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News and Events

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HHD News

Press releases, news, and events from the College of Health and Human Development.

Watch all of HHD's videos on Our YouTube Channel

HHD News Now is the newsletter for the alumni, community partners, friends, staff, faculty, and emeriti of the CSUN College of Health and Human Development.

Editor in Chief: Mechelle Best, Dean

Managing Editor, Graphics: Jean O’Sullivan, Digital Content and Communications Specialist

Contributors:

We thank our faculty and students for their contributions to this newsletter, with special thanks to Harshavardan Kosireddy, and great appreciation to our colleagues at CSUN Today/Newsroom for their detailed and dynamic coverage of HHD students, faculty, and community partners.

HHD News Now is always created by humans.

c.2023-24

Dean's Office Contact Page

Now scheduled for fall, 2024, the Inaugural HHD Heroes Award will recognize the success and accomplishments of a professional in one of the fields of HHD who has overcome barriers and made a significant impact through extraordinary work to improve and/or save the lives of others. These heroes are role models for students, alumni, faculty, staff, and the community.
Find Out More About the Heroes Award

Dr. Patty Kwan

Health Sciences faculty Patchareeya (Patty) Kwan has been named the 2024 Jerome Richfield Memorial Fellow by the CSUN Office of the Provost and Research and Grant Committee, Research and Sponsored Programs.

The announcement is as follows:

On behalf of the Provost and Research & Grant Committee, Research and Sponsored Programs is pleased to announce that Dr. Patchareeya (Patty) Kwan has been named the 2024 Jerome Richfield Memorial Fellow. Dr. Kwan is a highly accomplished scholar with a focus on Asian American and Pacific Islander health using mixed-methods, community-based research approaches.

Her research, particularly the NIH-funded SEA US, HEAR US Study, addresses the health disparities faced by Southeast Asian Americans (SEA) in Greater Los Angeles, emphasizing the importance of disaggregating data to understand the diverse needs of SEA subgroups.

Dr. Kwan's work extends to mentoring students and faculty, promoting research culture, and contributing significantly to the BUILD PODER program, aimed at diversifying the biomedical research workforce. She is recognized for her impactful publications, presentations, and community service that contribute to social change in science, health, and healthcare.

The Richfield Memorial Fellow celebrates a CSUN faculty member engaged in high-quality, high-impact research. Dr. Kwan will present a lecture in the spring semester (date to be determined) as part of the Provost Colloquium Series. 

Read more about Patty Kwan.

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HHD

2024 campanella dodgers scholars and benefactors

This story is re-posted from CSUN Today/Newsroom.  Read the story and see more photos in CSUN Today/Newsroom.

Earlier this month, CSUN’s College of Health and Human Development recognized 10 physical therapy students for winning scholarships from the Roy and Roxie Campanella Foundation and the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation. The 2024 scholarship recipients celebrated at a luncheon held Feb. 2 at the Orchard Conference Center on campus, and they’ll be honored at Dodger Stadium in late April.

At the luncheon, eminent guests including Joni Campanella, daughter of Roy and Roxie Campanella, and Nichol Whiteman, CEO of the Dodgers Foundation, lauded the students for their hard work and dedication.

The scholarships recognize students who dedicate their careers, and lives, to physical therapy. This year’s recipients are: Jasmine Amirian, Sanwal Dilshad, Olivia Gonzalez, Brandon Guerrero, Esmeralda Huambachano, Cassandra Hutchinson, Kyle Llorens, Pat Metoki, Mauricio Pineda and Sabrina Shahbandeh.

Many of the recipients expressed their shared experience of being first-generation graduate students, having a history with sports, and having a traumatic injury within their family that inspired their career in physical therapy.

Amirian, a second-year graduate student, grew up in a Mexican-Persian household.

“One key part of my childhood was going to Dodger games,” which made this scholarship that much more special to her, she said. Her passion for physical therapy started at a young age as a softball player but grew when her grandmother went through physical therapy after a car accident.

“The impact the therapists had on her rehab really inspired me to push toward that direction,” Amirian said.

Family connections were a common theme among the scholarship winners.

“When I was a senior in high school, I was asked who my hero was. I replied, ‘my father,'” Dilshad said. He gave a heartfelt speech about his Pakistani upbringing and his family’s sacrifices, which ultimately led him to where he is today, Dilshad said. The selflessness, passion and discipline he saw from his own relatives as a child inspired his passions and motivation toward his career.

“This scholarship means so much to me because when I look at the history behind it, I see a daughter, (Joni Campanella), making active effort to keep her family’s legacy alive,” he said.

Llorens, who works as an EMT on top of his graduate studies, also shared his appreciation for his family.

“Teamwork, compassion and care are just a few core values my family has instilled in me since day one. They also made sure I love the Dodgers,” he said, “It’s pretty safe to say that my blood will continue to run Dodger blue.”

Joni Campanella shared her appreciation for her family as well. She congratulated this year’s scholars and thanked them for helping keep her parents’ dreams alive. Just as many of the recipients are the first in their family to go to college, she said, her family knows what it is like to be the first. Her father, Roy “Campy” Campanella, was the first Black catcher in the Major Leagues.

“My dad always kept his eye on the ball, the ball of his dreams,” she said.

She reflected on the nickname “Campy” and explained what she felt each letter stood for — courage, attitude, motivation, passion and youthfulness. “Each of you have ‘C.A.M.P.Y.,'” she told the physical therapy students.

Her father’s career came to a sudden end after a traumatic car accident in 1958 that left him paralyzed. “My father always credited his physical therapist as the person who helped to motivate him and give him back his will to live,” she said.

For more than a dozen years, the Campanella Foundation and the Dodgers Foundation have teamed up to provide financial assistance to CSUN physical therapy students who show outstanding clinical potential as they proceed through the program. CSUN’s three-year physical therapy doctorate program prepares its students with the skills, technique and experience to make a difference in the lives of their future patients.

Joni Campanella encouraged this year’s scholarship winners to maintain “C.A.M.P.Y.” throughout their career. She thanked them for choosing a field that is focused on helping others, which she saw throughout her upbringing.

“Helping others is the most important thing you could do,” she said.

This story is re-posted from CSUN Today/Newsroom.  Read the story and see more photos in CSUN Today/Newsroom.

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Ruby Durant/CSUN Today/Newsroom

mirna troncoso-sawyer

This spring, Mirna Troncoso-Sawyer, faculty in Health Sciences/Public Health, became the new Director of the Institute for Community Health and Wellbeing in the College of Health and Human Development.  We asked her for some insight into next steps for the Institute:

We are planning to conduct a community needs assessment in the next months (probably not until late summer).

We are compiling needs assessments conducted by local hospitals in the last 2-3 years to help understand what areas of health and wellbeing are already tracked and what's known. We have been in conversations with different community partners about questions of interest for the assessment.

And we will be recruiting interns from different majors to help us outline our assessment protocol and then of course we will need boots on the ground to administer short surveys and recruit community members for focus groups.

Faculty and internship coordinators interested in this project should reach out to me. We want to know: who is the community, how is the community doing, what are the main health concerns in the community, and how else can CSUN faculty and students contribute to improving health and wellbeing. 

Contact Mirna Troncoso-Sawyer.

jennifer steinrad

The HHD Staff Profiles Series recognizes the HHD staff and brings to light the many talents and skills it takes to attend to the details that keep our college’s departments, programs, centers and institutes running smoothly. 

The HHD Staff Recognition Committee developed the idea for this series. 

Profile:

Jennifer Steinrad, M.S.
Department Coordinator
Physical Therapy

HHD: Is this your first job at CSUN?

JS: This is my first job at CSUN, but I’m no stranger to the campus as I graduated with my undergrad degree in Journalism and a minor in Gerontology many moons ago.

HHD: When did you start working for PT? 

JS: I am the newest kid on the block and have been working in the PT Department for a little more than six incredible months.

HHD: What was your previous job? 

JS: I worked at a local hospital for seven years as an administrative coordinator for the Security Department for two years and then transitioned to the Education Department for the last five years.

HHD: In your job, do you interact mostly with students? Other employees? Community members? Other areas of campus?

JS:  I interact with just about everyone from students, other staff, faculty, and community members. I am such a people person, but, must admit that I am a huge cheerleader and advocate for our students. Their hard work, dedication, and perseverance is truly inspiring and makes me strive to be a better person.

HHD: What kind of input from others makes your day the best for you?

JS: The simplest gesture or words make my heart smile. There is a lot of responsibility in my current role. There are things I’m doing that I have no experience with and my support system from those in my department and throughout the HHD College mean everything to me. Their guidance and patience are what helps me get through the challenges of my job. 

HHD: What is the most rewarding thing about your job, and what is the most challenging?

JS: The most rewarding thing about my job is being able to easily collaborate with not only my department, but other departments throughout the college. The support that I have received is incredible and I am always so happy to pay it forward. 

My job entails meticulous detail. I would say that I am pretty attentive to detail, but, I’m also human and make mistakes. I can be very hard on myself so I am learning to be a little more kind. 

HHD: What made you choose to get an Master of Science degree in Journalism, and where did you get it?

JS: I received my BS degree in Journalism from none other than CSUN! Go Matadors!!! 
I have always had such a passion for writing that reverts to when I was in elementary school. I thoroughly enjoyed all of my writing assignments and my short story writings were hardly ever “short”. I can clearly remember an assignment that was supposed to be a one or two pager, but mine turned into a short 28 pages long. Let me tell you, there was a lot to write about when it came to “The day it rained jellybeans.”

HHD: Do you do any writing in your job and beyond it?

JS:  I haven’t currently written anything in my job, but, when an opportunity arises, I’m going to go for it. I wrote for the Pierce College newspaper when I was a student there and really enjoyed all of the assignments I took on. I have always wanted to write a book or two and hope to do so in the very near future. 

HHD: Would you like to say anything about your outside interests beyond work?

JS: I am typically a very positive and happy person; you can almost always find me with a smile on my face. I give all of that credit to my wild, loving, and sweet four-year-old son. He has been the absolute light in my darkest of days. He is my best friend and the reason for my strands of grey. When we aren’t having dance parties, watching Bluey, or running around at the park, I enjoy concerts, Disneyland, the beach, and a good white wine.

HHD: Is there anything you’d like to add?

JS: I’ve learned in my short amount of time in life that it’s full of challenges. It can be beautiful and quite a disaster all at the same time. Just like a rollercoaster, I’ve had my ups and downs. One thing that I’m very open about is my journey of widowhood. My darling husband unexpectedly died when I was five months pregnant with our first child. He was here one minute and gone the next. I share this not for sympathy, but to help others understand that life does go on. We move forward, not on. Life is for the living and although, I have rough days, I also have some pretty great ones. Not every day is going to be good, but make sure to find the good in every day. 

 

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Francis Castillo: Raise the Bar: Women's Equity in Sports Award

CSUN RTM Lecturer Francisca Castillo honored for the significant impacts she has made in gender equity and sports.

CSUN Recreation and Tourism Management lecturer Francisca Castillo was honored in March by the Los Angeles Civil Rights Department and their Recreation and Parks Department at their Raise the Bar Luncheon for the significant impacts she has made in gender equity and sports.

The event was hosted in partnership with the LA Recreation and Parks Department, LA Civil Rights Department, and the LA Parks Foundation. The awarding committee recognized that her, “dedication, passion, and outstanding contributions to increase girls’ participation in sports has made a significant impact, inspiring others and effecting positive change.” They added, “with all the groundbreaking work you did for our department and the GPLA program, you exemplify the spirit of empowerment and resilience, serving as a beacon of hope and inspiration for girls everywhere.”

Castillo told us, “I haven’t worked for the city of Los Angeles in two years, so being honored by them for Women’s History Month was definitely a surprise.” Currently, in addition to teaching for CSUN RTM, Castillo is Recreation and Community Services Manager for the Culver City Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department.  Along with Castillo, among the honorees were representatives from Angel City Football Club, a Los Angeles 2028 Olympian, Students Run LA.  Castillo was among several faculty experts featured in CSUN Today in 2022, in honor of Women’s History Month, for her strengths in empowering women.

Christopher Rogers

Christopher Rogers, Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Sciences, has been selected as the 2024-2025 Research Fellow for the College of Health and Human Development. For this fellowship, Rogers will expand his current research with a study titled, "Assessing Neighborhood Factor Effects on an Intervention Program and Youth Mental Health."  We congratulate him on this well deserved honor.

Rogers’ research has focused on the life course effects of youth trauma and identifying ways to better understand the etiology of trauma related health issues and pathways to resilience for trauma exposed people.

There is a wealth of research that has linked the negative consequences of adverse childhood experiences (ACE - stressors in childhood that include elements of household dysfunction, neglect, and abuse) to mental, behavioral, and physical health outcomes. ACE exposed individuals can experience negative consequences both in adolescence as well as throughout their life course. One significant ACE, household incarceration (parent, sibling, extended relative), impacts millions of US children; predominantly youth of color and youth living in low-income communities and as many as 30% of youth living in densely populated urban environments.

Rogers’ fellowship project is building on an existing research study (the SHARE study led by Dr. Myriam Forster) that is evaluating a school-based intervention for teens with incarcerated family members. Forster’s SHARE project is collecting critical data on the health and well-being of youth who have incarcerated family members.

Rogers' project will leverage the existing data by spatially linking results to data that is related to activity space, neighborhood, and census tract characteristics. Linking this data will allow for research that will look at how proximity and density factors of cannabis dispensaries may impact youths’ substance use behaviors, the effect of distance from jails and prisons, and visitation to jails and prisons, on youth subjective sense of parent bonds and social relationships, and the impact of neighborhood factors (racial diversity, poverty rate) on health and school outcomes.  Rogers will work with the SHARE research team as well as additional Master of Public Health program students to geocode, link, and analyze the incoming data.

The resulting research will be critical given that there is so little data on youth whose family members interact with the justice system and even less that links youth activity space and neighborhoods to health outcomes, developmental outcomes, and school outcomes. These results have the potential to better inform prevention and intervention services for vulnerable youth and young people.

Get to know Christopher Rogers.

Find out more about the CSUN Research Fellows Program.

 

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Christophers Rogers

CSUN Receives $1M Grant to Bridge the Divide Between Those Who Work with Young Children with Disabilities

The College of Health and Human Development plays a significant role in a $1.25 million federal grant-funded project to develop an interdisciplinary program to bridge the divide between those who work with young children with disabilities — educators, behavior interventionists and speech-language pathologists. Read more about this news on csun today

uma krishnan and sean jefferson

Family dynamics are often complex, but those who study families can help us understand, seeing ourselves, and each other, in more constructive ways. In this article, Family and Consumer Sciences faculty Uma Krishnan shares some of the history of Family Studies, and area coordinator for Family Studies, Sean Jefferson, offers insights about the future of the discipline.

 

Family Science evolved from beginnings in women’s domestic issues and parenting, to new research and methodologies, and contextual forces that impact individuals, family dynamics/relationships, and best practices for intervention and education. 

Research on families emerged in the 19th century as a result of social, cultural, political and academic forces, together with industrialization, that shifted the American economy. 

These forces brought changes to the traditional norms of families as women sought employment, and families began to move to larger towns and cities. This was also a period of change for women and the prescribed roles they played in their families and in society. The suffragette movement and beginnings of feminism thrust women and families to the forefront as they fought for equality, rights to education and to vote. 

Though change is constant in life, and is progressive in most cases, it also causes some instability. As families were studied systematically, social issues such as race, racism and discrimination surfaced and became more dominant, and raised awareness of other topics and areas of inequalities. 

Initially, the studying of families amidst the social reform, was the interest of policy-makers to understand how policies impacted families, but eventually, it piqued the interests of sociologists, psychologists and scholars from other disciplines, including theology. However, research was fragmented and did not form a cohesive, comprehensive body of work on families. 

Research methods were not as robust as they are today, either. Not until the latter half of the 20th century did Family Science come to be recognized as a discipline on its own. The first college level course on the subject was taught in 1922 at Boston University, by a clergy and sociologist. Family Science emerged not only as the study of families, but as an emerging interdisciplinary, progressive, academic area in colleges with the development of family theories, concepts and research findings derived from multiple disciplines and independently to inform best practices, interventions, and education.

The first conference on marriage and the family was held in 1934 although because of segregationist state laws, conferences were held separately for African American scholars to allow for the meeting, dissemination and discussion of scholarship on and by African Americans.  Following that, race, racism, discrimination, and actions to quash social injustices became dominant in family science studies and activism.  In 1938, the first NCFR (National Council for Family Relations) addressed social issues. 

Today, Family Science has become a distinct discipline area of study, evolved over time in four phases:

  • the discovery stage (exploring complexity of the discipline, applying information to address family challenges)
  • the pioneering stage (deciding name for discipline, gathering scholars, etc.
  • the maturing stage (meeting the criteria for a discipline, and becoming more pronounced)
  • the evaluation and innovation stage where assessment and refinement of programs and practices are currently happening.

Family Science incorporates social issues such as race and discrimination as focal points and necessary in the study of families. New research methods, family theories and new perspectives, such as diversity, have also been incorporated into Family Science.

Though it is still a relatively “new” field of study compared to other social sciences, the distinctiveness of Family Science lies in it:

  • being a robust interdisciplinary area of study (with origins in and potential for collaborative efforts for work with a team of interdisciplinary scholars, i.e. anthropologists, sociologists, home economists, theologians, political scientists, psychologists, criminologists, theologists, and social workers)
  • adopting a systems perspective and systematic scientific translation research (“linking scientific findings to family related programs and policies to improve family health and well-being” in context, to studying, understanding and improving the quality of life of families at various contextual levels (micro and macro)).
  • utilizing a strengths perspective in addressing family issues vs a medical deficit model
  • encompassing the scholarly study, education, application and professional practice areas (prevention and remedial; e.g., marriage/couple and family therapy, family life education)

Family Science has evolved as an established, formalized discipline from beginnings in women’s domestic issues, parenting, to new research and methodologies, to contextual forces that impact individuals, family dynamics/relationships, and best practices for intervention and education, that continue to promote family health and well-being, and shape the discipline today.

Taking a system’s perspective, topics have been added to keep abreast of the dynamic social, cultural and political forces that impact families and relationships.  As the discipline has developed, it has also undergone name changes beginning with Domestic Science, then Home Economics (Textiles and Clothing, Nutrition and Food Science, Institutional Management, etc., many of which have now become their own standalone academic degree programs or departments with their own professional organizations), to Family Studies and Human Development, and in 1985, the National Council on Family Relations voted and endorsed the name Family Science (for occupational and disciplinary identity) for this scientific study of families and close interpersonal relationships (NCFR, 1987).

From Sean Jefferson:

“Education is not the filling of the pail, but the lighting of a fire.”-William Butler Yeats

In keeping with the more relatively recent inclusion of and focus on social issues, advocacy and activism that gained recognition and dominance in Family Science, and as Family Studies visionaries, we are committed to enhancing the quality of life of individuals, families, and communities.

Through forward-thinking perspectives that are clear, realistic, and convincing, we have been able to improve various aspects of people's lives.  While there is an abundance of issues that are important to address, after reflecting upon my own experiences, I propose that the top three issues that will impact Family Studies in the next 5 years are, a) structural racism, b) immigration, and c) technology.  

As the future leaders and agents of positive change in our community, students are challenged to explore these social issues, take both sides, and impart knowledge which facilitates critical thinking in coursework.

As an interdisciplinary field of study, the Family Studies program is well poised to forge diverse career and graduate education pathways for our students. As educators, there is no greater compliment than our students’ successes, and for students to say that our courses and programs have ignited a spark of interest/passion and awakened in them an ardor to serve our community.

 

Uma Krishnan, Ph.D., specializes in Marriage and Family Relations and Family Theories.

Sean Jefferson Ph.D. is the area coordinator for Family Studies and specializes in Research Methods and Marriage and Family Relations.  

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Uma Krishnan/Sean Jefferson/FCS

keyly sandoval and veronica avalos

Meet a Family Studies Student and Alum and Discover their Inspiration
Graduating Senior Keyly Sandoval, and Alum Veronica Avalos (2011)

Keyly Sandoval

“….. ever since you mentioned Family Law in class, I have been so excited about it. I could not find any such courses at CSUN at this time, so I sought a judicial internship instead.”

Keyly Sandoval, a Family Studies graduating senior, is part of CSUN’s Judicial Internship program for juniors and seniors who are thinking about law school. There, she dives into the world of the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

She has been is paired with an “amazing” mentor judge at the Van Nuys courthouse. She is spending a lot of time learning and watching various courtroom proceedings in civil, criminal, and family laws. She states, “This internship goes beyond regular law school lessons, giving us a firsthand look at different courtroom activities," Sandoval said. “Under my mentor judge's guidance, I have learned practical aspects of the legal field, like effective argumentation and the qualities needed to be a great lawyer. I have also seen instances of legal practices that courts do not approve of, teaching me important lessons about professional conduct. The judges are generous with their time, even taking questions during lunch.” 

She also says that the courses she has taken in Family Studies Pattern B, especially courses about resilience and current family issues, have given her a solid understanding of complex family situations.  “My courtroom experiences let me apply what I have learned in class to handle complex family situations and make a positive impact on the well-being of families through the legal system.”  Upon graduation, she plans to take the LSAT and apply to Family Law in graduate school. Her goal is to become a judge.

Veronica Avalos (Alum, 2011)

“I hope to inspire and continue to pave the way for students and future practicing professionals, to keep going and to continue the journey of passion. To my fellow FCS peers, these courses serve as a foundation for us to truly ignite the change that our community needs.”

In the Fall of 2011, Veronica Avalos embarked on an ongoing journey of growth and an abundance of experiences at CSUN, not knowing what to pursue, but with the burning desire to make an impactful change in her community. It was in her first FCS course that she knew she had found her major. After graduating with a B.S in Family Studies in 2016, she pursued an M.A. in Psychology with Azusa Pacific University. “My B.S. in Family Studies [from CSUN] laid the foundation that I needed to make the impact in mental health within my community of San Fernando, CA.” 

Realizing the need for mental health services within her community, she decided that in order to bring the social change needed, she would need to earn an M.S.W, which she did from the University of Massachusetts Global at the end of 2023. 

Through the years, she has gathered experiences that have shaped her as the clinician she is today. “Just to think that it all began when I took my first FCS class! I have my dedicated professors from the Family Studies option to thank for the continual opportunities of growth and for pushing me to not limit myself.”   Now she enters the next chapter in her academic pursuit. She will soon begin her doctoral program with the University of Kentucky.

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Krishnan/Sandoval/Avalos
 

zarmine naccashian speaks to audience ad conference

Our faculty are deeply involved in their professions on campus, locally, and globally.  

Zarmine Naccashian, Ph.D., is Certified Diabetes Educator who is Board Certified in Advanced Diabetes Management. She is geriatric nurse practitioner who has established a community case management program and coordinated the care of  the chronically ill patient population in their home settings. For CSUN Nursing, she currently teaches Physical Assessment, Leadership, Ethics and Fundamentals in Nursing courses.

Last summer, Naccashian travelled to Armenia and Lebanon to share her expertise at the 6th International Medical Congress of Armenia (6IMCA). She presented on the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system, diabetes management clinical guideline updates, and virtual stroke education outcomes, to hundreds of nursing and medical professionals.

Here is her story about the trip:

From Los Angeles to Vienna, spending 10 hours of layover and brief touring the city along the Danube River, we finally made it to Yerevan, Armenia. The 6th International Medical Congress of Armenia (6IMCA) took place on July 6, 7, 8, 2023. Discipline specific pre-conference symposia, workshops and presentations had been taking place since the week before. 

Two pre-conference nursing symposia were repeated post-conference in the cities of Gyumri (Shirak Province) and Tilijan (Tavush Province). The Armenian American Nurses Association (AANA) in collaboration with the Armenian Nurses Association in Yerevan, have been coordinating pre-congress symposia for the past two decades. 

In addition to the general symposium, five hours of stroke education workshop, specifically designed for the neurology nurses, was added to the 6IMCA program schedule. I made a presentation on the Anatomy and Physiology of the Nervous System and was followed by Houry Tanashian, R.N., M.S.N., who spoke on Assessing and Identifying Symptoms of Stroke in the Emergency Room.  Care of Stroke Patients in the Intensive Care Unit was presented by Arous Kalendarian R.N., M.S.N.

Conference participants had the opportunity to train using the National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) tool following video presentation scenarios. The team met with the neurologist on duty, Dr. Lina Zubalova, and reviewed the current protocols. Then, on July 4, with more than 300 nurses in attendance, the general nursing symposium took place at the Mikaelyan Hospital Auditorium. 

At this event, I presented content about Diabetes management clinical guideline updates. Plenary sessions were rich with advanced scientific innovative topics, and it was my honor to present an abstract about virtual stroke education outcomes.

Next, we met with Ms. Anahit Avanesyan, Minister of Health, to discuss progress and upcoming interventions in stroke management infrastructure. We also talked about ways to enhance nursing proficiency as team clinicians. 

Leaving Yerevan by bus, we traveled to Shirak Province. It was a pleasant ride as we enjoyed the serene pastures of Talin village followed by Maralik village. Our destination was Gyumri Hospital where we were greeted by the head of the nurses, Arusyak Gevorgyan. Almost 250 nurses were in attendance and many had travelled from neighboring Lori Province. Following moderating the sessions, I was the last to present my section and we promptly concluded the symposium at 4:00 pm to allow out of town nurses to catch the last bus to their destinations. 

The following morning, the stroke team held a stroke education session, and when we arrived, there were already 28 nurses waiting in the hospital auditorium. Half of them had traveled from neighboring city of Vanatzor, Lori Province. We thank Dr. Zhora Baghdasaryan for his collaboration, support and invitation to the center. 

The team headed to the stroke unit for a quick tour and then had an open dialogue with hospital leadership and brainstormed future endeavors. On Thursday morning, we left for the city of Ijevan in the Tavush Province, another relaxing bus ride enjoying the view of tranquil waters of Lake Sevan. 

In Tavush, we met with the chief nurse at the municipality. Back in 2019, we had held our symposium at the municipality auditorium. But since that building was now under construction, our venue on this day was the Ijevan Cultural Center. More than 250 nurses were ready and waiting for the presentation. 

On July 14, Friday morning I paid a visit to American University of Armenia (AUA) and met with Dr. Varduhi Petrosyan, Dean of Turpanjian College of Health Sciences and Dr. Nour Alleyan and explored collaborative opportunities between AUA and CSUN considering the existence of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two institutions. 

After two weeks of extensive outreach endeavors, I travelled to my birthplace, Beirut, Lebanon where I was invited by the Education Department at the American University Medical Center, to deliver a lecture. It was my honor to have this opportunity to interact with practicing nurses and clinical instructors. 

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Zarmine Naccashian Ph.D., R.N.
Associate Professor, CSUN Nursing

Farrell J. Webb

With heartfelt gratitude for all he did for us in the College of Health and Human Development and at CSUN, we announce with sadness the passing of former Dean of the College, Farrell J. Webb, PhD, on Nov. 14, 2023.  The following was first published in CSUN Magazine. 

At the time of his passing, Webb was serving as provost of the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. Webb served at CSUN from 2016-23. Previously, he served as associate dean at its sister campus, Cal State L.A.; as well as at Kansas State University and Penn State University.

A California native, he began his education at Loyola Marymount University, earning bachelor’s degrees in sociology/political science and communication arts, with an emphasis in film and TV production. Webb went on to earn master's degrees in sociology (social psychology) from Cal State Long Beach and New York University (applied statistics), and a doctorate in family social sciences from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Webb chose the doctoral program in Family Social Sciences at Minnesota due to its No. 1 ranking in the nation at the time and the strong links between his interests and those of the program, he later said. After graduation, Webb spent more than 19 years at Kansas State University, where he was an associate professor of family studies and human services, and director of the Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program. He also spent three years in the Office of the Provost as Kansas State University’s ombudsman.

To CSUN, he brought more than 21 years of public and academic administrative experience to the position, including his two years as an associate dean at Cal State L.A. At his appointment, Webb said he felt lucky to have been appointed dean. “I get to inherit a lot of good stuff and work collaboratively with some amazing faculty,” he said in a 2017 interview.

“The biggest things we want to do here are increase our research footprint by having more [scholarly] articles published, secure more grants and improve our graduation rates. We’re on track for this,” Webb said. “The College of Health and Human Development is also very focused on professional growth, and the faculty are very invested in making sure that happens with their students. They know their students well. The professors and the students have very warm relationships.”

Webb modeled this warmth with an engaging and approachable style. After many years in the classroom and working side by side with undergraduate and graduate students, it was clear that he was much more comfortable telling stories about students’ and professors’ work than discussing his own awards. He was an expansive storyteller, gesturing with a pen and smiling easily.

His office in CSUN’s Sequoia Hall was open and busy with student assistants. It was crucial, Webb said, to let students know that faculty and academic leaders like him were interested in them and that they were there to support students’ progress, success and aspirations.

“I do help people because I know what it’s like to be in the position where you want to get somewhere, but you don’t know how to do it,” he said.

As a scholar and researcher, Webb focused on the statistical analyses, research methodologies and interplay of human sexuality, gender, race and ethnic relations, health, poverty and inequality on well-being. He was a lifetime member of Phi Kappa Phi and earned numerous academic and teaching awards throughout his career.

F2023
Olivia Herstein/CSUN Magazine

Salvador Esparza

With sadness, we are sharing the news of the passing of Professor Salvador Esparza, DHA., MSHA, BSN-RN, FACHE, Professor of Health Administration (Health Sciences) who passed away on March 27, 2024.

A pillar of the CSUN Health Administration program, Salvador Esparza was a vibrant, dedicated member our community. He is known for the enthusiasm he brought to the program, department, college, campus and the professional and local communities. He was readily encouraging and was a positive influence to students, always. He will be remembered for his professionalism and the countless ways he enriched the lives of others.

Sal served in the health care profession for over 30 years, holding several senior leadership positions with a variety of health care organizations. He served a term as Associate Director of the CSUN Institute for Community Health and Wellbeing from 2013 through spring, 2020, and he also consulted for major tertiary health care organizations throughout the country, with particular emphasis on operations, organizational and leadership development. Sal was a licensed Registered Nurse and certified Public Health Nurse in the State of California, and a board-certified Health Care Executive and Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. 

In 1999, Sal was awarded the Outstanding Alumni Award from the College of Health and Human Development. The University Student Ambassadors gave him the Polished Apple Award in 2007 and 2009 for making a difference in students’ lives. In 2015, he was appointed to the Los Angeles City Health Commission to represent the 12th Council District which includes Porter Ranch, Canoga Park, and Northridge. In that role, he worked to expand the commission’s understanding of health care needs and finding ways to meet those needs efficiently and effectively.

Sal had a passion for educating people about the importance of providing effective health delivery. When interviewed by CSUN Today on the occasion of his appointment to the Commission, he said, “It was a calling, more than anything else. One of my driving forces into getting involved in academia was that I observed a lot of competence, but also, unfortunately, incompetence in health administration. I felt it was my responsibility to educate students who would be effective leaders in the health administration fields.”

We send our caring to the Esparza family, friends and colleagues. Sal will be greatly missed. 

You can post a memory, show your support and read Sal's Obituary on Dignity Memorial.

Moderation is the Key to Healthy Eating Habits

Moderation is the key to sustaining healthy eating habits through the holiday season and into the new year, according to Brittany Allison, an assistant professor of food science at California State University, Northridge. 

Allison, who teaches in the College of Health and Human Development, said people should forgive themselves for any ‘indulgences’ that took place during the past couple of months, noting that the holidays provide an important opportunity for families to hunker down, follow traditions, and indulge. Read more in CSUN today

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