Wednesday, January 6, 2010

  • Two kinds of flu shots available
  • Award for seniors' fitness program
  • Other flakes in the daily flurry
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Two kinds of flu shots available

The university seems to have survived the H1N1 flu, which hit the campus and the country with only moderate intensity last fall, but led to near-panic over long lineups for vaccinations and a shortage of vaccine.

There have been “no new surges in pandemic or seasonal influenza locally,” says UW’s director of heath services, Barbara Schumacher, referring to “the end of the second wave” of the disease that was originally dubbed “swine flu”.

Attention now turns to the “seasonal” flu, the more familiar version of influenza that typically hits Ontario during the cold winter months. This year’s variant of the seasonal flu is known to its fans as H3N2. “Those at high risk of seasonal flu,” says a warning from the Ontario health ministry, “include the elderly, the very young, and those with pre-existing health conditions that compromise their immune systems.”

Vaccinations against the seasonal flu will be available at a two-day clinic offered by UW’s health services late next week. It will run from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, January 14 and 15, in the multipurpose room of the Student Life Centre. “All members of our community are welcome to attend,” says health services, “including employees and students, visitors and family members.”

Vaccinations against H1N1 flu, which were offered on campus for much of the fall term, will also be available at that clinic.

In addition, before the full-scale clinic next week, UW employees and students can get both the seasonal and H1N1 flu immunizations at Health Services, in the white building across the creek from the SLC, Monday to Friday between 10:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Schumacher says the World Health Organization is reporting that “the most active areas of pandemic influenza transmission worldwide” — the H1N1 flu — are in central and eastern Europe. “In East Asia, influenza transmission remains active but appears to be declining overall. In southern Asia, influenza activity continues to be intense. In North America, influenza transmission remains widespread but has declined substantially in all countries.”

Meanwhile, there's another disease on health professionals' radar: mumps. Health services issued a warning in December “to alert people with symptoms that they must isolate themselves for nine days from the onset of symptoms and that vulnerable people can be vaccinated to stop transmission of this contagious illness. . . . A cluster of students with mumps has been identified within the past few weeks at the universities in Waterloo." Vaccinations against mumps are also available at health services.

Students moving into residence for the winter term were sent a letter just before the holiday asking them to "please be sure your immunization is up to date" and "delay your arrival to residence if you have any contagious illness such as flu or mumps."

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Award for seniors' fitness program

a release from the UW media relations office

The Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging has won an innovator's award from the International Council on Active Aging for adapting a ground-breaking program to encourage senior citizens to become more active.

As a result of the Get Fit for Space program, RIA's researchers, along with kinesiologists and recreation staff at each site, enhanced the care of seniors in eight of the institute's long-term care and retirement communities. An every-step-counts theme enabled able-bodied residents, as well as those with canes, walkers and wheelchairs, to participate in a variety of fitness activities and log kilometres toward a collaborative goal.

"The Research Institute for Aging provides an inspiring example for everyone striving to advance active aging," said Colin Milner, ICAA's founder and CEO. "Participating in the Get Fit for Space program has helped to enrich the lives of older adults and enhance their health, wellness and quality of life. ICAA congratulates the Research Institute for Aging on the excellence and creativity demonstrated in this program."

The ICAA's innovation awards recognize creativity and excellence in active-aging programs and products. Award-winning programs target any or all of the six dimensions of wellness: emotional, vocational, physical, spiritual, intellectual and social.

Irv Manske was one of the participants in the Get Fit for Space program. The 93-year-old resident of Winston Park retirement community in Kitchener began his trek in May as astronaut Bob Thirsk and the Canadian Space Agency issued a challenge to all Canadians to walk 340 kilometres — the distance from Earth to the International Space Station. The challenge highlighted healthy, active lifestyles during Thirsk's six-month mission last year aboard the ISS. Since then, Manske has logged more than 860 km and has enjoyed the physical, mental and social benefits of the program.

"Our residents actually have a lot in common with these astronauts because space accelerates the normal aging process," said Mike Sharratt, RIA's executive director and former dean of the UW faculty of applied health sciences. "Astronauts lose muscle mass, bone density, and experience challenges with cardiovascular control of blood pressure that can result in instability and even fainting when they return to Earth. Many older adults experience similar challenges. The good news is that the same countermeasures taken in space — daily physical exercise to prevent or slow this deterioration — are also very relevant for our population here on Earth."

As part of the program, created by the Canadian Space Agency and adapted for older adults by the RIA, residents from the Schlegel Seniors Villages listened to talks by Waterloo professor Richard Hughson, a primary researcher with the RIA. He heads the Canadian Space Agency's research on cardiovascular health in outer space and its lessons for people on Earth.

The RIA has received a crystal award of recognition from ICAA for participation in the Get Fit for Space program. ICAA will also publish an in-depth profile of the program in its bimonthly Journal on Active Aging for the benefit of industry leaders and governmental organizations.

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Other flakes in the daily flurry

In the Canadian winter, everybody talks about, well, winter, including Frank Seglenieks, coordinator of the UW weather station. His year-end report on the highs and lows of 2009 indicates a high temperature of 31.3 Celsius and a low temperature of minus-28.8 C. "Overall," he writes, "it was 0.06 degrees below average for the year, which is close enough to put it in the average range. This makes it the coldest year since 2003. . . . The daily high temperatures for July were higher in Whitehorse than they were here. After August it was generally pretty warm except for a couple of cold streaks in late August and mid-October." He also identifies the year's wettest hour, on the morning of September 28, when 16.4 millimetres of rain fell within 60 minutes. Snowfall for the calendar year was well below average, he adds, and much of what did fall was concentrated in the single month of January. Many more figures and graphs are part of the annual summary, which is on the weather station's web site along with a monthly report for December.

And if cold weather in the winter is no surprise, here's another piece of news that might not be unexpected: the UW department of statistics and actuarial science has been designed a "centre of actuarial excellence". The distinction comes from the Society of Actuaries, which awarded it to twelve institutions for a five-year period. "Each school met specific requirements related to degree, curriculum, graduate count, faculty composition, graduate quality, appropriate integration, connection to industry, and research/scholarship," the SOA says.

[Boutaba]Raouf Boutaba (left) of the school of computer science is the 2009 winner of the Joseph LoCicero Award from the IEEE Communications Society. The award recognizes "exemplary service to IEEE Communications Society publications over a sustained period of time — in Boutaba's case, “outstanding service as founding Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Network & Service Management, and as Director of Conference Publications." It was presented during a conference in Hawaii in December.

[CRT sweatshirt]The UW Campus Response Team sends word that it's recruiting members for the winter term. "Applicants," writes organizer Ryan Huckle, who's a philosophy student, "must have standard first aid with CPR-HCP certificate from any of the major service providers (St. John's, Red Cross, LSS and Canadian Ski Patrol)." There's more information on the team's web site, and at its office, room 2141 in the Student Life Centre.

The UW staff association has invited applications for a number of committee positions, including a spot on UW's staff training and development committee, four on the Staff Excellence Fund committee, and four on its own nominating committee. Applications are due by this Friday, says Sue Fraser of the kinesiology department, who chairs the nominating committee.

A revised version of UW's Policy 24, on "Tuition Benefits for Children of Faculty and Staff", was approved by the president of UW on December 18 and promulgated by the university secretariat just before the holiday. Minor changes from the previous version bring the university into compliance with a changed ruling by the Canada Revenue Agency, which now says the money counts as income to the student, not the parent. The government is in the process of reassessing 2007 and 2008 tax returns for individuals who were affected by the revised ruling.


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Link of the day


When and where

Campus recreation registration for intramural sports January 4-8, for instructional programs January 11-14, athletics office, Physical Activities Complex. Details.

Bookstore and other South Campus Hall stores open 9:00 to 7:00 Monday-Thursday, 9 to 5 Friday, 12 to 4 Saturday this week. Campus Tech, Student Life Centre, open Monday-Friday 9 to 5.

Feds Used Books, Student Life Centre, open Monday-Friday 8:30 to 5:30 this week, Saturday 9 to 5.

International student orientation 12:00 to 3:00, Needles Hall room 1116. Details.

Weight Watchers at Work winter series begins today 12 noon, Humanities room 373; call ext. 32218 to register.

New student orientation 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

Return-to-campus interviews for co-op students January 6-8, Tatham Centre.

Auditions for FASS 2010 January Wednesday-Friday 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., Hagey Hall room 119. Details.

Warrior basketball (men and women) at Brock, tonight.

Chamber Choir auditions Thursday-Friday 1:00 to 5:00, Conrad Grebel UC chapel. Details.

Baden-Württemberg and Rhône-Alpes exchange programs information session Thursday 3:00, Needles Hall room 1116.

School of Pharmacy White Coat Ceremony welcoming new students, Thursday 5:00, Humanities Theatre. Details on pharmacy orientation.

Math business and accounting programs information session about the CFA, PRM and CFP designations, Thursday 5:30 p.m., Math and Computer room 4020.

Warriors Band practice every Thursday 5:30, Physical Activities Complex room 2012.

Orchestra @ UWaterloo first rehearsal of the term, Thursday 7 p.m., Ron Eydt Village great hall. New players welcome; register online.

Warrior men’s hockey at Laurier, Thursday 7:30 p.m., Waterloo Memorial Recreation Centre.

Comedian Jon LaJoie at Humanities Theatre, Friday 7:30 p.m.

St. Jerome’s University mini-course: Peter C. Erb, Wilfrid Laurier University, “Facing a Secular Age: Notes for the Modern Sceptic” January 8, 15 and 22, 7:30 p.m., Siegfried Hall. Details.

Work term reports from fall term co-op jobs due January 11, 4 p.m., Tatham Centre.

On-campus recruitment information session organized by career services, Tuesday, January 12, 11:30, or Thursday, January 14, 1:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 113. Details.

Canadian Institutes for Health Research grant-writing workshop Tuesday 2:30, Davis Centre room 1302. Details.

Alumni in Washington, DC: Engineering alumni reception at Transportation Research Board annual meeting, Tuesday 5:30 p.m., Marriott Wardmann Park Hotel. Details.

Application deadline for most Ontario high school students seeking university admission this fall is January 13. Details.

‘Global warring’: Cleo Paskal speaks on “How Environmental, Economic and Political Crises Will Redraw the World Map”, sponsored by UW bookstore, January 14, 7:00, CIGI, 57 Erb Street West. Registration online.

EpCon, “a fun way for students with a passion for technology to interact with their peers, industry and academia” January 15-16, Waterloo Inn. Details.

New faculty and grad students workshop on research tools and library services, January 19, 1:30, Davis Centre room 1568, or January 20, 10:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Positions available

On this week's list from the human resources department:

• Art gallery director/ curator, fine arts, USG 9
• Systems integration specialist, information systems and technology (security), USG 10-13
• Information systems specialist, information systems and technology, USG 9-12
•Systems integration specialist, information systems and technology (CSS Windows), USG 10-13
• Marketing and communications manager, Centre for Extended Learning, USG 9 (one-year secondment or contract)

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