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Paradigmatic of a cultural shift in Irish education in the 1960s, St Brendan’s Community School in Birr, County Offaly was designed by Peter and Mary Doyle as a flexible and extendable mat-building articulated by generous social spaces including exterior courtyards and an interior ‘street’. Owned by the Department of Education and Skills, administered by a Board of Management and occupied by approximately one thousand staff and pupils daily, St Brendan’s has been in continuous use since its opening in 1980. Generations of students have benefited from the intimate relationship between the cultural and social life of the school and the architectural form, fabric, and technology that facilitates it. But by the beginning of the twentieth-first century, due to the lack of consideration given to such aspects at the time it was conceived and constructed, the building was suffering from ongoing material degradation and issues in environmental performance.
This article reflects on a research project undertaken on the school, which aimed to provide the means by which its learning environment and energy use could be improved and optimised in a manner consistent with the integrity of the architects’ conceptual thinking and built design: the opportunity for St Brendan’s to continue its course as a successful paradigm, this time for twenty-first-century education through the reconciliation of its future use with its social and education heritage. Guided by the ‘three dimensions of modernity’ - social, technical, and aesthetic - this process involved the development of new ‘ways of seeing’ and ‘methods of action’ applied to the school realised through the production of a series of representations that collectively identified, mapped, and re-presented the significances and values of the school, element by element. The relationships between these phenomena were complex and necessitated an innovative interdisciplinary approach.
St Brendan’s may have embodied a radical new social agenda for education and indeed society in twentieth-century Ireland in its architecture, but the building remains unlisted and, until recently, its significance (nationally and internationally) has been much overlooked. Part of this project’s agenda, therefore, involved raising awareness in the value of the building among existing and potential future stakeholders. The creation of accessible forms of communication that would both synthesise and make clear the complex data generated and the relationships between them was of central importance to the team’s approach. The paper ultimately argues that while attuned to a specific site, these techniques contain the possibility of a wider application, a new visual literacy for the conservation of twentieth-century buildings.
The lack of radiation knowledge among the general public continues to be a challenge for building communities prepared for radiological emergencies. This study applied a multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) to the results of an expert survey to identify priority risk reduction messages and challenges to increasing community radiological emergency preparedness.
Professionals with expertise in radiological emergency preparedness, state/local health and emergency management officials, and journalists/journalism academics were surveyed following a purposive sampling methodology. An MCDA was used to weight criteria of importance in a radiological emergency, and the weighted criteria were applied to topics such as sheltering-in-place, decontamination, and use of potassium iodide. Results were reviewed by respondent group and in aggregate.
Sheltering-in-place and evacuation plans were identified as the most important risk reduction measures to communicate to the public. Possible communication challenges during a radiological emergency included access to accurate information; low levels of public trust; public knowledge about radiation; and communications infrastructure failures.
Future assessments for community readiness for a radiological emergency should include questions about sheltering-in-place and evacuation plans to inform risk communication.
A model of psychosocial care specific for patients with multiple myeloma and their caregivers has not yet been proposed. We sought to develop a model of care that considers the specific profile of this disease.
The authors, representing a multidisciplinary care team, met in December of 2012 to identify a model of psychosocial care for patients with multiple myeloma and their caregivers. This model was determined by consensus during the meeting and via total agreement following the meeting. The meeting was sponsored by Onyx Pharmaceuticals.
The need for targeted psychosocial care for the multiple myeloma patient and caregiver throughout the disease process is essential to ensure quality of life and optimal treatment outcomes. We propose herein the first known model of care for the treatment of multiple myeloma that engages both the patient and their caregivers.
Significance of results:
Innovative partnerships between psychosocial providers and other entities such as pharmaceutical companies can maximize resources for comprehensive program development. This manuscript proposes a model of care that promotes active engagement in therapies for multiple myeloma while engaging the individual patient and their family caregivers. This treatment approach must be evidence based in terms of distress screening tools, comprehensive psychosocial assessments, and, most importantly, in the interventions and measurements of response that clinicians apply to this population.
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