News & Events

In the Field

  • Two students in Dr. Hawkins' summer Seminar course had their final letter-to-the-editor assignments published in The Eagle! Check out their awesome work: Yasmeen Salam wrote about mental health in Covid-19. Olivia Gonyea wrote about the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on the Navajo Nation.
  • Professor Melissa Hawkins wrote about the potential of social bubbles or quaranteams to reduce risk and avoid loneliness in The Conversation.
  • Professor Melissa Hawkins recently published an article in The Conversation on the 2nd wave of COVID-19 and recent surges across the US. Dr. Hawkins was also featured on a CNN piece, along with other experts, about travel and reopening. 
  • Professors Trina Ulrich and Melissa Hawkins published an article, along with 3 DHS students, on the role of public health in medical education.
  • Professor Melissa Hawkins wrote an article for The Conversation about navigating COVID-19 and fighting lonliness. 
  • Tony Panzera, Trina Ulrich, Stacey Snelling, Amy Treitiak and Christy Lunsford have put together a webinar for Nutrition Education students that details how to make the most of your time with your faculty menor as well as how to prepare for graduation. 

  • Professor Jody Gan recently published an article called Swimming Pool Environment and Respiratory Health Issues Among Masters Swimmers.

  • Graduating senior and member of Sister Circle, Noni Mungai recently wrote this piece that was published in the Blackprint at AU about health disparities and equity. 

    Guadalupe Mabry won the Harold Johnson Award for 2020.

    Rachel Bernardo won the Scott A. Bass Outstanding Scholarship at the Undergraduate Level Award for 2020.

    Jody Gan published an opinion piece in The Eagle called, "Opinion: Why I stuck to the syllabus during a pandemic".

    Elizabeth Cotter published a research article on Perceived discrimination, emotional dysregulation,and loss of control eating in young men in Eating Behaviors, an International Journal. 

  • Six students from the Department of Health Studies placed in various categories at the Mathias Student Research Conference. Congratulations to Jude Zieno(2nd place), Rachel Bernardo (3rd place), Hannah Fuchs (2nd place), Marnina Horenstein (3rd place), Shalini Ramachandra (1st place), and Christian Mendoza Gomez (1st place)! 

  • Anastasia Snelling was awarded a grant by DC Central Kitchen for her “Healthy Corners Evaluation Project.”

  • Professor Jolynn Gardner recently co-published a text book called Health Promotion and Education, 2nd Edition. 

  • Researcher Michelle Kalicki, Sarah Irvine Belson, Robin McClave & Anastasia Snelling published an article in the Journal of Education and Human Development called Healthy Educators, Healthy Children: A Pathway to Lifelong Health Starts in Early Childhood

    Professor Melissa Hawkins, Erin Watts, Sarah Irvine Belson, and Anastasia Snelling published an article in the Journal of Education and Human Development called Design and Implementation of a 5-Year School-Based Nutrition Education Intervention

  • Researcher Elizabeth Brandley published Breakfast Positively Impacts Cognitive Function in College Students With and Without ADHD
  • Alumni Rain Freeman published National Study of Telepsychiatry Use in US Emergency Departments 
  • Student Rachel Geisel received an award for Outstanding Achievement in Community Service and Shalini Ramachandra for Outstanding Achievement In undergraduate Research. Professor Jessica Young was recognized for outstanding faculty mentorship in undergraduate research! 
  • Professor Ethan Mereish recently appeared on an important Kojo show to discuss youth suicide rates and a new report from the CDC. Prof. Mereish gave great insight into the issue and poor mental health outcomes as it relates to LGBTQ youth and LGBTQ youth of color, highlighting an important aspect that the report did not address. The article and show were titled Youth Suicide Rates are Increasing. Whats Happening- And What Can We Do to Stop It? This was his first radio show appearance. 
  • Professor Katie Holton and Elizabeth Brandley attended the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research conference in London, during which Holton chaired the opening session, moderated a symposium, and gave a talk about improvements in anxiety and PTSD observed in Gulf War veterans on a low glutamate diet.
  • Professor Jolynn Gardner presented "Empathy Mapping: Improving Design and Effectiveness of Health Promotion Interventions" at the Art and Science of Health Promotion Conference in April.
  • Professor Celeste Davis will participate in Organizing for Health: A Public Health Awakened Training in October as a member of the DC Public Health Awakened leadership team.
  • Professor Jody Gan presented three workshops on self-care and wellness for academic excellence for first generation college students through CollegeTracks Success Orientation in Maryland.
  • Professor Elissa Margolin was invited by the International Human Rights Law Clinic to give a talk on the use of mindfulness as a tool to build resilience and promote professional sustainability, particularly in the context of international legal work that involves vicarious trauma. The class was held on February 22, 2019 and was titled Trauma Stewardship, “Winning” and “Losing,” Sustainability and Professional Identity. 
  • Professor Jessica Young published Does most of your paycheck go to rent? That may be hurting your health in The Conversation.
  • Professor Jessica Young published Associations between Obesity, Obesogenic Environments, and Structural Racism Vary by County-Level Racial Composition. Hear an interview with Dr. Young (starting at 14:36) in Money Alone Can't Save Us: Why Are Black Women Disproportionately Dying During Childbirth?
  • Dr. Jolynn Gardner moderated the Cancer Disparities and Inequities Panel at the National Cancer Prevention Workshop on Capitol Hill on February 6, 2019.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Cotter facilitated a continuing education seminar on February 6, 2019 at Children's National Medical Center titled, "Mindfulness as a Tool to Promote Healthy Eating." This continuing education seminar focused on the use of mindfulness-based interventions to address eating and weight-related concerns, integrating theory and research with practical tools that can be used with clients.
  • Article from Anastasia Snelling, Sarah Irvine Belson, and Emily HeapReconsidering Maslow: The Role of the School Health Policy in a Holistic Approach to Child Health and Wellness
  • Dr. Anastasia Snelling has been awarded Healthy Corner Store Grant from the DC Deparment of Health. The grant will evaluate the corner store program to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables in Wards 5, 7, and 8. This grant is targeted to SNAP recipients. The project will provide monetary incentives to SNAP customers every time they purchase fresh produce by giving them a $5.00 coupon to be used on their next purchase of fresh produce.
  • Dr. Kathleen Holton was an invited speaker at the 2018 Multiple Sclerosis Wellness Research Symposium in Portland, OR on October 30, 2018. Dr. Holton's talk was titled “Utilizing Antioxidants in MS Research.”
  • Dr. Elizabeth Cotter and Professor Allison Tepper spoke in October 2018 at the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo held in Washington, DC.
  • Professor Celeste Davis spoke at Not on My Turf: Strengthening Athletic Communities Against Abuse
  • Professor Elizabeth Cotter has been awarded Common Threads' Community Insight Grant.
  • Jody Gan published Atima, Honduras: Transformative Health Education on the ETR blog.
  • Jessica Young published When It Comes to Your Health, Where You Live Matters in The Conversation.
  • Article from Jolynn Gardner, Anastasia Snelling, and Cynthia Ronzio: Transformational Learning in Undergraduate Public Health Education: Course Design for Generation Z

Recent Events

Anastasia Snelling and Necia Freeman on stage

On October 22, 2019, the Department of Health Studies (DHS) hosted Necia Freeman at a screening of the Netflix Oscar Nominated Documentary short,Heroin(E) a panel event for students, DHS faculty, and DHS staff. This documentary details three Hunting West Virginia native's (a fire chief, a judge, and a missionary) quest to save their community from the heroine epidemic in the Region. Missionary at Back Packs and Brown Bags Ministry, Necia Freeman, came to speak on what is being done in the community now, details on drug court, and the future of Huntington. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Anastasia Snelling.

Bob Rosen

Bob Rosen is Chairman and CEO of Healthy Companies International. Bob Rosen is the best-selling author of eight books, including the New York Times bestseller, Grounded: How Leaders Stay Rooted in an Uncertain World, and the Washington Post bestseller, CONSCIOUS: The Power of Awareness in Business and Life. Bob Rosen presented to faculty and staff in the Department of Health Studies, Human Resources, and AhealthyU about leadership on September 18, 2018. 

Dr. Karambu Ringera

On October 4, 2018, Dr. Karambu Ringera from Meru, Kenya gave an enlightening talk on the importance of empowerment for creating social change. Regardless of a person’s life situation, it is imperative for a person to feel that they have the self-efficacy necessary to take charge of their life. This is essential for improving health behaviors, yet people who come from challenging situations often think of themselves as victims, rather than leaders. Dr. Ringera challenged this paradigm and gave examples of how she is inspiring change in marginalized groups in Kenya by empowering individuals to find change within themselves.

Speaker address crowd beside a slide that says My New Story

The Department of Health Studies showed the documentary, The Liberation, on November 5, 2018. The Liberation tells the story about recovering addicts, former drug dealers, and felons going through the DC Central Kitchen Culinary Training Program. Students from Professor Young’s Living and Dying in DC class and Professor Davis’ Food Justice Matters class attended the event, as well as students, faculty, and staff in the Department of Health Studies. Brendan Canty, one of the directors of the film and Professors Celeste Davis and Jessica Young led a panel to answer questions and discuss the film.

Two women with a microphone at a table speak to a man in a chair.

Health studies group and donated presents

The Department of Health Studies held their fifteenth annual Adopt-A-Family Holiday Party on December 8, 2018. Every year the Department of Health Studies partners with a different organization in order to help families that are in need during the holiday season. This year, the organization that the department selected, United Planning Organization (UPO), was even more special since Dr. Snelling and her team work with UPO to implement nutrition education and wellness programming in their twelve early childhood education centers.

The Department of Health Studies adopted four families from UPO. Faculty, staff, and graduate students from the department were touched by their stories and were excited to be able to help the four families during the holiday season. Over forty faculty, staff and graduate students from the department purchased gifts for the families and attended the holiday party. During the holiday party, presents were wrapped, laughs were shared, and bonds between colleagues and classmates were strengthened.

There were over seventy gifts in total donated, totaling close to $1,700 worth of goods. Each family received winter coats, shirts, pants, shoes, toys, winter accessories, and gift cards. When the gifts were dropped off at UPO, the reactions from the staff were priceless. The staff at UPO were overwhelmed and could not wait to deliver all of the gifts to the families.

panelists Rodrigo Stein, Jessica Rogers, and Molly McGlinchyOn February 19, 2019, the Department of Health Studies (DHS) hosted The Role of Community Organizations in Promoting Health in DC for students, DHS faculty, and DHS staff. Rodrigo Stein, Health Promotion and Health Equity Manager at La Clinica del Pueblo, Jessica Rogers, Development Operations Manager at DC Central Kitchen, and Molly McGlinchy from Capital Area Food Bank led a panel discussion about how their organizations are promoting health in Washington, DC and how students can get involved in their organizations. Professor Melissa Hawkins moderated the panel discussion.

DHS Students and Alumni

The Department of Health Studies hosted the Health Promotion Management & Nutrition Education Networking Event on April 3, 2019. More than 20 alumni and more than 25 students from BS Health Promotion, MS Health Promotion Management, and MS Nutrition Education attended the event. Alumni represented multiple sectors of health, including academic, government, healthcare, nonprofit, and worksite wellness.

Students and alumni were able to talk about their prospective and current career paths and make connections with individuals that have similar interests. Students felt that the networking event increased their awareness about companies and job opportunities in the fields of health promotion and nutrition education.

Thomas Pruski, Deborah Nix, Billy Collins, and Valerie Mitchell Health Where We Worship Panel speaking

On April 2, 2019, the Department of Health Studies (DHS) hosted Promoting Health Where We Worship, a panel event for students, DHS faculty, and DHS staff. Thomas Pruski, Director of Heal the Sick Program, Deborah Nix, Founder and Executive Director of Keys to Canaan, and Billy Collins and Valerie Mitchell from the Cardiovascular Branch of NHLBI led a panel discussion about the benefits and barriers of promoting health in areas of worship in Washington, DC. Professor Elizabeth Cotter moderated the panel discussion.

Kids jumping into a pool

First Person ·

Is It Safe to Jump In?

Every summer, Americans flock to swimming pools to cool off and get exercise. But are they safe? Health Studies Professorial Lecturer Jody Gan shares the latest guidance for safe swimming during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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In the Community ·

AU Public Health Scholars “Go Inside the Outbreak”

AU Public Health Scholars Director Melissa Hawkins designed this summer’s Emerging Issues in Public Health Seminar class to focus solely on the pandemic—even as events were unfolding in real time.
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Maryam Tabrizi, BCCRS

In the Community ·

AU Alumna Answers the Call to Lifesaving Work

Alumna Maryam Tabrizi volunteers as one of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad's 150 trained volunteers who respond to an average of more than twenty calls for help each day. Last year alone in 2019, the BCCRS responded to nearly 8,000 emergency calls.
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Battelle-Tompkins Memorial Building

Achievements ·

Banner Award Season for College of Arts and Sciences Students

Congratulations to the 2020 University Student Award Winners!
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Trina and son with box filled with PPE

In the Community ·

Professor Delivers 200,000+ Pieces of PPE to Desperate Hospitals

In just six weeks, Dr. Trina Ulrich has collected and delivered more than 200,000 pieces of desperately needed (PPE) to doctors and nurses across the nation.
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Samantha White and poster

Research ·

First-Ever “Virtual” Mathias Conference Winners Announced

The winners have been announced for a very special Robyn Rafferty Mathias Student Research Conference, one of the College of Arts and Sciences’ most important forums for students to present their scholarship and creative works.
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