Experiential Reality Opens Classrooms as Far as Imagination Can Take Them

Thinking back on your college experience, you probably remember more than a few lectures that were a bit, well, boring. And you may have thought, “This would be so much better if I could see what the professor is talking about, or, better yet, experience it for myself.” That is exactly what Dr. Harsimran Baweja and others are trying to do via immersive learning.

Immersive learning uses technology to bring things to life in the classroom. This could be virtual reality, which places the student into a situation. It could be augmented reality, which brings a place or thing into the classroom. Or these could be blended together to create an enhanced reality.

Experimental Reality
Dr Bawja uses his cell phone to project a large brain hologram as he lectures about parts of the brain.

Baweja is leading a common interest group of faculty and staff throughout the Cal State system to help bring these new learning modalities to students at several of the Cal State campuses. The Virtual Immersive Teaching and Learning (VITaL) group is helping faculty and administrators rethink “how the future learns” and is sponsored by the Chancellor’s Office. This has expanded to include faculty, staff, students and administrators on all 23 Cal State campuses as well as other universities around the country.

At SDSU, Baweja works closely with the InformationmTechnology office to create these special opportunities for classes across all of the colleges on campus, not just within CHHS.

One of the first challenges they tackled was developing a virtual reality model of the phases of the moon for an introductory astronomy class. The model allows students to watch the moon change from earth’s perspective, but also to be standing on the moon and watching earth change.

Baweja uses immersive technology when he lectures kinesiology students about the heart. As he talks, there is a view of a large, 3-D holographic heart on the screen behind him. What makes this different from a film is that he can control the view of the heart by moving his smart phone. As he talks about specific parts of the heart, the view changes so, for example, the camera travels through the valves, or looks up the aorta as Dr. Baweja moves or tilts his phone to show a different view. A student question can be answered by moving to that portion of the heart and illustrating the answer, rather than just describing it. Students can see what happens during arrhythmia or a heart attack. By the end of the lecture, they have a very clear idea of how the heart functions, and have been much more engaged than in a traditional lecture with slides.

Immersive Learning
In addition to brining immersive learning to student, Baweja also seeks to be “the world’s coolest dad”. Here he teaches students in his daughter’s preschool class about how their brains work, using a more conventional prop.

This type of experiential learning also allows for more equitable student experiences, as the technology is often readily available from the internet via smart phone, allowing colleges with small technology budgets to still engage in immersive learning experiences. It can also increase student’s understanding of disability issues as virtual reality can make the experiences of a person with mobility limitations, for example, very vivid to an able-bodied student. Students with disabilities can also participate in a virtual reality setting in ways that might not be possible for them in real life.

A more complex example is being used in the School of Nursing to expose nursing students to situations they might not otherwise get to experience. Use a Microsoft HoloLens and software from Peerson Education, nursing students can step into a virtual reality simulation of an emergency situation. Through this technology, students have a chance to practice their response without endangering an actual patient.

Through the working group that Baweja heads, faculty members across the Cal State system can discuss ideas for new uses, solve problems and share resources, spreading the use of immersive learning much faster than each campus working alone.

Baweja began his quest for immersive learning in his own research lab, where he uses a variety of virtual reality tools to study both neurological and physiological changes in adults with Parkinson’s disease or dementia. This allows him to study people in unfamiliar and potentially dangerous situations without actually exposing them to danger. For example, his driving simulation can study driving decision making and response times while driving in an unfamiliar city, when , in fact, the subject is sitting safely in a driving simulator and not on the street at all.

“Experiential reality and immersive learning uses all of the resources available to us – 360 degree photos and videos, holograms, virtual reality, and augmented reality. We are limited only by our imagination and are rethinking how future learners will experience higher education, both inside and outside of the classroom.”

Videos of Dr. Baweja’s lab can be found at https://ens.sdsu.edu/dpt/research/faculty-research-interests/neuromechanics-and-neuroplasticity-lab/

Message from the Development Office

RebeccaUsing your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to Give

Did you know you can use your IRA to give to SDSU? Using your IRA to fund gifts to your favorite charities has become more valuable than ever before. If you are over the age of 70.5 and have to take the Required Minimum Distributions then you are eligible to use a tax strategy called a Qualified Charitable Distributions. A Qualified Charitable Distribution allows you to send money directly from your IRA to your qualified designated charities. When you do this, your Required Minimum Distribution is satisfied and the distribution is not taxable to you. You can also leave any remaining balance in your IRA to SDSU upon your death.

If you are over the age of 70.5, then a Qualified Charitable Distribution will still allow you to give on a pre-tax basis. Here is an example. Mrs. A. needs to take an Required Minimum Distribution of $10,000 this year. She is not eligible to claim deductions. She has $1,000 sent to SDSU and $1,000 to her church. The other $8,000 is deposited to her checking account. Rather than pay taxes on $10,000 she is only taxed on $8,000. The ability to deduct is a non-issue. Notice that she was able to divide her gift between two areas and that she did not have to give her entire distribution. There is a lot of flexibility in this strategy.

For this to work you must contact your IRA custodian and have them send the contribution directly to your charity. There is no special reporting to the IRS for the Qualified Charitable Distribution, but it is vital that you tell your tax preparer what you have done. If you do not let him or her know, then you could lose the tax benefit. Sample letters for this can be found at www.plannedgiving.sdsu.edu. The site has lots of other information about giving options as well.

By using this strategy, your gift will be put to use today, allowing you to see the difference your donation is making. Assuming you meet the minimum requirements, you can use this gift to set up a scholarship, or support a particular program or research area you are interested in. You can also contribute to an existing scholarship or fund that you or someone else has already set up. The development team would love to talk about the options available to ensure that your gift supports exactly what you want it to. Currently we require a $25,000 gift for a named scholarship or $50,000 to create an endowment to support a scholarship or other area. However, these amounts can be pledged over five years and can be a combination of several different types of gifts. If you are not able to give at that level, there are still lots of ways to support an area of interest, so please reach out and ask about what is possible.

There are, of course, many other ways to give to SDSU, and the development team is always ready to help you find the best option of you. We also advise everyone to consult with their personal financial advisors to help determine possible tax advantages and other considerations when decided how you would like to support SDSU and its students. Please reach out to any of us for more information about using your IRA to give or to explore other options.



Letter from the Dean

Dear Friends,

Steve HookerAs I am writing this letter for The Pulse (my first one!), I have been Dean of the CHHS for 6 months. I have described my experience thus far as drinking from a fire hose. At times, it has been overwhelming trying to learn new organizational structures, policies, procedures, and people’s names (one of my weaknesses). However, I have been welcomed with open arms, smiles, and sincere words of encouragement and support which has made the transition very enjoyable and comforting. I wish to thank everyone I have met for the cheerful reception you have given me as I have entered the Aztec family.

Over the past six months, I have met many administrators, faculty, staff, students, donors, alumni, and university partners who have shared with me their SDSU and CHHS experiences and ideas for the future. At every turn, I have found these conversations extremely insightful and helpful. CHHS has a rich history of success, and is intimately connected to the community. That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement in how we prepare students for their careers, strive for new discoveries with our research, and embed our expertise and efforts into the San Diego and Imperial Valley regions and beyond. We have great capacity to continue making a difference in the lives of many as we build upon our past achievements and look for ways to accelerate our impact in the future.

I describe my leadership style as servant leadership. I am here to serve the CHHS students, faculty and staff and, simultaneously, the SDSU Provost and President to the best of my ability. To that end, I have an open door policy to anyone who desires to talk with me about any concerns, questions, or ideas that they have about CHHS. This applies to alumni, donors and external partners, also. I am here to listen, learn, and act to maintain the status of CHHS as one of the best colleges on campus and in the CSU system. I feel I can do that better if we work together. So, feel free to reach out to me at any time. My email is shooker@sdsu.edu and my phone number is 619-594-6516. I look forward to hearing from and/or meeting many of you in the future, especially if I haven’t had the opportunity to already do so.

Best regards (and go Aztecs!),

steve hooker signature




Steven Hooker, Dean



Outstanding Aztecs

Congratulations, Dr. Hala Madanat, This Year’s Distinguished Faculty Honoree

Dr. Hala MadanatEach year, the SDSU Alumni Association honors one outstanding faculty member from each of the university’s colleges and awardees are recognized at the All-University Convocation. This year’s CHHS honoree was Dr. Hala Madanat, Director and Professor in the School of Public Health Madanat was nominated by her colleagues for her contributions in teaching, research and service.

Madanat joined the faculty of SDSU in 2008 as an associate professor and Chair of the Division of Health Promotion and Behavioral Science. She became a professor and the associate director of the school in 2015 and the director in 2016. She is a medical sociologist with strong interest in the role of culture, traditions, and western influence on health in the global setting. Her research focuses on the impact of westernization on diet and nutrition. She has been working on developing nutrition education programs that incorporate mindfulness and emphasize health and biological hunger.

In her role as director of the School of Public Health she has strengthened critical relationships with the San Diego County Department of Health and Human Services and other local partners. While participating in the school’s national reaccreditation process, she improved its data systems and updated its mission statement, resulting in high ratings and reaccreditation for a maximum term. She has initiated new international experiences for students and worked with a leading Tijuana-based university, UABC, to develop “Obesity on the Border,” a new course to be taught jointly by SDSU and UABC faculty for students at both universities. She has also launched an entirely online master’s degree program to increase students’ flexibility in achieving their degrees.

Terry Williams Honored for 20 years of service to the university

Terry WilliamsTerry Williams has been enjoying her work at SDSU for twenty years, most recently as the Resource Manager at CHHS, where she is in charge of the budget and human resources. She is a San Diego native, as were her parents, who worked in the business offices of a local hospital before coming to SDSU. She came to SDSU to get her bachelor’s degree, not as an employee. As an older student, with young children, who also needed a job, she realized that studying and working here would be advantageous. She completed her degree in public administration but never left campus. She started her SDSU career in procurement and has since worked in the biology department and the dean’s office for the College of Arts and Letters. She came to CHHS five years ago. She says the best part about working at SDSU is the people and knowing that her work makes a difference in the world. She notes that being behind the scenes suits her and she likes knowing that her work benefits others. She sees herself as “the base of the mountain”. Outside of work she enjoys reading, knitting, music and exploring California wineries.


Diane Takvorian Awarded Alumni of Distinction for Outstanding Contributions to the University

Diane Takvorian earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1974 and a master’s in social work in 1976 from SDSU. She was honored as the CHHS Alumni of Distinction this year for her work in environmental justice. She is the co-founder and executive director of the Environmental Health Coalition (EHC). Her commitment, leadership and vision have influenced public policy, municipal ordinances and state laws reducing health risks to positively affect the environment and improve the quality of life throughout the state.

Diane TakvorianTakvorian is no stranger to awards. Last March Assemblymember Todd Gloria named her the Woman of the Year for the 78th Assembly District in the California State Legislature’s annual Women of the Year ceremony that recognizes the achievements of outstanding women throughout the state. “Diane Takvorian epitomizes selfless service. Every day, Diane gets up with the purpose of empowering low-income communities to use their collective voice and demand change,” said Assemblymember Todd Gloria. “Her passion and commitment for environmental and social justice have resulted in healthier communities, cleaner air and water, and greater investment in underserved neighborhoods. She is truly a pioneer and I am proud to be able to recognize her as the 78th Assembly District’s Woman of the Year.”

Last September she was inducted into the California Social Work Hall of Distinction. At the ceremony, Dr. Melinda Hohman, recently retired director of the School of Social Work stated, “With skill, persistence and dedication, Takvorian has followed a nontraditional path as a macro social worker to promote environmental justice in low-income communities of color in the San Diego/Tijuana region and beyond. Her goal has always been to empower communities to develop their own leaders to address common problems.”

In 2008, Takvorian received the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award for her “creative and inspirational leadership benefiting the people of California.” In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed her to the Joint Public Advisory Committee for the Commission for Environmental Cooperation. In 2016, she was appointed by then-Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) to serve on the California Air Resources Board where she still serves today. In 2017 she was named as a KPBS and the National Conflict Resolution Center’s Community Hero for environmental sustainability.

“Environmental justice,” Takvorian explained, is “the right of all people to live, work and play in a safe and healthy environment, and that is taken away from some people because of environmental racism and the misuse of power that puts people of color and low-income people in harm’s way at a greater rate than others.” Under Takvorian’s leadership, the EHC has turned residents of disenfranchised neighborhoods into powerful advocates for their communities. Among its early successes was securing one of the nation’s first community Right-to-Know laws to give residents information about chemicals used at businesses near their neighborhoods. EHC also participates in efforts to influence transportation policies to make them healthier for everyone. Recognizing her accomplishments, President Clinton appointed her to the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission, and President Obama asked her to serve on an advisory committee for the NAFTA Commission for Environmental Cooperation.

“While earning my BS at SDSU I got involved in civil rights and the women’s movement. I worked with local organizations serving vulnerable communities and I decided that social work would be a better fit for me than seeking an advanced degree in Psychology. I really wanted to pursue a degree that reflected my social justice values and that would give me a broad set of skills to organize and advocate for justice. Social work gave me a foundation of values, knowledge and skills that have served me well for many years.”


School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences

Student Art Project Continues to Delight Visitors to the ENS Building

Market Mural
“Market” by Robert Hugenberger, after restoration by Gary Hubert.

The ENS complex is the second oldest building on the SDSU campus. In one of the rooms off of the central quad is a colorful mural titled “Market”, that depicts a colorful market scene with an Aztec temple in the background. Art student Robert Hugenberger painted the mural in 1949 as his senior project.

The mural survived as other murals on campus were painted over or destroyed during remodels, perhaps because it was in a rarely used room in an out-of-the-way corner. However, as the room is now used more frequently for meetings, the mural required restoration to keep it in good shape. So school director Matt Mahar contacted University History Curator Seth Mallios, who has led the effort to preserve other historic murals discovered on the SDSU campus.

Robert Hugenburger
Robert Hugenburger working on the preliminary sketch for his mural.

Mallios believes the mural is significant because it combines the Mexican muralist tradition with the post-World War II fantasy and escapism of the late 1940s and early 1950s. The imagery, he said, unites modern Mexicans in the marketplace with their Aztec ancestry as pre-Columbian gods mysteriously float through the sky and stand in their midst.

“I think it is a strong statement of everyday life and reverence for the past,” Mallios said, adding that the subject matter and presentation reflects a prevailing student mindset of the time. He also cites the mural as an example of a talented student artist engaged in producing “real art” early in his career. “This isn’t just an empty homework assignment,” Mallios said. “This is a beautiful piece of art by a very talented individual who would go on and use these tools that he was crafting here.”

When news of the fundraising effort to preserve the mural went out, Hugenbergers’ son Lyle heard about the renovation effort. While Lyle was not an SDSU student, he was aware of the mural as a photo of it was prominent in his childhood home in Fullterton. Lyle was thrilled to be able to contribute funds toward the restoration of the mural and looks forward to seeing its completion.

Market Mural
Gary Hulbert’s painstaking restoration included cleaning the entire mural with handcrafted cotton swabs.

Lyle shared that the process of creating the mural was complex. It was first drawn, full sized, onto butcher paper with chalk, then colored over with paint. When the prototype was complete, Hugenberger then redrew the mural on the wall in the ENS meeting room. He used a rare “encaustic” medium of powdered pigment mixed with melted wax and turpentine. This produced exceptionally bright and vibrant colors, in keeping with the sun-filled market scene. Hugenberger last visited the mural some twenty years ago. After graduating from SDSU in 1949, he continued his education, earned an MFA degree and became an art teacher. He continued to paint until his death in 2008.

Market Mural RestorationThe mural was restored by Gary Hulbert, a widely respected conservator who has restored and preserved several of SDSU’s historic murals and whose work includes restoration of some of the famous Hearst Castle’s art. “In general, the mural is in good shape,” Hulbert concluded after closely examining the 27-by-8-foot work.

The restoration has just been completed and a public unveiling ceremony is planned for March 23 as part of the Explore SDSU Open House. The time has not been finalized but once the schedule for the day has been finalized it will be posted on https://ens.sdsu.edu/blog/2019/02/11/market-mural-unvieling/



School of Public Health

Deepening SDSU’s Commitment to Address Healthcare Disparities

The School of Public Health has a long history of researching healthcare disparities and exploring solutions. Dr. Gregory Talavera’s work with chronic disease and Dr. Elva Arredondo’s work with disparities in cancer diagnosis and care are great examples. This year the school is making a major effort to expand this research by creating the SDSU HealthLINK Center.

Suchi AyalaThis effort started last year when Dr. Guadalupe Ayala secured a $10 million grant for infrastructure from NIH’s National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). This year, she added an additional $19.9 million award — one of the largest grant awards SDSU has ever received. It will create the new HealthLINK center for research on health disparities throughout San Diego and Imperial counties. The funding will allow the creation of the center as well as funding for faculty and student research and center staff. The five-year award is part of an effort by NIMHD to support the research enterprise of minority-serving institutions like SDSU. (The university is a federally designated Hispanic-serving institution, and 31.5 percent of first-year students are underrepresented minorities.)

The center will be housed near SDSU on Alvarado Street, where several other SDSU research facilities already exist. This is better for patients and research subjects because it does not force them to come to campus and struggle with parking and the potential for a long walk from the parking lot to the lab. It also means that patients won’t get lost on campus. The clinical research center will house a biomedical lab and a physiology lab. The award funds key personnel—like phlebotomists and data managers—to support research, and creates repositories of critical information, like study results and faculty expertise. Ayala and psychology professor Dr. Kristen Wells are leading the project.

The center strengthens relationships with key healthcare and public health organizations in the San Diego region, including the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency and two federally qualified health centers, Clínicas de Salud del Pueblo, Inc. and Family Health Centers of San Diego. The center will bring together more than two dozen faculty engaged in high-impact, community-centered and cross-disciplinary collaborations. Research teams within the center will include experienced investigators and early career scientists, part of a strategic effort to ensure the next generation of scientists is prepared to embark on critical health-related research. To further support post-doctoral fellows and early career scientists, the award establishes annual seed funding. Each year, four awardees will receive between $30,000 and $50,000 to support pilot projects.

Ayala thinks this is a perfect pairing with her other recent award – being named the Zahn Professor of Creativity and Innovation. The two-year appointment, supported by the San Diego-based Moxie Foundation, is intended to advance curricular, experiential, and interdisciplinary opportunities for students and fellow faculty. In this new role, she will be working to bring research into the classroom, with a special emphasis on crossdiscipline projects. She notes that this is already happening around campus, but this puts more emphasis on it. She is especially looking forward to being able to use the research learnings from the HealthLINK Center as a springboard for student projects.

Ayala notes that students are keen to use technology and social media to solve public health issues. “What I would love to be able to do is bring the disciplines of public health and electrical engineering, for example, into the classroom together,” said Ayala. “In this way, public health students can work alongside engineering students in programming digital applications for health,” she explained. “Similarly, electrical engineering students can learn from public health students about which behaviors are more clinically relevant to monitor.”

“Dr. Ayala has achieved impressive success in attracting funding for transdisciplinary research in health sciences at SDSU,” said Joseph Johnson, Jr., Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, who made the appointment. “She has a vision and a passion for using collaboration to improve intervention and health care in the community. Her ideas will help promote the culture of creativity and innovation that the Moxie Foundation has fostered through its longstanding partnership with SDSU.”

Ayala said she wants to use the position to build on work funded by the NIMHD “and start integrating some of its philosophy and practice into the classroom.” The health sciences “have no curriculum on how to develop an app, or how to use technology to monitor health. We are only beginning to understand how to use the mounds of data available to us on a person’s health.Yet, our graduates will be working in fields requiring knowledge of technology and data science. If we don’t equip them with these skills, we’re doing them, and us, a disservice,” she said.

Suchi Award
Dr. Ayala (in the red jacket) was joined by SDSU President Dr. Adela De la Torre (white jacket) and her parents Marta and Reynaldo Ayala at the awards ceremony for the Wang Family Excellence Award.

Ayala said the future in public health requires working with engineers and computational scientists who live and breathe “big data” and know how to crunch numbers in a more effective way. The result of these collaborations could bring students from the colleges of Health and Human Services, Engineering and Sciences together in new and different ways to capitalize on the strengths of their respective disciplines.

In recognition of her substantive body of research, innovative teaching abilities and transformative community-based work, Ayala also received the highest honor the California State University Chancellor’s office grants: the 2019 Wang Family Excellence Award for Outstanding Faculty Scholarship. Ayala and four other recipients will each receive a $20,000 award established through a gift from CSU Trustee Emeritus Stanley T. Wangand administered through the CSU Foundation.

Ayala credits her parents as her inspiration for her focus on social justice and helping underserved communities. “My entire family is very focused on education, and we grew up social-justice-minded,” she said. “Everything they taught me and trained me to do around improving community in terms of structures and systems I have been able to apply, and I have done so in a way that focuses on research and bringing evidence to practice.”



School of Nursing

Nursing Students Love the Microsoft HoloLens

Last year the students and faculty in the School of Nursing began using the Microsoft HoloLens as a way to enhance student’s learning. Because this is new technology, the first step was to join with two other universities to work with Peerson Education to film specific scenarios, as there is a very limited supply of films at this time.

The HoloLens allows students to enter into a 3-D patient simulation. They can walk around the patient to observe, as well as interact with him or her. Because the patient is a computer-generated image, they can observe physical changes in the patient as they work to solve the patient’s condition. This allows students to experience and train in situations that they might not see in their clinical rotations and that cannot be simulated as easily with the physical mannequins in the Sharp HealthCare Human Patient Simulation Lab. The more experience nursing students have with unusual cases, especially emergencies, the better the care they can provide once they are in “the real world”.

Nursing Holo Lens
Student use the HoloLens to view “patients” on the empty beds.

Before investing significant resources into this new technology, the School Of Nursing wanted to know, “Does it work?” Do students who train with the immersive learning simulations learn more than students who do not? Dr. Helina Hoyt, Nursing Program Coordinator at the Imperial Valley campus, set out to answer that question as part of earning her Ph.D. in education. She worked with Sean House in the Information and Technology Services department, who was also studying the impact of using immersive learning and the use of this new technology.

Hoyt created a research project that tested the learning of first, second, and third year nursing students in a case of diagnosing and treating anaphylactic shock. This scenario might be encountered with a patient who had a severe allergy and was exposed to the allergen – a common example would be a child with a peanut allergy who accidently ate a cookie containing peanuts. The chances of a student nurse seeing this actually play out during a clinical rotation is low, so faculty are eager to find new ways to training students to respond quickly and correctly when they encounter such a case.

Nursing HoloLens
What the student sees through the HoloLens. This student is viewing her hand, the simulated patient, and the physical mannequin in the next bed.

The research had students work through a diagnosis and treatment scenario in three ways. The control group read and responded to a written case study, a very traditional teaching method. The second group read the case and watched a film depicting a patient in this situation. The final group used the HoloLens to more fully experience the scenario. After each session, students were tested on their knowledge.

Not surprisingly, the students who only read the case study scored the worst. However, the group that did the best was the group that watched the film, not those who used the HoloLens. Hoyt thinks this is due to two factors. The first is that the students were using the HoloLens for the first time during this research and the novelty of the technology was distracting. All of the students indicated that they really enjoyed the HoloLens experience and none of them indicated any ill effects from doing so. A future study will look at whether learning improves with more familiarity with the HoloLens. The other factor might be the lack of additional data during the simulation. Students wanted to see vital signs for the patients, as well as visual cue as to what was happening with them. Future scenarios are being developed to add that information to the screen, creating an enhanced reality.

The HoloLens and virtual reality simulations are still considered a valuable addition to the nursing curriculum and the school is looking for ways to develop additional scenarios. They are currently exploring collaboration with other schools who are using virtual reality to produce materials for this new technology.

School of Nursing Test Scores Continue to Shine

To become registered nurses, after graduation nursing students need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). So far this year, 99% of the school’s recent graduates have taken and passed the exam. Congratulations to all of our new nurses!

New additions to the Sharp HealthCare Human Patient Simulation Lab

NursingWhile virtual reality scenarios and technology are entering nursing education, patient simulations are still a major part of each nursing student’s experience at SDSU. The lab continues to see heavy use and so new mannequins have been added to replace those that were beyond repair. Ten new mannequins were recently added, including five who were clearly female, rather than the androgynous ones previously being used. The new mannequins are also racially diverse for the first time, adding African American and Hispanic mannequins to the mix.

Development Connection

Because all of our nursing classes use the Patient Simulation Lab on a regular basis, the facility sees very heavy use by more than 600 students each year. There is a constant need for new equipment, either to replace worn or outdated equipment or to keep the lab current with what students will encounter in the hospitals where they work. Donations to maintain this facility are always eagerly welcomed. An infant mannequin and privacy curtains are the highest priorities. Please contact any member of the CHHS development team for more information.




School of Social Work

Welcome Dr. Jong Won Min

Dr. Jong Won Min is the new Director of the School of Social Work as Dr. Melinda Hohman has retired. Min joined the faculty 2000 and has a reputation for being passionate about educating students and the fields of gerontology and social work.

Min earned his Bachelor of Social Work from Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea and then moved to Canada where he earned his Master of Social Work from the University of Calgary. In 2001 he earned his Ph.D in Social Welfare from UCLA. He has focused his scholarly work on a longitudinal examination of health disparities among older adults, mental health disparities, long-term care issues among racially and ethnically diverse older adults. As he began his leadership of the school, he opened the year with the following welcome letter:

On behalf of our faculty and staff in the School of Social Work, I would like to extend a warm and special welcome to all of our new and returning students as we begin the Fall 2018 semester. We have students across all levels joining us this academic year (BA students in Social Work and Gerontology, MSW, MSW/MPH, MSW/JD students, and PhD students in our joint doctoral program with UCSD in Interdisciplinary Research on Substance Use).

As the new Director of the School of Social Work, feelings of excitement and anxiousness are crisscrossing in my mind. Emeritus Professor, Dr. Melinda Hohman, our former Director, in her many years of service to SDSU, the School of Social Work, and to the community, has many accomplishments and is leaving me with some big shoes to fill. I would like to recognize her work and devotion to our School, especially because she has put our School in high gear in three areas: student engagement, faculty engagement, and community engagement. At the same time, I would like to recognize some of our faculty, who recently retired, for their excellent contributions in scholarly work, research, and service to our School, the University, and the Community: retired Lecturer and Undergraduate Field Education Director, Ms. Kim Archuletta and those who joined the rank of Emeritus status, Drs. Melinda Hohman, Susan Woodruff, and Thomas Packard.

As we are heading into Fall 2018 (and a new academic year), our School’s priority will be to continue our excellence in education and research among both students and faculty. While celebrating our past work, now would be the perfect time for us to rebuild our School. In particular, I would like to encourage all of our students, faculty, and staff to set your minds and hearts on “success” in each and every aspect of your work. Such success should be attained based on fundamental principles of diversity and inclusion. Our profession and field of research and practice should serve as a beacon of our society and for those individuals suffering in the shadows. I would like to invite all of us to engage in constructive and productive dialog on how we can, not only succeed in everything that we do, but also thrive.

School of Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences

New Interdisciplinary Programs Take Flight

The School of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences is excited about two new programs that will ultimately help many high needs children. Puede! and Mainsail are both about providing better training to professionals who will work with high needs students—children with autism or trauma in their backgrounds and who have language difficulties. Puede! concentrates on training school psychologists who will work with children who, in addition to having high needs, are English-language learners with speech or language difficulties. Mainsail concentrates on training for special education teachers who work with children who have special needs as well as language or speech delays. Both the special needs teachers and the psychology students will be working towards master’s degrees in their field. Both projects are funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Education and both demonstrate the growing trend of interdisciplinary collaborations to solve complex health issues. These project also work to teach the newest research findings to graduate students before they begin their careers. SDSU is the only university that will be undertaking both projects.

Puede! Students
Puede! scholars are ready to start.

Puede!, stands for Partnering to Unify Education Services for Dual Language and English Learners and means, “I can” in English. It is being led by Dr. Carol Robinson-Zanartu and Dr. Jennica Paz from the School of Psychology. It will prepare 30 qualified bilingual school psychologists and speech-language pathologists to collaborate in assessment and interventions for dual language and English learners with high needs. All of the students will earn either a master’s or doctorate degree in special education es and California credentials as speech-language pathologists. The program includes both classroom learning and field placements, as well as specialized seminars and mentoring, all designed so that students will be equipped with the latest evidence-based practices for helping the children they will serve.

Meanwhile, students in the Mainsail program will be engaged in similar specialized classes and field placements in preparation for working with young children with high needs and speech challenges, with a particular emphasis on children on the autism spectrum. Mainsail stands for “MA degree Interdisciplinary Preparation for Speech-Language And Early Intervention Leaders” in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The program will be led by Dr. Yasemin Turan Qian and Dr. Laura Hall of the department of Special Education. Mainsail will produce 32 specially trained early education specialists – 16 with a master’s degree in early education and 16 speech-language pathologists. There will also be 10 mentor trainees who will be graduates from these programs who are working in the field and they will earn certificates in leadership and supervision. All of these professionals will be well equipped to work with young children with high needs and autism using evidence-based practices and the latest research discoveries in the field.

Dr. Sonya Pruitt-Love, who is overseeing the implementation of these programs with SLHS is very excited about the interdisciplinary collaboration this will foster and the creation of 66 “super professionals” in the next five years. She notes that learning to most up-do-date techniques and incorporating the latest research will create better teaching professionals, and that will have a wonderful impact on the children they serve. She hopes that a better student experience will translate into wider use of new techniques and better overall services for the children in the greatest need of help.

Save the Date for SAID 2019

You are invited to the 5th annual Speech-Language-Hearing Awareness and Information Day (SAID) on April 22, 2019 on the SDSU campus. SAID is a collaborative community event that aims to raise awareness about speech-language and hearing disorders and to provide educational interdisciplinary resources to students, faculty, and related professionals in the San Diego area. More information will be available on the school website (www.slhs.sdsu.edu) soon.

Development Connection

The school operates two clinics on campus that provide free services to members of the San Diego community who need them. These clinics also provide hands-on training for the speech language pathologists and audiologists of the future. The Speech-Language clinic would be able to expand services to more children with ASD, stroke survivors, wounded warriors, and others in need of services if it had more resources to hire additional supervisors and purchase additional supplies. The Audiology Clinic would be able to offer more hearing tests and low-cost hearing aids to those in need with more funding. To make a donation, please visit https://slhs.sdsu.edu/clinics/support/ or contact any member of the development team.

CHHS Dominates Aztecs Rock Hunger – for the Sixth Year in a Row

Aztecs Rock HungerAssistant Dean of Student Affairs Jason Ramirez says, “I’m ecstatic to announce the College of Health and Human Services added another shiny new plaque to our trophy shelf for donating the most pounds of food in the competition between the academic colleges! A big thank you to everyone who helped contribute to the collection of 14,019 pounds of food which was instrumental in helping us acquire a sixth consecutive trophy! As a college, we exceeded last year’s total by 681 lbs!” SDSU raised 590,503 pounds of food in this year’s Aztecs Rock Hunger event. Food and monetary donations were given to the San Diego Food Bank as well as stocking the Associated Students on-campus food pantry and providing dining meal plans for needy students.