School Notes

School Notes

A supplement to the Yale Alumni Magazine from the fourteen schools of Yale.

School of Architecture
Robert A. M. Stern, Dean

Property developer is Bass Fellow for spring term

Katherine Farley, senior managing director of the international real estate development firm Tishman-Speyer, is the Edward P. Bass Distinguished Visiting Architecture Fellow for the spring semester. The Bass Fellowship brings prominent leaders of the development community to teach at the school in order to give students insight into the development process and the architect’s role on a development team. During their time at Yale, Bass Fellows participate in a design studio led by a faculty member. Farley is paired this semester with Yale professor Deborah Berke; their students are designing a plan for a mixed-use urban development in São Paulo, Brazil. Farley, who manages Tishman-Speyer’s business activities in Brazil and China, has international experience that Dean Robert Stern called “complementary to the interests of our students and the global initiatives of Yale.”

Saarinen retrospective at Yale

The first retrospective on Finnish-born architect Eero Saarinen ’34BFA, Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future, concludes its international tour in New Haven this spring in observance of the 100th anniversary of the architect’s birth. On view through May 2, Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future features drawings, letters, photographs, and other materials dating from Saarinen’s years as an architecture student at Yale; large-scale models and related items from his designs for major public and semi-public buildings; a section devoted to the designs he created for the Yale campus, including Ingalls Rink and Morse and Stiles colleges; another space focusing on Saarinen’s early work years collaborating with his father; and a display of his early furniture designs. The exhibition is divided between the School of Architecture Gallery and the University Art Gallery.


School of Art
Robert Storr, Dean

Silent auction raises funds for Haitian earthquake survivors

Students and faculty from the school donated small-scale works to a silent auction that was held from January 25 to February 8 as a benefit for survivors of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. The works were on display in the Green Hall Gallery, and bids were accepted throughout the exhibition period. The closing event on February 8 featured a brief talk about conditions in Haiti, followed by the announcement of auction winners. Funds raised from the auction will be distributed among three charities providing relief in Haiti: Doctors Without Borders, the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund, and Yéle Haiti.

Faculty appointed to named professorships

Two longtime professors, Peter Halley and Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, were recently appointed to named professorships.

Peter Halley ’75, director of graduate studies in painting and printmaking, is now the William Leffingwell Professor of Painting. He is known for geometric paintings that have been featured in galleries around the world and has written widely on art and culture throughout his career. His works are held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Tate and Guggenheim museums.

Sheila L. de Bretteville ’64MFA, a noted graphic designer and public artist, produces work that reflects her interests in feminist principles, user participation in graphic design, and the importance of community. She founded several prominent women’s design and culture programs; her work in books, magazines, and newspapers includes the redesign of the Los Angeles Times. De Bretteville joined the Yale faculty in 1990 as professor and director of graduate studies in graphic design, and was the first woman to be granted tenure at the school. She has been named the Caroline M. Street Professor of Graphic Design.


Yale College
Mary E. Miller, Dean

Undergraduate art in the dean’s office

In SSS, the home of the Yale College dean’s office, Dean Susan Cahan, newly appointed associate dean for the arts, has mounted a show of paintings and drawings produced by participants in the Institute for Studio Studies, an intensive Yale Summer Session program in Auvillar, France, directed by Professor Robert Reed. The artists are current and past Yale students from the classes of 2005 to 2012. Dean Cahan feels the consistently high quality of the work demonstrates the intensity, rigor, and effectiveness of the four-week program.

At the opening reception in December, an interactive display gave visitors a glimpse of the students’ studios in Auvillar, their works in progress, and the surrounding landscapes that provided inspiration for much of the art produced there. A slide show of selected works and other images from the Institute for Studio Studies can be viewed online at The Auvillar Collection will be on display in SSS through the end of this semester. The dean’s office plans to feature two different installations of student art each year, starting next fall.

Display of faculty art reveals hidden talents

An exhibition at the Whitney Humanities Center explores the work of Yale faculty members better known for their teaching, scholarship, and community leadership than for what turns out to be their considerable artistic output.

Who Knew? Paintings by Hazel Carby, Paul Fry, Richard Lalli, and John Loge, a collection of paintings in oil and watercolor, displays the work of Carby, the Charles C. and Dorothea S. Dilley Professor of African American Studies and American Studies; Fry, the William Lampson Professor and director of graduate studies in English; Lalli, adjunct professor of music and artistic director of the Yale Baroque Opera Project; and Loge, the dean of Timothy Dwight College and lecturer in English. The works are linked in their exploration of the vibrancy of color, particularly in the context of natural, man-made, and abstract landscapes. Who Knew? closed on March 5, but you can view some of the works at the Whitney Center’s website: The exhibition is the first in what the Gallery at the Whitney hopes will be an ongoing series of occasional exhibits highlighting the unsung artistic talents of Yale faculty.


Divinity School
Harold W. Attridge, Dean

Reformation scholar named Titus Street Professor

The new Titus Street Professor of Theology is Bruce Gordon, who came to YDS in 2008. A specialist in late medieval and early modern religious history, Gordon is the author of a recent biography of John Calvin, Calvin, published by Yale University Press. “Bruce’s work on the Reformation in general and especially his recent book on John Calvin have placed him among the foremost historians of Christianity of this generation,” said Harold Attridge, the Rev. Henry L. Slack Dean of YDS. Among Gordon’s other published works are The Swiss Reformation and Clerical Reformation and the Rural Reformation. The Titus Street Professorship was established in 1869 to support a chair in ecclesiastical history, through a bequest by Augustus Russell Street, who graduated from Yale College in 1812.

Divinity School plays central role at AYA assembly

Yale Divinity School was front and center at this year’s Association of Yale Alumni assembly, which had as its theme “Transformational Dialogue: Spiritual and Religious Engagement at Yale and in the World.” Featured speakers at the November assembly included Dean Harold Attridge and Miroslav Volf, director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture. Several smaller breakout sessions were moderated by Yale Divinity faculty and alums, and the final reception was held at YDS. Attridge framed his talk around the Divinity School’s decision to create a faculty position in the area of “spirituality and ministerial leadership,” an idea that had been greeted with initial skepticism fueled by concerns about “New Age” thinking. Pointing to Martin Luther King Jr. and William Sloane Coffin Jr. ’49, ’56BD, Attridge concluded, “These are the models of the kind of spirituality that we hope to cultivate in the religious leaders we produce for the future, men and women of deep conviction who have thought long and hard about what those convictions entail, who have developed the traits of character, the heart, that will sustain the effort it takes to work those convictions out in practice.”

Difficult issues addressed at conference on faith in the military

A two-star general, the first Islamic chaplain in the U.S. Armed Forces, one of the nation’s foremost legal experts on faith in the military, and a YDS professor who ignited national discussion about proselytizing at the Air Force Academy were among participants at a November conference on faith in the military cosponsored by the Divinity School and the Law School. Conversation was civil, yet it was clear that resolution of differing viewpoints on weighty matters of religious expression in the military—such as the controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy—awaits another day. Asked what might happen if the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays in the military were reversed, Eugene Fidell, the Florence Rogatz Lecturer in Law at the Law School, said, “For some chaplains that is going to be tremendously difficult. Some chaplains may look for the exit if they find the military environment is no longer compatible with their deeply held views. On the other hand, there will presumably be some gay chaplains coming in who will be out of the closet.” Fidell and YDS associate professor of pastoral care and counseling Kristen Leslie spearheaded organization of the conference.


School of Drama
James Bundy, Dean

Theater festival honors playwriting professor

Pulitzer Prizewinner Paula Vogel, the Eugene O’Neill Chair of the playwriting department at the School of Drama and playwright in residence at Yale Repertory Theatre, has been chosen to receive the award for Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre, to be conferred at the 29th annual William Inge Theatre Festival in April. Founded in 1981, the Inge Festival celebrates the accomplishments of nationally renowned playwrights. Previous honorees include Arthur Miller, August Wilson, Horton Foote, Wendy Wasserstein ’76MFA, Edward Albee, and Tina Howe. Vogel’s plays include How I Learned to Drive, A Civil War Christmas, The Long Christmas Ride Home, The Mineola Twins, The Baltimore Waltz, Hot ’n’ Throbbing, Desdemona, And Baby Makes Seven, and The Oldest Profession. Prior to joining the Yale faculty, she directed the MFA playwriting program at Brown University.

Design meeting will bring together graduating designers

In May, the graduate theater design programs at California Institute of the Arts, Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and the Yale School of Drama will present Design Meeting 2010. This event in New York City will introduce graduating scenic, costume, lighting, and sound designers to the professional theater community through a project gallery and portfolio presentation. Design Meeting 2010 is being coordinated by John Coyne ’97MFA, lecturer in design at Yale School of Drama, working with Christopher Barreca ’83MFA, head of scenic design at CalArts; Susan Hilferty ’80MFA, chair of design at Tisch; and Stephen Strawbridge ’83MFA, co-chair of design at Yale. The event will focus on a dialogue among professional theater directors, choreographers, and designers in a series of one-on-one conversations, and will promote an exchange of ideas among the graduating designers themselves.


School of Engineering & Applied Science
T. Kyle Vanderlick, Dean

Light-force research

The research of electrical engineering assistant professor Hong Tang has been chosen as one of the “100 Top Stories of 2009” by Discover magazine. In its January 2010 issue, Discover highlights Tang’s research group’s demonstration of the attractive and repulsive force of light. While researchers have long theorized the existence of such optical force, Tang’s group is the first to demonstrate it in silicon devices, opening the door to a whole new class of semiconductor devices run on light rather than electricity. Tang was a 2009 recipient of the prestigious Packard Foundation Fellowship for Science and Engineering. (For a Yale Alumni Magazine report on Tang’s research, see “The Power of Light.”)

Nanosensors can measure cancer biomarkers in blood

A team of researchers led by professors Mark Reed and Tarek Fahmy has demonstrated the first use of nanosensors to measure cancer biomarkers in whole blood—a breakthrough that could dramatically simplify the way physicians test for biomarkers of cancer and other diseases. (For a Yale Alumni Magazine report, see “A Better Cancer Trap.”) Due to the complicated composition of blood, which includes proteins, ions, and other constituents that affect detection, current measurements are both labor- and time-intensive—taking several days to process. This new technology acts as a filter, catching the biomarkers on a chip while washing away the rest of the blood and producing results—measurements equivalent to detecting the concentration of a single grain of salt dissolved in a large swimming pool—within minutes. While researchers developed their technology to target biomarkers for prostate and breast cancer, the device could be used to test for a wide range of biomarkers, from cancer to cardiovascular disease, simultaneously. “The advantage of this technology,” says Reed, “is that it takes the same effort to make a million devices as it does to make just one.”

The spokeless bicycle

This year’s mechanical engineering seniors successfully designed, fabricated, and demonstrated a spokeless bicycle as part of their course in mechanical design. “While there have been many concepts for the spokeless bicycle, none has gone into production, which made this a perfect challenge for our class,” said Henry Misas ’10. While the spokeless bike offers no real mechanical advantage over the traditional design, students point out that sometimes aesthetics are more important. This is one of many student mechanical design projects, which over recent years have included a hybrid SAE formula race car, a model airplane, and energy harvesting projects, among others. For most mechanical engineering seniors the mechanical design course is a much-anticipated culmination of three years of primarily theoretical study. “It’s an amazing feeling to design and fabricate an innovative product,” says Misas.


School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
Peter Crane, Dean

American opinion cooling on global warming

Public concern about global warming has dropped sharply since the fall of 2008, according to a national survey released by researchers at Yale and George Mason universities in January.

The survey found: only 50 percent of Americans now say they are “somewhat” or “very worried” about global warming, a 13-point decrease; the percentage of Americans who think global warming is happening has declined 14 points, to 57 percent; the percentage of Americans who think global warming is caused mostly by human activities dropped 10 points, to 47 percent. In line with these shifting beliefs, there has been an increase in the number of Americans who think global warming will never harm people or other species in the United States or elsewhere.

“Despite scientific evidence that global warming will have serious impacts worldwide, public opinion is moving in the opposite direction,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change. He attributes this change to the economic downturn and political issues that have “pushed climate change out of the news,” as well as to “an erosion of public trust in climate science.”

Scandinavia and Costa Rica top Environmental Performance Index

Iceland, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Sweden, and Norway are the top performers in the 2010 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) produced by Yale and Columbia universities. (For more on EPI, see the Law School notes.)

Iceland got high scores on environmental public health, controlling greenhouse gas emissions, and reforestation. Switzerland, Costa Rica, Sweden, and Norway have all made substantial investments in environmental infrastructure, pollution control, and policies designed to move toward long-term sustainability. The United States ranked 61st—significantly behind the United Kingdom (14th), Germany (17th), and Japan (20th).

Kroon Hall gets LEED’s highest rating

Kroon Hall, the new home of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, has been awarded LEED Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. Under the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system for new construction, Kroon Hall was awarded 59 points, or 7 more than required for the top rating of Platinum. “The faculty and students of our environment school are working in a setting that superbly embodies their aspirations,” said President Richard C. Levin. “We hope Kroon Hall and all of Yale’s efforts to operate a sustainable campus encourage other institutions and governments to take the steps necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and safeguard the environment.” The building was designed to use 81 percent less water and 58 percent less energy than a comparable building and to generate 25 percent of its electricity onsite from renewable sources.


Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
Jon Butler, Dean

Associates in Teaching program to expand

The Associates in Teaching (AT) program had a strong start this year, with four pilot courses in the fall and one currently in progress. Dean Jon Butler has announced that it will expand to 12 courses next year, divided equally among the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. The AT program was set up to provide enhanced teaching opportunities for advanced PhD students, who work closely with a cooperating faculty member to create (or redesign) an undergraduate course and then co-teach it. ATs attend all class meetings in order to observe and reflect on the faculty member’s teaching and participate in weekly discussions about teaching with the faculty partner. “Our review of the Associates in Teaching program indicates that the teaching teams this fall were extremely satisfied,” says Dean Butler. “The program seems to be fulfilling its mission to provide a dynamic teaching experience for a graduate student and faculty member together.”

China welcomes Yale graduate students

Yale’s long-standing ties with China helped bring a contingent of 50 Yalies to that country over winter break, including 14 Graduate School students. After four days in Beijing, they went to Shanghai, where they stayed at the East China Normal University (ECNU). They studied conversational Mandarin every morning, followed by classes on the economics of China, the history of Shanghai, calligraphy, dumpling making, and tai chi. One day was spent at Fudan University, which has a long history of academic exchanges with Yale. There, Yale and Fudan students who work in the same fields met to exchange ideas and compare experiences. Amanda Foust, a PhD student in neurobiology, called the trip “an awesome experience. . . . We saw, touched, tasted, and listened to one of the oldest existing cultures on the planet. The Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Pearl Tower—these are places I never expected to go in my life, and they were splendid. But by far, the most valuable experiences were connections made with students and their families, two communities from opposite sides of the planet seeking common ground.”

Diversity conference in March

The seventh annual Yale Bouchet Conference on Diversity in Graduate Education will be held March 26 and 27 in the Hall of Graduate Studies. The conference is titled “Demystifying Diversity: Uncovering and Exploring the Benefits of a Truly Diverse and Inclusive Higher Education Campus Community.” Organized by the Office for Diversity and Equal Opportunity (ODEO), the event includes speakers and participants from around the country. This year’s Bouchet Leadership Award will be given to Dean Butler, who has been “an outstanding advocate for diversity,” says Michelle Nearon, assistant dean and ODEO director. One of his recent initiatives created diversity recruitment coordinators, tenured faculty members who serve on the admissions application review committee of their department and work closely with Nearon to develop outreach, recruitment, and retention initiatives for traditionally underrepresented students. The award is named in memory of Yale alumnus Edward A. Bouchet, the first African American to receive a PhD in North America (physics, 1876). More on the event can be found at


Law School
Robert Post, Dean

Law School mourns pioneer in clinical education

Yale Law School professor emeritus Daniel J. Freed ’48, ’51LLB, a pioneer in the criminal justice process and a key figure in the development of clinical education at the Law School, died January 17 at age 82. Freed was clinical professor emeritus of law and its administration, specializing in sentencing and criminal justice administration. He spent ten years at the U.S. Department of Justice before coming to Yale Law School in 1969 to oversee the development of the school’s clinical program. He was one of the early proponents of sentencing guidelines and, in 1989, cofounded the Federal Sentencing Reporter, a law review dedicated to accessible conversation about sentencing law and policy among scholars, judges, practitioners, and policymakers. “Dan Freed was a unique scholar, reformer, and social activist,” said Yale Law School dean Robert Post ’77JD. “He spent a lifetime seeking to realize his goal of making the criminal justice system fairer and more effective, and he succeeded to a remarkable degree.”

Iceland tops rankings in environmental performance

Iceland leads the world in addressing pollution control and natural resource management challenges, according to the 2010 Environmental Performance Index (EPI), produced by environmental experts at Yale and Columbia University. First released in 2006, the index measures the environmental performance of various countries based on established targets. A total of 163 countries were ranked on their performance across 25 metrics aggregated into ten categories, including: environmental health, air quality, water resource management, biodiversity and habitat, forestry, fisheries, agriculture, and climate change. The United States placed 61st, with strong results on some issues, such as provision of safe drinking water and forest sustainability, and weak performance on other issues, including greenhouse gas emissions and several aspects of local air pollution.

The EPI was developed by the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, a joint initiative of Yale Law School and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and the Center for International Earth Science Information Network at Columbia University, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.

“At the Copenhagen Climate Conference, reliable environmental performance data emerged as fundamental to global-scale policy cooperation,” said Daniel C. Esty ’86JD, director of the center. “The 2010 EPI shows the potential for a much more analytically rigorous approach to environmental decision-making.”

The full text of the 2010 EPI report, including country profiles and the summary for policymakers, is available at For another report on the EPI, see the environment school notes.


School of Management
Sharon Oster, Dean

Dean-designate visits campus

The day after Yale president Richard C. Levin announced the appointment of Edward A. Snyder to be SOM’s new dean starting in July 2011 (see the Yale Alumni Magazine’s report, “SOM Lands a Leading B-School Dean”), Snyder came to campus to meet with faculty, students, and staff and to speak before a school-wide assembly. During his visit, Snyder, currently dean and George Shultz Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, outlined his vision for SOM, which includes capitalizing on connections between SOM and the larger Yale community and completing the construction of the new campus, which is set to begin this summer. Snyder, who will take over as dean from Sharon Oster, told the audience he was excited to begin this latest chapter in his career. “I’m attracted to the fact that students have broad vision. I’m impressed by the faculty’s commitment to not only world-class research but also to education and the professional development of the students here in a way that is quite distinctive,” he said. “I have no doubt that this school is going to have an oversized role in the future. It’s going to have increasing influence in management education and in developing leaders in the years and decades to come.” Read the full story at:

Students travel to India to help social entrepreneurs

In the fall of 2008, Yale SOM launched a new course aimed at aiding social entrepreneurs in the developing world. Each year, selected entrepreneurs travel to New Haven for a week of seminars and meetings with students. Over the course of the fall semester, the students work on consulting projects for these overseas enterprises. In January, SOM MBA students flew to India (the first country where the program will eventually send students) to see the projects firsthand and put their ideas into action. Tony Sheldon ’84MPPM, executive director of the Program on Social Enterprise, leads the Global Social Enterprise course, which develops students’ practical skills while providing them with a deeper understanding both of social enterprises and the environment within which they operate. “In many ways it’s a perfect reflection of the SOM mission,” he said.


School of Medicine
Robert J. Alpern, Dean

Researcher honored for work in innate immunity

Ruslan Medzhitov, David W. Wallace Professor of Immunobiology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, has been awarded the 2010 Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in Basic Medical Science, for his “elucidation of the mechanisms of innate immunity,” according to the Rosenstiel Center at Brandeis University. Medzhitov’s studies helped shed light on the critical role of toll-like receptors (TLRs) in sensing microbial infections, mechanisms of TLR signaling, and activation of the inflammatory and immune response. “Recent discoveries of TLRs and other pattern recognition receptors uncovered the key pathways that control immune responses,” Medzhitov said. “Targeting these receptors should help to manipulate the immune system with vaccines and other interventions.” Sharing the award for his work in innate immunity is Jules Hoffman, research director and member of the board of administrators of the National Center of Scientific Research (CNRS), University Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France.

Images help scientists think outside the box

Cell structures known as box C/D guide ribonucleoproteins (RNPs) help to maintain the integrity of ribosomes, which synthesize proteins in all forms of life on Earth. A team in the lab of Susan Baserga ’80, ’88MD/PhD, professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry, used electron microscopy to discern the structure of the box C/D RNP in Methanocaldococcus jannaschii, a hardy microbe found in Antarctic ice and in boiling vents on the ocean floor. Conventional models had proposed that box C/D RNPs are composed of one RNA molecule and pairs of core proteins. But as reported in the September 11 edition of Science, first author Franziska Bleichert and the Yale group found that the M. jannaschii box C/D RNP was instead made up of two RNAs and four copies of each of the three core proteins. “It looks like a Wheat Thin with feet,” says Baserga, professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry. “When you can discern structure, you can often figure out function.”

Expert on severe mental illness is new director of mental health center

Michael Sernyak, professor of psychiatry and a nationally recognized health services researcher, has been appointed director of the Connecticut Mental Health Center (CMHC), a partnership between Yale and the state of Connecticut’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) that was established in 1966. The CMHC, an urban community mental health center that provides outpatient psychiatric services for over 7,000 New Haven–area residents each year, is housed with the Abraham Ribicoff Research Facilities, laboratories that have furthered our understanding and treatment of mental illnesses including schizophrenia, depression, and drug and alcohol addiction.


School of Music
Robert Blocker, Dean

Music in Schools program continues to grow

The Music in Schools program, inaugurated with funding from the Yale College class of 1957, continues to expand its reach throughout the state. A partnership with the Yale Glee Club will create a New Haven All-City Chorus. The annual instrumental competition will expand to include New Haven, Hartford, and Middlesex counties, with hopes to make it statewide in future years. And several interdisciplinary projects are bringing people from the School of Music together with public school students and professional musicians.

One current project, involving the School of Music, New Haven and Bridgeport public schools, and the Bridgeport Symphony Orchestra, illustrates the program’s reach. Last year, students from seven middle school classes in Bridgeport wrote and illustrated a story. Jordan Kuspa ’10MusM composed the score, which was performed in June by musicians from the Bridgeport Symphony along with live narration. The project continues this year as seniors from New Haven’s Co-Op Arts Magnet High School turn the book into a stop-motion film using LEGO.

Residency by composer Krzysztof Penderecki

The groundbreaking Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki, who served on the YSM faculty from 1973 to 1979, returns to the School of Music for a weeklong residency in April. Penderecki will work with students and faculty artists in preparation for a concert of his chamber works. He will also conduct the Yale Philharmonia in two performances, one in Woolsey Hall and one in Carnegie Hall, as the concluding event of the 2009–10 Yale in New York series. The program, which spans nearly 50 years of Penderecki’s career, opens with his landmark work from 1960, Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima. Violin professor Syoko Aki will perform the early (1967) Capriccio for Violin and Orchestra, a work that she performed with Penderecki at Yale in 1974, and faculty artist William Purvis will be the soloist in the U.S. premiere of the “Winterreise” horn concerto from 2008. The program will conclude with the Grawemeyer Prize-winning Symphony No. 4, “Adagio.”

School mourns longtime piano professor

Donald Currier ’47MusM, professor emeritus of piano, died on January 7 after a brief illness. In his 38 years on the Yale faculty, he was highly regarded as a teacher and performer. He also served as a resident fellow at Branford College and as associate dean of the School of Music.

Currier began piano lessons at the age of seven and studied piano and theory at the New England Conservatory. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, he attended the School of Music, then taught for several years at Connecticut College before joining the Yale faculty in 1951. He gave recitals in New York and throughout New England in addition to numerous performances at Yale and the Norfolk Summer School of Music. In 1989 Currier was named a Steinway artist, and in 1989–90 he was visiting professor of piano at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore. In 1998 he and his wife made a CD of piano music and poetry, titled Not to Look Back, and in 2005 he published his book, Why the Piano: Conjectural Writing about the Piano and the People Who Devote Their Lives to It.


School of Nursing
Margaret Grey, Dean

Forum on child day care features Yale study

A recent study led by YSN professor Angela Crowley has raised serious issues regarding health and safety in both child day care centers and family day care homes in Connecticut, and proposed pragmatic solutions. The findings were presented at a recent forum sponsored by the Child Health and Development Institute in Hartford, Connecticut.

The study, co-authored by Marjorie S. Rosenthal ’95MD, associate research scientist in general pediatrics at the Yale University School of Medicine, noted that, despite generally high levels of compliance with current licensing regulations, there are still alarming levels of noncompliance with a variety of health and safety provisions. The analysis strongly suggests that continuing education of day care providers and the presence of a trained nurse consultant contribute significantly to facilities being in compliance, while day care facilities in areas with low median household income tend to have more noncompliance issues. For more about the study and the forum, visit

YSN faculty inducted in American Academy of Nursing

Professors Ivy M. Alexander and Lois S. Sadler ’79MSN were inducted into the American Academy of Nursing as new fellows on November 7, 2009. They were selected for their outstanding achievements in the nursing profession. Alexander is associate professor and director of the adult, family, gerontological, and women’s health primary care specialty. Her research interests include women’s health, menopause, osteoporosis, risk reduction, and health disparities. Sadler, associate professor and assistant dean of academic affairs, specializes in the area of adolescent primary health care issues, high-risk families, and adolescent parenthood. Read more at

Professor recognized for women’s health research

Barbara Guthrie, associate professor and associate dean for academic affairs, has been chosen by the College of Nursing at New York University to receive the 2010 Estelle Osborne Recognition Award. This award is given to alumni who have advanced the professional development of their colleagues, served as role models, and actively participated in professional organizations. Guthrie was honored at a ceremony on February 18 in recognition of her extensive research in women’s health disparities and gender-responsive health promotion.


School of Public Health
Paul D. Cleary, Dean

Lyme disease spread by birds

The range of Lyme disease is spreading in North America, and it appears that birds play a significant role by transporting the Lyme disease bacterium over long distances, a new study by the Yale School of Public Health has found. Researchers analyzed published records and concluded that at least 70 species of North American birds are susceptible to infection by black-legged ticks, the principal vector of the Lyme disease bacterium. The evidence also suggests that these bird species are dispersing infected ticks into areas previously free of the disease, such as Canada. What remains to be seen is whether the bacterium that can infect birds can also cause disease in humans. If so, the role of birds in the epidemiology of Lyme disease could be profound. “Birds are often overlooked in Lyme disease studies,” said Robert Brinkerhoff, a postdoctoral student in Maria A. Diuk-Wasser’s lab, “but they may be playing a key role in its rapid expansion.”

Current soda taxes not enough to curb obesity

Current state taxes and levies on soft drinks are slowing consumption and resulting in slimmer waistlines, but the effect is generally small in magnitude. Jason Fletcher, an assistant professor at the Yale School of Public Health, analyzed the effectiveness of various forms of soda taxation on body mass index (BMI) over a 16-year period and found that an individual’s weight does respond to changes in taxation—a 1 percent tax increase resulted in a BMI decrease of 0.003 points, which is less than a tenth of a pound for a man of average height. “Our results suggest that the current low, hidden rates of soft-drink taxation in most states are not effective in substantially changing adult consumption,” Fletcher said. One reason that soda taxation may have limited results on BMI is that there are so many alternative beverages with similar calorie content available to consumers.

Stemming chronic disease in New Haven

In the second stage of a long-term effort to reverse worsening rates of chronic disease in New Haven, residents of six city neighborhoods have been surveyed about their current health and health habits in a program spearheaded by CARE: Community Alliance for Research and Engagement at Yale. CARE is part of the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation. Approximately 1,400 adults in the city’s Dixwell, West River/Dwight, Fair Haven, Hill North, Newhallville, and West Rock neighborhoods were interviewed last fall about their health issues, diet, exercise, tobacco use, access to health care, and neighborhood environment. The information gathered is being combined with data from health maps completed last summer of the same six neighborhoods, and the findings will be used to develop policy proposals and health programs to curb the onset of chronic disease.

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