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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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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Frost Preparatory Program Open House on August 17

PrepMusicProgramTo learn more about the Frost Preparatory Program’s many course offerings for children through age 18, meet our teachers, and hear performances by current students, attend the free, kid-friendly Open House on Thursday, August 17, at 6:30 p.m. in Gusman Concert Hall.

Attendees will be entered in a raffle to win a $100 voucher to use toward fall tuition and a waiver of the registration fee. Sebastian the Ibis will be in attendance, and the Ms. Cheezious food truck will be on site.

RSVP to the Facebook event link. For more information, visit www.prep.frost.miami.edu or contact Megan Walsh, program director, at frostprep@miami.edu or 786-853-4041.


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In Memoriam: William W. Sandler, Jr.

UM News

William J. 'Bill' Sandler, Jr.

William W. ‘Bill’ Sandler, Jr.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (August 10, 2017)—Former Dean of Students William W. Sandler, Jr., an epic figure at the University of Miami who counseled, mentored, and befriended four generations of students during his 43 years at the U, passed away August 6 at his Key Biscayne home. He was 83.

Sandler, who began his career at the University in 1962 as a counselor for men in the old Dean of Men’s Office, continuously rose through the administrative ranks, serving as dean of student personnel or dean of students for a quarter century, until his retirement in July 2006.

Sandler always considered himself first and foremost an advocate for students. He was instrumental in shifting the Division of Student Affairs’ focus to giving students a role in University governance and a voice in issues that mattered to them. During his time, that included fewer regulations on their personal lives, representation on the Board of Trustees, a rathskeller on campus, overseas conflicts, and the plight of black students on campus.

As he put it, “We learned to work more closely with students. We became student advocates rather than university administrators.”

Pat Whitely, vice president for student affairs, who considered Sandler a mentor, said he had a profound impact on countless students and student affairs administrators like herself.

“He was known for his kindness, patience, and unflappable manner, regardless of the student challenges facing him,” Whitely said. “It was such a privilege to work closely with him.”

Over his tenure, Sandler advised fraternities and sororities, developed the Student Discipline System, instituted a student-run honor code, oversaw the Campus Chaplain’s Association, and cofounded the Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education, which today bears his name.

Arriving at the U in the days when Interstate-95 didn’t exist, stop signs halted traffic on US 1, and campus life was disrupted by student unrest and major hurricanes, Sandler witnessed many transformative changes in the community, the student body, and the campus. He and his wife, Anita, started their own family in Building 29, one of the old World War II-era apartments on Walsh Avenue that were torn down to make way for what is now the Watsco Center. He and his daughters, Lisa Zingler and Kristine Sandler, who attended the U, were often seen walking around Lake Osceola, feeding the ducks and watching the mullet jump.

“I’ve seen a lot of changes since ’62,” Sandler said before his retirement. “They’ve all been great things. The University has become great and well respected in those years.”

Originally from Sunbury, Penn., Sandler attended Mansfield University and Pennsylvania State University, where he studied education and counseling psychology. He met his future boss and mentor, Dean Noble Hendrix, at an education convention in Philadelphia and was delighted to learn the young university had three dean openings. He immediately applied for a vacancy, anxious to take his young bride from the cold to the tropics.

He left the U briefly in the mid-1960s to become dean of students elsewhere but quickly returned because he had sand in his shoes—and the growing reputation and promise of the U in his heart. “If I go anywhere…with a U on my shirt I get all kinds of people talking to me,” he proudly noted. “It really is great to be a ’Cane.’’

Inducted into the Iron Arrow Honor Society in 1974, Sandler had many other honors over his lifetime, including the Lambda Chi Alpha Order of Merit, the Panhellenic Council’s Administrator of the Year Award, and the National Lambda Chi Alpha Award for Distinguished Service.

In addition to his wife of 55 years and his daughters, he is survived by grandchildren Lauren Zingler Davis, Shawn Zingler, Ricky Saborido, and William Saborido.

A celebration of his life  will be held at 4 p.m. on Sunday, September 17, at the Newman Alumni Center. Donations in his memory can be made to The Sandler Center For Alcohol and Other Drug Education, 1306 Stanford Drive, UC #2250, Coral Gables, FL 33146.



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