ProfNet Experts Available on Zika Virus, Super Bowl Commercials, More

Also in This Edition: Jobs for Writers, Media Industry Blog Posts

Jan 29, 2016, 11:15 ET from ProfNet

NEW YORK, Jan. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Below are experts from the ProfNet network that are available to discuss timely issues in your coverage area.

You can also submit a query to the hundreds of thousands of experts in our network – it's easy and free! Just fill out the query form to get started:


  • The Zika Virus
  • The Role of Humidity in Fighting Infectious Disease
  • Preventing the Spread of Infectious Disease
  • Preventing Infectious Disease
  • Incidence of Childhood Myopia More Than Doubles in Last 50 Years
  • Super Bowl 50 Commercials: 2016 Ad Trends, Data, Spending and Analysis
  • How to Rekindle the Fire in a Long-Term Relationship
  • Making the Most of Your Journey While Traveling


  • Sports Editor – Albert Lea Tribune (MN)
  • Deputy Metro Editor – Hartford Courant (CT)
  • County Government Reporter – Daytona Beach News-Journal (FL)


  • Broadcast Journalists and Social Media: The Rules of Engagement
  • 6 Ways to Localize 2016 Presidential Campaign Coverage for Your Audience
  • Journalist Spotlight: Alex Kasprak, BuzzFeed


The Zika Virus
Mugur Geana
Associate Professor of Strategic Communications, Director of the Center for Excellence in Health Communications to Underserved Populations
University of Kansas
"I think perceived risk is the number one issue. Brazil seems a remote place for many Americans, and things happening there don't strike as having a possible impact at home. Nothing can be further from the truth. Let's not forget that we have had cases of Dengue in the southern areas of the United States and in Hawaii, and the Aedes aegypti mosquito is endemic in Mexico and the Caribbean. Those are the same mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus, so we already have a fertile ground for that infectious agent to come to the U.S., mostly through travelers that have acquired the virus abroad. Nevertheless, because continental U.S. doesn't have a significant presence of Aedes aegypti, secondary transmission from those infected overseas is less likely. At least that was the case for Dengue, according to the CDC. That doesn't mean we should be less vigilant or that we should ignore this threat, especially those travelling abroad."
Based in Kansas, Geana can discuss Zika, the mosquito-borne virus affecting Brazil, media coverage of the disease, response by the government, CDC and WHO, communications as key to prevention in poverty-stricken areas and more. He is fluent in Spanish.
Contact: Mike Krings,

The Role of Humidity in Fighting Infectious Disease
Dr. Shelley Weiss
Pediatrician and Family Physician
Wello Inc. and Medical City
"People don't always realize the importance of humidity in fighting infectious disease, but properly monitored along with temperature, it helps to reduce the spread of sepsis and infectious disease."
Dr. Weiss is available to answer questions about vaccinations, including: What are the risks? What can we do to keep our children healthier and well? How can a school prevent the spread of infectious disease? Can we impact whether our children get allergies that make them more susceptible to infectious disease?
Dr. Weiss has a medical degree from Rush University in Chicago, and his residency was at Children's Medical Center of Dallas/University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He is a board certified pediatrician, and was elected Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2004. After starting his own practice in North Dallas in 2004, he was joined by his wife, a family physician. He is affiliated with Medical City Dallas Hospital and has been a practicing pediatrician for 16 years. He is also an advisor for Wello Inc.
Contact: Jeannie Lewis,

Preventing the Spread of Infectious Disease
Murray Cohen, Ph.D.
Advisory Board Chairman, Wello Inc.
President, Frontline Healthcare Workers Safety Foundation
"Stopping disease spread in the U.S. alone could have a great impact on the country, and thereby the world."
Dr. Cohen is available to discuss preventing the spread of infectious disease, including what hospitals are doing to prevent infectious disease among staff and patients; the importance of humidity in preventing infectious disease; the threat of bioterrorism and the precautions being taken by the government; and preventing the spread of infectious disease during surgery and recovery. A certified industrial hygienist, Dr. Cohen is an internationally recognized expert in occupationally transmitted infectious diseases, risk assessment, and biosafety/biosecurity. He sees healthcare through a global perspective and is an expert on epidemiology. He currently serves as the executive director of the National Biosafety & Biocontainment Training Program, is a voting member of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, and serves on the Federal Interagency Expert Panel for Anthrax Spore Efficacy Test Methods and Surrogates. He consults for the NIH, as well as several other U.S. and foreign government agencies, and for the World Health Organization. He is based in Fort Worth, Texas.
ProfNet Profile:
Contact: Jeannie Lewis,

Preventing Infectious Disease
Alan Camrik Heller
Chairman and Founder
Freshloc Technologies and Wello Inc.
"When children are exposed to infectious diseases, touchless temperature monitoring stations help check for a temperature, the first sign of infectious disease. This can help prevent the spread of the deadly disease."
With flu on the rise, Heller can discuss how hospitals and public food services can prevent infectious disease; how temperature monitoring helped prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in Dallas; why CO2 monitoring and pressure monitoring are priorities in healthcare facilities; the impact of humidity in preventing infectious disease; and CDC guidelines and patient safety. He is based in Dallas.
ProfNet Profile:
Website: and
Contact: Jeannie Lewis,

Incidence of Childhood Myopia More Than Doubles in Last 50 Years
Rohit Varma, MD, MPH
Professor and Chair, Department of Ophthalmology; Director, USC Eye Institute
Keck Medicine of USC
The largest study of childhood eye diseases ever undertaken in the U.S. confirms that the incidence of childhood myopia among American children has more than doubled over the last 50 years. The findings echo a troubling trend among adults and children in Asia, where 90 percent or more of the population have been diagnosed with myopia, up from 10 to 20 percent 60 years ago. Says Dr. Varma: "While research shows there is a genetic component, the rapid proliferation of myopia in the matter of a few decades among Asians suggests that close-up work and use of mobile devices and screens on a daily basis, combined with a lack of proper lighting, sunlight and time outdoors, may be the real culprit behind these dramatic increases. More research is needed to uncover how these environmental or behavioral factors may affect the development or progression of eye disease."
Dr. Varma is chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and professor of Ophthalmology and Preventive Medicine. He also serves as director of the USC Eye Institute and holds the Grace and Emery Beardsley Chair in Ophthalmology. He earned his medical degree at the University of Delhi, India; and obtained a master's degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. He completed his residency at the Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, and two glaucoma fellowships, one at the Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia, and the other at the University of Southern California. An accomplished physician/scientist, Dr. Varma is recognized worldwide as a visionary leader in the epidemiology of eye diseases. He has been a funded researcher for the past 20 years by the National Eye Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In addition to his work with MEPEDS, he is the principal investigator of the Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES), African-American Eye Disease Study and the Chinese-American Eye Study in addition to his studies on blindness and vision impairment for the World Health Organization. He has more than 250 publications in peer-reviewed ophthalmic journals and has co-written two ophthalmic books, "Essentials of Eye Care: The Johns Hopkins Wilmer Handbook" and "The Optic Nerve in Glaucoma." He serves on the Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Health Discrepancies, chairs the American Academy of Ophthalmology Public Health Committee and served on the board of the Scientific Counselors of the National Eye Institute. He is available to discuss results of the study, as well as potential causes of myopia, or near-sightedness, in children and adults.
Contact: Meg Aldrich,

Super Bowl 50 Commercials: 2016 Ad Trends, Data, Spending and Analysis
Ken Wheaton
Advertising Age
"The last couple of years, it felt that marketers were getting a little heavy -- whether they were being sentimental or preachy. We expect things will swing back to the lighter side this year with more comedy and celebrities. And we're already seeing a lot of new brands shelling out for ads. Sadly, though, we might not get as many puppies or horses as in years past. And we also just might see more marketers keep their ads under wraps until the game."
Based in New York, Wheaton became Advertising Age editor in 2015, after serving in a variety of roles over the course of his 15 years. In addition to steering the publication's editorial operations, Wheaton brings his years covering the advertising industry to bear as a regular columnist and ad reviewer. His unique sense of humor, Cajun sensibility and sharp observations have made him a sought-after guest. His commentary has been featured on CBS, ABC, Yahoo! Finance and NPR, among other outlets.
Contact: Nettie Boivin,

How to Rekindle the Fire in a Long-Term Relationship
Brent A. Mattingly, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Ursinus College
Dr. Mattingly explains how "rekindling the fire" in a long-term relationship or marriage may be just what many couples need this Valentine's Day: "Early in a relationship, all shared activities are new and interesting. However, after many years of marriage, these routine activities become potentially mundane. The 'newness' isn't there any longer. One consequence is that the relationship may begin to feel stale. In fact, research shows that when relationships lack this sense of 'newness,' boredom sets in and relationship happiness suffers. But this boredom and relationship decline is avoidable. The primary reason why shared activities are so beneficial early in a relationship is because virtually every experience in a new relationship is new and fresh. In many ways, falling in love never gets old. So what married couples can do to 'rekindle the fire' in a relationship is find ways to experience this 'newness' again. The way for couples to do this is to engage in new and exciting activities together -- to effectively break out of the routine that's dragging them down."
Dr. Mattingly has studied the intersection of romantic relationships and the self for years as assistant professor of psychology at Ursinus College, a private liberal arts institution in Collegeville, Pa. His work has been published in the Journal of Social Psychology and other scholarly journals.
Contact: Esme Artz,

Making the Most of Your Journey While Traveling
Nilou Motamed
Director of Inspiration
Conrad Hotels & Resorts
"Travelers want to use whatever free time they have while traveling to discover something new. They want to find those hidden gems that are off the beaten path and that can't be found in the pages of a guidebook."
Motamed is an expert on global/luxury travel and hospitality, with a focus on unique, customized city itineraries. She can discuss the trend of customizable global itineraries amongst millennial and trendsetting travelers. She has also curated a list of quintessential experiences on, a global digital platform rich with editorial and video content on local culture, art, food and adventure.

Media Contact: Hannah Rubin,



Following are links to job listings for staff and freelance writers, editors and producers. You can view these and more job listings on our Job Board:

  • Sports Editor – Albert Lea Tribune (MN)
  • Deputy Metro Editor – Hartford Courant (CT)
  • County Government Reporter – Daytona Beach News-Journal (FL)



Following are links to other news and resources we think you might find useful. If you have an item you think other reporters would be interested in and would like us to include in a future alert, please drop us a line.

  • BROADCAST JOURNALISTS AND SOCIAL MEDIA: THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. Anchors, reporters, producers and photographers in television newsrooms across the country increasingly rely on social media in rather innovative ways to engage with viewers and gather elements for stories. We recently hosted a Twitter Q&A with Emmy Award-winning anchor Michelle Li of WISC-TV, the CBS affiliate in Madison, Wisc. Li shared her insight on how broadcasters use the tools on the job and offered tips on using social media platforms:
  • 6 WAYS TO LOCALIZE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN COVERAGE FOR YOUR AUDIENCE. It's an all too common tale for today's media. Newsrooms are changing. Technology is being pushed to the forefront. All the while budgets are tightening. So for those covering the 2016 election, finding the funds to send front-line staff may be out of the question – especially for smaller news organizations. But just because you're not on the campaign trail doesn't mean you don't have an interesting story to tell. If anything, telling the untold stories of your community may be the most distinctive – and most relevant – to your audience. Here are six ways to give your audience smart and meaningful coverage from your home seat:
  • JOURNALIST SPOTLIGHT: ALEX KASPRAK, BUZZFEED. For this month's Journalist Spotlight feature, we caught up with Alex Kasprak, a science writer with BuzzFeed, who gave us some insight into his daily work life:


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