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October 1, 2018

Report on Women’s Health Institute Lecture, “Female Athlete and Concussion” AND My Observations on The Birthing of Medical Research. Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) October 1, 2018 by Calvin Schwartz

Report on Women’s Health Institute Lecture, “Female Athlete and Concussion” AND My Observations on The Birthing of Medical Research. Robert Wood Johnson University  Hospital (RWJUH)  October 1, 2018  by Calvin Schwartz  



Lecture attendees at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital 9-26-18







John Gantner, CEO RWJUH, Katherine Holmes, researcher, Olympic fencer, Dr. Annegret Dettwiler, Princeton University, & Dr Gloria Bachmann, Director Womens Health Institute

What motivated this reporter to want to attend a clinical lecture (Wednesday September 26th 2018) on concussions in the clinical setting of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH)? A plethora of inducements. A month ago, I was appointed to the Advisory Committee of the Women’s Health Institute at Rutgers RWJ (a long story) so I need to expand horizons, grasps, cerebral focus. I love college sports, both genders, and my alma mater, Rutgers, but I worry about athletes, concussions and long-term health concerns. Today there is a significant reduction in youth playing football; worries of health concerns, concussions. High schools are giving up football for lack of interest. Beginnings of grass roots disinterest?  Then, there was the researcher, scientist, recent Princeton neuro-science graduate, AND Olympic Athlete (2016), TEAM USA Fencing Team, anticipating 2020 Olympics, Katherine Holmes, who was conducting the lecture along with her Princeton University mentor, Dr. Annegret Dettwiler.  Indeed, the best of all worlds for me to be there.





John Gantner & Katherine Holmes (pre lecture) sword/fencing demonstration


Fencing equipment

I took ten pages of notes. I’m not about to plunge into the world of neuro-science, the female athlete and concussion and why females respond differently (less severity, a built-in protection?) to concussion. Perhaps hormonal and I’ll leave it at that.

Cut to the beginning when Katherine Holmes talked fencing with John Gantner, President and Chief Executive Officer of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) in New Brunswick. Katherine (Kat) trains eight hours a day for the Olympics where fencing was one of the first sports to be included. Gantner asked if she had a sword with her. Moments later, a complete demonstration with equipment, including the helmet which is actually bullet proof. Kat competes in Eppe fencing, where you can hit the opponent anywhere on the body. Gantner delighted me, when he asked practical considerations like travelling on airplanes with equipment (swords). Things you don’t ponder.

The lecture was organized by Dr. Gloria Bachmann, Director of Women’s Health Institute and attended by a few dozen physicians, scientists, professors, Middlesex County Arts & History, Diversity and Inclusion Leader, Rutgers Targum reporter, and NJ Discover(me). The scope, depth, breadth of the research undertaken by Kat Holmes is overwhelming for me (with a six-year Rutgers Pharmacy education), but I hung in there, understanding the critical nature of concussions and impact on society, including all sports, our culture, sociology and general well-being.



Katherine lecturing


post lecture clinical research discussion Indeed the “Birth of a Research Project on Concussions”

Hours end, most physicians had patients, rounds and an operation. A small group with Dr. Bachmann, Katherine and Dr. Dettwiler and several pre-eminent physician/researchers re-convened to talk about advancing the concussion research that was presented. I hung around, fascinated, privileged, intrigued, inspired and hugely silent, just absorbing. The bright bulb (epiphany) went off. I was witnessing the ‘Birth of a Research Project on Concussions’. The scientists at this Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School could work together with Kat and Dr. Dettwiler.

For me this was all thrilling. To be at the beginning, a conception, implementation, practical applications; all aspects of rounding up the troops to undertake such integral research. Questions floated that I understood; subject pool, trauma registry, starting points, data available, queries, time frames, feasibility, prospective, data base. I loved listening to the input, construction, thought processes. The incredible minds and experience sitting at the table.  For me, at the end point, results down the road; a better understanding, treatment, prevention of concussions for women and men athletes, general populations. And way down the road, so I day dreamed a bit, when perhaps the NY Giants Football team beginning at training camp, in August,  would roll up their sleeves for some preventive medicine, so concussions would not be as relevant. Research is a wonderful thing.

Why I was there?  To dream, understand, to get out of the house, away from the TV and computer and absorb just a piece of the world. In summation, today, a three-letter word; WOW!


April 15, 2018

A Rutgers Journalistic Journey to Women Awareness Events: What 15 Days in a Life Can Teach. By Calvin Schwartz April 16, 2018

A Rutgers Journalistic Journey to Women Awareness Events: What 15 Days in a Life Can Teach.  By Calvin Schwartz  April 16, 2018












Panel discussion at Rutgers Hate Symposium



with with Houshang Parsa, Allison Antwi (Douglas Residential College) Prof Deborah Shuford, Calvin Schwartz, Jac Toporek, Dr. Felicia McGinty, Vice Chancellor Rutgers Student Affairs at Symposium

I’ve had the hardest time (for the past two days) coming up with a title for this article. Usually titles are instantaneous for me. I need to make sure the title is understood. I’ve been privileged, with a little help from synchronicity, to have been present at special women’s events, which have fired my cerebral process, moved me up on the learning curves of awareness, sensitivity and knowledge.

Indeed, what an amazing 15 days; gifted to have absorbed, observed and learned. Cut to Tuesday March 27 at the Rutgers Business School for “A Presidential Symposium-Fighting Hate While Preserving Freedom: A Best Practices Forum.” The list of speakers beyond accomplished, from Jeh Johnson, Former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Deborah Poritz, Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey, Ronald K. Chen, Co-Dean Rutgers Law School, Mohammad Ali Chaudry, Co-Founder and President, Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, Rabbi Francine Roston, Kalispell, Montana, Imam Khalid Latif, Islamic Center at New York University, etc.

I sat for eight hours, taking notes, listening intently, dreaming of a time in the world, when hate is gone. We need to realize that we together are all that there is  to save our species. We’re all brothers and sisters on this insignificant speck of a planet in the middle of a complicated fragile universe and earth time is rapidly running out, passing the climatological and social tipping point.

“Mother, what did I learn in school today!” My NOTES from the symposium:  No one is born to hate. Love is natural. You can kill an enemy but not defeat an enemy. There is strength in diversity. New Jersey is the most diverse state; Rutgers the most diverse public university. Those who forget history are condemned to relive it. (I love that line from philosopher George Santayana).  Best weapons against hate is students and young people. Interfaith partnerships can help prevent expressions of hate. Why an uptake in hate? Is it because a decrease in funding for mental health? The opposite of hate is not love, but indifference.

I could fill several pages with my notes. Last paragraph was a brief extraction. What interested and annoyed, were two student hecklers, yelling and screaming just in front of me. I’m not even sure what they were protesting. A Rutgers official went over to talk to them. They continued their outbursts. At lunch break, I asked why they were not thrown out. An official replied, “First Amendment; they have a right to hate, protest and yell.” To which I smiled, replied, “La-di-dah.”



Hillary with scheduling secretary Lona Valmoro & Eagleton moderator Ruth Mandel


part of the audience for Conversation with Hillary Clinton

A few days later, on Thursday March 29th Hillary Clinton came to speak at Rutgers Athletic Center. The demand for tickets forced the change in venue from the old barn gym to the RAC. I love journalism, being with NJ Discover and wearing my press pass, sitting in the press box with a perfect view of the almost sold-out crowd, including gym floor seating. What I did notice right away was the demographics; it would appear in an unscientific visual appraisal that 80% of the audience were young women.

Hillary Clinton was there to empower young people, women, to go out, register, vote and change things. This was not a political conversation but charge to young people of all persuasions to be involved, vote and work to make a better world. “We all need to be talking about where the country is going.” She mentioned the challenge to convince women to get involved despite how hard it is but so well worth it. If you are new to politics, it’s easy to get discouraged. Biggest challenge is to keep momentum, build coalitions, but all for naught if you don’t show up and vote. She got a resounding applause when she said, “Missing John McCain’s voice which stands up for democracy.”



from my vantage point in the Press box for Hillary Clinton

A bit of a redundant epiphany. When I captioned a picture that I took of the event, and placed it on social media, almost immediately, a woman harshly commented on Hillary Clinton and my being there. I never respond to comments or engage anyone on social media. Wasted energy. I know our political world is dramatically polarized along party lines. No earthly power is changing red to blue or vice versa. So, I broke my rule and commented on her comment. “I’m a journalist covering an event which fascinated sociologically.” To which she responded, “Oh!”

A few days later, on April 3rd, I attended ‘The Douglass Century Book Launch’ at Douglass College Student Center. “Douglass was founded in 1918 as the New Jersey College for Women with 54 students and 12 books in its library.”  Indeed, it has grown to 2600 undergraduate students and over 39,000 alumni. Three Rutgers faculty/professors collaborated on ‘The Douglass Century- Transformation of The Women’s College at Rutgers University,’ Kayo Denda, Mary Hawkesworth and Fernanda Perrone. The event consisted of an Author’s Panel and Alumni and Faculty Panel discussions.  What an absolutely wonderful book!




The Douglass Century


Douglass Panel Discussion

Some themes of the night were how important women’s education, the history of Douglass and the New Jersey College for Women; how in 1915, there was a door to door campaign for $1.00 to raise $100, 000 to establish the school; how the school was not born diverse, with no Catholics, Jews, African-Americans under founder Mabel Douglass; how in 1968, 4% of the students were of color; how arguments surfaced, with Harvard philosophers, on the inappropriateness of educating women because of lower marriage rates of college educated women-all arguments against educating women; how CAWP at Eagleton is the first research institution for women in politics; how in 2017, 67% of Douglass women are of color, 8 %  non-traditional age, 19% Latin, 23% Asian. What are challenges now? In 1930’s, there were 2000 Women’s Colleges; now there are 34.

In a panel with Maurice(Mo) Lee Jr. who came to Douglass in 1966 and retired in 1996, he mentioned Professor Genovese at Rutgers New Brunswick, welcoming the impending victory of North Vietnam and Rutgers President Mason Gross not firing him. I immediately thought back to the symposium on Hate, and the students yelling and protesting and not being thrown out. The same First Amendment issues; a fascinating tie-in to last week.

In 1965, I reminisced, that I had a date with a Douglass student. We were sitting downstairs in the lounge at Katzenbach dorm just past 10PM when a Rutgers police officer escorted me out. The curfew was 10 PM. I’d witnessed history and how far I’ve come.

At the conclusion, I waited in line for the authors to sign my copy of their book along with two hundred or so women at the lecture. Demographics were 90% women. While in line, a woman asked why I was here, to which I smiled, and said, “I’m a journalist covering, learning, experiencing, growing.” To which she said, “Oh.”



with actor Armand Assante at Garden State Film Festival for Artist Nation TV and NJ Discover






Watch how this next part of the story develops. Back on Friday, March 23rd. I attended the Garden State Film Festival Cocktail Party and Opening night Gala. Two hundred people in Convention Hall; many filmmakers, actors, actresses, media. I was covering the event for Artist Nation TV and NJ Discover. I always wear my Rutgers hat; my personal branding.  A woman approached and asked if I was a Rutgers professor because of my hat. I responded immediately, “I wish and dream about that.” The woman was Dr. Gloria Bachmann, MD.

Dr. Bachmann is the Interim Chair in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a Professor of Medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS), and the Obstetrics and Gynecology Service Chief at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Brunswick, New Jersey. Also, at RWJMS she is the Director of the Women’s Health Institute and the Associate Dean for Women’s Health. So, on Tuesday April 10th, I spent time at Dr. Bachmann’s Women’s Health Institute Meeting in New Brunswick with researchers and students. Again, in such short periods of interim time, my mind was expanded.



At the Women’s Health Institute with research team, students nd Dr Gloria Bachmann on Tuesday


with Dr Gloria Bachmann

I saw an animated film for children that they developed to explain, ever so gently, the topic of transgender. There were also discussions on female athletes (minimizing effects of injury), herbs and their mechanics, autism, One Health Initiative (Humans, Animals, Environment) cancer and aquariums. Of course, my passion in all of the above learning curves and observations is how much Rutgers is doing academically, clinically, sociologically and how NJ Discover’s platform can help tell their story, shout it out here in Central Jersey and beyond. On Monday April 16th I’ll be at a lecture on transgenders in the military. There are 1.4 million transgendered Americans.

It is a brave new synchronistic interconnected world. Best way to end this article, is who would have ever thought all this goes down in a couple of weeks of mind expansion.  The secret is to get off the sedentary sofa, explore and never stop. Wearing a hat helps too.

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