Check out Diane Namm’s interview on Woman Around Town here!
Archive for the ‘LCO PR’ Category
Posted by Levine Communications Office on June 8, 2013
By: Suzi Parker
Historically black colleges and universities are about to have a mess on their hands. Because of a sharp change to a student loan policy, enrollment has dramatically dropped. This is not good for the schools—or hopeful high school graduates.
Founded primarily after the Civil War, these higher institutions served the black community when white colleges didn’t allow them to attend.
Currently, there are 105 historically black colleges and universities in the United States, and these include public and private, two-year and four-year institutions, medical schools and community colleges. They educate about 374,000 students, including white students.
The enrollment is declining at these schools because in 2011, the PLUS loans disqualified borrowers with unpaid debts that had been referred to collection agencies over the past five years.
PLUS loans have long been popular because, unlike many student loans, they have no limit and can cover an array of needs, including tuition, fees, books, and room and board. Parents apply for the loans, some upwards of $50,000, to cover the amount of money needed to bridge financial gaps for their children’s education.
“Historically, loans, fellowships, and scholarships have been critical for students at these colleges,” said Rolonda Watts, a radio personality and alumna of Spelman University in Atlanta. “I got through there [college] with work studies, scholarships and loans.”
Watts’ great, great grandfather was a founder of Bennett College in North Carolina.
Nathan Ober, a student at Villanova University, has done extensive research on the student debt crisis and notes that black students “are the most likely among all racial or ethnic groups to graduate with high debt.”
According to the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, an umbrella organization for black colleges known as NAFEO, 15,000 parents were denied loans in the fall of 2011. Many students were not aware of the denials until they reached campus. Parents can appeal, and many are.
Still, that doesn’t solve the alarming crisis.
A group led by William R. Harvey, president of Hampton University and chairman of the president’s Board of Advisors on HBCU, sent a letter last fall to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. The group wrote:
This is having a devastating impact on enrollment at our institutions and our institutions’ ability to serve their students. It is having an even more devastating impact on the students who have worked hard to get to college and have had to cut short their college careers, as well as on their families who have dreamed of and sacrificed for their sons and daughters going to college. And, it is in direct opposition to President Obama’s goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.
Fewer students mean higher tuition costs as HBCUs try to make up the financial disparities that, in turn, make it harder for poorer students to attend.
Read the rest of the article at Take Part
Posted by Levine Communications Office on June 7, 2013
By: Renée Canada
Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie’s decision to have a preventive double mastectomy continues to be the topic for public debate three weeks after she announced in a New York Times editorial that she had the surgery. Jolie is hardly the first woman to make this very difficult choice, and it’s one that women who already have breast cancer face as well. A recent study presented at the American Society Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting on June 3 found that there is a growing trend of women aged 40 and younger with BRCA to have prophylactic mastectomy, removal of a noncancerous breast, after discovering breast cancer in the other one, according to NPR Shots.
New research shows that 37 percent of women with breast cancer choose to have prophylactic mastectomy today compared to fewer than 2 percent in 1998. Looking solely at women choosing mastectomy at all, over lumpectomy plus radiation, more than 60 percent had prophylactic removal of the noncancerous breast.
According to the study of 227 Massachusetts women, women with one the BRCA genes with a “high lifetime risk of cancer recurrence,” like Jolie, were much more likely to elect for a mastectomy of one or both breasts.
Conserving breasts through lumpectomy out of body image concerns was not the case among these women, according to study author Shoshana Rosenberg.
“From our perspective, the most interesting finding is that role that anxiety plays in the decision,” Rosenberg told NPR. Women who scored high on a standard test for anxiety were more likely to choose mastectomy.
Does Fear Fuel Surgical Intervention?
“The emotions often fuel taking action as soon as possible, leading to a decision to get a preventive mastectomy. Getting preventive mastectomy is doing something tangible, taking action to address a potential diagnosis of cancer,” said Niki Barr, Ph.D., founder of a psychotherapy practice dedicated to working with cancer patients, loved ones and caregivers in all stages of the disease, in a recent interview. With regard to Jolie, Barr added, “Fear, worry, overwhelm, a feeling of helplessness, and anger tend to crescendo with each family member diagnosed with cancer and dying from cancer.”
Jolie revealed in her op-ed in The New York Times that with a “faulty gene,” BRCA1, and her family history of cancer—her mother passed away from ovarian cancer at age 56 and her maternal aunt died of breast cancer at 61—doctors estimated she had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer.
She emphasized that the risk is different in each woman, but on average, those with a defect in BRCA1 have a 65 percent risk of getting breast cancer.
While the decision to have preventative surgery was not easy, Jolie said she decided to proactively minimize her risk as much as possible. With the double mastectomy, Jolie said her risk of developing breast cancer was reduced to 5 percent.
The first of Jolie’s six children met her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, before she died after almost a decade of fighting ovarian cancer. The children have asked if the same could happen to Jolie “I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.” she wrote.
Questions about whether one is going to die or pass on a risk of cancer to children are big
concerns when women find out they have a BRCA mutation, according to Barr. She suggests that you keep children involved with the process the whole time. “You won’t have one conversation, you will have an ongoing conversation,” she said. “These conversations center around information, children asking questions, and reassurance that together you will take action.” Action may be screening, preventative lifestyle choices or surgery.
Jolie’s aunt, Debbie Martin, also carried the BRCA gene, according to her husband Ron, but wasn’t aware of it until she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. He said that if they had known earlier, Debbie Martin would have done exactly what Angelina did.
“Because of the BRCA gene in the maternal side of the family, Angelina did the smartest thing on earth,” he told People magazine.
“Experiencing the loss of a loved family member because of the same BRCA-1 gene that you are diagnosed with makes the threat of death that much more real,” Carole Lieberman, M.D., “media psychiatrist” and bestselling author said in an interview.
BRCA Mutation and Cancer Risk
BRCA1 and BRCA2 belong to a class of genes known as tumor suppressors. Normally they help to prevent uncontrolled cell growth. Mutation of these genes have been linked to an increased risk of developing hereditary breast and ovarian cancers. Everyone possesses the BRCA1 gene, but it only mutates in one in 1,000 people.
“Anyone who looks at their family history and starts to realize that there’s an increased number of people in their family that have a breast cancer or ovarian cancer, even one family member with ovarian cancer or more than one prostate cancer or pancreatic cancer—these are all reasons why we would want you to go in and speak with somebody who is a genetic counselor,” Dr. Heather Einstein, a gynecologic oncologist at Hartford Hospital, told WFSB.
At Hartford Hospital, women can see a group of medical oncologists, gynecological oncologists and genetic counselors that all work together to help people decide if they are a good candidate for getting this type of genetic testing.
“Among the things that you want to think about are people that have any of these cancers at a young age and people from certain types of cultures, such as Ashkenazi Jewish, where there is an increased risk of having a BRCA mutation, which means you’re predisposed to one of these cancers,” she said.
Einstein said that BRCA1 and BRCA2 both predispose a person to having breast and ovarian cancer, as well as predisposing people to having prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer.
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the average woman has a 12 percent chance of developing breast cancer in her lifetime, compared to 60 percent of women who have inherited a harmful mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2. The risk for ovarian cancer leaps from 1.4 percent in the general population to as much as 40 percent of women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.
Prophylactic mastectomy, and the surgical removal of healthy fallopian tubes and ovaries, salpingo-oophorectomy, cannot remove all tissue at risk of developing cancer, according to the NCI. Additionally, it states there is evidence that the amount of protection salpingo-oophorectomy provides against the development of breast and ovarian cancer may differ between carriers of BRCA1 and BRCA2.
However, Einstein said removing the ovaries, “decreases your risk of breast cancer by 50 percent and decreases your risk of ovarian cancer by up to 90-plus percent.
“I would really recommend that people consider having their ovaries removed because ovarian cancer is something we cannot screen for, and it can be very devastating,” she said. “It gets diagnosed at a very late stage in most situations, even when we’re looking for it. So we really do try to encourage people when they’re done with childbearing to have their ovaries removed.”
Lieberman offered additional perspective. “Just as breasts symbolize femininity, ovaries symbolize fertility,” she said. “A woman’s attitude towards the removal of her ovaries would depend upon whether her child-bearing needs have been fulfilled.”
According to Time magazine, 36 percent of women who test positive for BRCA1 opt for preventive mastectomy in the U.S. Einstein said electing to have a mastectomy is a very individualized choice. There are other considerations when it comes to having a prophylactic mastectomy.
Psychological Implications and Body Image
“In the desire to protect oneself from cancer as with Angelina, sometimes women move forward quickly and may or may not consider body image,” Barr said. “While a woman can’t truly know how she will feel about her body until after both surgeries, and even months after that, emotional well-being cannot be ignored.
“How your body will be different physically and sexually, because it will be significantly different. Implants are not the same as your own body’s breasts. Or, if you make the choice not to have implants, your body is clearly different without your breasts. How you feel about your body with implants or without implants?”
Barr recommends talking with an oncology-trained psychotherapist, social worker, or psychologist before and after surgery to help you explore psychological concerns. “They can help you navigate ‘a sense of disempowerment by limited choices’ or concerns about your femininity,” she said. “Seeing a therapist will allow you to explore your thoughts and feelings, with the goal of helping you to successfully deal and cope with these.”
She stresses the importance of support from a genetic counselor, doctor, nurse and other women who have had implants. “Talking with other women who have gone through the same experience is very important,” she said.
Lieberman emphasizes how important it is to connect with other women who have ‘been there.’ “They can provide invaluable support along the way,” she says.
It’s a different experience for each woman. “Some women feel damaged or a loss of identity after a mastectomy,” she said. “Others, who weren’t happy with the size or shape of their breasts to begin with, actually feel elated after a mastectomy and reconstructive implants.”
The Cost of Prevention
Most woman are not Hollywood mega-stars like Jolie, and not all women can afford to get a preventive mastectomy, reconstruction, or even genetic testing. Finances play a major role in making a decision on whether one can afford to have a mastectomy with reconstruction.
“Many women would be hesitant to have a mastectomy if they could not afford a competent surgeon to do breast reconstruction afterwards,” said Lieberman.
Most women expect to “look good” after healing from reconstruction, Barr said. “They do want their breasts to look as good or better than the ones they had removed. If the surgery does not meet their expectation, body image and emotional wellbeing are negatively affected.”
Lieberman agreed, “Although ideally the decision to have a mastectomy or not should not be based on finances, the truth is that it can be emotionally devastating for a woman if she cannot afford to make herself feel whole and pretty again.”
Myriad Genetics is the only company that manufactures the genetic test, and it currently costs $3000.
At Hartford Hospital, Einstein said insurance covers the test in most cases. “One of the nice things we’re able to do for patients is that we only run the tests if the insurance company is going to pay so we counsel people and we help them make decisions as to whether or not it’s a good option to get tested,” she said. “Then nobody gets any testing done until we know whether or not it’s going to be covered because…it can be very, very expensive.
Less Invasive Approaches: Diet and Lifestyle
One should remember there are other alternatives for those with BRCA mutations besides prophylactic mastectomy and the removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes. Dr. Kathie-Ann Joseph, a top breast surgeon at NYU Langone Medical Center and an expert on BRCA mutations and prophylactic surgery, said in Well + Good NYC that other options include “intensive screening via mammograms, sonograms, and MRIs, preventative chemo drugs, and lifestyle changes, like avoiding further risk factors like alcohol.”
In his May 31 newsletter, Dr, Joel Fuhrman, an American board-certified family physician specializing in nutrition-based treatments for chronic disease and obesity, stressed the role a healthy diet can play in dramatically reducing the risk of cancer, even genetic breast cancer. “Natural plant foods contain a huge quantity and variety of phytochemicals, micronutrients with a variety of anti-cancer effects: anti-estrogenic, anti-proliferative, pro-apoptotic, anti-angiogenic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. All of these different functions act synergistically to prevent the development of cancers, regardless of a person’s genotype,” he wrote.
Fuhrman stated that studies have demonstrated than an overall nutrient-dense diet, with strong vegetable and fruit consumption, is associated with decreased breast cancer, even in carriers of BRCA mutations. In a meta-analysis of 13 epidemiological studies, intake of high cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, bok choy, cauliflower and cabbage cut risk in half for women with a breast cancer-associated genetic mutation.
“The fact that not every woman who has these mutations gets breast cancer suggests that environmental factors can have a preventive effect,” said Fuhrman. “It is clear that even in the context of increased genetic risk, diet and lifestyle trump genetics.”
Be conscious of environmental toxins, especially hormone disruptors. Estrogen-mimickers like BPA in plastics and parabens in make-up and skincare products, are causing pre-menopausal women to ingest even more estrogen from the environment, feeding estrogen-sensitive tumor growth. Look for products that do not contain BPA, parabens and other estrogen-mimickers. The Environmental Working Group has a Skin Deep Cosmetics Database to help identify common ingredients and products to avoid.
Find the Article at The Examiner
Posted by Levine Communications Office on May 15, 2013
By: Patrick Svitek
Conservative activist James O’Keefe on Tuesday urged Chicago-area fans of Andrew Breitbart to take it upon themselves to continue the late provocateur’s legacy.
“I can’t do it alone,” O’Keefe told about 40 people in a Technological Institute auditorium. “They have come at me with everything. I’m still standing.”
O’Keefe, who brought down community-organizing giant ACORN with a series of undercover videos, was on campus to help promote “Hating Breitbart,” a new documentary about the controversial blogger’s life. The film follows Breitbart as he navigates several muckraking projects, leading up to his involvement in the sexting scandal that culminated in the resignation of U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.).
Breitbart unexpectedly died of heart failure last year after what director Andrew Marcus described as an “incredibly stressful lifestyle.”
Dane Stier, vice president of special events for NU College Republicans, called Breitbart a “very powerful voice for conservatives” and applauded the film for highlighting his jocular personality.
“The documentary showed a side of him we’re not entirely used to in terms of how other media portray Andrew Breitbart,” said Stier, a Weinberg junior.
After an advance screening of “Hating Breitbart,” O’Keefe and Marcus answered audience questions on topics ranging from O’Keefe’s next stories to the libertarian billionaire Koch brothers’ rumored interest in buying Tribune Co.
Asked how online pioneers like Breitbart could gain more traction outside conservative circles, O’Keefe stressed his followers have to understand where widespread exposure lies.
“You have to get covered by the mainstream media,” O’Keefe said. “That’s what success is.”
O’Keefe took particular aim at journalism schools, including the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. He laughed as he recalled walking through the McCormick Tribune Center earlier Tuesday, holding up a video camera and finding visibly uncomfortable students.
“There is a sort of fascist disposition toward what I do” at places like Medill, O’Keefe said.
Stier said he invited “at least a dozen” Medill professors to attend the discussion, but none showed up.
Marcus took a broader view of the state of journalism education, stressing today’s students must learn from Breitbart and build their own brands.
“They’re going to find out themselves on their own,” Marcus said. “They need to be creative about what they’re going to do.”
Find the article at The Daily Northwestern
Posted by Levine Communications Office on May 13, 2013
By: Kim Garst
The web has such amazing opportunities for our children and families, doesn’t it? Who would have guessed when we were all growing up that there would be something as amazing as social media, which is way cooler than growing up with your own phone line in your bedroom, right?
But with the power to connect with the people we love comes some risks that are important to understand in order to protect our families.
Where are your kids online? It used to be that we just needed to know where our children were physically; if they were at home, whether they were safe, where they were going.
It’s not that different online. It’s important to know where your children are online every bit as much as where they are physically.
Depending on your children’s ages, they might be using sites like Giant Hello, Club Penguin or Webkinz which are social sites designed for kids, without the age restrictions of sites like Facebook. Each of these sites have different kinds of verification methods that ensure parents are aware of their children signing up, along with methods to make sure that your children can only connect with people they know.
In either case, it’s important that children learn great social media habits right out the gate, and this is a conversation that you can begin at any age; the sooner the better!
Post Appropriately. Teach your children that everything they post should be treated as viewable by anyone, anywhere, and that they should not post private information publicly.
Children don’t always know where the line between private and public is, so you need to be involved! Especially with younger children, let them know that the privilege of social media access comes with oversight from you.
Like many kinds of freedom, social sharing freedom is going to come gradually as they grow older and demonstrate their ability to handle this newfound freedom.
Read the full article at GalTime.com
Posted by Levine Communications Office on May 1, 2013
Interviewed by: Russell A. Trunk
Tim Holmes, a Lansing, Michigan-born, action-suspense actor and stuntman and father of three-year-old twin boys, has successfully transformed his career as a firefighter into becoming a Hollywood actor.
Holmes began his career in entertainment by successfully pursuing music and was able to parlay his contacts into a thriving acting career, appearing in afternoon soap operas, B films and various other TV pilot projects.
In 2011 Tim was seen in multiple feature films, including DreamWorks Pictures’ ‘Real Steel,’ Raw Nerve’s ‘Hostel 3,’ Sony Pictures’ ‘S.W.A.T.: Firefight’ and in 2012 he appeared in QED Internationals’ ‘Alex Cross.’
And with the just-released ‘Oz the Great and Powerful,’ Holmes in the role of The Strongman has just become a break-out star!
‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ is a 2013 American fantasy adventure film directed by Sam Raimi, produced by Joe Roth, and written by David Lindsay-Abaire and Mitchell Kapner. The film stars James Franco as Oscar Diggs, Mila Kunis as Theodora, Rachel Weisz as Evanora, and Michelle Williams as Glinda.
Chatting recently with the Strongman himself Tim Holmes, taking it from the top, I first wondered (being that he is actually a Fireman by trade) when he had first gotten the firefighting bug? “I became a fireman in the late 90`s in Los Angeles CA. I was freaking out a bit because I did not make a career yet in the entertainment business. So I decided I better get a back up gig and a fireman was my choice.”
Born here in Lansing, MI do you still live and work here or have you moved to Hollywood? “I live in the house I grew up in, in Michigan from April to October and travel in and out alot to California for auditions, meetings and acting work throughout that period. From November to March I live full time in Los Angeles. We have a place there in Woodland Hills, CA. Depending on where this acting career takes me will depend on where we live full time.”
“If I hopefully keep working in film I can keep the same schedule. Yet if I get a gig as a series regular on a TV series I would have to relocate with me and my family to that area for the run of the show.”
And the same question applies to your acting bug? When did that first bite you? “I got the bug in junior high school when I was in jazz band. We used to play alot of events and I would have to go out front of the jazz band and do my trumpet solos. The thrill of being on the spot in front of people was a great rush for me. I then took drama class the next semester and got the the same rush. And so the acting/performing bug bite me, baby!”
Read the rest of the interview at Anne Carlini
Spotlight: Top Hollywood Stuntwoman Gaëlle Cohen Dishes On Working With Jessica Biel And Penelope Cruz And Shares Some Delicious Recipes You Can Whip Up At Home
Posted by Levine Communications Office on May 1, 2013
She is one of the most in-demand stuntwomen in Hollywood. A native of France, Gaëlle Cohen was recently featured in the award-winning box office smash Zero Dark Thirty. Her stunts have long been receiving industry acclaim for their breathtaking craft and gritty realism.
But when she’s not busy shooting major studio productions like Rush Hour 3,Babylon A.D. and the upcoming disaster thriller Black Sky, she’s cooking up a storm in the kitchen. Gaëlle is a true gourmet cook with a passion for organic cooking.
Here she shares her tales of working with a host of stars and provides some of her favorite recipes that you can whip up in the comfort of your own home.
CelebZter: How did you get into being a stuntwoman?
Gaëlle: I had just finished law school when a friend of mine asked me to help her on a show for which she urgently needed a replacement actress. I had never done that before, but she figured I wasn’t shy and would pull it off. There I met some stunt people who were practicing fencing—I found out they were actually rehearsing for an audition. I was on the National French Fencing Team for many years before that, so I offered to help them put a fight together.
Several days later, the stunt coordinator calls me and offers me to work for him on the sword fights for a TV show called “Highlander.” I hadn’t the slightest idea of what stunt work was, but after my first day on set, I knew this was what I wanted to do. Law was definitely not for me anymore.
CelebZter: How do you train for stunts?
Gaëlle: After my experience on Highlander, the only skill I had was fencing, which is a start, but not enough to be hired as a complete stunt woman. So I started training full-time to acquire all the skills stunt people need to perform in movies. Not only did I attend the National Circus School to learn trapeze and acrobatics, but I practiced martial arts, horse riding, trampoline, motocross, high falls, etc.
I trained for a year and a half, before really starting to consider myself “hireable” as a stunt woman.
On a regular basis, you work out to keep in shape, and you train to maintain or improve the level of your skills.
CelebZter: What is the best experience you have had on a movie set?
Gaëlle: There are so many! This is why I love my job, just like all stunt people do, I am sure. One of my most memorable memories is from spending time in the Moroccan desert dunes, riding a camel as Penelope Cruz’s stunt double in the movie “Sahara.” It was such a magical moment.
I also remember, 15 years ago on my first feature film (a movie called Young Blades with Hugh Dancy) I was on the top of a 35-foot tree in a French countryside forest, ready to slide down on a rope and jump on a horse. It was then that I realized how incredible my life was. The beautiful view and the wind in my ears just added to the whole experience. I felt really blessed.
Read the rest of the interview at CelebZter