No middle ground for midwives?
Citing rising malpractice insurance costs, the U of C Medical Center
plans to close its 18-year-old midwifery practice at year’s
end. When the plan to close the clinic—whose three nurse-midwives
delivered 89 babies (about 3 percent of the Hospitals’ births)
and followed 119 pregnant women in 2002—became public in late
August, the program’s supporters launched a counter campaign.
Meanwhile Hospitals administrators and the midwives tried to negotiate
a compromise—negotiations still continuing in late September.
Survey finds U of C well-oiled
In the Princeton Review’s 2004 edition of The 351 Best
Colleges, the University ranked first in the “Runs Like
Butter” category for administrative efficiency, 11th in the
“Great College Library” category, and 16th for unpopularity
or nonexistence of intercollegiate sports. The ratings were based
on 106,000 student surveys.
He’s up on the money
Chicago finance professor Raghuram Rajan was named chief economist
of the International Monetary Fund. Rajan, coauthor of Saving
Capitalism From the Capitalists (Crown, 2003), will take over
the post later this year.
Home from the financial
Kenneth Dam, the Max Pam professor of American and foreign law,
recently returned to the Law School after serving two years as deputy
secretary of the U.S. Treasury. After September 11, 2001, Dam supervised
programs to disrupt terrorist organizations’ financing and
to implement USA Patriot Act provisions concerning financial institutions.
Chairing a federal committee on financial antiterrorism measures,
Dam helped to identify and freeze more than $112 million in terrorist
The microbe stops here
The National Institutes of Health has selected the University of
Chicago as a Regional Center of Excellence (RCE) for biodefense
and emerging infectious-diseases research. The University and 13
other upper-Midwestern universities, hospitals, and research institutions
will focus on developing products and procedures to detect, prevent,
and treat outbreaks of pathogenic agents. The RCE program was designed
to foster close collaboration between centers of advanced research
to prevent biological terrorism and emerging diseases such as SARS.
Olaf Schneewind, professor of molecular genetics and cell biology,
will co-chair the Midwestern RCE network.
Cash prize for chemist
Chuan He, assistant professor in chemistry and the College, will
receive a $240,000 research grant from the Searle Scholars Program,
funded through the Chicago Community Trust. He, who studies the
regulation of metal ions in biological systems, is one of 15 Searle
Scholars selected from 164 applicants this year.
Funding the global campus
The University’s five area-studies centers have received more
than $2.36 million from the U.S. Department of Education in the
first year of a three-year funding cycle. The centers, focused on
East Asia, South Asia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia, Latin America,
and the Middle East, will use the grants to finance film festivals,
conferences, visiting professorships, graduate-student fellowships,
and instruction in less commonly taught languages.
Pay now, save later
Chicago is one of 223 private colleges participating in a new tax-deferred,
prepaid-tuition program known as the “Independent 529 Plan.”
Under the plan parents may purchase a certificate to use toward
undergraduate tuition and fees at any of the participating schools
to which the student is accepted. Schools will honor the tuition
costs at the time the certificate was purchased, thus protecting
parents from future cost increases.
Dealing with disparities
The University's Institute for Mind and Biology has received a $9.7
million federal grant to establish the Center for Interdisciplinary
Health Disparities Research. The center, directed by School of Social
Service Administration associate professor Sarah Gehlert and psychology
professor Martha McClintock, will examine disparities in health
within diverse communities, first focusing on the earlier onset
age and higher mortality rate of breast cancer in African American
Hospitals make the cut
For the seventh year in a row U.S. News & World Report named
the University of Chicago Hospitals among the best in the nation.
In the July issue the Hospitals placed 14th overall, and its programs
in digestive diseases and cancer both were ranked 6th.
Chicago astrophysicists Michael Turner and Richard Kron both accepted
major scientific leadership posts in July. Turner becomes assistant
director for mathematical and physical sciences at the National
Science Foundation October 1. During the two-year post he will take
a leave of absence from the University. Kron, who became director
of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey July 1, continues teaching at Chicago.
The University has donated a 32,000-square-foot building, 5020 South
Cornell Avenue, to the Hyde Park Art Center. Now in a 7,000-square-foot
space, the new center will contain classroom space and a digital
media lab. The center, which must raise its own funds for renovations,
hopes to gain a greater presence on the South Side’s cultural
radar after its physical expansion.