SPHHS welcomes new faculty hires for 2014-2015

October 24, 2014

The School of Public Health and Health Sciences welcomes seven new full-time tenure and non-tenure track faculty members into its ranks this academic year. New faculty hires in 2014-2015 include: Kelly Richardson and Lisa Sommers (Communication Disorders); Mark Miller (Kinesiology); Marquis Hawkins (Biostatistics); and Melody Slashinski (Community Health Education). Matthias Steinrucken (Biostatistics) and Krystal Pollitt (Environmental Health Sciences) will join the faculty in January 2015.

September 2014 Faculty Hires:

Dr. Kelly Richardson joins the Communication Disorders faculty as an Assistant Professor. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. from the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. Prior to joining the faculty at UMass Amherst, she was Assistant Clinical Professor at the University at Buffalo Speech - Language and Hearing Clinic.

Her primary area of research interest is speech motor control in adult neurogenic populations, specifically Parkinson’s disease. Richardson's research has included study of interarticulator timing (phonatory-articulatory) adjustments in response to a new behavioral voice treatment for individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Previous areas of research have also included developmental speech perception for an alveolar to velar place contrast, and changes in auditory-perception associated with Parkinson’s disease. Future research will include auditory perceptual training for intensity targets in persons with Parkinson's disease.

Read more about Dr. Richardson here.

Lisa Sommers joins the Communication Disorders faculty as a Clinical Assistant Professor and Clinic Director. She holds an M.A. from Kent State University.

Dr. Mark Miller joins the Kinesiology faculty as an Assistant Professor. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Vermont and an M.S. from the University of Colorado. Prior to joining the faculty at UMass Amherst he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Vermont.

His primary interest is investigating the effects of aging and exercise in human skeletal muscle at the whole body, tissue, single fiber and molecular levels. Miller's research goal is to understand how alterations at the molecular and single fiber levels affect whole muscle contraction in order to find potential countermeasures to prevent the age-related loss of muscle performance. His laboratory combines the use of advanced engineering methods to measure muscle function at the molecular and single fiber levels with imaging techniques to examine muscle structure from the myofibril to the tissue level, biochemical techniques to quantify proteins as well as techniques to analyze the whole body skeletal muscle contractile performance.

Read more about Dr. Miller here.

Dr. Marquis Hawkins joins the Biostatistics faculty as a Lecturer. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to joining the faculty he completed a postdoctoral fellowship here at UMass Amherst with the Division of Epidemiology.

Dr. Hawkins's research aims to better understand the relationship between physical activity and sedentary behavior with chronic health outcomes. His areas of specialization include: physical activity, intervention studies, subclinical cardiovascular disease, maternal health.

Read more about Dr. Hawkins here.

Dr. Melody Slashinski joins the Community Health Education faculty as an Assistant Professor. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas and an M.P.H. from Indiana University Bloomington. Prior to joining the faculty at UMass Amherst she was an Instructor of Bioethics and Health Policy at the  Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

Dr. Slashinki's work focuses on structural processes and systematic advantage or disadvantage: who experiences the benefits, who is exposed to the hazards, and why? Grounded in this paradigm, her primary research interests center on the political, social, and cultural landscape of mental health/illness within and across marginalized individual, families, and communities. Using ethnographic, participatory, and narrative methods she explores the lived experience of mental health/illness, including how discourse surrounding mental illness not only impairs fundamental health needs but also becomes a generative source of meaning, identity, and resistance in family, community, and cultural life.

Another aspect of her work centers on ethical, policy, and public health implications of genomics and genomics research. Her collaborative work in this area examines contemporary bioethical and public health issues that not only shape the development and implementation of emerging biomedical and genomic technologies into clinical care, but also translation of these technologies to community, public, and population health.

Read more about Dr. Slashinski here.