Month: November 2012

SSW Staffer Receives Environmental Leadership Award

David Porteous, DMHAS Grants Facilitator in the School’s Office of Finance and Administration received a 2010-2012 Environmental Leadership Award presented by UConn President Susan Herbst at a special ceremony on November 16, 2012.
David Porteous
DMHAS Grants Facilitator
Office of Finance and Administration
Upon hearing of the award, David said “I honestly was as honored to be nominated for it as I am to have received it”. “We did surmount numerous obstacles at every step and I did more than I could have imagined to make lemonade out of an unending deluge of lemons. BUT it was the students, faculty and staff on the Green Team, the facilities staff led by Bill Pecor, the Sun Services janitorial staff and management, and Mike Menard and Salome Raheim who made this success possible. And our hauler, CWPM, was helpful at every step as needed. It was a team effort…”

Environmental Leadership Awards are given biennially to those students, faculty, and staff who have demonstrated dedication and outstanding contributions to the University’s principles of environmental leadership.

“David’s leadership, resourcefulness and determination has made a remarkable difference in recycling efforts and ‘green’ improvements on the Greater Hartford Campus and in raising awareness and cooperation across the campus community” said Dean Salome Raheim.
The Greater Hartford Campus (GHC) Green Team originated with the School of Social Work’s Academic Plan. Dean Salome Raheim appointed David Porteous to Chair this team because of his known commitment to recycling and environmental issues. The SSW Academic Plan specified that the team would be composed of SSW staff members, a faculty member, two graduate students, and an undergraduate staff person. David envisioned a larger campus-wide team taking the initiative to expand the Green Team to include undergraduate students and other GHC programs. He took his idea to the GHC Director, Michael Menard and the Dean of the SSW where it was well received. Students and staff from all campus programs are now involved as well as the GHC facilities director, Bill Pecor.

The Green Team began meeting in the summer of 2011 and decided its first goal was to focus on the dysfunctional recycling program on campus. It was believed that items put in blue recycle bins were not being recycled, and generally that was true. David once again took initiative and literally tracked paper, plastic, cans, and glass placed in bins all over the GHC. He found large quantities of these items were not being recycled while some were recycled depending on which of the five campus buildings they were in.

The Green Team met with CWPM, LLC: Waste, Removal and Recycling to determine how they could increase recycling on campus. It was determined that the GHC needed more containers, effective labels, and more access to the containers for students. In addition, a consistent recycling system for campus offices had to be developed.

Critical players in the process were the contracted custodial staff used on campus. They had to support these efforts while staying within their own contractual boundaries. With the increased recycling, CWPM, LLC now has a 6 ton bin for recyclables instead of the 2 ton bin. Recycling has tripled! More recycling education and new initiatives to promote environmental sustainability and justice will occur this year with the Green Team.

Dr. Karen Chartier MSW ’95, Ph.D. ’07 Awarded 5-Year National Institutes of Health Grant

In September 2012, Karen G. Chartier, Ph.D., M.S.W., was awarded a 5-year K01 career development grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism for Ethnicity and Alcohol Dependence: Phenotypes, Genes, and the Social Environment. The aim of this project is to understand the interrelationships between the genetic, social, and neighborhood factors that contribute to risks for alcohol consequences in ethnic minority groups. Karen G. Chariter, MSW ’95, PhD ’07 The study will test the association of gene variants for alcohol metabolism to phenotypes relevant to alcohol dependence for blacks and Hispanics and investigate the modifying effect of the social environment on genetic risks for alcohol dependence severity. Understanding the interplay between the social environment and genetic liabilities is important for explaining how alcohol-related health disparities occur and for identifying important targets for intervention.

Upon hearing of Karen’s 5-year grant, Alex Gitterman, Zachs Professor and Director of the Doctoral Program remarked, “Karen is an outstanding graduate of our program.  When she graduated, I informed her that I would like to purchase stock in her career.  I still do.”

Karen currently lives in Plano, Texas with her husband and daughter. She works at the University of Texas School of Public Health at the Dallas Regional Campus, where she has been on the research faculty for the past 3 years. Her research examines ethnic group differences in drinking, alcohol use disorders, treatment utilization, and problems related alcohol use. Karen also works with the Texas Node of the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Clinical Trials Network (CTN) at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. She is the Principal Investigator for the Dallas site of the CTN’s trial on buspirone for relapse prevention in cocaine dependent adults, and represents the Texas Node on the CTN’s Minority Interest Group.