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High tech tool helps people and families coping with dementia

The Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging has launched a new program that allows early-stage dementia patients to participate in their own care planning, potentially easing the burden for both the person with dementia and their concerned family members.  
 
Known as SHARE, the program outlines a care plan for loved ones to follow as the condition progresses. Based on two decades of research by Benjamin Rose, the SHARE toolkit includes an iPad app which lists tasks in a set of color-coded circular diagrams.  Under the guidance of SHARE counselors, duties can then be assigned to caregivers, whether they're family, friends or professional service providers.  
 
"It's a pictorial expression of the communication," says Benjamin Rose president and CEO Richard Browdie. "The app captures the evolution of the conversation so you're not going to back to zero the next time you meet."
 
Browdie says SHARE enables early-stage dementia patients to contribute in planning of daily activities such as finance management, food shopping and preparation, and personal hygiene. Planning these tasks is also a stress reliever for people who feel overwhelmed by a family member's diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease of other form of dementia.
 
"It builds confidence that they're doing the right thing, because they're doing all they can," says Browdie. "That can be empowering for the caregiver when guilt or self-doubt creeps in."
 
Investigation conducted by the Benjamin Rose Center for Research and Education indicates that early-stage dementia patients benefit from active participation in their care plan. Ongoing communication increases knowledge about available services, and preempts difficult questions regarding care that may be embarrassing for the recipient, such as feeding themselves or using the bathroom.
 
SHARE - an acronym for Support, Health, Activities, Resources, and Education — is currently available to professional organizations that serve families and individuals living with dementia in its earlier stages. Utilizing this technology, proponents say, can give people diagnosed with dementia the confidence that their needs will be met down the road.  
 
"People used to think Alzheimer's was a switch off/switch on kind of disease, but it's progress is gradual" says Browdie. "Communicating with a care recipient while dementia is advancing can alleviate some of those stresses." 

The business of babies: getting new and expectant families on the right path

Parenthood is not always an easy journey for expectant families unsure where to turn for guidance on birth planning and decision-making. Luckily, navigating parents along childbirth's sometimes rocky path is the mission of a business created by Clevelander Ashley Sova.
 
CLEBaby is a full-service pregnancy, birth, and parenting agency that hosts local events, presents childbirth education classes, and, perhaps most importantly to its founder, provides postpartum doula services. 
 
Sova offers educational tools that treat parenthood as an ongoing process that begins during pregnancy and continues through a baby's first months. Classes are taught in a client's home and center on a range of topics covering pregnancy, labor and birth. Sova's clientele, mostly professional women ages 27 – 40, prefer the comfortable nature of private classes over a more sterile hospital learning environment.
 
"They can ask embarrassing questions, and find out the information that matters for their birth experience," says Sova. "People will invite their pregnant friends and make it into a group event."
 
Teaching the classes are professionally trained doulas, who act as travel guides in advising families during pregnancy, birth and the immediate postpartum period. CLEBaby's postpartum doulas are also brought on to help with infant feeding and light housework, and offer mothers critical support in whatever ways they need to recover from childbirth.
 
Sova hired a doula for her second pregnancy after a difficult birth with her first child. Having an informed, supportive resource close at hand was a revelation, she says, one that inspired her to launch CLEBaby instead of returning to her job as a cancer researcher at Case Western Reserve University.
 
"Having an experienced woman who has seen so many births and knows it inside out brings such a sense of calm," Sova says. "We've had women tell us the service has been life-changing for them."
 
CLEBaby has served 50 to 55 families over the last year, a number Sova plans to grow through new classes and events. Outings for 2017 include a mom-centric ice cream social and a "daddy bootcamp" at a local brewery where new fathers can sip a beer while learning basic baby care.
 
Raising a newborn may not be all glitz and glamour, but neither should it be overwhelming or isolating, says Sova.
 
"We're going to continue to grow our services and our team," she says. "We want to continue on the path of having the most knowledgeable doulas around."
 

Medical competition set to put Cleveland at forefront of big data revolution

Healthcare is undergoing a big data revolution, with a decade's worth of research, clinical trials, patient records and other pertinent information being aggregated into giant databases. Organizing this tsunami of information is a massive industry challenge, one an upcoming Cleveland-based event is attempting to tackle.
 
The inaugural Medical Capital Innovation Competition — orchestrated by The Global Center for Health Innovation (GCHI), Cuyahoga County, BioEnterprise, and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) — invites professional and collegiate teams to offer up their best big-data ideas for a chance at $100,000 in prizes along with critical feedback from Cleveland's world-renowned healthcare sector. The two-day event will be held April 25 and 26 at GCHI's Innovation Center.
 
"From a startup perspective, it's a great opportunity for companies to come up with unique solutions," says BioEnterprise president and CEO Aram Nerpouni. "We're getting applications from around the country and all over the world."
 
Big data is becoming an increasingly big deal both domestically and internationally. According to a 2016 BioEnterprise report, the healthcare IT industry outpaced biotech and medical devices for the first time since the organization began compiling the study 12 years ago. In Cleveland, Explorys, Hyland Software and CoverMyMeds have made headlines with their attempts to take on the data overload from an industry generating huge amounts of new information every day.
 
"Every community in the country has the same challenge," says Nerpouni. "We are looking for some solutions and doing it in a way that plays to a regional strength."
 
Application deadline for the competition is March 31. Ideas will focus on the management, analysis and optimization of health data and be judged upon their commercial viability.
 
Nerpouni says the competition will be attractive for startups searching for a medical innovation hub. Trends like the Internet of Things (IoT) and Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) foretell a future where even more data will need to be collected and translated in order to improve access to patient care.
 
“Cleveland continues to build upon the strengths of its health IT, biotech and medical device assets,” says Nerpouni. "The competition is a celebration of the growth of that critical mass while letting the rest of the country know what's going on here." 

Who's Hiring in CLE: Cleveland Zoological Society, MAGNET, American Greetings...

Welcome to the latest edition of Fresh Water Cleveland's “who’s hiring” series, where we feature growing companies with open positions, what they’re looking for and how to apply. Please send your freshest job tips and postings to innovationnews@freshwatercleveland.com.
 
 
Cleveland Zoological Society
The Cleveland Zoological Society is seeking candidates for two full-time positions: The campaign coordinator will play a primary role in organizing and coordinating a multi-year, multi-project fundraising campaign. The hire will monitor all campaign progress and work closely with the director of development and campaign co-chairs. Requirements include a bachelor's degree, two years of related experience and prior work on the Raiser's Edge database. Submit electronic cover letter and resume by March 17.
 
The major gifts officer will solicit philanthropic gifts through a portfolio of donors and prospects to support the zoo society and its nonprofit partner, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Reporting to the director of development, the successful candidate will work with both the society and zoo colleagues. A bachelor's degree and five years of development experience required. Submit electronic cover letter and resume by March 17.
 
Care Alliance Health Center
Care Alliance is looking for a family nurse practitioner for one of its patient-centered medical home teams. The position is responsible for delivering comprehensive and preventative healthcare services to Care Alliance patients who are homeless, living in public housing, or generally underserved. Candidates must be a registered nurse in Ohio and a graduate of an accredited nurse practitioner program. A master's of science in nursing and two years of formal practice as an FNP is preferred. Apply by email at careers@carealliance.org or by fax at 216-298-5020.
 
MAGNET
Manufacturing advocacy group MAGNET is seeking a full-time administrative assistant to run daily operations of its workforce and talent development office. Reporting to the vice president of workforce and talent development, the hire will also support the work of management and other staff. One to three years experience providing administrative support in a professional environment is required. Candidates are also expected to have working knowledge of Microsoft Office products including Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Bachelor's degree preferred. Candidates may apply by submitting a resume to hr@magnetwork.org. 
 
FrontLine Service
FrontLine Service, a Cleveland organization that works with in-crisis Northeast Ohio adults and children, is hiring a program manager for its child mobile crisis team. Candidates are expected to develop, implement and monitor a team of professionals and support staff. Applicants should have a master's degree in social work or counseling and at least two years of supervisory experience. Candidates can email their resume to careers@frontlineservice.org.
 
American Greetings
American Greetings is searching for an assistant product development manager tasked with conducting product analysis and supporting the company's product development strategy. The position will coordinate development teams and interact with clients to obtain and share product knowledge. Three to five years of retail/consumer product analysis, marketing, communications, or other creative experience a necessity. Apply through the company's website.
 

Young entrepreneur's healthy, eco-friendly snacks fuel customers and her growing biz

Emily Yoder believes healthy eating can create positive change in the world,

The young entrepreneur is nurturing that concept via Earth Energy Sustainable Treats, a new startup that creates all-natural "power snacks" for an on-the-go customer base.  
 
Yoder, 20, makes vegan and gluten-free snacks using locally sourced ingredients that are packaged in eco-friendly materials. Her energy bites, for example, are handmade with peanut butter, chocolate, oats, and flax seed, with a hint of organic maple syrup collected from Goodell Family Farm in Mantua. She also sells a protein-rich "power bar" and a hearty cookie treat.
 
"There's no point in being an entrepreneur unless you're trying to change something for the better," says Yoder, a Kent State University senior.
 
Yoder, of Canton, launched her "traveling bakery" last summer at various Cleveland farmer's markets. She's now gained enough of a following that she's expanding her product line this year to include a trail mix and an apple-cinnamon version of the power bar.
 
"I have lots of awesome fans in Cleveland," Yoder says. "There's a market for this because it's satisfying something people haven't seen before."
 
She started her business to fill what she recognized as a gap in the healthy snack market. Even ostensibly nourishing treats like Clif bars have high calorie and sugar content, while soy free and vegan options are limited.

Yoder's business model has not just impressed her customers. In January, she won the Global Student Entrepreneurs Awards (GSEA) pitch competition, which held its regional round on KSU's campus. Yoder takes her healthful ideas to Kansas City this week for nationals, competing against 25 fellow students  for a spot at the GSEA Global Finals in Frankfurt, Germany. 
 
Meanwhile, she continues to grow her one-woman business, although she's not alone in the undertaking. Adam Fleischer, owner of The Wine Spot, mentored her during the pitch competition, while her parents have supported her throughout the process.
 
Looking ahead, Yoder is excited for the upcoming summer market season. She also aims to hire her first employees and procure space at Cleveland Culinary Launch & Kitchen (CCLK) in 2017. Whatever transpires, Yoder will continue to concoct nutritious treats that promote a healthy lifestyle.  
 
"The true nature of entrepreneurship is to innovate and make things better," she says.  

Central-Kinsman resident advocates for 'Nature's Best Choices,' healthy community

Quiana Singleton believes you're never too old to learn a healthy way of eating, a fruitful lesson the Central-Kinsman resident was happy to impart upon a group of interested Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) seniors during a program of her own creation.
 
Called Nature's Best Choices, the February 1 event invited 16 seniors from CMHA's Outhwaite and King Kennedy communities to Asia Plaza, 2999 Payne Ave., for a day-long session on Asian culture and delicious new food possibilities. Fruits and vegetables were the focus of the trip, allowing participants to get their taste buds turned on to delicacies like star fruit, a juicy tropical fruit popular throughout Southeast Asia, the South Pacific and parts of East Asia.
 
"I wanted to open people up to another culture," says Singleton, a Cleveland community leader on tree-planting activities, gardening and healthy eating. "We picked out fruits and vegetables they've never tasted, seen or touched before."
 
Following the shopping excursion, the group visited CornUCopia Place, 7201 Kinsman Road, a community facility that provides nutritional education and cooking classes. There Chef Eric Wells prepared a fettuccini dish using ingredients from the seniors' healthy haul.
 
"Chef Wells mixed in another vegetable like a cabbage with the fettuccini," Singleton says. "It was an educational experience, because even though Asian fruits and vegetables look different from what we're used to, looks can be deceiving."
 
Elderly attendees also learned a new way to prepare their meals, notes Singleton.
 
"Older people use the same seasonings all the time," she says. "Asian stuff is organic, and they saw they could use olive oil instead of butter in their cooking."
 
Singleton secured a grant from nonprofit neighborhood development organization Burten, Bell, Carr (BBC) to fund the day out. The Cleveland native is continuously coming up with innovative ways to create a healthier community for her neighbors. Among her duties is serving as a neighborhood "climate ambassador," representing a group of concerned citizens aiming to combat the adverse effects of climate variability.
 
Nature's Best Choices is another means of teaching residents the value of a healthy lifestyle, Singleton says.
 
"I plant those seeds in people and water them, then let them teach others," she says. "If I can change one person's life, then I've done my job." 

In brightest day or deepest night, Clevelander's invention keeps outdoor athletes in sight

For John Kulbis, inventor of Safety Skin reflective skin spread, the light bulb went off in 2010 when he leaned against a wall while painting a home interior. A dash of white paint from the wet surface striped Kulbis's arm, leading to a creation meant to make joggers, cyclists and pedestrians easier to see on the road.
 
Today, Safety Skin is the first product of Road Wise, Kulbis's Cleveland-based startup. The reflective spread is applied directly to the skin before or during activity, with the aim of bouncing headlights back to drivers in a variety of weather or nighttime conditions.
 
"Without light the spread has a subtle gray hint to it," says Kulbis, a Cleveland native and Euclid resident. "When light hits the product, it reflects back to the light source."
 
Safety Skin is made of natural ingredients and can be placed anywhere on the body. Kulbis tells outdoor athletes to run the deodorant-like applicator down their legs or along their arms and sides, especially in warm weather where less reflective garments are used. Kulbis's product stands up to perspiration, but can be removed easily enough using a wet wipe or soap and water.
 
A former competitive cyclist and runner, Kulbis has been perfecting his invention for the last two-and-a-half years. Safety Skin is now available at area athletic apparel and bike shops.
 
"Safety" is in the name for a reason. In 2014 alone, 4,884 pedestrians and 726 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That said, Kulbis wants to keep his product message positive and upbeat.
 
"I'm not selling this on scare tactics or fatalities on the road," he says. "I wanted to create something that people are actually going to love to use."
 
Looking ahead, Kulbis envisions Safety Spread having fashion and art applications. A hot pink or bright orange product could be used to make a mural, or be placed on a model for a colorful photo shoot. 
 
For now, the athletic entrepreneur is increasing brand awareness through expos and other events. Empowering runners, cyclists and late-night walkers to take control of their visibility is all the motivation Kulbis needs.
 
"Right now, it's about getting people to believe in the product," he says. "All the stages of this have been really exciting."
 

Cleveland healthcare IT firm creates hot idea for cold hospital storage

Tens of thousands of vaccines, pharmaceutical lab tests and food items spoil each year due to faulty hospital refrigerators, costing medical systems money while posing a danger to patients.
 
Healthcare IT developer Emanate Wireless has a solution to this problem, and recently corralled a good chunk of money to implement it. In December, the Cleveland-based startup raised $1.5 million in angel funding for its wireless PowerPath Temp device, which monitors both the internal temperature and power draw of medical refrigerators.
 
The monitor alerts staff of compressor issues, defrost failures and ajar refrigerator doors before temperatures lower to the point where spoilage can occur. Early detection results in preventative maintenance that protects patients and hospital assets, says company CEO Neil Diener.
 
Emanate's wireless system, resembling a laptop's power brick, efficiently sends information to a cloud-based server, eliminating the need for staff members to check cold storage themselves and log the results by hand.
 
The startup co-founder notes that, unlike the competition, Emanate's tech tracks whether a fridge's defrost cycle is active, or if its compressor has been running too long.
 
"Any change in behavior will be noticed," says Diener. "It gives an early warning that maintenance is needed. There's a number of competitive solutions that do what we do, but when you get an alert telling you temperature is out of spec, it may be too late, and result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in pharmaceuticals getting tossed out."
 
Emanate, which received coaching and fundraising assistance from the BioEnterprise business group, currently sells the monitor along with an annual subscription for operational software. The company also designed an iPhone app that lets hospital employees check the monitor remotely.
 
Recently acquired capital will help Emanate scale up its current offerings and continue to broaden its portfolio. Two Cleveland Clinic facilities, Avon Hospital and Marymount Hospital, are among the local entities using the high-tech solution. The company, with help from business partner, Accruent Healthcare Solutions, brought on a Pennsylvania hospital network as well.
 
2017 could see expansion to additional hospitals from a home base that Diener believes to be a great place to build a healthcare IT startup.
 
"There's lots of positive momentum in Cleveland with a great hospital system," he says. "Anything you can do to make their lives easier has a positive effect on what they're able to do for patient outcomes." 

Babies need boxes? Local nonprofit delivers

Cleveland has averaged about 13 infant deaths per 1,000 live births over the past five years, which is more than twice the national average. Curtailing that deadly trend is the goal of a recently founded local chapter of a national infant safety program.
 
Babies Need Boxes Ohio launched two months ago to provide Finnish baby boxes, supplies and educational resources to Cleveland moms with babies up to six months of age. Baby boxes, first made available by Finnish officials to combat the country's infant mortality rate among low-income mothers in the 1930's, provide a safe, economical sleeping environment for babies living in impoverished conditions. The program became so popular it was quickly expanded. Now for more than seven decades, a baby box has been offered to all expectant Finnish moms.
 
Locally, the nonprofit's Cleveland chapter has partnered with University Hospitals MacDonald Women's Hospital, the Cleveland Clinic and Neighborhood Family Practice to donate 200 boxes at the beginning of the new year. Elizabeth Dreyfuss, executive director of Babies Need Boxes Ohio, says the cardboard sleep spaces are perfectly sized for newborns.
 
"Transient families can bring the boxes with them and know their child will be safe as opposed to using a couch, or an abundance of blankets and pillows," says Dreyfuss.
 
The baby box giveaway is one facet of a larger mission to provide pre- and post-natal education to a disadvantaged populace. African-American babies in Ohio, for example, are three times as likely to die before the age one than white babies, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
 
Babies Need Boxes was founded in the U.S. last year by Danielle Selassie of Fridley, Minnesota, and now counts Head Start and United Way among its organizational partners. Cleveland's chapter was started by five Shaker Heights moms including Dreyfuss, who saw the city's high infant mortality rate and wanted to do something about it.
 
"We wanted to support mothering, which needs more care than what we're able to offer alone,"  says Dreyfuss. "We're now looking for women in poverty, or on Medicaid. We also want to help immigrant and refugee families."
 
The group hopes to give out 600 boxes total by the end of 2017, while growing a volunteer base eager to aid new mothers. Ultimately, organization founders want to stop a dreadful epidemic that's taking newborns away all too soon.
 
"The goal is to get a box to every mom in Ohio," Dreyfuss says. "We're offering education and the ability for babies to have a safe sleep spot." 

Cleveland contingent wins gold, spreads awareness at inaugural Cybathalon

A Cleveland-based group of researchers and athletes recently harnessed an innovative technology - along with a nearly superhuman will to win - to take home gold at the world's first "cyborg games."
 
The gold medal team journeyed to Zurich, Switzerland, in October to compete in the first ever Cybathlon, an international "cyborg Olympics" open to disabled people who use electronic prosthetics to compete daily tasks. Sent by the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, the contingent won a gold medal in the Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) bike race, which modified recumbent bikes for competitors with spinal cord injuries.
 
Team Cleveland "pilot" Mark Muhn, a California native paralyzed from the armpits down after a skiing accident, finished 1:10 ahead of his nearest competitor, thanks to training and a locally-born experimental research program that implanted a pulse generator under his skin.
 
Designed by the Cleveland VA's Advanced Platform Technology (APT) Center, the device was connected to an external control box that Muhn and his fellow riders activated with a button press. The implant sent electrical stimulation to Muhn's paralyzed muscles, allowing him to create a pedaling movement in sync with the bike around a 750-meter track.
 
"The pulse generator is like a pacemaker that delivers current to the back, hips and legs," says Dr. Ron Triolo, team leader on the project. "That small amount of current fires the nerve, resulting in muscle contraction."
 
Cleveland's 10-person Cybathlon crew consisted of a biomedical engineer, a neuroscientist/certified bike mechanic and a world-class competitive cyclist. Triolo traveled to Zurich with Team Cleveland athletes bolstered by two months of training in the implant technology.
 
Winning the gold was exciting, but the Cybathlon's competitive aspect came in second to showing off an innovation that helps individuals with devastating spinal injuries regain some form of movement, Triolo says.
 
"We were using technology that's not commercially available and showing the potential difference these interventions can make in someone's life," he says. "We're raising awareness that hopefully sparks investment."
 
Combining sports and medical research was instructive for Triolo's team as well.
"Biking was new for us," he says. "It's a powerful exercise tool that made our volunteers stronger. They feel like they're part of society again."

One thousand turkeys heading to Central neighborhood

A pair of Cleveland entities are partnering to spread good cheer and nutritious food to underserved Central neighborhood families this holiday season.
 
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Diocese of Cleveland (SVDP) will distribute 1,000 frozen turkeys and five-pound bags of potatoes in the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland parking lot, 2561 East 59th St., on Wednesday, December 14.
 
The giveaway starts at 8:30 a.m. and will continue while supplies last, says Natalie Schrimpf, marketing and development manager with the century-old human services organization. Providing the food is Fortney & Weygandt, Inc., a North Olmsted commercial construction firm now in its 10th year of supplying holiday nourishment to needy residents.
 
Volunteers from the construction company and SVDP Woodland Food Center will hand out goods to people from Central and surrounding communities. No advanced registration is required, but attendees must present a driver's license or other form of identification, notes Schrimpf.
 
According to Greater Cleveland Food Bank statistics, Central is home to 10,717 impoverished, making SVDP's food donation critical in residents' ability to serve a Christmas meal.
 
"For people who are food insecure, everything from having money to pay rent or buy clothes for their children can be a crisis," says Schrimpf. "Aid for hunger relief is magnified for low-income families, especially around the holidays."
 
Schrimpf, who has attended the last two giveaways, says the event is far from dour or downbeat. Coffee and cocoa are available for folks waiting in the cold, while volunteers greet attendees with smiles and warm words.
 
"We make it a happy occasion," Schrimpf says.
 
The Christmas food drive is one facet of SVDP's service to an economically-disadvantaged population. Last year, the organization provided $7 million in aid to more than 240,000 low-income individuals in the form of food, clothing, school supplies and assistance with utilities and rent. 
 
Similar to its work throughout the year, SVDP's holiday-themed helping hand wouldn't happen without the generosity of area donors, volunteers and organizational partners, Schrimpf says. Face-to-face assistance for those suffering from generational poverty, regardless of race, ethnicity or religious background, must be a year-round endeavor.
 
"We value our partners," says Schrimpf. "We wouldn't be able to help people in our community without them." 

Student-run nonprofit supports charities through competitive sporting events

A new nonprofit founded and run by area high-school students allows participants to break a sweat and flex their competitive muscles while raising much-needed dollars for their favorite charity.
 
Launched in January by Shaker Heights High School senior Andrew Roth, Champions for Charity has thus far raised $21,000 through soccer tournaments and other sporting events. Athletes compete directly for their personally selected cause, forging a rare and precious link to those in need.
 
"Representing the charity of their choice allows teams to feel a personal connection," says Roth, 18. "Our focus is to empower kids to make a difference."
 
Squads pay an entrance fee for the March Madness-like competitions, collecting money from losing teams as they move ahead in the bracket. In August, Champions for Charity raised $18,000 through a three-on-three soccer event created in honor of Kevin Ekeberg, a Shaker Heights alumnus who died of stomach cancer in 2015. All donations went to the No Stomach for Cancer charity.
 
Meanwhile, 30 two-person teams gathered this summer for spikeball, a combination of four square and volleyball using a hula-hoop sized net placed at ankle level. The tournament raised $700, with the winners donating prize money to the Surfrider Foundation, an environmental group dedicated to protection of the world's beaches.
 
"We've had success because students realize now it's not difficult to donate to a charity," says Roth. "We're making it fun and accessible to people who normally don't do this in their spare time."
 
Roth heads Champions for Charity with help from two friends, Wyatt Eisen and Liam Prendergast, and five other SHHS students. The organization founder is also working with an economics teacher and a community member with a nonprofit background.
 
Roth's sports-centric nonprofit was spawned from an unrelated charity soccer event he organized. The experience inspired him to incorporate future athletic happenings under an umbrella of competition, but with an expanded fundraising focus.
 
"It's cool to represent something you're passionate about," Roth says. "I'm motivated to motivate other people."
 
The young spearhead of the inventive nonprofit graduates next year, but that won't stop Champions for Charity from continuing its mission, thanks to three juniors and two sophomores Roth recently brought on to continue the operation.
 
"My generation of teenagers can make changes to the world," says Roth. "If we're not developing that drive to change now, then we may never do it." 

New corrections housing unit eases transition for Cuyahoga County veterans

While Veterans' Day comes but once a year, help for this much respected sector of the population is needed year round. And while Nov 11, 2016 is almost a week behind us, Cuyahoga County has established a special housing unit its creators say is a critical support system for jailed veterans transitioning back into society.

Via a partnership with veterans groups and community service providers - along with a nod from local leaders including county executive Armond Budish - the new Veterans Housing Unit provides programming and camaraderie to ex-military.
 
Founded in the wake of a new Veterans Treatment Court in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, the unit is already paying dividends, officials say. The 26 men currently housed in the newly formed space at Cuyahoga County Corrections Center are utilizing services from the Veterans Administration and other military support networks. While additional programming is still being processed, sheriff department regional corrections director Ken Mills says participants will get financial assistance and critical job information.
 
Inmates will also receive interview training through enrollment in the Ohio Means Jobs program. Mental health and substance abuse programs, meanwhile, are set to give veterans connections that most short-term corrections facilities don't offer.
 
"We're providing links to veterans before they leave jail," says Mills. "The goal is to help get these guys back on track."
 
A corrections inmate may be incarcerated for mere weeks, or as long as a year, making their initial identification as a veteran a top priority, says county common pleas Judge Michael E. Jackson. New inmates wishing to join the veterans housing unit must finish a questionnaire classifying their service history, an option available for current inmates as well. Eligible inmates are placed together to share hardships that only other veterans may relate to.
 
"Being able to share experiences results in less recidivism and less new cases after leaving jail," Jackson says. "There's a level of trust and understanding there. It makes a big difference."
 
About 500 to 600 veterans cycle through the county corrections system annually, the judge notes. Programming inside puts war vets on a positive path to an outside world they may have difficulty navigating otherwise.
 
"They're taking active steps now instead of waiting to see what will happen to them," says Jackson. "Now they know there's places where they can access the services they require."
 
Hamilton County in southeast Ohio has a similar veterans housing program, one its northern neighbor would like to emulate.
 
“It’s our responsibility to assist those that have fought for and served our country, regardless of their circumstances," says Mills. “We hope that these services, coupled with the camaraderie of being housed with others of similar experiences, assists with making a successful transition." 

Arabella Proffer's "Garden Party" evokes, beautifies inner space

Consider the quiet moment when you nestle your ear against the warm hollow of your lover's belly and listen to the universe inside of her. Mysterious gurgles, bubbles and pops erupt as all those internal systems filter, pump and process.

Behold a manifestation of the human experience that is simultaneously intimate and foreign - so much so that if the sounds were isolated and removed from the fleshy contact, one might assign the orchestration to outer space.
 
Noted and uniquely qualified, local artist Arabella Proffer has visually realized that symphony, particularly amid the works in her forthcoming show Biomorphic Garden Party, which will open next Friday, Nov. 18, at the HEDGE Gallery in the 78th Street Studios with a reception from 5 to 9 p.m. The show will run through Dec. 17.
 
"Biomorphic" is a departure for Proffer, who is well known for her devastating femme fatale portraits, but it is also profoundly personal.
 
Proffer, who has battled an aggressive form of lipo sarcoma since 2010 that required removal of part of her thigh, received an Ohio Arts Council Grant through the Artists with Disabilities Access Program. The resulting work includes efforts in “Biomorphic,” a series that combines Proffer's interests in the evolution of cells, mutation, botany and microbiology; but don't expect loose translations of medical and scientific images. Those varied inspirations have moved her to create surreal hybrids of flowers, cells, and symbols evocative of otherworldly organisms
 
"Biomorphic" is born from Proffer's body and soul - a characterization that might be trite in any other circumstance, but not with these works, which conjure her cancer. Proffer once described the disease's physical invasion as "a big nasty tumor with wandering tentacles in my thigh."
 
While the portrayal is wholly earned, her artistic interpretations of that terrible and formidable muse are beautiful and complex while managing to be abstract and highly detailed. There is also an unmistakable sexuality characterizing the series that is at once sensual and medical.

"Biomorphic" earns all the adjectives: jarring, compelling, disturbing; and for those who appreciate contrast at its most subtle and sincere, Proffer's work will not disappoint.
 
For questions, contact gallery director, Hilary Gent at hilary@hedgeartgallery.com or 216.650.4201. Viewing hours are Tuesday through Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., evenings and weekends by appointment.
 

Innovation and economic development are the heart of CSU, St. Vincent collaboration

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center and Cleveland State University are a long-standing pair of downtown Cleveland economic and academic anchors. Now the two entities are combining forces to cultivate new research innovations that could have further impact on the city, proponents say.
 
Announced at an October 12 St. Vincent fundraising event, the collaboration focuses on expansion of the existing Campus District medical and academic hub. While early in its lifespan, the partnership has realized 35 projects in various stages of progress, says Thom Olmstead, the medical center's director of university collaborations.
 
"With CSU down the street, there were some obvious opportunities to collaborate," says Olmstead. "A multi-disciplinary approach can drive these concepts."
 
Work over the last 11 months has included crossover between St. Vincent and faculty from the university's engineering, science, nursing and law colleges. The medical institution also currently serves as a teaching site for CSU's joint degree program with Northeast Ohio Medical University, which trains its charges to meet the unique healthcare needs of urban neighborhoods.
 
An alliance between St. Vincent’s Spine & Orthopedic Institute and CSU’s Washkewicz College of Engineering, meanwhile, has resulted in new prosthetic technology and rehabilitation techniques.
 
With more than a half-million dollars earmarked for future projects, institution leaders are planning additional partnership endeavors. Among them is St. Vincent residents using CSU's simulation lab for training in cardiac events and other medical emergencies. In addition, hospital trainees are now embedded as observers at the college's speech and hearing clinic.
 
"The model is an academic medical campus, and CSU is only a couple of hundred yards away," says Olmstead.
 
This latest collaboration reinvigorates ties between the institutions fostered six years ago by St. Vincent president and CEO David Perse. New projects will not only further bind the involved groups, but increase in scope and sophistication to have a wider influence on Cleveland's economic development future as well.
 
"This partnership isn't just marrying capabilities on either side, it's showing how we can be significant in revitalizing the neighborhood," Olmstead says. "We're happy to work with CSU. The impact they have on the community is very important to them, and aligns very well with what we're doing."
 
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