The Review welcomes letters from readers and will print them as space permits. Letters may be edited for brevity and clarity. Unsigned letters cannot be used, but names of the writers may be withheld on request. Send letters to Rochester Review, 147 Wallis Hall, P.O. Box 270033, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627-0033; email@example.com.
[Cowen’s] contributions have been acknowledged nationally and worldwide. I just wanted to be sure they were remembered closer to home. —Ryan Kilmer ’99 (PhD)
Reading Travis Anderson’s article, “Newborn Hope” [Winter 2003–04], brought back many memories. Two-and-a-half years ago, my younger daughter, Hope Allison, was born 13 weeks early, weighing just 2 pounds 7 ounces. At 14 inches long, Hope was about the size of many of my older daughter’s dolls.
Today Hope is completely normal except for a facial birth defect that will be removed with surgery. My husband, Curt, and I are eternally grateful for the dedication of the staff of the NICU in the Pennsylvania hospital where Hope spent her first 67 days. Because I went into labor very suddenly as the result of an infection, I did not receive any steroid injections, and the doses of surfactant that Hope received shortly after entering the NICU were a godsend.
When Curt and I went to the emergency room on a warm April evening, we fully expected to return home shortly, never imaging that I would be giving birth less than four hours later. Unlike Jace’s mother, Erin, we never summoned up the courage to ask Hope’s chances of surviving. The list of complications that the neonatologist said Hope faced was simply too overwhelming.
Thankfully, Hope’s condition improved and in mid-June we brought her home a full three weeks before her due date and without the expected heart monitor that most preemies bring home. By age two, Hope had overcome her developmental delays and survived the battery of medical tests and doctors’ appointments.
It’s truly amazing how far the medical community has come in treating premature infants, but more needs to be done to prevent them from happening in the first place.
Emily Swartz Silva ’86
Curt Silva ’85
Newtown Square, Pennsylvania
Don’t Forget Parents
When I read the wonderful article on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Strong Memorial Hospital in the winter issue, I felt that one critical part of the “healing process” for parents and family members as well as friends was omitted. That part is the Parent to Parent Support Group.
This group was established for the sole purpose of providing support to families who have babies in the NICU. Parent to Parent was of great assistance to my husband and me when we had twins who were born prematurely in 1995.
Parent to Parent is run by “graduate parents,” (with help from the wonderful social workers at Strong who are also there to support the families). These individuals have been there and are still there to give the parents and families of premature infants and infants with health problems someone to talk to and a shoulder to lean upon in their time of need.
When you enter the NICU some very important questions come to mind: “Why us? Why our baby? Why was our baby born so early? What did I do wrong to cause this to happen? What will happen to our baby now?” Fear, anger, and anxiety—all of us in Parent to Parent found these feelings difficult to cope with. We are available to meet and talk to the parents and family members on the phone or in person.
All one needs to do is simply let their baby’s nurse or social worker know that they would like to speak with us. The families will receive a phone call from a graduate parent as soon as possible.
We realize that no two situations are alike, and we know how devastating it can be. Just knowing that there is someone you can talk to confidentially, someone who has been through a similar situation, someone who can understand your feelings, may be of great comfort. We in Parent to Parent feel that you can better help your baby if you are in a condition to cope with the situation. You are not alone, and we would like to help.
We encourage parents with a child in the NICU to take a well-needed break from their isolettes. Please join us for the opportunity to meet others who are going or have gone through the same challenges.
Chairman, Parent to Parent
Strong Memorial Hospital
What About Cowen?
I read with great interest the feature on innovation at Rochester [Fall 2003]. While I most certainly recognize that any such listing cannot possibly be exhaustive, I would be remiss if I did not share my disappointment at the conspicuous absence of any mention of Emory Cowen and his highly regarded, innovative work in psychology.
Cowen, who passed away in November 2000, was a pioneer in community psychology, wellness enhancement, and prevention. Recognized as one of the founders of community psychology, Cowen and his forward-thinking approach laid crucial groundwork for the discipline and defined the field.
He recognized the limitations of mental health’s traditionally reactive approach of treating problems in adjustment after the fact, and he advocated efforts to prevent maladjustment and promote healthy outcomes from the start. As one critical case in point, in 1957, Cowen and colleagues developed the Primary Mental Health Project (PMHP), a school-based prevention program for at-risk children that has not only served thousands of children in New York State, but in multiple states and countries around the world—from California to Israel.
Cowen and his colleagues not only developed and implemented such creative programs for children, he led efforts to evaluate their efficacy, always seeking to refine their operation. As director of the University’s Center for Community Study for over 30 years, Cowen strove for empirical rigor and used research as a crucial feedback mechanism to inform applied intervention efforts.
His accomplishments and honors are too numerous to mention in this short space, but Cowen’s influence on community psychology and prevention was enormous.
His writings shaped agendas, his programs benefited children in need, and his students have carried his influence forward. Cowen was a respected scholar, valued mentor, trusted colleague, cherished friend and, without a doubt, an innovator whose work touched the lives of many. His contributions have been acknowledged nationally and worldwide.
I just wanted to be sure they were remembered closer to home.
Ryan Kilmer ’99 (PhD)
Charlotte, North Carolina
The writer is an assistant professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte—Editor.
Coast Guard Cadets
Captain Robert Mumford Jr. ’57 is absolutely correct in assessing your use of cadet to describe NROTC midshipmen [Letters to the Editor, Winter 2003–04]. However, in addition to the future officers described in your editor’s note as cadets (Army and Air Force), students at the United States Coast Guard Academy are accurately described as cadets.
These sailors and future leaders in our nation’s only uniformed military branch working in the newly created Department of Homeland Security proudly bear the moniker of cadet for four years until graduation and commissioning as ensigns.
The Coast Guard’s proud tradition of service traces its lineage to the Revenue Cutter Service founded by Secretary Hamilton during our nation’s formative years. The Coast Guard Academy has been training cadets and graduating ensigns since 1915.
Peter Clemens ’89
U.S. Coast Guard