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Loma Linda University School of Public Health Pays Participants to Eat Avocados and More News Shorts


In this week’s news round-up, LLU School of Public Health pays study participants to eat avocados, Pacific Union College protects its forest through conservation easement, LLU child-life program trains Chinese nurses, and prayer at Florida Hospital Ocala judged not a “separation of Church and State” issue.

Loma Linda University School of Public Health Pays Participants to Eat Avocados. An upcoming study at the Loma Linda University School of Public Health will pay 250 people to help researchers determine if moderate avocado consumption actually promotes weight loss. Three other American universities, Penn State University, Tufts University, and UCLA will participate in the six-month trial. Joan Sabaté, who directs the Center for Nutrition, Lifestyle, and Disease Prevention at the school, says, “The study will examine whether eating one avocado per day reduces visceral adipose fat in the abdomen.” Participants will be randomly assigned to one of two groups. The test group will be given 16 avocados every two weeks and required to eat one avocado per day throughout the six-month study. The control group will be required to eat no more than two avocados per month during the same period. Selected participants will receive a free MRI and health screening by an LLU clinician and be asked to attend a monthly meeting with a dietician. Upon successful completion of the study, participants in both groups will be paid $300 each, and members of the control group will be given 24 avocados to enjoy. From LLUH News, “LLU professor says avocados may not be the pits when it comes to weight loss.”

Pacific Union College Protects Its Forest Through Conservation Easement. The Wildlife Conservation Board voted Thursday to spend $3.5 million on the Pacific Union College (PUC) Angwin forest, the last funding piece needed to purchase a $7.1 million conservation easement from Pacific Union College, the owner of the land. Pacific Union College (PUC) will continue to own the forest. But development rights would be retired through an easement held by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. “The biodiversity of our forest presents incredible opportunities for education, research, and recreation,” PUC President Robert Cushman said. “This will ensure that it can be enjoyed by those at the college and in the surrounding community for generations to come.” Spotted owls, the California red-legged frog, the ringtail cat, the pallid bat, and the northwestern pond turtle find habitat in the forest. The land is core habitat for the Napa false indigo, a rare plant found in only five Northern California counties. “It has some of the interior-most stands of redwood in the entire range of redwoods,” said Doug Parker, CEO for the Land Trust of Napa County. Moore Creek starts in this area, he said. Moore Creek drains into Lake Hennessey reservoir, a major water supply for the city of Napa. Although the forest is, and will remain, private property, PUC has allowed the public to use trails there. The college’s forest manager, Peter Lecourt, said the plan is to continue this practice and add such features as a parking lot, kiosk, and brochure. “Our forest is the primary way PUC relates to the wider community,” Lecourt said. From Napa Valley Register, “State approves money for forest protection next to Napa County's Pacific Union College.”

Loma Linda University Child-life Program Trains Chinese Nurses. In 2017, a new Loma Linda University School of Behavioral Health program that offers pediatric nurses from China the opportunity to be trained as Child Life Specialists was launched. It is a product of a four-year exchange program between LLU and Zhejiang University Children's Hospital (ZUCH). According to Michelle Minyard-Widman, program director for the child life specialist Master's program, China is becoming more open to family-centered care. She added that Zhejiang University Children's Hospital and Loma Linda University started a strong partnership in 2007. She said that it was a natural extension of the partnership to visit and introduce child-life techniques. Minyard-Widman and Alisha Saavedra, assistant professor, had their first visit in the Zhejiang University Children's Hospital in 2014. During the visit, they shared the importance of family-centered care, support for children in the hospital, and training for the nurses. The group gave several lectures and presented hands-on demonstrations of therapeutic play with stuffed animals designed to help children understand procedures they faced in the hospital. The students of the Loma Linda University and the faculty members are annually returning to the ZUCH. From Business Times, “School of Behavioural Health Wants to Expand Child Life Service in China.”

Prayer at Florida Hospital Ocala Judged Not “Separation of Church and State” Issue. Marion County Hospital District says the county-owned hospital operator’s affiliation with the Seventh-day Adventist Church is not a “separation of church and state” issue. At the new Florida Hospital Ocala, prayer is common. Meetings, work shifts or other gatherings often begin with a prayer. Those prayers have some wondering if the practice could run afoul of the First Amendment’s establishment clause prohibiting the government from establishing an official religion, given that the hospital property is owned by Marion County. Florida Hospital operates the hospital under a lease and is part of Adventist Health System, which is affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. ″It is the opinion of the district that there are no state or federal prohibitions in having Florida Hospital Ocala, LLC assume the lease from Munroe HMA, LLC,” according to an analysis. Joe Johnson, Florida Hospital Ocala’s president and CEO, said participation in prayers is voluntary. “Prayer is part of our leadership and culture, and we create an environment which allows caregivers, patients, and employees to freely give and receive prayer. We respect, however, the wishes of anyone who desires not to participate in prayer. We look forward to bringing the Florida Hospital brand of faith-based and exceptional care to our community.” From, “At Florida Hospital Ocala, prayer is common, voluntary.”


Pam Dietrich taught English at Loma Linda Academy for 26 years and served there eight more years as the 7-12 librarian. She lives in Redlands, California.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash


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