Archive for January, 2012

Sleep research pioneers return to Jerry House

January 31st, 2012

Professor William Dement stands in front of the commemorative plaque. Photo by Robert Tognoli

For a 10-year period starting in the mid-70s, the residence now known as Jerry House served as the site of a series of pioneering sleep studies: Undergraduates and members of the community lent themselves for study during “summer sleep camps” at the house, named for the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia. Until that time, the field of sleep research - still in its infancy – had centered on nighttime events, but researcher MARY CARSKADON, now a professor of psychiatry & human behavior at Brown University, focused these camp studies on the role of sleep in daytime function. The participants’ sleeping and waking were manipulated, recorded and examined; and the end result was important data on sleep restriction and sleep deprivation, and the establishment of clinical protocols still used today.

“Much of the essential, pioneering sleep work at Stanford was done in these camps,” sleep expert RAFAEL PELAYO recently told SCOPE blog writer MICHELLE BRANDT. “The work had great consequences on the development of the field of sleep research here and around the world.”

This weekend, WILLIAM DEMENT, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences,  who established the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Center at Stanford in 1970, joined Pelayo, Carskadon and others in honoring this early, important research and unveiling a wood-and-glass commemorative plaque to be housed there. (Writer Patrick May was there and reported on the event for the San Jose Mercury News.) The plaque outlines the significance of the studies and highlights the successful careers of Carskadon and Dement.

Read Brandt’s full post on the Medical School’s SCOPE  blog.


Stanford Hospital & Clinics names new COO

January 27th, 2012

Margaret Vosburgh will join Stanford Hospital & Clinics as COO on Feb. 13

MARGARET VOSBURGH will join Stanford Hospital & Clinics as chief operating officer on Feb. 13. She will be responsible for overall operations and report directly to President and CEO Amir Dan Rubin.

Vosburgh previously served as executive vice president and COO for Tufts Medical Center in Boston and served as deputy executive director and COO of Long Island Jewish Hospital, part of the $4 billion Northshore-LIJ Health System, the nation’s third-largest nonprofit secular health system.

“Margaret brings a world of talent and energy, along with an impressive track record in academic medical centers and health systems,” Rubin said. “We are delighted to have her join our team.”

Vosburgh earned an MBA from the University of Southern California and is a fellow of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. She has held faculty positions at UCLA and the University of Washington. In addition, she holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing. She also has worked as a cardiovascular clinical nurse specialist in critical care and has had direct accountability for peri-operative services at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, as well as at Albany Medical Center in Albany, N.Y.

Vosburgh said she is excited about coming to Stanford. “The opportunity to work with Amir and the faculty and staff at Stanford was so enticing,” she said. “The intellectual capital at Stanford is staggering and, when harnessed, all things are possible and all goals attainable.

“I was especially impressed with Amir’s commitment to quality patient care and the patient experience. I look forward to fostering an environment where faculty and staff thrive.”

Read the full announcement on the Medical Center’s news website.

iDeclare Week gives Stanford sophomores a bit of a nudge

January 26th, 2012

UAR logoEveryone needs a nudge every now and then—especially, it seems, Stanford sophomores.

Undergraduate Advising and Research, in partnership with the sophomore class presidents, is finishing up iDeclare Week, a series of events designed to help sophomores find their intellectual interest and declare a major.

Among the events were a sophomore and faculty dinner, headlined by PRESIDENT JOHN HENNESSY, and “Faculty Meet Fourteen,” in which sophomores (the Class of ’14) were encouraged to chat up faculty from 40 departments at the Faculty Club. Other events included departmental open houses, workshops on how to declare a major and an alumni discussion panel designed to assure students that there is employment after Stanford.

Undergraduate Advising and Research has sponsored independent events in the past several years designed to encourage sophomores to declare majors, according to KOREN BAKKEGARD, associate dean of UAR. But the events this year are more coordinated and substantial, she said.

Bakkegard said sophomores appear to be taking more time than previous classes in declaring a major. Generally speaking, the university wants students to explore academic offerings widely during their first two Stanford years, and narrow down their interests and declare a major by the end of the sophomore year.

“Within the past several years, we saw a dramatic increase in the number of students entering junior year undeclared,” said Bakkegard. “The Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and UAR have been working to lower that number, and we have seen gradual progress each of the last few years.”

Bakkegard said UAR would like to see all sophomores declare by the end of the year, and she hopes iDeclare Week will contribute to the effort.

“We intend for the programs to make a significant positive contribution toward many sophomores’ deliberations,” she said. “The events are designed to address intellectual fit, opportunities within the major and how experiences within a major will translate to plans beyond Stanford.”

Athletics director Bob Bowlsby talks football in new video

January 25th, 2012
Bob Bowlsby

Athletics Director Bob Bowlsby

Big Game on Oct. 20? What’s up with that?


Traditionalist Cal and Stanford football fans shouldn’t worry, according to Athletics Director BOB BOWLSBY, who suspects the scheduling snafus that led to an earlier-than-usual Big Game are likely short term. “Oct. 20 was certainly not our first choice,” he acknowledges in a new segment of “Inside Stanford Athletics.”

But, he adds, “We’re going to have to live with it for one year.”

On the newly posted YouTube video, Bowlsby explains that Big Game was originally scheduled for the same weekend as other traditional Pac-12 rivalries–that is, the weekend after Thanksgiving. But that didn’t work for Cal and Stanford, who celebrate their long-term rivalry with a week full of events, not just one football game.

Unfortunately, Bowlsby said, a second proposed schedule that played Big Game just before Thanksgiving disadvantaged some of the other Pac-12 schools.

“The schedule ultimately is voted upon by the directors of athletics, and that is what happened this time,” Bowlsby said. “We are honor bound to live with the rule of the majority.”

In the video, Bowlsby also covers every other subject that could be on the minds of rabid Cardinal fans, from the mysterious BCS bowl system to the status of Stanford basketball teams at half season.

In particular, Bowlsby reflects on Stanford’s “magical” football season, which culminated in a trip to the Fiesta Bowl. He also allays fears of fans who worry about who will replace some of the Cardinal’s graduating seniors, including NFL prospects ANDREW LUCK, DAVID DECASTRO, JONATHAN MARTIN and COBY FLEENER.

“Although we’re losing some great kids, we’re also going to have some terrific football players coming up through the ranks,” he said, voicing confidence in the upcoming recruits. “The future is really bright.”

Still, Bowlsby recalls watching the second game of the season against Duke with members of the athletics staff, encouraging them to enjoy the experience while they could. Luck, he said, is a “once in a generation athlete and a once in a generation kid.”

See the video.

Forgiveness expert Fred Luskin inaugurates new SCOPE blog feature

January 24th, 2012

Fred Luskin, a research associate in the Stanford Prevention Research Center and co-founder of the Stanford Forgiveness Project, gave a presenation during Parents' Weekend 2011. Photo: L.A. Cicero

This week, the medical school’s SCOPE blog has introduced a new feature that gives readers the opportunity to send questions on a specific topic to our medical school faculty.

Once a month, SCOPE will select a specific topic and invite a professor or researcher to answer your questions on the subject. Editors will take questions in the comments section of the blog post and via the @SUMedicine Twitter feed over the course of a week. (Just send an @reply to @SUMedicine and include the hashtag #AskSUMed in your tweet.)

“Once the submission period ends, we’ll select questions for the faculty member and post them here on SCOPE with the answers,” the blog post says.

To get things started, they have asked FRED LUSKIN, a research associate at the Stanford Prevention Research Center and co-founder of the Stanford Forgiveness Project, to respond to your questions about why forgiveness is important for health.

A central goal of Luskin’s research is to show that forgiveness is beneficial for emotional, physical and relationship well-being. His work demonstrates how learning to forgive leads to increased physical vitality, hope, optimism and conflict resolution skills as well as decreased anger, depression and stress. For more information about submitting your questions to Luskin, visit the full SCOPE blog post.

—By Lia Steakley

Muwekma-Tah-Ruk wins Stanford’s Bicycle Safety Dorm Challenge

January 23rd, 2012


What does it take to motivate undergraduate students to commit to bike safety?

Students in 42 undergraduate residences participated in the second annual Bike Safety Dorm Challenge, sponsored by Parking & Transportation Services (P&TS) between Sept. 20 and Dec. 16. The challenge promotes bike safety by encouraging undergraduates to pledge to follow the rules of the road and to wear a bike helmet for every ride, even short trips.

Three dorms—Jerry, Muwekma-Tah-Ruk and ZAP—posted 100 percent participation and tied for first. Muwekma-Tah-Ruk, the Native American theme dorm, won a drawing that broke the tie and took away the grand prize: a free charter bus to Lake Tahoe.

Jerry and ZAP did not leave empty-handed: Each dorm received a $500 credit toward a future charter bus to Tahoe.

Jasmine Lee, ’13, community manager for Muwekma-Tah-Ruk, said her dorm decided to participate as a simple and easy way to make residents aware of how to bike safely.

“We are the only Row house with freshmen, and many of them were not exposed to biking culture like we have here at Stanford,” Lee said. “A majority of our residents did not have or wear helmets before the challenge, so our peer health educator kindly located helmets on campus that our residents could purchase for $10. It took some convincing, but now we are thrilled to be winners who are Tahoe-bound!”

Brodie Hamilton, director of P&TS, said he was excited to see the momentum building for bike safety among Stanford undergraduates and the enthusiasm of participants. He noted that participation by 926 students and 42 of Stanford’s 78 undergraduate dorms this year is up from 666 students and 40 dorms the previous year, when the challenge first launched.

“Some dorms even created their own bike safety mottoes this year, such as Larkin House’s ‘I love my Larkin lobes’ campaign, which encouraged all students to love their brains by wearing bike helmets, stopping at stop signs and using bike lights and reflectors when riding at night,” Hamilton said. “While there was one winner of a free charter bus to Tahoe, everyone who participated is a winner in our eyes. Bike safety is a way to save lives and lobes—and what brighter ‘lobes’ to save than those at Stanford?”


The Harvard Crimson reacts to Stanford’s Marvard University

January 20th, 2012

Mars from the Harvard CrimsonStanford student residences have a long tradition of adopting amusing, satirical themes that are generally a play on the name of the house or dorm. The annual tradition has inspired such unforgettable dorm themes as “Snakes on a Twain,” “The Big Burbank Theory” and “Pirates of the CaRoblean.”

This year, residents of Mars, a Row house located on Mayfield Avenue, cheerfully poked fun at a certain university in Massachusetts by labeling their home Marvard University. The theme comes complete with fake ivy on outside pillars and two crimson banners emblazoned with the word “Feritas” hanging above the front door. (Last year, the house dubbed itself Marstache and added a handlebar mustache and monocle to its outdoor decor.)

According to a good-natured Crimson article, which is accompanied by photographs, including the one printed here, “When students arrived on campus in September, they were invited to attend a Marvard University admissions party with wine and cheese.” Students were photographed “dressed in their best Marvard attire, posed with wine glasses and croquet mallets. The pictures were then printed in black-and-white and posted on students’ doorways.”

The article was among the most popular in the online Crimson. It even earned some snide comments, including, “Most people who have a choice prefer the real thing.”

Read the article.

Rampersad wins biography award

January 19th, 2012

ARNOLD RAMPERSAD is the recipient of the 2012 BIO Award, given each year by members of the Biographers International Organization.

Rampersad, the Sara Hart Kimball Professor in the Humanities, Emeritus, will receive the honor during the 2012 Compleat Biographer Conference in May in Los Angeles, where he will deliver the keynote address.

Rampersad’s biographies include Ralph Ellison; The Art and Imagination of W.E.B. DuBois; The Life of Langston Hughes; Days of Grace: A Memoir, co-authored with Arthur Ashe; and Jackie Robinson: A Biography.

Rampersad, whose first volume of The Life of Langston Hughes was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, has received fellowships from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Rockefeller Foundation. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a 2010 recipient of the National Humanities Medal.

Stanford sweeps national soccer coach of the year honors

January 18th, 2012

Paul Ratcliffe

Stanford women’s coach PAUL RATCLIFFE and new men’s coach JEREMY GUNN each have been named National Coach of the Year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

Ratcliffe coached the Cardinal to its first national women’s title this year and Gunn, hired Dec. 21 at Stanford, led Charlotte to the NCAA men’s final.

Jeremy Gunn

Jeremy Gunn

This is the third such honor for Ratcliffe, who previously won in 2008 and 2009. Ratcliffe’s teams went 95-4-4 over the past four years, including 53-0-1 at home, and reached the NCAA College Cup each of those seasons, with three finals appearances.

Gunn led Charlotte to its first championship final in school history, falling to North Carolina in the NCAA title match.

Read Athletics’ press release.

Daily editor named Daniel Pearl intern

January 17th, 2012

Kathleen Chaykowski

KATHLEEN CHAYKOWSKI, editor-in-chief of the Stanford Daily, has been chosen as the 2012 Daniel Pearl Memorial Journalism Intern. Chaykowski, a junior majoring in English, will work in the Johannesburg bureau of the Wall Street Journal this spring.

The internship was established to commemorate the work and ideals of DANIEL PEARL, a Stanford graduate and Wall Street Journal foreign correspondent who was kidnapped and murdered in Pakistan in 2002 at the age of 38.

In an essay written as part of the application process, Chaykowski wrote that Pearl’s “attention to the ambiguity and surprises he encountered yielded stories that delve far beyond the black and white. It is the gray — the small, human moments, the contradictions — that I aspire to capture through my own reporting.”

Chaykowski, of Fort Wayne, Ind., plans to be a foreign correspondent. A member of the Stanford Daily staff since her freshman year, she has had internships at the Mail & Guardian in South Africa and the Chautauquan Daily in New York. A committee of faculty in Stanford’s Department of Communication evaluated applicants for the internship. The final decision was made by the Wall Street Journal.

Read the full announcement on the Department of Communication website.