Category Archives: Kudos
Wendy Parmet, Distinguished Professor of Law and Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs ,discusses the Supreme Court’s healthcare law upholding and the future of the healthcare law
On Thursday the Supreme Court made its second significant ruling on President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, finding in a 6–3 decision that federal subsidies offered through the Affordable Care Act should be available to all subscribers, regardless of whether the states in which they live have set up their own health insurance marketplaces.
The question the court had to consider was whether Americans that receive their insurance through a federal-run health insurance marketplace, as is the case in 34 states, should be eligible for federal subsidies that help make that health insurance affordable.
Opponents to the law argued the subsidies should only be available to those whose states operate their own health insurance marketplaces.
In the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.” In a press conference, Obama declared the law is “here to stay.”
Here, Wendy Parmet, an expert in health policy and law who has joint appointments in the School of Law and the School of Public Policy and Urban Development, discusses the court’s decision and the future of the healthcare law.
Associate Professor Amy Farrell deliveres the lecture in the latest installment of the “Minds Over Matters: NUterm Faculty Speaker Series”
In the wake of last year’s deadly shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, as well as other events in which the police’s use of force has been questioned, is policing in America facing a legitimacy crisis? And if so, what do we do about it?
Amy Farrell, an associate professor in theSchool of Criminology and Criminal Justice, offered these questions to kick off her lecture and discussion last week in the latest installment of the “Minds Over Matters: NUterm Faculty Speaker Series.”
The series features weekly presentations from top faculty scholars who discuss their research and examine timely topics of global importance. Farrell’s research focuses on the administration of justice, with particular emphasis on understanding the impact of race and gender on police, prosecution, and sentencing practices.
When people lose trust in police, Farrell said, research has shown that they are less likely to follow laws, assist police, come forward as witnesses, and obey police commands in situations where officers are attempting to use coercive force.
“I think what you see resonating across our country today is a widespread fear of the police,” she told students, faculty, and staff in attendance, “a fear of the police that may have long been held in communities of color that’s now being recognized by communities that have the privilege not to have feared the police in the past.”
In response to these legitimacy concerns, police nationwide have done some “collective soul searching,” she said, and implemented systems of transparency, like the Boston Police Department’s releasing of video footage following incidents. Yet, Farrell noted, “restoring that public confidence is a fundamentally difficult task.”
Of the handful of issues that have at times threatened police legitimacy over the past 100 years in America, she said two are present in the wake of recent events: discrimination and inappropriate use of coercive force.
Farrell pointed to four problems that have contributed to this situation:
1) The movement away from community policing over the past 20 years—“Community policing never had a heyday, but it was a little plant that was starting to grow.”
2) The increased reliance on technology to solve problems—the idea that police can collect data on “hot spots” for crime but aren’t measuring things like fairness and procedural justice
3) The militarization of police—she pointed to a 2014 ACLU studythat examined the increasing number of law enforcement agencies that have SWAT teams. “They are being deployed for routine policing,” she said. “SWAT teams’ reliance on militarization and technology increases the social distance between police and community.”
4) Implicit bias—Farrell said this has been lurking under the country’s racial progress of the past half century. “These are not prejudices that we are born with, but we live in a racialized society,” she said.
Solutions to these problems won’t be easy, as history has shown, Farrell said. But she offered a few ideas, among them bringing community partnership back to policing and shrinking the social distance between police and community by having police forces that are not only diverse but that also learn from and share in each other’s personal experiences.
Farrell also echoed her earlier calls for developing accountability systems for police that go beyond crime statistics and integrate a wider range of values beyond crime like fairness, equality, and procedural justice measures.
“Otherwise, these are just ideals without action,” she said.
Only 6.7 percent of federal inmates in America’s prisons are female, according to April 2015 data from the Federal Bureau of Prisons. And Piper Chapman is one of them.
Well, not exactly. Chapman is the main character in Orange is the New Black, the hit Netflix series set in a fictional federal women-only prison. The third season was released Thursday evening, with scores of fans expected to binge watch all 14 episodes. (Not to worry, no spoilers ahead!)
One person who won’t be among them though is Natasha Frost, an associate professor in Northeastern’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. “I hardly watch any criminal justice shows,” she said.
However, Frost noted that the show’s growing popularity has dovetailed with a rising academic interest in female incarceration trends in the U.S. She said that while the country’s overall number of incarcerated males has declined in recent years, the number of incarcerated female has remained steady—or in some instances seen a slight uptick—during that time period. For example, according to a Bureau of Justice Statistics report released Thursday, the number of females confined in county and city jails increased by 18 percent between midyear 2010 and 2014, while the male population declined about 3 percent during the period.
“In a way, these data have made the show timely,” Frost said. “There’s a lot of interest in my field now about what’s driving the steady rate of women’s imprisonment.”
Frost’s research focuses primarily on the rates of incarceration across the U.S. states, and she has worked closely with the Women’s Prison Association to complete assessments of state-level variations in punitiveness toward women. A 2006 report she co-authored was the first to comprehensively chart out the dramatic increase in female incarceration in the U.S. between 1977 and 2004, according to the association’s Institute on Women and Criminal Justice.
Associate vice provost Katherine Ziemer delivers the lecture in Northeastern’s “Minds over Matters:NUterm Faculty Speaker Series”
Whether it’s a boogie board, bicycles, or Bruce Wayne’s Batsuit, the evolution of how objects look and function can be traced back to one question: “What if?” What if I create a different kind of surfboard, one that doesn’t require as much training? Or what if Batman is trapped in a dark room and needs to see?
Katherine Ziemer, associate vice provost for curriculum and professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, said that “What if?” is one of her favorite phrases. And it also leads to another question in Ziemer’s world of materials science: “Why?”
Ziemer discussed her curiosity on Wednesday afternoon in the Raytheon Amphitheater, delivering the latest lecture in Northeastern’s “Minds over Matters: NUterm Faculty Speaker Series.” The weekly series features top faculty scholars who discuss their research and examine innovation, new discoveries, and timely topics of global importance.
“‘What if we’ is the creativity question,” Ziemer said. “It makes us open our minds a little bit, and how exciting is that?”
Ziemer explained how she often asks these questions in reference to how materials can improve the world around us, whether it’s monitoring brain activity, cleaning up water, or improving telecommunications.
To find answers, Ziemer turns to the atom, the smallest unit of matter. Through her research she attempts to determine if she can control atoms and how they combine— and therefore control the characteristics of the materials they make up.
“If I want to control atoms, I have to understand why they do what they do,” Ziemer said. “I am looking at using atoms to do new and different things.”
One way she has done this is through her work with the U.S. Navy to improve communications across various platforms, specifically during combat situations. The Navy asked Ziemer “what if” she came up with a communication system that was lighter in weight and required less power but still enabled the level of communication the Navy needed.
When Ziemer looked at the amount of power needed for the communication system to work, she noticed the various types of chips required to generate and control the magnetic and electric fields.
Distinguished University Professor Lisa Feldman Barrett pinpoints epicenter of brain’s predictive ability
In recent years, scientists have discovered the human brain works on predictions, contrary to the previously accepted theory that it reacts to the sensations it picks up from the outside world. Experts say humans’ reactions are in fact the body adjusting to predictions the brain is making based on the state [ ... ]
Sounds like a spinoff of “Survivor.” But no one gets kicked off the island — or, in this case, the archipelago. Rather, winning depends on cooperation, not competition.
Northeastern University President Joseph E. Aoun has appointed James C. Bean as the university’s next provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. Bean will succeed Stephen W. Director, who is completing his seventh year as provost.
Bean’s tenure will begin part time on July 1, 2015, as part of his transition, and will begin full time on Aug. 20, 2015.
“Margaret and I are thrilled to be part of the Northeastern community,” said Bean. “The tremendous momentum of this institution reflects the vision of its leadership, faculty, staff, and students. Northeastern University is evolving a new model of higher education based on excellence, relevance, and engagement. I look forward to joining the evolution.”
Professor Kara Swanson has been selected as the 51st Robert D. Klein Lecturer. She will deliver her talk, “Banking on the Body: The Market in Blood, Milk and Sperm in Modern America” at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7, in the Raytheon Amphitheater, Northeastern University.
The Klein University Lecturer Award established in 1964, upon the recommendation of the Faculty Senate, honors a member of the teaching faculty who has contributed with distinction to his or her own field of study. The University Lecture enables that faculty member to share the fruits of that scholarship with the University community and the general public. In 1979, the award was renamed in tribute to the late Robert D. Klein, professor of mathematics, chairman of the Faculty Senate Agenda Community, and vice chairman of the Faculty Senate.
But children and adults with severe speech-motor disorders tend to rely more heavily on melodic cues, such as volume and duration. Patel uses her understanding of speech melody to create computational tools that can dramatically improve a disordered speaker’s ability to interact with the world.
In one project, Patel overlays meolodic fluctuations from a disordered speaker’s voice with a sentence spoken by a healthy donor of the same demographic. By merging the two signals, she creates a novel synthetic voice that conveys the user’s personal identity.
For children learning how to read, Patel also develops digital tools with visual cues—such as a rising and falling line—that signal pitch changes. Research suggests that by understanding the melody of speech earlier, children may achieve greater reading comprehension.
Parker is shaping the field of personal health informatics—the use of technology to influence and inform the choices people make about their health. She begins by examining disparities—such as limited access to nutritious food—that affect people with limited economic resources and elevate their risk for chronic health conditions. Then she applies her own interactive solutions to help people overcome those disparities.