Education Briefs

Program helps mothers, daughters

New Orleans — Social work professor Marva Lewis has always felt that hair brushing can be used as a tool to connect mothers and daughters, and now, her Early Connections Project is teaming up with the Tulane Medical Center to teach its hair-brushing program to the community.

The Early Connections Project, housed at the Tulane School of Social Work, launched a program earlier this year focusing on hair-brushing for hospitalized children.

The team, which consisted of several students from the Tulane School of Social Work and the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, developed a 10-minute intervention to teach parents how to incorporate hair-brushing into their child’s daily routine.

One goal is to building parents’ confidence in caring for a hospitalized child.

The project is getting support from the New Orleans Gulf South Booksellers Association, which donated copies of books including, “I Love My Hair,” by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley.

UNO biologist
gets grant

New Orleans — University of New Orleans professor Wendy Schluchter was awarded a four-year, $632,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study light-harvesting proteins in bacteria.

The project has a wide variety of applications, including the development of tools to aid all types of cell biology research, including research into how diseases like cancer occur, according to Schluchter.

Schluchter’s research focuses on cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, which are the base of the food chain and use light from the sun to obtain energy. Cyanobacteria, which often grow in the ocean, compete with other photosynthetic organisms for the low amounts of light that penetrate deeper in the ocean.

Most photosynthetic organisms make one set of proteins that absorb light, but some cyanobacteria have evolved a mechanism to produce different sets of proteins, depending upon their environment. These cells only produce the best set of proteins that can harvest the color or wavelength of light that their cells are experiencing.

Principal honored by Loyola University

New Orleans — Sister Imelda Moriarty, former principal of St. Catherine of Siena Catholic School in Metairie, is the recipient of Loyola University New Orleans’ 2012 Integritas Vitae Award, the university’s highest honor.

Moriarty was recognized at the 1912 Society Dinner on Thursday at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans.

The Integritas Vitae Award is presented annually to an individual who exemplifies the qualities Loyola seeks to instill in its students, such as high moral character and a commitment to selfless service.

The award also recognizes honesty, integrity, justice and the preservation of human dignity.

Past recipients include Mother Teresa of Calcutta, New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson and the late Archbishop of New Orleans Philip Hannan.

Born in Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland, Moriarty came to the U.S. during World War II and entered the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio.

When Moriarty was assigned to St. Catherine of Siena School in 1970, she started as a math teacher.

Within five years, she was selected principal, a position she held for nearly 30 years. Although no longer serving as principal, Moriarty still works at the school as the assistant librarian.

Under her leadership, a capital campaign at St. Catherine’s raised funds to erect a multi-use building with an auditorium and nine classrooms.

Tulane surveys
child labor data

New Orleans — Tulane University’s Payson Center for International Development has been awarded a three-year, $1.5 million grant by the U.S. Department of Labor to conduct child labor surveys in the cocoa-growing areas in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.

The funding is a follow-up to an earlier Department of Labor grant the Payson team received to collect data on West Africa’s cocoa industry.

The survey data collected by the Payson Center will be used to measure trends in the worst forms of child labor in agriculture, including the cocoa sector, in these countries.

William E. Bertrand, Wisner Professor of Public Health in Tulane’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, is the principal investigator of the project and Elke de Buhr, assistant professor at the Payson Center, is co-principal investigator.

LSUHSC professor to study obesity

Melinda Sothern, professor and director of the Behavioral and Community Health Sciences Program at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Public Health, has been awarded a $675,000 grant to advance research on the role of social, genetic, environmental and behavioral determinants of future obesity.

Five years later, Sothern is bringing back the same group of healthy children, now adolescents, in which she previously discovered early predictors of metabolic syndrome when they were 7 to 9 years old.

The funding, from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, is a sub-project in collaboration with the University of Alabama Birmingham.

Tulane invests global public health chair

New Orleans — Dr. Paul K. Whelton was invested last week as the inaugural Show Chwan Chair for global public health at Tulane.

An international authority on cardiovascular and renal disease, Whelton first came to Tulane in 1997 as dean of public health.

He also served as dean of the medical school and senior vice president of health sciences at Tulane University before assuming the helm of Loyola University Chicago’s health sciences complex in 2007.

As chair, Whelton will administer the public health school’s programs in Asia. He hopes to strengthen research collaborations between Tulane investigators and their peers abroad.

The Show Chwan Chair was established by Dr. Min-Ho Huang, an internationally recognized developer of hospitals and a parent of three Tulane University graduates. Huang is founder and president of Taiwan’s Show Chwan Health Care System, which has helped put Taiwan at the forefront of global health.

Delgado vice chancellors to retire

New Orleans — Two Delgado Community College vice chancellors with long records of service, Kathleen N. Mix and Aristide C. “Jimmy” Eagan III, are retiring — Mix at month’s end and Eagan in June.

Mix, vice chancellor for workforce development and education, has served as a faculty member and administrator at Delgado for more than 38 years.

The New Orleans native built Delgado’s non-credit division, the Workforce Development and Education unit, which comprises professional development, personal enrichment courses and the Maritime, Fire, Radar and Industrial Training facility, which trains thousands of mariners from throughout the world every year.

Mix and her staff have written and received nearly $40 million in grants for numerous training initiatives.

In the past three decades, she has supported, encouraged and secured funding sources for training programs targeted at building the skilled workforce pool in the greater New Orleans area.

Eagan, vice chancellor for business and administrative affairs, has been at Delgado nearly 37 years, managing the business affairs of the college in a succession of administrative positions, culminating with his current position.

He led post-Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts involving repairs to 60 percent of Delgado’s facilities and managed mergers withOrleans Regional Technical in the 1990s.

Compiled by
the New Orleans bureau