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Terps Victorious in International Design Competition

April 4, 2014
Contacts: 

Maggie Haslam, Maggiehaslam6@gmail.com

University of Maryland takes first place in Urban Land Institute / Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition

Andrew Casavant, Matthew Miller, Rameez Munawar, David Ensor and Amina Mohamed.COLLEGE PARK, Md. - An interdisciplinary team of five graduate students from the University of Maryland’s architecture, urban planning, real estate development and landscape architecture programs has taken first place in the 2014 Urban Land Institute / Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition (ULI/Hines). Their winning revitalization plan for Nashville’s Sulphur Dell neighborhood was selected by an international jury of experts in urban design, landscape architecture, planning and development, beating out fellow finalists Harvard University, University of Texas and Georgia Institute of Technology.

“We could not be more proud of our students and the unique vision they brought to this competition,” said David Cronrath, Dean of the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. “Academically speaking, this is akin to winning the NCAA Final Four. It’s a huge achievement for the University of Maryland.”

Over 160 teams from 72 of the most prestigious universities in the world competed in this year’s design competition, with four teams advancing to the finals this week. ULI announced Maryland’s win yesterday in Nashville at the competition’s conclusion. As the winning team, the UMD students will go home with the $50,000 first prize.

“This year’s finalists found creative but financially feasible ways of building off the area’s strengths while attending to the concerns of flood resilience and healthy living,” said Jury Chair Bart Harvey, ex-chairman of the Board of Trustees of Enterprise Community Partners and board member at Fannie Mae in Washington, D.C. Harvey and the jury also noted the finalists’ meticulous market research in designing their proposals, along with a solid understanding of what type of development would appeal to Nashville culture.

Andrew Casavant, Matthew Miller, Rameez Munawar, David Ensor and Amina Mohamed.Now in its 12th year, the ULI/Hines competition challenges interdisciplinary teams of graduate students to create a dynamic design and development solution for a real large-scale site in just two weeks. While this is an ideas competition, it is part of the Urban Land Institute’s continued mission to engage young professionals in collaborative solutions, responsible land use and creating better communities. The competition demands a variety of expertise to navigate complex zoning codes, understand investment opportunities, examine community, site challenges and develop exciting yet realistic urban design solutions. This year’s competition site, the historic Sulfur Dell neighborhood in Nashville, Tennessee, is a largely underused downtown neighborhood that was formerly home to the nation’s oldest baseball stadium. The assignment required teams to devise a creative yet economically feasible urban design plan that focuses on healthy living while incorporating real-world development, preservation, transportation and land use requirements.

Maryland’s entry, entitled “Chords,” brings together the daily experiences of Sulphur Dell’s diverse community through four north-south connectors, referred to by the team as “strings.” The diversity of “chords” made by individuals accessing the variety of amenities along the “strings”—green spaces, a farmers market, an entertainment district, housing and bike paths—create the intertwining rhythms indicative of a healthy, strong community.

“It’s very satisfying to see our students’ talent, dedication and collaborative spirit recognized in such a competitive arena,” said Professor of Architecture Matthew Bell, FAIA, one of the team advisors. “This is a very meaningful win. We are most proud of our team.”

The competition is open to graduate students who are pursuing real estate-related studies at universities in the United States and Canada, including programs in real estate development, urban planning, urban design, architecture and landscape architecture. In the past five years, the University of Maryland has reached the ULI/Hines finals three times and received one honorable mention.

Read ULI’s statement and see footage of the team presenting, here.

Maryland’s winning team includes Andrew Casavant (Master of Community Planning), David Ensor (Master of Architecture), Matthew Miller (Master of Architecture), Amina Mohamed (Master of Landscape Architecture) and Rameez Munawar, (Master of Real Estate Development). Professor of Architecture Matthew Bell, FAIA and professional advisor Tim Phillips of the Bozzuto Group (MRED ’11) are the team’s advisors. To read more about “Chords” and view UMD’s presentation board, visit the ULI/Hines competition site.

New Knight Chair to Focus on National Security Issues

April 4, 2014
Contacts: 

Dave Ottalini 301-405-1321

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism has announced Washington Post investigative reporter and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Dana Priest will become the third John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Public Affairs Journalism.

Dana Priest“Dana Priest brings incredible vision, energy and knowledge to Merrill College as our next Knight Chair,” said Dean Lucy Dalglish. “We know she will make a difference as we work to establish the University of Maryland as a premier training ground for students and professional journalists focused on covering global intelligence matters. Dana brings to Knight Hall unquestioned mastery of issues related to national security. We are thrilled Dana has agreed to join us and know she will be an outstanding addition to the Merrill College faculty.”

As it has been at the Post, Priest’s focus in Knight Hall will continue to be on global security issues increasingly important in a digital world. The tenured position – formerly held by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Haynes Johnson and journalist Hodding Carter III – will provide a unique opportunity to help the profession and journalism education define the future of national security journalism.

“One of our prime responsibilities is to graduate global citizens attuned to the intricacies of national security and global relations, and Ms. Priest will add significantly to our wealth of expertise in this area,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “I am excited that our students will learn from someone of her achievements, stature and determination.”

Priest plans to continue with some investigative work for The Washington Post, enlisting help from a small team of students who will not only help in research and reporting but could find new ways to tell important stories.

“This generation’s student journalists will be the ones to shine the light on government actions in the future and to lead us out of the media chaos in which we find ourselves,” said Priest. “I’m thrilled to be joining the Merrill College of Journalism, which is uniquely situated to burrow into the national security world I have followed for so long.”

Eric Newton, Knight Foundation senior adviser to the president, said,  “Dana joins a group of two dozen Knight Chairs, innovators inside and outside the classroom, accomplished professionals who lead by example during a pivotal moment in the history of journalism. Welcome!”

Priest will begin her teaching duties this fall.

“I would like to thank the Knight Chair search committee led by Professor Susan Moeller,” said Dalglish. “We were amazed by the excitement shown by top national security journalists from across the country for this position.”

Priest has spent the majority of her career focusing on national security, military operations and the U.S. intelligence agencies. A two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and three-time finalist, Priest uncovered secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe and deplorable conditions for veterans at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington. In 2010 her project, “Top Secret America,” covered the buildup in top-secret intelligence organizations in the aftermath of Sept. 11. A unique searchable database of top secret sites was part of that investigation, which was expanded and published as a book and a “Frontline” documentary released in September 2011.  Her first book, “The Mission: Waging War and Keeping Peace with America’s Military,” (Norton, 2003) was a finalist for the Pulitzer and is still widely used in military academies.

UMD Unveils Technology Entrepreneurship Master's Program

April 3, 2014
Contacts: 

Eric Schurr 301-405-3889

15-month, global online program combines academics with new web-based incubator

University of MarylandCOLLEGE PARK, Md. — The University of Maryland, a national leader in entrepreneurship education and venture creation, will offer a new master's degree program in technology entrepreneurship starting this fall.

The 30-credit, 15-month Master of Technology Entrepreneurship, available online to current and aspiring entrepreneurs worldwide, features the university's most advanced and comprehensive entrepreneurship curriculum to date, taking students from concept development and prototyping to business model generation and customer validation, as well as legal aspects of entrepreneurship, financial and innovation management, and effective growth strategies.

"As a pioneer in online education and new venture creation, the University of Maryland is empowering the next generation of technology entrepreneurs through this innovative master's program," said Dr. James V. Green, director of entrepreneurship education at the A. James Clark School of Engineering's Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), which is offering the master's program through the UMD Office of Extended Studies. "In addition to our most rigorous academic entrepreneurship track, for the first time, we are pairing this enriching academic experience with the skills and relationships of the university's acclaimed startup incubators."

The Master of Technology Entrepreneurship can be completed in 15-months, with students enrolling in two 3-credit courses over five 12-week terms. The degree program is designed to fit both full-time and part-time students from anywhere in the world.

The following courses, each available online (descriptions available here), will be offered:

  • Innovative Ideas and Concept Development
  • Strategies for Managing Innovation
  • Business Modeling and Customer Validation
  • Innovative Thinking
  • Creative Design, Prototyping, and Testing
  • Market Development and Commercialization
  • Legal Aspects of Entrepreneurship
  • Financial Management and New Venture Financing
  • Corporate Technology Entrepreneurship
  • Fundamentals of Technology Startup Ventures

In addition, students in the Master of Technology Entrepreneurship program will have access to Mtech's first online incubator, which will include activities such as video-based coaching and advising, mentoring, networking and connecting promising startups with additional support, which could include funding introductions.

“Mtech and the Clark School have applied their proven experience with Coursera and online education to two key elements of entrepreneurship– the lean startup methodology and incubators,” says Dean Chang, UMD's associate vice president for innovation and entrepreneurship. “This online master’s program helps the University of Maryland achieve our goal of embedding innovation and entrepreneurship into the academic core of the university to foster life-long innovators.”

UMD prides itself as a pioneer in educating the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs, ranked as one of the nation's top public schools in the U.S. for entrepreneurship and innovation. The Princeton Review ranked UMD No. 6 among public universities and No. 15 overall for its undergraduate entrepreneurship program, and No. 8 among public universities and No. 16 overall for its graduate entrepreneurship program. The university was also recognized as No. 1 among public universities and No. 2 overall for tech entrepreneurship by the 2013 StartEngine College Index.

The Master of Technology Entrepreneurship launches in September 2014. Learn more at: http://mte.umd.edu.

UMD Professor Honored for Contributions to African American Studies

April 3, 2014
Contacts: 

Alana Carchedi 301-405-0235

Ira BerlinCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – Distinguished University Professor Ira Berlin was awarded the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal for 2014 by Harvard University's Hutchins Center for African and African American Research.

Given since 2000, the medal is Harvard’s highest honor for those whose work contributes to African American culture.

A leading expert in African American studies, Ira Berlin is a professor in the university's history department and has written extensively on American history and the larger Atlantic world in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, particularly the history of slavery.

Berlin has played a significant role in bringing African American history to the forefront, by contributing to projects like the 2013 film "12 Years a Slave," the BS-broadcast documentary "Prince Among Slaves," and HBO's "The Loving Story."

Berlin is the author of numerous award-winning books on the topic of slavery, including "The Making of African America - The Four Great Migrations" (2010), which was reviewed by The New York Times in 2010. He has served as a consultant for the Smithsonian Institution, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and the New-York Historical Society.

Other recent recipients of the Du Bois medal include Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor and film director Steven Spielberg.

Outreach Program puts UMD to work for Md. Communities

March 28, 2014
Contacts: 

Maggie Haslam, Maggiehaslam6@gmail.com

Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability puts the University to work for Maryland Communities

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland's National Center for Smart Growth (NCSG) announces the launch of the Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS), a new university-wide initiative that will pool the intellectual resources and ingenuity of the entire university to offer a fresh look at the specific challenges facing Maryland's communities. PALS will officially commence this fall with a partnership with the City of Frederick, Maryland.

Architecture students"We are extremely excited about this new program which will not only help Maryland communities become more economically, environmentally and socially sustainable, but will help provide a new generation of students with real-word experience in working with local communities," said Gerrit Knaap, director of the National Center for Smart Growth. "We can't wait to begin work with our new partners in Frederick Maryland."

PALS is the first initiative of its kind for the University of Maryland. Created with support from the Provost's Office, the Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and the UMD Office of Sustainability, the program's mission is to offer students an active, "on the ground" learning environment by helping Maryland communities become more sustainable places to live, work and play. Through targeted, custom coursework and faculty engagement, the program enlists a host of disciplines to provide fresh solutions for individual partner communities.

Modeled after the University of Oregon's City Year program, PALS offers affordable, useable, and high-quality advice for partner communities while providing valuable exercises in critical thinking, real-world problem solving and community engagement for UMD students. With coursework tailored to reflect specific community challenges, a variety of issues can be addressed, including water conservation, attracting new employers, creating health and wellness programs, leveraging social media, engaging immigrant and minority communities and more.

"The Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability will be an ideal vehicle to showcase the talent and ingenuity of our students," said the university's Senior Vice President and Provost Mary Ann Rankin. "It is an integral part of our responsibility as a land-grant university as well as our commitment to provide an active learning environment."

Discussions have begun with City of Frederick officials and UMD faculty to target which needs will be addressed this coming fall. Meanwhile, a beta test of the program is currently underway in Salisbury, Maryland. The project, dubbed "Envision Salisbury," has partnered 50 graduate and undergraduate students in architecture with the town's residents as Salisbury develops a master plan for downtown revitalization.

"This program presents a unique opportunity to address some of the issues facing The City of Frederick," said Frederick Mayor Randy McClement. "The students' multi-disciplinary approach will likely provide the City with fresh perspectives and unique options for this project.  We are extremely excited to work with the University of Maryland National Center for Smart Growth on this and other projects in the future."

To learn more about PALS, visit the National Center for Smart Growth website http://www.smartgrowth.umd.edu.

Canal between Ears Helps Alligators Pinpoint Sound

March 28, 2014
Contacts: 

Heather Dewar 301-405-9267

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – By reptile standards, alligators are positively chatty. They are the most vocal of the non-avian reptiles and are known to be able to pinpoint the source of sounds with accuracy. But it wasn't clear exactly how they did it because they lack external auditory structures.

Alligator that participated in a University of Maryland study that found that the alligator’s ear is strongly directional because of large, air-filled channels connecting the two middle ears. The earflap opening behind the alligator's eye can be seen clearly in this photo. In a new study, an international team of biologists shows that the alligator's ear is strongly directional because of large, air-filled channels connecting the two middle ears. This configuration is similar in birds, which have an interaural canal that increases directionality.

"Mammals usually have large moveable ears, but alligators do not, so they have solved the problems of sound localization a little differently. This may also be the solution used by the alligator's dinosaur relatives," said Hilary Bierman, a biology lecturer at the University of Maryland.

The study, which was led by Bierman and UMD Biology Professor Catherine Carr, was published online in the Journal of Experimental Biology on March 26, 2014. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Danish National Science Foundation and Carlsberg Foundation.

The UMD biologists—along with researchers from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, University of Colorado Medical School and University of Southern Denmark—collected anatomical, biophysical and electrophysiological measurements of alligators to investigate the mechanisms alligators use to locate sounds.

"Different vertebrate lineages have evolved external and/or internal anatomical adaptations to enhance these auditory cues, such as pinnae and interaural canals," said Bierman.

First, the team tested how sound travelled around an alligator's head to investigate whether the animal somehow channels sound, listening for tiny time and volume differences in the sound's arrival at the two ears to help locate the origin. But the team found no evidence that the animal's body alters sound transmission sufficiently for the animal to be able to detect the difference. And when the team measured alligators' brainstem responses to sounds, they were too fast for the animals to sense these small time differences.

Next, the team looked for internal structures in the alligators' heads that might propagate sound between the two eardrums. Viewing slices through the heads of young alligators, the team could clearly see two channels linking the two middle ears that could transmit sound between the two eardrums. 

Sound reaches both sides of the eardrum—travelling externally to reach the outer side and through head structures to the internal side—to amplify the vibration at some frequencies when the head is aligned with the sound. This maximizes the pressure differences on the two sides of the eardrum, magnifying the time difference between the sound arriving at the ear drum via two different paths to allow the animal to pinpoint the source. And when the team looked at the eardrum's vibration, they could see that it was amplified at certain frequencies, as they would expect if alligators use the pressure difference at the eardrum for orientation.

Assembling all of the evidence together, the researchers suggest that the reptiles rely on magnified time difference at the eardrum to locate noises. They also suspect that this is the mechanism that the archosaur ancestors of modern crocodilians and birds used to pinpoint sounds.

Foraging Bats Warn Others Away From Their Dinners

March 27, 2014
Contacts: 

Rebecca Copeland 301-405-6602
Heather Dewar 301-405-9267

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Look into the spring sky at dusk and you may see flitting groups of bats, gobbling up insect meals in an intricately choreographed aerial dance. It's well known that echolocation calls keep the bats from hitting trees and each other. But now scientists have learned some bats emit another call: one that tells their comrades to "back off" from bugs they've claimed for themselves.

Jessica Nelson, Auditory Neuroethology Laboratory, University of MarylandLed by Biology Research Associate Genevieve Spanjer Wright, a five-person team from the University of Maryland found that male big brown bats can produce a special sound, called a "frequency-modulated bout" (FMB), that tells other bats with whom they are foraging to keep away from their prey. The Maryland researchers are the first to report this ultrasonic social call produced exclusively by flying, foraging male big brown bats. Their study, appearing in the March 31 issue of the Cell Press journal Current Biology, shows how important vocal social communication is for a nocturnal animal foraging with others of its species.

As the researchers examined audio recordings from two bats flying and foraging together, they noticed calls that seemed different from typical echolocation. To find out more, they analyzed video and audio recordings of bats' flight paths and calls, while male and female big brown bats flew alone and in pairs foraging for tethered mealworms. This led them to discover the special call they dubbed FMB.

The FMB is an ultrasonic social call that uniquely identifies the bat emitting it. It is a sequence of three to four sounds, longer in duration and lower in frequency than the typical echolocation pulses that big brown bats use to navigate. It is often followed by short buzz-like calls.

The researchers found the FMB increases the caller's success in snagging the insect for himself. After hearing the FMB, other bats increased their distance from the caller and moved away from the prey.

"When two males flew together in a trial, it was not uncommon for each bat to emit FMBs," says Wright. "We found that the bat emitting the greatest number of FMBs was more likely to capture the mealworm."

While some animals that forage in groups are known to emit calls to attract others towards food sources, the FMB is used to repel, not attract, other bats.

"Despite decades of study, many things about common bat behaviors such as foraging remain mysterious," says Wright. "We were able to study a social call that is likely occurring thousands of times a night all over North America during the summer months, yet had not been described or studied before now."

The researchers discovered only male big brown bats emitted the FMB, possibly to advertise their dominance or claim their territory. Female bats did not emit FMBs. That may be because females form close associations with their roost mates and may forage near familiar individuals, while males often roost alone or in small bachelor colonies and may be less familiar with others foraging nearby.

Working with Wright on the research were postdoctoral researcher Chen Chiu, research assistant Wei Xian, Biology Prof. Gerald Wilkinson, and Prof. Cynthia Moss of the Department of Psychology and the Institute for Systems Research. Future investigations will explore the potentially sophisticated nature and function of bat social calls.

This research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, and by a training grant from the National Institutes on Deafness and other Communication Disorders.

30 Days of EnTERPreneurship Showcases Innovation at UMD

March 26, 2014
Contacts: 

Katie Lawson 301-405-4622

Series of events partners Terps with business and philanthropy to embrace challenges and solve problems

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland kicked off today its third annual 30 Days of EnTERPreneurship, a month-long celebration of the university's fearless ideas, innovation and impact.

30 Days of EnTERPreneurship"The University of Maryland has long been a pioneer in entrepreneurship and a leader in research and academic innovation.  And in recent years, the university has put even greater, campus-wide emphasis on preparing faculty, students and staff to tackle the world's toughest problems through innovation and entrepreneurship. Our '30 Days of EnTERPreneurship' highlights and celebrates that commitment across all schools," says Dean Chang, UMD's associate vice president for innovation and entrepreneurship.

This year's showcase of events, lectures and contests begins today with the 3rd annual ACC Clean Energy Challenge, part of the Startup America Initiative that supports and empowers the next generation of American entrepreneurs. This $100,000 university green technology business competition is led by UMD in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy.

For the ninth year, Under Armour Founder and CEO Kevin Plank '96, will partner with UMD to host Cupid's Cup on April 4. This nationwide student competition awards $115,000 in prize money to the country's top student entrepreneurs, and brings together hundreds of students, faculty, staff and entrepreneurs from various industries.

30 Days of EnTERPreneurship continues on April 26 with Maryland Day – the university's campus-wide celebration of innovation, creativity and academic excellence. The 16th annual open house attracts more than 100,000 alumni, students and community members to more than 450 family-friendly events and exhibits that teach and inspire future innovators.

On April 29, UMD students will compete to make the greatest social impact for causes in the annual Do Good Challenge. Finalists can earn up to $5,000 for their cause, as well as other prizes, such as in-kind consulting, to further advance their cause. This year's judges include sports agent David Falk, and former NFL quarterback and current CBS Sports analyst Norman Julius "Boomer" Esiason '84.

30 Days of EnTERPreneurship also includes:

  • Whiting-Turner Lecture: Michael Chasen, co-founder and CEO of SocialRadar and former CEO and co-founder of Blackboard, will offer advice and inspiration. (April 3)
  • Chesapeake Regional FIRST Robotics Competition: More than 1,000 high school students from around the country will compete in a robotics competition. (April 3-5)
  • Bitcamp Hackathon: A 36-hour creative coding marathon challenges hundreds of students from across the country to work in teams to turn ideas into innovations. (April 4-6)
  • Public Health Research@Maryland: National experts will discuss important public health issues, such as health care access, HIV/AIDS, physical activity promotion, cancer prevention and tobacco control. (April 8)
  • RECESS: This music and ideas festival will bring together successful entrepreneurs, new startups, and musicians to inspire the next generation of world changing entrepreneurs. (April 9)
  • Entrepreneurship Connector Kickoff Event: Learn about the Entrepreneurship Connector Club, UMD's umbrella organization connecting entrepreneurs all over campus. (April 21)
  • Grand Opening Celebration of the Physical Sciences Complex: The university will celebrate the new, 160,000-square-foot building that features a creative design and high-tech labs. (April 23)
  • Whiting-Turner Lecture: Abdur Chowdhury, co-founder and CEO of Pushd, co-founder of Alta Vista School and former chief scientist of Twitter, will share his experiences and insights. (April 24)
  • Celebration of Innovation and Invention of the Year Awards: UMD will honor innovations and inventions  developed by university researchers and students. (April 29)
  • CMNS Board of Visitors Seminar: Dr. Robert E. Fischell, the father of modern medical stents, the rechargeable pacemaker, and implantable insulin pumps, will discuss the physics of medical devices. (April 30)
  • Computer Science F.I.S.H. Bowl Competition: The second annual Fostering Innovation, Success, and Humanity (F.I.S.H.) Bowl Competition is a computer science entrepreneurship showcase and competition for undergraduate and graduate students at UMD. (May 2)

UMD prides itself as a pioneer in educating the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs, ranked as one of the nation's top public schools in the U.S. for entrepreneurship and innovation. The Princeton Review ranked UMD No. 6 among public universities and No. 15 overall for its undergraduate entrepreneurship program, and No. 8 among public universities and No. 16 overall for its graduate entrepreneurship program. The university was also recognized as No. 1 among public universities and No. 2 overall for tech entrepreneurship by the 2013 StartEngine College Index.

Visit www.umd.edu/30days to learn more about these and other special events. Follow the coverage of the events by tracking #30DaysTerps on social.

Women's Cancer Screenings Down During Great Recession

March 26, 2014
Contacts: 

Kelly Blake 301-405-9418
Alana Carchedi 301-405-0235

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – American women were less likely to receive a mammogram or Pap smear during the Great Recession of 2007-2009 than they were five years earlier, according to a study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Public Health. The nationwide decline in screening rates was most pronounced among white women.

  Percentage of women with a mammogram before and during the Great Recession
  Percentage of women with a mammogram before and during the Great Recession

"Economic recessions lead to unemployment, loss of health insurance, and loss of income, which can have a negative impact on preventive services such as cancer screening," said Dr. Christopher King, lecturer in the department of health services administration and the study's lead author. "We found a reduction in breast and cervical cancer screenings during the Great Recession, and there were noteworthy differences by race and ethnicity. Screening rates among white women fell, which is not surprising since about three million whites lost insurance coverage during the recession, but rates among African American women stayed about the same and rates among Hispanic women actually improved."

The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, examines survey data from the Medical Expenditure Panel on breast screening and cervical screening in 2004-2005 and in 2009-2010. Women aged 50 to 74 reported whether they had received a mammogram within the past two years, and women aged 21 to 65 reported whether they had received a Pap smear within the past three years. Researchers analyzed the data for trends related to race and other demographic characteristics.

Women with health insurance, whether private or public, were found to be more than twice as likely as uninsured women to be screened for breast or cervical cancer. Those having a usual source of care were also more than twice as likely to receive screening as those without one.

Percentage of women with a Pap smear before and during the Great Recession  
Percentage of women with a Pap smear before and during the Great Recession  

Among Hispanics, the 6 percent increase in breast screening and 3 percent increase in cervical screening between the two time periods are moving the group closer to national targets. The study authors credited screening efforts funded by the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Programs and awareness activities by philanthropies such as the Avon Foundation and the Susan B. Komen Foundation for the improvement.

The study also found differences in screening by U.S. region. "Consistent with U.S. regions most impacted by unemployment and uninsurance during the recession, breast screening in the Midwest and South was lowest, followed by the West," the authors write. "The Northeast fared better, mainly because of more widespread public insurance programs with high eligibility thresholds."

The paper notes that early detection for breast and cervical cancer can significantly reduce mortality rates and health costs.

"If the U.S. is going to meet its breast and cervical cancer screening goals for Healthy People 2020, we have to re-engage women who did not receive preventive health services during the recession," said Dr. King. "As the Affordable Care Act takes effect, local and national efforts are needed to reach out to demographic populations most affected during the recession and help them understand the law and how it can help them receive timely preventive care."

*"Breast and cervical screening by race/ethnicity: comparative analyses before and during the Great Recession" was written by Christopher J. King, Jie Chen, Mary A. Garza, and Stephen B. Thomas.

Pages

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