01 August 2015

PARIS, FRANCE — 29 July 2015

World's experts in immersion and immersive technologies convene in Paris this September. Interviews and complimentary Media and Press Passes available upon request.
The Immersive Education Initiative today announced the official IMMERSION 2015 speakers, exhibits, presentations, and workshops. Featuring nearly 100 sessions about Virtual Reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), 3D printing, wearable computing, brain interfaces, and more, IMMERSION 2015 is open to the public from 7 September to 10 September.
Day passes (tickets) are available for 12 Euro.
The public is invited to join the world's experts in immersion and immersive technology for nearly 100 conference sessions, keynotes and featured talks from Google,Disney, the Smithsonian InstitutionImmersive EducationStanford UniversityUCLAUSC, the United States Department of the Interior (DOI) and many more.
Building on the success of the previous 9 years of Immersive Education (iED) conferences, IMMERSION 2015 addresses the personal and cultural impact of immersive technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), wearable computing, brain interfaces, cybernetics, neuro-gaming technologies, 3D printing, personal robotics, telepresence, virtual worlds, simulations, game-based learning and training systems, and fully immersive environments such as caves and domes.
Details and registration are online at http://summit.ImmersiveEducation.org
Paris-Sorbonne University ("the Sorbonne") is the official host of IMMERSION 2015. The prestigious university, located in the heart of Paris, France, will host the international conference and exhibition from 7 September to 10 September. The event, which is open to the public, will take place in the famous lecture halls of the historic Sorbonne building.
Previous Immersive Education conferences have featured speakers, exhibitors and researchers from Harvard University, MITMIT Media LabStanfordNASAUnited Nations (UN), United States Department of EducationSmithsonianDisneyGoogleMicrosoftIntelOracle and many other world-class organizations.


Interviews and complimentary Media and Press Passes available upon request:
Barbara Mikolajczak
Immersive Education Initiative
+1 (617) 997-1017


The Immersive Education Initiative is a non-profit international collaboration of educational institutions, research institutes, museums, consortia and companies. The Initiative was established in 2005 with the mission to define and develop standards, best practices, technology platforms, training and education programs, and communities of support for virtual worlds, virtual reality, augmented and mixed reality, simulations, game-based learning and training systems, and fully immersive environments such as caves and domes.
Thousands of faculty, researchers, staff and administrators are members of the Immersive Education Initiative, who together service millions of academic and corporate learners worldwide.
Chapters support the rapid and continued growth of Immersive Education throughout the world, and constitute the geographically distributed structure of the organization through which regional and local members are supported and enriched. Chapters organize officially sanctioned Summits, Days, workshops, collaborations, seminars, lectures, forums, meetings, public service events and activities, technical groups, technical work items, research, and related activities.

24 May 2015

Connecting science with society- EU boost for polar science

For a strong European polar infrastructure: Members of EU-PolarNet work closely together in order to optimize the use of the first-class European operational polar infrastructure. 

Photo: Alfred-Wegener-Institut/Stefan Hendricks

The €2 million five-year EU-PolarNet programme brings together 22 of Europe’s internationally-respected multi-disciplinary research institutions to develop and deliver an integrated European polar research programme that is supported by access to first-class operational polar infrastructures.  EU-PolarNet will involve stakeholders from the outset to create a suite of research proposals whose scientific outcomes are directly relevant and beneficial to European society and its economy.

Polar issues have been rising up the political agenda across Europe over the past decade.  The level of investment now being made by governments is a clear demonstration of how critical polar research is for forming policies, including those relating to climate change, energy security, global food security, innovation and economic growth.  

By establishing an ongoing dialogue between policymakers, business and industry leaders, local communities and scientists EU-PolarNet aims to create an Integrated European Research Programme for the Antarctic and the Arctic.  This legacy from EU-PolarNet will be sustained into the future by the European Polar Board, all of whose members are integrally involved with the project.

A key role for EU-PolarNet is to cooperate closely with the European Commission to provide support and advice on all issues related to the Polar Regions.

Dr Andrea Tilche, Head of the Climate Action and Earth Observation Unit, in the European Commission DG for Research and Innovation, comments:
"The European Commission welcomes this new Coordination Action which brings together polar scientific communities and other stakeholders.  It creates a new "home" where science and innovation on polar issues can be discussed for the benefit of our planet and our societies".

EU-PolarNet is coordinated by the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in Germany.  Director, Professor Karin Lochte comments:

“EU-PolarNet represents a fantastic challenge for leaders of national polar research programmes.  It is our ambition to enhance the high-level of collaboration and cooperation that exists currently across Europe and the rest of the world.  Our network is ideally positioned to play a leading international role in forming new partnerships within scientific, business and policy-making communities.  The knowledge and discoveries that we make in the polar regions have an impact on our daily lives.  This is a very exciting time for polar science.”

EU-Polarnet is a Horizon 2020 funded Coordination Action. Full information about the programme and its participants is at www.eu-polarnet.eu .

Issued on behalf of EU-PolarNet by 
Kristina Baer 
Alfred Wegener Institute
Dept. of Communications and Media Relations
Tel.: (+49) 0471/4831 - 2139
Fax: (+49) 0471/4831 - 1389
E-Mail: Kristina.Charlotte.Baer@awi.de 

Notes for Editors
EU-PolarNet benefits from its close cooperation with the European Polar Board (EPB). The EPB is a think tank and the European high-level facilitator of cooperation between European national funding agencies, national polar institutes and research organisations.  Outcomes from EU-PolarNet will add long-term value to EPB activity in providing strategic science policy advice to the European Commission and other international bodies. A major benefit of the involvement and support of the EPB is that the legacy of EU-PolarNet can be reliably sustained by the Board into the future.

EU-PolarNet Participants
Alfred Wegener Institut Helmholtz Zentrum für Polar und Meeresforschung (AWI)/Germany
Centre National de la Recherché Scientifique (CNRS)/France
British Antarctic Survey (NERC-BAS)/United Kingdom
Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche - Department of Earth System Science and Environmental Technologies. (CNR-DTA)/Italy
Polarforskningssekretariatet (SPRS)/Sweden
Institut Polaire Français Paul Emile Victor (IPEV)/France
Instituto de Geografia e Ordenamento do Território da Universidade e Lisboa (IGOT-UL)/Portugal
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (RUG)/Netherlands
Norges Forskningråd  (RCN)/Norway
Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (MINECO)/Spain
Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC)/Spain
Universität Wien - Austrian Polar Research Institute (UW-APRI)/Austria
Bulgarian Antarctic Institute (BAI)/Bulgaria
Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS)/Denmark
Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)/Belgium
Oulun Yliopisto (UOULU)/Finland
Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique (RBINS)/Belgium
Instytut Geofizyki Polskiej Akademii Nauk (IGF PAS)/Poland
Tallinna Tehnikaülikool (IG TUT)/Estonia
Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme Secretariat (AMAP)
WOC- World Ocean Council
Gronlands Naturinstitut (GINR)/Greenland

11 April 2015

65. Lindauer Nobelpreisträgertagung/ 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

Arieh Warshel together with a young
scientist at the 64th Meeting,
Copyright: Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

28. Juni – 3. Juli 2015   Lindau (Bodensee)

Zur Feier der 65. Ausgabe der Lindauer Nobelpreisträgertagungen blicken wir diesen Sommer zurück in die Geschichte der Wissenschaft und wagen zugleich einen Ausblick in ihre Zukunft – mit besonderem Augenmerk auf Verbindungen zwischen Disziplinen und Forschergenerationen.
Eine Rekordzahl von 70 Nobelpreisträgern kommt in Lindau zusammen, um die nächste Generation führender Wissenschaftler und Forscher zu treffen: mehr als 670 ausgezeichnete Studierende, Doktoranden und Post-Docs aus fast 90 Ländern.
Eine Vielzahl von Vorträgen, Podiumsdiskussionen und Master Classes erwarten die Teilnehmer dieser interdisziplinären Tagung – online finden das vorläufige Programm.

Dies ist eine kleine Auswahl an Themen, die den Lindauer Dialog prägen werden:

  • Mehr Berufung als Beruf? – Die Herausforderungen einer Wissenschaftler-Karriere
  • "Big Science" – Stehen wir am Beginn einer neuen Ära?
  • Antibiotika – Das Ende einer Ära?
  • Leben in einer unsicheren Welt – Risiko, Wahrscheinlichkeit und Sicherheit in der Wissenschaft kommunizieren
Journalisten sind eingeladen, die Debatten zu begleiten und sich für die Teilnahme an der Tagung zu registrieren.
Bitte nutzen Sie hierfür unser Online-Akkreditierungsformular.

Christian Schumacher, Leiter der Kommunikation

26 March 2015

The brain in the supermarket

Study: Simple “index strategy” helps consumers make choices.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Say you’re out shopping for basic household goods — perhaps orange juice and soup. Or light bulbs. Or diapers for your young child. How do you choose the products you buy? Is it a complicated decision, or a simple one?

It could be complex: Factors like price, quality, and brand loyalty may run through your mind. Indeed, some scholars have developed complicated models of consumer decision-making, in which people accumulate substantial product knowledge, then weigh that knowledge against the opportunity to explore less-known products.

But in a new paper, MIT researchers suggest that your brain is making a simpler calculation when you shop: You are most likely deploying an “index strategy,” a straightforward ranking of products. It may not be an absolutely perfect calculation, given all the available information, but the study suggests that an index strategy comes very close to being optimal, and is a far easier way for consumers to make their choices.

“The advantage of making a slightly better decision wouldn’t be worth it,” says John Hauser, the Kirin Professor of Marketing at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a co-author of the new study. Rather, he asserts, a simple index strategy “is going to get you really pretty close to an optimal decision at a much lower cost — both search cost and cognitive cost.” Basic rankings help you make quick decisions, and leave room to think about things other than your weekend shopping choices.

Typical models of consumer thought often treat the brain like an always-running computer, and hold that consumers constantly worry about the ways in which their choices interact. For instance: When considering one diaper brand, these models posit that consumers are worried they will lose opportunities to learn more about other brands. The MIT team also believes that consumers accumulate information, but in a simpler, more intuitive way.

“When we look at our options, we normally evaluate them one by one,” says Juanjuan Zhang, an associate professor of marketing at MIT Sloan and another co-author of the study. “We would argue that that is the way we think, and that is different from how other models in marketing work.”

No space for PSPACE

The paper — titled “Learning from Experience, Simply” — is published in the journal Marketing Science. The co-authors are MIT doctoral candidate Song Lin, Zhang, and Hauser.

The study described in the paper is explicitly intended to bridge the gap between empirical studies of consumer decision-making and mathematical models in the field. Hauser, Lin, and Zhang suggest that some models of consumer thought are “PSPACE-hard” — that is, so mathematically difficult as to be virtually unsolvable even with the fastest computer, where the number of steps needed to find a solution is a direct function of the problem’s size. 

“They’re assuming consumers can make decisions that computers can’t solve,” Hauser says. “And they’re assuming consumers make these in seconds as they walk down the aisle in the supermarket.” Besides, he notes, “Even a computer uses simple heuristics to solve these problems.”

To test whether an index strategy reasonably describes how consumers think, Lin, Zhang, and Hauser conducted an empirical study of consumers who purchase diapers, using a commercial data set of 262 households and almost 3,400 purchases, which turned up several relevant patterns, such as the fact that consumers are more likely to change diaper brands within their first 13 purchases.

To the researchers, this suggests that consumers are learning, and valuing the opportunity to switch — while the data fits the concept of the index strategy. It explains product choices as well as other models, while showing how consumers may be inclined to reduce their thinking costs in terms of time. 

“If we assume consumers are using this heuristic, it explains the data just as well as the optimal [models] do,” Hauser says.

A place where you’d expect learning

At the same time, the idea of the index strategy does not rule out consumer reassessment of brands. Studying a product like diapers, the researchers note, shows that people do learn some new information about products, and sometimes flip their index rankings as a consequence.

Thus the results of index strategies resemble those of complex models, but arrive there in a much more direct way.
“Two things about diapers make it a good category,” Hauser says. “One is that we can identify people who are new, or haven’t been in the category for a while. … It’s a place where you’d expect learning. The other thing is, learning about diapers is probably pretty important to new parents. There are incentives to learn.”

For their part, the researchers say they are open to further studies, and hope to get empiricists and theorists of consumer cognition to “talk to one another” to an increasing extent. The supermarket aisle, after all, is not the only spot where we can expect learning to take place.

Written by Peter Dizikes, MIT News Office

Related links

ARCHIVE: Why let your sales force influence product prices?

ARCHIVE: Observing the observers

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue Building 11-400, Cambridge, MA 02139-4307 United States

24 March 2015

Good Bone, Bad Bone

Scientists explore a new parameter of bone quality that measures strength instead of density
By Julie Cohen

For people taking glucocorticoids such as prednisone, the increased risk of bone fracture is a well-documented side effect. Used to treat a variety of medical conditions, including autoimmune diseases and allergies, glucocorticoids are known to cause rapid deterioration in bone strength.
UCBS professor Paul Hansma holds
the Osteprobe which he co-invented
with physics colleagues Connor Randall
and Daniel Bridges;
Photo Credit:Spencer Bruttig
Until now, doctors have been able to measure bone loss — a process that happens slowly, over time — but haven’t had the means for gauging actual bone strength. That has changed thanks to a new hand-held instrument developed in the Hansma Lab at UC Santa Barbara. Called the OsteoProbe, the device uses reference point indentation (RPI) to measure mechanical properties of bone at the tissue level.
A new clinical trial, conducted at the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona, Spain, shows that RPI is sensitive enough to reflect changes in cortical bone indentation following treatment with osteoporosis therapies in patients newly exposed to glucocorticoids. Standard measurement techniques were unable to detect bone changes in this patient population. The trial results are reported in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.
“This new paper is a real breakthrough because it’s the first time it’s been possible to do a longitudinal study of bone material properties in patients,” said co-author Paul Hansma, professor emeritus in UCSB’s Department of Physics. “Up until now, medical professionals have been limited to doing bone mineral density studies, which can take a year or more to show bone changes.”
According to Hansma, measuring bone mineral density (BMD) using today’s standard, dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) provides only a partial picture. “DXA measures density, which sounds like a material property but isn’t,” he said. “DXA measures how much calcium bone contains but provides no information about bone quality, and it’s not just how much bone you have that’s important, it’s how good that bone is.”The OsteoProbe works similarly to a center punch — the tool that makes a slight indentation on a surface to indicate the correct placement of a nail. It sets a localized reference point at the bone’s surface that enables precise indentation measurements of bone strength. It was developed by Hansma and colleagues Connor Randall and Dan Bridges, staff research associate and development assistant engineer, respectively, in UCSB’s Department of Physics.
The instrument is now manufactured for commercial research applications by ActiveLife Scientific, a Santa Barbara company founded by UCSB graduates Davis Brimer and Alex Proctor. Brimer and Proctor won the campus’s annual New Venture Competition in 2007 and used the $10,000 prize as startup capital.
About the device
The OsteoProbe measures the bone material strength index (BMSi), which in previously published papers has been shown to be a valuable predictor of bone fracture risk. The index values are similar to percentage scores on an exam. A BMSi of 90 or greater is excellent, 80 to 90 good, 70 to 80 fair, 60 to 70 poor and below 60 very poor. 
A study conducted at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, demonstrated the device’s ability to successfully detect bone quality deterioration in diabetic patients, independent of BMD. In another study conducted at Leiden University in the Netherlands, the tool successfully distinguished between patients with and without fracture, not only in patients with osteoporosis but also in those with osteopenia, the precursor to osteoporosis.
“Bone fracture is becoming more and more of a serious problem as people live longer,” Hansma said. “It’s exciting that it’s now possible to measure BMSi in living patients and hopefully this can guide physicians in the future in choosing appropriate therapies to prevent bone fracture, especially in elderly people.”
Research is ongoing
Exactly how the BMSi relates to the specialized quantities measured by conventional mechanical testing is a focus of current research. In fact, in a recent paper published in the Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang and two of his graduate students used finite element analysis to investigate the link between BMSi and the mechanical properties of bone itself.
“What’s new in this paper is the ability to correlate indentation measurements from patients’ bones to computer simulations that can predict the strength of the bones,” said Yang, who is also a professor of mechanical engineering. “Such predictions are based on the measured material properties of the bone samples. The results open the door to clinical applications in diagnosis and monitoring, in performing orthopedic surgeries and in developing new therapies.”
The paper’s lead author, Kevin Hoffseth, a graduate student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, noted that the study results suggest RPI could become an integral part in linking clinical results to the mechanical properties of bone related to its health. “Combining theory and experiment with finite element simulations and indentation testing was an effective approach to study bone indentation and failure — and the link to mechanical properties,” he said.
Clinical trials currently underway in some 20 locations are exploring bone health in a variety of ways. One European study is comparing the bone quality of patients in Norway to that of patients in Spain. People in Norway tend to have higher BMD and a greater frequency of fracture than do people in Spain, Hansma noted.
 “That’s the opposite of what it should be if BMD were all that mattered,” he added. “So that means that BMD isn’t all that matters and the hope is that this instrument will reveal the difference in the BMSi between patients in Norway and in Spain.”
Hansma posited that such medical bone diagnostics could become an important feature of future therapeutic treatments. “Now that it is possible to measure whether bone is good or bad in research studies, we can begin learning what diet, exercises, vitamins and pharmaceutical drugs contribute to making bone good,” he said. “After the OsteoProbe gets FDA approval, individual physicians will be able to use it to help them decide about the best therapeutic treatments for their patients.”

Contact Info: 

Julie Cohen
(805) 893-7220

New insights into the mysterious ocean floor

Marine scientists from Kiel present new concepts of the formation of mud volcanoes and cold seeps in the deep sea

With help of the AUV ABYSS (top right) the mud volcanoes
Abzu, Tiamat and M. Ivanov have been discovered in 2012.
Photo/Graphic Credit: GEOMAR
24 March 2015/Kiel. During an expedition of the German research vessel METEOR in 2012 scientists of the GEOMAR Helmholtz-Centre for Ocean Research Kiel together with colleagues from Bremen and Halle, Portugal, Spain and the UK, discovered previously unknown mud volcanoes on the seabed of the Atlantic Ocean. In the international journal Geology they now show, why the structures provide new insights about the processes below the seafloor – and why they simultaneously raise new questions.

For the ancient Babylonians Abzu and Tiamat were the gods of fresh- and saltwater. For today’s ocean sciences two mud volcanoes of the same names could serve as a key to the understanding of previously undiscovered processes underneath the ocean floor. The two cones are located about 200 kilometers southwest of Portugal, in about 4500 meters water depth at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. They were discovered together with a third mud volcano, named after the late Russian scientist “Michael Ivanov” during an expedition of the German research vessel METEOR in 2012. “The mud volcanoes were found in an atypical location. Additionally, further analysis showed that fluids expelled at the seabed in these places has a much deeper  origin than at most other mud volcanoes," says Dr. Christian Hensen, geologist with the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and chief scientist of the 2012 expedition. Together with colleagues from the UK, Spain, Portugal and the Universities of Bremen and Halle he now presents the results of the investigations in the international journal Geology.

Mud volcanoes are morphological structures where fluids, including water and gases, are released from the subsurface. “Sometimes cones emerge during this process, which appear as small-scale volcanoes”, explains Dr. Hensen. They are found at nearly all continental slopes and they often occur on thick sedimentary deposits, for example at large deep-sea fans such as the Nile Delta, where huge amounts of sediments have accumulated over the millennia. A large number of mud volcanoes are known from the Gulf of Cadiz south of Portugal and Spain, where they have formed on thick sedimentary sequences that have been partly thrusted by movements of the earth’s crust. “But Abzu, Tiamat and M. Ivanov are not situated on this so-called accretionary wedge. They are located further west near a fracture zone along the African-Eurasian plate boundary. Before our expedition took place, we only hypothesized about the existence of mud volcanoes in this area. Now we have the proof," says Dr. Hensen.

The research team aboard the METEOR mapped the volcanoes with the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) ABYSS and then sampled it with gravity corers. Later scientists analyzed the samples precisely in the laboratories of the participating institutions. The results were surprising. “Usually gases and fluids emerging from mud volcanoes are only derived from the sediments below. The material coming out of these three mud volcanoes also refers to a source in the crust underneath the sediments," explains Dr. Hensen.

This brought up a new set of questions for further research: What are the exact subsurface mechanisms feeding the mud volcanoes?  Where do other seeps of this type exist? “We know hot vents at mid-ocean ridges, where new crust is formed. These places are relatively easy to find, because almost no sediments are lying on top of the crust, the ascent rates of the fluids are high, and due to the chemical composition of the fluids conspicuous traces on the sea floor are formed, for example the famous Black Smokers,” says Dr. Hensen. There may be similar processes in other areas of the seabed, especially near fracture zones. “The newly discovered mud volcanoes are a clear indication that this conjecture is true", he adds. However, it is more difficult to find these systems with increasing distance from the mid-ocean ridges, because they become less dynamic and the sediment thickness increases.

The current publication is an important basis for further research projects, which should help to better understand the mechanisms of fluid transport in the seabed. During the recent expedition of the new German research vessel SONNE (SO237) the sea floor of the Atlantic Ocean along a prominent facture zone was mapped again by the AUV ABYSS to get more data for future projects. The knowledge about hot and cold springs at the seafloor, their formation mechanisms, and their supply routes is important for a better understanding of specific plate tectonic processes and related earthquake risks.

“The ancient Babylonians presumed a large, hidden freshwater ocean under the salt water ocean Tiamat, whom they called Abzu. Mud volcanoes connect the ocean with the underground of the seafloor, which is still mysterious to us, and, in many cases, they release freshwater. Therefore, we found the names very appropriate for these important discoveries”, says Dr. Hensen.


Hensen, C., F. Scholz, M. Nuzzo, V. Valadares, E. Gràcia, P. Terrinha, V. Liebetrau, N. Kaul, S. Silva, S. Martínez-Loriente, R. Bartolome, E. Piñero, V.H. Magalhães, M. Schmidt, S.M. Weise, M. Cunha, A. Hilario, H. Perea, L. Rovelli and K. Lackschewitz (2015): Strike-slip Faults Mediate the Rise of Crustal-Derived Fluids and Mud Volcanism in the Deep Sea. Geology, http://dx.doi.org/10.1130/G36359.1

www.geomar.de GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
www.flows-cost.eu The project FLOWS (Impact of Fluid circulation in old oceanic Lithosphere on the seismicity of transfOrm-type plate boundaries: neW solutions for early seismic monitoring of major European Seismogenic zones)

Jan Steffen (GEOMAR, Communication & Media), Tel.: (+49) 0431 600-2811, presse@geomar.de 

Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel
Wischhofstr. 1-3, Geb. 4
24148 Kiel

23 March 2015

Report reveals alarming lack of water, sanitation and hygiene in health care facilities

Report reveals alarming lack of water, sanitation and hygiene in health care facilities

WHO and UNICEF call for immediate action on improving sanitation in low- and middle-income countries; UNC-Chapel Hill researchers author report

(Chapel Hill, N.C.—March 23, 2015) –The World Health Organization and UNICEF have commissioned the first comprehensive, multi-country analysis on water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) services in health care facilities, calling for global action to push toward 100 percent coverage of these services through new policies, collaboration, monitoring and training.

The report, released March 17, evaluated available WaSH data from 66,101 health-care facilities in 54 low- and middle-income countries and found that 38 percent of those facilities lack an improved water source, 19 percent lack improved sanitation, and 35 percent lack soap for hand washing – situations that impede even basic health-care services such as child delivery.

The report’s authors are Jamie Bartram, director of The Water Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Don and Jennifer Holzworth Distinguished Professor in the department of environmental sciences and engineering, and Ryan Cronk, doctoral student in environmental sciences and engineering.

“It is shameful that there are health care facilities failing to provide a safe environment, compromising the health of those who turn to them for care,” Bartram said. “We need health-care professionals—from the health worker in charge of the smallest health post to the CEO of the most sophisticated hospital—to take responsibility for delivering on the medical maxim ‘first do no harm.’”
Lack of water, sanitation and hygiene services in health-care facilities causes infection risk within the very institutions to which patients have come to expect healing. Without WaSH services, patients are put at risk of infection unnecessarily and often have to exit the facility to obtain a drink of water or to relieve themselves. Furthermore, staff members lose an important opportunity to demonstrate safe sanitation and hygiene practices that can improve community habits and health.

Improvements to services can and should begin immediately, the report said, and will require leadership from the health sector, technical advice from water and sanitation experts, and political commitment from governments.

Note: The report is available online at http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/en.


UNC-Chapel Hill contact: Katie Hall, (919) 966-7302 or mchall@email.unc.edu.
World Health Organization contact: Nada Osseiran, osseirann@who.int
UNICEF contact: Fabrice Fotso, +221 33 869 5858, Ext. 265

UNC Office of Communications and Public Affairs • Whitehead Building • 101 McCauley Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27514 • Main: (919) 962-4515 24/7 Media: (919) 445-8555 • email: mediarelations@unc.edu