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Dr Cheryl Allsop avatar

Dr Cheryl Allsop

Senior Lecturer in Criminology
University of South Wales
Professor Imran Awan avatar

Professor Imran Awan

Professor and Deputy Director of the Centre for Applied Criminology
Birmingham City University
Kelly Welch, PhD avatar

Kelly Welch, PhD

Professor of Sociology and Criminology | College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Villanova University

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Sanctuary scholarships for asylum seekers launched with major sum donated by prominent business figure

Up to four scholarships are being offered to students who have sought refuge in the UK The donor, Matthew Crummack, is CEO of Domestic & General, former CEO of GoCompare and and an alumnus of Aston University The Scholarships are named after the donor’s grandfather, Ernest Edward, who left school at 12 to work in a coal mine. Aston University is launching a new sanctuary scholarship scheme for students who have sought refuge in the UK. Up to four sanctuary scholarships are on offer, due to a generous donation by prominent businessperson Matthew Crummack, currently chief executive of Domestic & General. They will be known as The Ernest Edward Scholarships in memory of the donor’s grandfather, Ernest Edward Crummack, who left school aged 12 to work in a coal mine. Matthew graduated with a BSc in International Business and French at Aston University in 1993. His career to date has taken him into well-known companies such as GoCompare,, Expedia, Nestlé and Procter & Gamble. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Aston University in 2016, in recognition of his professional achievements and service to the University. Ernest Edward Scholars will receive a full tuition fee waiver and up to £25,000 throughout their course to help with living costs. Language assistance will also be offered if required, as well as support from Aston University Students’ Union and professional mentoring support. To be eligible for an Ernest Edward Scholarship, applicants must be an asylum seeker, the partner or dependant of an asylum seeker or an asylum seeker/refugee/partner/dependant who has been granted Discretionary Leave to Remain (DLR) or some other form of temporary status. Applicants need to apply for an eligible Aston University course - any three-year undergraduate or one-year postgraduate programme - before applying for a scholarship. Applications will close on 12 June for the 2022 round. Speaking about his motivation for funding the scholarships, Matthew said: “My grandfather, whom I sadly never met, had little choice but to leave school at 12 to work in a coal mine. “100 years on, so many young people and especially young refugees, still find themselves challenged to grow and fulfil their potential. I hope that these scholarships will create that opportunity and pave the way for some of tomorrow’s leaders. “I strongly value my Aston University education and believe that business and individuals can take a leadership role in giving back to those facing challenge.” Saskia Loer Hansen, Interim Vice-Chancellor of Aston University, said: “Young people seeking asylum in the UK are likely to have experienced trauma and will have lost much which cannot be replaced. The Ernest Edward Scholarship can contribute to a brighter future, made possible by education. It offers hope and an opportunity for respite. “On behalf of Aston University, I would like to express my deep gratitude to Matthew for his generous and compassionate support in helping to make Aston University a safe haven. It is an act of kindness which will have a profound effect on those young lives.” More information about The Ernest Edward Scholarships is available here.

3 min. read

Aston University cyber expert to appear at FinTech event in Birmingham

'FinTech Secured – Next Generation' will showcase the work of leading stakeholders in the research and development of financial technology (FinTech) and security Professor Vladlena Benson will offer insight on illicit money flows and trends in Financial Security Registrations are now open for the event on 7 June 2022 at The Compound, Birmingham. The director of the Cyber Security Innovation (CSI) Centre at Aston University is set to appear at a networking event around financial technology (FinTech). Following the success of their first flagship event of 2022 ‘Secure by Design, Advanced Manufacturing’, Midlands Cyber will launch 'FinTech Secured – Next Generation' on the 7 June 2022. The event will be the first face to face event after the pandemic in Birmingham, bringing together thought leaders and service applications specialists for an evening of industry networking. Professor Vladlena Benson, who also serves on the EU’s Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) task force defining the Cybersecurity Skills Framework at the European level, will be joined by contacts from within the cryptocurrency sector and offer insight on illicit money flows and trends in financial security. The event will also showcase the work of leading stakeholders in the research and development of FinTech and financial security. FinTech’s academic innovators, CEOs and company founders, entrepreneurs, contractors, investors and policymakers are encouraged to register now to discuss, participate, network and put their questions to our panel of industry experts. Professor Vladlena Benson, an industry-recognised expert in cybersecurity risk management and director of CSI Centre at Aston Business School, said: “Financial services are core to the UK economy and continue to be a common target for cyber criminals. Challenges to the insurance sector and cyber crime prosecution when crypto assets are involved are emerging and at the CSI we are working to provide forensic and data integrity solutions which help secure the FinTech sector.” User of contactless Europay, Mastercard, and Visa (EMV) may be interested in the insights of Tom Chothia, reader in cyber security at the University of Birmingham, on how the vulnerabilities of Apple Pay and Visa could enable hackers to ’Take £1000 from a locked iPhone’. Registrations are now open to join the cluster at 18:00 hrs on the 7 June 2022 at The Compound, Birmingham.

Vladlena Benson
2 min. read
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English football’s pitch invasion crisis: what can be done?

There have been a number of pitch invasions after games in England in recent weeks with incidents of supporters attacking players. According to England manager Gareth Southgate, the fan disorder seen at soccer matches reflects the state of the country at the moment. Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp was headbutted by a fan, while Aston Villa goalkeeper Robin Olsen was assaulted at Manchester City. Dr Danny Fitzpatrick explains why the pitch invasions appear to be happening more often, along with what could - and should - be done to prevent them from happening.

Dr Daniel Fitzpatrick
1 min. read

Tulane trauma experts available to discuss mass school killing in Uvalde,Texas

Charles Figley is the Dr. Paul Kurzwek Distinguished Chair and Professor of Disaster Mental Health at the Tulane University School of Social Work and is among several Tulane experts who are available to comment on trauma in the wake of the mass shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Figley, director of the Tulane Trauma Institute and one of the world's leading authorities on trauma associated with mass killings and natural disasters, said the Uvalde community faces what could be years of recovery. This not only includes the families who lost loved ones but first responders, those who survived the attack, the school community and even the town itself.  The children who survived the shooting are especially vulnerable and will likely need intense counseling, he said. "We worry for this group of children and will join efforts to provide them and those helping them with all the technical and emotional support we can," he said. He said even children who live outside of Uvalde are likely to experience trauma, especially if they've been tuned into to the news. "They will imagine it happening to them. They will have second thoughts about the safety of their own schools and they will require adult reassurance and real attention to mood and spirit." Figley said he wasn't surprised to hear about yet another school killing spree but is deeply saddened by it. "This community joins so many others in the U.S. impacted by violence in their schools," he said. "The once sacred protective ring of love around schools seems to be evaporating like some of our lakes and reservoirs." Other Tulane experts available for media interviews are as follows: Leia Saltzman is a professor in the Tulane School of Social Work whose expertise lies in the areas of trauma, community violence and mass disaster. She is interested in community-based research that influences mental health policies and clinical practices with trauma-affected populations in order to promote well-being and build stronger families and more cohesive communities that can withstand the mpact of mass disaster, trauma and violence. Reggie Ferreira is director of the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy at the Tulane School of Social Work. His areas of expertise include disaster resilience and international violence prevention. He serves as the editor of the American Psychological Association Traumatology journal, which focuses on resilience practices among traumatized individuals, families and communities. Tonya Hansel is an associate professor and director of the PhD program at the Tulane School of Social Work. She is an expert in disaster mental health and trauma services. Her experiences in the field have enabled her to measure traumatic experiences and implement systematic recovery initiatives as well as emphasize the importance of individual and community strengths that contribute to recovery. Dr. Sharven Taghavi is trauma surgeon and public health researcher focused on injury prevention and health disparities. Dr. Taghavi’s research has focused on improving knowledge of why firearm injuries occur and identifying risk factors that can be intervened upon to reduce the risk of involvement in gun violence. Joseph Constans is a clinical psychologist whose expertise is in the areas of post-traumatic stress syndrome, gun violence and suicide. In his research, he aims to understand how exposure to trauma may cognitively and behaviorally predispose an individual to violence perpetration. To connect with any of these Tulane experts, contact Barri Bronston at or Mike Strecker at

Charles FigleyTonya HanselRegardt FerreiraDr. Sharven Taghavi
3 min. read

The race for 2024 has 'unofficially' begun - let our expert explain who is already lining up to run

In America, it seems - the country is never not in political campaign mode in one way or another. As one general election comes to a conclusion - all eyes become fixed on the crucial midterm elections just two years away that can be a referendum on the current administration or a powerplay by the opposition to seize back leverage in either the House or Senate or both. As for who occupies the Whitehouse, speculation of 'who is next' sometimes even begins before a president is inaugurated every fourth January. This time is no different.  And with America narrowly divided between the Republicans and Democrats - the GOP is already seeing several prominent and popular faces (some new and some not) surface to test their potential to challenge Joe Biden and the Democrats in 2024. Once the midterms come to a close in November - it'll be all eyes on 2024, and if you're a reporter looking to get ahead of the pack with your coverage, then let us help. Dr. Stephen Farnsworth is a sought-after political commentator on presidential politics. He has been widely featured in national media, including The Washington Post, Reuters, The Chicago Tribune and MSNBC. Simply click on his icon to arrange an interview today.

Stephen Farnsworth
1 min. read

Preparing for the Unthinkable: Armed Intruders

Church Mutual’s® experts share recommended prevention and response measures for schools, houses of worship and nonprofits MERRILL, Wis. – As America reemerges from the shadows of the pandemic, armed intruders are one threat organizations need to consider and plan for. Recent tragic events across our nation have compelled risk experts from Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I. (a stock insurer)1 to share their recommended prevention and response measures for schools, houses of worship and nonprofits, and answer common questions about armed intruder preparedness. How can we bolster our security in general and specifically against armed intruder attacks? There are many considerations for keeping your people and property safe, but here are foundational steps you can take. Physical spaces and systems • Control the access points to your building, ensuring all are locked or monitored. Keep exits clear. • Complete regular checks of locks, doors, security cameras, lighting, alarms and gates. Fix anything that doesn’t work immediately. • Make your security measures – including equipment and personnel – visible and obvious. Communication • Equip security personnel to communicate easily with each other from anywhere on your property. • Keep members and staff informed on your security processes and procedures. Training • Implement a workplace violence prevention program and train all staff and volunteers. • Conduct armed intruder drills regularly, just like fire drills. • Include law enforcement officers in your training and provide them a facility map. How can we prepare for an active shooter scenario? Experts such as the ALICE Training Institute help organizations prevent, mitigate, respond to and recover from incidents such as an armed intruder attack. This includes the basic tenets of response during an incident, captured in the ALICE acronym: Alert – Recognize the signs of danger and take all alerts seriously. Lockdown – If evacuation is not a safe option, barricade entry points into your room. Inform – Communicate information to others in the building as clearly as possible. Counter – As a last resort when confronted with an armed intruder, create noise, movement and other distractions to reduce a shooter’s ability to aim accurately. Evacuate – Leave the area through doors, windows or other exits. If community members want to help with security efforts, how might they contribute? Members of your community can help by alerting you about concerning conversations or activities. Statistics show that individuals considering carrying out an act of violence may talk to others about their plans, both online and offline. Here are three ways you can proactively look for potential threats: Create a reporting system – Some people may be comfortable approaching organizational leadership with safety concerns, while others may not. Create an anonymous method for your members and the public to report information about potential threats. Follow the conversation about your organization on social media – Hopefully, you’ll mostly see positive interactions between your members, staff and community on platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. However, if there are disgruntled individuals signaling dangerous intentions, this may be an early warning of violence. Establish an investigative group – If a designated team receives all safety-related information, they will have the ability to see the big picture and assess when there is a credible, imminent threat – and when to share your data and analysis with local law enforcement. Church Mutual also offers an armed intruder resource kit free on its website. It features, among other things, videos, checklists, FAQs, and important assessment and planning guides. To access the tools and information, visit: While it is difficult even to think about threats such as an armed intruder attack, taking action now can help prepare your organization and secure your facilities. About Church Mutual Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I., founded in 1897, offers specialized insurance for religious organizations of all denominations, public and private K-12 schools, colleges and universities, senior living facilities, secular and non-secular camps and conference centers, and nonprofit and human services organizations throughout the United States. Church Mutual markets most lines of commercial property and liability insurance, including multi-peril, workers' compensation and commercial auto insurance. In addition to insurance, Church Mutual provides a spectrum of value-added solutions that benefit its customers. Church Mutual holds the following honors: • A.M. Best Company "A" (excellent) rating. • Wisconsin 75 Top Private Company by Deloitte US, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. • Wisconsin 75 Distinguished Performer: Innovation by Deloitte US 2019. • 2021 Gallup Culture Transformation Award recipient. • 2020 Women and Diversity Award recipient from the American Property Casualty Insurance Association. • Futuremakers Partner by Wisconsin Technical College System. • Celent Model Insurer for innovation and emerging technologies. • Award in Innovation for entrepreneurialism and innovation by National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies. • 2018-2019 Employer of the Year by Northcentral Technical College.

4 min. read

How can I possibly work more effectively?

How can I possibly work more effectively? Watch our interview with Dr. Darren Knibutatat at Grand River & St. Mary’s General Hospital Watch the full interview here. Our website:

Enzo Costanza
1 min. read

Battleground Georgia: All eyes on the Peach State with midterms in sight

The US midterm elections are quickly approaching, and with key Senate seats and the governor's mansion up for grabs in Georgia, the Peach State will be low hanging fruit for anyone looking to see where the balance of power rests in the country. With reporters across America covering the latest developments, we asked Augusta University's Mary-Kate Lizotte to answer a few questions that are top of mind for reporters and political junkies alike. The strength of endorsements? Q: What kind of an impact could Mike Pence backing Gov. Brian Kemp have going forward?  It could have an influence on the willingness of Republicans who are not former President Trump supporters to contribute to the Kemp campaign and be sure to show up to vote for Kemp. But, it will likely not have much of an influence. Research does not find a huge, lasting impact of endorsements. Ultimately, Trump supporters are unlikely to stay home and not vote for Kemp given that they likely are very against Stacey Abrams becoming governor. For Abrams supporters, she has already begun to use Indiana as a comparison with Georgia to say that Indiana under Pence was more moderate, including Medicaid expansion in comparison with Georgia under Kemp. I doubt this will influence Republican voters who like Pence to vote for Abrams, but it could influence some Independents/moderates to vote for Abrams. It is important to note, however, that most Independents/moderates tend to consistently vote for one party's candidates and thus may not be influenced by this either. A fractured right? Q: Could Pence's support also divide the Republican party somewhat after former President Trump backed David Perdue? Yes, but will likely not have a substantial impact on the election. It is unlikely that Trump supporters and/or Perdue voters will stay home on election day. They will likely vote for Kemp as their most preferred candidate who is running.  Goal line stand? Q: Herschel Walker won the Republican primary by a large margin. How does he stack up against Sen. Raphael Warnock in the general election? Polling is currently showing a close race within the margin of error. Warnock has not been running against Walker up until now because Walker had not won the primary, but Walker and conservative groups have been able to run against Warnock because there was no reason to believe that he would not win his primary. In terms of experience, Warnock is the incumbent and thus has more experience. Walker is a complicated and controversial public figure but also is loved among University of Georgia football fans. Warnock has focused on putting out positive campaign advertisements up to this point. But, since there are already attack ads against Warnock, the Warnock campaign or groups supporting the Warnock campaign need to begin airing attack ads against Walker to improve the Warnock standing in the polls. The research indicates that it is best to go negative once you have been attacked.  Follow the money? Q: Are we likely to see a record amount of cash flow for candidates in Georgia over the next several months knowing it will be a key swing state? Definitely. People from out of state who will be watching these elections closely will likely contribute. We saw that when Abrams and Kemp ran against one another in 2018 and in the special election that elected Warnock in 2020. If you are a journalist covering this topic, then let our experts help. Dr. Mary-Kate Lizotte is an expert in political and voter behavior. She is available to talk about the upcoming midterm and gubernatorial elections in Georgia. Click on her name to schedule an interview.

Mary-Kate Lizotte
3 min. read

Meet ‘Moxi’ – ChristianaCare Introduces Innovative Collaborative Robot to Give Nurses More Time to Deliver Care and Patient Education

ChristianaCare is the first health system in the Philadelphia region piloting an innovative tool called Moxi, a collaborative robot — or “cobot”— that can assist in the hospital by making deliveries and performing other non-clinical tasks so that nurses and other clinical staff can spend more time focused on what they do best—caring for patients. With a landmark $1.5 million grant from the American Nurses Foundation, ChristianaCare will deploy a total of five Moxi cobots at Christiana Hospital. It is the largest single grant in the history of Nursing at ChristianaCare. Research published in the Journal of Nursing Management shows that nurses spend a significant amount of time — up to 33% of their shifts — on time-consuming but simple tasks such as dropping off lab specimens, collecting supplies or picking up medications from the pharmacy. By taking over these time-consuming but simple tasks, Moxi enables nurses to focus on patient care, where their skills are most needed. “Nurses need the time and space to deliver care and patient education at the top of their license,” said Ric Cuming, Ed.D., MSN, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, chief nurse executive and president, ChristianaCare HomeHealth. “Moxi will be doing those hunting and gathering tasks such as getting equipment and supplies, which nurses are doing today but don’t need to be doing.” Cobots are designed to share workspace and interact directly with people. In ChristianaCare’s initiative, the Moxi cobots will be integrated with the Cerner Corporation electronic health record (EHR) platform and use artificial intelligence to proactively identify when nurses will need equipment, supplies, medications and lab tests. The Moxi cobots will be deployed to 11 inpatient units, partnering with more than 400 nurses. The American Nurses Foundation grant will enable ChristianaCare to evaluate the impact of cobots on nursing practice with the goal of scaling the technology if successful. “Moxi is not a replacement for a nurse or nursing position — or any position,” Cuming said. “It is an additional resource for nurses and their teams. “With robotic technology, we are using resources wisely and effectively, creating more efficient workflows, reducing repetitive tasks and freeing up nurses’ time for the complex clinical work that they excel at doing.” Reimagining Nursing ChristianaCare is one of 10 grant recipients from the American Nurses Foundation Reimagining Nursing (RN) Initiative. “We are proud that the American Nurses Foundation has the confidence in bold nurse-led ideas that will lead to large-scale, replicable change,” said Katherine Collard, MS, RN-BC, chief nursing informatics officer at ChristianaCare. “This grant will support nurses at ChristianaCare and our nursing colleagues across the nation in realizing their full potential, giving them the tools, resources and power to improve health care now and in the future.” With the American Nurses Foundation grant, ChristianaCare will conduct research on driving nursing outcomes through robotics. “We have a transformative opportunity to generate new knowledge and to move the science forward around robotics in nursing and in health care,” said Susan Birkhoff, Ph.D., RN, nurse scientist at ChristianaCare. “Through research, we will study Moxi’s impact to nursing caregivers that will have broad implications for nursing practice, workforce and education,” she said. ChristianaCare began exploring the potential of robotics to support Nursing with two Moxi cobots acquired in February, funded through the generosity of donors including Good Samaritan, Inc. and E.J. “Woody” Rice. With the grant, said Birkhoff, ChristianaCare will take Moxi to the next “bold frontier,” adding three more cobots with the goal of automating and optimizing nurses’ workflow without interrupting care. With five total cobots, ChristianaCare will be home to the largest number of Moxi robots in health care. The Little Bot That Can Before Moxi can become fully part of the care team, it must learn to navigate the hospital and respond to the nurses’ needs. Using artificial intelligence, Moxi is mapping out Christiana Hospital through sensors and other machine-learning technology so that the cobots can ultimately navigate and work autonomously. “When the Moxi cobots are fully integrated, we anticipate that they will complete up to 200 delivery tasks a day,” Collard said. “By making point-to-point deliveries, Moxi can save nurses hours of time and thousands of steps.” Designed to be compatible with the busy environments of hospitals, Moxi’s features include: Social intelligence: Moxi won’t bump into people or objects in hallways, waves when it sees someone new and happily poses for selfies. Mobile manipulation: Moxi can learn to use its robotic arm to operate existing automatic doors and elevator panels. Human-guided learning: The more Moxi is used, the more Moxi learns and adapts to the environment and specific ways of doing things. Friendly and safe design: With heart-shaped eyes and a friendly appearance, Moxi is designed to navigate safely and get the job done so nurses can focus on patient care. “What Moxi is doing in health systems like ChristianaCare is really transforming the way we think about health care and allowing staff to focus on the people in the hospital as opposed to the tasks,” said Dr. Andrea Thomaz, CEO and co-founder of Diligent Robotics, which created Moxi. “Robots are not something way in the future. Our robots work side-by-side with humans to ease the stress and workload of one of the most demanding jobs in society, nursing. The partnership between Diligent and ChristianaCare shows that the future is now.” Hospital Helper Directly from the Cerner EHR, Moxi will be able to anticipate clinician and patient needs and perform tasks without human involvement. Examples could include: Delivering items to patients based on nurses’ order requests. Making rounds across units to deliver lab samples on collections completed in the electronic health record. Making just-in-time deliveries of pharmaceuticals not stocked on the floor. Prioritizing tasks based on the nursing workload in a unit, so that the busiest nurses will get help first. “Connecting Moxi to the existing technology that clinicians use on a daily basis is key to making it easier to anticipate needs so clinicians can spend more time on patient care,” says Eva Karp, DHA, MBA, RN-BC, senior vice president, chief clinical and patient safety, Cerner. “Moxi could make a real difference in a nurse’s day — alleviating burnout and staffing shortages, which have become especially prevalent since the pandemic.” Incorporating the electronic health record into Moxi is part of the study funded by the American Nurses Foundation. “It’s absolutely in the best interest of our patients that Moxi can work alongside nurses so we can spend more time working directly with our patients to do what we do best,” said Pam Owen, MSN, RN-BC, nurse manager on 7E, one of the pilot units. “And Moxi brings a smile to people’s faces.” Fast Facts About Moxi Works in 22-hour shifts. Needs only two hours of charging time. Weighs about 300 pounds. Can carry a total weight of 70 pounds. Gender-neutral. Pronouns are “it” for a single Moxi cobot and “they” for more than one. Named one of America’s Greatest Disruptors in 2021 by Newsweek and one of the Best Inventions of 2019 by Time Magazine. About ChristianaCare Headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, ChristianaCare is one of the country’s most dynamic health care organizations, centered on improving health outcomes, making high-quality care more accessible and lowering health care costs. ChristianaCare includes an extensive network of primary care and outpatient services, home health care, urgent care centers, three hospitals (1,299 beds), a freestanding emergency department, a Level I trauma center and a Level III neonatal intensive care unit, a comprehensive stroke center and regional centers of excellence in heart and vascular care, cancer care and women’s health. It also includes the pioneering Gene Editing Institute. ChristianaCare is nationally recognized as a great place to work, rated by Forbes as the 2nd best health system for diversity and inclusion, and the 29th best health system to work for in the United States, and by IDG Computerworld as one of the nation’s Best Places to Work in IT. ChristianaCare is rated by Healthgrades as one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals and continually ranked among the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek and other national quality ratings. ChristianaCare is a nonprofit teaching health system with more than 260 residents and fellows. With its groundbreaking Center for Virtual Health and a focus on population health and value-based care, ChristianaCare is shaping the future of health care.

Ric Cuming, EdD, MSN, RN
6 min. read