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Wearable Technologies, Cloud Guide the Future of Healthcare

Re-posted from: Tech Target Search Health IT

Year after year healthcare technology has helped increase physicians’ access to electronic health information, reduce medical errors during care episodes and lower the overall cost of care. With federal and state programs offering incentives to providers for health IT adoption, five areas of technology — cloud, data exchange platforms, wearable technologies, data analytics and artificial intelligence — will have the greatest effect on healthcare providers in the next five years.

Most cloud providers’ healthcare products now protect patients’ data, meet HIPAA and FDA Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 Section 11 compliance requirements, and deliver a wide variety of healthcare-specific, cloud-based services. Services such as infrastructure as a service to support hospital expansions, software as a service for EHRs and others will contribute to the growth of cloud adoption. Competition between cloud providers has pushed them to offer increasingly powerful functionality that adds value to health IT departments. When evaluating what cloud has to offer healthcare, IT executives commonly take notice of the following areas.

  • The extendibility of cloud-based applications, especially as storage options, as the growth of computing needs within healthcare continues.
  • The cloud’s resiliency and high availability contribute to many experts’ belief that it’s a cost-effective alternative to an on-premises storage implementation.
  • Careful study of overall compliance and security. Many of the top service providers have made significant investments to ensure hackers can’t penetrate their systems and have put backup capabilities in place in case of emergency.
  • Time: The cloud can provide almost immediate computing, storage and application services.

An uptick in interoperability among systems is another reason care coordination has improved. The increased adoption of enhanced healthcare standards by EHR vendors and device manufacturers has helped data flow more efficiently among systems and devices. Examples of this include the way data from wearable technologies can be included in EHR systems, or the way providers using two different EHR systems can share patient health information.

Some patients are interested in tracking specific health information outside their doctor’s office. This desire has driven technology companies to create myriad wearable devices that are cost-effective and easy to use. The adoption of health and wellness devices that track consumer’s fitness activities, sleeping habits, body temperatures and heart rate has been significant. The popularity of these devices has caused many physicians to recognize the value wearable devices offer in capturing relevant patient health information. As this adoption of this trend continues to expand, more physicians will prescribe a set of wearable devices and mHealth apps to patients in need, forcing the industry to innovate and integrate these devices as part of the care episode.

With the growing volume of health data, many CIOs are banking on the potential of analytics tools. Developing a healthcare data analysis initiative has been a common strategic goal for many providers. The spike in available data will continue to be a driver for these initiatives. Information generated from end users in EHRs and from wearable devices will continue to be the central focus of analytics initiatives. Applying analytics to healthcare data presents hospitals with an opportunity to increase care quality and achieve cost savings.

Consumers of smartphones today are already harnessing the power of virtual assistants. Apple’s Siri, Google Now, IBM’s Watson and Microsoft’sCortana are a few of the virtual assistants with artificial intelligence available on mobile devices. From the voice of Google Now, consumers can receive a notification to take an alternate route to avoid heavy traffic, or Siri can notify them of the latest football scores. Cortana users can interact with native Microsoft apps through speech or get health advice from Watson on their smartphone.

These are all examples of how many of today’s systems offer an efficient and interactive experience for consumers and patients. Machine learning,natural language processing and cloud computing are opening the door to technological innovations that are changing how we interact with data. For patients, these benefits may manifest in the form of virtual wellness assistants or life coaches, or interactive digital systems that can provide information about medication dosages and side effects.

Users and developers of telemedicine continue to receive significant incentives from federal and state entities. Typically, patients that reside in rural areas get more funding because they may not always have access to specialists within their area. Both patients and physicians are becoming far more comfortable using telemedicine technology as a way to communicate. This includes remote monitoring of patients while they are at home. Tools that will encourage collaborative patient care are becoming mainstream. An added bonus to the continued development of healthcare technology is the cost savings they can produce.

Looking ahead, healthcare will continue to face significant challenges. The industry will experience political and regulatory uncertainties, reimbursement cuts and increases in the instances of chronic diseases. The need for technology to combat these changes while enhancing care and reducing costs is paramount. Both physicians and patients must take steps to evaluate the technologies available to them and understand how they can derive value from them.

Have an interesting idea for a wearable device? Need to find partners to help you build a prototype? Contact Terri Soelberg ( for assistance.

Healthcare Analytics Tools Mine Medical Billing, Claims Data

Re-posted from: Tech Target Search Health IT

Healthcare has experienced rapid growth in the demand for data analytics as more organizations use healthcare analytics tools to gain insights into their operations. Big data also continues to grow because it is now far more accessible to healthcare organizations with small IT departments. Big data cloud vendors have expanded their operations to take on new customers, allowing small providers to buy their support and skip having to build their own infrastructure internally.

For many, analytics starts with sifting through current patient billing information and promises to grow with the changes that will come with the industry’s impending conversion to the ICD-10 code set. Using healthcare analytics tools has become as simple as uploading a few data sets to the provider and letting them discover and share any valuable findings they uncover.

Many proven cases of tangible results are derived from the analysis of medical billing information. Small and large hospitals, as well as health plan providers, are a few of the healthcare organizations that have made significant investments in analytics to solve some of their business challenges and increase their operational efficiency.

In the case of insurers, examining claims data is a great opportunity for them to control their expenses and costs. Most of today’s health plan providers will continue to look for ways to effectively control expenses, avoid unnecessary costs and remain competitive in pricing their patient care. For this reason, many providers have looked into the data hosted in their servers to identify and eliminate costly security errors, such as fraud. Fraud has plagued both private and public payers over the years. They’ve lost millions of dollars to entities submitting fake medical claims.

By using healthcare analytics tools, payers now have the ability to detect certain patterns in submitted health claims data and are able to weed out the fraudsters. Unlike how past systems were used, insurers can now leverage analytics to detect early signs of possible fraud. Some of the systems available today can detect fraud before any payments are made, which helps stop a false claim before it gets pushed for final reimbursement.

In addition to insurers, hospitals can benefit from data analytics. In the face of reimbursement cuts, as well as pressure to control patient readmission rates to avoid financial penalties, many hospitals are turning to predictive analytics tools. By processing patients’ clinical and billing information, hospitals are able to identify high-risk patients, meaning they are likely to be readmitted if they fail to follow their doctor’s post-discharge instructions. Hospitals have also made use of different analytics tools to identify billing patterns that cause claim rejections, or non-payments on certain claims.

The changeover to ICD-10 codes is set for Oct. 1. By increasing the number of diagnosis codes from 13,000 under ICD-9 to 68,000 under ICD-10, all analytics and reporting results will be significantly more detailed. Early adopters of analytics tools have seen a dramatic growth in the value returned from mining their data.

Examples of how hospitals have used available analytics tools range from the review and analysis of hospital productivity, performance evaluations of treatment plans, charting drug abuse, and patient’s risk factors. All of these are areas in which big data initiatives can provide the tools to help transform healthcare, improve patient care and reduce costs.

Interested in exploring partnerships with big data researchers on-campus? Contact Terri Soelberg for more details at


American Academy of Nursing Invites Applications for IOM Nurse Scholar-in-Residence Award

Re-posted from: Philanthropy News Digest

The American Academy of Nursing, in partnership with the American Nurses Foundation, theAmerican Nurses Association, and the Institute of Medicine, is inviting applications for its Distinguished Institute of Medicine Nurse Scholar-in-Residence program,  a year-long residential leadership opportunity in health policy in Washington, D.C.

The residency is designed as an immersion experience for nurse leaders interested in a prominent role in health policy development at the national level. The  scholar-in-residence  must complete a self-initiated study with policy consequences that builds on a current IOM initiative and includes direct interaction with academy, ANA, and ANF staff and volunteers.

The residency includes a grant of $90,000; $5,000 for related expenses; an office at IOM with appropriate technology support (e.g., computer, phone, access to a printer, access to software programs and library resources); and an intensive two-month orientation in federal health policy formation coordinated by IOM.

To be eligible, nurse scholars and nurse policy experts must be a current member of the academy, with preference given to those who are also members of IOM. In addition, applicants’ must have  the personal potential to make future contributions to health policy; a commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration; a notable record of professional achievement; and an understanding of the importance of networking within the health policy community, identifying opportunities for nurse-leader engagement, and communication of those interactions and opportunities to sponsors.

See the American Academy of Nursing website for complete program guidelines and application instructions.

Link to Complete RFP

EPA’s FY 2016 Budget Proposal Increases Support for Communities to Deliver Core Environmental and Health Protections

WASHINGTON – The Obama Administration Fiscal Year 2016 budget announced today for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lays out a strategy to ensure that all Americans benefit from the economic recovery we are seeing today. The proposed EPA FY 2016 budget of $8.6 billion provides resources vital to that overarching vision and the request is $452 million above the agency’s enacted level for FY 2015.

“This budget sends a strong signal that the President is fully committed to making the investments needed to meet our mission to protect public health and the environment.  The funding allows us to further our important work to combat the impacts of climate change and deliver on the President’s Climate Action Plan while improving air quality, protecting our water, executing rigorous scientific research and ensuring the public safety from toxic chemicals,” said Stan Meiburg, EPA Acting Deputy Administrator.  “At the center of our work is collaborating with our state, local, and tribal partners and working with business, industry, and stakeholders to find commonsense solutions to complex environmental issues and work toward a sustainable future for all Americans through effective use of the public resources entrusted to us.”

Fiscal Year 2016 budget highlights include

Making a Visible Difference in Communities Across the Country
A key element of EPA’s FY 2016 efforts will be coordination with other federal agencies, states, tribes, and stakeholders. This coordination will help to focus the work of diverse programs across the agency at the community level. In response to feedback from across the country, this budget proposes a multifaceted effort to enable communities of all sizes, rural and urban, to find needed assistance and support for capacity building, planning, and implementation of environmental protection programs.

In addition to new cross-program efforts, including 20 full time equivalents for Community Resource Coordinators, $2 million for Circuit Riders, and $5 million to coordinate efforts at the local level in overburdened and vulnerable communities, the budget provides for targeted community efforts in each of the program areas.  These efforts, highlighted in more detail in the subsequent sections, will include helping communities adopt green infrastructure, providing technical assistance for building resilience and adapting to climate change, and helping communities to reduce environmental impacts through advanced monitoring technology and decision making tools.


Addressing Climate Change and Improving Air Quality

The FY 2016 budget prioritizes actions to reduce the impacts of climate change, one of the most significant challenges for this and future generations, and supports the President’s Climate Action Plan. EPA’s FY 2016 Budget includes $239 million for efforts to cut carbon pollution and other greenhouse gases through commonsense standards, guidelines, and voluntary programs. The EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which establishes carbon pollution reduction standards for existing power plants, is a top priority for the EPA and will help spur innovation and economic growth while creating a clean energy economy. Finalizing and implementing these regulations will involve innovative approaches and flexibility for achieving solutions, as well as extensive and unprecedented work with states, tribes, and territories, which is why this budget includes additional funding for states. In addition to EPA’s discretionary budget, the President also proposes a $4 billion Clean Power State Incentive Fund, a mandatory account to be administered by the EPA that supports state efforts to go above and beyond their carbon pollution reduction goals in the power sector.

Working with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the EPA will also develop Phase 2 greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty vehicles. These standards will represent significant savings at the pump, reduce carbon pollution, and reduce fuel costs for businesses, which is anticipated to lower prices for consumers.
Protecting the Nation’s Waters
Protecting America’s water resources is critical to EPA’s mission, so the agency will continue to build upon decades of efforts to ensure our waterways are clean and our drinking water is safe because there are far reaching effects when rivers, lakes, and oceans becomes polluted. They can endanger wildlife, make our drinking water unsafe and threaten the waters where we swim and fish. Building on the strong funding level of $2.3 billion provided through the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, $50 million is included for technical assistance, training, and other efforts to enhance the capacity of communities and states to plan and finance drinking water and wastewater infrastructure improvements. In January 2015, the agency launched a key component of this expanded effort, the Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center. It will help communities across the country focus on financial planning for future public infrastructure investments, expanding work with states to identify financing opportunities for rural communities, and enhancing partnership and collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on training, technical assistance, and funding opportunities in rural areas. The Water Infrastructure and Resilience Finance center is part of the Build America investment initiative, a government-wide effort to increase infrastructure investment and promote economic growth by creating opportunities for state and local governments and the private sector to collaborate on infrastructure development.


Taking Steps to Improve Chemical Facility Safety 

In support of the White House Executive Order to Improve Chemical Facility Safety and Security, the EPA is requesting $27.8 million for the State and Local Prevention and Preparedness program, an increase of $12 million above the FY 2015 enacted level. This increase will allow EPA to continue to improve the safety and security of chemical facilities and reduce the risks of hazardous chemicals to facility workers and operators, communities, and responders. These efforts represent a shared commitment among those with a stake in chemical facility safety and security: facility owners and operators; federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments; regional entities; nonprofit organizations; facility workers; first responders; environmental justice and local environmental organizations; and communities. In FY 2016, we are implementing actions to strengthen community planning and preparedness, enhance federal operational coordination, improve data management, modernize policies and regulation, and incorporate stakeholder feedback and best practices.


Protecting Our Land
EPA strives to protect and restore land to create a safer environment for all Americans by cleaning up hazardous and non-hazardous wastes that can migrate to air, groundwater and surface water, contaminating drinking water supplies, causing acute illnesses and chronic diseases, and threatening healthy ecosystems. We preserve, restore, and protect our land, for both current and future generations by cleaning up contaminated sites and returning them to communities for reuse. Our funds will assist communities in using existing infrastructure and planning for more efficient and livable communities, and encouraging the minimization of environmental impacts throughout the full life cycle of materials. In FY 2016, we will increase the Superfund Remedial program by $34 million to accelerate the pace of cleanups, supporting states, local communities, and tribes in their efforts to assess and cleanup sites and return them to productive reuse, and encourage renewable energy development on formerly hazardous sites when appropriate. We will expand the successful Brownfields program, providing grants, and supporting area-wide planning and technical assistance to maximize the benefits to the communities. In FY 2016, the EPA is investing $110 million in funding for Brownfields Project grants to local communities, an additional $30 million over the FY 2015 Enacted Budget, increasing the number of grants for assessment and cleanup of contaminated sites. This investment builds on the program’s successful community-driven approach to revitalizing contaminated land and further supports the Agency’s efforts to make a visible difference in communities.


Ensuring the Safety of Chemicals and Preventing Pollution

EPA’s chemical safety programs are at the forefront of its efforts to advance a sustainable future. In FY 2016, we are requesting $667.9 million, an increase of $47.4 million over the FY 2015 Enacted Budget, to develop new computational tools, and expand and enhance the quality, accessibility, and usefulness of information about commercial chemicals and pesticides, thereby strengthening the capability of the EPA, other regulators, and the public to assess chemical hazards and potential exposures, identify potential risks to human health and the environment and take appropriate risk management action. The EPA will work aggressively to ensure sound science, complete additional risk assessments from the TSCA Work Plan list of existing chemicals and meet its requirement to review all current pesticide registrations by 2022. In FY 2016, the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs will continue the important work initiated by the Presidential Memorandum to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators to reverse pollinator losses and help restore populations to healthy levels. The EPA is committing $2 million towards this effort: $1.5 million to further the study of acute toxicity amongst honey bee populations and explore additional risk management options, and $500,000 to augment the work of States and Tribes to develop pollinator protection plans.


Continuing EPA’s Commitment to Innovative Research & Development

Environmental issues in the 21st century are complex because of the interplay between air quality, climate change, water quality, healthy communities, and chemical safety. They require different thinking and solutions than those used in the past. The EPA’s Office of Research and Development is strengthening the Agency’s ability to develop solutions by providing $528 million to evaluate and predict potential environmental and human health impacts for decision makers at all levels of government. Activities in the FY 2016 Budget include providing support tools for community health, investigating the unique properties of emerging materials, such as nanomaterials, and research to support the nation’s range of growing water-use and ecological requirements.
Supporting State and Tribal Partners
Effective environmental protection is a joint effort of EPA, states and our tribal partners. In FY 2016, we are requesting an increase of $108 million in funding for State and Tribal Assistance categorical grants and setting a high bar for continuing our partnership efforts with states and tribes. We are also including opportunities for closer collaboration and targeted joint planning and governance processes. One example is the commitment to work collaboratively to streamline, reform, and integrate our shared business processes and related systems through the E-Enterprise approach. State-EPA-Tribal joint governance serves to organize the E-Enterprise partnership to elevate its visibility, boost coordination capacity, and ensure the inclusiveness and effectiveness of shared process and management improvements. This will yield the benefits of increased transparency, efficiency, and burden reduction for communities, businesses, and government agencies when implemented.
Maintaining a Forward Looking and Adaptive EPA

The EPA has strategically evaluated its workforce and facility needs and will continue the comprehensive effort to optimize and update its physical footprint. In 2016, we will fast-track our efforts to save taxpayer dollars through space optimization and essential renovations, including the important laboratory buildings across the country, without sacrificing high quality of research. The agency will continue to improve our processes and the business enterprise of environmental protection for regulated companies and the public through the joint E-Enterprise effort with states to leverage technology and streamline workflow, data quality, data sharing and transparency.


Reducing and Eliminating Programs
The EPA continues to examine its programs to find those that have served their purpose and accomplished their mission. The FY 2016 President’s Budget also eliminates a number of programs totaling $44 million. Details are found in the EPA FY 2016 Congressional Justification.


For more information on the EPA’s FY 2016 proposed budget, please visit

Tips for Applicants From the NIH Center for Scientific Review

The NIH Center for Scientific Review (CSR) recently posted and updated several resources to help the community understand more about the peer review process.

Their CSR’s Insider’s Guide to Peer Review is now updated with new advice on how to produce a highly competitive grant application. These tips, collected from current and former chairs of review study sections, are valuable to both new and established applicants alike.

Additionally, CSR has posted recordings of their Meet the Experts in NIH Peer Review webinar series for new applicants, each focusing on a different type of funding program: Research Project Grants (primarily focusing on the R01), Academic Research Enhancement Awards (AREA/R15s), fellowship awards, and small business grants (SBIR/STTR).

CSR is the portal for receipt and referral of NIH grant applications, and, for the majority of those applications, handles their review for scientific and technical merit. Stay on top of news from CSR by reading more in their Peer Review Notes update.


Make the Match with RePORTER

Since 2008, NIH’s Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools, better known as RePORT, has provided easy access to info on NIH funded research. My office continues to look at new ways to enhance your access to important information through robust search tools, data visualization dashboards, and more. I’d like to highlight one of our newer tools today: Matchmaker.

Matchmaker allows you to enter manuscript abstracts, research bios, or other scientific text, and retrieve a list of similar projects from the RePORTER database.  After you submit your text (up to 15,000 characters in length), Matchmaker will analyze it for key terms and concepts, then pull up the top 100 most-similar NIH-funded projects, ranked by match score.matchmaker results

You’ll notice that it also returns several graphs to allow you to easily visualize the distribution of NIH institutes or centers funding these projects, what activity codes these projects use, and which study section the project was reviewed in. You can also click on these graphs to further refine your results as well. For example, you can click on a specific activity code and see how the study section or funding IC distribution changes.

Exploring NIH’s research portfolio can help you identify the best ICs to reach out to as you put together an application and where your application is likely to be reviewed. It can also help you identify collaborators, potential labs to move into if you’re a trainee, and more. Check out the video below and have fun making your match.

Study Helps Predict Pesticide Exposure in Diet

Cynthia Curl, Community and Environmental Health, Studio PortraitWhile health-conscious individuals understand the benefits of eating fresh fruits and veggies, they may not be aware of the amount of pesticides they could be ingesting along with their vitamin C and fiber. A new study published in the Feb. 5 edition of Environmental Health Perspectives is among the first to predict a person’s pesticide exposure based on information about their usual diet.

The study was led by Cynthia Curl, assistant professor in the School of Allied Health Sciences Department of Community and Environmental Health.

Curl and her colleagues analyzed the dietary exposure of nearly 4,500 people from six U.S. cities to organophosphates (OP), the most common insecticides used on conventionally grown produce in the United States. OP pesticides are linked to a number of detrimental health effects, particularly among agricultural workers who are regularly exposed to the chemicals.

Results showed that among individuals eating similar amounts of fruits and vegetables, those who reported eating organic produce had significantly lower OP pesticide exposures than those consuming conventionally grown produce. In addition, consuming those conventionally grown foods typically treated with more of these pesticides during production, including apples, nectarines and peaches, was associated with significantly higher levels of exposure.

“For most Americans, diet is the primary source of OP pesticide exposure,” said Curl “The study suggests that by eating organically grown versions of those foods highest in pesticide residues, we can make a measurable difference in the levels of pesticides in our bodies.”

This study included dietary data collected from participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, a large, multi-institutional project funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute that is investigating factors that influence the onset of cardiovascular disease.

The researchers were able to predict each participant’s exposure to OP pesticides based on the amount and type of produce each participant typically ate and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s measurements of pesticide residue levels on those foods. The researchers then compared these predictions to pesticide metabolite levels measured in urine samples from a subset of 720 of these people.

While Curl’s study is not the first to link organic produce with reduced pesticide exposure, the method she used may have significant implications for future research. By combining self-reported information on typical food consumption with USDA measurements, researchers will be able to conduct research on the relationship between dietary pesticide exposure and health outcomes in bigger populations, without needing to measure urinary metabolites.

“If we can predict pesticide exposure using dietary questionnaire data, then we may be able to understand the potential health effects of dietary exposure to pesticides without having to collect biological samples from people,” Curl said. “That will allow research on organic food to be both less expensive and less invasive.”

“The next step is to use these exposure predictions to examine the relationship between dietary exposure to pesticides and health outcomes, including neurological and cognitive endpoints. We’ll be able to do that in this same population of nearly 4,500 people,” she said.

One way people can reduce their pesticide exposure, said Curl, is to eat organic versions of those foods that are listed on the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list, which ranks fruits and vegetables according to pesticide residue level.

Co-authors of the published study, “Estimating Pesticide Exposure from Dietary Intake and Organic Food Choices in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA),” are Shirley Beresford, Richard Fenske, Annette Fitzpatrick and Joel Kaufman (University of Washington), Chensheng Lu (Harvard University) and Jennifer Nettleton (University of Texas).

This research was supported by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Fellowship Program, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences in the University of Washington School of Public Health.

Nicole Bolter, Laura Petranek and Shelley Lucas Present Research at the Western Society for the Physical Education of College Women

      Shelley Lucas               Nicole Bolter             Laura Petranek

LucasShelleyNicoleNicole Bolter, Kinesiology, studio portrait BoLaura Jones, Kinesiology, studio portraitlter, assistant professor, Laura Petranek, associate professor, and Shelley M. Lucas, associate professor,
along with Emily Houghton, assistant professor at Fort Lewis College, presented their research for the Interdisciplinary Panel Presentation at the annual conference of the Western Society for the Physical Education of College Women on Nov. 20-22 at Pacific Grove, California. Their presentation, titled “Coaching Education Needs in Youth Sport: An Interdisciplinary Approach,” outlined the need for coaching education in youth sport environments.

Community-based youth sport programs rely heavily on volunteer coaches, the majority of which do not receive formal education ortraining. To better understand this phenomenon, it was necessary for Bolter, Petranek, Lucas and Houghton to assess the perceived value and need for coaching education in youth sport environments. Coaches, parents and administrators are key decision-makers regarding children’s sport experiences and the researchers hypothesized that their views on coaching education might have shed light on why coaches are or are not educated.

The researchers believe it is essential to adopt a multidisciplinary approach to understand the complexities of the youth sport environment and the viability of implementing coaching education programs. Thus, the overall purpose of their study was to gather multiple perspectives of the perceived needs and value of coaching education in a youth sport community.

Youth sport coaches, parents, and administrators completed an online survey by quantitatively rating whether they agreed that coaching education should be required and qualitatively explaining why they agreed or disagreed. Survey results showed that the majority of participants (78.6 percent) agreed or strongly agreed coaching education should be required.


Dale Stephenson Offered Expertise on Diesel Emissions in Mines at the American Society of Safety Engineers November Snake River Chapter Meeting

Dale Stephenson, director of the School of Allied Health Sciences, and Emily Zamzow, Environmental and Occupational Health graduate and research assistant, offered their expertise on diesel emissions in mines at the American Society of Safety Engineers November Snake River Chapter meeting.

The presentation, titled “Occupational Exposure to Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) in an Underground Metal Mine,” explained the reasons for the research project that was made possible by funding from the Center of Disease Control National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Exposure to DPM can cause acute irritation and inflammation as well as chronic health effects such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Underground miners are particularly at risk for exposures because they are in a confined environment with diesel-powered vehicles and machinery. The goal of the research was to evaluate the environmental and occupational exposure to DPM in a metal mine and to determine compliance with the Mining Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) standards.

Stephenson and Zamzow also explained the mining process and provided photos of the various sources for underground diesel emissions including: the diamond drill, bolter, double boom jumbo, mules, mucker/load haul dump, and Kiruna. The mine has several practices in place to reduce DPM, including using a diesel bio-blend fuel, ceramic filters on engines, preventative maintenance, forced air ventilation, providing enclosed cabs with filtered air, and requiring the use of respirators in open cab vehicles.

Twenty miners were monitored by taking measurements over a period of four days during a 12 hour shift each day on four separate trips to the mines.  All samples taken measured lower than the permissible exposure limit set by MSHA indicating that the practices the mine uses to reduce DPM are effective.


Dale Stephenson
School of Allied Health
College of Health Sciences

stephenson_dale (1)

Shelly Lucas and Nicole Bolter Present Research at the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport Conference

LucasShelleyNicole Bolter, Kinesiology, studio portrait Shelly Lucas and Nicole Bolter presented their research at the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport annual conference on Nov. 5-8 in Portland, Oregon. Their presentation, titled “Gender Matters: The Coach-Gender Effect in Teaching Sportspersonship to Young Athletes,” discussed the differences between male and female ideals of sportsmanship.

Shelly Lucas                     Nicole Bolter
Associate Professor     Assistant Professor

Research has shown gender differences in athletes’ sportspersonship behaviors, suggesting that male and female athletes interpret and act upon moral dilemmas in sport differently. One possible explanation for these gender differences may be the way in which males and females are socialized and

In their study, Lucas and Bolter interviewed six female and six male youth sport coaches who had coached both girls’ and boys’ teams at recreational and competitive levels to examine coaches’ expectations regarding sportspersonship, with a specific focus on those associated with gender.specifically the coaches’ role in teaching about sportspersonship.

Their analysis indicated that gender does matter, both the gender of the coach and the gender of the athlete, as represented in the four emergent categories: coach-gender effect, beliefs about gender, teaching sportspersonship, and athletes’ sportspersonship. Even when coaches acknowledged the role of socialization in their described gender differences between female and male athletes, they still felt compelled and constrained by the competitive framework of youth sport to tailor their coaching strategies to accommodate gender differences, thereby reinforcing and perpetuating gender stereotypes.