Greetings from the LMU Department of Health and Human Sciences! Collectively, our unique family of alumni, students, staff, and faculty had an exciting year!
For the 9th year in a row, we began the year with record student enrollments! Since the creation of the Health and Human Science major in 2012, the department has grown to 215 students, a 34% increase from the 160 students in the first 4-year class back in 2015. This growth is notable not only in our majors, but with the addition of a Health and Human Sciences minor this year, and steady demand across the university for prerequisite courses in anatomy and physiology for health professions’ applications has resulted in 100 students enrolled in two A&P lectures and six A&P labs sections this fall!
After many years in development, the new curriculum for HHSC majors was implemented this fall! As part of this new program, we have:
- Separated the former HHSC 190: Medical Terminology and Seminar into two classes HHSC 1900: Seminar and HHSC 1910: Medical Terminology.
- The split allows the seminar to be more focused and streamlined while prioritizing community-building and study skill development – both factors critical to retention and success of 1st-year students. We also offered two sections of Medical Terminology – taught by medical professionals! Erica Rosol, DPT (2008), and Emma Klein PA-C (2018) lent their professional and instructional expertise to the improved format this fall.
- Eliminated the four old and excessively restrictive Upper-Division categories in favor of a single required course in a new category of courses.
- This new Health Equity, Diversity, and Justice (HEDJ) requirement includes community-based learning pedagogy and/or engagement with community partners facilitated through the Pam Rector Center for Service and Action partners. This requirement deepens a commitment to Ignatian values by ensuring every HHSC graduate has expanded investment towards being men and women for and with others. Kicking off this year’s offerings includes a redesigned course in Exercise for Special Populations taught by Professor Almstedt along with a Weight Bias and Health Course developed and taught by long-time Senior Lecturer Alisa Dodds.
- Increased advocacy and encouragement of mentored research with undergraduates.
- Always an area of strength at LMU and the Department of HHSC, we now count independent study in the form of research (HHSC 3999) towards student engaged learning requirements. These efforts in 2022-2023 (the year prior to full deployment) resulted in 71 mentored research experiences with HHSC faculty members.
Notable examples of this expanded commitment to providing student access to original research investigations are numerous. These include funding support through immersive summer experiences in the Seaver Summer Research Community where Professor Caio Sousa mentored undergraduate, Jenna Ellinghuysen on an investigation on the physiological responses to stress. Other recent work in Professor Hawley Almstedt’s Lab examined the role of dietary nutrients and severity of depression, and a continuing longitudinal training intervention work with blood-flow restriction resistance training termed the B2RT study is wrapping up soon with dissemination of findings beginning this spring under the mentorship of Professor Todd Shoepe.
Our official student club, The Health and Human Sciences Society, with the mentorship of Danielle Good and Suchandra Ghosh, collaborated with LMU Career and Professional Development to host “Navigating the Healthcare Industry: insights from LMU Alumni Panel.” A special thank you to NTLS/HHSC alumni Jason Whitman, DPT, (2008); Samantha Valasek, DOT (2012); and Sophia Scattaglia MS, RD (2019) for treating the 56 attendees from across the department, college, and university to your career insight!
The HHSC Society also organized a welcoming “2023 Involvement Fair,” a Sports Medicine Workshop, their annual Christmas Party, and an informative lecture from Dr. David Quam titled “Your Health, Simplified, Lessons from a Primary Care Doc.” Emerging as a great friend and collaborator to the HHSC program, Dr. Quam is an LMU Biology alum from a few decades ago who has recently returned as the Director of the LMU Master of Science in Healthcare Systems Engineering program. In fact this, partnership has allowed 15 HHSC students to enroll in HSEG 515 to fulfill upper-division elective units towards their HHSC degree while taking a graduate-level course which also facilitate their potential entry into the 4+1 BS and MS program!
Professor Sarah Strand continued investigations into the relationship between concussion history and balance, she is serving on the LMU Committee on Economic Status of Faculty, and working in collaboration with Professor An to develop Therapeutic Rehabilitation in Sports Medicine, our first stand-alone version of this course to be offered to students each spring.
Professor Yong Woo An, returning from sabbatical, continues his robust lab work examining the brain’s role in maintaining joint stability in ACL injured patients.
Both Professors An and Sousa spent time with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) supported STEM Equity Faculty Development Institute prioritizing equity-centered professional development of teaching practices and student-centered assessment of academic success and inclusive experiences. This development program is possible via the work by Professor Heather Tarleton, who, while serving in the Dean’s Office, helped secure a $2.5 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Professor Tarleton has concluded her time in the Dean’s Office and is beginning a much-deserved sabbatical for the next year.
In addition to continued collaborative refinement of our exercise physiology curriculum along with Professor Robert Musci, Professor Sousa continues to expand his undergraduate research investigations described earlier.
Musci secured research funding from the Oklahoma Nathan Shock Center, became a Visiting Scholar with Dr. Jon Wanagat’s lab at UCLA’s Division of Geriatrics, and is expanding collaboration with the LMU Athletics Department with a new study on blood flow restriction in men’s and women’s soccer athletes.
After a successful annual conference this past fall, Professor Jen Roper is winding down her responsibilities as President of the Southwest Chapter of ACSM and completed work on an LMU Course Development Grant towards developing “Forensic Kinesiology” a focused deviation from Biomechanics which strives to provides students with a comprehensive understanding of how the human body’s movements and biomechanics can be utilized in the field of forensic investigation. This course will be offered for the first time to majors and minors in the Fall of 2024.
In addition to concluding a year in support of research/creative activities of the LMU Honors Program, Professor Almstedt is serving as a member of the University Rank and Tenure Committee, while developing one of our first Health Equity, Diversity, and Justice courses (HEDJ) this spring and maintaining a vibrant undergraduate research program.
We hope this newsletter finds everyone healthy and joyful as we move into spring. We continue to invite all alumni to stay in touch with HHSC and LMU and apprise us of any updates in your personal and professional lives. If you have a desire to remain engaged or contribute in other ways to the department or our students, we would love to hear from you!
Please contact Danielle Good, our Senior Administrative Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions or want further information about the department, (310) 338-7885 or via email at email@example.com.
With warmest regards from your HHSC Home,
Todd Shoepe, Ed.D.
Professor and Chair
Health and Human Sciences Department