer, Extension and Outreach ASSISTANT DEANS Craig Higgins, Administration and Finance Marybeth Tarzian, Alumni Affairs and Development John McKain, Communications MANAGING EDITOR Ted Boscia EDITORS Chris Philipp, Elizabeth Bauman DESIGNER Valerie McMillen PHOTOGRAPHY Cornell University Photography, Douglass McCuiston, David M. Grossman, Mark Vorreuter, Jesse Winter Photography WRITERS Ted Boscia, Andrew Clark, Sheri Hall, Stephanie Salato
The personal stories of our alumni in this issue take us to remote communities across the globe, the streets of New York City, and rural areas of the American South. On the one hand, I see an incredibly diverse group of experiences, while on the other, a passion to connect with others and help communities conquer complex problems. These characteristics and many more are what they share as alumni of the College of Human Ecology. It’s a world view that we hope to inspire in our newest group of students who entered this fall: the Class of 2015, Cornell’s sesquicentennial class. With plans underway to celebrate Cornell University’s sesquicentennial anniversary in 2015, we can already feel the excitement. In just four short years, we will all have the opportunity to share a historic moment and shape the vision of Cornell for the next 150 years. I welcome your continued insights and involvement as the excitement for 2015 builds. Thank you as always for your valuable support and guidance. Sincerely,
Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan Dean
Copyright 2011 Cornell University Produced by University Communications at Cornell University Printed on recycled paper 10/11 17.6M EL 110418
The Magazine for Human Ecology ALUMNI Fall 2011
Cornell College of Human Ecology: Shaping the human experience through research, education, and outreach.
Ed Pettitt pg. 20
Nutritional Sciences feature pg. 10
PAM: New Human Ecology Institute Focuses on Health Policy HD: Researchers Connect Gene to Precondition for Alzheimer's DNS: Nutritionist Urges Study of Benefits and Risks from Breast Pumps FSAD: Otherworldly Outfit Takes Top Prize in High School Fashion Contest DEA: School Gardens Program Hopes to Boost Kids' Nutrition IQ 10
Special Feature: A Hunger for Knowledge In labs, classes, and internships, nutrition students are gaining fresh insights into human health
Books pg. 15
Books by Alumni and Faculty
Silvestre Arcos ’00 Kevin Charlotten ’94 Ed Pettitt ’05 Ronni Chernoff ’67 24
Sloan Update Aetna CEO: Technology Is Key to Fixing Health Care With $75,000 Gift, SAA President Calls for Greater Scholarship Support Wagner Memorial Dinner Allen Chosen for Health Care Hall of Fame Loyal Sloan Supporter Bill Greene ’77 Passes Away In Brief HE and SLOAN Class Notes In Memoriam LINKages
28 inside back cover back cover
On the cover: Brittany Jarrett ’12 studies connections among nutrition, metabolism, and women's fertility by analyzing 3-D ultrasound images.
FSAD pg. 8 FALL 2011 link 1
Fiber science researchers develop gas-trapping fabrics Juan Hinestroza, assistant professor of fiber science and apparel design (FSAD), and postdoctoral associate Marcia Da Silva Pinto have invented a new fabric that can selectively trap noxious gases and odors. To create the special cloth, the researchers blended cellulose fibers with metal organic framework molecules, which are clustered crystalline compounds that can be manipulated at the nano-level to absorb
gases. FSAD designer Jennifer Keane ’11 used the new fabric to create hooded shirts and masks inspired by military gear—clothing that could potentially protect soldiers, first responders, and others.
Allie Thielens ’11 models the gasabsorbing mask for Jennifer Keane ’11.
Noble chosen ‘Centennial Friend of Extension’
Cindy Noble Lucinda “Cindy” Noble, professor emerita of policy analysis and management and former director of Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE), was named a “Centennial Friend of Extension,” as CCE celebrates 100 years of operations in 2011. In 1954, Noble began her work with CCE with a focus on human development and community education. She later served as CCE director for 15 years— becoming the country’s first woman to lead a cooperative extension system—before retiring in 1995. Noble, a past recipient of the annual “Friend of Extension” award, will be honored in October at CCE’s system-wide professional development conference.
SUNY honors faculty and staff for excellence Three Human Ecology staff and faculty members are among 296 recipients of the 2011 Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence given by the State University of New York (SUNY) system for distinction in the performance of their duties. They are: Marianella Casasola, 2 link FALL 2011
Vitamin E may help protect women against pulmonary disease risk
associate professor of human development (Excellence in Teaching); Donald Kenkel, professor of policy analysis and management (Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities); and Kristine Mahoney, director of facilities and operations management (Excellence in Professional Service).
Long-term, regular use of vitamin E in women 45 years of age and older may help decrease the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by about 10 percent in both smokers and nonsmokers, finds a study by researchers in the Division of Nutritional Sciences. Anne Hermetet Agler, PhD ’11, and Patricia Cassano, associate professor of nutritional sciences, report in the April 2011 issue of Thorax that vitamin E may help protect the lungs from inflammation and damage as lung disease develops. Cassano says further research will explore the way vitamin E affects the lung tissue and how lung function changes over time, and the effects of vitamin E supplements on lung disease in men.
Hua leading Cornell-China exchanges on sustainability
Older adults more willing to wait for financial rewards
Corinna Loeckenhoff Compared with younger people, older adults tend to report they are more upbeat and that their emotions and mental health do not interfere with their work and social life. Their sunnier outlook allows them to wait longer for a monetary gain, reports a new study in Psychology and Aging led by Corinna Loeckenhoff, the Lois and Mel Tukman Assistant Professor in Human Development. Younger people, on the other hand, are more impatient when it comes to waiting for financial rewards. “Understanding this [phenomenon] better would have implications for a host of important choices, such as saving for retirement and choosing medical care,” Loeckenhoff says.
Design and environmental analysis assistant professor Ying Hua is at the heart of growing research and outreach ties between Cornell and Chinese universities on issues related to sustainability and climate change. In April, she co-organized a symposium at China’s Peking University, where Cornell facilities leaders shared elements of the university’s Climate Action Plan with their Chinese counterparts. Hua, one of nine international scholars to serve on the China Green Building Council, sees universities as “incubators and test-beds for sustainability-related education, research, and practice.”
Alumni treated to tours and talks at 2011 Reunion
New website, book offer advice from elders
FSAD professor Anil Netravali shows alumni the soy-based resin skateboard made from his green composite. On topics from sustainable design to nutrition and aging to green materials, Human Ecology alumni learned about the latest developments in the college’s labs and studios at Reunion Weekend in June. They also enjoyed the annual Reunion breakfast in the Commons, along with a preview of the new Human Ecology Building. In a new tradition, the oldest Cornell reunion class, about 30 centenarians from the class of 1931, presented a spirit banner to the youngest alumni class. Human Ecology alumna Ruth Laible Tallmadge ’31 returned to campus for the special occasion. link http://www.human.cornell.edu/alumni/events/Reunion11.cfm
Tennyson named editor of consumer affairs journal
Sharon Tennyson Economist Sharon Tennyson, associate professor of policy analysis and management and an expert on consumer protections and financial regulation, became editor of the Journal of Consumer Affairs in June. The peerreviewed journal, founded in 1967 by the American Council on Consumer Interests, features research and analysis on the social, legal, economic, and political influences on consumer interests. “We live in an era of heightened awareness and concern about consumer issues, making this an especially exciting time to take over as editor,” Tennyson says. Her teaching and research focuses on the impact of government laws and regulation on consumers and financial institutions, particularly the workings of insurance markets.
For the past six years, gerontologist Karl Pillemer, the Hazel E. Reed Professor in Human Development, has collected life lessons from more than 1,200 older people, about onethird of whom are Cornell alumni. Now he’s sharing their wisdom with the world through a website, The Legacy Project, which includes advice on love and marriage, work and career, raising children, aging and the end of life, spirituality, and many other matters. Pillemer has a related book, 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans, due to be published by the Penguin Group in November. link http://legacyproject.human.cornell.edu
Undergraduates honored as community leaders, top scholars Six students received the college’s annual top awards for their remarkable achievements in academics, leadership, engagement, and communications. Kaylin LeMelle-Thomas ’11 and Isaac Taitz ’11, both human development majors, won the Flora Rose Prize, which honors leadership and accomplishments in public service. Yvette Penner ’11, nutritional sciences, John Rhee ’12, policy analysis and management, and Stefana Scinta ’11, design and environmental analysis, received the Florence Halpern Award in recognition of creative solutions to human problems through community fieldwork and research. Mary Warren ’11, nutritional sciences, earned first place in the Elsie Van Buren Rice Awards in Public Speaking for her presentation, “A choline-oscopy: Behind the evidence for increased choline needs.” link http://www.human.cornell.edu/student-services/honors/Student-Award-Winners.cfm FALL 2011 link 3
alumni briefs Douthitt completing successful tenure as UWMadison dean
Two generations of Human Ecology alumnae come together
Robin A. Douthitt, MS ’80, PhD ’82, longtime dean of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Human Ecology, recently announced that she will step down from her position at the end of her current term in summer 2012. Among her many accomplishments, Douthitt is guiding a two-year, $52 million renovation and expansion of the school’s Human Ecology Building, which will approximately double its space for education, research, creative exhibitions, and outreach. As dean, she manages four departments, leads five research centers, and directs an $11 million operating budget. Douthitt joined the University of Wisconsin faculty in 1986 in the Department of Consumer Science and went on to found a mentoring program for female faculty members and to represent the Wisconsin faculty to the Big Ten Conference as a member of the university’s athletic board. She became dean in 2001, after more than a year as interim dean.
Alumna receives $5 million grant for improving food systems Christine Porter, PhD ’10, in the Division of Nutritional Sciences, is leading a multistate plan to create sustainable food systems that are locally controlled and provide ample and appropriate nourishment to all people. With a $5 million grant from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Porter launched the five-year Food Dignity project in April 2011. Porter and collaborators at nine organizations will study and support five community food initiatives in Wyoming, California, and New York, hoping to understand and influence how communities build viable food systems for current and future generations. link http://www.fooddignity.org
New website helps to launch green projects and companies Molly Rasmussen ’03, a fiber science and apparel design graduate, last spring co-founded GreenFunder, a “crowdfunding” website to help people raise money for socially responsible projects and businesses. The interface allows socially minded entrepreneurs to test, market, fund, and sell projects, products, or events and retain ownership as they progress with funding goals and deadlines. “GreenFunder allows you to test and market your product before spending a dime,” Rasmussen says, adding that it is open to groups, businesses, and nonprofits. link http://www.greenfunder.com 4 link FALL 2011
As an undergraduate, Mary Benson ’41 used to operate the elevator in Martha Van Rensselaer Hall. One day, she gave a lift to a special guest: first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who was on campus for Farm and Home Week. Later, Benson and a group of students met Roosevelt and Flora Rose, one of the college’s founding co-directors, for tea. Benson told the story while visiting campus in May to watch her granddaughter Erika Benson ’11 graduate from the Sloan Program in Health Administration. During the visit, the pair discussed the college’s early days while looking through Mary’s yearbook and on a tour of MVR Hall with other family members.
Alumna artist gives sculpture for new building Visitors to the new Human Ecology Building will be treated to the work of environmental artist Pat Musick Carr, MA ’72, PhD ’74, whose donated sculpture Epilogue 19 graces the main entrance. Carr, known in the art world as Pat Musick, creates pieces that explore the tensions that exist between humans and the natural environment. Her Epilogue series, 26 pieces in all, is inspired by the new life that grew from the forest floor after fires and floods devastated parts of rural Alabama in the early 1990s. The first piece in the series, Epilogue 1, hangs in the west wing of MVR Hall. Carr’s personal archives are preserved at the Cornell University Library. link http://camusart.com
NEW Human Ecology institute focuses on health policy
Two policy analysis and management professors are forming a “community of scholars” from Cornell and peer institutions focused on risky health behaviors and their implications for health care policy and public health. The Institute on Health Economics, Health Behaviors, and Disparities, co-directed by professors John Cawley and Donald Kenkel, launched July 1 with funding by the College of Human Ecology, is intended to attract scholars from a wide range of fields related to health policy, including economics, government, nutrition, communications, sociology, psychology, and medicine. Cawley and Kenkel are building the new institute as a home for research and evaluation that informs public debate, serves as a structure to mentor and support graduate students, and coordinates Cornell’s expertise in these areas. “Health economics, health behaviors, and disparities are inherently multidisciplinary issues,” says Cawley, noted for his research on the economics of obesity. “If you want to understand the factors that lead to risky health behaviors, as well as possible policy solutions, you need to get economists, sociologists, public policy experts, nutritionists, and communications researchers all talking to each other. This institute is in the spirit of Human Ecology, where we take insights from various disciplines to work on common goals.” The collaborative approach is necessary, Kenkel says, because public health concerns pervade many areas of society and public policy. In coming years, for instance, various health care reforms will start to reshape medical benefits programs offered by the state and federal government, employers, and private insurers. Smoking and obesity, two of the foremost preventable health problems in the United States, endanger individual health but also add great costs to the U.S. health care system. Further, prescription drug regulations are increasingly complex.
John Cawley (left) and Donald Kenkel
“We want faculty and students to be able to easily navigate these subjects and to pursue the research avenues that interest them.”
“The institute takes a broad perspective to examine the factors that play into individuals’ health decisions and behaviors,” says Kenkel, who specializes in the economics of disease prevention and health promotion. “It’s also a place for investigation of research claims and policy proposals.” The institute, part of the Cornell Population Program, also supports new research by graduate students and connects them with key faculty members and up to a dozen visiting scholars each year. “We want faculty and students to be able to easily navigate these subjects and to pursue the research avenues that interest them,” Cawley says. “We hope the institute will also shine a light on Cornell’s wide-ranging expertise in these areas.” In addition to college support, the institute benefits from National Institutes of Health grants and other funds from agencies that currently back Cawley’s and Kenkel’s research. link http://www.human.cornell.edu/ihehbd/index.cfm
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departments “We’re excited about these findings, because they help identify the segment of the population who will most benefit from effective treatments to prevent Alzheimer’s-type dementia.” —Charles Brainerd
Researchers connect gene to precondition for Alzheimer’s
Cornell scientists have shown a significant correlation for the first time between a human gene and people’s risk for mild cognitive impairment (MCI), often a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia.
The findings could help doctors to recommend simple preventive measures for at-risk patients, including healthy diet, exercise, and intellectual activity—all of which could forestall and even prevent chronic symptoms associated with the disease, say lead authors Charles Brainerd and Valerie Reyna, professors of human development. The professors, with researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., linked the ɛ4 allele of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype to a greater likelihood of the onset of MCI in the July 4 issue of the journal Neuropsychology. “We’re excited about these findings, because they help identify the segment of the population who will most benefit from effective treatments to prevent Alzheimer’s-type dementia,” Brainerd says. The clinical applications of linking this genetic marker with MCI are far-reaching, Brainerd adds, because genetic testing can now be added to the neuropsychological tests that are currently the only way to identify MCI. “What is at stake is whether genetic testing is useful for determining MCI susceptibility and candidacy for treatments that are designed to prevent or forestall/treat MCI (and therefore prevent Alzheimer’s dementia),” the authors write. “If not, neuropsychological testing remains the only reliable means of identification.” Prior studies have been inconclusive owing to limits of their subject populations. In the new study, the researchers identified the link between the ɛ4 allele and the risk of MCI by analyzing a large dataset from the National Institute on Aging’s Health and Retirement Study (HRS) that accurately represents older adults from all regions and racial and ethnic groups in the United States. Classifying subtypes of MCI was also critical to the study’s success. Led by Dr. Ronald C. Petersen and Glenn E. Smith at the Mayo Clinic, the authors successfully identified subtypes of MCI, only one of which is the precondition for Alzheimer’s. The paper outlines how criteria for the different MCI subtypes developed by the Mayo researchers helped control for errors that have plagued previous studies attempting to identify an ɛ4-MCI link.
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By sorting the HRS subjects who have the ɛ4 gene into subtypes of impairment identified in Petersen’s and Smith’s work, the Cornell researchers were able to show a significant correlation between the ɛ4 gene and risk of the Alzheimer’s precondition, known as amnestic MCI (or a-MCI). The Cornell part of the research was supported by the National Institutes of Health.
Nutritionist urges study of benefits and risks from breast pumps
The widespread use of electric breast pumps by American women is fueling a “quiet revolution” in how infants receive their mothers’ milk, argues Cornell nutritionist Kathleen Rasmussen in a commentary in the August 2011 American Journal of Public Health.
Once limited to hospitals and clinics, in the past two decades pumps have become high-powered and portable, as commonplace to modern motherhood as diaper bags and pacifiers. Women are known to extract and save significant quantities of breast milk at work, after feedings, in public restrooms, or even while driving. In their paper, Rasmussen and co-author Sheela Geraghty, MD, pediatrician and medical director for the Cincinnati Children’s Center for Breastfeeding Medicine, call for study of such changing breastfeeding habits “to document the consequences—good and bad—of milk expression as currently practiced for the health of infants and their mothers.” “More and more women are using breast pumps to express and store milk—one study found that 85 percent of mothers had done so—but there are still many unknowns in the scientific community about the advantages and disadvantages to mothers and to babies from this practice,” says Rasmussen, professor of nutritional sciences. “The current data, for example, count all breast milk as the same— whether the infant consumes it at the breast, if it’s bottle-fed, or if it comes from another woman. We need a better understanding of how and why women are pumping.”
On the one hand, the authors write, it could be that pumps allow more women to feed their babies human milk, and for longer periods. (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants are fed exclusively breast milk for the first six months of life and for mothers to nurse throughout the first year.) But bottle-feeding of human milk also presents problems for mothers and their children. Ill-fitting pumps can irritate women’s breasts, and over-expression of milk can increase supply to the point of discomfort. As milk is collected, stored, and thawed, sometimes in unsanitary conditions, there are risks of contamination and diminished nutritional and anti-infective benefits. “There are many benefits for both mothers and infants when the infant directly feeds at the breast of the mother, but we do not know if these same benefits are realized when women pump and store their milk,” Geraghty says. To be sure, high-tech breast pumps have been a boon to women unable to nurse and to working mothers, giving them an option to produce and feed milk to their babies. But there is growing evidence that even women without such challenges are choosing to express their milk and bottle-feed it to their babies. “We need a collective understanding as to why mothers in the United States have resorted to breast milk pumping instead of directly feeding at the breast,” Geraghty says. link http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21680919 FALL 2011 link 7
Otherworldly outfit takes top prize in high school fashion contest Tiffany Zhang, a junior from Piedmont High School in California, was shocked when her sketch was selected for first place in the 2011 Cornell Fashion Design Award for High School Students, a competition that attracted 250 entries from aspiring designers across the nation. â€œMostly, I didnâ€™t think it would be possible to make it,â€? Zhang said a few hours before she strode down the runway with her winning creation at the 27th Cornell Fashion Collective Spring Fashion Show in April. â€œIt took me a while to convince my art teacher that I had really won.â€? Contest organizers in the Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design (FSAD) challenged students to design a garment styled for â€œa reception on the moon.â€? Zhang dreamed up â€œSinew,â€? a fanciful extraterrestrial outfit that looked like something out of Lady Gagaâ€™s wardrobe. The piece awed the crowd with its flowing sheer black fabric, bizarre helmet, and a spiny exoskeleton with tail extensions that waved and danced as model Jen Keane â€™11 walked down the runway. â€œThe outfit is more out of a video game than a runway,â€? says Zhang, whoâ€™s considering a future in game or fashion design. â€œI was thinking a lot about technology and the future and mixing organic elements with mechanical ones.â€? A team of FSAD students and alumni, directed by Susan Ashdown, the Helen G. Canoyer Professor, used Zhangâ€™s sketch to produce the ensemble over several weeks. â€œItâ€™s a very impressive piece,â€? Ashdown says. â€œIt was inventive but also stylish and formal.â€? Jesse Fair â€™09 hand-dyed the garmentâ€™s underlying unitard, while Ellen Hyde â€™10 molded the carapace. â€œAt first I wasnâ€™t sure how to do it, but it was a fun challenge,â€? adds Hyde. Other top finishers in the contest, now in its second year, were: t +FTTJDB.BEMJOHFS TFDPOEQMBDF BTFOJPSBUUIF High School of Art and Design in Manhattan; t /BUBIMJB)BMM#PVSEFBV BTFOJPSBUUIF)JHI4DIPPM of Art and Design in Manhattan; and t -BUFFG'SFFNBO BKVOJPSBU"MCBOZ)JHI4DIPPMJO Albany, New York. link http://www.human.cornell.edu/fsad/Cornell-DesignAward-Winners-2011.cfm 8 link FALL 2011
School gardens program hopes to boost kids’ NUTRITION IQ
With funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Nancy Wells, associate professor of design and environmental analysis, is part of a Cornell research team developing a new gardens program that will be launched in 23 low-income schools across New York.
determine their eating habits at the outset. Most schools will break ground on gardens in spring 2012. Then, through follow-up surveys and studies, researchers can evaluate the effectiveness of the school gardens program.
The USDA awarded $1 million to Cornell Cooperative Extension in New York City (CUCE-NYC) and Washington State University Extension (WSUE) for the “Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth: A People’s Garden” school pilot program in April. Project organizers hope the gardens will improve students’ access to nutritious food, enhance their knowledge of nutrition and agriculture production, and give them a chance to contribute to the nutritional well-being of their communities.
“This will be a rigorous study compared to what’s been done in the past,” Wells says. “We’re thinking creatively about how to design the study and research questions to get the most accurate and objective measures on kids’ fruit and vegetable consumption.”
“One of the key measures we will look at is whether students’ fruit and vegetable consumption increased over the course of the project,” Wells says. “If it succeeds, this can be an important step against childhood obesity and a model for other schools across the country.”
CUCE-NYC will oversee coordination of gardens and schools data collection and resource adaptation and guide the involvement of extension associations from the five counties (as well as New York City). Gretchen Ferenz, CUCE-NYC senior extension associate, co-principal investigator and project co-manager, says cooperative extension educators will work closely with school principals, teachers, and parents to facilitate the program.
Four New York City schools will participate in the project, along with 19 others distributed through Rockland, Suffolk, Delaware, Schenectady, and Monroe/Wayne counties. Through partnerships with WSUE, Iowa State University Extension, and the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, it will extend to 47 schools in Washington, Iowa, and Arkansas, reaching up to 2,800 students. This fall, Wells and her research team, including Charles Henderson, senior research associate in human development, Jennifer Wilkins, senior extension associate in nutritional sciences, and numerous Cornell students will lead surveys of schoolchildren and observational studies to
Marcia Eames-Sheavly, senior extension associate in horticulture, will contribute garden-based learning expertise and help schools integrate the gardens into the broader curriculum. Math lessons, for instance, could include exercises on crop quantities in the gardens.
“Growing food can positively reinforce good behaviors and choices among young people,” she says, and the program will encourage students to learn about nutrition and food production, engage in physical activity, connect with nature, make healthier lifestyle choices, and share their experiences with their families and peers. link http://www.cornell.edu/nyc FALL 2011 link 9
A Hunger for Kno In labs, classes, and internships, nutrition students are gaining fresh insights into human health
For her senior honors thesis, nutritional sciences major Brittany Jarrett ’12 is investigating how to pair 3-D ultrasound imaging and sophisticated software to improve the diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome, a hormonal imbalance linked to infertility, menstrual abnormalities, and other serious conditions. In the lab of assistant professor Marla Lujan, Jarrett also collects data to help pinpoint the causes of amenorrhea, or missed menstrual periods, in obese women. The lab has become Jarrett’s second home, one where she is a critical part of a research team studying connections among nutrition, metabolism, and women’s fertility. It’s a long way from her freshman year, when Jarrett says research was “completely foreign”
to her, a pursuit she figured to be “tedious and solitary” and unimportant to her dream job as a registered dietitian. But her academic adviser convinced her to work in a lab for a semester, which led Jarrett to contact Lujan about her research. “The next thing I knew, I was immersed in ultrasound images and loving every minute of it,” says Jarrett, who works mainly in the Human Metabolic Research Unit. “I found myself thinking about research in class and counting the minutes until I could go back to the lab. Suffice it to say, I was hooked.” Jarrett’s experience is not uncommon, according to Patrick Stover, director of the Division of Nutritional Sciences (DNS), shared between the College of Human Ecology and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
A hallmark of the division, he says, is the abundance of opportunities for students, particularly undergraduates, to conduct research alongside its 45 faculty members. Indeed, dozens of nutrition students are currently working in labs, community settings, and local and international internships related to the division’s three main research areas: maternal and child nutrition, obesity and chronic disease, and food systems for health. (Global health and genomics span across all three priorities.) From Ithaca to Tanzania (see sidebar on page 13), from New York City to Haiti, DNS students are doing research aimed at improving nutrition and health. “We are one of the largest nutrition programs in the country, and the distinguishing features of our undergraduate program are the rigorous
Nutritional Sciences students prepare meals in a food laboratory.
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Before they came to Cornell, the students answered questions about their medical history, eating habits, lifestyle choices, and physical activity. The surveys will be repeated periodically to track any changes throughout their first year. They are also contributing blood and saliva samples for analysis of metabolic biomarkers. Cassano hopes this year’s pilot project will set the table for a comprehensive, long-term study to follow a future Cornell class for all four years of college and beyond.
Assistant professor Marla Lujan (left) and Brittany Jarrett ’12 analyze 3-D ultrasound images for their study of menstrual irregularities in overweight women.
academic curriculum coupled with an emphasis on independent research and experiential learning,” Stover says.
interests, as we assist world-renowned scientists in their pursuit of knowledge relating to human health.”
And the division continues to grow. Since 2003, its undergraduate enrollment has nearly doubled, with 700 students currently taking one of its two majors, nutritional sciences (NS) and human biology, health, and society (HBHS). Stover can’t isolate a single factor for the sharp rise, but he believes college students have a growing awareness of chronic health problems linked in part to poor diet and lifestyles and other environmental causes.
Tracking eating habits of freshmen
The obesity epidemic in the United States, the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa, malnutrition in the developing world— nutrition students come to Cornell to study the gamut of factors that contribute to such alarming public health issues. “From the plant in the ground, to how the food is processed and delivered, to how the human body takes in nutrients from the foods we eat, it’s all important to human health and worthy of study,” Stover says. And unlike other institutions, where research opportunities for undergraduates might be limited, Cornell nutrition students enter the labs early in their careers and work with professors to define their own special projects. “We are not just dishwashers,” Jarrett says. “We have the privilege to explore our own research
With unlimited dining, late nights, and no parental oversight, new college students may experience the “freshman 15,” extra weight that presumably accumulates from such lifestyle changes. Nutritional sciences researchers, led by associate professor Patricia Cassano, have launched a pilot project to follow 400 members of the class of 2015, selected randomly, to track their eating habits, physical activity, and health through their first year on campus. The study, Engaging Health, Agriculture, and Nutrition through the Cornell Experience (EnHANCE), turns the Ithaca campus into a laboratory where students—from DNS and across Cornell—can contribute to research that will uncover new knowledge about nutrition, lifestyle, and risk of chronic disease in young adults. “For as much as you hear about freshman 15, college students are a relatively understudied population,” Cassano says. Cassano and two DNS graduate students, along with undergraduate assistants, are collecting a variety of data from EnHANCE volunteers.
“We want to better understand how life transitions affect health,” she adds. “Moving from home to a dormitory in freshman year, from dorm to off-campus, and then to postbaccalaureate life—all of these transitions parallel changes in diet, physical activity, and body composition in the short-term and over the life course.” Once the full-scale EnHANCE initiative takes shape, it promises to be one of the first longterm observational studies to focus on transitions from home to college to other settings, as well as one of very few to study behavioral changes and changes in both body composition and metabolic biomarkers. “It will go well beyond what one researcher could do working alone,” Cassano says. “There are broad public health implications, and the students who volunteer will help to generate important evidence that can be applied to help their peers and future generations to lead healthier lives.”
A cornucopia of career paths EnHANCE is one of many nutritional sciences research and outreach projects aiming to influence health policy and improve individual and public health. Through dozens of extension projects across New York, DNS faculty, staff, and students are teaching individuals and families and community leaders about the value of healthy diets and lifestyles. Many of the efforts focus on aiding low-income populations in rural and urban areas, some of whom are surrounded by obesi-genic environments that unwittingly lead them to unhealthy behaviors. “We place great emphasis on research focused not only on fundamental discovery, but also in
Follow the division on Facebook www.facebook.com/pages/Cornell-University-Division-of-Nutritional-Sciences/138987499129
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“We are not just dishwashers; we have the privilege to explore our own research interests, as we assist world-renowned scientists in their pursuit of knowledge relating to human health.” —Brittany Jarrett
translation of those discoveries into knowledge that serves the community,” Stover says. “For students, it’s a valuable lesson no matter their career path, because they see the power of innovative research to transform the health of people and populations.” In the HBHS major, about half of the graduates plan to attend medical school or enter related fields like dentistry, nursing, and physical therapy. Some NS students do the same, though many go on to complete dietetic internships and eventually become registered dietitians (see sidebar on page 13). Others enter areas related to public service, business, or communications.
A research associate pours liquid nitrogen into the magnetic sector thermal ionization mass spectrometer in the college's Human Metabolic Research Unit.
“Because of our rigorous curriculum, our graduates are ready for a wide range of careers in medicine, nutrition, dietetics, food science, and other areas,” Stover says. Or, as with Brittany Jarrett, students refine their interests during their time on campus. Once ambivalent about lab work, she intends to get her doctorate in human nutrition, with research at the center of her plans. “I now hope for research to remain a primary component of my life and career,” she says. “I am fascinated by the relationship between nutrition and women’s health, and I am grateful to Dr. Lujan for helping to cultivate my passion for scientific study.” link www.nutrition.cornell.edu
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Dietetics students host theme dinners each spring, where they plan elaborate meals and entertainment for their classmates in collaboration with Cornell Dining.
Undergrads team up with Tanzanian med students Nutritional sciences professor Rebecca Stoltzfus firmly believes in real-world experience. That’s why the Division of Nutritional Sciences’ Global Health Program minor, which Stoltzfus directs and helped design, requires students to spend eight weeks getting hands-on experience in a resource-poor environment in a developing country. Since 2009, about 50 Cornell students have participated in the Global Health Summer Session Program in Tanzania. During a period of eight weeks, undergraduates team up with fourth-year medical students from the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College (KCMC), a Tanzanian partner in the summer program, to work on public health concerns. “Educationally, we believe there is only so much you can learn in a classroom,” Stoltzfus says. “Ultimately, you just have to get out in the world.” In Tanzania, students spend four weeks in a classroom setting, where they work in groups of four with KCMC peers to interview stakeholders and develop a policy case study on an issue relevant to the country. Past issues have included maternal mortality, cervical cancer, the “brain drain” in the nation’s health profession, and unequal access to human waste management.
Brenna McGuire ’11 with a Tanzanian school girl during summer 2010.
Then, the Cornell students engage in a month-long internship at such places as a home for street children, a women’s microcredit organization, a district hospital, an HIV/AIDS international nongovernmental organization, and an organization fighting female genital mutilation. Meanwhile, the students stay in a local home, where they are immersed in Tanzanian culture. Choumika Simonis ’11, who majored in human biology, health, and society, with a global health minor, called her summer spent in Tanzania in 2009 her “most profound turning point” while at Cornell. “I will never forget my adventures in Tanzania that summer,” says Simonis, who served as a nutrition intern in a village on the hills of Mount Kilimanjaro for the Minjeni Women’s Group Trust. The Global Health Program Summer Session in Tanzania is partly funded by the USDA, the College of Human Ecology, and a Kaplan Faculty Fellowship in Service Learning. The summer program got its start through the help of a seed grant from the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies at Cornell.
In communities and clinics, dietetics students make a difference In a typical semester, dozens of students from Cornell’s Dietetics Program enter local communities and clinics, where they learn the essentials of evidence-based practice and develop novel methods for applying nutrition to individual and public health. Students conduct research and build programs at sites as varied as school lunchrooms, Meals on Wheels for the homebound and the elderly, Cornell Cooperative Extension offices, area food banks, Wegmans grocery stores, local hospitals, and the New York State Department of Health. It’s part of an experiential learning approach advocated by nutritional sciences professor Patsy Brannon, director of the program, who says that such outreach “serves the community by allowing students to work on solutions to real-world problems.” At the same time, Brannon says, “students gain critical thinking skills and an understanding of how to translate theory into practice.”
The Dietetics Program includes two components: the undergraduate Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD), directed by DNS lecturer Emily Gier; and the postbaccalaureate Dietetic Internship (DI), directed by Brannon and offered in partnership with the University of Rochester Strong Memorial Hospital.
The programs prepare students for careers as registered dietitians, a professional qualification regulated by the American Dietetic Association with stringent academic and professional development requirements. The undergraduate program is not a major, but is open to students in a wide range of fields, though it mainly attracts nutrition students. The internship, for students who’ve completed anundergraduate study, provides intensive supervised practice in community, clinical, and management settings, with an emphasis on translational research. “Our dietetics students play a major part in the division’s commitment to public engagement,” Brannon says. “They go on to become future leaders
Patsy Brannon, director of the Cornell Dietetics Program in the field, but also perform the hands-on field work that deeply impacts communities, families, and individuals.” link http://www.human.cornell.edu/dns/ academic/dietetics.cfm
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DNS Alumni Reflections Antony Gatebe Kironji ’10 Teach for America
Matthew Nulty ’08, RD, CDN Registered Dietitian
“My training in HBHS helps me to realize that there are many ways to understand and approach a challenge. I plan on enrolling in medical school, where I will be required to come up with solutions to help improve people’s lives. My DNS training will give me an added advantage over my peers. When most of them are approaching medical issues from a natural science perspective, in addition to this I will be able to call up and integrate knowledge from the social, environmental, and nutritional perspectives.”
Lenard Lesser ’01, MD, MSHS Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar, University of California–Los Angeles
“As a family physician, my education in DNS is a part of my everyday patient care. I’m consistently using nutrition to help my patients with their most common problems: obesity and cardiovascular disease. Most of my other colleagues do not have the in-depth nutrition knowledge that I have. I remember once when I worked for a nutrition policy organization, how surprised they were when they found out I was a physician trained in nutrition. They said, ‘A doctor who cares about nutrition! We don’t see many of those.’ The uniqueness of my education in DNS is something that continually helps me as I look for research and clinical jobs.”
“I was attracted to DNS because it allowed me to combine my love of science with my love of helping and working with people. The professors were among the nicest, smartest, and most compassionate people I have ever met. The courses in the nutritional sciences major helped me to sharpen my criticalthinking skills, which has been invaluable in my career as a registered dietitian in the vibrant and fast-paced environment of New York City. DNS is special to me because it’s where my journey in the dietetics field began and where I made many lifelong friends.”
Nina Crowley ’04 Carolyn Baek ’10 Doctor of Physical Therapy Student, New York University
“What initially attracted me to DNS was the hope of better understanding the physiology of metabolism and diet. But when I graduated I realized I had learned more than I ever imagined possible! I had been exposed to the psychology, sociology, anthropology, and physiology of nutrition and our food choices. I learned the art of food preparation, the dynamics between policy and food, as well as the unique nutritional demands of our bodies at various seasons of our lives.”
Clinical Dietitian, Medical University of South Carolina Bariatric Surgery Program
“DNS presents the perfect opportunity to learn about the complicated science of nutrition while gaining skills related to human behavior and eating. Working as an administrative assistant in the Division of Nutritional Sciences, where I was exposed to the dietetics curriculum, solidified my interest in becoming a registered dietitian and to help people change their eating behavior to become healthier. With plenty of opportunities to apply lessons learned in the classroom, the DNS programs prepare you to become a knowledgeable professional who can relate and help people change.”
Abiola Dele-Michael ’01, MD, MPH Cardiovascular Medicine Fellow, New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center
“As a physician, I integrate a wide range of disciplines (basic science, anatomy, patho-physiology, sociology, biostatistics, nutrition) when treating patients with various cardiovascular conditions. I credit the HBHS major for providing me with the skills that I use daily in promoting quality health care. HBHS exposed me to excellent faculty and mentors who provided the foundation for my interest in cardiovascular research and epidemiology. It has been a rewarding experience practicing medicine, and I would recommend this major to those interested in a medical career.”
Lindsay Krasna ’08, RD ’09 Graduate Student in Psychological Counseling, Columbia University
“The DNS program provided me with an incredibly well-rounded and comprehensive education in nutrition. Given the vast and complicated nature of modern-day nutrition problems, I am truly thankful for my experience at Cornell. As a result of my degree, I feel equipped with the knowledge and critical-thinking skills to address nutrition issues from a variety of levels, including biological/chemical, psychological, societal, cultural, environmental, and policy levels. At Columbia, I have recently developed a newfound appreciation of the research emphasis infused in the DNS coursework. My exposure to and understanding of both scientific and behavioral research has been invaluable to my success in graduate school, where evidence-based practice methods are a cornerstone of my current training.” 14 link FALL 2011
by alumni and faculty
CHRISTINE SCHELHAS-MILLER Don’t Tell Me What to Do, Just Send Money: The Essential Parenting Guide to the College Years
SHIRLEY VERNICK ’82
The Blood Lie: A Novel
The Oxford Handbook of the Social Science of Obesity
In her newly updated book, Schelhas-Miller, senior lecturer in the Department of Human Development, gives parents practical advice on helping their kids with such common college challenges as the freshman 15, internships, roommate problems, financial pressures, and time management. The new edition has a special section on loosening the so-called electronic umbilical cord— too-frequent contact between parents and students through texts, Skype, and other technologies. Schelhas-Miller shares wisdom from 30 years as an educator, adviser, residence hall director, and mother, urging parents to “change their roles from supervisors to consultants.”
Inspired by true events, Vernick’s young-adult novel tells the story of Jack Pool, a Jewish teen growing up in a sleepy northern New York village in the 1920s. He dreams of becoming a professional cellist and escaping his hometown—and of Emaline, the gentile girl next door. But when Emaline’s little sister goes missing, Jack and his family are accused of killing her for a blood sacrifice. The seed for the story was planted at Cornell, when a class assignment led Vernick to research a blood libel report in her hometown of Massena, New York, that occurred a few years before Hitler’s rise in Europe. Vernick has written for magazines and newspapers nationwide and runs storybee.org, a children’s website with free audio recordings of stories being told by professional authors.
DAVID B. GARDNER, PHD ’52
When You’re Not Expecting: An Infertility Survival Guide
The Toll House: Confessions of Katharine Brand
In her third book on infertility, Shapiro, professor emerita of policy analysis and management, shares the stories of more than 200 women who are unable to conceive, detailing the emotional difficulties of infertility. The book, a collection of personal testimonies and therapeutic tips, invites readers into a sisterhood of credibility and compassion that empowers women to seek out emotional support and to explore potential medical treatments in their quest for parenthood. Shapiro, a therapist to infertile women and their loved ones for two decades, also addresses the unique issues facing lesbian couples and single women struggling to bear children.
In his debut novel, Gardner, a noted psychologist and professor, focuses on the founders and earliest converts of the Mormon faith. The tale is told through the voice of Katharine Brand as she comes to know Malcolm Sinclair, a wealthy Scottish importer and follower of Joseph Smith, Jr. Brand holds a secret, however, that tests her religion and could shatter her family life. Gardner’s fiction examines the turmoil that shook Mormonism when Brigham Young led his followers to Utah following Smith’s murder in 1844—the story is close to his academic interest in how people respond to traumatic events. Gardner, who grew up in rural Utah within a large family of devout Mormons, also traces the church’s impact on the American West.
Cawley, professor of policy analysis and management, edited the 912-page volume, a critical reference for obesity researchers, public health officials, policymakers, nutritionists, and medical practitioners seeking to better understand the causes and consequences of obesity, and to learn what works to prevent or reduce obesity. The handbook summarizes the findings and insights of obesity-related research from the full range of social sciences including anthropology, economics, government, psychology, and sociology—offering a “Rosetta Stone” for researchers working on obesity across disciplines. Cawley, an expert in the economics of obesity, has assembled a comprehensive guidebook on the latest research in the global obesity pandemic.
DAVID SAHN The Socioeconomic Dimensions of HIV/AIDS in Africa: Challenges, Opportunities, and Misconceptions
For more than two decades, HIV/AIDS has devastated many households, communities, and health systems in Africa, particularly the sub-Saharan region, which is home to about two-thirds of the world’s HIV-infected individuals and a disproportionate number of deaths and new infections. In a new volume, Sahn, professor of nutritional sciences and of economics, collects writings from experts on the political, economic, and social aspects of the world’s struggles to slow the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa despite important medical advances. The authors tell an important story of the distinct nature of the disease and its socioeconomic implications. FALL 2011 link 15
First in His Class
By Sheri Hall A cadre of teachers in black and Latino communities across the U.S. is leading a paradigm shift in bilingual education, one focused on refining students’ native languages along with teaching them English. In the new model, teachers give lessons on such core subjects as literature and science in Spanish and English, giving bilingual students greater opportunities for learning.
Guiding the movement is Silvestre Arcos ’00, a math and Spanish teacher at M.S. 223, a public middle school in the South Bronx where more than 90 percent of students live in public housing and about 75 percent are current or former English language learners. Three years ago, Arcos founded his school’s dual-language program, which has enjoyed great success. Of the 28 students in the founding class, all of them passed the New York State Regents Exam in Spanish and 96 percent passed in algebra. One student was accepted to the Bronx High School of Science and another to Brooklyn Technical High School. This year, the program made the finals in a national bilingual education competition by the Spanish Embassy, and, for the coming school year, 300 students have applied for its 30 spots. “We’ve had amazing results,” Arcos says. “The Spanish speakers don’t lose their native language, and kids who don’t speak Spanish at home grow several grade levels in just a year.”
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Arcos says dual-language classrooms succeed because they encourage Spanish speakers to participate from the start. “Newcomers in an English-only classroom may be silent for months—they feel powerless,” Arcos says. “If you have classes taught in their first language, they have some success, even in the first days of school. It also provides great leadership opportunities for the students. I can see the revolutionizing of the community in terms of taking the stigma away from bilingual education.” Arcos’s impact goes beyond bilingual education, too. Last year, 97 percent of his sixth grade math students demonstrated proficiency on the New York State Math Test, up from only 13 percent when the school opened four years ago. That compares to only 34 percent of students demonstrating proficiency in the district and 53 percent in New York City.
Results like these make it clear: Arcos has found his calling as a teacher. Despite his obvious success, Arcos didn’t set out to go into education. In fact, when he arrived at Cornell, he had plans of becoming a doctor.
Leaving home for Cornell
Arcos grew up in a small community in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, about 10 minutes from the Mexican border and part of the third poorest county in the nation at that time. College was virtually unheard of. “No one in my family had finished school,” he says. “My parents didn’t even graduate from middle school. No one ever thought about going to college.” But Arcos excelled in his studies, and was accepted to a magnet high school a short bus ride from his home. As a senior, he was accepted to a Texas program that offered automatic entrance into Baylor College of Medicine for students who maintained a B average as an undergraduate in a Texas state university. It would have meant going to college in his hometown and living close to his family. But a high school counselor noted his potential and encouraged him to explore all his options. “She told me, ‘You need to go far,’” Arcos says. When the College of Human Ecology contacted him about applying to Cornell, he was intrigued. His family wasn’t convinced. “My mom straight up said no,” Arcos recalls. “She didn’t want me to go far away, and she didn’t understand the opportunity that Cornell offered. But I kept thinking about the decision in my head. It was tough to break the news to her that I wanted to go, but in the end, she accepted my decision.” Coming to Cornell was one of the most eye-opening experiences of his life. “It was a shock,” Arcos says. “At home, the vast majority of people are of Mexican descent. I was used to people speaking Spanish and looking like me. I had never seen snow, I had never traveled that far, and I had never been by myself.”
To teach is to serve
Still set on becoming a doctor, Arcos enrolled at Cornell as a pre-med human development major. His junior year, he studied abroad in Sweden and took an early-childhood education class where he interned at a preschool. It dawned on him that his true calling was education, not medicine. In Sweden, Arcos worked in an immigrant community with students from Iraq, Chile, Somalia, and other countries. “The school took more of the Montessori approach to education,” he says. “It was student centered, and there was a strong push in assimilating the students into Swedish culture and community. It was an awesome learning experience.”
Arcos returned to Cornell with new ideas about his career, but struggled with the decision. “I thought, ‘Did I really come to Cornell and complete the pre-med curriculum just to become a teacher?’ In the end, I wanted to affect children’s development more than their regular doctor’s visits. I wanted to see children grow, and I wanted to impact their lives.” After graduating from Cornell, Arcos spent several months in Mexico teaching English at a private school. Then he returned to Texas to find a shortage of bilingual teachers. “I went into the office at a school district where I wanted to teach and said, ‘I want to be a teacher,’” Arcos says. “They said, ‘Do you have a college degree and do you speak Spanish?’ I was hired on the spot.” In 2007, he returned to New York to enroll in the master’s program at Columbia University Teachers College, where he began to develop the idea of a bilingual curriculum that also focused on students’ native languages. While the theories and skills he learned at Columbia make Arcos a good teacher, his dedication to his students sets him apart. He regularly stays after school for tutoring sessions, and always calls to ask about students who are absent. For every child who enters his classroom, he sets high expectations, hoping to inspire them to go to college. Arcos often uses his ties with Cornell and Human Ecology to inspire his students. In his first class in Texas, his students became pen pals with Human Ecology undergraduates. Arcos regularly invites Cornell alumni to speak to his classes, and he’s active in the Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassador Network. For the past few years, he has brought groups of sixth and seventh grade students for weekend visits to the Cornell campus, where they go on tours and discover what college life entails. For many students, it’s the year’s most memorable lesson. “I know I would have made a big difference as a doctor as well,” Arcos says, “but I love seeing the students’ growth in all aspects of their lives—in their academic skills, in their character traits, and in their love of learning.” Arcos recently won two prestigious teaching awards. The first is the ButlerCooley Excellence in Teaching award which he will be accepting in San Diego this October. The second is the Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Culturally Responsive Teaching to be presented to him at a December ceremony in Washington, D.C.
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ON THE BLOCK
Kevin Charlotten ’94, MD, arrived at Cornell knowing that he wanted
to one day become a doctor and return to practice in his boyhood neighborhood.
As a child growing up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Charlotten often visited doctors’ offices, interpreting for his Spanishspeaking mother, who suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure—experiences that sparked his interest in medicine. “I got a sense that this was something important—having an office where patients could come in without interpreters to get the care they needed,” he recalls. “Even today, there are very few Spanish-speaking medical providers on the Lower East Side.” By 2010, Charlotten had come full circle, becoming the medical director of Health Unlimited, a community health center associated with the Henry Street Settlement social services agency on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Charlotten is a practicing provider of the health center and oversees the quality of care provided to each of the patients who comes in the door. As medical director, he also oversees staff and creates policies and procedures to promote health in the community. Last year, he also opened a private practice in Elmhurst to provide affordable primary care in Queens, where he now
By Sheri Hall
lives. As a family physician providing care at two locations, he cares for hundreds of individuals—from new babies to senior citizens.
“It’s rewarding for me to interact with both children and adults. It keeps me on my toes, and it gives me a perspective I wouldn’t get otherwise,” he says. “For a while in medical school, I considered a specialty, but I thought it would allow me to give back only to a portion of the community, and my goal was really to serve everyone.”
A global perspective Growing up in the Henry Street Settlement neighborhood, Charlotten was always involved in the community’s programs for families and youth. As part of a cadet corps, similar to the Boy Scouts, he got help with his homework and learned to play the cello. He credits the community as “essential for my development and my growth.” “It’s a multicultural community, and it shaped how I see the world. I always wanted to give back to the community for raising me.” Always a model student, Charlotten attended Brooklyn Technical High School, where he majored in chemistry. Several older students from his school had gone to Cornell, and he always dreamed of doing the same. During a visit to the Cornell Club in Manhattan, he learned more about the university and figured he would major in nutrition because of his background in chemistry. Even more, he says he appreciated the broad perspective that the College of Human Ecology had to offer. “Human Ecology helped shaped my view of the world—the importance of thinking about how science, biology, and technology interact with humans,” he says. “It’s important to be able to understand how all of these factors impact our ability to live in this
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Queens skyline with Manhattan in the background.
“Just like it takes a village to raise a child, it takes several different professional and service workers to keep a community alive.”
world. Family medicine looks at a medical problem in much the same way, using the bio-psycho-social perspective.” While at Cornell, Charlotten completed a summer internship at the Stanford University School of Medicine, where he researched breastfeeding trends among Mexican-American women. By the end of the internship, one of his instructors had encouraged him to apply to the medical school. “I knew I was always going to go back to my community, so I saw this as an opportunity to experience the West Coast,” he says.
Returning to his roots Charlotten relished his time at Stanford. The diverse community surrounding the university, including a sizeable Spanish-speaking community, reminded him of home. After completing his degree, he moved back to New York City for a three-year residency in urban family medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center, the hospital where he was born. He served as co-chief resident, then as director of inpatient services for the Beth Israel Department of Family Medicine and later medical director for the Association for the Help of Retarded Children (AHRC). But as soon as he heard about an opening at the helm of the community health center at Henry Street Settlement, he knew it was right for him.
“I always knew I wanted to give back to my community, and this was my chance,” Charlotten says. “It’s great because I’m seeing patients who grew up in the neighborhood, classmates from high school and junior high school.” Charlotten hopes his presence in the community will inspire others to go on to college and then give back to their communities, especially as residents struggle with such basic needs as access to health care. “Just like it takes a village to raise a child, it takes several different professional and service workers to keep a community alive,” he says. At his practice in Queens, approximately 15 percent of his patients don’t have health insurance, so he sees the need to deliver care to all in the community. “Elmhurst is a working-class community with a lot of immigrants,” he says. “They need affordable medical care, and that’s not readily available. Over the past several years, we’ve had several hospitals close in this community and many of our patients can’t afford health care.” For Charlotten, providing medical care to his neighbors, friends, and even his own family is a dream fulfilled. “It’s a real honor to be able to provide services to people who wouldn’t otherwise have them,” he says. FALL 2011 link 19
When Ed Pettitt ’05 was a senior in high school, he read a Time article about the AIDS epidemic in Africa for a biology class. What may have been a simple homework assignment to his classmates was a call to action for Pettitt, changing the aim of his life forever. “I realized that there was this severe epidemic going on there,” says Pettitt, who is now 28. “And then I wanted to find out how the situation in Africa could be addressed. I was planning on pursuing a degree in general biology, but then I changed my focus to public health.” Ever since, Pettitt has dedicated himself to promoting public health, especially efforts to slow the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa and in the United States. From serving as an HIV test counselor while at Cornell to spending more than four years working on HIV prevention and treatment in parts of Africa, Pettitt has become fully immersed in the field of alleviating health epidemics during the past decade. In his newest role, Pettitt serves as community outreach coordinator for the University of Texas Prevention Research Center in Houston, where he ensures that parents and youth in the community stay informed about the center’s research on preventable health issues from teenage pregnancy to cancer. “I’m the link between the community and the school’s research team,” says Pettitt, who began work on his master’s degree at the university’s School of Public Health this fall. Connecting with parents and youth sometimes requires innovative approaches. Pettitt and his coworkers developed a computer game called “It’s Your Game…Keep It Real,” that is teaching high-schoolers in Texas, home to one of the highest teenage birth rates in the country, about “the emotional, physical, and social consequences of having sex, getting an STD, or becoming pregnant,” Pettitt says. “It also teaches students how to select and protect personal rules or boundaries regarding their relationships.” At the Prevention Research Center, Pettitt draws on his experiences working with youth in Africa, where he developed novel ways to battle the AIDS epidemic.
Inspired to help others The Time article stirred Pettitt’s interest in public health, but his vision for helping others didn’t take form until he entered Cornell in 2001. Originally a biology major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Pettitt took a class called “Nutritional Problems in Developing Countries” that piqued his interest; ultimately, he decided the College of Human Ecology’s human biology, health, and society major matched his public health aspirations. Outside the classroom, Pettitt volunteered for projects on campus that related to his desire to slow down epidemics both abroad and locally. At one point, he worked with the Cornell HIV/AIDS Education Project, where he helped educate rural New York residents about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
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Saving As a junior in 2004, Pettitt wanted to travel to Africa to work on the AIDS epidemic that had originally drawn him to the public health world. He was awarded a Cornell Tradition fellowship to travel to Malawi, where he worked with nongovernmental organizations to set up HIV-prevention campaigns at high schools. After graduation, Pettitt joined the Peace Corps and returned to Africa, this time to Botswana. Pettitt was stationed in a rural village in the Kalahari Desert, where he worked at a local clinic helping with HIV prevention, care, and support. Pettitt’s days were filled with life-saving efforts, from trying to get pregnant mothers treated with antiretroviral medication to prevent them from passing HIV on to their offspring to educating youth about HIV prevention. During his time in Africa, Pettitt saw firsthand the devastating effect that AIDS can have on a community. It illuminated just how critical prevention work can be, he says. “At first I was in Malawi and there were so many people on death’s door,” says Pettitt. “You would walk around and there would be people who were just throwing up blood right in front of you.” Things weren’t so bleak when he arrived in Botswana two years later. “By the time I got there, the situation was a bit different than it was in Malawi. The country had resources from the diamond mines and it had invested in education and infrastructure. So in Botswana, we were able to get medications out to the rural areas.” “But still, throughout sub-Saharan Africa you saw all kinds of people dying of AIDS: parents and teachers, people in their 20s and 30s. The disease was killing an entire generation of people. Yet there were all of these kids who were very resilient and committed to fighting against the disease. It was very encouraging and very inspiring to see this.” After the Peace Corps, Pettitt remained in Botswana and joined a program called Botswana-Baylor Children’s Clinical Center of Excellence, which specializes in pediatric AIDS treatment. There he helped develop and expand a program called Teen Club, which is a support group for HIV-positive adolescents. Since its inception, the program has received significant attention for its support of young people living with HIV. The U.S. Agency for International Development has commended Teen Club as a best practice, and this June, first lady Michelle Obama visited the program on her official trip to Africa. Though Pettitt still has a desire to continue helping Africa in its fight against AIDS, he couldn’t be happier in his current role of helping Texas battle its own health challenges. “It’s been a great challenge so far and I really like working in a new environment,” says Pettitt. “Ultimately it’s my goal to continue working in the public health field, particularly dealing with global health issues, like pediatric HIV, and other illnesses like sickle cell anemia and tuberculosis.”
at Home and Abroad
By Andrew Clark
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A Southern Ascent
By Ted Boscia
Growing up on Long Island during the 1960s, Ronni Chernoff ’67 aspired to be a teacher. Until, that is, her high school chemistry class, where she learned that her teacher had created an ester, a flavoring compound, that was then an ingredient in Campbell’s cream of celery soup.
“I remember thinking that that was the neatest thing I had heard anyone could do,” Chernoff says. “I’ve always wanted to be on the cutting edge of things, so I immediately fell in love with nutrition and the intellectual challenges it presents.” Not long after, Chernoff visited Cornell on a snowy day and was similarly enchanted. The university’s nutrition program had the academic rigor and learning opportunities she wanted, but the campus and surrounding area also grabbed her. “It was the dead of winter, with hardly a soul around, and everything was pristine,” she says. “There was freshly fallen snow, icicles hanging from the Baker dormitories—it matched my mental picture of what college ought to look like. On top of that, Cornell had the best nutrition program around, so I was set on going there very quickly.” The irony is that four decades later Chernoff is living her earliest dream of teaching, overseeing a network of professional trainings and outreach programs that every year reaches more than 2,000 medical providers who treat the elderly. Among her duties: associate director for education/evaluation for the Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) at the John L. McClellan Memorial Veterans Hospital and director of the Arkansas Geriatric Education Center (GEC). At the GEC, Chernoff leads a staff of four to produce conferences, continuing education programs, videoconferences, and educational materials for geriatricians, gerontologists, dietitians, nurses, and other health professionals. The GEC also offers separate sessions geared to students, as well as online courses and training DVDs, with an iPhone app in the works to further spread their knowledge. The GRECC offers outreach and education to health practitioners through the Veterans Integrated Service Network that encompasses
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Chernoff (right) with Ellie Krieger ’88, host of the Food Network’s Healthy Appetite.
eight southern states. It’s also a testing ground for clinical treatments for elderly veterans, where Chernoff and four staffers perform clinical and translational research on the medical needs of older adults. All of Chernoff’s efforts point to the same objective: raising the quality of care for older adults across Arkansas and much of the South. She and her partners face difficult barriers, with Arkansas and surrounding states forming the buckle of the so-called stroke belt—a group of mostly rural, low-income states with the highest rates of obesity in the U.S. Access to care is another key concern, as large stretches of farmland and steep, rugged terrain isolate many Arkansans from health centers; as a result, 100 percent of counties in Arkansas are designated as “medically underserved.” “Many of our research findings and trainings can apply to many different parts of rural America,” Chernoff says. “What I love about it is there are always new and exciting projects to participate in and great opportunities to be creative about new ways of providing education.” For Chernoff, it’s turned out to be an “immensely rewarding” career, one she never expected when she arrived in Arkansas in 1983.
“My career is a great example of being open to the possibilities that present themselves. I always tell my students to keep an open mind so you don’t miss the exciting opportunities that are all around you.” —Ronni Chernoff
A powerful voice Chernoff was lured south by the promise of “the best postdoctoral job anyone could ever have.” She was completing her PhD in health professions education from the University of Pennsylvania, on top of more than a decade of experience as a dietitian and nutrition researcher. In the mid-1970s, Chernoff had mixed tube and intravenous feedings from scratch as a nutrition specialist for the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. “It was at the cutting edge, the very early years of nutrition support,” she says. Her Penn adviser told her about the GRECCs that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was forming around the country, including Arkansas. With baby boomers just beginning to turn 40, Chernoff figured geriatrics would become a critical field of study. “You’re almost never handed a blank slate like I was,” says Chernoff, also a professor of geriatrics and of health education and health behavior at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. “There was no structure in place, so the creative opportunities were endless.” Chernoff figured she would install the program, stay a few years, and move back north. Instead, “every time I thought I had exceeded my goals for the project, there was another important piece to work on,” she says. Over the years, Chernoff has personally delivered more than 500 continuing education presentations to health professionals, while continuing to build the training networks to reach providers as far away as Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama through the VA network. But her influence has extended well beyond the South. She presided over the American Dietetic Association between 1996 and 1997, where she fought for wider recognition of the profession. Chernoff commissioned a study that showed the cost effectiveness of nutrition interventions in patients with diabetes and heart disease, ultimately paving the way for legislation to cover dietitians under Medicare. Chernoff later chaired the National Nutrition Advisory Council for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on
Chernoff at a meeting of the Cornell Board of Trustees.
Aging and has advised the federal government on nutrition regulations in nursing homes. She has also served on several Institute of Medicine committees that addressed feeding programs for older adults and issues involving living well with chronic disease. “My career is a great example of being open to the possibilities that present themselves,” Chernoff says. “I always tell my students to keep an open mind so you don’t miss the exciting opportunities that are all around you.” In addition to being a national voice for dietitians, Chernoff has long been a strong supporter of Cornell and the College of Human Ecology. Elected as an alumni trustee in 2008, Chernoff is also a lifetime member of the President’s Council of Cornell Women and the Cornell University Council. She’s a past president of the Human Ecology Alumni Association and now an emeritus board member. “Everything I ever learned can be traced back to Cornell,” says Chernoff. “Cornell gave me the knowledge and the confidence to succeed at what I’m doing. Cornell is a special part of my life.”
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SLOANUpdate Aetna CEO: Technology is key to fixing health care
If Mark Bertolini’s vision plays out, medical patients will soon be able to thumb through their smartphones for the best deals on X-rays and flu shots, much like shoppers now hunt for bargains on electronics, clothing, and other goods. “Mobile apps are going to change our industry,” Bertolini, Sloan ’84, told 120 guests in his keynote address May 7 at the Sloan Program in Health Administration’s annual Wagner Memorial Dinner. As chairman, CEO, and president of health insurance giant Aetna, Bertolini is doing his part to drive the transformation. The company is committing about $400 million annually to technology development, with apps planned to process claims and schedule appointments, to allow patients and providers easy access to electronic medical records, and for users to self-diagnose their symptoms. Bertolini, who occasionally resolves customer concerns through his personal Twitter feed, is equally bullish about the power of such social media tools to provide service and convenience. “The conversation is fundamentally different on social media than it is over phone or email,” he said. In 2007, Bertolini became certain of technology’s power to improve health care after a frustrating experience with the medical field’s antiquated information networks. He was ready to donate a kidney to his son when the transplant surgeon couldn’t find his test results and wanted to order a fresh round of X-rays. Bertolini got on his Blackberry, found the file, and forwarded it to the doctor. “When my dry cleaner knows more about the whereabouts of my shirts than my doctor does about the whereabouts of my X-rays, we have a technology problem in health care,” Bertolini said. “Everybody uses technology, but when we enter the health care system it’s like we put it all away.” Thus, Bertolini noted, improvements in health information technology go beyond patient convenience and are critical to lowering costs in medical care. The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is “a first step” in fixing U.S. health care, he said, but “it’s not a good cost solution.” Bertolini warned of a
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looming fiscal crisis in the coming decade if the government, providers, and insurers do not join together to curb expenditures for Medicare and Medicaid. “We have an entitlement problem that has to be fixed,” said Bertolini, citing projections that 85 percent of the increase in the federal budget deficit in the next 10 years will come from Medicare and Medicaid. The rise of preventive chronic diseases, particularly those tied to conditions like obesity, will add more strain to U.S. and global health care systems, Bertolini added. Despite such challenges, Bertolini told the Sloan students in attendance that they’ll be poised to drive health care reform. “I can’t think of a more exciting time to be involved in this industry,” Bertolini said. “You’re right at the center of it; it’s a great time to figure out where we’re headed.”
With $75,000 gift, SAA president calls for greater scholarship support Michael Dandorph ’95,
president of the Sloan Alumni Association (SAA), is calling on fellow alumni to join him in supporting Sloan student scholarships, which he said are needed to “help attract and successfully enroll the most talented students.” Dandorph issued his challenge May 7 at the Wagner Memorial Dinner, where he also announced his gifts of $50,000 to scholarships and $25,000 to the Sloan Annual Fund. His $50,000 gift will be split equally between the Sloan Student Aid Fund—money that can be awarded immediately—and the Sloan Alumni Scholarship Fund—an endowment formerly known as the Sloan Graduate Award Fund. “Without attractive funding packages, Sloan cannot compete favorably against peer institutions,” Dandorph said. “In order to continue its upward trajectory, the program must attract and
successfully enroll the most talented students—students who will help define the future of the Sloan Program. To do that, the program needs scholarship support now and into the future.” Dandorph said the need for greater scholarship support is clear. A Sloan student’s total annual costs are more than $42,000, but current endowment spending amounts to less than $25,000 each year, not enough to distribute among more than 50 students, he said. “Many of us are a part of organizations that rely heavily on philanthropy, and we understand that when a commitment of significance is made, it is a sacrifice,” Dandorph said. “I am convinced, given the tremendous advances the Sloan Program has made under its current leadership, that the time is now for us as grateful alumni to step up and make a commitment to the program that prepared us so well to become leaders of our organizations and our industry. I am hopeful my gift will serve as an impetus, regardless of where we are in our careers or our lives, for each one of us to help Sloan through making a commitment to support scholarship or the annual fund.” To further support students, Sloan leaders hope to more than double the program’s current scholarship endowment by 2015, the sesquicentennial of Cornell’s founding, through the newly formed Sloan Program Sesquicentennial Scholarship Campaign.
Wagner Memorial Dinner
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Allen chosen for Health Care Hall of Fame Percy Allen II, Sloan ’75, who in four decades in health administration built a reputation for reviving financially unstable health care organizations and mentoring young executives, entered the Health Care Hall of Fame in March 2011. Modern Healthcare magazine and the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) created the recognition program to honor outstanding contributions to the industry in the United States and internationally.
Allen retired in 2006, after turning around Bon Secours Baltimore Health System as its president and chief executive officer. When he joined the hospital in 1999, it was losing close to $10 million per year and was the worst performer in the Bon Secours system. At the end of his tenure, the hospital was in the black and had improved in patient satisfaction, quality of care, and other measures. Allen began his health care career as an assistant administrator at Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne, Ind. In an interview with Modern Healthcare, Allen recalled his then-boss taking a great risk by hiring an African American to help run a hospital with few minority patients. “At that point in time, we [black health care executives] weren’t going into private hospitals. Most of us were going into public systems,” Allen told the magazine. “I’ve been breaking these barriers all the time.” Allen went on to serve as senior associate administrator and interim CEO at Sinai Hospital in Detroit, CEO of University Hospital of Brooklyn, and president of the National Association of Health Services Executives. In health administration, he is widely regarded as a great mentor to young executives at ACHE conferences and other industry events. Allen, along with fellow 2011 honorees Henry J. Kaiser and Sister Mary Roch Rocklage, was inducted into the Health Care Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Chicago on March 20.
Loyal Sloan supporter Bill Greene ‘77 passes away Longtime Sloan Program advocate and benefactor William T. “Bill” Greene CALS ’74, Sloan ’77, died
May 24, 2011, from cancer. At the time of his passing, Greene was vice president of operations at New York– Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center (NYP/WCMC), where he began his career in health administration in 1976 after Greene (right) with Dean Alan visiting what was then the Mathios New York Hospital as a student. Greene visited the hospital as part of a class intersession trip—a formative experience that inspired him to sponsor dozens of similar visits during his professional career. For more than 30 years, Greene earned a reputation as a generous supporter of the Sloan Program in ways large and small. He served on the Sloan Alumni Association executive board, gave guest lectures to numerous classes on and off campus, offered career support to dozens of Sloan graduates through New York–Presbyterian Hospital and its affiliates, and generously supported the Sloan Annual Fund and related causes. “We are blessed to have had Bill as part of the Sloan family,” said
Brooke Hollis ’78, executive director of the Sloan Program.
“Whether serving as our ambassador to open doors with people at the medical college, hiring countless interns and graduates, speaking on campus, setting an example for planned giving, generously supporting the annual fund, personally underwriting the legendary alumni receptions, or countless other contributions by Bill, the program could not ask for a more generous and committed alumnus.” Greene was best known for his unflagging support of the biennial Sloan Intersession trips to NYP/WCMC, for which he would help organize receptions for alumni and students, cover lodging expenses for students, and help organize speakers and programming. Nearly 600 Sloan students received a first-hand look at NYP/WCMC through visits sponsored by Greene.
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Please send updates or items of interest for future Sloan Updates to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In brief Alumna hailed as a top female executive Modern Healthcare magazine has named Nancy Schlichting, Sloan ’79, as one of its Top 25 Women in Healthcare for 2011. The listing, issued every two years, recognizes “female health care executives who are making a positive difference in the industry.” Schlichting, president and chief executive officer of Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System, leads an integrated health system with annual revenue of $4 billion and 3,000 employees. The magazine praised her for “breathing new life and direction into the organization” since taking over in 2003, with upgrades to technology, facilities, and medical staff. She was selected from 324 nominations nationwide. Schlichting has long been an active Sloan supporter, serving as the 2009 Wagner Memorial Dinner speaker and as former president of the Sloan Alumni Association.
Student completes special training in health IT Sloan student Joseph Wu ’11 is one of the first graduates of a new Health Information Certificate Program supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The six-month program, offered jointly by Weill Cornell Medical Center and Columbia University, trains participants to use specialized health IT tools and skills to improve the U.S. health care system. Topics covered include: health care culture; electronic health records, evaluation, quality, and reporting; data sharing and security; and business operations and project management. Wu and 76 others graduated from the Cornell-Columbia program in June 2011, joining an inaugural class of some 500 students from eight other university-based training programs around the country. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology launched the program in 2010 with $32 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.
Alumnus helps create app for melanoma detection As chief technology and regulatory officer for Health Discovery Corporation, John A. Norris, Law ’71, Sloan ’73, has helped to launch MelApp, a fast, convenient iPhone app that can help users with the early detection of melanoma by analyzing photos of skin lesions and moles. A user takes a photo of the affected area, which is scanned by sophisticated algorithms and image-based pattern recognition technology. If signs of melanoma appear, the phone’s GPS refers them to nearby physicians specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of melanoma for more thorough follow-up. Pictures can also be saved to be compared with changes in the skin over time. Melanoma, the most life-threatening form of skin cancer, is the most common cancer among people between the ages of 20 and 29. It also has the fastest growing rate of new cases among all types of cancer worldwide. Norris is a former principal deputy commissioner and chief operating officer at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, has taught health care policy and management at Harvard University, and founded the American Journal of Law & Medicine.
MelApp screen shot for the iPhone.
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HE and SLOAN class notes 70s Maxine Summerhill-Thompson ’74 was promoted to assistant vice president for diversity and inclusion at Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, N.Y., in February 2011. Prior to her promotion, she served as the director of the office of diversity and affirmative action. Summerhill-Thompson holds degrees from the College of Human Ecology and Smith College and is a state-certified clinical social worker. She also earned her diversity management certificate from Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and is a 2009 graduate of the nonprofit training organization Leadership Greater Syracuse. 80s Mark T. Bertolini, Sloan ’84, became chairman of the board of directors of Aetna in April 2011. Bertolini also serves as chief executive officer and president of Aetna, a Fortune 100 diversified health care benefits company with more than $34 billion in 2010 revenue, a workforce of approximately 34,000, and operations in North America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
David Mallen ’89 was recently promoted to deputy director of the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in New York, N.Y. At NAD, he reviews scientific support for advertising claims and helps ensure that advertising campaigns are truthful, accurate, and adequately substantiated. He also provides guidance to industry and consumers on such legal and advertising issues as product testing, survey evidence, nutritional claims, environmental marketing, and sustainability. Mallen is a graduate of Albany Law School of Union University and is admitted to the bars of New York state and the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. 90s John J. House, Jr. ’91 was hired as director of the new Creating Access to Careers in Healthcare (CATCH) training program at Edmonds Community College in Lynnwood, Wash., in February 2011. CATCH, funded by a $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will train 500 low-income adults to fill critical jobs in the health care field. House previously served as director of special projects for the Center for Learning Connections at Highline Community College in Des Moines, Wash. He holds master’s degrees in education and social work from the University of Illinois, along with a bachelor’s degree from the College of Human Ecology. Manhong Mannie Liu, PhD ’94, a Chinese economist who is the vice director of the China Venture Capital Research Institute and director of the China Business Angel Association, has joined China Chief Holdings to assist with its business development and global strategies. Liu, professor at Renmin University of China, will also edit “Green Economy and Its Implementation in China,” a collection of articles by leading economists on topics related to renewable energy, sustainable development, and environmental protection and economic development. Liu, author of numerous publications about private equity and venture capital in China, researches venture capital, angel investment, and green investment. Brian E. Finch ’96, head of lobbying firm Dickstein Shapiro’s Homeland Security Practice in Washington, D.C., was named one of 40 star lobbyists under the age of 40 by Washingtonian in June 2011. The publication describes Finch, 36, as one of the country’s leading experts on the SAFETY Act—a law that lets corporations, particularly the makers of counterterrorism technology, seek legal-liability protections from the Department of Homeland Security. Finch represents clients before Congress, the Pentagon, and various federal agencies on a wide variety of security-related matters. He also aids companies in a number of industries, including agriculture, health care, chemicals, professional sports, and hotels. Evan Goldman ’96 was promoted to vice president of development for Federal Realty Investment Trust in February 2011. Goldman joined Federal Realty in July 2008 with 10 years of experience in development, finance, and architecture. He holds his MBA in real estate and finance from the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania and his bachelor’s in design and environmental analysis from Cornell. 28 link SPRING FALL 2011 2010
00s Aaron Mitra, Sloan ’01, joined Health Strategies & Solutions, a national health care strategy firm, in its Hartford, Conn., office as consultant and manager in April 2011. The firm specializes in strategic planning, merger and affiliation planning, facility planning and development, leadership strategies, program planning, physician strategies, and ambulatory care planning and development for a wide variety of medical providers. Tricia Furnari ’02 joined the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute (HWI) in Buffalo, N.Y., as development director in March 2011. Furnari directs HWI’s primary fundraising efforts, including the annual fund drive, program and foundation grants, the major gifts and planned giving campaigns, and the endowed chairs program. She previously worked as development director at Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper. Furnari holds a bachelor’s degree in human development with a minor in policy analysis and management from Cornell, along with a master’s degree in public administration from Portland State University. Nina (Senesac) Crowley ’04, a bariatric surgery dietitian for the Medical University of South Carolina, recently received the American Dietetic Association Foundation Mary Abbott Hess Award for Recognition of an Innovative Food/Culinary Effort. Crowley, a registered dietitian, and a colleague designed “Bariatric Bootcamp,” a hands-on, intensive nutrition class for their patients to learn more about eating properly, since many lack adequate cooking skills. They review food groups with patients and then have them visit several food group stations, where they weigh, measure, and read labels for different foods. Crowley, currently presidentelect of the South Carolina Dietetic Association, is also studying for her PhD in health psychology at Walden University. Carrie Gonnella ’04, a graduate student in the Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment, was named an Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps Public Sector Fellow. Through her fellowship, Gonnella will work with the facilities management staff at Catawba College in Salisbury, N.C., to develop a custom energy-efficiency plan for the college as it participates in the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. A native of Fayetteville, N.Y., Gonnella is also studying for an MBA from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and tracks existing and emerging regional and national laws governing firm and product sustainability as a Duke Center for Sustainability and Commerce Fellow. Yaneris M. Rosa ’04 is part owner and chief marketing officer of CouchConnect, a startup social media platform that allows viewers to connect and interact during their favorite shows and events in real-time on dedicated digital couches, as if they were in the same living room. CouchConnect, a finalist in the web/IT track of the Executive Summary Contest at the 2011 Massachusetts Institute of Technology 100K Entrepreneurship Competition, launched in beta mode in spring 2011. Rosa earned her Cornell degree in policy analysis and management and is a graduate of Harvard Law School. link www.couchconnect.com Kelly (Criddle) Haenlein, Sloan ’05, joined Genentech as senior policy manager in its government affairs office in Washington, D.C., in June 2011. After graduating from the Sloan Program, Haenlein worked in policy for the American College of Cardiology and the American Academy of Dermatology, where she was director of regulatory and payment policy. In her new role, Haenlein will evaluate the impact of public and private health insurance reforms on Genentech’s biotech portfolio and pipeline to ensure patient access to life-saving treatments. 10s Samantha Wronski ’11 was appointed research assistant in modeling and simulation within the health economics consulting group of United BioSource Corporation in July 2011. She has relocated to Bethesda, Md., from her hometown of Blauvelt, N.Y.
What are YOU up to? Send updates to: Human Ecology Alumni Affairs and Development Office email@example.com
Marion (Ford) Fraser ’33, Wilmington, Del., June 7, 2011 Janice (Berryman) Johndrew ’34, Gainesville, Fla., February 11, 2011 Charlotte (Mangan) Lattimer ’35, Belleair Bluffs, Fla., March 29, 2011 Ruth (Staley) Engel ’36, Toms River, N.J., January 22, 2011 Theda (Backalenick) Frank ’37, Santa Barbara, Calif., January 15, 2011 Elizabeth (Halsey) Guldi ’37, Rockdale, Texas, January 29, 2010 Helen (Reichert) Chadwick ’38, Middletown, R.I., April 3, 2011 Sarah Steinman Harms ’39, Amherst, Mass., April 10, 2011 Wilma (Mehlenbacher) Dondero ’40, Ithaca, N.Y., June 13, 2011 Iantha (Shelden) Papero ’40, Plattsburgh, N.Y., January 26, 2011 Kathryn (Ball) Smiley ’40, Arlington Heights, Ill., May 23, 2011 Jean Way Schoonover ’41, New York, N.Y., April 3, 2011 Anna-Rose (Bernstein) Tykulsker ’41, New York, N.Y., December 12, 2010 Marion (Pergande) Jax ’42, Springville, N.Y., June 10, 2010 Hannah (Hartmanns) Mclay ’43, Arrington, Va., December 21, 2010 Dorothy (Brown) Murphy ’43, Venice, Fla., March 5, 2011 Ann (Moore) Klosterman, MEd ’44, Wooster, Ohio, March 30, 2011 I. William Lane CALS ’44, MS ’48, Port Orange, Fla., April 29, 2011 Henrietta (Burgott) Gehshan ’45, Southampton, Penn., February 8, 2011 Marcia (Noyes) Archibald ’46, Cresskill, N.J., April 13, 2011 Gertrude Botsford Moseley ’46, Lake Placid, Fla., December 13, 2010 Jean (Kennedy) Philo ’46, Queensbury, N.Y., May 27, 2011 Joyce (Burke) Ricciardi ’46, Lakewood, Ohio, October 15, 2010 Nancy (Wigsten) Axinn ’47, Tucson, Ariz., September 28, 2010 Bonnie (Kauffman) DeLaMater ’47, Macungie, Penn., January 5, 2011 Allen A. Kraft ’47, Iowa City, Iowa, February 5, 2011 Harold Yacowitz, CALS ’47, MS ’48, PhD ’50, Matawan, N.J., March 20, 2008 Martha (Parce) Fraser, MS ’48, Houston, Texas, June 21, 2011 Dorothy M. (Hirschhorn) Hertz ’48, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., June 13, 2011 Dorothy (Chuan) Lee, MS ’48, Highlands Ranch, Colo., May 18, 2011
Anjani Jivraj Mehta ’48, Mumbai, India, April 29, 2011 Agnes (Klein) Tanneberger ’48, Westport, N.Y., June 15, 2011 Barbeur Grimes Wise, MS ’48, Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., March 11, 2011 Janet (Reese) Yacker ’48, Cranford, N.J., October 23, 2010 Joan M. (Ellison) Cain, MS ’50, Springfield, Mo., April 1, 2011 Sarah (Knowles) Kauffman ’50, Clifton Park, N.Y., March 26, 2011 Eleanor (Bailey) McDowell ’50, Amherst, N.H., March 20, 2011 Rita (Cummins) Sappenfield ’50, Newtown, Penn., June 1, 2011 Constance (Cuthbert) Ellison, MS ’51, Benham, Ky., June 3, 2011 Sally (Kernan) Lathrop ’52, Greenville, S.C., April 16, 2011 Ann A. MacLenathen ’52, Lake Placid, N.Y., August 1, 2009 Frances (Jensen) Simons, MS ’52, Urbana, Ill., February 11, 2010 Joan (Thostesen) Kelsey ’53, East Lansing, Mich., September 8, 2010 Hannah (Ullman) Dushay ’55, Fayetteville, N.Y., June 1, 2011 Elizabeth C. Davies ’56, Middleton, Wis., January 11, 2011 Delores (Norwood) Handy, MS ’56, Harbeson, Del., June 30, 2011 Carol Eaton Bartlett ’61, Gansevoort, N.Y., October 28, 2009 Joanne A. Herron ’64, Lake City, Minn., February 19, 2011 Margaret (Jones) Jensen ’64, Rutland, Vt., March 3, 2011 Ina (Lipton) Jacobson ’65, Sudbury, Mass., August 12, 2006 Carolyn (Young) Worthington, MS ’66, New Vernon, N.J., July 3, 2011 Laura (Roberts) Wood Crawford ’67, Mississauga, Ont., Canada, June 1, 2011 Albert J. Kronman, Sloan ’71, Houston, Texas, February 10, 2011 William T. Greene ’74, Sloan ’77, Roslyn, N.Y., May 24, 2011 J. Donald Caccia, Sloan ’76, Ocean City, N.J., January 26, 2011 Alan E. Barman ’81, Chadds Ford, Penn., September 14, 2010 Peter A. Engelhard ’87, Miami Beach, Fla., January 22, 2006
Michael Latham, 82, professor emeritus and graduate school professor in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell who directed the Cornell Program in International Nutrition for 25 years, died in Boston on April 1 of pneumonia. Born May 6, 1928, and raised in Tanzania, Latham received his bachelor’s degree in 1949 and his medical degree in 1952, both from Dublin University, Ireland. In 1958 he received an advanced degree in tropical medicine from London University; in 1965, a master’s degree in public health and nutrition from Harvard University; and he was named an honorary fellow, Faculty of Community Medicine, in 1973 from the Royal College of Physicians. In 1968, at age 39, Latham joined Cornell as a full professor in the Program in International Nutrition, the only such U.S. professorship. Under his leadership, the program grew in breadth, depth, and influence, and soon became known as one of the best and largest programs of its kind in the world. Latham mentored more than 200 graduate students, many from developing countries, who went on not only to fruitful careers as scientists, academics, or technologists but also to advocate for the causes of the most vulnerable. Author or co-author of some 450 publications, Latham focused his work on breastfeeding; infant and child health; parasitic infections and their relationship to health; micronutrient deficiencies, especially iron-deficiency anemia and vitamin A deficiency; and nutrition and human rights. He is survived by his life partner, Lani Stephenson, retired Cornell associate professor of nutritional sciences, and two sons. A memorial was held in his honor on campus July 3.
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LINKages Nearly 100 years ago, Cornell opened a building for the newly formed Department of Home Economics, then part of the College of Agriculture. New York state provided $154,000 for the facility, which opened in October 1913 for the study of issues related to food, shelter, and clothing. According to Announcer of the College of Agriculture, an early extension bulletin, the building included multiple food labs, classrooms, a 500-person basement cafeteria, drafting rooms for designing homes and interiors, spaces to study clothing and sewing, and living quarters for senior students where “the problem of the small household may thus be worked out in a practical way.” Located on the northwest corner of the Ag Quad, the building presently houses the Computing and Communications Center (shown here). This fall, the College of Human Ecology opens its newest facility, the 89,000-square-foot Human Ecology Building, for teaching and research in science and design.
Photos courtesy of Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library
Published on Oct 3, 2011
In labs, classes, and internships, students in the Division of Nutritional Sciences are gaining fresh insights into human health and well-be...