Spectrum Spectrum features conversations with an eclectic group of fascinating people, some are famous and some are not, but they all have captivating stories.
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Spectrum features conversations with an eclectic group of fascinating people, some are famous and some are not, but they all have captivating stories.More from Spectrum »

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Health Deserts Plague Rural Areas but Specific Programs are Addressing Needs

Rural Health Day is November 15 and it's designed to throw a spotlight on health care problems facing rural areas and some of the solutions being proposed. Currently, over 60 million Americans live and work in rural areas. That equates to nearly one in five Americans or 20 percent of the population. Yet, many health issues facing rural communities are still unresolved. Local hospitals are closing in large numbers, doctors are disappearing from rural regions, and certain medical conditions such as pregnancy and obstetric issues, cardiac problems and strokes are underserved close to rural homes. Some doctors, however, are fighting to bring more physicians to rural areas and Randall Longenecker, MD is leading the charge. He is a Professor of Family Medicine and Assistant Dean for Rural and Underserved Programs at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. He personally served as a rural physician in Western Ohio for 30 years. He is spearheading programs to bring more doctors and more facilities back to rural communities. At Ohio University, he has developed the Rural and Urban Scholars Pathways Program that prepares medical students to practice in rural regions or underserved urban centers. He also is the Executive Director of the RTT Collaborative, "a national non-profit cooperative of rural programs to sustain health professions education in rural places, providing technical assistance to developing and existing programs. He also works with Rural PREP, a collaborative for rural primary care research, education and practice." Dr. Longenecker cites one major rural problem is the loss of hospital facilities and specialties in rural areas. From 2004 to 2014 more than 200 rural hospitals have closed their obstetric services, according to the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission reported to Congress in June that 67 rural hospitals closed in 2013 and about one third of that number were more than 20 miles from the next closest hospital. Dr. Longenecker notes that Ohio has more people living in rural areas than all but four other states and has more physicians than most states...but not in the needed rural regions. Last year, Ohio "ranked 36 of 50 and gets a D- from the Rural Health Quarterly in rural primary care," Dr. Longenecker says. He and the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine are trying to improve those numbers by training and recruiting young doctors to practice in our rural regions. He is optimistic that the programs he is affiliated with will be successful in providing more rural physicians. For more information about problems and solutions facing rural health go to http://www.powerofrural.org/

Health Deserts Plague Rural Areas but Specific Programs are Addressing Needs

Midterms Meaner and More Costly than Ever says TIME Correspondent Elliott

In addition to President Donald Trump's scorched-earth campaigning, overall political races in 2018 have been meaner and more costly than ever, according to TIME, Inc. Washington Correspondent Philip Elliott. Most candidates, at least on the Republican side, attempted to mimic the President's combative campaign style, Elliott says. However, many did not feel comfortable with that type of overly harsh campaigning which often was not factually based. Democrats also found it difficult to respond to such tactics and not alienate their base. The campaigns also were conducted differently due to the early voting allowed in most states. Issues needed to be raised earlier. No longer can candidates wait until Labor Day to start campaigning in earnest, Elliott notes. That makes campaigns longer, bitterer, and certainly more expensive. Early voting hit an all-time record in the midterms with some 36.9 million voters taking advantage of early ballot casting. This compares to only 21.2 million in 2014. Some prognosticators, however, have wrongly suggested that early voting favors Democrats. Elliott cites figures from Target Smart, a Democratic leaning firm, showing that, in fact, Republicans out voted Democrats in the early ballots. This is especially true in voters age 50 and over. Regardless of the outcome of the elections, Elliott notes that Congress will be in a lame duck session between now and January 2019 and that several key items will be on the agenda – one being funding of the federal government. Current funding expires in the first week of December. President Trump will be pushing his agenda along with key items of his administration such as building the wall along our southern border. To date, Congress has not funded wall construction. Elliott also says you can expect Cabinet shake-ups after the midterms. Many suggest that Attorney General Jeff Sessions will be the first to go along with the Justice Department's Rod Rosenstein who supervises the Robert Mueller investigation. Others who will probably leave include the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Homeland Security and Defense Secretary James Mattis. Elliott also notes that Trump's temperament will be mostly controlled by the outcome of this election ranging from petulant to even angrier that he appeared during the campaign. Elliott joined TIME in 2015. Before that move, Elliott spent nearly a decade with the Associated Press where he covered politics, numerous campaigns, campaign finance, education and the White House. He has covered three Presidents: George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and now Donald Trump and numerous campaigns.

Midterms Meaner and More Costly than Ever says TIME Correspondent Elliott

Harsh Rhetorical Political Environment Can Heighten Chances for Violence

As a nation, our population is divided into political and ideological tribes who only listen to others who agree with them and demonize anyone who is different from them, according to Dr. Scott Titsworth, dean of the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University. Thus, we have a nation of rhetorically warring camps who do not agree even on the basics and find the opposition to not only be wrong but dangerous and evil, according to Dr. Titsworth. As the verbal attacks ratchet up and the name-calling and dehumanizing of our opponents escalates, a "rhetorical environment" is created that can tragically spawn violence, he concludes. He points to the escalating verbal warfare of the pre-midterm campaigns, led by President Donald Trump, as an example of this toxicity. Although it cannot be proven that the recent acts of violence were directly caused by Trump's political rhetoric, Dr. Titsworth thinks that a dotted line can be drawn between inflammatory words and violent actions. An environment has been created to either encourage or tolerate violent behavior against targeted "opposition" groups. Just last week, two African-Americans were randomly shot down near Louisville just because they were black. A would-be bomber in Florida carried out the largest assassination attempt against public figures (all Trump critics) in the history of the country and 11 members of the Jewish faith were slaughtered in a synagogue near Pittsburgh. This was the largest killing of Jews ever recorded in America. Unfortunately, Dr. Titsworth sees little hope for a changed environment until we, as citizens, demand from our leaders more powerful messages that transcend party lines and doctrine. Even though he sees little likelihood for change with the generation currently in power, he has hope that the generation in college now and those even younger will bring the tolerance that is necessary to break our tribal bonds and allow the free flow of ideas and differences. Dr. Titsworth has been dean of the Scripps College of Communication since 2010. In 2009, he was named a "Presidential Teacher." This is the highest teaching honor awarded at Ohio University. Dr. Titsworth also produces and hosts a podcast called "Teaching Matters" where he examines new ways of learning and teaching in a technological age. The podcast has recently started its third season. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/teaching-matters/id1182990400?mt=2

Harsh Rhetorical Political Environment Can Heighten Chances for Violence

Medicine & Innovation Combine at the Cleveland Clinic through Dr. Frank Papay

Dr. Frank Papay is the chair of the Dermatology and Plastic Surgery Institute at the Cleveland Clinic Health System. He also is a physician who combines innovation with the healing arts of medicine. Dr. Papay has spearheaded the Cleveland Clinic's work in the emerging field of face transplants among other notable surgical breakthroughs. He and a team of gifted surgeons have been featured for this work in National Geographic. Here is the full story: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/09/face-transplant-katie-stubblefield-story-identity-surgery-science/?user.testname=none He was part of the surgical team that performed the first "near-total" face transplant in the United States in 2008 and says that what was learned from that surgery has led to other medical discoveries. That first face transplant patient is still alive and doing well, according to Dr. Papay. She is a strong advocate for the surgery, he says. Dr. Papay talks about the extensive preparation that goes into the face transplant process from preparing the patient to picking a top-flight surgical team of numerous specialists. He also discusses the ethics underlying the procedure. The costs of the various face transplants has been supported by the Department of Defense, says Dr. Papay. The military is interested in this surgery to potentially restore the faces of soldiers who have suffered injuries in battle. Dr. Papay also is the holder of over 40 medical device patents. In 2017, he was inducted into National Academy of Inventors. One of his more recent innovations is a device that can modify the transmission of pain signals to the brain and help control cluster migraine headaches. He says that his innovative and entrepreneurial spirit has been cultivated and nurtured by "Forest Gump moments" – which he describes as serendipitous encounters with key people who have influenced his life and career. Dr. Papay received his undergraduate degree from Ohio University in 1975 and a master's degree in biomedical engineering from Case Western Reserve University in 1977. He received his medical degree from the Northeast Ohio Medical University in 1984 and a doctorate in management (entrepreneurship/entrepreneurial studies) from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University in 2013.

Medicine & Innovation Combine at the Cleveland Clinic through Dr. Frank Papay

Trump Inflames His Base to Raise Enthusiasm for Nov. 6th Midterm Elections

Since the successful vote putting Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court of the United States, President Trump has been characterizing the events surrounding that confirmation to fire the fears of his political base, according to Philip Elliott, a Washington correspondent for Time, Inc. Trump has been using the protests of various citizen groups and the challenges by Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee to characterize the Democrats as an "angry mob" out to still "get" Justice Kavanaugh and Trump, himself – says Elliott. This line of rhetoric is designed specifically by Trump to gin-up the fears of Republicans going into the November 2018 midterm elections and to spark them to go to the polls to protect Trump, Elliott notes. Elliott also characterizes, in the same way, Trump's statement to "60 Minutes" that Kavanaugh would not have won confirmation if Trump had not attacked and mocked Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and her testimony. Trump calculates that his attack on the "Me Too" movement also amps up his political base. Elliott says this election will be a referendum on President Trump. Although the situation is important to many, Elliott does not believe the foreign policy issues surrounding the disappearance of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi and his alleged murder by Saudi Arabian officials will have any impact of the impending midterm elections. He agrees that the President is hedging when he espouses the line that Khashoggi may have been killed by "rogue killers" instead of blaming Saudi officials. However, Elliott does not believe that the bulk of Americans care that much about this issue. Elliott, however, thinks that any new moves by the White House on immigration may have an election impact along with how FEMA handles the recent damages in the South from hurricanes Florence and Michael. Elliott downplays that the President's potential meddling with the Attorney General's position and other possible Justice Department moves will have any great impact on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and potential indictments. Elliott is convinced that Mueller has a game plan to counter any attack on his office by the President. He also notes that new counsel will be on the horizon in the White House and with the President's outside counsel team – after the midterms. Elliott has been with Time since 2015. Prior to that, he served a decade with the Associated Press covering politics, numerous campaigns, campaign finance, education and the White House. He has covered three Presidents: George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump

Trump Inflames His Base to Raise Enthusiasm for Nov. 6th Midterm Elections

David Brooks, NYT Columnist, Explores the Grassroots for Trust & Connection

"New York Times" columnist and PBS NewsHour and NPR commentator David Brooks is searching for the heart, soul and future of America by traveling to smaller communities examining how they are successfully addressing issues. In March 2018, Brooks was appointed Executive Director of "Weave: The Social Fabric Project" sponsored by the Aspen Institute. The project is searching for local initiatives that build trust, connection and relationships among local groups with sometimes disparate backgrounds and political leanings. Recently, he spent a day in Appalachian Ohio and talked with local residents about their success in building the local economy and sense of community. Brooks feels that nationally we are in a period of heightened distrust, extreme partisanship and a blurring of truth and facts. He fears that this angst keeps getting worse and he does not seeing it turn around on the federal level. "We are lost in a valley of our hostilities and resentments," he says. However, on many local levels across the country, he is seeing a civic revolution led by local people with ideas for building community regardless of political affiliations. On the federal level, Brooks notes a "lack of empathy" but in towns across the country, he is noting a movement he calls "radical mutuality." That means an increase in social trust, improved human relationships and displaying human decency toward one another. He thinks journalistically that we pay way too much attention to President Donald Trump and his statements and tweets. He also thinks that too often journalists are in ideological silos. Instead, Brooks wants to use some of his journalistic influence to shine the national spotlight on local groups across America who are achieving positive goals for their communities and working across political and socio-economic lines. Brooks says that human cooperation and relationship building can solve problems and improve a community's way of life. He feels those efforts should be highlighted, nurtured and encouraged.

David Brooks, NYT Columnist, Explores the Grassroots for Trust & Connection

Higher Education Still Has Value Says an Emeritus President of Two Universities

Higher education still has value either in preparing someone for a career or enhancing his/her worldview through general studies. So says Dr. Robert Glidden, President Emeritus at Ohio University and California Polytechnic State University. He has had a career of over four decades in higher education administration. Despite the rising costs of a university education, Dr. Glidden feels that a college education pays off for the student both through enhanced career opportunities and broader knowledge of the world. He argues that a good "liberal arts education" is still valued in our society. Dr. Glidden concedes that the costs of higher education have escalated at an alarming rate and he is concerned about the amount of debt that most students have upon graduation. However, he cautions that online and electronic education courses and degrees do not necessarily save money for colleges and universities. He is a strong believer in expanding ways to deliver higher education to a broader swath of the population but he does not think that online courses are a major cost-saver for the institutions sponsoring them. He also says that it is incumbent upon the universities to assure that the quality of online education matches the quality on face-to-face classroom education. Dr. Glidden still is a strong proponent of regional campuses to main universities. Not only do they provide non-traditional students with opportunities but they also enhance the geographic region in which they are located, he says. Dr. Glidden spent 10 years as President of Ohio University from 1994 through 2004. He then became Interim President of California Polytechnic State University in 2010, a position he held for seven months. His earlier career included three years as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Florida State University and deanships at Florida State and Bowling Green State University. Since his retirement, Dr. Glidden has been involved with several national organizations and associations advancing the causes of higher education and he has been a strong proponent of university and program accreditation.

Higher Education Still Has Value Says an Emeritus President of Two Universities

Healthcare is Boosted by Artificial Intelligence Innovations, Says Expert

Artificial intelligence may be on the brink of revolutionizing worldwide healthcare says digital strategist and award winning journalist Randy Rieland. Data being analyzed by artificial intelligence have allowed improved diagnostics and more targeted treatments for many types of diseases, including cancer. Artificial intelligence also has markedly improved medical record keeping and advanced radiological procedures, Rieland says. In addition to improved diagnostics, record keeping and radiological techniques, artificial intelligence is being used as a predictor of certain health risks for individuals. It also is being used to predict future conditions in some patients based upon huge data sets of others with similar circumstances. Although not foolproof yet, Rieland believes that the accuracy and reliability of artificial intelligence in healthcare far exceeds manual and other more traditional methods of data analysis. Artificial intelligence also is being used to predict the threats of worldwide infections and when certain diseases may prove resistant to antibiotics, Rieland noted. Experimentation also is being done to link artificial intelligence to our brains to help people with certain neurological diseases speak through electronic means and others to be able to move prostheses based on Brain-computer Interfaces. Rieland is a digital media strategist and contributing writer about innovations for Smithsonian.com. He also is an experienced manager digital media projects and interactive strategies.

Healthcare is Boosted by Artificial Intelligence Innovations, Says Expert

EPA Regulation Rollbacks are 'Really Alarming' says Health Science Expert

Some 70 environmental regulations have been rolled back by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) since the beginning of the Trump Administration. And, Dr. Michele Morrone, professor of Environmental Health Science at Ohio University finds this to be "really alarming." She claims that these rollbacks are exposing citizens, especially in Appalachia and other poverty stricken areas to increased environmental health risks – including danger to the purity of drinking water. Anxiety and other mental health issues also may be associated with environmental health Dr. Morrone claims the EPA is putting the promise of some jobs before concerns over people's health. She cites the easing of regulations on coal burning power plants as an example. The easing of these regulations will cause between 350 and 1,500 deaths nationally, according to the EPA's own study. The northern two-thirds of West Virginia and Pennsylvania will be hit the hardest, according to a recent Associated Press story. In addition, the EPA has eased the monitoring of coal ash impoundment facilities. Coal ash, containing mercury, arsenic and other substances, is stored in large holes in the ground and the ash soaks into the ground or spills over causing dangers to ground water and the surrounding environment. Recently, a coal ash impoundment facility burst as a result of Hurricane Florence and its contents spewed into the surrounding area. Another concern is large lagoons used to store pig manure. These are vulnerable to Hurricanes and other natural disasters. For example, North Carolina, where Hurricane Florence struck, is estimated by the "New York Times" to have 9.7 million pigs producing 10 billion gallons of manure annually. "The Trump Administration is showing no concern over people's health today, people's health tomorrow, or people's health 15 years from now," Dr. Morrone claims. In addition to being concerned over environmental regulation rollbacks, she also is concerned about the fact that, under the Trump Administration, we no longer have viable climate change action plans. Former plans were revoked by the President. All of these factors cause Dr. Morrone to have concerns for the health and safety of our population. Dr. Morrone is the current Coordinator of the Environmental Health Science Program at Ohio University and also is the National Director of the Appalachian Rural Health Institute.

EPA Regulation Rollbacks are 'Really Alarming' says Health Science Expert

Democratic Party has Lost Its Soul Says Author/Activist Thomas Reston

Long-time Democratic activist and author Thomas B. Reston says the Democratic Party has lost its way and lost its soul over the past generation or more. In his book, "Soul of a Democrat: Seven Core Ideals that Made our Party and Our Country – Great," Reston claims that the party has lost its focus and it has jettisoned old philosophies that historically sparked the electorate. He cites the Presidential Election of 2016 as an example. He gives reasons for the party's lackluster recent performances and outlines suggestions on how it can right itself. Reston claims that Democrats spend too much time running against and attacking Donald Trump and not enough time and effort crafting a messages that would resonate with voters. Instead of developing a unifying message that would appeal to the whole electorate, he claims Democrats also spend too much time and effort targeting specific blocs of voters and tailoring a number of messages to appeal to those individual blocs. He asserts that President Trump, as a candidate, espoused messages that took many traditional Democratic voters away from the party. Reston says Democrats need to get back to seven basic ideals: 1) Stand for the individual common person; 2) Fight for all outsiders; 3) Honor today's secular altruism; 4) Making the ideas and ideals of the party understandable to everyone; 5) Bolster economic security for all; 6) Return to a pragmatic and idealistic foreign policy; and 7) Support the ongoing struggle for civil rights. In his book, he uses historical references to individuals who are mainstays of the Democratic Party to make his points — people like Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson. Reston has spent his life in politics. He has worked for eight presidential campaigns and countless state and local elections. He was twice the Secretary of the Democratic Party of Virginia and was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs under President Jimmy Carter. He also is a strong civil rights advocate. He has twice been Chair of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF).

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