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The University will look to offer gender-neutral bathrooms into new buildings to accommodate the transgender community. Hatchet File Photo

Future campus buildings will come equipped with gender-neutral bathrooms to support and accommodate the University’s LGBT community.

The Law Learning Center, Science and Engineering Hall and the new building for the School of Public Health and Health Services will include gender-neutral bathrooms, University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said.

Sherrard added that the University “will seek to do so as a matter of practice in new buildings, whenever possible.”

President of Allied in Pride Nick Gumas lauded the University for creating “a more inclusive environment for all.”

“Having gender neutral bathrooms on campus adequately acknowledges and protects the needs of trans-gender students,” Gumas said in an email.

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University President Steven Knapp, left, and School of Public Health and Health Services Dean Lynn Goldman, right, held hammers Friday to commemorate the start of construction for the school's new building. Kierran Petersen | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Frankie Kane.

Administrators, students and alumni gathered Friday at Warwick Memorial Building to start the structure’s symbolic demolition to make way for the School of Public Health and Health Services’ first standalone home.

The new $75 million building will centralize the 14-year-old school’s seven departments under one roof at New Hampshire Avenue and 24th Street, off Washington Circle.

“On your mark, get set, pretend,” University President Steven Knapp said as a handful of administrators posed wearing hard hats and clutching hammers.

SPHHS Dean Lynn Goldman said the new building will offer the school a common space to host informal meetings. Public health courses are held in Ross Hall, home to the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, forcing professors to schedule many classes for late in the afternoon or evening when rooms are available.

She added that a central location would foster collaboration among the school’s different departments.

“We are at an important intersection in time and space,” Goldman said.

The actual demolition of the Warwick Memorial Building – which previously housed the GW Hospital’s radiation oncology unit – will begin in the next week. That department moved to a temporary site near Tompkins Hall this semester.

The SPHHS building is slated to open by spring 2014.

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Monday, April 18, 2011 2:20 p.m.

Flood triggers power outage in Ross Hall

Updated: 3:30 p.m.

Ross Hall was evacuated just after 12 p.m. Monday and will be closed for the rest of the day, after flooding at the Washington Harbour affected three Pepco power feeders, triggering a power outage in the building.

Classes in the building this evening are canceled, and the Himmelfarb Library is also closed, according to a Campus Advisory.

University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said the building was still without power at 1:20 p.m., adding that Pepco does not know when power will return.

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Pro-Choice Caucus Democrats in the House of Representatives are citing a study by five professors and researchers in the School of Public Health and Health Services on the long-term implications of the Stupak amendment, a last minute addition to the health care reform bill that passed the House.

The study found that the Stupak amendment  – which is designed to impose restrictions on how abortions could be offered by a government-run insurance plan and through private insurance bought using government subsidies from the health care plan – would eliminate insurance coverage for medically indicated abortions in the long run, and not just those covered by the new health care plan.

The study, released on Nov. 16 by the SPHHS, was cited on the blog of Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., on medical and reproductive health Web sites, by Democracy Now!, and by US News and World Report.

On her blog, DeGette, the Democrats’ chief deputy whip, wrote, “The Stupak-Pitts restrictions on a woman’s right to choose are dangerous and unprecedented,” said DeGette. “They go far beyond current law by telling women they cannot use their own private dollars to purchase a health insurance plan that offers a full-range of reproductive services. The health care bill should be about providing health care to over 36 million Americans – not about further restricting a woman’s right to choose.”

From the study, written by Chair of the Department of Health Policy Sara Rosenbaum, research professors Lara Cartwright-Smith and Ross Margulies, professor Susan Wood  and lead researcher D. Richard Mauery:

“In view of how the health benefit services industry operates and how insurance product design responds to broad regulatory intervention aimed at reshaping product content, we conclude that the treatment exclusions required under  As a result, Stupak/Pitts can be expected to move the industry away from current norms of coverage for medically indicated abortions. In combination with the Hyde Amendment, Stupak/Pitts will impose a coverage exclusion for medically indicated abortions on such a widespread basis that the health benefit services industry can be expected to recalibrate product design downward across the board in order to accommodate the exclusion in selected markets.”

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This post was written by Hatchet Reporter Ashley Larkin.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz shared a personal story of her battle with breast cancer at a panel and discussion organized by GW Hillel Wednesday night.

Accompanied by Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Dr. Paul Levine from GW’s School of Public Health and Health Services, Wasserman Schultz elaborated on the impact of breast cancer and the need for earlier detection.

The discussion, titled “Lifestyle, Genetics and Age: What Every Young Woman Should Know About Breast Cancer,” aimed to educate young women – in this case, women under 40 – about potential risk factors and the growing prevalence of the disease.

“So often the focus is on women over 40 years old,” Wasserman Schultz said. “Young women think they’re invincible, and then they don’t know enough about their health, especially their breast health.”

Wasserman Schultz was diagnosed with breast cancer in December of 2007 and has since undergone seven major surgeries, including a double mastectomy and the removal of her ovaries.

In the discussion, she talked about her feelings of fear and anxiety during the process.

“Being faced with your own mortality is not something you expect to deal with when you’re 41,” she said.

Wasserman Schultz was quick to address her gratefulness for early detection.

“If I had waited another six months, who knows what would have happened?” she said. “I probably would’ve been in a much more serious position with chemo and radiation.”

Early detection is a large part of Wasserman Schultz’s EARLY Act – a piece of legislation that seeks $9 million annually to provide breast cancer education for both young women and health care providers.

If implemented, the EARLY Act will promote increased awareness of risk factors and the use of predictive tools such as genetic testing to help prevent breast cancer in young women.

Wasserman Schultz, who is of  Jewish descent, explained how some ethnic minorities, including African-American and Jewish women, are at higher genetic risk for developing breast cancer.

“Too many women don’t know enough about their risk,” she said. “To me, there was a gap in women’s education.”

Her EARLY Act aspires to change that. There are currently 373 representative signatures on the bill, though both Wasserman Schultz and Klobuchar addressed the issue of gaining more momentum in the Senate.

“It’s been a fight,” Klobuchar said, a lead sponsor on the bill. “I won’t go into the gory details, but I’m always up for a fight.”

The EARLY Act has gained relatively strong support in both the House and Senate, as well as extensive support from the public.

Alexis Isenberg, a sophomore who attended the discussion, said, “I think it will get more girls and, I guess, guys to look for more information about their family histories and get tested.”

Rebecca Federan, a freshman, agreed. “I’m an Ashkenazi Jew and there’s a chance my mother has the bracket gene,” she said. “I feel like this is really important and relevant for a lot of people.”

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Professor Michael Taylor has been named a top adviser to the head of the Food and Drug Administration. Courtesy GW Medical Center Marketing and Communications.

Professor Michael Taylor. Courtesy GW Medical Center Marketing and Communications.

A research professor and food safety expert in the School of Public Health and Health Services has been named a senior adviser to the head of the Food and Drug Administration, the organization announced this week.

Professor Michael Taylor will serve as an adviser to Commissioner of Food and Drugs Margaret Hamburg and will collaborate with other FDA offices and the Obama Administration in planning future food safety legislation and identifying problems in national food programs, according to a news release from the FDA.

Taylor previously worked for the FDA as a staff attorney in 1976 and later as the deputy commissioner for policy. He has also worked in multiple food and agricultural organizations such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Monsanto Corp., and Resources for the Future. He started teaching at GW in 2007.

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