News Briefs

Today's top news stories for January 20, 2009.

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

The CDC gives Western some lovin’
A Western professor has received international recognition for his work on preventing HIV transmission.

Bill Fisher, a professor with the psychology department, was recently recognized by the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

Fisher’s project, Options/Opicones, was added to the 2008 Compendium of Evidence-Based HIV Prevention Interventions. According to the CDC, the list “represents the strongest HIV behavioural intervention in the literature to date that have been rigorously evaluated and have demonstrated efficacy in reducing HIV or STD incidence or HIV-related risk behaviours or promoting safer behaviours.”

“There have been many scientific efforts to identify effective prevention over that last 20 years or so, but most are directed at those that do not have the virus and not directed at those with the virus,” Fisher said.

The program teaches doctors to adopt a collaborative approach with the patient on every routine-care visit, especially when discussing preventative measures in controlling the spread of HIV.

Studies of the new program have found these conversations reduced HIV-positive risky sexual behaviour dramatically.

Several features distinguish the Options/Opicones project from others on the 2008 Compendium. In addition to being one of the few programs that focuses specifically on preventative measurers for HIV-positive patients, the project is unique in how it fits in with respect to patient care.

Whereas most HIV intervention programs are free-standing and not linked to care, Options/Opciones is intended to be integrated as part of clinical care, meaning greater access for patients as a result.
"Liz Wilson

Green is good
Claudette MacKay-Lassonde Pavilion is soon to become the greenest building on Western’s campus.

Opening in September, the engineering building will be both a platform for research on green technologies, processes and materials and provide an example of environmentally sustainable construction techniques.

Some of the planned features of the building include a roof covered by flats of living material. The material will include drought resistant sedum, vegetation and soil over a waterproofing membrane.

Those involved in the planning of the building hope it will become a great hands-on research and educational tool.

“We have all kinds of equations telling students information about design, but often the examples aren’t readily accessible,” said Denis Caroll, a civil and environmental engineering professor at Western.

“We wanted to help give real world examples of what we teach in the classroom.”

A second goal for the building is to be the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified facility on Western’s campus. There are already 14 LEED certified buildings in Ontario.

“A big part of meeting LEED requirements is public education,” Caroll said.

To do this, touch-screen information kiosks will be placed in the halls of the building.

“The touch screens will display how the building is operating and how it is saving energy,” Caroll added.

Caroll hopes the screens will promote environmental awareness in regards to water consumption and energy conservation.

“Overall, this new Green building will be a benefit to engineering students and to the general Western population.”
" Diane Tisdall

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