Greenfield Cooperative Bank announces change in leadership - The Recorder

Greenfield Cooperative Bank announces change in leadership - The Recorder Greenfield Cooperative Bank announces change in leadership - The Recorder Posted: 19 Nov 2020 10:50 AM PST Staff Report Published: 11/19/2020 1:48:18 PM Modified: 11/19/2020 1:48:08 PM GREENFIELD  — Kevin J. O'Neil, chairman of the Board of Directors of Greenfield Cooperative Bank and its Northampton Cooperative Bank division, has announced the promotion of Anthony J. Worden to president and chief operating officer. This promotion, effective Jan.1, is in anticipation of the retirement next year of current President and Chief Executive Officer Michael E. Tucker. Tucker is relinquishing his title as president, but will remain as chief executive officer until his actual retirement when Worden will take over that role as well. Tucker will remain as a director of the bank and holding company. O'Neil noted this transition schedule is part of an ov

Yale professors and alumni demand University prioritize public health - Yale Daily News

Yale professors and alumni demand University prioritize public health - Yale Daily News

Yale professors and alumni demand University prioritize public health - Yale Daily News

Posted: 17 Nov 2020 11:19 PM PST

Yale Daily News

As the world continues to confront the worst public health disaster in recent history, a group of Yale faculty and alumni have called on the University to bolster its investments in the School of Public Health.

In response to an article in the News that discussed the School of Public Health's limited funding from the University and reliance on grant revenue, Yale affiliates came together to demand that the University put its money and influence towards making significant investments in the school. The open letter was co-authored by professor of epidemiology Gregg Gonsalves '11 and former World Bank executive Richard Skolnik '72. On Sunday night, Gonsalves sent the letter to University President Peter Salovey and members of the Yale Corporation, the University's highest governing body. By Tuesday, it had amassed nearly 100 signatures.

"This is the most important and opportune moment in modern history for Yale to invest in its public health school," the letter reads. "Given its place among great global universities, in fact, Yale has an ethical obligation to urgently take the measures needed to move its public health school into the top ranks of public health schools globally."

The letter not only calls on Yale to invest in the School of Public Health but also to commit to improving its U.S. ranking to within the top five public health schools in the country. Despite its dedicated faculty and students, the U.S. News ranked Yale's Masters in Public Health program 15th among U.S. public health schools in 2019, according to the letter.

The University has the resources to change that, Gonsalves said.

University President Peter Salovey's chief of staff referred the News' questions about academic investments to the provost for comment.

As part of the upcoming capital campaign, which the University plans to publicly launch in October 2021, all individual schools within Yale can outline priorities for the campaign, and the School of Public Health is no exception, University Provost Scott Strobel wrote in an email to the News. According to Strobel, YSPH has chosen the creation of an online degree program, support for financial aid and endowing professorships as some of its fundraising priorities. Donations to other academic priorities, including the Planetary Solutions Project, should help support the School as well, Strobel said.

But, Strobel added, Yale's investments depend on donors' areas of interest.

"Our success in realizing these fundraising goals is dependent upon our ability to inspire donors to support the school," he wrote.

But Gonsalves said that given the University's vast resources — its endowment was most recently valued at $31.2 billion — not investing further in the School of Public Health is a choice, not a necessity.

Shelley Geballe LAW '76 MPH '95, who is an assistant professor of clinical public health and has studied and taught at both the Law School and YSPH, noted the contrast between the two schools' resources.

"Most classes at YSPH are taught in windowless, basement classroom," Geballe wrote in an email to the News. "YSPH has little endowment income — about a fifth of the law school's as a share of their budgets."

YSPH has been in the same main building since 1964, and students often take classes in the building's basement. Courses also take place in buildings across the street, in locations that were meant to be temporary, Gonsalves said.

According to Dean of the School of Public Health Sten Vermund, the YSPH's endowment is 0.6 percent of the University endowment, so the school has to rely on grant funding and tuition revenue. The school, therefore, has a cap of $10,000 per year for most students' need-based financial aid.

Other universities have made sizable investments in their public health schools. For example, Harvard University in 2014 received a $350 million gift from T.H. Chan for its school. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health received its name in 2001 after $35 million of Michael Bloomberg's $100 million gift to the university was devoted to that public health school. 

"It's time to stop the excuses," Gonsalves wrote. "Yale will say it has other priorities. Well, in a pandemic, which is not our first and won't be our last in the US, is research on public health not critical? Harvard, Hopkins, Emory and other major universities think so."

Though the School is small, Gonsalves wrote, it "punches above its weight." Three faculty members have won NIH Director's New Innovator Awards, one has won an NIH Director's Pioneer Award and another is a MacArthur Fellow.

Yale has expanded other professional schools before, Gonsalves noted, when it invested significant resources in the School of Management, for example. The University should realize the School's value and allocate resources to the physical space, faculty recruitment and retention and financial aid support of YSPH, Gonsalves wrote.

"Yale has consistently ignored the public health school," Gonsalves wrote. "Come down and see the facilities."

But Strobel wrote that the school has the University's full support and that Yale appreciates the contributions that members of its public health community have made.

No matter what, Gonsalves said, public health experts at Yale will continue to do the work to protect people from the virus.

"We protect the nation against threats like SARS-CoV-2 even if public health is usually ignored, even if we could all make a lot more money by pursuing other opportunities," he wrote. "It's a mission for us, our life's passion and work."

Signatories on the letter include Vanessa Kerry '99, CEO of Seed Global Health; Harlan Krumholz '80, cardiology professor and director of the Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation at the School of Medicine; and Barbara Herz GRD '74, former senior adviser for the social sectors to U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers.

Sydney Gray contributed reporting.

Rose Horowitch |

As Occupancy Dwindles, College Dorms Go Beyond Students - The New York Times

Posted: 17 Nov 2020 07:29 AM PST

Yeshiva University was in trouble, and Pebb Capital saw an opportunity.

The financial woes for Yeshiva, the oldest Jewish university in the United States, started in the early naughts, and by 2015, its endowment had shrunk by $90 million. To free up cash, the school began selling pieces of its real estate, including the Alabama, a student housing property in Manhattan that served students at Yeshiva's Cardozo Law School.

Pebb Capital and its partner, TriArch Real Estate, bought the building for $58 million in 2016, blowing out interior walls and gut-renovating it to convert it from a dated dormitory into sleek, furnished apartments. The investors nearly doubled their money, selling the building for $104 million in February 2020; it now houses a mix of graduate students and young professionals.

"It's not just students who want this sort of product," said James Jago, Pebb's managing director. Demand for inexpensive housing options is rising among those new to the work force.

Pebb wasn't the only real estate firm to make such a realization. Other investors are jumping in, seeking opportunities to acquire dorms from struggling universities and convert them into housing for white-collar workers.

Thirty percent of American universities, both public and private, are running deficits, according to Moody's Investors Service, and the pandemic has only added to financial pressures — virtual learning has put campuses into deep freeze, with online classes slashing the population of students who would have otherwise patronized campus bookstores, coffee shops and sporting events.

"It is absolutely a perfect storm," said Michael Jerbich, president of B. Riley Real Estate Solutions. "The only thing they can do is turn to real estate or other hard assets."

Since the pandemic hit, Pebb has overhauled two more student housing properties: The Cadence, in Tucson, Ariz., and Monarch Heights, in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan, are now upscale apartments aimed at both students and young professionals. The shift has been playing out for years as universities face shrinking enrollments and ballooning debts, but as the pandemic worsens, college real estate will increasingly be redeveloped or sold, experts say.

Credit...Yana Paskova for The New York Times

Atlantic Union College in Lancaster, Mass., which closed in 2018, put its campus for sale in January; Unity College in Maine, which laid off 15 percent of its staff in August, is considering doing the same. In Vermont, Marlboro College sold its 500-acre campus in May to Democracy Builders, an educational nonprofit organization, and shut down shortly after. The Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology in Boston announced in September that its South End campus would become a mixed-use site anchored by a nursing home.

The United States has the world's largest student housing market, representing $11 billion in real estate investments, according to the National Apartment Association. And as the pandemic drags on and more universities feel the cash crunch, the endowment gap between legacy campuses like Harvard and Yale and smaller colleges is only going to grow.

"I think we're really going to see a tale of two cities but also a tale of two universities," said Laura Dietzel, partner and real estate senior analyst with RSM, an accounting firm.

The Cadence offered a rent-by-the-bedroom model before it was acquired by Pebb Capital in September for $33 million in a partnership with Coastal Ridge Real Estate. Pebb is planning a $12 million renovation to convert the property into studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments, bringing in amenities and design touches to attract young professionals, who are moving to Tucson in droves, many from nearby states like California, where real estate prices are significantly higher.

The building is a five-minute drive from the University of Arizona, Tucson, which makes it ideal for students wanting to live off campus. Once renovations are complete, rents will no longer be offered by the bedroom, said Mr. Jago, and he expects the renter pool will shift significantly.

"We're going to become the prime downtown multifamily property for young professionals," he said, "and maybe upper-class or graduate students, the kind who want to get away from the riffraff and the undergrads throwing up outside the bar."

The student housing market is facing the same challenges as corporate office towers, both of which have been pummeled by the pandemic, said Patrick J. Sentner, an executive vice president for CBRE, a commercial real estate services firm.

"Each day that Covid drags on, the doubt and the debate about what is going to happen, office-wise with going back to work, is still going to be delayed until we get a vaccine," he said. "And that's exactly what is happening with student housing."

Marketing student rooms to young professionals makes good financial sense, Mr. Sentner said: "You have people who can afford to pay the rent, who aren't going to hurt the facilities, and you're able to continue the cash flow being generated from the units."

Credit...Yana Paskova for The New York Times

And in some cases, the students appreciate their neighbors.

Jacob Baumstein is a sophomore studying information science in a joint program at Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary. Despite all of his classes being held online this year, he moved from his parents' home in Charlotte, N.C., to Pebb's Monarch Heights building over Labor Day weekend.

Despite his virtual courses, Mr. Baumstein chose to return to New York because he wanted a semblance of a college experience, and events like rooftop dinners on the outdoor terrace have helped create that.

The building, less than a block from Columbia, opened this summer and was initially meant to house Columbia students exclusively. But when the pandemic hit, Pebb began quietly shifting its marketing, promoting the building's roof deck, fitness center, coffee bar and shuffleboard court to a wider audience.

"If I were in a building of all students, it would be a ghost town," Mr. Baumstein said. "Because we have young professionals here, there's life and a community feel."

Across the country, the pandemic has thinned out dorms at other universities, which have either shifted rooms to single occupancy from doubles and triples or closed them altogether, putting a strain on their finances. But privately owned student housing properties, which often offer better amenities and more modern décor than on-campus housing options, report balanced budget sheets.

"During Covid-19, we collected 98 percent of our revenue," said David J. Adelman, chief executive of Campus Apartments, a student housing provider with properties in 15 states.

Mr. Adelman says his properties are down only about five percentage points in occupancy this year, a strong sign that the demand for student housing remains, and if colleges can't provide, private entities are eager to step in. For students, however, that means both rents and competition for the best housing will increase.

In Austin, Ari Rastegar, chief executive of Rastegar Property Company, has acquired and refurbished more than a dozen multifamily properties in the past year. They include Plaza 38 near the University of Texas, Austin. Once home to 50 percent students, the building has been updated with new amenities and rechristened as an upscale property called Hyde Park Square. Rents increased about 25 percent in the process.

Credit...Drew Anthony Smith for The New York Times

When the pandemic hit, Mr. Rastegar said, he feared students would not come back. But many upper-level students did return, and like Mr. Baumstein in New York, they wanted to live near campus, even while classes are online. But Mr. Rastegar's model, like that of many developers, to purchase, renovate and market beyond students, is now in full swing.

Mr. Jago of Pebb agreed. "Covid hasn't really changed anything for us," he said of his business strategy. "It was a catalyst for existing trends that were already in place."

People in the News—Nov. 17, 2020—Penn State Dickinson Law , Cozen O'Connor | The Legal Intelligencer -

Posted: 17 Nov 2020 09:00 AM PST

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    Public health programs see surge in students amid pandemic - Carolinacoastonline

    Posted: 17 Nov 2020 03:51 AM PST

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — As the novel coronavirus emerged in the news in January, Sarah Keeley was working as a medical scribe and considering what to do with her biology degree.

    By February, as the disease crept across the U.S., Keeley found her calling: a career in public health. "This is something that's going to be necessary," Keeley remembered thinking. "This is something I can do. This is something I'm interested in."

    In August, Keeley began studying at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to become an epidemiologist.

    Public health programs in the United States have seen a surge in enrollment as the coronavirus has swept through the country, killing more than 247,000 people. As state and local public health departments struggle with unprecedented challenges — slashed budgets, surging demand, staff departures and even threats to workers' safety —- a new generation is entering the field.

    Among the more than 100 schools and public health programs that use the common application — a single admissions application form that students can send to multiple schools — there was a 20% increase in applications to master's in public health programs for the current academic year, to nearly 40,000, according to the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health.

    Some programs are seeing even bigger jumps. Applications to Brown University's small master's in public health program rose 75%, according to Annie Gjelsvik, a professor and director of the program.

    Demand was so high as the pandemic hit full force in the spring that Brown extended its application deadline by over a month. Seventy students ultimately matriculated this fall, up from 41 last year.

    "People interested in public health are interested in solving complex problems," Gjelsvik said. "The COVID pandemic is a complex issue that's in the forefront every day."

    It's too early to say whether the jump in interest in public health programs is specific to that field or reflects a broader surge of interest in graduate programs in general, according to those who track graduate school admissions. Factors such as pandemic-related deferrals and disruptions in international student admissions make it difficult to compare programs across the board.

    Magnolia E. Hernández, an assistant dean at Florida International University's Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, said new student enrollments in its master's in public health program grew 63% from last year. The school has especially seen an uptick in interest among Black students, from 21% of newly admitted students last fall to 26.8% this year.

    Kelsie Campbell is one of them. She's part Jamaican and part British. When she heard in both the British and American media that Black and ethnic minorities were being disproportionately hurt by the pandemic, she wanted to focus on why.

    "Why is the Black community being impacted disproportionately by the pandemic? Why is that happening?" Campbell asked. "I want to be able to come to you and say, 'This is happening. These are the numbers and this is what we're going to do.'"

    The biochemistry major at Florida International said she plans to explore that when she begins her MPH program at Stempel College in the spring. She said she hopes to eventually put her public health degree to work helping her own community.

    "There's power in having people from your community in high places, somebody to fight for you, somebody to be your voice," she said.

    Public health students are already working on the front lines of the nation's pandemic response in many locations. Students at Brown's public health program, for example, are crunching infection data and tracing the spread of the disease for the Rhode Island Department of Health.

    Some students who had planned to work in public health shifted their focus as they watched the devastation of COVID-19 in their communities. In college, Emilie Saksvig, 23, double-majored in civil engineering and public health. She was supposed to start working this year as a Peace Corps volunteer to help with water infrastructure in Kenya. She had dreamed of working overseas on global public health.

    The pandemic forced her to cancel those plans, and she decided instead to pursue a master's degree in public health at Emory University.

    "The pandemic has made it so that it is apparent that the United States needs a lot of help, too," she said. "It changed the direction of where I wanted to go."

    These students are entering a field that faced serious challenges even before the pandemic exposed the strains on the underfunded patchwork of state and local public health departments. An analysis by The Associated Press and Kaiser Health News found that since 2010, per capita spending for state public health departments has dropped by 16%, and for local health departments by 18%. At least 38,000 state and local public health jobs have disappeared since the 2008 recession.

    And the workforce is aging: Forty-two percent of governmental public health workers are over 50, according to the de Beaumont Foundation, and the field has high turnover. Before the pandemic, nearly half of public health workers said they planned to retire or leave their organizations for other reasons in the next five years. Poor pay topped the list of reasons. Some public health workers are paid so little that they qualify for public aid.

    Brian Castrucci, CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation, which advocates for public health, said government public health jobs need to be a "destination job" for top graduates of public health schools.

    "If we aren't going after the best and the brightest, it means that the best and the brightest aren't protecting our nation from those threats that can, clearly, not only devastate from a human perspective, but from an economic perspective," Castrucci said.

    The pandemic put that already stressed public health workforce in the middle of what became a pitched political battle over how to contain the disease. As public health officials recommended closing businesses and requiring people to wear masks, many, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government's top virus expert, faced threats and political reprisals, AP and KHN found. Many were pushed out of their jobs. An ongoing count by AP/KHN has found that more than 100 public health leaders in dozens of states have retired, quit or been fired since April.

    Those threats have had the effect of crystallizing for students the importance of their work, said Patricia Pittman, a professor of health policy and management at George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health.

    "Our students have been both indignant and also energized by what it means to become a public health professional," Pittman said. "Indignant because many of the local and the national leaders who are trying to make recommendations around public health practices were being mistreated. And proud because they know that they are going to be part of that frontline public health workforce that has not always gotten the respect that it deserves."

    Saksvig compared public health workers to law enforcement in the way they both have responsibility for enforcing rules that can alter people's lives.

    "I feel like before the coronavirus, a lot of people didn't really pay attention to public health," she said. "Especially now when something like a pandemic is happening, public health people are just on the forefront of everything."


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