IUPUI professor helps PBS series ‘Mercy Street’ accurately portray Civil War hospital drama

Like millions of other viewers, English professor Jane Schultz couldn’t wait to watch the second season of “Mercy Street,” the PBS Civil War-era hospital drama, beginning Jan. 22.

Inspired by real events in Alexandria, Virginia, and based on diaries and letters of hospital staff, the series has the ring of authority. As one of four full-time advisors to “Mercy Street,” Schultz, a literary scholar and cultural historian who has spent nearly 30 years revealing the world of Civil War hospitals and medicine, contributes her extensive knowledge of that period to make it so.

“Mercy Street” is PBS’s first original drama in more than a decade. Nearly 6 million viewers watched the first season’s premiere a year ago.

The series’ producers invited Schultz to come to Richmond, Virginia, where “Mercy Street” hospital scenes are shot. She spent a week and a half last June watching scenes for the second season being filmed in an old girls school that serves as the show’s Mansion House Hospital.

She not only watched, but joined the cast as an extra for one scene.

Jane Schultz in period costume

Jane Schultz in period costume

If the scene isn’t cut, viewers will see Schultz for about 15 seconds in the background, talking to a patient in a wheelchair and then walking away from him.

While the scene is only seconds long, it took three hours for her to be dressed in a corset and hoop skirt and have her hair and makeup done.

Schultz plans to write about the insights that experience gave her into the position of women in the 19th century for the series’ blog. “It gave me a new insight by walking in their shoes, quite literally,” she said. Read more…

A welcoming campus in historic Melaka, Malaysia

UTeM rolled out the red carpet for the IUPUI delegation’s visit

UTeM rolled out the red carpet for the IUPUI delegation’s visit.

By Becky Wood, Assistant to the Chancellor for Communications:

UTeM students outside of the Chancellery Building greet the IUPUI delegation with a traditional Malaysian greeting.

UTeM students outside of the Chancellery Building greet the IUPUI delegation with a traditional Malaysian greeting.

Although business in the United States took David Russomanno, dean of the School of Engineering and Techology, back to the United States, the last day for the rest of the IUPUI delegation was truly remarkable. We traveled to the University Technical Malaysia Melaka, known as UTeM, and Chancellor Nasser Paydar was surprised and pleased to be greeted with his likeness at the campus gateway.

Following that first surprise, the delegation enjoyed a traditional greeting called silat and gamelan — martial arts and musical performances, respectively — presented by UTeM students with the support of staff.

A man looks at the Durian fruit

Durian, the king of fruit.

Tan Sri Tajuddin, pro vice chancellor of Universiti Tenaga Nasional, and professor Datuk Dr. Shahrin Bin Sahib, vice chancellor of UTeM, greeted the delegation and shared regional history as well as an overview of the UTeM campus. The visit to UTeM was particularly special because Professor Datuk Dr. Shahrin graduated with honors from IUPUI in 1987 through the UTM/MUCIA program and served as student speaker during commencement exercises. A graduate of distinction, Datuk Dr. Shahrin is the youngest person ever to serve as vice chancellor of a polytechnic university in Malaysia.

Prompted by a conversation at lunch, upon their return to Kuala Lumpur, the group stopped at a tropical fruit stand for a culinary adventure. According to our UTeM hosts, a visit to Malaysia isn’t complete without sampling durian, the king of fruits. This pungent tropical fruit grows abundantly in Malaysia. The smell of durian distinguishes it from all other fruits. To some noses, it’s rotting garbage, to others blue cheese. The texture is soft custard.

Chancellor Paydar wears gloves while handling the durian

For some, durian requires protective clothing.

Our advisors suggested we wear gloves before we touched it. Hmmm … we needed to wear gloves to pick up something we were putting in our mouths? That gave some delegation members pause.

After a debriefing session in Kuala Lumpur, delegation members prepared for their departures, though Paydar made a last-minute stop at Petronas Towers.

All told, the trip was very productive, creating positive lines for progress in IUPUI’s longstanding partnership with Malaysian universities.

IUPUI delegation begins day with Ministry of Education meeting and ends day with a work of art on a plate

The IUPUI delegation with the Ministry of Education Community College Division

With arms across their chests, the IUPUI delegation joins colleagues at the Ministry of Education Community College Division in signaling the ministry’s “soaring upward” goal.

By Becky Wood, Assistant to the Chancellor for Communications:

Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017

Chancellor Paydar with Professor Datuk Dr. Asma Ismail, and Dato’ Sri Mohammed Shazalli Ramly.

Chancellor Paydar with Professor Datuk Dr. Asma Ismail, and Dato’ Sri Mohammed Shazalli Ramly.

Did a little rain in the afternoon dampen the spirits of the IUPUI delegation in Malaysia? Not one bit. From the morning at the Ministry of Education Community College Division to the afternoon with Datuk Professor Asma Ismail, vice chancellor at Universiti Sains Malaysia, to the evening with the Yong family, the IUPUI delegation took the rain in stride.

The first meeting took place at the Ministry of Education in Putrajaya. If you are trying to envision the city, imagine if Washington, D.C., had been built about 20 years ago, so you have buildings that reflect the dignity and solidity of those in D.C. but with modern twists. The meeting was a productive exchange of ideas about the future of IUPUI partnerships in Malaysia, with a specific focus on engineering and technology graduates and online education.

Chancellor Paydar with Wae Yong

Chancellor Paydar has a chance to spend time with Wae Yong, another of his former students from Malaysia.

Later in the day, members of the delegation met with professor Datuk Asma. In addition to her position as vice chancellor of USM, she serves as president of the Malaysian National Academy of Sciences. Datuk Asma graduated from Indiana University in the 1980s, and in her role as vice chancellor, she is exploring opportunities for partnerships, including post-doc exchanges and collaborative programs in multiple disciplines.

At the start of the meeting, we were fortunate that Dato’ Sri Mohammed Shazalli Ramly happened to be in the same meeting location, and he joined us briefly for a quick chat. Shazalli graduated from IU in the 1980s as well, and now he serves as regional CEO (Southeast Asia region) with Axiata, one of Asia’s largest telecommunications groups.

Good-looking food artistically plated.

A work of art on a plate at Fukuda Japanese restaurant.

This evening the IUPUI delegation hosted the Yong family at Fukuya Restaurant. Fukuya, which translates into “house of happiness,” lived up to its name. With breathtaking presentations, each dish deserved a pedestal and a prize spot in an exhibition of food.

After pausing to admire, we dug right in. The conversation was especially lively, ranging from the delicate process of making homemade rice wine to qualities of the best Cuban cigars to fuzzy logic. Punctuation marks throughout the evening: laughter from everyone at the table.

The IUPUI delegation with the Yong family.

The Yong family joins members of the IUPUI delegation for an evening to thank the family for all that they have done and to congratulate the Yong children on their history as IUPUI Jaguars. Go Jags!

IUPUI delegation to Malaysia meets with IUPUI, IU Bloomington alumni

Post by Becky Wood, Assistant to the Chancellor for Communications:

Monday evening found the IUPUI delegation to Malaysia at the beautiful Royale Chulan Hotel. A curving, wide marble staircase took us to the second floor where 25-30 alumni from IUPUI and IU Bloomington welcomed us to an incredible evening of memories, laughter and conversation. It was a little bit of the Hoosier state right here in Kuala Lumpur, and we were grateful to be embraced so warmly by the Malaysia Chapter of the IU Alumni Association.

We would like to extend our thanks to everyone who attended, but special thanks go to Roslan Shafei, president of the Malaysian Chapter of the IUAA, and to Mien Dee Yong, who did so much to make this evening a warm and inviting reminder of our alma mater.

Read more…

IUPUI delegation visits UNITEN, a long-time educational partner

Post by Becky Wood, Assistant to the Chancellor for Communications:

Monday, Jan. 16, 2016

Picture this: traffic at a standstill in one direction, and barely tapping the brakes going the other. This was the road to Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN) this morning, and the IUPUI delegation was traveling the right direction, barely needing the brakes on the way to UNITEN. When Chancellor Paydar first visited the campus in the mid 1990s, it had only one building. It appeared little changed on this visit. But the rest of the campus has unfolded like a beautiful flower. In fact, one colleague there mentioned that they had modeled the architecture on buildings at IUPUI

Dr. Kumaran Palanisamy laughs with IUPUI Chancellor Nasser Payday and delegation.

Dr. Kumaran Palanisamy, a former student of Chancellor Paydar, shares a laugh with the IUPUI delegation during the visit to UNITEN.

A surprise to some, this statement finds its roots in the partnership between UNITEN and IUPUI that dates back to UNITEN’s earliest days as a campus. IUPUI helped shape curriculum there, has hosted hundreds of UNITEN students over the years, and has advised on information technology infrastructure. In fact, Dr. Ali Jafari, who helped build the UNITEN’s first network infrastructure, said he knows where everything is hidden on their campus.

One of the highlights of the visit was an impromptu reunion between Chancellor Paydar and his former student Kumaran Palanisamy, who is now an associate professor and Director of the Institute of Sustainable Energy at UNITEN, similar to the Richard G. Lugar Center for Renewable Energy at IUPUI. The chancellor joked that he had brought some of Kumaran’s old tests to share and discuss.

Read more…

IUPUI delegation begins visit in Malaysia

IUPUI delegation and Yong family

Members of the Yong family with the IUPUI delegation only moments after they exit from the 2+ mile tram ride up the mountain.

Post by Becky Wood, Assistant to the Chancellor for Communications:

Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017

After traveling for up to 33 hours and over 11,000 miles, the IUPUI delegation to Malaysia arrived in Kuala Lumpur to begin visits with Malaysian universities, IUPUI alumni and future Jaguars.

The goals:

  • To strengthen existing partnerships and forge foundations for new ones
  • To recognize the success of our outstanding IUPUI alumni in Malaysia
IUPUI delegation seated for a meal

The Yong family prepared a remarkable meal for the IUPUI delegation at their home in the Genting Highlands.

Delegation members:

  • Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar
  • Dean David Russomanno, School of Engineering and Technology
  • Assistant Vice Chancellor Gil Latz, Office of International Affairs
  • Professor Ali Jafari, School of Engineering and Technology
  • Tim Diemer, Director of International Services in the School of Engineering and Technology
  • Becky Wood, Assistant to the Chancellor for Communications

The Yong family graciously hosted the delegation for afternoon brunch and an outing in the Genting Highlands. The Yong’s three children — Tzen Wae, Sien Wae and Mien Dee — all graduated from IUPUI. Tzen Wae and Sien Wae studied in the School of Engineering and Technology; Mien Dee studied finance in at Kelley Indy and went on for her master’s in management information systems at Kelley in Bloomington. Mien Dee shared her excitement about receiving an IU Tried and True mailing from the Alumni Association.

Read more…

Solution to growing number of older motorists dying in motor vehicle accidents: Self-driving vehicles

To address the increasing numbers of older motorists dying in motor vehicle accidents, a public health expert at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis has a high-tech solution: hands-free driving.

A study looking at deaths resulting from right-angle motor vehicle crashes shows the elderly are at an extreme survival disadvantage compared to their younger counterparts, said Timothy D. McFarlane, a visiting lecturer in epidemiology.

An earlier study of head-on collisions reached the same conclusion.

“Our findings suggest that, because of the growing elderly population, we will see an increase in the number of elderly deaths due to motor vehicle crashes,” McFarlane said.

Read more…

Jennifer Bute has unique opportunity to help shape food allergy research

Since last August, Jennifer Bute, a health communication expert in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, has had a seat on a new national board that was formed to help Food Allergy Research and Education prioritize its research initiatives. FARE is the leading U.S. organization dedicated to advocacy for research and education about life-threatening food allergies.

Jennifer Bute

Jennifer Bute

Bute was one of about 40 researchers, patients and caregivers selected by the organization to serve for two years on its Outcomes Research Advisory Board.

She brought her expertise as an associate professor of communication studies to the post. She also brought the concerns of a mom of a 6-year-old boy who has a life-threatening allergy to peanuts and tree nuts.

She has the opportunity to work with other members of the advisory board to inform and help develop a patient-centered research agenda related to food allergy diagnosis, management strategies, therapeutic options and disparities in care among some minority populations.

There are 15 million Americans with food allergies, including those at risk for life-threatening anaphylaxis. This potentially deadly condition affects 1 in every 13 children in the United States.

Since being appointed to the board, Bute and fellow board members have been working to prioritize what they think are some of the most pressing research needs.

For Bute, two food allergy-related concerns head the list.

“The first is the diagnosis of a food allergy, which is confusing and frustrating,” she said. “The testing that currently exists for food allergies has a 50 to 60 percent false-positive rate, which means that people are often told they have food allergies they don’t have.”

Read more…

IUPUI student joins Indiana Bicentennial Torch on inspirational odyssey

By Rich Schneider, IU Communications Specialist:

The Indiana Bicentennial Torch traveled more than 3,000 miles as it completed a five-week journey across Indiana, leaving thousands of Hoosiers inspired by one of the major commemorative events of the state’s 2016 bicentennial celebration.

And for one week, Sari Swinehart, a School of Physical Education, Tourism and Event Management student at IUPUI, got to play a unique role in that inspirational odyssey.

Swinehart was one of six tourism and event management students who assisted with Torch Relay logistics. The assignment stemmed from a discussion between the school and the state’s tourism office about partnering for the bicentennial event. Five undergraduate students each spent a week traveling with the torch, while one graduate student spent all five weeks assisting with the Torch Relay logistics.

Read more…

What attracts non-wealthy voters to Donald Trump?

By Rich Schneider, IU Communications Specialist:

Count Amanda Friesen, an assistant professor of political science in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, among those who wondered why working-class voters of modest means support billionaire Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump.

After all, these supporters generally fared the worst in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and the Great Recession. So what was the attraction to a man of wealth, privilege and a Wharton degree?

Friesen, in a recent interview and a blog post, turned to her research to explain why.

Her theory is: It’s not Trump’s wealth so much as the way he uses it.

Friesen and a colleague, Matthew Hibbing, recently published an article that explores the relationship between personal money attitudes and government spending.

Amanda Friesen

Amanda Friesen

“You hear all the time the idea that government should be run like a business,” she said. “If I can balance my household budget, why can’t the government? I discovered people don’t seem to connect how they think about money with their belief about how government should think about money. In other words, there are frugal liberals and frugal conservatives.”

She also looked at questions related to how people feel about material things. Participants indicated the extent to which they agreed with statements such as “Buying things gives me a lot of pleasure” and answered whether they put more emphasis on material things “than most people I know.”

“Our research found if a person looks at material items — be they cars, houses, clothes, jewelry — as central to their sense of self, they are less in favor of distributing wealth through political policies favored by liberals,” Friesen said. “That suggests their attitude is “Because things are central to who I am, I don’t want to give up any more money in taxes, because I want to buy things.”

Read more…