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Study: Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Prescription Drug Spending

Doctors prescribing medical marijuana to Medicare patients in place of prescription drugs is helping save taxpayers millions of dollars, a new study reports. According to a recent study published in the  Health Affairs journal , doctors are prescribing medical marijuana to Medicare patients in place of medications that have been typically used to treat seizures, depression, pain, and anxiety. As a result, the  Medicare  program—whose patients include seniors and people with disabilities—has saved $104.5 million in 2010 and $165.2 million by 2013. The reason for the savings? Doctors are prescribing other drugs less. An  article in U.S. News & World Report  states, “In other words, the government appears to spend less on drugs in states where medical marijuana is a legal option. During the time evaluated, 17 states and the District of Columbia had passed medical marijuana laws. Now, 24 states and D.C. have passed such laws. The laws vary—some specify what conditions medical marijuana

10 Ways to Prevent a Cybersecurity Breach at Your Business

By John Burton Today’s c-level executives would be wise to watch a few episodes of the USA network hit series, Mr. Robot. The technology details in the show are provided by a security expert and former hacker Kor Adana, who recently provided 10 insightful ways to avoid being attacked. Mr. Robot is one of the most accurate cybersecurity shows to date as Kor breaks down each hacking incident, including precise screen behavior and how the attack operates. He often performs the hack himself and records the screens so everything is as authentic as possible, including typical hacker tools and social engineering techniques. Here is my take on Kor Adana’s top recommendations to improve your business security. Double up on passwords Enable and use two-step verification for sensitive functions whenever it is available. This especially applies to communications such as email and all financial transactions. Never use the same password twice Many computer users, including business owners and c-leve

Alumni Advice: Eva Antczak Creates Inspiration at the Google Food Lab

Eva Antczak ’07 is program manager of the Google Food Lab, a platform for people in food policy, farming, corporate food service, healthcare, technology, corporate food companies, and academia to use their knowledge to solve pressing food system issues. We talked to Eva about her senior thesis on Vermont cheesemakers, managing the Google Food Lab, and why technology and innovation are critical to a sustainable food system. You graduated from UVM with a degree in environmental studies and Spanish. What made you shift gears and focus on nutrition/food systems? Food and agriculture have always been my passions, but once I began taking classes in environmental studies at UVM, I realized I could apply those interests to the study of local, regional, and global food systems. After taking classes in sustainable development, anthropology, herbalism, food science, and cheese and culture, I studied abroad for a  semester in Oaxaca, Mexico . This experience anchored the information I had learned

A Geochemist Finds Her Element with Craft Beer

Penny Higgins is a vertebrate paleontologist and geochemist who loves to brew beer. Penny, who lives outside of Rochester, New York, hopes to eventually open a craft brewery with her husband. She recently enrolled in the  UVM Business of Craft Beer Program  to figure out how to make her dream career a reality. We talked to Penny about why she loves brewing beer, what she is learning from the UVM program, and her 10-year plan to open a brewery in rural upstate New York. When and why did you start brewing? Penny Higgins I started brewing maybe three years ago. It was on a whim. I enjoy beer, and I thought I might try brewing some. It was good, so I kept on brewing. One of my favorite things is to brew beers to honor the host cities of the big geoscience meetings each year. I’ve brewed a chili lager for a meeting in Houston, Texas, that wound up being too hot for me to drink. My favorite beer that I ever brewed was a Baltimorphic Complex, honoring the Geological Society of America’s annua

Zika Fears Hit Home in the U.S.

It has been feared for months that mosquitos would start spreading the Zika virus in the United States. Those fears may have been realized this summer in Florida. Senior officials at the Food and Drug Administration said last week they have asked blood donation centers in two Florida counties, Miami-Dade and Broward, to stop collecting blood for the time being, according to  National Public Radio . Investigators have ruled out travel as the cause of four cases of Zika virus in those counties. The individuals with the virus had not traveled to places where Zika is endemic and don’t appear to have contracted it through sex—leaving a possibility that they got the virus from being bitten by infected mosquitoes in the U.S. If they did acquire the virus from domestic mosquitoes, it could mean that others in the area also may have acquired Zika virus locally, and may have donated blood without knowing it was infected, according to NPR. First identified in Uganda in 1947, the Zika virus simmer

Report: Lack of Cybersecurity Skills Are Leaving Companies Vulnerable

Photo: Flickr Information technology managers in today’s workplace are finding it difficult to protect their networks as a lack of cybersecurity expertise is leaving companies open to attack. A report by Intel Security, “ Hacking the Skills Shortage ,” interviewed 775 IT decision makers involved in cybersecurity at their organization or business. The study points out that 82 percent of the participants reported a lack of cybersecurity skills at their workplace. One in three said the shortage makes them prime hacking targets, and one in four said it has led to reputational damage and the loss of proprietary data via cyberattack. A Lack of Cybersecurity Skills in the Workplace The report is based on research from tech market research firm  Vanson Bourne . Respondents represented the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Australia, Japan, Mexico, and Israel. Other findings: More than three out of four (76 percent) respondents believe their government is not investing enough in cybersecurity talent

After Studying Science, Business and Health, Alumna Megan Resnick Lands Her Ideal Job

This fall will be the first time in eight years that Megan Resnick hasn’t been a student at UVM. With three college degrees under her belt from UVM—a B.S. in molecular genetics, an MBA, and a master of public health—the Burlington resident is now a quality improvement project liaison at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, where she is focusing on healthcare literacy, costs, and access. We talked to Megan about  working in public health , the importance of wellness initiatives, and why she’s intrigued by the combination of business and healthcare. How did you go from an MBA degree to enrolling in a public health program? The combination of business and healthcare has always interested me. Healthcare is a unique industry as standard consumerism does not apply. However, it is still critically important to control costs to ensure everyone can get efficient, effective, and affordable care. My interest in healthcare and specifically public health increased throughout my MBA studies, durin

How to Grow Your Own Beer Hops

Photo: Flickr By Lynn McIlwee BrewingWork.com Ever thought about  growing hops  in your backyard or at the brewery? Hops are pretty easy to grow and are a hearty plant that will return year after year if you tend to them properly. Tips on How to Grow Your Own Beer Hops When and Where to Buy Rhizomes Order your rhizomes early (Feb/Mar) to ensure that you get your desired plants when they are ready for shipping (Mar/April). Consider buying hop twine to support your bines as the twine will support 100lbs and mature plants are very heavy. One good wind storm and your precious hops could come tumbling down. Sources for ordering rhizomes in North America include: Canada:   Hops Connect  (BC),  Left Fields/Crannóg Ales  (BC),  Prairie GEM Hops  (MB),  Clear Valley Hops  (ON) and  Four Horses  (NS) United States:  Hops Direct  (WA),  Willamette Valley Hops  (WA),  Freshops  (OR),  US Hop Source  (CO),  American Brewmaster  (NC) Where and How to Plant Keep your rhizome moist until ready to plan

UVM Alumna Creates the Right Solution with Chemistry and Public Health

Lyndelle LeBruin, a project manager at the Laboratory for Clinical Biochemistry Research (LCBR) at the UVM College of Medicine, has spent most of her academic career studying chemistry. But when her interest in clinical trials research led to her job at LCBR, she decided to enroll in the  UVM Master of Public Health Program  to enhance her skillset. Lyndelle, who grew up in the West Indies on the island of Dominica, describes herself as a dedicated, conscientious, and goal-oriented professional. Her goals are to continue to make positive contributions to the fields of public health and translational research in the future. We talked to Lyndelle about her work and how the fields of chemistry and public health play a role in helping people live better lives. What made you decide to pursue the master of public health? I graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh with a degree in chemistry and went on to earn a master’s in chemistry at UVM. While working on my master’s thesis on the self-assembly of

Will Medical Cannabis Break the Painkiller Epidemic?

The U.S. is in the midst of an unprecedented opioid epidemic, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Prescription opioid overdoses killed more than 165,000 Americans between 1999 and 2014, and the health and social costs of abusing such drugs are estimated to be as much as $55 billion a year. An  article in Scientific American  points out that the opioid problem has led experts to search for a less dangerous alternative for pain relief—and some research is pointing to medical marijuana. Over the past 15 years, physicians started hearing that patients were using cannabis instead of prescription opioids to manage pain. Researchers examined whether some states’ legalization of medical cannabis had affected the number of opioid overdose deaths. A study published in 2014 noted that between 1999 and 2010, states that permitted medical marijuana had an average of almost 25 percent fewer opioid overdose deaths each year than states where cannabis remained illegal. Medical ca

Making the Leap from Working Professional to Pre-Med Student

If this is what “brave” is, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Being “brave” means feeling scared. However, it’s what many people have called me over the past several months as I’ve shared my ambitious (crazy?) plan to transform from a communications professional into a medical doctor. Why I’m Planning on Going to Med School No longer satisfied with living vicariously through the lives of my clinical friends and coworkers, who I have had the privilege to work alongside at the UVM Medical Center for the past eight years, I finally gathered up my courage and applied to  UVM’s Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Program  (nope, they don’t let English majors just walk into medical school). For the next two-ish years, I’ll take all those science courses I dodged the first time around in college—trying to maintain a stellar GPA while juggling my husband and kids and multiple jobs. I also need to gain valuable patient care experience, and feel very fortunate to have landed a position in non-invas

How to Network and Sell in a Social Setting

Photo: Flickr By Dawn McGinnis What is it about person-to-person networking that can be so infuriating?  Everything I read says that mingling at business-related events will lead to more business opportunities. Unfortunately, many of these events are filled with salespeople just like me.  The ritual seldom varies: when I tell them about my company they say “give me your business card and I’ll pass it along to the right person.”  Raise your hand if you have heard this, too, and have dutifully given your card.  Is your experience like mine? When I follow up with the right person they have no idea who I am or why I am contacting them, which can be an embarrassing way to begin with a prospective client. When I am looking to grow my business I go where the decision-makers are. Changing the Approach on How to Network I had almost totally given up on networking when I decided to try a different tack.  Instead of going to events that I knew would be filled with other salespeople (I’m looking a

How the Vermont Craft Beer Industry is Finding Success in a Crowded Market

By Emma Marc-Aurele The craft beer industry has contributed over $271 million to the Vermont economy while the industry has added a total $55 billion to the United States’ economy. The craft beer business is growing exponentially each year. According to the Brewers Association, 1.5 breweries open every day throughout the United States. In 2011, there were 2,033 breweries open in the US and that number more than doubled by 2015 when the Brewers Association recorded 4,269 as the running total. That same trend has occurred in Vermont: in 2011 the state had 22 established breweries and by 2015 that number doubled to 44. With 9.4 breweries per capita, Vermont is ranked first for number of breweries based on population and is recognized as a leader in this booming industry . In 2015, Vermont produced 261,654 barrels of craft beer, ranking 20thin the US, according to the Brewers Association. “There are no signs of a let up in demand for high flavored craft products driven by millennials who f