Event Date: March 3, 2023
[Speaker: Haley Chizuk] What can your spit tell you about your health? For the millions of people who receive concussions, there may be more to learn from spit than once expected. Concussions are traumatic brain injuries, which often occur in sports. Symptoms include headache, nausea and dizziness. This can affect a range of everyday activities from going to school, going to work or driving a car. If an athlete receives a concussion, they are removed from sport. And if they go back to sport too soon, they're at risk for prolonged recovery and worsening symptoms. This can mean additional weeks months or years of unnecessary suffering. Athletes must be 100 percent recovered before they return to sport. Unfortunately, that's not always what happens. I'm sure many of you here saw the recent Miami Dolphins versus Buffalo Bills game, where Miami's quarterback Tua received a concussion. Not only did he continue to play during that game, but the mismanagement of his concussion led him to receiving a secondary injury that ended his season. And errors like that are unacceptable when it comes to the brain health of professional athletes, recreational athletes, collegiate athletes, the millions of kids worldwide and the thousands of kids in Buffalo who play sports their brain health matters. But what if there was another way to assess concussion recovery? That's where saliva comes in, our lab currently takes saliva samples from concussed athletes. And using bench work which are laboratory experiments, we assess that saliva. Previous research indicates that the components of saliva may provide valuable insights into the concussion recovery process. Therefore, this simple test might help increase clinician and athlete confidence that they're returning to sport at the right time. Concussions are serious injuries and athletes are serious about their sports. So we need to be just as serious about protecting our brains. You only have one brain. So why not use all of the available tools to make sure it stays safe? And one of those tools might already be on the tip of your tongue. Thank you.
Department: Rehabilitation Science
Advisor: Dr. Barry S. Willer
Biography: Originally from Gilroy, California, Haley Chizuk is a member of the National Athletic Trainer Association and the International Brain Injury Association, as well as an athletic trainer and research assistant at UBMD. Her research aims to use objective data to aid in the decision-making process regarding athletes returning to sport post-concussion. By exploring biomarkers found in the saliva and RNA of concussed athletes, she hopes to make the playing field safer. A former athlete herself, Chizuk has played tennis and pole-vaulted and loves high-adrenaline activities like bobsledding on the world’s fastest track and cliff diving off the most southern point in the United States. She also enjoys hiking with her significant other and dog or playing board games with her friends and family. In addition, Chizuk regularly volunteers for WNY STEM, an organization that teaches high school students to build wheelchairs and prosthetics for local kids. In the future, she hopes to continue her research and work as a clinical professor in athletic training.
[Speaker: Sandipa Bhattacharjee] Did you know that more than 12 million adolescent girls between ages 15 and 19 gave birth in 2019? Well. Adolescent pregnancy is a global problem and is the leading cause of death for women worldwide. So teenage mothers they are more likely to drop out from schools and this prevents them to participate in the workforce or contribute to household earnings thereby creating intergenerational cycles of poverty. Take example of developing country like India. Here, the problems of early child marriages, adolescent pregnancies is very prominent in the society specifically in the rural areas. At least 20 percent of the young women who got pregnant as teenagers, they had no schooling. Consequentially, reducing teenage childbearing and promoting quality education for young women is a key factor in achieving United Nations millennium development goals for reducing poverty, improving maternal health, and empowering women. So of all the factors that contribute to teenage pregnancies, lack of educational opportunities is one of the significant factors. Education is a critical tool to address environment, sustainability, societal issues created due to overpopulation. And here my desire to educate women as an alternative to teenage pregnancies and parenthood is what motivates my research. As a microeconomist, I study this macro problem in evaluating a landmark 2010 education policy in India called the right to Education Act. Now, this act required students to complete "free" and "compulsory" eight years of education. Using a nationally representative sample survey data of more than 15 lakhs women and employing a statistical model, I find that this policy resulted in significant improvements in women's familial roles thereby substantially delaying their age at first marriages, sexual activity, first birth, and reducing the overall birth rates. Well. I also look into other potential mechanisms, that is, the knowledge effect and the autonomy effect. This means that with increased in education due to this policy women has more information about contraceptions, family planning, health care. They pair themselves with men who has similar child preferences and they contribute to household decisions and feel more empowered. So what I find that this policy was very effective policy tool employed by the government of India in promoting education and if expanded further it can result in further women empowerment. Thank you.
Advisor: Dr. Neel Rao
Biography: A native of Kolkata, India, Sandipa Bhattacharjee is an adjunct instructor of economics at the University at Buffalo, and is a member of the American Economic Association, Southern Economic Association and Eastern Economic Association. Sandipa researches education policies in India to examine the effect of education on the decisions women make about family planning. Her research aims to study education policy in India, where problems of early child marriage and adolescent pregnancy are still pronounced in society, specifically in rural areas. In her spare time, she enjoys singing classical music, reading books, watching TV shows, playing musical instruments and painting. In the future, Bhattacharjee wants to continue researching developmental issues in achieving equitable growth and ignite students’ passions as a professor in economics.
[Speaker: Josie Diebold] Picture this: in 1676, a multi-racial group of poor and working-class people came together and they literally set Jamestown, Virginia on fire. So at the time, this group of people—white indentured servants and enslaved black folks—actually often worked together. And they were treated very similarly (which is to say, inhumanely), and so they came together to challenge those conditions. Now why do I share that? Well the plantation elite, they saw this, and they knew that that multi-racial group of people had the power to upend the system that kept the wealthy wealthy. And they had to respond. So what did they do? They used racism to drive a wedge between people of shared class interests. They used racism to divide and conquer. But there's an antidote to this divisiveness of racism. It's one that's really important to me, as a white anti-racist community organizer in 2023, and that is mutual interest. In other words, when I say "mutual interest," I mean that for those of us who are white, we need to understand what the costs of racism have been for us and what we have to gain by being part of the struggle for racial justice. So for my research, I'm interviewing white anti-racist organizers about their shared stake in the struggle for racial justice. And what I'm hearing is more about those costs: about the disconnection to others, the lost sense of humanity, and the barriers to meeting their basic needs. But I'm also hearing what people see is possible and what can be gained when we come together in the struggle. It's a world, a vision of a transformed society where everybody has everything that we need and deserve. And this is important for me as a white anti-racist organizer because it informs our strategy for how we overcome that divide-and-conquer of racism and bring more white people into the movement not just for a little while but for the long haul. So maybe we are or we aren't going to set a town on fire. But like that multiracial coalition in 1676, our goal is to demand radical change. And when those of us who are white understand what our shared stake is in the fight for racial justice then we can commit to the long haul on that road to liberation. Thank you.
Department: Social Work
Advisor: Dr. Annette Semanchin Jones
Biography: In her research, Grand Island native Josie Diebold explores what white antiracist organizers understand about the costs of racism to society and what they have to gain by fighting for racial justice. An organizer herself, Diebold is an active member of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Buffalo and is eager to discuss social change with anyone interested in getting involved. Diebold has five years of CrossFit and 11 years of veganism under her belt and enjoys reading, being an aunt, and snuggling her cat Peanut. One of her future goals is to acquire a tenure-track position in a social work department, where she will no doubt continue to work toward racial justice and encourage graduate students to sign their union cards.