e-Veritas Archive | April, 2017

Panel Assesses President Trump’s First 100 Days

By Michael R. Malone
UM News

100DaysPanelCORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 21, 2017)–A panel of University of Miami professors, media strategists, and a former legislator convened Thursday at the UM School of Law to appraise President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office, a period that historically provides a telling gauge for a president’s full term in office.

Hosted by Joseph Uscinski and Casey Klofstad, associate professors in the Department of Political Science, and the College of Arts and Sciences, “Trump’s First 100 Days” attracted an audience of approximately 150 students, alumni, and community members. Panel members included former U.S. Congressman Patrick Murphy and publisher Justin Sayfie, both University of Miami alumni; Merike Blofield and Gregory Koger, associate professors in political science; and Fernand Amandi, a local pollster and host of the morning program on WIOD news radio. A short audience Q&A followed the panel discussion.

Panelists gave low marks to the new president based on his inability to enact major legislation and deliver on key campaign promises. Murphy pointed to Trump’s “inability to be bipartisan” and to the uncertainty and antagonism stemming from his campaign.

“You have to have created an environment for some collaboration. There’s no incentive for Democrats or even Republicans to work with him,” Murphy said.

“He’s in a tough place; Trump has seen warning signs from the alt right not to go too mainstream,” he added.

The panelists concurred that the Trump presidency is unique by any historical comparison, and Sayfie in particular cautioned against applying a generic template to evaluate.

“We’re seeing the rise of populism on both sides of the political spectrum—and we need to see Trump in this context. It’s a case of ‘reality television meets the presidency,’ and we have to understand him for what he is,” said Sayfie, publisher of the Sayfie Review and former senior policy advisor, communications director, and chief speechwriter to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

Blofield, who is also director of the University’s Women’s and Gender Studies program, applied a “gender optics” lens to view the new president’s “politics of masculinity and male identity,” i.e., Trump’s appeal to male, working class, mostly white supporters. “There’s a sense [within this base] that the people who should be in power are now in their rightful place,” Blofield said. She shared an informal study of photos of 10 recent cabinet meetings that depicted the appearances of 108 men—and just 11 women. The Trump cabinet includes four women of the 23 posts.

Amandi highlighted the president’s approval ratings, peaking at 38 percent and lower than any president in the modern era, which is especially surprising for a president whose party controls both houses of Congress. Amandi noted the importance of the 100-day time frame as a “honeymoon” in which campaign promises can be enacted and Congress is generally willing to support new initiatives. Those presidents who perform poorly early “never recover” to enjoy successful presidential terms, said Amandi, of Bendixen & Amandi International, a public opinion research and strategic communications consulting firm.

Koger said the president’s early stumbles are owed to four factors: his lack of understanding of enacting policy; failure to surround himself with those who understand the legislative process; staffing problems; and the fact that the Republican Party was ill-prepared to assume the role of majority party.

Asked for their insights on the short-term future of the Trump presidency, several panelists cited the complications and current investigations into dealings with Russia.

Sayfie noted that the new president was not alone in his low appeal and limited productivity—that both parties also suffer from a loss of direction and dysfunction.

“There’s a schism in both parties that makes it virtually impossible for either party to govern,” Sayfie said.




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Art MD Brings ‘Smoke Out’ to the Shalala Center

MDArtArt MD, a nonprofit group of University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital physicians who promote health  through art, is exhibiting its tobacco cessation art exhibit “Smoke Out” in the Student Suite of the Shalala Student Center through May 13.

All the pieces in the exhibit, some of which are made of recycled cigarette butts collected dusting community clean-ups, seek to inspire viewers in a different way to quit smoking.

“In a way we are healing our environment by picking up cigarette butts contaminating our beaches and streets and turning something ugly into something beautiful to give people the courage needed to quit a habit that damages their health,” said Zeina Hannoush, M.D., the creator and founder of Art MD.

To learn more about the organization visit the Art MD Project.

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Arboretum Director Receives Inaugural Bosey Foote Award

Stephen D. Pearson, Director of UM’s Gifford Arboretum, Receives Inaugural ‘Bosey’ Foote Prize

Deserae E. del Campo
Special to UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 21, 2017) – When Roberta “Bosey” Fulbright Foote came to the University of Miami in 1981, the institution’s Coral Gables campus could be described as a large swath of concrete and cement. But Foote, the spouse of UM’s fourth president, Edward T. “Tad” Foote II, changed all that, spearheading an effort to beautify the campus with palms, cycads, and other plant life and becoming an ardent supporter of UM’s John C. Gifford Arboretum, a collection of rare plants and trees maintained for educational and research purposes.

Though she passed away two years ago, her legacy lives on—in the leaves, blades of grass, and flowers that bloom on UM’s campus and in the name of a new award that honors her memory.

Last Friday, as part of the University’s Earth Day activities, Stephen D. Pearson, director of the Gifford Arboretum, accepted the inaugural Roberta “Bosey” Fulbright Foote Prize for Natural Campus Beautification at UM. “I am so happy to receive this honor,” said Pearson, a retired attorney and passionate plant lover who is now in his fifth year as director of the arboretum, which, he said, is rightfully “getting the recognition it deserves.”

Nestled behind the Knight Physics Building, the arboretum is a peaceful oasis that is home to a diverse collection of more than 450 trees and other plants—the perfect place to meditate, be one with nature, and disconnect from the constant campus buzz.

“It is a wonderful place with a collection of plants and trees perfect for research opportunities within the community and the University. It truly is a beautiful treasure,” Pearson said at the awards ceremony, held on the University Center Lakeside Patio prior to UM’s Hug the Lake event.

“For many years, Steve has been a dynamic and passionate advocate for the arboretum,” said UM President Julio Frenk, who presented Pearson with the award. “Congratulations, Steve, for this well-deserved honor, and thank you to the Foote family. We are very grateful for the legacy left by your parents and everything they did to build this great University.”

For more than two decades Pearson has been a member of the board of directors of the Montgomery Botanical Center. During his time as chairman of the City of Miami’s Beautification Committee in the 1990s, Pearson led volunteers in planting flowering and native trees along Interstate-95 and other highways. He was honored with the Outstanding Volunteer Award from the Florida Urban Forestry Council and the National Outstanding Volunteer Award from American Forests and the National Urban Forestry Council.

The Roberta “Bosey” Fulbright Foote Prize was established by her children at the 2016 memorial service for President Foote.


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Advanced LASIK Procedure Now Offered at The Lennar Foundation Medical Center

The most advanced LASIK vision correction procedure—already offered by Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, part of the University of Miami Health System, at its Miami health district and Palm Beach Gardens locations—is coming to The Lennar Foundation Medical Center on UM’s Coral Gables campus this week.

The Laser Vision Center at the Lennar Center will treat patients using the Allegretto 500 Laser, which features a guidance system that follows the actual topography of each patient’s eye. This permits individualized treatment that is unique to each patient and corrects all of the aberrations in the patient’s cornea. The result is crisper, clearer vision correction than is available with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or other LASIK systems.

“Some patients notice a dramatic difference immediately after the procedure, and almost all patients recover from any discomfort quickly enough to drive themselves to a follow-up check the next morning,” said Sonia H. Yoo, M.D., professor of ophthalmology, who will be one of the Bascom Palmer surgeons performing the procedure at the Lennar Center.

Still, said Yoo, not every patient is a good candidate for LASIK surgery. Conditions that typically disqualify a patient are having dry eye, a cornea that is too thin or irregular astigmatism.

“Where you choose to have your laser vision correction is critical,” said William W. Culbertson, M.D., another Bascom Palmer surgeon who will be treating patients at the Lennar Center, and professor of ophthalmology at the University of Miami Miller school of Medicine. “We have 35 years of experience with refractive surgery, and we have trained on every piece of equipment available, including the new Allegretto 500. Our patients can be confident that they are receiving the best LASIK treatment in South Florida.”

Ben Riestra, M.B.A., chief administrative officer at the Lennar Center, is excited about the opening of the Laser Vision Center.

“The concept behind the Lennar Center is bringing UHealth’s unmatched outpatient specialty services to Coral Gables, closer to where many of our patients, and prospective patients, live,” he said. “The Laser Vision Center will be one more way we provide both close-to-home convenience and state-of-the-art clinical treatment.”

To make an appointment at the Laser Vision Center, call 305-326-6575.

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Ready to Shine as a UFacilitator?

The University’s UFacilitators, a group of volunteers who audition to host new employees at the new I am the U orientation, have welcomed hundreds of faculty and staff since the program launched in January. Now the program is hosting auditions for a new class of UFacilitators who will welcome new employees to the University.

As a U Facilitator you will have the opportunity to impact our workforce from day one by sharing stories, inspiring others to share theirs, and showing everyone why it’s great to be a Miami Hurricane.

If you are energetic, have a strong passion for the U, and are capable of influencing positive change, we need you!

To learn more about the U Facilitator program RSVP to an upcoming information session:

Gables info sessions

Medical info sessions

 RSMAS info sessions

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