Tag Archive | "Office of the President"

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President Frenk’s Public Health Course Bridges the Gulf


By Maya Bell
UM News

INSP

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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USF Honors Frenk with Honorary Degree


05-15-17-USF-Frenk-608x342Before conferring nearly 3,800 degrees to the University of Miami’s spring 2017 graduates last week, UM President Julio Frenk, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., received another degree of his own—from the University of South Florida where he delivered the commencement address at the USF Health Ceremony.

USF System President Judy Genshaft and Charles J. Lockwood, M.D., senior vice president for USF Health and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine, presented the USF Honorary Degree to Frenk at their May 5 ceremony when 450 newly minted nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, and other health professionals walked the stage in Tampa.

Frenk, the former health minister of Mexico and former dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, congratulated the  students for making “an existential commitment to improving the human condition through your unique blend of knowledge, skills, experience, and compassionate care.”

He also told them their graduation coincides with a moment in history that can be characterized with two words: change and complexity. “In particular,” he said, “health care is being shaped and challenged by unprecedented economic, technological, and social forces. It is changing from a system that rewards volume to one that rewards value; from care that is fragmented across highly specialized silos into care that is integrated across collaborative teams of health professionals.”

 

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Chief of Staff Named Presidential Leadership Scholar

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Chief of Staff Named Presidential Leadership Scholar


Rudy Fernandez

Rudy Fernandez

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 1, 2017) – Rudy Fernandez, chief of staff to UM president Julio Frenk and vice president for government and community relations, is among 60 leaders across the nation selected for the third class of Presidential Leadership Scholars (PLS) program, a unique leadership development initiative that draws upon the resources of the presidential centers of George W. BushWilliam J. ClintonGeorge H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson.

“I am honored and humbled to be included among this distinguished group of leaders,” said Fernandez, one of only two 2017 class members from Florida.”The first 20 years of my career have had a public policy focus, so this will be an invaluable opportunity to study presidential leadership and leverage the resources of these four prestigious presidential centers.”

As chief of staff, Fernandez serves as a senior advisor to UM President Julio Frenk on strategic objectives and operational issues, often leading major initiatives on behalf of the president. Fernandez also served as chief of staff to former UM President Donna E. Shalala, and he played a key role in the presidential transition at UM.

Prior to joining the University, Fernandez was special assistant to the president for intergovernmental affairs in the George W. Bush White House. He also held senior positions in the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Bush-Cheney 2004 Campaign and the Republican National Committee. He has a bachelor of arts degree in government from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from the University of Miami.

Comprised of  veterans, educators, public servants, and corporate professionals, the third PLS class was selected after a rigorous application and review process, and was based on each member’s leadership growth potential and the strength of personal leadership projects aimed at improving the civic or social good by addressing a problem or need in a community, profession, or organization.

Over the course of several months, the scholars will travel to each participating presidential center to learn from former presidents, key administration officials, and leading academics. They will study and put into practice varying approaches to leadership, develop a network of peers, and exchange ideas with mentors and others who can help them make an impact in their communities.

The program begins in Washington, D.C. on February 7, where scholars will visit the National Archives and Records Administration, Mount Vernon, and the White House Historical Association, and explore personal and professional development areas, including core values and civility.

The latest class, which also includes Rory Diamond, the chief executive officer of K9s For Warriors, in north Florida’s Neptune Beach, joins the alumni network of 121 scholars in the program.

To learn more about the Presidential Leadership Scholars program, visit www.presidentialleadershipscholars.org.

 

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Illuminating Moonlight: President Frenk and Tarell McCraney Discuss the Playwright’s Academy Award-Nominee


A screening at the Cosford gives UM President Julio Frenk an opportunity to talk to one of the creative forces behind the Academy Award-nominated ‘Moonlight’

By Robin Shear
UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 30, 2017)—The evening after Moonlight received eight Academy Award nominations, the University of Miami hosted a special screening event at the Cosford Cinema, with a Q&A between UM President Julio Frenk and Tarell Alvin McCraney, the playwright and Miami native whose largely autobiographical work inspired the critically acclaimed film.

McCraney has been a professor of theater and civic engagement in UM’s College of Arts and Sciences since 2015. During that time he also launched an arts leadership project for young women of color at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center in Liberty City, one of the local resources that gave McCraney a rare refuge from the poverty, crime, and bullying he struggled with growing up in the neighborhood.

After last Wednesday’s screening of the 111-minute drama, currently slated to run at the Cosford through February 9,  a visibly affected audience paused briefly before breaking into applause.

Moonlight, already a Golden Globe winner for Best Picture-Drama, tells the story of Chiron, also nicknamed “Little” and “Black,” in three gripping acts. Chiron lives with his drug-addicted mother in Liberty City during the turbulent 1980s. With troubles at home and school, the quiet but intense Chiron (pronounced shy-rone) traverses dangerous terrain, buoyed by fleeting moments of sanctuary and support from a drug dealer named Juan, based on a significant figure in McCraney’s youth. Unlike Chiron, McCraney took another path and went on to become a renowned playwright, recognized in 2013 with a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant.

“This is a stunning example of how artists can move us to new understandings of our world,” Frenk said during his introduction of McCraney, who has “story by” and executive producer credits on Moonlight. “Tarell is a son of Miami. He is an artist of Miami. And he is an advocate for Miami. The film we just saw is such a beautiful, poetic, loving portrait of our incredible city in all its dimensions.”

But it is a story that might never have been widely known. When McCraney was 22, his mother died of AIDS-related complications. Trying to make sense of his life up to that time, he wrote In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue. Though never staged, almost a decade later the work came to the attention of director and screenwriter Barry Jenkins, also raised in Liberty City. Their collaboration has garnered a powerful response that has pushed the self-described “painfully shy” McCraney into a new kind of spotlight.

Among Moonlight’s eight Academy Award nominations are Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Director. At the Q&A on January 25, McCraney spoke openly and eloquently about what it was like to be part of such an intensely personal project and why he thinks it has resonated with audiences and critics as one of the best films of the year.

Crediting the authenticity Jenkins brought to the screen and a “one-of-a-kind” ensemble cast, McCraney said, “There hadn’t been this kind of storytelling in a while, specifically about people of color from this part of the world. I think there was an appetite for it.”

He also credited School of Communication lecturer Rafael Lima, who taught playwriting at McCraney’s high school, with the words of wisdom that helped him begin to share this poignant and intimate piece.

“I had tried to figure out ways to create the story before and didn’t really understand how to do that,” said McCraney. “He said, ‘If a story keeps coming to you visually, then it’s a film. If you hear it, then it’s a play.’”

Asked by Frenk what he would tell young people who live in a world where they, like Chiron, may face violence in terms of their race, sexual orientation, or any other dimension of their identity, McCraney replied, “I don’t know if I would tell them anything, to be fair. Having sat in that chair and having to listen to adults figure out how to fix an ill of society by telling you something feels counterintuitive. The thing I often try to do in those circumstances is show them where they actually belong. One of the initiatives I’ve appreciated since I’ve been here at the University is the Culture of Belonging because it’s a powerful tenet. We have work to do here, but that’s where it all starts. One of the things that Juan does in the film for Little is he says, ‘You belong somewhere, you’re a part of something.’ And that’s what I would try to show rather than say.”

Praising Moonlight, School of Communication Dean Gregory Shepherd asked McCraney to expand on the character of Juan, complexly portrayed by Academy Award nominee Mahershala Ali. McCraney started with an anecdote about walking up to Ali backstage after seeing the movie with an audience for the first time in Toronto. “My tie was askew and [Ali] started fixing it,” recounted McCraney, “and I burst into tears because for me he had just sort of transformed into this person I had not seen since I was 6 or 7 years old.”

The character of Juan, he explained, was based on his mother’s boyfriend, a man named Blue. “He was a drug dealer, and he was every bit of a hero to me,” McCraney said. “He taught me how to ride a bike. He taught me how to swim. He told me that I was good enough. He often stemmed my mother’s abuse from affecting me in many ways. I was the best-dressed kid in Liberty City for a long time. I always wanted to honor that memory but not expunge it of any of the things that, actually, he did.”

Thanking McCraney for coming to speak to one of his classes previously, UM student Jeremy Penn asked him to discuss the bullying and violence portrayed in the film and how the “school and police fail to address the systemic issues that are going on.”

McCraney said that in his own life the system didn’t fail him. “At some point the bullying stopped because I was led out of danger,” he explained. He was offered free classes at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center and attended the New World School of the Arts, “so I could be in a place that was just a little bit more accepting of who I was.”

But that’s not everyone’s story. McCraney notes that Chiron’s story doesn’t follow his own trajectory of success. “One of the reasons I wrote [the story] in that way was, what if I took that one missed step to the left? And both things cost. No matter what school I’m at, no matter what instructor I’m with, I still carry the scars of that time.”

President Frenk concluded by thanking McCraney—who will be returning to his alma mater, the Yale School of Drama, in July to serve as chair of the playwriting department—for his artistic creation, his work at UM, and his service to the greater Miami community.

“Obviously on Oscar night all your friends and family at the U are going to be rooting for Moonlight. We hope it does very, very well,” said Frenk. “We wish you well—and you know this will always be the home where you truly belong.”

The evening was sponsored by the Office of the President, the Office of Civic and Community Engagement, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Communication.

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UM Announces Creation of the Frost Institutes for Science and Engineering

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UM Announces Creation of the Frost Institutes for Science and Engineering


Frost-InstitutesRecognizing the need to grow a global, interdisciplinary network focused on scientific discovery and solutions, the University of Miami is creating the Frost Institutes for Science and Engineering to achieve those milestones by elevating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.

University of Miami President Julio Frenk unveiled the network of intertwined research organizations housed under the Frost Institutes at the 50th annual Miami Winter Symposium held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Miami, a prestigious event that attracted more than 100 scientists, researchers and doctors from 28 countries this year.

This transformational initiative is made possible thanks to the extraordinary $100 million gift by Dr. Phillip and Patricia Frost announced during Frenk’s inauguration last year to support basic and applied sciences and engineering.

“The University of Miami is already known for excellence in biomedicine, marine sciences, and other fields,” Frenk said. “But continued excellence cannot be sustained without critical investments in basic and applied science, mathematics, and engineering. These disciplines, which form the building blocks for innovation, must be strengthened to maintain our leading edge as a research university.”

The name of the Frost Institutes was modeled after the National Institutes of Health, inspiring UM to have a strategic, coordinated investment in the sciences and engineering. The first individual institute announced, the Frost Institute of Chemistry and Molecular Sciences, creates an arena for the comprehensive study of the chemical sciences, including basic and applied research areas, to advance knowledge and technologies in chemistry, biochemistry, and engineering.

A portion of the $100 million gift will be used for the construction of an iconic, modern science and engineering building on the University’s Coral Gables campus, to be named the Phillip and Patricia Frost Science and Engineering Building. Of the gift, $30 million is designated to the creation of at least 13 chairs in STEM fields, with $3 million set aside for graduate student support.

“Patricia and I are committed to making Miami a hub for technological and scientific innovation, which is the main reason for our support of basic and applied sciences and engineering at the University of Miami,” Dr. Frost said. “If we build the framework from which to provide the education and resources, we will be successful in attracting world-class scientists across various disciplines.”

The creation of the Frost Institutes solidifies the University’s nine transformational initiatives to propel UM toward its greatest aspirations by its centennial in 2025, allowing for STEM growth, a stimulation of interdisciplinary research collaboration, and engagement with greater Miami as a hemispheric innovation hub.

The University will launch a national search for an individual to lead the Frost Institutes, with additional institutes to be created over the next several years.

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