Monthly archives: August, 2016

New Solar Cell Creates Fuel Using Only Sunlight

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have engineered a potentially game-changing solar cell that cheaply and efficiently converts atmospheric carbon dioxide directly into usable hydrocarbon fuel, using only sunlight for energy.

UI Health In The State’s Top 10 Hospitals

UI Health photoThe University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System is ranked in the top 10 hospitals in the Chicago metro area and in Illinois for 2016-17 by U.S. News & World Report.

The hospital, which was ranked 23rd regionally and 27th in the state last year, rose to the No. 8 spot in both categories this year.

“These rankings reflect the continuous efforts of our staff to improve patient safety and outcomes and to create a better patient experience from the moment they walk in the door, to the time they leave the hospital and on to follow up care,” said Avijit Ghosh, chief executive officer, UI Health Hospital and Clinics.

“To be ranked in the top 10 hospitals in Chicago and across the state means that our patients, including a significant underserved population that has traditionally carried a disproportionate burden of disease, is getting some of the very best care available,” said Dr. Robert Barish, vice chancellor for health affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “We’re making continued progress towards reducing health disparities that affect our local communities.”

The leap forward in the rankings can be attributed to the success of numerous programs focused on improving outcomes for both inpatients and outpatients, said Jodi Joyce, associate vice chancellor for quality and patient safety at UI Health.

“University of Illinois Hospital has initiated a number of efforts aimed at substantially improving care processes and clinical outcomes,” Joyce said. “Led by teams of physicians, nurses, and other clinical leaders and staff, these initiatives have resulted in double-digit reductions in hospital-related infections, blood clots after surgery, and patients injured from falls. We are excited that the change in our ranking is a direct reflection of improvements in the care that our patients are receiving.”

The rankings, produced by U.S. News with RTI International, a research organization based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, are now in their 27th year. They focus on 25 specialties, procedures and conditions. The ranking is based on such measures as patient survival, the number of times each procedure is performed, infection rates, and nurse staffing.

UI Health’s otolaryngology/ear, nose and throat program made the list of ranked specialty programs for the first time this year. The hospital’s nephrology program was listed as a high-performing specialty.

The University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System is a public academic medical center committed to providing the highest quality care for all patients and to reducing health disparities. UI Health is a leader in patient care, research and education, and serves as the primary teaching facility for the UIC College of Medicine, the largest medical school in the U.S. The system includes seven health sciences colleges, a 495-bed hospital, the 101-bed Children’s Hospital University of Illinois, an outpatient care center and 13 federally qualified Mile Square Health Centers located throughout Chicago.

UIC Student Athletes Helping Out

Clean up students

UIC student-athletes from men’s and women’s basketball and gymnastics, along with staff members, took to the streets of University Village recently to assist in a community-wide clean-up effort initiated by the University Commons Neighborhood Association.

The Flames worked together around the streets of UIC’s campus, picking up trash and doing landscaping to help improve the neighborhood.

Two College of Dentistry Faculty Honored

Dr. Philip Patston, Associate Professor, Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, and Dr. Keiko Watanabe, Professor, Periodontics, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, were honored with prestigious awards.

Dr. Patston received the College’s 2016 Dr. Jon Daniel Teaching Award, and Dr. Watanabe received this year’s Faculty Research Award.

Dr. Patston received the award from Dean Clark Stanford and a prior Daniel Award winner, Dr. Blase Brown, Clinical Assistant Professor, Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences. Dr. Brown also served on the Daniel Award Committee.

The Daniel Award was established in 2010 in memory of longtime UIC College of Dentistry Oral Biology faculty member Dr. Jon Daniel, to honor instructors who have made exemplary contributions to UIC dental students’ learning. Dr. Daniel passed away in 2009.

Dr. Daniels’ qualities cited in the award are the ability to engage students’ interest, curiosity, the ability to motivate students, to challenge them, and to respond to their needs.

A student had nominated Dr. Patston, and commended Dr. Patston for engaging his students on a personal level and challenging them to develop into knowledgeable dentists and life-long learners.

“It is a great honor to receive an award recognizing the commitment to teaching of Dr. Daniel,” Dr. Patston said.

“One of the wonderful things about small group learning is that we get an opportunity to discuss a wide range of topics with our students, allowing for a much deeper discussion than can happen in lectures, so to be nominated by a student was particularly special,” Dr. Patston added.

The College’s Research Advisory Committee under the leadership of Associate Dean for Research Dr. Lyndon Cooper chose Dr. Watanabe as the Faculty Research Award recipient after examining nominations by colleagues.

Dr. Watanabe and her team have identified that periodontitis induces prediabetes and accelerates the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

“We also determined that experimental periodontitis in animals alters metabolism of distant organs including brain, liver, and heart,” she explained. “We are also very excited about new findings that periodontitis results in hyperinsulinemia in vivo and that SerpinE1 may be involved in this process.”

Dr. Watanabe noted that she was “very humbled and honored by receiving this award,” and said it meant a great deal to her “as I do something I love to do in an environment where I can interact with so many wonderful colleagues. The beautiful glass plaque I received is sitting on my kitchen counter where I see it every day and reminds me how fortunate I am.”

As a clinician, researcher, and teacher, Dr. Watanabe said she has dedicated herself “to improving the oral and systemic health of the general population. Throughout my career my clinical interest has been the relationship between periodontitis and underlying systemic diseases. I have been treating patients with various systemic diseases including prediabetes and diabetes, which are perhaps the most prevalent systemic diseases associated with periodontitis. I have been fortunate to have received National Institutes of Health grants and to study the effect of periodontitis on glucose homeostasis.”

Finding Hope After Violence


Members of the UIC community addressed critical issues concerning gun control, violence, police brutality, racism, campus safety and more during a reflection event. Photo: Vibhu Sreevatsa Rangavasan

Nearly 100 members of the UIC and Chicago communities came together at Student Center East recently to reflect, heal, engage in dialogue and remember the recent victims of violence in an event organized by Student Affairs and campus partners.

The group addressed tragic events — which have happened in places like Chicago, Minneapolis, Falcon Heights, Orlando, Dallas and Baton Rouge, among others — and discussed critical issues concerning gun control, violence, police brutality, racism, social movements, protests, campus safety and emotional impacts.

“While carrying the burden of pain, we must continue to be shocked and outraged about violence so that we never become desensitized,” Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Barbara Henley said.

“We must think about it, we must feel it. That is what spurs us to action, that is what brings us together today: to reflect on the precious lives who have departed and to heal.”

Participants shared stories and perspectives with others in the room.

“We’re here to create a safe space,” said Joseph Hoereth, director of the Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement. “Where you can speak from your heart.”

Community partners and representatives from the Gender and Sexuality Center, Counseling Center, UIC Police, College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, Latino Cultural Center, African American Academic Network, Office of Medical Advancement, Center for Student Involvement, Campus Auxiliary Services and Office of Sustainability attended to see how their offices could help students, staff and faculty.

“This dialogue speaks to the strong sense of community at UIC,” Hoereth said. “We’re expected to be challenged with what happens next, and we want to figure out how we can respond to it and how to support others.”

“We have a long way to go,” noted Gerardo Nava, a junior in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “But today’s conversations were interesting, and it was a nice bit of therapy.”

“We’re just scratching the surface,” Hoereth said near the conclusion of the talk. “But that’s a good starting point for moving forward: hope.”



Global Leadership Youth Summit At UIC


Participants in the Global Youth Ambassadors Summit tour the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum. Photo: Vibhu Sreevatsa Rangavasan

Chicago Sister Cities International (CSCI) and UIC hosted and sponsored an educational, collaborative leadership development forum last month to grow a new generation of leaders with a class of 20 young women, ages 14 to 16, from around the world.

The first Global Youth Ambassadors Summit, which took place July 23 to 30, was an educational opportunity for nine girls from Chicago and 11 from other cities celebrate differences and catalyze partnerships. The collaboration was inspired by Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn Initiative, which strives to empower women through education. This year’s global participants represented Birmingham, UK; Bogota, Colombia; Durban, South Africa; Lucerne, Switzerland; Mexico City, Mexico; Paris, France; and Toronto, Canada.

“UIC is very much about producing leadership that is change-oriented,” said Natalie Bennett, assistant director of gender and women’s studies. Bennett developed the summit’s curriculum with the help of Veronica Arreola, assistant director of the Center for Research on Women and Gender and the director of the Women in Science and Engineering program. “Supporting a program like this really shows UIC’s commitment to developing leadership within Chicago, but also extending its resources to other institutions, building those connections and creating new spaces for young people to really act on and change the world.”

The curriculum included workshops on models of leadership and strategies for advocacy and activism. The roster of guest speakers featured a variety of women who were distinguished corporate professionals and community activists. Participants also engaged in activities such as visiting nearby neighborhoods, historic sites, cultural centers, museums and other institutions.

At the conclusion of the summit, ambassadors presented group projects to Chicago’s corporate and civic communities at Chicago City Hall Council Chambers. The weeklong projects explored questions about womanhood, strength and confidence.

“It was an amazing opportunity for all of the young women to see the ways that women have made a difference, but to also imagine new ways that they can make a difference in their own communities and cities where they live,” Bennett said.

“The program was a great success,” added Marty Gutierrez, senior director of the Office of Public and Government Affairs.

“We have been asked to participate next year to continue to grow this partnership and enhance the program. We’re looking forward to it.”

UIC Urban Forum Set For September 15th

header-2017The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) will host the Urban Forum on September 15th, an annual conference that brings together policy makers, academics, community leaders, students, and interested citizens to discuss current urban issues impacting the region and nation with the purpose of driving a dialogue and sharing policy options, recommendations, and best practices.

The 2016 Urban Forum: Jobs and the Labor Force of Tomorrow will focus on human capital development in metropolitan regions by examining the role of migration and immigration, K-12 education preparedness, post-secondary workforce training and development efforts, and recruitment and professional development  of Millennials.

Dynamic metropolitan economies require a diverse, trained and available work force that adapts to the needs of commerce, industry, government and the service sector today as well as in the future. The rapidly changing economy demands that the workforce be adaptable and flexible by continuously increasing skill levels, providing training opportunities, and recognizing the quick pace of job shifting.

The UIC Urban Forum is scheduled to begin at 8:45 a.m. (doors open at 8 a.m.) on Thursday, September 15th, at the UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Road in Chicago.

Admission is complimentary for all Chicago-area teachers, faculty and students but online registration is still required. Please bring a school ID for free admission. General public admission is $25 and includes lunch.

All attendees must register online prior to the Forum. To secure your registration and for more information, click HERE, or visit:


8:45 – 9:00 AM Welcoming Remarks
Michael D. Amiridis, Chancellor

9:00 – 10:00AM Panel #1
Evolving Pathways to Work
James Heckman, Nobel Prize Economist, Professor, University of Chicago-INVITED
Theresa Mintle, President and CEO, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
Juan Salgado, President and CEO, Instituto del Progreso Latino

John McCarron,
Columnist and Former Editorial Board

10:00 – 10:15 AM Break

10:15 – 11:15 AM Panel #2
The Jobless Economy

George Crabtree, Director, UIC Energy Initiative; Distinguished Professor of Physics, Department
of Physics,UIC; Senior Scientist, Argonne Distinguished Fellow, Associate Division Director, Argonne National Laboratory

Beth Swanson, Vice President of Strategy and Programs, The Joyce Foundation

Sarah Karp,
Reporter, WBEZ

11:15 – 11:45 AM Keynote
Clarence Page,
American journalist, syndicated columnist, and senior member of The Chicago Tribune editorial board

11:45 – 12:45 PM Panel #3:
Bridges or Walls? Immigration and Trade Policy
Oscar Chacón, co-founder and Executive Director, Alianza Americas
Pin Ni, President, Wanxiang-America
Nik Theodore, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Research, Department of Urban Planning and Policy, UIC-INVITED

Chip Mitchell, West Side Bureau Reporter, WBEZ

12:45 – 1:00 PM Closing

1:00 PM Adjourn
Lunch & Networking