News in Brief

Napolitano Group to Assist Veterans at UC Campuses

University of California President Janet Napolitano announced last Monday, Feb. 3, the formation of a UC veterans’ advisory group to focus on the challenges that veterans face when resuming their higher education during or after military service.
The 10-member advisory group, formed of one student veteran from each campus, met privately on Friday, Feb. 31, in Oakland. They discussed improving communication about financial aid opportunities available to veterans, enhancing training for existing UC staff that work in veterans’ services and planning a system-wide summit that would draw together student veterans and support staff for further discussion.
Jessica Garcia, UC Irvine’s representative in the advisory group, was pleasantly surprised by Napolitano’s positive response to her concerns.
“That was a big thing for me,” Garcia told the Daily Californian. “When she said she would look into the issue, she actually did. She didn’t give lip service.”
According to a press release from the UC Office of the President, more than 1,300 military veterans and approximately 100 active military personnel are currently enrolled in a UC. This number has steadily risen in the past five years and the office believes it will continue to increase as more veterans return to America from serving abroad.
Napolitano formed this group to help the rising number of student veterans feel more welcome and to ensure that they succeed in their academic goals.
“I anticipate that this advisory group will be instrumental in helping us formulate and improve policies that directly affect our current and future student veterans,” Napolitano stated.

UC Irvine Medical Professionals Awarded with UC Fellowship

Two anesthesiologists from UC Irvine have received a fellowship from the University of California’s Center for Health Quality and Innovation for their work on improving healthcare within the UC system.
The recipients were Maxime Cannesson, an associate professor of clinical anesthesiology and Shermeen Vakharia, a clinical professor and vice chair of quality and patient safety at the UC Irvine Medical Center. The two were among the 10 that were selected this year for the fellowship out of 356 applicants from across the country, according to the University of California’s Center for Health Quality and Innovation in 2013. The finalists were chosen by a committee of University of California faculty and staff and were evaluated on a variety of categories including leadership, mentorship ability and relevance of the project.
The fellowships will give UC Irvine $50,000 to help cover costs associated with Cannesson’s project and another $50,000 for Vakaria’s project. As part of the fellowship Cannesson developed an enhanced patient recovery program for patients that undergo high-risk surgery. According to the University of California the program will be applied to all UC medical centers and has reportedly lowered risks of infections, reduced patient recovery times, improved medical team cooperation and improved patient experiences and clinical outcomes at the test campuses. The program is set to be copied at all UC medical centers in the near future.
Vakaria’s program, called “Urological Surgical Home: A Transformative Model of Perioperative Care,” focuses on improving results and experiences of Urological surgeries. Urological surgeries, which include procedures to reproductive organs, uterine tracts, kidneys, bladders and prostates are high risk procedures that have high risks of infection. One of the goals of Vakaria’s program is to reduce this risk among other improvements. As with Cannesson’s project, the program will be replicate at all UC medical centers in the near future. The two have been working on their projects since 2013.

UC Irvine Alumnus and LGBT Activist Announced Dead

Alain Dang, a UC Irvine and UCLA alumnus, former member of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and a popular LGBT activist died in the hospital on Tuesday Feb. 4.
During his life Alain was celebrated as having united the Asian and Pacific Islander Gay community. According to the National Queer and Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, “Alain’s leadership and nationally respected network was instrumental in the early conversations that helped bring together the LGBT Asian-American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations from around the country for our initial convening in 2005.”
Alain attended UC Irvine for his undergraduate degree and earned his master’s degree in Urban Planning from UCLA in 2003. He worked for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force from 2003 till 2007.
In his time at UC Irvine Alain was involved with the effort to get UCI administration to cancel orders from Nike and bar Nike products from campus after reports of abuse of Vietnamese workers was made public in 1996.
After earning his degrees, Alain went to work for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force where he wrote several influential reports on the African-American and Asian-American and Pacific Islander LGBT communities.
He was admitted to the El Camino Hospital in Mountain View for Flu-like symptoms according to a blog commemorating his life. He died at the age of 37.