THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA V O L U M E 5 0 | N U M B E R 2 | F E B R U A RY 5 , 2 0 0 4
2 UBC in the News 3 Injured Workers 5 Engineering a Solution 7 Kissometer 8 Teens in Crisis
Best Places to Kiss on Campus
Your choices for the most romantic setting. BY B R I A N L I N
From the romantic to the risqué, Valentine’s Day often takes many quiet nooks to sit with someone special and contemplate
the blame for a surge in public displays of affection – or PDAs all that life has to offer.”
– among lovers who can’t keep their lips off each other. Community Affairs director Sid Katz has been in love with
We surveyed the campus for the best location to lock lips. a spot right outside Cecil Green Coach House for more than
Kisser discretion is advised. 25 years.
Both the Rose Garden and the top of the Clock Tower seem “It’s without a doubt the best place to kiss, especially since
to be big hits with students. the recent addition of a park bench,” says Katz, who recalls
“Sitting on the wall at the edge of the Rose Garden, watch- daily walks there from the Dept. of Pharmacy when he first
ing the sail boats cruise by with the backdrop of a perfect sum- arrived at UBC in 1975.
mer sunset,” says Megan Thomas, news editor of The “I was probably a lot more romantic then,” says Katz. “But
Ubyssey. “But who you are kissing is really more important who can resist the view overlooking Howe Sound, especially
than the venue!” on an August evening when the sun is setting?”
Not citing any personal experience – nor that of his friends, For indoor lip-locks, Herbert Rosengarten, executive direc-
for that matter – AMS VP External Affairs Sam Saini says the tor of the President’s Office, says you can’t beat the old dining
Rose Garden would be his pick for a romantic kiss, while the room on the lower floor of the University Centre.
top of the Clock Tower “seems like a pretty wild place for that “This is where my wife Amanda – a UBC grad – and I were
sort of stuff.” married many years ago, and where we exchanged our first
For a “highly artistic” kiss, AMS President Oana Chirila marital kiss – in public, of course!” ■
suggests the top of the Buchanan Tower, but warns that it’s not
for the weak of heart.
The middle of the Pit dance floor and backstage at Chan
Centre during a concert were among her top picks, followed
by the backyard of the Cecil Green Park House.
Sauder School of Business Marketing professor Kathleen
“I attended a beautiful wedding at Cecil Green Park House
last fall,” says Vohs, who was recently chosen one of 10 Most
Eligible Bachelorettes by The Vancouver Sun.
PHOTO: BRIAN LIN
“It just made me want to get married there as soon as I
For more private displays of affection, Science student Sarah
Kittle recommends the stacks in the bottom floor of the Main
Library and “the cage” in the West Storage of the Student
Sid Katz's quarter-century love affair with the Cecil
Green cliff has been made easier with a new park bench.
“My friends and I were just talking about it the other day,”
says Kittle of the secured structure for athletic equipment. “We
thought it’d be a great place to make out.” 10 favourite spots to kiss on campus:
• Cecil Green Park House • Rose Garden
PHOTO: JOHN CHONG
Korean exchange students and valentines Yeohoon
Park and Myung Suk Cha prefer Wreck Beach and the • Cecil Green Coach House • Clock Tower
Rose Garden for smooches. • Student Recreation Centre • Buchanan Tower
• Nitobe Garden • Chan Centre
University Counsel Hubert Lai can’t resist the beauty and
• University Centre • Main Library
tranquility of the Nitobe Garden.
“It’s one of the undiscovered gems of the UBC campus, with
Workshop Helps to Separate Fact from Fiction in Real Life Stories
Finding the truth is not easy. BY C R I S T I N A C A L B O R E A N U
What do we read when we read The workshop, titled “Putting a Life For the students, this is an opportunity The workshop runs February
auto/biography? And what exactly are on Stage”, will explore the challenges of and also a challenge. “The manipulators 18-22. For more information, visit
we watching when we watch auto/biog- staging and performing auto/biography. are walking, listening apparati,” explains http://autobiography.arts.ubc.ca. ■
raphical plays? It includes keynote lectures, panel ses- More. “They must be an open channel to
We commonly expect to find the truth sions, and roundtable discussions featur- serve the mask and the script. All the
in auto/biographical narratives and ing a stellar cast of scholars from around acting dials must be dimmed down
plays. But, as one of UBC’s experts in the world and some of Canada’s most and the emotions released into the
auto/biography studies explains, that respected playwrights, including Sharon mask, so that the audience can
expectation may not be entirely realistic. Pollock, Joy Coghill, Mavor Moore and believe the mask is a living breath-
“Auto/biography is something com- Linda Griffiths. ing being.”
piled, written, or produced, by another The focal point of the workshop is a And that’s not easy. Says
human being, so it’s a form of art in its performance of Song of This Place, by More, “I can bring them tech-
own right,” explains English professor renowned UBC alumna Joy Coghill. The nique, but that isn’t going to
Sherrill Grace. “And that is manifestly play, which explores a storyteller’s strug- make you go, ‘God, that’s
the case when we’re talking about the- gle to portray B.C. artist Emily Carr on Emily Carr,’ and be astonished.
atre, because there are all these other stage, is, according to director Robert They have to listen to the mask
players who come in: playwright, direc- More, “unique” in its approach and its and respond, listen to the text and
tor, actors, script, stage manager, lights courage to examine “the creative process to their fellow actors, and be empa-
and stage designer.” and the artistic vision in itself.” It contains thetic to everything around them.
According to Grace, auto/biographi- both biographical and autobiographical Learning to be that open and con-
cal plays have become more and more elements, which are explored through the fident could take 20 years of act-
common in 20th century literature, but use of Bunraku-style puppets, or animat- ing.”
the interplay between theatre and ed masks, held by manipulators visible to For Grace, this production of
auto/biography, and the reasons for the the audience. Four UBC students will give Song of This Place is an experi-
PHOTO: CRISTINA CALBOREANU
prevalence of the genre have still to be life to the 19 puppets. ment, but also a way of bringing
investigated. That is what an innovative “We’re moving across a divide here, by together two worlds. “This event
exploratory workshop organized by involving students in a live play produc- doesn’t fit into the academic mode and it
UBC’s English and Theatre departments tion,” says Grace. “Working with Robert bursts beyond the theatre production to
with support from the Peter Wall More, who is Canada’s leading expert on bring the two together,” she explains.
Institute for Advanced Studies, the UBC puppets, they’re getting a course in a very “We tend to live in disciplinary solitudes,
Hampton Fund and the McLean Chair specialized area which is not part of the but it is exciting and mutually beneficial Robert More, Canada’s leading expert on puppets.
for Canadian Studies, has set out to do. regular curriculum.” when academia and theatre meet.”
2 | ubc reports | february 5, 2004
IN THE NEWS
Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in January 2004. C O M P I L E D BY B R I A N L I N
Bounce at The Bell with anorexia nervosa,”Coxson told
UBC professor Heather McKay has CBS News.
conducted a pilot study that fol- “It is unclear whether these struc-
lowed almost 100 students who had tural changes are permanent, but if
similar eating habits and physical they are, early therapy is important
activity levels. The only in patients who have anorexia,”
difference was that half of them Coxson says.
jumped at the bell (just five jumps,
three times a day) and half of them Man bites dog? No, Planet
did not jump. Heats Sun
McKay found that those who had UBC astronomer Evgenya Shkolnik
jumped actually built 3.2 per cent has found a planet that is actually
more bone mass in the hip region of heating up its sun.
the body than the other children. Shkolnik’s study of a large planet
That could be enough to postpone, orbiting a star 90 light-years away
or perhaps event prevent, shows that the magnetic field of the
osteoporosis later in life. planet is producing hot spots on its
“We’re talking about these parent sun, a reversal of the effect
children gaining in eight months the sun has on planets such as the
what we would see women lose in Earth.
three years around menopause,” “The hotspot moves across the
McKay told ABC News. surface of the star keeping pace with
“It takes no money to run the Hush little baby: Fay Warnock’s the planet, but just a little bit
program,” said McKay. “It takes no study focuses on circumcision ahead,” Shkolnik told USA Today.
special training, and we’re talking because it is “an intense form of She said measurements of more than
about an investment of about a newborn acute pain.” 100 orbits showed that the
minute and a half a day.” hot spot on the face of the star exact-
ly matches the motion of the planet.
Researchers Study expression.”
Newborns’ Pain at Being She says the study focused on cir- Use the ‘Force’
Circumcised cumcision because it is “an intense For the many who sometimes walk
UBC Nursing professor Fay form of newborn acute pain,” but into a room and feel that something
Warnock is leading a research study stressed that further research in this is not quite right, the answer may lie
on the pain babies sustain from cir- area requires ongoing descriptions in a sub-system of our visual
cumcisions. The researchers system- of other kinds of acute pain. experience, according to a new study
atically note and itemize the behav- on visual perception by UBC psy-
iour of 10 baby boys during circum- Anorexia May Cause chology and computer
cision, recording each head twitch, Emphysema science professor Ronald Rensink.
each leg kick, each eye squeezing. The malnutrition that results from “Basically visual perception then
Warnock told the National Post the eating disorder anorexia ner- is two parts. It’s got the sort of pic-
that this kind of detailed data col- vosa may cause emphysema, tures we all know and love, and then
lection meant exhaustive and suc- according to a study lead by UBC we’ve got this other thing, this feel-
cessive viewing of each of these 90- radiology professor Harvey O. ing, this using the force, this sensing
minute tapes on a second-by-second Coxson, also a VCHRI member. stream, and they work in parallel, I
basis. Researchers used a new method think. They both operate at the same
Warnock says her work “is very of assessing computed tomography time,” Rensink told the National
basic in that it is focused on detail- (CT) scans to analyze the lungs of Post.
ing normally occurring newborn 14 anorexia patients and found the While you may not see anything,
pain-related distress behaviours... malnutrition in these patients Rensink says the “sixth sense” or as
Its usefulness is conceptual and, changed the physical structure of he calls it, “mindsight,” is basically
hopefully, will result in a deeper and their lungs. another kind of vision where people
more comprehensive descriptive “There is a reduction in the can sense a change and have a
understanding of newborn pain amount of lung tissue in patients visual experience of it. ■
As co-chairs of this year’s campaign, we are campaign, whether they are a donor, volunteer
delighted to announce that, thanks to the or supporter. Of the $511,150.08 raised,
exceptional work of our volunteers and thanks $350,000 was undesignated - so we can all feel
to the continued support of our donors, we have good about the impact these dollars will make
raised the phenomenal total of $511,150.08 for in our community.
United Way of the Lower Mainland. Not only On behalf of United Way of the Lower
have we hit our goal but we have exceeded it by Mainland and all the people who will benefit from
over $11,000 - truly outstanding! our contribution, thank you!
A campaign like this is a huge team effort and
such a fabulous total could not have been Eilis Courtney
achieved without everyone being generous with Deborah Austin
their time, talents, creativity and money. Everyone Co-chairs
should be very proud of their contribution to this 2003 UBC United Way Campaign
Director, Public Affairs UBC Reports is published monthly by the UBC Public Affairs Office
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ubc reports | february 5, 2004 | 3
Protecting Young Workers from Crippling
Injuries UBC researcher searches for solutions. BY H I L A R Y T H O M S O N
An 18-year-old sawmill worker was “Young people have higher claim industries for 15-19-year olds, and for
fatally crushed when a log he was rates mainly due to inexperience,” workers 20-24 years old the majority
attempting to straighten rolled off the says Koehoorn, who is a Michael of claims come from the retail, manu-
skid of an infeed deck. Smith Foundation for Health facturing, construction and forestry
Research Scholar. “New workers may sectors. Common injuries include back
A 21-year-old lumber piler entered a be too intimidated to ask questions and other strains, cuts and bruises.
Here is the perfect alternative for a stay in Vancouver. Surrounded by the
hazard area without turning off the about safety, not yet prepared in terms Koehoorn hopes that her research
power. He sustained a crushing injury of work or safety training or so eager findings will lead to a better under- spectacular beauty of the UBC campus, our fully-equipped, quality suites
to his foot resulting in five severed toes. to prove themselves on the job that standing of the impact of work-related offer convenience and comfort for visiting lecturers, professors, family,
they perform tasks they’re unfamiliar injuries and help to direct more friends or anyone who wants to stay on Vancouver’s west side. Close to
An 18-year-old power press operator with.” resources to prevention and regulatory restaurants and recreation both on and off campus, and only 20 minutes
had his right hand and forearm In addition, young workers are efforts aimed specifically at young
from downtown Vancouver, the West Coast Suites is a wonderful retreat from
crushed when he reached into the die often assigned low-end jobs that carry workers.
For more information on injuries to which to visit friends or make your stay on business a pleasure.
press to remove some jammed materi- the greatest risk factors. As new work-
al. He had been on this job for two ers, they are often unable to recognize young workers, visit
www.worksafe.bc.com/publications/re w w w. w e s t c o a s t s u i t e s . c o m
weeks at the time of the accident. workplace hazards and are unaware
of their rights as workers to operate in ports and click on the focus report Reservations Tel 604 822 1000 Fax 604 822 1001
These real-life incidents taken from a a safe environment. called Protecting Young Workers. ■ 5961 Student Union Boulevard Vancouver BC V6T 2C9
Workers’ Compensation Board of B.C. In a two-year study, funded by the
(WCB) report called Protecting Young WCB, Koehoorn will examine data Open Year-Round
Convenient On-Campus Location
Workers illustrate how young workers, that covers the 15-year period from
15-24 years old, account for the high- 1985-2000. Using WCB and provin- Did you know? An Affordable,
est rate of compensation claims among cial health records, she will assess if Right on Campus
UBC projects received more
all age groups in B.C. young workers with a compensation
than $1.6 million in funding
Besides being a tough way to begin claim have more contact over time
from the WCB Research The Iona Building at Vancouver School of Theology on the UBC campus. Photo: Perry Danforth
working life, these injuries may possi- with the health-care system than indi- Secretariat in 2003, out of a
bly be the start of long-term health
consequences, according to UBC
viduals of the same age, sex and geo-
total of $1.8 million awarded to
Stay, work and play
researcher Mieke Koehoorn. She thinks young workers may seek In our forest by the sea. We offer the best range of affordable
The Research Secretariat
An assistant professor in the continued medical attention outside launched its first annual accommodation, meeting space and conference services in the
department of health care and the compensation system because, research competition in Lower Mainland. Come find out why.
epidemiology, Koehoorn has launched although they have symptoms after November 2000. The mission
a study that looks at the experiences of the claim is closed, they don’t know of the secretariat is to support
young workers in B.C. She wants to how to re-open a claim. Also, they scientific research that will lead 5961 Student Union Boulevard
know if persistent symptoms from may be reluctant to take further time to a reduction in the incidence Vancouver BC V6T 2C9
early work injuries result in increased off work that will damage their fledg- and severity of work-related Reservations
usage of health-care services in the long ling work record. injury and disease. ■ Tel 604 822 1000
Fax 604 822 1001
term, beyond workers’ compensation Industries where young workers are
Group Sales and
benefits. most likely to be injured include retail Conference Services
Tel 604 822 1060
Fax 604 822 1069
No More Line-Ups: New Online Banking Service
Saves Time and Money
UBC students have a new way
to pay tuition and other fees
online – Electronic Funds
Transfer (EFT). Students can
transfer funds from their bank
account and pay whichever UBC Vancouver’s Affordable and Most Accommodating Alternative
fees they choose – whenever they WEST COAST SUITES | THE GAGE TOWERS | THE RESIDENCES | PACIFIC SPIRIT HOSTEL | CONFERENCE SERVICES
UBC is the first university in
Canada to offer this form of
EFT. It gives students complete
control over how and when they
pay their fees. It’s fast,
user-friendly, and cheaper – for
both students and the university –
than credit card payments, cur-
rently the most frequently-used
PHOTO: BRIAN LIN
form of online payment.
To pay by EFT, students log on
to the Student Services Centre
web site. EFT is part of
Enrolment Services’ Consolidated
Line-ups have dramatically decreased in Brock Hall since the launch of the Billing initiative. For details, visit
Electronic Funds Transfer service. www.e-strategy.ubc.ca. ■
Research Awareness Week
MARCH 6 – 13 2004
INNOVATION: IDEAS CROSSING BOUNDARIES
Research Awareness Week 2004 will highlight and celebrate the
outstanding research in all fields that is continually underway
at the university. Innovation is encapsulated at UBC by crossing
boundaries in four ways – from idea to product, from university
to community, from discipline to discipline and from research to
UBC main campus, UBC Robson Square and our affiliated hospitals
will host numerous free public forums, symposia, research days
and exhibits on topics ranging from health research, ethics of
patents and drug developments to the impact of advanced
technology on the workplace. Key issues affecting cities and
public policy will also be featured.
Please go to our online Event Calendar for full details
and registration: www.research.ubc.ca
We would like to thank Discovery Parks for their generous support.
4 | ubc reports | february 5, 2004
UBC Engineering Students Raise the
Quality of Life in East Timor Village
Engineers Without Borders is making a difference. BY C R I S T I N A C A L B O R E A N U
Villagers in Usu’un, East Timor live off and then package them, then they’re commerce or political science) who
the land. They farm and they fish. It is worth much more on the local, national would be interested in putting their
not easy being a farmer in a place like and international market,” explains knowledge and experience to work.
this, what with rugged terrain, poor Baker. “International development is multi-
soils, and unpredictable rainfall. And it’s The UBC chapter of EWB was disciplinary,” says Rucki. “To develop
even harder when you live in a country founded in 2001 and is already one of new ideas, you need to involve people
where 70 per cent of the physical infra- the fastest growing and most active in with different backgrounds, different
structure was destroyed in an armed the country. educations, and different experiences.”
conflict in which nearly three quarters of “We focus on promoting awareness Of course, you also need awareness
the population was displaced. of international development and global of international development and glob-
Seemingly small things can easily issues among students and the al issues, which, they say, is conspicu-
throw off the delicate balance of this life. Vancouver community,” says Rucki, ously absent from the academic curricu-
Things like how long it takes to dry the co-president of the UBC chapter. “We lum – at least when it comes to engi-
food that needs to be preserved. do that through our internships abroad, neering.
It usually takes more than five days, through our local projects, and our “There is often a complete lack of
during which time large amounts of fruit Speaker Series here on campus.” study of the social and environmental
and fish are wasted due to parasitic con- The UBC chapter is involved in a issues surrounding what we do as engi-
tamination. That means there will be variety of overseas projects, such as neers,” says Baker, the director of cur-
less to eat. Scala, an EWB-owned Information and riculum change for the UBC chapter.
And that is what UBC third-year Communications Technology (ICT) “UBC is very good technically, but these
Integrated Engineering student Monica project developed in partnership with aspects are often neglected to the detri-
Rucki was trying to prevent during her the Filipino government. The UBC ment of some of the broader and more
four-month internship with Engineers Chapter is trying to raise 40 computers complicated issues.” That is why EWB
Without Borders last summer. Rucki and $15,000 that will go towards setting is aiming to implement a student-direct-
worked to build solar dryers that would up ICT training centres in the ed seminar on international develop-
cut the drying time for fish and fruit to Philippines, helping Filipino youth devel- ment, based on their experience in
less than two days. Prototypes were built op computer literacy skills and increase developing countries and provided as a
from locally available, inexpensive mate- their employability. They are hoping full-credit science and technology course
rials, and locals were trained how to some of these youth will in turn become for second-year engineering students.
build and maintain the dryers. computer teachers able to keep the ICT They’re hoping to promote awareness
Rucki’s experience in East Timor was training centres alive. “The long-term of global issues and to educate engineer-
just one example of the work done by hope is that the centres are able to self- ing students to recognize that interna-
Engineers Without Borders (EWB), sustain,” explains project leader Jordan tional development is “a two-way
whose 3,700 members are working on Marr. street.”
30 projects in 20 countries to promote As part of the UBC chapter’s local “Often there is a perception that
human development through access to projects, volunteers with the Scala proj- we’re sending people over there to teach
technology and a focus on building ect have partnered with the Learning and to impart our knowledge to the Living and working in East Timor
capacity in the local communities. Exchange to offer free IT classes in shel- local people, and that’s not true,” says (clockwise from top): Inspecting the
“It’s an attempt at finding sustainable ters in the Downtown Eastside. EWB- Baker. “In fact, it may be even more so irrigation system in a rice field; a
solutions, as opposed to giving some- UBC also organizes a High School that you’re learning how things are traditional “lulik” or magic hut; a
thing away and then leaving, which is Outreach program aimed at educating done and how the world works, and bamboo fence weaving workshop;
not particularly useful,” says Brendan high school students about engineering, you can bring that back and use it here. teaching locals how to make fertile soil
Baker, a recent Metals and Materials appropriate technology and internation- We hope to see a huge difference in the from manure, legumes and compost.
Engineering graduate who will be trav- al development. The program is sup- way things are done here, in terms of
eling to Senegal later this year for an ported by Aeroplan members donating addressing issues overseas and even in
eight-month internship. He will help their Aeroplan miles through the Miles terms of how we address issues here in
develop and implement technologies Without Borders donation program. Canada.”
that will allow locals to process the Being involved in so many different “One of the greatest things I brought
peanuts and cashew nuts they grow, projects, locally and across the world, back was just humility,” adds Rucki.
thus increasing their value. “They found has helped EWB-UBC move beyond the “You gain an immense appreciation for
that the nuts are worth next to nothing confinements of an engineering club. the fact that there are other ways to live
if sold as grown, in shells – but if they They are now actively trying to recruit than just the way we live, that really
can shell them, skin them, roast them students from different fields (such as work and that make people happy.” ■
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF MONICA RUCKI
FACULTY OF MEDICINE
UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
ASSOCIATE DEAN, CLINICAL FACULTY AFFAIRS
The Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia invites applications and
nominations for the position of Associate Dean, Clinical Faculty Affairs. This is a
part time position expected to be filled by an internal candidate and is available
January 1st, 2004.
The incumbent will be a part of the senior management team of the Faculty
of Medicine and report to the Dean. The senior management team provides
support to the Departments, Schools, Centres and faculty members. The Associate
Dean will provide leadership to the clinical activities of the Faculty of Medicine.
This would include but not be limited to representing the issues of medical
practice within the Faculty, ensuring that clinical faculty members have
appropriate mechanisms for support and recognition of their key contributions
to the Faculty, supporting the wellness of clinical faculty members and providing
leadership for the Office of Clinical Faculty Affairs. The Associate Dean would
provide a key interface with other organizations related to medical affairs. The
role would also include consideration of the broader group of Faculty members
engaged in clinical practice within the distributed model of medical education
in British Columbia and specifically, the Island Medical Program and the Northern
The University of British Columbia hires on the basis of merit and is committed
to employment equity. We encourage all qualified persons to apply.
Applications, accompanied by a detailed curriculum vitae and names of three
references, should be directed by February 29, 2004 to: Gavin C.E. Stuart, MD,
Dean, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Room 317,
Instructional Resources Centre, 2194 Health Sciences Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3.
THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
ubc reports | february 5, 2004 | 5
UBC Project Makes
Life Easier for Those
Suffering from Aphasia
Team designs communication aids
BY M I C H E L L E C O O K
(with files from Gayle Mavor, Computer Science Dept.)
Anita Borg, founder of the Institute for work for a broad range of users, and
Women in Technology in Palo Alto, one group that hasn’t received much
California, was passionate about using attention are people with disabilities,
PHOTO: COURTESY OF ANITA BORG INSTITUTE FOR WOMEN AND TECHNOLOGY
technology to better people’s lives. particularly people with speech and lan-
Those who knew her say she was a bril- guage cognitive disabilities,” explains
liant engineer with a compelling vision McGrenere. “The reason this group
and a way of presenting it that would doesn’t get the same coverage in HCI is
make people sit up and listen. because it’s difficult working with par-
When Borg was diagnosed with ticipants who have difficulty speaking
advanced brain cancer in May 2000, her and articulating their needs. It just
long-time friend Maria Klawe, UBC’s makes the job of designing technologies
former science dean, says, “It felt like the for them that much more challenging.”
sun had gone behind a huge cloud.” From the start, it was clear to
Borg survived the cancer for much McGrenere and Moffatt that, if they
longer than expected but, by 2002, had were going to help Borg, they would
developed aphasia, a condition that need a multidisciplinary team of
affects a person’s ability to process and experts. They brought in several other
use language while leaving their mental UBC computer science students, along
faculties intact. It most often occurs after with psychology professor Peter Graf,
a stroke but it can also result from a and Barbara Purves, a clinical professor
brain tumour or brain injury. at the UBC School of Audiology and
But cancer and aphasia could not Speech Sciences with more than 30
defeat Borg’s vitality and enthusiasm. years of experience helping people with
She was determined to use her expertise aphasia.
Anita Borg inspired a group of UBC researchers to use technology to help people with aphasia.
in technology to find ways to overcome The group wanted to understand the
her difficulties communicating. She and specific effects the condition had on
Klawe began brainstorming. Their dis- Borg’s ability to function. McGrenere, aphasia maintain their independence in their ability to recognize words or write The team has recruited help from
cussion laid the groundwork for a Moffatt and Purves flew to San carrying out small daily life tasks. them down can record meetings other collaborators, including Jeff
remarkable initiative now underway at Francisco to meet Borg and began Purves estimates that there are and appointments using a combination Riley, an expert in assistive technology
UBC called the Aphasia Project. investigating preliminary designs and approximately 100,000 Canadians of images and sounds and some text. at Vancouver’s G.F. Strong Rehab
“Anita was having increasing difficul- potential applications. with aphasia – about the same number One of the team’s big challenges has Centre, and they plan to continue
ty with speech, reading and writing,” Despite her failing health, Borg as suffer from Parkinson’s disease. She been to understand if people with apha- working with B.C.’s aphasia
recalls Klawe, now Dean of Engineering showed an enthusiasm for the project says the biggest frustration for those sia will be able to use the planner community on new prototype tech-
at Princeton University. “[But] after real- that all three women remember fondly. affected is the impairment of their abil- they’ve designed. Through the BC nologies.
izing that her ability to recognize images “Anita was really inspired to use her ity to communicate with words and Aphasia Centre and local stroke clubs McGrenere thinks the project could
was still completely intact, we decided to condition in a way that could help other writing and to some extent, with ges- in Vancouver, as well as the Life continue for up to 10 years.
see if computing technology could people, even knowing that she probably ture and drawing, and with it the Enhancement Aphasia Program in “We’re definitely in the foothills,”
enhance her ability to function in a vari- wasn’t going to see the benefits of most impairment of their ability to commu- Victoria, they have enlisted the help of a she says. “It’s a matter of trying to
ety of ways.” of this work,” McGrenere says. nicate who they are and what they are group of people living with the condi- uncover what the best platforms are
Klawe shared the pair’s initial ideas But Borg also had specific needs that feeling. tion to assess the prototype and incor- for this kind of work. [There are] vari-
with Karyn Moffatt, a UBC graduate she managed to vocalize for the “Aphasia affects people in different porate their ideas on how to improve it. ous PDAs, cell phones that can send
student, and convinced her to take on research team. ways but the thing that is common is Moffatt says the support and enthusi- images back and forth, tablets and a
the task of designing a computer-based “Anita wanted to maintain an active that they’re not unable to think, they asm from the local aphasia community fair amount of mobile technology
aid for people with aphasia as her mas- schedule and she increasingly had to just can’t get their thoughts out, and has been overwhelming. now.
ter’s thesis project. Klawe also rely on family members to help manage they also have difficulty taking infor- Sadly, Anita Borg passed away on What is clear is that Borg’s vision of
approached Joanna McGrenere, an her schedule and that’s not what she mation in,” Purves explains. This April 6, 2003 from brain cancer at the technology’s potential to help people
assistant professor of computer science wanted,” says Moffatt. “She had very makes simple activities like jotting age of 54. The institute she founded has lives on in an energetic, imaginative
at UBC and a specialist in human-com- real needs so it was easy to envision down a doctor’s appointment or since been renamed the Anita Borg group of researchers who were moti-
puter interaction, to work with Moffatt how the technology could fit in – how remembering where to meet a friend for Institute for Women in Technology. vated by a remarkable woman.
on her project in addition to exploring it could help.” dinner very difficult. But the UBC Aphasia Project is real- Klawe says her friend would be
other possibilities. Back in Vancouver, the team began With help from other team members, ly just getting started. While Moffatt’s thrilled at what the UBC aphasia team
McGrenere remembers being slightly working with existing technology in the Moffatt and McGrenere have devel- master’s thesis – the genesis of the proj- has accomplished in its first year.
daunted by the scope of the challenge. form of an IPAQ pocket PC running oped a prototype for a daily planner ect – is almost complete, there is still “Her family members and doctor
“Human-computer interaction (HCI) with the Windows CE operating sys- program that runs on a hand-held com- much work to be done on the proto- told me that the project brought her
is a relatively young field. In HCI, where tem. Their goal was to develop a device puter (much like a Palm Pilot). It is type. There are also several other spin- more joy than anything else in the last
we’re trying to design technology to that would help Borg and others with designed so that people who have lost off projects and case studies in progress. few months of her life.” ■
Old Skill Provides Modern Solution to Heart Valve Replacement
New technique may mean no more broken A traditional sailors’ craft was the inspiration for a new If the technique can be perfected, it would mean huge
breastbones. BY H I L A R Y T H O M S O N technique to replace heart valves without major surgery. health-care savings compared to current methods requiring
Much like a ship in a bottle, the procedure involves an operating room and long hospital stays. Most important-
inserting a foldable valve through a small incision and ly, it would mean that individuals who are too weak for sur-
running the valve along a blood vessel into the heart where it gery and unlikely to survive might be saved.
is ‘unfurled’ and attached remotely – a virtually non-surgical Also, patients would be able to avoid the significant pain
intervention. and discomfort of heart valve replacement surgery.
Valve replacement surgery currently requires breaking ribs “When they broke my breast bone and ribs to get at my
and breastbone to access the heart, a minimum of a week’s heart it really hurt,” says 86-year-old Eleanor Wetherly.
hospitalization and considerable recuperation time. “I was in the hospital for a long time. It was two or three
Called Percutaneous Valve Replacement, the new months before I felt better.”
procedure is being developed by Dr. John Webb, director of Four valves direct blood to and from the body through the
the cardiac catheterization laboratory at St. Paul’s Hospital in heart: the aortic valve, the pulmonic valve, the tricuspid valve,
Vancouver. Still in the experimental stages, the technique and the mitral valve. Any of these valves may malfunction
offers promise for patients who are too ill to survive because of a birth defect, infection, disease, or trauma. When
traditional valve replacement surgery. the malfunction is so severe that it interferes with blood flow,
PHOTO: COURTESY OF PROVIDENCE HEALTH CARE
The new method involves a small incision made in the an individual will have heart palpitations, fainting spells,
thigh to allow a tube the size of a pencil to be inserted. The and/or difficulty breathing. These symptoms will progressive-
tube is threaded along the veins up to the heart. Once the ly worsen and cause death unless the damaged valve is
folded valve has been opened and attached in the heart, the replaced surgically.
tube is withdrawn. After a couple of stitches for the incision Webb expects it will be at least two years before patients
and a day’s rest, the patient would be able to go home. can benefit from the procedure.
Sound simple? Not quite, says Webb, who is also a UBC About 80 per cent of Canadians have at least one risk
associate clinical professor of cardiology. factor for cardiovascular disease and 11 per cent have three
“The new remote procedure is still highly experimental. risk factors or more, according to the Heart and Stroke
We haven’t yet tried it on a patient. The tube is about three Foundation of Canada. Risk factors for cardiovascular
feet long and the placement of the valve within the complex disease include smoking, lack of exercise, being overweight,
structure of the heart is critical. A few hair widths out of place and high blood pressure.
and the whole thing is wrong. We have to get it exactly right For more information on heart disease and treatment, visit
Sailors’ art goes hi-tech with new non-surgical cardiac procedure. every time.” ww2.heartandstroke.ca. ■
6 | ubc reports | february 5, 2004
For the Love of Money
A financial planning workshop for recent grads
just in time for tax season!
BY VA N E S S A C L A R K E
A lot of us love money, but not many of us relish the annual
chore of working out our taxes – especially when our efforts don’t
result in a nice fat return. The Young Alumni Network is offering
recent graduates a workshop that will teach them how to manage
their money efficiently and invest it wisely.
Just in time for the March 1 RRSP deadline, Jonathan
Pagtakhan, BA’98, a financial advisor with CIBC, will teach
workshop participants new investment strategies and ways to
keep the taxman at bay. He’ll talk about goal setting, borrowing,
cash flow management, RRSPs, investment planning and asset
allocation. A representative from London Life will also be on
hand to talk about different types of insurance.
Thursday, February 12th
HSBC Hall UBC Robson Square
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
For tickets, please contact Sandra:
email@example.com or 604-822-3313
Jonathan Pagtakhan is a volunteer on the Young Alumni
Network committee, helping to organize events that will be use-
ful to recent graduates in their professional development (there
are also plenty of opportunities for socializing).
One of Jonathan’s favourite memories of UBC is of the couch-
es at Sedgewick Library — perhaps a contender for the best
place to kiss on campus?
For more information about the Young Alumni Network, a
program offered by the UBC Alumni Association, please contact
UBC Public Affairs has opened both a radio and TV studio on campus Dianna DeBlaere at YAmentor@alumni.ubc.ca or 604-822-8917
where you can do live interviews with local, national and international or visit the website: http://www.alumni.ubc.ca/programs/youn-
NEWS TV | RADIO media outlets.
To learn more about being a UBC expert, call us at 604.822.2064 and
visit our web site at www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/experts/signup
Imagine a 750 hectare park with over 50 kilometers of trails
as your front yard. And after a walk or a run, when you returned
to your home you’d be greeted by wide-open views of the
Pacific Ocean, Coastal Islands and Coast Mountains, surrounded
by countless cultural, social and outdoor opportunities. Now, pic-
ture all this in West Point Grey on the grounds of the University
of British Columbia. And finally, consider that this could be the
site of your new home.
Argyll House is a rare collection of apartment homes, penthouses
and townhomes built to the highest standards. And with all that
is best about living in Vancouver at your doorstep, living here
really could be a walk in the park.
For more information call us at 604.228.8100
or visit our website at
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ubc reports | february 5, 2004 | 7
Retiring Within 5 Years?
for Patients Don Proteau
and Doctors Senior Financial Planner
Complimentary consultations available for
UBC Faculty and Staff
Making needles easier to firstname.lastname@example.org Retirement and Estate planning
give and easier to take
PHOTO: COURTESY OF ERINROSE HANDY
UBC pension expertise
BY M I C H E L L E C O O K
(with files from ErinRose Handy, “I am completely satisfied with the service I am receiving from Don.”
Applied Science) M. Dale Kinkade,
Professor Emeritus of Linguistics, UBC
Joanne Driscoll (not her real name) has “Frank and Don made me feel very comfortable with their advice and
long range planning. Their knowledge of the faculty pension plan is
a deteriorating disc in her spine. To also a plus for UBC professors.”
slow the deterioration down, doctors Frank Danielson Dr. J. H. McNeill,
must insert a long needle filled with a B.Ed., CFP Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, UBC
Senior Financial Planner
steroid into her back every three Call or e-mail today for a complimentary retirement analysis
months. Assante Financial
Robert Rohling demonstrates the steerable biopsy needles he and fellow Mangement Ltd.
It’s an experience marked with fear inventors have engineered. 604-638-0335
and anxiety and sometimes, when the email@example.com
needle misses its mark, excruciating He says the main challenge for doc- time needed to perform it.
pain. tors is having to imagine where to direct Rohling adds that while the cost of
The Assante symbol is a registered trademark of Assante Corporation, used under license.
“I have heard others scream when the needle, without actually being able the system is still more than a regular,
this happens and I’ve wanted to scream to see where it’s going. It’s a skill that disposable needle, the health-care sav-
myself. One time it felt like molten lava comes only with experience. The poten- ings will be in the reduction of time it
coursing down my leg,” Driscoll says. tial dangers are numerous: a misplaced takes doctors to perform a procedure.
“It is also very stressful for the person needle can cause bleeding, pain, or seed The researchers’ next step is to pre-
inserting the needle. Once after many healthy cells with cancerous ones. pare the prototype for clinical trials.
painful failed attempts, a resident actu- “There’s a certain anxiety when you The steerable needle hasn’t been
ally asked my supervising doctor to put insert a big needle into someone and used on humans – yet. Instead,
“There’s a certain anxiety when you insert a big needle into someone and you
don’t know whether you’re going to get results or not.”
on his gloves and take over my you don’t know whether you’re going researchers have been trying it out on
treatment.” to get results or not,” Qayumi says. “If tissue phantoms – simulated pieces of
Needle insertion is one of the most the biopsy is in a remote place, even tissue that Okazawa cooked up in his
common medical procedures. It can experienced doctors can have difficul- own kitchen using agar, a gelatinous
also be one of the most nerve-racking ties. They’ve got to get to the target area substance obtained from seaweed, and
for both medical practitioners and without damaging tissue or causing then embedded with peas and grapes
patients – especially when it involves complications.” for target practice.
the 15-cm-long needles used to reach Although he has not used the steer- Even before doctors get their hands
regions deep inside the human body. able needle, Qayumi welcomes on the first prototype, its inventors are
Now, a group of UBC engineers has Rohling’s research, with fellow inven- already thinking about how to improve
developed a steerable needle to help tors Tim Salcudean, an engineering pro- the steerable needle’s capabilities.
doctors hit their target on the first fessor, and master’s engineering students “We look at these types of applica-
try – and save their patients the stress Richelle Ebrahimi and Stephen tions and think ahead to even more
and pain of multiple insertions. Okazawa, to improve the technique of advanced systems where we have com-
“What’s interesting about this needle needle insertion. puter-aided control,” Rohling says.
is that instead of putting a straight nee- Okazawa says the biggest hurdle in “The first iteration has a little joystick
dle into the body and hoping it goes designing the steerable needle prototype and the control is all in the operator’s
towards its target, we have a needle was getting the mechanical and electri- [doctor’s] hand. The second may be to
that can steer itself from the tip. It can cal parts to work together with the com- let the computer handle the joystick
guide itself. It’s a very smart needle,” puter software designed to run the nee- and monitor the needle’s progress and
says Prof. Robert Rohling, a professor dle. But the result is a one-of-a-kind provide the corrections. Eventually, a
jointly appointed to the departments of device that the research team hopes will robotics system may take care of both
mechanical engineering and electrical take some of the discomfort out of a pushing the needle and steering
and computer engineering and one of painful procedure, and cut down on the the tip.” ■
the needle’s inventors.
Digital Printing &
The steerable needle prototype looks
like a stainless-steel barbeque lighter Graphic Design & Illustration
with a 15-cm hypodermic needle
attached to it. What makes it unique is
T I M E P I E C E 19 51 Photography
that within its barrel, there is a second,
flexible needle with a curved tip. The Lamination
second needle can be steered by a joy-
Video & Media Production
stick on the needle’s handle, giving doc-
tors greater accuracy in locating their AV Equipment & Media Sales
target, and make corrections along the
way. AV Services & Maintenance
Rohling says the steerable needle
won’t change the basic aspects of the
biopsy procedure. Like a conventional
Large Format Colour
needle, it is inserted into the body by Printing
puncturing the skin at the best access
point, and pushed in until the tip reach-
es the desired target. The big difference
is that, once inserted, the doctor can use
the thumb-controlled joystick to steer it
along straight or curved paths.
He envisions doctors using the
device in conjunction with ultrasound –
another medical technique he is work-
ing to improve.
“The steerable needle will give doc-
tors an extra degree of control,”
Rohling says. “We expect the first
applications will be the more difficult,
deeper insertions [but] it is also possible
that the steerable needle will help a While there may be many popular places to kiss on campus,
novice reach their target on the first in 1951 UBC engineers were concerned with the quality of the
attempt – without trial and error.” kiss not the location. That year, at the annual Engineer's Ball,
As the director of Surgical the most popular attraction was the Kissometer. Engineers
Techniques Training Programs for claimed it registered the intensity, heat, and pressure of the
UBC’s medical undergraduates, Karim kiss, and then transformed them to a numerical rating on the
Qayumi has guided many residents needle graph. When the needle hit ten, a large red neon sign
with the letters "STOP" lit up. It was reported in the 1951
through the needle insertion procedure.
UBC yearbook that few patrons of the ball missed out on a
He’s also performed countless needle
trip to the Kissometer. ■
insertions himself. He says it’s not an
8 | ubc reports | february 5, 2004
Teenager Sean Carleton’s artwork is basis for look of site, developed by Cossette Interactive Vancouver.
The STEPS-Forward Inclusive Post-Secondary Education Society
advocates for, and facilitates, the inclusion of students with
For Teens in Crisis, Help can be a Click Away
intellectual disabilities in post-secondary institutions in British UBC Education professor pilots web-based crisis hotline for youth
Columbia. The goals of the society are to advance the values of
inclusion, active citizenship, and diversity in all communities. In BY E R I C A S M I S H E K
September 2003, with the financial support of the Vancouver Youth in crisis in the Lower Mainland the Lower Mainland. It features a one- National Crime Prevention Canada’s
Foundation, and the support and cooperation of UBC and Emily Carr can now turn to their computers for help. on-one free and confidential link Community Mobilization Program.
Institute of Art and Design, STEPS-Forward began assisting students UBC Education professor Shelley enabling youth to talk to someone Critical to the success of this unique
with intellectual disabilities to audit regular classes and participate in Hymel is piloting Canada’s first web- online, in real time (limited number of online resource was the support of At
campus life. In May 2004, STEPS Co-op will begin placing students based “hotline” for youth in collabora- hours); an e-mail address for youth to Large Media and Cossette Interactive
in summer jobs with the cooperation of local Rotary clubs and the tion with the Crisis Intervention & write about their problems and receive Vancouver.
support of the Vancouver Foundation. Suicide Prevention Centre of B.C. (Crisis a guaranteed response in 24 to 48 “We jumped in,” says Ian Ross, exec-
Centre in Vancouver) and SAFER hours; the 24-hour Distress Line phone utive director of the Crisis Centre in
(Suicide Attempt Follow-up, Education number to the Crisis Centre in Vancouver, a registered non-profit
and Research) Counselling Service. Vancouver as well as links to other cri- organization that has provided free pro-
“Young people are increasingly com- sis centres in B.C.; a list of youth-pre- grams and services, including a 24-hour,
fortable with computers and may use the ferred resources available in the Lower 7-days a week Distress Line, to people of
web to seek support in a time of crisis,” Mainland; and information and facts all ages and walks of life since 1969.
says Hymel, an expert on bullying and about common problems that youth “We were on the same wavelength with
youth in crisis. “We want to find an effec- face, including bullying and harass- Shelley and SAFER. It was really natural
tive way to reach them. ment, stress, suicidal feelings and for us to move into an online service.”
“Kids need to talk. If they’re talking on teenage pregnancy. Distress Line volunteers receive 60
“We don’t do therapy online. We focus on providing non-judgmental support to callers
through the ‘art of listening’ and then if appropriate provide options and resources.”
the web, then that’s where we need to “We did a lot of brainstorming with hours of crisis intervention training and
go.” kids about what would work,” says on-going support from professionals
The web-based hotline is a place where Hymel. “One of our graduate students, from the Crisis Centre in Vancouver
youth can comfortably talk about issues Rina Bonanno, conducted focus groups “We’re looking for people with the
they are facing at school, at home and in with secondary students and asked potential to be good listeners,” Ross says
the community, such as relationship or them what they wanted on the site. of volunteers. “We don’t do therapy
family problems, bullying, racial discrim- They said, ‘give us a professional site online. We focus on providing non-judg-
ination, mental health issues, victimiza- that says you mean it, that you really mental support to callers through the
tion, addictions and more. The site allows care.’” ‘art of listening’ and then if appropriate
youth to connect with volunteers aged 19 Youth were brought in as consultants provide options and resources.”
to 25 who have been specially trained to on content and design – Sean Carleton, Kaylie, a 23-year-old UBC psycholo-
provide crisis intervention, psychological for example, provided original artwork gy graduate, volunteered in order to get
first aid, support and resource informa- that would become the basis for the experience helping others with similar
tion. look of the site; a young person who situations in which she has found herself.
The site went live in January and is lost a teenaged brother to suicide last According to her site profile, “The stress
being promoted in Burnaby secondary year, shared her experience and ideas. of school, a major break-up, and deaths
schools through the 2003/04 school year, The initiative began more than a year in my family have made this year a
with the potential to expand throughout ago following a talk on bullying Hymel tough one for me. Also back when I was
gave at a local Vancouver community 16, I found out I was pregnant. I had a
centre shortly after a young male victim lot of friends to talk to but I really wish
of bullying committed suicide by jump- I had someone like the Crisis Centre to
ing from the Patullo Bridge. She was help me through it. There are so many
approached by a local businessman times when you just need someone to
who wanted to help victimized kids and talk to; someone who won’t judge you
kept after her to do something. and can’t tell anyone else what you tell
An inspired Hymel came up with the them because they don’t know you.”
idea for an online hotline. The business- Researchers will monitor use of the
man provided $4,500 in seed money for site through June to determine the effi-
the initiative, and stepped away, never cacy of the online hotline. If the web-
to be heard from again. She persevered based focus proves successful, they hope
and, through various serendipitous con- to secure more funding to keep the site
nections, including partnerships with live after June and eventually expand
the Crisis Intervention & Suicide this form of crisis assistance provincially
Prevention Centre of B.C. and SAFER and nationally.
(part of the Vancouver Coastal Health For more information, visit
Authority), received $45,000 from www.youthinbc.com. ■
LIVING AT UBC kudos
INFORMATION SESSIONS FOR FACULTY AND STAFF
Anne Martin-Matthews has
ON HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES been appointed scientific director of
the Canadian Institutes of Health
Research (CIHR) Institute of Aging.
If you’re like most faculty and staff, your day starts in traffic. Fortunately, there are other The appointment is effective for
options. UBC is creating residential neighbourhoods around the academic core that offer the term Jan. 1 to July 1, 2004.
urban living, recreational and cultural amenities in a spectacular physical setting. Martin-Matthews joined UBC in
1998 and is a professor of family
Faculty and staff could be among the first to have the opportunity to rent or own. studies in the School of Social Work
For example, through the innovative co-development housing program, you could join a and Family Studies. Her research
group to purchase and develop your own home. To register for an information session, interests include families and aging,
call 604.731.3103 or email firstname.lastname@example.org widowhood and health.
A fellow of the Gerontological
Society of America, Martin-
Matthews most recently served as
vice-chair of the advisory board of researchers located in university,
the Institute of Aging. hospital and other research centres
One of CIHR’s 13 institutes, the across Canada.
Institute of Aging is dedicated to CIHR is the Government of
supporting research that promotes Canada’s premier agency for health
For more information visit www.universitytown.ubc.ca, or call 604.731.3103 to register. healthy aging. The institute links research. ■