Emeritus Faculty Association #117 Summer 2006
First meeting of the Fall will be Friday, September 8, at 10.30 in the Javits room, 2nd floor library. Nancy Tomes will discuss the lifting of traditional bans against the advertising of physicians' services and prescription drugs directly to consumer-patients. Her talk explores the reasons behind these changes, which occurred in the 1970s and 1980s, and assesses their long term impact on American health attitudes.
Nancy Tomes is Professor of History at Stony Brook University. She received her doctorate in American history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1978, and came to Stony Brook that same year. She has written three books, most recently "The Gospel of Germs: Men, Women and the Microbe in American Life (1998)". While a fellow at the National Humanities Center, she developed "Medicine and Madison Avenue", a digital collection on the history of health related advertising available on the Duke University Library's website. Now, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, she is completing a book titled "A Patient Paradox: The Making of the Modern Health Consumer, 1930-1980", on evolving conceptions of patient/consumer "empowerment" from the New Deal era to the Reagan revolution.
Last Meeting, Friday May 4
The annual luncheon was held in SAC ballroom 2 for which we are indebted to the Provost. Homer Goldberg also thanked the Steering Committee, the Newsletter editors, and Faith Mirabile of the Provost's Office for their help in making this another successful year for the Association. He then called upon David Smith who announced that the UUP will finally be offering a dental plan (and vision) for retirees. (The next opportunity to enroll begins on June 1 2007. Hopefully by then the dependent rates will be made more appropriate to retirees). more information can be had from Judy Wishnia or the local UUP office.
Homer then welcomed Provost Bob McGrath who welcomed the day's featured speaker by recalling a1992 NEWSDAY article. In contrast to the description of the university presented there, the provost cited current data that showed increased student enrollment (from 17,000 to 22,000); increased student SAT scores (from 970 to over 1200, or over 1400 for Honors College); fewer applicants accepted for admission (47% from 52%); and more out-of-state students accepted (50% more this year than last year). In introducing NEWSDAY editor Jim Klurfeld, Homer noted that in recent months Jim has become an academic colleague, now teaching a course on international affairs at Hofstra University (for more bio see the May newsletter).
The announced title of Jim's talk, "The Post-Cold War World, an Optimistic View-kind of", well reflects his current view of world affairs derived from his years of traveling, observing, and reporting. His optimism is based on belief that America's basic beliefs in freedom and the rights of man are universally accepted and will prevail in the world, agreeing with Jefferson who wrote to John Adams as the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence approached that "all eyes are opening to the rights of man". As evidence for that belief, Jim cited (1) the cold war ending without a shot being fired; (2) wide acceptance of Wilsonian norms of internationalism; (3) war no longer being seen by nations as an acceptable policy (contrast with Teddy Roosevelt's belief that war brings out the best in mankind); (4) acceptance of a free-market economy - e.g., China; and (5) general agreement that democracy is the best form of government - West Germany contrasted with East Germany; South Korea contrasted with North Korea. In short, the end of the cold war marked the end of the old order and the triumph of Western culture over communism; our defeat in Viet Nam did not prevent that outcome.
Jim then listed a number of the potential problems that could cause him to change his optimism: (1) Iraq -- in his opinion the invasion was justified but has been totally mishandled; (2) the tenuous hold on power by Pakistani President Musharraf; (3) China as an emerging power, and avoiding war with Taiwan: (4) the expanded NATO as a threat to Russia; (5) pro-socialist trends in South America; (6) our failure to deal with our energy problem; (7) Iran, and the constant threat of nuclear weapons.
Questions reflected that fact that although the audience fervently hoped that the speaker's optimism for our grandchildren was justified, overall they did not share it.
The president's special emeriti reception
This was held 5.30-7.30pm Tuesday 9 May at Sunwood and a large gathering of people not seen in years was treated to a full dinner. In her remarks the president highlighted recent gifts to the Stony Brook Foundation from Renaissance Technologies. She particularly encouraged Emeriti to contribute to the administration details of their former students who had gone on to fame and fortune, but failing that, checks would also be acceptable.
Carol Levine reports on plans for two events to be held by the Stony Brook University Hospital Auxiliary. The first is to be a talk "Wine, Women, and Song" by Lousia Hargrave at 11.30 am on September 12 at the Three Village Inn. (She and her husband initiated the th(e wine industry on LI). Betsy Palmedo will sing some drinking songs. Also mark your calendar for a second event to be held on November 12 at the Watermill Inn.
In the February 2005 newsletter (#106) we reported in good faith a study published at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference. The study concluded that an untrained bystander could spot someone having a stroke by administering a simple three point test to see if they are able to smile, raise both arms and keep them up, and speak a simple sentence. The subject is important because stroke victims often fail to realize they have suffered an attack.
It is now reported that the Stroke Association does not endorse the test because it may miss some victims. Some other common symptoms are problems seeing, sudden numbness, and trouble with coordination or walking. In any case if stroke is suspected it is important to call 911 and seek help as soon as possible.