Happy Birthday, Mr. President

July 31, 2015

President Barack Obama celebrates his 54th birthday on Aug. 4. On his inauguration day six years ago, President Obama handed Rep. John Lewis a note. It said, “Dear John: Thanks to you. Barack.” Rep. Lewis, a deeply engaged activist since his youth and often called “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced,” has dedicated his life to protecting human rights, securing civil liberties and building what he calls, “The Beloved Community” in America. He will deliver a keynote speech at the U Nov. 10 for the U’s MUSE Project (My U Student Experience), which will dedicate the coming year to exploring the theme of “community.” Mark Matheson, director of the MUSE Project, can discuss Lewis’ visit, how his appearance reflects the year’s theme and Lewis’s graphic novel series, “MARCH,” which will be discussed in classrooms across campus this fall.
Phone: 801-581-3677 | Email: mark.matheson@utah.edu

Helping refugees understand a new homeland

July 27, 2015

What happens when refugees arrive in the U.S.? What sort of education and training do they receive about their new country? Currently, very little scholarly literature exists on the topic, but Caren Frost, director of Global Social Work Research at the College of Social Work, is hoping to change that. With help from colleagues at the Division of Public Health (along with state government and nonprofit agencies), Frost and others are holding monthly discussion and training workshops with primarily Burundi and Congolese refugee women to help familiarize them with their new home. The group participants direct the discussion/training topics, and Frost and her colleagues respond by facilitating discussions with community experts. Frost is available to discuss the project and what its outcomes may offer the community.
Phone: 801-581-5287 | Email: caren.frost@socwk.utah.edu

Profanity professor

July 6, 2015

Recently President Obama did an hour-long interview and mentioned the N-word when discussing race relations. There were many strong reactions to the president using the controversial word, and it stirred many conversations about the use of taboo language. Randall Eggert, assistant professor of linguistics at the U and author of “This Book is Taboo: An Introduction to Linguistics through Swearing,” is available to discuss why words that were once considered obscene have become more acceptable and other words that were once mainstream have become forbidden. Examples of such words are mostly racial and sexual slurs. As our acceptance of four-letter words grows, our acceptance of derogatory terms and slurs decreases. Eggert can also discuss how this changes in each generation, and as some four-letter words become more frequently used, the next generation will find new words to cause offense.
Phone: 801-541-6221 | Email: reggert@hum.utah.edu

Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network elects U professor as board chairman

June 12, 2015

New York City-based Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, a nonprofit with a $5.8 million budget, works to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students are able to learn and grow in a school environment free from bullying and harassment. U psychology professor David M. Huebner has been elected chairman of the board. Huebner studies the physical and mental health consequences of discrimination. His lab recently completed a five-year study of LGB adolescents, looking at how anti-gay mistreatment from families, schools and communities is associated with health risk behaviors.
Phone: 801-587-9886 | Email: david.huebner@psych.utah.edu

Transitioning: A medical perspective

June 12, 2015

Caitlyn Jenner’s transition has included several surgeries and hormone therapies. From a medical perspective, what goes into a gender transition? Cori Agarwal is a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in both aesthetic and reconstructive surgery at University of Utah Health Care. She works with the transgender community, and this past fall was part of a summit on improving relationships between health care providers and the transgender population. The summit included a variety of sessions, including how to foster an understanding of treating transgender patients in mental health settings; understanding the scope of transgender medical and surgical therapies; preventative care measures; and understanding hormone replacement therapy. She is available to speak on any of these topics. To schedule an interview with Agarwal, contact Julie Kiefer at the U Health Care Department of Public Affairs.
Phone: 801-597-4258 | Email: jkiefer@neuro.utah.edu

Why has the number of undocumented immigrants dropped?

June 5, 2015

With the presidential election just around the corner, the immigration issue will once again take center stage and likely be misused for political purposes. But how has immigration changed since the 2012 or 2008 campaigns? From 1990 to 2007, the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. tripled to 12.2 million, but today has dropped by about 1 million. What factors have contributed to this drop? Leticia Alvarez, an immigration expert from the U’s Department of Education, Culture and Society, can help make sense of the impacts thatincreased security at the border, increased violence and racism against immigrants and the 2008 financial crisis, which contributed to these trends.
Phone: 801-587-7814 | Email: leticia.alvarez@utah.edu