A cinematic approach to drug resistance

first_imgIn a creative stroke inspired by Hollywood wizardry, scientists from Harvard Medical School and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have designed a simple way to observe how bacteria move as they become impervious to drugs.The experiments, described in the Sept. 9 issue of Science, are thought to provide the first large-scale glimpse of the maneuvers of bacteria as they encounter increasingly higher doses of antibiotics and adapt to survive — and thrive — in them.To do so, the team constructed a 2-by-4 foot petri dish and filled it with 14 liters of agar, a seaweed-derived jellylike substance commonly used in labs to nourish organisms as they grow.To observe how the bacterium Escherichia coli adapted to increasingly higher doses of antibiotics, researchers divided the dish into sections and saturated them with various doses of medication. The outermost rims of the dish were free of any drug. The next section contained a small amount of antibiotic — just above the minimum needed to kill the bacteria — and each subsequent section represented a 10-fold increase in dose, with the center of the dish containing 1,000 times as much antibiotic as the area with the lowest dose.Over two weeks, a camera mounted on the ceiling above the dish took periodic snapshots that the researchers spliced into a time-lapsed montage. The result? A powerful, unvarnished visualization of bacterial movement, death, and survival; evolution at work, visible to the naked eye.The device, dubbed the Microbial Evolution, and Growth Arena (MEGA) plate, represents a simple, and more realistic, platform to explore the interplay between space and evolutionary challenges that force organisms to change or die, the researchers said.“We know quite a bit about the internal defense mechanisms bacteria use to evade antibiotics, but we don’t really know much about their physical movements across space as they adapt to survive in different environments,” said study first author Michael Baym, a research fellow in systems biology at HMS.The researchers caution that their giant petri dish is not intended to perfectly mirror how bacteria adapt and thrive in the real world and in hospital settings, but it does mimic the real-world environments bacteria encounter more closely than traditional lab cultures can. This is because, the researchers say, in bacterial evolution, space, size, and geography matter. Moving across environments with varying antibiotic strengths poses a different challenge for organisms than they face in traditional lab experiments that involve tiny plates with homogeneously mixed doses of drugs. <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plVk4NVIUh8″ rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://img.youtube.com/vi/plVk4NVIUh8/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a> A cinematic inspirationThe invention was borne out of the pedagogical necessity to teach evolution in a visually captivating way to students in a graduate course at HMS. The researchers adapted an idea from, of all places, Hollywood.Senior study investigator Roy Kishony, of HMS and Technion, had seen a digital billboard advertising the 2011 film “Contagion,” a grim narrative about a deadly viral pandemic. The marketing tool was built using a giant lab dish to show hordes of painted, glowing microbes creeping slowly across a dark backdrop to spell out the title of the movie.“This project was fun and joyful throughout,” Kishony said. “Seeing the bacteria spread for the first time was a thrill. Our MEGA plate takes complex, often obscure, concepts in evolution, such as mutation selection, lineages, parallel evolution, and clonal interference, and provides a visual, seeing-is-believing demonstration of these otherwise vague ideas. It’s also a powerful illustration of how easy it is for bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics.”Co-investigator Tami Lieberman says the images spark the curiosity of lay and professional viewers alike.“This is a stunning demonstration of how quickly microbes evolve,” said Lieberman, who was a graduate student in the Kishony lab at the time of the research and is now a postdoctoral research fellow at MIT. “When shown the video, evolutionary biologists immediately recognize concepts they’ve thought about in the abstract, while nonspecialists immediately begin to ask really good questions.”Bacteria on the move Beyond providing a telegenic way to show evolution, the device yielded some key insights about the behavior of bacteria exposed to increasing doses of a drug. Some of them are:Bacteria spread until they reached a concentration (antibiotic dose) in which they could no longer grow.At each concentration level, a small group of bacteria adapted and survived. Resistance occurred through the successive accumulation of genetic changes. As drug-resistant mutants arose, their descendants migrated to areas of higher antibiotic concentration. Multiple lineages of mutants competed for the same space. The winning strains progressed to the area with the higher drug dose, until they reached a drug concentration at which they could not survive.Progressing sequentially through increasingly higher doses of antibiotic, low-resistance mutants gave rise to moderately resistant mutants, eventually spawning highly resistant strains able to fend off the highest doses of antibiotic.Ultimately, in a dramatic demonstration of acquired drug resistance, bacteria spread to the highest drug concentration. In the span of 10 days, bacteria produced mutant strains capable of surviving a dose of the antibiotic trimethoprim 1,000 times higher than the one that killed their progenitors. When researchers used another antibiotic — ciprofloxacin — bacteria developed 100,000-fold resistance to the initial dose.Initial mutations led to slower growth — a finding that suggests bacteria adapting to the antibiotic aren’t able to grow at optimal speed while developing mutations. Once fully resistant, such bacteria regained normal growth rates.The fittest, most resistant mutants were not always the fastest. They sometimes stayed behind weaker strains that braved the frontlines of higher antibiotic doses.The classic assumption has been that mutants that survive the highest concentration are the most resistant, but the team’s observations suggest otherwise.“What we saw suggests that evolution is not always led by the most resistant mutants,” Baym said. “Sometimes it favors the first to get there. The strongest mutants are, in fact, often moving behind more vulnerable strains. Who gets there first may be predicated on proximity rather than mutation strength.”Co-investigators included Eric Kelsic, Remy Chait, Rotem Gross, and Idan Yelin.The work was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health and by the European Research Council.last_img read more

Tishman Speyer to develop first phase of Enterprise Research Campus in Allston

first_img New research campus seeks a developer Harvard envisions that the ERC will seamlessly integrate into the emerging corridor of creativity along Western Avenue, and that will contribute to a thriving neighborhood that is home to academia and education, engaging public and community spaces, and the arts and sciences in ways that drive economic growth and innovation.Tishman Speyer was chosen by HALC, the University subsidiary charged with overseeing the ERC development, because its proposal reflected a commitment to many of the goals set out in the initial request for proposals. These include bold and innovative architecture; attention to creating a robust, sustainable public realm; a pledge to include affordable housing that exceeds municipal requirements; a focus on creating a space for life-science and tech startups to flourish; a diverse and experienced development team; and assurances that the firm is committed to ensuring project equity for minority investors.“The ideas and concepts put forth by the Tishman Speyer team were very much in line with the local Allston community’s, the city’s, and the University’s goals for the neighborhood, as well as being advanced and forward-thinking. Their focus on these shared goals and aspirations will result in an innovative ERC — which will complement the cutting-edge institutional research and teaching taking place at Harvard and throughout the region, and can be integrated into the already-thriving community,” said Nitin Nohria, chair of the HALC board and dean of Harvard Business School.“From the outset, [HALC chief executive] Tom Glynn and the board members of the Harvard Allston Land Company have presented a clear, compelling, and unique vision,” said Speyer. “This project will combine the best in real estate with the best in science to help entrepreneurs and researchers make life-changing discoveries. And it will do this while supporting the neighborhood’s residents, further strengthening existing businesses, and diversifying the region’s economy.”Tishman Speyer said it conceives of the ERC as a place that will “celebrate local context, foster human interaction, and stimulate innovation by integrating sustainability, permeability, sensitivity to human scale, and timeless architecture with a robust and meaningful community outreach plan.” The team sees an opportunity to foster “a symbiosis between the ERC’s historic neighbors, the global innovation community, and Harvard’s vision.”The developer said its plan for the ERC, currently “a blank canvas,” was to create buildings and open spaces configured to simultaneously maximize user comfort and offer a diverse mix of program potential. The firm’s proposal says it will focus on creating social infrastructure that promotes “inclusivity, shared experiences, collaboration and human happiness … where cultural identity is expressed and authentically celebrated.”One potential building, dubbed the Treehouse, would serve as a welcoming front door to the ERC, and would reimagine the concept of a traditional hotel and conference center as a “hyper-social building for local, regional, and global populations.”“Capturing the spirit of innovation of the Enterprise Research Campus, our design will transform a former industrial site into a fertile new ground for the exchange of ideas and creative expression. We envision a neighborhood brought to life with low-carbon buildings and resilient green spaces that foster community and connect people to their natural environment,” said architect Gang. The Tishman Speyer team sees an opportunity to foster “a symbiosis between the ERC’s historic neighbors, the global innovation community, and Harvard’s vision.” Echoing Harvard’s strong commitment to sustainability and resiliency, Tishman Speyer said the ERC will be designed to be a leader in substantiality and will incorporate a pathway to zero carbon into the design from day one. For instance, the team’s proposal considered sun angles, wind impacts, outdoor climate comfort, and provided an integrated approach to the site plan and land uses, owing to the work of Studio Gang and others.Tishman Speyer has a strong background in developing sustainable properties. Between 2015 and 2016 it achieved a 6 percent reduction in energy intensity across its entire global portfolio. It has received the distinction of Energy Star Partner of the Year three times, and has more than 74 million square feet of sustainably-certified property across four continents. Each ERC building will be designed to achieve a USGBC LEED Gold rating and will implement extensive sustainability measures, including a master plan design that responds to, and mitigates, solar, wind, noise, acoustic, and environmental impacts.The developer’s proposal also calls for a dynamic and diverse residential community, with the ability to exceed the city’s affordable housing thresholds and include additional livability elements.Tishman Speyer said that “true and authentic equity and inclusion” will be the foundation of the team and the project itself. It has assembled a diverse group with broad global, national, and local perspectives, and said it is “deeply committed to a work environment that promotes a diverse workforce, with different views and perspectives, and an expectation that leaders and employers alike demonstrate unflagging support for diversity and inclusion practices.” In fact, it has said that it is committed to allocating 5 percent of the project equity to minority investors. Enterprise Research Campus plan approved Harvard forms subsidiary to advance Enterprise Research Campus Harvard files Allston plan Harvard Allston Land Co. issues request for proposals for Enterprise Research Campus Envisioning Allston’s enterprise research campus Relatedcenter_img Fessler named to lead major real estate development effort focused on innovation, collaboration, entrepreneurship Site would include office and lab space, residences, hotel and conference center Enterprise Research Campus envisioned as regional innovation hub The Harvard Allston Land Company (HALC) has designated Tishman Speyer to be the preferred developer for the initial phase of the University’s Enterprise Research Campus (ERC) in Allston. Led by president and CEO Rob Speyer, Tishman Speyer is a global developer of large, complex, mixed-use projects, and is best known for innovative approaches to architecture, place-making, interior design, sustainability, healthy live-work environments, and leading-edge tenant amenities.“Tishman Speyer will bring to Allston a wealth of experience shaped by extraordinary work around the world, and we look forward to the further development of the Enterprise Research Campus,” said Harvard President Larry Bacow. “The convergence of art, business, and engineering in a new urban district will create opportunities for creativity and innovation that will drive achievements in research that none of us can imagine.”The architect selected to lead the project is Jeanne Gang, M.Arch. ’93, founding principal of Studio Gang, an international architecture and urban design practice based in Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. A MacArthur Fellow who was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2019, Gang has received numerous accolades over the years and was the Architectural Review Woman Architect of the Year in 2017. Tishman Speyer’s previous collaborations with her include residential projects in San Francisco and Brooklyn, as well as the mixed-use Mission Rock neighborhood project in San Francisco. Gang has also done work on the University of Chicago’s campus and on O’Hare International Airport.The ERC, which will be located on Western Avenue, adjacent to Harvard’s new Science and Engineering Complex and across the street from Harvard Business School, will be a cornerstone of Harvard’s commitment to enhance the area in ways that align with its teaching and research mission. Plans for the campus include a mix of research-focused companies, green space, residences, and a hotel and conference center. The first phase of the 36-acre project will involve a 14-acre portion that has received initial regulatory approval for 900,000 square feet from the Boston Planning and Development Agency. “Capturing the spirit of innovation of the Enterprise Research Campus, our design will transform a former industrial site into a fertile new ground for the exchange of ideas and creative expression.” — Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang The ERC has roots in a series of discussions that began in 2011. At that time Harvard’s Allston Work Team recommended that the University use some of its available land in the Boston neighborhood to encourage companies, hospitals, partner universities, and others to collaborate on developing an innovative space. A committee was formed in 2014 to explore the issue further, and the idea was soon being described as an innovation district that might contain laboratories, offices, and housing, as well as a previously planned hotel and conference center.The initial phase of the ERC is consistent with what was outlined during the public process in spring 2018, when the Boston Planning and Development Agency board voted to approve a Planned Development Area Master Plan. The Master Plan described the outcome of an extensive public process, which included significant stakeholder involvement over the course of numerous public meetings. The outcome is the guiding plan for Harvard’s development of the ERC.The plans are also consistent with past University planning efforts and align with the goals outlined in the city of Boston’s own master plan, “Imagine Boston 2030,” which included the ERC and Beacon Park Yard, the area immediately to the south, among several locations citywide for “expanded neighborhoods.”Harvard has continued to move forward on significant necessary improvements to infrastructure throughout the area, which will enable future development to occur. Critical structural components such as new roads, stormwater, and utilities will undoubtedly benefit the area for years to come.The ERC will be located on land that had been occupied by transportation company CSXT.Harvard first purchased the land from the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority in 2000 and 2003. Throughout the past two decades, Harvard worked with CSXT to execute an agreement resulting in the relocation of the railyard, as well as environmental testing and remediation.“Over the next several months HALC and Tishman Speyer will be working with the local community, elected officials, and City Hall to develop and refine a project proposal so that it can be shared and formally submitted for review,” said Glynn, HALC’s chief executive. “While a lot of necessary, expected work still remains to be done, we’re incredibly excited about today’s announcement — an important next step in realizing Harvard’s vision for the ERC.”While the Tishman Speyer team has shared its initial thinking and offered some preliminary thoughts about concepts and designs, there is no formal proposed project at present.Tishman Speyer has a large, diverse portfolio of projects locally, nationally and across the globe. It currently owns and operates more than 3 million square feet of space in Boston and has two projects in the city’s Seaport district: Pier 4, a mixed-use project, and 105 West First Street, a life-science lab.Other projects include Rockefeller Center in New York City and the Sony Center in Berlin.As ERC planning advances, Harvard and the Tishman Speyer team will work collaboratively to recruit idea-intensive businesses that have a natural synergy with the scholarship being produced by Harvard faculty and students in Allston. This will further strengthen and expand partnerships across Greater Boston’s thriving ecosystem of innovation that includes Boston University, MIT, Harvard and other associated teaching hospitals, and innovative companies and investors throughout the region. HBS dean, former Massport chief share leadership vision for 36-acre Allston project The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news.last_img read more

Idina Menzel Talks Holiday Wishes, Midnight Dates & More

first_img Idina Menzel Show Closed This production ended its run on March 22, 2015 Related Shows If/Then Broadway superstar Idina Menzel, currently treading the boards on the Great White Way in If/Then, recently opened up to redbook about everything from the inspiration for her Holiday Wishes record, to her ex-hubby Taye Diggs, to dating.“To be honest, my love for Christmas came when I started dating Taye,” the Tony winner admitted. “He has a big family, so we would reserve Christmas Eve for ourselves. I wanted to be the good shiksa girlfriend.”Menzel also revealed that she’s open to dating but “I just don’t have a lot of time. They’d have to meet me at, like, midnight after the show, and that’s kind of slutty, isn’t it?”Take a look at redbook’s behind-the-scenes interview below. Holiday Wishes, which the Frozen queen thinks has “some of my best singing” is out now, so if you haven’t got your copy yet what are you waiting for?! View Comments Star Fileslast_img read more

Inside Marketing: Top 3 trends for 2020

first_img continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Brand awareness and effective marketing are crucial elements of growth for every organization, including credit unions. But staying on top of the latest trends and strategies can be challenging, especially as consumer expectations and technologies evolve at lightning speeds.As we enter the new year, the industry will certainly see many new marketing approaches emerge, but credit unions should pay particular attention to these three: voice search, lead nurturing programs and chatbots.1. Voice Search the Death of SEODevices like Amazon’s Echo are no longer luxury products—they’ve quickly become mainstream in American homes. Nearly a quarter of all U.S. households own a smart speaker, according to a study from Nielsen, and a report from OC&C Strategy Consultants projects this to rise to over 50% by 2022. Additionally, 65% of people who own an Amazon Echo or Google Home can’t imagine going back to the days before they had a smart speaker, according to GeoMarketing.last_img read more

Hispanic marketing in 2020

first_img continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Hispanics account for the fastest and largest growing community in the United States according to Snapshot of the U.S. Immigration in 2019 by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). The Hispanic market has enormous untapped business potential and it represents one of the biggest opportunities for credit unions’ membership growth. Nevertheless, it has been overlooked by financial institutions as it is also one of the most underserved communities.Companies that have strategies in place to connect and attract Hispanic consumers to utilize their products and/or services are seeing success. However, most credit unions are failing to reach this demographic due to lack of cultural knowledge, failing to build trust with members, and overlooking the need to hire bilingual staff in branches.Many companies, including financial institutions, have seen potential in the Hispanic market and are looking for ways to serve this market while meeting their goals and grow. Companies that see this potential have made moves to translate marketing materials to increase their appeal to the Hispanic market. While this is a great start, your efforts could be for naught if you are simply translating material without a strategy to serve these new members. The resources you delegate to reach this market should meet the needs of the Hispanic community and be appropriate for their culture and diverse background. When not implemented correctly, Hispanics will drift away, and this could possibly generate a bad reputation for your credit union because you fail to understand their needs.last_img read more

Splashdown! Local expert explains how astronauts Hurley and Behnken made it safely back to earth

first_imgBut thanks to aerospace engineering both were safe inside the spacecraft. “The spacecraft will actually be lifted onto the deck of one of the recovery ships, and then Doug and Bob will come out of the capsule right onto the deck of the recovery ship,” he said. Then recovery ships approach the spacecraft in order to return it’s occupants safely to shore. After splashdown, the Deskur said the pair likely needed some time to get used to being back on land. “As it’s finally splashing down into the water they’re supposedly only going to be going about 15 miles per hour so It should be a relatively comfortable landing,” he said. Drew Deskur is the executive director of the Kopernik Observatory and Science Center in Vestal. He said when the astronauts first re-entered the atmosphere, they experienced a ballistic reentry. You can watch Kopernik’s live stream of the splashdown here.center_img He said drogue parachutes then slow the aircraft as it begins its final descent toward the surface. They splashed down off the coast of Florida just before 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon after more than two months in space aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft. It was the first time in more than a decade that astronauts were launched into space from U.S. soil. (WBNG) — Apalachin native and astronaut Doug Hurley and fellow astronaut Bob Behnken are back on planet Earth this evening. “Having been in Space for about two months, their bodies are probably more acclimated to space than they are Earth,” he said. “I think it’s certainly jarring,” he told 12 News just before the splashdown. “The heat shield will be be protecting Bob and Doug on the inside, and it’ll create a plasma shield so for about six minutes there’ll be no communication between crew dragon and ground.”last_img read more

Voice opposition to Ballston sewer plan

first_imgAre you aware our Town Board is seeking to build Phase 2 of the sewer district even before Phase 1 construction has started? Ever wonder why? The board is promoting commercial growth north on Route 50, They are once again ignoring the wishes of a majority of the residents who voted in two separate referendums to keep the rural characteristics of the town.For those in the planned sewer district, this will approximately double the town taxes for 30 years, not including the expense of hooking up and deactivating the old system, which will be mandatory. Please see the town website for neighborhoods in the proposed district. Be aware that only property owners in the district will be allowed to vote on April 18, but all residents will pay increased taxes when you consider there are two schools, the library and the Route 50 firehouse involved.There’s no pressing need for sewers at this time except to benefit commercial development along Route 50. Has no one considered the dire consequences of increased traffic on this major two-lane road? Two information forums are scheduled for 10 a.m. today (March 14) and 6 p.m. on March 20. Barbara ThurnauBurnt HillsMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the census Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

Australia launches national inquiry into bushfires

first_imgMorrison said it would also be asked to consider establishing new powers for the federal government to declare a national state of emergency, which he argued would allow a faster response to fires.The conservative leader, who was criticised for his sluggish reaction to the months-long crisis, has defended his actions by pointing to regulations requiring states to formally request federal assistance.He claimed to have operated in a “constitutional grey zone” by deploying thousands of troops and reservists to assist in the bushfire recovery.”We did that without clear rules,” Morrison said. Australia set up a national inquiry Thursday into its five-month bushfire crisis that affected three in four Australians and prompted widespread criticism of the government for its sluggish response to the blazes.Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the vast scale of the fires — which killed more than 30 people and destroyed thousands of homes — required a new response from the bushfire-prone nation.The Royal Commission inquiry will be tasked with finding ways to improve Australia’s preparedness, resilience and response to natural disasters. Australia has seen dozens of inquests into the causes of bushfires and steps that could be taken to mitigate them, with mixed results.Many measures from the dozens of inquests going back to the 1930s have still not been implemented.The most recent crisis has sparked calls for Australia’s conservative government to take immediate action on climate change, with street protests urging Morrison to reduce the country’s reliance on coal.The prime minister belatedly acknowledged the link between the bushfire disaster and a warming planet, but also made clear his government plans to focus on climate adaption and building resilience ahead of measures to cut emissions.The inquiry will be led by former Air Force chief Mark Binskin, along with retired Federal Court judge Annabelle Bennett and environmental lawyer Professor Andrew Macintosh.Morrison said they would be required to report their findings by 31 August, “so recommendations can be acted upon before our next bushfire season”.The most recent bushfire season began in early September, with the first deaths recorded a month later.Topics :last_img read more

MEMO: Governor Wolf Makes the Fight Against Opioid Abuse Top Priority

first_imgLike Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf Memo,  Substance Use Disorder SUBJECT: Governor Wolf Makes the Fight Against Opioid Abuse Top PriorityTO: Interested PartiesFROM: Jeff Sheridan, Press SecretaryDATE: April 29, 2016The Wolf Administration has made the fight against the opioid abuse and heroin use crisis a top priority.The Wolf Administration hopes that the following steps and actions, as well as a series of statewide roundtable discussions, are just the beginning of a larger conversation with both Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate as well as local officials, law enforcement, emergency responders and health care professionals. And, while we know that avoiding the upcoming fiscal cliff is critical to fixing our structural budget deficit and having the resources necessary to do even more, we look forward to working collaboratively with the General Assembly and community leaders to ensure Pennsylvania leads the nation in the fight to combat the opioid abuse and heroin use epidemic.The magnitude of the addiction and overdose death epidemic in this state is astounding — at least seven Pennsylvanians die every day from a drug overdose. With nearly 2,500 overdose deaths in Pennsylvania in 2014 and estimates that the 2015 total will be higher, a collaborative effort on the federal, state, and local levels is crucial in combatting this crisis.Some of the Wolf Administration’s current and ongoing initiatives include:Drug Take-Back Boxes: The Wolf Administration, through DDAP, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) and the Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Association (PDAA), developed a statewide drug take-back system to address the problem of excess prescription drugs.This is funded through grants managed by PDAA.The program has placed over 400 boxes resulting in the collection of over 40,000 pounds of prescription drugs in 2015.Naloxone Distribution:The Physician General, Dr. Rachel Levine, signed two standing orders to make naloxone, a drug that temporarily reverses the symptoms of an opioid overdose, available.The first standing order made naloxone available to all first responders.The second, subsequently, made it available to all Pennsylvanians.Thanks to those orders, the Pennsylvania State Police and more than 300 municipal police departments have started ubiquitously carrying naloxone.To date, police departments have made over 740 reversals.Additionally, the Wolf Administration has partnered with Adapt Pharma to offer free naloxone to schools.Expedited Behavioral Health Coverage:Behavioral Health Managed Care Organizations (BHMCOs) provide behavioral health, SUD, and recovery-oriented supplemental services in the Medicaid System.DHS and DDAP are collaborating to ensure that individuals in need of SUD treatment are able to access those services immediately through an expedited enrollment process.This means persons have BHMCO coverage as soon as their Medicaid is approved.A particular emphasis is placed on facilitating immediate BHMCO coverage for individuals being released from state and county correctional institutions and transferring directly to Residential Drug and Alcohol Treatment Facilities to ensure Medicaid covers the cost of care.Warm Handoff Policy:“Warm handoffs” refer to health care professionals are transitioning patients from primary physician care to specialized drug and alcohol treatment programs.DDAP developed the warm hand-off policy, which mandates that Single County Authorities create and execute a process whereby overdose survivors are taken from the emergency department directly to treatment. These facilitated referrals support individuals with SUD and increase the odds of a successful recovery.Behind-the-Walls Treatment:The Department of Corrections (DOC) is working to reduce criminal behaviors through individualized SUD treatment and education for inmates.This will result in successful community reintegration.DOC provides comprehensive drug and alcohol treatment to inmates through a variety of services, including assessment, outpatient care, inpatient care or aftercare.As part of this ongoing mission, DOC is also conducting a pilot program using Vivitrol, a long-acting injectable form of naltrexone that blocks certain receptors to prevent a ‘high.’Some of the Wolf Administration’s plans and ideas for moving forward include:Continuing Medical Education:DOH, DDAP, the Department of State (DOS), and the PA Medical Society are working on developing and offering continuing medical education (CME) credits for physicians on SUD.The educational modules are broken into 4 sessions.Currently, modules on naloxone and prescribing guidelines are available on the PA Medical Society’s website.Still under development are modules on the ABC-MAP program and warm handoffs.Substance Use Disorder Medical School Curricula:Physician General, Dr. Rachel Levine, and DDAP are working with the deans of Pennsylvania medical schools to incorporate SUD courses into their curricula required for graduation from the program.This effort was successfully accomplished in Massachusetts and has been advocated by the Obama Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services.Opioid Prescribing Guidelines:DOH and DDAP have been working collaboratively to create a set of specialized opioid prescribing guidelines in an effort to curtail the excess supply of drugs.The departments have completed multiple guidelines, including emergency department providers, chronic non-cancer pain, obstetrics and gynecology, pharmacists, geriatrics and dental pain.In development still are pediatrics, neurology and sports medicine.The departments are working to get the guidelines affirmed by the appropriate medical boards.Syringe Services Program:Syringe services programs can reduce the spread of disease and assist in connecting those with SUD with treatment professionals.In addition, these programs provide opportunities for program staff to share treatment options and assistance to intravenous drug users in a safe environment.$34M for Opioid Use Disorder Centers of Excellence (aka “Health Homes”):Governor Wolf’s proposed 2016-17 budget provides more than $34 million to treat more than 11,250 new individuals with substance use disorder.The Department of Human Services (DHS) will provide 50 new Centers of Excellence for individuals with substance use disorder, providing medication-assisted treatment and appropriate wraparound services, such as cognitive-based therapies.Opioid Use Disorder Centers of Excellence will focus on whole-person care and will treat all of the health care needs of an individual through a collaborative approach that consists of physical and behavioral health care and links to appropriate community supports that can increase chances of recovery and reduce expensive health care costs.Increasing the Number of Providers in the Medicaid System:BHMCOs use local needs assessments in the development of new services, including the expansion of the provider networks and development of additional supplemental services to address the needs identified within the local community.DHS continues to use these local assessments to inform and pursue recruitment and retention of additional providers to meet the increasing needs of Pennsylvanians affected by the opioid epidemic.Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP):Pennsylvania’s PDMP, implemented by DOH, is the Achieving Better Care by Monitoring All Prescriptions (ABC-MAP) program.Recently, DOH named Meghna Patel the PDMP director.Pharmacies and health care professionals who dispense Schedule II through V controlled substances will be required to electronically report prescription dispensing information to the ABC-MAP system within 72-hours.ABC-MAP will aid regulatory and law enforcement agencies in detecting and preventing fraud and abuse, as well as, helping individuals with SUD get into treatment. MEMO: Governor Wolf Makes the Fight Against Opioid Abuse Top Prioritycenter_img April 29, 2016 SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

​AP4 loses head of equities to Australian sovereign fund

first_img“I am delighted Björn is joining us and will bring his extensive experience in long-term investing and leadership to the Fund,” Arndt said.“Bringing together different investment perspectives is enormously important to how we run the portfolio, and Björn will be a great addition to our thinking.”At the Future Fund – which manages assets to pre-fund pension liabilities in addition to looking after funds devoted to the future financing of medical research, hospitals and school construction ­– Kvarnskog will oversee a listed equity portfolio worth AUD39bn, split between Australian equities and holdings in global and emerging markets.Prior to his seven years at AP4, he was head of European equities at DNB NOR Asset Management, which he joined in 2005 after five years as senior portfolio manager at AP3.He has also worked at Handelsbanken, Alfred Berg and JP Bank. Sweden’s AP4 has lost its head of global equities to Australia’s AUD118bn (€73.2bn) sovereign fund.Björn Kvarnskog joined AP4 in 2008 and in June took a sabbatical from his role to complete a degree in business administration.He will move to Melbourne in 2016 and become head of equities at the Future Fund, also joining the sovereign fund’s investment committee.The Future Fund’s CIO Raphael Arndt said Sarah Carne, director of equities, would continue as interim head of equities until Kvarnskog’s arrival.last_img read more