Around the School
This November, the UMass Nutrition Association (UMNA), in conjunction with the Public Health Club, the Kinesiology Club, and the UMass chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA), organized the School of Public Health and Health Sciences Holiday Food Drive. The student groups collected nonperishable food items for donation to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.
Club officers collaborated to raise awareness about the cause among the student community, as the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts has experienced a critical shortage in food supplies. Boxes were placed in Chenoweth Hall and Arnold House, as well as in various dorms across campus. Together, they were able to collect over 70 individual food items to donate to the pantry.
“The food drive was a tremendous success! It’s inspired the four SPHHS student groups to collaborate even further in the future,” commented Elizabeth Lundy, president of the UMNA.
Giving back to the community is a common mission among all of the SPHHS student clubs. In October, the groups participated in a coat drive on behalf of the Mason Square Neighborhood Health Center’s 13th Annual Coat Give Away.
“We collected the coats by going to classes, through our club meetings, and by emailing the majors,” explained Catie Piccolo, president of the Public Health Club.
The club presidents visited Dr. Gerber’s PUBHLTH 160 class “My Body, My Health” on several occasions to accept coat donations. “This was hugely successful,” stated Elizabeth Lundy, president of the UMNA, “and where I believe a large percentage of our donations came from.”
The clubs collected nearly 50 coats in total for the Baystate Mason Square Neighborhood Health Center. The coats were handed out to those in need on October 8th in the Health Center’s Community Room in Springfield, MA.
“It is important to us to serve the community and help people that are in need,” said Ms. Piccolo. “As a club it feels great to give back to the community and help others who need coats for the cold winter.”
“I enjoyed being involved in a collaborative effort with the other club presidents,” added Ms. Lundy. “I am looking forward to working with them again, as the opportunities present throughout the semester.”
John Park, a Public Health Sciences and Microbiology double major at UMass Amherst, was honored by Gallagher Koster at a recent dinner event in Boston. Park was one of five winners of Gallagher Koster’s 2011 Health Careers Scholarship Program. Each of the five winners for 2011 will receive $5,000 towards his or her academic expenses.
Established in 2001, The Gallagher Koster Health Careers Scholarship Program was created to provide outstanding, financially-needy undergraduate students with the financial assistance required to pursue their health-related career. A total of 50 students have received this award since the program’s inception, and all previous winners have either completed their degree program or are on track to do so.
Each scholarship recipient is selected by the Scholarship Program Board of Directors based on his or her demonstration of the program standards, which include: a strong motivation to pursue a healthcare career, academic excellence, a dedication to community service and a need for financial support of their education. Information about Scholarship Program eligibility and enrollment is available at http://www.healthcareersscholarship.org.
The winners traveled to Boston to celebrate their achievements with the Program’s Board of Directors along with Gallagher Koster staff, clients and business partners, during an event at the Seaport Hotel. Featured at the event was guest speaker Cameron Waites, a graduate of University of Michigan-Flint and a 2009 Health Careers Scholarship Winner. Waites spoke to the current winners regarding the importance of creating a support network that will help guide them through the remainder of their academic studies and into their careers. Waites relayed lessons of transforming from his ‘immaturity’ through his service as a U.S. Army Medic, into his undergraduate work, and now as a lab researcher.
Teresa Koster, Division President of Gallagher Koster and founder of The Gallagher Koster Health Careers Scholarship Program, spoke of the commitment that has been demonstrated by this year’s winners, not only to complete their degrees but also to help others in incredible ways throughout their lives. All of this year’s winners have participated in some form of outreach program to better others’ lives throughout the world, and have made a strong commitment to the field of public health.
Kelly Johnson and Julia Parker, graduate students from the Department of Communication Disorders, have been awarded travel fellowships to attend a two-day training on transcription, coding, scoring, and analysis of aphasic discourse with the AphasiaBank project at Carnegie Mellon University. Ms. Johnson and Ms. Parker are research assistants in the BRoCA lab (Brain Research on Chronic Aphasia) run by Dr. Jacquie Kurland, Assistant Professor of Communication Disorders. They assist with projects investigating factors that contribute to treatment-induced neuroplasticity and language recovery in participants with chronic aphasia.
Aphasia is a language disorder affecting all language modalities (i.e., speaking, listening, reading, and writing) and is caused primarily by strokes in the language centers of the left hemisphere. It is a disorder of language production and comprehension and not a disorder of cognition. The AphasiaBank is a multimedia database of language samples from individuals with aphasia and non-brain damaged controls.
The two-day training at Carnegie Mellon will enable the BRoCA lab to utilize computational discourse analysis procedures to compare spoken narratives of individuals with aphasia before and after treatment. Information about how treatment impacts propositional language of individuals with aphasia will help determine whether or not, and to what extent, certain treatments are effective.
Dr. Kurland and her students would like to thank and acknowledge the AphasiaBank, a project funded by the National Institutes of Health, and Dr. Brian MacWhinney of Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Psychology, for their support.
The School of Public Health and Health Sciences held its 3rd Annual Internship and Workforce Development Fair on October 21, 2011 in the UMass Student Union Ballroom. Representatives from numerous organizations and employers throughout the New England region were on hand to discuss their respective industries, internship and career opportunities, and to provide guidance on career development and answer student questions. Agencies attending the event included Tapestry Health, Gandara, the American Cancer Society, the Springfield Department of Health and Human Services, the Western Massachusetts Center for Healthy Communities, and many others.
Hundreds of UMass students turned out for the event. Also on hand were numerous high school students from the nearby Springfield Public School system and Franklin County Technical School. Many of these students belonged to the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA).
An estimated 250,000 additional health workers are needed by the year 2020, making public health and the health sciences among the nation’s fastest-growing fields.
The school also hosted a luncheon for industry representatives after the fair to encourage further networking and potential collaboration among the various organizations.
The SPHHS plans to host its 4th annual fair this fall.
If you would like to learn more about the annual SPPHS Internship and Workforce Development Fair, or to participate in the 2012 event, please contact Risa Silverman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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