Dean’s Message – Fall 2023

Dean Audrey ShillingtonThe core of our mission here at the College of Health and Human Sciences is addressing health equity and critical social issues. You will see in the following articles the outstanding efforts being made by our faculty, students, staff.

The deep commitment of CHHS to this mission is evidenced by partnerships with our community agencies and industry. These partnerships focus on knowledge creation, new technologies, and student clinical and practice work that contribute to the health and well-being of vulnerable populations. Such social issues include food insecurity, addictions, patient-centered interprofessional care, underinsured, and other health and mental health disparities.

You will also read about our faculty and students being recognized for their innovation and leadership by their professional organizations as well as competitive local and federal grant funders.

I am excited to share all these efforts with you. I know you will see by these highlights that our faculty, students, and staff are making incredible contributions and changing the world.

Sincerely,

Audrey M. Shillington
Dean
College of Health and Human Sciences

Spotlight on Audiology Faculty Research

Dr. Anusha Yellamsetty’s recent focus addresses a critical concern: tinnitus resulting from COVID-19. Collaborating across the country, she aims to unravel the prevalence of COVID-19-induced tinnitus and its impact on speech perception. Dr. Yellamsetty is also actively involved in empowering accessibility through assistive listening device technology and the development of reliable self-fitting hearing aids. Aligned with the recent Over the Counter (OTC) Act, which aims to expand accessibility and enable users to achieve clinical-standard fitting from the comfort of their homes, Dr. Yellamsetty has successfully secured two grants through industrial collaborations. These include one from Whisper.ai ($31,426) and another from Concha Labs ($16,158). This grants supported three graduate assistants.

Dr. Adam Svec is currently exploring psychoacoustics, particularly delving into the intriguing phenomenon of forward masking. His research aims to unravel the mysteries surrounding auditory perception and the impacts of age and hearing loss on an individual’s ability to recover from a noisy background over time. Dr. Svec has successfully secured a grant from the Hearing Industry Research Consortium for the project titled “Assessing the Role of Envelope Fluctuations on Communication Difficulties for Individuals with Minimal Hearing Loss,” with a grant amount of $150,000, which supports a graduate assistant and an ongoing collaboration with the lab of Dr. Marc Brennan at University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

We commend Dr. Anusha Yellamsetty, Dr. Adam Svec, and their teams for their tireless dedication to advancing audiology research and education. Their contributions are shaping the future of audiology and hearing health.

For more information or to get involved in our research initiatives, please visit our website (sjsu.edu/aud) or contact our program office (408.924.1754).

Dean’s Message – Spring 2023

Dean Audrey ShillingtonWelcome to the Spring 2023 College of Health and Human Sciences newsletter.  Here at CHHS, we “Connect Passion to Purpose”.

This is one of the things I love about my job.  Every single day, I get to work and collaborate with others who are connecting their passion to purpose.  I continue to be impressed that so many of our faculty and staff work here at SJSU because of their deep belief in, and personal alignment with, the mission of our college and university– the belief that we are here to cause ripples of change for good.  We show-up, day after day, to assure students have access to the opportunities a college education affords.  We know those students will complete their degrees despite many social or economic barriers–students, and their families, who have made huge sacrifices to be here.   We know those very same students will take their knowledge and skills back to their communities to impact the health and wellbeing of their families and neighbors.

Our staff can speak eloquently about how the mission of the college and university gives their work meaning and a direction for their passion.  We have incredibly talented and deeply committed faculty who help our students take their passion and connect it to purpose.  They do this with their award-winning instruction and research, mentoring students in their labs and scientific inquiry, engaging students in intellectual curiosity, learning, and skills development.

Passion is connected to purpose through a myriad of intensive internships and practica, where that connection is created in tandem with our community partners who teach and guide our students in the application of knowledge in real world settings.  In addition to numerous undergraduate programs and degrees, we have three doctoral programs that are graduating professionals whose passion is driving them to become innovative leaders in their fields.  We have seven masters programs connecting student passion to the purpose of becoming the next generation of advanced researchers, leaders, as well as policy and clinical practitioners.

I invite you to read the following stories that are just a small sampling of the impressive and impactful work that happens here every single day.

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose.”
Robert Byrne

Celebrating April as OT Month and Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month!

By Katrina Long with contributions from Luis Arabit

While April is celebrated as Occupational Therapy (OT) Month, it is also Parkinson’s Disease (PD) Awareness Month. The Parkinson’s Foundation sponsored a Moving Day Walk, which is a nationwide grassroots campaign that “spotlights PD on a national level and gives the chance to raise awareness and funds in our own community”. Dr. Katrina Long, OT Assistant Professor, organized a team (called “Occupational Therapy Department- SJSU”) to represent the OT profession and the SJSU OT department at this event, held April 15, 2023. The event was a great opportunity to advocate and support the PD community as well as showcase the valuable role OT plays in the lives of people living with PD. The walk raised nearly $700, all going toward  “continuing to improve the quality of care for those living with Parkinson’s disease”. Dr. Long was joined by OT students and faculty both in person and virtually. In addition, Dr. Long was interviewed live on air by CBS News on April 26, where she highlighted Parkinson’s disease month and the role of Occupational Therapy (https://www.instagram.com/reel/CrgHl6uJzb1/?igshid=ZWIzMWE5ZmU3Zg==). Congratulations!

Tree Planting Dedication Ceremony to Honor Dr. Jennifer Hartle on April 20th

The Public Health and Recreation Department invites you to attend a tree planting ceremony in honor of our colleague and friend, Dr. Jennifer Hartle, who passed away on August 15, 2022 of cancer. The ceremony will take place on April 20, 2023 at 1 pm between Tower Hall and Dwight Bentel Hall, as a part of the SJSU Earth Day celebration.

We are raising funds to place a bench with a memorial plaque at the base of the tree to recognize the indelible mark Jennifer left on our program, our students, and university, and so that those of us who love and miss Jennifer can take solace there. If you are interested in contributing to the costs, please visit our GoFundMe page (SJSU Facilities and Operations will match each donation, dollar for dollar).

Dr. Jennifer HartleDr. Hartle joined the SJSU faculty as an assistant professor in 2016. She was passionate about sustainability and environmental health, and brought this enthusiasm to her teaching and research. Dr. Hartle loved teaching our environmental health class and was thrilled to teach a new course about food systems, one of her specializations. Dr. Hartle investigated the effects of contact with harmful substances (e.g., chemicals) on human health, with a special focus on environmental exposures from the food system. Working with student research assistants and SJSU colleagues in nutrition and at Stanford, where she did her post-doctoral work, Dr. Hartle conducted research to strengthen dietary exposure assessment techniques in order to help build a clearer connection between exposures and diseases. Her contributions inform exposure prevention strategies and policies. She also examined the presence of chemical compounds in the body and the relationship to childhood obesity in the California LatinX community

In addition to being a strong researcher, she was a fantastic mentor and students loved working with her. Dr. Hartle was a dedicated faculty advisor and member of the public health undergraduate core team. We miss her presence very much. Jennifer served for many years on several committees including the College of Health and Human Sciences Curriculum Committee, the Earth Day Committee at SJSU, and Healthy Campus 2020 – a collaboration to envision a healthier, more sustainable campus for all. During her final semester and summer with SJSU, she led a team of faculty envisioning the development of a new minor program in Planetary Health, which was dear to her heart. Dr. Hartle earned tenure and promotion to associate professor in June 2022.

Dr. Hartle is survived by her husband of 22 years, her two high school-aged children, and her sister. A birding and outdoors enthusiast, she will be remembered as a one-of-a-kind mom, wife, sister, cousin, professor, scholar, colleague, and friend.