Smart Talk Nov. 17 

Baby food
Nurses who work in the University of Arkansas for Medical Science's neonatal intensive care unit are publishing a book of their recipes to benefit the babies in their care.

“Out of the Mouths of Babes” includes 400 recipes, from soup to nuts, and is illustrated by RN Joyce Yuratich and her daughter, Heather. The cookbook is $20, including shipping and handling; to buy one call 686-6363. Credit cards or cash accepted. Proceeds will be used to purchase equipment for the unit that takes care of premature babies.

Medical maladvertising
The insurance-medical complex advancing the notion that the public is endangered by a “medical liability crisis” has been caught misrepresenting the facts once again, this time in the District of Columbia, where a health insurance industry group has been running ads saying that the crisis is real and growing. A bill that would limit jury malpractice awards in the District is pending in Congress.

The public-interest group Public Citizen investigated the insurers’ claims. It found:

• The value of medical malpractice payments made to victims on behalf of District doctors declined 52.5 percent from 1991
to 2004 when adjusted for medical inflation. The decline was 64 percent from 2001 to 2004 — the peak years of the alleged crisis.

• The annual number of malpractice payments declined 14.5 percent from 1991 to 2004, and 35.6 percent from 2001 to 2004.

• The number of medical malpractice lawsuits filed in the District has declined 31 percent over the last decade. After peaking at 213 in 1997, the number had declined to 148 by 2004.

Poking in folk’s business
Dr. Michael Luster has joined Arkansas State University as its new folk arts coordinator, thanks to a grant by the National Endowment for the Arts. Luster, who will research the cultural history of the Delta and compile folk art traditions already recorded, is seeking input from the public at the Internet discussion group, ArkFolkNet.

Luster, who is collaborating with the Arkansas Arts Council, is also creating programming for the 2005 Delta Blues Symposium, which will include a performance by Delta Latino musicians.

One of Luster’s first actions as folk arts coordinator, ASU says, was to nominate blues musician Cedell Davis and Mountain View Folk Center basketmaker Sheryl Irvine for the NEA’s National Heritage Fellowships, one-time awards of $20,000 to recognize a life’s work. The winners will be announced next spring.

To learn more about the folklife project or offer information, call Luster at 318-503-1618 or e-mail him at luster@aol.com. To subscribe to ArkFolkNet, go to yahoogroups.com and choose ArkFolkNet.



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