Penn Global is excited to congratulate the following 2014/2015 Global Engagement Fund Award Recipients:

Healthcare Workforce and Quality Outcomes: Lessons from Chile, United States, and Europe
Linda Aiken (Nursing), Jere Behrman (SAS), Eileen Lake (Nursing), Matthew McHugh (Nursing), Herb Smith (SAS)

  • Abstract
  • Penn faculty and staff will work with our primary Chilean partner, the School of Nursing at Universidad de los Andes to lay the groundwork to do a full-scale replication of a Penn-Nursing-led research design developed over the past 20 years. We have developed a successful research protocol with validated survey research instruments systematically translated into about 15 languages, including Spanish and Portuguese. We will use the instrument to survey a substantial share of nurses at approximately 50 hospitals in Chile. The nurses will provide detailed information on a range of workforce issues including patient to nurse staffing ratio, relationships between doctors and nurses, quality and safety assessments, reports of the frequency of adverse patient outcomes such as infections, and so forth. A sample of patients in each hospital is also surveyed and patient outcomes data is collected from the Chilean Ministry of Health. These data sources will be merged to produce empirical evidence of hospital performance and factors associated with better patient outcomes in Chile. To date this study has been conducted in the United States, 12 European countries, China, South Africa, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, New Zealand, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates - this range of implementations has given us tremendous expertise in tailoring the protocol as well as analyzing patient data which is generated slightly differently in each country. Our array of data will allow for important cross-national comparisons.

Establishment of Medical Physics Training Program in Tanzania
Stephen Avery (PSOM)

  • Abstract
  • In 2008 cancer was responsible for 7.6 million deaths globally. The World Health Organization predicts that by 2030 this number will increase to over 13.1 million deaths. In addition, currently 70% of those deaths are in Low Income and Middle Income Countries. This is a startling statistic as many of these countries are still struggling to provide their populations with access to basic healthcare. Most capacity building efforts are aimed at addressing infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, not the cancer pandemic that they are beginning to see. A 2007 Institute of Medicine report listed collaborations between cancer centers in high income countries with those in middle to low income countries as an "appropriate and feasible" step for cancer control in the developing world. The future of cancer treatment and research, and the health of populations in developing countries, could benefit greatly through the development of partnerships between Universities and University Hospitals in the United States and developing countries. These partnerships can serve as a platform for bi-directional learning where health providers can exchange best practices and innovations as well as develop the skills necessary to help their countries succeed in the rapidly advancing world of cancer treatment.

Globalization through a Japanese Prism
Julie Davis (SAS), Fred Dickinson (SAS), David Spafford (SAS)

  • Abstract
  • We look to global engagement funds to support a newly integrative and interdisciplinary discussion of early modern intellectual, cultural, and aesthetic life. For decades considered the fount of Japanese conservatism, Mito Learning will be highlighted in a new interdisciplinary colloquium, curatorial seminar, and Arthur Ross Gallery exhibit as a momentous force for change in the early modern world. These events will constitute the inaugural programs highlighting the new integrative study of Japan promoted by Penn's new Center for the Integrated Study of Japan (CISJ).
    We seek to launch a new CISJ Colloquium in the fall 2015 term devoted in its first year to establishing the context for our fall 2016 Ross Gallery exhibit on the “Intellectual World of the Mito Tokugawa.” Following Penn’s Year of Discovery theme, the 2015-6 CIJS Colloquium will invite to campus six renowned authorities to underscore the broadly neo-Confucian and more specific Japanese contributions to early modern intellectual, cultural, and aesthetic life, under the general rubric of “Discovering the Early Modern through Tokugawa Japan.”

Joint Symposium on Materials and Energy Research with Peking University of China
Feng Gai (SAS), Jeffery Saven (SAS), Arjun Yodh (SAS)

  • Abstract
  • Peking University (PKU) is one of Penn's international partner universities. Founded in 1898, PKU is China's first comprehensive national university and is now a leading institution of higher education and advanced research in the world. To further expand research and educational engagement and collaboration between Penn and PKU, we propose to co-sponsor a Joint Symposium on Materials and Energy Research with the College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering of PKU. Specifically, we request funds to cover partial travel expenses of twelve Penn faculty members to attend this symposium in Beijing (PKU has graciously agreed to cover all local costs). Aditional travel cost needed will be supported by the Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter (LRSM) and Department of Chemistry. We expect that the proposed symposium will bring together many leading experts in materials and energy research from both institutions, which will foster new international collaborations and broaden the scope of Penn's global engagement activity. Selection of Penn participants will be done by the advisory committee of LRSM.

Education for Refugees at the World's Crossroads
Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher (GSE)

  • Abstract
  • Refugee and asylum-seeking children and youth under the age of 18 represent over 35% of the incoming refugee population to the United States. These children and youth present immense educational needs and face daunting educational barriers: A large number of young people have interrupted formal education, often for long periods of time. Some have experienced great hardship in their wait in refugee camps, while others have been traumatized by the events that led to their migration. When they begin schools in the US, they frequently experience social alienation that persuades them to drop out. However, under the right conditions, education may help restore social and emotional well-being. While educators are key socializing figures in the lives of refugee students, without sufficient training and information they may misunderstand culturally-influenced patterns of engagement among refugee students and their families.
    New York City – the world’s global village – is also one of the largest recipients of resettled refugees in the United States. Thus, this qualitative study seeks to understand the specific educational needs of refugee students in New York City Schools. The first phase of the study (currently underway) is examining which school institutional factors best facilitate refugee/asylee youth’s academic achievement. This second phase of the study (pending funding) will explore the ways in which both secular and faith based organization involved with refugee resettlement, as well as faith-based institutional spaces (such as churches and mosques) provide educational support to refugee and asylee children and youth. Together, the findings from this two-pronged study will yield important insights regarding how to improve schooling for vulnerable populations.

Functional Dental and Orofacial Tissue Reconstruction from Mesenchymal Stem Cells
Songtao Shi (Dental), Syngcuk Kim (Dental)

  • Abstract
  • Many patients suffer from loss of tooth, alveolar bone loss and cranio-facial malformation or loss due to cancer or radiotherapy. Regeneration of functional dental and orofacial tissues, from Mesenchymal stem cells is on the frontline and a most sought after research to address this critical issue. The result depends on successful outcomes of Mesenchymal stem cell research. Fortunately Penn Dental Medicine (PDM) has the most prominent and productive laboratory in the world in this area of research headed by Professor Songtao Shi. The next step in this line of research is the development of scaffolds which deliver the stem cells to the damaged sites for regeneration. We will work with the Engineering school to develop the scaffolds soon. A close collaboration between PDM and Peking Dental School, as proposed in this Global grant, provides many advantages. First, Peking Dental School clinic has over one million outpatient visits, making it the largest dental clinic in the world. The patient population is diverse and numerous making this school clinic a perfect place to run clinical trials for regeneration of dental tissues from the stem cell research results. To collaborate productively the research team at Peking Dental School should have an equal knowledge on basic Mesenchymal stem cell research. By establishing the
    Penn/Peking Research Center and working together this objective can be met. Furthermore, the collaboration would facilitate training and research opportunities for dental students, postdocs and junior faculty members from both institutions fulfilling our Global initiatives. In addition, a Penn Dental Global Symposium on Functional dental and oral-facial tissue reconstruction from Mesenchymal Stem Cells scheduled in September, 2015 on the Peking Dental School campus would stimulate and sensitize dental academicians and researchers in China as well as other Asian countries in the importance of this research.

Heritage Preservation Projects in Syria and Iraq
Richard Leventhal (SAS), Salam al Kuntar (Penn Museum), Brian Daniels (Penn Museum)

  • Abstract
  • Warfare, rebellion, and civil unrest have swept throughout the countries of Syria and Iraq in the Middle East. During this period of unrest, important cultural heritage sites are being destroyed - some for economic gain and some for the attempted destruction and elimination of a group's identity.

    The Penn Cultural Heritage Center of the Penn Museum is part of an international collaboration that has been formed to research and attempt to preserve this heritage. This collaboration includes the Smithsonian Institution, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the US Institute of Peace, and the Day After Association.

    Primary goals for this work:

    1) Development of long-term research about the purposeful destruction of heritage (such as the activities of ISIS and the destruction of the Tomb of Jonah);

    2) Development of a conservation team in both Syria and Iraq who will be trained to document heritage destruction.

    3) Develop training and documentation programs for these conservation teams.

    4) Develop a series of conservation programs for museums (Ma'arra Museum) and heritage sites (Ebla and Dead Cities) to conserve and preserve these sites even during this period of massive unrest, warfare, and destruction.

C.U. in India and Southeast Asia
Lisa Mitchell (SAS), Daud Ali (SAS), Raili Roy (SAS), Teren Sevea (SAS)

  • Abstract
  • The C.U. in India program, which is currently in its pilot year (AY 2014-15), has been very successful thus far, both in terms of course demand (more than 50 students applied for 20 enrollment slots) and student satisfaction with the domestic and overseas course components. Beginning in academic year 2015-16, the South Asia Center will expand the program to 1) integrate standing faculty, 2) introduce a new program location, Southeast Asia, where our standing faculty member has expertise, and 3) increase the number of available course enrollment slots, in response to the high demand we experienced during the admissions process.

    We seek financial support from the Global Engagement Fund to offset loan aid for undergraduate student participants who are on financial aid. Because Penn's no-loan financial aid policy does not apply to study abroad programs, aided students are required to take out loans that range from $2000 for one course to $4000 for two courses in order to participate in our program. This creates an unfair advantage for non-aided Penn students, and a serious financial burden for those students who rely on financial aid. SAC strongly believes that all Penn students should have an equal opportunity to participate in the C.U in India and Southease Asia program without taking on additional student debt to do so.

Seeing/Hearing South Africa: Penn Students at the National Arts Festival
Carol Muller (SAS)

  • Abstract
  • My request here is for travel funding for students registered in Music 56, a class that starts at Penn in the spring but takes students to the National Arts Festival in South Africa for two weeks in the summer.  Seeing/Hearing Africa is a both a face to face and short term study abroad class mostly for Penn undergraduates.  It begins with a semester long introduction to South African politics and performance history, travel to South Africa, attendance of the festival with conversations about issues and the arts at the beginning or end of each day of the eleven day festival, extends into a tour of one of the neighboring townships whose history tells the story of twentieth century black South African struggles and triumphs, a visit to the International Library of African Music, the largest of its kind in the world, and ends with a substantial reflection paper once students return home.  This is one of a very few Penn classes that enables Penn undergraduate and some graduate students to come to know a piece of the world through deep immersion in the arts, and as they do so, to reflect on the place of the arts as a portal into a society’s history, politics, and culture.  This year, Seeing/Hearing Africa will be the only class offered to Penn students taught by a Penn professor in sub-Saharan Africa.

Penn-EUSP ARCHES – American-Russian Collaborations in Higher Education
Kevin Platt (SAS), Monroe Price (Annenberg)

  • Abstract
  • We are applying to the GEF for support to bring four professors and four graduate students from the European University at St. Petersburg (EUSP) to Penn next fall for a week, during which we will hold a conference devoted to “Russian Relations With the West In (Deep) Historical Perspective.” We will also engage in intensive brainstorming sessions with our guests concerning longer-term collaboration in teaching and research at the student and faculty levels. During their visit, we will also bring our guests into classrooms and other events at Penn in a “mini-exchange." We hope to establish, in future: electronic-engagement in shared seminars taking place at both campuses
    (perhaps leading to the creation of innovative electronic teaching resources); joint research projects linking Penn students and EU students; yearly or biannual conferences at Penn and at EUSP that bring together Penn and EUSP faculty and students, and possibly exchange programs. We have been in preliminary conversations with the Carnegie Foundation, which has ties to EUSP, concerning funding for these initiatives. If we are unable to secure external funding, we seek to carry out some of our objectives on a smaller scale, as permitted by existing resources.
    For reasons that should be quite obvious to all, now is a time when our initiative and the topic of our conference have special urgency and significance. Further, EUSP is precisely the right institutional partner in Russia with which to carry our this project. EUSP is a world-class institution for advanced education and one of Russia’s very few private universities ( The institution and its faculty are dedicated to cosmopolitan principles of participation in global educational culture. It has considerable student, faculty, and curricular engagement in the study of both Russian and American culture and society, significant linguistic expertise in English among both faculty and students, and conducts some teaching and public programming in English. Many members of its board Likewise, Penn has many Russian-speaking faculty and students, as well as courses and programming in Russian up to the advanced level for undergraduates and including graduate study of topics in Russian history, culture and society. Finally, Penn and EUSP have already been linked by a number of research and educational contacts.

Infant Facial Recognition for Vaccine Delivery Tracking
Harvey Rubin (PSOM), Jianbo Shi (SEAS)

  • Abstract
  • The need for a robus, simple, reliable method to identify, track, and record infants as they receive their vaccines is a major requirement for every vaccine program in the world. While this may be straightforward in the developed world, in many areas, especially remote regions of the world, no such method is available. This has been amply recognized by the major groups working in this space including GAVI, the Gates Foudation and UNICEF.

    Our solution to this problem builds on 1) technology developed by Professor Jianbo Shi in SEAS and on 2) Energize the Chain, the program that solves the vaccine cold chain problem using energy available at cell towers in the developing world to keep vaccines cold, build by Dr. Harvey Rubin in the School of Medicine. We intend to combine the latest 3D imaging technology with facial recognition algorithms for infant facial biometric recognition.

    Facial recognition is challenging due to large range of the variation seen in everyday life, including variation in pose, lighting, expression, background, race, ethnicity, age, gender, clothing, hairstyles, camera quality, color saturation, and other parameters. For an infant facial recognition task, we plan to use 3D imaging system such as Intel RealSense to solve the problem of non-frontal face alignment and recognition. With 3D facial images we can simulate 2D 'frontalization' of the infant's facial image and match it to a 'gallery' of 2D faces. With the'frontalization' process in place, we plan to test several of the leading facial recognition systems. Once this solution is in place, we will run a large-scale trail under an appropriately filed IRB protocol. When the trial is successfully completed we will be ready to deploy the solution in remote sites using the Energize the Chain infrastructure in the developing world.

Secular Real Estate Price Indices for Major Chinese Urban Areas
Susan Wachter (Wharton), Daniel Raff (Wharton)

  • Abstract
  • The data behind real estate economics empirical pricing studies are largely confined to recent decades. A small number of papers deploy data going back as far as the immediate post WWII period. Only a tiny handful study any seriously long time span. The voluminous literature on urban history is almost entirely non-quantitative, estimates of population aside, and is not the stronger for this.

    In previous work ( funded in part by an initial grant from this program), Daniel Raff and Susan Wachter of the Wharton School and Se Yan of Peking University created and published a price index for real estate in Beijing covering the period of 1644-1840. The underlying data were extracted from contracts for real estate transactions. We wish to advance this initial work and have the opportunity to do so on two fronts. We seek to extend the Beijing data and the price index series we calculuated from them to the late 1940s (at which point it necessarily stops for about fifty years) and also to use our methods to develop a similar index series for Shanghai from around the time of the establishment of the French, British and American Concessions after the Opium War of the early 1840s once again through the late 1940s.