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NUI Galway Launch new Intergenerational Community Learning Model
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
NUI Galway, in collaboration with St Vincent de Paul, Croí na Gaillimhe Resource Centre and Galway Community College, yesterday (Tuesday, 22 June) launched a new community model of Intergenerational Learning, adapting the University's current Living Scenes Intergenerational Programme, which has been operating in Irish Secondary Schools for the last ten years. The current school-based model of Living Scenes is a groundbreaking educational programme, the first of its kind in Ireland and Europe, possibly even worldwide. The innovative programme was first piloted in Galway City's Presentation Secondary School in 1999, and quickly became established as part of its Transition Year. Living Scenes has since developed and expanded through partnerships between NUI Galway and five further secondary schools: Calasanctius College, Oranmore, Co. Galway; Millstreet Community School, Millstreet, Co. Cork; St Flannan's College, Ennis, Co. Clare; St Joseph's Secondary School, Charlestown, Co. Mayo; and St Joseph's Secondary School, Tulla, Co. Clare. NUI Galway's Director of the Living Scenes Programme, Dr Mary Surlis, contends that: "At a time when there is a serious erosion of social fabric evident in Irish Society, Living Scenes aims to respond to the growing need for communication and trust in local communities, regenerating relationships between the older and younger generations is crucial in responding to the challenge currently facing our society. Working with Croí na Gaillimhe Resource Centre and the Galway Community College provides an ideal opportunity to extend the current remit of the programme to a wider target group and the University is delighted to be involved in this collaboration". The Living Scenes Community Programme is a collaborative education initiative which will target teenagers and retired older adults. This model will be based in Croí na Gaillimhe Resource Centre (St. Vincent's de Paul), participants will take part in a weekly structured curriculum over a 30 week period. The programme will focus on positively impacting on the lives of both groups through empowering, enabling and relationship building in a specifically designed learning environment which allows both groups to develop, bond and form new relationships and friendships. Commenting on the potential for the programme Loretta Needham, Centre Manager, Croí na Gaillimhe Resource Centre, said: "This new programme, assisted by the Maureen O'Connell Fund of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, offers an exciting opportunity for us to link with NUI Galway and to be involved in piloting a community model of Intergenerational Learning which will benefit a wide spectrum of our participants throughout Galway City and County and further afield". Rita Duffy, Principal Galway Community College, comments: "It is heartening for us to see NUI Galway reach out to young people who have no tradition of third-level education in their families or communities. Society is losing a wealth of talent and creativity because the gifts of these young people remain under-developed. Our students, like all teenagers, invest heavily in relationships. We are delighted that they will have an opportunity to work with and benefit from the wisdom of people who have faced and overcome many of life s challenges. We welcome the opportunity for our students to engage in learning that is meaningful, relevant and attainable. Galway Community College is particularly grateful to Dr Mary Surlis for this exciting new initiative and to Loretta Needham for investing in the education and welfare of our students". President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne: "NUI Galway is committed to a strong ethos of civic engagement. We develop this by fostering a sense of social responsibility and citizenship amongst students and by working to share the knowledge resources of the University with the wider community. The Living Scenes programme of intergenerational learning is the embodiment of that ethos - reaching from the University into the heart of the community to work in an intergenerational capacity with younger and older people. As President, I am proud of the unique and pioneering work which NUI Galway has led, through Living Scenes, in building social cohesion in Ireland". -Ends-
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Exercise First for NUI Galway
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
NUI Galway has become the first university outside North America to form a University Course Curriculum partnership with the American Council on Exercise® (ACE®). This partnership will provide NUI Galway with access to the ACE curriculum specifically designed for universities. ACE has formed similar partnerships with a range of prestigious North American universities including Stanford, Duke and Purdue. NUI Galway will initially use the ACE curriculum in the University's BE/MEngSc Sports & Exercise Engineering (SEE) programme. The partnership means that Sports & Exercise Engineering students at NUI Galway, by successfully completing the SEE programme, will have covered the curriculum for the ACE Personal Trainer and ACE Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist programmes, and thus will have the option of taking the exams for certification on both ACE programmes. Such certification has worldwide acceptance, providing additional opportunities for graduates to make meaningful and positive contributions to the health and fitness industry. Founded in 1985, ACE is a recognised leader in the field of physical fitness and has more than 50,000 certified health and fitness professionals in 110 countries. ACE is a non-profit organisation committed to enriching quality of life through safe and effective exercise and physical activity. ACE sets itself the goal of protecting all segments of society against ineffective fitness products, programmes and trends through its ongoing public education, outreach and research. ACE further protects the public by setting certification and continuing education standards for fitness professionals. Speaking about the new partnership, Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin, Head of Electrical & Electronic Engineering and SEE Course Director, said: "This is a very exciting development for NUI Galway as it aligns us with the United States' premier exercise promotion and training body and provides us with the opportunity to deliver the ACE curriculum to our student over the course of the Sports & Exercise Engineering programme". "We are pleased to share our leading curriculum with NUI Galway", said Scott Goudeseune, ACE's President and Chief Operating Officer. "It's exciting to see ACE's certification programs provide students on a global scale with enhanced credibility and the opportunity to educate, motivate, inspire and train others. We are confident that this partnership will help students make a difference in the fitness industry". The NUI Galway BE/MEngSc Sports and Exercise Engineering programme is a professional Engineering programme whose graduates will design systems for monitoring, performing and improving sport and exercise performance. The Sports and Exercise Engineering programme has four elements to the education of its graduates: Electronic Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Sports Science and Health Science. This development occurs as NUI Galway add a suite of Sports Science modules to the SEE programme, including Applied Exercise Physiology, Kinesiology of Human Movement, Sports and Exercise Psychology, and Exercise Prescription and Programming in the second semester of third year. The addition of these modules to the programme will provide students with a strong grounding in the science of sports and exercise and prepare the students for work in the sports and exercise industries. Electrical & Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway has also appointed Ted Vickey as Chair of the Industrial Advisory Board for the Sports & Exercise Engineering programme to advise the University on the further development of the SEE programme. Mr Vickey is President of FitWell LLC. He served as Executive Director of the White House Athletic Center from 1994 to 2005 for the George H.W. Bush, Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. From 2001 to 2007, he was Vice-President of Comprehensive Health Services, Inc. "It is an honor to serve as Chair of the Industrial Advisory Board for the Sports and Exercise Engineering programme," said Vickey. "As a champion of ACE and the important work this organization does in North America, I look forward to promoting ACE's mission within NUI Galway and educating students on the importance of enriching quality of life through safe and effective exercise and physical activity". Commenting on the new developments in the Sports & Exercise Engineering programme at NUI Galway, Professor Gerard Lyons, Dean of the College of Engineering and Informatics said "I am delighted to see these important new developments in the Sports & Exercise Engineering programme at NUI Galway and particularly welcome the new partnership with the American Council on Exercise, which will provide international input into the SEE programme. At NUI Galway we are particularly proud to be the first university outside North America to form a university partnership with ACE". For further information on the NUI Galway Sports and Exercise Engineering programme visit http://www.eee.nuigalway.ie/Courses/see_gy411.html. To learn more about ACE visit www.acefitness.org. -Ends-
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NUI Galway Researchers take part in European Stem Cell Public Engagement Project
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
The Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway is part of a new EuroStemCell project which connects European citizens with stem cell research. The ambitious four-year project unites more than 90 European stem cell and regenerative medicine research laboratories in a coordinated effort to engage with the public about their science. The project's main component is a website www.EuroStemCell.org which acts as a multi-lingual portal composed by researchers. It explores stem cell research and maps where stem cell research stands for the different countries involved in the project. All countries in Europe are not at the same point in development of stem cell research. The website aims to dispel myths surrounding stem cell research, and give clear, accessible and comprehensive information and knowledge to the public. Programme Manager at REMEDI, Kieran Ryan says: "REMEDI are extremely proud to be leading a strand of the European Union FP7-funded EuroStemCell project. The quality and pedigree of the other partners involved in this project reflects very strongly on the achievements of REMEDI and NUI Galway in this emerging scientific area. Our involvement in EuroStemCell will ensure that Ireland is at the heart of the European discourse on regenerative medicine and we are very excited about contributing to this valuable endeavour". The EuroStemCell consortium of scientists, clinicians, specialist communicators, science museums and educators will work together to develop the EuroStemCell.org website into a dynamic, multilingual information hub. The site will provide current analyses of the latest scientific developments, ethical issues and regulations. It will also develop and act as a central repository for stem cell resources, teaching tools and activities. Project participants, including REMEDI, gathered in Edinburgh earlier this year to kick-start their collaborative effort. Representatives from REMEDI will be involved in all aspects of the project, from contributing to the website, to the collation and development of resources for public engagement for educators and evaluation of those resources. EuroStemCell.org arose out of a previous stem cell research project and has since been actively supported by scientists. The current project has been awarded €830,000 by the EU's Framework 7 programme. The website already provides information and educational tools from short films to frequently asked questions, news pieces and teaching materials. Dr Clare Blackburn, University of Edinburgh the Project's Coordinator, said: "We want to provide accurate information, but also to encourage real dialogue between scientists and the public. The goal is to enable people to understand, question and form opinions on the science they read about in the newspapers, learn about at school and that will impact future healthcare". REMEDI is a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and industry funded research centre located at NUI Galway. Scientists and doctors at REMEDI are working together to combine the technologies of gene therapy and adult stem cell therapy to repair and replace damaged tissue. REMEDI research teams are looking at heart disease, arthritis, and neurological diseases, to research and develop medical therapies that enable repair of damaged and diseased tissue using living cells and genes. -Ends-
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NUI Galway Medical Teaching Tool Adopted by Belgian University
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
Campus Spin-Out Company Qpercom Awarded Contract from University of Leuven in Belgium Qpercom, a spin-out campus company at NUI Galway has been contracted to supply a performance and competence assessment tool for medical students to the University of Leuven in Belgium. The software packages developed at NUI Galway have improved educational decision making in NUI Galway's School of Medicine for the last year. Using the programmes Assessment Management Information Systems (AMIS) and Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE), critical medical skills of students can be assessed using real life situations, eradicating the need for laborious paper trails. The tools are being used in clinical assessments across all years of study in the School of Medicine and School of Nursing at NUI Galway. Clinical examinations for medical students consist of practical tasks which must be assessed. Traditionally the results of assessment of these different tasks, such as taking blood pressure for example, are recorded on paper. Examiners then have a large paper trail to contend with and it is very difficult to consolidate information. Each individual element of clinical examination is added together to get an aggregate pass mark. Qpercom's products enable assessors to have all information to hand on a specialised computer programme, allowing for more efficient assessment and a greater results analysis. The breakdown of assessments is easily available to determine where student skills may be lacking. The software also has features to enable examiners to create tailor-made assessment forms allowing for greater flexibility and transparency. This newly awarded contract with the Leuven University is a validation for the company. The Belgian University trains 450 medical students annually in clinical skill laboratories. Qpercom's product AMIS is already being used by a Dutch safety training and assessment company In Tense Safety and was recently nominated for the Ronald Harden Innovation in Medical Education Award in Kuala Lumpur. Professor Andrew Murphy of the discipline of General Practice in NUI Galway, said: "The new software product has exceeded our expectations - it is completely reliable, easy to use and has introduced substantial administrative economies. It has significantly enhanced our ability to validly determine competence". NUI Galway's Dr Thomas Kropmans, senior lecturer in Medical Informatics and Medical Education and CEO of Qpercom, said: "Spinning out is a very challenging experience in the current economic climate. Sales cycles are long and universities cut down their expenses. Leuven's school of medicine recognised the twofold benefit of eliminating the paper trail reducing cost and the advantage of immediate access to highly valuable information that has serious implication for patient and clinician safety". -Ends-
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International Environment and Health Conference Comes to NUI Galway
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
NUI Galway will host International Conference and Workshops of the Society for Environmental Geochemistry and Health (SEGH) from 27 June until 2 July 2010. The focus of the event will be on Environmental Quality and Human Health. This conference and workshops, organised by NUI Galway's School of Geography and Archaeology, Environmental Change Institute (ECI) and the Health Service Executive (HSE) provide an internationally leading forum for interaction between scientists, consultants, and public servants engaged in the multi-disciplinary areas of environment and health. Participants of the conference represent expertise in a diverse range of scientific fields, including: biology, engineering, geology, hydrology, epidemiology, chemistry, medicine, nutrition, and toxicology, as well as regulatory and industrial communities. The theme of SEGH 2010 "Environmental Quality and Human Health" is one of the most challenging issues that human beings are currently facing. Human activities have impacted our environment at an increasing speed, leading to changes in the quality of air, water, soil and food. More and more questions regarding the relationship between environmental quality and human health remain to be answered. A wide range of topics will be explored throughout the conference, encompassing technical aspects of geochemistry ,biochemistry, environmental impacts of climate change and human activities and, as well as the perception and communication of environmental health risks and social inequality. Keynote speakers at the conference include: Professor Iain Thornton, Former SEGH Chair, Imperial College and Imperial College Consultants London, who will receive a lifetime achievement award at SEGH 2010. Professor Shu Tao, Peking University, China, Dr Olle Selinus, Sweden, and Professor Luke Clancy, Director General, Research Institute for a Tobacco Free Society will also speak. There is an organized conference session on "House Dust", which aims to explore the health implications associated with house dust. There will also be two workshops of MULTITUDE (Multiple Links Towards Integrating Teams for Understanding of Disease and Environment) and "Vapour Behaviour and Assessment at Contaminated Sites-Risks Posed to Human Health", running in parallel with the conference sessions. NUI Galway's Dr Chaosheng Zhang, SEGH 2010 Chair, says: "Ireland is traditionally an agricultural country, but we still cannot escape from environmental pollution and its potential danger to our health. Without exception, in Ireland we are facing pressing problems of air pollution, water pollution, agricultural pollution and traffic pollution. The legacy issues of contaminated land in Ireland have recently been highlighted, such as South Park in Galway, Silvermines in Tipperary, and Haulbowline Island in Cork. Specifically South Park and Silvermines have been chosen as the conference fieldtrip sites. "This is a valuable opportunity for Irish colleagues working in the field of environment and health to foster, develop and strengthen international links and collaborations. I hope this conference will help to raise both research and management in environment and health in Ireland to a new level" Dr Zhang added. The conference is sponsored by the Environmental Protection (EPA) Agency, Fáilte Ireland, Environmental Health Officers' Association, Ordnance Survey Ireland, Canadian Shield Research and National Roads Authority (NRA). -Ends-
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