MBJ: Ole Miss brings multidisciplinary approach to addressing the opioid addiction crisis

UM focus of Mississippi Business Journal story on approaches to the state's opioid crisis

Mississippi Business Journal: Ole Miss brings multidisciplinary approach to addressing the opioid addiction crisis


According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 33,000 people in the U.S. died in 2015 as a result of an opiate overdose. One study of areas in 45 states showed opiate overdoses increased by 30 percent between July 2016 and September 2017. The opioid problem has been referred to as the worst addiction problem in U.S. history. Its victims include people from all income levels and walks of life.

A recent symposium at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) was targeted towards developing a new approach to the problem that has spiraled out of control. More than 300 law and pharmacy students attended the symposium, “An Interprofessional Approach to the Opioid Crisis in Mississippi.” The symposium included a mock trial in front of Roy Percy, magistrate judge for the Northern District of Mississippi, and a keynote speech by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood.

Ole Miss Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter commended the schools for proactively addressing the opioid epidemic.

“By working together, we are more likely to understand the full breadth of this challenge and to find innovative solutions,” Vitter said.

Read the full story here.

Forbes: The Brand Story Problem

UM marketing professor quoted in Forbes story on marketing strategy

The notion of brands telling stories, presumably stories that customers will find sufficiently intriguing to motivate trial or cement loyalty, is both admirable and flawed.

Admirable, in that at its best, storytelling is an irresistible marketing elixir.

Flawed, in that many brands simply don’t have interesting stories to tell.

Storytelling can illuminate the value proposition, help the consumer better appreciate its components, evaluate its benefits and determine its appropriateness.

But not every brand was born in a garage and nurtured with a founder’s foresight and grit.

And not every brand can backpack into rainforests in search of elusive and differentiating organic ingredients.

Perhaps the best that a more prosaic brand can do when it comes to storytelling is to showcase its consumers.

The Best Opportunity For A Brand Story

When does a brand story work best?

“Consumers are typically most receptive to brand stories when they are making decisions and purchases based on emotion, rather than rationality,” says Christopher Newman, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Mississippi.

Read the full story here.

UM Again Named Among ‘Great Colleges to Work For’

University included on annual ranking for past decade

The University of Mississippi has once again been named to the ‘Great Colleges to Work For’ list by The Chronicle of Higher Education. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – For the 10th consecutive year, the University of Mississippi was named to the “Great Colleges to Work For” list compiled annually by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The Chronicle has published the “Great Colleges to Work For” list for the last 11 years, with UM recognized in 10 of those years. In the 2018 report, released Monday (July 16), Ole Miss was among 84 institutions honored from the 253 colleges and universities surveyed. Results are reported for small, medium and large institutions, with UM included among the large universities with 10,000 or more students.

Earlier this year, the university participated in the survey, which is designed to recognize institutions that have built great workplaces. The surveys designed specifically for higher education were sent to a sample of each institution’s full-time faculty, administrators, and exempt and nonexempt staff.

In the survey results, UM employees noted their job is meaningful to them and the university, and they have good relationships with their supervisors and department chairs. Employees also reported they have opportunities to develop their skills and understand the requirements for career advancement.

“It is quite an accomplishment and honor to receive this recognition for a decade now,” Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter said. “The people of Ole Miss are at the heart of what makes our university so extraordinary.

“We have outstanding faculty, staff and administrators with a rich diversity of talents and backgrounds. Day in and day out, they play an integral role in shaping our caring campus culture, vibrant work environment and stellar academic community.”

The Chronicle, based in Washington, D.C., is a major source of news and information for college and university faculty members and administrators. The annual “Great Colleges to Work For” survey is one of the largest workplace recognition programs in the country and recognizes the colleges that get top ratings from their employees on workforce practices and policies.

“This recognition did not just happen,” Provost Noel Wilkin said. “Many people contribute to making our university a great place to work. I credit our human resources staff with developing programs that contribute to a positive workplace and our faculty, staff and administrators with building a culture in which we care about the people who are the university.”

UM faculty and staff are encouraged to walk on campus as part of the university’s promotion of healthy lifestyle choices. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

UM employees’ broad utilization of the many professional development opportunities offered by the university is appreciated, said Andrea Jekabsons, associate director of human resources.

“In recent years, the university has been intentional about promoting a lifelong learning environment for our employees,” Jekabsons said. “It’s satisfying to see the impact of our programs specifically in the areas of job satisfaction, professional/career development programs and supervisor/department chair relationship.”

Harpers: Surviving a Failed Pregnancy

A moving, feature-length article by Meek School assistant professor Vanessa Gregory appears on the June cover of Harper’s, the nation’s oldest general interest monthly magazine.

Gregory’s article, “Surviving a Failed Pregnancy,” combines memoir and reporting to explore the rarely discussed subjects of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. The narrative examines personal resilience, medicine’s relationship to the female body, society’s response to pregnancy loss, and reproductive politics.

Readers have described the story as “eloquent” and “beautiful.” Research and writing took more than six months, followed by a lengthy submission and editing process.

This is Gregory’s second published piece with Harper’s, a magazine celebrated for its fine writing and original thought. The magazine is known for publishing literary luminaries such as David Foster Wallace, Annie Dillard, and Willie Morris.

Gregory’s work has also appeared in The American ProspectThe New York Times, and Garden & Gun. She was a Middlebury Fellow in Environmental Journalism and studied literary nonfiction at the University of California, Berkeley. Read the entire story. 

USA Today: Ole Miss takes concussion research head on

OXFORD, Miss. — In the fall, Vaught-Hemingway Stadium will be the only facility in the world equipped with the capability to detect the mechanism of a concussion in athletes in real time.

It’s a huge concept, and it goes far beyond bragging rights, and even a little beyond the exponentially increased safety of the athletes on the field. This technology, and the network of researchers, professors, and others behind it could ultimately change the world for victims of concussions, traumatic brain injuries and one day possibly autism and learning disorders.

The technology as it applies on the field begins in an “X patch” engineered by X2 Biosystems, a company that does similar hardware and software for all 32 NFL teams, as well as hockey, soccer, and the Department of Defense. The patch is put either behind an athlete’s ear or in his mouthpiece and it registers impact to the head.

Assistant Engineering Professor Matthew Morrison says the underlying technology in the patches allow medical professionals to tell the angle of the impact, as well as the rotational forces. Eight wireless spots around the field can instantly access the data so that the team’s athletic staff can better assess what a player is dealing with internally after a hit. Read the entire story.

Historic Mississippi Town Comes to Life in UM Documentary

Film will be part of judging in this weekend's Tupelo Film Festival

"Take the Mountain" by Deborah Freeland will be screened on April 18 in Tupelo.

“Take the Mountain” by Deborah Freeland will be screened on April 18 in Tupelo.

OXFORD, Miss.­­­ – The documentary short “Take the Mountain” by Deborah Freeland, videographer for the University of Mississippi Division of Outreach, was screened earlier this spring as part of the university’s Black History Month events.

Now the film will be included alongside 64 other independent films chosen for the 12th annual Tupelo Film Festival, taking place this weekend in Tupelo. Freeland’s 12-minute production will be screened at 6:20 p.m. Saturday (April 18) on Screen 4 at the Malco Tupelo Commons Cinema.

“This film is the backstory leading up to the founding of the Taborian Hospital in Mound Bayou,” Freeland explained. “A lot of historians know about the hospital and how it figures into the civil rights movement, but what were its origins? I found this part extremely fascinating once I began to research.”

Freeland became interested in the small, historic town of Mound Bayou in 2011 when several UM departments were working together on service-learning projects in the area. Freeland teamed up with UM doctoral candidate Katrina Sims, who was writing and researching for her dissertation on the Taborian Hospital.

The hospital, founded in 1942, was one of the first modern medical facilities in Mississippi that was built, owned and operated by African-Americans.

“After learning more, my thoughts were that you couldn’t talk about the Taborian Hospital without talking about Mound Bayou, and you couldn’t talk about Mound Bayou without talking about Davis Bend,” Freeland said.

That interest led Freeland to create the film with the help of research adapted from Sims’ dissertation.

“The Bend,” as it was often called, was 20 miles south of Vicksburg and was developed by Joseph E. Davis, brother of Jefferson Davis, in the mid-1820s. The area included thousands of acres of rich farmland, located in a bend of the Mississippi River, but what made it noteworthy were Davis’ utopian ideas of a model slave community.

Freeland spent months scouring archives for information that would convey the inspiration behind the founding of this unique community and the special relationship between Davis and his most trusted slave, Ben Montgomery.

“Reading Isaiah Montgomery’s memoir about his father, Ben, in the New York World piqued my interest in the intertwining lives of the Davis and Montgomery families and the community at Davis Bend,” Freeland said. “Where did this idea of a cooperative community start? The culture at Davis Bend and its residents, who later start Mound Bayou, were so unique. Everyone took care of each other, shared the land and the corn crib was never locked.”

The intellectually gifted Benjamin T. Montgomery was a prominent leader in the slave community at the Bend. He managed all of Davis’ fields and cotton sales, and ran a store on the plantation.

Shortly after the Civil War, Montgomery purchased 4,000 acres from Davis and began to farm with the help of other freedmen from the area. Eventually the cotton business went under with the pressures of failing economic and agricultural conditions. The Montgomerys could no longer make payments on their land at the Bend. Years later, Ben’s son, Isaiah, took what he had learned at the Bend and established the new town of Mound Bayou.

“After these economic hardships, I think it was that legacy of cooperation and independence that allowed the former residents of Davis Bend and their descendants to re-establish their community as Mound Bayou,” Freeland said.

“Benjamin Montgomery was an extraordinary man and so was Joseph Davis, and I feel like they recognized that in each other.”

The documentary is stocked with original photos of the Davis and Montgomery families, the land and many of the residents of Davis Bend. Freeland found many of the photographs through extensive research in the Library of Congress and the city of Vicksburg archives.

“This compelling story comes to life through some truly amazing images,” Freeland said. “Each of the images chosen is original to the time period, and while some photographs are well-known, some may have never been published before. These decades-old photographs, often blurry and discolored with time, are both beautiful and haunting.”

The photos provide a rare look into the life of the “other” Davis brother and one of the most important sites for trade on the Mississippi River, said David Sansing, a retired UM history professor.

“This documentary gives us an insight into the community of Joseph Davis, who was probably the most influential person in the life of Jefferson Davis, the most famous Mississippian,” Sansing said. “There is not much known about Joseph Davis, and this film brings more light to his legacy and the founding by his former slaves of the cooperative community at Davis Bend. The Bend was a major trade site for Mississippi while shipping cotton up and down the river, and it was run meticulously.”

WTVA: Former UM Artist-in-Residence Passes Away

HICKORY, NC (WTVA) — Actor and founding member of the Mississippi Film Commission James Best has died.

The actor, remembered by many as Roscoe P. Coltraine in the Dukes of Hazzard, died Monday night after a brief illness.

Click here to read the full story from WTVA.

Clarion-Ledger: We all lost a great one in Flowers

JACKSON, Miss. – Years ago, Charlie Flowers was showing me a photo of the 1959 Ole Miss football team. He was pointing to each player, face by face, row by row.

There were 43 players in the photo. Forty-two, Charlie said, graduated.

“Bank president, CEO of his company, successful lawyer,” Charlie said.

“Athletic director, mayor, Chancellor,” he continued.

“Head football coach, Major League baseball player, insurance executive, another mayor,” he kept going and going.

Finally, he finished. “There will never be another team like it,” Flowers said.

All too many people love to talk about themselves. Charlie Flowers loved to talk about his team.

Read the full story by Rick Cleveland here.

MBJ: UM Young Alum of the Year To Open Oxford Restaurant

Chef Kelly English plans this spring to bring his restaurant The Second Line to Oxford, Mississippi — the home of his alma mater — according to a news report. See the story in the Memphis Business Journal. Or read the UM release on English and other other distinguished alumni honored this year.

WAPT: UMMC Staff Trained to Treat Ebola

JACKSON, Miss. —The University of Mississippi Medical Center is training its staff to treat and avoid catching Ebola.

Doctors and nurses are working to recognize the symptoms of the virus to keep it from spreading further.

“You know, you never want to jinx yourself, but we are about as prepared as we can be,” said Jonathan Wilson, UMMC’s chief administrative officer.

Eighty percent of UMMC’s doctors and nurses are receiving enhanced training on Ebola response. The latest Tuesday was training on hazmat suit use — how to put them on and take them off without risking the spread of the potentially deadly virus.

Since last week, the hospital has received a handful of what it deemed potential Ebola threat cases: Patients with flu-like symptoms who were ruled out after they failed to meet other criteria.

Read more: http://www.wapt.com/health/ummc-staff-trained-to-treat-ebola-patients-should-need-arise/29261286#ixzz3GtgDBXM8