conferences

Dallas cardiologist, SMU alumnus hosts 2017 Literature + Medicine Conference Saturday, April 2 in Mack Ballroom

2017 Literature and Medicine Conference logoCardiologist John F. Harper ’68 can still vividly remember waking in the middle of the night to the sound of his father crying out in pain.

It was 1964 and Harper was 17 years old – just a year shy of starting college at SMU. But he was as frightened as a small child that night when he peeked through a cracked-open bedroom into the hallway of his West Texas home. A physician named Bruce Hay was arriving at 3 a.m., impeccably dressed in a three-piece suit, his black doctor’s bag in hand, to offer his father aid.

Harper’s father was a bear of a man, a former basketball player named Frank who was his son’s hero. The doctor walked up to Harper’s father, put a hand on his shoulder and said, “Frank, it’s OK. I’m here now, and I’ll stay until you’re better.”

And then he did. The doctor tended to Harper’s dad, answered his mother’s concerns, and even reassured the young man who was watching from a bedroom door.

That’s the kind of personal touch Harper says is often missing from medicine these days. The key to getting it back, he says, may be literature. That’s why he’s hosting the 7th annual Literature + Medicine Conference from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 1, 2017 in SMU’s Mack Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center.

“Science has become so complex and hard to keep up with that it’s a legitimate thing to say you don’t have time to be empathetic, but it’s important to try,” says Harper, the Ewton Chair of Cardiology at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. “My argument is that you need good science to be a good doctor, but you also need a compassionate side. The best medicine is science and compassion intersecting at the patient.

“We’re trying to get young physicians, medical students and premedical students to understand that literature can affect the way they approach patients in a positive fashion.”

Though members of the public are welcome to attend the Literature + Medicine Conference, it’s those young physicians and medical students who are the primary audience of the annual event. The conference will feature a series of breakout sessions on topics like “Antidotes to Clinical Burnout: Creative Reading and Writing Foster Physician Satisfaction” and “How Poetry Can Heal the Healers.”

The results of the conference’s annual writing contests will also be revealed, with a cash prize on the line for the winners.

Attendance is $40; the fee is waived for medical residents, students and medical house officers.

— Kenny Ryan

> Learn more at the 2017 Literature + Medicine Conference homepage

Three years of ‘educational diplomacy’ between SMU and Pakistan culminate in 2015 Islamabad conference

Workshop participants at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University

Participants in a workshop at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University. (Photo courtesy of thePeshawar.com)

Two professors and a clinical graduate student from SMU’s Department of Psychology will travel halfway around the world to help the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University (SBBWU) of Peshawar, Pakistan, host an international psychology conference in Islamabad on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015.

The conference, “Advancing Women Issues: Local and Global Directions,” will feature 55 speakers and 400 participants from across the region. It’s the culminating effort of a three-year partnership between SMU and SBBWU supported by a $1.2 million U.S. State Department grant.

“I look at it as educational diplomacy,” says SMU Psychology Department Chair George Holden. “The U.S. State Department wanted to do something to help relations between the countries and recognized the need to help Pakistan develop its educational system so the Pakistanis can better improve their country.”

At the conference, Holden will present the SMU and SBBWU’s joint research on trauma in Peshawar, where the threat of a terrorist’s bomb is never far from mind. During a Friday, Dec. 11 workshop, SMU psychology professor Lorelei Rowe and graduate student Rose Ashraf will present the latest version of Rowe’s popular psychological assessment tool, SCID-5, which helps doctors diagnose their patients through an interview-like examination process.

Other presenters will focus on topics such as promoting the well-being of women and children in Pakistan and the impact of Nepal’s earthquake on Nepalese women and children.

The SMU-SBBWU partnership is one of 20 funded by the State Department. All 20 partnerships connect American universities with universities in Pakistan or Afghanistan. SMU’s grant also brought SBBWU students and faculty to SMU, where they interacted with SMU students and faculty in an exchange of ideas and education.

— Kenny Ryan

SMU faculty to help lead immigration history conference at Dallas’ Old Red Museum Sept. 19, 2015

Immigrants going through San Angelo, Texas - early photograph, Lawrence T. Jones III Texas Photography Collection

A photo by M.C. Ragsdale ca. 1885-90 of immigrants passing through San Angelo, Texas. From the Lawrence T. Jones III Texas Photography Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU.

The challenging task of teaching a controversial subject to middle- and high-school students will be the focus of an upcoming immigration conference featuring several University faculty members.

SMU and the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture are partnering with Humanities Texas and the Texas Historical Commission to present a conference on the history of U.S. immigration from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015 at the museum.

“Issues surrounding immigration are at the forefront of public discourse these days,” said Zac Harmon, executive director of the Old Red Museum. “Statistics and beliefs are strongly held but are often mistaken for facts. This conference will provide documented, factual information for teachers, politicians and other citizens who really want to understand the issue. We are grateful to the Philip R. Jonsson Foundation for sponsoring this first of what we hope will become an annual conference.”

Conference participants can choose to hear two of six speakers scheduled during the morning session. Lunch and a keynote address by Margaret Spellings, president of the George W. Bush Presidential Center and former secretary of education (2005-09), will follow.

Afternoon breakout sessions will provide teachers with lesson plans, materials and strategies to help them make history come alive for students of all grade levels. Teachers attending both sessions can earn six Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits.

Topics and speakers include:

  • “D/FW Becoming an Immigrant Gateway” – Caroline Brettell, University Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Ruth Collins Altshuler Director of SMU’s Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute
  • “Gone To Texas: Immigration to the Lone Star State in the 19th Century” – Gregg Cantrell, Emma and Ralph Lowe Chair of Texas History, TCU
  • “Immigration and the Changing Face of America” – Neil Foley, Robert and Nancy Dedman Chair in History, Dedman College
  • “Visualizing the Changing Landscape of U.S. Immigration” – Kyle Walker, assistant professor of population and urban geography, TCU
  • “Managing Migration in an Era of Globalization” – James F. Hollifield, Ora Nixon Arnold Professor of International Political Economy and director of SMU’s Tower Center for Political Studies
  • “Immigration and the Changing Demography of Liberal Democracies” – Gary Freeman, professor of government, University of Texas-Austin

Registration, which includes a continental breakfast, lunch, parking, materials and access to the exhibit area, is $25 and can be completed online at www.oldred.org. For information, contact Shannon Page at the Old Red Museum, 214-757-1927.

Written by Kenny Ryan

U.S. ‘pivot to China’ takes the spotlight at SMU’s 2014 Tower Center National Security Conference Nov. 5-6

Map of China courtesy of the CIA World Factbook.

Map of China courtesy of the CIA World Factbook.

SMU’s Tower Center for Political Studies will examine the rise of China, and the U.S. response, during its 7th annual National Security Conference Nov. 5-6, 2014.

“How does China factor into U.S. strategy? No question matters as much for the future of U.S. national security,” says Joshua Rovner, the Tower Center’s director of studies. “During this year’s conference, we are bringing together a stellar lineup of speakers from the policy world, the U.S. Department of Defense, the intelligence community and the military as well as some of the nation’s smartest and most provocative scholars specializing in China, East Asia and U.S. foreign policy.”

> Rovner in The Dallas Morning News: Never mind ISIS and Putin – Asia matters more to U.S. strategy

The conference opens Wednesday, Nov. 5, with a keynote dinner address by Thomas Fingar, former chairman of the U.S. National Intelligence Council and Oksenberg-Rohlen Distinguished Fellow in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. He is the author of Reducing Uncertainty: Intelligence Analysis and National Security (Stanford University Press 2011). Fingar’s address, “China, Intelligence and U.S. Grand Strategy,” will delve into what the U.S. “pivot to Asia” means in terms of intelligence and foreign policy.

> More information on the Tower Center National Security Conference opening dinner

The second day of the conference, Thursday, Nov. 6, will feature three panel discussions. Panel one will examine grand strategy and the rise of China. Experts on Asian politics will assess how China and the United States view each other, as well as how regional states view the “pivot.” The second panel will explore the military dimensions of a conflict with China, including the possibility of nuclear escalation. The final panel will close with a discussion of defense industry implications.

> Find a complete list of 2014 Tower Center National Security Conference speakers and topics

“The United States has already declared that it wants to ‘pivot’ its attention from the Middle East to Asia, and it has increasingly focused on overcoming Chinese military innovations in the event of a crisis or war,” Rovner says. “But what the pivot means, and what it requires from the military are still unanswered questions. The armed services are struggling to determine whether to prepare for confrontation with a traditional power like China, or continue investing their time and energy in counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, and small wars.

“The defense industry needs to determine what kinds of technologies to invest in and what kinds of weapons to build. Finally, the White House needs to answer basic questions about what to buy, where to send it, and how to support local allies without encouraging them to needlessly provoke China.”

The conference is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the SMU Tower Center blog.

> Visit SMU’s Tower Center for Political Studies online at smu.edu/towercenter

2013 Tower Center conference examines defense under austerity

soldierEmerging regional threats and national security under budget austerity. will be the hot topics during a 2013 national security conference Oct. 30-31 at SMU. It is the 6th annual conference hosted by the University’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies.

“The Tower Center National Security Conference brings together a stellar group of senior military officers, policymakers and academic security specialists who can speak to the big picture as well as the nuts and bolts of the defense budget,” said Joshua Rovner, director of studies for the Tower Center. “We hope to encourage a serious discussion about the future of international security, the range of U.S. strategic responses and the difficult choices that will be necessary under fiscal austerity.”

The conference will open Wednesday, Oct. 30 with a keynote address by Gordon England, president of E6 Partners, LLC and the 29th U.S. deputy secretary of defense. His address, “The Changing Intersections of Technology, Culture and Leadership,” will examine the evolution of technology and its effect on markets, cultures, countries, companies and workers.

England served as the 72nd and 73rd secretary of the Navy and as the first deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Prior to joining the federal government, England served as president of the General Dynamics Fort Worth Division (later Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company); as president of General Dynamics Land Systems; and as corporate executive vice president of General Dynamics Information Systems and Technology Sector, Ground Combat Systems Sector and the International Sector.

On Thursday, Oct. 31, the conference focuses on national security under budget austerity featuring three panel discussions and a keynote address by Peter Feaver, Duke University professor of political science and public policy and director of the Program in American Grand Strategy. He also is director of Duke’s Triangle Institute for Security Studies. From June 2005 to July 2007, Feaver served as special advisor for strategic planning and institutional reform on the National Security Council staff at the White House, where his responsibilities included national security strategy, regional strategy reviews and other political-military issues.

All three panel discussions will seek to combine an objective assessment of emerging regional threats with a discussion of defense spending in a time of fiscal austerity. Panel one will examine national security threats and opportunities. The second panel will discuss national security capabilities and choices, and panel three will close with a debate on money and politics as it relates to national security.

“Debates about national security need to take budget realities into account,” says Rovner. “At the same time, debates about defense spending can’t just be about number crunching. Instead, they must start with a broad understanding of national interests, threats to national security and the menu of possible strategic responses.”

> Visit SMU’s Tower Center for Political Studies online

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