Welcome 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
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!
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. 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.
Dear Friends and Colleagues.
When I reflect upon my work at SJSU I recognize that I am surrounded by hope. Hope appears in Greek mythology and can be found throughout a myriad of cultures and religions. Hope is especially important in difficult times.
We have tens of thousands of hopeful students who show up every day engaged in their educational experience, contributing and learning in community-partnered practicums and internships, and doing so while often balancing one or multiple jobs. The students hope for many things but among them is to be the first in their family with a college degree, be a role model to their own children or siblings, or to obtain a degree in order to help others in need and change the world. Hope has been found to be important to recovery and healing.
Once again there is a flurry of activity. Our students are busy wrapping up their semester and preparing for finals. Faculty and staff are all doing what is needed to support our students to a successful completion of the fall and, for some, a successful completion of their time here at SJSU. Fall Commencement marks the nexus of both the ending and beginning of our students’ continued journey as lifetime learners, thinkers, and leaders.
In the College of Health and Human Sciences our students and faculty are making an impact within our communities and industry. In this newsletter you will catch just a glimpse of the award-winning efforts that take place all year long both on and off campus. We live our mission to improve lives and address the barriers resulting in health and behavioral health inequities through our teaching, scientific research, and community engaged collaborations.
I invite you to read about the incredible accomplishments taking place in the College of Health and Human Sciences. You will see that there is hope present throughout.
“You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.” – Michelle Obama