KU News: CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta to receive William Allen White Foundation National Citation

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CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta to receive William Allen White Foundation National Citation
LAWRENCE — Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who has won multiple Emmy awards as chief medical correspondent for CNN and host of the CNN podcast “Chasing Life,” has been selected to receive the 2022 William Allen White Foundation National Citation. The award, which recognizes individuals for outstanding journalistic service, comes from a vote of the trustees of the William Allen White Foundation, which is named in honor of White. Gupta will accept the award in person on William Allen White Day, which is April 21 on the KU Lawrence campus.

Use of ‘China bashing’ rhetoric reveals partisan divide, study finds
LAWRENCE — In the United States, China is increasingly targeted as the scapegoat for any problem involving the economy. But one of the nation’s political parties has embraced the anti-China rhetoric to a much greater degree, according to new research co-written by a University of Kansas professor. “The partisan divide in U.S. congressional communications after the China shock,” written by Jack Zhang, KU assistant professor of political science, examines the partisan difference in congressional communication strategies that concern China and trade-related issues.

KU, KU Medical Center faculty named recipients of Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Achievement Awards
LAWRENCE — Four University of Kansas faculty members on the Lawrence and Medical Center campuses are this year’s recipients of the Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Achievement Awards, the state higher education system’s most prestigious recognition for scholarly excellence. They are John Kelly, professor of ecology & evolutionary biology; Beth Bailey, Foundation Distinguished Professor, history; Steven Soper, Foundation Distinguished Professor, chemistry, mechanical engineering and bioengineering; and Dr. Russell Swerdlow, professor of neurology.

Author argues for urgency of addressing race in school, society
LAWRENCE — Dorothy Hines, associate professor of curriculum & teaching and of African & African-American studies at the University of Kansas, is all about challenging notions that limit what marginalized students can achieve. Throughout a new book she co-wrote and co-edited, “Racism by Another Name,” she spells the word “dis/abilities” to capture the effects of such constraints on Black children in public schools.

Full stories below.

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Contact: Julie Adam, School of Journalism, 785-864-7644, [email protected], @KUJournalism
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta to receive William Allen White Foundation National Citation

LAWRENCE — Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who has won multiple Emmy awards as chief medical correspondent for CNN and host of the CNN podcast “Chasing Life,” has been selected to receive the 2022 William Allen White Foundation National Citation. The award, which recognizes individuals for outstanding journalistic service, comes from a vote of the trustees of the William Allen White Foundation, which is named in honor of White.

Gupta, a practicing neurosurgeon, plays an integral role in CNN’s reporting on health and medical news and regularly contributes to CNN.com. He will accept the award in person on William Allen White Day, which is April 21 on the KU Lawrence campus.

“The William Allen White Foundation Board of Trustees continues their tradition of selecting a journalist who is making an impact on the profession,” said Ann Brill, dean of the William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications. “In Dr. Gupta’s case, that impact extends to the entire world. His reporting ranges from his work on CNN and CBS, numerous medical journal articles, to books, AARP magazine and his medical practice as a neurosurgeon. We are pleased to award the National Citation to Dr. Gupta.”

Since 2001, Gupta has covered some of the major health stories nationally and globally. A few months after joining CNN, Gupta reported from New York after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. That fall, he broke several stories regarding the anthrax attacks. In 2003, he embedded with the U.S. Navy’s “Devil Docs” medical unit in Iraq and Kuwait. In 2005, Gupta contributed to CNN’s Peabody Award-winning coverage of Hurricane Katrina. He won a News & Documentary Emmy for Outstanding Feature Story in 2006 for his “Charity Hospital” coverage for Anderson Cooper 360°. In 2009, Gupta embedded with the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne, accompanying them on life-saving rescue missions in Afghanistan. In 2010, he reported on the devastating earthquake in Haiti, for which he was awarded two Emmys. He also contributed to the network’s 2010 Peabody Award-winning coverage of the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2018, Gupta co-hosted “Finding Hope: Battling America’s Suicide Crisis,” for which he won another Emmy.

Over the last few years, Gupta has focused on long-form reporting. He is the host of the CNN Original Series “Chasing Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta,” which follows Gupta’s travels around the world in search of the secret to living longer, healthier and happier. Gupta also stars in the HBO Original Documentary “One Nation Under Stress,” which examines why life expectancy is declining in the United States. His enterprise reporting on medical marijuana has led to five documentary films, “Weed,” for which he received the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award.

He is the author of four New York Times best-selling books, “Chasing Life” (2007), “Cheating Death” (2009), “Monday Mornings” (2012) and “Keep Sharp: Building a Better Brain” (2020). His fifth book, “World War C: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic and How to Prepare for the Next One,” was published in 2021.

Gupta is an associate professor of neurosurgery at Emory University Hospital and associate chief of neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. He serves as a diplomate of the American Board of Neurosurgery. In 2019, Gupta was elected to the National Academy of Medicine, considered one of the highest honors in the medical field.

Other notable recipients of the William Allen White Foundation National Citation include Martin Baron, Sally Buzbee, Cokie Roberts, Leonard Pitts Jr., Paul Steiger, Gerald Seib, Candy Crowley, Seymour Hersh, John Carroll, Walter Cronkite, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Helen Thomas, Charles Kuralt, Bernard Shaw, Bob Woodward, Molly Ivins, Gordon Parks, Bob Dotson and Frank Deford. A complete list of recipients is at www.journalism.ku.edu.

The William Allen White Foundation was founded in 1945, one year after the Kansas Board of Regents established the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications at KU. The William Allen White Foundation has been recognizing outstanding journalists since 1950.

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Contact: Jon Niccum, KU News Service, 785-864-7633, [email protected]
Use of ‘China bashing’ rhetoric reveals partisan divide, study finds

LAWRENCE — In the United States, China is increasingly targeted as the scapegoat for any problem involving the economy. But one of the nation’s political parties has embraced the rhetoric of China-bashing to a much greater degree, according to new research co-written by a University of Kansas professor.

“The partisan divide in U.S. congressional communications after the China shock,” written by Jack Zhang, KU assistant professor of political science, examines the partisan difference in congressional communication strategies that concern China and trade-related issues. It reveals that even though Chinese import competition impacted both major political parties’ districts, only Republican politicians responded by increasing their anti-China rhetoric. Conversely, there was no difference between Republican and Democratic messaging on general trade issues.

The article appears in Economics & Politics.

“The Republican Party initially favored freer trade with China, and Republican votes were crucial in granting China permanent normal trade relations in 2000,” said Zhang, who co-wrote the piece with John Kuk of Washington University in St. Louis and Deborah Seligsohn of University of California, San Diego.

But the impact of the “China shock” started to change that. Zhang and his team applied structural topic modeling to measure changes in lawmakers’ communication strategy. What they found is that Republicans representing high-trade-shock districts sent out press releases with more negative statements on China but kept up their support for continued trade liberalization. Republican lawmakers from districts that saw less impact from import competition did not talk much about China, and their statements were not systematically negative when they did.

“China shock” is the term given to the rise in U.S. manufacturing layoffs in the decade after China’s entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001 due to increased competition. This China shock has slowly given rise to China bashing.

“China bashing is a pretty bipartisan sentiment,” Zhang said.

“What differentiated Republican legislators compared to their Democrat peers is that they faced cross-cutting pressures to support trade liberalization – and oppose trade remedies — so they had to put more emphasis on China’s ‘bad behavior’ to explain the trade shock.”

The professor noted there are examples of Chinese policies and firms that violated WTO commitments, yet the same is true for Canada or Mexico. However, trade with these countries is not treated as an issue of national security or an ideological contest like it is with China.

“Some of this comes down to how leaders chose to communicate with their constituents about the way the global economy works and how some chose to take the low road of scapegoating China rather than the high road of rebuilding American competitiveness,” he said.

Zhang said he believed the roots of the trade war and the success of China bashing as a political tactic predated the election of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

“The anti-trade, anti-China stuff was alien to the pro-business Republican leadership in D.C. but familiar stuff to the voters, particularly in Rust Belt states,” he said. “This shift in grassroots Republican rhetoric paved the way for Trump’s national China-bashing campaign and helps explain why it resonated with voters.”

From a business perspective, is economic nationalism ever justified?

“With globalization, markets became global, but politics have remained local,” Zhang said. “Economic nationalism is a siren song. It resonates with our sense of politics: more jobs and exports for our own people, even if that means less for other people. Sounds appealing, right? But history reveals that protectionism often leads to a race to the bottom. Tariffs beget retaliatory tariffs, and the result isn’t necessarily more for one’s own people but less for both peoples.”

Zhang has been at KU since 2019 and is the founder and director of the KU Trade War Lab. His research explores the political economy of trade and conflict in East Asia with a focus on explaining why interdependent countries use military versus economic coercion in foreign policy disputes.

“Things are probably going to get worse before they get better,” Zhang said of the relationship between the two superpowers.

“The U.S. and China are economically interdependent to an unprecedented degree, and that makes China a very different challenge than the Soviet Union. As a result, policy measures designed to hurt China also create collateral damage for American businesses and consumers that are linked to China by supply chains and vice versa. But until the pain from this collateral damage grows urgent enough to change the national conversation, the decoupling bandwagon will keep on rolling for a bit longer.”

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Contact: Rylie Koester, Office of Research, 785-864-0375, [email protected], @ResearchAtKU
KU, KU Medical Center faculty named recipients of Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Achievement Awards

LAWRENCE — Four University of Kansas faculty members on the Lawrence and Medical Center campuses are this year’s recipients of the Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Achievement Awards, the state higher education system’s most prestigious recognition for scholarly excellence.

The annual awards are given in four categories of scholarly and creative achievement. This year’s honorees:

1. John Kelly, professor of ecology & evolutionary biology, recipient of the Olin Petefish Award in Basic Sciences
2. Beth Bailey, Foundation Distinguished Professor, history, recipient of the Balfour Jeffrey Award in Humanities & Social Sciences
3. Steven Soper, Foundation Distinguished Professor, chemistry, mechanical engineering and bioengineering, recipient of the Irvin Youngberg Award in Applied Sciences
4. Dr. Russell Swerdlow, professor of neurology, recipient of the Dolph Simons Award in Biomedical Sciences.

The four will be recognized at a ceremony this spring along with recipients of other major KU research awards.

This is the 40th annual presentation of the Higuchi awards, established in 1981 by Takeru Higuchi, a distinguished professor at KU from 1967 to 1983, and his wife, Aya. The awards recognize exceptional long-term research accomplishments by faculty at Kansas Board of Regents universities. Each honoree receives $10,000 for their ongoing research.

The awards are named for former leaders of KU Endowment who helped recruit Higuchi to KU.

More about this year’s winners:

Olin Petefish Award in Basic Sciences

John Kelly is a professor of ecology & evolutionary biology who has made contributions to the fields of evolutionary biology, genetics and botany. He is considered an international leader in evolutionary genetics research, exploring how organisms adapt to their environment. The impact of his research extends to agricultural selective breeding, understanding organismal adaption to climate change and human genetics. He also has been on the forefront of developing computational genome sequencing methods to address biological questions.

Kelly and his collaborators have received more than $6 million in external funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and other institutions. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and served as secretary for the Society for the Study of Evolution. He earned his doctorate in ecology and evolution from the University of Chicago.

Balfour Jeffrey Award in Humanities & Social Sciences

Beth Bailey, Foundation Distinguished Professor and member of the Department of History, is an internationally renowned historian of the United States military, war and society, and the history of gender and sexuality. She is the founding director of KU’s Center for Military, War, and Society Studies, which brings together scholars, military leaders, government officials and students to discuss issues relevant to the military, war and more.

In the past year, she has received an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship and was named one of 24 National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholars for her research on race and the U.S. Army. She was elected to the Society of American Historians in 2017, and the secretary of the Army appointed her to the Department of the Army’s Historical Advisory Committee.

Bailey’s vast publication record includes journal articles, book chapters and books on a variety of subjects, including the history of gender and sexuality, U.S. military history and social history. She holds a doctorate and master’s degree in American history from the University of Chicago.

Irvin Youngberg Award in Applied Sciences

Steven Soper is a Foundation Distinguished Professor of chemistry, mechanical engineering and bioengineering as well as an adjust professor of cancer biology and member of The University of Kansas Cancer Center. A world leader in bioanalytical chemistry, he researches biological macromolecules — including DNA, RNA and proteins — to develop new tools for medical diagnostics and discovery.

Soper directs the NIH-funded and multi-institutional Center of BioModular Multi-Scale Systems for Precision Medicine based at KU. The center coalesces scientists, clinicians and biomedical engineers to design, manufacture and deliver biomedical tools for detecting and managing disease. For example, the center developed an at-home rapid COVID-19 test that is now going to market.

Soper has founded two companies, BioFluidica and Sunflower Genomics, to translate his research into commercial products. He received a doctorate in bioanalytical chemistry from KU.

Dolph Simons Award in Biomedical Sciences 

Dr. Russell Swerdlow is a professor in the Department of Neurology at KU Medical Center, with secondary appointments in molecular & integrative physiology and biochemistry & molecular biology. Swerdlow directs KU’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, and his contributions have helped make KU a world leader in Alzheimer’s care and research.

His work has defined a role for mitochondrial dysfunction in late-onset neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s. He proposed a hypothesis for the cause of the disease, the “sporadic Alzheimer’s disease mitochondrial cascade hypothesis,” which has steadily gained traction for over a decade. His research also has identified potential therapeutics for the disease.

Swerdlow received his doctor of medicine from New York University.

The award funds are managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

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Contact: Rick Hellman, KU News Service, 785-864-8852, [email protected], @RickHellman
Author argues for urgency of addressing race in school, society
LAWRENCE – In the new book she co-edited and co-wrote, “Racism by Another Name” (Information Age Publishing, 2021), Dorothy Hines contends that race has been the American public schools’ most profound legacy because it is one of society’s deepest fears.

“From Ahmaud Arbery, who was murdered February 2020 in Georgia for jogging while Black, to Breonna Taylor, who was killed by police in March 2020 in Kentucky, Black people and especially Black children are seeing individuals who look like them being gunned down on national television,” Hines said. “But what happens to Black students with disabilities whose experiences often are not captured on the national news or via cell phone footage?”

Hines, associate professor of curriculum & teaching and of African & African-American studies at the University of Kansas, is all about challenging notions that limit what marginalized students can achieve. Throughout the new book, subtitled “Black Students, Overrepresentation and the Carceral State of Special Education,” she spells the word “dis/abilities” to capture the effects of such constraints on Black children in public schools.

She and her co-authors, professors Mildred Boveda of Penn State University and Endia Lindo of Texas Christian University, not only analyze the history of racial inequality for Black students with disabilities, but they detail how Black parents, guardians and caregivers today are fighting for the rights of their children.

“Education is not linear,” Hines said. “It is messy. It is full of power, privilege and inequality. For Black children with and without ‘dis/abilities,’ they often are not placed at the forefront of discussions on educational reform. Instead, they are viewed as an afterthought — if thought about at all.

“When we label people as having a disability, too often we forget that they are still able and capable to do things. So we slash the term to challenge these traditional ways of thinking about what ‘dis/ability’ means.

“But it doesn’t stop there. Slashing terms is not enough. Our racial identity also intersects with gender and shapes how we navigate the world. We see that Black girls are often silenced when it comes to their education.”

In its most extreme form, said Hines, “hyper-discipline” and “hyper-surveillance” of Black children leads to what many critics call the school-to-prison pipeline. As Hines wrote, educators’ presumptions about Black children all too often default to punishment.

“You don’t always have to look like me, but you need to understand that experience,” the author said. “If that is nonexistent, how will that play into how I experience school?”

The chapter that Hines co-wrote is titled “A Pattern of Practice: Federal Law and the Carceral State of Special Education for Black Girls.” She likened the various attempts at educational reform by the federal government, from the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision to former President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind, to trying to scratch an itch that cannot be reached.

“We’re doing all this itching, but we’re not getting to the core problem, which has to always deal with race, culture and the history of American public schools,” Hines said. “And the history has told us that Black girls have never been allowed nor given the opportunity to be themselves in their full capacity, who they really are, and to operate in that space while in school.

“It’s not just about Ruby Bridges, the first Black child to racially desegregate an elementary school in 1960 in Louisiana. It’s about how, historically, Black girls have been denied the right to a just and equitable education, and how, in many cases, they still are. That is the prime thing we talk about in that particular chapter.

“It’s an 800-pound gorilla. We all see it. Some may not want to, but it’s there. Racism cannot be cured with a Band-Aid. We have to treat the underlying problem that is causing the itch before it spreads across the entire body.”

Hines said she believed it starts with us but that we must also change systems. It does no good, she said, to ask individuals to change without altering the systems that allow their actions to happen in the first place.

“It’s like the late congressmen from Georgia, John Lewis, said about getting into good trouble,” Hines said. “Not all trouble is good. But there are some types of resistance that are necessary for change — that can really lead to good outcomes. It’s the person who says women’s rights are human rights. It’s the person who says my child does deserve to be in gifted classes. It’s the mother, father or guardian who says my child has a ‘dis/ability,’ but they are still capable of living out their dreams. They speak up to counter the dominant narrative while seeking change.”

The book ends with Hines and her co-editors citing the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s invocation of “the fierce urgency of now.”

“No more lingo,” Hines said. “No more broken and failed promises. Now is the time for real change and not just words. Now is the time to not just think differently but do things differently — not just in schools or higher education, but also in the larger society.”

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