Reconciliation will be the focus for 10 Calls to Action for Natural Scientists event
A message from the Office of Research.
A virtual discussion of 10 Calls to Action for Natural Scientists to enable reconciliation with Indigenous communities will take place on March 15 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. The discussion will be driven by an article published in FACETS and three of the five authors will take part in this special event:
- Gùdia – Mary Jane Johnson, Elder from Kluane First Nation
- Lawrence Ignace, a policy analyst who is Anishinaabe
- Heidi Swanson, a professor in Biology, University of Waterloo
Attendees will learn about the 10 Calls to Action developed by the authors, and challenge the scientific and academic communities to recognize that reconciliation requires a new way of conducting natural science, one that includes and respects Indigenous communities, rights, and knowledge, which will lead to better scientific and community outcomes. Several of the 10 Calls to Action will be discussed in detail.
This event is organized and hosted by the Faculty of Science, Office of Research, and the Indigenous Initiatives Office and is open to all Waterloo faculty, staff and students, and the general public. Registration is required to receive a link to the event.
Waterloo shines in new global subject rankings
By Ryon Jones.
The University of Waterloo has been named one of the world’s top universities for the study of several subjects, according to the latest edition of the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) worldwide university subject rankings, released on Wednesday, March 3.
Waterloo is ranked in the top 100 for the broad faculty areas of Engineering & Technology (38th) and Natural Sciences (79th).
Computer Science (CS) remains Waterloo’s top-rated subject internationally, coming in at 23 among the world’s top 1,100 universities. Mathematics, Electrical and Electronic Engineering and 12 other programs join CS in the top 100 this year, an increase of three subjects from the 2020 QS rankings. Waterloo’s new entrants to the top 100 are Anatomy & Physiology and Architecture & Built Environment.
“I am delighted to see so many of our programs have been top-rated in these subject rankings,” said Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor. “These rankings are a testament to the excellence of our teaching and academic experiences—and our ability to connect those experiences with the world’s most significant challenges.”
Domestically, Waterloo is ranked in the top five universities for 15 subjects, with Computer Science being Waterloo’s top-ranked program in Canada at second.
Other subjects where Waterloo placed among the top five Canadian institutions are:
- Architecture & Built Environment (4th)
- Chemical Engineering (4th)
- Civil Engineering (4th)
- Development Studies (4th)
- Electrical & Electronic Engineering (3rd)
- Environmental Sciences (4th)
- Geography (5th)
- Hospitality & Leisure Management (3rd)
- Materials Science (4th)
- Mathematics (3rd)
- Mechanical Engineering (4th)
- Physics & Astronomy (4th)
- Psychology (4th)
- Statistics & Operational Research (5th)
QS, the world’s largest international higher education network, ranks the world’s top universities on 51 subjects based on factors such as academic reputation, employer reputation, citations per faculty, student-to-faculty ratio, the proportion of international faculty and proportion of international students. The rankings provide a comparative analysis on the performance of 14,435 individual university programs, taken by students at 1,453 universities, found in 86 locations across the world, in 51 academic disciplines and five broad faculty Areas.
Overall university rankings from QS are expected in the fall.
Pharmacy professor supports training of up to 5,000 new vaccinators in Ontario
March is Pharmacy Appreciation Month. This month, in our #PAM2021 series, the School of Pharmacy is highlighting the unique ways that the pharmacy community has supported Canadians through the pandemic.
COVID-19 vaccinations may be in short supply, but when shipments arrive, Canada will need all the help it can get to administer millions of vaccines across the country.
In Ontario, there are currently seventeen hospital sites giving COVID-19 vaccines. As the province moves into Phase Two of the vaccine rollout plan, more locations will become available and the list of health-care professionals who can give the vaccine will also increase.
Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are on this list of Phase Two vaccinators. Ontario pharmacists have been able to administer vaccines, such as the influenza vaccine, for years, and pharmacy students receive training on administering injections in school. But injection training has not typically been a component of Ontario pharmacy technician training.
Enter Professor Sherilyn Houle. Houle is a pharmacist and researcher who worked with the Ontario Pharmacists Association (OPA) to develop vaccine education resources. When the Ontario government announced that technicians would soon be able to give the COVID-19 vaccine, the OPA recognized a need to create technician injection and immunization training. They asked Professor Houle to help them do just that.
“Since I currently coordinate the injections training program at Waterloo Pharmacy and am a strong supporter of an expanded role for pharmacy technicians, I jumped at the opportunity to contribute to this expansion in technicians’ scope of practice,” Houle says.
Houle worked with the OPA to modify existing injection and immunization training for pharmacists to suit pharmacy technicians. The new certification for technicians includes an online component and an in-person practical assessment of injection technique. It’s now available to the over 5,000 pharmacy technicians registered to work in Ontario.
Robin Andrade, an instructor at Waterloo Pharmacy, is also a pharmacy technician. She is working her way through the course.
“I was thrilled with the news that technicians would be able to inject the COVID-19 vaccination. By increasing the number of trained professionals who can inject, we’ll come closer to herd immunity and keep the number of cases low and manageable,” says Andrade. “The course was well executed, and I am looking forward to the in-person workshop to practice my injection technique.”
Read the full story on the School of Pharmacy site.
The Waterloo Artificial Intelligence Institute and AMC are co-hosting an Industry Day webinar event on March 25. "An interactive and informative on-line event, enabling industry to get more acquainted with various AI success stories across multi-sectors of the economy," say the event organizers. "Catering to diverse interests, attendees will have the option to choose from a menu of topics, with one stream focusing on the use of AI within Advanced Manufacturing. Applicable to all sectors, the keynote speaker will deliver first-hand experience of “The Journey to Implement AI”, and the importance of “Data” in the future of AI. Morning and afternoon presentations are planned around a mid-day networking event amongst attendees, partners, researchers and the Waterloo AI ecosystem.
"Waterloo Womxn + Nonbinary Wednesdays (W3+) is calling for proposals for workshops and teach-ins for a day-long, online event on June 9," says a note from the faculty association. "We invite proposals for sessions that democratize knowledge and engage our membership to learn new ways of doing, thinking, and being. We hope for workshops that support our members' personal and professional development and sustain people with practical knowledge and skills, and for teach-ins that help people understand a contemporary topic in an accessible way. Proposals are due March 15 using this online form. W3+ is a community of womxn and nonbinary grad students, post-docs, staff, and faculty that currently operates mostly on Teams."
Here is today's Nutrition Month "myth vs. fact" supplied by Health Services Dietitian Sandra Ace:
Myth: Drinking kombucha tea has many health benefits.
Fact: People use kombucha to prevent or treat many medical conditions but there is currently no strong scientific evidence to support these uses.
The popularity of this trendy, effervescent drink made by fermenting a mixture of tea, sugar, yeast and bacteria shows no sign of fizzling out any time soon. Kombucha enthusiasts maintain the tea has a wide range of health benefits including aiding digestion, boosting energy, alleviating arthritis, lowering blood pressure, strengthening immunity, preventing cancer and improving liver function.
A 2014 review concluded that kombucha tea contains a wide range of bioactive components with potential beneficial health properties but noted that most of the benefits had only been studied in animals and cell cultures. A 2019 review of 310 articles on kombucha found only one that studied health effects in human subjects and concluded that clinical trials are needed to establish health benefits in humans. Despite the lack of empirical evidence of superfood status, kombucha tea can be part of a healthy diet for most people. Given the possible beneficial properties and the current interest in the effects of fermented foods (yogurt, kefir, miso, tempeh, kimchi, etc.) on health, consumption of kombucha and research on its benefits will likely continue to grow.
Kombucha is produced commercially or can be brewed at home using a culture which is added to tea then allowed to ferment. Commercially bottled kombucha has been found to be safe, however home brews may pose safety risks related to potential fungal and bacterial contamination unless strict brewing and sanitation protocols are followed. Random samples of commercially bottled kombucha were found to contain trace amounts of alcohol, formed during the fermentation process. While it is sold as a non-alcoholic drink, a recent British Columbia study found that some kombucha samples contained from 1 per cent to more than 3 per cent alcohol by volume. Kombucha tea should not be consumed by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or by children or those with medical conditions which make it unsafe to consume alcohol.
Keep in mind that a product labelled ‘natural’ is not an assurance that it is safe or effective and that kombucha tea should not be used in place of conventional medical care to treat illnesses.