Biobehavioral Health Celebrates Twentieth Anniversary
The Department of Biobehavioral Health (BBH) is celebrating its twentieth anniversary in 2011. From its beginnings as an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in 1991, the department has become one of the world’s most respected research training programs. It now offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees to nearly 500 students.
The department has built a firm base of biological, behavioral, sociocultural, and environmental research, which includes research in the areas of social and health behavior; alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use; stress and physiology; development, aging, and families over the life span; and health promotion, prevention, and treatment.
Recently, the department has been strengthening its expertise in the area of global health. The department created a new minor, Global Health, which is designed to provide undergraduate students with exposure to issues affecting the health of populations around the world. The Global Health minor is set to begin in the fall 2010 semester. "We’re also pushing for an increase in research at the global level by faculty, so that it is available to both undergraduate and graduate students," says Dr. Collins Airhihenbuwa, head of the department.
The department will celebrate this milestone with a weekend of events at the beginning of May 2011 that will include a panel discussion, a lecture, and a dinner reception. For more information contact Lisa Grove (email@example.com) or Dr. Liz Susman (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Kinesiology Celebrates a Century of Excellence
In 2010-2011, the Department of Kinesiology is celebrating 100 years of the study of physical activity at Penn State. The department’s roots are in the Department of Physical Activity, which was founded in the beginning of the twentieth century and helped train military personnel.
Today, the department’s research and academic programs have grown considerably. Faculty and graduate students study numerous areas related to physical activity and movement: Athletic Training and Sports Medicine, Biomechanics, Exercise Physiology, the History and Philosophy of Sport, Motor Control, and the Psychology of Movement and Sport. The department is continuing to increase its spread of research, today strengthening its focus in physical activity and health. The undergraduate program’s five options—Athletic Training, Fitness Studies, Movement Science, Physical and Health Education Teacher Education (PHETE), and Exercise Science (Penn State Berks only)—prepare students for a diverse range of careers related to movement and physical activity.
The department is planning several events to honor its century of excellence. Alumni and friends can learn more at www.hhdev.psu.edu/kines/celebration or through the department's "Kinesiology Century of Excellence" Facebook page.
"Kinesiology has touched the lives of so many people over the years, not just Kinesiology students, but all Penn State alumni who’ve taken physical activity courses," says Dr. Bob Ricketts, instructor in kinesiology and coordinator of the Century of Excellence events. "We look forward to bringing faculty and alumni together to reminisce about the history of the department. Adding students to the mix will give it a nice touch."
Center for Family Research in Diverse Contexts Turns Ten
The Center for Family Research in Diverse Contexts is celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2010. Founded with the idea of creating synergy among scholars who are interested in ethnic and minority populations, the center pulls together faculty from various disciplines at Penn State to enhance its research.
"Linda Burton and the other founders had a vision of the center as being an interdisciplinary hub for researchers, and we are realizing that vision," says Dr. Emilie Smith, director of the center and professor of human development and family studies. Today, researchers in the center have expanded beyond a domestic view to study international factors that affect health and human development. Parenting, communities, and mental health and health disparities are the three main themes of research in the center; within those themes researchers look at geography; neighborhood characteristics; socioeconomic status; public policy; chronic disease; and youth outcomes such as obesity, substance abuse, conduct disorder, and violence.
"We’re particularly interested in researching the factors impacting development that we know can be changed," says Smith. "We may not be able to change poverty right away, but we can change how poverty-stricken individuals access and interact with their neighborhoods and local communities."
UPDATE: The Center recently changed its name to the Center for Diverse Families and Communities (CDFC). Visit them on the Web at www.hhdev.psu.edu/cfrdc.