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The systems ecology paradigm (SEP) emerged in the late 1960s at a time when societies throughout the world were beginning to recognize that our environment and natural resources were being threatened by their activities. Management practices in rangelands, forests, agricultural lands, wetlands, and waterways were inadequate to meet the challenges of deteriorating environments, many of which were caused by the practices themselves. Scientists recognized an immediate need was developing a knowledge base about how ecosystems function. That effort took nearly two decades (1980s) and concluded with the acceptance that humans were components of ecosystems, not just controllers and manipulators of lands and waters. While ecosystem science was being developed, management options based on ecosystem science were shifting dramatically toward practices supporting sustainability, resilience, ecosystem services, biodiversity, and local to global interconnections of ecosystems. Emerging from the new knowledge about how ecosystems function and the application of the systems ecology approach was the collaboration of scientists, managers, decision-makers, and stakeholders locally and globally. Today’s concepts of ecosystem management and related ideas, such as sustainable agriculture, ecosystem health and restoration, consequences of and adaptation to climate change, and many other important local to global challenges are a direct result of the SEP.
In 2010, South Africa (SA) hosted the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup (soccer). Emergency Medical Services (EMS) used the SA mass gathering medicine (MGM) resource model to predict resource allocation. This study analyzed data from the World Cup and compared them with the resource allocation predicted by the SA mass gathering model.
Prospectively, data were collected from patient contacts at 9 venues across the Western Cape province of South Africa. Required resources were based on the number of patients seeking basic life support (BLS), intermediate life support (ILS), and advanced life support (ALS). Overall patient presentation rates (PPRs) and transport to hospital rates (TTHRs) were also calculated.
BLS services were required for 78.4% (n = 1279) of patients and were consistently overestimated using the SA mass gathering model. ILS services were required for 14.0% (n = 228), and ALS services were required for 3.1% (n = 51) of patients. Both ILS and ALS services, and TTHR were underestimated at smaller venues.
The MGM predictive model overestimated BLS requirements and inconsistently predicted ILS and ALS requirements. MGM resource models, which are heavily based on predicted attendance levels, have inherent limitations, which may be improved by using research-based outcomes.
To develop an artificial intelligence (AI)-based algorithm which can automatically detect food items from images acquired by an egocentric wearable camera for dietary assessment.
To study human diet and lifestyle, large sets of egocentric images were acquired using a wearable device, called eButton, from free-living individuals. Three thousand nine hundred images containing real-world activities, which formed eButton data set 1, were manually selected from thirty subjects. eButton data set 2 contained 29 515 images acquired from a research participant in a week-long unrestricted recording. They included both food- and non-food-related real-life activities, such as dining at both home and restaurants, cooking, shopping, gardening, housekeeping chores, taking classes, gym exercise, etc. All images in these data sets were classified as food/non-food images based on their tags generated by a convolutional neural network.
A cross data-set test was conducted on eButton data set 1. The overall accuracy of food detection was 91·5 and 86·4 %, respectively, when one-half of data set 1 was used for training and the other half for testing. For eButton data set 2, 74·0 % sensitivity and 87·0 % specificity were obtained if both ‘food’ and ‘drink’ were considered as food images. Alternatively, if only ‘food’ items were considered, the sensitivity and specificity reached 85·0 and 85·8 %, respectively.
The AI technology can automatically detect foods from low-quality, wearable camera-acquired real-world egocentric images with reasonable accuracy, reducing both the burden of data processing and privacy concerns.
The United States has been a leader in the creation of disability rights law, providing a policy template for other nations. Yet the social model, the animating philosophy behind the disability rights movement, has had little effect on the wide range of welfare programs that serve people with disabilities. These programs, whose creation preceded the modern disability rights movement, reflect a medical model of disability that is at odds with the social model. Analysing the Americans with Disabilities Act (which embodies the social model) and Social Security Disability Insurance (the largest welfare program for people with disabilities), we explore how and why this layering of contradictory disability rights and welfare programs developed and how it has been maintained. We argue that the tension between these policies engendered a series of patches, or ‘kludges’, that allow the policies to coexist without meaningful synthesis. We contend that the United States is particularly prone to this layering of ‘tense policies’, but that it is likely characteristic of disability policy in many nations. Finally we argue that accurate benchmarking of disability rights regimes across nations requires analysts to dig through all the layers of disability policy.
The Nepal earthquake of 2015 was a major disaster that exacted an enormous toll on human lives and caused extensive damage to the infrastructure of the region. Similar to other developing countries, Nepal has a network of community health workers (CHWs; known as female community health volunteers [FCHVs]) that was in place prior to the earthquake and continues to function to improve maternal and child health. These FCHVs and other community members were responsible, by default, for providing the first wave of assistance after the earthquake.
Community health workers such as FCHVs could be used to provide formal relief services in the event of an emergency, but there is a paucity of evidence-based literature on how to best utilize them in disaster risk reduction, preparedness, and response. Data are needed to further characterize the roles that this cadre has played in past disasters and what strategies can be implemented to better incorporate them into future emergency management.
In March 2016, key-informant interviews, FCHV interviews, and focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted in Nepali health facilities using semi-structured guides. The audio-recorded data were obtained with the assistance of a translator (Nepali-English), transcribed verbatim in English, and coded by two independent researchers (manually and with NVivo 11 Pro software [QSR International; Melbourne, Australia]).
Across seven different regions, 14 interviews with FCHVs, two FGDs with community women, and three key-informant interviews were conducted. Four major themes emerged around the topic of FCHVs and the 2015 earthquake: (1) community care and rapport between FCHVs and local residents; (2) emergency response of FCHVs in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake; (3) training requested to improve the FCHVs’ ability to manage disasters; and (4) interaction with relief organizations and how to create collaborations that provide aid relief more effectively.
The FCHVs in Nepal provided multiple services to their communities in the aftermath of the earthquake, largely without any specific training or instruction. Proper preparation, in addition to improved collaboration with aid agencies, could increase the capacity of FCHVs to respond in the event of a future disaster. The information gained from this study of the FCHV experience in the Nepal earthquake could be used to inform risk reduction and emergency management policies for CHWs in various settings worldwide.
FredricksK, DinhH, KusiM, YogalC, KarmacharyaBM, BurkeTF, NelsonBD. Community Health Workers and Disasters: Lessons Learned from the 2015 Earthquake in Nepal. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2017;32(6):604–609.
The Dark Energy Survey is undertaking an observational programme imaging 1/4 of the southern hemisphere sky with unprecedented photometric accuracy. In the process of observing millions of faint stars and galaxies to constrain the parameters of the dark energy equation of state, the Dark Energy Survey will obtain pre-discovery images of the regions surrounding an estimated 100 gamma-ray bursts over 5 yr. Once gamma-ray bursts are detected by, e.g., the Swift satellite, the DES data will be extremely useful for follow-up observations by the transient astronomy community. We describe a recently-commissioned suite of software that listens continuously for automated notices of gamma-ray burst activity, collates information from archival DES data, and disseminates relevant data products back to the community in near-real-time. Of particular importance are the opportunities that non-public DES data provide for relative photometry of the optical counterparts of gamma-ray bursts, as well as for identifying key characteristics (e.g., photometric redshifts) of potential gamma-ray burst host galaxies. We provide the functional details of the DESAlert software, and its data products, and we show sample results from the application of DESAlert to numerous previously detected gamma-ray bursts, including the possible identification of several heretofore unknown gamma-ray burst hosts.
During natural disasters, hospital evacuation may be necessary to ensure patient safety and care. We aimed to examine perceptions of stakeholders involved in these decisions throughout the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.
Semistructured interviews were conducted from March 2014 to February 2015 to characterize stakeholders’ perceptions about authority and responsibility for acute care hospital evacuation/shelter-in-place decision-making in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York during Hurricane Sandy. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and thematically analyzed using a framework approach.
We interviewed 42 individuals from 32 organizations. Hospital executives from all states reported having authority and responsibility for evacuation/shelter-in-place decision-making. In New York and Maryland, government officials stated that they could order hospital evacuation, whereas officials in Delaware and New Jersey said the government lacked enforcement capacity and therefore could not mandate evacuation.
Among government officials, perceived authority for hospital evacuation/shelter-in-place decision-making was viewed as a prerequisite to ordering evacuation. When both hospital executives and government officials perceive themselves to possess decision-making authority, there is the potential for inaction. Future work should examine whether a single entity bearing ultimate responsibility or regional emergency response coalitions would improve decision-making. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;10:320–324)
To prepare cholesteric liquid crystalline nonlinear optical materials with ability to be vitrified on cooling and form long time stability cholesteric glasses at room temperature, a series of platinum acetylide complexes modified with cholesterol has been synthesized. The materials synthesized have the formula trans-Pt(PR3)(cholesterol (3 or 4)-ethynyl benzoate)(1-ethynyl-4-X-benzene), where R = Et, Bu or Oct and X = H, F, OCH3 and CN. A cholesteric liquid crystal phase was observed in the complexes R = Et, and X = F, OCH3 and CN but not in any of the other complexes. When X = CN, a cholesteric glass was observed at room temperature which remained stable up to 130 °C, then converted to a mixed crystalline/cholesteric phase and completely melted to an isotropic phase at 230 °C. When X = F or OCH3 the complexes were crystalline at room temperature with conversion to the cholesteric phase upon heating to 190 and 230 °C, respectively. In the series X = CN, OCH3 and F, the cholesteric pitch was determined to be 1.7, 3.4 and 9.0 µ, respectively.
We surveyed acute care facilities in Florida to assess components of and barriers to sustained antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs). Most respondents with and without ASPs are doing some stewardship-related activities to improve antimicrobial use. Collaborative efforts between facilities and health departments are important to providing better resources for ASPs.
Contamination of inanimate surfaces contributes to the transmission of healthcare-associated infection, a phenomenon that is well documented for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE). The high rate of skin colonization with these bacteria among healthcare workers increases the risk of cross contamination via high-touch surfaces. Since gram-negative bacteria are believed to survive poorly on surfaces, their role in the transmission of infection has not been investigated as widely. Extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (ESBL-PE) are widespread and endemic in nosocomial settings. Given the increasing prevalence of infections involving ESBL-PE, the role of the environment in ESBL-PE transmission should be explored. This study reports the evaluation of 2 ESBL-PE recovery methods from typical hospital surface materials and their application for recovery of ESBL-PE adjacent to an ESBL-positive patient.