Friday, May 29, 2009

  • Pictures help smokers quit; other help available
  • Funding news, awards, other notes
  • PhD oral defences
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Pictures help smokers quit; other help available

adapted from a UW Media Relations news release

Three smoking behaviour researchers at the University of Waterloo are hoping World No-Tobacco Day this Sunday will remind people of a crucial fact — smoking remains the single most significant and avoidable cause of death among people around the world, including Canadians.

World No Tobacco Day cigarette pkg stickerClose to five million Canadians still smoke. Half the long-term smokers can expect to die of smoking-related diseases, on average 10 years younger than their non-smoking peers.

The World Health Organization recognizes the harm caused by tobacco and has established May 31 as World No Tobacco Day. This year's focus is on one of the more effective deterrents: picture warnings — like the gruesome example above.

Two of UW's researchers focus on the impact of pictures on cigarette packaging. The third runs Canada's largest survey on youth attitudes towards smoking.

Geoff FongGeoffrey Fong (left), principal investigator of a 20-country study on the impact of smoking policies, believes Canada must reclaim its position as a world leader in tobacco control.

Fong is a professor of psychology and health studies at the University of Waterloo, as well as senior investigator at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. He is also founder and chief principal investigator of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (the ITC Project), involving 80 researchers across 20 countries, including Canada and the United States.

It also includes key countries, such as China and India, where the global tobacco epidemic will be especially serious. The project evaluates psychosocial and behavioural effects of national-level tobacco control policies of the first-ever international treaty on health — the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Steve Manske, a scientist with UW's Centre for Behavioural Research and Program Evaluation, maintains the tobacco industry is using chocolate and strawberry flavoured cigarillos to entice young smokers.

While warning labels on cigarettes may help smokers quit and prevent young people from starting to smoke, some young smokers will never see these labels because they are purchasing illicit cigarettes or getting them individually from friends.

David HammondDavid Hammond (right), assistant professor of health studies and gerontology, examines the effectiveness of population-level health interventions, much of it focused on developing evidence-based guidelines for the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Canada is a leader in developing health warning labels to help Canadians understand the dangers of smoking. Hammond has conducted studies on the effectiveness of these warning labels and says growing evidence shows they can help smokers stop smoking and help prevent young people from starting to smoke.

A note from Linda Brogden, the occupational health nurse in UW’s Health Services, confirms that it is not easy to interest people in stop-smoking programs. "If you want to quit, you are already investigating your options. If you are a confirmed smoker, you aren’t interested in hearing anything about stopping," she says.

UW students can turn to Leave the Pack Behind for help, once the program starts up again in the fall. Advice for UW employees? "Anyone wishing to quit smoking should see their family doctor and be assessed," Brogden says. "If indicated, the doctor will provide the necessary smoking cessation aid. People usually benefit from counselling in conjunction with this.

"If interested, the employee can contact me in occupational health, extension 36264, and I will arrange for an appointment with our psychologist. The sessions are focused on behavioural management and usually work best when used in conjunction with a pharmaceutical aid."

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Funding news, awards, other notes

Funding announcement this morning: Peter Braid, MP for Kitchener-Waterloo, and Leeanna Pendergast, MPP for Kitchener–Conestoga, will be at the University of Waterloo at 10:30 a.m. to make an important infrastructure funding announcement. The event takes place in Needles Hall room 1116.

Alex Wong, student

Waterloo students walked away with top honours at the Canadian Conference on Computer and Robot Vision held in Kelowna, British Columbia, earlier this week. Alex Wong (right), a PhD student in the Vision and Image Processing Research Group in Systems Design Engineering, won the Best Paper award for “Adaptive Monte Carlo Retinex Method for Image Enhancement,” jointly authored with his supervisors, professors David Clausi and Paul Fieguth. Adam Fourney, a grad student supervised by Prof. Richard Mann in Computer Science, won the Best Student Paper for "Non-accidental Features for Gesture Spotting." And Charlie (Yichuan) Tang, a computer science student supervised by Prof. Chris Eliasmith, led the winning team in the graduate student category of the Precarn Canadian Intelligent Systems Competition at the conference, which challenged students to "detect suspicious maritime activities with incomplete information."

John LinAn atmospheric model created by earth sciences professor John Lin (left) was featured in a winning entry to Google Earth's "KML in Research Competition." Lin's STILT model "simulates atmospheric motions backward in time, enabling atmospheric scientists to identify the source regions of air that arrives at specific locations," according to a report from earth and environmental sciences. "The model has been widely applied to trace sources of atmospheric pollutants and key greenhouse gases.... Information from the atmospheric model was integrated with other geographical data using Google's KML technology.... The entry was submitted by Tyler A. Erickson at the Michigan Tech Research Institute, who collaborates with UW and Lin through a NASA project ... examining the sources and sinks of carbon over North America." More on the contest here.

Keith KenningToday is the last day at work for Keith Kenning (right), a staff member in Co-operative Education & Career Services since 1981. Keith began his CECS career as a co-op math field co-ordinator covering southwest Ontario, became the arts program administrator in 1987 and, in 1996, was named associate director, field services. Keith’s desire to also serve in a wider role was realized with his election to the UW Board of Governors in June 2008. Anyone wishing to say farewell to Keith may do so in the Tatham Centre staff lounge (Room 3201) today between 10 a.m. and noon.

President's Golf Tournament logoThe ninth annual University of Waterloo President’s Golf Tournament is sold out, reports Chris Gilbert of athletics. Set for Monday at the Westmount Golf and Country Club, the annual tournament, a joint effort of alumni affairs, the President’s Office, and athletics, helps to fund national championship travel and opportunities for coaches and student athletes, and also helps elite student athletes with the cost of their education. Over the past eight years the tournament has raised more than $450,000.

More about golf: the Waterloo Warriors men's golf team stood third in the rankings on Wednesday after the first round of play in the 2009 Canadian University/College Championship conducted by the Royal Canadian Golf Association at King's Forest Golf Course in Hamilton, Ont. After the second round on Thursday, the Warriors had slipped to fifth place. The tournament wraps up today.

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PhD oral defences

Electrical and computer engineering. Isaias Ramirez, “A Study of Nanofilled Silicone Dielectrics for Outdoor Insulation.” Supervisors, Sheshakamal Jararam and Edward Cherney. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Monday, June 8, 10:30 a.m., CEIT room 3142.

Computer Science. Shosham Ben-David, "Applications of Description Logic and Causality in Model Checking." Supervisor, Richard Trefler. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Monday, June 8, 1:30 p.m., Davis Centre room 2306C.

Biology. Lara C. Alves, "The Water-Sediment Interactions for Hyalella azteca Exposed to Uranium-Spiked or Contaminated Sediments and Different Overlying Water Chemistries." Supervisors, George Dixon and Uwe Borgmann. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Tuesday, June 9, 1 p.m., Biology I, room 266.

Computer Science. Jiang Wu, "Cryptographic Protocols, Sensor Network Key Management, and RFID Authentication." Supervisor, Douglas Stinson. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Thursday, June 11, 10:30 a.m., Davis Centre room 1304.

Civil and environmental engineering. Alireza Bayat, “Field and Numerical Investigation to Determine the Impact of Environmental and Wheel Loads on Flexible Pavement.” Supervisors, Leo Rothenburg and Mark Knight. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, June 12, 9:30 a.m., Engineering II room 3324.

CPA staff

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Link of the day

Smokers helpline

When and where

Final day for fee arrangements for spring term today.

Pension and benefits committee 8:30 a.m., Needles Hall room 3004.

iGEM Synthetic Biology conference keynote speaker: Andrew Hessel on "Why Synthetic Biology is so Disruptive and Where it is Going to Take Us." 10-11:30 a.m., Coutts Hall room 301. All are welcome.

Transition Town Culture: lecture by Jane Buchan of Hardwick Area Transition Towns, presented by WPIRG and UW's Local Economic Development program, 3 - 4:30 p.m., Environment II, room 2002. Details.

Retirement party for Marie Schmidt of Finance, after 31 years at UW, 3 - 5 p.m., presentation at 4 p.m., Davis Centre room 1301.

Waterloo Space Society general meeting 5 p.m., Rod Coutts Hall room 306. Robert McNees, department of physics and astronomy, speaks on string theory.

‘Black Holes: A Ninety-Year Journey’ International Year of Astronomy lecture by Laura Ferrarese, University of Victoria, 7:30 p.m., CEIT room 1015. Observatory tour follows.

Bombshelter Pub concert: “Inward Eye”, doors open 9 p.m., $10 at door.

Hildegard Marsden Nursery 2009 family fundraiser and 20th anniversary celebration. Sunday, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Fun activities, crafts, bike decorating , refreshments. All welcome. Register at 519-888-4567, ext. 35437. $25 per family of five or $5 per adult.

9/11 Research Group presents Annie Machon, “MI5 Whistleblower Speaks Out”, Sunday, 7 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Commuter Challenge 2009 encourages any mode of travel except driving a car alone to work. Register here as an individual or as part of the university. Challenge takes place May 31 - June 6.

Co-op employer interviews (main group) June 1-18.

Math alumni in Vancouver: lunch at Sage Bistro, University of British Columbia, Monday. Details.

Career workshop: “Work Search Strategies for International Students” Monday 3 p.m., Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Co-op pharmacy students job ranking opens Monday 4:30 p.m.; match results June 5, 4 p.m.

‘Social Work Practice in an International Context’ information session held by Renison UC School of Social Work, Monday, 4:30, Renison chapel lounge. Free. Details.

Procurement Trade Show 2009, showcasing products available to the university community. June 2 - 3, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Davis Centre room 1301. Win an iPod touch! Details.

Career workshops Tuesday, June 2: “Business Etiquette and Professionalism” 10:30, “Working Effectively in Another Culture” 3 p.m., both in Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

UW board of governors meets Tuesday, June 2, 2:30 p.m., Research Advancement Centre (475 Wes Graham Way) room 2009.

Guelph-Waterloo Physics Institute Distinguished Lecture: Brian Schmidt, Australian National University, “Observational Evidence for Dark Energy” Tuesday, June 2, 4:00, Perimeter Institute.

Career workshop: “Career Exploration and Decision Making” Wednesday, June 3, 10:30, Tatham Centre room 1112. Details.

Keystone Karnival, annual outdoor event celebrating the Keystone Campaign for faculty, staff and retirees, Wednesday, June 3, 11:30 to 1:30, Matthews Hall green, with evening event 10 p.m., South Campus Hall.

Research projects workshop sponsored by Centre for Teaching Excellence, Wednesday, June 3, 2:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Sound in the Lands, conference exploring Mennonite music, June 4-8, Conrad Grebel University College. Concerts: Mennofolk (free), Thursday 4:00 to midnight, Grebel great hall; Chamber music ($10, students $5) Friday 8:00, Grebel chapel; World Music Collaborative Concert ($10 and $5) Saturday 8:30, Grebel great hall; Choral concert ($10 and $5) Sunday 8:00, First United Church, Waterloo. Details.

Graham Medal Seminar: Craig Eisler, Microsoft, “Software and Innovation: A 20-Year Perspective” Thursday June 11, 2 p.m., Davis Centre room 1302. Register by email or phone 519-888-4567, ext. 37747.

Child care festival sponsored by four on-campus child care centres, Friday, June 12, 9:45, Village green, guest performer Erick Traplin.

Matthews Golf Classic for students, staff, faculty, retirees and guests, Monday, June 15, 12:00 noon, Grand Valley Golf Course. SOLD OUT. Details.

Canada’s Wonderland trip Friday, June 19, buses leave Davis Centre 9:30 a.m., tickets $45 at Federation of Students office.

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