Tags Posts tagged with "health and human services"

health and human services

Southern’s new College of Health and Human Services building, which breaks ground March 6, promises to boost interdisciplinary research and dramatically enhance the student experience across a variety of health-related fields.

The 4-story, 94,750-square-foot brick building, which will be located between Pelz Gymnasium and Fitch Street, will feature an abundance of natural light, collaborative spaces, state-of-the-art teaching and training spaces, lecture halls, a demonstration kitchen, and modern human performance laboratories.

“We are one of the major educational engines in this state,” said Sandra Bulmer, dean of the College of Health and Human Services. “Many of our health and human services programs have waitlists. This building is a manifestation of that need — to provide the best facility possible to prepare the best workforce possible.”

The building will house communication disorders; health and movement sciences (formerly exercise science); nursing; public health; and recreation, tourism and sport management. The Department of Social Work will remain in the historic Lang House, while the Marriage and Family Therapy Program will stay in Davis Hall

Until now, the departments resided in eight different buildings on campus. The new space “will finally enable them to be under one roof,” said Robert Sheeley, associate vice president for capital budgeting and facilities operations. “It is going to be an excellent addition to our campus.”

The university worked with Svigals + Partners for the exterior plans, and Little Diversified Architectural Consulting, a firm with vast experience in the health sciences, for the interior.

“The building will invite visitors to think about health and wellness. Stairs are a prominent, attractive feature on each floor, which we hope will encourage physical activity for those who are able,” Bulmer said. “We have also prioritized active learning spaces, natural light, and ergonomic furniture.”

A first floor “Main Street” is where the many student experiences, such as classes and advising, will take place. Departments will have their own dedicated spaces, but opportunities for cross-training, teaching and conversation are key to the building’s cost-effective design. For example, a single, centralized Interprofessional Collaboration and Meeting Center — with small hosteling office areas where adjunct faculty can work and meet with students — was created, instead of meeting rooms for each individual department.

Training spaces, such as a high-fidelity healthcare simulation center, will provide students with the latest technological capabilities and put them as close to real-life healthcare situations as possible. The center will be used to train students from nursing, communication disorders, recreation therapy, social work, athletic training, respiratory care, human performance, and public health.

“The high-fidelity healthcare simulation center is designed like a hospital floor,” Bulmer said. “Additionally, there are four standardized patient rooms that will allow us to have patient actors interacting with our student nurses and other health profession students. We will have a home simulation apartment to train students from multiple professions in home care.”

Videotaping capabilities within the center will allow students to better see what they are doing correctly or incorrectly and to view their patient interactions and debrief with faculty supervisors and other peers.

Departmental labs and clinics, currently used to train students and assist at-need populations in Connecticut, also will expand in size and capabilities in the new building.

“Our Communication Disorders Clinic currently serves 150 clients per week and provides a tremendous service to our community,” Bulmer said. “The new building will include updated and expanded clinic facilities that will allow us to serve more clients and train more graduate speech-language clinicians who can fill critical workforce shortages.”

Bulmer, who works closely with health industry professionals throughout the state, said these workforce shortages always have helped inform programmatic decisions; now they have served as a guide for the building’s design.

“This entire building has been designed to meet the needs of the workforce in Connecticut,” she said. “We know professionals are needed in these fields in this state. We take that very seriously. One of our goals is to increase our capacity to accept students into our many excellent programs, and these facility upgrades will be a significant step in moving in that direction.”

Paid for by state bond funds, the College of Health and Human Services building is expected to be completed in fall 2021, at a cost of $53 to $56 million.

Building features:

  • 1st floor “Main Street,” where many student experiences, such as classes and academic advising, will take place
  • State-of-the art healthcare simulation center fully outfitted with video capture technology:
    • 6 simulated hospital rooms with high fidelity manikins, adjacent technology control rooms, nurses station, and medicine room
    • 4 standardized patient rooms that will allow patient actors to interact with student nurses and other health professional students and have those sessions video streamed into debriefing classrooms
    • home simulation apartment to train students from multiple professions in home care, also using patient actors
    • 2 debriefing classrooms where student can view videotaped session to better see what they are doing correctly or incorrectly, view their patient interactions and consult with faculty supervisors and other peers
    • 4 large nursing labs each with 6 beds, 6 exam tables, nursing equipment and technology, and a teaching presentation area that seats 16 students
  • Human performance facility that will house Southern’s running injury clinic and include labs for training students and testing health and fitness, metabolism, neurophysiology, and biomechanics
  • High-tech Bod Pod to measure body fat composition through air displacement
  • Biomechanics lab with motion capture technology, high-tech treadmill, and the use of force plates for movement analysis
  • Athletic training teaching laboratory
  • Interprofessional collaboration and meeting center
  • Communication Disorders teaching and research clinic where speech, language and hearing services will be provided to the community. All clinic rooms include adjoining observation areas for family members and/or student learners.
  • Audiology research lab with sound booths for hearing testing and services
  • Center for individuals with different abilities to have recreational opportunities that are supervised by graduate and undergraduate recreational therapy students
  • Department offices and research spaces for faculty and staff
  • Business presentation and collaboration classroom that seats 25 students
  • Demonstration kitchen classroom that seats 40 students and will be used by the Department of Public Health for teaching nutrition, food safety, and healthy food preparation
  • (2) 60-seat lecture halls that can be joined together to form a large auditorium

The Human Performance Lab in the Department of Health and Movement Sciences

A name change and brand new facilities are bringing exciting — and cutting-edge — enhancements to Southern’s Exercise Science Department, renowned for its programs in athletic training, biomechanics, exercise physiology and more. The department recently was renamed the Department of Health and Movement Sciences, to better encompass its wide breadth of programs, and the department’s new address on campus — a 4-story Health and Human Services building — will enhance learning and  research opportunities for students and faculty alike.

“Historically, our department has been rooted in the exercise sciences, which encapsulated the performance, rehabilitation, and physical education aspects of exercise and sport through human performance, athletic training, and education, respectively,” said Marc Robertson, associate professor of health and movement sciences. “The field has evolved as society has placed greater emphasis on the health benefits associated with physical activity, hence the departmental name change better represents the types of programs we offer.”

Just a few years ago, the Exercise Science Department encompassed only the undergraduate majors of Athletic Training and Exercise Science. Now, Southern offers an accelerated 3+2 (3-year undergraduate degree plus 2-year graduate degree) Athletic Training degree program, one of the longest running accredited programs in Connecticut, as well as undergraduate and graduate programs in human performance, physical education, respiratory care, and school health education.

A new Bachelor of Health Science degree program was added in fall 2019 to provide tailored educational programs to students who plan to pursue graduate health professions such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and physician assistant.

When construction begins in March 2020 on the Health and Human Services building, these programs will be enhanced with new teaching and learning labs, expanded research opportunities for faculty and students, and interprofessional education programs with other health and human services professions. Many of these collaborative learning experiences will take place in the patient/client simulation center that includes six hospital rooms, four medical exam rooms, and a home simulation facility.

A dedicated human performance lab and a biomechanics lab will enable the department to expand its research opportunities with additional equipment for testing and analysis. High-tech components include motion capture technology and the use of force plates for movement analysis. A new piece of equipment called a BOD POD will allow students to measure body fat using air plethysmography (air displacement). The equipment will replace a technique known as hydrostatic underwater weighing, which required clients to sit on a special scale and be lowered into a tank of water to estimate their body composition.

“The person sits still in an egg-shaped structure while the measurement is taken,” said William R. Lunn, associate professor of health and movement sciences. “It’s easier for the participant, as there is no anxiety of needing to be submerged under water.”

Award-winning faculty still will be the cornerstone of the department, although the new space will offer increased opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration. It’s what drew champion triathlon racer and student David Martin, ‘20 (a master’s candidate in exercise science with a concentration in human performance), to Southern and continues to fuel his success.

“What is so special about the program and the faculty at SCSU is that I’m surrounded by people who are as enthusiastic as I am about this field of work,” Martin said. “The classes are set up in a way that prepares you for real experiences we will face in the exercise science field. With research being conducted by the professors, we can be hands-on as students and learn as we watch our professors.”

Even after graduation, he added, “There is a huge focus on having a plan. I feel successful here, and I feel comfortable that my success will continue to grow and exceed my expectations because I have the support of this department.”

Department Chair Gary Morin also has his eye on growth, although it’s for the department’s capabilities and programs.

“Once the building is done, the technological capabilities will increase the quality of education students get,” Morin said. “It’s been — and will continue to be — an exciting evolution.”

An aging population, emerging technologies, medical advances, and healthcare reform are reshaping the healthcare industry and creating an increased demand for skilled labor in both clinical and non-clinical positions. In Connecticut alone, healthcare practitioner and technical positions are expected to grow almost 10 percent over a 10-year period, ending in 2024, and about 24,000 new healthcare jobs will be added (according to the Connecticut Department of Labor).

To address the projected shortfall of skilled applicants for current and future healthcare positions, the College of Health and Human Services at Southern has launched a new interdisciplinary Bachelor of Science degree program in Healthcare Studies.

“This program provides students with foundational skills that are essential in today’s healthcare settings, introduces them to a wide range of current and emerging entry-level healthcare careers, and provides specialized training required to succeed in those positions,” said Sharon Misasi, director for the Healthcare Studies program at Southern. Misasi brings more than 30 years of higher education and healthcare experience to her position.

“We built this degree program with input from major healthcare employers in our region including Yale New-Haven Health Systems and Griffin Hospital,” said Angela Ruggiero, coordinator of administration for the Healthcare Studies program. “Our local healthcare employers are seeking bachelor-level trained employees to fill both clinical and non-clinical positions.”

Sandra Bulmer, dean of the newly-named College of Health and Human Services at Southern, took great care to ensure that faculty worked closely with industry professionals to create a degree program that provides students with excellent job opportunities upon graduation.

“I am very proud that our faculty and staff have created a program that meets the needs of current healthcare employers and has built-in flexibility to respond to the rapidly evolving healthcare sector and the specific interests of our students,” Bulmer said. “In addition to completing Southern’s very comprehensive liberal education program, every student will graduate with core knowledge and skills in areas that include but are not limited to healthcare systems, patient-centered care, medical ethics, health informatics, health and lifespan psychology, and disability awareness.”

Healthcare Studies students will also use up to 34 elective credits to obtain more specialized skills in areas that are important to healthcare employers including clinical research, project management, health informatics, data science, medical Spanish, recreation therapy, aging services, digital media, and public health.

Beyond training students for a range of careers in this burgeoning industry, the new Bachelor of Science degree in Healthcare Studies provides students with a strong foundation for graduate degree programs in health and human services disciplines or accelerated bachelor’s degree programs in nursing. This program serves as an ideal bachelor’s degree completion program for working healthcare professionals who already have an associate degree and are seeking more advanced academic credentials that can lead to career advancement and admission to clinical graduate programs.

The College of Health and Human Services at Southern is uniquely positioned to deliver this interdisciplinary degree program. The College is one of four major academic divisions within the university and employs approximately 100 full- and 400 part-time faculty in disciplines that include nursing, communication disorders, social work, marriage/family therapy, public health, movement sciences, physical education, athletic training, respiratory care, recreation, and sport management.

“Many of our faculty are currently employed in healthcare settings and provide our students with outstanding practice-based learning experiences and employment connections,” Bulmer said. “And we are in the process of hiring additional faculty and staff to serve the needs of our rapidly growing student population.”

“This program will serve as a critically important source of employees for the growing healthcare sector in Connecticut,” Misasi said. “Our faculty are deeply committed to ongoing communication with our regional healthcare employers. We plan to continually update our curriculum as needed to ensure that we are meeting the needs of healthcare employers, patients, families and communities.”

For more information about the Healthcare Studies program visit the online academic catalog or contact Angela Ruggiero at ruggieroa1@southernct.edu or (203) 392-5302.

One by one, members of the men’s basketball team ran towards the Vertec vertical jump tester trying to see how high they could go. With teammates cheering on, each athlete jumped as high as they could. After recording all of the scores, Lonnie Blackwell began explaining how he would incorporate strength and conditioning to see these values rise during the off-season. Blackwell is a graduate student obtaining his Master of Science degree in Exercise Science with a concentration in Human Performance. Blackwell also works for Jim Ronai’s Competitive Edge Sports Performance, a company based out of Orange, Conn., as a strength and conditioning coach. He also has certifications such as the NASM CPT and NSCA CSCS. Blackwell acts as the graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach for men’s basketball, men’s soccer, and women’s field hockey, with head strength and conditioning coach, Dave Hashemi.

The Department of Health and Movement Science’s Human Performance Laboratory, offers numerous fitness, performance, and functionality assessments to members of the SCSU community. Men’s basketball started the preseason by utilizing the lab with Blackwell to test their physical performance. These tests included: vertical jump, change of direction using the 5-10-5 test, and acceleration with the 10-yard dash. Blackwell used the lab’s zybek lasers in order to precisely measure the 10-yard dash. The team tested strength with a 1-repetition maximum weight for the squat and bench press.

Men’s soccer testing included the yo-yo intermittent beep test to evaluate aerobic fitness levels and to predict VO2max, and performed 1-repetition maximum for the squat and bench press to measure strength.

During the regular season, the girls’ field hockey team comes into the weight room two times a week. The strength and conditioning system in place utilized six different lift options. Depending on each athlete’s fatigue level and general fitness, they can choose a lift option that compliments them.

The soccer team and field hockey team is also utilizing GPS. The GPS technology operated by the human performance laboratory gives a researcher data such as distance covered, top-end speed, and work rate. The field hockey team uses this technology every Friday for practice, in order to estimate the training load. Men’s soccer utilizes the GPS to grab data from their games, such as training load. It also allows them to monitor their performance throughout the season.

Blackwell is well versed in GPS technology, as he is using GPS for his master’s thesis. His research will be utilizing data from various sports teams, to gain further understanding of how to prescribe programming to teams during the year and summer months.

SCSU, CARE NewHaven participants
From left to right: Giselle Carlotta-McDonald, program supervisor, Project Access-New Haven; Sandra M. Bulmer, dean, School of Health and Human Services; Kenn Harris, director, New Haven Healthy Start; Alycia Santilli, director, CARE; Kathleen O’Connor Duffany, research and evaluation director, CARE

Southern has been awarded a 5-year federal grant of up to $3.68 million from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention in an effort to improve the health of vulnerable populations in New Haven.

The grant will include $720,000 in the first year, with additional funding of a similar amount anticipated for the remaining years. The project, called Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health, will be coordinated by the Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE), an organization that is co-housed at SCSU and the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH).

It is the largest grant ever received by Southern.

A third of the money will be allocated to the New Haven community via local organizations and leaders with the intent of enhancing and developing health projects to benefit low-income and under-served populations.

“Health disparities among communities of color in New Haven, particularly in low-income neighborhoods, are an urgent public health problem that we must address,” said Alycia Santilli, director of CARE and assistant professor in the SCSU Department of Public Health.

“We are very enthusiastic about the opportunities this grant will bring to the community — to support and enhance the work of many community partners that work toward health equity.”

She said the competitive grant – one of only about 30 awarded nationally this year — will bolster the efforts of various programs already making a substantial difference in New Haven.

Among the plans for the grant are to:

*Improve access to health programs in New Haven for individuals at higher risk for developing a chronic disease. Among the ways to do this are to expand the New Haven Health Leaders program, which engages New Haven residents and SCSU graduate students who live in New Haven to address health disparities in their local neighborhoods.

*Expand Project Access New Haven’s community health worker model to help identify people who might not have a primary care physician and who may need social services, such as food and transportation. This work will take place at social service agencies, such as food pantries, throughout the city to help clients put into practice the health advice they receive.

*Start a nutrition ranking system at food pantries so that clients can more easily determine which foods are healthy.

*Promote community support for breast feeding among vulnerable populations.

*Work with transportation officials to help ensure that people can walk and bike to their destinations, as well as have access to bus transportation.

Sandra Bulmer, dean of the SCSU School of Health and Human Services, said the grant is very important for the school, the university and the New Haven community as a whole.

“This grant supports our community partners with their important work, provides resources for New Haven residents, and simultaneously expands practice-based learning opportunities for our undergraduate and graduate students,” Bulmer said.

“I am tremendously grateful for the many New Haven agencies that partner with us to provide hands-on training for our students. This grant will allow us to work together in new ways so that we can move closer to our common vision of eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities for New Haven residents.”

The grant will bolster the partnership between YSPH and SCSU, with SCSU implementing community activities and YSPH implementing evaluation activities. The evaluation will be led Kathleen O’Connor Duffany, CARE’s research and evaluation director, and YSPH faculty.

The project is set to begin immediately.

CARE and New Haven are ideally positioned to implement this project, according to Santilli, noting that CARE has an 11-year history of partnerships in New Haven.

One of those partnerships is with Project Access of New Haven. Darcey Cobbs-Lomax, executive director of the organization, said she was excited to learn of the grant award.

“(Project Access) has had a close relationship with CARE for many years and is looking forward to our new partnership,” she said. “This partnership is one that allows us to bring our unique organizations together to further impact the Greater New Haven community.”

CARE, New Haven

Above, left to right: Yan Searcy, associate dean of the School of Health and Human Services; Sandra Bulmer, dean of the School of Health and Human Services; Alycia Santilli, CARE director; and Jeannette Ickovics, CARE founder

The Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE) is partnering with Southern Connecticut State University to enhance its ongoing efforts to improve the health of residents in New Haven’s lowest-income neighborhoods.

Since its founding in 2007 at the Yale School of Public Health, CARE has worked to identify solutions to health challenges such as diabetes, asthma, and heart and lung diseases through community-based research and projects focusing on social, environmental, and behavioral risk factors. During the next three years, CARE will transition from Yale to SCSU’s campus, with SCSU becoming responsible for CARE’s community engagement work. Yale will continue to manage and finance CARE’s research agenda while gradually shifting that work to SCSU.

“This partnership with SCSU represents a powerful next step in the evolution of CARE by engaging with a local state university to drive deeper change into our neighborhoods,” said CARE founder Jeannette Ickovics. “This is an opportunity of mutual benefit:  a way to extend CARE’s work in New Haven, provide continuity and new energy to the work, and provide a platform to launch a center at Southern. “

The new SCSU Center for Community Engagement will help foster student service learning, advance community-engaged scholarship, and benefit CARE’s community partners, said Sandra Bulmer, dean of SCSU’s School of Health and Human Services (HHS). With Alycia Santilli as director, and Ickovics serving in an advisory capacity, CARE is beginning its transition to SCSU this month, Bulmer said.

Southern’s School of Health and Human Services is unique in Connecticut in combining seven disciplines under a single umbrella –  communication disorders, exercise science, marriage and family therapy, nursing, public health, social work, and recreation, tourism, and sport management. As a result, academic opportunities are highly interdisciplinary, while the school’s wide range of internships means that students participate in the community while earning their degrees.

“SCSU’s students and faculty are tremendous assets that will bring CARE expanded opportunities in community-based research, programming, and policy change, leading to further improvement in the health of New Haven residents,” Bulmer said.

During the transitional period, YSPH will remain as the central hub of CARE’s research activities, with a focus on data analysis from its New Haven Public Schools and neighborhood health surveys, said Santilli, who began her employment with SCSU Sept. 23 as a special appointment faculty member in the Department of Public Health.

“The potential of student, faculty, and staff power, combined with the legacy of work initiated over the past decade at the Yale School of Public Health, will be leveraged in a new way that I hope will have a lasting impact for another decade to come,” Santilli said.

“I am excited about the capacity and resources that this expanded partnership can bring to the SCSU campus community and the Greater New Haven area. As I become familiar with SCSU, two things stand out: the drive to best serve students and the commitment to social justice. These are simultaneously familiar and fresh perspectives from which CARE can begin to refine our focus on improving health in the New Haven community.”

Santilli, who has been with CARE since 2007, will spend the coming months transitioning CARE’s operations to Southern’s campus, developing CARE’s new strategic plan, and launching its new community engagement activities. She will split her time between offices at Lang House and Southern on the Green in downtown New Haven.

More information about CARE, including its accomplishments and publications, can be found on the CARE website.

Dr. Sandra Minor Bulmer, professor of public health, has been named as the university’s new dean of the School of Health and Human Services, effective immediately.

Bulmer has served as a faculty member in Southern’s Department of Public Health since 1999, as a full professor since 2009 and interim dean of HHS since 2014. A specialist in college student health issues and women’s exercise and health, she has excelled as a teacher/scholar, demonstrated a strong commitment to mentoring students, and provided a high level of service to her department and the university.

Bulmer has been active in campus leadership activities, including a six-year term on the Faculty Senate, chairing the Honors Thesis Committee since 2010 and chairing searches for the Vice President of Student Affairs and, most recently, the new Director of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Since fall 2014, in her role as interim dean, Bulmer has focused on building a community environment within the School, expanding inter-professional collaboration among faculty and students, increasing resources for high-demand degree programs, and developing new programs that address workforce needs in the state of Connecticut.

Under her leadership the Department of Nursing initiated reforms to their admissions process, the Exercise Science Department created and launched a new degree program in respiratory therapy, and the Social Work Department is creating a new doctoral degree program.

She also led a team of 20 faculty through the development of an initial building program for the School, worked with her associate dean to expand collaborations and build relationships in the New Haven community, and supported faculty with the launch of academic partnerships with Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture (BUCEA).

In addition to her work at Southern, Bulmer is the current president for the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE), volunteers with the Institutional Review Board and Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars program at Yale University, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Connecticut and Western Massachusetts Division of the American Heart Association.

Bulmer has been the recipient of several notable honors, including the J. Philip Smith Outstanding Teaching Award in 2003 and the Society for Public Health Education’s Outstanding Service Award in 2011. During her tenure as Director of Fitness Operations with Western Athletic Clubs in San Francisco, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) selected her as their first ever Fitness Director of the Year in 1991.  Under her guidance, Western Athletic Clubs was one of the first major employers in the fitness industry to require college degrees and relevant certifications for personal trainers and other fitness professionals.

In 1997, Bulmer left her position at Western Athletic Clubs to obtain her Ph.D. in health education at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Tex.  She also holds a B.S. in physical education from California State University Hayward and an M.S. in physical education with a focus on exercise physiology from the University of Oregon.