WBEZ | Northwestern University http://www.wbez.org/tags/northwestern-university Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en How does the law adapt to new technology? http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-20/how-does-law-adapt-new-technology-112692 <p><p>Earlier this month, a Pennsylvania man was arrested for allegedly violating a restraining order when he &ldquo;liked&rdquo; 22 of his ex-girlfriend&rsquo;s photos and videos on Facebook. And in 2012 a British traveler was detained upon arriving in LA after he tweeted he was going to &ldquo;go and destroy America.&rdquo; He insists he meant destroy as British slang for &ldquo;party,&rdquo; but he spent the night in jail and was sent home.</p><p>Of course, the Internet and social media weren&rsquo;t around when restraining orders and terrorism laws were created...but the law is now being adapted to respond to these and other new technologies. Jim Speta joins us to talk about the changing landscape of the law. Jim&rsquo;s a professor at the Northwestern University School of Law and an expert on telecommunications and Internet policy, antitrust and administrative law. (Photo: Flickr/Jason Howie)</p></p> Thu, 20 Aug 2015 10:57:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-20/how-does-law-adapt-new-technology-112692 Board dismisses ruling to allow college athletes to unionize http://www.wbez.org/news/board-dismisses-ruling-allow-college-athletes-unionize-112669 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/NU NLRB Kain Colter.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The National Labor Relations Board on Monday threw out a historic ruling that gave Northwestern University football players the go-ahead to form the nation&#39;s first college athletes&#39; union, saying the prospect of union and nonunion teams could throw off the competitive balance in college football.</p><p>The decision dismissed a March 2014 decision by a regional NLRB director in Chicago who said that the football players are effectively school employees and entitled to organize. Monday&#39;s decision did not directly address the question of whether the players are employees.</p><p>&quot;Although we do not decide the issue here, we acknowledge that whether such individuals meet the board&#39;s test for employee status is a question that does not have an obvious answer,&quot; the NLRB said.</p><p>The labor dispute goes to the heart of American college sports, where universities and conferences reap billions of dollars, mostly through broadcast contracts, by relying on amateurs who are not paid. In other countries, college sports are small-time club affairs, while elite youth athletes often turn pro as teens.</p><p>The unanimous ruling by the five-member National Labor Relations Board concludes that letting Northwestern football players unionize could lead to different standards at different schools &mdash; from the amount of money players receive to the amount of time they can practice. That would, it says, create the competitive imbalances.</p><p>The ruling applies to private schools like Northwestern, which is a member of the powerful Big Ten Conference. Public universities do not fall under the agency&#39;s jurisdiction, though union activists have said they hope Northwestern&#39;s example inspires unionization campaigns by athletes at state schools.</p><p>Northwestern became the focal point of the labor fight in January 2014, when a handful of football players called the NCAA a &quot;dictatorship&quot; and announced plans to form the first U.S. labor union for college athletes. Quarterback Kain Colter detailed the College Athletes Players Association at a news conference, flanked by leaders of the United Steelworkers union that has lent its organizing expertise and presumably will help bankroll the court fight.</p><p>Regional NLRB Director Peter Sung Ohr issued a stunning decision three months later, saying Northwestern football players who receive scholarships fit the definition of employees under federal law and therefore should be able to unionize. A month later, football players cast secret ballots on whether to unionize. Those ballots were sealed during the appeal and will now be destroyed.</p><p>Former Northwestern receiver Kyle Prater said he voted against the union proposal, saying that he and his teammates were well treated during their college years.</p><p>But, Prater, who now plays for the New Orleans Saints, said he still feels there are &quot;some things as far as the NCAA that need to be more structured. And I think by what we did, our voice out there really helped get things going forward.&quot;</p><p>He spoke Saturday from the team&#39;s training camp in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.</p><p>Monday&#39;s seven-page ruling cites federal law and contends that unionized football players at Northwestern would not promote the &quot;uniformity&quot; and &quot;stability&quot; between workers and management that it says is the goal of U.S. labor relations law.</p><p>While NLRB decisions are sometimes split, the three Democrats and two Republicans on the board all agreed.</p><p>Under U.S. law, an employee is regarded as someone who, among other things, receives compensation for a service and is under the direct control of managers. In Northwestern&#39;s case, Ohr concluded coaches are equivalent to business managers and scholarships are a form of pay.</p><p>The ruling was welcome news for the NCAA, the dominant umbrella organization for U.S. college athletics. The NCAA has been under increasing scrutiny over its amateurism rules and has been in court fighting lawsuits from former athletes over everything from head injuries to revenue earned based on the use of their likenesses in video games.</p><p>The NCAA recently cleared the way for the five biggest conferences, including the Big Ten, to add player stipends to help athletes defray some of their expenses. Southeastern Conference schools, for example, will give some athletes $3,000 to $5,500 each on top of a scholarship that pays for tuition, room, board and books.</p><p>Northwestern, the Big Ten and the NCAA all argued against the unionization effort, saying that lumping college athletes into the same category as factory workers would transform amateur athletics for the worse. At one point, Northwestern administrators sent a document to players outlining potential pitfalls, noting that player strikes could lead to the spectacle of replacement players.</p><p>The specific goals of the players association, or CAPA, include guaranteeing coverage of sports-related medical expenses for current and former players, reducing head injuries.</p></p> Mon, 17 Aug 2015 12:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/board-dismisses-ruling-allow-college-athletes-unionize-112669 Culturally-sensitive workouts yield health results for immigrants http://www.wbez.org/news/culturally-sensitive-workouts-yield-health-results-immigrants-111973 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Asian-exercise.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>On a Sunday afternoon at a small martial arts studio in a Lincolnwood strip mall, a dozen or so South Asian women warm up by marching in step to a thumping merengue beat.</p><p>Some of them wear stretchy yoga pants and t-shirts, but several sport traditional headscarves, and long, colorful tunics over billowy pants. Most of them are recent immigrants to the U.S. from India and Pakistan. All of them are at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.</p><p>With flushed cheeks and glistening foreheads, they keep up with instructor Carolina Escrich as she barks out instructions. They jump, punch, squat, do push-ups and smile.</p><p>&ldquo;I feel happy &mdash; I&rsquo;m so happy,&rdquo; said Manisha Tailor giddily, after finishing the hour&rsquo;s workout right at the front of the class.</p><p>Tailor is one of thirty women recruited to participate in a 16-week study led by researchers at Northwestern University. She&rsquo;s been coming to the classes since February, and it was an entirely new experience for her.</p><p>&ldquo;I never danced before,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;So, I like (to) dance. And I feel very comfortable.&rdquo; She adds that she also lost four pounds since coming to the class twice a week.</p><p>Tailor, like most of the participants, said she never exercised in her native India, and the thought of joining a gym was too intimidating. But now she&rsquo;s considering joining a women-only gym once the study finishes.</p><p>For Namratha Kandula, Principal Investigator of the Northwestern study, this is a breakthrough.</p><p>&ldquo;They have a lot of barriers to doing exercise,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;South Asians uniformly are less physically active than other groups. This group has high rates of overweight and obesity, and high rates of physical inactivity.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Kandula said this directly relates to the prevalence of diabetes among South Asians. Nearly a quarter of these immigrants in the U.S. develop the disease &mdash; a rate higher than that of Caucasians, African Americans and Latinos.&nbsp;Kandula&rsquo;s research at Northwestern&rsquo;s Feinberg School of Medicine focuses on crafting effective interventions for communities who are underserved and unaware of best health practices.&nbsp;</p><p>Kandula said on top of sedentary lifestyles, South Asians are genetically predisposed to developing diabetes. Still, research has shown that individuals can improve their odds of avoiding the disease through healthy eating and exercise.</p><p>&ldquo;The problem is that that research was not reaching the South Asian community in the sense that they weren&rsquo;t necessarily hearing the same messages, they weren&rsquo;t getting more physically active,&rdquo; said Kandula. &ldquo;And we know that a lot of evidence-based programs &mdash; they don&rsquo;t reach some of the more disadvantaged communities or communities that are isolated because of culture or language or geographic location.&rdquo;</p><p>Kandula&rsquo;s team is monitoring the women&rsquo;s weight and blood sugar to see if they show any changes over the course of the program. They partnered with Metropolitan Asian Family Services, a social services agency that works with many South Asian immigrant families on Chicago&rsquo;s far North Side. MAFS recruited participants and provides them free transportation to and from the classes.</p><p>The study aims to educate immigrant women, in particular, about eating healthier and the importance of exercise. In crafting the workouts, Kandula had to consider cultural hurdles that stood in the way for many women who were most at-risk for developing diabetes.</p><p>&ldquo;Modesty is something that&rsquo;s really important,&rdquo; explained Kandula, &ldquo;and women didn&rsquo;t feel comfortable working out at a regular gym or recreational facility.&rdquo;</p><p>Additionally, many women told Kandula that they prioritized their families over their own health. So she worked that into the design of her program by offering free martial arts classes to their children once a week. The only condition was that the mothers had to come to their workouts at least twice a week.</p><p>In fact, many women attend three times a week &mdash; and on the days they show up, several will stay for two classes back-to-back.</p><p>Rehanna Patel, a 49-year old mother of four, said the class works for her because it is fun and there are no men.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s important for it to be women&rsquo;s-only and having that secure space,&rdquo; she said through a translator.</p><p>Many other women echoed the thought, saying that they would feel less free to move about in the class if men were included, or if men could walk by and see them.</p><p>Patel said the class helped dispel her assumption that exercise is only for younger people.</p><p>&ldquo;I had always thought that these steps would only be done by a 20 or 25-year-old girl,&rdquo; she said, referring to the dance routine of the class. &ldquo;But the instructor did a great job.&rdquo;</p><p>Teaching these women was a new experience for instructor Carolina Escrich, too.</p><p>&ldquo;I needed to adjust the class and be careful with the type of music that I should use,<br />she said.</p><p>Escrich said it took two months to modify her usual Latin-inspired Zumba workouts into something more appropriate for her culturally conservative students. She modified the song selections to be less explicit, and has shifted the emphasis from sexy dance moves to more of an aerobics routine.</p><p>If the program shows significant health improvements, Namratha Kandula hopes they&rsquo;ll win funding for a wider study. But the women here have a more immediate concern.</p><p>&ldquo;I would feel really sad when the classes end,&rdquo; said Patel. &ldquo;The way we do it here, it&rsquo;s different, we enjoy it, I feel good and my body feels light.&rdquo;</p><p>Patel says even after the study ends she wants to keep exercising at home.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her </em><a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef"><em>@oyousef</em></a><em> and </em><a href="https://twitter.com/wbezoutloud"><em>@WBEZoutloud</em></a><em>.</em></p></p> Fri, 01 May 2015 10:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culturally-sensitive-workouts-yield-health-results-immigrants-111973 Morning Shift: Is procrastination really a problem? http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-04-14/morning-shift-procrastination-really-problem-110017 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/by L-T-L.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>With tax day looming, we tackle the procrastination problem...or is it a problem? Plus, Malian musical guest Sidi Touré.&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-is-procrastination-really-a-problem/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-is-procrastination-really-a-problem.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-is-procrastination-really-a-problem" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Is procrastination really a problem?" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 08:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-04-14/morning-shift-procrastination-really-problem-110017 Northwestern University football union hearings begin http://www.wbez.org/news/northwestern-university-football-union-hearings-begin-109693 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/nu.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>The National Labor Relations Board in Chicago held the first in a series of hearings Wednesday to consider whether college football players qualify as employees. Players from Northwestern University filed a union election petition with the board last month. If approved--and later elected to represent the interests of the team&rsquo;s scholarship players--the College Athletes Players Association would be the first labor union of its kind.</p><p>Unlike their professional counterparts, college athletes don&rsquo;t have contracts--they can&rsquo;t negotiate the terms of their tenure. And athletic scholarships are regulated by the NCAA. Studies show that athletes often spend up to 40 hours a week on their sport; they travel for their sport. Oftentimes, players are told when and where to be and what to eat. But Northwestern says it&rsquo;s all part of the overall academic experience.</p><p>University officials contend that students who participate in NCAA Division I sports, including those who receive athletic scholarships, are students, first and foremost.</p><p>Bob, Rowley, director of media relations for the university, spoke to reporters after Wednesday&rsquo;s brief preliminary hearing. He said scholarships are intended to provide for a student&rsquo;s educational experience, even if they&rsquo;re athletic. CAPA attorneys saw things differently.</p><p>Revenue generated by Division I FBS and men&rsquo;s basketball is estimated to be in the billions. CAPA said it is focused on those players because they believe they can make the case that the scholarships are, in essence, compensation.</p><p>&rdquo;If they don&rsquo;t play football, they don&rsquo;t receive the aid...the idea that somehow this is a gift to them, is untrue...if you don&rsquo;t play football, you don&rsquo;t get the scholarship,&rdquo; CAPA attorney John Adam explained.</p><p>Northwestern maintained that the university does not regard, and has never regarded, its football program as a commercial enterprise.</p><p>The key question went unanswered--but it will no doubt be taken up, picked apart and rehashed over three days of testimony before the board next week.</p><p><em>Katie O&rsquo;Brien is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her<a href="http://twitter.com/katieobez"> @katieobez</a></em></p></p> Wed, 12 Feb 2014 18:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/northwestern-university-football-union-hearings-begin-109693 After Prentice: Northwestern shows finalists' designs for new building http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-11/after-prentice-northwestern-shows-finalists-designs-new-building-109127 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/23.jpg" style="height: 564px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="" /></p>I spent the weekend eyeballing the three final submissions for Northwestern University&#39;s highly-publicized architectural bake-off to build the school&#39;s new biomedical research facility.</div><div><p>The finalists include three Chicago firms: Goettsch Partners is working with Philadelphia company&nbsp;Ballinger; Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architecture is partnered with Payette from&nbsp;</p><p>Boston; and Perkins and Will is going at it alone.&nbsp;</p><p>To make way for the building, dubbed the Feinberg School of Medicine Medical Research Center,&nbsp;architect Bertrand Goldberg&#39;s Prentice Women&#39;s Hospital is being torn down.</p><p>The winning design will be built in two phases. Construction of the 600,000 sq ft first phase is expected to begin in 2015. The space would then double &mdash; and the lab tower would grow substantially, as the Goettsch/Ballinger rendering above shows &mdash; in a planned second stage.</p><p>So what can we make of all this?</p><p>One look at the submissions shows why the university never would have reused the old Prentice building. Not that it couldn&#39;t have been, but the&nbsp;proposals&nbsp;show Northwestern is looking for a big, efficient, machine-like building somewhere between a hotel and office building in space, amenities and design. Prentice, with its concrete quatrefoil shape and relatively small size, was never going to be that.</p><p>Judging projects based on renderings is always risky, but here are some images of the proposals.</p><p>Shown above, the Goettsch design seems to me unimpressive on first glance. The angled windows reminding me of Helmut Jahn&#39;s two-decade-old <a href="http://www.lpcmidwest.com/our_properties/120-north-lasalle-street%E2%80%93chicago-il/">120 N. LaSalle Street</a>. But that&#39;s the problem with renderings &mdash; in this view below where the building meets the street, the design and the facade seem to have a lot more going for them.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/goetsch.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 335px;" title="" /></div><p>Next is Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill&#39;s submission, which depicts the building after the second phase is complete. The undulations in the facade are good and one of several elements designed to bring natural light into the core of the building.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/asgg2.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 630px;" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The small park nestled under this glass spine in the Smith and Gill scheme below is also worth noting.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/10.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 637px;" title="" /></div></div><p>Next, Perkins and Will&#39;s facade design is the most sculptural of the three, with the curves seeming to acknowledge the old Prentice building.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/perkins2.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 840px;" title="" /></div><p>&nbsp;This next view shows more of a separation between the tower and its base.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1_9.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 840px;" title="" /></div><p>The new structure will be a complex building, the success of which should not be judged as a beauty contest. The true heir to Goldberg&#39;s advanced-for-it&#39;s-time Prentice would be a structure that is a game changer among its building type; one so technologically advanced in architecture, engineering, energy usage and function that it couldn&#39;t have been built, say, five years ago.</p><p>It&#39;s too early to tell which of these designs are able to do that.</p><p>Northwestern has been soliciting public input on the designs, which you can see and contribute to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.northwestern.edu/biomedical-research-building-competition/">here</a>. Trustees are expected to make their choice within a month.</p><p>The designs and models will remain on public display at the Lurie Medical Research Center, 303 E. Superior until 7 p.m.</p></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 12 Nov 2013 22:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-11/after-prentice-northwestern-shows-finalists-designs-new-building-109127 Women still face gender bias in math, science fields http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-10/women-still-face-gender-bias-math-science-fields-108870 <p><p><img alt="" bang="" big="" cbs="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/The%20Big%20Bang%20Theory%20promo%20photo.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" the="" title="Publicity photo for &quot;The Big Bang Theory.&quot; (CBS/Big Bang Theory)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image ">A recent article in the&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/06/magazine/why-are-there-still-so-few-women-in-science.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=1&amp;" target="_blank">New York Times</a></em>&nbsp;asking and then answering the perpetual question,&nbsp;&quot;Why are there still so few women in science?&quot; should be required reading for anyone who believes that gender bias in higher math and science fields no longer exists.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Author Eileen Pollack&mdash;who was one of the first women to receive a bachelor of science degree in physics at Yale in 1978&mdash; writes that even in 2013, American women are not only given low expectations from the start for success in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), but also are seldom encouraged, sometimes even discouraged, to pursue higher education in these fields.&nbsp;Additionally, Pollack cites several research studies as proof that gender inequality remains a rampant problem in the male-dominated world of STEM careers and academia, especially in the upper echelons of physics, engineering and computer science. &nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">One such study, published last year by Dr. Jo Handelsman and Corrinne Moss-Racusin, found direct gender bias in American faculty members in three scientific fields&mdash;physics, chemistry and biology&mdash;at six major research institutions across the country. Each professor was given identical resumes to rate in terms of competence, hireability, likeability, and willingness to mentor the student, with the only difference being that one applicant was named John, and the other named Jennifer. When the results were collected, John was rated an average of half a point higher than Jennifer in all categories except &quot;likeability.&quot; Also, John was offered an average starting salary of $30,238, while Jennifer was offered $26,508.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Another study, conducted by the American Mathematical Society to track standout performers in various international competitions, found that American competitors were almost always the children of immigrants, and very rarely female. Moreover, according to the study&#39;s authors, &quot;gifted girls, even more so than boys, usually camouflage their mathematical talent to fit in well with their peers.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/science.jpg" style="float: right; height: 450px; width: 300px;" title="Woman working in Genspace Lab. (Flickr/William Ward)" /></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Immediately, my mind flashed to the apropos film and television references, from Lindsay Weir attempting to hide her Mathlete past&nbsp;on &quot;Freaks and Geeks&quot;&nbsp;to Cady Heron&nbsp;heeding the advice of her new friend Damien in &quot;Mean Girls,&quot;&nbsp;who blurts, &quot;You can&#39;t join Mathletes; it&#39;s social suicide.&quot; Still, Lindsay and Cady&#39;s quests to become &quot;cool&quot; ultimately result in newfound appreciation of their gifts, perhaps prompting other young women watching them to realize their &quot;limit does not exist!&quot; as well. We all have Tina Fey to thank for that line.&nbsp;</p></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">However, the main characters on the CBS sitcom <a href="http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/stereotype-and-the-big-bang-theory-are-keeping-women-out-of-science" target="_blank">&quot;The Big Bang Theory&quot;</a>&nbsp;tend to serve a more unfavorable purpose: reinforcing stereotypes of male and female nerds in popular culture, while also keeping the gender divides firmly drawn.&nbsp;For example, the character of Amy (played by the lovely and talented Mayim Bialik, who also happens to hold a <a href="http://www.wired.com/underwire/2013/08/zombie-science-math-education/" target="_blank">Ph.D. in neuroscience</a> in real life) is a dowdy, socially inept spinster-turned mate for theoretical physicist Sheldon. Bernadette, the other female scientist on the show, has a comically high-pitched voice and doesn&#39;t contribute much outside of playing the love interest to mechanical engineer Howard. The other male leads, Leonard and Raj, are respected physicists who also cater to stereotypes as socially awkward man-children, while the beautiful, science-illiterate neighbor Penny serves as the bubbly object of adoration for both sexes.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Of course, &quot;Big Bang&quot; has its cute and funny moments; but, as Pollack also suggests in her article, what &quot;remotely normal&quot; person would choose to be an Amy when she could be a Penny? Furthermore, what other cultural biases factor into the current acceptance (or lack thereof) of women in these fields; and, as a result, potentially discourage would-be female engineers or astrophysicists from continuing their studies? How many brilliant young minds do we leave untapped, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1DnltskkWk" target="_blank">Will Hunting</a>-style, when science and math teachers fail to provide female students with the same opportunities and encouragement given to male peers?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></div><p>To gain new insight into these questions and more, I asked four women involved in STEM fields to share their thoughts and personal experiences in bridging the gender gap.&nbsp;</p><p><em><span style="font-size:16px;">Veronica I. Arreola, Director of the Center for Research on Women and Gender&#39;s Women in Science and Engineering Program&nbsp;at the University of Illinois at Chicago.</span></em></p><p><strong>On gender bias: </strong>&quot;The literature clearly shows a bias against women, by both men and women, in STEM.&nbsp; As for how it plays out in the classroom...it plays out in different ways. We have seen women delegated to secretary positions, men doing the actual experiments. Men often yell out answers, women raise their hands and wait to be called on. There are ways to minimize these examples, but it takes additional work. The tough thing about bias is that we often feel like we don&#39;t have them, so we don&#39;t work to minimize them. But we&#39;re all biased.&quot;</p><p><strong>On the lack of women pursuing higher math and science degrees:</strong>&nbsp;&quot;There are many theories. The one I focus on is awareness of the different careers in STEM. For example, I work with a lot of pre-med students, who might be better suited as researchers versus clinicians. Our society does not do a great job at exposing young people, boys or girls, to the wide range of careers available. When students are debating leaving, I often hear, &#39;I want to work with people.&#39; Which is exactly what scientists and engineers do &mdash; they work with people to solve problems for people. From climate change to curing cancer, it&#39;s all teamwork. I also hear that there aren&#39;t enough jobs. For some fields, it may be true, but tech companies and banks cannot hire enough computer scientists fast enough, yet fewer men and women go into computer science. Lastly, the family-work juggle does get mentioned. For some reason, science and engineering does not come across as family-friendly. I remind students that until we have a national child care system and paid family leave, few careers are truly family-friendly. Plus, the women in academia do have much more control over their hours than women in almost any other field.&quot;</p><p><em><span style="font-size:16px;">Colleen, Northwestern University graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics and a minor in Earth and Planetary Sciences.&nbsp;</span></em></p><p><strong>On studying physics at Northwestern: </strong>&quot;The majority of my peers were male, and I&#39;m sure I wanted to stand out and prove to everyone that I was capable and that I could do physics just like them. But when I joined a lab, it felt like everyone knew more than I did, and everyone who was working on a research project had brilliant ideas right away. By not meeting those standards from the start, I saw myself as being behind; but the truth is, there was far more collaboration and discussion than I realized. I could have been asking for help, but to me that felt like admitting I wasn&#39;t good enough to contend with the &#39;big boys&#39; in the lab...&nbsp;I eventually decided that pursuing a Ph.D. was not for me. In talking with other female graduates of STEM fields, it sounded like I was not the only person who felt lonely working through her degree. I think if I had figured out the keys of positive collaboration and had managed to boost my confidence earlier in my college career, I might have graduated with a different outlook on what a life of academia would hold for me.&quot;</p><p><strong>On gender roles in an academic setting:&nbsp;</strong>&quot;This certainly isn&#39;t true for everyone, but to me, it appears that young women are appealing to the popularized notion that they should be polite, considerate, and soft spoken rather than being loud and roaring with&nbsp;competitive&nbsp;opinions. I think something about our educated culture results in men being more willing to ask questions and find solutions without encouragement; so, it&#39;s not that they&#39;re any more capable of problem solving, men are just more visible while they&#39;re doing it. I&#39;m sure this&nbsp;trend can be traced all the way back to young boys: something about young male culture makes it cool to be the &quot;class clown,&quot; to confidently disrupt class and be loud. I did not experience a young female culture that would support or encourage those traits. If there is a confidence curve, then in my experiences, young girls are positioned to be playing catch-up from an incredibly early age.&quot;</p><p><strong>On dating:&nbsp;</strong>&quot;Outside of individuals in a traditional STEM field, I have yet to introduce myself to someone who upon learning that I earned my degree in physics didn&#39;t respond with a double-take or a &#39;Wow really? You must be really smart.&#39; I&#39;m never sure how I should respond to that, so I usually mumble a, &#39;Yes, maybe? I just really liked physics.&#39; I don&#39;t know if this has ever deterred the potential pursuit of a significant other, but if the prospect of dating a physics major is intimidating to the point of deterrence, then I probably wouldn&#39;t be happy dating them anyway.&quot;</p><div><em><span style="font-size:16px;">Kelsie, Ph.D. candidate in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.</span></em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><p><strong>On pop culture reinforcing stereotypes: &quot;</strong>In&nbsp;&#39;The Big Bang Theory,&#39; there is a lot of physics jargon and complicated topics that Sheldon, Leonard, and Raj talk about that I feel aren&#39;t even meant to be understood by the audience. However, I think that Amy and Bernadette&#39;s careers are presented in a much more palatable, &#39;dumbed-down&#39; version and are generally less referenced. Aside from maybe one or two times, I think Amy&#39;s research topic is presented as tobacco addition in monkeys&mdash;which is a very easy-to-understand topic, unlike many of the physics topics studied by the male characters. Also, what is presented about Amy&#39;s research is often inaccurate or comical. To name a few off the top of my head, Amy having a cigarette-smoking research monkey in her apartment (which goes against so many animal research federal regulations) and eating lunch/answering her phone while dissecting a brain in lab. Aside from Bernadette being a microbiologist and doing drug development, I don&#39;t think much is ever really mentioned about her science career.&quot;</p><div><strong>On the theory that more women are drawn to &quot;people&quot; sciences, like biology:&nbsp;</strong>&quot;It&#39;s certainly a reasonable explanation for why more women go into biomedical and social sciences, though this isn&#39;t really my specific reasoning. To me, the difference is working with something that feels concrete and tangible. I started at Northwestern University intending to be a chemistry major, and then switched to biology when I realized I liked working with living things that I can see or conceptualize better (meaning, cells or proteins in biology as opposed to chemical reactions with chemistry). I don&#39;t really consider my work to involve people, since I typically work on a much, much smaller scale, with a culture dish.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><p><em><span style="font-size:16px;">Jessica, Ph.D. candidate in Mechanical Engineering.</span></em></p><p><strong>On gender discrimination:&nbsp;</strong>&quot;I&#39;ve heard from a number of women that they&#39;ve been told by male professors they shouldn&#39;t be an engineer or don&#39;t belong in the field. There are also a number (very few)&nbsp;classmates&nbsp;who refused to work with female students, because they don&#39;t feel that they pull their weight. Those same men sometimes accuse their female&nbsp;classmates&nbsp;of being able to get answers or help on homework easier then men because of their looks or a&nbsp;damsel-in-distress act. I had one classmate who acted this way, but then would ask one of my female classmates for help.&quot;&nbsp;</p><div><div><strong>On misunderstandings of STEM careers:</strong> &quot;From the research I&#39;ve read, girls gravitate toward &#39;helping&#39; careers (doctors, vets, teachers, nurses) and stereotypes about STEM careers don&#39;t include that. That&#39;s why you see so many women in biology&mdash;much of biology research is centered on killing disease. What people don&#39;t understand is that engineering is all about making people&#39;s lives better and math modeling (or applied math) can be used on genetics projects to help cure diseases, find the best path for emergency vehicles, etc.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>On the power of support and encouragement:</strong>&nbsp;&quot;I attended a private school where there was never any gender bias in math and the sciences. I had male and female teachers who encouraged me in my course work. I also had very supportive parents and a mother who was a biology major and eventually a computer programmer. I think that as long as a girl has support from parents and teachers, she will succeed.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>As for positive influences in pop culture, there is some good news!&nbsp;Marvel is teaming up with the National Academy of Science,&nbsp;the Girl Scouts of America&nbsp;and Natalie Portman to use the upcoming release of&nbsp;&quot;Thor: The Dark World&quot;&nbsp;to promote female interest in careers in STEM. The project is called Thor: The Dark World <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2013/10/03/can-thor-2-and-natalie-portman-hook-girls-on-science/" target="_blank">Ultimate Mentor Adventure</a>, and it sounds incredible.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Leah Pickett writes about popular culture for WBEZ. You can find her on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a>&nbsp;and<a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">&nbsp;Tumblr</a>.</em></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 09 Oct 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-10/women-still-face-gender-bias-math-science-fields-108870 The university down the block http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/university-down-block-108021 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F100619008&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="340" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/qu4ehMfC6uA" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Dabney Lyles, a graduate student at DePaul University, spent spring break in Salvador, Brazil. She noticed the region had a huge technology cluster and how closely knit it was to the local universities. Chicago, she figured, has even more schools than Salvador, so that got her thinking about this Curious City question:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>What economic impact do local colleges and universities have on the city&rsquo;s economy?</em></p><p>There are lots of ways to answer this question, though, so Dabney and others thought it would work to focus on how a university can benefit or hinder the economic growth of its surrounding neighborhood.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/dabney mug.jpg" style="float: right; height: 150px; width: 200px;" title="Dabney Lyles, who asked this question. (Photo courtesy Dabney Lyles)" /></p><p>Makes sense sense, right? After all, the Chicago metro area is huge, and the higher ed community&rsquo;s large, too, with more than 90 colleges and universities.</p><p>Some institutions &mdash; such as the University of Chicago, Northwestern University and DePaul University &mdash; have hundreds of millions of dollars in assets and generate hundreds of millions more in revenue. Yes, a good deal of that goes back into the schools, but they still have plenty of economic heft to toss beyond campus.</p><p>And the neighbors can be the better or the worse for it.</p><p><strong>The immovable &lsquo;eds and meds&rsquo;</strong></p><p>Before diving into a specific example from the city&rsquo;s South Side, you should know there&rsquo;s actually been quite a bit written on this topic. One researcher with a birdseye view happens to be Chicago&rsquo;s own David Perry, a professor of urban planning and public affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago.</p><p>Some of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;field-keywords=david+perry+higher+education">his titles </a>suggest we should think of colleges and universities as anchor institutions.</p><p>&ldquo;They are not necessarily market-based institutions. They are placed-based institutions. You can think of universities, eds. You can think of hospitals, meds. Eds and meds,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Perry says it&rsquo;s difficult to move these entities from one city to another. (Consider, for example, what it would mean for the University of Illinois at Chicago to, um, leave Chicago).</p><p>&ldquo;What is a university, a hospital, a government doing to create, to build the place, develop the place? Boeing may leave in another five years, but the University of Chicago is going to be here,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not going anywhere.&rdquo;</p><p>And higher ed&rsquo;s tendency to stay in place means a good deal of its money stays in place, too. Perry says urban institutions enroll 14 million students each year. They generate over $700 billion in gross physical land assets and take in more than $405 billion in revenue.</p><p>&ldquo;We spend over $340 billion every year in the communities around us on everything from toilet paper to faculty,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Perry says some of those city dollars are generated because urban universities are also developers. He points to the academic corridor in downtown Chicago. DePaul&rsquo;s University Center was once the Goldblatt store.</p><p>&ldquo;The Goldblatt people, like Marshall Field&rsquo;s, Carson Pirie Scott left the corridor,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Their leaving embodied what a lot of stores were doing. The private sector, the market sector was just bailing out of the city of Chicago.&rdquo;</p><p>For a long time, that large space of real estate in downtown was like an empty donut hole. No tax incentives or a cheap price could get a private business to move in. But with the help of then Mayor Richard M. Daley, DePaul University moved in. Daley, by the way, is a DePaul alumnus.</p><p>&ldquo;It did three things. The top floors are graduate floors. The middle floors, the city leased from DePaul and DePaul then got a long term client to pay off the loans it took out to retrofit the building,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;And the bottom floors went to the private sector.&rdquo;</p><p>That includes stores and restaurants that cater to students and faculty, as well as people working around the downtown area.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/demolishion%202%20for%20web.jpg" style="float: left; height: 223px; width: 300px;" title="Tenants move out of a South Woodlawn apartment after the University of Chicago bought the land. Some Woodlawn community members say their relationship with the university hasn't always been favorable. (Photo courtesy University of Chicago)" /></p><p>While the city doesn&rsquo;t get much in terms of property tax from this deal, Perry says it profits from the private businesses and helped spur more development around a once stagnate area. Since the buildout in the early 90s, Chicago&rsquo;s academic corridor now houses 30 universities and colleges.</p><p><strong>The (economic) monster on the midway?</strong></p><p>But Perry also says treating a university as a developer can cut both ways; yep, it can be a boon, but it can also cost the surrounding neighborhood. That goes for several Chicago universities, which have had their fair share of contentious relationships over the years.</p><p>There are several examples. There&rsquo;s UIC, which struggled with the Little Italy neighborhood while building its East Campus. And in Evanston, the city government and Northwestern University debate the school&rsquo;s tax exempt status.</p><p>And then there&rsquo;s the University of Chicago.</p><p>The U of C sits in Hyde Park, a somewhat tony South Side neighborhood that &mdash; economically speaking &mdash; didn&rsquo;t really have a lot happening in it for many years.</p><p>Arguably the most contentious relationship the university has had in the past is with the nearby Woodlawn neighborhood. In the 1960s neighbors and university officials fought over plans to develop in the area. Mattie Butler, founder of Woodlawn East Community and Neighbors, remembers the decades-long back and forth.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/DEMOLISHION FOR WEB.jpg" style="float: right;" title="A building in Hyde Park that was purchased by the University of Chicago. (Photo courtesy University of Chicago)" /></p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve lived in this community since 1963. So all of my adult life. And I&rsquo;m now 70 years old,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;So I&rsquo;ve seen it come and I&rsquo;ve seen it go.&rdquo;</p><p>Butler says during the 1960s, the university bought property around 60th and 61st Streets in Woodlawn. This is after the school dramatically developed areas in Hyde Park.</p><p>Butler says poor people were driven from their homes as new university development went up. Community members organized against the university&rsquo;s efforts, and were able to take a property called Woodlawn Gardens at 63rd and Cottage Grove to house low-income residents.</p><p>&ldquo;They didn&rsquo;t do it right,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;It wasn&rsquo;t built right, and so after about 10 years, 15 years, they started having massive problems with everything over there and not enough money to support it. And it was infested once again by gangs.&rdquo;</p><p>The property was eventually foreclosed on, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development took possession in the 80s. It became Grove Parc, and is once again being redeveloped into Woodlawn Park.</p><p>Butler blames the university&rsquo;s aggressive plans of the time for the early failure.</p><p>&ldquo;But the University of Chicago since the time of us having a real issue with them, not playing a role that we thought was a well played out role, has since come to the table with &mdash; I&rsquo;m hoping &mdash; some sense,&rdquo; she said, adding the institution deserves a rating of 7 out of 10. In particular, she lauds the university&rsquo;s role in improving local schools.</p><p><strong>Art in Washington Park</strong></p><p>University Vice President of Civic Engagement Derek Douglas admits the school has created barriers, but it&rsquo;s using some of its economic might to forge a new path.</p><p>&ldquo;What we&rsquo;re trying to do more now is create a bridge between the university and the community,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Douglas makes the point by showing us the university&rsquo;s arts incubator in the Washington Park neighborhood. It was a long-abandoned space that the university redeveloped and opened this past spring.</p><p>He says redeveloping the facility was a community effort.</p><p>&ldquo;There has been trust issues in the past where certain things were done that the community disagreed with or didn&rsquo;t like the way it was approached. And so that creates trust issues,&rdquo; Douglas said. &ldquo;As you&rsquo;re starting to have a new approach, it takes time to build up that trust, to build up that relationship. Spaces like the arts incubator go a long way towards restoring that.&rdquo;</p><p>He says spaces like the arts incubator don&rsquo;t employ a lot of people, and there&rsquo;s no direct revenue, but there are economic effects. Spaces like this stabilize a neighborhood, and it can demonstrate to other developers that the neighborhood&rsquo;s an attractive place to live and invest.</p><p><strong>Arrival of assembly-line burritos?</strong></p><p>But the U of C&rsquo;s got designs on its own, contemporary home turf, especially when it comes to bread-and-butter retail.</p><p>&ldquo;Hyde Park is great in so many ways. It&rsquo;s got this lakefront location. It&rsquo;s got the university. It&rsquo;s got good schools, public schools, private schools that are here. It&rsquo;s got good medical care,&rdquo; said David Greene, Executive Vice President of the University of Chicago. &ldquo;But what there haven&rsquo;t been is the kind of amenities that there have been throughout Chicago for people to focus their energy here.&rdquo;<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/inside%20incubator%20FOR%20WEB.jpg" style="float: left;" title="The inside the University of Chicago's new arts incubator lab. The lab was created with input from local aldermen and the surrounding community. (WBEZ/Logan Jaffe)" /></p><p>Greene says the school&rsquo;s developing a bigger commercial presence, and it&rsquo;s taking cues from residents.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve done a lot of surveys in this. And the number one thing people wanted was Chipotle,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>So ... assembly line burritos will be coming soon to the neighborhood. But aside from that, Greene says students and residents asked for better shopping, restaurants and entertainment like a music venue and movie theater. That&rsquo;s while the university is building out its commercial corridor along 53rd Street.</p><p>&ldquo;You&rsquo;ll start to see the mix of existing structures that have long been here on 53rd Street, as well as the start of some new development that&rsquo;s coming along. There some areas that we&rsquo;ll come to that have long been vacant and are now starting to thrive with new businesses,&rdquo; Greene said.</p><p><strong>What&rsquo;s in it for the schools ... and the city?</strong></p><p>UIC&rsquo;s David Perry says more universities are finding it essential to work with their neighbors. If they don&rsquo;t, he says, they could lose students &mdash; a prospect that no city wants to face.</p><p>Universities provide trained workers for local companies, indirect jobs for residents, and cash flow for surrounding businesses. The private sector has also done this, but Perry points out that these companies can get up and move at anytime. Not so much with the higher education sector.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s the notion of universities doing things and us doing things with universities, because they can&rsquo;t do it alone that helps us create the coalitions of place that we need to invest in Chicago,&rdquo; he said.</p><p><em>Susie An is a WBEZ business reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/soosieon">@soosieon</a>.</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Wed, 10 Jul 2013 18:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/university-down-block-108021 Chicago Global Artist: Zimbabwean filmmaker and novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-05/chicago-global-artist-zimbabwean-filmmaker-and-novelist-tsitsi <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/cuddy.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s rich and lively arts and culture scene is due no doubt to our deep bench of homegrown talents.</p><p>However, our city has also been marked in significant ways by artists from around the world.</p><p>Many of their contributions have been grandly public. The Picasso sculpture in Daley Plaza and Anish Kapoor&rsquo;s <em>Cloud Gate</em> are notable for their trajectory from daunting sculptural objects to beloved playground-style icons.</p><p>More ephemeral projects include Christo and Jeanne-Claude&rsquo;s 1969 project to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/artwork/daring-plan-wrap-chicago-museum-raises-city-ire-%E2%80%93-and-makes-art-history-99731">wrap the Museum of Contemporary Art</a>, a move which made art history and elevated the reputation of both the artists and the MCA.</p><p>But we can&rsquo;t always see the ways global artists work in Chicago. Some come for very brief spells. And as artists in residence at small cultural organizations or universities, their opportunities to meet with a broader public can be limited, or fly under the radar.</p><p>In an effort to give more visibility to their work and to provide opportunities for you to interact with these artists, we&rsquo;re launching a new global arts initiative on WBEZ&rsquo;s international affairs show <em>Worldview</em>. Every few weeks I&rsquo;ll profile an artist who has made her way to Chicago, for a brief or longer spell.</p><p>First up: Tsitsi Dangarembga.</p><p>Dangarembga came to Chicago about four years ago, to give a talk at Northwestern University. Based on that appearance, along with raves from some of his graduate students (who said her novels changed their lives), Reginald Gibbons invited her back, as the 2013 Spring Writer in Residence at the Center for the Writing Arts.</p><p>Dangarembga&rsquo;s career can be measured by a number of firsts. Her debut novel <em>Nervous Conditions</em>, published when she was only 25, was also the first novel written in English by a black Zimbabwean woman.</p><p>When she moved on to filmmaking she also broke ground. <em>Neria </em>(1992), based on her screenplay, became the highest grossing feature in Zimbabwean history. And when Dangarembga made her own film, <em>Everybody&rsquo;s Child</em> in 1996, she became the first black Zimbabwean woman to direct a full length feature.</p><p>None of this came easy. Nobody in Zimbabwe would publish Dangarembga&rsquo;s novel, apparently because her coming of age tale, about the treatment of women in a newly independent Zimbabwe, wasn&rsquo;t deemed representative of African women.</p><p>And Dangarembga&rsquo;s style is challenging. &nbsp;Take a look at the trailer for her film <em>Kare Kare Zvako</em> (Mother&rsquo;s Day). The &lsquo;folk tale musical&rsquo; is a fantastical tale with a lively soundtrack of an abusive man who attempts to satisfy his greedy soul by consuming his wife.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Xl6fKQTEU3I" width="560"></iframe></p><p>Still, Dangarembga continued to make art. <em>Nervous Conditions</em>, which is widely considered one of the greatest African novels, proved to be the opening salvo in what is now a trilogy. The second volume <em>The Book of Not</em> was published in 2006 and Dangarembga&rsquo;s looking for a publisher for the final volume <em>Chronicle of an Indomitable Daughter</em>.</p><p>She&rsquo;s also continued to develop an international presence. Dangarembga gave a Tedx talk in Harare, in which she used her cat&rsquo;s behavior as an opportunity for an amusing take on the rather depressing state of Zimbabwe - and human nature more generally. And <em>Kare Kare Zvako </em>screened at Sundance in 2005.</p><p>But most importantly, she&rsquo;s done a little institution building in Harare. After forming her own film company Nyerai, she merged it with Women Filmmaker of Zimbabwe to create a platform for women filmmakers. Since 2002, they&rsquo;ve hosted the International Images Film Festival for Women.</p><p>That Dangarembga has been able to do that with the very limited means and opportunities available in Zimbabwe, is instructive as we ponder the role of artists in Chicago, and wonder if we&rsquo;re creating the conditions which allow art to flourish.</p><p>By the way I&rsquo;d love to hear your suggestions if you know of any global artists who are new to Chicago and working here on a temporary or permanent basis. Email me <a href="mailto:acuddy@wbez.org">acuddy@wbez.org</a></p><p><em>Alison Cuddy is WBEZ&rsquo;s Arts and Culture reporter. Follow her<a href="https://twitter.com/wbezacuddy"> @wbezacuddy</a>, on<a href="https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison?ref=tn_tnmn"> Facebook</a> and on<a href="http://instagram.com/cuddyreport"> Instagram.</a></em></p></p> Mon, 06 May 2013 16:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-05/chicago-global-artist-zimbabwean-filmmaker-and-novelist-tsitsi Report links Chicagoans' distance from trauma centers to higher mortality rates http://www.wbez.org/news/report-links-chicagoans-distance-trauma-centers-higher-mortality-rates-106732 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/derek.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago-area gunshot victims who are shot more than five miles from a trauma center have a higher mortality rate, according to a new public health study released on Thursday.</p><p dir="ltr">Dr. Marie Crandall, a professor in surgery/trauma care at Northwestern University, analyzed 11,744 gunshot patients from 1999-2009. The data found 4,782 people were shot more than five miles from a trauma center. Those patients were disproportionately black and less likely to be insured.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We have demonstrated that incident proximity to a trauma center has a positive effect on survival outcomes for gunshot wound victims,&rdquo; says Crandall&rsquo;s report, which the American Journal of Public Health published. Trauma centers take care of more severe injuries such as stabbings, car crashes and gunshot wounds (GSW). The Chicago area has seven Level 1 adult trauma centers.</p><p dir="ltr">Among the study&rsquo;s findings: The crude mortality rate for blacks shot within five miles is 6.42 percent; whereas outside of five miles, it is 8.73 percent. This would translate into 6.3 excess deaths per year. Crude mortality is not adjusted for variables such as severity of injury. Crandall said previous research had shown difference in transport times but didn&rsquo;t really affect survival. This new research drills down to Chicago and focuses solely on gunshot wounds.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Our study is different. The heterogeneity of trauma patients are such that if you&rsquo;re not specific about your research question, you might find different results,&rdquo; Crandall said. &ldquo;The vast majority of penetrating trauma in the city of Chicago is gunshot wounds and very relevant to our current crises, we decided to limit the data set and analysis to that population.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">According to the study, &ldquo;We have identified the southeast side of the city as a relative trauma desert in Chicago&rsquo;s regional trauma system that is associated with increased GSW mortality. We hope that the data presented will inform discussions aimed at optimizing regional trauma care in Chicago and will also aid in planning regional trauma systems in other urban settings.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">In 2011, a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/trauma-patients-southeast-side-take-more-time-reach-trauma-centers-93012">WBEZ analysis</a> suggested that when it came to ambulance run times from the scene to trauma centers, there were disparities. Put simply, patients living on the Southeast Side face longer ambulance run times than other residents in the city. Specifically, they have to travel an average of<a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/trauma-patients-southeast-side-take-more-time-reach-trauma-centers-93012#MAP"> 50 percent longer</a> to get from the scene of an emergency to a trauma center. More than half of the trauma-related ambulance runs that originate in that part of town exceed 20 minutes, which is considered a professional standard within the city. Those neighborhoods include Hyde Park, Woodlawn, Pullman, South Shore and the Southeast Side.</p><p dir="ltr">Trauma center access has <a href="http://www.wbez.org/content/why-trauma-centers-abandoned-south-side">long been a contentious issue</a> for some activists. And there have been <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/would-adding-new-trauma-center-save-lives-south-side-93103">questions</a> about whether an additional trauma center would save lives on the South Side.</p><p dir="ltr">In 2010, a stray bullet killed youth activist Damian Turner. He was shot on the South Side, near the University of Chicago hospital. But he was transported approximately eight miles downtown to an adult trauma center at Northwestern University. Ninety minutes later he died.</p><p dir="ltr">A group called <a href="http://www.stopchicago.org/">Fearless Leading by the Youth</a> believes if the university had its own trauma center, Turner would have gotten treatment sooner and lived. For years, members have protested the University of Chicago, which had a trauma center for adults from 1986-1988. It closed after hemorrhaging $2 million a year, though they still serve children. At the time doctors said a majority of patients had no health insurance. Recently the issue <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-01-27/news/chi-protesters-arrested-at-u-of-c-20130127_1_vital-hospital-programs-damian-turner-trauma-care">flared up again</a> when the University of Chicago opened a new $700 million facility with no additional trauma care.</p><p dir="ltr">Victoria Crider, a member of FLY, says the new study will help activists&rsquo; cause.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We plan on using this data to show that this is exactly what it says: a relationship between whether or not you live or die and the time it takes you to get to the nearest trauma center,&rdquo; Crider said.</p><p dir="ltr">The study acknowledges the costliness of trauma centers. Crandall writes that trauma centers could be rebalanced on the basis of volume and proximity as opposed to capacity. In addition, she writes that existing local hospitals could take in trauma patients in a possible Level 2 capacity.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Natalie Moore is WBEZ&#39;s South Side Bureau reporter. Follow her&nbsp;@natalieymoore.</em></p></p> Thu, 18 Apr 2013 16:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/report-links-chicagoans-distance-trauma-centers-higher-mortality-rates-106732