Posts tagged with "Sydney"

The Labelle Foundation

The Australians have given us so much…Nicole Kidman, Koalas, UGG Boots and NOW…they have given us the 2020 Training Mate Calendar. Training Mate has paired with The Labelle Foundation to show off their “cheeky” humor *and cheeks* to benefit the dog rescue

The Labelle Foundation is a Los Angeles foster based animal rescue devoted to rescuing, rehabilitating, advocating for dogs. Their goal is to help the animals they assist find perfect forever families. The organization also specializes in neonatal orphans and sick or special need medical puppies.

Training Mate is owned and operated by “Revenge Body” trainer Luke Milton who makes an appearance in the calendar. Luke’s fitness career began as a professional Rugby player in Australia where he was lucky enough to play for his country. After retiring from Rugby, Luke founded Training Mate in Sydney, Australia and quickly established himself as a leader in the fitness community. He is now a celebrity trainer here in Los Angeles and lives by the belief that a healthy lifestyle is a combination of physical, social and mental health. 

100% of the profits from the Training Mate calendar will benefit The Labelle Foundation. 

Black Line Crazy Launches New Limited Edition Art Bags Line

Mary van de Wiel (aka Van), founder of Black Line Crazy (BLC), has announced the launch of her line of the same name, which includes limited edition bags and one-of-a-kind, hand-woven rugs and wall hangings featuring her paintings. Additionally, van de Wiel’s work was selected for an installation on Avenue of the Americas in New York City by And Partners which acts as ‘co-curators’ on behalf of its clients.

A former chief creative officer of her own award-winning branding agency with offices in New York and Sydney, Australia, van de Wiel has worked with countless Fortune 500 clients. At the same time, she realized she relished walking outside the line with her bold black and white graphic designs born from her love of doodling. One day in the middle of Mexico, van de Wiel picked up a brush and can of black house paint and started painting murals, collages and gallery windows—floor to ceiling. In 2015, she had her first successful exhibition at the Saint Cloche Gallery in Sydney. A year later, she was invited to be part of a group show at Galeria Manuk in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Later moving to Mexico, van de Wiel started to create messenger bags that feature her paintings and signature and expanded her line to currently include totes and zippered sleeves as well as a hand-woven collection of rugs and wall hangings. Anyone purchasing items from her line instantly becomes a collector of a one-of-a-kind or limited edition piece which makes the work truly unique.

“I believe that art has a pulse and belongs in everyday life—not just on walls,” said Mary van de Wiel, founder of BLC. “It’s designed to be worn, carried and integrated with the personality of the owner as a means of self-expression.”

The new Black Line Crazy line can be viewed here.

About Black Line Crazy

BLC Collections, both form and function, are an invitation to walk outside the line. It’s art at the intersection of fashion, home and everyday life. Because sustainability is a must, BLC works very closely with makers and artisans, researching organizations that repurpose vinyl for a circular economy, rather than sending it to landfill. Additionally, BLC purposely chose master weavers who source their 100% wool from the state of Guanajuato—from a small group of farmers that have been tending to their animals’ welfare and the environment for decades. By

About And Partners

Based in New York City, And Partners helps clients build and differentiate their brands, drive sales and command a premium in the market place. The agency blends curiosity and creativity to uncover unique and authentic stories that elevates brands, helps solve business problems, and provides a meaningful launching pad for deeper conversations with diverse audiences. If you would like more information, visit their website.

Anuel AA “rises” with four nominations

One of the most important nights of Hispanic music: Billboard Awards 2019, will witness the impressive professional growth of the King and pioneer of the Trap in Spanish: Anuel AA, who debuted with four nominations at the exclusive awards gala. After an incredible year 2018, Anuel AA continues to figure in the top positions of the most important music listings internationally.

Topics like “She wants to drink”, which has more than 300 million views on YouTube, “Yeezy” and “Brindemos”, belonging to her first solo album: “Real hasta la muerte”, have earned her four coveted nominations at the Billboard Latin Music Awards night 2019. Anuel AA is one of the brand new nominees in the following categories:

Artist of the Year, Debut / Artist of the Year, NewArtist of the Year, Social Networks /

Social Artist of the Year”Top Latin Album” of the Year / Top Latin Album of the Year – Real

Hasta La Muerte Album “Latin Rhythm” of the Year / Latin Rhythm Album of the Year –

Real Hasta La Muerte The Billboard Latin Music Awards gala will be televised from Las

Vegas, Nevada on Telemundo, on Thursday, April 25.

 

Casper Mágico: one of the brand new nominees

The Puerto Rican performer is fortunate to have multiple nominations at the most important awards ceremony of Latin music: Billboard Awards 2019.

As for the art of “magic”, fame, international recognition and respect for a growing and competitive music industry, knocked on the door of Casper Mágico after his collaboration in the remix of the song “Te Bote”, where he shares verses with the “creme de la creme” of the urban genre: Ozuna, Bad Bunny, Nicky Jam, Darell and Nio García “The song Te Bote is and always will be a super special chapter in my artistic career, as well as collaborating with great exponents of the genre, it gave me the opportunity to get closer to the audience through my music,” said Casper.

The song “Te bote remix” became an anthem of Latin music throughout the year 2018. To date, it has the astonishing amount of more than 1.6 billion visits, and the number continues to increase daily. Thanks to the international “smash” of this “catchy” song, Casper will say “present” for the first time on Billboard Awards night to Latin music, and his name will stand out not only in one, but in six different categories: “Hot Latin Song”,

Song of the Year / Hot Latin Song of the Year “Te Boté””Hot Latin Song”, Vocal

Collaboration of the Year / Hot Latin Song of the Year, Vocal Event “Te Boté”Song of the

Year, Airplay / Airplay Song of the Year “Te Boté”Song of the Year, Digital / Digital Song of

the Year “Te Boté”Song of the Year, Streaming / Streaming Song of the Year “Te Boté”Song

“Latin Rhythm” of the Year / Latin Rhythm Song of the Year “Te Boté The Billboard Latin

Music Awards gala will be televised from Las Vegas, Nevada on Telemundo, on Thursday, April 25.

 

SambaFunk! Perform at Senator Kamala Harris for President 2020 Campaign Rally

Bay Area artscollective SambaFunk! performed Sunday, January 27th as part of the Senator Kamala Harris for President 2020 Campaign Rally in Oakland.

Theo Aytchan Williams, Samba Funk! Artistic Director said, “We are beyond honored to have been invited to participate in this historic moment in time by performing at the Senator Harris for President Campaign Rally.”

The group recently released a new version of the classic “Lift Every Voice & Sing” to coincide with Black History Month in February and to celebrate the song’s 120th Anniversary.

“Lift Every Voice and Sing” often referred to as the “Black National Anthem”, was originally written as a poem in 1899 by James Weldon Johnson to be recited by 500 students at the Stranton School in Jacksonville, Florida as a welcoming poem to educator Booker T. Washington in commemorate of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. It was later put to music by John Rosamond Johnson and adopted as the Black National Anthem by the NAACP.

The SambaFunk! version of “Lift Every Voice & Sing” comes on the 120th anniversary of the song being written in hopes that the new release will shine a light on the Black Experience and ignite a sense of pride among Black and oppressed people worldwide. Historically music often plays a significant role in bringing people together for positive change. The group hopes this song evokes conversations between Americans of all backgrounds.

Williams said, “2019 is the perfect time for the message of this monumental work to be heard around the world to help raise our collective consciousness and present a living example of how music can play a significant role in unification.”

Many are already celebrating the song and its goodwill message including several NBA teams who will be performing the song as part of their Black History Month presentations.

Samba Funk! will also be seen in the EPIX documentary series, Elvis Goes There on February 11th with host film critic Elvis Mitchell, performing “Lift Every Voice & Sing”.

Mastered in the world-renowned Bernie Grundman studio in Hollywood, the song was released Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, January 20th and is available wherever music is sold and streamed.

To learn more about Samba Funk! and listen to “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, visit the website at sambafunk.com.

Nicky Jam officially announces his new concert tour

Nicky Jam announces his “Intimate Tour 2019”, this is his next concert tour in the United States, where the most prominent urban singer-songwriter of recent times hopes to surprise all his followers with his extraordinary show, many surprises and a constant evolution. The concert tour had an excellent campaign of expectation that managed to engage and captivate the attention of all the followers of the artist, who through social networks made themselves felt, expressing many things and today finally managed to know the reason; it is the new concert tour of the interpreter of the urban genre, which bears the particular name of “Intimo Tour 2019”. “Intimate Tour 2019” will have its opening concert on April 11 in Chicago, Illinois, to then visit the cities of Boston, Las Vegas, Miami, Orlando, New York, among others. The artist will be making a total of 13 concerts in the most important stages of the United States, extending until the month of May. Tickets will be available from February 1 to 10AM Eastern time. Additionally, the exponent of urban genre, who has also stood out as an actor including his biographical series “The winner”, will now join the cast of the renowned film sequel “Bad Boys” in his third installment called: “Bad Boys for Life” , working directly in Hollywood with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence.

Former Vice President Joe Biden Knows America’s “Dirty Little Secret”

Former Vice President Joe Biden Knows America’s “Dirty Little Secret”

Former Vice President Joe Biden has called it a, “public health epidemic.” A “stain on the moral character of a society.” An issue that “cuts to the very core of how we measure ourselves.” Joe Biden believes, “We must change the culture.” See Joe Biden live, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, January 28, 2019.

Fort Lauderdale, FLA – Hope for Children Foundation®! ; mission stands firmly in supporting the prevention of cruelty to children, extending and offering protection to children, families and adults in the United States through free online video and movie education. Hope for Children Foundation celebrates the lives of children and families in the United States of America.

The FBI reported 97% of abused children reported to the legal system are not protected.

Read more about this and view free online videos by going to the Website: www.hopeforchildrenfoundation.org  Hope for Children Foundation’s presence is throughout the United States due to the power of the Internet. Many free movies and videos are available for your increased protection and knowledge. Be careful and make sure you are on the correct URL address. A few others wrongly use our name. We have the Trademark Registration number 5,409,810.

Joe Biden has spent more than 25 years fighting to end violence against women, children and men, in the United States. In the 1990s, as a senator, he wrote the landmark Violence Against Women Act, which drastically changed how the U.S. responded to domestic violence and sexual assault. 

This video produced by Hope for Children Foundation shows how this Act offers protection to women, children and men:

Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/embed/zZAPzGy7HZI

Donations to Hope for Children Foundation

You can donate online through Paypal or mail a check to a safe P.O. Box 191028  Dallas, TX  75219. All of our training has always been free to everyone. Therefore, we greatly appreciate your donation to further the future of Hope for Children Foundation.

Abuse of Power – Help End the Cycle of Abuse

Joe Biden was raised by a gentle, honorable man who always taught his children that the greatest sin anyone could commit is the abuse of power — and the cardinal sin is when a man raises his hand to a woman or a child or someone with less physical power, including raising a hand to a weaker man.

When he started to work on this issue, violence against women, children and men, were not taken as seriously, and survivors were not given the recourse they deserved. Too often, victims of violent crimes were blamed. Too often, perpetrators were not prosecuted.

Joe Biden, Hope for Children Foundation, and many others, are convinced America needs to change its culture. And in order to change the culture, we have to pull the mask off of this dirty little secret. A simple message for all Americans:  You should be the ultimate agents of change. It’s time for all of you to step up. 

Think about a culture that exists when a victim who’s been abused or raped is asked all the wrong questions: Why were you there? What were you wearing? What did you say? Why did you say it? What were you drinking? Those are all the wrong questions. It’s never the victim’s fault.

The right questions are: What made that person think they had a right to touch me?  Why on Earth did no one step up when they had the chance? Or for you men:  Why didn’t I have the courage to speak up — to intervene, to act?  Men to ask yourselves: What would I have done if she was my sister?

Passing the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, has literally saved lives. Women, men and children need to know they won’t be abused again by the system, they’re reporting violen! ce at higher rates. Twenty – five years ago, there was no domestic violence hotline — now 3.4 million women and men have called the National Domestic Violence Hotline and gotten support and help.

The yearly domestic violence rates dropped 64 percent between 1993 and 2010. There were no special victims units — now, police departments across the country have specially trained personnel to treat domestic abuse as crime rather than a private matter. The culture is changing so that abusers are now treated as the criminals they are. It’s no longer acceptable for a man to abuse a woman in public or privately in the home. Sexism is no longer tolerated. We no longer remain silent when a woman is being abused in front of us. The #MeToo and #Time’sUp Movements have helped to empower victims of violent crimes. The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace.

We all should take a pledge and act on three things: (1) I promise to intervene instead of being a bystander. (2) I promise to recognize that any time consent is not given — or cannot be given — it’s sexual assault and it’s a crime; and (3) I promise to do everything I! can to create an environment where sexual assault is unacceptable, where survivors are supported, where perpetrators are treated with the moral and legal accountability they deserve. 

Healthy Support for the United States of America

Joe Biden by instinct and long experience has shown he has the ability to reach across the aisle and return this country to civility and compromise with integrity, respect, dignity and honor in the best interest of protecting Americans, and other people around the world. Joe Biden is interested in all Americans and supports a healing process for all to experience. Hope for Children Foundation encourages you to attend Joe Biden’s American Promise Tour. We did, and realized America is better off having a man and a women standing strong for Americans like former Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden.

For more information, visit the website at https://www.hopeforchildrenfoundation.org

DEF JAM PHENOM YK OSIRIS ANNOUNCES HIS HEADLINING “WORTH IT” TOUR

Def Jam phenom YK Osiris announces his Worth It tour today with fellow Def Jam artist YFL Kelvin as direct support. Recently off the road with Lil Baby, YK Osiris was recently hand-picked as Vevo’s newest DSCVR artist for 2018 and will be releasing new music soon. Tickets are on sale now at www.YKOsirismusic.com.

FREDERICKSBURG

By Alexandria Baiz × Vaughn Lowery

Fredericksburg, Texas the destination of historical sites and culture welcomes us. With the hidden treasures of food, wine and goods the Texas Hill Country is a must-visit.

Beginning with a stay at the one and only Hanger Hotel. This hotel has a WWII hangar of the romantic 1940’s to it’s design with fine woods and custom carpets. Famous for the Observation Deck on the second floor with views adjacent to the airport to see the planes come and go from one end of the runway to the end.

Later a stop to the Pioneer Museum Complex preserved from the 19th century German Pioneer days. In the mid-1840s Germans faced every obstacle to come to Texas and create a unique German colony in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. The Museum strives to preserve and tell this story. With a combination museum and historical site, it reaches over 3.5 acres on Main Street in downtown Fredericksburg.

Dinner at Das Peach Haus that houses delicious jams, jellies and sauces made by Fischer and Wieser Speciality Foods. The Historic roadside fruit stand offers gourmet products with unique flavor combinations. The Tasting Room offers tastings from two Texas wineries, which change out every two months. Vintage wines are paired with international assortment of cured meats and cheeses. Fischer and Wieser include more than 70-award-winning products, which each inspire culinary adventures around the world by being able to purchase online.

Clear River Ice Cream and Bakery does things differently with hot-from-the-oven baked goods, homemade ice cream and house deli. Homemade ice cream with high-quality ingredients has been voted as the third best ice cream in Texas. For a bite to eat the deli and salad selection is notable with house favorites like the Chipotle Ranch Chicken Wrap. Fresh baked goods can satisfy any sweet tooth with an Apple Strudel, Peach Cobbler and everything in between.

Tour at the George H.W. Bush Gallery at The National Museum of the Pacific War dedicated exclusively to telling the story of the Pacific Theater in World War II. The Museum is noted for its historic materials with iconic elements of the Pacific War era. Guided tours debut the newly renovated Pacific Combat Zone, a realistic environment for a deep understanding of the momentous struggle between Allied Forces and Japanese forces.

For lunch we enjoy an Arts District Stroll through the Peach Tree Gift Gallery and Tea Room. With the Cottage style restaurant, you will find a combination of fresh, homemade breads, soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts. For over 39 years this family owned business has been a destination in Fredericksburg, because of the seasonal fruits and vegetables they use.

After lunch, we took an art tour through the streets of Fredericksburg to meet with the area’s top galleries. Insight Gallery represents the cities artists and sculptors that today work on landscape, figurative, impressionistic, still life, wildlife and western art. The Good ART Company is beautiful with a contemporary fusion in a restored 4,000+ square foot historical building with high ceilings and limestone walls. The gallery features an array of genres with some of the best regional, national, and international artists. Koch Gallery owned and operated by Bert E. Koch a trader/broker for traditional, contemporary and modern Native American Art. For over 30 years it continues its long tradition of providing important works of art from all major cultural regions in North America. Artisans Gallery makes your artistic dreams reality with unique pieces that come in every medium, size and price range. RS Hanna a jewel for fine arts with original works of acclaimed artists. Workings range from oil, watercolor, bronze and wood. Gallery 330 is the newest addition to the art scene representing contemporary established artists whose works include sculpture, painting and prints, serigraphs and watercolors.

The Holiday Wine Trail takes us to Texas’s countryside to travel along Wine Road 290 with visit to award winning wineries.

The trail begins at Stout’s Trattoria at Grape Creek Vineyards a 100-acre vineyard estate. With oaks and vines surrounding the tasting rooms there is a romantic Tuscan setting that is truly unforgettable. The Vineyards have won over 100 medals in the last two years for their wines.

In the heart of the Texas Hill Country, 4.0 Cellars offers a relaxing and elegant setting to discover the infamous Texas Wines. In a private tasting room we enjoy a wine and chocolate pairing. With four award-winning chocolate truffles from local chocolatier with four carefully selected dry red wines.

Dinner at August E’s, known for it’s organic produce and superb local suppliers. August E inspired by his Thai roots and years in various culinary pursuits throughout the world has created a Nouveau Texas Cuisine. Utilizing ingredients like: Niman ranch Natural Premium Aged Angus steaks and local farmers fruits and vegetables year round. Menu specials change seasonally based on the creative mood of Chef Leu like duck from Maple Leaf Farms and Sashimi Grade Fish.

A favorite in the Texas Hill, we enjoy dinner at Otto’s German Bistro. Menu changes weekly with the season so each visit is an exciting adventure. Dedicated to local, organic produce ingredients that are always fresh and the highest quality.

We enjoy breakfast at Java Ranch a locally owned coffee stop. The ranch serves the finest hot or iced coffee drinks anywhere including lattes, cappuccinos, Hill Country roasted brewed coffee, Americanos and mochas. To start the day off we dive in a breakfast taco or kolaches, house favorites.

We take a visit to the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park for a “Texas style” morning. During his administration, Johnson signed more education bills into law than any other president. In respect to that we see his first school where he signed the landmark Elementary and Secondary Education act of 1965. Other stops include the family cemetery and the LBJ Ranch Show.

In the afternoon we endow in lunch and a beer tasting at Altstadt Brewery Fredericksburg’s newest brewery an authentic Bavarian brewery. Dedicated to creating the purest drinking beers the 120-acre old world destination features a fine dining restaurant, brewery tours and a beautiful venue. Brewery exclusives include traditional brews like Schwarzbier, a traditional German “Black Beer.”

With over 150 specialty shops, shopping is one of the primary reasons visitors come to Fredericksburg. In store we see everything from clothing, upscale home accessories, to unique collectibles and more perfect items for holiday shopping. Blackchalk Home and Laundry originally an old laundromat had been transformed into an electric home goods store. The hip store features gifts, kitchen goods, and one of a kind rugs. The infamous Christmas Store open year round specializes in collectibles. For collectors, this store is paradise with Department 56 miniature villages and Christopher Radko blown glass ornaments. The Hill Country Outfitters and The Grasshopper offer products to fit the hill country lifestyle in downtown Fredericksburg. Brands like Ugg and The North Face are housed in the Outfitters. The Narrow Path Tasting Room inside is an intimate space with French cafe feelings in the air.

To continue the Holiday Wine Trail, a stop at Signor Vineyard in the rolling hills of Central Texas. Where the Pedernales River meets Grape Creek, established by a friendship spanning three generations of two Texas families. Their focus is growing premium varietal fruit with soulful wines reflective of the unique terroir.

Our stay is perfect timing for the Fredericksburg’s 61st Annual Holiday Home Tour. A self guided tour showcasing unique local homes decorated in their holiday finest. With more than 22 vendors each year selling personal gifts, homemade foods and holiday items.

For dinner we dine at Navajo Grill, which encompasses an unusual blend of Hill Country craftsman design. Enjoying Southern cuisine composed with old and New Mexican flavors with a touch of Creole & Caribbean influences. Specialties like the Sunday Chicken Fried Steak dinner are served with housemade sauces and dressings.

After dinner drinks at Elk Store Winery & Distillery. Since 1895 the business has carried a family tradition that pays homage to the spirit of realizing the American Dream. In the footsteps of their great grandfather Todd Smajstrla along with Scott Hladky, produced moonshine, gin, rum, and whiskey. Since then, the business serves Incredible wines from all over the world. Along with small batches of handmade liquors by the bottle or cocktails.

Dinner at Rathskeller a full-service breakfast, lunch and dinner spot in downtown Fredericksburg. The menu selection is extremely versatile featuring German dishes and daily specials. On Friday and Saturday nights enjoy live music that house the restaurant.

Nothing better than the taste of handmade tortillas for breakfast at Hilda’s Tortillas. Hilda’s is a small family owned and operated business. Specializing in authentic Mexican fare their breakfast tacos and burritos are a must try. Twice a week 300 or more pounds of tortilla chips are produced within the restaurant.

For some fresh air we bike the quiet country backroads with Jack and Adams Bicycles. At Jack and Adams you can rent out Road, Tri-bike, Cruisers and even kid bicycles and accessories from a variety of brands. The Hill Country scenes with its rolling hills and panoramic views, is considered the cycling capital of Texas.

In addition to the speciality shops we visited above there is a collection of shops specializing in different festive treats. Emma + Ollie bakeshop takes classic treats we grew up loving and elevated them. The shop prides themselves on using only fresh ingredients; no processed foods, no artificial sweeteners, just pure dessert. The founder Rebecca Rather wanted the shop to feel as if customers stepped into an upscaled version of their own grandma’s kitchen. Chocolat store creator, Lecia Duke, was the first to introduce European-Style, liquid centered chocolate in the U.S. The truffle chocolates are of course a house favorite as the delicate shell gives way to the pure liquid flavor casades in your mouth. In addition there is also colette’s, creams, silk fudges, nut clusters, barks, and caramels. Fredericksburg Pecan Company provides fine quality of pecan products grown in the Texas Hill Country. Owners are dedicated to providing excellent quality pecans available for online order at reasonable prices with the best customer service. Pecans are flavored and glossed in everything from pecan brittle to pecan coffee.

Rustlin Rob’s Texas Gourmet Food is not your ordinary gourmet food, not limited to people who cook but to “foodies” of all ages. The store is enjoyable because it caters to anyone who loves to eat. With over 350 gourmet foods we can sample from ranging from peanut butters, mustards, bread mixes, and some 5 Alarm hot sauces.

Fredericksburg Pie Company mission is to serve pie that is as good as, or better than your mothers or grandmothers made. In store pies are made from scratch and selections change daily with up to 20 kinds of pie. While here, we enjoy an option of coffee, milk, and more with our slice of pie and even a book selection. Sugar free pies are also available with a call in a day before.

Lunch at the Farm Haus Bistro in the Fredericksburg Herb Farm, with an American menu with French and Italian influences. Owners Dick and Rosemary Estenson take us on a tour of the B&B Cottages based upon the design of the early historic Fredericksburg “Sunday Houses. These houses are inspired by German settlers who built these small “city houses” to use on the weekends to buy provisions and attend Sunday church. We also visit the Nature Spa area dedicated to a truly unique relaxing experience.

Exploring Main Street is incredible when we can enjoy Eisban, an outdoor ice skating on real ice. Alongside Marketplace and the Christmas Pyramid. Afterwards a trip to Luckenbach, Texas made famous by Waylon Jennings’ and Willie Nelson’s 1976 classic country hit.

For our last destination Dinner and wine pairing at local Cabernet Grill Texas Wine Country Restaurant. Chef/Owner Ross Burtwell’s wish is to create a lasting impression of culinary craft where guest feel at home. Known for his speciality in preparing the freshest seafood, Certified Angus Beef, wild game and ranch fare. The wine selection is also superb with over 75 selections from around the State of Texas. Tripadvisor has ranked the restaurant Top 10 in the nation and we know why.

The good art company, gallery, art, Fredericksburg Texas, 360 MAGAZINE

August E's, 360 MAGAZINE, Fredericksburg Texas

War museum, Fredericksburg Texas, 360 MAGAZINE, Vaughn Lowery

Altstadt Brewery, Fredericksburg Texas, 360, 360 MAGAZINE, Vaughn Lowery

Chocolat, lecia Duke, 360 MAGAZINE, Fredericksburg, Vaughn Lowery

MIT: Liver transplant deaths reduced by 20%

Demand for liver transplants is much higher than organ supply, resulting in approximately 2,400 deaths every year. Also problematic is the current model used to identify and prioritize the “sickest” patients, which does not allow for equitable access to all waitlisted candidates, with a particular disadvantage to women. To address these issues, MIT Sloan School of Management Prof. Dimitris Bertsimas and Prof. Nikos Trichakis utilized machine learning to create a model that reduces mortality by 20%, averting nearly 400 deaths each year. Their model, Optimized Prediction of Mortality (OPOM), also provides a fairer and more equitable allocation to candidate groups, including women.

“There are many significant benefits to using this new model over the current system. Unlike the current system, which makes some arbitrary choices and results in bias against certain populations, OPOM’s methodology for prioritization is clear and understandable to surgeons — and it can save hundreds of additional lives every year,” says Bertsimas.

Trichakis noted, “OPOM fixes many of the current system’s problems because it was designed specifically for liver patients using real data. As a result, it can accurately prioritize patients across all populations without bias. This shows the potential of machine learning technology to help guide clinical practice and national policy on transplants.”

The researchers explain that the current model created in 2002 depends on the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score to rank disease severity and priority for receiving a liver transplant. As certain patient populations are at risk of death or of becoming too sick or unsuitable for transplantation based upon disease progressions that are not captured in their MELD score, the system arbitrarily grants them “exception” points. While the overall MELD score has led to a more objective ranking of candidates awaiting liver transplantation, the process of MELD exception point granting has resulted in inequitable and undesirable outcomes.

More specifically, the MELD exception points policy has disadvantaged women. “Data shows that women have historically had less access to liver transplantation and have had higher death rates on the wait list,” notes Trichakis. “This is due to the awarding of exception points to cancer patients, as more than 75% of those patients are men. Women also tend to have lower muscle mass and higher sodium levels, which lowers their MELD scores.”

Using a state-of-the-art machine learning method developed at the MIT Operations Research Center and real historical data from liver patients, the researchers sought a better way to prioritize the allocation of organs. With OPOM, they asked the question: What is the probability that a patient will either die or become unsuitable for liver transplantation within three months, given his or her individual characteristics?

They found that the OPOM allocation outperformed the MELD-based prediction method in terms of accuracy and fairness. In simulations, OPOM averted significantly more waitlist deaths and removed the bias against women. As a result, it allowed for more equitable and efficient allocation of liver transplants.

“Unlike MELD, which relies on an inexact approach of exception point assignment, OPOM allows for accurate prioritization of all candidates and removes bias for or against particular groups,” says Trichakis.

Bertsimas adds, “If we use this model to change how we measure mortality and allocate livers, the death rate will decrease by 20%, which is very significant. We’re hopeful that our findings will affect the national policy.”

Bertsimas and Trichakis are coauthors of “Development and validation of an Optimized Prediction of Mortality (OPOM) for candidates awaiting liver transplantation” with transplant surgeons Dr. Ryutaro Hirose of the University of California and Dr. Parsia A. Vagefi of the University of Southwestern Medical Center. Additional coauthors include MIT Sloan students Yuchen Wang and Jerry Kung. Their paper has appeared online in the American Journal for Transplantation.