York study of parents and loss receives international attention

One of the toughest challenges a parent faces when a child dies is to learn how to parent the surviving children, and the task begins immediately, according to York University psychology Professor Stephen Fleming, wrote Science Daily and a host of newspapers and websites in the US and South Asia Feb. 16.

From the moment their child dies, parents are faced with the two extremes of loss and life – the suffocating loss of a child and the ongoing, daily demands from their surviving children, says Fleming, co-author of the recently published book, Parenting After the Death of a Child: A Practitioner’s Guide.

"The challenge that parents face is this: In the midst of grief, how do you stop parenting the deceased child while you are simultaneously struggling to meet the parenting needs of the children who remain?"

Fleming, a psychology professor in the Faculty of Health at York University, and co-author Jennifer Buckle [MA ’98, PhD ’03], now a professor at Memorial University, did the research for the book when Buckle was a graduate student at York. Their research is based on in-depth interviews with parents who had lost a child and had one or more surviving children.

Refer heart patients for cardiac rehab before they leave hospital, study urges

Ensuring that heart patients get automatically referred [for rehabilitation programs] as they’re leaving the hospital can make a difference, argues Sherry Grace, of York University and the University Health Network, and her colleagues in a paper published Monday in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, wrote the Hamilton Spectator Feb. 17.

People who have had chest pain or angina could also benefit, she says, and congenital heart patients are being tested to see how much rehab can help them, too.

"Rehab itself costs only $1,500 per patient, whereas a bypass surgery, for example, can cost $40,000 and up," said Grace, director of research for the cardiovascular rehabilitation and prevention program at Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. "So if we are by this $1,500 preventing a lot more bypass surgeries and re-hospitalizations down the road, it’s a real win-win in terms of the cost benefit and the health-economics of chronic disease management and cardiac rehab."

The team studied 2,635 patients with coronary artery disease at 11 Ontario hospitals. The patients filled out surveys while in the hospital, their medical charts were studied, and more than 1,800 patients completed a follow-up survey a year later.

His Brahms could make you cry

In 1968, Antonin Kubalek, a partially blind classical pianist in his early thirties, arrived in Toronto from Czechoslovakia with little money, and even less English, wrote The Globe and Mail Feb. 17 in an obituary that included recollections of praise from Canadian icon Glenn Gould. Kubalek (Anton to friends and family) died in Prague on Jan. 18.

Kubalek taught privately at the Brodie School of Music and Modern Dance in Toronto from 1969-1975 and at the Blue Mountain School of Music in Collingwood. He also taught at Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music beginning in 1979 and later served on its faculty, as well as the faculties of the University of Toronto and Toronto’s York University.

A memorial will be held at 7:30pm on Thursday, April 28, at St. Wenceslaus Church, 496 Gladstone Ave. in Toronto.

Climate, Culture, Change: Inuit and Western Dialogues with a Warming North

In his fascinating account of the dialogue on climate change between Western and Inuit voices, [York Professor] Timothy B. Leduc [MES ’01, PhD ’07] argues that it’s time to start paying attention to the ecological wisdom of native peoples because it might just hold the key to halting global warming, wrote The Ecologist Feb. 17.

With the last 11 years considered to be the warmest on record, the effects of climate change are making themselves felt. With this in mind, it falls to us to make even greater efforts to tackle climate change. Based on this premise, Leduc has taken on the almighty challenge of exploring the inter-connected concepts of climate, culture and change in relation to global warming, focusing in particular on the northern polar region.  Once a social worker engaging with indigenous communities of Northern Labrador and later an academic in [the Faculty of] Environmental Studies at York University, Leduc is perfectly placed to explore these issues and Climate, Culture, Change: Inuit and Western Dialogues with a Warming North is his attempt to do so.

Aimed at an intelligent audience and complicated in places, Climate, Culture, Change wrestles with some complex issues. Highly informative and supported by thorough research, Leduc maintains a strong narrative throughout. At times a little overwhelming, Leduc’s book is helpfully structured into manageable bite-sized chapters. It’s not a relaxing read but without doubt, it’s got plenty to interest those concerned about the impact of climate change.

New NGO takes on slavery through education

Modern-day slavery is the most under-publicized human rights crisis of our time, said Karlee Sapoznik, a PhD student in history at York University, wrote The Catholic Register Feb. 3. So Sapoznik, along with three others with ties to York, decided to take action.

They created the non-governmental organization Alliance Against Modern Slavery, which launched with a fundraising concert and anti-slavery art auction on Jan. 28, followed by an inaugural conference on Jan. 29 at Toronto’s York University.

“Our vision is to combat modern slavery by collecting resources, building programs and creating alliances among a network of local and global partners so that every person has the opportunity for sustainable freedom,” said Sapoznik.

“Although we come to the issue of contemporary slavery from a variety of backgrounds, many of us are educators seeking to raise awareness among all levels of society about modern slavery.”

Along with Sapoznik, the co-founders include Jeffrey Gunn, a PhD student in history at York, and elementary school teacher Mekhala Gunaratne, a bachelor of science student at the University of Toronto, and Valerie Hebert, a history professor at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay.

York grad challenges direction of the Catholic Church in Nigeria

Father Iheanyi Enwerem [MA ’85, PhD ’92], OP, pastor at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Martensville and St. Mark Parish in Langham, Sask., has just released his new book, Crossing the Rubicon: A Socio-Political Analysis of Political Catholicism in Nigeria, wrote The BC Catholic online Feb. 17.

The book examines the Catholic Church in Nigeria primarily through the first decade of the second millennium. Father Enwerem was on the staff of the Justice, Development and Peace Commission and was the director of Church and Society in the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, which is under the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria. From this vantage point he experienced many of the positive influences, but also the shortcomings of the Catholic Church in Nigeria.

Father Enwerem initially came to Canada as a student in 1982. He earned his master’s in theology from Toronto’s School of Theology and his doctorate in social & political thought from York University.

Digital learning Prof sees value in old-fashioned low-tech texting

Handwriting – even doodling – may still have value, says York University Professor Ron Owston, director, Institute for Research on Learning Technologies, pointing to studies linking eye-hand coordination and critical brain development, wrote YorkRegion.com Feb. 16, in a story on the pros and cons of digital technology in the classroom.

Travellers flocking to US airports

Canada’s hotel industry issued a new call Wednesday for government to reduce taxes and airport fees to stem the growing exodus of travellers who begin their vacations by first going to the United States to avoid higher domestic surcharges, wrote the Toronto Star blog Moneyville Feb. 16.

A recent study commissioned by the National Airlines Council of Canada, which represents airlines like Air Canada, WestJet, Air Transat and Jazz, found that Ontario could create jobs, attract thousands more tourists and stimulate its economy by eliminating taxes on aviation fuel for transborder and international flights.

Removal of the fuel tax on international flights could also improve Pearson Airport’s chances of becoming among North America’s leading international gateway airports, said a report prepared by Fred Lazar, a professor at the Schulich School of Business at York University.

Infrastructure Ontario issues RFQ for three Pan Am Games venues

Infrastructure Ontario (IO) has released a call for companies to submit their qualifications to design, build and finance three Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games projects, wrote The Daily Commercial News Feb. 17.

The request for qualifications bundle is composed of two stadiums and a velodrome project. A 5,000-seat stadium at York University’s Keele campus in Toronto will be used as the athletics venue.

On air

  • Ian Greene, professor in York’s School of Public Policy & Administration in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, who specializes in ethics, spoke about the controversy surrounding actions by International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda as a “huge ethical breach” on 680News Radio and other Canadian stations Feb. 16.
  • Leo Panitch, Canada Research Chair in Comparative Political Economy and Distinguished Research Professor of Political Science in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, spoke about the concept of “econo-clash” on Toronto’s AM640 Radio Feb. 16. 
  • Courtney Tresidder, a student at York’s Glendon College, spoke about her experience in pursuing postsecondary education in French, on TFO-TV’s “Relief” Feb. 16.