ProfNet Sources Available on Affordable Care Act, Smoking, Baseball, More

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    • 'The Hunger Games' Series Appeals to a Wide Audience
    • Relevance of Affordable Care Act Anniversary
    • Face Blindness
    • Dharun Ravi/Rutgers Verdict, Hate Crimes
    • Let's Punish Sports 'Bounty Hunters'
    • 'Play Ball!' and Enjoy a Baseball Season Free of Injuries
    • Smokers Improving Their Chances of Quitting
    • Treating Contact Dermatitis
    • Understanding Tools and Resources for Quitting Smoking
    • Recognizing the Vital Role of Volunteers
    • Traffic Tickets Down, Teen Fatalities Up



    • Reporter – NYC
    • Deputy Editor – NYC
    • Editor – Chicago
    • Enterprise Reporter – Mansfield, Ohio
    • Life Reporter – Battle Creek, Mich.
    • Assistant Sports Editor – Raleigh, N.C.


    • Interesting Expert of the Week, Liposuction Edition
    • Upcoming #ConnectChat: How to Land Your First Communications Job
    • Freelance Focus: How to Pitch a Column, Part 2
    • Want to Save Journalism? Start at the Bottom
    • Grammar Hammer: The March Hare Has Less Tea, Fewer Cups



    Expert Alerts are listings of ProfNet members who are available to discuss timely news topics. If you are interested in interviewing any of the experts, please contact their media representative at the end of the listing. You can also find Expert Alerts online at ?

    'The Hunger Games' Series Appeals to a Wide Audience
    Emily Skinner
    (Photo:? )
    Associate Professor of Teacher Education
    College of Charleston in South Carolina
    "There are many similarities between 'Harry Potter,' 'Twilight' and 'The Hunger Games' series, including sparking an interest in reading and big movie premiere hype. 'The Hunger Games' started as adolescent fiction written for middle- and high-school-aged students, many of whom who read the 'Twilight' series. The readership has expanded to adults and elementary school-aged students and has been more appealing to male readers than 'Twilight.' Suzanne Collins's creation of the world of Panem in this series to explore social and political structures is an innovative example of dystopian fiction, a popular genre with adolescents. The series offers the opportunity for parents and educators to engage in discussions with their children and adolescents ideally prompting social action regarding critical world issues of hunger, child labor and forcing children to become soldiers."
    Skinner teaches undergraduate and graduate literacies courses in early childhood, elementary and middle grades. She has been appointed co-editor of the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy with Margaret C. Hagood for the 2011-2016 editorship term. Skinner served as the director of professional development for the Center of the Advancement of New Literacies in Middle Grades from 2006-2011. Skinner works with local teachers doing professional development and research regarding their implementation of teaching strategies using digital technologies and popular culture to engage and improve adolescents' understanding of academic content and school standards.
    News Contacts: Mike Robertson, or +1-843-953-5667; or Melissa Whetzel, or +1-843-953-7752

    Relevance of Affordable Care Act Anniversary
    Katy Beh Neas
    (Photo:? )
    Senior Vice President of Government Relations
    Easter Seals
    "March 23 marks the second anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Insufficient coverage can prevent people with disabilities from getting needed services and supports. It is through the fundamental changes in the health care system that we can enable all Americans, including people with disabilities and chronic conditions, to be healthy and functional, and live as independently as possible and participate in their communities.
    News Contact: Kristen Barnfield, +1-312-551-7147

    Face Blindness
    Marlene Behrmann??
    Professor of Psychology
    Carnegie Mellon University
    Behrmann is a renowned expert in using brain imaging to study prosopagnosia, or face blindness. One of her most recent discoveries in this area uncovered how the brain actually processes faces. Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the research shows that there is an entire network of cortical areas that work together to identify faces. These findings debunk the previous theory that only a couple of brain areas mediate facial recognition. Identifying the neural system responsible for facial recognition will change the future of neural visual perception research and allow scientists to use this discovery to develop targeted remedies for disorders such as face blindness.?
    "Faces are among the most compelling visual stimulation that we encounter, and recognizing faces taxes our visual perception system to the hilt. We have the computational tools and technology to push further into looking past one single brain region. There are multiple cortical areas working together to recognize faces."
    News Contact: Shilo Rea, +1-412-268-6094

    Dharun Ravi/Rutgers Verdict, Hate Crimes
    Jeannine Bell
    Law Professor
    Indiana University Maurer School of Law
    Bell is a noted hate-crime expert who is available to comment on the verdict against former Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi, as well as other hate-crime matters.?
    "The conviction of Ravi illustrates that juries are more likely than ever to convict persons who engage in bullying. Defenses based on youth and immaturity are proving to be no match for charges of bias intimidation. The conviction on the charge of bias intimidation is especially significant because it signals the jury's desire to send a message to young people that such behavior will not be tolerated."
    News Contact: Brianne O'Donnell, or +1-212-220-4444

    Let's Punish Sports 'Bounty Hunters'
    Eldon L. Ham
    Sports Attorney and IIT Chicago-Kent Adjunct Professor?
    "The hands-off mentality that immunizes sports from criminal law is enabling more mayhem in America, not less. Singling out the NFL's reported 'bounty system' that rewards players for injuring opposing team players is a ruthless criminal conspiracy that should be punished beyond the NFL fines and suspensions that loom. Yet, tragically, it may not be. American criminal courts have largely adopted a hands-off approach to on-field injuries, because judges deem them too messy to resolve amid the inevitable conflicting testimony. Another obstacle is our culture's macho conception of sports, where players on the field are expected to 'man up' in the face of threats to their safety, however extreme. Contact sports should not, of course, be routinely second-guessed by crowded courts. But should a vicious attack meant to severely injure or paralyze be overlooked just because it happened on the field of play and not in the locker room or parking lot?"
    As a spots attorney, Ham was a lawyer for former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, who was the object of a Green Bay Packers bounty hit by lineman Charles Martin in 1986.
    News Contact: Gwendolyn E. Osborne, or +1-312-906-5251

    'Play Ball!' and Enjoy a Baseball Season Free of Injuries
    Dr. Victor Khabie
    Sports Medicine Specialist
    "As many as 6 million children under the age of 18 are in baseball leagues and another 13 million play on their own. But while baseball is generally considered a fairly safe sport, over the period of 1994-2006, more than 1.5 million of these children were injured seriously enough to be treated in emergency rooms. Although baseball is a non-contact sport, most serious injuries are due to contact — either with a ball, a bat or another player. The repetitive nature of the sport can also cause overuse injuries to the shoulder and elbow, especially for youngsters who pitch. The good news is that improved equipment now offers increased protection, and many injuries can be prevented by taking common-sense precautions."
    Khabie suggests that players, parents and coaches focus on three areas to minimize the risk of injury: preparation, the right equipment and knowing a child's limits.
    News Contact: Melissa Chefec, or +1-203-968-6625

    Smokers Improving Their Chances of Quitting
    Jonathan Foulds, Ph.D.?
    Professor of Public Health Sciences
    Penn State College of Medicine
    Foulds can discuss how to help smokers encouraged to quit smoking, following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's launch of the National Tobacco Education Campaign "Tips from Former Smokers," aimed to educate the public about the harmful effects of smoking: "The new CDC campaign uses hard-hitting images of the real health effects of smoking to motivate smokers to quit. It also gives a positive message about keeping trying to quit and doing whatever it takes to succeed. The campaign also links to the website and 1-800-QUIT-NOW, where smokers can get evidence-based advice and support. Smokers will increase their chances of successfully quitting if they use these resources and if they use an FDA-approved quitting aid, such as the nicotine gum and patch."
    Foulds has spent most of his career developing and evaluating methods to help smokers beat their addiction to tobacco. He has published more than 80 papers on tobacco in peer-reviewed scientific journals and continues to treat addicted smokers, teach on smoking cessation, and conduct research on tobacco and health at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Penn. Foulds can provide perspective on the importance of smoking-cessation treatments, credible quit-smoking tools and resources for smokers, and the safety and efficacy of nicotine-replacement therapy.
    News Contact: Ruth Keefover, or +1- 312-729-4292

    Treating Contact Dermatitis
    Joshua Fox
    Founder of Advanced Dermatology, P.C.
    "Contact dermatitis is a condition in which the skin becomes irritated and inflamed after coming into contact with certain substances. It can be pretty uncomfortable, lasting for days to weeks. Luckily, the condition is fairly easy to treat, at least once you've done some detective work to figure out what's causing the reaction. And don't worry: it's neither contagious, nor life-threatening."
    Fox is a New York-based dermatologist.
    News Contact: Melissa Chefec, or +1-203-968-6625

    Understanding Tools and Resources for Quitting Smoking
    Saul Shiffman, Ph.D.
    Researcher and Professor
    Departments of Psychology and Pharmaceutical Science at the University of Pittsburgh
    Shiffman can discuss how to help smokers encouraged to quit smoking, following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's launch of the National Tobacco Education Campaign "Tips from Former Smokers," aimed to educate the public about the harmful effects of smoking: "Quitting smoking requires breaking the body's addiction to nicotine, which isn't so easy. The good news is there are a number of proven ways to help break that addiction. Nicotine-replacement therapy is a key first-step consideration to quitting. Nicotine replacement, like patches and gums, when used as directed, can leave you smoke-and-nicotine-free after 10-12 weeks. Over the past 25 years, they've helped millions of smokers quit by gradually weaning them off their nicotine addiction."
    He is a world-renowned expert on behavior and addiction and consults for GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare. Throughout his career, Shiffman has authored or co-authored more than 100 published papers on a variety of topics related to psychopharmacology, substance abuse, dependence, relapse, coping and computerized assessments of behavior, and has presented widely in medical and scientific forums. He can provide perspective on the many smoking-cessation options available and how finding a quitting approach right for the individual is the best plan for long-term success.
    News Contact: Ruth Keefover, or +1- 312-729-4292

    Recognizing the Vital Role of Volunteers
    Diane Renaud
    Executive Director and CEO
    St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center in Detroit
    "Volunteers are a key component of the success of any nonprofit organization, especially since budgets are stretched to the maximum. Due to the generosity of volunteers, nonprofits can have a significant positive effect on the communities they serve, often allowing them to offer many services for free or at low cost."
    April is National Volunteer Month, with many activities centered on National Volunteer Week, slated this year for April 15-21. The St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center is an educational resource for at-risk children and adults in the Southeast Michigan region. It relies almost exclusively on volunteers to deliver its much-needed services in the areas of adult tutoring, child tutoring, child care, adult career and education mentoring, as well as its fundraising and marketing efforts. Many of the center's volunteer tutors are retired or active-duty teachers at all grade levels.
    Renaud has vast experience in managing nonprofit institutions and can offer expert commentary on the high importance of having citizens volunteer to help our communities today, as they continue to face economic and budgetary hardships.
    News Contact: Sue Voyles, or +1-734-667-2005

    Traffic Tickets Down, Teen Fatalities Up
    Robert S. Gregg
    Personal Injury and Defense Lawyer
    The Law Offices of Robert S. Gregg in Dallas
    "Police officers across Texas are writing significantly fewer traffic citations compared to previous years. It's been shown that traffic enforcement by officers can impact safe driving habits of everyone from seasoned commercial truckers to teenage drivers, and recent statistics show that the traffic fatality rate for teenage drivers in Texas has jumped. Teens especially need to know that there are serious consequences for reckless driving. If drivers are running more red lights, speeding and violating the law without consequences, you're going to see more wrecks and injuries. This drop in traffic enforcement also represents a significant loss in revenue at a time when city and county budgets are very tight."
    News Contact: Robert Tharp, or +1-800-559-4534


    EXPERT ROUNDUP: AUTISM (continued, 11 experts)

    Following is a list of additional experts who can discuss various aspects of autism for Autism Awareness Month in April. You can see the original feed, which includes photos of some of the experts, on ProfNet Connect:

    Rebecca Landa, Ph.D., CCC-SLP?
    Director of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders
    Kennedy Krieger Institute
    Dr. Landa has been on the forefront of research surrounding the early detection and intervention of autism for more than 10 years. In 2001, she was the first researcher to receive funding from the National Institutes of Health to launch an innovative study of baby siblings of autism. Still ongoing today, the research identified the earliest signs of autism, and subsequently sparked Landa's development and research of Early Achievements, her early intervention model which was shown to stimulate significant improvements in toddlers with autism. Landa recently published a study finding that children from a minority background have more delayed language, communication and gross motor skills than Caucasian children with the disorder. According to Landa, "We want to encourage parents to become good observers of their children's development, and to learn the indicators of delays in communication, social and motor development."
    News Contact: Elise Welker,, +1-443-923-7330

    Stewart Mostofsky, M.D.
    Pediatric Neurologist
    Director of the Laboratory for Neurocognitive and Imaging Research
    Kennedy Krieger Institute
    Dr. Mostofsky is focused on improving our understanding the neurological basis of developmental disorders, including autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Mostofsky's research with children with autism is focused on examination of the motor function, as increased insight into the brain mechanisms underlying the disorder might be gained from careful consideration of the motor signs associated with autism. Mostofsky has made important contributions to identifying the common factors underlying motor impairments in autism and has begun to understand how anomalous patterns of motor learning in autism may contribute to the impaired social and communicative deficits that define the disorder.
    News Contact: Elise Welker,, +1-443-923-7330

    Paul Law, M.D., M.P.H.
    Director of the Interactive Autism Network (IAN)
    Kennedy Krieger Institute
    IAN is the first national online autism registry and the largest collection of autism data in the world. Dedicated to advancing the pace of autism research by connecting families and individuals with autism with research studies for which they may qualify, the IAN Project is a source of extensive data to improve our understanding of the disorder and better understand the experiences of those who are impacted. The IAN Project is a valuable resource for media in its ability to provide national statistics related to autism diagnosis, treatment, parental health, education and much more.
    Websites: and
    News Contact: Elise Welker,, +1-443-923-7330

    Gary Goldstein, M.D.
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Kennedy Krieger Institute
    A pediatric neurologist by training, and the president and CEO of Kennedy Krieger since 1988, Dr. Goldstein oversees all autism research and programs at Kennedy Krieger, maintaining a strong expertise in the disorder related to prevalence, trends and advances at the Institute and across the field of autism research.
    News Contact: Elise Welker,, +1-443-923-7330

    Charles A. Cowan, M.D.
    Medical Director of Seattle Children's Autism Center
    Cowan can discuss a variety of topics on autism disorders, including the sharp rise in autism rates and what basic science can teach us about autism.
    News Contact: Alyse Bernal, or +1-206-987-5213

    Todd Eachus, ED.D., BCBA-D
    Executive Director
    REED Academy
    REED Academy is a private, nonprofit school for children between the ages of 3 and 21 with autism spectrum disorders, based in Oakland, N.J. REED stands for Resources for Effective Educational Development, which for the staff at REED means they are committed to providing children with a highly individualized and specialized educational program that incorporates science-based, applied behavioral analytic intervention technologies. The goal for the children is to maximize each student's potential. By focusing on the students' strengths and abilities, the school strives to equip them to function at the highest level possible, ultimately providing them with their greatest attainable level of success for independence. Wherever possible, the hope is to prepare the students to be mainstreamed in to a regular education classroom in their home school district. For more background on Dr. Eachus:
    News Contact: April Nichols, or +1-646-554-4295

    Bryan H. King, M.D.
    Program Director of Seattle Children's Autism Center
    Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Seattle Children's and the University of Washington
    King has received lifetime achievement awards from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Psychiatric Association for his work in developmental and intellectual disabilities. He can discuss a variety of topics on autism disorders. He can also talk about the potential impact of the diagnostic changes being proposed for the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) regarding autism and related conditions, as he was involved in the revision process.
    News Contact: Alyse Bernal, or +1-206-987-5213

    Felice Orlich, Ph.D.
    Program Director
    Autism Psychology Services
    Orlich's clinical interests include diagnosis and interdisciplinary evidence-based interventions for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders, Asperger's and high-functioning autism.
    News Contact: Alyse Bernal, or +1-206-987-5213

    Sharon Smith
    Occupational Therapist in Boston
    Smith has worked for more than 20 years with children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Through her work within the public school system, she provides a unique, eclectic, therapeutic approach to hundreds of students; from lower functioning, non-verbal children to students with Asperger's who struggle with sensory processing challenges and anxieties that create daily obstacles. She uses her own brand of alerting or calming techniques, social skills groups and sensory cooking exercises, while utilizing modern technologies (e.g., iPad apps), to engage with students and encourage them to reach a little bit farther than most others expect. In addition to her professional experience, Smith offers a unique perspective and insight into the daily challenges faced by families raising children with ASD, as she has been raising her stepson with autism for the last 10 years (he is now 21). She has sat at both sides of the IEP table and understands the challenges facing both families raising children with autism and the public school systems, as well as the critical importance of solving these challenges as children continue to grow into adulthood with shortage of programming. Smith began her career as an occupational therapist working at The Fred S. Keller School in New York, where she was trained in applied behavior analysis. She holds an M.A. from New York University in occupational therapy.
    News Contact: Kimberly Litchfield, or +1-617-939-8353

    Gary A. Stobbe, M.D.
    Program Director of the Seattle Children's Autism Adult Transitional Services
    Stobbe can discuss the adolescent to adulthood transition in autism, good outcomes in autism spectrum disorders, cautionary tales of causes of autism and biomedical therapies.
    News Contact: Alyse Bernal, or +1-206-987-5213

    Larry Yin, M.D.
    Medical Director of the Boone-Fetter Clinic
    Children's Hospital Los Angeles
    Yin is board-certified in developmental-behavioral pediatrics. The Boone-Fetter Clinic at Children's Hospital Los Angeles offers comprehensive services for children thought to have autism or other neurodevelopmental disorders. Children's Hospital Los Angeles is an Autism Treatment Network center of clinical excellence.
    "Parents are often the first to notice unusual behaviors in their child or to recognize that their child is not reaching important developmental milestones. Here is some advice for parents: trust your instincts — no one knows your child better than you do."
    News Contact: Ellin Kavanagh, or +1-323-361-8505



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    • INTERESTING EXPERT OF THE WEEK, LIPOSUCTION EDITION: ProfNet Director Maria Perez interviews cosmetic surgeon Dr. Aaron Rollins on his pain-free technique: ?


    • UPCOMING #CONNECTCHAT: HOW TO LAND YOUR FIRST COMMUNICATIONS JOB: ProfNet Editor Grace Lavigne will interview media expert Steven Chappell on how students can find jobs after graduation on Tuesday, March 27:


    • FREELANCE FOCUS: HOW TO PITCH A COLUMN, PART 2: ProfNet Director Maria Perez consults with syndicated columnist Suzette Standring, who provides tips for would-be columnists: ?


    • WANT TO SAVE JOURNALISM? START AT THE BOTTOM: Dave Copeland discusses the state of journalism education and the future of the industry: ?


    • GRAMMAR HAMMER: THE MARCH HARE HAS LESS TEA, FEWER CUPS: ProfNet Editor Grace Lavigne explains when to use "fewer" vs. "less":


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