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Archive for November, 2015

Community invited to watch businesses compete for $1,000, chance at up to $70,000

The community is invited to watch 10 local businesses compete for $1,000 and a chance at much more during the InnovateHer Challenge from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1 at The University of Toledo’s Scott Park Campus Auditorium.

UT is hosting a local round of the InnovateHER Challenge, a national competition created by the U.S. Small Business Administration aimed at unearthing products and services that impact and empower the lives of women and families.

The 10 local businesses competing will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges, much like the TV show “Shark Tank.” Judges will evaluate each pitch based on whether the product or service has a measurable impact on the lives of women and families, whether it has the potential for commercialization, whether it fills a need in the marketplace, the overall quality of the pitch, and the overall quality of the company’s business plan.

The judges for the regional event are Scott Weiss, CEO of Ocean Accelerator; Dr. Gary Insch, dean of the UT College of Business and Innovation; Amy Hall, president and CEO of Ebony Construction; Linda Parra, president at Nuestra Gente Community Projects Inc.; and Chris Hill, vice president of business banking at Huntington Bank. The local round is sponsored by Fifth Third Bank.

The winner of this round, announced the same day as the competition, will be eligible to compete with up to nine other businesses in the national competition for a chance at one of three prizes totaling $70,000 provided by Microsoft.

For more information, visit or

Media Coverage
The Blade (Dec. 2, 2015)
The Independent Collegian (Dec. 9, 2015)

HIV educator to speak at World AIDS Day event

HIV doesn’t garner as much attention these days, but with actor Charlie Sheen’s recent revelation that he is infected, a University of Toledo HIV educator hopes that changes.


Danielle Van Fleet

“Charlie Sheen’s announcement comes right as we prepare to mark World AIDS Day on Dec. 1,” said Danielle Van Fleet, HIV testing coordinator for the Ryan White Program on the Health Science Campus. “I hope that the public will realize that HIV does not discriminate and is completely preventable. Even though HIV is not curable, there are medications to help a person live with the virus.”

Van Fleet will share startling statistics during the sixth annual AIDS Awareness Gala at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4 in the Student Union Auditorium on Main Campus. The African People’s Association (APA) and UT’s Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) are hosting the gala. UT’s International Student Association is a sponsor.

Young people, ages 15-24, in Lucas County accounted for 31 percent of the HIV/AIDS cases in 2013, Van Fleet said. Young black men and young gay and bisexual men of all races and ethnicities are at the greatest risk.

“College is when students begin to explore their sexuality, which makes them vulnerable for HIV and other sexual transmitted infections (STIs) if they do not take the proper precautions,” Van Fleet said. “I want students to understand that unprotected sex is a leading factor in contracting a sexually transmitted infection. It only takes one time.”

Nnenna Kalu, event coordinator for the African’s People’s Association, said it is important for college students to take HIV and sexually transmitted infections seriously. The UT biology major said students often think they are invincible. They think HIV happens to “other people.”

Van Fleet said she plans to address sexually transmitted infections because Lucas County rates for chlamydia are above the rates of other counties in Ohio. Lucas County also has a high rate for gonorrhea with an average of 1,100 people in the Toledo area contracting gonorrhea each year, she said.

The gala will include free HIV/AIDS testing as well as entertainment and giveaways. Tickets are $12 at the door; $10 in advance (buy them at the Ask Rocky Information Center in the Union); or $5 for APA and SNPhA members. Questions can be emailed to

Media Coverage
The Independent Collegian (Dec. 9, 2015)

Tailgate party, football game to benefit cancer survivors

The Friday after Thanksgiving is usually about shopping. This year, it is about surviving.

The University of Toledo Center for Health and Successful Living is organizing a tailgate party for cancer survivors and their families before the Rockets football game versus Western Michigan on Friday, Nov. 27.

The free tailgate party will start at 10 a.m. in parking lot 1S in front of the Health and Human Services Building before the noon kickoff in the Glass Bowl.

The Center for Health and Successful Living also is selling discounted game tickets that anyone can purchase for $12 with $2 going toward the center for screening and outreach purposes. Use the code “CHSL” when buying the tickets at Reservations for the tailgate party are appreciated.cancer-Tailgate-event-web

“We wanted to thank our survivors for coming to our programs and we wanted to connect our survivors to each other,” said Dr. Amy Thompson, co-director of the center and UT health education professor. “We want to celebrate their survivorship journey and create some awareness about the center.”

Since its inception two years ago, the center has educated more than 5,000 people and screened more than 500 women for breast cancer.

The Center for Health and Successful Living, located on the first floor of the Health and Human Services Building on Main Campus, offers a variety of low-cost health promotion and disease prevention services, including health coaching, health screenings, case management, customized exercise programs and support groups.

“We are an arm of the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center; we are Dana’s survivorship program,” Thompson said. “We do free screenings, mobile units and education in the community. We also do patient navigation. People will call us and say, ‘I need help finding a physician.’ We also help people who can’t afford health services.

“We have known people who have walked 5 miles to get a free mammogram,” Thompson said. “The more we work with people in the community, the more we see the need. Our students were doing health coaching at one point, and we were finding that people couldn’t even identify a vegetable.”

While the center is open to anyone, Thompson said specific attention is paid to minorities, the LGBT community and those suffering from mental illness.

“We try to serve the mentally ill because they live 25 years less on average,” she said. “They don’t get screened because they are focused on their mental health instead of getting a colonoscopy or a mammogram. We try to provide services for everyone, but we try to focus on people who are underserved.”

Thompson started the center with Dr. Tim Jordan, UT health education professor, because her mom, Gladys, had breast cancer.

“My mom had to go to so many different places to get support for her cancer. I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have it all in once place?’” Thompson said.

Jordan said a large part of the center’s mission is to recruit and retain high quality students to UT while collaborating with other academic departments.

“We want to create more opportunities for students to gain more skills in their majors,” he said. “We have students in occupational therapy, social work and physical therapy, among other disciplines, who intern and volunteer in the center. We have even had international students specifically come to UT to intern in our center.”

As the center evolves, it has added many social events to its calendar. For instance, the Pink Sneakers walking group meets at 6 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays. The center also hosts a Survivorship Book Club, which is meeting next at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30.

“A lot of these programs are things that people have asked us to do,” Thompson said.

“Last year, we had a Christmas party for survivors at my home. Everyone had to say one thing he or she was grateful for this year. Someone said, ‘I am grateful that I had cancer because I would have never met all of you at the center without this diagnosis.’”

Thompson and Jordan are working to secure more funding for the center, which runs on $10,000 a year, to be able to offer additional services. Thompson and Jordan run the center in their free time.

“This is a labor of love, but if we had more money, we could do more for the community,” Thompson said.

Media Coverage
The Blade (Nov. 28, 2015)
13 ABC (Nov. 28, 2015)

UTMC to host fashion show in honor of World AIDS Day

The Ryan White Program at The University of Toledo Medical Center is getting the conversation started about HIV/AIDs prevention with a fashion show slated for 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29, at the Radisson Hotel, 3100 Glendale Ave.

“Fashion with the Stars: A tribute to Fashion’s Fallen Stars” will feature Rasheeda, an American rapper, fashion designer, television personality and businesswoman from Atlanta.

“We thought fashion would be a way to reach the black community, which isn’t as accepting of hearing about HIV and AIDS because of a stigma within some churches and families,” said Kennyetta White, minority outreach coordinator for the Ryan White Program.

The fashion show, in honor of World AIDS Day on Tuesday, Dec. 1, is being hosted in collaboration with Priceless Designs in Toledo, which is providing the models and the clothing. During the intermissions, facts about HIV and AIDS will be shared. One of the most startling facts is that the highest risk population for contracting HIV is black men between the ages of 18-24.

“The fashion industry has lost some amazing people to AIDS such as Perry Ellis and Willi Smith,” said Richard Meeker, project director for the Healthy Relationships program in the Ryan White Clinic. “This show is trying to reach a whole new demographic.

“We don’t pay attention to HIV and AIDS like we used to, but it is still a huge problem,” Meeker said. “Besides the risk to the black community, it is on the rise because of heroin abuse. We had a case in Ohio where 26 people were affected by the same needle.”

White said some people look at HIV as a manageable disease these days so they aren’t as careful when it comes to protected sex and drug abuse.

“They think they can take a pill and they will be fine,” she said. “They relate it to something like diabetes.”

While the treatment plans for HIV can lead to a normal and healthy life, each body reacts to the disease differently. It isn’t something you want to contract, just because it can be manageable, White said.

Rasheeda said continuing the AIDs conversation is vital because it has no cure.

“It’s very important that I participate in this cause and use my platform to spread as much awareness as possible,” she said.

To purchase tickets to the fashion show, contact White at 419.266.2853 or email Tickets are $25 and $35 for VIP seats. Proceeds benefit the Ann Locher Foundation for HIV-related care. Organizers are also seeking sponsorships and other donations.

Media Coverage
13 ABC (Nov. 29, 2015)

Ribbon cutting ceremony today for new resource for engineering students

The University of Toledo College of Engineering will host a ribbon cutting ceremony today for a new conference room that will serve as a resource to connect students with potential employers.

The new Dana Conference Room, located on the first floor of Nitschke Hall, will be dedicated at 10 a.m. today (Thursday, Nov. 19). George Constand, chief technical and quality officer for Dana Holding Corporation, which sponsored the project, will be joined at the ceremony by UT President Sharon L. Gaber, College of Engineering Dean Nagi Naganathan and Vice President for Advancement Sam McCrimmon.

“Thanks to Dana Holding Corporation’s interest in the future success of our students, we were able to add this conference room to the college’s Career Development Center to provide a much needed meeting space and video conferencing technology that will allow our students to interview for co-op and full-time positions in other states and even abroad,” Naganathan said.

Dana is an active member of the UT College of Engineering’s Corporate Partners Program that connects the college to local industries to anticipate changes in the field of engineering to better prepare students for their careers and to meet the needs of the employers who will hire UT graduates.

Dana’s support of the UT College of Engineering spans more than half a century when the corporation donated more than $1 million to support a new Engineering-Science Building that was dedicated in 1960. Since then, Dana has continued to support the expansion of the college’s laboratory and classroom facilities.

Media Coverage
13 ABC (Nov. 19, 2015)

Congresswoman Kaptur to host General Wesley Clark for energy discussion at UT

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur will host former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Wesley Clark (Ret.) for a discussion on America’s energy independence at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20 at The University of Toledo in the SSOE Room of Nitschke Hall.

The event will include a question and answer session with the audience.

As a former Director of Strategic Planning and Policy of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Clark has a unique perspective on the connections between global conflict and energy development and infrastructure. During his speech, he will share insights drawn from 34 years of service in the U.S. Army and his role as the former NATO Supreme Allied Commander.

General Clark and Congresswoman Kaptur will be available for media interviews immediately after the hour-long public event concludes.

Media Coverage
The Blade (Nov. 21, 2015)

UT scholars to lead teach-in on ISIS Paris attacks, Syrian refugees ‪Nov. 19

In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks and deepening Syrian refugee crisis, Islamic studies, international law, immigration and refugee law, and political science scholars at The University of Toledo are teaming up to moderate a teach-in to help the campus and Toledo community examine what is happening and how it hits home.

Benjamin G. Davis, a law professor at the UT College of Law and member of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Law and National Security, just returned from Paris and Hungary with first-hand knowledge of the evolving situation.

Davis will lead the teach-in ‪at 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19 in the UT Law Center Room 1013, along with Ovamir Anjum, the Imam Khattab Chair of Islamic Studies; Joel Voss, assistant professor of political science who has lived in France; and Shelley Cavalieri, associate professor of Law.

“Having been on the ground this past week in Paris and 10 miles from the Serbian border in Hungary where the Syrian refugees are, the hope is to use that experience to help the university and community understand these events over the last ten days and have their questions answered,” Davis said.

The teach-in is sponsored by the International Law Society.

It is free and open to the public.

“It’s an educational opportunity, but it’s also an opportunity to discuss the issues in an informal manner,” Voss said.

“This is a political fight,” Anjum said. “ISIS coordinated the attacks because it doesn’t want refugees to find refuge in the West.”

“We will be providing answers to questions and correcting misinformation in the public sphere regarding refugee resettlement, international law, and terrorism,” Cavalieri said.

Media Coverage
WTOL 11 (Nov. 18, 2015)
The Blade (Nov. 18, 2015)
The Blade (Nov. 20, 2015)

Students will carry ball from UT to BG for rivalry game

The University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University will team up for a good cause before going head to head in this year’s rivalry game.

A total of 41 students from both universities will run a football from UT’s Glass Bowl to BGSU’s Doyt Perry Stadium before today’s game (Tuesday, Nov. 17).

The first runner will start at the rocket outside of the Glass Bowl at 1:45 p.m. Each runner will carry a football for their leg of the event, between half a mile and 2 miles, before passing the ball to another student. A volunteer driver will pick them up and take them to Doyt Perry Stadium for the game.

“They’ve been doing this event through different organizations since the ’80s or ’90s,” said Ian Michalak, vice president of UT’s Student Government. “It is a tradition that we want to keep going.”

All proceeds from registration will go to Global Medical Brigades, a mission trip group that will go to Honduras in January, to pay for medications.

The entire run will take about four hours, during which the ball will be carried for 23 miles along U.S. Highway 25. To see the full route, visit

Once at BGSU, students from both schools will run the ball onto the field before kickoff at 6 p.m.

UT religious studies professor to discuss ISIS and Islam

A religious studies professor at The University of Toledo will address the question “Is ISIS Islamic?” at a previously scheduled talk made more noteworthy after the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.

Associate Professor Ovamir Anjum, the Imam Khattab Chair of Islamic Studies, will give the talk 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17 in the UT Center for Religious Understanding in University Hall Room 4700.

“ISIS is not Islamic. ISIS is Saddam Hussein reaching out of his grave for revenge,” he said. “Modern scholars across the globe, both Sunni and Shia, have condemned ISIS as modern-day Kharijites—a heretical group known for its violence.”

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is part of a fall series called “Windows on Contemporary Islamic Issues.”

After the attacks on Paris, Anjum says it is crucial not to play into the hands of terrorists.

“This is a political fight,” Anjum said. “ISIS coordinated the attacks because it doesn’t want refugees to find refuge in the West.”

UT’s Center for Religious Understanding promotes a deeper understanding of religion on campus and in greater Toledo, the nation and the world.

Media Coverage
WTOL 11 (Nov. 16, 2015)
WTOL 11 and 13 ABC (Nov. 17, 2015)
WTOL 11 (Nov. 18, 2015)
The Blade (Nov. 18, 2015)

UT Health pediatrician: National Diabetes Month is opportunity for family lifestyle change

The best way to prevent Type 2 diabetes in children is to get the whole family involved.

“You can’t just make your Type 2 diabetic child adopt a healthy lifestyle; everyone in the household has to be committed to eating healthily and exercising,” said Dr. Berrin Ergun-Longmire, the new chief of the Pediatric Endocrinology Division at The University of Toledo.

Dr. Berrin Ergun-Longmire

Dr. Berrin Ergun-Longmire

November is National Diabetes Month. During this month, Ergun-Longmire wants families to understand that a healthier lifestyle, which can prevent or reverse Type 2 diabetes, can include an occasional splurge as part of a “normal” childhood experience.

“I always tell parents that their children can have an occasional piece of pizza or cake,” she said. “The bottom line is that children need to know what they are eating and approach it in moderation, but they need family guidance when it comes to that.”

The situation has devolved to the point where children are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes — a disease that is typically found in the elderly — because one-third of the children in the United States are overweight. Unlike Type 2 diabetes, those suffering from Type 1 diabetes can only be treated, not cured, because their body doesn’t produce insulin.

“The trick to understanding Type 2 diabetes is to pretend that your body is a power plant that burns sugar as its fuel,” Ergun-Longmire said. “For your body to remain alive, it initially converts the food that you eat into an energy source in the form of sugar. Then, with the help of insulin, your body will tap into this sugar and carry it inside the body’s cells where it is burned as fuel.”

However, for people with Type 2 diabetes, their insulin cannot transport the sugar from the bloodstream into their cells, according to Ergun-Longmire. This is because these people have an excessive amount of body fat that keeps the insulin from doing its job.

Ergun-Longmire said the key to preventing and defeating Type 2 diabetes is to make sure that your child’s body fat is not excessive. This is where a healthy lifestyle comes into play.

She suggests swapping whole milk for skim and choosing fruit instead of fruit juice. Exercise is a key component, but it doesn’t mean buying a gym membership.

“Your child could join a soccer team or run in the basement or listen to music and dance,” she said. “You need to find ways to incorporate exercise into your child’s life without making it seem like a chore.”

Ergun-Longmire practices at Rocket Pediatrics, in both Toledo and Waterville, with her team: Dr. James Horner; nurse practitioner Janet Moore; staff dietitian Michelle Cleland; and staff nurse Cereda Blanchard. They can be reached at 567.952.2100.

Media Coverage
NBC 24 (Nov. 20, 2015)
WTOL 11 (Nov. 30, 2015)