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City public health commission launches salmonella awareness campaign

City public health commission launches salmonella awareness campaign

Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Boston public health officials unveiled a public health awareness campaign Wednesday intended to promote food safety and reduce the number of cases of salmonella and other food-borne illnesses that typically rise during the summer.

“Practicing food safety is an important part of staying healthy,” Menino said in a statement. “That’s what this public awareness campaign we’re launching … is all about: Education people to make the right choices, to handle food the right way, so they won’t get sick.”

A major nationwide salmonella outbreak has resulted in the reporting of nearly 900 bacterial illnesses in the United States since mid-April. While the wave of sickness was initially believed to stem from tainted tomatoes, Food and Drug Administration investigators have announced that intend to expand their search to other vegetables commonly served with tomatoes after 179 cases were reported in June, two months after the outbreak began.

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, said the outbreak has increased awareness of food-borne illnesses, which she said are a perennial problem in Boston and most other cities during the summer.

“This gives us a chance to talk about salmonella not simply as a problem confined to one particular race or class or culture, but a problem that can affect any one of us if we don’t practice food safety,” Ferrer said.

The campaign includes a brochure and video on proper food safety, available in a variety of languages.

The materials emphasize the importance of following a healthy preparation checklist — “Chill, Clean, Separate and Cook” — to avoid tainting food, and will be provided free of charge to community health centers, hospitals, senior citizen centers and other agencies.

Orchard Park product, women’s basketball coach speaks at Scholar-Athlete Games

Susan Summons, a Roxbury native and head coach of the Miami Dade College women’s basketball team, delivered the “Launch Address Speech” to kickoff the 2008 United States Scholar-Athlete Games last Sunday at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, R.I.

The games, which ran from June 28 through July 5, featured more than 2,500 student participants from all 50 states and from 27 other countries, as well.

“A brilliant speaker and motivator, Coach Summons’ eloquent and inspiring message should be heard by as many student-athletes, coaches and parents as possible,” said Dan Doyle, founder and CEO of the Institute for International Sport, housed at the International Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame located on the URI campus.

Summons also served as part of a panel discussion entitled “Nuggets of Wisdom” at the games’ opening ceremonies, joining Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch, novelist Mary-Ann Tirone Smith and Sam Hamilton, grand polemarch of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.

Other speakers at the games included former Secretary of State and retired Gen. Colin Powell, who delivered the event’s keynote address on leadership and American patriotism, and environmentalist Claes Nobel, whose family established the Nobel Peace Prize.

Summons was recently named one of the Top 100 Most Influential Sports Educators in America by the Institute for International Sport, honored as the 2008 Southern Conference Coach of the Year and won the conference’s 2008 championship. He has also been inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame as both a coach and a player.

Education nonprofit nets $75K in Boston Foundation leadership grant funding

The Action Center for Educational Services and Scholarships (ACCESS) was recently awarded a $75,000 “Out of the Blue” grant by The Boston Foundation in recognition of its “exceptional leadership” in the city’s nonprofit sector.

The foundation awards one Out of the Blue grant, which is unsolicited and unrestricted, to an area nonprofit each quarter.

“We are honored and incredibly grateful for The Boston Foundation’s belief in our organization and its investment in our mission of helping every young person in Boston reach and complete higher education,” ACCESS Executive Director Bob Giannino-Racine said in a statement.  “With this support, ACCESS will be able to help even more Boston students’ college dreams come true.”

Founded in 1985, ACCESS works to connect young Bostonians to the financial information and resources needed to pursue higher education. Nearly 40,000 area students have received financial aid advice from the organization, and it has awarded more than $4 million in scholarship funding, according to ACCESS’ Web site.

“ACCESS puts the idea of college into the minds of Boston students as a necessary and achievable goal, and then provides the critical support to make that goal a reality,” said Paul S. Grogan, president and CEO of The Boston Foundation, in a statement. “I am delighted to be able to recognize this exemplary organization in this way.”

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