The SPHHS Insider - May 2016

SPHHS celebrates Class of 2016

The School of Public Health and Health Sciences held its Senior Recognition Ceremony on Saturday, May 7, 2016 in the Fine Arts Center on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus. The SPHHS ceremony recognized its undergraduate Class of 2016, which this year welcomed over 600 graduating seniors into its ranks.

Visit our Facebook page to view photos from the ceremony!


SPHHS bids fond farewell to retiring faculty and staff

From left: Professors Jane Baran, Joseph Hamill, Edward Stanek, and SPHHS Grants Manager Linda Downs-Bembury

The SPHHS has announced the retirements of Professors Jane Baran, Joseph Hamill, Edward Stanek and Grants Manager Linda Downs-Bembury. Each of them has made a meaningful impact on the School through years of academic, research, and professional service to the SPHHS and its individual departments, to the university, and to the campus and surrounding communities. “It is difficult for me to imagine the SPHHS without these four pivotal people,” says Dean Marjorie Aelion. “Jane Baran and Ed Stanek made huge contributions to the School in their long-term roles as department chairs, and Joe Hamill in his long-term role as chair and as Associate Dean for Research. Linda has been an equally important contributor to the School in her role in the SPHHS Research Office. All four will be sorely missed.”

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Rodriguez-Monguio and colleagues raise safety concerns over modified-release opioid prescription drugs

Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management Rosa Rodriguez-Monguio, with colleagues from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and Auburn University, are raising safety concerns regarding the interchangeability, effectiveness, and safety of modified release opioid prescription drugs. Modified release drugs, which may provide clinical advantages compared to immediate-release forms and improve convenience to the patient and health outcomes, also raise concerns on lack of bioequivalence, reduced efficacy, and increased incidence of adverse events. They report their findings from a recent study of these drugs in the journal Clinical Drug Investigation.

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Kinesiology doctoral student Amanda Hickey publishes results of studies on utility and validity of physical activity monitors

Kinesiology doctoral student Amanda Hickey is the lead author on two recent publications examining the utility and validity of physical activity monitors. Hickey, with faculty mentor Patty Freedson, reviews the existing literature on the usefulness of consumer activity trackers in an article appearing in the current issue of Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, a special issue devoted to the examination of the use of technology for cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment. Their review follows on the completion of a recent study by Hickey and colleagues on the validity of professional-grade activity monitor step detection that appeared in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health.

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Kinesiology doctoral candidate LaBarbera awarded AAUW Fellowship

Katherine LaBarbera, a doctoral candidate in Kinesiology, was recently awarded $20,000 through an American Dissertation Fellowship from the American Association of University Women. “The goal of my dissertation project is to evaluate the therapeutic potential of pericytes, a type of stem cell in adult skeletal muscle, for the treatment of peripheral artery disease in diabetics,” explains LaBarbera. A member of Assistant Professor Sarah Witkowski’s Molecular and Cardiovascular Physiology Lab, she is a past recipient of UMass Amherst’s Priscilla M. Clarkson Graduate Scholarship in Kinesiology and the New England Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine’s David N. Camaione Doctoral Scholarship.

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UMass Amherst Graduate School awards fellowship to doctoral candidate Fiddian-Green

The UMass Amherst Graduate School recently awarded Community Health Education doctoral candidate Alice Fiddian-Green the Joseph L. Boscov Fellowship. The $6,100 fellowship is awarded annually to a female graduate student with financial need “whose studies will equip her for increased service to the needs of people and/or the environment.” Fiddian-Green’s studies have been guided by her advisor, Associate Professor Aline Gubrium, with whom she’s worked as a research assistant on a National Institutes of Health-funded grant that uses digital storytelling as a public health intervention in support of youth sexuality and reproductive rights.

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SPHHS recognizes student achievements at annual awards ceremony

A group of more than two dozen undergraduate and graduate students attended the SPHHS Awards Celebration, where they were recognized for outstanding achievements in the classroom, research, and through service to the community. The SPHHS Awards Celebration was sponsored by the SPHHS and held in the atrium at the Fine Arts Center on April 30. Numerous SPHHS faculty, staff, and student family and friends attended the event.

Click here for a full list of winners and to view a slideshow from the event.

May 2016

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June 1, 2016 - Kinesiology department to host annual ACSM alumni reception

The Department of Kinesiology will host its annual alumni reception during the 63rd Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) in Boston, MA. The event will be held on Wednesday, June 1, from 5:00-9:00 pm in the Amherst Room of the UMass Club located at 1 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108.

This year the department will honor longtime faculty member Joseph Hamill, who is retiring after 30 years at UMass Amherst. Professor Hamill was Chair of the department for 11 years and Associate Dean of the School of Public Health and Health Sciences for 6 years. He has been an invited speaker in many countries around the world, and during his academic career Hamill has mentored more than 25 doctoral students. He has authored or co-authored over 170 research papers, over 120 research proceedings, several book chapters and 3 books. Hamill is a member of numerous organizations including the American, Canadian, and International Societies of Biomechanics and the American College of Sports Medicine. He is a Fellow of ACSM, the Research Consortium, the Canadian Society of Biomechanics, the International Society of Biomechanics in Sports and the National Academy of Kinesiology. The department invites all alumni to join them and to reconnect with department faculty, students, and fellow alumni.

RSVP to Allison Ahearn at aahearn@schoolph.umass.edu appreciated but not required.


June 23, 2016 - SPHHS to host Washington DC-area Alumni Networking Night

The School of Public Health & Health Sciences cordially invites you to join us in Washington D.C. for an evening of networking with fellow alumni, current students, and school staff. The networking event will be held on Thursday, June 23, 2016 from 5:30 - 8:00 p.m. at the Blackfinn Ameripub located at 1620 I St NW, Washington, DC 20006. Enjoy happy hour as you catch up with friends and work to build your professional network.

RSVP to Allison Ahearn at aahearn@schoolph.umass.edu appreciated but not required.


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