Faculty Affairs and Professional Development
Perelman School of Medicine
University of Pennsylvania
The Association of Senior and Emeritus Faculty of the Perelman School of Medicine (ASEF-PSOM) serves to
enhance the careers of the emeritus faculty by encouraging them to
remain a part of the community of scholars in the School of Medicine.
The Association also serves to support the senior faculty by raising
awareness of the full range of retirement options available to them,
whether they are planning to retire within two years or two decades.
2014-15 Letter from the President
The 2014-2015 ASEF-PSOM/PASEF Luncheon Talk Series
The noon seminar series held at the University Club is intended to bring emeriti and interested faculty together in order to keep retired faculty engaged with the university and informed about current research at Penn. ASEF-PSOM and PASEF organize these lectures jointly. The committee for 2014-15 consisted of Janice Bellace, Wharton, Howard Goldfine, PSOM, Lynn Hollen Lees, SAS, and Peter Wilding, PSOM.
September 23 - Dr. William W. Braham, Director of the Master of Environmental Building Design and the TC Chan Center for Building Simulation and Energy Studies at Penn, spoke on ever-evolving trends and changes in the field of environmentally directed architecture, and how these affect the performance of buildings, "Energy and Environmental Research at Penn Praxis and the TC Chan Center: Beyond Net Zero."
October 21 - Dr. Amita Sehgal, Director of the Chronobiology Program, and the John Herr Musser Professor of Neuroscience in PSOM, presented the lecture "Tick, Tock, Time to Wake Up" in which she described the functioning and rhythms of our circadian clocks.
November 13 - Dr. Brendan O'Leary, the Lauder Professor of Political Science at Penn, presented a timely topic, "The state of Kurdistan and the State of Kurdistan." His lecture provided an up-to-date review of the politics of contemporary Iraq, US foreign policy, and, most recently, of the attacks by the Islamic State in the Kurdistan region.
December 2 - Dr. Larry J. Kricka, Director of the General Chemistry and Critical Care Laboratories and Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in PSOM, presented "Making medical testing more accessible and more affordable,"which focused on the many types of tests and testing that can be performed away from the confines of a hospital. Due to the explosion of medical apps on phones and tablets, self-testing and monitoring devices are quickly creating unprecedented possibilities in medicine.
January 20 - Dr. Maja Bucan, Professor of Genetics in PSOM, presented "Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and their genetic basis." Her research covers genetic defects, which cause ASD, devastating disorders, which affect approximately 1:68 infants born in the United States each year. She presented her laboratory research and the key findings that assist in our understanding of autism spectrum disorders.
February 26 - Dr. Olivia S. Mitchell lectured on "Financial Literacy and Financial Decision-making." She discussed recent theoretical research that casts financial knowledge as a form of investment in human capital, presented findings from surveys that show how much or how little people know, and how financial literacy affects economic decision-making. Dr. Mitchell is Professor of Insurance/Risk Management and Business Economics, and Director of the Boettner Center on Pensions and Retirement Research, all at the Wharton School.
March 5 - Dr. Charles Nelson was to lecture on "Future Prospects for Hip and Knee Surgery in the 21st Century." The talk was postponed due to a snowstorm and will be rescheduled.
May 5 - Dr. Thomas Childers spoke about "The Best Years of Their Lives: The Greatest Generation's Troubled Homecoming from World War II." The Sheldon and Lucy Hackney Professor of History at Penn, Dr. Childers' research and teaching specialty is modern German history and World War II. A prodigious author, he is also quite well known for his legendary and distinguished teaching career spanning two decades.
An Enthusiastic Debut to ASEF-PSOM's New Series
On March 26th 2015, senior and emeritus faculty enjoyed a stimulating luncheon seminar "Skip the Checklist - Aim to Age Well" in the new ASEF-PSOM's program entitled "Healthy Aging." We were delighted to have as our speaker, Dr. Sara Hope Kagan, the Lucy Walker Honorary Term Professor of Gerontological Nursing and recipient of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur fellowship in the School of Nursing.
In her unique and non-traditional presentation using cartoons to emphasize individual points, Dr. Kagan addressed the positive aspects of what we are all asking. What do we make of the current societal discourse on healthy aging? Is healthy aging a useful metric for an aging society? Or for individual lives? She offered "Aging Well" (an alternate version to our title) as a response to fundamental flaws made in the assumptions of healthy aging, and proposed parameters. One of the assumptions she questioned was on the so-called "silver tsunami" that predicts an aging world the younger members of the population would need to support. She counters this concern as most of the baby boomer generation are delaying retirement and working till much later in life. She posited that a major challenge to aging well is our being bombarded with so-called scientific information of what is portrayed as "required" to stay healthy. This results in too much attention being paid to checklists of medicines to take, food to eat and activities to undertake in order to delay aging. Instead, she argues that there is no one way to age well and that it will vary from individual to individual. Although genetic backgrounds are a factor, we should not put too much store in the notion in having a genetic destiny that cannot be changed. While we have to accept our own mortality and prepare for it sensibly, there are many individual ways upon which we should focus to remain healthy and active. "It's not your age, it's your frailty"; we need to keep mentally active and physically active. Certainly, exercise is good for you but it is important to realize it can be accomplished in activities other than specific hours in a gym-health club. Moreover, we need to maintain social relationships and promote mental activity by becoming involved in new situations and undertaking new challenges.
There were many questions for Dr. Kagan and points of discussion, always the hallmark of hours well spent!
ASEF-PSOM February event held at the University of
Museum of Anthropology and Archeology
A group of Penn faculty and guests gathered at the University Museum on Feb. 19th for an afternoon program organized by ASEF-PSOM. We were first treated to a 90 minute lecture entitled "CSI: Ancient Egypt, Solving Deaths on the Nile" by Steven R. Phillips, Ph.D., an Emeritus Professor of Physical Anthropology and Curatorial Research Coordinator of the Museum's Egyptian Section. In this well-illustrated and fascinating presentation, Dr. Phillips introduced us to some basic principles of physical anthropology, demonstrating characteristics of the skull and bony skeleton that indicate the subject's likely gender, approximate age, and evidence of illness or trauma. These studies have been greatly advanced by radiological enhancements and are applicable in both archeological and forensic investigations. He briefly discussed the work at a Tennessee site, in which he had participated, where the decomposition patterns of human remains are examined using cadavers willed for scientific study. The second part of the talk was focused on Tutankhamun, the boy king whose tomb engendered such excitement when it was discovered by Howard Carter in 1922. A popular theory - as murders always are - advanced in the 70's was that young King Tut had been killed by a blow to the head. However, closer skeletal examination suggested the damage noted at the base of the skull was likely caused by recovery from the tomb. The most probable cause of death could be ascribed to several factors: first, he had suffered from malaria, second, he had congenital deformations in one foot and difficulty in walking (as attested to by 20+ walking sticks in the tomb), and third, there was evidence of an unhealed leg fracture which could have led to sepsis. Taken together, these observations point to death by a less surreptitious set of circumstances than criminologists had envisioned.
Following the lecture, a graduate student in the Egyptology program led us on a tour of some of the Egyptian
artifacts and provided historical and compelling background of the pieces. We also visited the laboratory where
specimens including mummies (found in the museum basement!) were being analyzed. At our final stop, we gathered at
the signature attraction of the museum collection, the 3,200 year-old massive granite sphinx of the Pharaoh Ramesses
the Great that arrived here intact in 1913. Penn has amassed over 40,000 Egyptian artifacts and been fortunate in
not experiencing the need to repatriate the treasures through permission obtained in their acquisition and in
continuing personal relationships with influential Egyptians. Visit the Museum [www.penn.museum] at no charge with
your Penn ID card and learn, as we did, about ancient history!
New Summary of Information on Retirement Communities
Howard Goldfine, Jim Saunders and Heidi George have recently assembled a set of tables providing important information for those considering the move to a retirement community. You can find this information by clicking on the Retirement Communities link under Spotlights in the right column of this web page or simply clicking here.
Medical Faculty Senate Presentation
On Wednesday, October 1st ASEF President Jeanne Myers delivered a presentation to the Medical Faculty Senate concerning ASEF's mission and current events. Here it is in case you missed it.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to Faculty Retirement
We are proud to announce the release of the Eighth Edition of the Hitchhiker's Guide to Faculty Retirement, ASEF's annually revised handbook highlighting the policy and process governing the transition from full-time faculty to emeritus.
Please refer to the official release notes for a review of the updates to this year's edition.