Experiencing the World

Over Spring break, seven groups of students set out on international experiences. CHHS requires all undergraduates to experience international travel in order to receive their degree.  Although any international program that offers college credit class: HHS 350. This semester-long class spends time in the classroom learning about historical aspects of international health and human services, economic development and health and social science, nutrition in a developing country, globalization, health care issues, and HIV/AIDS, as well as cultural difference and cultural sensitivity. Then the group splits up and heads to different countries over the break, accompanied by a university faculty or staff member.

While “in country,” the group spends at least half of the time studying some aspect of healthcare and social services in that country.  They hear lectures from local experts, tour hospitals and clinics, and visit pharmacies and manufacturing facilities. They also participate in service projects whenever possible. The remainder of the day is spent in more informal experiencing of the country through visiting tourist attractions, eating in local restaurants and being out and about in the community.  In some countries they stay with host families, and in others at a local hotel.

This spring, groups visited Mexico, Argentina, Costa Rica, Switzerland, China, Germany, England, and Spain. Most of the group leaders (CHHS faculty and staff) maintained a daily blog and here are some of the highlights from their trips.


Mexico“Our hearts were moved today from a visit to Casa San Eugenio where we spent our day. First we started with cleaning the classroom for special needs children, sweeping all the dirt, and pulling weeds and removing trash to make their playground safe. We learned about how the Casa assists people with special needs and then we were able to help some students com- plete a craft project. After lunch, we went to the “tracks”, a place where undocumented people have created a community. The community does not have any running water or consistent and safe electricity. The Mexican government does not recognize this community. Here, we were given a tour by the priest of the clinic who also oversees “the tracks” and the women volunteers. They explained how they help feed the children of the community whose parents are addicted to drugs or unable to provide meals for them. The students were moved and decided to donate money to the clinic.”


Argentina“A visit to Hogar Chiquitos touched all of us deeply. The home was created by the city as a temporary residence for approximately 30 children whose parents were unable to care for them for various reasons. SDSU students were greeted by innocent laughter and warm hugs from the chiq- uitos (little children). The chiquitos didn’t mind the language barrier, they were excited to play futbol, braid each other’s hair, and sing songs to the strums of an acoustic guitar played by several talented SDSU students. In one of the most self- less acts I have had the privilege of witnessing, the SDSU students collected $3,000 pesos (over $200 US Dollars) of their own spending money and generously donated it to Hogar Chiquitos.”

“Although the students embraced learning about the various health and human service pro- grams offered in Argentina, it was apparent they loved learning more about the Argentine culture! Several students participated in a community game of futbol y tenis (which is an interesting hybrid of soccer, tennis and volleyball), learned how to dance the tango, became gauchos on a beautiful estancia for a day, and consumed countless empanadas.”

Costa Rica

Costa Rica“That afternoon, we drove to an “ebais”, or neighbor- hood clinic, and met up with Dr. Molina. Dr. Molina explained the ebais system. There are roughly 10 of these neighborhood clinics for 45,000 people. If someone feels sick, they will visit the ebais first to see a doctor. If their ailment is too severe for the ebais to handle, the patient will then be referred to a clinic. If the clinic is unable to treat the patient, they are then sent to the hospital. Dr. Molina gave us a tour of both the ebais and clinic in addition to a small scavenger hunt that required our students to interact (in Spanish) with some of the locals that were in the area.

Dr. Molina spoke more with us, this time focusing on tropical diseases. We talked a lot about how they are spread, going into great depth particularly with mosquitos (how they live, how they travel, how the diseases are spread, etc). He also showed us some fascinating pictures of various rashes/bites as well. I think from now on, students will be covering themselves head to toe with insect repellent even when they return to the states!”


Germany“We started the day at Dick & Dünn (roughly translated “Fat and Thin”) – a counseling center for eating disorders. This center is mostly staffed by social workers and counselors who help connect people suffering from eating disorders, and their families, to resources such as therapists and professional nutritionists.“

“We visited the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Tobias, our tour guide, gave us an in-depth tour of many of the remaining buildings at the camp. This was a place which, during WWII, forced political prisoners and marginalized citizens – including people with disabilities, homosexuals, foreigners, and Jewish people – into hard labor.

Among the cruelties that happened at this site were medical experiments, including experiments and research on the most efficient way to extinguish large groups of people (via gas chambers, for example). We took some time to debrief as a group this evening, but the general consensus was that everyone needed more time to digest and reflect upon today’s content.”


Switzerland“At La Source we had a lecture by Blaize Guinchard (Professor at La Source), on the “Swiss Politics and the Swiss Health System.” This lecture provided the students with a solid understanding of how politics work in Switzerland.  Switzerland developed its Constitution around 1858 and it was crafted after the 2-party Constitution of the U.S. Most importantly, the Swiss people have a very important role in determining (voting) those issues that will/will not become law. Professor Guichard also went to great lengths to describe/compare the Swiss healthcare system as it relates to the Affordable Care Act in the U.S. Throughout this lecture, Blaize Guinchard acknowledged his poor English-speaking grammar. However, the students seemed to be fully engaged in his talk and frequently offering words that didn’t readily come to mind for Blaize. I was impressed by the didactic conversation that occurred between Blaize and the students over the entire lecture time.”

“After arriving in Montreux-Vileneuve, we took a very short bus ride to our destination — Chateau de Chillon … an enormous castle that was begun to be built in the 12th Century.”


SpainWe had a wonderful day today in Madrid! We started by traveling to a small neighbor- hood on the outskirts of the city: Fuenlabrada. We visited a private daycare center to learn about a medical service they are using that is really innovative. Basically, a web-cam is set up with a local doctor and the staff at the daycare are able to use devices that directly send information and stats to the doctor, including a stethoscope, pulse monitor, and a high magnifying camera for checking wounds, eyes, nose or throat. The staff were really wonderful and it was fun to see the little kids react to the group of us being in their daycare.”

“We walked to El Museo Nacional del Prado, more commonly referred to as simply “El Prado,” and met with our tour guide, Ana. She is a local professor of Art History and had a wealth of knowledge to share with us about the various works of art dating as early as the 12th century. We had the amazing privilege of getting up close to paintings from the masters: El Greco, Velazques and Goya, to name just a few.”


“Here we stopped at the charity St. Mary’s Rehabilitation and Training (SMART) mental health center. This place was sincerely amazing! They provide life skills training for individuals with increased mental health needs. The service partners receive life training skills and hands on experience with: cooking, garden- ing, floristry, music, soap making, job interviews, resume build- ing and work place training. It is a truly holistic approach! The products made by the service partners are sold in a local florist shop as well as their own cafe! Where we ate an amazing meal prepared by the group at SMART! One student even indicated

it was the best meal she has had so far!”

“Today we had another lovely, fun, and educational day! We started our journey at the Old Operating Theatre Museum, where we had a delightfully morbid lecture on surgery of past.”


Professor Karen Emmorey, who led the England trip, said she could see a visible shift in her students’ outlook as the program went along.  At the beginning of the program, Emory said she could usually pick out the public health students based on their level of interest and engagement. But by the end, the lines started to blur. “It definitely changed the way I looked at my career,” student Tyson Arden said. “I never thought about getting experience anywhere other than the United States as far as being a physical therapist. Now I’m looking into programs to travel abroad and be in a setting where I’m not only learning a new language, but working with disadvantaged people”.

President Hirshman
President Hirshman

The focus on international experience is spreading throughout the university. President Hirshman noted, “The international initiatives in Building on Excellence (SDSU’s strategic plan) have three facets. First, reflecting our belief that we must prepare students for professional and civic responsibilities in a global future, we have set an ambitious goal that 30 percent of our graduating students have international experiences – 2,100 students studied abroad last year. Our students grow intellectually and personally from these experiences. Second, we are focusing our research on international challenges. A broad range of areas, including climate change, economic prosperity, national security and public health, must be addressed from a global perspective. Our researchers work with colleagues around the world to solve society’s pressing problems. Third, we are recruiting additional international students, who bring perspectives and knowledge that broaden the education of all our students and help build the bridges of friendship that tie nations together.”

As more and more of SDSU’s students experience these international learning opportunities, CHHS will continue to lead the way into the wider world.


Development Connection

International experiences are an important part of the CHHS educational experience. Learning about different health care traditions and cultural differences are essential to providing top-quality healthcare in our increasingly diverse and global community. Developing empathy for those who are different from yourself and knowing that “our way” is not the only way are equally important. Your help is needed to make these experiences possible. Please consider a gift of any size to support this vision. Contact Rebecca Williamson, the CHHS development officer at 619-594-2868 or rwilliamson@ sdsu.edu, or use the form on the back page of The Pulse, or visit the online giving option on the www.sdsu.edu website.


Development Office

Estate Planning 101

Rebecca Williamson
Rebecca Williamson
Development Officer

Estate planning allows you to determine how your assets are divided upon your passing. Many people are surprised at the size of their estates once they stop to total up all of their assets including real estate, bank accounts, investments, remaining retirement savings, life insurance and possessions. Advanced planning often results in substantial tax savings for your heirs and simplified estate distribution.

The SDSU Planned Giving Office will be hosting a free, four-part educational workshop series dedicated to the basics of estate planning. This workshop series will be presented by Marguerite Lorenz, partner in Lorenz Fiduciary Services, Inc. The series will be two classes per day for four sessions. Each session is built around the steps to creating a plan that is best for you and your family. As alumni and friends of SDSU, you are invited to register and attend these sessions without any charge to you. Your registration information will not be shared with anyone, including the presenters.

The sessions will be:

Session 1

  • Class 1 – Your Quality of Life
  • Class 2 – Advance Health Care Directive, Conservatorship & Power Of Attorney

Session 2

  • Class 3 – Estate Planning Basics Class 4 – Advanced Estate Planning

Session 3

  • Class 5 – Charitable Giving & the Benefits Class 6 – Transferring the Wealth

Session 4

  • Class 7 – Serving as Trustee
  • Class 8 – It’s Your Life and Your Plan

There is limited seating, so you must pre-register to attend. To register, please call (888) 701-1954 or visit www.estateplanning101.org. The series will be presented twice this summer:

July 12, 14, 19, 21
KPBS at Shiley Studio
5200 Campanile Dr.
San Diego, CA 92182

August 16, 18, 23, 25
CSU San Marcos
333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd.
San Marcos, CA 92078

For more information, contact Rebecca Williamson (contact information above) or Allison Ohanian, Associate Director Planned Giving and Estates, 619-594-0771 or ohanian@sdsu.edu. Find more information about planned giving at http://www.sdsugift.org.



Letter from the Dean

Marilyn NewhoffDear Friends

With the end of the school year there are many changes for the college. It was my great joy to award 1,364 degrees at commencement: 1,105 bachelor’s degrees; 198 master’s degrees; and 61 doctoral degrees.  All of the administrators, faculty, and staff of the college wish these new graduates great success in all of their new endeavors.

Three directors are stepping down now that the school year has ended. Dr. Roger Simmons has served as the interim director of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences for the last year.  He had retired from SDSU after 39 years of teaching and major research contributions in the area of the impact of fetal alcohol syndrome on motor function, but returned to serve as the interim director this year. Dr. Matthew Mahar has accepted the position and is relocating from Eastern Carolina. Dr. Richard Gersberg will be stepping down as interim director of the Graduate School of Public Health.  He will be returning to the classroom and his research in the impacts of water quality on public health. Dr. Hala Madanat will be stepping up as the new director of GSPH. Dr. Madanat joined the faculty in 2008 and concentrates on health promotion research. Finally, Dr. Lew Shapiro will retire as the director of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. He has been on the faculty for 20 years and provided major research contributions in cognitive neuroscience and language processing. Dr. Tracy Love will be serving as interim director next year. I would like to thank all of these talented faculty members. I will miss those who are leaving and I am excited about the energy and commitment shown by those stepping into new roles.

And finally, the biggest change of all is my own.  After 12 years as dean of CHHS, I have decided to retire at the end of this calendar year. Between now and then I will be wrapping up my involvement with the college and handing the reins over to Acting/Interim Dean Larry Verity, who I am absolutely sure will ably lead the college forward.

As dean I have been delighted to introduce the requirement for all undergraduate students to complete an international experience in order to receive their degrees as well as instituting Centers of Excellence in several areas. The college has expanded to five schools and offers nine doctoral degrees. Over those years the number of enrolled students has grown more than 200%. CHHS has become the number one college in grant funding among SDSU colleges. The students have led the way in such diverse areas as collecting the most food for “Aztecs Rock Hunger” and being top leaders within the Associated Students organizations.

I have loved my time as dean of CHHS and I will miss the faculty, staff and students very much, as well as our many friends, supporters, donors and alumni. Thank you for the wonderful years as your dean.

With great gratitude,


Marilyn Newhoff, Dean

Outstanding Aztecs

A fitting award for Alumna Irma Cota

Irma CotaIrma Cota received the SDSU Lifetime Service Award at the Cesar Chavez Commemorative Luncheon this year. This was entirely fitting as Cota’s story seems like the embodiment of the “Yes We Can” attitude of Chavez as well as sharing his determination to serve the Hispanic community.

Cota is the CEO of North County Health Services, a position she has held since 1997. The community medical group has 10 locations and is headquartered in San Marcos. The clinics provide medical services to members of the community who are traditionally under served – those who are poor, on MediCaid or MediCal, uninsured or under- insured. As the head of the organization, Cota is realizing a long-time goal to serve her community.

She grew up in a farm worker household and she moved around California harvesting crops next to her mother during summer and school vacations. She discovered her life- long love of health care as a teenaged volunteer interpreter in a health clinic run by the United Farm Workers. Her commitment to healthcare, especially among the Hispanic community, was strengthened as she took care of her mother as she died from cancer that was diagnosed too late to be treated. However, there was no clear path for her to realize her dream.

As she finished high school, she was unsure of her next steps. Few around her went on to college. She thought she would end up as a secretary, although as she said , “My typ- ing wasn’t very good.” One of her friends attended Imperial Valley Community College though, and she convinced Cota to join her. Cota did not have a car and made friends to get rides back and forth to class. Success at community college had her advisor prompt- ing her to go on to SDSU, which she did, majoring in health science.  She was begin- ning to see a way to give back to her community. Because she wanted to help groups of people, not just one person at a time, she moved into public health rather than becoming a medical doctor. After receiving her master’s degree in public health at SDSU in 1993, she began a career in health care administration that led her to where she is now.

Assistant Dean of Student Affairs in the College of Education Patricia Lozada-Santone said, “Irma Cota absolutely embodies the core values of Cesar Chavez. This award is not about race or ethnicity — it’s about what they do for the people that Cesar Chavez cham- pioned, the people who don’t have voice or the skills or tools that they need to speak for themselves.”

Cota is very proud of her work and of the Cesar Chavez Service Achievement. Her pas- sion for helping others and “paying it forward” is clearly evident in all that she undertakes. She says, “You can be a successful leader while holding on to your humanity and caring. Pause and reflect before making decisions or passing judgement. A leader must have conviction but also compassion.”

The Cesar Chavez Commemorative Luncheon is held at SDSU to raise scholarship funds for promising students from under-served communities.

Congratulations to Irma Cota, truly an exceptional Aztec.


Students Demonstrate Their Research Skills

symposium 1On March 4 and 5, undergraduate and graduate students gathered in Montezuma Hall to present their original research on a variety of topics. The two-day symposium provided a public forum where students from every major and program could present their research, scholarship or creative activities. More than 500 of the best and brightest student researchers from SDSU participated. Four research presentations from CHHS received awards.

symposium 2Emily Seymour, a MPH student in Health Management and Policy, was the recipient of the CHHS Dean’s Award for her culminating experience research project. Emily evaluated the wellness program and employee participation at her worksite, the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology. Dr. Tracy Finlayson was her faculty advisor for the project.

The undergraduate CHHS Dean’s Award was received by Ally Lu for her research with Dr. Finlayson. Ally was supported by SDSU’s 2015 Undergraduate Summer Research Program and presented part of the findings from a larger oral health needs assessment with under-served seniors at the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center.

sympoium 3Marisa Alvarez, a graduate student in the Joint MPH in Health Promotion and Behavioral Science and MA in Latin American Studies was the recipient of the Provost’s Award for her research on Herbal Healing: The comparison of medicinal plant and pharmacy medication preference in two communities of La Libertad, Peru. Marisa’s research was funded by the Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training program. Her thesis will support local research to integrate traditional medicine practices with the Peruvian medical system.

symposium 4Unka Kim, Nyree Van Maarseven, Ashley Stowers, Molly Lockwood, Andrea Chaldek, and Anna Woertler, students in the Women’s Health and Midwifery concentration, received the Provost’s Award for Outstanding Poster Presentation. For their research project entitled, Chorioamnionitis and Vaginal Examinations in Labor, the students explored the current knowledge, attitudes and practices of healthcare providers regarding vaginal exams and chorioamnionitis, an infection of the placental membranes and amniotic fluid that is associated with serious complications for both mother and baby.

Congratulations to all the winners and on the wonderful representation of CHHS at this year’s student research symposium.



School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences

Introducing the Adaptive Fitness Clinic

Exciting things are happening at the newly renamed SDSU Adaptive Fitness Clinic, previously the Fitness Clinic for Individuals with Disabilities. In the Fall semester, new program director Matt Soto took over,with Melissa Diek as the assistant program director and Kathy McCarty-Baker rounding out the staff. All are SDSU graduates and excited to be giving back to their alma mater.

student trainer with clientsThe SDSU Adaptive Fitness Clinic’s mission is to provide safe and affordable access to fitness for people with disabilities, while demonstrating excellence in educational programs and community service. Serving over 140 individuals from the San Diego region, clinic staff teach kinesiology undergraduate students to assist clients with their wellness goals. Students learn exercise progression, time management, and interpersonal skills for an underrepresented population in fitness to have a unique clinical experience. At the same time, community members benefit from affordable fitness training that can supplement their current rehabilitation. Each client is provided with one-on-one training assistance from the students, allowing them to pursue fitness goals that otherwise would not be possible.

The clinic celebrated the end of the Fall semester with its first-ever, crowd funding campaign through SDSU’s Strive, a new fund raising initiative from the SDSU Alumni Association. It was a huge success, raising $2,000, which will go towards updating equipment to provide the best experience for clients and students.

In an effort to connect more with the community, both on campus and off, collaborations have been made between the clinic and community groups serving those with disabilities as well as other programs on campus. Connecting with the Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) program has allowed the kinesiology undergradu- ates to learn directly from DPT students and get a taste of their program while giving DPT students a mentoring opportunity. In the business school, the Marketing 472 class used the Adaptive Fitness Clinic as a project site to educate students on setting up focus groups and reporting findings. Off campus, partnerships with the San Diego Alzheimer’s Association, the MS Society, Sharp Hospital’s Spinal Cord Injury support group, and the Wounded Warrior Project challenge students to make educational presentations and work with an even wider array of disabilities, broadening their scope.

The clinic celebrated all of these changes with an end-of-semester party. Awards were given to outstanding volunteers and guests enjoyed games with the Aztec Adaptive Sports group and a special dance performance from the Wheelchair Dancers Organization.

Staff invite anyone interested in more information to stop by or follow them on social media.

Graduate School of Public Health

Partnering Up For A Healthier SDSU

Thanks to the hard work of the GSPH Student Council and support from the SDSU Student Success Fee, the school presented three exciting lectures this winter. Each of these events included an opportunity for students, alumni and community members to mingle and network as well as an interesting talk.

The first two lectures were “Global Health at the Local Level”, featuring Dr. Louise Gresham and Ian Wiborg. Dr. Gresham is President and CEO of Foundation Merieu USA and Wiborg is the Deputy Director of the City of San Diego Public Utilities Department. Next was “Innovations in Health Marketing” featuring Barb Robinette and Dr. Joe Smyser. Robinette is the Vice President of Marketing at Coventry Worker’s Comp and Dr. Smyser is the Director of Marketing Strategies at Rescue Social Change Group.

The third evening combined two events and was attended by more than 300 people. The first order of business was the announcement of SDSU’s partnership with Live Well San Diego. SDSU is the first official university partner of the county’s initiative.  On hand to mark the occasion was Chuck Matthews from the County Department of Health and Human Services and Dr. Wilma Wooten, Public Health Officer of County of San Diego. County Supervisor Bill Horn (class of 1966) proclaimed March 9th to be “SDSU Day in the County”.

Live Well San Diego’s vision for the region is to improve health and support healthy choices, encourage residents to promote safe neighborhoods, to be resilient in disasters and cultivate opportunities to connect and enjoy the highest quality of life. Their current priorities are eliminating smoking and encouraging a healthy diet and exercise.

As a partner of Live Well San Diego, SDSU has created efforts to align campus community activities with the Live Well vision. These efforts include educational events and workshops, campus walks, yoga and meditation classes, healthy living videos, safety day, healthy messaging on campus and a website that provides information for campus resources to support well-being.

“This partnership will have a positive impact on the university and the surrounding community,” said Hala Madanat, associate director of GSPH, who assisted in initiating the partnership between the County of San Diego and SDSU. “We hope it will encourage Aztecs to stay healthy, safe and thrive.”

satcherAfter that, Dr. David Satcher delivered a talk on “Politics, Opinions & Public Health”. Dr. Satcher was the 16th US Surgeon General. Dr. Satcher served simultaneously in the positions of Surgeon General and Assistant Secretary for Health from February 1998 through January 2001. He also held the posts of Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry from 1993 to 1998. His mission was to make public health work for all groups in the nation, a passion that he continues to strive toward. The presentation was very well received.


School of Nursing

Professor Emeritus acknowledged by Center for Health Design

StichlerJaynelle F. Stichler, DNS, RN, EDAC, NEA-BC, FACHE, FAAN has been named as the 2016 Changemaker award recipient by The Center for Health Design. This award honors individuals or organizations that have demonstrated exceptional ability to change the way healthcare facilities are designed and built, and whose work has had broad impact on the advancement of healthcare design.  The other award winner was D. Kirk Hamilton, FAIA, FACHA, EDAC, of Texas A&M University

Recognized as renowned thinkers, innovators, and longtime lead- ers in the healthcare design community, Drs. Stichler and Hamilton co-founded and currently co-edit the Health Environments Research & Design, (HERD) Journal. HERD Journal is a top international, inter-professional publication that provides students, researchers and design practitioners with peer-reviewed research and methodology papers, theory articles, case studies, and book reviews, focused on the effects of health environments and evidence-based design on patient, provider, and organizational outcomes.

Instrumental in defining the term “evidence-based design,” Dr. Hamilton is a Fellow of the Center for Health Systems & Design and a Professor of Architecture at Texas A&M University. He focuses his academic research on the relationship of evidence-based health facility design to measurable organizational performance.

A pioneer working as one of the nation’s first nurse consultants in the design of healthcare environments, Dr. Stichler’s research focuses on the effect of the work environment, including facility design and leadership, on organizational performance and patient and provider outcomes. She is Professor Emerita of Nursing at SDSU as well as a consultant for Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women and Newborns, and a Fellow in both the American Academy of Nursing and the American College of Healthcare Executives. Dr. Stichler has worked with hospitals, both nationally and internationally, in strategic planning, program development, and hospital and outpatient outcomes.

“The educational impact that these two individuals have had on our industry, both as separate professionals and as the co-founders and co-editors of the HERD journal, has provided so many with inspiration”, said Frank Weinberg, M.S., Board Chair, The Center for Health Design. “It is their dedication, vision and expertise that created this essential industry resource and makes both rigorous research from academic sources and applied research from practice, accessible. The journal provides a place where as a community, we can read, discuss and share healthcare innovations and design, using our key learnings to address daily challenges to improve patient outcomes and enhance the work environments of healthcare professionals worldwide. It is this community that now wants to recognize and thank both Dr. Hamilton and Dr. Stichler with this award.”


Alumni Creating Change in Healthcare in the Imperial Valley

Araceli Ramos-Nelson and Mercy ValenzuelaAraceli Ramos-Nelson and Mercy Valenzuela, both graduates of the Certified Nurse Midwifery program, became the first practicing midwives in the Imperial Valley region and were recently honored for their work by Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia (D-56th District). They were two of eight distinguished women leaders nominated for the honor of Imperial County Woman of the Year. “We in the Imperial Valley are very fortunate to have many remarkable women contributing to our region’s community development and economic vibrancy,” said Garcia. “Many of them are pioneers, defied stereotypes, and paved the way for others. It’s an honor and pleasure for me to recognize them.”

Julie Kunath, MS, APRN, AGPCNP-BC, ACCNS-AG, CCRN, a graduate of the Advanced Practice Nursing NP/CNS program, is also making waves by becoming the first hospital-based Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Imperial Valley. With the support of Chief Nursing Officer Robyn Atadero, Kunath worked to develop and gain approval for this new nursing position at Pioneers Memorial Hospital. Kunath is nationally certified as an Acute Care Adult Gerontology CNS by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses and as an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Congratulations to all three alumni!

Changing Awareness and Behavior On Campus

Nursing students at both the San Diego campus and the Imperial Valley campus participated in National Wear Red Day 2016 to promote heart health awareness. Their red shirts encouraged students to learn more more about heart health.

wear red 1 wear red 2




School of Social Work

Realistic Training for Social Workers

One of the outreach arms of the School of Social Work is the Academy for Professional Excellence. It was established in 1996 to provide exceptional workforce development and organizational support to the health and human services community by providing training, technical assistance, organizational development, research, and evaluation. Serving over 10,000 people annually, the Academy continues to grow with new programs and a diversity of training options offered to the social services community in Southern California and beyond.

One type of training that is offered is simulated scenarios that allow social workers, especially new ones, to experience typical situations in a safe environment. Last November the academy opened a new facility in Riverside to provide this specialized training.

At the center, new social workers are training to experience what they might in the field — learning from mistakes and gaining confidence from the operational facility in Riverside, which serves as the new social worker training camp. “I sure wish they had this kind of training years ago when I was in the field,” said Kathy Turnbull, network officer with San Bernardino Human Services Children’s Network, referring to the simulated training that now takes place in the region. Locations that conduct training for social workers in a simulated home environment have also been established in San Diego and Los Angeles counties, said Jennifer Baum, assistant deputy director of the academy.

woman answers door
Linn Ramirez, assistant regional manager for children’s social services for Riverside County, right, speaks with Audrey Tousant, of the Public Child Welfare Training Academy, playing the part of a parent, during a simulation exercise in Riverside.

There are about 60 newly hired San Bernardino County social workers undergoing this real-life scenario training and about 20 more will be going through the training early next year, said Marlene Hagen, children and family services director for San Bernardino County. The child and family services department employs about 400 social workers, and has been hit with a significant number of recent retirements, Hagen said, adding that turnover is traditionally high for field social workers. “It’s not for everyone,” said Kim Kalloo-Violante, a marriage and family therapist who works at the academy and was observing and critiquing one of the groups going through the training scenario.  Previously she was in the field, working for San Bernardino County for 14 years.

The scenario demonstration was that 13-year-old high school freshman Suzie was the top math student in her class, but suddenly her work and test scores dropped off dramatically. Concerned about the rapid change, her math teacher asked the child if there was anything going on in her life that could be troubling. “Things at home are not good,” the girl replied, but did not elaborate. The teacher then asked Children and Family Services to investigate. The only other known piece of information about the family was that “mom” has a “creepy” boyfriend, Baum said.

When the social worker knocks at the door, a sleepy-eyed woman in a housecoat answers.

“Oh, my daughter’s here, she’s fine, and we are about to eat dinner now,” the woman said.

Eleven empty wine bottles and at least that many prescription medicine bottles were scattered across a living room and dining room area where a woman portraying a mother named “Nancy” lived. Nancy is played by Nancy Satterwhite, a licensed clinical social worker.

“How often does your boyfriend stay over?” asked Linn Ramirez, assistant children’s social services regional manager for Riverside County.

In an effort to bait the social worker, “Nancy” replies by asking, “How often does your boyfriend visit you?”

One of the challenges faced by social workers is that the details from the mother, the daughter and what the boyfriend says may all differ significantly. “How do you tell who is telling the truth?” Kalloo-Violante said. It’s all part of the training and learning experience.



School of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

Community Welcomed for Speech-Language Awareness Day

On May 3, the students, faculty and staff of the SLHS hosted Speech-Language Awareness and Information Day. More than 200 members of the community attended the event that featured several presentations and more than 30 community agencies providing information. The event was organized by the student members of the SDSU Chapter of the National Student Speech-Language and Hearing Association (NSSLHA). The goal of the event was to raises awareness about the resources available to individuals with various speech and language impairments, their family members and friends, and other allied professionals in the San Diego area.

The keynote address was, Project Impact: Collaborating with Families of Toddlers with Social Communication Disorders, delivered by Lauren Brookman-Frazee, PhD, Sarah Rieth, PhD, and Karyn Searcy, MA, CCC-SLP. The presenters emphasized the importance of including families in early intervention and using community partners to further clinical and research practice.

booth displayDr. Brookman-Frazee is currently an associate professor of psychiatry at the UCSD, as well as a research scientist at the Child and Adolescent Services Research Center, the research and training director at the Autism Discovery Institute at Rady Children’s Hospital – San Diego, and faculty in the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology and UCSD/VA Psychology Internship Training Program. Dr. Rieth is an assistant professor of child and family development at SDSU and a research scientist at the Child and Adolescent Services Research Center. Her research focuses on intervention for children with autism spectrum disorders and their families and the delivery of high-quality intervention in community settings. Lewis is a speech language therapist and clinical director of the Crimson Center for Speech & Language, which she founded in 2003 to support families, as well as help staff identify and develop individual specialties as therapists working with children, adolescents and adults.

presentationThe other presentations were:

The Difference between Broca’s and Wenicke’s Aphasia, presented By Helke Kessler-Heiberg, M.A. CCC SLP

There is More to Life than “Want Cookie Please”: Providing Access to Robust Language Through AAC pre- sented by Margaret Perkins,  M.A.. CCC SLP. ATP

How to Support the Development of Two Languages in Children presented by Giang Pham, PH.D., CCC·SLP

Dr. Sonja Pruitt-Lord, faculty advisor for the event, noted that she was very proud of the student leaders who organized it and very happy with the excellent information the event provided to community members.