On January 19, I served as the keynote speaker for the 30th Annual Martin Luther King Jr./Albert Owens Scholarship Breakfast at Lincoln Middle School in Meriden, CT. My speech highlighted the great work and progress made from the dawn of the civil right movement to the present day. In citing the disproportionate incarceration rates of black men and the prevalence of significant health disparities affecting black children, women and men, I also emphasized that work needs to continue to achieve Dr. King’s vision.
For 30 years, the Martin Luther King Jr./Albert Owens Scholarship Fund has honored the memory of not only Martin Luther King Jr., but Meriden’s own Albert Owens, a civic and union leader, who served as the city’s first human rights director. The breakfast has raised over $100,000 for scholarships which help local students achieve their dreams of college degrees.
Meriden resident Rhudean S. Raye founded the Martin Luther King Jr./Albert Owens Scholarship Breakfast and has run it for the entirety of its existence. Ms. Raye attended college at the Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, NC, received her nurse’s training at Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, NY, and came to Meriden in the 1950s. While working as a nurse at the Meriden-Wallingford Hospital, she obtained her certification to become an elementary teacher. As one of Meriden’s first black teachers, she taught first and second grade at the Nathan Hale School for 32 years.
On February 7th and 8th, I participated in the 2015 Musculoskeletal Development and Regeneration Conference in Cancun, Mexico. My speech, “Regenerative Engineering: The Theory and Practice of a Next Generation Field,” highlighted the future of regenerative engineering in musculoskeletal repair and regeneration. I discussed the challenge of musculoskeletal tissue engineering and several of the latest inventions developed by the Institute for Regenerative Engineering here at UConn Health including a bioengineered matrix for the regeneration of torn anterior cruciate ligaments. I want to thank the organizers for including me as part of this for those working on the frontiers of science in both academia and corporate industry.
I am very happy to announce the launch of a new journal entitled Regenerative Engineering and Translational Medicine. It will be published quarterly beginning in later 2015.
Regenerative Engineering and Translational Medicine is an international journal covering the convergence of tissue engineering, advanced materials science, stem cell research, the physical sciences, and areas of developmental biology. This convergence brings exciting opportunities to translate bench-top research into bedside methods, allowing the possibility of moving beyond maintaining or repairing tissues to regenerating them. The journal also features sections on instructive biomaterials, stimuli-responsive biomaterials, micro- and nano-patterning for regenerative engineering, elastomeric biomaterials, hydrogels for tissue engineering, and rapid prototyping and bioprinting approaches.
We are fortunate to be developing an editorial board of recognized experts in their fields to help with the peer-review process. As editor-in-chief, I want to thank everyone involved for their efforts during the past months in ensuring the journal’s successful launch.
On February 21, I gave the keynote speech at the symposium sponsored by the T. Leroy Jefferson Medical Society at Inlet Grove Community High School in Riviera Beach, Florida. This event featured healthcare, science, and engineering professionals giving career-exploration talks to elementary, middle and high school students from Palm Beach County. My talk focused on career offerings in both healthcare and STEM. The symposium was a wonderful success. The T. Leroy Jefferson Medical Society is comprised of dedicated healthcare professionals working together to improve health and wellness, access to quality care, academic and career opportunities, for underserved populations. I hope every student took advantage of all R. Leroy Jefferson Medical Society had to offer on the symposium day. I want to thank the organizers and, in particular, Dr. Roger Duncan for inviting me to participate in this wonderful event.
On September 8th and 9th last year, I served as an invited speaker at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Frontiers in Bioengineering Symposium. This year, the symposium drew more than 200 participants and 30 top scientists/engineers from across the country who presented their forward-looking research in bioengineering. In my talk, “Regenerative Engineering: Theory and Practice,” I discussed the new research direction in the regeneration of musculoskeletal tissues through the regenerative engineering approach. I am grateful to both the organizing committee and the university for inviting me to speak.
This month, we are celebrating the first anniversary of the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, an online health science journal dedicated to examining and eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities.
Since the official launch in July 2013, we have received an impressive number of high quality submissions from scholars all over the world. We hoped to have 40 publications the first year. Currently we have over 80 manuscripts for publication of extremely high quality. We have published articles on important areas such as HIV-related mortality among adults of various minority groups; cancer risk among African-Americans; and obesity and related chronic health conditions among ethnic minorities.
The Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities will continue to update the community on new research findings, commentaries, insights, and discussions that are relevant to the health disparities. I would like to thank our associate editors, editorial board members, and editorial staff for all of their excellent work.