Willowbrook: 1972- 2003, The Case Continues The Status of the Willowbrook Consent Judgment

Over thirty years ago, parents of residents at the Willowbrook State School on Staten Island and their lawyers marched into federal court to file one of the most historic cases regarding civil rights for persons with mental retardation and developmental disabilities.

The resulting consent judgment obligated the State of New York to provide appropriate housing and programs for the more than 6,000 residents known as the “Willowbrook Class.”

Hailed as a “Declaration of Independence” for the developmentally disabled, the consent judgment was the model not only for closing other institutions in the state, but also across the country, and indeed, inspired the closing of notorious institutions around the world.

The Willowbrook Case was never closed, however. Although the consent judgment remains the guiding instrument in the care of the Willowbrook Class, it continues to be a subject of debate in and out of court.

A public discussion on the status of the historic consent judgment.

Katie Meskell, sister of a Willowbrook resident; Executive Director of United Cerebral Palsy of Westchester; and executive producer of “The Unforgotten: 25 Years after Willowbrook”
Beth Haroules, Esq., New York Civil Liberties Union
Ann Nehrbauer, parent of a Willowbrook resident
Ronnie Cohn, Independent Evaluator for the Willowbrook Class
Dr. David Goode, College of Staten Island, moderator

Wednesday, May 7, 2003
6:30 p.m. reception
7:00 p.m. program begins

College of Staten Island Library
Archives and Special Collections, 1L-216
2800 Victory Boulevard, Staten Island NY 10314

The program is free and open to the public. It will be recorded and the tape will become part of the Willowbrook Collection in the CSI Library Archives.

This public discussion is part of the CSI Staten Island Project initiative. CSI-SIP uses the expertise and resources of the college to study issues such as transportation, the environment, business, and health, serving as a non-partisan public affairs interface between borough officials and community leaders.

For additional information, contact Dr. Jeffrey Kroessler in the CSI Library at 718-982-4021, or visit the CSI-SIP Web site at www.csi.cuny.edu/csisip

EDITOR’S NOTE: You are invited to send a reporter and/or camera crew. If you plan to attend or send a representative, please contact Ken Bach at 718-982-2328 to make arrangements or for more information.

Researcher develops new tool to diagnose and evaluate neurological deficiencies

Recent research and technological breakthroughs provide the medical profession with a new tool in evaluating and assessing the Parkinsonian population, as well as facilitating early diagnosis, according to Dr. Arthur Nelson, who recently published his findings after conducting a five-year research study with the Physical Therapy Program at The City University of New York’s College of Staten Island.

Dr. Nelson’s findings were based on results acquired while using his previously developed GaitRite system, which is a sophisticated data acquisition model that integrates specific components of walking (gait) to generate a Functional Ambulation Performance (FAP) score.

Dr. Nelson points out the graphical user interface displaying a persons footfallsThe system operates on the principle that a condition that affects the central nervous system will have latent manifestations in a person’s gait, such as a shorter than usual step length that takes longer to complete as seen in persons with Parkinson’s disease, or an asymmetrical footfall pattern as seen in persons who suffered a stroke with paralysis.

“Our research has demonstrated the reliability and level of evaluation that this dramatic new tool provides to clinicians,” said Dr. Nelson, “and is a major addition to the functional toolset that will improve the accuracy with which disorders are diagnosed and confirmed.”

GaitRite mat in useThe GaitRite system uses a series of switches on a grid pattern embedded into a mat that a patient walks on. The mat captures the footprints electronically, much like footprints in sand along the beach. The mathematical modeling outputs a standardized and objective FAP score after evaluating the person’s walking motion.

Once a FAP score is generated, a clinician is able to accurately determine a patient’s ambulatory mobility, that is, how well they walk. This assessment may alert the clinician to a possible diagnosis of Parkinson’s, or confirm a preliminary diagnosis.

For patients with a confirmed case of Parkinson’s or another neurological deficiency such as Downs Syndrome, the GaitRite system will accurately determine the effectiveness of the drug or physical therapy program that the patient may be undergoing.

Screenshot of GaitRite software interface“The GaitRite system accurately assesses gait abnormalities which may not be apparent to physical therapists, but which the GaitRite system will detect and alert us to,” said Dr. Nelson, “and being aware of this condition, which may have been the cause for serious harm, allows us to tailor a therapy program that will address that abnormality while greatly enhancing the patient’s quality of life.”

The GaitRite system is currently being used by over 150 rehabilitation centers throughout the United States and in many countries in Europe and the Middle East and Asia with dramatic results.

Currently, Dr. Nelson is conducting a study with researchers in Holland using a treadmill that provides feedback of footfalls. This treadmill places patients into a safety jacket suspended from a frame which eliminates the risk of falling, and allows a unique approach to the physical therapy training of patients with strokes, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinsonism, and joint replacements.

As well, this approach involves testing of motor power, coordination of muscle pairs, balance testing, and training. Dr. Nelson acted as consultant to Biodex Medical Systems in the developmental stages of this innovative treadmill. The results of this new venture are not determined yet, but Dr. Nelson says the early feedback appears very promising, and will greatly enhance a patient’s confidence and ability during physical therapy, which will result in an improved and sustained recovery.

EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information, or to schedule an interview, contact Ken Bach, 718-982-2328. Color photography available.

Chancellor Announces "cuny.edu/studentjobs" A New Jobs Web Site for CUNY Students

Chancellor Matthew Goldstein announced today that The City University of New York is launching a quick, comprehensive and easy-to-use employment web site to help undergraduate and graduate students find full-time and part-time jobs on and off campus while they are pursuing their degrees.

www.cuny.edu/studentjobs is a one-stop employment site that consolidates postings from the 19 CUNY campuses and also provides information on jobs at metropolitan-area companies and agencies that are offered to CUNY students.

The creation of the Internet job site is part of CUNY’s ongoing program to help students receive a high-quality higher education while meeting the costs of attending college.

“Just as every penny counts, every student needs to know about available job opportunities and financial aid,” Chancellor Matthew Goldstein said. “By making available this site, we are renewing our efforts to let them know all available ways to defray the costs of their college education.”

The CUNY site also makes it easy for employers: They can post jobs directly via an electronic form and target particular jobs to students at the appropriate colleges.

CUNY, the largest urban university in the United States with 19 campuses, 208,000 degree credit students, and more than 208,000 professional and continuing education students, established this site to make it easier for students of all economic levels to continue their education without interruption.

Key components of www.cuny.edu/studentjobs include:

The CUNY Metro Job Bank lists hundreds of part-time and full-time jobs offered to CUNY students by government agencies and private companies in the New York metropolitan area. Recent postings included listings for a part-time photo cataloger at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; a full-time registered nurse for Covenant House; a part-time mailroom clerk for the Educational Alliance; a part-time receptionist for the New York Society for the Deaf; and a full-time account representative for Metropolitan Life.

In an exclusive arrangement with the city’s Department of Information Technology, CUNY/311 Project offers CUNY students part-time jobs with New York City’s new Customer Service Call Center, which provides city residents with an easy-to-remember number, 311, to dial for access more to city agencies for non-emergency information. Students answer incoming calls, enter data into a computer bank and do clerical work.

Poll Worker Initiative recruits and trains hundreds of CUNY students to be poll workers for citywide primaries and general elections, where they earn $200 per day, plus a bonus and training stipend.

CUNY College Job Bank lists the entry-level jobs at the CUNY
colleges, everything from tutors and college assistants to custodial assistants and lab technicians.

In addition to links to state and national employment sites, the CUNY website includes information on opportunities for disabled students, financial aid, job fairs, internships, literacy, vocational training and the Federal Work-Study Program.

The site, which is being launched on April 2, highlights specific CUNY job-related programs, including:

Counseling Assistantship Program or CUNYCAP, through which graduate students work at CUNY’s senior and community colleges and several New York City high schools in various positions in admissions, financial aid, career development, counseling, academic advisement, health services and student activities.

Teaching Opportunity Program or TOP, where highly qualified baccalaureate program students who want a teaching career are recruited to teach in public schools. Undergraduates, recent graduates and those career changers with academic majors that have been identified as current and future areas of teacher shortage are targeted. The program is run in collaboration with the New York City Department of Education.

College Opportunity to Prepare for Employment or COPE provides information and support services, including education counseling, child-care referrals, social services liaison and job-placement assistance to students receiving public assistance.

CUNY Literacy Education and Employment Program or LEEP offers participants the chance to improve their basic academic skills to qualify them for better jobs or training programs.

CUNY Individual Vocational Education and and Skills Training Program or InVEST offers participants the chance to learn new skills that help qualify them for better jobs.

CSI announces new public affairs initiative – the Staten Island Project

The College of Staten Island recently announced the creation of a dynamic new initiative that will integrate the work of the college with the public affairs concerns of Staten Island. The venture is appropriately named the College of Staten Island–Staten Island Project, or CSI-SIP.

The inauguration the CSI-SIP, followed by a reception. There will be a roundtable discussion of the future goals of the CSI-SIP.

John J. Marchi, NY State Senator; Marlene Springer, President, CSI; Mirella Affron, Director, CSI-SIP. There will be representatives from city and state government, as well as CSI faculty representing the four main policy domains.

Friday, April 11, 2003; 4 p.m.

College of Staten Island Library (1L) Archives and Special Collections
2800 Victory Boulevard, Staten Island NY 10314

Building on a solid foundation of conferences and programs already in place, the CSI-SIP will become the umbrella organization to expand the college’s role in the Staten Island community.

The CSI-SIP will serve as a non-partisan public affairs interface between borough officials and community leaders. The expertise of CSI faculty and staff will be at the service of community needs.

The CSI-SIP will be a dynamic forum that encourages and facilitates debate and discussion on controversial issues crucial to the community, while attempting to resolve the issues before they become urgent problems.

“As the only public institution of higher education on Staten Island, CSI is ideally positioned, through the newly established CSI-SIP, to play an even more central role than it has in the past in public affairs debates that affect the borough, its relationship to the city, and its link to the immediate region,” commented Marlene Springer, president of CSI.

CSI-SIP will interface with the community in four main policy domains:

Governance: will increase the stock of knowledge about Staten Island’s institutions and how they work, as well as expand participation in local civic and political life.

Civic Education: this initiative will present new programs that combat cynicism and apathy while strengthening the community’s connection with city administration.

Health, Environment, and Land Use: the management of urban growth is a critical problem on Staten Island. This initiative will focus on the rapid expansion of the Island’s economy and population while recognizing opportunities and overcoming challenges.

Economic Development: the educational resources offered by the college will strengthen education in the training-intensive fields of the post-industrial economy that attracts productive workers and successful firms.

The CSI-SIP initiative is inspired by Senator John J. Marchi’s historic service to the Staten Island community and the college, and his pivotal role in establishing the CSI Archives and Special Collections with a gift of his papers in 1999. For more information visit the CSI-SIP Web site at www.csi.cuny.edu/csisip

EDITOR’S NOTE: You are invited to send a reporter and/or camera crew to cover this event. If you plan to attend or send a representative, please contact Ken Bach, director of public relations, to make arrangements.

National Institutes of Health place CSI researcher in top 5 percent of productive investigators nationwide

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently awarded a $1.4 million four-year grant to Fred Naider, PhD, for his continued research on the biological function of peptides. This NIH funding marks 30 years of continuous funding to Naider, and supports his research through 2006.

“Dr. Naider is in the elite group of productive NIH investigators — the top 5 percent — to be funded continuously for 30 years,” commented Jean Chin, the program director for the Division of Cell Biology and Biophysics at the NIH.

“He is not only an outstanding chemist and biophysicist; he also understands and uses the power of interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to push his research to the highest levels. He has so much enthusiasm for his very significant research,” Chin continued, “and is also very proud of his students, postdoctoral fellows, laboratory, and the College of Staten Island.”

Additionally, Naider has been invited to serve as a member of the Bioorganic and Natural Products Chemistry Study Section of the NIH’s Center for Scientific Review through June 2006. Members are responsible for reviewing grant applications, recommending applications to appropriate councils, and surveying the status of research in their fields of science.

Ellie Ehrenfeld, Director of the Department of Health and Human Services at the NIH, commended Naider’s “demonstrated competence and achievements…as evidenced by the quality of [his] research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals, and other significant scientific activities, achievements and honors,” in her letter of invitation.

A Distinguished Professor of chemistry with The City University of New York’s College of Staten Island, Naider’s research is focused on the biological function of peptides (small chains of amino acids) and their role as nutrients and signaling molecules.

Basically, Naider investigates how peptides cross cell membranes, and how cells communicate by the use of peptides.

In nature, more specifically in our bodies, many hormones are peptides. Naider’s research entails learning how receptor proteins receive signals from such hormones. His work is designed to understand how a family of receptor molecules works, and to learn fundamental information about the process of cell-to-cell communication.

Such information might prove valuable to others studying the disease process involving members of this family of receptors, and who wish to design therapeutic approaches to cure various pathologies. Among those processes controlled by these receptors are blood pressure regulation, pain perception, growth, taste, and smell.

“When you establish a reputation for basic research and gain a certain expertise with technologies, people come to you for advice, materials, and measurements,” says Naider, who has also recently received a grant from an Israeli company that is working on a new approach to treating burn victims.

During his career, Naider has interacted with both academic and industrial scientists. One of these interactions resulted in a patented class of molecules that is currently used to make an antiviral agent more effective.

“Dr. Naider’s research and teaching are at the highest levels,” commented Marlene Springer, president of CSI, “and have helped CSI establish a reputation for excellence that ranks our polymer chemistry program among the very best.”

Naider’s laboratory is an active place with undergraduates, PhD students, and postdoctoral fellows working side by side. Recently, the Naider laboratory was awarded a $47,043 one-year supplement from the NIH to support a graduate student working under his mentorship. Many of Naider’s students have gone on to careers in medical technology, medicine, optometry, dentistry, and the basic sciences.

“I have benefited from my students thirst for knowledge, their youthful enthusiasm, and their desire to improve the world” explains Naider. “I hope they have benefited from my passion for teaching and for peptides.”

During Naider’s 30-year career at CSI, his findings have appeared in nearly 200 refereed articles and he has been awarded more than $8 million in research grants.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Awareness Day: Creating Success through Independence

The dictionary defines a disability as “an inability to perform some or all of the tasks of daily life.” And it is those very tasks, which many people may take for granted on daily basis, which can be challenged at the College of Staten Island’s Disability Awareness Day this Thursday, April 3, 2003.

The day is filled with hands-on and interactive disability sensitivity workshops in the college’s Center for the Arts that allow everyone to learn that overcoming a dictionary-defined disability actually requires great ability, and a mastery of a challenging new skill set, such as reading Braille, conversing in sign language, or maneuvering a wheelchair. Exhibitors with have informative booths set up in the building’s Atrium.

The workshops will be presented from 10:15 – 2 p.m. in room 202 and will raise your awareness regarding deafness, disability parking, and the learning-disabled, as well as blindness and wheelchair sensitivity.

In addition to the exhibits and workshops, Alvin Law will present “Never Say I Can’t,” from 2 – 3:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall. Law, who was born without arms, is a noted motivational speaker who will discuss the power of a positive attitude. His talk is sponsored by the college’s Program Development Committee.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Awareness Day at CSI:Creating Success through Independence

Thursday, April 3, 2003; 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

College of Staten Island, Center for the Arts (1P)
2800 Victory Boulevard, Staten Island NY 10314

Exhibitors include: the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities; VESID (Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities); C-Tech (technology for the visually impaired); Concepts of Independence; Multiple Sclerosis Society; Seymour Joseph Institute; New York Commission on Human Rights; and Freedom Box.

The day’s events are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. The event is sponsored by the College of Staten Island Office of Disability Services. For more information regarding the event contact Irene Mucciariello at 718-982-2176.

If you plan to attend or send a representative, contact Ken Bach at 718-982-2328.

Presidential Lecture for Excellence in Teaching

Professor of History David Traboulay, the recipient of this year’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching, spoke to a crowd of 100 faculty, staff, and students who gathered in the Center for the Arts’ Williamson Theater today.

President Marlene Springer and David TraboulayCSI President Marlene Springer opened the event with comments on Dr. Traboulay’s achievements as a scholar, and upon being awarded an engraved plaque and check for $1,500 to commemorate the day, Traboulay began his lecture by saying “I am grateful and happy to receive this first Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching, and feel humble about this splendid recognition.”

Traboulay’s lecture, entitled “Universitas: The Academic Community as Inspiration,” opened with a quotation from John of Salisbury, “Happy is the Exile that brings such a Home.”

Traboulay, a native of Trinidad on faculty at CSI since 1971, discussed his feelings about teaching. “I must confess the paradox that I have been aware of from 1957, when I was first hired as a teacher, of acknowledging the great joy and inspiration that teaching brought to my life on the one hand, and in similar measure the profound doubts I have had about the effectiveness of my teaching.”

After a recounting of his academic travels, Traboulay closed his lecture by expressing “my gratitude to all those who have made my life and work a ‘happy exile.’ Although I still find effective teaching elusive and, when you think that you have found it, it is impermanent, I have always considered myself fortunate to have been able to work at what I loved, and feel that it was the spirit of the college communities that inspired my teaching.”

Based on the response of the audience, the feeling was mutual.

Arab Americans in the Current Political Landscape

The College of Staten Island hosts a lecture by Kareem W. Shora who will speak on issues related to the U.S. Department of Justice’s post-9/11 initiatives including Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) programs during an informative, interactive lecture series at the CSI Library.

Kareem W. Shora, JD (Doctor of Jurisprudence) LL.M.(Master of Laws), Legal Advisor for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

Shora will speak on issues related to the U.S. Department of Justice’s post-9/11 initiatives including Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) programs during an informative, interactive lecture series at the CSI Library. Other topics may include ethnic profiling, hate crimes, and unlawful discrimination issues, and the more general situation of Arab Americans and Muslim Americans in the aftermath of 9/11.
Post-9/11 legislation issues may also be addressed, such as the USA Patriot Act and the proposed Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, aka the USA Patriot Act II. The lectures will be followed by a question and answer session.

Thursday, March 27, 2003
1:30 – 2:30 pm and
3:00 – 4:00 pm

College of Staten Island, Library Theater (1L-103)
2800 Victory Boulevard, Staten Island NY 10314

Both sessions are free and open to the public. The event is sponsored by the Office of the President, the Pluralism and Diversity Program, and the Center for International Service. For more information regarding the event contact Winnie Brophy at 718-982-2100.

You are invited to send a reporter, photographer or camera crew to this event. If you plan to attend or would like to schedule an interview, contact Ken Bach at 718-982-2328.