Five Essentials for Surgical Care During Conflict & Disaster

by krm | Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 6:00 AM

With numerous ongoing conflicts and disasters occurring around the world, the work of surgical humanitarians is never ending. To understand the context and prepare to provide surgical care under such conditions, it is essential to know the following:

Learn how to do a C-section

Labor ward in Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo courtesy Nick Czernkovich

Most people are surprised to learn that C-sections are the most common surgical procedure performed both during conflicts and after a disaster. A study using Doctors Without Borders/Medecins sans Frontiers data highlighted this issue and documented that of more than 90,000 procedures performed in over 20 countries, more than 25% were C-sections. The ability to do this procedure and provide maternal health in general is a key point when planning humanitarian interventions or working as a surgical humanitarian.

To learn how to do C-sections and treat other common surgical problems in low-resource settings, surgeons and other health can professionals can take an “International Humanitarian Aid Skills Course” run each year at Stanford University.

Become a surgical MacGyver and know...Read More

A Few Words Apropos of the Pamphlet The Confessions of Nat Turner

by krm | Monday, February 20, 2017 - 6:00 AM

Nat Turner realized at some point during his nine weeks and four days in hiding that what he might say if taken alive would be interesting to the public. In August of 1831, he had led the bloody uprising by forty identifiable slaves in Southampton County, Virginia, and had become the most sought-after fugitive of his time, a figure of legend. No longer an actor, he was now a narrator. He prepared a confession.

He surrendered at noon on 30 October, and for the next day and a half, in public, he rehearsed. Within two hours he was speaking, under guard, to a crowd of one hundred at a nearby plantation. The next day he held forth for nearly two hours in front of magistrates at the courthouse in Jerusalem. He made further remarks to a gathering at the jail. Finally, in his cell, during the first three days of November (while awaiting trial and execution), he dictated a finished statement to Thomas R. Gray, a young attorney of the town. (Poor Gray has suffered odium and neglect for his trouble; he was characterized wrongly in the 1967 novel by William Styron and ignored entirely in the 2016 film...Read More

I Think of You When I See Roadkill

by krm | Thursday, February 16, 2017 - 6:00 AM

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that from one of my students, I’d be a rich man. Most people hearing that would be downright offended, and understandably so. To 99 out of 100 people it would be an insult. To me, however, it’s like music to my ears. It means a student got the full experience in my “Animal Form and Function” course where they were forced to dissect a carcass, feed it to flesh-eating beetles, and rebuild the remains. Some do it well. They get A’s. Others produce monstrosities of unknown origin with hints of mythical creatures. They don’t get A’s. But both populations still tell me they think of me when they see roadkill.

I wrote The Skeleton Revealed for a couple reasons. First, I’ve been fascinated by bones, especially dinosaur bones, since I was a kid. And, like most little boys with dinosaur toys around their bedroom, bringing them back to life and guessing how they’d act consumed hours of my life. How many times have you seen a young child pick-up a dinosaur toy and say, “RARRR!”? Unfortunately, while we think we know how dinosaurs communicated, we’ll...Read More

Celebrating All Kinds of Children

by bjs | Wednesday, February 15, 2017 - 6:00 AM

The final 2016 issue of Children's Literature Association Quarterly was a special issue on African American Children’s Literature and Genre. Sara Austin (SA), a PhD candidate in English at the University of Connecticut, and Karen Chandler (KC), an associate professor of English at the University of Louisville, served as guest editors. The pair joined us for a Q&A to talk about the issue and the field of African American children's literature.

How did this special issue come about?

KC: Sara approached me about working with her on the special issue, and so maybe she can speak about what initially motivated her to propose a special issue on African American children’s and young adult literature. I will say I was drawn to the project because I have been greatly influenced by the earlier special issue in African American Review on African American children’s literature.

SA: I was working on an article about Virginia Hamilton and talking to Arnold Adoff about life in New York before Zeely was published. While researching the article, I noticed how little scholarship there was on...Read More

The Great Recession and the Web of Inequality

by krm | Monday, February 13, 2017 - 6:00 AM

The following is an adapted excerpt from Ronald Formisano’s Plutocracy in America: How Increasing Inequality Destroys the Middle Class and Exploits the Poor as a part of our Black History Month blog series.

Unequal access to health care is but one example of how income inequality creates a proliferating range of consequences not often discussed in relation to one another. None of these subjects has been ignored or unreported somewhere, either in print or on the Internet. But by drawing many of these topics together and showing interconnections, I highlight the widespread consequences of inequality as it washes through society like a noxious flood. This approach rejects arguments that downplay the effects of governmental or corporate policies and instead invoke the role of impersonal forces, such as globalization, as mainly being responsible for inequality in income and wealth. The OECD finds that “the evidence as to the role of globalization in growing inequality is mixed.” Whatever globalization has contributed to inequality as an independent cause, corporations have set the rules in global markets that virtually eliminate workers’ bargaining power, while environmental and other standards have been ignored.

It is too easy to blame impersonal...Read More