A medic who was among the first on the scene of last year's earthquake in Haiti has been appointed senior associate dean for community engagement and partnerships at the University of California, Riverside. Raul Ruiz, an emergency physician in Coachella Valley and founder and director of the Coachella Valley Healthcare Initiative, said that expanding access to healthcare in underserved communities was not just a job, but a "personal passion". Dr Ruiz completed his bachelor's degree at the University of California, Los Angeles, before going on to study for an MD, a master's in public policy and another in public health at Harvard University. He also held a fellowship with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. Dr Ruiz became involved with humanitarian efforts in Haiti in his role as the founding medical director of the Jenkins-Penn Haitian Relief Organization, co-founded by actor Sean Penn. He said he hoped not only to inspire students to "take an active problem-solving and leadership role in improving healthcare, but also to motivate them to be community oriented physicians that also serve the underserved".
An expert in distant planets has been awarded France's highest prize for physics. Gilles Chabrier, professor of astrophysics at the University of Exeter, has been honoured with the Prix Jean Ricard in recognition of his work in the field of astrophysics. He said the award had personal significance for him. "Many years ago when I had just started studying for my PhD, one of the top researchers at the institution won this very award," he said. "I remember going to his lectures and being very much in awe of him. I never thought that later in life I would go on to win the same award. When you're 25, you don't think like that." Professor Chabrier's early work was in theoretical physics, but he went on to specialise in astrophysics - looking in particular at planets that are outside our solar system. "Since I was a child I have wanted to understand how things work, and why things are as they are," he explained. "I love science because it helps us answer those questions, and I love astrophysics because it's such an exciting field of study." He said that the "holy grail" of his work would be discovering planets that could support life, but added that his research could also be used closer to home. "Many of the tools we're developing to study planets millions of light years away can help us understand our own planet and its climate," he said.
The study of cyber crime in Croatia is to be furthered by a Fulbright scholar from the Michigan State University College of Law. Adam Candeub, associate professor of law, said the country was of particular interest because of its efforts to adjust its economy in order to integrate with the European Union. "I am very interested in countries that are lowering barriers for international trade and business while also working to combat computer-based financial crimes," he said. Professor Candeub gained a BA in philosophy and environmental studies from Yale University before going on to study at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He practised law prior to moving into the academy in 2004 when he joined Michigan State. During his Fulbright scholarship, he will spend five months in Croatia, where he will present guest lectures at the University of Rijeka and pursue research on the policing of cyber crime and its effects on emerging and developed markets. He said of Croatia, which is in the process of joining the EU: "It is worthwhile for researchers to examine these integrating economies, particularly in places that attempt to strengthen the rule of law."
A researcher has been invited to take part in a pioneering "virtual faculty" to help the terminally ill in Africa. Barbara Jack, head of research and scholarship and director of the Evidence-based Practice Research Centre at Edge Hill University, has been asked by the charity Hospice Africa to educate health workers in Uganda who look after dying patients. She has been involved with the charity since 2005, and said she had first learned of its work through a shop it runs in her village. "I made links with the founder and through those links I ended up going to Africa and undertaking research projects," she explained. As part of her work with Hospice Africa, she has evaluated the impact of nurses prescribing morphine to patients. Professor Jack began her career as a nurse and said she became interested in teaching and end-of-life care while completing her qualification at what is now part of Edge Hill. "I became a ward manager quite quickly, but I was still very interested in the education and research angle, so moving into academia to combine the two seemed like the perfect option," she said. Professor Jack added that her new role offered a "valuable opportunity" to help Uganda. "We know the work we can do to support and develop teams will ensure that patients who are dying get excellent treatment," she said.
York St John University has made two appointments to its senior team. David Chesser, currently deputy vice-chancellor and finance director at Northumbria University, will join as pro vice-chancellor (resources). Sue Reece, director of student recruitment and business partnerships at the University of Sunderland, will become pro vice-chancellor (development).
The University of St Andrews has appointed John MacColl as university librarian and director of library services. He joins from the Research Libraries Group where he is European director.
Willie Hamilton has joined the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry in the newly created post of professor of primary care diagnostics. He was formerly consultant senior lecturer in the department of community-based medicine at the University of Bristol.
Robert Gordon University has appointed Martyn Spence as director of marketing, communication and student recruitment. He was previously head of marketing, recruitment and communication at the University of Cumbria.
Mustafa Özbilgin has taken up the post of professor of organisational behaviour at Brunel Business School. He was previously professor of human resource management at the Norwich Business School, University of East Anglia.
Patrick Smith, currently programme leader for the MA in business and management at Bucks New University, has been made the first director of the university's new Institute of Applied Leadership.