Tags Posts tagged with "health and human services"

health and human services

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.