Duke News Briefs: June 27, 2003

Football earns graduation award | Fall China study postponed | Purves to direct neuroscience center | Long-term care grant | New TIP director | Polycystic ovary syndrome study | Obituaries

Football earns graduation award

Duke has been named the winner of the American Football Coaches Association's 2003 Academic Achievement Award, presented annually by the Touchdown Club of Memphis. The school recorded a 100 percent graduation rate for members of its football squad because all members of its freshman class of 1997-98 earned a degree.

"We are proud to receive the AFCA's Academic Achievement Award for the 11th time," Duke head coach Carl Franks said. "Duke has always had a strong commitment to graduating members of the student body as well as its student-athletes. Our coaching staff takes great pride in the academic success of the players, and credit also needs to be extended to our academic support system."

Duke's win is the 11th for the school, and it earned a perfect graduation rate for the fourth time. The school also earned the honor in 1999, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1990, 1987, 1984 and 1981. Duke has also earned honorable mention honors on nine other occasions. The school has won the award or received honorable mention every year since 1986. No other school has won the honor more than six times.

Fall China study postponed

The fall session of the Duke Study in China program has been postponed until the spring because of continued concerns about Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

About 20 students had planned to attend this fall's program. Officials hope that the same number of students will participate in the spring.

Concerns about SARS also have prompted Duke officials to relocate the summer study abroad program in Beijing to North Carolina. Students in that program, which began June 23, will spend two weeks in Durham and six weeks at the university's Marine Laboratory in Beaufort.

Purves to direct neuroscience center

Dale Purves, former chair of the medical center Department of Neurobiology, has been named director of the Duke Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, which aims to understand how the hundred-billion or so neurons in the human brain produce the mental abilities that constitute the mind.

The center is among the university's major initiatives in brain science, drawing on the resources of both the campus and medical center to produce advances in understanding the relationship of mind, brain and behavior.

Purves, who headed the neurobiology department for more than 10 years, is the George Barth Geller Professor for Research in Neurobiology and a professor of psychological and brain sciences. His most recent research has yielded new theories about how humans and other animals perceive the visual and auditory world, and about how their brains are organized.

"Dale Purves is among the most prominent and talented neurobiologists in the field, and his leadership of the department of neurobiology helped make it among the best in the nation," said Provost Peter Lange. "It is particularly gratifying that he has now agreed to lead the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, where we expect the same kinds of important scientific advances that have distinguished Dale's career. He will have significant resources under his control, and I anticipate he will make the center an outstanding place for research and teaching on the brain."

Said Purves, "The Center for Cognitive Neuroscience exemplifies Duke's strong commitment to interdisciplinary research and scholarship -- aiming to attract faculty from a broad range of departments to explore the highest levels of brain function. I'm very pleased that I'll be able to help encourage this diverse collaboration."

Long-term care grant

Duke's School of Nursing has received a one-year, $50,000 grant from GlaxoSmithKline that will support the creation of Bedside Clinical Direction in Long-Term Care, an initiative aimed at improving care to nursing home residents.

The school's gerontology nursing program is coordinating the interdisciplinary effort, led by clinical associate Deborah Lekan-Rutledge. The hope is to expand the pilot program -- which kicked off June 1 at Durham's Croasdaile Village retirement community -- and that it will serve as a model for similar facilities nationwide.

Eleanor McConnell of the School of Nursing said the rationale behind the interdisciplinary program is simple: The shortage of qualified caregivers in the country's extended-care facilities has become critical and patient outcomes are suffering. Limited time and staff capabilities call for a different, evidence-based model.

"There's a gap between top-level administrators and front-line caregivers, many of whom have only minimal training in clinical geriatrics," McConnell said. "For instance, while nursing directors are ultimately accountable for the quality of nursing care, they also carry heavy administrative responsibilities due to the limited number of professionally trained, full-time staff in nursing homes, leaving them little time to interact with direct care staff."

The program's model proposes putting gerontological advanced practice nurses (GAPNs) in nursing homes to bridge this gap.

New TIP director

Scott Greenwood, director of the Talent Identification Program's operations, has been named interim executive director of the program.

He succeeds Steven Pfeiffer, who has joined the faculty at Florida State University.

Greenwood has been TIP director of operations for nearly two years. In that capacity, he has overseen several projects, including updating the staff organizational structure and the ongoing renovation of TIP offices in the Old Bottling Plant building on Main Street.

He holds a bachelor's degree from Willamette University and a master's degree in education from Oregon State University. He has worked for 14 years in higher education, particularly in student affairs and development.

Polycystic ovary syndrome study

Volunteers are needed for a study to test the effects of exercise on women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

To be eligible, you must have PCOS (including irregular periods and male pattern hair growth), be 18-50 years old, can attend exercise sessions four times a week and maintain a stable weight during the study. Pregnant women or women with diabetes are not eligible.

For more information, call Jeanne Kimpel at 681-4453. Obituaries Margaret Marlow, a former surgical PDC employee, died May 31. She worked at Duke from 1959 to 1990. John Mills, a former employee in general surgery, died May 29. He worked at Duke from 1970 to 1998. Evelyn Daniels, a former West Campus cafeteria worker, died May 23. She worked at Duke from 1977 to1999. Charlie Allen, a former groundskeeper with the Facilities Management Department, died May 21. He worked at Duke from 1987 to1997. Shirley Smith, an employee in environmental services, died May 15. She joined Duke in July 1973. Claude Phillips, a former worker in medical center engineering and operations, died May 12. He worked at Duke from 1961 to 1976. Nancy Albright, a former patient accounting employee, died May 7. She worked at Duke from 1964 to 1999. Matlane Homan, a former worker in the biomedical waste program, died May 4. She worked at Duke from 1975 to 1993.