While classrooms offer important skills and opportunities, not all lessons fit within four walls. Real-world experiences can be more valuable to a student’s education than hours spent in lecture halls. The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ Ratcliffe Scholars Program allows students to expand their education off-campus by offering $5,000 experiential learning scholarships. The program helps support students who want to participate in out-of-classroom experiences, including internships, study abroad programs, research opportunities or other experiential learning activities.This year, four students were awarded this scholarship, and each student is using the scholarship to better their education in their own individual ways.Kameron Landeen, an agriscience and environmental systems major at UGA, is planning on participating in the CAES Food Production, Culture and the Environment May session program in Spain.“This scholarship is helping me build my experiences outside of a traditional classroom that will prepare me as a future 4-H agent,” Landeen said. “With a constantly evolving world, we need to learn how to see from a different point of view, and the Ratcliffe Scholarship is allowing me to do that by studying abroad and working with a community to benefit others.”Justin Stevenson wants to use his studies in environmental economics and management to help build a greener and more sustainable food system. He will use his Ratcliffe Scholarship to spend a semester in Zurich, Switzerland, studying sustainability.“My spring 2020 study abroad to Zurich, Switzerland, will allow me to specialize my passions through specialized environmental education and bring knowledge of green cities and infrastructures back to America for widespread adoption and development,” Stevenson said.While his academic program has prepared him in a more general sense, he hopes his time in Switzerland will give him a specific goal to pursue.Sarah Yount, a third-year entomology major, will use her scholarship to intern in Washington, D.C., during the spring semester.“Participating in this program will allow me to get real-world experience at the Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit Lab and the Smithsonian Institute Museum of Natural History, both of which are organizations I hope to work for when I graduate from the University of Georgia,” Yount said. “Without this award, the entire opportunity would not be possible.”While in D.C., Yount will dive into subjects such as DNA genetic testing of mosquitoes and identifying scorpions that are not only pests, but dangerous to our military. She hopes that this program will lead to a job with the Department of Defense or the Smithsonian Institution.Justin Peterman, a horticulture major minoring in Spanish, originally wanted to focus his project around improving his Spanish, but found an opportunity to enhance both of his fields of study at a botanical garden in Chiapas, Mexico.“As my interest in horticulture, and life for that matter, seem more and more to be pushing me towards Latin America, the Ratcliffe Scholarship has arisen as a very fortunate catalyst to helping me get started in this endeavor,” Peterman said. “The Ratcliffe Scholarship has provided me an opportunity — the chance to move into a new area to pursue fully an interest of mine.”His project will focus on the “collection and upkeep of plant species within a biodiversity hot spot in an attempt to accurately represent the biodiversity of the region.” He plans on staying in Mexico after the 12-week program is over to continue volunteering in the garden.For more information about experiential learning programs available through CAES, visit caes.uga.edu/students/experiential-learning.
In 2009 alone, Dartmouth-Hitchcock absorbed Medicaid losses of more than $57 million in New Hampshire and almost $30 million in Vermont. Over the past six months, a steadily increasing gap between expenses and revenues led to a significant shortfall in Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Fiscal Year 2010operating budget. Dartmouth-Hitchcock is a national leader in evidence-based and patient-centered health care. The system includes hundreds of physicians, specialists, and other providers who work together at different locations to meet the health care needs of patients in northern New England. In addition to primary care services at local community practices, Dartmouth-Hitchcock patients have access to specialists in almost every area of medicine, as well as world-class research at Dartmouth Medical School and centers such as the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice (TDI).Dartmouth-Hitchcock includes: Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, New Hampshire’s internationally known and nationally ranked academic medical center The Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic, a network of more than 900 primary and specialty care physicians located throughout New Hampshire and Vermont, with major community group practices in Lebanon, Concord, Manchester, Nashua and Keene. Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD), New Hampshire’s only children’s hospital Norris Cotton Cancer Center, one of only 40 National Cancer Institute designated comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. In addition, Dartmouth-Hitchcock will continue to aggressively identify cost-savings in non-personnel expenses, including such areas as supply management, travel, and purchased services.’These decisions have been difficult to make but they were guided by our mission and vision and the principles of fairness and equity,’ wrote Formella and Weinstein. ‘Above all, our decisions have been directed by our commitment to the patients and families who define our reason for being here.’ To help employees with these higher costs, health insurance contributions will vary by salary levels: those who earn less will pay less for comparable premiums while those who earn more will support more of the cost-sharing. The base defined benefit and defined contribution plan will remain the same, and shall continue to be funded. For those who participate in the matching program, effective January 1st , Dartmouth-Hitchcock contributions will no longer be automatically deposited each pay period. Source: DARTMOUTH-HITCHCOCK. 9.13.2010 The shortfall in Fiscal Year 2010 placed additional pressure on the starting point for Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Fiscal Year 2011 budget which, if left unchecked, would have resulted in a $50 million gap between revenues and expenses. The specific steps in the budget plan were outlined by Formella and Weinstein in their message to employees, and include: a 2% average salary increase, based on performance, effective January 1, 2011. Other board actions The Dartmouth-Hitchcock Boards of Trustees have approved a Fiscal Year 2011 budget, intended to close a projected $50 million budget gap, which includes reducing 4 percent of the workforce and cutting its health insurance share, while maintaining the organization’s goals of high-quality, high-value, patient-centered healthcare. In addition to the approval of the Fiscal Year 2011 budget, the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Boards also: Reaffirmed their commitment to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health, which will allow Dartmouth-Hitchcock to strategically partner with other health care providers in the region to achieve growth and greater efficiency through collaboration, and not costly and redundant competition. This collaborative approach will mean greater value for the health care consumer, making care better, safer, and more efficient through the integration of services across the full cycle of care. Voiced continuing support for ‘eD-H,’ the April, 2011, launch of Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s organization-wide clinical information system, also known as the electronic health record (EHR). The eD-H implementation will meet the federal mandate for the EHR three years ahead of the2014 deadline, and will connect virtually every key clinical function in the organization, helping to deliver better, safer, more coordinated and more efficient care. The Fiscal Year 2011 budget reflects the changing health care, demographic, and economic environment, as well as Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s continuing evolution as a model of delivering high-quality, value-based patient care at lower cost. The plan was informed by Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s comprehensive patient-centered and academically-based mission and vision, and supported by clearly defined strategic goals and imperatives that serve as Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s guide for advancing the health of the region and the nation.‘As we address longer’term plans, we face immediate issues,’ wrote Dartmouth-Hitchcock Co-Presidents Nancy A. Formella, MSN, RN, and Dr. James N. Weinstein, in a Sept. 13 message to all Dartmouth-Hitchcock employees. ‘Our challenges, like those of other health care organizations across the United States, are real. We have been hit hard by the recession, reduced payments, and increasing need for our services.’ ‘Dartmouth-Hitchcock is as well-positioned as any academic health system in the nation to excel in the years ahead,’ said Hospital Board of Trustees Chair Jennie L. Norman. ‘We have the strategic blueprint in place to guide us. Yes, we have some very real challenges to overcome in the near term, but our future is bright, and we are confident our organization and people are up to this test.’ The Boards of Trustees may approve an annual contribution to the matching program for above-budget performance. There will be no changes or reductions to the Earned Time or vacation program for current employees of Dartmouth-Hitchcock. Employees hired after January 1, 2011, will be offered a lesser amount of paid time off. There will be no change to the coverage of the health insurance plans offered, nor will there be any changes in short- and long-term disability or life insurance benefits. ‘Dartmouth-Hitchcock employees have been taking care of the people of northern New England for generations, and we are deeply committed to the public trust we hold,’ wrote Formella and Weinstein. ‘We feel extremely fortunate to be working with individuals who demonstrate every day, the care, commitment, and continuing excellence that makes our future so bright. Together we face some very real challenges, but we are confident we ‘ all of us ‘ are up to the test. At its regular quarterly meeting Sept. 2-3, the Trustees also reaffirmed Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s commitment to several major projects, including the ‘eD-H’ electronic health records project and the ongoing development of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health, an integrated health system that will coordinate resources, expand access to the specialized services and research available at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and enhance the quality of care in communities throughout New Hampshire and eastern Vermont. Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s presidents, officers, vice presidents, department chairs, and center directors will receive no salary increase. A reduction in the size of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock workforce of 300 full-time equivalent positions. The reduction, over the next 12 months, will be accomplished through elimination of targeted vacancies, attrition, and redesigning work, with layoffs as a last resort. The reductions will come from across the Dartmouth-Hitchcock system. A change in the portion of health insurance paid by employees. Dartmouth-Hitchcock will pay approximately 80% of employees’ health insurance costs, bringing Dartmouth-Hitchcock in line with cost sharing at other hospitals and health systems.