Survivorman’s Les Stroud Talks About His Life As An Accomplished Musician

first_imgMany people associate the name Les Stroud with the reality television show, Survivorman. What many people don’t realize is that Stroud is also an accomplished musician! The majority of the Survivorman episodes featured him carrying a harmonica, and every once in a while the audience would get to hear him play. However, he’s also written all of the theme songs for his television series, and has provided score for several independent films. He’s recorded four CDs, with two of them, his 3rd and 4th, featuring documentary films entitled The Barn Sessions. He’s currently working on his 5th and 6th CDs, titled Mother Earth.Big names in the music industry have shared the stage with Stroud, including Stephen Stills, The Roots, Johnny Lang, and James Cotton, to name just a few. Live For Live Music had the incredible opportunity to get to know him better and ask about, not only his life in the wilderness but, his career on stage.L4LM: When you were younger, who were some of your role models? Who helped shape who you are today?LS: For me, it’s an interesting question and topic. On the close relationship – nobody.  Zero. I had no mentorship, no guidance, nobody that I really looked up to. I had no favorite uncle that took me out. My dad did take me fishing, but I didn’t really have that. A lot of my role models when I was youngest really started with watching Jacques Cousteau on television or Tarzan movies, or Wild Kingdom.  The thought of photographing wild life and being out in nature, or being in the jungle like Tarzan, those were my role models. If you think about it, Survivorman is a hybrid between Jaques Cousteau and Tarzan.L4LM: In Survivorman you took a harmonica with you during most every show. How did that help you out there in the wilds alone? Did you ever have to sacrifice a harmonica as a tool of survival?  Photo Credit: Laura BombierLS: On the practical level, it’s actually a very good warning device for playing as you walk through the bush and it scares away everything up front, from black bear and all that stuff you don’t want to run into, while you’re going through a thick bush.  It really works well. It can definitely be a bit of company as you’re sitting by the fire. Though to be truthful, it never was for me. Being a harp player, and being a musician, I didn’t play that much out there. Besides, even if I wanted to, I had so much to do with surviving, and filming the survival, that sitting around playing harp was not going to be on the table.L4LM: You’ve shared the stage with some big performers, such as Slash, Blues Traveler, and Johnny Lang, to name a few. Is there any particular moment that sticks out above all others?LS: I happened to be really blessed with those opportunities. Johnny is amazing to play blues with. He really “gets” it and enabled me to really cut loose on the blues. I got to play solo on “School’s Out” with Alice Cooper. Those moments are pretty amazing, and there’s quite a few of them. Certainly, playing with Tommy Shaw from STYX was mind-blowing. The one that you’re looking for is that I got this call, and it was for Alice Cooper’s “Christmas Pudding” concert. They said listen, “Alice is joined this year by Robby Krieger from The Doors and they were wondering if you mind coming and blowing the harmonica riff on “Roadhouse Blues” for them.” I was thinking “Holy shit, are you kidding me?”Fast forward to the moment. I’m standing there and next thing you know I’m on stage and Robby Krieger comes over and says, “listen Les, when we go to this part here, I really want to do a bit of a solo back and forth with you. Would you mind if we try to meet middle of the stage and riff off each other?” I’m thinking, “sure Robby, that’s ok!” That riff in that song was the first harmonica riff I ever learned. I lived in that moment. I did not miss that moment one bit.L4LM: Is there anyone you would love to perform with but haven’t yet?LS: I would love to play with Dave Matthews. I would love to play with Jimmy Page. I would love to play with Buddy Guy. I have a lot of heroes in the rock and roll world. There are some I don’t want to meet. My biggest hero of all time in music is Elton John. I don’t want to meet him. I don’t want to spoil what was when I was 16. In other cases, like Jimmy Page and Buddy Guy, and Dave Matthews, who I’ve met, it would be an honor to play with any one of those three.Photo Credit: Laura BombierWho would you say are your biggest musical influences?I’m definitely a slave to classic rock. I can’t deny that. I can’t even pretend to say that I love all this other stuff, but I’m a slave to classic rock. With that said, I’m a musician and have been since I was 14. I’m always open to anything that is in front of me, so long as it’s good. I have enjoyed all kinds of world music – flamenco, disco, country, hip hop, rap, death metal, heavy metal, all of that stuff. What I do is I listen and, even though it may not be a style I may purchase or go back to, I still listen to all of it seeking out the good stuff.No one can deny that Michael Jackson was an incredible performer, writer, and musician. Just because I was a rocker when I was a teenager doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy Michael Jackson. It’s across the board that way for me, but it has to be good.  There’s really crappy country, really crappy disco, really crappy hip hop, crappy rock, and crappy flamenco. There’s bad versions of all genres of music so I look for the cream of the crop.L4LM: Tell us about what you feel is your proudest accomplishment to date.LS: My proudest accomplishment to date is two-pronged. It’s pretty easy for me to be able to answer in short form and say the creation of Survivorman, which created an entirely new genre of television. Survival TV would not exist if Survivorman hadn’t have been created. That was all me. So I’m very proud of that. I can’t not be. The secondary sentence to that is I’m proud of the fact of it staying true to it’s core. That core was about connecting people to nature and teaching people about the earth. That’s really the reason why I did Survivorman, and it stuck to that.If I can project to the future, and my next thing, it’s what I’m doing now. It’s the same core of celebrating nature, reconnecting people to the earth, but it’s laying on the platform of my music. Survivorman gave me this wonderful 16 year experience that has opened a ton of doors, and the music is the next thing.L4LM: Is music your main focal point right now? What projects are you working on?LS: Yes, it’s absolutely my main focus, however, I’ve always been hopefully smart enough to realize that I’m not going to deny the fans that have come along this far, the Survivorman fans, fans of survival and wilderness adventure, outdoor adventure and all that. So, I’m also launching a webcast TV network called SMTV. On that, I will be able to celebrate nature and Survivorman, survival, big foot, and all sorts of environmental films. This will give me the opportunity to continue on.Absolutely, the music is the main focused push, but launching SMTV as a place for everybody to go in terms of what Survivorman does is also happening. There are literally hundreds of thousands of people that still enjoy that thing, so sure, why not give some instructional videos. Why not go out and shoot another episode for fun.I will never forget Billy Joel talking about his song “Piano Man.” He didn’t play it for 25 years and then he came to peace with it. Now he plays it at every concert and the whole crowd sings. I’m not putting myself on that level, I’m just saying that I came to peace with Survivorman so now I’m having fun with it and not denying the fact that there are a lot of fans, young and old, that love that work.Photo Credit: Laura BombierL4LM: You have a bunch of CD’s out there, with two new ones coming up. Tell us more about these current musical projects. LS: I’ve got four CDs out now and two brand new CDs that are done. One is mastered and we are ready to launch it. The other is ready to be mastered. In both cases, it’s turned a corner. They’re both produced by Mike Clink, who’s a legendary rock producer. Slash plays on a song. Steve Vai plays on a song. We’re still trying to get Eddie Vedder on it. The idea here is that music is all about celebrating nature and protecting the earth so that’s why Mike Clink got involved. Right now we’re talking to the record labels. We’ve got a lot of strong interest out there.Will a tour be happening in conjunction with the CD release?LS: Absolutely. I love the stage. That’s where I bring it all home. The cool part about when I perform my concerts is that I take the time to answer questions. I do a little Q&A right in the middle. I sit down and talk about Survivorman. It’s a blast! Then I grab the acoustic guitar and the band will come back on, so the touring I absolutely adore. I’ve got a tour starting – a mini tour – starting April 2nd in Seattle and going through to the 8th in Bend, Oregon. If I could play 200 – 250 times a year I would. I absolutely love it.I live in the U.S. and in Canada, and to be frank with you, it’s a much bigger fan base in the United States. In fact, the tour I’m doing is two dates in Canada, with the rest in America.L4LM: You know how to survive in any situation in the wild. You’ve been in situations where the choices you made determined life or death. Has there ever been a time when music has saved you?LS: Now. Right now. I’ve been Survivorman for 16 years. As much as there are thousands of people who want me to build another shelter, I’m an artistic soul. I need to be about progression. It’s why I did the Beyond Survival series and Shark Week. I need artistic progression.I walked away from music a long time ago, maybe when I didn’t need to, but I did. Now, I’m not walking away from Survivorman, but I need this. That’s why to answer your question properly is to yes, right now. Right now is when it’s absolutely saving my soul. Not that my soul is in jeopardy, or that I’m in trouble. I’m not in a dark place at all, I’m in a great place. It’s just that it’s time to get back to this.L4LM: You’ve traveled all over the world. What place left a lasting impression on you musically? LS: The album, Survivorman’s Mother Earth, includes all kinds of recordings from around the world – while I was in the middle of jungles, out in the desert with a shaman in the middle of Madagascar, and singing from Inuit throat singers. I was about looking on the street corner for a person playing an instrument I’ve never seen before or the very ancient women in the Kalahari Desert. I wanted that stuff. The album is focused on that.As far as where and what inspired me, it’s a little bit tricky. I suppose at the moment, the Arctic has really been a place that has inspired me greatly. I should mention that I’m letting a little bit of a cat out of the bag, but it looks like I am teaming up with a Canadian songstress named Susan Aglukark, who is an Inuit singer who had a big hit up in Canada. Her and I are putting together a tour that is all about the story of the Arctic. Right now my inspiration has been strongest up in the Arctic, but I have been writing about the deserts, the jungles, and the oceans too.She’s a tremendous singer. We split the show half and half, but we’re going to be bringing on an Inuit throat singer to open up for us. That will be just one thing, maybe 20 to 25 shows a year. She is Inuit and she wants to tell the story of her people, and I want to tell the story of the land, and we’re combining that.  It will be very classy.The other thing is that the music I’m doing now will sound very roots acoustic, which I wanted it to be. The new album is roots and roots rock, and the second album, of the two new ones, is a very ambitious studio rock album. I don’t want to be cliche. I follow my musical muse and allow the lyrics to go through no matter what the genre I’m playing in. I’ve  even worked with a rapper recently, and it’s just phenomenal.Photo Credit: Laura BombierOne of my goals is to create a whole new genre of music called “earth music.” Jack Johnson does a song or two, Ben Harper does a song or two, and god bless them for it. This is about the whole album, the whole concert, the whole tour celebrating nature and protecting the earth. I know it sounds ambitious, but I’d like to create a whole new genre of “earth music” and if I wanted to be a bragger, hell, I did it on TV. Now it’s time to do it in music.I love being on the new end of anything. To simply say, I loathe derivative. Before he died, David Bowie said something like, “I want to be in that spot when you walk out into the water and it gets deeper and deeper and deeper. Just when you get to that spot where your toes start bouncing off the bottom,  that’s where I want to live.” I get that. That’s a feeling you can’t get anywhere else. After that you’re swimming and before that you’re walking. In that one moment, I like that artistically. It might not seem like it because I’ve done 70 episodes of Survivorman and Shark Week and it’s all very machismo with rugged outdoors, but in my heart, musically, I want to be on the edge of something new. I think this earth music is that.Great if there’s young people doing this. The difference between a young 22 year old, dreadlocked hippy playing acoustic guitar, singing about love and nature is great, and that can happen. But if Survivorman does it, here’s a guy who’s been all around the world in every bit of nature there is. I definitely am able to bolster a credibility.L4LM: Bringing it back to Survivorman, what is the most interesting moment that you had during filming? What’s that “oh my god” moment that stands out?LS: Well, I’m going to exclude big foot for now and I’m going to say, and I’m copping out a little here, but it would be an amalgam of all of the moments where I did something for survival that a., I’ve never done before and b., I wasn’t sure was going to work, and then c., it did work. When that happened, it was always like “yeah! wow!” because I’m truly surprised myself in the process.Viewers are watching and for you, the response is, “that’s so cool,” and for me, I’ve done this a thousand times. So when it’s stuff I’ve never done before, I’m blowing myself away. In fact, I’m thinking “this pretty awesome! Well that worked. Looks like I’m eating tonight.”L4LM: What has been your most surprisingly favorite place in the world?LS: I can’t answer the jungle because I definitely knew it was going to be, and it was. I was going to say the Arctic, but I suspected that was going to be amazing. You know what place I didn’t realize was going to be as breathtaking as it was? The high Andes of Peru. Could not believe it. I just didn’t expect what I saw. I would encourage anybody to go there to do a mountain hike to Machu Picchu. Those mountain walks are really unbelievable. I did not expect that.L4LM: Do you have any words of wisdom for young musicians who aren’t sure if this is something they want to do? Photo Credit: Laura BombierLS: It’s difficult to answer. It comes down to them figuring out what they want to do. First of all, don’t panic. Not everybody is sure at 17 or 21 or 24. If you’re not sure, then try everything until things resonate with you. Then go down that road. Follow your muse. If you are sure, it’s about dedicating your all to it.I will tell you this much, if all you’re going to do instead is hang out smoking cigarettes, smoking pot, and drinking beer, you will live to regret that. You will look back and realize it was wasted time. Get busy now. If you work hard when you’re young, and play when you’re older, it’s a lot more fun to play after 30 then it is before.L4LM: Any last thoughts you would like to share with our readers?LS: I think that the basis of everything I do is about reconnecting people with nature. My call to action to everyone is to just get out there. It doesn’t have to be to Peru or the jungle or the Arctic. It can be the park at the end of the street.I’m not saying do this or do that. Just get out there. Once they get out there, the earth and the energy being amongst the trees, will do whatever it is your soul needs to be done.For more information on Les Stroud’s music, and tour dates, please visit his official website.Check out his video for “Arctic Mistress,” that was fully shot by Stroud in the Arctic during filming of Survivorman.Words by Sarah Bourque. Photography courtesy of Laura Bombier.last_img read more

Twiddle Announces Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, Giant Country Horns, And More For NYC Run

first_imgEnter To Win Tickets To Twiddle (Your Choice Of Show) Below! Recently, Vermont-based jammers Twiddle announced that they’d be headed to New York City’s Irving Plaza in July, helping ring in Phish’s extensive residency at Madison Square Garden with a pre-show on Thursday, July 20th, with synth-pop aficionados Madaila, and two late-night shows the following nights coinciding with the first two nights of Phish’s Baker’s Dozen. Today, more news about Twiddle’s three-night run is on the way. On Thursday, fellow Vermonters Madaila will not only open but will also perform a special Twidaila set with Twiddle ahead of the group’s headlining performance. For night two on July 21st, Giant Country Horns — the legendary horn section that has previously performed with Phish — will join Twiddle. On July 22nd, for the last night of Twiddle’s run at Irving Plaza, the young guitar prodigy Brandon “Taz” Niederauer will serve as a special guest.Twiddle’s ‘PLUMP Chapters 1 & 2’ Offers A Massively Diverse Sampling From The BandA 3-day pass for all of Twiddle’s shows at Irving Plaza can be purchased here, while single-day tickets available at this link. Plus, don’t forget to check out Live For Live Music’s Official Guide To Phish Baker’s Dozen Late Nights for all of your Baker’s Dozen late-night shenanigans.[Photo: Ojeda Photography] Full List Of L4LM Baker’s Dozen Late Nights: last_img read more

Songwriters Hall Of Fame Taps John Prine, Missy Elliott, & More For Diverse 2019 Nominee Class

first_imgToday, the Songwriters Hall of Fame has announced their list of nominees for 2019. This year’s class of nominees features a mix of talented artists from a diverse spectrum of “performing songwriters” including John Prine, Missy Elliott, Cat Stevens, Annie Lennox, Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders), Mariah Carey, Mike Love (The Beach Boys), Vince Gill, Jeff Lynne (Electric Light Orchestra), Jimmy Cliff, and more. The organization also recognized a number of non-performing songwriters with a nomination, shining light on some of the less widely-known creative minds behind the music you love.As the nominee announcement press release notes, “The Songwriters Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing the work and lives of those composers and lyricists who create music around the world. To qualify for induction, a songwriter must be a published writer for a minimum of 20 years with a notable catalog of hit songs.” Eligible voting members of the Songwriters Hall of Fame will have until December 17th to cast their ballots, from which six songwriters of songwriting teams will be selected for induction at the Songwriters Hall Of Fame Annual Induction & Awards Gala on June 19th, 2019—three from the performing songwriters category and three from the non-performing songwriters category.Of particular note is the nomination of Missy Elliott, who marks the first female hip-hop artist to be tapped for the honor. If chosen, she would be just the third hip-hop artist overall to be inducted (after Jay-Z and Jermaine Dupri).As Variety notes,While she’s kept a relatively low profile in recent years, Elliott has had a vast influence on the sound of hip-hop and R&B, both through her solo work (particularly songs like “The Rain,” “Work It,” “Lose Control” and “Get Ur Freak On”) and her collaborations with Aaliyah, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige and many others.  Congratulations and good luck to all the talented songwriters nominated this year. To see a full list of the 2019 nominees and read their stories, head here.last_img read more

Toy story

first_imgScientists have long studied how atoms and molecules structure themselves into intricate clusters. Unlocking the design secrets of nature offers lessons in engineering artificial systems that could self-assemble into desired forms.In the Jan. 29 edition of Science, a team from Harvard led by Vinothan Manoharan and Michael Brenner presents additional clues to how and why groups of atoms and molecules may favor less symmetrical and more complex, flexible geometric patterns.Click here to view a video of a six-particle cluster transitioning from an octahedral to a polytetrahedral configuration.The answer relates to a familiar concept in physics called entropy, the ways in which particles are able to arrange themselves. The researchers first caught sight of the link by using magnetic  “stick and ball” construction toys that can make varying shapes.Manoharan, associate professor of chemical engineering and physics in Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Department of Physics, and his colleagues used colloidal particles, a suspended chemical mixture seen in semi-solid foods such as mayonnaise, to simulate the clustering behavior of atoms and molecules.“To allow clusters to form, we put a few tiny polystyrene spheres in microscopic cylindrical wells filled with water. The particles act as  ’sticky’ hard spheres and naturally cluster together just like groups of nearby interacting atoms and molecules do,” said Manoharan.The researchers expected that simple, highly symmetric shapes would arise most often. Instead, two surprising, related, and scalable phenomena arose when the number of particles used in their experiments reached six or rose above nine.Six particles can form into a symmetrical octahedron and into a more complex tri-tetrahedron shape. In terms of chemical structure, each shape results in 12 bonds, and hence, has the same amount of potential energy. With the potential energy being equal, Manoharan and colleagues thought that both shapes would occur in equal proportion. They found, however, that the tri-tetrahedron occurs 20 times more often than the octahedron.“The only possible explanation was entropy,” said Manoharan. “Most people are familiar with entropy as a measure of  ‘disorder,’ but the most useful definition of entropy is simply the number of differentways a bunch of particles can arrange themselves.”Natalie Arkus, a former applied mathematics graduate student who worked with Brenner, the Glover Professor of Applied Mathematics and Applied Physics, provided a hint to solving the puzzle, as she discovered a method to calculate all the possible structures that could be formed using geometric magnetic toys made up of magnetic metal rods and silver ball bearings.Since there are more ways for the complicated tri-tetrahedron structure to form (something that can be seen by labeling the toy spheres and counting the ways they can be put together), the shape appears far more frequently than the octahedron. In general, among clusters with the same potential energy, highly symmetric structures are less likely to arise.The researchers also found that when the number of particles reaches nine or higher, entropy plays another important role.Because the number of possible structures with nine or more particles is vast, the team focused on what are called nonrigid, or flexible, structures. Nonrigidity occurs when a cluster is half octahedral and shares at least one vertex, allowing the cluster to twist without  breaking or forming another bond (something also easily seen by using the toys).“Because they can move flexibly, the nonrigid clusters have high vibrational entropy,” explained Manoharan. “In cases with nine or more particles, symmetric clusters do not appear as often due to rotational entropy. The ability to rotate is useful, as it allows clusters to have extra bonds.”As a general rule, the team found that for all clusters up to eight particles and a select number of structures with up to 12, the most symmetric structures occurred the least often due to entropy.“Our findings illustrate, in a tangible way, what the concept of entropy means,” said Manohran.Looking ahead, the researchers are interested in using their results to understand the emergence of bulk crystallization, or how particles come together in the early stages of forming a crystal.Manoharan and Brenner’s co-authors included Guangnan Meng, a research associate in the Department of Physics at Harvard University, and Natalie Arkus, a graduate of SEAS and now a postdoctoral fellow at the Rockefeller University. The authors acknowledge support from theNational Science Foundation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.last_img read more

Toward better aid

first_imgBetter training, closer coordination among relief agencies, and a bigger dose of humility while working in unfamiliar cultures would help humanitarian aid workers, and make more of the billions of dollars spent each year on assistance, according to Harvard specialists with experience in the field.Harvard Public Health editor Madeline Drexler spoke with Jennifer Leaning, François-Xavier Bagnoud Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights, a 30-year veteran in the field and a leading writer and scholar; Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) director Michael VanRooyen, who has launched relief efforts in more than 30 countries struck by war and disaster; and Parveen Parmar, associate director of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital International Emergency Medicine Fellowship and an associate faculty member at HHI, who set out on her first humanitarian mission in 2010.Q: Why doesn’t humanitarian aid money trickle down to the people most in need?VanRooyen: When the NGO machine steps into a large-scale humanitarian emergency, it quickly provides water and sanitation services, food aid, health care, housing, and security. Most organizations don’t effectively prepare for long-term sustainability — they don’t build water delivery systems for the city, they don’t build housing that will last, they don’t build infrastructure for program delivery. In many ways, the NGO community creates an alternate economy, and much of the money is spent on the delivery of emergency services. So it’s a valid complaint from local residents: “Where did all the money go? We don’t have pipes, we don’t have ditches, we don’t have farmland, we don’t have tools.”On the other hand, it is difficult to deliver resources directly to affected individuals and families. And money delivered to a nonfunctional or nonexistent government rarely gets to the people in need. Those who argue that the humanitarian field needs to get more cash to recipients should instead be saying, “We need to spend more money to plan and understand where the next humanitarian catastrophes are going to be, so that we can prevent them.”Q: What was the most difficult environment in which you delivered humanitarian assistance?Leaning: I was in Mogadishu, Somalia, in January ’92, during the height of the terrible internecine war that persists to this day. The fighting in Mogadishu was a combination of direct slaughter and indiscriminate firing of very heavy weapons on a city built of sandy concrete. Essentially, the city crumbled. People were trapped, killed, mutilated, and brought to hospitals that were completely unequipped to handle complex casualties.The humanitarian teams were fraying under the stress. People were very strung out, just trying to put one foot in front of another, not get killed themselves. They were traumatized, overwhelmed, intimidated, and having great difficulty practicing according to the standards in which they had been trained. They were hungry, sleep-deprived, in a chronic state of anxiety. No matter what they did, they knew there would be high mortality. Hardly anyone had the capacity to rise above the melee and say, “We’ve got to do things differently.” It was hell.Q: What was one of the more satisfying humanitarian operations you’ve been involved in?Parmar: In Pakistan during the 2010 floods, I worked closely with relief partners in the region—Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Muslim Aid, and Islamic Relief, among others. We collaborated to avoid duplication of services in an often-chaotic environment, filled with misinformation. MSF, for example, referred us to local staff as they were scaling down in the region, and shared data they’d collected during their operations. This level of coordination is unique in crisis and conflict settings. It reflects new initiatives to improve collaboration among humanitarian actors. The organization I represented also worked closely with the national government and local health departments, which strengthened the sustainability and impact of our efforts. Though our coordination was imperfect, it saved lives and sped aid to those who most needed it.Q: When does humanitarian aid work well — and when does it not?Leaning: This enterprise works well at dealing with refugees and internally displaced peoples who are not close to major cities. Cities can be messy — a lot of people, marketplaces, complex trade, networks of crime and corruption. Humanitarians do well when they have a clearer geographic and cognitive space in which to set up and provide hospitals, feeding stations, shelter, water, sanitation, education, and minimum livelihood options. In this operational context, humanitarian aid workers try to nurture new and existing leadership, bring together people who were stranded and separated, establish community conversations about what to do next, and bring everybody to a place where they have a breather from horrible, life-threatening concerns and can begin to make sense of their next steps in their lives. These actions are much more difficult to accomplish when the people in most acute emergency need are mixed in with the more chronic needs and established systems in large urban areas.The humanitarian community also does not do well when it enters a deeply complicated society that has its own serious fault lines — great numbers of people already in serious need—and then tries to cope with new fault lines and new layers of need. The 2010 Haiti earthquake was slam-dunk the worst-case example of failures in humanitarian effectiveness. On the one hand, it was a massive disaster that created a massive humanitarian crisis. On the other, Haiti was already struggling with severe and entrenched social and economic chronic crises not amenable to an emergency response.Q: Should humanitarianism be a profession?VanRooyen: Yes, it should. Think of it this way: How do you train a business student to lead Lockheed Martin? In the same way, how do you train people to work in humanitarian environments that are fluid and difficult? We need to recognize humanitarian assistance as a unique and specialized discipline. Students must know not only about humanitarian principles and the basic provision of services, but also about finance, personnel, diplomacy, culture, and very practical matters of security. They also need to be creative and to lead. The toughest challenge is teaching leadership.Today, the humanitarian assistance community doesn’t have a university that brings in entry-level people and apprentices them into the field. That’s what our Lavine Family Humanitarian Studies Initiative (HSI) and our new Humanitarian Academy at HSPH are all about.Q: What advice would you give to students who want to become humanitarian professionals?VanRooyen: As a physician, my medical expertise is not the thing that makes me useful in the field. Many of the challenges in providing humanitarian assistance are around organization and logistics: getting resources from one place to another. You need to know how to organize, move materials, build programs, manage logistics.Parmar: You need humility, above all. You need to recognize that you’re a foreigner in somebody else’s world—that they’re the experts and you’re a visitor. Diplomacy is essential. Change isn’t made by being bullheaded or adventurous. It’s made by collaborating with the people who will live with the consequences of the crisis long after you leave.Q: Do humanitarians often encounter a “headline mentality” in regard to disasters?Parmar: When I was waiting for my plane to Pakistan, I watched hours of CNN in airport lounges. Millions of people had been affected by the massive floods in that country — people were literally living on roadsides and in flooded fields under tarps with the few belongings they had, little to no food, no security, no privacy, their kids out in the road. But in the hours of waiting for my plane, the floods weren’t mentioned once. Despite the scale of the disaster, the immediate mortality from the flood was relatively low, when compared to Haiti or other recent disasters. As a result, the Pakistan floods quickly fell out of the international spotlight—though aid was still sorely needed.Q: How can a humanitarian worker stay sane in the midst of turmoil?Leaning: Do not be dismayed by external criticism of the humanitarian enterprise, much of which is moderately well founded, nor by the internal self-reflections and criticism, which are also valid and important. These arise because the work is rapidly evolving. This is a powerful and relevant undertaking that is now moving into a new generation of challenges and is going to require a new generation of people prepared to deal in complex systems.An important common denominator for all students going into the humanitarian field is that they understand the ethical and the human rights issues. That is very necessary, because you’re going to go into highly ambiguous settings. Students need to know how to determine what path they should take in complicated situations where questions of right and wrong are embedded in questions of safety and security and practicality. To do this work, aid workers must learn where they themselves stand in terms of their principles and lines of action.Q: What keeps you going?Leaning: What keeps me going is I know that people in need, who are trapped and suffering, actually care about whether the world cares. We are now sufficiently globalized that even the most remote community that falls into a calamity can discern the difference between being isolated or having the world pay attention. We are reestablishing what it is to be part of the human community. It’s a universal handshake.Parmar: I was talking recently to a resident who said, “I can’t do global health work, because I can’t deal with the reality that if I took care of this person in Boston, they would live, but in a crisis-affected region, they’re going to die because there are no resources. That’s fundamentally wrong.” My response was, “You’re absolutely right. But we have to do something.’’last_img read more

Creating jobs top priority in ‘Pulse of Vermont’ survey

first_imgAppendix: Education and Vermont’sQuality of LifeAppendix C contains an essay prepared by theauthors’both lifelong educators’on why so manyquality of life issues are influenced by education. Theessay goes beyond the present data and draws uponthe authors’ own disciplinary expertise in explainingwhy we should not be surprised that a state withsuch a high educational level should also enjoy sucha high quality of life. The essay draws upon sociology,economics, and philosophy to argue that educationis important not only for its role in promotingmobility and enhancing our personal development,but also because it is vital for economic growth andresponsible citizenship. Areas of Diminished Satisfactionsand ConcernsDespite the 20 year constancy that we see in thepersonal well-being of Vermonters, there have alsobeen some areas of diminished satisfaction’jobsatisfaction, for example, as well as satisfaction withrespondents’ towns, friends and families, and theirown educations. Vermonters’ trust in each other, whilefar higher than national levels, has declined in recentsurveys. Increasing proportions of respondents haveless confidence in the government in Montpelier thanpreviously, and worrisome proportions feel that lifein Vermont is getting worse. Finally, it appears thatsupport for public education is less than it was inearlier surveys. Individual Well-beingThe five surveys covering 20 years found remarkablestability in how Vermonters view their overall wellbeing.Their levels of happiness and satisfaction invarious domains of life have hardly changed sincethe first survey was conducted in 1990. Vermonters’thoughts about what constitutes ‘quality of life’ inthe Green Mountain State are also stable’mostlycentered on a ‘measured pace of life,’ and the ‘naturalbeauty’ of the state. Respondents’ perceptions ofneighborhood safety and their sense of belonging totheir communities also remained unchanged. MethodologyThe survey’s standard research methodologyyielded a sample of 407 adults who approximate thedemographic profile of the state. The response ratewas a healthy 60%. The recent national shift fromland-based telephones to wireless phones, however,has caused young persons to be under-represented,as were respondents in the lower educational andincome categories. The use of statistical ‘weighting’adjusted for many of these imbalances. Trends and Historical ContextThe interviews were conducted in the spring of 2010,a time of unusual economic dislocation and hardship,at the tail end of the ‘Great Recession’ that startedin late 2007. While the Vermont unemployment rateremained below national averages, the economicenvironment in the state was still considerably morechallenging than at the time of any of the other studies.Nine broad social and economic trends are highlightedthat set the backdrop for this 20 year analysis ofquality of life in Vermont. Public PrioritiesThe ranking of public priorities has been a centralfeature in each Pulse of Vermont study. This year,economic matters rose to the top. The risingimportance of maintaining family farms and localagriculture and concerns about the safety of the foodsupply showed the most dramatic change in priority. Economic AnxietiesNo single issue stood out so prominently in thisyear’s study as the state of the economy. In higherproportions than previously, Vermonters expresseda greater desire for job creation and were morepersuaded than ever that economic growthcontributes to an improved quality of life.People were less confident in their ability to retirecomfortably, and high proportions were worriedabout their ability to pay bills. Barely one in threeVermonters reported that they were ‘financially betteroff’ now than they were five years ago ‘ the lowestlevel reported in the five Pulse of Vermont studies. Somespillover effect was seen in increased worry about hightaxes and the financial situation of State government.The unemployed, native born Vermonters and thosewith less education and lower incomes were allimpacted more significantly by economic events thanother members of the sample and, as a group, gavelower ratings to most of the measures of well-beingand life satisfaction. An Online OptionFor the first time this project offered all Vermontersan opportunity to take an abridged online survey, inpart to see how the responses from a self-selectedsample might differ from the scientifically chosentelephone interviews. In response to a VermontPublic Radio spot and an insert in Comcast bills, justover 500 people completed the online survey. Whileresponses to some items were indistinguishablefrom the random telephone survey, many were quitedifferent, revealing more anger and anxiety overpublic issues than we observed in our random survey.Because of the self-selected nature of the respondents,the results of this online survey are only discussed ina separate textbox in Appendix B of this report. Thedata tables are available online at the VBR website. Source: Vermont Business Roundtable. is external) This report is the fifth ‘Pulse of Vermont: Quality of Life Survey’ conducted since 1990. Each has used the same methodology of conducting 20 to 30 minute phone-based interviews with a statewide random sample of adult Vermonters. The interviews addressed questions about personal well-being and perceptions of various issues related to ‘quality of life.’ Many of the questions also focused on issues related to life in Vermont, such as confidence in Vermont-based institutions, trust in other Vermonters, aspects of life that seem to be ‘under threat,’ and public priorities. Each of the studies was conducted by the Center for Social Science Research at Saint Michael’s College under the sponsorship of the Vermont Business Roundtable. Since the first study was conducted in 1990, more than 2,000 people have been interviewed, allowing analysts to document various longitudinal trends. Demographic DifferencesCompared with other states, Vermonters are relativelyhomogeneous, yet there were still conspicuousdifferences between subgroups on most measures ofwell-being and quality of life. Income and educationwere the most important predictors of quality of life,and these two inter-related factors also helped explainthe differing public priorities among sample members.Two additional attitudinal questions were stronglyassociated with many measures of well-being’howmuch trust we have in our fellow Vermonters andthe emphasis one puts on the primacy of protectingone’s self and family from outside troubles. Themost trusting respondents were the most securefinancially, most committed to life in Vermont, andhad the highest confidence in many of the state’s central institutions.Their levels of various forms oflife satisfactions were also higher, as well as theirbelief that life in the state was getting better. Theyalso volunteered more and had a stronger sense ofbelonging to their communities. Gender, marital status,religiosity, nativity, and political orientation each alsoinfluenced various aspects of quality of life and wellbeing.last_img read more

Tangled Roots

first_img“There’s almost nothing in the forests of the Blue Ridge that doesn’t have a price tag nowadays,” Willett said as we drove. “The question is who gets to it first.” Legal harvest in Virginia begins on September 1 and runs through December 31, and the following criteria apply: no plants younger than five years of age and no plants with fewer than three prongs can be harvested. Furthermore, and perhaps most interestingly, “A person who harvests wild ginseng must plant the seeds of the harvested plant at the harvest site at the time of harvest.”  American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is native to deciduous forests of the United States from the Midwest to Maine, primarily in the Appalachian and Ozark regions. It is also grown on ginseng farms. It has long been used for medicine, originally harvested by many different Native American tribes and used in Asian medicinal products. Ginseng root is exported in larger volumes than any other native plant listed by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Threatened and Endangered Species) plant species. The majority of American ginseng harvested is exported to China.  At each turnoff into a more rugged road. Agent Willett stops to examine the dirt at the junction, scanning it for signs of a fresh entrance into heavily wooded terrain that only a few would legitimately seek. He advised me that it was squirrel season, and to keep my ears attuned for shotgun blasts. After a brief and uneventful pause at each crossroads, we proceeded. Ginseng poaching is not quite as clearly a criminal scam as wildlife trafficking, and there are many legit ginseng dealers in the Blue Ridge region whose products are sold both at home and abroad. What exactly is wild ginseng’s supposed pharmacological value? What is spinning this age-old herbal supplement into ochre gold in the global black market? Is ginseng, like bear gall and pangolin scales, merely an elaborate scam rooted in disproven superstition? Or is there something more to it? While there are many legal ginseng distributors in our area—the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services supplied me with a list of 90, few of which I called over several months would pick up the phone, much less grant an interview—the nebulous association between what’s legal and what’s not, where ginseng has been gathered and where it might have been, remains a fundamental problem within the Blue Ridge region’s contribution to this rocketing environmental issue. Your herbal ginseng, its health effects nebulous but aspirational, may or may not have been poached from public lands, and may or may not have been transited through criminal networks. According to a 2017 study published by the National Institutes of Health, dried and processed ginseng root avails a number of the traumas inherent in our hyperactive present, including depression and anxiety, as well as in controlling hormones, producing beneficial effects on the heart and brain, and alleviating erectile dysfunction. Prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and allergic asthma can also be addressed by ginseng treatment. However, the mechanism underlying the effects of ginseng on these stress-related diseases has not been completely established. As is the case most everywhere else, illegal drugs are playing a serious role in the management of our public lands here in the Blue Ridge. Agent Willett says that, “drugs are everywhere” within his jurisdiction, and this isn’t all good ol’ boys trying to mimic granddaddy’s moonshine side trade with therapeutic marijuana. We’re talking “meth, opioids, heroin, used needles at campgrounds, gangs, bikers.”  Ginseng Poaching in Appalachia Willett displays poached ginseng confiscated by law enforcement. Typical of our entangled relations with the natural world, the harvest and consumption of wild ginseng has many opposing angles. There’s a legitimate desire, rooted in the deepest echoes of American history, for this appealingly natural solution to a host of infirmities. The issue is how to conduct this healing harvest in a responsible manner, one that will allow succeeding generations to enjoy the restorative remedies of centuries past through a plant that holds potential hope for human health, if we can just learn to give it room to grow.  He claims that his company sells only wild ginseng so as to assure buyers that pesticides and herbicides won’t impair the finished product. American Ginseng even distributes over 100,000 ginseng seeds annually to diggers looking to maintain their wild sources. “I’m passionate about selling ginseng,” he told me, “as well as buying it from licensed diggers and preserving it for future generations.” Roger listed the immunological and memory benefits of wild ginseng root, as well as its applicability in treating the aftereffects of chemotherapy, such as fatigue and nausea. Wild ginseng root can fetch thousands of dollars per pound. It appears that this ancient herbal remedy, utilized by Native Americans for millennia and then, as with so much else, absorbed into colonial American culture over several centuries, is something with historical bona fides that speak to its strength; if it didn’t work at all, and there were no cultural reasons for its continuance, why go through the labor and expense of making it available for either legal purchase or through the black market? He strapped on a bulletproof vest casually, but with an air of deliberate profession honed by decades of public service. On his belt, along with handcuffs, a taser, a radio and body camera, was a .40 caliber Glock semiautomatic handgun, weapon of choice for most police departments (and gangsters) these days. In the backseat of his looming SUV (no official decals, emergency lights hidden) were a cooler (everyone’s gotta have lunch, and these patrols can literally take days), a jump bag with spare ammo and a tourniquet for field triage, and also a folding chair. James Willett is a Special Agent with the U.S. Forest Service based in Marion, Virginia, with jurisdiction over both the Jefferson and George Washington National Forests. A graduate of Randolph-Macon, Willett claims that he’s “done everything but deliver a baby” while on duty, having assisted with cuts, fractures, gunshot wounds and car wrecks.  Right here, just outside our windows, our commonly-held natural resources are being carefully plundered by people with no more regard for natural cohesion or historical perspective than for anything else aside from immediate profit. And that’s where ginseng comes in. Agent Willett and I didn’t round up any poachers the morning I rode with him, but the message was clear: folks are viewing our public lands as personal reservoirs of profit. Willett tells me that Carolina ginseng poachers are a consistent problem, but that “nothing is ever typical.”  This isn’t a recent phenomenon: In the United States, the harvest of wild American ginseng for international trade began in the mid-1700s. Today, the harvest continues to have strong economic and cultural importance to many communities in the United States and to American Indian tribes. We were headed to Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. Our journey would take us along the Smyth and Grayson County line, weaving on and off of Highway 16 and onto gravel or dirt roads, occasionally crossing private lands in this hodgepodge of federal and privately held “inholdings.” Part of his professional challenge, Willett told me that morning, was addressing the ongoing local resentment in some areas of his patrol range against public lands. Agent Willett has served a total of 18 years in natural resources law enforcement. In this rugged terrain, “the patrols get hard,” he said. Over 40 pounds of body armor, the rancorous heat of summer, and the ever-shifting cabals of traffickers make it especially challenging. Patrols like the one I was on are “very little” of what his job currently demands, he says. “I spend most of my time these days in desk work, court appearances, interviews, and ‘windshield time’ driving to distant legal necessities.”   We’re less than a mile from the North Carolina and Tennessee borders, both visible from the Whitetop summit (5,520 feet), the highest drivable place in Virginia. It used to be that the harvesting of wild ginseng was an honorable occupation. Or at least that was the verdict among the people who lived for centuries off the land in the rough-cut Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee. “You have to know the sellers,” Willett says.   “During tough times, individuals look for ways to make ends meet. Ginseng just happens to be one method to earn money,” explains Willett.  And this pirating of a public resource is often done more through desperation than through any overarching criminal plot. When interviewing suspects who have poached ginseng, Willett has been told by poachers that ginseng is an easy way to come up with money when other ways have failed.  In a secured compartment in back was a 5.56 caliber AR-15, along with an evidence collection kit, EMS equipment, a fire investigation unit and a 12-gauge Remington 870 loaded with buckshot and slugs. Willet claims to have pulled a gun on suspects a lot over the years, but he’s never had to fire a shot. He’s known officers who weren’t so lucky.  More from our September Issue Here But getting this tangled knobby root from the forest to the market makes ginseng one of the most profitable and complex poaching problems in Appalachia. And like all other aspects of the poaching wars, this one can be murderous. One of the problems with dealing with ginseng poaching is the irregularity of the federal and state laws that vary widely by jurisdiction. In Virginia, there are many legal distributors of wild ginseng, but how do these businesses know where their product comes from? Was it legally grown on private land? Was it legally or illegally harvested on public lands? I did talk with one dealer—“Roger” (he wouldn’t provide a surname). He’s in charge of sales at American Ginseng, an online market offering both fresh and dry wild ginseng roots, as well as powder and leaves. He says his business is family-owned, and that he’s the third generation of ginseng harvesters, or “diggers” as he refers to them, buying only wild ginseng from licensed harvesters in Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina. Roger says that the ginseng market is very competitive among diggers, processors like himself, and sellers and exporters. Harvesting ginseng without a permit is a violation of both state and federal law. Ginseng poaching also violates international law; it is listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, meaning it can’t legally be harvested from public lands in the U.S. without a permit from federal agencies.  And in fact, the “sustainable harvest” of ginseng root is still very much a part of the historic culture here, now melding uncomfortably with the new online foreign markets, based mainly in Asia, whose incessant demand for traditional medicines is grounded in the same pseudoscience wiping out Africa’s rhinos and elephants.last_img read more

Progress made in Panama’s fight against narco-trafficking

first_img PANAMA CITY, Panama – Panama found the best ally to bolster its fight against narco-trafficking: Colombia. The exchange of information and experience in the counter-narcotics effort is one of the main international strategies implemented through the Public Safety and Defense Ministries of Panama and Colombia through the Binational Border Commission (COMBIFRON). “There are no borders for drug traffickers. Visas and protocols can’t slow them down and their production levels are continually improving,” said retired Colombian Gen. Rosso José Serrano, who took part in dismantling Colombia’s Medellín and Cali cartels from 1991 to 1996. “That’s why the authorities need to come together and establish effective alliances to detect and attack them.” Serrano, who works as an international security consultant and is Colombia’s former ambassador to Austria, said it is imperative Colombia share its counter-narcotics knowledge with its neighbors. “We’ve already done this with Guatemala, Honduras and even with North African nations that also are suffering from this type of transnational criminal activity,” he said. Panama, led by its National Police (PN), the National Aero-Naval Service (SENAN) and National Border Service (SENAFRONT), seized 30.9 metric tons (68,122 pounds) of cocaine from January to the first week of December 2012, compared to 41.3 metric tons (91,050 pounds) in all of 2011, according to Panamanian Public Safety Minister, José Raúl Mulino. Nearly 90% of the cocaine that reaches the United States comes through Mexico and Central America, according to the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board. “Hence the importance of COMBIFRON,” Mulino said. “These meetings, which are held twice a year, allow us to carry out analyses and plan strategies, exchange information and learn from the experiences of the Colombians so we can address a problem that goes beyond their borders. Narco-trafficking affects all of us. We are not islands. We have to unite in order to confront the cartels.” The exchange of information among Panama, Colombia and the United States has played a critical role in battling narco-trafficking. Mulino also highlighted the success of Operation Martillo, a joint effort between 14 countries in the Western hemisphere and Europe aimed at eradicating illegal drug trafficking on both coasts of the Central American isthmus. “Many of the large drug seizures we’ve carried out have been due to the investigations and surveillance carried out by aircraft and patrol boats from the United States Coast Guard, which is working to help Central America in its fight against drug trafficking,” he said. In addition, Panama has invested US$1.5 billion in the past three years to buy equipment, train security forces and build 14 air and naval bases along the Atlantic coast where large expanses of coastline provide ideal terrain for drug smugglers. Eight of the stations are operational, with six others expected to be ready during the first quarter of 2013. Mulino said he expects a total of 20 bases to be operating along the country’s Pacific and Atlantic coastlines by 2014. The country also has purchased eight helicopters and received four patrol boats donated by the Italian government to help increase surveillance on the country’s Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Additionally, the country installed 19 radars, each capable of covering 39 nautical miles, beginning this past October. Serrano said Panama’s strategic location demands authorities pay close attention and “strike hard” against drug traffickers. “Take care of your country,” he said. “It’s healthy at the moment but if you don’t strike now, you could have problems. Criminal groups like the Los Zetas cartel are not far away.” By Dialogo January 03, 2013last_img read more

Unpublished Canadian data on seasonal flu shots and H1N1 stir concern

first_imgSep 24, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – Canadian researchers reportedly have found as-yet-unpublished evidence that people who had a seasonal flu shot last year incurred a higher risk of H1N1 infection, but US and World Health Organization (WHO) officials say they are not aware of any similar findings elsewhere.The Canadian Press (CP) reported that a series of studies in British Columbia, Quebec, and Ontario seem to suggest that people who received a seasonal flu shot last year were about twice as likely to contract the pandemic H1N1 virus. The findings are spurring an effort by some Canadian public health officials to delay, reduce, or cancel seasonal flu vaccination campaigns this fall.Details of the findings and the methods that led to them have not been released, as the authors have submitted a paper to a journal and therefore are barred from discussing them, according to the story. But many people in public health in Canada have heard about the data.The lead authors are Dr. Danuta Skowronski of the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control and Dr. Gaston de Serres of Laval University in Quebec, the story said.In response to a question at a WHO news briefing today, Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, director of the agency’s Initiative for Vaccine Research, said the WHO is looking into the reported findings. The WHO is trying to assemble a group of experts to review the Canadian data, she said.So far, “Investigators in other countries have looked at their own data and whether they could find similar observations, and none of the other countries have been able to find anything like that,” Kieny added. She said the findings could be real or could be the result of a study bias or other methodologic problems.She also said many years of experience with seasonal flu immunizations have yielded no other evidence that they cause this type of problem, but the report warrants investigation.The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it was not aware of any similar observations in this country. “This is unpublished data and most importantly nothing that our scientists have seen in the United States,” CDC spokesman Tom Skinner told CIDRAP News. “We believe it is advantageous for seasonal and 2009 H1N1 vaccines to be taken as soon as available.”According to the CP story, several infectious disease experts said that British and Australian researchers have not seen the phenomenon observed by the Canadian authors, either. One of the experts called the lack of confirmation elsewhere a “red flag.”Skowronski, the co-author, acknowledged that her paper needs the scrutiny of the peer-review process to uncover any methodologic problems, the CP reported. “We need to be assured that every stone was turned over to make sure what we’re reporting is valid,” she was quoted as saying.last_img read more

World Glaucoma Week Begins Sunday: Beat Invisible Glaucoma

first_imgThroughout the week presentations will be made on the various Radio stations. Listen to their programmimg to know date and times for these presentations by Eye Specialists. Prepared by: Dr. Hazel Shillingford-RickettsConsultant Ophthalmologist Share Wednesday 8.30am Poster Exhibition and Discussion at the Eye clinic Dominica China Friendship Hospital Tweet Share Monday 8.30am: Poster Exhibition, Discussion at Eye Clinic, Dominica China Friendship Hospital InternationalLifestyleLocalNews World Glaucoma Week Begins Sunday: Beat Invisible Glaucoma by: – March 5, 2020 Saturday 7.00am Poster Exhibition, Discussion and Screening for glaucoma at the New Roseau Market Family history of glaucomaElevated eye pressure (normal range 10mmHg – 22mmHg); However 50% of patients diagnosed with glaucoma have normal eye pressuresThin central corneal thickness (<0.5 MM)Trauma to the eyeSteroid medications: Pills, injections, inhalers and eyedropsMyopia (near-sighted), Diabetes mellitus, Smoking Glaucoma cannot be cured but it can be controlled.Early detection and adherence to treatment are the best means to prevent or slow  progression of vision loss from glaucoma.Normal visual field (peripheral or side vision) becomes constricted(tunnel vision) over 10 years because of poor Adherence.Treatment aims to lower the eye pressure most times with eyedrops but glaucoma laser procedures and surgery are also available.   Adherence to treatment is the result of a balance between the patient understanding the potential risk of blindness due to glaucoma, their belief in the benefits of their medication on one hand and the burden of taking the medication on the other; mostly cost and side effects.Patients do not benefit from medications they don’t take.The Government of Dominica has implemented a policy whereby all glaucoma medications are provided free of charge to persons 18 and younger and 60 and older.Eye clinics have resumed free of charge in all Primary health districts.There are now three ophthalmologists in the public sector and a total of 5 eye specialist in Dominica who can screen for and treat glaucoma.In addition with the construction and equipping of the new Brenda Strafford Eye Centre at the Dominica China Friendship Hospital most of the latest investigations and treatment modalities will be available for the management of glaucoma.In Dominica eye care for glaucoma is available, accessible and affordable.Do your part: “Go get your eyes tested for glaucoma.  Save your sight.” Programme for Glaucoma Week March 8-14, 2020Glaucoma week declared opened with message from the Minister of Health Wellness and New Health Investment, by Honourable Dr. Irving McIntyre. March 08 – 14, 2020 is observed as World Glaucoma Week globally.This is an initiative of the World Glaucoma Association and World Glaucoma Patient Association under the theme “B.I.G: Beat Invisible Glaucoma”.The week is to raise public awareness of the eye disease glaucoma, which is a leading cause of blindness in the world and the leading cause of irreversible blindness in Dominica.Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases which damage the optic nerve of the eye which results in loss of vision starting with the side or peripheral vision.  It is mostly asymptomatic that is persons are not aware that their vision is being lost until it is quite advanced.  As a result it is referred to as the “Silent thief of Sight” .However most people with glaucoma do not become blind as loss of vision from it can be prevented. Friday 8.30am Poster Exhibition, Discussion and Screening for glaucoma for staff at the Dominica China Friendship Hospital Sharing is caring! Tuesday 8.30am: Poster Exhibition, Discussion and screening for glaucoma at the Roseau Health Centre, Botanical Gardens Saturday 9.00am Poster exhibition, Discussion and Screening for glaucoma at the Portsmouth Health Centre Share What are the risk factors?Age: The risk increases with ageRace: Blacks more than WhitesThey are 4-7 times more likely to develop glaucoma than Whites.They develop glaucoma at a younger age (35-40 years)They have a higher risk of becoming blind from glaucoma. 45 Views   no discussions Thursday 9.00am Poster Exhibition, Discussion and Screening for glaucoma at the Marigot Health Districtlast_img read more