A rise through the ranks

first_img Annual dinner welcomes the University’s newest Americans Related Bridge Program gave campus leaders an early boost Harvard’s hand across the bridge to citizenship When Becky Ward walked through the airy cafeteria spanning Harvard Medical School’s (HMS) Goldenson and Armenise buildings, she noticed cashier Calixto Sáenz taking a break, a textbook open on the table in front of him.As she passed, Ward asked Sáenz what he was studying.“Biopolymers,” he replied.The answer got the attention of Ward, executive director of the Department of Systems Biology. She told Sáenz about a new facility being developed at HMS — a microfluidics core. The shared facility was intended to connect researchers at the School and affiliated hospitals with new techniques making their way into labs across the country.Microfluidics allows scientists to conduct microscale research, cutting costs by reducing the volume of chemicals needed, freeing up space so that several experiments can run at once, and even accelerating results. A director had been hired for the initiative, Ward told Sáenz, and the School was considering adding a paid intern to help. Did he want to apply?Sáenz wasn’t sure — not because he was blind to the opportunity. The problem was time.A native of Colombia, Sáenz had come to Boston months earlier for a polymer plastics engineering graduate program at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. With no family in the area, he was sharing an East Boston apartment with a friend and taking the T to HMS for his 6 a.m.–3:30 p.m. shift at the Greenhouse Cafe, then boarding a Lowell-bound train for his evening classes. He did homework until 1 a.m. Two or three hours’ sleep a night was routine.To cap it off, Sáenz already had an internship, albeit unpaid, in the Medical School’s IT department, a post he had landed months earlier with the help of Harvard’s Bridge Program. For some people, the decision to exchange an unpaid internship for a paid one would be simple. But Sáenz’s loyalty to the IT director, Aun Em, who had coached him in English, added to his hesitation.“He didn’t want to abandon Aun,” said Carol Kolenik, the Bridge Program’s founder and former director. “She said, ‘Take it.’ ”Sáenz did, and he hasn’t looked back. In the past decade, he’s been promoted from intern to research associate to manager and ultimately to director.“It’s always a goal to look for people who have a lot of potential but haven’t had a lot of opportunities, so I took a chance on him,” Ward said.Sáenz’s success — and the personal drive behind it — hasn’t gone unnoticed. Last year, he was selected to represent Harvard’s 18,000 staff members with remarks at President Larry Bacow’s October installation. The moment proved memorable for more than just Sáenz.“It was spectacular,” said Laura Lamp, a friend and onetime colleague who guided him through his speech prep. “It blew my mind.”,Colombia to CambridgeSáenz grew up outside of Cartagena, Colombia. His parents worked hard to give him and his sister an education, he said. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees — in electrical and electronic engineering and industrial automation of processes — from Universidad Tecnológica de Bolívar.While working in industry after graduation, he had a chance to visit Boston and was impressed with the resources devoted to research in the region. He had found the place where he’d continue his education.“I don’t regret a single step, even that first year,” Sáenz said of his grueling schedule after arriving. “I learned so much.”Once he started working in the microfluidics core, Sáenz channeled his efforts into mastering the field. Taking the reins at the facility, he expanded its offerings to include consulting services for those who lacked the knowledge or time to use the equipment themselves.“He’s one of the most driven people I know. It makes me feel lazy — which I don’t appreciate,” joked Lamp, who worked with Sáenz at HMS but has since moved to the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “It’s a beautiful thing to be around someone who has a goal and it’s an actual action item.”Today, the core has some 190 to 200 clients from the School, affiliated hospitals, nearby institutions, and even regional companies. A pathway to success From one dreamer to another Allston-Brighton coalition combines groups’ talents to help local residents improve their lives and prospects A bridge to the futureSáenz credited the Bridge Program with boosting his Harvard career. The 18-year-old program provides language, career, and job readiness assistance for Harvard staff. Sáenz’s three classes improved his English, introduced him to American workplace culture, and helped prepare him for job interviews.When organizers of Bacow’s installation were looking for candidates to speak on behalf of University staff, Kolenik suggested Sáenz, who almost missed his opportunity because he dismissed the email as a scam and moved it to his junk folder.The next day, a nagging voice in his head asked, “What if it’s real?” So he took a second look, eventually convincing himself that the invitation was authentic. Once he said yes, Sáenz leaned on his friends for help, bouncing ideas and drafts off them. He came up with a short speech describing his own Harvard journey and his gratitude for the assistance he found on campus.On the day of installation, Sáenz was so nervous he couldn’t bring himself to eat before taking his place on the Tercentenary Theatre stage along with Gov. Charlie Baker, MIT President L. Rafael Reif, and four previous Harvard presidents. But when his moment came, he delivered his message loud and clear.“If someone had told me 15 years ago that I would be on this stage, I simply wouldn’t have believed them — at that time I was still struggling to get a quality education in a new country and a new culture and not even in my native language,” Sáenz told the audience that included his family in Colombia, who watched the livestream with an enthusiasm, he said, normally reserved for soccer games.“But here I stand. And I stand here not only because of my family — gracias, mami y papi— but also because Harvard values commitment, perseverance — and works to provide opportunities to further the careers and professional development of its members.”Sáenz said he was honored by the opportunity to speak for all of Harvard’s staff and that the experience is one he’ll never forget, even as he continues on his path of self-improvement — he’s currently on his fifth biotechnology class at the Harvard Extension School.Today, among his other duties at the microfluidics facility, Sáenz mentors interns in a program he created for students from local community college — two of whom have gone on to UMass Lowell, and another one to Boston University.As he told Kolenik: “I’m paying it forward. I would never have gotten out of food service without the internship.”last_img read more

Systematic review uncovers cannabis withdrawal syndrome among 47% of regular cannabis users

first_imgPsyPost 11 August 2020Family First Comment: More harms – which will increase with legalisation…“The findings suggest that almost half of regular marijuana users will experience cannabis withdrawal, something the authors say many people are unaware of. Cannabis withdrawal appears to be highly prevalent among people who consume cannabis regularly, or who are heavy consumers. Clinicians should be aware of its existence so that they can provide support to people who are considering cessation of or reduction in cannabis use. The literature suggests that cannabis withdrawal may be a driver of continued use…”A literature review of 47 studies found that nearly half of cannabis users met criteria for cannabis withdrawal syndrome. The review was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association.Although cannabis is typically seen as a relatively safe drug, research has pointed to various risks associated with regular use. Short-term risks include memory impairment and paranoia and long-term risks range from addiction and cognitive impairment to suicide. More recently, researchers have identified the presence of cannabis withdrawal syndrome (CWS) in a subset of regular users.Despite the emerging evidence of CWS, little is known about the prevalence or risk factors associated with its occurrence. “Cannabis withdrawal is a fascinating topic. We were not certain on the prevalence or risk factors for cannabis withdrawal, which was the basis of the study,” said study author Anees Bahji, an addiction psychiatry fellow at the University of Calgary.The researchers consulted 8 electronic databases and ended up with 47 studies that met criteria to be included in their review. All studies included a validated assessment of CWS or CWS symptoms. In total, the studies involved 23,518 participants, 69% of whom were men. The studies involved 50 different cohorts; half of them were users seeking treatment and most (76%) were from North America.The meta-analysis revealed an overall prevalence of cannabis withdrawal syndrome of 47%. The researchers further analyzed the results by study setting, to see if the likelihood of CWS differed depending on the sample used in the study. The highest prevalence of CWS (87%) was found in inpatient samples. Outpatient samples had a prevalence of 54% and population-based samples had a 17% prevalence of CWS.“The finding that the prevalence of CWS was substantially higher in clinical populations—particularly inpatient samples—is consistent with the notion of a bidirectional association between cannabis use and mental health disorders . . . This finding may indicate that people with CWS are more likely to present to clinicians for help compared with those without CWS, notwithstanding the fact that CWS can be diagnosed and untreated,” Bahji and colleagues say.READ MORE: https://www.psypost.org/2020/08/systematic-review-uncovers-cannabis-withdrawal-syndrome-among-47-of-regular-cannabis-users-57641last_img read more