News and Events in College of Health and Human Development

Professor publishes book on concussions in athletics book cover
Semyon (Sam) Slobounov, professor of kinesiology and neurosurgery at Penn State, has published a book titled "Concussions in Athletics: From Brain to Behavior." The book offers state-of-the-art clinical guidance on diagnosing and treating concussion, the latest research findings and implications written by an international panel of experts and advanced brain imaging findings to delineate the hidden symptoms of concussion. The book -- which Slobounov edited with Wayne Sebastianelli, Kalanek Professor in Orthopedics and director of athletic medicine at Penn State -- was published on March 7. "Concussion in athletics is a growing public health concern with increased attention focusing on treatment and management of this puzzling epidemic," Slobounov said. "Despite the increasing occurrence and prevalence of concussions in athletics, there is no universally accepted definition, or 'gold standard,' for its assessment."
Students receive honors at the 2014 Undergraduate Exhibition
Students from across the College of Health and Human Development participated in the 2014 Undergraduate Exhibition. Join us in congratulating students from Health and Human Development who received recognition.
Experience helps restaurant managers stick with local foods
Andrew Monk inventories fruit and meat delivered to his kitchen from regional suppliers
Past decisions to purchase local foods increases the likelihood that chefs and food purchasing managers
Restaurant chefs and food purchasing managers who have bought local foods in the past are more likely to continue adding them to menus and store shelves, according to a team of researchers. "Past experiences will have an impact on buying local foods," said Amit Sharma, associate professor of hospitality management, Penn State. "Restaurant managers who buy local foods currently are significantly more likely to keep purchasing locally." In a study of the cost and benefits of purchasing local foods in restaurants, managers and chefs indicated that certain actions of local food producers stand out as reasons why they continue to buy local foods. For instance, managers said that a local farmer's or producer's response time—the time it took a business to respond and process an order—was more important than delivery time—how long it takes to actually receive the goods—as a factor when they considered buying local food products.
Students receive honors at the 2014 Graduate Research Exhibition
The College of Health and Human Development was once again very well represented by a strong cohort of graduate students at the Graduate Research Exhibition held last weekend. The representation indicates to the University community the excellent interdisciplinary research that is being conducted in the college.
Stephanie Vellucci receiving award
HPA student, Army veteran wins Penn State adult learner award
Stephanie Vellucci grew up in a rural town and barely made it through high school. As a teenager, she fell in with the wrong crowd and struggled with a lack of motivation toward her education. But as time passed, she realized she wanted more for herself and wanted to make her family proud. She took steps to turn her life around. Vellucci enlisted in the U.S. Army as an operating room technician, serving at U.S. posts and overseas. She assisted with surgeries and saved lives. Vellucci then knew she could make a difference.
Adults' tonsillectomy complications are higher than previously thought
Twenty percent of adults who have tonsillectomies will have a complication, which is significantly higher than previously shown, according to a team of researchers. The team also found that these complications substantially increase health care expenditures. "Since 1973, John Wenneberg and his colleagues at Dartmouth have been examining variation in the rates of tonsillectomy performed across regions, trying to explain why such wide variation is observed," said Dennis Scanlon, professor of health policy and administration, Penn State. "In other words, why are some patients significantly more likely to get the procedure in some areas of the country compared to others? Yet despite the wide degree of regional variation reported, most of which has been documented in pediatric populations, much less is known about the safety and risks to patients who undergo the procedure, particularly adult patients."
Customers prefer restaurants that offer nutrition facts and healthful foods restaurant nutrition label
Customers are more likely to frequent restaurants that provide both healthful foods and nutrition information, according to researchers at Penn State and the University of Tennessee. "The Affordable Care Act has mandated that chain restaurants -- those with more than 20 restaurants -- provide nutrition information to customers," said David Cranage, associate professor of hospitality management. "Many restaurants had been fighting this legislation because they thought they would lose customers if the customers knew how unhealthy their food was. In this study, we found that customers perceive restaurants to be socially responsible when they are provided with nutrition facts and healthful options and, therefore, are more likely to patronize those restaurants." To conduct their study, the researchers presented participants with various scenarios, including the presence or absence of nutrition information and the presence or absence of healthful foods. They asked the participants to read example menus presenting these scenarios and to answer questions about their perception of the restaurant's corporate social responsibility, their attitude, their willingness to select the restaurants and their health-consciousness. The team collected responses from 277 participants.
Students attend Hunter Hotel Investment Conference Natalie Wainger and Jessie Glassmire
Natalie Wainger and Jessie Glassmire, seniors in Penn State's School of Hospitality Management, attended the Hunter Hotel Investment Conference at the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta from March 26 to 28. The hotel real estate and finance conference is intended for hotel owners, operators, financial institutions/lenders and related suppliers. This year's conference was titled "The Time is Now!" The keynote speaker was Chris Nassetta, president and CEO of Hilton Worldwide. "This conference is considered to be one of the top four hotel investment conferences," said Brian Black, director of hospitality industry relations in the School of Hospitality Management. "It provides our students with education and networking opportunities with executives from leading hotel brands, owners and lenders. Few students get the opportunity to network with so many executives at this level."
Turrisi to be featured speaker at MADD news conference
Rob Turrisi
Robert Turrisi, professor of biobehavioral health at Penn State, and developer of the underage drinking prevention effort known as the Power of Parents, will be a featured speaker at the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) news conference on “21 Days in Support of 21,” at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on April 1. MADD will present new data from a Nationwide Insurance-MADD survey on what keeps teens from engaging in underage drinking. According to these data, three out of four teens point to their parents as the biggest influence on their decisions about alcohol. “21 Days in Support of 21” is a 21-day national event. From April 1 to 21, MADD will showcase community and online events designed to help parents keep teens safe during spring break, prom and graduation season. The series culminates with MADD’s fourth annual Power Talk 21® on April 21 -- the national date on which parents are urged to begin talking with their teens about alcohol.
Marianne Hillemeier named head of Health Policy and Administration Marianne Hillemeier
Marianne Hillemeier, professor of health policy and administration and demography, and associate director of the Population Research Institute, has been named head of the Department of Health Policy and Administration (HPA) at Penn State. She will assume the position July 1. Hillemeier will replace Dennis Shea, who was named associate dean for undergraduate programs and outreach in the College of Health and Human Development last summer. Dianne Brannon, professor of health policy and administration, has served as interim department head. “I am honored and excited by the opportunity to work with the HPA faculty and staff to build our department through recruitment of additional faculty members, including senior health services researchers, and to promote excellence in research and in undergraduate and graduate education,” said Hillemeier.
Students place highly in health administration competition
Group of four MHA students
Penn State students in the master of health administration (MHA) program were selected as finalists (top five out of 37 teams) in the eighth annual University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) Health Administration Case Competition. Students Jared Stanger, Yamini Kalidindi and Keerthana Rajagopal, with Kevin Hawkins as alternate, participated in the competition, which was held Feb. 26-28. The UAB Health Administration Case Competition provides graduate students from health administration programs that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation Healthcare Management Education an opportunity to put what they have learned into practice with a real-life, real-time case. It is designed to be a capstone experience. Each year, student teams from around the country travel to Birmingham, Ala., to present their recommendations before a national team of judges. The first-, second- and third-place teams receive cash awards.
Kathleen Keller to receive Norman Kretchmar Memorial Award
Kathleen Keller
Kathleen Keller, the Mark T. Greenberg Early Career Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Penn State, has been selected by the American Society of Nutrition (ASN) as the recipient of the 2014 Norman Kretchmer Memorial Award in Nutrition and Development. The award is given to a young investigator for a substantial body of independent research in the field of nutrition and development with a potential relevance to improving child health. Keller will be presented with the award -- an inscribed plaque supported by Abbott Nutrition Institute and a monetary gift of $1,500 -- at the ASN Awards Ceremony on Sunday, April 27, in San Diego, Calif. The awards ceremony is part of the ASN Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology 2014.
Model predicts blood glucose levels 30 minutes later
pancreas in situ
A mathematical model created by Penn State researchers can predict with more than 90 percent accuracy the blood glucose levels of individuals with type 1 diabetes up to 30 minutes in advance of imminent changes in their levels -- plenty of time to take preventative action. "Many people with type 1 diabetes use continuous glucose monitors, which examine the fluid underneath the skin," said Peter Molenaar, Distinguished Professor of Human Development and Family Studies and of psychology. "But the glucose levels under the skin trail blood glucose levels from anywhere between 8 and 15 minutes. This is especially problematic during sleep. Patients may become hypoglycemic well before the glucose monitor alarm tells them they are hypoglycemic, and that could lead to death." According to Molenaar, a person's blood glucose levels fluctuate in response to his or her insulin dose, meal intake, physical activity and emotional state. How great these fluctuations are depends on the individual.
PROSPER wins 2014 Community Engagement and Scholarship Award March 20, 2014
The PROSPER Project, a collaboration between the College of Health and Human Development and Cooperative Extension, has received the 2013 Penn State Award for Community Engagement and Scholarship. The award recognizes a project that best exemplifies Penn State as an “engaged institution,” which the Kellogg Commission defines as an institution that has redesigned teaching, research, and extension and service functions to become even more sympathetically and productively involved with its communities. PROSPER (PROmoting School-community-university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience) is a scientific delivery system that facilitates sustained, quality delivery of evidence-based programs that reduce risky youth behaviors, enhance positive youth development and strengthen families. PROSPER coordinates the expertise of prevention scientists, public school systems and Cooperative Extension educators at Penn State, Iowa State and other land grant universities. The goal is to disseminate evidence-based best practices in community settings.
Adult day care services boost beneficial stress hormones in caregivers
Family caregivers show an increase in the beneficial stress hormone DHEA-S on days when they use an adult day care service for their relatives with dementia, according to researchers at Penn State and the University of Texas at Austin. DHEA-S controls the harmful effects of cortisol and is associated with better long-term health. "This is one of the first studies to show that DHEA-S can be modified by an intervention, which in our case, was the use of an adult day care service," said Steven Zarit, Distinguished Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, Penn State. "The study is also one of the first to demonstrate that interventions to lower stress on caregivers, such as the use of adult day care services, have an effect on the body's biological responses to stress.
Twenty-one HHD student-athletes earn academic All-Big Ten Honors
Twenty-one student-athletes from the College of Health and Human Development are among 83 Penn State student-athletes to have earned Academic All-Big Ten Honors for earning a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher during the 2013 fall semester.
Mayers Lecture to focus on 'Leadership, Collaboration and Change in Health Care'
Dr. James K. Stoller
Dr. James K. Stoller, head of Cleveland Clinic Respiratory Therapy, will give the 17th annual Stanley P. Mayers Endowed Lecture at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 9, in the Nittany Lion Inn Boardroom on the Penn State University Park campus. The lecture, titled "Leadership, Collaboration and Change in Health Care," is sponsored by Penn State’s Department of Health Policy and Administration and Mount Nittany Medical Center. It is free and open to the public. Stoller is a noted pulmonary/critical care physician and chairman of the Education Institute at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. In addition, he is a member of the Respiratory Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, where he also served previously as the vice chairman of medicine and as executive director of physician leadership development. He holds the Jean Wall Bennett Professorship of Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University and the Samson Global Leadership Academy Endowed Chair. He also has a secondary appointment as a professor of organizational behavior in the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University.
Kinesiology professor publishes book on U.S. women's sports
Qualifying Times book cover
Jaime Schultz, assistant professor of kinesiology at Penn State, has published a book, titled "Qualifying Times: Points of Change in U.S. Women's Sport." The book explores U.S. women's sports through historical "points of change" — particular products or trends that dramatically influenced both women's participation in sports and cultural responses to women athletes. The book became available for purchase March 15. Beginning with the seemingly innocent ponytail, the subject of the book's introduction, Schultz challenges the reader to look at the historical and sociological significance of now-common items -- such as sports bras and tampons — and ideas — such as sex testing and competitive cheerleading. She posits that while some of these points of change increased women's physical freedom and sporting participation, they also posed challenges. Ultimately, she finds that U.S. women's sports have progressed significantly but ambivalently.
President responds to child care recommendations from task force
Erickson agrees with many findings, approves some immediate changes
Following careful review with University leaders, Penn State President Rodney Erickson has agreed with a number of changes to child care on campus, including placing oversight of operations with the Office of Human Resources and providing additional funds for researchers, benchmarking and lower-income family support. In addition, the president also decided that the child care centers at University Park — the Bennett Family Center and the Child Care Center at Hort Woods — would continue their operations for a set period of time with the current providers and staffing in place. Erickson is responding to a series of five findings spelled out in a 93-page January report, created by a Presidential Task Force on Child Care at Penn State that he commissioned in October 2013.
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