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[afro-nets] Supercourse Newsletter, January 17, 2004

Supercourse Newsletter, January 17, 2004
Dear Friends:
Collecting data is only the fist step to Wisdom.
Sharing data is building community. (IBM on Linux)...
The new IBM commercials have wonderful quotes relate to both 
Linux... and to us:
We have built the Supercourse community.
We now need your help. We are pushing forward very rapidly with 
"Lectures on Demand". With the Supercourse we have been very 
successful in collecting lectures, sharing the lectures and 
building community. The final set of this effort is to translat-
ing the information to the end users, the teachers. Our commu-
nity is one of the few who are thinking about how best to trans-
late prevention information from world leaders speedily into the 
classrooms of the world. The problem is that translation to the 
classroom is very slow, and poor. The research that we do now is 
seen in classrooms in 5 -7 years if at all. What little informa-
tion about prevention that is seen comes from Newspapers, or 
Our Just-in-Time lectures is a way to speed good science into 
the classroom. We have done 2 lectures already, one on airline 
safety after an air crash, the second on SARS which was pub-
lished in the Lancet.
We now have two outstanding lectures one Mad Cow Disease and the 
second on the Bam Earthquake. These can be seen at They are being continually updated 
as events unfold.
With your help and others we are planning to make these lectures 
known to the schools of the world. At the end we have a short 
paragraph describing these, and we would like it if you could 
distribute this to your colleagues at your university. Also, 
please distribute this to teachers in K-12 grades.
We are trying an exciting new route. A friend of ours is Kevin 
Maney a reporter of the USAToday. He got us in touch with Joyce 
Winterton, the head of education at USAToday. This Newspaper is 
the leading source of information for educators in the US. My-
self and Eric Noji, M.D. one of the world?s leading disaster ex-
perts will be meeting with the people at USAToday. Our idea is 
simple, for every article on Mad Cow and Earthquakes there will 
be an "educator?s" link to our lectures on demand. After we talk 
with them, it would be wonderful if we could do this world wide 
as it would markedly help education in the US, as well as world 
wide. We would appreciate any of your thoughts.
Brief Paragraph to be distributed:
Educators: Lectures on Demand in the Supercourse 
Prevention is critical for the health of our local communities, 
our nation and the world. It is very important to teach our stu-
dents about prevention. However, the lecture materials that are 
available world wide are often out date. Our group represents 
over 14,000 scientists in prevention working at thousands of ma-
jor universities across the world. We have created a system 
called Just-In-Time lectures. These lectures are produced by 
leading experts within days after an event and are continuously 
updated. The two latest lectures that are available to you are 
Mad Cow Disease and the Bam Earthquake. This process of transla-
tion from the leading scientists to the classroom was initially 
funded by NASA and now through the National Library of Medicine 
in the US. The lectures are in PowerPoint format and available 
for free. Please use these lectures in your teaching. In addi-
tion, please distribute these to schools and list servers so 
everyone can become familiar with the concept and begin to use 
these. If there are any questions, please write to Ron LaPorte, 
Ph.D., Director Disease Monitoring and Telecommunications, WHO 
Collaborating Center, Professor of Epidemiology, University of 
Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA USA (
It is time to populate the schools with "Prevention on demand"
The future is you.
The future is open. (IBM Linux)
The Supercourse program also believes that the future is an open 
source system of sharing.
Lecture of the Week: 
50 YEARS: As heard in the corridors of medical schools world 
wide: Epidemiology is really, really, really boring?Who can un-
derstand this odds ratio junk, why do I need this to cure? Our 
mission in the Supercourse is the prevention of ?epidemiologic 
dullness?. Paul?s lecture is a one way to reduce the incidence 
of ?epi- monotony?. His lecture provides an overview of diabetes 
epidemiology, where it gets exciting is diabetes epidemiology 
ala Zimmet. It is a very personal view of how he got into this, 
how he became the world famous diabetes Island epidemiologist, 
and how he sees the field changing around him. One is captivated 
seeing the lecture about his evolution and seeing the field 
evolve from less than 5 people struggling to a vibrant field of 
over 1,000 researchers world wide. Paul presents what many of us 
have felt in building a project and building a field, the cama-
raderie of youth, the push to make people see, the passion and 
the fun of prevention. 
Paul?s is a wonderful example, and we want more lectures like 
this to be a vaccine against ?epi-monotony?. Many of the leading 
epidemiological and statistical experts who started major stud-
ies (Blackburn, Kuller, Keen, Tuomilehto, Bennett, LaPorte) are 
over 50 and shall we euphemistically say, are on the downward 
trajectory of the life table of epidemiologic life and could be 
censored at any moment. Wouldn?t it be great for future genera-
tions of young students if Henry Blackburn could provide his 
personal history, or, Julio Frenk, Ralph Paffenbarger, Richard 
Doll, or Elizabeth Barrett-Connor? Paul?s work is a wonderful 
example of showing how exciting epidemiology is, and what one 
can do if willing to take a chance, and are curious. Paul?s lec-
ture is a gift to future generations, other leaders of epidemi-
ology should consider this also. Please e-mail to us at 
<> if you want to take part in a lecture se-
ries of ?why I love prevention? with the goal of getting people 
interested in what we love.
Fun stuff... I will tell you about the meetings in Washington.
Linux is everywhere
(So is the Supercourse)
Please help push the JIT concept, distribute information to edu-
cators, and suggest how we can do it better... Sharing is the KEY.
Best regards from Pittsburgh:
Ron, Mita, Sony, Faina, Akira, Soni, Eugene, Abed, Rania, Wendy, 
Denish, USAToday, Julia, the Surgeon General.

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