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UBC Reports Apr 3, 2008

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VOL   54   I   NO   4   I   APRIL   3,   2008
3 100 years young
4 Marketing sustainability 5 Drugs: dual diagnosis
6 Getting seniors online
7 The Sweet life
Library heritage heart beats strong
in new Barber Learning Centre
How do you take one of
the oldest icons at UBC and
transform it into a cutting-edge
learning hub at the heart of the
newest building on campus?
With a lot of skill, patience,
energy and improvisation.
Those are some of the qualities
that Dan Bock and a cadre
of specialists employed while
refurbishing the historic core of
UBC's Main Library, located at
the heart of the Irving K. Barber
Learning Centre. The standout
feature of the Library core is the
Chapman Learning Commons,
a tech-savvy space that's been
painstakingly restored to match
its previous incarnation as
closely as possible.
"The refurbished core is a
fantastic space," says Bock, the
senior project manager for UBC
Properties Trust. "I don't know
of anyone who was involved
with it - and with the Chapman
room in particular - who doesn't
go "Wow' when they see it.
I've got to say it's exceeded
expectations in terms of how
close it is to its original state."
continued on page 3
Project manager Dan Bock, left, Simon Neame in the newly restored Chapman Learning Commons.
Wade Huntley: on deck for disarmanent
Last month, UBC disarmament
scholar Wade Huntley spent six
days aboard the USS Nimitz, a
U.S. military aircraft carrier then
deployed near Okinawa, Japan.
The admiral invited him onto
the flag bridge where he watched
fighter jets being launched
from the ship's deck. But more
important, Huntley was able to
introduce broader thinking to his
At the request of the U.S.
Navy's Regional Security
Education Program, Huntley
gave briefings to about 200
people, among them the strike
group's admiral, commanders,
jet pilots and non-commissioned
He spoke to them on
matters such as global nuclear
proliferation, North Korea,
Kim Jong-Il, U.S relations with
Japan and South Korea, and
the repercussions of military
intervention in East Asia.
"My job is to ask decision
makers how they're framing
their issues so they can consider
Wade Huntley aboard the USS Nimitz.
alternatives and long-term
consequences," says Huntley,
Director of the Simons Centre
for Disarmament and Non-
Proliferation at UBC's Liu
Institute for Global Issues.
The Simons Centre explores
new possible legal and political
frameworks, while producing
analysis and insights on military
threats and global governance.
It is the only university-based
centre for research, education
and advocacy on disarmament
and global security, says Huntley.
He agrees that it was at times
surreal to raise these issues with
the very people who would be
carrying out any military actions
against North Korea. But to
their credit, he says, many were
having heated debates about the
U.S. presence in Iraq, with as
many skeptics as supporters.
Huntley stressed for his
audiences the "bedeviling
challenges" inherent when asking
other nations to give up their
nuclear ambitions.
"We have to engage in a way
that promotes strengthening the
Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty
while reducing the attraction of
nuclear weapons."
A case in point is the need for
different approaches for North
Korea and Iran, he says. "In the
West we view them as similar
problems, as rogue nations, but
they are very different countries,
and a policy that works in one
case might not in the other."
Paradoxically, says Huntley,
Kim Jong-Il could cut a deal
tomorrow, trading economic
aid and political concessions
in return for not developing
nuclear weapons. However, he
says, "It's a closed, xenophobic
dictatorship and what he says
Iran by comparison is a more
open, vibrant country, he says,
where political factions compete
and citizens enjoy access to the
Internet, television and satellite.
"However, President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad has less freedom to
cut a deal because of competing
political factions."
The disarmament debate
caught Huntley's attention at
an early age. He grew up in
Vallejo, a town 40 kilometres
north of San Francisco that
sprung up in the shadow of the
now-defunct Mare Island Naval
Shipyards - once the largest on
the West Coast. Huntley's father,
an electrical engineer, worked
there maintaining the sub sonar
systems on nuclear submarines.
"Our backyard faced a cow
pasture and beyond that I could
see the bridge leading to the
shipyards," recalls Huntley.
It dawned on him one day
while looking out the window
that if war erupted, Mare Island
would be a prime target for
Soviet nuclear missiles. "And
that fireball would have rolled
across the pasture right into my
bedroom window," says Huntley.
continued on page 5 I     UBC    REPORTS     |     APRIL    3,    200!
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4103 W. I Oth Ave.Vancouver, B.C. 604-222-4104
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Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus receiving a UBC honorary
Highlights of UBC media coverage in March 2008.  compiled by basil waugh
Social Corporate
Responsibility, Honorary
Degree Mark Nobel Laureate
Muhammad Yunus' UBC Visit
As part of UBC's Centenary
celebrations, renowned
economist Muhammad Yunus,
winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace
Prize, received an honorary
degree and participated in a
colloquium on social corporate
Yunus has extended more
than $6 million in small loans
to more than 7 million of the
world's poor through Grameen
Bank, which he founded in
Bangladesh in 1983. These loans
have helped thousands, many of
them women, to achieve financial
Global TV, CBC Newsworld
and Vancouver Sun reported
on Yunus' visit. At a sold-out
evening event, the microfinance
guru gave the inaugural Michael
Smith Memorial Nobel lecture.
U.S. Rush to Produce Corn-
based Ethanol Will Worsen
"Dead Zone" in Gulf of Mexico:
UBC Study
The U.S. government's rush to
produce corn-based ethanol as
a fuel alternative will worsen
pollution in the Gulf of Mexico,
increasing a "Dead Zone"
that kills fish and aquatic life,
according to UBC researcher
Simon Donner.
In the first study of its kind,
Donner and a co-author quantify
the effect of biofuel production
on nutrient pollution in a
waterway. Their findings are
published in the Proceedings of
the National Journal of Sciences.
"This rush to expand corn
production is a disaster for the
Gulf of Mexico," says Donner.
"The U.S. energy policy will
make it virtually impossible to
solve the problem of the Dead
Reuters, Agence France Presse,
Science, and newspapers across
Canada and Australia reported
Donner's research.
Blue Whale Skeleton Finds
Permanent Home at UBC:
Canadian First
The skeleton of a blue whale that
washed up on Prince Edward
Island 20 years ago will have a
permanent home at UBC's new
Beaty Biodiversity Museum.
"I have to say there is
probably no worse smell in the
world than a dead whale," said
UBC marine biologist Andrew
Trites, who will extract the
bones and ship them to B.C.,
where they will be cleaned up
and pieced back together.
The Museum, scheduled
to open in late 2009, will be
the first attraction in Canada
to exhibit the skeleton of the
largest animal ever to have lived
- bigger than any dinosaur. The
UBC exhibit will be one of only
five in North America.
Media outlets across Canada
covered this story, including
CBC News, Montreal Gazette,
Ottawa Citizen, Calgary Herald,
Vancouver Sun, CBC News and
Global TV.
I am writing to tell you how inspired we were by the
article by Basil Waugh, "Going paperless: here's how
it's done" in the February UBC Reports.
I am the Manager of Logistics here at UBC, and
in our Courier and Freight division we were printing
from 800 to 1,000 sheets of paper, double-sided,
every month.
We had the additional tasks and costs of sorting,
filing and storing the documentation.
I am thrilled to report that we no longer print. We
worked with our wonderful IT support team, set up
a dedicated drive, and now we sort, file and store our
files electronically.
The integrity of the data is better, the ability to
retrieve data is more efficient and the total cost
for me was $52. This has been a very affordable
investment, not to mention the wonderful feeling
of doing our part in reducing our impact on energy,
resources, and the planet.
Victoria Wakefield
Manager of Customs and Logistics
Business Operations
Victoria Bell
Your University
Area Specialist
My real estate goal is to build
integrity based relationships
backed with an extremely high
commitment to professionalism
and accountability. I offer 29
years of success and experience.
Please call me for any university
real estate market information,
current evaluation of your
property or any real estate
assistance that you may require.
cell 604.209.1382
Executive Director S<    tt Macrae scott.macrae@ubc.ca
Editor  Randy Schmidt randy.schmidt@ubc.ca
Designer  P ig Ki Chan ping.chan@ubc.ca
Principal Photography Martin Dee martin.dee@ubc.ca
Web Designer Michael Ko michael.ko@ubc.ca
Contributors  Lorraine Chan lorraine.chan@ubc.ca
Brian Lin brian.lin@ubc.ca
Catherine Loiacono Catherine.loiacono@ubc.ca
Bud Mortenson bud.mortenson@ubc.ca
Basil Waugh basil.waugh@ubc.ca
Advertising Sarah Walker public.affairs@ubc.ca
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I     3
UBC celebrates
100th anniversary of
University Act
Premier Gordon Campbell and UBC president Stephen Toope
celebrated the Centenary of the 1908 University Act that created UBC
as B.C.'s first post-secondary institution, signing a rededication of the
act exactly 100 years after its original March 7, 1908 signing.
"For 100 years, UBC has played an important role in the
personal growth of thousands of students, and in the growth of
B.C. as a province," said Campbell. "Today we honour a century of
accomplishments and milestones. At the same time, we look towards
new frontiers for UBC students and faculty to explore, and to a bright
future for this distinguished institution."
"We are honoured and delighted to celebrate the Centenary of
UBC," said Toope. "UBC's founders set us on the path we walk today,
and we are daily in the debt of the provincial government for its
ongoing support."
"UBC is one of the world's great universities, but I believe its greatest
contributions have yet to be realized," Toope added. "In our first
century, we have built the foundation necessary to propel a great city, a
great province and a great nation into a new century of challenges and
UBC President Stephen Toope and Premier Gordon Campbell rededicate
the 100-year-old University Act.
Centenary events have included a visit by 2006 Nobel Peace Prize
winner and microfinance pioneer Muhammad Yunis, who received a
UBC honorary degree and participated in a colloquium on corporate
social responsibility; UBC Celebrate Research Week, a public showcase
of UBC research that touches lives and communities, and The Dream
Healer opera and accompanying mental health symposium.
For more information on Centenary events, visit www.100.ubc.ca. 13
UBC audio tours: Technology meets tradition
In honour of the Centenary, UBC has launched a new audio
tour to guide campus visitors through the university's past
and present.
Commissioned by the Alumni Association, this project gives
visitors self-guided cellphone tours of 15 campus landmarks,
including the new Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and the
University Centre - site of the 1968 Faculty Club student
The tour can be seen and heard at www.alumni.ubc.ca/100
UBC students pose on the unfinished Chemistry Building during the 1922 Great Trek.
Oldest UBC building
gets extreme makeover
As UBC toasted its first
Centenary, the oldest building on
its Vancouver campus reopened
with new state-of-the-art
research and learning facilities
and its historic charms intact.
The renewal of the Chemistry
Building is the latest project of
UBC Renew, a $120-million
partnership between UBC and
the provincial government
designed to breathe new life into
older buildings on B.C.'s oldest
and largest university campus.
Construction of the Chemistry
Building began in 1914 but
halted due to World War I
and didn't resume until 1923,
following the historic Great Trek
of 1922 when 1,200 students
marched from a temporary
campus near 12th and Cambie
to the Point Grey campus, urging
the provincial government to
continue building UBC.
Major discoveries have been
made in the building, including
the first noble gas compound
and technology that led to the
creation of QLT, UBC's best
known spin-off company.
"The Chemistry Building
is synonymous with UBC's
history," said UBC President
Stephen Toope at the official
opening. "The historic photo
of students congregating in the
concrete skeleton of this building
epitomizes our student activism
and the birth of the Point Grey
campus. Restoring its past
grandeur and modernizing the
facility, all the while improving
safety and sustainability, is what
UBC Renew is all about."
One of the three buildings
in the original 1912 campus
plan - the other two are the
Library and the Power Plant
- the renovation includes new
lecture theatres, student space,
open laboratories with enhanced
safety features and a building
seismic upgrade.
In addition to preserving
a heritage landmark, the
Chemistry Renew project
incorporated sustainable
practices that saved $15.9
million in costs, diverted 323
tons of solid waste from land
fills, and prevented 1,155 tons
of carbon emissions from being
released into the atmosphere,
compared to constructing a
new comparable replacement
For more information on
UBC Renew, visit www.lbs.ubc.
ca/renew. 13
Chemistry Building renovation retains history.
continued from page 1
That's quite an achievement,
considering that the Main
Library first opened its doors in
1925 (the Chapman Learning
Commons, which opened in
2002, is the result of a $1-million
gift from UBC alumni Dr. Lloyd
and Mrs. Katherine Chapman).
More than 75 years later, as
construction began on the
Learning Centre, the Library's
heritage core needed to be
seismically upgraded.
Some surprises awaited the
crew. Some trusses atop the 40-
foot Chapman walls were rotten.
Steel support replacements were
grafted on the trusses, providing
crucial strength and helping
distribute the weight load.
Meanwhile, deficient concrete
lying hidden in some of the
Heritage Core's beams had to
be removed and replaced with
newer, stronger concrete.
In the midst of all these
changes, a team of master
craftspeople - whose talents
include plasterwork, finished
carpentry, stained glass
revitalization and stone masonry
- worked to ensure that the
"new" Heritage Core is as
faithful to its original appearance
as possible. Bock, for one, is
happy with the outcome. "I
think it'll take a very good eye
to recognize any differences," he
Indeed, the big differences
aren't architectural, but
academic, as patrons want to
access and use information in
vastly different ways than the
users of 1925. The Chapman
Learning Commons is wirelessly
enabled, and features 40
computer workstations. There
are also four multimedia
workstations that students can
book to work on digital projects
such as video editing or website
"It's an evolution from
spaces where people come to
find information." says Simon
Neame, coordinator of programs
and services for the Learning
Centre. "Now, they come to
use information in order to
create knowledge." As he notes,
students are now submitting
classwork in all sorts of formats
- not just the obligatory essay.
Neame describes the 5,000-
square-foot Chapman Learning
Commons as a "hub of learning
support" that offers services
such as research and writing
assistance, workshops and more.
"It's a one-stop shop for getting
help and referral," he says.
Academic peer assistants, hired
by UBC Library and Student
Development, staff the Learning
Commons help desk to assist
with inquiries and offer tours.
Collaboration has also
inspired other projects. For
the past three years, Student
Development, the Office of
Learning Technology, the Alma
Mater Society and others have
worked on the LEAP portal
(http://leap.ubc.ca), which
Neame describes as a virtual
learning commons. "As we
develop our online services, it
makes sense to integrate those
into LEAP," he notes. 13 4     I     UBC    REPORTS     |     APRIL    3,    200!
Sauder students market sustainability
to the Facebook generation
Facebook can help you stay
in touch with friends, but
can it help you reduce energy
That's the thrust of a UBC
marketing project that has
caught the attention of B.C.
"We found that many students
lack pretty basic awareness
around saving electricity," says
Aisha Tejani, who recently
placed second in a BC Hydro
Power Smart Innovation
Challenge along with fellow
UBC students Sara Fan, Cici
Gu, Christine Lin. "And social
networking websites can play a
role in filling that gap."
Tejani and her teammates'
winning submission - which
came with a $3,000 prize
- started as a Sauder School
of Business applied marketing
project in one of more than
300 courses at UBC with
sustainability-related content.
Their assignment? To pitch
BC Hydro on a marketing plan
that uses new technologies and
other innovative practices to
help universities and colleges
reduce energy consumption. The
B.C. government has mandated
the province to be energy self-
sufficient by 2016, so crown
corporations are jumping on the
conservation bandwagon.
To collect data, the group
surveyed nearly 100 students
on their conservation awareness
and online habits through focus
groups and random surveys.
The results were surprising, says
Tejani, who moonlights as a hip-
hop deejay.
Although UBC has been
consistently recognized as a
leader in campus sustainability
- it is the first and only Canadian
university to win the World
Wildlife Foundation's Green
Campus award - the team
found that energy conservation
knowledge was relatively low
among undergrads.
"Students know about
switching off lights, computers
and monitors, but it really drops
off after that," said Tejani, who
received advice from the staff
at UBC's Sustainability Office
before creating the focus groups.
According to their research, 70
per cent of students are unaware
that leaving an appliance
such as an unused cell phone
charger plugged into a wall
consumes energy. Sixty per cent
were unaware of the benefits
of energy-efficient compact
fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs).
"The students we spoke
to were hungry for more
information, but said they had
a limited time and attention to
absorb messages," she said.
After crunching the data, the
team recommended that B.C.
Hydro develop an application
that posts "daily conservation
tips" on Facebook and UBC's
Web Course Tools (WebCT)
website, where students
download assignments and
other class content. They
recommended selling CFLs and
other energy-efficient household
items in booths in UBC's Student
Union Building.
"Students said they visit
Facebook and WebCT everyday,
so they present a great
opportunity to get sustainability
messages out to students," she
BC Hydro agreed. "All the
teams developed innovative ideas
that contribute to our goal of
making B.C. a world leader in
energy conservation," said Gail
McBride, BC Hydro's Manager
of Conservation Innovation.
"The solutions proposed can
help build and support the
momentum we need to change
behaviours and help customers
take responsibility for their
energy use."
The provincial energy
provider also liked the team's
proposed residence energy-
conservation contest, in which
UBC's 8,000 students in campus
housing compete to see who can
most reduce their room's energy
consumption. "They thought it
was a great way to form good
habits early, like turning off
power bars and using CFLs,"
says Tejani.
Tejani, who graduates this
May, calls the project one of
the highlights of her education.
"It was just a great project; I
learned a lot," she says. "The
research, the marketing plan, the
presentation to BC Hydro - it
was all great experience."
"Most importantly, it really
improved my awareness on
energy issues and got me excited
about sustainability," adds
Tejani, who for another class
project is working to reduce
energy consumption in Henry
Angus, home of UBC's Sauder
School of Business.
For more information, visit
www.sustain.ubc.ca. 13
Aisha Tejani, left, Christine Lin: students are hungry for more information.
TRIUMF founder influenced a
generation of researchers
Erich Vogt: "rare combination of leadership and intellect.'
Next month, students and
faculty will have an opportunity
to celebrate Prof. Emeritus of
Physics Erich Vogt's lifetime of
achievement at UBC. At the same
time, they will be supporting
a special scholarship fund
established by the Department of
Physics and Astronomy.
"For only one dollar per
year, Erich taught first year
UBC physics students for close
to a quarter of a century," said
Jeff Young, Head of UBC's
Department of Physics and
Astronomy. "Not only has
this been a great deal for the
university, it has helped influence
a generation of research and
innovation across the country
and around the world."
Vogt joined UBC in 1965.
Today, he is regarded as one
of the most distinguished
Canadian Nuclear physicist
of his generation. In 1976 he
founded TRIUMF - Canada's
National Laboratory for Particle
and Nuclear Physics. Today, it
is internationally recognized for
excellence in sub-atomic physics.
When thinking of Vogt,
TRIUMF's current Director
Nigel Lockyer referenced
Newton, 'If I have seen further it
is by standing on the shoulders
of giants.' "Erich is one of
those giants. He embodies
that rare combination of
leadership, intellect and complete
On May 4, Vogt will be
honoured with a day of
celebration at UBC's Hebb
Theatre. The event will also
support summer research
internships for first year
undergraduate Physics students.
Vogt has received numerous
research and teaching awards,
including the Order of British
Columbia, the Order of Canada
and the Medal of Achievement
from the Canadian Association
of Physicists. He has served with
Atomic Energy Canada and
orchestrated the construction of
the first PET imaging instrument
in association with UBC's Physics
Prof. Emeritus Brian Pate.
For more information visit
http://vogt.physics.ubc.ca. 13 UBC    REPORTS     |     APRIL    3,    2008     |    5
UBC Psychiatry Prof, to help lead mental health
collaboration for Vancouver's Downtown Eastside
"Ifyou are not investing in
innovative strategies, you are
not moving forward in solving
the pressing issues of today,"
says Dr. Michael Krausz,
UBC Prof, of Psychiatry and a
Clinician at St. Paul's Hospital.
Krausz brings his international
expertise in concurrent disorders
- the dual diagnosis of mental
illness and drug addiction - to
address the mental health crisis
in Vancouver's Downtown
Eastside. Krausz believes in a
holistic approach to treating
concurrent disorders as well as
a collaborative effort between
health authorities, universities
and government.
Originally from Germany,
Krausz arrived in Vancouver
close to a year ago to accept
the position as Leading Edge
Endowment Fund Chair in
Addictions Research at UBC.
Krausz has recently developed
a proposal for the Government
of British Columbia to create
a new Centre of Excellence
for Addiction and Concurrent
Disorders at UBC.
Later this month, Krausz
will participate with Canada's
Mental Health Commissioner
Senator Michael Kirby at a
special addictions and mental
health conference in Vancouver
which will focus on concurrent
Krausz will also Co-Chair
Collaboration for Change - a
new initiative led by the City of
Vancouver that brings together
community and government
leaders to help improve mental
Micheal Krausz: concurrent disorders require holistic approach.
at the University of Hamburg.
Krausz was instrumental in the
implementation of the German
Methadone Program and the
European Cocaine Project. It was
through this work that he started
to make the connection between
concurrent disorders. He also
found that improved treatment
led to crime reduction.
"What you see is that a high percentage
of individuals are mentally ill and have no
place to live."
health services in the Downtown
Eastside. This collaboration
will also consider opportunities
associated with the $110 million
allocated by the Government of
Canada for special mental health
and homelessness projects across
Widely recognized as a
world authority on addiction
treatment, Krausz has dedicated
his professional life to treating
substance abuse and mental
illness. At the age of 19, he
began training as a pediatric
psychiatric nurse. By the mid
1990s he was leading one of the
world's largest addiction trials
Vancouver's current situation
reminds Krausz of the open drug
scenes that existed in Europe
in the 1980s and 1990s. He
believes Vancouver's situation
poses a greater challenge in that
homelessness is compounded
with substance abuse and mental
"What you see is that a high
percentage of individuals are
mentally ill and have no place
to live," says Krausz. "This has
also led to higher mortality rates.
In this population, persons are
dying two decades earlier due to
suicide, overdoses and HIV/
He was drawn to UBC when
the problems of Vancouver's
Downtown Eastside were
brought to his attention with
the implementation of the North
American Opiate Medication
Initiative - a clinical trial that
tests whether heroin-assisted
therapy or methadone therapy is
better for improving the health
and quality of life of longtime opiate users. Vancouver
and Montreal are the study
sites chosen because they have
the largest heroin-addicted
populations in Canada.
He views Vancouver as an
open-minded city that is looking
for innovative strategies which
go beyond the NAOMI trial
and the In-Site program - North
America's first legal safe injection
Krausz believes that Vancouver
has two years to show the world
that it can be a laboratory of
solutions and innovative drug
treatments. "Our success will
be measured by the availability
of a broad range of treatments
and the number of affected
individuals who have access to
these treatments," says Krausz.
"Addressing these social issues
could be the real legacy of the
2010 games." 13
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Master of Public Health
HUNTLEY continued from page 1
The proximity of deadly
weapons, along with the "Star
Wars" defense plans of then
U.S. President Ronald Reagan,
spurred Huntley to begin reading
up on the nuclear threat - at a
time, he observes wryly, when
most of his friends "were more
focused on getting dates with
girls or playing baseball."
Huntley worries that we
still live in a world where, "the
strong do what they may and
the weak do what they must."
But leavening his realism is a
stronger faith, he says, that an
emerging "pan-human ethical
standard" is taking form, where
nations will gradually evolve
away from the rule of power
toward the rule of principle.
Huntley says he envisions a
day when children will be able
to grow up without fear of being
blown up - by either the largest
or the smallest of the world's
weapons. In such a framework,
global governance will have the
means to protect human rights,
viewing human security from
the perspective of the individual
instead of the state.
"I can imagine a world where
the rule of principle has more
sway, in which peace means
much more than just stable
nuclear deterrence." 13
Do you want to improve the health of people and
communities around the world?
The Master of Public Health degree program will produce public
health professionals with integrated knowledge and skills in
epidemiology, biostatistics, social, biological and environmental
determinants of heath, population health, global health, disease
prevention, and health systems management with skill-based
learning in a practicum setting. Globally, the Master of Public
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Now accepting applications until April 30,2008 for entry in
September 2008.
For more information call 604-827-4026, or visit
www.mph.healthcare.ubc.ca 6     |     UBC    REPORTS     |     APRIL    3,    200!
UBC Department of Physics and Astronomy presents:
Phenomenal Physics Summer Camps
July 7 ■ July 25, 2008
Learn physics concepts through hands on FUN!!!
Camps available for Grades 2-4, 4-6, 5-7, and 8-10 students
For more information, or to register, visit our website:
Questions? Email us at camps@phas.ubc.ca
St. Mark's is preparing to celebrate its 50™Anniversary
and events are planned for June 7™, 2008 to mark
the occasion.
Did you live at St Mark's? Did you study here?
Are you in this picture? Do you know others who
were associated with St. Mark's? Please spread the
word - to everyone you know. Send us your contact
information and that of any other alums so we can
send details. In the meantime SAVE the DATE. It will
be a great opportunity to reconnect with old
friends and meet new ones.
Send contact information to
or phone us at 604-822-6862
We want everyone to come back!!
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Situated on campus at:
The Media Group
Woodward IRC Building, Rm B32
2194 Health Sciences Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T1Z3
Email: mediagrp@interchange.ubc.ca
T: (604) 822-5561
F: (604) 822-2004
Seniors on the internet: UBC Okanagan students offer in-home training.
Walk on the wired side could
end isolation for seniors
Connecting to the World Wide
Web could ease the isolation
felt by many seniors who lack
meaningful social interaction in
their lives. And for those needing
a little help getting online, UBC
Okanagan students are showing
the way.
"Isolation is one of the top
issues for seniors," says Mary
Ann Murphy, who holds a cross-
appointment on aging as Assoc.
Prof, of Sociology and Social
Work at UBC Okanagan. "We
hope connecting isolated seniors
to a 'virtual' or real community
of friends or family will have
the effect of helping the person
to stay attached to the world
via, for example, enhanced
communication or relationship
Social isolation may contribute
to depression, grief, stress,
anxiety, alcohol and medication
misuse, a failure to seek help
when it's needed, and an
extremely high elder suicide rate
— particularly among older men,
Murphy says.
In a pilot project this spring,
Murphy and students from
her Sociology 480: Aging,
Diversity and Inequality class
are working with the UBC
Okanagan Learning Exchange
and Kelowna's Seniors Outreach
Services Society to provide in-
home basic computer training
to a small group of homebound
seniors in the region.
During five one-on-one visits
by students with laptops, seniors
are getting to know the personal
computer and specific Internet
applications. After just two
visits, Kelowna senior Catherine
Palmer says she is ready to learn
a lot more about computers and
hopes to connect online with
friends in Ontario and other
parts of the country.
"I have no family, except my
son," says Palmer, who moved
from Toronto nearly two decades
ago, retired in 1997, and no
longer drives. "Keeping in touch
with friends is really important,
especially when you don't have
family around. You learn that as
you get older."
Because she is able to walk
to her local bus stop, Palmer
says, she is not as isolated as
some seniors. "But winter is
very isolating - even walking
to the bus in winter is a scary
situation," she says. "It would be
nice to have contact with people
when I can't go out — if I can
learn to get on the Internet."
The visits are giving seniors
new tech skills, while students
are learning about sharing their
time and knowledge "and a little
patience," points out student
Haley Oliver.
"How do you teach someone
to use a mouse?" says Oliver.
"It feels innate to me, but it's an
entirely new skill for a senior
using a mouse for the first time.
Showing someone who has never
used a computer how to use one
has given me a little bit more
The project is a powerful
community service learning
opportunity for students, and it's
helping a local agency re-engage
isolated seniors in community
life, says Phil Bond, manager of
the UBC Okanagan Learning
"Students are also researching
emerging trends in technology
used to combat seniors' isolation
- social networks, for example,"
he says. "As well, they're
identifying available funding
opportunities, donor, rental or
lease options for laptop and
desktop computers for seniors."
Student Tiffany Pang is
involved in this research. "Most
of my prior experience with
seniors was in nursing homes
and with my grandparents,
who are very active," Pang says.
"I think the project is a great
way to help alleviate seniors'
isolation because not only will
it allow seniors to keep in touch
with their families and friends,
it will provide them with the
opportunity to expand their
social networks even if they're
unable to leave their homes."
The Learning Exchange will
host a public discussion once the
student visits are complete this
spring. "We'll reflect on what
surprised us, where we grew, and
what assumptions and beliefs
have been challenged," says
"I hope the experience of the
students blasts a pre-conceived
myth that seniors are afraid to
use computers," says Professor
Murphy. "The research tells
us that computer literacy has
more to do with exposure
than age. And we hope to have
the students observe some
of the issues in adapting this
technology to this population."
The Okanagan has one of
Canada's oldest populations,
says Murphy, citing the large
number of retirees moving to the
"One future challenge is
meeting the needs of those in-
migrants who come here leaving
kin behind and then encounter a
physical challenge that restricts
their ability to get out as often as
they would desire," she says.
"A lot of senior couples move
here to retire together," says Vi
Sorenson, Executive Director
of Seniors Outreach. "If one of
them develops a major health
problem or passes away, the
retirement they thought they'd
have together just doesn't
happen that way."
Sorenson says some simple
things — such as being able to
see online photo albums from
far-away family members — can
make a real difference in the lives
of isolated seniors.
"They get to see the kids
growing up, and something like
that really connects them to
their families," she says. "We
see this as a way to help more
homebound people - it gives
them a window to the world. It's
endless what it could bring to
their lives." 13 UBC    REPORTS     |     APRIL    3,    2008     |     7
St. John's College
UBC Guest
s * (       Accommodation
St. John's College extends an
invitation to visitors to UBC to stay
in our quiet, comfortable, and
well-appointed guest rooms.
Available year-round, guest rooms
are furnished with a double or
queen bed, private washroom,
telephone, television, coffee
maker, bar fridge and internet
Dining with College residents in our
spacious Dining Hall is an integral part
of the life of the College, and meals
are included in the guest room fees.
For further information or to make a reservation, contact us by
phone at 604-822-6522, or by e-mail: sjc.reception@ubc.ca
David Sweet owes his forensic dentistry career to organ donors.
Forensic expert gets two
extra chances at life -
now that's Sweet
It was news around the globe
when Robert William Pickton
was found guilty on six counts
of second-degree murder on Dec
9, 2007.
Many people were aware
that UBC forensic odontologist
David Sweet played a key role in
identifying the victims. But what
few realize is that Sweet had the
energy, capacity and desire to
participate in the largest serial
killer investigation in Canadian
history thanks to the exceptional
generosity of two individuals.
Sweet is internationally
renowned for his innovative
forensic dentistry techniques.
Over the course of his career, he
developed a computer program
to examine the biting edges of
teeth; a method to retrieve saliva
from skin without contamination
from the skin's DNA (known
as "Sweet Swabbing"), and
a technique to extract DNA
from teeth and bones. The
international forensic community
has accepted his methods
as the benchmark for their
Yet, for all these
accomplishments, Sweet has
also had to spend most of his
life being fastidiously attentive
to diet, exercise and medication.
Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes
at the age of 10, he was warned
that he could lose his kidneys
and his eyesight if he was not
careful. For Sweet, a missed meal
or too little sleep always held the
potential for disaster.
A career as a world-
leading forensic expert while
simultaneously micromanaging
his health eventually took its toll.
"When renal complications set
in 9 years ago, I was put on the
kidney-pancreas transplant list,"
Sweet recalls. "After a period
of waiting, I received a phone
call from the B.C. Transplant
Society one Sunday in 2001. An
operation and 13 hours later I
was no longer a diabetic."
It was shortly after his
transplant that Sweet and his
lab — the UBC Bureau of Legal
Dentistry (BOLD) in the Faculty
of Dentistry — became involved
with the Robert Pickton case.
"After the transplant, I felt I
could do anything. I was up
before the alarm every morning.
Truly, it was a rebirth."
Sweet's lab processed more
than 550 items related to the
Pickton case. BOLD used his
process of pulverizing tooth
and bones to powder to
extract DNA. Asked by Crown
Prosecutor Mike Petrie on the
opening day of the trial if it was
partly due to Sweet's work that
the six victims in the case could
be identified, Sweet replied:
When Sweet's first
transplanted kidney failed in
2003 and had to be removed,
an old friend from dental school
days didn't hesitate to give Sweet
one of his own kidneys. Not
long after this second transplant
the 2004 tsunami devastated
Southeast Asia. "From early
January 2005 after the tsunami,
I worked 239 days in a row on
the disaster victim identification
response for Canada," says
Sweet has also since been
appointed chief scientist
with the Interpol Disaster
Victim Identification Standing
Committee, which responds to
disasters such as earthquakes
and plane crashes.
"These unbelievable gifts
have affected me very deeply,"
Sweet says, "and have given
me much more than just a
healthy body. I am stronger and
healthier than I have ever been.
My accomplishments would not
have been possible without the
generosity of my donors."
April 22-28 is National Organ
and Tissue Donor Awareness
Week. Potential donors can
register online at:
bcts.asp 13
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internet. Natural wood and stone, king beds with luxury linens,
conveniently located on campus.
All new. Right here.
West Coast Suites
at The University of British Columbia
Reservations 604.822.1000 Toll Free 1.888.822.1030 I     UBC    REPORTS     |     APRIL    3,    200!
For over 30 years, UBC Faculty
Members have been maximizing
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