Tag Archive | "miller school of medicine"

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With Increased Attention, Human Trafficking Emerges from the Shadows

UM News

HumanTraffickingCORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 22, 2015)—In an ambitious effort to raise awareness, improve understanding, and generate solutions to the emerging epidemic  of human trafficking in Miami, the School of Education and Human Development and a number of community partners are holding three forums on the UM campus, two of them this week, to address the problem.

Hosted by UM President Donna E. Shalala and Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, the first forum, “Combating the ‘Glamour’ and Demand of Human Trafficking through Media, Education and Services,” will begin at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, January 27 at the Newman Alumni Center.

Alberto M. Carvalho, superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools; Orlando A. Prescott, administrative judge for the 11th Judicial Circuit’s Juvenile Division; and Deborah Baker-Egozi, president of the Miami chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, will join other community leaders, service providers, and local, state, and national law enforcement agencies in the effort Rundle began four years ago to find ways to more readily identify victims and prosecute perpetrators of the illicit trade in humans, often for the purpose of forced labor or commercial sex.

Attendees may RSVP by contacting Barbara Pacheco at 305-547-0749 or BarbaraPacheco@MiamiSAO.com but are welcome to just walk in.

The second forum, held in collaboration with the Miami-Dade County Human Trafficking Coalition and the Miami-Dade County Human Trafficking Collaborative Project, will follow on Friday, January 30, between 9 a.m. and noon at the BankUnited Center Hurricane 100 Room. Titled “Human Trafficking in Miami and Our Local Response Conference,” the event will focus on innovative, emerging service and advocacy practices and feature panel presentations and discussions with survivors of sex trafficking, along with leading service providers in the region.

Faculty, staff, and students who wish to attend the Friday forum may RSVP to Ivon Mesa, of Miami-Dade’s Community Action and Human Services Department, at MESAI@miamidade.gov.

The third forum, “Human Trafficking: Interrupting the Pathway to Victimization,” is being organized by The Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and Treatment on Friday, May 1. At the all-day event at the Newman Alumni Center, leading experts will discuss the complexities of identifying, intervening with, and protecting human trafficking victims, as well as the research on therapeutic, legal, and social solutions. For more information or to register, visit http://www.melissainstitute.org/.

Miller School of Medicine student Juhi Jain addresses an audience of medical professionals and law enforcement personnel attending the "Human Trafficking: An Emerging Epidemic" symposium.

Miller School of Medicine student Juhi Jain addresses an audience of medical professionals and law enforcement personnel attending the “Human Trafficking: An Emerging Epidemic” symposium.

Students at the Miller School of Medicine are equally concerned by the illicit trade in humans and last week held a daylong symposium,  “Human Trafficking: An Emerging Epidemic,” at UM’s Student Activities Center aimed at educating physicians, nurses, social workers, and law enforcement about the growing problem.

As Juhi Jain, a fourth-year Miller School student who received a grant from the Arsht Ethics Initiatives to stage the conference explained, human trafficking does not discriminate. “It affects all ethnicities,” she said, noting that American citizens are just as likely as immigrants to be victims.

Jain first became aware of how serious the human trafficking problem is about two years ago, when some of her fellow Miller School students told her about two victims who showed up at the UM/Jackson Memorial Hospital emergency room for medical treatment. It was then that Jain consulted with two of her mentors—Panagiota “Pat” Caralis, M.D., J.D., professor of medicine, and Edwin Olsen, M.D., M.B.A., J.D., professor of clinical psychiatry—who persuaded her to do more research on the issue, specifically the medical and legal aspects of the problem and how to identify and aid victims.

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First Study on Haitian-American Glaucoma Rates Stresses Need for Awareness and Screening to Prevent Vision Loss

Special to UM News


Richard K. Lee and Richard K. Parrish, II

MIAMI, FLA. (January 20,2015) —Physicians at the University of Miami’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and medical students at the Miller School of Medicine are the first to publish data on the prevalence of glaucoma in the Haitian-American population. Their findings, based on data from 750 participants, show that nearly 26 percent of Haitian-Americans have signs and symptoms for various stages of glaucoma.

Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide, disproportionately affecting African Americans and Latinos living in the U.S. A disease characterized by slowly progressive optic nerve atrophy, glaucoma is typically a painless and silent blinding disease that can be easily screened for in a community setting and treated to prevent further vision loss and blindness.

Richard K. Lee, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of ophthalmology, cell biology and neuroscience,  and Richard K. Parrish, II, M.D., professor and Edward W.D. Norton Chair of Ophthalmology, led the study with medical student Christine Bokman and members of the Ophthalmology Interest Club. “Glaucoma Screening in the Haitian Afro-Caribbean Population of South Florida” is published in a recent issue of PLOS ONE.

Using data from community health screenings in Little Haiti, the team found that not only do older patients suffer from signs of the disease, but also younger patients less than 40 years old have disease warning signs such as high eye pressures and suspicious changes to the optic disc. Of the entire study population, 32 percent had eye pressures above normal (>22 mm Hg), which can ultimately cause severe damage to the eye and lead to blindness.

To improve ophthalmic care, several efforts were made during and after the study to provide counseling and follow-up for this population to help decrease disease progression. Participants were given referrals with their test results for follow-up with their primary care providers and recommended ophthalmologists within the community, regardless of insurance status.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force does not recommend for or against screening for glaucoma, but Lee says these findings should start that shift. “Overall, this study highlights the need to create awareness of differential glaucoma risk within ethnic communities of the U.S. to prevent further eye disease and blindness,” said Lee. “This study along with previously published studies on the rates of glaucoma in specific populations stresses the need for targeted screening within communities and has implications for policy changes in the approach for ocular disease screening to prevent blindness.”

Louis Pasquale, M.D., from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary/Harvard Medical School, was a collaborator in the data analysis. Project Medishare and the Bernard Mevs Hospital Eye Clinic, where Lee is volunteer medical director, will translate these findings to be more aggressive in screening for and treating glaucoma in the Haitian population in Port-Au-Prince. Read more about Lee and the Bernard Mevs Eye Clinic in the University’s Haiti Special Report.


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Conference Organized by Miller School Student Addresses Growing Problem of Human Trafficking

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News

Miller School of Medicine student Juhi Jain addresses an audience of medical professionals and law enforcement personnel attending the "Human Trafficking: An Emerging Epidemic" symposium.

Miller School of Medicine student Juhi Jain addresses an audience of medical professionals and law enforcement personnel attending the “Human Trafficking: An Emerging Epidemic” symposium.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 23, 2015) – A woman brought to the United States at the age of 16 and forced to work as a prostitute for 12 years, servicing multiple johns a day just to stay alive. An old woman neighbors would see using a garden hose to take showers outside. An 18-year-old who called police, pleading to be rescued from an abusive pimp.

Those were just some of the alarming human trafficking cases in Florida that dozens of physicians, nurses, social workers, and law enforcement officers heard about on Friday during the “Human Trafficking: An Emerging Epidemic” conference organized by Miller School students. Held at the University of Miami’s Student Activities Center, the daylong symposium was aimed at educating first responders about the growing problem of the illicit trade in humans for the purpose of forced labor or commercial sex—and, in some cases, even the extraction of organs. Read the full story

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Faculty and Staff Support the U: For This Couple, Giving Back Passes the Taste Test

Drs. Roper and Chaudhari

Nirupa Chaudhari and Stephen D. Roper

Two leading-edge researchers at the Miller School of Medicine have been contributing to the University of Miami since joining the faculty in 1995. “As teachers and researchers, our careers are all about giving back to our students, our university, and to society,” says Nirupa Chaudhari, Ph.D., professor of physiology and biophysics and director of the University-wide Neuroscience Graduate Training Program.

Her husband, Stephen D. Roper, Ph.D., also a professor of physiology and biophysics, is equally committed to enhancing University programs. “One of the most important reasons UM is well regarded locally is that faculty and staff contribute their time, effort, and funds to the community,” he says.

Over the years, Roper and Chaudhari have supported the Lowe Art Museum, the Miller School, and a number of other areas while raising their son, Peter. For two decades, they also have been Leadership Donors in UM’s United Way campaign—a giving level for employees who donate 1 percent or more of their salary.

While Roper and Chaudhari often collaborate in their studies, they have separate laboratories and pursue different research interests. “I am trying to understand the sense of taste,” says Roper, who received the 2010 Max Mozell Award for Distinguished Senior Chemosensory Scientist and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Physiology (London). “My work has implications for appetite control and obesity. While taste doesn’t determine how much we eat, it controls what we select to eat, from fruits and meats to high-calorie desserts.”

A molecular biologist, Chaudhari is studying the genetic factors that allow taste bud cells to detect sour, sweet, salty, or bitter flavors. “I am also interested in how the taste buds regenerate, grow new cells, and reconnect to the nerves that carry signals to the brain,” she says. “Those studies may have implications for patients with throat and neck cancers since chemotherapy or radiation destroys taste buds and may compromise the body’s taste system.”

For Chaudhari and Roper, ongoing funding for the University’s research, clinical, and educational programs is critical to its continued success. As Chaudhari says, “We feel it is essential for faculty members and other employees to support the next generation at UM and in the wider community.”

Read about other faculty and staff who support the U.

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Join the 6th Annual SunSmart 5K Run/Walk on February 21

SunSmart5kAre you ready for the 6th Annual SunSmart 5K Run/Walk? Interested in living a healthier lifestyle, supporting wonderful charities, and getting a free skin cancer screening from a University of Miami dermatologist all at once? Then join Sebastian the Ibis and other members of the ’Canes community on Saturday, February 21 in supporting skin cancer research and heart health at this non-profit event created and hosted by current UM medical students.

The 5K Run/Walk will start at 7:30 a.m. at Crandon Park on Key Biscayne. All proceeds go toward skin cancer research (through UM’s Anna Fund Melanoma Program) and Team for Life, a program which places Automated External Defibrillators in public locations throughout the Miami area.

Registration includes professional timing for the 5K, a T-shirt, food, giveaways, prizes, medals, and parking. Visit sunsmart5k.com for more information, to register, or donate. Contact third-year medical student Joe Kaplan at 631-560-3112 or jkaplan1@med.miami.edu with any questions. With help from you, we hope to finally break the 1,000 runner/walker mark this year. Thanks for your support and Go ’Canes!

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