May 5, 2015 - Current Issue
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Master of Integrated Sciences Brings Interdisciplinary Study to Purposeful Students
Frontlines - Master of Integrated Sciences Brings Interdisciplinary Study to Purposeful Students

Akbar Esfahani transferred into the Master of Integrated Sciences (MIS) program from the Mathematics and Statistical Sciences department after he learned that he could design a degree that would make him uniquely qualified across a broad range of topics. "My interests have always been at the crossroads of math and its applications in the sciences. But a math degree could not teach me about scientific facts, and a pure science degree could not teach me about math. The MIS program allowed me to bundle up the two and learn both," he says. "The advantage that my degree has afforded me is that I was selected for a position that requires a PhD in Statistics, because of my degree in Integrated Sciences (specializing in Statistics and Geographic Information Systems), I had a better understanding of the challenges in spatial statistics as it relates to geography."

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Yeatman studies the effects of living with HIV/AIDS on childbearing and family planning
Frontlines - Yeatman studies the effects of living with HIV/AIDS on childbearing and family planning

Although the world has been distracted lately by the recent deadly Ebola outbreaks, HIV is still the leading infectious killer and one of the most serious health problems facing the planet's population. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, since 1981, when the first cases were reported, an estimated 39 million people have died of AIDS-related causes. There are currently more than 35 million people living with HIV worldwide. More than 70% of these people live in sub-Saharan Africa. In many countries in this region, the prevalence of HIV is as much as 10–20% of the general population. The disease plays a big role in the high mortality rates in the region and adds a heavy burden to the economic development of these African nations. It may also have dramatic implications for family life and personal relationships. As a sociologist and demographer, Assistant Professor of Health and Behavioral Sciences Sara Yeatman seeks to help define and understand these implications and provide insight to how one African community is living with the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

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Thayer research shows link between ethnic discrimination and health of pregnant women and infants
Frontlines - Thayer research shows link between ethnic discrimination and health of pregnant women and infants

In the first ever study to look at intergenerational effects of discrimination on stress hormones, Zaneta Thayer, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, shows that women who experience racial discrimination while pregnant suffer significant health impacts that are passed on to their infants. "Many people think that ethnic discrimination only has psychological impacts," says Thayer, "But in fact, ethnic discrimination can impact physical health as well, possibly through changes in stress physiology functioning."

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