narvikk/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, EMILY SHAPIRO, ERIN SCHUMAKER, IVAN PEREIRA and MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now infected more than 75 million people worldwide and killed over 1.6 million of them, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.Here’s how the news is developing Friday. All times Eastern:Dec 18, 9:38 amWalgreens begins administering Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in long-term care facilitiesWalgreens began administering the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to residents and staff at long-term care facilities in the United States on Friday.It’s the first time the U.S. pharmacy chain is offering vaccines in such facilities, like nursing homes.Walgreens pharmacy teams members are currently providing the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at just 10 facilities in Connecticut, Ohio and Florida, including many in rural and urban medically-underserved areas. But the company will soon expand the vaccinations nationwide as more states finalize their distribution plans and receive vaccine allocations, according to Dr. Kevin Ban, Walgreens’ chief medical officer.“Next week, we’ll be in 12 states in over 800 clinics. We’re moving and ramping up to 35,000 clinics across the entire country, we’re going to vaccinate more than 3 million people in these long-term care facilities,” Ban told ABC News’ Cecilia Vega in an interview Friday on Good Morning America.Ban said only people who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine under their state’s Phase 1 distribution plan can get it. But once states move into Phase 2, residents and staff at long-term care facilities that have selected Walgreens as their vaccine provider will be able to make an appointment in advance.“We’re in the middle of a pandemic,” he said, “and we don’t want people all coming at once.”Dec 18, 8:17 amPence receives Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on live TVU.S. Vice President Mike Pence was vaccinated against COVID-19 on Friday morning in Washington, D.C.Pence received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on live television, along with his wife, Karen, and U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams.All three were wearing face masks, as were the health care workers who administered the injections.Dec 18, 8:04 amModerna vaccine could be authorized in US ‘as soon as today,’ HHS secretary saysThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration could grant emergency-use authorization for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine “as soon as today,” Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said Friday.“The FDA has communicated to Moderna that we expect to grant their emergency-use authorisation. That could come as soon as today,” Azar told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview Friday on Good Morning America.If the FDA does give the green light Friday, Azar said “trucks will roll, planes will fly this weekend,” with “5.9 million doses of Moderna vaccine allocated for next week.”“This is an exceptionally safe vaccine,” he said, “it’s a shockingly effective vaccine — the Moderna vaccine as well as the Pfizer vaccine.”Some 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be available across the United States for the month of December, according to Azar, who urged people to get the shot.“All of us have complete confidence in the independence and quality of the FDA’s review process,” he said. “That’s why you’re seeing the vice president, the second lady, the surgeon general today getting vaccinated.”Azar said a number of government officials and leaders will be inoculated against COVID-19 “over the coming weeks.”“I plan to get vaccinated next week as long as the White House physician says that it’s appropriate to do so and do so on TV,” he added. “We just want to make sure people know we have supreme confidence in the process and confidence in the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, and we wouldn’t ask you to do something that we wouldn’t do.”With several governors saying that they have been told to expect far fewer doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in the coming weeks, Azar cited “a miscommunication.”“There’s nothing actually to fix. There was some misunderstanding,” he said. “We had put into the planning tool some base scenarios just so they could do some rough work on planning. The allocations, though, are always what Pfizer tells us or Moderna now tells us is available and ready for shipment. We’ve always said this week that they would have 2 million doses of Pfizer available for next week for an allocation. We’ll work to clear up any misunderstanding they’ve got, but it’s really just a miscommunication between the governors and us.”Azar said his wife, Jennifer, is “doing very well” after recently testing positive for COVID-19, and that he tested negative himself “just minutes ago.”“We’re following all the CDC protocols, I’ve talked directly to director Redfield as well as the White House physicians of doing exactly what they say to do,” he said.Dec 18, 7:21 amFederal prisoner scheduled to be executed in January tests positiveA federal prisoner scheduled to be executed in January has tested positive for COVID-19. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) notified attorneys for Dustin Higgs on Thursday that their client was diagnosed with the disease, according to one of Higgs’ lawyers, Shawn Nolan.“This is surely the result of the super spreader executions that the government has rushed to undertake in the heart of a global pandemic,” Nolan told ABC News in a statement Thursday evening. “Following the two executions that took place last week and one other two weeks prior, the COVID numbers at the federal prison in Terre Haute spiked enormously. Now our client is sick. We have asked the government to withdraw the execution date and we will ask the courts to intervene if they do not.”Higgs was convicted of ordering the 1996 murders of three women — Tamika Black, 19, Mishann Chinn, 23, and Tanji Jackson, 21 — at a national wildlife center near Beltsville, Maryland. Prosecutors allege Higgs and two friends kidnapped the three women after Higgs became enraged because one of them rebuffed his advances at a party earlier that night.Higgs is scheduled to be executed on Jan. 15A BOP spokesperson confirmed to ABC News that other federal death row inmates at the U.S. penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, the only site in the country where federal executions are carried out, have tested positive for COVID-19 but declined to say how many or provide further information, citing “pending litigation and privacy interests.”The spokesperson also said that a BOP employee assigned to the Special Confinement Unit (SCU) — which houses federal death row inmates at the Terre Haute complex — was found to be positive for COVID-19, following a contact investigation that was conducted per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to identify any potential exposures in connection with the unit.“This employee had no contact with BOP staff involved with executions in November or December,” the spokesperson said. “We can also share that as inmates in the SCU continue to be tested, those who are positive and/or symptomatic for COVID-19 are being placed in isolation until they are considered recovered by medical staff as determined by CDC guidelines.”“All inmates are managed per CDC guidelines,” the spokesperson added. “While a number of inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 at USP Terre Haute in recent weeks, many of these inmates are asymptomatic or exhibiting mild symptoms. Our highest priority remains ensuring the safety of staff and inmates.”Dec 18, 4:01 amUS reports over 233,000 new casesThere were 233,271 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the United States on Thursday, bringing the country’s cumulative total soaring past 17 million, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.It’s the 45th straight day that the U.S. has reported more than 100,000 newly diagnosed infections, and the second straight day with over 200,000. Thursday’s tally falls just under the country’s all-time high of 247,403 new cases confirmed a day earlier, according to Johns Hopkins data.An additional 3,270 deaths from the disease were also registered nationwide on Thursday, down from a peak of 3,656 fatalities recorded the previous day. It’s only the fifth time since the pandemic began that the country has reported more than 3,000 COVID-19 deaths in a single day, according to Johns Hopkins data.A total of 17,212,496 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 310,782 of them have died, according to Johns Hopkins data. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.Much of the country was under lockdown by the end of March as the first wave of the pandemic hit. By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country’s cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up over the summer.The numbers lingered around 40,000 to 50,000 from mid-August through early October before surging again to record levels, crossing 100,000 for the first time on Nov. 4 and reaching 200,000 for the first time on Nov. 27.Dec 18, 3:10 amFormer US President Jimmy Carter to get vaccineFormer U.S. President Jimmy Carter plans to get vaccinated for COVID-19, his foundation announced Thursday night.“After consulting with his doctors, President Carter is looking forward to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to him,” The Carter Center wrote in a statement on Twitter. Carter has not said when he will receive the vaccine or whether it will be on camera like other former presidents have indicated they will do.All living former U.S. presidents have now announced they will get the vaccine.Dec 18, 1:12 amInmates on death row test positiveThe Bureau of Prisons confirmed to ABC News that various inmates on death row have tested positive for COVID-19, although they declined to say how many, citing ongoing litigation.They also said a staff member has tested positive.“We can confirm that inmates in the Special Confinement Unit (SCU) at the United States Penitentiary (USP) in Terre Haute, Indiana, have tested positive for COVID-19,” a BOP spokesperson said in a statement.They added that as inmates in the SCU continue to be tested, those who are positive and/or symptomatic “are being placed in isolation until they are considered recovered by medical staff as determined by CDC guidelines.” Many inmates, they said, are either asymptomatic or exhibiting mild symptoms. “Our highest priority remains ensuring the safety of staff and inmates,” the BOP spokesperson said.The BOP’s statement came after it was announced Thursday that Dustin John Higgs, a federal prisoner scheduled to be executed just days before President-elect Joe Biden takes office, tested positive for the virus.Dec 18, 1:02 am75 cases linked to church Christmas event in North CarolinaThe Henderson County Department of Public Health said Thursday that it has identified 75 positive COVID-19 cases associated with the Hendersonville First Baptist Baptist Church in North Carolina.The Henderson County Department of Public Health said the holiday event took place on the weekend of Dec. 5.“To date, the Health Department has identified 75 individuals who have tested positive as a result of the event,” they said in a statement. “The Health Department is working to identify any additional close contacts of these individuals. The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately six feet of an infected person with COVID-19 for a cumulative 15 minutes.”The news comes as Henderson County continues to see an increase in COVID-19 cases linked to parties, family gatherings and social events.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
When the Allman Brothers Band first joined forces and began cutting their teeth on meager means in the early ’70’s in Macon, GA, they were nearly too radical for their surroundings. Many locals did not take kindly to the idea of a group of long-haired hippies invading the town. Even more were unhappy that this group was always hanging around with their black drummer. The Allman Brothers Band was one of the first integrated bands to find success in the segregated South, and went on to transcend the South and become arguably the biggest band in the world over the course of just a few short years.EXCLUSIVE: The Big House’s Richard Brent On The Macon, GA Museum, & The Legacy Of The Allman Brothers BandThis Friday, Allman Brothers drummer Jaimoe will be recognized for his role in progressing the fight for civil rights when he receives the “Harriett Tubman Medal of Freedom” from the Tubman Museum in Macon. Read the statement from the museum below:“The Tubman Museum and The Allman Brothers Band Museum At The Big House sponsors, patrons and fans are proud to announce that the legendary Jaimoe will be awarded the Harriett Tubman Medal of Freedom. Jaimoe is best known as one of the founding members of The Allman Brothers Band. In addition to having recorded and toured with his friends Chuck Leavell, Lamar Williams, and Sea Level. Jaimoe performed earlier with legendary soul singers, including Otis Redding, Percy Sledge, and Sam & Dave. After joining up with Duane Allman in 1969, he quickly became the first recruit into Allman’s new group, soon joined by bassist Berry Oakley, fellow drummer Butch Trucks, guitarist Dickey Betts, and lastly Allman’s younger brother Gregg Allman. Jaimoe currently performs on tour with his group, Jaimoie’s Jasssz Band.”Founding ABB Drummer Jaimoe Remebers Gregg Allman’s Unparalleled Musical EnergyThis is not the first time Jaimoe has been the recipient of a major award for his work and influence in the music world and beyond. He won a Best Rock Instrumental GRAMMY Award in 1996 for The Allmans’ An Evening with the Allman Brothers Band: 2nd Set live version of “Jessica.” He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and earned a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement award with the Allmans in 2012. Jaimoe also has two Historic Markers on The Mississippi Blues Trail, honoring his role in the local and international worlds of blues and R&B.The award will be presented this Friday, November 3, 2017 at the Tubman Museum in Macon, GA. For more information, check out the Tubman Museum website.Jaimoe is also playing a run of shows in the sound during that time. Later that evening, he will join Marshall Tucker Band‘s “Georgia Jam” along with Randall Bramblett in Macon, before reprising the Jam in the state’s capitol the following night. For more information on upcoming Jaimoe performances, head to his website.Congratulations to Jaimoe, and thank you for all you’ve done for the world of American music.[Cover photo via All About Jazz][via Allman Brothers Band Facebook]
Burlington-native jam quartet Twiddle has announced a one-off homecoming show at Higher Ground as a part of the venue’s 20th-anniversary celebration. The Thursday, April 19th performance will mark their first at the South Burlington venue since their three-night New Year’s Eve run in 2015. The band normally plays much larger venues–particularly in Burlington, where they’ll also host their annual Tumble Down Festival at Waterfront Park on July 27th and 28th.If you’re already planning on catching Twiddle at Tumble Down, you’re in luck: Higher Ground is offering Tumble Down ticket buyers the first opportunity to grab their tickets for this sizeable underplay. All Tumble Down 2018 ticket buyers as of March 30 at 10 a.m. ET will be emailed a presale code for this intimate show that enables them to purchase up to two tickets starting at 10:45 a.m. ET, fifteen minutes before the public on-sale. Supplies will be limited.For a full list of Twiddle’s upcoming tour dates–including their upcoming Red Rocks show on May 4th with Stick Figure and The Hip Abduction–head to the band’s website.
In his opening remarks at Writers Speak at Memorial Church, Homi Bhabha noted that many of Michael Ondaatje’s stories explore “the persistent ghost of childhood … that earlier place to which we all belong, for better or for worse, for the rest of our lives.”It was an incisive comment.As he took to the dais, Ondaatje looked at Bhabha, director of Harvard’s Mahindra Humanities Center, and said, “You read my mind.” The novelist then shared passages from three of his books: “In the Skin of a Lion,” “The Cat’s Table,” and “Divisadero.” Each excerpt contained vivid scenes viewed through the eyes of a child that were then recalled by the same character years later.The people in the books “move forward,” said Ondaatje, “… but keep looking back.”Before the event begins, James Wood (from center), Claire Messud, and Michael Ondaatje gather their thoughts in the Memorial Church pews. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerOndaatje’s penchant for narrative driven by time, place, and circumstance may well be informed by his own childhood, which was shaped by his parents’ divorce, his Tamil, Dutch, and English heritage, and his ocean crossings in search of family and home. Born in Sri Lanka, Ondaatje was raised mostly in England. At 18 he immigrated to Canada, where he studied at the University of Toronto and Queen’s University in Kingston while also finding his voice as a writer. He has published numerous works of poetry and several novels, including “The English Patient” (1992), a Booker Prize co-winner that was adapted into an Oscar-winning film.During the program’s question-and-answer session, audience members were eager to hear more about the beloved book and how it was brought to the screen. Ondaatje had input on the film and helped craft early drafts of the screenplay, he told the crowd, but the final vision belonged to director Anthony Minghella.“It was Anthony’s version of the same story,” said Ondaatje, who agreed with Minghella’s decision to focus on certain sections of the book and leave others out, such as the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which “just didn’t work” on film.Senior lecturer in creative writing and novelist Claire Messud led the Nov. 13 conversation, which was co-sponsored by the Humanities Center and the Canada Program at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. Messud said she was “struck by the intense sensuality and the vividness” of detail in Ondaatje’s work, calling it almost sacred.Chloe Feuerstein, a history student from Simmons College, poses for a selfie with Michael Ondaatje in Memorial Church at Harvard University. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer“To what extent do you think of yourself as a spiritual writer?” she asked.Ondaatje answered that his writing wasn’t so much spiritual as deeply sincere. After working for years on a particular book, he is so focused on the characters, the time, and the story, he said, that he becomes “obsessed with being fair to them” and has to go “as deep as [I] can go toward representing them.”Still, Ondaatje said he takes care not to give everything away. As with his poetry, in his fiction he encourages readers to do a little work to divine meaning for themselves.“I want the reader to be an active participant.”Though he declined to discuss his forthcoming book, “Warlight,” due out in the spring, the plot, which involves two teenagers growing up in London in the aftermath of World War II, suggests another narrative in which childhood plays a central role.And the work never ends. In response to a question about his process, Ondaatje responded that with writing, “You are always finding the next step.”
For Harvard Medical School’s Jessica Ruiz, M.D. ’18, being a caretaker was always a familiar role. The eldest of three children in a Mexican-American family in Texas, Ruiz learned from her parents, aunts, and uncles the importance of setting a good example and being responsible for her younger siblings and cousins.“Being the oldest influenced how I approached life,” Ruiz said. “I want to take care of other people and be a source of both advice and comfort.”Ruiz has spent years guiding others; however, her own path — at least in biomedical science — hasn’t always been so clear. She is thankful that throughout her undergraduate and medical school career others also looked out for her. The mentored research she participated in as an undergraduate and at Harvard Medical School (HMS), and the support she received from friends, helped her find her own way in research and medicine.Watching over othersThroughout high school and college, Ruiz volunteered as a youth leader at her church, tutoring middle-school math students in an after-school program, and tutoring adolescents at Texas Children’s Hospital who needed help with their homework.At HMS, the London Society student was involved with the Prevention Health Awareness and Choice through Education (PHACE) program, providing sexual education counseling to Boston youth at high risk for teen pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. Ruiz believes the program’s value lies in providing facts and information, clearing up rumors about sexual issues, and giving teens a safe environment in which to ask questions about sex and get candid answers from a physician in training.Hearts, young and oldAs a junior at Rice University, Ruiz shadowed a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon at Texas Children’s. What started as a one-time visit turned into a semester-long experience, with Ruiz visiting the hospital several times a month to observe in the clinic and the operating room.“Just seeing those tiny, little hearts — babies a couple months old — and being able to help completely change their life, was an incredible experience,” she said. “Being the oldest influenced how I approached life. I want to take care of other people …” — Jessica Ruiz, M.D. ’18 When interviewed in 2016, Ruiz had yet to decide on a specialty, but said pediatric cardiology was one of her top choices for a residency. Since then, she has been selected as a 2018‒19 intern in the Boston Combined Residency Program in Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital.Honored for her workAs a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Medical Research Fellow, Ruiz did research on vascular calcification in the Aikawa-Aikawa lab at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Although the work involved adult cardiology, Ruiz said her experiences in the lab were integral to her scientific training and valuable in any area of medicine.Upon graduation, Ruiz was one of 14 members of the Class of 2018 who received the M.D. degree with Honors in a Special Field, magna cum laude (additional graduates received Honors, cum laude). To earn this distinction, Ruiz wrote a thesis based on her work with principal investigator Elena Aikawa at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The thesis was reviewed by a four-person faculty committee, including two professors with expertise in Ruiz’s thesis topic. Ruiz had a 90-minute examination and defense with the committee that subsequently recommended she receive the magna Honors. The recommendation was then approved by the HMS Committee on Honors and Awards.“This distinction recognizes Dr. Ruiz as an emerging physician-scientist, but also signifies the quality of her work and the contribution it represents to her research field,” noted Stephen Volante, Honors Program coordinator at HMS.Ruiz said the guidance she received from Aikawa, mentor Joshua Hutcheson, and others in the lab was kind, dedicated, and encouraging. As a woman in science, Ruiz said it was great to be mentored by a female physician and to have had the opportunity to observe Aikawa’s leadership in academia and science.While at the HMS, Aikawa gave Ruiz the opportunity to see how the scientific publishing review process works. Ruiz was able to contribute to review articles as well as help revise articles under review — both important skills for researchers.“I’ve been able to get some initial experience in the other side of being a scientist,” said Ruiz.Learning the art of scienceIn order to pursue research work as an undergraduate, Ruiz applied to several programs as a freshman. She was accepted into the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates program and was paired with a senior Rice University researcher who was just beginning a new research project.“It taught me how the whole scientific method starts from the very beginning,” said Ruiz.The research combined biology and materials science and gave Ruiz an understanding of experimental methods, such as how to do chemical analysis and spectroscopy. Ruiz has presented on her work at a scientific conference.Ruiz stayed on at the lab working a few hours a week until graduation. Over two summer breaks as an undergraduate, she also participated in research at the Yale School of Medicine as part of its Biomedical Science Training and Enrichment Program and at MIT as an Amgen Scholar.Finding her own flockAt HMS, Ruiz found a niche in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program, where students form close bonds and help each other through the pressures of med school.“I know we’re all going to maintain those friendships throughout the rest of our careers,” she said.This article was originally published Aug. 12, 2016, News and Research, Harvard Medical School. It has been lightly edited.
Groundhog Day Show Closed This production ended its run on Sept. 17, 2017 Groundhog Day is coming to Broadway! Groundhog Day is coming to Broadway! Groundhog Day is coming to Broadway! The previously reported stage adaptation of the 1993 film by the creative team behind Matilda will begin performances on January 23, 2017 and officially open on March 9 at a theater to be confirmed. No word yet on casting. It has been speculated that the musical will make its world premiere at London’s Old Vic next year.Directed by Matthew Warchus, the tuner will have a book by Danny Rubin, who wrote the screenplay with Harold Ramis. The production will feature music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, choreography by Peter Darling, and set and costume design by Rob Howell.Groundhog Day follows TV weather man Phil (played by Bill Murray in the film), who reluctantly goes to cover the story of Punxsutawney Phil for the third year in a row. Making no effort to hide his frustration, he covers the story and moves on, expecting his job to be finished. However, he awakes the “following” day and discovers that it’s Groundhog Day again, and the fun happens again and again and again. He soon realizes he must take advantage of it in order to secure the love of a coworker. View Comments Related Shows
The conference, “Ebola: Epidemiology, Clinical Presentation, Management and Biosafety” was designed specifically for health care workers who provide services in provinces with ports, airports and border crossings. Speakers at the training session included Dr. Raquel Pimentel, general director of epidemiology for the Ministry of Health; Dr. José Yunén, infectious disease specialist at the country’s Center for Diagnosis and Advanced Medicine (CEDIMAT), and Dr. Talía Flores, president of the Dominican Society of Infectious Diseases. Like the other branches of the Dominican Republic’s military, the DAF cooperates with the country’s police forces and other countries, such as the United States, in the fight against organized crime and international drug trafficking. However, protecting the civilian population from health threats is also part of the DAF’s responsibilities. As of October 29, there were more than 13,700 cases of Ebola, with more than 4,900 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. Almost all the cases have been in West Africa, with a handful in Europe and the United States. No instances of the disease have been reported in the Dominican Republic or in any other country in Latin America. Led by Col. Humberto José Brito Gómez, Internal Medicine specialist and deputy director of the hospital, the medical professionals in attendance discussed Ebola guidelines established by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). They were also shown an epidemiological and statistical analysis showing the seriousness of the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The conference, “Ebola Management and Protocols according to the World Health and Pan American Health Organizations,” took place at the Dr. Ramón de Lara Military Hospital on October 10. It assisted the civilian population during an outbreak of cholera in November 2010, which emerged almost a year after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the Dominican Republic’s neighbor, Haiti, in January 2010. That disaster caused severe damage to Haiti’s infrastructure and limited the country’s access to clean drinking water – a precursor to the appearance of cholera, which can come from ingesting tainted water. From there, the disease spread into the Dominican Republic. “In this situation, members of the Armed Forces participated with their team of epidemiologists,” Pou said. “Because these medical experts had been in different countries where the Dominican Republic participates in United Nations exercises, the doctors were familiar with how the outbreak spreads, precautionary measures and everything related to halting the cholera epidemic.” “The high level of preparation of physicians in the Armed Forces has allowed them to face important challenges in the health sector,” said Daniel Pou, a researcher at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO) in the Dominican Republic. “The Armed Forces hospital was used in this prevention exercise because of its large size, influence at the national level and highly qualified staff who work on prevention issues. ” A cooperative effort By Dialogo November 05, 2014 Physicians at the conference discussed the symptoms of Ebola, the best ways to diagnose the disease, and how to safely transport and treat patients who are infected with the virus. As of October 29, there were more than 13,700 cases of Ebola, with more than 4,900 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. Almost all the cases have been in West Africa, with a handful in Europe and the United States. No instances of the disease have been reported in the Dominican Republic or in any other country in Latin America. The Dominican Air Force (DAF) recently convened the medical community of the Armed Forces to prepare its response to the deadly Ebola virus. A humanitarian mission Physicians at the conference discussed the symptoms of Ebola, the best ways to diagnose the disease, and how to safely transport and treat patients who are infected with the virus. The Dominican Air Force (DAF) recently convened the medical community of the Armed Forces to prepare its response to the deadly Ebola virus. Like the other branches of the Dominican Republic’s military, the DAF cooperates with the country’s police forces and other countries, such as the United States, in the fight against organized crime and international drug trafficking. However, protecting the civilian population from health threats is also part of the DAF’s responsibilities. The Armed Forces are also coordinating with civilian government institutions to prepare for Ebola. Experience fighting deadly diseases The DAF has extensive experience responding to the outbreak of a deadly disease. “One is border surveillance to ensure that there is no significant permeability,” Pou said. “Another challenge is providing support to their highly qualified medical staff according to safety guidelines implemented before unexpected events occur.” The DAF has extensive experience responding to the outbreak of a deadly disease. On October 26, the Ministry of Health provided mass training on Ebola prevention to doctors and nurses in hospitals and private clinics, provincial health directors, epidemiologists, physicians who work at ports, airports and border crossings, and leaders of the provincial branches of the Dominican Medical College. A cooperative effort The conference, “Ebola Management and Protocols according to the World Health and Pan American Health Organizations,” took place at the Dr. Ramón de Lara Military Hospital on October 10. It assisted the civilian population during an outbreak of cholera in November 2010, which emerged almost a year after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the Dominican Republic’s neighbor, Haiti, in January 2010. That disaster caused severe damage to Haiti’s infrastructure and limited the country’s access to clean drinking water – a precursor to the appearance of cholera, which can come from ingesting tainted water. From there, the disease spread into the Dominican Republic. The conference, “Ebola: Epidemiology, Clinical Presentation, Management and Biosafety” was designed specifically for health care workers who provide services in provinces with ports, airports and border crossings. Speakers at the training session included Dr. Raquel Pimentel, general director of epidemiology for the Ministry of Health; Dr. José Yunén, infectious disease specialist at the country’s Center for Diagnosis and Advanced Medicine (CEDIMAT), and Dr. Talía Flores, president of the Dominican Society of Infectious Diseases. If Ebola were to break out in the Dominican Republic, the DAF and other branches of the Armed Forces would provide the same kind of assistance they do during natural disasters: air and sea transport and logistical and medical support, including the deployment of mobile military hospitals. They would meet other challenges related to the disease as well. “In this situation, members of the Armed Forces participated with their team of epidemiologists,” Pou said. “Because these medical experts had been in different countries where the Dominican Republic participates in United Nations exercises, the doctors were familiar with how the outbreak spreads, precautionary measures and everything related to halting the cholera epidemic.” Experience fighting deadly diseases If Ebola were to break out in the Dominican Republic, the DAF and other branches of the Armed Forces would provide the same kind of assistance they do during natural disasters: air and sea transport and logistical and medical support, including the deployment of mobile military hospitals. They would meet other challenges related to the disease as well. On October 26, the Ministry of Health provided mass training on Ebola prevention to doctors and nurses in hospitals and private clinics, provincial health directors, epidemiologists, physicians who work at ports, airports and border crossings, and leaders of the provincial branches of the Dominican Medical College. A humanitarian mission The Armed Forces are also coordinating with civilian government institutions to prepare for Ebola. About 25,000 cases of cholera had been reported in the Dominican Republic at the time, including about 400 deaths. But the Dominican Republic’s military helped contain the epidemic. Led by Col. Humberto José Brito Gómez, Internal Medicine specialist and deputy director of the hospital, the medical professionals in attendance discussed Ebola guidelines established by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). They were also shown an epidemiological and statistical analysis showing the seriousness of the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa. About 25,000 cases of cholera had been reported in the Dominican Republic at the time, including about 400 deaths. But the Dominican Republic’s military helped contain the epidemic. “One is border surveillance to ensure that there is no significant permeability,” Pou said. “Another challenge is providing support to their highly qualified medical staff according to safety guidelines implemented before unexpected events occur.” “The high level of preparation of physicians in the Armed Forces has allowed them to face important challenges in the health sector,” said Daniel Pou, a researcher at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO) in the Dominican Republic. “The Armed Forces hospital was used in this prevention exercise because of its large size, influence at the national level and highly qualified staff who work on prevention issues. ”
By Geraldine Cook/Diálogo February 09, 2017 Rear Admiral Sean S. Buck, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F), has a distinct and unwavering commitment to the maritime forces of the partner nations in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. His goal is clear: to foster unity and work with each as the maritime partner of choice in order to maintain the security and stability of the Western Hemisphere. Rear Adm. Buck’s commitment goes beyond his focus on the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) area of operations.In addition to working with partner nations, he is committed to ensuring his own personnel in Florida are 100 percent ready to do their best at all times. Since assuming command over USNAVSO/USFOURTHFLT in August 2016, the mission and responsibility, as he describes it, is essential for enhancing cooperative maritime security. Diálogo visited Rear Adm.Buck at Naval Station Mayport, Florida, where he spoke about his military efforts, engagements with SOUTHCOM’s partner nations and the regional security challenges they all face. Diálogo: What is U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (USNAVSO)/U.S. 4th Fleet’s (FOURTHFLT) main focus with regard to our Area of Responsibility (AOR)? Rear Adm. Sean S. Buck: Our primary daily focus is to be sure that we maintain our security commitment to partners in our AOR. It’s to ensure they always know that we are steadfast in uniting with them to keep our entire region secure and stable.This focus takes a team effort. I encourage a teaming mentality so that we are able to achieve a high state of readiness and preparedness to respond to any kind of contingency or crises in the AOR; a crisis that may negatively affect our partners and/or possibly pose a risk to our own national security. Diálogo: What is the focus of your military efforts as commander of USNAVSO? Rear Adm. Buck: I continue to focus on the military imperatives that Admiral Kurt W. Tidd [SOUTHCOM Commander] has charged all of his team with. These imperatives support our partner nations’ efforts to improve execution of their duties.These four key military imperatives characterize any legitimate military that seeks to gain the trust of the population they serve. The first imperative is working jointly; having the ability to work among and with sister services and other government agencies within their country for a whole-of-government response.The U.S. military has recognized the importance of working jointly, and I believe it is a critical imperative to demonstrate to our partner militaries and government organizations. The professionalization of the Non-Commissioned Officer Corps (NCO) is also an important military imperative. We are very proud of how we empower our NCO in the United States military with responsibility and accountability. It is something we share and demonstrate with partners to enable them to be a more effective fighting force.The age-old imperative of following the principles of human rights is fundamental for successful militaries in our AOR. An operational military will never gain the trust and legitimacy they need from their population if there is any question of their commitment to human rights, or their desire to protect those rights. The fourth military imperative that we stress is gender integration; the integration of women in our military services across all military occupational specialties. I have a very good example of that integration; my deputy commander, Rear Admiral Linda R. Wackerman.As a U.S. Navy Reserve Officer, Rear Adm. Wackerman simultaneously juggles the duties of a senior naval leader and aviator, as well as working as a commercial airline pilot. Her valuable experience and professionalism is an asset to our command – I am extremely proud to partner with her in execution of our mission. Demonstrating the effectiveness of gender integration to our partners through our own example enforces the importance of women serving in military forces.Diálogo: What do you expect to achieve with each country in SOUTHCOM’s AOR you engage with, whether through exercises, key leader engagements, or any other engagement? Rear Adm. Buck: Most importantly, I expect to earn the trust of our partner nations. It’s the very first thing I think about as I partner either bilaterally or in a multinational group effort.I must demonstrate my commitment to our relationships and reiterate why I want to partner with our counterparts in Central, South America and the Caribbean. We are more effective and achieve higher levels of success when we work alongside each other toward our goals of security, stability, and unity in our hemisphere. The United States chooses not to do it alone.When we work together and leverage our strengths, we will win and prosper together. I am fairly new as a commander in Mayport; as I go downrange to introduce myself, my focus is to ensure my partners feel they can trust me and trust my team. I hope my efforts encourage them to partner with us. Thus far, I have had the opportunity to travel to El Salvador, Panama, Colombia, and Chile. My experiences in those four nations have been wonderful. I was warmly welcomed, and I believe I accomplished my goals there and gained their trust. I built friendships with my counterparts and we have already been able to reach out to wish our partner militaries well and a happy holiday season. It has been exciting so far, so I’m looking forward to the future.With regard to exercises, the one I am most proud of, and the one that I am solely responsible for is UNITAS. We spread the hosting responsibilities of the exercise around our AOR to have a different host each year. Last year, Panama was the host; it was the first time a Central America nation has hosted UNITAS in 67 years. We did that to ensure we build confidence and the capacity to lead multinational operations across all of our partners in Latin America.We also participate in TRADEWINDS to increase the capabilities and capacities of our Caribbean-nation friends. All the exercises are very important, either on a bilateral or multilateral level, where we invite not only the nations from our AOR but also other Pacific, European, or African countries to come [take part], as the global nature of the threats these days are transnational and transregional; they originate from all over the globe.Diálogo: What is your biggest concern in terms of regional security in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean? Rear Adm. Buck: There are two things that I am pretty worried about, that keep me up at night. First, I am concerned about terrorist networks leveraging the existing illicit drug trade routes that have been around for a long time to flow money, weapons, foreign terrorists, drugs, etc. through our partner nations and into the southern part of the United States.It seems to be too easy to use these pathways that drug cartels have been using for decades – these networks are a serious threat to regional security and require multinational efforts to thwart them. Second, I have concerns about the breakdown of governance in any of our partner nations that could lead to a mass migration of people. Mass migration, as well as natural disasters, could cause a disruption and threaten our regional stability and negatively impact our prosperity. We share common interests and goals with the people of Latin America – I worry that successful threat networks, unsuccessful governance or any variety of natural disaster could have a devastating impact on the peace, security and stability we work so hard to achieve in our homelands.Diálogo: Having been in the position of Commander for six months (since August 2016), how has your perspective of the AOR changed since you first assumed command? Rear Adm. Buck: It hasn’t changed significantly. I have some prior experience in this AOR. My first six months have brought me a deeper respect for our partners, their capabilities, strengths, and friendship, and more specifically, a better knowledge of who they are, what they do, and what their navies are capable of doing.So [there hasn’t been] a huge change in my perspective, just a deepening of my respect and knowledge. Diálogo: How has/does the relationship you help build benefit the collaboration between the U.S. Navy and those of our regional partner nations? Rear Adm. Buck: The collaboration is getting much stronger, as well as the individual military capacities of the United States and our partners.I think the biggest indicator of how much stronger it’s getting is the ownership each of our partners’ take for their own security, prosperity, and stability. In years past, my predecessors used to get a lot of phone calls to request assistance when something bad happened in our area of operations. What I am seeing now is fewer phone calls; when a crisis happens in a partner nation, they are responding and assisting their populations more effectively than in the past.This is an exciting development because it shows an increase in confidence – our efforts to build capacity, enhance preparedness and stress military imperatives are having a positive effect. We are seeing that, and I am very happy with it. We will continue to be prepared to respond if we are asked, and we always volunteer to serve in a consulting or advisory role. We will continue to exercise with them, but it’s great to see our counterparts take as much ownership as they do these days.Diálogo: What kind of results do you expect to come to fruition for 2017, and what results have you seen so far in your time working with this AOR? Rear Adm. Buck: I have three major accomplishments I’d like to make happen in 2017. First, I want to complete key leader engagements with every partner nation in the AOR; a chance to introduce myself, meet them and an opportunity to develop mutual trust. This is achieved by visiting their nations or inviting them here to Mayport and learning about our respective maritime forces.Second, for my USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT team, I want to increase our operational preparedness for rapid response. This is a critical skill we must be able to execute when our partners or our own nation are counting on our support or advice if a disaster strikes. Third, I aim to enhance the complexity and sophistication of our exercises, such as PANAMAX and UNITAS.We get better by actual at-sea operations; challenging ourselves and our partners to operate together and build our repertoire of maritime skills. We can’t become complacent by just exercising ashore. The threats to our stability and security are evolving, so we need to be on top of our game and ready for any scenario.We do this by sharing knowledge and improving our multinational cooperation. Diálogo: How has your prior experience prepared you for this role? And what lessons learned did you bring with you to this role, especially after serving as the JS J5 Chief of Staff, assisting the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in his role as principal military adviser to the President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense? Rear Adm. Buck: My past experience has laid the foundation for success in my new role.I am a maritime patrol aviator. I have many years of operational experience, flying our detection and monitoring missions in the counter-narcotics mission set. My time on the Joint Staff gave me a greater appreciation of the geopolitical issues that are going on in the AOR as well as the political-military relationships. My time in the Pentagon, specifically on the Joint Staff and J5, gave me a solid education on the importance of partnerships and a greater appreciation for the varying cultures of the world.Diálogo: Anything you’d like to add for our regional readers? Rear Adm. Buck: I’d like to remind them of my command’s motto: “Unity, security, and stability.” That is my strategic focus in commanding USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT; to improve the unity of my own team and my team with our partners, and to ensure the security and stability of our entire region. I hope when they see our logo, it serves as a reminder of that commitment and a reminder of what we stand for.
July 1, 2001 Regular News ABA okays Stetson plan to offer classes in Tampa ABA okays Stetson plan to offer classes in Tampa The American Bar Association has voted to allow St. Petersburg-based Stetson University College of Law to establish a part-time Juris Doctor degree program in Tampa. Dean Gary Vause, however, said the college has made no decisions on the new campus’ physical location and several sites remain under consideration. The college expects to welcome its first entering class of part-time students in August 2002. “With the establishment of a part-time program in Tampa, we will be able to significantly broaden our reach to a diverse group of professionals, who, because of work and family obligations, may not otherwise have been able to pursue a legal education,” Vause said. “Now, working women and men representing many cultures, ages, and ethnic groups from Sarasota to Hernando to Polk and Orange Counties, will be able to follow their dream of attaining a Juris Doctor degree here in Tampa at Stetson.” Vause said launching the part-time program across the bay “is a momentous time” for both Stetson and the Tampa Bay community. “As Florida’s first and oldest law school, Stetson has been producing lawyers, judges, and other leaders in the legal profession for 100 years, longer than any other law school in this state,” Vause said. “Since 1954, we have been Tampa Bay’s law school.” Vause said more than 2,700 Stetson graduates currently live and work within the Tampa Bay community, with thousands more located throughout the state, the nation, and the world. A Stetson Tampa campus has been one of Vause’s personal goals since being named dean in 1999. That same year, the college applied to the ABA to establish a part-time program in Tampa. Because of the high concentration of minority professionals working in Tampa, Vause said Stetson’s Tampa program will serve to promote diversity in the legal profession, and the college has begun fundraising efforts to establish scholarships for minority applicants. Students will attend classes Monday through Thursday evenings, and on Saturday mornings. The J.D. degree may be earned through a minimum of four years of study in the part-time program, and if necessary, may be extended up to six years, according to the school. Students in the part-time program will be subject to the same rigorous standards of learning that are applied to the full-time program students. The college will immediately begin accepting applications for the part-time August 2002 class through February 15, 2002. Because applications must include results of the Law School Admissions Test, interested students are advised to register as soon as possible for this exam. Stetson expects to admit one entering class of 50-60 students each fall semester. Those entering classes will be in addition to Stetson’s full-time entering classes, which are admitted each fall, spring, and summer. Tuition for the part-time program will be equivalent to that for the full-time program and will be prorated over the four years of the part-time program. Accordingly, part-time students will pay the same tuition per credit hour as full-time students, who pay $21,000 a year. The curriculum will be virtually identical to that taken by full-time students and the school expects that required courses will be taught by members of Stetson’s full-time faculty; elective courses will be taught by full-time faculty and adjunct professors. Students should also have an opportunity to participate in a wide variety of extracurricular activities, such as law review, student government, and various clubs.
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