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Why Did Poe Write, ‘Quoth the Raven, Nevermore’?

Thu, 2014-10-30 16:52
Anne E. Bromley

University of Virginia English professor Jerome McGann illuminates Edgar Allan Poe’s well-known, spooky poem, “The Raven,” and others in his new book, “The Poet Edgar Allan Poe: Alien Angel,” published just in time for Halloween by Harvard University Press.

Poe, the celebrated author of some of the earliest American horror stories and mysteries, attended the University in 1826. He worked on his creative writing at the time, although he didn’t publish anything until the next year.

In Poe’s 18-stanza poem, “The Raven,” the line, “Quoth the Raven, Nevermore,” comes in toward the middle and gets repeated, or the word “nevermore” gets repeated, in the subsequent stanzas. McGann, University Professor and John Stewart Bryan Professor of Literature, said “nevermore” and “evermore,” which Poe also uses in the poem, capture the writer’s most important idea about poetry as “mournful and never-ending remembrance.”

Alas, Poe’s oft-repeated theme emphasizes the importance of memory, because life consists of continuous loss. Poe uses “evermore” because loss will always be part of life; “nevermore,” because we can never hold onto what we have or who we love, McGann said.

Sarah Helen Whitman, a friend and love interest of Poe’s, for whom he wrote two poems, both titled, “To Helen,” said of the brilliant yet troubled writer, “He seemed haunted by the idea that he was never able to do justice to the dead,” according to McGann.

Poe’s poetry, like his stories, might not be uplifting, but McGann in his book makes a case for him being one of most important early American poets.

Unlike Poe’s stories, his poetry and ideas about poetics were not appreciated in his time and fell out of favor with American scholars in the 20th century. McGann seeks to redeem Poe’s verse and show why European and especially French writers admired his style.

American scholars have failed to understand Poe’s insistence on oratorical performance – that poetry should be interpreted by reading it aloud and hearing it read, McGann said. Poetry’s roots in oral tradition especially declined in the 20th century.

“That’s the heart of his theory. ... Poetry is fundamentally a musical event using language as the instrument,” he said.

McGann, a pioneer in digital humanities and a member of the American Philosophical Society, said he has taught many classes on poetry and insists his students learn about recitation as a way to interpret poems.

So take a look at “The Raven” on the Raven Society’s website and try reciting it out loud.

“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary ... Quoth the Raven, Nevermore.”

U.Va. Architecture Professor Shares Memories of Berlin Wall’s Fall

Thu, 2014-10-30 16:41
Robert Hull

One week after the Berlin Wall fell on Nov. 9, 1989, Karen Van Lengen arrived in Berlin to present what would become her winning entry in a design competition for the Berlin Public Library.

The friend’s apartment where she was staying offered her an angle on the aftermath of the historic event that few people would ever have, allowing Van Lengen to film the celebrations that occurred immediately after the wall fell.

As part of next week’s Berlin Wall Symposium at the University of Virginia, Van Lengen, Kenan Professor of Architecture at U.Va. and former dean of the School of Architecture, will combine this trove of her footage – never before shown in public – with a collection of rare artifacts, to tell her personal story of a land celebrating its new freedom. The presentation will take place Tuesday at 5 p.m. in Campbell Hall, room 153.

The symposium will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with lectures, panel discussions, theatrical and dance performances, art projects, film screenings and photography exhibits.

Van Lengen will also offer insight into her experience as one of only two American judges (along with celebrated architect Richard Meier) to judge the 1993 Spreebogen Competition in Berlin, an event architects recall as one of the most important architectural competitions of the 20th century, she said. There, the jury selected the planning design for the unified Germany’s new government center following the capital’s move from Bonn to Berlin.

In a place that for decades had been defined by two distinct sides – east and west − some of Van Lengen’s strongest memories of the fall of the Berlin Wall are found in the middle.

“In those early months, the wall was still up,” she said. “People came to chip away at it from both sides. Everyone wanted a piece of the wall, especially the Western side where so much graffiti had decorated the wall for years.”  

The Berlin Wall was actually two walls with a dangerous space between them. The space was marked by East German guard towers that had continuously watched for East Berlin escapees, who would be shot should they try to cross.

After the historic fall on Nov. 9, “Holes began to emerge, and small windows into the interior space began to reveal the inner terror of the walled space,” Van Lengen said.

The walls came down in sections. First, one wall was taken way, and Van Lengen could see the landscape to the other side.  As the wall was being dismantled, Van Lengen would watch as people were being allowed to walk through the once heavily guarded areas.

“This was an enormously psychological space, because just six months before, the wall had been one of the most dangerous places in the world,” she said. “You would have been shot down in a minute.

“Now, suddenly, you were walking freely there in the inner landscape as if it were a park. That was a very strange emotion, watching people cross back and forth with ease.”

Mixed in with those emotions for Van Lengen are the kinds of sensory memories that come from being on the front lines of history. Returning to Berlin nearly every month to work on the Berlin Library planning, while staying in one of the few remaining buildings standing in the shadow of the Berlin Wall, Van Lengen did more than just watch history. She heard it. And she felt it.

Her nights were filled with the sounds of people chipping away at the wall.

“All those towers that once had the East German guards in them, they were starting to be dismantled, and you could see over the wall. You could see the other side. And every night, I could hear the ‘tick, tick tick’ of someone chipping away at the wall.”

Van Lengen began to gather her own remembrances. For her, collecting small colored chips from the remains of the wall was like finding gold that she felt would eventually be completely gone.

“I would find these chips that had color in them, that had been graffiti,” she said. “And even at the end, when the wall was almost gone, every once in a while, I would see a little chip of color and pick it up. I became aware through this process that history was not only being made, but that it was now progressing.”

Van Lengen had a front-row seat to some of the progress being made at that time when she was one of the jurors on the competition to design Germany’s unified government center.

“I had the opportunity to listen to the federal government jurors and the local jurors from the city government, along with international architects, discuss what should represent a unified Germany,” she said. “That was fascinating, and it was an enormous privilege to be a part of it.”

When all the guard towers were dismantled, Berlin set out to quickly erase its past – connecting streets, neighborhoods and sidewalks from opposite sides. As she had been acutely aware of the wall’s presence, Van Lengen began to contemplate its absence.

“I watched the way history was going to try and erase this particular dominant structure,” she said. “There is almost nothing left of the Berlin Wall anymore. Whenever they could, they tried to paint it over and unify it so that it was no longer there. They were very fast in wanting to do that.

“It is even difficult to imagine today what that walled condition was like.”

Up-Close Learning, From a Distance: U.Va., Swedish Nursing Students Compare Notes

Thu, 2014-10-30 16:27
Christine Phelan Kueter

What’s it like living in a society with socialized medicine? Why do Swedish clinicians dress at work, and not at home? Are American and European medical record-keeping systems at all alike? Do Swedish students shoulder student loan burden like their American counterparts?

Those were some of the questions lobbed between a class of University of Virginia nursing students and their counterparts at Lund University, located in southern Sweden, in a recent virtual exchange that’s a regular part of a core nursing course, “Foundations of Nursing.” Through the course, students engage in a collaborative learning exercise on a key topic and expand that exercise into other areas of curiosity about nursing student life or the health care system in another country.

The aim of the exchange, said nursing professor Elizabeth Friberg, U.Va.’s faculty liaison with Lund University, is to boost cultural competency and offer students and their professors a glimpse of nursing and health care systems from both sides of the ocean in a faculty and student learning collaboration. It’s also a chance for American students to better understand socialized medicine and education, and note differences and similarities in nursing protocol here and abroad.

“There are many health issues in the world that we all share,” she said, “and by collaborating, we expand on our shared understanding – and solutions.”

Friberg divides the American students into small groups and encourages email exchanges prior to their video conference-like sessions. Discussions are held in English, and each group asks pertinent care and practice questions, listening to and documenting the answers received from their cross-ocean counterparts. The actual virtual exchange takes place over three days each fall, but the orientation, preparation and follow-up reflection occurs over four weeks.

“We talk a lot about cultural competency, which is especially important right now with our population being as diverse as it is,” Claire O’Friel, a second-year U.Va. nursing student, said. “When you hear how other countries handle issues, it makes you feel good about what you’re doing” because it reinforces the standards of care.

It also offers lessons in what innovations might be instituted stateside.

“There, nurses wear no jewelry at all,” second-year student Ashley Belfort said, “and here, we keep ours to a minimum, and keep our nails unpolished and cut short, which they do, too. But they get dressed at work in hospital-laundered scrubs, and with hospital-disinfected shoes” for purposes of infection control. “I think that makes a lot of sense.”

The experience also whet Belfort’s appetite for travel. The Fairfax native is making plans to study abroad for a semester in Denmark during her fourth year.

Becker’s Hospital Review Honors U.Va. Orthopaedics

Thu, 2014-10-30 16:23

Becker’s Hospital Review recognized the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Virginia Medical Center on its 2014 list of “125 Hospitals and Health Systems with Great Orthopedic Programs.”

According to the national health care publication, programs named to its list “have earned considerable recognition,” including from other third-party ratings groups.

“Exceptional orthopedic departments often include physicians who provide outstanding patient care, advance cutting-edge orthopedic research and treat professional athletes,” Becker’s noted.

In its recognition of U.Va., Becker’s highlighted the comprehensive care available from U.Va.’s surgeons. U.Va.’s orthopedic specialty care includes hip and knee replacement, foot and ankle surgery, hand and upper extremity surgery, oncology, orthotics and prosthetics, pediatrics, spine surgery, sports medicine and trauma.

U.Va. Orthopaedics, Becker’s said, takes on “some of the most severe orthopedic cases in Central Virginia,” while also advancing the field of orthopedics through research.

“This is a wonderful honor for our faculty and our partners from across U.Va. Medical Center and U.Va. Health System who work diligently to provide excellent care and service to patients from throughout Virginia and beyond,” said Dr. Bobby Chhabra, who chairs U.Va.’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Hospitals cannot pay for inclusion on the listing. Becker’s Hospital Review lists the 125 programs in alphabetical order and does not rank them.

Hidden in the Margins: U.Va. Project Saves Unique Pages of the Past

Thu, 2014-10-30 15:02
Anne E. Bromley

University of Virginia English professor Andrew Stauffer found an unexpected tale of lost love penciled in the margins of an 1891 edition of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Poems and Ballads” that was sitting on the shelf of U.Va.’s Alderman Library.

“Our readings together were in this book,” wrote a woman named Jane Chapman Slaughter in a blank front page, “ere you went to your life of work and sacrifice, and I remained to my life of infinite yearning for your presence, the sound of your voice; a yearning never to be satisfied in this world or the next.”

In the book, Slaughter addressed John Adamson, its first owner, who sounds like the love of her life from several notes she made in the margins. Evidently he left for Liberia in 1900 to do mission work and never returned.

Slaughter received her Ph.D. from the University in Romance languages, one of the first women to do so, Stauffer said. Her papers were donated to the U.Va. Library after her death, but this book ended up in the stacks, although most of the papers are housed in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.

Many library books hold more than the printed words that go with the title. They may contain well-known or historical signatures, drawings, pressed flowers, coin rubbings and other memorabilia. They might not have been checked out for a long time, because of their age or condition, yet each one is unique.

Now Stauffer is using the Internet and a crowd-sourced project, “Book Traces,” to preserve this hidden literary life of the 19th century before many older volumes get moved off of academic library shelves.

“We’re connecting the old technology of the book – history and bibliography – with the new technology,” said Stauffer, who also directs another online Web-based project, Networked Infrastructure for 19th-Century Electronic Scholarship, or NINES, sponsor of Book Traces.

The volumes in the Book Traces project – pre-copyright books published before 1923 – do not qualify as rare and fit for special collections, and are considered damaged because of their marginalia, he said. Most are in poor shape due to the industrial printing practices and materials employed at the time of their publication, such as acidic paper. Their unique attributes cannot be located by any electronic catalog. Each book has to be opened and examined.

“We haven’t looked for the marginalia yet; we don’t know what’s out there in the stacks,” Stauffer said. “The marginalia has essentially been invisible, and Book Traces is an attempt to discover what’s out there, catalog it and use it to learn more about the past.”  

Stauffer considers the project an “intervention” to retrieve these fragile copies that reveal aspects of social life, the history of reading and uses of the book. It’s especially crucial as we read more and more online.

The project currently accepts images and scanned pages from those pre-copyright books. People most commonly take pictures with their cell phones and upload them to the website.

Although many titles from this era are being digitized and made available online, digital libraries typically scan only one edition and prefer clean copies, so signatures, notes and memorabilia from hundreds of copies and different editions are not available online.

Stauffer recently found a book owned by the fifth student on Grounds, back when Thomas Jefferson was rector. Gessner Harrison, who later became a U.Va. professor of ancient languages, gave “Nova Testamentum,” the New Testament in Latin, to the library. Presumably his son, Peachy Rush Harrison, also owned or used the book – both inscribed the copy. It also contains rubbings of coins from 1791.

Some local families connected to the University donated their personal libraries, Stauffer said, speculating that most of these books were given to U.Va. in the mid-20th century, when Alderman Library was new and had many shelves to fill, or possibly after the 1895 Rotunda fire.

Graduate student Brandon Walsh found an anonymous book from 1833, “Poems by a Collegian,” that has a connection to the origins of the University’s Honor System: It once belonged to John Staige Davis, son of John A.G. Davis, the law professor shot by a student on the Lawn in 1840 in an event that, legend has it, spawned the honor code.

Indeed, honor was the topic of John Staige’s note in the book: “I own this book/ est meum [is mine]/ touch not this mine honest friend/ for fear the gallows be your end.”

In an 1843 poetry collection, “The Poetical Works of Mrs. Felicia Hemans,” the owner, Mrs. Ellen Minor, copied the author’s style and wrote an elegy for her daughter, Mary, who died at the age of 7, on the end-paper. Minor’s poem includes the lines, “Sing mournfully, sing mournfully ... / And softly breathe her name, who was/ Our fairest, loveliest flower/ Mary, Mary, Mary.”

“U.Va. is a great place to be doing this work. This is part of preserving the history of the institution,” Stauffer said. “We want to get a sense of the numbers of books out there and get students involved.”

The project enables undergraduate, as well as graduate, students to conduct research and help assemble a sort of library within the library. “Students can make original discoveries,” he said. The Book Traces website has a tab for submitting a book’s pages.

Although Book Traces began in Alderman only earlier this year, it’s already becoming a national model. As a fellow with the City University of New York Graduate Center’s Advanced Research Collaborative this year, Stauffer is inspiring students at universities in New York City and elsewhere to scour their university shelves in search of hidden gems.

“We want to reach out to people in libraries all over the country and North America,” said Stauffer, who has given interviews about the program to the Chronicle of Higher Education, The Atlantic magazine and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

NSF, Department of Energy Grants Support U.Va.’s Smart-Home Technology Research

Wed, 2014-10-29 16:33
Michelle Koidin Jaffee

The key to saving energy in the home, according to University of Virginia computer science professor Kamin Whitehouse, is understanding the people who live there.

That’s why he is developing smart-home technology that would track people within the home – whether they are watching TV, taking a shower or cooking – and automatically adjust systems such as the air conditioner or the water heater accordingly.

“If you apply all of our technologies in the house at the same time, our data shows that you would save about 25 percent of the energy used in the average household,” Whitehouse said.

Supported by two grants, $600,000 from the National Science Foundation and $24,000 from the Department of Energy, his lab is developing technology that would, for example, keep the heat on when you’re home, turn it off when you leave and turn it down when you go to bed. In addition, the team is working on a “Smart Water Heater.”

In homes today, when hot water arrives at the faucet, it may be too hot, so cold water is turned on to temper it. But water as hot as 135 degrees remains in the hot water pipe, which wastes heat. Known as “pipe loss,” that waste accounts for about 20 percent of a water heater’s energy.

“Generally speaking, this particular sink doesn’t need 135-degree water, it actually only needs 100-degree water,” Whitehouse said. So instead of pumping 135-degree water and then requiring cold water to be added, the Smart Water Heater would deliver water at 100 degrees.

“So when it cools down, you’ve actually only lost half as much heat,” Whitehouse said.

Results show the Smart Water Heater – which was selected for the Department of Energy’s Max Tech and Beyond design competition for ultra-low-energy-use appliances – is about 12 percent more energy-efficient than the average conventional water heater, he said.

Separately, Whitehouse’s lab is developing technology that would save energy by keeping track of the occupants of a home. Nicknamed “The Marauder’s Map,” after the magical map in the Harry Potter series that shows the location of every person in Hogwarts, he technology would detect when each person enters the home and where they are within the home.

To do this without requiring people to wear tags or otherwise creating a sense of intrusion, the scientists are installing sensors in the tops of doorways – one of the main innovations of their technology.

“People in homes don’t want to wear things. They don’t want to carry things – even their cell phones – and they don’t want cameras,” Whitehouse said. “What we’re trying to do is build a system that can understand what people are doing, but without making them wear things or put cameras in the house.”

Sensors called ultrasonic range finders point downward and measure the distance from the top of the doorway so that, based on the height of the entrant, it can determine who walked through the door. Sensors on the power mains and water mains provide data on use of the fridge, oven, shower, washing machine and more.

A mobile phone app shows the movement of each occupant with a different color icon.

“With The Marauder’s Map, you don’t have to tell the thermostat anything,” Whitehouse said. “You don’t have to teach it what your preferences are. It doesn’t have to learn anything. It can just get the information about where people are and then respond accordingly.”

In addition to providing feedback to homeowners about their energy usage, the technology could help people understand their own family life or monitor how often elderly people move or eat.

Whitehouse said it could answer questions such as, “How often do I spend time with my kids, and where do I spend time with them? What are we doing – are we watching TV, or are we having quality time in the kitchen at dinner?”

And that’s not all.

“As opposed to just asking if my door is locked or unlocked, I can actually ask who left the door open and why is the door open, or who left the lights on?”

U.Va. Students Become Sound Journalists in New Radio Production Course

Tue, 2014-10-28 15:44
Lauren Jones

From sound editing and mixing to the art of interviewing and storytelling, University of Virginia media studies students are learning all about what happens on the other side of the dial in Elliot Majercyzk’s new radio production course.

Majercyzk is an associate producer of “With Good Reason,” an award-winning public radio show produced by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities that features leading scholars from the state’s colleges and universities talking about their expertise on a range of topics. He describes the course as a complement to the media studies department’s more theory-based curriculum, allowing students to use the creative and analytical skills they’ve gained in studying media to produce story pieces that they can add to their resumés and creative portfolios.

Students take on the role of radio journalists during the course. Each week, they are assigned a project involving a different type of radio story – from street interviews, known in the industry as “voice of the people” or “vox pop,” to recording “soundscapes,” clips with little narration that focus on capturing the atmosphere of a place in time.

To get started, students borrow voice recorders from the Clemons Digital Media Lab, interview students and professors across Grounds, and then write and produce narration to develop compelling stories. They use Hindenburg, a radio software system, to produce two- to four-minute clips.

“I think the students are surprised at the almost limitless creative options they have in creating pieces for radio,” Majercyzk said. “There is definitely a set of structures that are present in the creating a piece of radio; however, with those structures the students can create their own identity in terms of style, content, intent, editing and use of sound.”

He also remarked on how little financial outlay it takes to get started making stories; all you need is editing software and a microphone. “With as little as $200, you can create great radio in your dorm room and freelance your way into a career.”

The class has welcomed special guests lecturers such as NPR veteran Andrew Parsons, currently an associate producer for “BackStory with the American History Guys,” another popular program produced by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. During his visit, Parsons talked to students about the rules for voice recording in the field, with an emphasis on balancing background audio, capturing ambiance without distorting voices and creating seamless transitions.

For the heart of the story, the interview, Parsons emphasized patience, tenacity and coming up with good questions – in short, what to ask and how to ask it. Though students may have to talk to 17 people to get a good sound byte for a 90-second story, a strong quote can make all the difference in the success of a piece.

“I took this class because I’m interested in the technical side of media and learning how to engineer sound,” said O’Shea Woodhouse, a fourth-year media studies major and aspiring videographer. “I think courses like this are necessary for the simple fact that this is a more beneficial way to learn, because we’re learning and then we’re going to apply it into something practical that makes sense immediately. And it’s all on you – as much as you put in, that’s as much as you’ll get out.”

The class is part of the growing media studies department’s production-based offerings that help students develop practical, critical and analytical skills relevant to a wide range of careers. Other technical-based classes in its expanding repertoire include courses on digital publishing, database design, civic journalism, new media, film production and scriptwriting.

“The Department of Media Studies is always trying to expand its course offerings, and this includes expanding offerings that help students develop media-related technical skills,” said Hector Amaya, department chair and associate professor of media studies. “It is, of course, a challenge, as these courses require highly qualified instructors who need the support of labs or equipment.” 

For their final projects, students will interview professors across Grounds about their favorite music selections, then will interweave the interview with samples of the songs to create a finished full-length story. The pieces will be aired on WTJU, U.Va.’s radio station, as a feature series.

“[The course] will bring everything together, in terms of learning how to edit and mix music,” Majercyzk said. “The goal is that students should be able to do a podcast easily, and then practice and continue. If they ever want to become a freelance radio journalist, they’ll have all the tools.”

If they decide to continue pursuing experience in radio, students can also take advantage of opportunities at WTJU and WUVA, local stations that feature student-run radio shows.

Law School Graduate to Clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts

Tue, 2014-10-28 14:55
Kimberly Reich

A University of Virginia graduate will clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts during the 2015-16 term.

Ben Tyson, who graduated in May from both U.Va.’s School of Law and the Darden School of Business through a dual-degree J.D.-M.B.A. program, will join a long list of U.Va. Law graduates who have clerked for Supreme Court justices in recent years. Virginia is fourth in contributing the most clerks to the U.S. Supreme Court from 2005 to 2014, after Harvard, Stanford and Yale universities. Tyson will serve alongside 2013 graduates Galen Bascom and Jonathan Urick, who will be clerking for Justices Stephen Breyer and Antonin Scalia, respectively.

Tyson and wife, Katherine Tyson (a 2013 U.Va. law graduate) currently reside in Washington, where Ben is clerking for Judge Srikanth Srinivasan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

“This year with Judge Srinivasan has been amazing, and now this gives me something incredibly exciting to look forward to when my clerkship [with Srinivasan] is done,” Tyson said. “I’m in the middle of a fun two years.

“I’m thrilled about the opportunity and incredibly thankful for all the support U.Va. has given me,” Tyson said.

In his interview with Roberts, Tyson said he had the opportunity to talk with the chief justice about both the history of the court and the Green Bay Packers – “Two very important things,” he added. 

“One of the best things about doing these two clerkships is that you get to cover such different areas of the law. Every day is different, and it’s all extremely interesting to me,” Tyson said. “I haven’t been in the law long enough to actually dislike any area of it, so at this point it’s great to see everything.”

Tyson, who is originally from Mequon, Wisconsin, was the recipient of the Carl M. Franklin Prize, which honors the student with the highest grade-point average after the first year of law school, and served on the editorial board of the Virginia Law Review. At graduation, he received the Traynor Prize and Law School Alumni Association Best Note Award for his law review publication. He also received the Faculty Award for Academic Excellence, given to the student with the most outstanding academic record at graduation.

Tyson also took a Supreme Court seminar with professor A.E. Dick Howard, who said Tyson wrote a paper “that showed an uncommon skill at legal research and analysis – a paper that would do justice to a seasoned scholar.”

“Ben compiled a spectacular record here at the Law School,” Howard said. “He graduated at the top of his class and, at graduation, won both of the Law School’s academic writing awards. My own judgment regarding Ben’s legal acumen is amply confirmed by Ben’s overall record at the Law School, one which has few parallels in the school’s recent history.”

For Tyson, the highlight of his time at U.Va. Law was the community of students and faculty – and sharing it all with his wife. 

“Katherine and I could not have asked for a better place to go to school. We were very lucky,” he said. “My mom and dad [1977 U.Va. Law graduates Joe and Renee Tyson] always had such great things to say about their time at U.Va. It turns out that they knew what they were talking about.”

Prior to starting law school, Tyson worked at Bain & Company in Chicago as a management consultant for three years. He earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University.

After the clerkship, Tyson said he will probably stay in Washington to practice appellate litigation. Though Wisconsin will always be home, he said, he hopes to return to another special place.

“All I want to do is find a way back to Charlottesville,” he said.

Madison House Invites U.Va. to Brighten the Holiday Season for Local Families

Tue, 2014-10-28 14:25

Members of the University of Virginia community can help brighten the holiday season for needy families in the Charlottesville area through the Madison House Holiday Sharing program.

The program’s student volunteers are soliciting participation from U.Va. departments and offices. The students work closely with the Salvation Army, which provides the U.Va. program with a list of families in need. Participating offices then provide a “gift package” for an assigned family in early December.

Last year, more than 110 families received groceries and holiday gifts that they otherwise could not afford. Because of this great success, the student volunteers have increased their goal to sponsor at least 130 families this year.  

Participating in the Holiday Sharing program entails selecting a specific-size family, from as small as two members up to six or more, then buying and collecting groceries and gifts for them, plus donating money for a grocery gift card that allows the family to buy fresh food. Everything is due to Madison House between Dec. 1 and Dec. 3.

The sign-up deadline is Nov. 7.

New this year: The program will accept monetary donations (cash or check), in addition to the traditional family shopping. As an additional thank-you for contributions, the program has established recognition levels for its sponsors. All donations are fully tax-deductible. Those interested in sponsoring a family with Holiday Sharing this year can fill out and submit the online form found on here.

For information, email holsharing@gmail.com or call Eric MacBlane at 973-476-4769.

Becker’s Hospital Review Honors U.Va. Orthopaedics

Tue, 2014-10-28 12:07

Becker’s Hospital Review recognized the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Virginia Medical Center on its 2014 list of “125 Hospitals and Health Systems with Great Orthopedic Programs.”

According to the national health care publication, programs named to its list “have earned considerable recognition,” including from other third-party ratings groups.

“Exceptional orthopedic departments often include physicians who provide outstanding patient care, advance cutting-edge orthopedic research and treat professional athletes,” Becker’s noted.

In its recognition of U.Va., Becker’s highlighted the comprehensive care available from U.Va.’s surgeons. U.Va.’s orthopedic specialty care includes hip and knee replacement, foot and ankle surgery, hand and upper extremity surgery, oncology, orthotics and prosthetics, pediatrics, spine surgery, sports medicine and trauma.

U.Va. Orthopaedics, Becker’s said, takes on “some of the most severe orthopedic cases in Central Virginia,” while also advancing the field of orthopedics through research.

“This is a wonderful honor for our faculty and our partners from across U.Va. Medical Center and U.Va. Health System who work diligently to provide excellent care and service to patients from throughout Virginia and beyond,” said Dr. Bobby Chhabra, who chairs U.Va.’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Hospitals cannot pay for inclusion on the listing. Becker’s Hospital Review lists the 125 programs in alphabetical order and does not rank them.