McCormack Speaks

August 28, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

Jim Hermelbracht Named New Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Director

Jim Hermelbracht, New OLLI Director at UMass Boston McCormack Graduate SchoolJim Hermelbracht, a highly regarded administrator with two decades of experience in higher education management, has been selected as the new director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UMass Boston’s McCormack Graduate School.

Hermelbracht, who most recently served as director of student activities at Stonehill College, will leave that position later this month to take over leadership of OLLI at UMass Boston, the state’s largest lifelong learning program. He was selected by a six-person search committee that included four OLLI members.

“It would be an understatement to say we are thrilled to welcome Jim to UMass Boston,” said Len Fishman, director of the Gerontology Institute at the McCormack Graduate School. OLLI is one of four centers at UMass Boston overseen by the institute.

“We were all impressed by Jim’s professional achievements, strong interpersonal skills and his many creative ideas,” Fishman said. “Colleagues described him to us as the person everyone wants to work with to take on challenging projects.”


Read more about our new OLLI Director Jim Hermelbracht.

August 21, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

The Criminality of Impairment: New Solutions Can Help Not Only Drug Users

By an anonymous McCormack Graduate School student

bottle of painkillersImpairment conjures up the images of intoxicated bar patrons causing trouble at the end of the night or a drunk driver being stopped by the police. However instead of alcohol being a primary factor in crimes these days, law enforcement is now seeing a trend that drugs, especially opioids, fuel most violent crime, property crime, and impaired driving.

In recent years, the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence has seen a steady increase in substance-related crimes resulting in three types of drug crime: use, economic, and system-related. System drug crime is associated with the sale, manufacturing, and transportation of illegal narcotics. Primarily this is where law enforcement focuses most of their resources to, as they say, “take the head off the snake.” However, we are more familiar with use and economic drug crimes as these often affect individuals at a personal level. Continue Reading →

August 15, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

Reframing the Dissertation Experience

This post originally appeared on the Gerontology Institute blog, written by alumna Kristen E. Porter, PhD, MS, MAc, LAc, JP

Kristen PorterLife happens.

I was the 67th graduate of the UMass Boston Gerontology PhD program when I received my degree in 2015. I spent one year from proposal to successful defense with no revisions. At the time, I was the 11th fastest to graduate.

But it wasn’t the breeze it might appear to be on paper. While in the program, I was the president of a company, a foster parent to numerous children ranging in age from newborn to teen, and primary caregiver to my mother and grandmother. During this time my mother, grandmother, father, and business partner died and I underwent nine surgical procedures and survived sepsis.

Life happened. But if we let it happen to us it can derail our goals. For me, to not only survive but also thrive required grit, commitment, and creativity. In seeking to find support for my own dissertation writing, I created a peer dissertation writing group in 2013. Writing a dissertation was as much a rigorous intellectual challenge as it was a personal challenge to finish regardless of how life happened. Long past my graduation, the group continues to support UMass Boston students complete their dissertations.

Read more about this dissertation support group.

August 7, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

Professor Matz Recommends Ways to Improve the Role of the Patient in Medical Decision-Making

operating roomProfessor David Matz’s career has taken him all over the globe including working with courts and law schools in China and Nigeria, developing policies and practices in Israel, working with Arab and Jewish groups to promote peace talks, and leading the development and assessment of tools for court mediators, judges, and engineers in the United States.

In 2014 Matz began a different kind of journey which has led him through the trials of the health care system. This experience left Matz asking “why” as it relates to tests, procedures, techniques, and opinions. As a conflict resolution practitioner, Matz reflects on his journey and offers suggestions for enhancing the role of the patient in decision-making.

Read more about the role of the patient in decision-making.

August 5, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

Report Focuses on Services, Needs For Elders and Those Living With Dementia

This blog originally appeared on our Gerontology Institute blog, posted by Steven Syre.

Tufts Health Plan Foundation has released a new report prepared by UMass Boston Gerontology Institute researchers that provides a comprehensive look at current activities and resources in place to support Massachusetts populations over age 65 as well as those living with dementia and their caregivers.

Researchers led by Associate Professor Elizabeth Dugan prepared the Report on Demographics, Programs, and Services for an Age- and Dementia-Friendly Commonwealth: What We Have and What We Need. It offers recommendations for building age- and dementia-friendly communities, identifies gaps in resources for this growing population and includes strategies to increase those supports.

Read more about the recommended needs and services for dementia patients.

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