e-Veritas Archive | August, 2017

President Frenk’s Public Health Course Bridges the Gulf

By Maya Bell
UM News


Students who took the public health course that President Julio Frenk, front center, taught in Mexico gather for a post-course group photo. Not pictured are UM students who listened in on a live webcast.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (August 10, 2017)—President Julio Frenk returned to Mexico last week to teach a course on a subject he knows well—the fundamental concepts of public health—at the now-renowned National Institute of Public Health (INSP) he helped launch 30 years ago.

As INSP’s founding director and Mexico’s former minister of health, Frenk brought a wealth of knowledge and insight to the intensive eight-hour course that literally spanned the Gulf of Mexico. Held over four days at INSP headquarters in Cuernavaca, each two-hour class was simultaneously made available via live webcast to graduate students at the University of Miami.

“It was a great opportunity and very worthwhile,” said Daniel Samano Martin del Campo, a physician who earned his medical degree in Mexico and is pursuing his master’s in public health at the Miller School of Medicine.

“What I like about Dr. Frenk is his ability to connect complex ideas and concepts and paint a big picture—but it is his own picture with his background as a social scientist,” Samano continued. “I’ve gone to many of his talks around the U, not necessarily about public health, and every time he leaves you with a message—a meaningful message with words of wisdom you can apply to real-life scenarios.”

Like Samano, Frenk earned his medical degree in Mexico before pursuing his master’s in public health. The former dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, UM’s sixth president was, in fact, among the pioneers of public health, a field that INSP has nurtured in Spanish-speaking countries around the world. Widely considered the top public health doctoral program in the developing world, INSP was created in large measure to conduct the research that would inform public policy.

“In the course of a decade and a half, it completely changed the character of the public health research and education in a developing country,” Frenk told The Lancet for a profile of INSP the medical journal published in February.

The institute was the brainchild of Guillermo Soberon Acevedo, who was president of Mexico’s National Autonomous University when Frenk was a medical student there and who went on to become Mexico’s minister of health in 1982.

When Frenk followed Soberon as Mexico’s health minister in late 2000, he relied on INSP work to establish Seguro Popular, which brought health coverage to millions of uninsured Mexicans. INSP research also led to an increased cigarette tax and more nutritious food in schools.

For Samano, who grew interested in public health during his mandatory social service year in a small, rural community outside Mexico City, Frenk’s real-world experiences and ability to explain the interactions between complicated health care systems, research, finances, and other complexities not learned in medical school made the virtual course particularly worthwhile.

“It was in that small community of 6,000 that I realized medicine goes beyond treating one person at a time,” Samano said. “I wanted to learn more about the system and how to expand health to communities, not just persons. He’s spent his life doing that.”

Graduate School Dean Guillermo “Willy” Prado said giving students on both sides of the Gulf access to a world authority on public health is consistent with the University’s aspiration of being a hemispheric institution.

“The goal of public health scientists and practitioners is to achieve health equity and improve the health of populations globally,” Prado said. “INSP’s public health course taught by President Frenk, a leading public health expert, covered methods and concepts to help achieve this important goal.”



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Executive Vice President Travisano’s Secret to Normalcy

By Melissa Cabezas
UM News

Travisano-2CORAL GABLES, Fla. (August 11, 2017)—“I’m normal,” Jacqueline Travisano, UM’s new executive vice president for business and finance and chief operating officer, said last week in addressing more than 100 leaders within the Division of Business and Finance. “Well, at least I try to be, thanks to a set of laws I’ve kept on my desk for more than two decades.”

Travisano was referring to Friday’s Laws created by Paul J. Friday, the special guest speaker at the August 8 Business and Finance Leadership Forum, a special leadership development event in the division and the first for Travisano. The laws help people gain perspective on daily stressors and problems and help induce a sense of harmony by improving the good and changing the not so good.

“You will leave here today different than you are now—if I do what I’m supposed to do,” Friday, chief of clinical psychology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center–Shadyside, said as he began his presentation, “Thriving in Times of Change.” He used the hour to review his eight fundamental laws, using comic strips and humorous anecdotes to bring his points to life.

The laws can be summarized simply: Perception is reality. Change is the toughest thing a human being can do. I am responsible for everything I do and say. I am not responsible for your response.

These are phrases many of us have heard in one form or another, but oftentimes ignore or forget in times of stress or as a result of the routine of everyday life. 
“We must work to become and stay normal,” said Friday, referring to the special state of being people enter when they understand and accept his laws—the state when our thoughts, feelings, and actions are in harmony.

“That is the secret to success in your career, your relationships, and your life,” he said.

While we continually have to call the laws to mind and work on staying normal, Friday, who has presented to national and international forums on topics relevant to cognitive behavioral therapy, took the time to point out one fundamental concept—his final law: The only thing that lasts forever is now.

“If you remember nothing else today,” Friday said, “remember this, best stated by Robert Hastings in his book The Station: ‘It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad. It is the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today.’”

As Friday noted, we cannot change the past nor predict the future. We must remember to live in the present and take responsibility for our own actions. Being normal will help us become better, as leaders and as people, both at home and at work.

Only time will tell if the people in the room were changed from Friday’s presentation. If nothing else, they may become a little more normal.

Read all of Dr. Friday’s laws and take the free brain test.


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Mindful Living

This Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) seminar is offered monthly to explore the basic tenets of mindfulness, review the significance of mindful living, and guide participants through a mindfulness practice. Being mindful increases engagement with the present moment and allows for a clearer understanding of how thoughts and emotions impact our health and the quality of our lives. Attend to awaken your innate capacity for mindful living and nurture a practice to positively inspire every facet of your life. This seminar will be facilitated by a UM Faculty and Staff Assistance Program consultant. FSAP Health and Wellness seminars are offered as part of the University of Miami’s Well ‘Canes Program.

Rosenstiel campus: Tuesday, August 22, 12-1 p.m., Library Media Room

Miller School campus: Wednesday, August 23, 12-1 p.m., Don Soffer Clinical Research Center, room 692

Coral Gables campus: Thursday, August 24, 12-1 p.m., McKnight Building, room 201AB

FSAP health and wellness seminars are offered as part of the University of Miami’s Well ‘Canes Program. Register through ulearn.miami.edu. For help with ULearn registration, or to receive email announcements of upcoming seminars, please call the FSAP at 305-284-6604.



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Rallying the Team for ‘Cane Kickoff 2017


From left, Jeffrey Duerk, executive vice president and provost, and Nerissa Morris, vice president for human resources.

Eager and excited employee volunteers were treated to a surprise visit from University leadership during a briefing for ‘Cane Kickoff 2017 at the Donna E. Shalala Student Center last week. Faculty and staff offering their time to assist during this busy week received tips and insights from Jeffrey Duerk, UM’s new executive vice president and provost; Patricia Whitely, vice president for student affairs; Nerissa Morris, vice president for human resources; and Gail Cole-Avent, executive director of programs for Student Affairs.

One hundred faculty and staff volunteers will welcome new students and their families by answering questions and helping new ‘Canes navigate the Coral Gables campus during orientation August 15-17.

Volunteering? Share your photos at #InsideUM and follow InsideUM on Instagram to see updates.


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Dean Prado Named ‘Research Exemplar’

UM News

Prado photo

Guillermo “Willy” Prado

Graduate School Dean Guillermo “Willy” Prado, an internationally known expert in effective intervention strategies for at-risk youth, has been named a “research exemplar” by The Research Exemplar Project at Washington University School of Medicine.

Prado, the Leonard M. Miller Professor of Public Health Sciences and director of the Division of Prevention Science and Community Health, was nominated for the honor in the Biomedical Science Division by UM’s John Bixby, vice provost for research.

“Dr. Prado’s career provides a clear example of the close relationship that exists between research integrity and research quality,” Bixby said. “He combines excellence in both management and mentorship of his research team with high-quality, high-impact research.”

Funded by an NIH career development grant awarded to Alison Antes, assistant professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM), The Research Exemplar Project is a partnership with WUSM’s Professionalism and Integrity in Research Program, directed by James DuBois.

Their project, which aims to honor and enable others to learn from high-impact researchers who maintain an impressive reputation for professionalism and research integrity, yielded many outstanding nominations. A review panel narrowed down the nominees to a cohort of biomedical research exemplars and a cohort of STEM research exemplars.

Each of the exemplars was interviewed by WUSM researchers to identify and share their practices for leading research teams. Research exemplars also received a personalized award and are featured on the project website.

Prado, who earned his Ph.D. in epidemiology and public health and his Master of Science in statistics from UM, has focused his research on strategies to prevent obesity, drug use, and HIV infection in at-risk youth, particularly Latino youth. Over his career, he has received an estimated $75 million in funding (as principal investigator or co-principal investigator) from such agencies as the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As his bio on the exemplar website notes, “Colleagues view him as a role model for junior faculty, for Latino faculty, and for high standards of data analysis and interpretation in public health and epidemiology. They commend his leadership in developing a university-wide program in the Responsible Conduct of Research and describe him as thoughtful, fair, and insistent on high ethical standards at all times.”


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