Tag Archive | "school of communication"

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Interactive Media’s ‘Zoo Rush’ Wins Good Gaming Award for Raising Sickle Cell Awareness


By Nancy M. Molina
Special to UM News

Zoo.Rush.Zhang

Designer Fan “Franklin” Zhang, a second-year MFA student in the Interactive Media program, works on the award-winning Zoo Rush game.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (July 25, 2014) – Collaborating with the Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Public Health Sciences, student game developers in the School of Communication have created Zoo Rush, an award-winning adventure game that aims to increase awareness about sickle cell disease and reduce the stigma often associated with the painful inherited blood disorder that slows blood flow.

Representing the UM team, Zoo Rush developers Ebtissam “Ebby” Wahman and Fan “Franklin” Zhang brought the Silver Award in the Games for Good category back from the 2014 International Serious Play Awards held July 24 at the University of Southern California.

In the game, which can be played on the Web or by download to any Android or iOS device, players take on the role of a zookeeper with sickle cell disease who, on his or her first day on the job, faces a monumental challenge: All the animals escape.

The goal is for the player to capture each escaped animal before time runs out. Due to the zookeeper’s medical condition, the player must avoid infections, hydrate often, check in with their physician, and take their medication, such as hydroxyurea, the only FDA-approved medication for sickle cell disease.

Assistant Professor Clay Ewing, Zoo Rush’s project manager and game designer, said the Serious Play award validates the work of students and faculty in the School of Communication’s new Interactive Media program, who collaborated with Lanetta Jordan, M.D., M.P.H., M.S.P.H., associate professor of Public Health Sciences and president of the Foundation for Sickle Cell Disease Research, to build awareness about the disease that largely affects people who come from or whose ancestors came from parts of the world where malaria is or was common.

As Ewing notes, new programs must establish credibility, and the Serious Play Association’s recognition is a sign that the program is on the right path. He and the Zoo Rush team are particularly proud that the game is proving successful at increasing awareness of sickle cell disease, the most common genetic disorder of newborns in the U.S.

“My friend’s daughter downloaded the game and couldn’t stop playing,” Ewing said. “Later that night, she asked her dad about sickle cell disease. He didn’t know anything about it, so they spent the night finding out about it online. That’s exactly what we’re trying to do: Get a person engaged in an experience to the point where they begin seeking new knowledge on the topic and spreading the word.”

Wahman, who graduated from the UM College of Engineering’s electrical engineering program in 2012, had limited knowledge of sickle cell before taking part in the project. She said Zoo Rush was the first full game she developed and the experience helped her grow both as a developer and a person. “I feel honored that I was a part of such a project where I not only made a fun game, but also raised awareness about a disease that doesn’t get enough attention and affects millions of people around the world,” Wahman said.

Added Zoo Rush’s sound designer, Isabella Douzoglou, a motion picture and computer science major, “Increasing awareness through a fun medium is brilliant, especially when it’s for a good cause. It was a pleasure to be involved.”

Students from all majors at the School of Communication had the opportunity to test the game on various devices in an open playtest. They said the game gave them some insight on sickle cell disease and left them curious to learn more. The developers used this feedback to make adjustments to the game.

In sickle cell disease, red blood cells take on a sickle or crescent shape. Normal red blood cells are round and move through the blood vessels with ease, carrying oxygen to all parts of the body. Sickle-shaped blood cells often get stuck in blood vessel passageways, slowing down blood flow and preventing oxygen from reaching certain parts of the body. This can cause severe pain and other serious problems, such as infection, anemia, and stroke.

As Jordan notes, the transition from pediatric to adult care in young adults with sickle cell disease is becoming a major public health issue. Studies show that young adults transitioning to adult medical care are at a much higher risk for early death, especially shortly after leaving pediatric care. For some, the shift away from pediatric services results in the loss of an established primary medical home or access to health insurance.

In addition, Jordan said, these young adults are especially at risk of suffering from complex psychosocial issues due to stigmatization, the process of identifying an attribute and associating it with a stereotype that negatively labels a person or group.

Children and adolescents with sickle cell often experience low self-esteem or embarrassment. Pain is one of the most stigmatizing aspects of the disease, which often requires treatment with opioids.  As a result, Jordan said, up to 80 percent of young adults and adults with sickle cell disease choose to manage their pain at home. Zoo Rush developers hope to reduce this number by targeting young adults in the sickle cell community and influencing the way people perceive the disease.

For more information, visit Zoo Rush and the Foundation for Sickle Cell Disease Research.

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Places & Spaces Will Change How People See the World

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Places & Spaces Will Change How People See the World


By Annette Gallagher
UM News

Hurricanes.Places.Spaces

Created by cartographer and designer John Nelson, this map visualizes more than 160 years of recorded tropical storms and hurricanes by their paths and intensities, sourced from NOAA archives made available to the public.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (August 4, 2014) — Who really matters in the world? Where do people who hold U.S.  patents really live? Where and how intense have hurricanes been since 1851? How did science fiction come to be? What are the “battle lines” between the left and right sides of the political spectrum? How are verses of the Bible related to one another? Answers to complex questions like these are beautifully visualized in Places & Spaces: Mapping Science, exhibiting at the University of Miami beginning September 4. Read the full story

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Faculty Senate Elects New Leaders


Salerno

Tomas A. Salerno, M.D.

 

UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (May 7, 2014)—Tomas A. Salerno, M.D., vice chair of the Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Surgery and chief of cardiothoracic surgery, was elected chair of the Faculty Senate for a one-year term beginning June 1. Salerno, who joined the Miller School faculty in 1999, will succeed Richard Williamson, a professor at the School of Law who stepped down after five terms as chair.

Linda L. Neider, professor in the School of Business Administration who initially began serving in the Senate shortly after joining the UM faculty in 1979, was elected first-vice chair. Sam Terilli, a veteran media lawyer who joined the School of Communication faculty in 2003, was elected to his second term as second vice chair.

Salerno, who has served in the Faculty Senate since 2008, most recently as first vice chair, said he looks forward to uniting faculty from all schools, representing their views, goals and dreams, and promoting their well-being.

Linda L. Neider

Linda L. Neider

“I have been involved in many aspects of faculty life, and in many Senate committees, including Promotion, Personnel and General Welfare, and the Medical School Council, and have most enjoyed interacting with University scholars, and the leadership of the University and the different schools,” Salerno said. “I have been inspired by the legacies of previous Senate chairs, and in this new role, I will do my best to represent faculty, make sure that their voice is heard, and be a strong leader in these challenging times.”

Neider, an expert in leadership and human resources, has served in a variety of administrative roles over the past three decades, including more than 20 years as chair of the School of Business Administration’s Department of Management, and several years as a vice dean. During her Senate service, she has chaired or been a member of a number of  committees, including Academic Standards, Budget and Compensation, Student Affairs, Professional Conduct, and Women and Minorities.

Sam Terilli

Sam Terilli

Terilli, who practiced media, commercial and employment law for 30 years, including 12 years as general counsel of the Miami Herald Publishing Company, is the incoming chair of the School of Communication’s Department of Journalism and Media Management. In the Senate, he chairs the Ad Hoc Committee on the Miller School of Medicine, and previously chaired two other Senate ad hoc committees—one on the Internal Review Board and the other on revising the rules for early evaluations of deans and other administrators. He also chaired the Administrative Services Committee, and served as a member of the Committee on Professional Conduct and as an academic counsel for faculty.

 

 

 

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’Canes Community Makes It a Family Affair at Marlins Park


By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News

MIAMI, Fla. (April 6, 2014) – Powered by the pitching of Jose Fernandez and the slugging of Giancarlo Stanton, the Miami Marlins notched their fifth win of the 2014 Major League Baseball season Saturday, defeating the San Diego Padres 5-0 at Marlins Park in Little Havana.

But what the box score doesn’t say is that not all of the attention was focused on The Fish. The team would share the spotlight with thousands of University of Miami faculty and staff who turned out at the ballpark for UM Family Night with the Marlins. Face painting, autograph sessions with Marlins players, on-field pregame ceremonies, performances by the UM band, and live post-game music with DJ Laz were among the many activities enjoyed  by employees and their families.

Six UM employees threw out first pitches. They included Norm Parsons, executive director of the Wellness Centers on the Gables and Miller School campuses, who is retiring after 43 years of service; Ed Gillis, dean of enrollment management, who is retiring after 22 years; School of Law professor Richard Williamson, who has served as chair of the Faculty Senate for five years; Jessica Driemeier, student services manager for the Intensive English Program on the Coral Gables campus; Natali Latorre, associate director of marketing for Bascom Palmer Eye Institute on the Miller School campus; and Cristy Barrera, office manager in Facilities Administration at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

Hundreds of employees visited the MyU: Faculty and Staff Thank You Tent on the West Plaza, receiving temporary U tattoos and Sebastian bands. They also got a look at the UHealth Physical Therapy Clinic, which, when the Marlins aren’t playing, is open to patients by appointment. UHealth Sports Medicine is the official sports medicine provider for the Miami Marlins and the Miami Hurricanes.

The biggest winners of the day, however, were University of Miami students who received scholarships from the Miami Marlins Foundation. The philanthropic arm of the two-time World Series champion Marlins donated $12,500 in much-needed funds to UM, with $7,500 going to Matthew Friedman, a graduate student in the School of Education and Human Development’s Sport Administration Program, and $5,000 being given to the Suzanne Rayson Scholarship Fund for students enrolled in the School of Communication’s Broadcast Journalism Program.

Jimmy Oves, a technician at University of Miami Hospital, who attended Family Night with his wife, Yuriam, and sons, Alex and Jimmy Jr., summed up the day best: “A perfect way to spend time with my family,” he said. “Everything about it—the activities, the food, and the game—is great.”

 

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Three University of Miami Student Publications Take Top Media Honors


UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 21, 2014) — Three student publications—Ibis Yearbook 2013, Distraction Magazine, and The Miami Hurricane newspaper—were recognized among the best in the nation last week, with the yearbook and magazine each earning Gold Crowns from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA), and The Miami Hurricane taking the College Media Association’s (CMA) top David L. Adams Apple Award for the best newspaper of its size.

Ibis and Distraction received the CSPA’s highest honor during a March 14 ceremony in New York City. The next day, at the annual CMA Spring Conference, also held in New York City, The Hurricane won its first first-place Apple Award in the Best Newspaper category for a four-year school with 5,000 to 10,000 students.

“We are honored, proud and humbled to have been selected,” said Stephanie Parra, editor-in-chief of The Miami Hurricane, who attended the ceremony. “This award inspires us to continue to excel.”

Randy Stano, advisor to Ibis and Distraction, noted that the Gold Crown is the CSPA’s highest and most rigorous honor. “These publications go through a second round of judging after the normal critiques and medalists honors,” he said. “The second set of 12 judges have no clue as to the previous rating or honor for the entries.”

UM was one of three universities to walk away with two Gold Crowns. Distraction also received third place in the CMA’s 2014 Apple Awards for “Best Magazine Spread, four-year school.”

Ibis Yearbook picked up its eighth Gold Crown overall—fifth in a row—and 11th Crown honor in the past 12 years. The 2013 Ibis was led by Sandra Montalvo, editor-in-chief, and Katherine Lee, managing editor.

In the past three years, The Miami Hurricane has garnered top recognition from multiple outlets, including the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP). The Hurricane also was selected as one of the regional winners for best all-around newspaper by the Society of Professional Journalists.

“I’m extremely proud of the fine work produced every week by The Miami Hurricane, from students who are passionate about serving the UM community with good journalism,” said Bob Radziewicz, the paper’s faculty advisor.

 

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