Expanding our knowledge on a permanent basis is a fundamental part of the UWC philosophy. Taking advantage of the professional expertise among the Club’s membership and their contacts, the Continuing Education Committee organizes several workshops every year on a wide variety of stimulating topics of general interest, particularly to women. Workshops given by and for UWC members include:
- Stressed and Loving it by Valerie Hindle
- The Keys under your Skin by Mariel Birnbaumer
- Changing Codes and Values: Where am I? by Carol Diamondstein
- Habitat for Humanity by Connie Ledesma
- An introduction to the four fields of anthropology by Barbara Grünenfelder-Elliker
September 2018 meeting: Cancelled
Our member Myrta Lange will speak on “How the brain works and how to look after it” when we are able to reschedule it. The cancellation is due to the possibility of transportation problems if there is a strike on 09/27.
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August 2018 meeting
A dozen members met on Thursday, August 23rd at 6:30 PM for a presentation by molecular biologist Inés Fernández explaining the path “From Clinical Trials to tailor-made Health Care: General and personalized medical research in the 21st century.” The speaker, who holds an MBA in addition to her degree in biology, works for an international pharmaceutical company and coordinates clinical trials taking place in Argentina. Inés eased us into the subject by pointing out that the first recorded clinical trial in human history was a joint venture of sorts, between Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar and the prophet Daniel, settling their dispute over the health benefits of a vegetarian versus meat based diet (in favor of Daniel and vegetarians). One of the first modern clinical trials ensued in the mid 19th century, after a Hungarian physicist, Dr. Semmelweiss, noticed that postpartum sepsis occurred at rates 3 times higher in births attended by medical students, than when – in the same hospital division – parturient women were attended by midwives. The students, it turned out, would go from handling infected wounds and contagious patients to attending a birth without washing their hands. Midwives, in turn, only tended to women in labor. The physician then ordered the medical students to wash their hands between patients, and postpartum sepsis rates dropped from 20 % to 2 %. However, Dr. Semmelweiss was fired, since his chief did not believe in the results, and the research paper was rejected for publication in Vienna. We all sighed with relief for having been born into a slightly more illuminated medical century… In addition to explaining the basic rules, aims, and possible outcomes of medical trials until they reach phase I, where medication is tested for the first time on a small group of healthy human volunteers, Inés also shed light on the ethical, legal, and political aspects involved in designing and testing new drugs. The statistics involved are mind-boggling: Of five to ten thousand “compounds” tested and developed for their effectiveness over a period of nine to thirteen years, ONE makes it to drug approval in the case of the USA’s Food and Drug Administration’s evaluation and certification process. The meeting was adjourned around 9 PM after a lively discussion over some bubbly as well as caffeinated drinks and snacks.
New venue: get that information from Christine Clark or email:
May 2018 meeting
On Thursday, May 24th, come hear Willow’s talk and slide show on the Argentine Invasion of California: Terror struck the coast of Alta California as Bouchard sailed north. Blood was spilled, towns looted, pirate joy was everywhere. Monterey, the capital of Alta California, was taken by force. Bouchard and his men seized more than 20 pieces of artillery, rescued an Argentine warship, and imprisoned Spanish sailors and soldiers from the Cuartel of Monterey. More than 25 enemy ships were set afire, administering the kiss of death to Spanish commerce in its colonial possessions. The newly-created Argentine flag was flown triumphantly. It was certainly a memorable cruise.
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