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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.