Jim Yong Kim: Superstar Pragmatist
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
Call me a proud alum. If you haven't yet heard of Jim Yong Kim, the Dartmouth College president nominated by Obama today to head the World Bank, then welcome to a galactic superstar in the making. Only three years into his tenure at Dartmouth, I am disappointed to potentially see Kim go, but his dynamic and pragmatic leadership and his interdisciplinary outlook on development and public health holds the potential to transform the World Bank into one of the 21st century's most important institutions. I am particularly excited about the potential for the World Bank to continue to pursue programs that connect economic development, climate change, and public health.
The Washington Post editorializes that Kim is an "ideal choice," opinion page editor Fred Hiatt calls him "a groundbreaking choice," and the Post's Ezra Klein has perhaps the best overview of Kim's career arc and the unique qualities he brings to the job.
At Dartmouth, among initiatives, Kim grabbed my attention with his immediate pursuit of harm reduction related to college drinking and his intense passion for applying the science of human performance to college athletics, academic achievement, and the formation among students of lifelong habits related to mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
Take a look at the video below from the Dartmouth Idol series. Kim joins students about 2 minutes into the video with a rap and dance performance, turning popular pop and rap lyrics into a message about campus fun without alcohol. There are few people in the country who merge Kim's experience, intellectual heft, and charisma. I anticipate that the World Bank is just the start of his national leadership.
It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.
- Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
- These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
- The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.
- Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
- Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
- Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.
- Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
- Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
- Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
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