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he School of Dental and Oral Surgery has received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to expand the dental care available to children and youth through a new program called Caring for Kids: Expanding Dental and Mental Health Services Through School-Based Health Centers. Administered by the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., the program will support eight projects to expand mental health services and seven to increase dental care in school-based health centers across the country.

Over the next three years, SDOS will use the grant to test and promote new models to expand dental health services in existing school-based health centers. Central to the project are partnerships with community-based providers and collaboration with parents and school administrators.

Recent reports from the U.S. Surgeon General have highlighted the large number of children and youth who do not get the care they need for dental health problems. An estimated 5 percent of children under age 18 have untreated dental problems, with that percentage rising to 39 percent for African-American children and 60 percent for Mexican-American children. An estimated 51 million hours of school are lost because of dental problems.

he Center for Public Health Preparedness at the Mailman School—one of the original academic centers funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2000 to link schools of public health, state and local health agencies, and other academic and community health partners to foster emergency health preparedness—is expected to receive $1 million in federal funding to expand its training programs. On Jan. 10 President Bush signed bioterrorism appropriations totaling $2.9 billion, which includes $20 million in fiscal year 2002 to expand the nationwide network of Centers for Public Health Preparedness.

Tommy Thompson, U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services, praised the mission of the centers, which are designed to prepare the nation’s public health and healthcare workforce to respond to terrorist incidents and other emerging health threats.

In announcing the new funding, HHS specifically cited the actions of the Center for Public Health Preparedness at the Mailman School, a collaboration between the university and the New York City Department of Health. Following the attacks of Sept. 11, 800 public health nurses were deployed to manage New York City shelters. These nurses had just been trained in emergency preparedness by the center in late August 2001 in conjunction with the American Red Cross. This training proved to be invaluable, and as a result the city plans to further expand the role of the public health nurses in its disaster response plan. A generic version of this program was developed, which can be used by other departments of health.

lmost a year after the announcement of the human genome sequence, Tony White, chairman, CEO, and president of Applera Corp., says he is confident the data will lead to significant health advances and more individualized medicine.

But Mr. White, speaking at the sixth Robert J. Weiss lecture at the Mailman School of Public Health on Feb. 6, leavened his rosy outlook with a discussion about how society will address major ethical issues still surrounding medical genetic research. The main concern, he said in his remarks, is how to maintain the confidentiality of a person’s genetic information.

“One of the challenges is that ethics and privacy laws [for genetic data] haven’t been written yet,” said the head of Applera, the parent company of Celera Genomics Group and Applied Biosystems Group. Genomics advances, he said, are moving faster than society’s debate about the implications of such information.

Celera competed with the federally funded effort to sequence the entire human DNA sequence. The firm also sequenced the mouse genome. The company is now spending $100 million for research and is sequencing the genomes of more than 50 people and two chimpanzees to build a catalog of genetic variation.

Mr. White made it clear that he looks at genomics as a business. And as an employer, he said, he would like to know an employee’s genetic predispositions so he can limit his firm’s healthcare costs. But he realizes such an attitude might not be shared by society and most people want to protect their genetic privacy.

Putting the ethical concerns aside, the benefits of genomic information for public health are numerous, he said, enabling society to provide better care to more people around the world. The prime targets he listed for genomics applications are cholera, tuberculosis, AIDS, and malaria.

Mr. White said he was encouraged by the talk he had with officials of the Mailman School concerning genomics applications to public health. “This school has a pretty strong lead over other places that I go to,” Mr. White said.

–Matthew Dougherty

Kathryn Cozine

Dr. Kathryn Cozine, retired associate clinical professor of anesthesiology, died Dec. 21, 2001.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from Auburn University in 1957 and her M.D. degree from Johns Hopkins in 1961. After a pediatrics internship at the University of Wisconsin and residency training at Columbia-Presbyterian, she went into private practice. She joined the P&S faculty in 1973 and became a recognized expert in difficult airway management, particularly during laser surgery of the larynx. She worked closely with the Department of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery.

Margarita Silva-Hutner

Dr. Margarita Silva-Hutner, special lecturer in dermatology, died Feb. 6.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree from the University of Puerto Rico in 1936, she worked for several years with Arturo L. Carrión at Columbia’s School of Tropical Medicine in San Juan. She received her doctorate at Harvard in 1952. She began working in the mycology laboratory at Columbia as a research assistant, becoming director of the laboratory in 1956.

She participated in research that led to the development of nystatin, the first true antifungal agent. She was a founding member of the Medical Mycological Society of the Americas.

Windows all over Health Sciences are getting a much needed cleaning. Facilities Operations is overseeing the project, which was contracted out to a company called Cleantech. According to Bill Marchand, director of facilities management, the project should be completed soon, if the weather cooperates. So far, all of Black Building and most of P&S and PH have been completed. Windows on the south side of Hammer Health Sciences and the north side of P&S are being cleaned now, and then workers will move on to the Vanderbilt Clinic and the rest of PH.