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UM Joins Partnership for a Healthier America

UM Joins Partnership for a Healthier America

Healthier.PartnershipCORAL GABLES, Fla. (November 17, 2014)—The University of Miami is joining the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) in a three-year commitment to make its campus healthier by adopting guidelines around food and nutrition, physical activity, and programming.

PHA works with the private sector and honorary chair First Lady Michelle Obama to make healthier choices easier. In joining the partnership, this initiative will impact nearly 17,000 students and more than 14,000 faculty and staff on campus.

“The University of Miami is proud to be at the forefront of this national partnership,” said President Donna E. Shalala. “As one of 20 schools in the first cohort, the University has reaffirmed its commitment to creating a culture of wellness and fostering a healthy lifestyle for our students and campuses, in all aspects of daily life.”

Shalala served as secretary of Health and Human Services during the Clinton administration, and is currently co-chair of the Nutrition and Physical Activity Initiative under the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC).

The University’s new PHA initiative supports BPC’s 2012 report, “Lots to Lose: How America’s Health and Obesity Crisis Threatens our Economic Future,” which called on large institutions, including hospitals and universities, to procure and serve healthier foods using their market power to shift food supply chains and make healthier options more readily available.

The partnership was announced on Sunday, November 16 at the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) 2014 Annual Meeting & Exposition. UM is one of the first schools to sign on to PHA’s Healthier Campus Initiative, which includes 19 other colleges and universities, collectively impacting more than 500,000 students and 126,000 faculty and staff. Ashley Falcon, assistant director for wellness, represented UM at the APHA meeting.

The University’s commitments to the Partnership for a Healthier America include a wide range of health and wellness initiatives focusing on three key areas: food and nutrition, physical activity, and wellness programming. The commitments range from offering healthier food options at on-campus dining locations and supporting locally grown, sustainable menu items to developing physical activity guidelines for campus audiences and bolstering its already comprehensive wellness programming.

“Colleges and universities are in a unique position to help shape tomorrow’s leaders, whether they are teachers, coaches, policymakers, CEOs, moms, or dads,” said PHA Chief Executive Officer Lawrence A. Soler. “We know that going to college is a time of change for many students—we also know that means it’s a time when new habits are formed. By creating healthier food and physical activity environments today, campuses and universities are encouraging healthier habits that will carry over into tomorrow.”

Across campuses, the Herbert Wellness Center and UHealth Fitness and Wellness Center provide educational opportunities to raise awareness and develop wellness skills, while UM Dining Services provides healthy menu options, nutritional information, and the assistance of a registered dietician. The availability of fresh produce from the weekly farmer’s market and organic food buying club, both initiatives established by student organizations, further supplement these efforts by increasing the availability of healthy choices on campus.

For more information on PHA’s Healthier Campus Initiative, visit www.ahealthieramerica.org/campuses.

Posted in News

From Food to Finances, Meditation to Men’s Health, UM’s Week of Well-Being Promotes Holistic Health

UM News
By Robert C. Jones Jr.

Fidelity's Kathy Murphy with UM President Donna E. Shalala during one of the Week of Well-Being's many offerings.

Fidelity’s Kathy Murphy with UM President Donna E. Shalala during one of the Week of Well-Being’s many offerings.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 07, 2014) — It was a “wakeup call” for Kathy Murphy’s mother that came at the wrong time. With three of six children in college, her husband died at 57, leaving her to raise a family alone and figure out how to budget and save.

“We focused a lot on saving, but not investing,” Murphy, president of Fidelity Personal Investing, told an audience of about 300 University of Miami employees. Continue Reading

Posted in Features, Freeze Frame, News

Business Plans Blow Judges Away, Earn Students and Alums $65,000 in Prizes

SnagTag-Team

The SnagTag’s Jake Elliot, left, and Nicholas Sando present their team project to the judges.

Special to UM News

CORAL GABLES, FLA. (April 4, 2014) – New ventures including a mobile application for shopping, a data analytics solution for hospitals to reduce heart failure readmissions, and art deco chocolates that represent South Florida’s cultural mecca have taken top honors in the University of Miami’s 2014 Business Plan Competition, hosted by the  School of Business Administration. The competition winners, honored in an awards ceremony April 4, took home a combined total of $65,000 in prizes.

Jake Elliot, Andrew Rodriguez, and Nicholas Sando won the grand prize and $10,000 in the undergraduate student category for SnagTag, an application for your smartphone that enhances the retail shopping experience by connecting retailers and consumers in a way never seen before.

In the graduate student category, Matt Varghese, Cristina del Toro, Sabrina Taldone, Joshua Cameron took home the Grand Prize and $10,000 for their venture, Valens, which provides a next generation data analytic solutions that allows hospitals to maximize efficiency in reducing heart failure readmissions while improving patients’ lives through better health care delivery systems.

And in the UM alumni category, Lucy Calamari won the Grand Prize and $10,000 for Lucky Lucy’s Chocolates, inspired by the colorful flavors and cultures of South Florida.  Her chocolates reflect colorful retro designs of the city’s Art Deco movement.

“This year’s young entrepreneurs came to the competition with an extraordinary mix of great business ideas,” said Isaias Sudit, CEO and founder of TROVE and one of the Competition judges. “It is clear to this panel of judges how these winners are ready to go beyond the idea stage and truly execute.  They will be exciting to watch and we are happy to send them on their way with some funding.”

Second place in the undergraduate category and $5,000 went to Paola Campodonico and Austin Zaslow for The Nest, a recovery center that accommodates prenatal and postpartum women, and post-surgical patients and offers 24/7 nannies, breastfeeding support, and other services to make recovery faster and easier. Second place in the graduate category and $5,000 went to Joe Bucciero of AdMoney, a mobile phone application that places ads on the background of a smartphones or tablet lock screens  for a monthly fee.  Second place in the alumni category and $5,000 went to Alex Suma of Ibis Power, which offers customized solutions for local renewable energy generation that overcomes all downsides of current technologies. It is almost ready to enter the U.S. and European markets.

Third place in the undergraduate category with a $2,500 prize went to Sultan Saleh Alghamdi for Central Express Laundry, a full-service laundry business in Saudi Arabia. Third place and $2,500 in the graduate category went to Rodolfo Hernandez for The Quiet American, a sustainable men’s luxury-yet-affordable clothing brand made of Alpaca wool; third place and $2,500 in the alumni category went to Thien Van Tran for Leash, an electronic security company that provides both hardware and software solutions to remedy the rise of smartphone theft.

“The judges were blown away by the caliber of ideas presented by the University of Miami entrepreneurs,” said Susy Alvarez-Diaz, director of entrepreneurship programs at the UM School of Business. “They have no doubt we will be hearing more about these companies as we have others that have grown out of our past competitions.”

In addition to the undergraduate, graduate and alumni category prizes, the Paul K. Sugrue Entrepreneurial Spirit Award and $2,500 was presented to Sidonia Swarm of On Demand Dietician, which streamlines access to dieticians for corporate employees. Also, four Heffner Internship Awards of $2,500 each were awarded to Maxim Bjelos, Alex Cantwell, Joey Lopez, and Kenthia Farmer.

The Business Plan Competition started last fall when 42 concept papers were submitted to the judging committee. Ultimately 16 semifinalists were selected to present to the judges April 1-3, with the winners named the following day. The judges included roughly one dozen successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists from South Florida and Latin America.

Now in its 12th year, the Business Plan Competition is open to all University of Miami students and alumni. Past winners  have gone on to build their ventures into businesses that have garnered national attention. They include such companies as College Hunks Hauling Junk and My Therapy Journal.com, both of which have been featured on ABC Television’s “Shark Tank,” a reality program in which entrepreneurs share their business ideas with a group of five self-made millionaires in hopes of getting venture capital to help them attain similar levels of success.

Posted in News

Food-Filled Day

Food-Filled Day

Students sample one of the products on sale by local vendors at the ’Well Canes Farmer’s Market on October 24. The market, typically held on Wednesday on the Foote University Green, was part of Food Day events organized by the University of Miami’s Office of Civic and Community Engagement. The day was part of a movement across the country to promote a healthy, affordable, and equitable food system. Food Day activities on the UM campus included a food fair, a food and agriculture panel discussion, and screenings of food justice movies.

 

Posted in Freeze Frame

Donor recognition

Donor recognition

UM senior Julie Zamora tells a UM audience at last Wednesday's Undergraduate Scholarship Donor Recognition Luncheon how her scholarship has affected her life.

Free of the pain from stress fractures that once prevented her from running, Julie Zamora is now training for next year’s ING Half Marathon in Miami, logging her miles before and after classes at the University of Miami, where she is studying for a degree in health sciences.

It will be one of the longest races Zamora will ever run. But it will still pale in comparison to the journey the UM senior will take after graduating in May.

Awaiting her: doctoral studies in physical therapy, volunteer medical missions at hospitals and clinics around the world to administer care to the needy, the opening of her own sports rehabilitation clinic, and a trip to Shanghai, China, to integrate Asian homeopathic training with Western medicine.

There’s no set timetable to her ambitious plan. But one thing is for sure: Such opportunities probably wouldn’t be possible without the scholarship she received at UM.

“My grandfather taught me to seize opportunities before me, and thanks to scholarships at the University of Miami, I have been able to do exactly that,” Zamora said last Wednesday to an audience at the spacious UM Fieldhouse on the Coral Gables campus.

A recipient of a Ronald A. Hammond Scholarship made possible by the Coca-Cola Foundation, she was one of several students attending the Undergraduate Scholarship Donor Recognition Luncheon, where freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors gathered to thank the donors whose generosity helped make their dreams of attending college come true.

Like Zamora, fellow student Mike Michel, a junior majoring in political science, addressed the audience of donors, faculty members, administrators, and proud parents, telling them how the Hammond Scholarship he received has opened academic doors both now and in the future. He plans to attend law school, and then one day become a diplomat. “UM,” he said, “places students in a position to succeed.”

His road to success, he explained, wouldn’t have been possible without his mother, an immigrant from Haiti who “never worked less than two jobs, yet still held our family together,” Michel said. “Seeing that made my success a minimum requirement.”

Thanks to the scholarship Pietro Bortoletto has received, the neuroscience and neurobiology major from Brazil is conducting research alongside top UM scientists, rising at 6 a.m. on many days to shadow and observe a neurosurgeon. He is also the vice president of UM’s Student Government, a role in which he helped bring a farmers market to campus.

Scholarships for students nationwide are now more critical than ever, as a weak economy has made attending college a challenge for many families.

“Your scholarships are the means by which we enroll academically gifted students, retain them, and graduate them, and ultimately propel UM’s national reputation upward,” UM Executive Vice President and Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc told donors at the luncheon.

UM President Donna E. Shalala reminded the students that the scholarships they receive are “a very special gift.”

“I went to college on scholarships,” Shalala said, “and therefore, I’m particularly sensitive to those of you who come here on scholarship, because I see a little bit of me in each of you.”

Shalala told the students that she repaid “every dime with interest” of the scholarship money she received, completing the task in 30 years. “I felt an obligation to the institutions because they invested in me,” she said.

She then had the students stand and take a pledge that once they graduated and achieved success in their chosen careers, they would contribute to scholarship support “so that future generations of students at the U can also enjoy the benefits of a topnotch education,” she said.

Posted in Freeze Frame

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