More than two billion people worldwide do not have adequate access to surgical treatment, according to a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). The Harvard researchers also found that people living in high-income regions have far greater access to surgery sites (operating theatres) than do those living in low-income regions and that surgical facilities in low-income settings often lack essential equipment.A substantial amount of the global burden of disease comes from illnesses and disorders that require surgery, such as complicated childbirth, cancer and injuries from road accidents. The burden of treating surgical conditions is especially acute in low-income countries. The wealthiest third of the global population undergoes 75 percent of the estimated 234 million surgical procedures done each year, the poorest third just 4 percent.“Our findings suggest that high-income regions have more than 10 times the number of operating theatres per person than low-income regions,” said Luke Funk, research fellow in HSPH’s Department of Health Policy and Management and a surgical resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “Addressing this disparity will be a huge challenge, but global public health efforts have had a profound impact on other major sources of morbidity including malnutrition, infectious diseases, and maternal and child health. The same could be accomplished for surgical care.”The study appears online today on the website of the journal Lancet and will appear in a later print issue.The researchers, led by Funk and senior author Atul Gawande, associate professor in HSPH’s Department of Health Policy and Management and a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, obtained profiles of 769 hospitals in 92 countries participating in the World Health Organization’s Safe Surgery Saves Lives initiative, which aims to reduce surgical deaths and is led by Gawande. Based on the profiles, they calculated ratios of the number of functional operating rooms to hospital beds in seven geographical regions worldwide. The researchers used pulse oximetry, the measurement of oxygen in patients’ blood during surgery and an essential component of safe anesthesia and surgery, as an indicator of operating theater resources.The results showed that all high-income regions had at least 14 surgical sites per 100,000 people. In contrast, those in low-income regions had less than 2 surgical sites per 100,000 despite having a higher burden of surgical disease. In addition, pulse oximetry was unavailable in nearly 20 percent of the surgical sites worldwide and absent more than half the time in low-income regions. The researchers estimated that around 32 million surgeries are performed each year without pulse oximetry, a basic standard of care that is available in more than 99 percent of operations done in high-income regions.Said Gawande, “It is not news that the poor have worse access to hospital services like surgery. But the size of this population is a shock. Our findings indicate that one third of the world’s population remains effectively without access to essential surgical services–services such as emergency cesarean section and treatment for serious road traffic injuries. Surgery has been a neglected component of public health planning and this clearly needs to change.”The study is an important step in understanding the critical need for better access to surgical services and for safer operations in low-income settings worldwide.“It is important for the public health community to close the gaps between rich and poor regions if it wants to address the burden of surgical disease in developing countries,” said Funk. “This will become even more important in the next several decades as chronic diseases—which are often surgical conditions—increase with the aging of the global population.”Support for this study was provided by the World Health Organization.Co-authors of the study are Thomas G. Weiser, William R. Berry , Stuart R. Lipsitz, Alan F. Merry, Angela C. Enright, Iain H. Wilson, Gerald Dziekan.
Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer Printworks Zachary Sifuentes (left), visiting lecturer on visual and environmental studies and resident tutor in poetry at Adams House, watches Kathryn Reed ’13 print a poem by Charles Baudelaire inside the Bow and Arrow Press at Adams House during Open Press Night. Bow and Arrow Press Woman of letters Rebecca Cooper ’11 plucks from a trove of letters. Red letter day These letter blocks must be meticulously laid out before printing. Finished product Zachary Sifuentes (right) and Justin Butler ’11 are almost ready to print. Five staff photographers will offer close-ups of the interests, activities, and personalities inside five Harvard Houses in installments over the course of the academic year. In the first, Kris Snibbe visits Adams House, home of the Bow and Arrow Press.During Bow and Arrow Press’ weekly “Party in the Press,” a poem from Charles Baudelaire’s “Les Fleurs du Mal” is set in lead type and crimson ink and is spread over the printing rollers.A thin sheet of maple veneer is fed into the press by Daniel Gross ’13, student press master, who explains his affinity for printing: “You’re taking a bunch of metal, pulling it across a piece of paper, you feel the indentation of the metal pressing ink into the page. On a computer, it wouldn’t be the same.”Beyond poetry and printmaking, Bow and Arrow Press is used for special House functions, such as creating winter feast invitations. Zachary Sifuentes, visiting lecturer on visual and environmental studies and resident tutor in poetry at Adams House, says, “It leaves a bite in the page, a tactile imprint — it tells us that we’re going to leave one of these events with a memory that is real.” Letters in hand Rebecca Cooper ’11 reserves these tiny letters for a project of her own. ‘Be Drunk’ This type, all laid out, shows Charles Baudelaire’s poem “Be Drunk,” which says: “You have to be always drunk. That’s all there is to it — it’s the only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk.” Printing plans Justin Butler ’11 (from left), Rebecca Cooper ’11, Daniel Gross ’13, and Ted Ollier, printmaker and Adams House nonresident tutor, talk about future printing projects. Viva Adams House The archive of historical projects made inside the Bow and Arrow Press includes a poster showing the Adams House shield. It’s beautiful! Success! Zachary Sifuentes (center) holds Baudelaire’s words up in the air. Daniel Gross ’13 (from left) and Matt Warner ’13 look on in admiration.Visiting Lecturer, VES; Resident Tutor in Poetry & Arts, Adams House and Matt Warner ’13, also a Student Press Master, print together inside the Bow and Arrow Press during Open Press Night inside Adams House at Harvard University. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer A vision in crimson Fresh crimson ink is applied to the press. An inky joy “On a computer, it wouldn’t be the same,” said press master Daniel Gross ’13 of printing on this maple veneer. Press master Student press master Daniel Gross ’13 explores the historical presses inside Bow and Arrow Press.
The Game fulfilled its traditional role as the classic fall showdown when a second-half deluge lifted the Crimson over Yale.
Steven PinkerJohnstone Family Professor of PsychologyHarvard College ProfessorIn the mid-20th century, psychology was no longer “the science of mental life” (as William James had defined it), but “the science of behavior.” Mentalistic concepts —thoughts, memories, goals, emotions — had been banned as unscientific, replaced by associations between stimuli and responses.But new ideas about computation, feedback, information, and communication were in the air, and psychologists realized they had enormous potential for a science of mind. Four Harvard scholars used them to launch the “cognitive revolution.”George Miller noted that people could label, quantify, or remember about seven items at a time, whether they were tones, digits, words, or phrases. That meant the human brain must be constricted by a bottleneck of seven (plus or minus two) units, which Miller called “chunks.”Linguist Noam Chomsky, while at the Harvard Society of Fellows, noted that people can produce and understand an infinite number of novel sentences. They must have internalized a grammar, or set of rules, rather than having memorized a list of responses. Children are not taught this grammar, and so are equipped with a “language acquisition device” that instantiates a “universal grammar.”Jerome Bruner co-authored “A Study of Thinking,” which analyzed people as constructive problem-solvers rather than passive media as they mastered new concepts. His colleague Roger Brown analyzed the relationship of concepts to language and initiated a new science of language development in children.In 1960, Bruner and Miller founded the Harvard Center for Cognitive Studies, which institutionalized the revolution and launched the field of cognitive science. Today the study of the human mind is among the most exciting frontiers of science. Its practical applications include the design of software, the diagnosis of neurological disease, and the formation of public policy, and its theories have revolutionized our understanding of ancient problems such as consciousness, free will, and human nature.
Soon, scholars worldwide will have an easier time creating, publishing, and sharing maps and other geospatial data, thanks to the release of WorldMap, an open source software platform that fills the growing niche between desktop mapping applications and more lightweight, nimble Web solutions.Developed by Harvard’s Center for Geographic Analysis, WorldMap allows scholars to share access to view and edit geospatial information. Unlike similar tools, WorldMap allows the use of large, detailed datasets, and supports a number of formats.First released in beta last July, the software already boasts 1,250 users from more than 100 countries. Users have contributed more than 1,700 mapping layers and created more than 500 map collections to support their research.The bulk of the best geographic data resides outside any single institution. WorldMap takes a unique approach to this challenge by providing the global community with a platform to meet its needs. By so doing, the system increases the amount of high-quality spatial data in the public sphere.WorldMap allows scholars to integrate information from diverse sources by making it possible to overlay data in users’ own computers with materials on the Web. The system also lets users incorporate paper maps, perform online digitizing, and link locations to other media.The system allows for collaborations that can range from small groups in which all participants have editorial rights to interactive publications for large audiences. The system is also designed to support the research process, by allowing information to initially be made private, before being opened to larger groups for refinement, and finally to be published or released to the public.Free and open to the public, WorldMap is cloud-hosted as well as open source, meaning new functions can be added to the system. A handful of new features are under development, including the ability to visualize change over time, searching place names for current and historic locations, and creating and editing online map layers.
Read Full Story Kermit the Frog has nothing on Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) when it comes to being green. Several members of the HKS community are being honored at this year’s Green Carpet Awards.The annual event celebrates staff, faculty and students who have made significant contributions to on-campus sustainability initiatives, including greenhouse gas emission reductions.The winners are chosen based on leadership, creativity, innovation, their ability to influence many people and the duplicability of their efforts.Lester Brown, M.P.A. ’62, will be honored with the Harvard Office for Sustainability’s first-ever Distinguished Service Award. Brown founded the Earth Policy Institute in 2001 to work toward an environmentally sustainable economy. Described by the Washington Post as “one of the world’s most influential thinkers,” Brown has been a prominent voice in interdisciplinary approaches to global-scale resource issues. He addresses political and natural tipping points in his most recent book, “World on the Edge.”A student award goes to Illac Diaz, M.P.A./Mason Fellow 2012. Diaz is the founder and executive director of MyShelter Foundation. MyShelter is aiming to shed light on one million homes in the Philippines by 2012 through Isang Litrong Liwanag (A Liter of Light), a sustainable lighting project which aims to bring the eco-friendly solar bottle light bulb to homes and communities around the world.Dinali Abeysekera and Sharon Johnson are receiving staff awards at this year’s Green Carpet celebration.
Harvard University Provost Alan Garber today announced the appointment of a nationally recognized leader in interdisciplinary science, research, and entrepreneurship to serve as the University’s vice provost for research.Prominent chemist Richard McCullough, currently vice president for research at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, will assume his new post on Oct. 15. His portfolio will include interdisciplinary research, research administration and policy, and research funding.“Richard McCullough will be in a special position at a unique moment to cultivate high-impact academic research in the 21st century, as he stimulates, coordinates, and supports research on campus,” Garber said. “He will work with the deans and faculty, the executive vice president, and me to remove barriers to collaboration wherever they are found — whether in University policies or financial and administrative systems. He will be responsible for developing structures to support new cross-School research initiatives as they are brought forward by the Schools, and to promote research throughout the University.”During 22 years at Carnegie Mellon, McCullough also served as dean of the Mellon College of Science and as head of the department of chemistry.“I am deeply honored to have been selected to help lead Harvard’s renowned research enterprise,” McCullough said. “I see my role as that of an advocate for, and facilitator of, Harvard’s increasing focus on interdisciplinary, cross-School exploration and development, and I am committed to addressing the need to find new sources of funding in an era of constricting federal support for research.”The selection of McCullough follows a national search by a committee including Harvard deans, faculty members, and administrators. Garber said, “Members of the search advisory committee and top leaders in the University administration were impressed with McCullough’s skills, accomplishments, energy, and vision for the future.”McCullough succeeds David Korn, a nationally respected expert and leader on issues related to faculty financial conflict of interest, who initiated the development of Harvard’s first University-wide financial conflict-of-interest policy, which provided guiding principles upon which each School has based its policy.Besides his academic career at Carnegie Mellon, where he rose from assistant professor to become the university’s Thomas Lord Professor of Chemistry and vice president for research, McCullough is the founder of two companies: Plextronics Inc., an 80-employee firm founded on a technology he developed, and Liquid X Printed Metals.McCullough, whose research has principally been focused on developing printable electronic materials, other materials called regioregular polythiophenes, and nanoelectronic materials, earned a doctorate in organic chemistry at Johns Hopkins University. He joined Carnegie Mellon following a postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University.
Formidable challenges stand in the way of controlling and eventually eliminating nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons in the Middle East. A new discussion paper issued by the Project on Managing the Atom at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs outlines both the challenges and a set of near-term measures designed to fast forward the development of political solutions to the weapons dilemma.“A WMD Free Zone in the Middle East: Creating the Conditions for Sustained Progress” is co-authored by Martin Malin and Paolo Foradori.“The political, security, and economic benefits of establishing a WMD-free zone in the Middle East are potentially great and would be broadly shared. Many of the region’s most vexing problems—from the Iranian nuclear standoff, to threat of Syrian chemical weapons, to the proliferation of ballistic missiles, to the sense of fear and injustice surrounding Israel’s nuclear program, to concern over the spread of nuclear energy—would be eased or erased with the entry into force of a region-wide treaty banning all weapons of mass destruction and their delivery vehicles,” the authors write. Yet they admit that, “the obstacles to establishing a WMD-free zone in the Middle East are numerous and long-standing. They will not soon be overcome.”
Many students use the break between academic terms to spend time with families and friends or to travel. Some simply relax, rejuvenate, and re-energize before the start of the spring term. But an increasing number of students choose to return early to campus for Wintersession, a 10-day period at the College during which they can experience unusual opportunities before they return to classes, studying, and other responsibilities.This year, College-led and student-initiated programming provided opportunities to explore creative passions, pursue career interests, learn about different academic fields, engage in recreational activities with friends, and connect with alumni.In the third year of the program, Wintersession 2013 featured more than 150 seminars, activities, classes, and other events. Students could earn scuba diving, earn fitness certification, explore neuroscience, learn about personal finance, taste ethnic foods, paint pottery, or challenge friends to games of dodgeball, in addition to many other options.“Wintersession is the time during the academic year when students have an opportunity to engage in things that they haven’t been able to do during term time,” said Harvard College Dean Evelynn M. Hammonds. “It’s a time of exploration here in Cambridge, and it’s a time when you can make those explorations without having to worry about grades, time management, or any of the other things that students typically worry about in the usual course of events.”For example, scores of students heard from Hammonds, the Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science and of African and African American Studies, as she discussed her book “The Nature of Difference: Sciences of Race in the United States from Jefferson to Genomics.”Wintersession wrapped with “Public Interested?,” a College-organized conference that allowed hundreds of students to interact with dozens of alumni who have chosen to dedicate their careers to public service.Wintersession is optional, and students are encouraged to use the time between terms in whatever way benefits them most.
A crowd of more than 100 teachers, school leaders, children, parents, Allston-Brighton residents, and Harvard University officials recently gathered at the Harvard Business School to encourage support for the Gardner Pilot Academy (GPA) and honor Lisa Moellman, the recipient of the second annual Gardner Champion Award.GPA, located in Allston, serves 360 students from kindergarten through grade six, and plans to expand its program to the eighth grade in the next two years. More than 60 percent of its student body is learning English as a second language, and 85 percent of its students live at or below the poverty line.Eight years ago, Moellman and her colleagues at the Harvard Achievement Support Initiative (HASI) began a relationship with the school, offering teaching and learning assistance during after-school hours. “Lisa is all about connecting real research with real learning,” said Erica Herman, principal of GPA. “Her countless hours of consulting and professional development have made an immeasurable impact on the after-school program at the GPA — and on the children and families we serve.”After-school approachBelieving that a culture that emphasized professional development for teachers would improve scholastic practice and student achievement, the HASI team offered training to after-school staff. The team also supplied materials related to SmartTALK, a program that included a broad range of hands-on learning games and resources that helped students build skills in math and English language arts.Over time, these strategies and tools migrated not only into the daytime classroom, but into the hands of families during evening activities such as Family Nights that offered similar training to parents to support at-home learning. The relationship successfully opened new doors and opportunities for professional development between Harvard and the school.“Lisa has been instrumental to our school in so many ways,” Herman said. “As a result of her work, we’ve been able to leverage lots of equal partnerships with Harvard, allowing us to access tools and processes like the [Harvard Graduate School of Education’s] instructional rounds. But she’s also a tremendous resource, friend, and advocate for the school. She’s been a true champion for GPA.”Herman said that helping teachers grow as educators was vital to GPA’s mission of continuing to explore ways to help students achieve. As a result, she said, “We value adult learning and professional development a great deal. Particularly since we’ve become a pilot school, we’ve really thought about where professional development fits in to that mission.”Making the roundsIn their continuing effort to seek out new avenues of professional development at GPA, school leaders attended “instructional rounds” training at the Graduate School of Education in December. (Based on the concept of medical rounds, instructional rounds bring external administrators and teachers into a school to provide feedback on the teaching practices they observe in the classroom.)School leaders also began working with Richard Elmore, the Gregory R. Anrig Professor of Educational Leadership at the HGSE, in incorporating GPA into its instructional rounds schedule.“It’s a challenge, because you don’t always know what you don’t know,” said Herman. “We’re doing everything in our power to help kids grow, but it’s important to get a different perspective to help us learn what we need to do.“Really coming up with solutions to complex problems takes collaboration and it’s an immense amount of work,” she added.The right ingredients for success“When the GPA says they serve the whole child, the whole community, they do,” said Moellman after receiving the Champion Award. “The willingness to be open, to listen, to collaborate and truly partner is in the very ethos, heart, and soul of every person in that place, through the leadership, the student body, the faculty and the parents.”