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Distinguished Professor lives by the ‘Golden Rule’

It’s fair to say that Lawrence Straus has made his mark in the anthropological world with his share of incredible discoveries during an illustrious academic career spanning nearly five decades. [H]is research in the anthropological world has only been equaled by his work as an advisor, mentor and professor to thousands of students during the course of his incredible 44-year career at UNM including three years as a working retiree. Now, a group of former students and colleagues has honored Straus with a Festschrift, a collection of articles titled, Recent advances in quaternary prehistory: Papers in honor of Lawrence Guy Straus, published by Quaternary International.

UNM research supports first born home visiting

First Born matches families with home visitors, who visit the home weekly to help with goals and struggles and helps establish a nurturing, supportive environment for the child in the critical first three years of life. Research into early childhood, in general, shows the importance of physical, mental, and environmental wellness for development. Analysis of the First Born program is critical for not only the success of the program itself, but to better support families in the program. New Mexico needs early childhood intervention, and the analysis by Heinz and her team will ensure First Born remains effective for New Mexico children and their families.

Minimizing wildfire risk through economics

In the Land of Enchantment, our disaster risk assessments mainly focus on forest wildfires—how likely they are to happen, how intense they will be when they do happen, and how susceptible our communities are to these disasters. Bernknopf’s project, “Forest Wildfire Risk and Value of Information Analysis with LANDFIRE and supporting Earth Science,” explores whether satellites and other remotely-sensed scientific data can help reduce wildfire risks to humans and ecosystems, while also assessing the value of this information as it relates to risk management. The goal of the project is to reduce uncertainty when it comes to wildfires—uncertainty regarding the behavior of the fire itself, as well as uncertainty in our human reactions.

UNM study confirms cannabis flower is an effective mid-level analgesic medication for pain treatment

Using the largest database of real-time recordings of the effects of common and commercially available cannabis products in the United States (U.S.), researchers at The University of New Mexico (UNM) found strong evidence that cannabis can significantly alleviate pain, with the average user experiencing a three-point drop in pain suffering on a 0-10 point scale immediately following cannabis consumption. [Jacob] Vigil explains, “Cannabis offers the average patient an effective alternative to using opioids for general use in the treatment of pain with very minimal negative side effects for most people.”

Research examines ramifications of climate change on different populations

As the world struggles to battle the effects of climate change, not everyone benefits equally from the remedies. In a recent paper titled Weaponizing vulnerability to climate change, Benjamin Warner, an assistant professor of geography and environmental studies at The University of New Mexico, and his colleague Kimberley Thomas, a political ecologist at Temple University, examine the way the fight to remediate climate change is hurting the most vulnerable, the poor.

UNM Distinguished Professor Emeritus Henry Ellis dies

Ellis was born on Sunday, Oct. 23, 1927 in New Bern, N.C. His family later moved to Norfolk, Va., where he spent his childhood. He served in the United States Air Force as a medical laboratory technician from 1946 through 1947. Ellis married his wife, Florence, in 1957 and they moved to Albuquerque, where he began his career with the Psychology Department at UNM. Ellis worked as an active researcher and psychology professor at UNM for more than 50 years, serving as Department Chairman of from 1972 to 1984. He had more than 120 publications, with 10 books among them, to his credit.

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