Black: Building Brotherhood

Having arrived at Dartmouth as a 21-year-old freshman after waiting two years before coming to college, I can say that I have a somewhat unique perspective on college life. I’ve experienced the social life at multiple public universities, and so I came to Dartmouth with the opinion that college was all about house parties with a relatively small group of friends and maybe some studying here and there.

A month before Fall term, I discovered that Dartmouth’s social life revolved around fraternities. I thought about the stereotypical “frat bro” on TV and in movies, and all I knew was that I didn’t want to become that kind of person. It seemed like I was going to be in for a rough four years socially, but I thought it would be worth it for a Dartmouth education. After my first night on campus, however, I realized that my expectations of Dartmouth’s social life had been completely wrong. The open and inclusive atmosphere of fraternity parties at Dartmouth is, as far as I have experienced, unique. The College’s social scene is warm, exciting and most importantly open: a place to meet people, have a social life and make new friends. Here, you are invited to fraternity parties every night how could you not like that? I invite anyone to compare that to the social scene at other schools. Dartmouth’s social scene is special, inviting and something to be celebrated.

Looking at Andrew Lohse’s accusations, which bash Dartmouth’s Greek culture and claim hazing is propagating a culture of mistreatment, I could not be more shocked. As a freshman, I do not claim to know what goes on behind fraternity doors at meetings or during pledge term, but I do see the positive elements of fraternity culture. Lohse speaks about brotherhood in a mocking way, but when I look at fraternities, I see a brotherhood in the purest sense: members coming together as a result of their shared experiences.

The importance of brotherhood is often underestimated in the Dartmouth community. Look at the statistics about diversity at Dartmouth on the College’s admissions page. We have a student from every state and so many different countries. I believe that the Greek system is the catalysts that transforms this large and diverse body into such a tight-knit community. Dartmouth is a place where people from different backgrounds can come together and become friends or brothers or sisters. I’m sure I’m not the only one who met many of his friends in the basement of a frat while playing pong.

I feel that my college experience has already benefited from being around this brotherhood and, regardless of Lohse’s statements, I will rush next fall. While pledging, I am willing to participate in the events that build the brotherhood I feel is so important. My understanding is that no pledge is ever forced to do something with which he is not comfortable. If it turns out that my brothers or friends require me to swim in a kiddie pool of vomit, then I may reconsider having them as my brothers or my friends.

Eventually, it will be my turn to build the brotherhood that creates a strong community, and I will do so with accountability a part of fraternity culture that I admit is currently lacking. There seems to be an idea that just because one pledge class was forced to do something, that every successive pledge class should be forced to do the same. However, these are not the only traditions that build brotherhood. True brotherhood can be built by playing sports together or just by hanging out and having fun. I am willing to do things that make me feel uncomfortable as a pledge, but I will not necessarily subject future pledges to the same trials. All it takes to change the system is for members to evaluate themselves and their values and not cross their own moral boundaries when thinking of pledge tasks.

I hope that Dartmouth will not rid the campus of Greek life but rather will encourage accountability and morality within its student body. Allow the students to fix the system and the brotherhoods and sisterhoods will only grow tighter. We are a community of extremely gifted individuals, and we can surely find a solution without destroying the foundation on which we are built.

**Hunter Black is a member of the Class of 2015.*

Feiger: Good Intentions Gone Awry

Kemi Kalikawe, a well-known fashion designer in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania is a star on the rise. Her bold cuts, playful designs and exquisite fabric led to undeniable success for this new fashion star.

I had the opportunity to meet Kalikawe at one of her fashion shows a little over a month ago when I was working in Tanzania on my off-term. We became fast friends, and I was lucky enough to get a tour of her gorgeous design studio. Kalikawe uniquely combines traditional Tanzanian fabrics with contemporary cuts, resulting in a stunningly powerful effect. “I draw inspiration from the world around me,” she said.

We began to talk about my own interests, and our topic branched from the Tanzanian fashion industry to the international fashion community to the international aid community. Although she is quite an activist within Dar es Salaam, Kalikawe is an outspoken critic of Western aid involvement in Africa. She believes that much of the international aid community is unsustainable and demeaning in such a way that hurts Africa’s economy and the African people in the long run. She thinks that aid organizations focus on short-term goals, ignoring that quick-fix solutions can have incredibly nasty effects.

“I really believe the time has come for fashionable aid giving’ to go out of style,” Kalikawe said. “Unless it is sustainable, productive and encourages self-reliance, there is no place for this patronizing and inefficient foreign involvement in my country.”

Admittedly, I embarked upon my experiences abroad in Tanzania in order to hopefully make a difference in the world. While these experiences have enabled me to expand my universe of obligation, look outside my own world and learn an incredible amount about the unique land, people and histories about which I had known very little, I have no idea how effective my work was in the long term. In the instances when the projects in which I was participating weren’t sustainable and didn’t encourage self-reliance, I am almost positive that I not only contributed very little but that I also might have created unintentional negative consequences.

While many different international aid organizations approach various situations wanting to make a difference and change for the better, they fail to consider the long-term effects of practices that end up hurting more than helping. For example, take TOMS shoes, a shoe company that pledges to donate a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of shoes purchased. Although I was once a huge supporter of TOMS shoes, the company unfortunately happens to be a great example of unsustainable activism gone awry. Instead of buying shoes and materials from local businesses, TOMS ships in shoes to various countries around the world. TOMS doesn’t address the overarching issue of poverty and ineffectively addresses its symptoms by donating shoes. Instead, a change could be made to the business model where the local economy is actually supported by creating jobs in the area to make shoes out of local materials. Jobs, not donated shoes, change economic status. TOMS’ negligence with regard to the needs of the local economy is quite detrimental, just like world food programs that ship food in from the West instead of buying food locally.

This unsustainable approach to aid, while not indicative of activism work everywhere, is widespread enough that it needs to be addressed. People may have their hearts in the right place, but that doesn’t mean they are being helpful.

Dambisa Moyo, a Zambian economist and author of “Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working,” argues that limitless amounts of development assistance from irresponsible aid organizations encourage corruption and dependency, all the while perpetuating mass poverty. I can’t help but agree with many of the points she makes in her book. However, while I think that immediately halting foreign aid will create a human rights crisis of epic proportions, serious adjustments need to be made to the agendas of non-governmental organizations everywhere.

With unsustainable aid programs keeping poverty systemic, it is no wonder continued cries for aid are sounded worldwide. We have encouraged reliance, inefficiency and patronizing storylines throughout the world, all the while ignoring the agency of human beings to make sustainable changes in their own communities.

Kalikawe said it best when she told me, “We aren’t helpless Africans. We aren’t your black children. We are your fellow people and it is time for the international aid community to treat us as such.” I only hope now that people will begin to heed her words.

Brazilian jazz sorcerer incorporates range of instruments

Brazilian musician Hermeto Pascoal doesn’t look like the legend that he is. His long white beard and matching mane seem more appropriate for his nickname “o Bruxo,” which translates to “the Sorcerer” in Portuguese. Pascoal is not a wizard in the traditional sense, of course, but he is revered as one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time. He and his band will bring their musical magic which will spotlight Pascoal’s famed use of unconventional instruments to Hanover this evening with a performance in Spaulding Auditorium at the Hopkins Center.

Pascoal was born in rural Brazil in 1936 to a family of farmers. Born with albinism, he couldn’t work in the fields with his family because of fear of overexposure to the harsh South American sun. When he was seven years old, Pascoal picked up his father’s accordion, and his life changed forever. His mother initally mistook Pascoal’s playing for his father’s, Pascoal said in an interview with The Dartmouth. Because Pascoal’s native language is Portuguese, his interview was translated by his agent, Bill Smith.

“My mother told my father to come home early so she could show him a surprise,” Pascoal said. “The next day, my father came home from work before lunch and put his ear to the door of the bedroom. My father was so happy with the sound he heard, he said he was going to sell a cow to get a better accordion for me.”

From then on, Pascoal’s father helped him with his musical education by teaching him the accordion, eventually becoming his manager. When he was an adult, Pascoal moved to Sao Paulo and began playing music in nightclubs. For Pascoal, there was nothing else he could imagine doing with his life, he said.

“I realized I was a musician the moment I was born,” Pascoal said. “When people ask me how long I’ve been a musician, I tell them I’m 75, and I’ve been a musician for 75 years.”

Slowly but surely, he gained fame in his native Brazil by releasing several albums, according to the Hopkins Center’s program notes. His big break, however, came in 1971 when he appeared on Miles Davis’ album “Live Evil.” To this day, Pascoal reveres Davis as a godlike figure.

“Miles Davis is an eternal human being he was and is,” Pascoal said.

Pascoal met Davis when he and his then-percussionist Airto Moreira saw one of Davis’ performances, he said. Pascoal was blown away and wanted to meet him, but Moreira warned that Davis usually didn’t speak to anyone after a show. That night was different.

“I saw this very elegantly dressed black man passing by me, but I don’t speak English, so Airto agreed to translate any exchanges between the two of us,” Pascoal said. “Airto told me that Miles said that even though Miles doesn’t normally speak to anyone, he felt some sort of bond when he saw me.”

After their first meeting, Pascoal and Davis decided to get to know each other better. Their relationship was cemented when Pascoal was invited to Davis’ house, according to Pascoal. Davis had a reputation for being notoriously fickle, and Pascoal said he wanted to know that this invitation, which he said symbolized Davis’ trust, would not be rescinded.

“Miles knew that we were at the same level musically and that he certainly wouldn’t have a change of heart [on the invitation],” Pascoal said.

When they recorded the album “Live Evil” together, Pascoal often impressed Davis with his perfect pitch, Pascoal said. Although he wrote 11 songs for the album, Pascoal allowed Davis to record only two of them so that he could use the rest to record another album. Despite their differences in background, Pascoal said his experience with Davis reflected what he has learned about music throughout his career.

“Music does not belong to a particular country or person,” Pascoal said. “It belongs to everyone, like the stars and the planets.”

The two remained friends until Davis’ death in 1991, and Davis even went as far as to remark that if he were to be reincarnated, he would want to be like that “crazy albino,” according to Pascoal.

Pascoal and his band’s music have been widely hailed for running the gamut from folksy to futuristic. Pascoal himself has also gained notoriety for incorporating unusual objects into his performances. Pascoal has played “instruments” ranging from the more quotidian cup of water to the truly bizarre, like Pascoal’s own skeleton, according to the program notes.

Pascoal got the idea for using random objects as musical instruments from his grandfather, a blacksmith, who repaired farm tools and odd objects, he said.

“I had access to all these individual pieces and would find a way to use them musically,” Pascoal said. “I still do that to this day.”

Despite being at an age and place in his career where he could comfortably retire, Pascoal shows no signs of stopping anytime soon and he certainly has no plans to end his career.

“As long as I can move my fingers, I’m going to play because I believe that’s the essence of life,” Pascoal said.

Men’s lacrosse falls to Hofstra, 9-5, in sixth straight loss

The Dartmouth men’s lacrosse team traveled to Long Island, N.Y. on Tuesday night to take on Hofstra University in hopes of breaking a five-game losing streak. The Big Green (2-6, 0-2 Ivy) got off to a slow start, however, and was unable to overcome an early deficit, dropping its sixth straight game, 9-5.

The first seven minutes of the game were fairly even, with each team notching several shots on sustained periods of offensive pressure. The final eight minutes of the first frame belonged to Hofstra (5-5, 1-2 CAA), however. The Pride scored three times in the final 8:06, with two of the goals coming off Big Green turnovers.

Dartmouth coughed it up just five times in the quarter but was only able to take possession away from Hofstra three times. The Pride dominated the shot category, ripping 14 at goalie Fergus Campbell ’12. The Big Green only managed four in the frame.

“We just need to come out ready to play and put a full 60 minutes together,” midfielder Chris Costabile ’13 said.

Hofstra carried that momentum into the second quarter, and before the Big Green could gain possession of the ball, attacker Mike DeNapoli had scored his third goal of the game to extend the Pride’s lead to 4-0. Shortly thereafter, Hofstra took a penalty. The tide began to turn for the Big Green, who took four shots during the man-up opportunity, but Dartmouth could not find a way past goalkeeper Andrew Gvozden.

Soon after Hofstra gained full strength, the Pride took another penalty. The Big Green did not squander this opportunity, converting just under 20 seconds into the man-advantage thanks to Colin Delaney ’12. Delaney received a pass from Drew Tunney ’12 and let it rip, tickling the twine to pull the Big Green within three.

Unfortunately, the Big Green could not maintain the pressure and surrendered two more goals to the Pride in the frame. The first Hofstra goal came on a man-up opportunity. The Big Green trimmed the deficit to four with a goal by Brendan Rotanz ’14 as the Pride took a 6-2 lead into halftime.

The third quarter was far more even, with the Big Green notching 12 shots to the Pride’s 11, Hofstra winning the ground ball battle by one and both teams forcing three turnovers. Unfortunately for the Big Green, they could do no more than tie the second half against the Pride.

Nikki Dysenchuk ’13 scored on an isolation play just under two and a half minutes into the third quarter, but Dartmouth could not get any closer than three goals. The Pride scored at the 8:58 mark in the frame and increased their lead to five with 1:50 to go in the quarter.

With just 48 seconds left in the penultimate quarter, Costabile cut the lead back to four off of an assist from Tunney. Costabile carried the momentum into the fourth, notching two shots in the first four minutes.

The team fed off his energy, tallying five shots in the first four minutes and limiting Hofstra to under a minute of possession.

The Big Green caught a break when a Pride player was hauled off for cross-checking. On the subsequent man-up opportunity, Costabile netted his second goal of the game, again from Tunney, to cut the lead to three.

The Big Green was unable to cut further into the lead thanks to increased defensive pressure from the Pride, who limited the Big Green to just three shots in the last 9:23 of the game. The Pride re-established their four-goal lead at the 5:28 mark and rode that lead to the end of the game to win, 9-5.

Falling into an early hole and furiously coming back in the second half has become a recent trend for the Big Green, especially during the current losing streak. The team has trailed at the half during all six games of the streak.

“I wouldn’t say we’re as much of a second-half team as we are a team that’s not going to just lay down and quit,” Costabile said. “No matter what the score is, no one on the team is going to stop playing hard until the game is over, and I think that is something our team thrives on. Although we get down early sometimes, the other teams always know it’s going to be a dogfight when they play us.”

The high scorer for the Big Green was Tunney, with three assists. Costabile led the team in goals on Tuesday with two.

Campbell was spectacular in the cage, stopping 12 shots, double the total of his opposite number Gvozden. The clearing game hurt the Big Green on Tuesday, as Dartmouth converted 13 of 16 clears not bad on its own, but not as good as the Pride’s perfect 16-for-16. The Big Green was also only able to score on two of its seven extra-man opportunities.

Costabile said that Hofstra took some shots from a longer distance, but that was by design.

“We have all the faith in the world in Fergus to stop anything outside of 10 to 12 yards, so defensively we have been packing it in more and it has been working for us on that end of the field,” Costabile said.

The team returns to Hanover this Saturday when Dartmouth will attempt to end its losing streak against Yale University at Scully-Fahey Field.

“We have a huge game against Yale this Saturday, and everyone on our team is confident and ready to go,” Costabile said. “Our entire season is still in front of us, and winning Saturday will put us back in the driver’s seat for getting into the Ivy League tournament at the end of the year.”

Carlson hits for cycle as baseball wins 26th straight at home

A Dartmouth runner retreats to first base during a pick-off attempt in the Big Green's 12-4 victory over St. Anselm on Wednesday.

The Dartmouth baseball team beat St. Anselm College, 12-4, on Wednesday, awaking from a sluggish start to comfortably extend its home winning streak to 26 straight games on a rainy day at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park.

The Big Green (5-13, 1-3 Ivy) fell into an early 2-0 hole, but a five-run sixth inning and four RBIs from Jake Carlson ’12, including his first home run of the season, gave the Big Green a much needed win. The team now prepares for this weekend’s set of Ivy League games against the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. Carlson also hit for the cycle hitting a single, double, triple and home run becoming the first known player in the history of the program to do so since it began play in 1866.

“They jumped on us pretty quickly, and we didn’t play well defensively or offensively,” captain Joe Sclafani ’12 said. “Once they got that lead, that woke some guys up.”

For St. Anselm (11-15-1, 4-4-1 Northeast 10), starting pitcher David Kent pitched the first three innings and left the game with the score tied, 2-2.

“He threw pretty well and spotted his pitches,” Sclafani said.

Kent was helped by St. Anselm’s ability to capitalize on three early errors by the Dartmouth defense, which led to two unearned runs.

“I don’t think St. Anslem got out to a fast start, just a lead,” Dartmouth starter Louis Concato ’14 said. “We weren’t playing our game in the first two innings. Once we settled in though, we took control of the game and played much better.”

In the fourth, the Big Green offense suddenly awoke and pounced on Hawks reliever Ryan Cosmopulos. Cosmopulos loaded the bases and committed a balk in his first inning of work and eventually surrendered four earned runs in a mere 1 2/3 innings pitched.

“Our approach was good, and we started putting better swings together,” Sclafani said.

The Big Green defense and pitching also began to settle down in the middle innings.

Concato (1-1) turned in an effective five innings, surrendering five hits and three runs, one of them earned.

Max Langford ’12, Chris England ’15 and Mike Dodakian ’14 also pitched well, with Langford striking out five batters in two innings of work.

Sclafani said the team must continue to improve on its early-inning offense.

“Our team is younger this year, and the thing we’ve been trying to stress with them is you need to play with a sense of urgency, especially in the Ivy League,” Sclafani said.

On Wednesday, catcher Matt MacDowell ’15 replaced Chris O’Dowd ’13, who was struggling offensively, behind the plate.

MacDowell finished the game 0-for-2 with an RBI sacrifice fly and a walk and was later replaced by Chad Piersma ’13. Sclafani also turned in a productive offensive day, going 3-for-5 at the plate with a pair of doubles and a walk.

The Big Green will now turn its attention to this weekend, when the team hosts Penn for a doubleheader on Saturday, followed by two games against Columbia on Sunday afternoon.

Both the Lions and Quakers are in the Gehrig Division of the Ivy League, and the series mark Dartmouth’s first home contests against Ancient Eight competition this season. The Big Green competes in the Ivy League’s Rolfe Division.

Last year, Dartmouth swept traditional powerhouse Columbia but lost its focus and energy against Penn, resulting in a pair of defeats, according to Sclafani.

This year, the Big Green will try to avoid a similar result with early hitting and consistent pitching, Sclafani said.

Pitcher Mitch Horacek ’14 will likely start the first game on Saturday. Adam Frank ’15 will take the mound for the second game, while Kyle Hunter ’13 and Michael Johnson ’13 will round out the Big Green’s starting rotation for the weekend.

Last week, Frank’s pitching performances against Princeton University and Amherst College earned him the Ivy League Rookie of the Week and DartmouthSports.com Male Athlete of the Week.

After losing three of four Ivy League games last weekend, including two against the defending Ivy-champion Tigers, the Big Green will look to perform well against key league opponents.

“We had a pretty tough weekend last weekend, so we’re going to keep working on being short on our swing and recognizing pitchers,” Sclafani said.

Dartmouth suffered its last home loss on April 11, 2010 against the Quakers. The Big Green has since won 26 straight home games, the nation’s longest home winning streak.

Daily Debriefing

Richard Descoings, president of noted Parisian university Sciences Po, died under suspicious circumstances in New York City on Tuesday, the Columbia Daily Spectator reported. Descoings was scheduled to speak at the Global Colloquium of University Presidents at Columbia on Tuesday, and his colleagues called the hotel where he was staying when he did not arrive at the conference. Hotel staff said they heard him snoring in his room, but when they checked again, they found him unconscious and promptly called the police. When officers arrived, Descoings was declared dead, according to the Spectator. Investigating officers found evidence that alcohol and another person had been present at the scene, and a medical examiner will look into the cause of death, the Spectator reported.

Amidst the national debate over whether religious institutions should provide contraception to their employees, Xavier University has removed birth control coverage from its employees’ health insurance plans, Inside Higher Ed reported. Xavier President Michael Graham has argued that Catholic institutions like Xavier should not be required to provide medications that the Catholic Church opposes. Although the university has always provided health plans that cover birth control for women, the debate made administrators reconsider the school’s policies. Graham said that President Barack Obama’s compromise, which allows religious colleges to not to pay for coverage as long as insurance companies provide it to school employees for free, is not sufficient. In response to the policy change, a group of alumni has signed a petition promising to stop donating to the university if it ceased to grant birth control coverage to its employees, according to Inside Higher Ed.

A study by University of Wisconsin researchers found that disproportionate gains in life span are correlated with increased education, The New York Times reported. The study used data from more than 3,000 counties across the U.S., and government data was used to rank certain health indicators such as physical inactivity and obesity within each county. Findings showed that education has become a telling predictor of good health and earnings, and a strong link between college education and longevity has emerged, according to The Times. There was a 16 percent decline in the number of years of life lost before the age of 75 for every increasing post-secondary education level, The New York Times reported. In addition, health and longevity varied greatly by geographical region. In New York, for example, Putnam County had the healthiest residents, with only eight percent reporting poor or fair health, while Bronx County had the worst health, with 25 percent of its residents categorized as unhealthy, according to The Times.

Penn prof. discusses confidentiality

The future of medical privacy is uncertain, but confidentiality and privacy remain important aspects of the health care system that should be protected, according to University of Pennsylvania law and philosophy professor Anita Allen, the College’s current Dorsett Fellow and a member of President Barack Obama’s Presidential Bioethics Commission. Allen discussed issues surrounding health privacy in a world dominated by increased sharing of personal information and use of social networking websites on Wednesday in a crowded Filene Auditorium.

In her lecture titled “Privacy in an Era of Revelation and Social Media: Goodbye to Health Privacy?” Allen explained today’s “era of revelation” and the idea that many people are losing their own sense of privacy and a respect for the privacy of others. Allen said that this phenomenon is a result of modern technologies such as telephones, computers, social networking and consumer websites and the attractions they hold in today’s world. People are often so impressed by technology’s capabilities that they “put their privacy concerns in the background,” she said.

Modern day examples of this trend include the recent case of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers University student who committed suicide after his roommate recorded a video of a private intimate encounter, and the 2010 WikiLeaks scandal in which Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning leaked thousands of sensitive documents, Allen said. Many people were not appalled by the WikiLeaks incident because “they felt there was no legitimate expectation of privacy, confidentiality or security in diplomatic messages,” or because they believed there was an inherent social good in the work of WikiLeaks, Allen said.

Allen said that the fate of medical and health privacy and confidentiality is of special concern.

“Everyone who participates in the field of health care has an obligation to confidentiality,” she said.

Privacy is important in the field of bioethics, but confidentiality in health care is also enshrined in federal laws such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, Allen said. This law created a set of privacy and data security rules that “provide a national framework for protecting health information,” according to Allen. Under HIPAA, patient consent is required before health practitioners can release certain records. One of HIPAA’s limitations, however, is that individuals cannot file a lawsuit under the law and can only file a complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services. HIPAA also does not prevent the release of information without consent in all cases, including for research and law enforcement use, she said.

Allen said that confidentiality and privacy are important, both from a utilitarian standpoint and a concern for individual rights. People will be more likely to seek medical attention and speak about potentially embarrassing matters if they believe their privacy will be protected in the health sector, Allen said. This ultimately reduces costs, with people seeking primary care more quickly and therefore utilizing emergency rooms less frequently, she said.

Individual rights and personal dignity also demand a right to privacy, Allen said. While she said she “doesn’t particularly like this argument,” a legal argument for privacy exists that says because people purchase health care, they have also bought their confidentiality, Allen said.

As a result, people should strive to retain their medical privacy “even as our culture becomes more open about health care matters,” she said.

While she did not identify the single biggest threat to health privacy, Allen explained through examples what she sees as main threats to modern medical privacy. Medical professionals’ lack of adherence to HIPAA is especially problematic. Health care practitioners sometimes believe that there are “exceptions to the rules,” such as sharing information with friends and family. The Department of Health and Human Services, however, is becoming tougher on imposing fines on violators of the law, and Allen said she is “really proud of what’s happening with DHHS today.”

Data breaches and loss of patient information have plagued hospitals and also pose a serious threat to patient privacy, according to Allen. Data miners, who are legally allowed to access health data without the assurance that it will not cause harm to patients, can also cause privacy concerns.

Liz Ballantyne ’12, a public policy minor focusing on health, said that while she expected the lecture to be more about new age technologies such as genomic testing and its application in health insurance, she thought the “day-to-day” focus of the lecture was valuable and highlighted important, ethically unclear areas.

Philosophy professor Susan Brison called the topic “timely” in the age of social media and “changing views of privacy.” The lecture was sponsored by the Ethics Institute.

Geisel profs. present on organ donation in talk

Dartmouth Community Medical School Director William Green addressed a packed Kellogg Auditorium at the Geisel School of Medicine on Wednesday night to introduce the third talk in DCMS’s six-part spring lecture series. The theme of this year’s series, “It’s Personal: Medicine’s Evolution Away from One Size Fits All,” is a timely topic, as it is now possible to sequence the entire human genome, opening up new possibilities for personally tailored therapies and treatments, according to Green. Geisel School surgery professors David Axelrod and Christopher Simpkins spoke at Wenesday’s lecture about personalized medicine and organ transplantation.

Beyond medicine, a number of legal, ethical and moral ramifications to sequencing the genome persist, Green said in an interview with The Dartmouth. Questions arise over whether everyone should know their complete sequence and who should have access to that information if it is known. These issues can also affect the doctor-patient relationship with regard to shared decision making and end-of-life considerations, according to Green.

Axelrod’s lecture titled “Transplant Immunology: Are You My Brother?” centered on the history of organ transplantation and the problems surrounding the successful graft of donor organs into recipients. Axelrod said that transplantation has been documented as early as 1000 BC, but it was not until 1954 when a kidney was successfully transplanted from one living human to another that transplantation became widely viable.

“1954 makes possible the rest of my career,” Axelrod said.

At that time, successful transplantation was confined to identical twins. Researchers began to develop the use of immunosuppressants to prevent rejection of newly transplanted organs in 1961, but it did not become the treatment of choice for end-stage renal disease until 1983, according to Axelrod.

Building on concepts discussed by Axelrod, Simpkins who arrived to the lecture late because he had been performing a transplant surgery addressed the issue of finding suitable donors for transplantation, or “How We Turn Non-brothers Into Brothers.”

“Who you are, your genetic make-up, is integral to the success of performing this endeavor of transplantation,” Simpkins said.

Simpkins said that the waiting list for kidney transplants in 2011 included 50,000 active recipients. One of the main obstacles for surgeons is finding donor matches based on blood group, HLA type a type of antigen and the patient’s previous exposure to HLA through pregnancy and blood transfusions.

In the last decade, new techniques have been developed “to make a non-brother into a brother for the purposes of transplantation,” according to Simpkin.

One of these techniques is kidney paired donation, in which donors and recipients of two or more mismatched pairs swap to create a match. This technique was recently in the national spotlight because of a front-page article in The New York Times, which described 30 pairs of donors and recipients coming together to successfully swap organs.

Another alternative is antibody removal, which involves separating plasma and blood cells through a process called plasmapheresis. The procedure poses a higher risk immunologically but yields considerably more benefits than remaining on kidney dialysis, according to Simpkins.

Transplant surgeons are compelled to use a highly individualized approach to each patient, as there are many tests that need to be carried out to make a potential match with a donor, according to Simpkins.

“Every one of us has a different immunological fingerprint that demands that type of testing and that type of individualized treatment,” Simpkins said.

After the spring lecture series at the Geisel School of Medicine, the DCMS team plans to take the series on the road.

In fall 2011, Green expanded last year’s series to a third location. Instead of repeating all six lectures at Manchester’s Derryfield School, an independent coeducational high school, the team delivered three of the lectures in Manchester and the remaining three at Nashua High School South. Green intends to repeat this with this year’s series.

“I think we’re open to taking it to other places potentially, but no decisions have been made yet,” Green said.

The DCMS public spring lecture series was founded in 1998 by physiology and medical professor Donald L. St. Germain, who ran the series for 10 years. Green said he took over the series last year and is responsible for setting its theme and organizing the individual evening sessions.

“My main job is to work on defining the speakers and asking them to participate,” Green said.

The majority of speakers are staff and faculty members from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and the Geisel School, Green said.

Thayer School of Engineering faculty members have also spoken in the series because of the “natural overlap” in the research they carry out, especially in the field of bioengineering and the creation of new body parts and joint replacements, according to Green.

Wednesday night’s audience consisted mostly of local residents. Although DCMS has recently tried to encourage more undergraduate and medical students to attend the series, it is geared toward the general public, Green said.

“Largely this has been and has continued to be an audience of community members,” Green said.

Along with their responsibilities to educate medical students, PhD candidates, post-doctoral fellows and residents, the Geisel School and DCMS “also have a responsibility to educate the public,” Green said.

“This is one of our big mechanisms to get the word out about science and medicine and issues that arise from that,” he said.

Meyer will fill new DHMC position

Gregg Meyer, senior vice president of the Edward P. Lawrence Center for Quality and Safety at Massachusetts General Hospital, will fill the new position of chief clinical officer and executive vice president for population health for the Dartmouth-Hitchcock health system, which includes Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center’s various campuses, the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth and the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, according to a DHMC press release.

Meyer plans to work closely with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Chief Executive Officer and President James Weinstein and to represent the institution nationally in both quality and safety, he said.

“[DHMC] is really starting to embark on a powerful, interesting path that will serve the community of the Upper Valley well,” Meyer said. “Much more important to that, it serves as a national model of how you can create an affordable, sustainable health care system.”

The creation of Meyer’s position marks the continued transition of Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s leadership team, according to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Interim Director of Communications Rick Adams. In November, Weinstein was appointed to his current position as part of this leadership structure shift.

“Consistent with our mission to improve population health and our increasing focus on quality and value in health care, our belief is that one central position to oversee our clinical operations is critical to advancing our mission and vision,” Adams said in an email to The Dartmouth.

Adams declined to comment on other candidates for the position due to the confidential nature of recruitment but said the position was not created specifically for Meyer.

Along with Weinstein, the clinical leadership team and the Geisel School of Medicine faculty who practice at the hospital, Meyer will work on formulating DHMC’s strategy for creating a sustainable health care system, he said.

Chief Medical Officer Larry Dacey’s position will be “folded into” Meyer’s role, Adams said. Dacey indicated “some time ago” that he would like to return to practice as a cardiothoracic surgeon full time, Adams said.

Meyer who has worked on population health and safety as a health care policymaker in Washington, D.C., through his research and at Massachusetts General said he will continue his work on the national scene.

Meyer, who will continue to practice medicine, said he will first focus on learning DHMC’s culture, noting the size difference between Massachusetts General and DHMC. Massachusetts General has 907 beds, while DHMC has just 369, according to U.S. News and World Report.

“I’m going to be listening and learning when I get there,” he said. “The best plans can often fall prey to an inattention to culture.”

While working at Dartmouth, Meyer aims to increase the institution’s focus on shared decision making, he said.

Massachusetts General Hospital President Peter Slavin recruited Meyer to become the medical director of the Massachusetts General Physician’s organization, and in 2005, Slavin was involved in appointing Meyer as the organization’s leader of quality and the senior vice president for quality and safety, Slavin said.

“He really cares only about the mission at hand, not about him and his own career,” Slavin said. “He’s incredibly smart, hardworking, and he presents himself incredibly well. He was a remarkable physician leader at Mass General.”

At Massachusetts General, Slavin’s father was one of Meyer’s patients, Slavin said.

“I’m going to miss him not only as a great leader at the hospital but as a great primary care physician for my father,” Slavin said.

Leaving his patients and Massachusetts General, which ranks second on U.S. News and World Report’s Best Hospitals Honor Roll, will be “very difficult” for Meyer, but he sees “unique opportunities” available at DHMC because of its history and geography, he said.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock attracted Meyer because of its longstanding focus on health care delivery science, he said. He added that DHMC’s ability to use research and learning from The Dartmouth Institute to guide its choices is one example of this interest.

“[TDI] can be tapped not only to increase information on how we ought to do health care but can actually be applied directly to how to operate a health care system,” Meyer said.

Because of its location, Dartmouth can “own” the Upper Valley population in a more tangible, durable way than is possible in Boston due to competing providers and health care systems, Meyer said.

“That opportunity to do something for a population is what is so exciting up there,” he said.

Meyer also received the the Geisel School’s Paul B. Batalden Chair in Health Care Leadership Improvement, which Meyer called a “special honor.”

Meyer “absolutely” plans on working with the Geisel School and can also learn from colleagues at the Thayer School of Engineering and the Tuck School of Business, he said.

“I know there’s a lot to learn form the College itself and the work they’re beginning on health care delivery science,” he said. “In many ways, Dartmouth is one of the few that can put these pieces together.”

In at least one way, however, Meyer will try to give the College some space his daughter, Caitie Meyer ’14, is a sophomore at Dartmouth, he said.

“I’m going to be careful not to encroach on her wonderful Dartmouth College experience,” he said. “It’s a fine, fine line.”

Worldwide publications, officials endorse Kim

College President Jim Yong Kim’s nomination for the World Bank presidency has continued to receive endorsements from U.S. and foreign officials and from members of the press. Supporters cite Kim’s knowledge of health care and medicine and his experience working in developing countries as his strongest assets, while critics remain wary of his inexperience in finance.

Some of Kim’s most notable endorsements have come from a number of world leaders, though some developing countries have expressed their desire for a non-American World Bank president. In a March 30 editorial, The New York Times’ editorial board wrote that U.S. President Barack Obama’s nomination of Kim was an “inspired choice” but suggested that the World Bank board seriously consider Kim’s competition for the position Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and former Colombian finance minister Jose Antonio Ocampo.

Critics continue to cite Kim’s lack of experience in economic policy and finance. The New York Times editorial board called for a “truly competitive” and “fully transparent” selection process based on merit alone.

“Everyone expects that the U.S.-nominated candidate will be elected,” Domenico Lombardi, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington and a former World Bank official, told Bloomberg News. “However, it is also true that the other candidates have resumes and qualifications more in line with the background of previous presidents.”

Other publications have criticized what they perceive as American dominance of the selection process. In a March 23 editorial, The Guardian said that while Kim “may well be the best man for the job,” the selection process should be subject to a larger number of candidates and greater public scrutiny, rather than defaulting to the American-nominated candidate.

Officials at the international aid agency Oxfam International echoed this concern and urged World Bank officials to avoid simply “rubber-stamp[ing] the U.S. selection,” the Associated Press reported.

A group of 39 former World Bank managers, including former Chief Economist Francois Bourguignon, also endorsed Okonjo-Iweala in a letter to the Bank’s board, citing her familiarity with the Bank and global finance in general, Bloomberg News reported.

Similarly, The Economist has endorsed Okonjo-Iweala as the best candidate for the presidency, saying that her breadth of experience in government, economics, finance and development are qualifications that Ocampo and Kim do not share. Okonjo-Iweala has also been endorsed by the Financial Times, the African Union, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and Mohamed El-Erian, CEO and co-CIO of Pacific Investment Management Company, a global investment management firm and one of the world’s largest bond investors.

Kim’s notable endorsements include those from Japanese Finance Minister Jun Azumi, Haitian President Michel Martelly, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, South Korean Foreign Minister Bahk Jae-wan and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

Kagame said that Kim is a “true friend of Africa” and “a leader who knows what it takes to address poverty,” the Associated Press reported. Azumi, expressing the Japanese government’s support for Kim’s bid, called Kim a “highly competent individual” and an “appropriate candidate” for the World Bank presidency, according to Bloomberg News.

The Carribean Journal reported that Martelly also endorsed Kim’s nomination. The Haitian government said that Partners in Health has had a long-standing presence in Haiti, and improvements in citizens’ well-being and prosperity can be attributed to Kim’s leadership, the Carribean Journal reported.

Support for Kim’s nomination has been especially high among officials in South Korea, Kim’s birthplace. Bahk enthusiastically endorsed Kim’s candidacy, according to the Korea JoongAng Daily. He cited Kim’s knowledge of health, medicine and anthropology as evidence of his qualification for the position and pointed to Kim’s “on-the-ground experience” in developing countries, the Korea JoongAng Daily reported.

Lee echoed Bahk’s support for Kim, according to The Korea Times.

“I think the right person has been nominated at a critical time when the World Bank needs change,” Lee told The Korea Times.

As could be expected, Kim’s nomination has been well-received by politicians in the United States as well as overseas. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said that Kim was an “inspired and outstanding choice” in a March 23 White House press release. In a letter to the World Bank’s Board of Governors, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner ’83 said that Kim’s extensive understanding of the World Bank’s role in the international arena makes him the best candidate for the position, Bloomberg News reported.

Geithner said that Kim is “committed to pursuing an agenda for the Bank that supports all the necessary components of development,” according to Bloomberg News.

Jeffery Sachs, a development economist at Columbia University, had campaigned for the position prior to Obama’s announcement of Kim’s nomination and has since endorsed Kim’s candidacy, the Financial Times reported.

“I congratulate the administration for nominating a world-class development leader for this position,” Sachs said. “I support his nomination 100 percent.”

The Huffington Post’s Terra Lawson-Remer, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and assistant professor at the New School applauded the unconventionality of Kim’s resume, citing his “cutting edge” approach to economic development and his “leadership in promoting equity” as a “breath of fresh air” that will guide the World Bank in the right direction.

In an article for the Financial Times, Robin Harding and Joe Leahy argued that Kim’s strong development credentials should garner enough support to “overcome complaints about the job always going to a U.S. citizen.”

The World Bank is expected to choose its next president on April 16.