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CHAMP Senior Wellness Fair draws nearly 800 visitors

October 28th, 2014 by Melissa Anderson

On Oct. 23, Leticia Medrano walked through the gymnasium at the Timpany Center, visiting vendor booths at the fourth annual Senior Wellness Fair.

With a bag full of pamphlets about community resources for seniors and free giveaways she had collected throughout the morning, she sat down to have her blood pressure taken by one of the many student volunteers from San José State University’s College of Applied Sciences and Arts Valley Foundation School of Nursing.

Medrano said she was having a great time at the Timpany Center, where she takes water classes and a better bones and balance class.

Nursing student Heather Bishop noted that the blood pressure booth was one of the few with a line.

“The seniors are usually on top of their blood pressure, but they like to check it,” said Jonathan Dinson, who took Medrano’s readings and said his class has been volunteering at the Timpany Center all semester. “She’s one of the regulars.”

The students said they do not diagnosis high blood pressure, but they can write a reading down for visitors that they can share with a doctor who can decide what they need.

College of Applied Sciences and Arts Interim Dean Alice Hines meets with Occupational Therapy Professor Megan Chang along with OT students Julie Rahan and Ashley Dawson at the Senior Wellness Fair.

College of Applied Sciences and Arts Interim Dean Alice Hines, from left, meets with Occupational Therapy Professor Megan Chang along with OT students Julie Rahan and Ashley Dawson at the Senior Wellness Fair.

Veronica Cavillo, a student in the School of Social Work, interviews a senior about his mood at the Seniro Wellness Fair Oct. 23. The event is a collaboration between San Jose State University Center for Healthy Aging in Multicultural Populations (CHAMP,) the Santa Clara County Department of Aging and Adult Services and the Timpany Center.

Veronica Cavillo, a student in the School of Social Work, interviews a senior about his mood at the Senior Wellness Fair Oct. 23. The event is a collaboration between San Jose State University Center for Healthy Aging in Multicultural Populations (CHAMP,) the Santa Clara County Department of Aging and Adult Services and the Timpany Center.


Jonathan Dinson, left, takes Leticia Medrano's blood pressure at the Senior Wellness Fair on Oct. 23. Dinson, a student in SJSU's Valley Foundation School of Nursing, was just one of dozens of students to volunteer at the wellness fair from the College of Applied Sciences and Arts.

Jonathan Dinson, left, takes Leticia Medrano’s blood pressure at the Senior Wellness Fair on Oct. 23. Dinson, a student in SJSU’s Valley Foundation School of Nursing, was just one of dozens of students to volunteer at the wellness fair from the College of Applied Sciences and Arts.

Bishop noted that in addition to giving the nursing students a chance to practice a skill, they also learned about resources in the community.

“We are working with seniors a lot this semester so there are a lot of resources we can share with patients,” she said.

The Senior Wellness Fair hosted at the Timpany Center on Oct. 23 brought in more than 789 attendees this year, with many students from SJSU’s College of Applied Sciences and Arts volunteering to interact with the population.

The Senior Wellness Fair is a partnership between SJSU’s Center for Healthy Aging in Multicultural Populations, the Santa Clara County Department of Aging and Adult Services and the Timpany Center, now in its fourth year. CHAMP is an interdisciplinary effort that includes faculty from the College of Applied Sciences and Arts’ School of Social Work, the Valley Foundation School of Nursing, Nutrition and Food Science, Kinesiology, Occupational Therapy as well as the departments of Psychology and Communicative Disorders and Sciences.

Sadhna Diwan, a professor of Social Work and the director of CHAMP, said the goals for students at the event are to practice implementing health promotion education with seniors; engage in interprofessional learning through exposure to the work of other disciplines or professions and learn about vital community resources that can be helpful to older adults and their families.

Martha Ortiz, a recreation therapy major, said she and her fellow students were giving a survey to seniors to find out if they are feeling unfilled in any part of their lives – physical, mental, social, spiritual or cognitive.

“We help them realize which area they should focus on and give them resources,” she said.

Ortiz said they were trying to help seniors understand that they can define their leisure time to help them feel more fulfilled, such as getting outdoors for a hike or a picnic.

Danelle Willey, a Nutrition and Food Science major, said she and the students at her booth were working with seniors to educate them on the sodium in different food products.

They had printed out labels of several condiments and popular food items, such as fish sauce and a frozen meal.

“We want to bring to light the high amount of sodium we can eat without realizing it,” Willey said. “It can put people at risk for high blood pressure, osteoporosis and other chronic diseases. By lower intake now, they can lessen the effects or not have them get them as early in life.”

One of the surprise items with a high level of sodium was the fish sauce, which contains 99 percent of the daily recommended amount of sodium. The students handed out free samples of a salt-free Mrs. Dash seasoning.

“They’ve been very receptive,” Willey said, of the seniors visiting the booth.

Students in the School of Social Work did a short survey with seniors to determine their mood to see if they might be in need of services to deal with a depressed mood.

“It can be a sensitive topic if they have a low mood,” said Lindsay Lytle. “We can tell them where to go for help and how to talk about it.”

The students had a sheet with community resources to share with seniors. Lytle said if anyone had a low mood they recommended the person speaking with a primary doctor to follow up.

Ashley Dawson and Julie Rahan, two Occupational Therapy students, worked with seniors to assess their risk of falls. At their booth, they first surveyed seniors to get their perception of their risk of falling and then did an assessment with the seniors.

“Depending on how they do physically, we make some recommendations,” Rahan said, of how they can prevent falls.

At the event, they offered a Falls Prevention workshop.

“Their perception is usually similar to the assessment,” Dawson said, noting that the seniors they had encountered in the morning were happy to do the assessment.

For more on CHAMP, visit:

CASA faculty honored for international classes

October 27th, 2014 by Melissa Anderson

Helen L. Stevens, retired director of International Programs and Services, honored three San José State University faculty members with the Helen L. Stevens Outstanding International Educator Award, including two professors from the College of Applied Sciences and Arts. This year’s winners include Linda Levine, of Health Science and Recreation, Tamara McKinnon, of the Valley Foundation School of Nursing, and Yasue Yanai, of World Languages and Literatures.

“I was one person who came from the mountains and had never even been to New York City,” Stevens said. “But I ended up in Pairs. It took a while to put together what I heard in Paris with what I heard in (French class.) It changed my life forever and ever.”

The three recipients of the Helen L. Stevens Outstanding International Educator Award all shared a common thread this year – they have created opportunities for students enrolled at SJSU to spend time abroad to gain that same life-changing experience Stevens described many years ago.

“It was so difficult to select one winner, we upped the ante to award three,” Stevens said, of the 28 nominees. “Even though we had two more awards than usually it was still hard. It’s one of the pleasures of working at a university with so many outstanding faculty.”

At the event this year, organizers invited three students to talk about their international experience with each of the awardees.

Aly Mauro, an Occupational Therapy student, a program in Grenada for nursing and OT students with McKinnon that focused on community health.

“Her laid-back demeanor put us all at ease,” Mauro said, adding that she helped them keep their cool even when they were invited to do an impromptu radio interview. “She was pushy, yet protective, and it worked. She managed to teach us a tremendous amount in three weeks.”

Stevens described McKinnon’s first experience with international travel with a sense of humor as she said McKinnon’s global adventure started in a Tijuana jail, where she worked for an organization that worked in jails, orphanages and the city landfill. McKinnon has taken students to Ireland in addition to the summer 2014 trip to Grenada.

As she accepted her award, McKinnon thanked Stevens for the scholarships she awarded to a dozen CASA students who participated in faculty-led programs in summer 2014.

“Your scholarship, for some students, made the difference,” she said. “Thanks to our partner communities that trust us to come in and work with them as well as the students who put their trust in us.”

Jayne Balthazar traveled to Paris with award recipient Levine.

“It was the first time I earned a scholarship and traveled independently (of my family) and shared a room with someone I barely knew,” Balthazar said, noting that she also raised money on her own to take the trip.

She said Levine and her husband David Buseck, an SJSU professor and co-teacher of the program, helped the students navigate the city and learn many things.

“When we first arrived in Paris, we didn’t know how to use the Metro, but we had Linda and David there to help us.”

Stevens said her first interactions with Levine came when she was still the director of IPS when Levine facilitated retreats for her office. She said Levine helped the department learn to collaborate within the office and also with other departments on campus.

“When she and David proposed a faculty-led program in Paris there was not a doubt that it would be a truly successful program,” Stevens said.

Levine and Buseck continue to work with students who’ve accompanied them to Paris, with monthly invitations to their home to speak French and talk about French culture.

Levine’s love of travel started young as her parents were international tour directors. She said when her father passed away he had been to 132 countries.

“I know there are a lot of talented people and passionate people doing global works,” Levine said. “Any of those people could have easily been chosen for their outstanding work.”

Amy Strage, the assistant vice president for Faculty Development, served as an emcee at the event.

“Listening to everyone speak it occurred to me what qualities to look for in faculty,” she said. “We want faculty who are creative, demanding and supportive.”

She said McKinnon, Levine and Yanai each possess those traits.

For more on the international experiences students in College of Applied Sciences and Arts participated in last summer, visit:

DNP grads share experience with prospective SJSU students

October 16th, 2014 by Melissa Anderson

Christine Tarver said she had considered getting a doctor of nursing practice degree for years when she heard the CSU system had something in the works.

“The timing worked and the stars aligned,” she said. “I always knew I would get one more degree.”

Tarver, who already had a master’s degree, is part of the second cohort of DNP students enrolled in the California State University Northern California Consortium Doctor of Nursing program, a joint effort between San José State University and CSU Fresno.

“The other (DNP) programs were in the city (San Francisco) and one was not affordable,” she said, noting that the online format of the CSU program allowed her to continue working while she earns her degree. “We have faculty from all over because it’s virtual.”

Tarver said she works in administration and she jokes with her hospital director that she just wants to change the world.

But that is not far from the goals of the program. One of the key requirements of the DNP program is that in their five semesters in the program, students undertake a research project that has a direct link to changing healthcare outcomes.

“When I’m talking to a potential student, I talk about the project,” said Ruth Rosenblum, the acting director of the SJSU DNP program. “It is about improving patient outcomes – there needs to be a direct line.”

Mae Lavente is in her first semester with the program, part of the third cohort. She is a nurse practioner who is most excited about the research component of the program. Her project involves delirium and the logistics of musical therapy.

“I want to shape it so it’s not just conceptual, but practical,” she said.

She said the first semester has been challenging.

“It’s been a struggle because I’ve been out of school for so long,” she said, noting she finished her last degree 12 years ago. “I need to get back in the groove.”

When she completes her DNP, she said she wants to teach the next generation of nurses.

The DNP program launched its pilot in 2012, with the first cohort of students graduating in May 2014. Four of the May graduates joined the College of Applied Sciences and Arts Valley School of Nursing professors at a reception and showcase Oct. 15 where they shared their experience with current and prospective students.

“Today is a celebration of nursing in our community,” said Kathy Abriam-Yago, the director of the Valley Foundation School of Nursing, at SJSU. “It is a celebration of nursing excellence.”

Christine Mallon, the CSU Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Programs and Faculty Development, attended the reception to talk about the inception of the DNP program.

“It took a few years to develop,” Mallon said.

It also took an act of the state legislature to authorize the CSU to award a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. The state assembly bill itself called for a DNP degree to be distinct from the doctor of philosophy degree offered by the UC system and to allow professionals to earn the degree while working full time. The program allows students to do much of their coursework online, with in-person intensive sessions each semester held alternately at SJSU and CSU Fresno. The first cohort included students from as far north as Redding and as far south as Bakersfield.

“People know nurses and know their value,” Mallon said. “But they are not just giving one person a better experience – with research we get better outcomes (for many.)”

As part of the evening event, the four graduates were introduced by Rosenblum, who shared a summary of their research projects. The graduates then took questions from the audience members, including prospective students who are interested in applying for the fourth cohort.

Lisa Walker-Vischer, a graduate of the program last year, said she started working on her degree without a specific goal in mind.

“I had considered a PhD,” she said. “Part of the piece for me was two years versus four or five years. I loved the application and I am one of those who was transformed. I wasn’t looking for another job, but I got drawn into this.”

Walker-Vischer’s project focused on the experience of Latino parents of hospitalized children during family-centered bedside rounds.

She had been a clinical nurse specialist in pediatric care for nine years. As she was nearing the end of her program, she was offered a position as the director of the Center for Nursing Excellence at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.

Suzette Urquides, whose research focused on treatment times for adult patients directly transferred to cardiac catheterization laboratories versus the emergency room, said she selected the SJSU-Fresno program because of the emphasis on research.

“I saw things I couldn’t prove and I didn’t have a voice,” she said. “I knew this degree would allow me to have a voice at the table.”

Working for a hospital in Salinas, she said she hopes to share her knowledge as a consultant at other hospitals in the region.

“I’ve been a nurse’s aide and now I’m a doctoral practioner,” she said. “I’ve seen it all.”

CASA faculty among honorees for Helen Stevens Outstanding International Educator Award

October 14th, 2014 by Melissa Anderson

Tamara McKinnon, a nursing professor, and Linda Levine, a health science and recreation professor, in the College of Applied Sciences and Arts, will be honored with the Helen Stevens Outstanding International Educator Award on Oct. 21, at 4 p.m. in the Martin Luther King Library, Room 225/227. Yasue Yanai, a World Languages and Literatures professor, will also be recognized at the event.

Dr. Tamara McKinnon, far right, and students Mina Paz Arzadon and Claudine Luzano appeared on  "Good Morning Grenada," one of 5 media appearances by the group during their program.

Dr. Tamara McKinnon, far right, and students Mina Paz Arzadon and Claudine Luzano appeared on
“Good Morning Grenada,” one of 5 media appearances by the group during their program.

McKinnon led a pilot international program in Grenada this summer which included 23 nursing and occupational therapy students from SJSU who completed a global service-learning course on the Caribbean island. During their visit, students met with the Ministry of Health, hospitals and clinics and also had an opportunity to visit clinical sites throughout the island. The students participated in a health fair in a rural part of the island, conducting home visits to train family members and local students, and conducted television and radio interviews. The students all kept a reflective journal during their trip with photos and narrative.

The core principles of the program included compassion, curiosity, courage, collaboration, creativity, capacity building and competence, according to McKinnon.

Levine spent part of her summer in Paris, teaching 14 students about the history and diversity of France. During their trip, which provided credit in two GE areas, students learned about various cultures that included different religious backgrounds, occupational backgrounds and other aspects of identity. During the trip students had the opportunity to visit the Chateau de Marseilles, Musee D’Orsay and to take a Thai/French cooking class, among other activities. Levine encouraged students to consider study abroad programs with a blog post ( some of the creative ways her former students raised money for their trips, from making macarons to sending donation request letters to family and friends.

SJSU students enrolled in the faculty-led program "Paris: City of Culture," took a bike tour around Paris.

Linda Levine, center in a blue top, taught “Paris: City of Culture.”




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