CHIP Affiliates in the Spotlight

Several CHIP Affiliates have recently been featured in the news and other media. We are proud to share the following appearances:

CHIP Affiliate Cheryl Oncken was interviewed in an NPR Morning Edition piece on November 25, 2013, titled, “In Pregnancy, What’s Worse? Cigarettes or the Nicotine Patch?” An excerpt from the piece:

In her own research, Oncken has found that nicotine gum does help. “It helped women reduce their smoking but not actually quit,” she says. The study also showed that women who used nicotine gum had lower overall exposure to nicotine and had babies who weighed more.

And nicotine isn’t the only toxin in cigarette smoke that can affect brain development, Oncken says. There’s also a lot of carbon monoxide, which has been shown to damage fetal brain cells. “And there are other things that could be neurotoxic,” she says, “such as lead, there’s arsenic, there’s a lot of bad things in cigarettes.”

CHIP PI Seth Kalichman was featured in a UConn Today article on December 6, 2013, titled “HIV/AIDS Prevalence and Prospects,” in recognition of World AIDS Awareness Month. An excerpted quote from Dr. Kalichman:

There’s a real possibility that in the not too distant future we will look at HIV/AIDS in much the same way we look at diabetes and other chronic diseases that can be largely controlled by making certain lifestyle changes and taking appropriate medication.

One of Dr. Kalichman’s advisees and a CHIP Graduate Student Affiliate, Jennifer Pellowski, was featured on, a website that brings scientific research to the public. In the feature titled “A Pandemic of The Poor: Social Disadvantage and the U.S. HIV Epidemic,” Jennifer discusses health disparities, focusing on HIV. An excerpt:

Like many other diseases, HIV burden is greatest among the poorest people of our nation. In addition to low socioeconomic status, racial minorities and sexual orientation minorities are also disproportionately impacted by the HIV epidemic. Our review shows that in addition to being more likely to contract HIV, these groups also have differential outcomes among those living with HIV. For example, African Americans are less likely to receive standard HIV care and Latinos are more likely to experience delays in starting medical care after contracting HIV. These disparities impact quality of life as well as mortality rates. What is unique about this paper is that it pulls together all of the literature on health disparities within the HIV epidemic showing just how prevalent and far reaching these disparities are.

CHIP Research Staff Tim Gifford was featured in an Innovation Spotlight  piece on the UConn Technology Park website for his research on how robots can help children with autism learn and communicate.  Excerpted from A Story of Robots and Autism“:

Timothy Gifford – who is the CEO of Movia Robotics as well as the director of the Advanced Interactive Technology Center at UConn’s Center for Health, Intervention, and Prevention (CHIP) – sees the work as having potential to cross over into the marketplace.

“That’s really the goal: to take this out of the lab and into the classroom,” he says. “One of the reasons we wanted to make this a commercially available product is to get it into the hands of as many schools and students as possible.”