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A new study led by Jennifer Horney, founder of the University of Delaware's Epidemiology program, shows that threats to public health workers nearly doubled after the COVID-19 vaccine was released in August 2021. The results, recently published in an open-access commentary in Public Health in Practice, demonstrate a strong need for expanded legal protections for all frontline workers. They also illustrate a need to boost the resilience of the public health workforce, which can be achieved through training, coping, protective services and media management. While public health workers have always received threats, including during the SARS and Zika outbreaks, the COVID-19 pandemic threats were different. “These threats were more personal in nature,” said Horney, a professor in UD's College of Health Sciences. “Due to the proliferation of social media and the politicization of the pandemic, for the first time, public health leaders were finding protesters on their doorsteps or were being doxed.” Horney and her team surveyed staff at state and local health departments in 23 states – most of them epidemiology or communicable disease staff. The initial online survey found that 25% of respondents said someone in their public health agency had received personal threats. That percentage practically doubled to 41% in a follow-up survey. Of those, respondents said nearly all the personal threats were lodged by members of the public. Almost 40% reported receiving political threats. The threats reported by public health workers who responded to the survey ranged from death threats to blame for COVID-19 deaths due to incompetence. Horney is available for interviews to discuss the study and other topics related to the public health response to COVID-19 and the impacts of natural disasters on public health. Click on her profile below to contact Horney and the UD media relations team.
During the holiday season, the spirit of giving resonates with joy and warmth, extending beyond mere material exchange. Philip Gable, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Delaware, asserts that there's a science behind gift-giving, encompassing emotional nuances applicable to charitable work. Gable emphasizes that the significance of a gift contributes to the happiness derived from giving, taking various forms, from a personal investment of time to a budget-conscious monetary contribution. It transcends mere obligation, aiming to create a resonant impact. The professor has expertise in emotion and motivational science and can discuss this nuance, especially as we enter the winter holiday season. He can be reached by clicking his "View Profile" button.
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Professor Richard Hogg joined Aston University in spring 2023 His inaugural lecture is about laser diodes, the tiny components that are a vital part of everyday life The free event will take place on Tuesday 28 November. The latest inaugural lecture at Aston University will explore the laser diode and what’s in store for it in the future. Professor Richard Hogg will explain how his future research might make laser diodes do some of the things that they currently can’t do. The laser diode turned 61 years old this month and the tiny components are a critical part of everyday life. Professor Hogg said: “They are now at the heart of the continuous transformation of society. “They transmit data to allow instantaneous, ubiquitous communication and data access. “They allow light to be used for cutting and welding, for sensing and imaging, for displays and illumination, and data storage. “And in the guise of a laser pointer they can even be used to entertain your cat!” He will discuss different classes of laser diode and their operation and applications. Professor Hogg joined Aston University in spring 2023 and is based at Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies (AIPT). It is one of the world’s leading photonics research centres and its scientific achievements range from medical lasers and bio-sensing for healthcare, to the high-speed optical communications technology that underpins the internet and the digital economy. The professor is also chief technology officer at III-V Epi, which provides compound semiconductor wafer foundry services. The free event will take place on the University campus at Conference Aston, on Tuesday 28 November from 6pm to 8pm and will be followed by a drinks reception. It can also be viewed online. To sign up for a place in person visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/717822585677?aff=oddtdtcreator To sign up for a place online visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/717824260687?aff=oddtdtcreator
Georgia Southern University proudly announces the launch of its comprehensive campaign, “Together We Soar: The Campaign for Georgia Southern University.” This transformative initiative aims to elevate the University’s impact on students, faculty, research, athletics, and the communities it serves. Georgia Southern, renowned for its majestic campuses adorned with southern live oaks and towering pines, symbolizes not just American freedom but also the promise, achievement and boundless potential of its students. The University’s trajectory is on the rise, reaching for greater heights in education and community impact. Central to this momentum is the unwavering support from alumni, friends and the community. Publicly launched last Friday evening, Together We Soar: The Campaign for Georgia Southern University aims to raise $125 million by 2026. More than $86 million has already been secured. Dr. Kyle Marrero, President of Georgia Southern, expressed his gratitude and vision for the University. “Georgia Southern is on the move, in motion, and soaring to new heights. The ‘Together We Soar’ campaign—fueled by the generous support of our alumni, friends, and partners—will ensure our ability to drive innovation, develop talent, transform lives, and propel the economic development of a growing region.” (L-R) Georgia Southern President Kyle Marrero, Vice President for University Advancement Trip Addison, Deputy Athletics Director of Development Davis Hendrickson, Executive Director of Development Julie Gerbsch, Director of Alumni Relations Ava Edwards, and University Campaign Co-chair Leonard Bevill on stage at the Oct. 20 launch event for Together We Soar: The Campaign for Georgia Southern University. The campaign has identified four primary objectives: Empower Student Success: The campaign aims to stimulate learning by recruiting high-achieving students, increasing student access, and promoting inclusive excellence and career readiness. Advance Teaching and Public Impact Research: The focus is on meeting regional economic needs, increasing faculty expertise, and enhancing research capacity. Elevate Athletics: The campaign seeks to attract and retain elite student-athletes, provide top-notch facilities, and boost the Competitive Excellence Fund. Enrich Campuses and Community Vibrancy: The goal is to improve the communities surrounding the campuses and teach about local wildlife, among other initiatives. Campaign co-chairs Mike Sanders and Leonard Bevill shared their excitement for the campaign and what it will mean for Georgia Southern. “I could not be more excited about Georgia Southern and its possibilities. Opportunities abound for our University and the Together We Soar Campaign is the catalyst. It is time to do ‘more with more.’” - Mike Sanders “‘Together We Soar’ is spot on. From across campus to athletics and throughout our community, we’re perfectly aligned and equipped to launch to historic heights. I’m very blessed and excited to be involved.” Leonard Bevill The campaign also highlights the significant economic impact of Georgia Southern, with a regional economic contribution of $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2022. The University plays a critical role in the economic growth and transformation of Southeast Georgia. Marrero said Georgia Southern invites all its supporters, alumni and the community to join this transformative journey. With collective support, there’s no limit to how high Georgia Southern can soar. For more information or to contribute to the “Together We Soar” campaign, visit GeorgiaSouthern.edu/TogetherWeSoar.
[ Left to Right: Kathryn Gratton, Elementary School Resource Coordinator and Deputy Chief Jason Saunders, Brantford Police Service. ] CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) is proud to recognize two of its CAA School Safety Patrol® (SSP) program partners, the Brantford Police Service and, Windsor-Essex Schools Safety Patrol Association (WESSPA) for their outstanding contribution and dedication to the program. “CAA takes the safety of children and pedestrians very seriously and we work closely with our community and police partners to protect, educate and empower elementary school students to help keep their peers safe travelling to and from school.” says Tracy Marshall, manager of community relations at CAA SCO. “We are proud to celebrate this year’s CAA School Safety Patrol Program Achievement Award winners for their commitment to the program’s mission of keeping school zones safe,” adds Marshall. Kathryn Gratton, a civilian who works for the Brantford Police Service was recognized for going above and beyond to ensure program participants in her community were never left behind. Gratton has served her community through the CAA SSP program for four years and has trained over 2,300 Patrollers. This year, when other local regions were unable to train Patrollers, Gratton sprung into action to ensure students wouldn't miss out on the program. She continued training her schools and voluntarily offered to train other schools as well. From the 2022/23 school year alone, she has trained 26 schools and over 500 Patrollers. She also attended each school individually and had a pizza party with snacks and drinks for the Patrollers to show her appreciation for their hard work throughout the year. Through her proud involvement in the program, Gratton has clearly demonstrated the Brantford Police Service mission statement of being committed to enhancing safety for all. Brantford Police Service have been participating in the SSP program for over 50 years. [ Left to Right: Bernadette Arreola Community Program Consultant, CAA SCO and Linda Dowell, Windsor-Essex Schools Safety Patrol Association (WESSPA) ] Linda Dowell, who has been with the WESSPA for 18 years as the SSP regional partner, was recognized for her exceptional leadership that has directly impacted the program’s success. After a two-and-a-half-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the WESSPA brought back the CAA SSP program in September 2022 with 55 schools and over 1,000 Patrollers. Through Dowell’s leadership, WESSPA was able to re-integrate all their program components and incentives. This included ensuring Patrollers, bus operators and local police partners received extensive school bus safety and foot patrol training as well as hosting special events for program participants. Despite being retired, Dowell has chosen to continue serving her community through the SSP program because of her passion and commitment to school zone safety. The WESSPA have been participating in the SSP program for over 80 years. The CAA School Safety Patrol® program has helped keep students safe in school zones since the 1920s by assisting at school crossings and on school buses. Every year, approximately 900 schools in Ontario participate in the CAA SSP program and CAA SCO partners with local partners to deliver the program. For more information, visit www.caaschoolsafetypatrol.com.
Recognizing that stigma may keep people from accessing treatment and recovery resources, ChristianaCare Union Hospital is partnering with the Cecil County Health Department and Voices of Hope to make peer recovery specialists available at the bedside for patients who have experienced a drug overdose or live with substance use disorder. Ten peer recovery specialists are available at Union Hospital seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. to talk with patients about behavioral health care navigation, access to treatment and referrals to harm-reduction and recovery-support resources. Patients can be connected with a certified peer recovery specialist if they are brought to the Emergency Department because of a drug overdose, or if they screen positive for substance use while they are a patient in the hospital. ChristianaCare Union Hospital is partnering with the Cecil County Health Department and the Maryland nonprofit Voices of Hope to make peer recovery specialists, pictured in blue t-shirts, available at the bedside for patients who have experienced a drug overdose or live with substance use disorder. Patients are not required to speak with a peer recovery specialist, but the specialists’ unique combination of lived experience and training to help people experiencing behavioral health issues offers an opportunity for people with substance use disorder to get help without fear of judgment or stigma. “Substance use disorder continues to be a serious health problem that affects people of all ages and walks of life,” said Lanre Akinkunmi, M.D., interim chief medical officer and medical director for population health at ChristianaCare Cecil County Campus. “The good news is that it is treatable, and when people are in the hospital or the emergency department, they are often most receptive to discussions about treatment. Through this expanded use of peer recovery specialists at Union Hospital, we are making a positive impact on the health of our patients and our community.” A voice of experience Peer recovery specialists who work on the weekdays are employed by the Cecil County Health Department, supported by a grant from the National Association of County and City Health Officials. Voices of Hope, a nonprofit focused on recovery support for people in Harford and Cecil counties in Maryland, employs the peer specialists working evenings and weekends. “This program is a great example of using resources wisely and effectively. We already know the tremendous work being done by Voices of Hope and Cecil County Health Department to help our neighbors who have been impacted by substance use disorder,” said Lisa Fields, manager of Community Engagement at the Cecil County Campus. “By partnering on this important program, we are building trust with our patients and helping them to get on the road to recovery.” Since the expanded program launched in September, there have been about 40 referrals for patients to speak with peer support specialists, and more than half of them have agreed to some kind of treatment, Fields said. Unique connection “Helping people get through what I went through really warms my heart,” said Hannah Dean, a peer recovery specialist with the Cecil County Health Department who works at Union Hospital. “I love what I do.” Cecil County’s death rate from drug overdoses is nearly twice as high as the rest of Maryland and more than three times the U.S. rate. The drug overdose death rate in Cecil County more than doubled between 2016 and 2020, according to the 2022 Cecil County Community Health Needs Assessment. Because peer support specialists have lived experience with substance use disorder and recovery, along with specialized training to support people struggling with mental health or substance use issues, they can connect with patients on a personal level and offer empathetic guidance, said Lauren Levy, health officer for the Cecil County Health Department. “Allowing peer recovery specialists to engage bedside with patients who may be struggling with substance use disorders will not only enhance access to behavioral health treatment but will also help reduce stigma surrounding substance use disorders and foster a more compassionate and supportive community,” Levy said. “We are honored to be a part of this innovative private-public collaboration and to work alongside ChristianaCare Union Hospital and Voices of Hope, Inc. This project helps to break down barriers to treatment and provide immediate support to those in need.” A history of support ChristianaCare has long been a pioneer in the use of peer recovery specialists, going back to the launch of Project Engage at ChristianaCare’s Wilmington Hospital in 2008. Union Hospital first partnered with the Cecil County Health Department 10 years ago to provide a peer recovery specialist in the Emergency Department. That program, the first of its kind in Maryland, was recognized with a best practice award from the Maryland Association of Counties in 2014. However, it operated only on weekdays during daytime business hours, and its ability to connect with hospital patients slowed during the COVID-19 pandemic. This reinvigorated peer recovery program is strengthened by the high level of collaboration among these Cecil County organizations, said Erin Wright, chief operations officer for Voices of Hope. “As community-based organizations, we are in a position to make a difference, and our perspective in the care for people with substance use disorder is really valuable,” said Wright, who has been in recovery for eight years. “As someone who has been through it, we are able to have that empathy. Even if the person does not want to go to treatment, you sit with them and maybe plant a seed.” Catharine Murray hopes her role as a certified peer recovery specialist can help someone struggling with addiction see recovery as a viable option for themselves. “This wasn’t available to me when I was trying to get better. I want to make it more accessible to others,” she said.
The Georgia Southern University Soldier Performance and Readiness (SPAR) program received a $1.5 million, two-year grant from the Department of Defense’s U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC). The grant will expand Georgia’s Southern research and programming capacity in injury prevention techniques that ensure force readiness for the Army. “Through this large-scale research study, Georgia Southern doctoral students have opportunities to be involved in the research process and work directly with soldiers,” said Nancy Henderson, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. “Additionally, the grant will fund graduate assistant positions in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program.” USAMRDC’s mission is to provide solutions to medical problems for American service members at home and abroad, as well as to the public at large. The scope of this effort and the priorities attached to specific projects are influenced by changes in military and civilian medical science and technology, operational requirements, military threat assessments and national defense strategies. Extramural research and development programs play a vital role in the fulfillment of the objectives established by the organization. Research and development funded through this are intended to benefit both military and civilian medical practices. “The grant investigates different physical training programs to identify those practices that best prevent non-combat injuries,” said Henderson. “Faculty on the research team will seek to advance the body of literature by determining the best educational models to educate soldiers on injury-prevention topics.” This is the first time that Georgia Southern will act as lead investigator on a collaborative research project with an Army research institute. However, SPAR has long been involved in multiple branches of research with community impact. “Georgia Southern has several initiatives underway to help improve the health, fitness and performance of military service members, law enforcement personnel and firefighting and rescue personnel,” said Joseph Kardouni, Ph.D., director of the Tactical Performance Group. “The Tactical Athlete Certificate (TAC) program is one of these initiatives that teaches service members exercise fundamentals to help mitigate training-related injuries. The funding coming through Medical Research and Development Command will improve evidence-based teaching methods and inform similar efforts to teach service members within this field. Leaders from health and human performance programs within the Army understand the importance of leveraging partnerships with academic institutions to work toward improving the quality of life, health and occupational performance of soldiers.” Faculty and students in the DPT program have educated soldiers on injury prevention topics since 2016 and this grant further provides students with the opportunity to assess effectiveness while learning how to improve educational methods with military service members. “This research is an important next step in delivering on the promise of the SPAR program and Georgia Southern’s close working relationship with Army research partners,” said Interim Vice President for Research and Economic Development Christopher Curtis, Ph.D. Curtis also noted that funding was made possible by the advocacy of U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter and the strong support of Georgia’s legislative delegation in Washington D.C. Interested in learning more or looking to talk with Nancy Henderson? Simply click on her icon now or Contact Georgia Southern's Director of Communications Jennifer Wise at email@example.com to arrange an interview today.
Forbes magazine has ranked ChristianaCare as the best health care employer for veterans in the United States in its fourth annual list of Best Employers for Veterans 2023. ChristianaCare also ranked as the No. 6 employer for veterans in the nation overall. “Veterans answer a calling in their life to serve our nation, and we are deeply appreciative that so many of them during the second half of their career choose to serve others by working at ChristianaCare,” said Christopher Cowan, MEd, FABC, chief human resources officer at ChristianaCare. “Being recognized by Forbes as the top health care employer for veterans is another external validation that we’re doing the right thing by creating an environment where our veteran caregivers can be their authentic selves and flourish.” ChristianaCare, Delaware’s largest private employer, has a variety of programs designed to create a supportive environment for veterans. These include SALUTES!, an employee resource group that connects veteran caregivers to bond with one another. This voluntary grassroots group of more than 100 ChristianaCare employees works to improve the experience of veteran caregivers. ChristianaCare refers to all employees as caregivers. “Veterans bring skills from their military experience to our health system that improve the quality, safety and experience that our patients receive,” said Sam Wetherill, PharmD., MHA, MPS-SCM, vice president of Laboratory and Pharmacy Services at ChristianaCare and executive sponsor of SALUTES! “Their traits include leadership, camaraderie with their fellow caregivers and a strong sense of pride in their work, which ultimately enables us to provide better and more equitable care,” said Wetherill, a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. ChristianaCare also offers support services to veterans through its Center for WorkLife Wellbeing, which offers programs to support all caregivers in finding joy in work, managing stress and preventing burnout, such as psychological first aid training, which trains caregivers to identify and support colleagues impacted by stress. In addition, ChristianaCare’s peer support program, Care for the Caregiver, offers confidential individual peer support and group support following stressful events at work. ChristianaCare also has partnered with Wellthy, a support solution that helps health care workers balance work and family responsibilities. Forbes’ Best Employers for Veterans were identified from an independent survey of more than 8,500 veterans working for companies employing more than 1,000 employees. Respondents were asked to rate their organizations on whether they would recommend their employer to friends and family. They also were asked to rate their employer on criteria such as salary, company image and the presence of support systems for military families. Respondents also were asked to evaluate other companies within their respective industries.
Every workplace needs its cheerleaders who work lift their teammates up when the chips are down. But sometimes things really are that bad, and according to UD career expert Jill Gugino Panté, if that’s not acknowledged and dealt with, the situation will go further south. Panté, director of the Lerner Career Services Center at the University of Delaware, offered three tips for dealing with what is known as “toxic positivity.” Don’t force it. One example of toxic positivity in the workplace is always having to display and present positive emotions even when you might be feeling the opposite. So, feelings of frustration, anger or sadness are not acceptable on any given day. Forcing this type of toxic positivity can actually do the opposite and create feelings of resentment and burnout. Share with your supervisor. As an employee in this environment where toxic positivity runs rampant, you may want to have a one-on-one conversation with your supervisor to discuss the culture and ramifications of not being able to display authentic emotions. Perhaps letting your supervisor know that there are negative feelings festering under the “positive outside” that should be addressed. If you don’t feel comfortable going to your supervisor, find an advocate within the organization. And if you feel brave enough, try playing devil’s advocate in a meeting and state that discussing all angles could be helpful in problem solving. Be proactive with direct reports. Another example of toxic positivity is that everything, no matter the situation, is going to be alright. Sometimes situations are not going to turn out for the better. Sometimes situations are awful and horrible and people need to be allowed to feel that way. This constant “look on the bright side” can diminish a person’s experiences and feelings. It silences those who want to be able to express outrage, anger or sadness and doesn’t provide a supportive workplace. Eliminating this behavior starts at the top with creating an environment where people feel safe to express dissenting opinions or feelings. Panté is available for interviews. To set one up, simply click on her profile.