College of Health and Human Development

News Now, Fall, 2022

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Interconnection Within Campus and Beyond

The fall 2022 semester is off to a strong start. It’s great to see so many students, faculty, and staff on campus again, and so many in-person activities taking place, with virtual options for those who need them.

One of the ways we tell our stories is through this newsletter, of course, but in November, we will hold our first-ever HHD Research Excellence and Innovation Conference: Promoting Inclusive Excellence Through Innovative and Creative Synergies. On- and off-campus communities are invited to attend. There is more information, including a registration link, immediately below this message.

We are pleased to announce that the new President of the CSUN Alumni Association is our own Felicia Sison Conlan, a speech-language pathologist and graduate of Communication Disorders and Sciences who is inspiring greater participation in our alumni chapters that do so much for our departments, programs, and centers. You’ll also meet our 2022-23 CSUN Research Fellow, Family and Consumer Sciences Interior Design faculty Hessam Ghamari, who has students assisting him in research studying wayfinding for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

We have much more to share, so scroll down and see. But first, a thank you: Everything you read about in this issue demonstrates how important our interconnection is—within campus and beyond. We are always grateful to share the accomplishments of our students, faculty, staff, and community partners, and we thank you for your engagement with us. It’s a group effort to enhance, enrich, and empower the human experience.

As always, we thank you for your support!



HHD sunrise over mountains abstract

HHD 2022 Research Excellence and Innovation Conference

On November 17 and 18, 2022, we are hosting a conference to showcase the diversity of disciplines in the College. All HHD students, staff, and faculty are invited to participate. Attendance is open campus-wide and to the public.

lettered blocks spell out "aphasia"

When Words Fail: High Profile Case of Aphasia Sheds Light on the Condition

When the family of actor Bruce Willis announced his retirement from acting due to the aphasia, attention was drawn to this life-altering condition. In the CSUN Department of Communications Disorders and Sciences, there is help.


News Now

Speech-Language Pathologist Takes the Helm as CSUN Alumni President

felicia conlan

An alum of Communication Disorders and Sciences, a speech-language pathologist by training, an expert in communicative disorders. and Doctor of Education, Felicia Sison Conlan is now President of the CSUN Alumni Association.

"CSUN has been a place where I’ve gotten a lot of support," she said, "and a chance to develop my sense of self, and to partner with people who have enlightened me on what’s possible. The professors want you to succeed.” 

Get to Know Felicia Sison Conlan

HHD's 2022-23 CSUN Research Fellow, Hessam Ghamari: Studying Wayfinding for People with Dementia and Alzheimer's

Hessam Ghamari

Hessam Ghamari, (Family and Consumer Sciences/Interior Design) has been selected as the 2022-2023 Research Fellow for the College of Health and Human Development. Ghamari’s project Wandering Eyes? An Investigation of Wayfinding Behavior of Alzheimer’s Disease Patients in Care-Facilities, has been implemented as of Fall 2022 and is being supported by student scholars.

We all unconsciously track landmarks in our environment every day, but when short-term memory is compromised, what registers as familiar one moment doesn’t always hold as a constant the next. Find Out More About the Wayfinding Project

CSUN Launches New Program to Support Black Students

Black Scholars Matter

Eleven teens who are part of an innovative program to help bolster college retention and graduation rates among Black students began their journey at CSUN this fall. The teens are part of the first cohort of the Bridge to the Future (B2F): Black Scholars Matter (BSM) program. HHD's Interim Dean, Mechelle Best, is on the advisory board for BSM and was a member of initial planning community. She will be hosting events for the group on an ongoing basis, including an October trip to the Department of Recreation and Tourism Management's Aquatic Center at Castaic.

Find Out More About This Empowering Program

Lieutenant Vanessa Davies: Set the Standards High and Achievable

lt. vanessa davies

Lieutanant Vanessa Davies is an alum of Health Sciences/Public Health ('17). She keeps in touch with faculty in the Department of Health Sciences at CSUN, and recently reached out to let them know of her new professional status: Lt. Davies had just been named Assistant Health Service Officer, United states Public Health Commissioned Corps, US Public Health Service Department of Homeland Security, Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE).

As a Public Health Service Commissioned Corps Officer, she is in one of the seven uniformed services of the US.  We asked her to tell her story.  Read Lt. Vanessa Davies' Story

Upcoming Events & More News Now

dancersCome to Kinesiology's fall semester Dance Concert, Collaboratoria!  Featuring graduate students, alumni and faculty, it is entertaining and thought provoking for audiences, and  provides rich opportunities for students to integrate the art and science of human movement, in fact, the dancers' psychophysiology data will be gathered during each performance. 11/09 7:30 p. m.; 11/10, 2 & 7:30 p.m.   Find Out More and Get Tickets

hhd block party september 26, 10-4pmHi Matadors! Are you interested in learning more about majors in the College HHD, as well as the resources available to you as a CSUN student? Then join us for games, prizes, food and fun at the 2022 HHD Block Party! Meet our Associate Dean, Department Chairs and more!  Open to the campus community, 09/26, from 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. just outside Jacaranda Hall (south side). Stop by, meet new friends, see familiar faces! 

More News Now


aquatic center director nathan martin and csun president erika beckCSUN President Erika D. Beck took a brief break from campus this summer to visit another kind of classroom — this one on the shores of Castaic Lake in the Santa Clarita Valley. On August 11. 2022. President Beck toured the CSUN Aquatic Center at Castaic. It was her first visit to this key teaching facility within the Department of Recreation and Tourism Management in HHD. Find Out More About the Visit

2022 campanella dodgers scholars on dodger fieldThe 2022 CSUN Physical Therapy Roy & Roxie Campanella/Dodgers Foundation Scholarship award recipients were recognized during the pregame ceremony on the field at Dodgers Stadium on August 10, 2022. This was the first in-person scholarship recognition event since 2020. See the On-field Photo

HHD alumni chaptersOn September 20, HHD alumni chapter leaders gathered on the CSUN campus for the first annual HHD alumni chapter leader reception, hosted by Interim Dean Mechelle Best. “It is important for us to get to know our alumni chapter leaders," said Best. “The chapters do so much for alumni and students and we want to be able to coordinate with them as we work toward graduating students and helping them find suitable employment.” Future HHD alumni chapter leader receptions will be held in the fall and spring semesters to kick off the new semesters and share ideas and plans for engaging alumni, students and fundraising. Get to Know HHD's Alumni Chapters

students exercising on matsFitFest to Reduce Stress: Child and Adolescent Development and Kinesiology Team Up: Supported by the Campus Care Recovery Program, this wellbeing and mindfulness event was geared toward pandemic recovery for all students. It grew out of the IFiT-M program, which was originally designed for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, but which now includes people without it. This rounds out the academic research as it brings wellbeing to more people. Find Out More About IFiT-M

doris abrishami, anita slechta, jennifer little at BSRS anniversaryCSUN's Bachelor of Sciences in Radiologic Sciences (BSRS) is 45 years old this year. Program Director, Doris Abrishami, reflected on the work of retiring previous Director and former Health Sciences Department Chair, Anita Slechta. "Thanks to Anita's leadership," she writes, "we are affiliated with over twenty-two hospitals and imaging centers in Southern California that welcome CSUN students in their Radiology departments.  Find Out More About the Celebration

cover of periodical science directEnvironmental and Occupational Health faculty Katherine McNamara was a lead author on an article that explores the immediate and long-term benefits of urban trees and addresses some of the issues that sometimes make municipalities resistant to these community additions. Read the Article in Science Direct

frankie augustineHealth Sciences faculty Frankie Augustin has been named a 2022-2023 American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow. Augustin is an award-winning professor in the CSUN Health Sciences' Health Administration Program who has done ground-breaking work around diversity in the health field. One of only 46 Fellows across the nation, she will spend the academic year on the campus of Benedict College as an Academic Fellow. Read About Her Fellowship on the Benedict College Website

terry sweetingIt was not an ordinary July day San Antonio Texas, because on this day, Kinesiology faculty emeritus Terry Sweeting received the 2022 National Dance Society (NDS) Scholar Award. The award recognizes professionals for years of meritorious service in the dance field who produce scholarly/creative works of significance at local to international levels in dance research, evaluation, professional writing, choreography, or other dance works.  Read About Sweeting's Award

emblem for hhd heroes awardThe HHD Heroes Award honors and recognizes a community member who has gone above and beyond in their profession, who has overcome barriers, and who has made a significant impact through extraordinary work to improve and/or save the lives of others. This coming spring, the HHD Hero for 2023 will be announced. Find Out More About the HHD Heroes Award

In Memoriam


becky obrien It was with great sadness that our colleagues in the Center of Achievement through Adapted Physical Activity at CSUN announced the passing of retired (2017) Center Client Coordinator, Becky O’Brien. She passed away on July 28, 2022, comforted by her loving husband, daughters, family and a close family friend.  Read More About Becky O'Brien

helen castilloFormer HHD Dean Helen Castillo passed away peacefully in her home on Friday, September 2, 2022, after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Castillo served as Dean of the College from 2002-2007 and worked to strengthen the departments and academic programs, especially CSUN Nursing. Read the Obituary in the El Paso Times

Every Gift Enriches Lives

give to student successYour support of the CSUN College of Health and Human Development strengthens projects, programs and events like the ones we are sharing today. Your gift helps our students and faculty improve the quality of life across the lifespan locally and globally.

Making a donation to CSUN HHD can fund scholarships, deep-impact learning experiences, innovative projects and technology, and more. Your engagement with us can enhance, enrich, and empower the human experience. Find Out More About Ways to Give to CSUN HHD

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

Editor in Chief: Mechelle Best, Interim Dean

Managing Editor, Graphics: Jean O’Sullivan, Public Affairs/Communications Specialist, HHD

Director of Development: John Pepitone, HHD


We thank our faculty and students for their contributions to this newsletter, as well as the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation. Tremendous thanks and appreciation to our colleagues at CSUN Today for their detailed and dynamic coverage of HHD students, faculty, and community partners.

Summer, 2022/June

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