Helping Students and the Community

student and client
A speech-language student works with a young client.

The College of Health and Human Services has approximately 5,000 students within its five schools, all of whom are working toward a career in some sort of helping and/or healing profession.  That represents a huge amount of potential for the SDSU and wider community.  But community members don’t need to wait until these students receive their degrees and find employment before they benefit from that potential.  All of the schools have opportunities for students to learn and the community to benefit right now.

The School of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences operates two community clinics on campus.  They provide speech-language therapies and audiology services to more than 1,000 members of the San Diego community who are uninsured or underinsured.  Recently they changed their policies so they offer these ser-vices free of charge, although a donation of any amount is appreciated.  Under the supervision of licensed therapists, the speech-language master’s students get hands-on experience working with both children and adults.  They work with individuals who have trouble speaking or struggle to find the right words due to a cognitive challenge.  They help stroke survivors regain their speech and children with autism find words for the first time. While the students get an opportunity to practice their techniques and client relationship skills, the clients get real help with whatever speech-language issue they have. Meanwhile, on the other side of the building, the students working toward their doctoral degree in audiology have similar opportunities. They provide hearing tests and hearing aid fitting to 500 clients per year. They help with the delicate adjustments that today’s highly technical hearing aids require. Other SLHS students provide hearing and speech evaluations in local schools and senior centers, as well as helping preschool students in the City Heights area develop language skills.

fitness clinic
Students and participants in the Adaptive Fitness Clinic.

Exercise and Nutritional Sciences students have a wide range of outreach opportunities. About 250 students each year work with individuals with a wide variety of disabilities in the Adaptive Fitness Clinic. Clients pay a small fee to work one-on-one with a student intern toward their fitness goals. In a crowded fitness center in Peterson’s Gym these pairs work together to help clients regain strength and mobility, or maintain their fitness levels despite temporary or permanent disabilities. Students studying nutrition work with a local elementary school to build and maintain a school garden and to encourage the young students toward healthy eating practices.  The cutting-edge research being done by the physical therapy students may lead to individuals suffering from paralysis to walk again.  In the meantime, the research subjects who are helping the faculty and student researchers get to experience that cutting-edge technology now.  The SDSU sports teams benefit from the kinesiology students helping them improve their fitness and athletic trainers-to-be working to help them recover from injuries.

Social work students at a campus rally for unity.

Social work students, both undergraduate and graduate level, are required to engage in many hours of clinical practice each year as part of their curriculum.  Thus you can find student interns in a wide variety of social service agencies all over San Diego County.  They serve as members of the teams that evaluate children and families at risk, they help seniors find the services they need, and families who are homeless find food and shelter.  They serve in more than 200 places in San Diego County. Many local social service agencies admit they wouldn’t be able to provide the services they do to the number of people they reach without the help of these unpaid interns. Social work students are also particularly active in social justice causes and events on the SDSU campus.

Nursing students and young patient in Thailand.

Students in the School Of Nursing also have many hours of clinical education before they finish their program. They rotate through all of the departments in local hospitals as they work toward their degree. They help the nurses with direct patient care, under the supervision of their clinical instructors. This gives them an accurate picture of what nursing entails, develops patient relationship skills, as well as giving real-life hands-on skills practice. All while providing superior care to the hospital’s patients. Many nursing students also use their international experience to serve on health missions in developing countries, serving a very wide community indeed. Previous years have seen large groups of students travel to Thailand and Ghana.

Public health students surveying community needs in Baja California

Students in the Graduate School of Public Health are also active in the community. While they are not required to complete internships, the research studies that students and faculty conduct are placed within the community. Not only do these projects help formulate new programs to improve the health of the community, but they involve many community members as research subjects. Since the research may be looking at ways to improve physical fitness or decrease the risk of disease, the hundreds of participants are benefiting from that today. Public health students also pursue projects and research around the world as part of a commitment to global health.



Letter from the Dean

Dear Friends – alumni, donors, faculty

Larry VerityWith Dean Marilyn Newhoff stepping down as the chief academic administrator of CHHS last summer, I want to introduce myself to all of you in my appointed role as Interim Dean of the CHHS. My name is Larry S. Verity and I have been in the associate dean’s role for the last four years. Previously, I was a clinical exercise physiology faculty member in the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences. I’m excited about assisting CHHS to build upon its significant excellence established
by Dean Newhoff. Working alongside me, the Dean’s office staff are superior and provide a team of professionals in helping me succeed in my tasks and responsibilities.
CHHS is comprised of five schools, where three schools brought forth new directors to lead their faculty this academic year. Dr. Matthew Mahar assumed the directorship of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, Dr. Hala Madanat stepped forward as director of the Graduate School of Public Health, while Dr. Tracy Love assumed the interim director role in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. Our other two schools have seasoned directors who have been in their positions for several years: Dr. Philip Greiner at the School of Nursing; and Dr. Mindy Hohman at the School of Social Work. Our directors are incredibly resourceful and oversee their quality programs. Our schools have excellent undergraduate and graduate academic pro-grams, many of which are highly ranked in the state and country.
Lastly, CHHS garnered over $42 million in grants and contracts last academic year. Our college has established its excellence and is building on its achievements with distinction.
In my new role as Interim Dean, I also want to express my appreciation for the role that University Research and Development provides to the college. I want to formally introduce Breanna Weeks, who was assigned as Sr. Director of Development for CHHS this past summer, working with Rebecca Williamson and Lily Tom.
I am enjoying my time as Interim Dean and I encourage faculty, staff, students, donors, supporters, and alumni to stop in and say ‘hello’ if you are near my office. Certainly, I appreciate the efforts that everyone puts forth to continue to make CHHS the best of colleges on this campus!!

Best Regards,


Larry S. Verity, Interim Dean


Development Office

Thanks to You, We are Finishing with a Flourish!

Rebecca Williamson
Rebecca Williamson,
Development Officer

SDSU reached its ambitious $750 million fundraising goal in October. A challenge gift of $25 million from Ron and Alexis Fowler put us over the top in the first comprehensive fundraising campaign. Reaching the goal is satisfying, but even more so is the groundswell of support from alumni, friends and the campus community that made the campaign a success.

More than 47,000 new donors, including 7,500 students and recent graduates, gave in support of scholarships, endowed faculty chairs, research, athletics, academic enrichment opportunities and upgraded facilities.

CHHS raised $20,385,027. This includes cash gifts, pledges that will be paid over the next five years, and planned gifts which will be realized in the future. We are thankful for all of these gifts, big and small, now and later. These gifts will provide scholarships for students as well as support research efforts, building improvements, and programs that provide unique student learning opportunities as they benefit the community.

aztec proudThe university will be placing a donor thank you wall at the entrance to campus, near the new Clay gate. This wall will list individuals and corporations who gave $100,000 and more since the start of the campaign in 2007. It is not too late to be included on this wall honoring our donors! As SDSU President Elliot Hirshman observed, the university will continue to need donor support even as The Campaign for SDSU concludes. “While The Campaign for SDSU has surpassed its goals, philanthropic support and the building of a culture of philanthropy remain essential. Moving forward, philanthropic support for endowed scholarships, endowed professorships and academic facili-ties will be critical to the university’s excellence.”

If you are interested in making a gift, please contact Breanna or Rebecca at the email or phone number to the left.


Introducing Breanna Weeks, Sr. Director of Development

breanna weeksIn August, Breanna Weeks was promoted to Senior Director of Development for the Fowler College of Business Administration and the College of Health and Human Services. Breanna has more than 11 years of major gift fundraising and nonprofit leadership experience, including serving on the Vice President’s leadership team at Children’s Hospital of Orange County.  Since joining SDSU in 2014, Breanna has managed successful relationships with prospects for the Fowler College of Business Administration and with faculty to close many gifts. While continuing her current exemplary development work for the College of Business and the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center, she will also assume the lead fundraising role with CHHS to pursue major gift opportunities.


Outstanding Aztecs Are Everywhere!

presidentThe school year begins with the Convocation Ceremony. During his remarks, President Eliot Hirshman noted many achievements from the past year. Here are some of the ones he named, all of which prove that there are too many Outstanding Aztecs to name. The full text of President Hirshman’s speech can be found at http://newscenter.

  • “SDSU’s six-year graduation rate was a record 74 percent, and our transfer graduation rate was 86 percent. This extraordinary progress reflects the concerted efforts of thousands of faculty and staff across the entire university.
  • In the past year, a record number of students studied abroad, participated in internships and the Aztec Mentor Program, presented their original research at our Student Research Symposium and enrolled in the Susan and Stephen Weber Honors
  • Especially exciting developments occurred in our entrepreneurship programs which were ranked in the top 25 by “Forbes” and by “Fortune” magazine. A $5.1 million gift from the Zahn family allowed us to establish the Zahn Innovation Plat- form and award the inaugural Irwin Zahn Spirit of Innovation Prize to graduating senior Austin
  • International programs – ranked 15th in the nation – continued to support student achievement.
  • Traveling far in the past year were Ellison Grove, who interned at the State Department; Stephanie Castillo, a biology major who carried out original research at the Smithsonian; and journalism major Quinn Owen, who interned for George Stephanopoulos at ABC News in New
  • Research and creative endeavors brought special distinction to the university. We received $130 million in external funding – almost 10 percent more than the prior year. (CHHS is the leading college for grant and contract )
  • Efforts to eradicate health disparities in our communities received special recognition. (This effort is lead by faculty at the Graduate School of Public )
  • The Comprehensive Cancer Center received $13 million to fight cancer in un- derserved communities, and our interdisciplinary team, led by Suchi Ayala, Associate Dean for Research at CHHS, received a $10 million endowment from the National Institutes of Health.
  • 127,000 members of our community attended nearly 300 arts events on our campus and our SDSU Downtown mega-concert sold out Copley Symphony Hall.
  • The unprecedented success in athletics continues – five Mountain West championships, including men’s basketball and football playing in its sixth consecutive bowl game.
  • In the ninth year of the campaign, our extraordinarily alumni, community supporters, faculty, staff and students donated a record $107 million to The Campaign total now stands at $775
  • SDSU received a record 83,000 applications this year, and our 5,000-strong freshman class has an average GPA of 7.
  • The Education Trust recognized us as one of only 26 universities in the country that have increased graduation rates for students in all ethnic and racial backgrounds, and “Forbes” magazine rated us 16th in the nation for providing the best value in a quality education.

Many, many outstanding Aztecs are working very hard to make SDSU more distinguished every year.


Congratulations Dr. Tom Packard on the 2016 Faculty Monty Award

dr. packardThe San Diego State University Alumni Association recently announced the Awards for Outstanding Faculty Contributions to the University, more commonly known as the “Faculty Monty”. Each year, the group honors one outstanding faculty member from each of the University’s colleges and awardees are recognized at the All-University Convocation.

Dr. Tom Packard is a Professor Emeritus in the School of Social Work. He earned his DSW at UCLA and both his MSW and BA from SDSU, making him both a faculty member and an alumnus. Professor Packard teaches administration and social policy courses in the school, and conducts research and consultation projects through the Academy for Professional Excellence.  He also serves as the advisor for the MSW/MPH program.

For over 25 years he was an organization development consultant specializing in human service and government organizations, including 6 1/2 years in the City of San Diego’s Organization Effectiveness Program, which he managed for 1 1/2 years. He has consulted with organizations ranging in size from 10,000 to 5 employees. He has published articles on his consulting projects and the results of his research in the areas of organizational change, leadership, organizational effectiveness, and the quality of working life. His current research focus is organizational change tactics used in human service organizations. He has coauthored Management of Human Service Programs and Managing the Challenges in Human Service Organizations: A Casebook.




School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences

Virtual Reality Isn’t Just for Science Fiction Any More

The “holodeck” with only the “plank” in place.

Any Star Trek: The Next Generation fan can describe the holodeck before a virtual real- ity sequence begins: a bare room with black walls divided into squares. The photo here isn’t of that famous holodeck though; it is the laboratory of ENS professor Harsimran ‘Sim’ Baweja. He is using this laboratory to study the interplay between cognitive and motor function in aging and people with Parkinson’s disease. He has painstakingly assembled all of his lab equipment over many years and many of the components he uses are adapted from off-the-shelf gaming equipment.

Dr. Harsimran Baweja
Dr. Harsimran Baweja

Dr. Baweja has created this laboratory space so that he can safely test the impact of stress on his research subjects, without actually putting them in danger.  For example, he uses a fully robotic motion-actuated driving simulator, complete with sound and motion, to test a subject’s ability to drive in both a familiar environment and a strange city, but without the need to fly his subjects anywhere.  People with mild cognitive impairment frequently are able to function well in a familiar environment but much worse in a strange one. With the simulator, Dr. Baweja is able to completely control the testing environment and record both physical movement and neurophysiological activity. He uses wireless sensors to record movement and muscular activity as well as wireless EEG and EKG equipment to record brain activity and anxiety (from heart rate). Because they are wireless, subjects are less aware of them and less restricted.

holodeck use
The holodeck with the floor lowered and the plank raised. The figure on the left shows the person walking with sensors and virtual reality headset. The right figure is a computer-generated model showing the subject’s movements.

Another testing mechanism he uses is “walking the plank”. Subjects wear a virtual reality headset and sensors. Although still in the lab, they are convinced that they are in a realistic setting of an old gymnasium. First they walk across a plank that is placed on the ground. Then they are “tricked” through virtual reality, into thinking the ground has fallen away and is 20 feet below them. Finally they experience the simulation of the plank rising 20 feet into the air, making the ground 40 feet below them. Obviously, walking across a narrow board believing you are 40 feet from the ground greatly increases the physiological response of the subjects. All the while, however, the subjects are perfectly safe walking on the lab floor.

By studying the performance of subjects with varying levels of neurological deficits such as Parkinson’s, he hopes to develop an early detection system that will allow physicians to diagnose Parkinson’s’ much earlier. He believes that mild cognitive impairment associated with Parkinson’s could affect the control of movement in these patients. With the information he is gathering he also intends to develop mechanistic interventions that will help those with cognitive impairment and Parkinson’s function independently better and longer.

Using the fully immersive virtual reality system, he could design individualized patient centered mechanistic interventions.

student presenting
Undergraduate Selena Mae presenting her poster in Berlin.

Dr. Baweja is also passionate about offering research experience to students; graduates and undergraduates alike.  He has students working in his lab as early as their freshman year.  Several of his research assistants are part of the Doctor in Physical Therapy program, which is what brought Dr. Baweja to work at SDSU. Last year six of his students presented projects at the student research symposium and three (were awarded prizes.  One undergraduate researcher, Selena Mae, was invited to present her research at the 5th International Consensus Conference on Concussion in Sport in Berlin, Germany. This is a prestigious conference held once every four years where the guidelines for sports-related concussion management are updated. Selena presented her work on balance deficits in Division I athletes following sport concussions.

Dr. Baweja is committed to his lab space being a step ahead of any other similar lab. With the recent leaps in leaps that virtual reality technology is taking, it will be exciting to see what he comes up with next as he helps people “live long and prosper”.


Welcome Matthew Mahar, New Director of ENS

Matthew Mahar
Matthew Mahar

Dr. Matther Mahar is a Professor and Director of the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences. He received his B.S.E. in Physical Education at the State University of New York at Cortland, a Ed.D in Measurement and Research in Exercise Science and a M.Ed. in Exercise Science at the University of Houston. Before coming to SDSU, he was the chair of the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at East Carolina University.  His areas of interest include the promotion and measurement of physical activity and fitness, identification of valid and reliable youth fitness testing methods, and analysis of the effects of classroom-based physical activity programs on physical activity and on-task behavior. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the FitnessGram national youth fitness test and developer of the Energizers classroom-based physical activities. He is a co-author of a measurement and evaluation textbook and has served as investigator for a variety of research grants supported by the CDC, The Cooper Institute, and the Active Living Research initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.




Graduate School of Public Health

Toward Understanding and Reducing Health Disparities within the LGBT Community

Dr. Heather Corliss
Dr. Heather Corliss

Professor Heather Corliss is part of the GSPH Division of Health Promotion and Behavioral Science. She serves as one of the two directors of the Center for Research on Sexuality and Sexual Health Center (SASH). SASHs goal is to reduce disparities and inequities related to sexuality and sexual health. They conduct multidisciplinary, community-engaged, and collaborative research, training, and health promotion focusing on diverse priority populations. Many of their research projects concentrate on the LGBT community. This fits nicely with SDSUs goal of being an inclusive campus. The Campus Pride Index recently ranked SDSU on its 2016 “Best of the Best” Top 30 list of LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities. SDSU has been included in this ranking for the past seven years.

Dr. Corliss earned both her PhD in Epidemiology and a Master’s degree in Community Health Science from UCLA. She joined GSPH in the fall of 2013. Before coming to SDSU, Dr. Corliss was an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School/Boston Children’s Hospital in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital where she received advanced training in health disparities and adolescent health research.

After finishing her bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin, Corliss moved to San Francisco and found a job in HIV research at the University of California, San Francisco, studying the virus’ multitude of strains. She enjoyed the work, but wanted to help people in a more holistic way than focusing on a single disease. “I didn’t start out thinking I wanted to study LGBT health, but that’s where my path took me,” Corliss said. “Experiences in my public health graduate training led me to believe that this was an area where I could make a positive difference,” she explained.

As she began her research, Corliss realized, “There was a disconnect between what health professionals were providing and the needs of the community they were trying to serve. I knew then I was where I wanted to be.”

One of her current first research projects funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse at SDSU focused on substance abuse among LGBT youth. Sadly, youth in the LGBT community are more susceptible to substance abuse and dependence, as well as mental health difficulties. These issues cause enormous financial and social burden, disease and death. However, there was almost no empirical investigations among youth that would enable researchers and clinicians to understand patterns and causes of these sexual-orientation disparities or to identify the barriers to receiving needed treatment and their treatment experiences. This creates huge knowledge gaps in understanding which subpopulations of sexual-minority youths are most at risk for substance use disorders, their barriers to receiving needed treatment, and effective treatment approaches.

Dr. Corliss and her research team
Dr. Corliss and her research team

Another one of Corliss’s current research projects focuses on Type 2 (T2D) diabetes. Lesbian and bisexual women have may have a higher risk for diabetes, perhaps because they are more likely than heterosexual women to experience obesity and other risk fac-tors linked with T2D such as cigarette smoking, violence victimization, and depressive distress. However, there were no studies with longitudinal designs to investigate how incidence of T2D may differ between lesbian/bisexual and heterosexual women. Analytic epidemiological studies examining how sexual-orientation disparities in risk factors for T2D may contribute to lesbian/bisexual women’s disparities in occurrence of T2D are also nonexistent. Corliss’ research is trying to correct this lack of information, with the eventual goal of finding solutions. She received a large research grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in order to pursue this research.

Corliss notes, “We tend to see a lot of negative health outcomes in younger LGBT people, but then these disparities lessen as they get older. A critical window for interventions is during adolescence and young adulthood. But we wouldn’t know that if we didn’t do this research.”

Over the past three years, Corliss has improved the quality and interdisciplinary nature of research in SDSU’s health research programs. “Dr. Corliss’ presence at SDSU has helped me see that the work we are doing in Latino health disparities is relevant to other populations,” said Dr. Guadalupe. “Suchi” Ayala, associate dean for research in the College of Health and Human Services. “The effects of discrimination do similar things to our bodies, whether we are being discrimi-nated against because of our sexual orientation or the color of our skin. Together, we are now trying to determine if the ways to reduce health disparities related to sexuality and ethnicity are similar.”

Welcome New Director Dr. Hala Madanat

Hala Madanat
Hala Madanat

Dr. Hala Madanat is a Professor of Health Promotion and Behavioral Science and joined the SDSU faculty in 2008. She is core-investigator of Institute for Behavioral and Community Health. Her research focuses on the impact of westernization on diet and nutrition and has been working on developing nutrition education programs that emphasize health and biological hunger. Dr. Madanat currently co-leads the planning and evaluation core of the SDSU/UCSD Comprehensive Cancer Partnership which aims to reduce cancer disparities among Latinos in San Diego and Imperial Counties. She is also involved in a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) grant aimed at enhancing the education of primary care providers, other geriatric team professionals, paid and family caregivers, and the general public about best practices in caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. Dr. Madanat received her PhD in Sociology (2006) and an MS in Community Health (2001) from Brigham Young University. She received her BSc in Biological Sciences from the University of Jordan in 2000.




School of Nursing

21st Century Training Comes to SDSU

cool glassesThis spring, the School of Nursing will begin testing a brand-new tool for training nurses. Taking advantage of the increased quality and availability of viritual reality technology, Pearson Education and Microsoft have teamed up to produce a new teaching tool used with Microsoft’s Hololens. SDSU, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and Bryn Mawr College are among the first to explore the power of mixed reality learning content, delivered via Microsoft HoloLens, to immerse students in real world experiences.

HoloLens embraces virtual reality and augmented reality to create a new reality – mixed reality. With virtual reality, the user is immersed in a simulated world. Augmented reality overlays digital information on top of the real world. Mixed reality merges the virtual and physical worlds to create a new reality whereby the two can coexist and interact. By understanding the user’s environment, mixed reality enables holograms to look and sound like they are part of that world. This means learning content can be developed for HoloLens that provides students with real world experiences, allowing them to build proficiency, develop confidence, explore and learn.

Dr. Greiner says that he is very excited about the potential that the Hololens represents. He is very pleased that SDSU was selected to be one of the three beta test sites. He explains that the Hololens system will replace some of the training now done in the Sharp HealthCare Human Simulation Center, and that the simulation center and the Hololens together will result in an entirely new teaching opportunity. He said, “It is a privilege to work with Pearson and Microsoft to develop these educational components for nursing education.”

guy wearing lensesOver the next few months, the faculty and students at the nursing school will collaborate with Pearson and their colleagues at Texas Tech to improve the value and efficacy of the types of simulations in which students participate. They will evaluate the current training scenarios and help design new ones. At the end of the beta test period, SDSU will be able to keep the Hololens system and continue to use this new technology. While the Sharp HealthCare Human Patient Similuation Center has been a wonderful addition to the standard nurse training at SDSU, the complex and expensive equipment has been difficult to keep up-to-date. The Hololens system puts the burden of equipment updates on Microsoft and Pearson, reducing the cost burden on the school. 

The combination of the virtual reality, the ability to see digital data such as the vital signs monitoring equipment used in hospitals, and the ability to also touch the mannequins used in the simulation center will envelop the students completely in to the training scenario presented. The technology will also allow for videoing the student’s performance so that it can be evluatined by the teacher and the student.

To develop the content for this pilot, Pearson will use Microsoft’s holographic video capture capability, filming actors to simulate patients with various health concerns and then transferring that video into holograms for the student nurses to experience in a clinical setting. When student nurses participate in the simulations using HoloLens, they will have a real world experience diagnosing patients, building the confidence and competence that they will need in their careers.



School of Social Work

No Student Left Hungry

food pantry
On-campus food pantry volunteers answer student questions and provide free food.

Distressingly, several recent national surveys have shown that far too many college students are confronted with food and/or housing insecurity. The California State University (CSU) system, one of the largest systems in the nation, recently studied these problems. Research findings indicate that 20% of the 460,000 CSU system students at any one time lack consistent access to food and about 10% are homeless. Just like their younger counterparts, college students who are stressed about food or housing do not learn as well as their peers.

MSW students recently completed a similar needs assessment at SDSU and found results that were very similar to the state-wide study. In 2015, SDSU created the Economic Crisis Response Team (ECRT). The team is a group of staff, administrators, students, and faculty from across campus working together to ensure students experiencing food or housing insecurity, or other immediate, unforeseen financial crises are connected with short-term and long- term aid quickly and without stigmatization. The team was created to coordinate already existing resources on campus, and collect information on off-campus agencies that provide different types of support to college students in need.

group photo with food
The Aztecs Rock Hunger leaders

Included in the members of the ECRT is an MSW in- tern who will provide on-going case management and/or follow-up as needed. Many social work students are also involved in the on-campus mobile food pantry. This booth is part of the Thursday Farmer’s Market on the SDSU campus. Bags of food are given to any student who expresses a need, no questions asked. The booth also provides applications for food assistance programs such as CalFresh, as well as referral information for the ECRT. Further demonstrating the college’s commitment to hunger relief, CHHS was once again the most successful group in the 2016 “Students Rock Hunger” drive, collecting 14,023 pounds of food to be given to the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank. This was almost triple the amount raised last year and marks the fifth year in a row that CHHS collected the most food.

Student need appears to be even greater at our community colleges, where a recent study found that 50% of the survey respondents faced marginal food insecurity over the past 30 days and these same students also tended to face housing insecurity. Historically the School of Social Work has placed MSW interns at San Diego City College’s Mental Health Counseling Center. Recently the school took the lead to address student housing and food security issues with a unique collaborative idea. The director brought together Mesa College and three non-profit agencies — San Diego Youth Services, Social Advocates for Youth San Diego and Price Philanthropies. They formed an innovative university/community college/non-profit partnership to serve college students with food and housing security concerns.

mesa students
Mesa College interns Marlee Compton and Shelly Staal, with superviser Sade Burell

This fall two social work students, Marlee Compton and Shelly Staal, were placed at San Diego Mesa College, working with task supervisor Sade Burrell, MSW (and SDSU graduate). The interns will serve as “resource brokers” to provide advocacy, needs assessments, referrals and linkages to both internal and external resources. Silvia Barragan, who is serving as Field Faculty, stated “The amount of collaboration and good will exhibited by all of the agencies involved is inspiring. I have no doubt that Marlee and Shelly will learn a great deal and that the students of San Diego Mesa College will benefit from the collaboration.” Dr. Donna Daly, a field instructor (and an alumna) says, “We are keenly aware of the challenges facing students with housing and food insecurity and look forward to expanding efforts. Food and housing insecurity, clear social justice issues, are at the very heart of social work practice. It’s time to work together to ameliorate these concerns so that students can focus on education. The School of Social Work is excited to partner with Mesa and these agencies to begin to address a need faced by too many students.”

School of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

slhs open houseWidening the Community We Serve

SLHS has taken several steps recently to connect with a greater number of San Diegans who might benefit from the clinical services they offer as well as students who might want to enroll in the school.

slhs clinicIn October, the school held an open house. More than 70 people attended the event. Participants learned about the MA program in Speech-Language Pathology as well as the Joint Doctoral Program in Language and Communicative Disorders.  The joint program combines studying at both SDSU and the UCSD Medical School. Those who attended the open house were able to ask questions of the faculty members and students and toured the clinic and research labs in the Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences building.

The school’s two clinics, Speech-Language and Audiology, serve more than 1,000 clients each year with a wide variety of communication challenges and hearing impairments. Established in 1941, the clinics have supported the greater San Diego community with speech-language assessments and intervention, hearing tests, hearing aids, and community support. In order to reach more clients in the community, the clinics recently moved from a fee-based to a donation-based system. In order to support the transition, the school raised more than $4,000 through the SDSU crowd funding system called SDSU STRIVE. Thank you to all who supported the clinics through this specific donation drive. In order to continue to offer clinical services without charge to members of the community, donations are always needed and can be made online at

The Student Success Fee was instituted in 2014. Money is collected from each student and is used to provide programs and opportunities outside of the classroom to enhance student learning.

slhs poster displayEach year groups submit applications for various events or programs and a group of students chooses who will receive funding. This year, five proposals from SLHS were funded.  Some of these will benefit students in their education now and one, the Speech, Language, and Hearing Awareness Day, is targeted to benefit the wider San Diego community:

  • Excellence in Undergraduate Research — A Student Research Symposium will allow 10 undergraduate students to present their individual research and promote research in the field, as well as encourage other students in the discipline to present their
  • Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences Guest Speaker Event — Host a speaker series event for undergraduate and graduate students. Speakers will present their leading scientific and clinical research and students will gain clinically relevant knowledge and new insights into certain aspects of the field that are not covered in courses or textbooks.
  • Healing Holistically: A Mind-Body Approach to Client Care — A series of hands-on workshops featuring leaders in the health and education fields that will explore the integration of alternative practices such as yoga and Myofascial Release Approach into traditional treatment programs. Participants will gain valuable skills and the reason- ing and validity behind these alternative tools and how to incorporate them into their work.
  • Speech, Language, and Hearing Awareness and Information Day (SAID) — A student-led sympo- sium on the topic of communication disorders and treatment approaches. The event is expected to draw 250 attendees from the community and aims to provide individuals diagnosed with communication disorders to learn more about support and resource opportunities that are available to them within the San Diego community and provide students with valuable knowledge and gain practical
  • American Academy of Audiology: Audiology Now 2017 Conference — Support for doctoral students to attend the annual Audiology NOW conference and gain insights into the newest innovations in the field of Audiology involving technology, treatment options, counseling methods and legislative

Introducing Interim Director Dr. Tracy Love

Tracy Love
Tracy Love

Dr. Love is a Professor in the School of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences.. She serves as the SDSU Director of the Joint SDSU/UCSD Doctoral Program in Language and Communicative Disorders, as well as the Director of the Language and Neuroscience Group. She earned her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology (Cognition and Neurolinguistics) and her MA in Psychology, both from UC San Diego.  She earned her B.A. in Psychology from Brandeis University.

Dr. Love’s research interests are centered on language processing throughout the life span. Within this emphasis, her work has focused on examining the nature of the information used during on-going language processing in children and adults both with and without language disorders. Her research includes working with individuals diagnosed with language impairments secondary to stroke and children with specific language impairment. The goal of her research is to determine the neurological organization of language processing. She accomplishes this through the use of different methods including structural and functional neuroimaging, eye-tracking and other behavioral research techniques.