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                                                          PREPARING FOR ZIKA
                                                          Public health professionals analyzed
                                                          the readiness of the Houston area
                                                          for a potential outbreak of the
                                                          Zika virus in April 2016 during
                                                          a workshop at the University of
                                                          Houston Law Center.
                                                          The conference, titled “Zika Virus
                                                          Workshop: Public Health and Legal
                                                          Control Measures,” was hosted by the Law Center’s Health Law & Policy Institute
                                                          and featured talks from local health experts and Research Professor Allison N.
                                                          Winnike, who outlined public health control measures to combat Zika. Professor
                                                          Seth J. Chandler served as moderator.
                                                          Dr. Peter J. Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and
                                                          Professor at the Baylor College of Medicine, explained that if a pregnant woman
                                                          is bit by an Aedes aegypti mosquito and infected with Zika during her first
                                                          trimester, it will have devastating effects on the development of her child’s brain.
                                                          Hotez said that poor, urban communities are the most at-risk for a Zika outbreak.
                                                          “This outbreak is moving so fast that we’re having a lot of trouble keeping up with
                                                          what’s going on,” he said. “It really is a truly evil virus. Under our nose, we are
                                                          witnessing a horrific humanitarian tragedy unfold. The Gulf Coast is uniquely
                                                          vulnerable to a Zika virus infection. Standing water, houses without window
                                                          screens and discarded containers and tires can become a breeding ground for
            SIMPSON HONORED FOR TEACHING                  Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.”
            EXCELLENCE                                    Dr. Mustapha Debboun, the director of the Mosquito Control Division for the
            The University of Houston presented Law Center   Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services department, said Aedes
            Assistant Clinical Professor Lauren Simpson with   aegypti are sometimes referred to as the “cockroach of mosquitoes” because of how
            a faculty excellence award in April 2016 for her   difficult they are to manage. “It lives with us, next to us and in our homes,” he said.
            dedication to teaching lawyering skills and strategies
            to law students.
            Simpson received the Teaching Excellence      INTERNET HEALTH CARE
            Instructional/Clinical Award at the 2016 Faculty   Stakeholders in the legal, medical and
            Excellence Award Dinner at the University of   technology fields discussed how mental health
            Houston Hilton.                               patients in underserved areas could benefit
            “I am deeply honored and grateful to Dean Baynes   from broadband connectivity at a policy
            for having had the faith in me to nominate me; to my   conference hosted by the Law Center’s Health
            students, who make teaching a joy and who inspire   Law & Policy Institute in collaboration with
            me to do my best; and to my LSS colleagues, who are   the Federal Communications Commission.
            supportive, helpful and kind — and a true joy to work   The conference, “Broadband Prescriptions
            with,” said Simpson.                          for Mental Health,” was part of the
            Simpson, who has been teaching lawyering skills and   Connect2HealthFCC Task Force’s “Beyond
            strategies to first-year and part-time students for six   the Beltway Series” and coincided with
            years, received her J.D. from UHLC in 1994. Before   National Mental Health Awareness Month.
            joining the Law Center faculty, she volunteered   “This historic conference had a phenomenal
            with moot-court teams, taught as an adjunct, guest-  lineup of presenters,” Law Center Dean Leonard M. Baynes said. “There
            lectured and helped organize and present brief-  were demonstrations of all sorts of technologies that reflected the incredible
            writing workshops for students at UHLC.       innovations that are taking place that will allow remote access to health care
            Her students describe her on the “Rate My     providers.”
            Professor” Internet site as an “amazing woman,   FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn placed an emphasis on the importance
            helpful and always available,” traits that helped   of openly discussing mental health. With millions of adults not receiving
            her earn one of the highest achievement awards   mental health care, she said it is necessary to make a transformative shift in
            bestowed by the University.                   mental health care that will require regulatory creativity and flexibility.


            law.uh.edu                                                                                                       27
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