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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Questions about potential flu outbreaks is topic for upcoming URI Web Chat, Jan. 24

Media Contact: Jhodi Redlich, 401-874-4500

KINGSTON, R.I. -- January 18, 2006 -- A University of Rhode Island web chat next week will offer participants some first-hand information about both real and potential flu outbreaks, and our ability to effectively respond to them. URI Assistant Professor of Pharmacy, Jef Bratberg, will chat online about “The Flu, Avian and Otherwise: How Susceptible Are We?” on Tuesday, Jan. 24, at 1 p.m.

A service of the URI Division of University Advancement electronic communications program, the online chats are free and open to the public and are accessible through the URI website.

Bratberg will respond to flu-related questions like: Who should get a flu shot? Is Tamiflu a flu treatment or a flu prevention? Is a vaccine shortage anticipated this year? What is the bird flu? Are we susceptible and what can we do?

Bratberg, who joined the URI faculty in 2002, serves as a preceptor for advanced practice experiences in Infectious Diseases (ID) for pharmacy students at Rhode Island Hospital. In fall 2005, he worked with victims of Hurricane Katrina as a member of the Rhode Island Disaster Medical Assistance Team deployed to Louisiana for recovery efforts.

To enter the chat, go to for instructions. Participants may submit questions in advance, but the chat will not begin until the scheduled date and time. Thirty minutes is the total time allotted for the online chat. A full transcript will be posted to the University’s website at the end. If you have questions about web chats, please contact the URI Publications Office at 401-874-2075.

The online chats, which began in September 2004, have featured question and answer sessions with such alumni as Tom Mulligan, Los Angeles Times senior correspondent discussing The Iraq Factor: A View From the Streets of Baghdad; Ross Kauffman, filmmaker and 2005 Academy Award winner talking about the making of "Born into Brothels”; and marine explorer Robert Ballard discussing archaeological oceanography. URI administrators and faculty, including President Robert L. Carothers, College of Nursing Dean Dayle Joseph, and Women’s Basketball Coach Tom Garrick have also participated in chats.

The chats are made possible through the cooperation of the URI Athletics Department and College Sports Online, hosts of the web site.