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Illinois College of Applied Health Sciences

Dear AHS faculty and staff:

Hi, all. I hope your summer is off to a good start, and that you are finding the balance of recharging and work. We all look forward to a fall return to a campus buzzing with students!

We got great news Friday as the Chancellor announced that those of you who have uploaded your vaccination cards will no longer need to undergo saliva testing. Progress! On Monday, you should receive a status change on your Safer Illinois app that shows your record has been verified. We are also anticipating an announcement soon as to how on-campus classrooms will be situated. I will keep you all in the loop as more news is made public.  

I love seeing all the updates about media coverage, grants and publications, so I encourage you to continue sharing your accomplishments to publish in The Dean’s List. To ensure inclusion in Monday's email, we ask that you send information by 5 p.m. the previous Friday to Items will be reviewed and edited for style and grammar.

Cheryl Hanley-Maxwell
Dean, College of Applied Health Sciences


KCH Assistant Professor Mina Raj got a CHAD grant to study inclusive diets in long-term care facilities. The study is important, Raj said, because, “Food is a fundamental aspect of community and is also tied to mental and physical health outcomes."

Our latest Alumni Spotlight focuses on Skylar Peters, who got her Master of Science in 2016 in Recreation, Sport, and Tourism, and who is now a 4-H/Youth Development Educator with Penn State Extension.


You are consistently using the Internet for your research needs, but did you know AHS has an Intranet? Using the AHS Intranet, you can get answers to questions such "Who do I ask about taking a sabbatical?"


KCH Associate Professor Sean Mullen was awarded $5,000 in funding from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion for a project titled, “A New Start to TIPSTART with a Diversified Stride.” The funding will serve to broaden inclusion and augment the on-going TIPSTART study (funded by the Center for Social and Behavioral Sciences). The primary aims of the study are to test the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a physical activity and mental health intervention targeting first-generation students.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced last week that the University of Illinois System has been awarded $1.08 million from the U.S. Department of Education’s Open Textbooks Pilot Program—a competitive grant program based on Durbin’s Affordable College Textbook Act.  The funding will support the creation and expand the use of open college textbooks—textbooks that are available under an open license, allowing professors, students, researchers, and others to freely access the materials. Accessible Media Services (AMS) at DRES will serve as accessibility consultants for the textbooks that they create, to insure document accessibility and best practices. Congratulations to Ann Fredricksen, the coordinator of AMS, who was part of the grant application with The Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI).


The Center on Health, Aging and Disability (CHAD) and Collaborations in Health, Aging, Research, and Technology (CHART) received recognition from CRIS Healthy Aging Center for their support of caregivers. The award is part of National Caregivers Month, and is an acknowledgement of the work that CHAD and CHART do for formal and informal caregivers. One specific collaboration between CHART and CRIS was funded by the Illinois Department on Aging to purchase and provide Amazon Echo devices to older adults in the community and provide instructional support to connect older adults with their caregivers and family members.  In addition, we have received funding for two students (Maya Malecki in 2020 and Husna Hussaini in 2021) through the Community Academic Scholar Program for this project.

RST Assistant Professor Joelle Soulard won the Best Paper Award for Qualitative Research Methods at the 2021 Annual International Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA) Conference. This research paper was titled, "Drawing as a way of Expressing Transformation After a Trip." It is based on a study that uses an original multi-methods approach that includes drawings, sentence completions, and in-depth interviews to investigate how and in what ways are transformative travel narratives symbolized by travelers. Soulard interviewed 37 transformative travelers and asked them to draw themselves before and after their transformative trip. These travelers reveal deep and powerful symbols at the heart of their transformative journey through their interpretations.

RST doctoral student Hyunseo (Violet) Yoon and RST Department Head Carla Santos won the Best Ideas Fair Paper Award at the TTRA Conference in recognition of their paper, "Exploring the Tourist Experience In Virtual Tourism." In this study, virtual tourism was defined as a phenomenon that entails the tourist experience either simulated, mediated, or as alternative realities or worlds. While some studies suggest that virtual tourism has a positive impact on the psychological status of virtual tourists, others propose that individuals don’t think that virtual tourism can substitute their corporeal vacations. Our study findings revealed that study participants showed positive reactions to virtual tourism experiences from the perspective of a sense of virtual presence that new reality technology provides; suggesting that experiencing new technologies are the main merit of virtual tourism. 


KCH Associate Professor Naiman Khan has a new publication entitled, “Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in CD36 Are Associated with Macular Pigment among Children” in the Journal of Nutrition. Khan and his collaborators studied differences in macular pigment optical density (MPOD) among children (7 to 9 years old) based on genetic variants that either are biologically relevant to lutein and zeaxanthin accumulation or have been associated with MPOD in adults. The findings indicated that genetic variations of CD36 and BCO1 contribute to MPOD in children. The influence of genetic variation in CD36-rs3173798 persisted even after adjusting for variation in dietary lutein and zeaxanthin intake. These findings may provide insights into future studies that aim to use personalized dietary approaches to improve macular pigment in pediatric populations.

Khan has a second publication entitled, “Macular Xanthophylls and Markers of the Anterior Visual Pathway among Persons with Multiple Sclerosis” in the Journal of Nutrition. In it, Khan and collaborators characterized differences in macular and serum carotenoids, and retinal nerve fiber layer and macular volume in individuals with MS. The findings revealed that persons with MS, particularly those with optic neuritis, might be at higher risk for poorer carotenoid status. Further, macular pigment was associated with beneficial anatomical features in the retina among persons with MS. These findings provide preliminary support for future lutein supplementation trials in persons with MS.


Danette Griffith has joined the Undergraduate Affairs Team as the new Speech and Hearing Science Academic Advisor. Danette comes to us with a Master of Science in Education as well as a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Administration and Services, both from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. Welcome, Danette!


The Division of Disability Resources & Educational Services is hiring a full-time Career Services Specialist. The Career Services Specialist will be responsible for supporting the career/employment needs of students with disabilities registered with DRES through: (1) the development, implementation and evaluation of career readiness programming for DRES Students, (2) collaboration with UIUC career service units to create more inclusive campus career experiences, and (3) the establishment and maintenance of employment-related partnerships in industry. Read the full job description and find instructions for applying here.


Join us as we celebrate SHS Undergraduate Adviser Kathi Ritten as she heads off into a well-deserved retirement. Join us via Zoom today from 3-4 p.m. to share some of your favorite memories of Kathi from her time on campus. Good luck, Kathi!


If you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the campus encourages you to upload your COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card to the MyMcKinley Portal by taking a few simple steps, which are outlined on our Vaccination Record Card upload page.


The Audiology and Speech Language Pathology Clinic is offering group and individual therapy this summer. Illinois residents can receive telepractice services over Zoom from June 14 to Aug. 6. For more information, visit, email, or call 217-333-2205.


Investigators of the VetCareMind study are seeking a graduate hourly student certified to lead mindfulness-based training classes to help modify the curriculum from in-person to live stream. Investigators of the VetCareMind study will interview caregivers of veterans with neurocognitive disorders and/or posttraumatic stress disorder to ensure the modified training is responsive to caregivers’ technological needs. Please contact Dr. Sandraluz Lara-Cinisomo if you are interested in learning more about this exciting opportunity.

Are you/were you a caregiver to a veteran with brain-related disorders, including traumatic brain injury (TBI), post-traumatic epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and/or any other neurocognitive disorders? Are you 60 years of age or older? If the answer is yes, now is your chance to be part of the first-ever study that is trying to understand the needs and experiences of older caregivers of veterans with brain-related disorders to provide recommendations for new programs and services.  If you are interested in participating, please use any of the following options to complete the brief online screener to determine if you are eligible. The online screener can be found here.

We are looking for 55- to 79-year-old adults who are looking to become more physically active. Join a free, six-month activity program consisting of stretching-toning, aerobic exercise and yoga. Participants will engage in free, supervised exercise classes and receive free exercise equipment. Researchers will gather data as part of the program, which begins Aug. 30, and you can earn up to $240. For more information, go to the Say Exercise website.

We are recruiting children for a paid research study about how facemasks impact speech understanding in noisy environments. We’re looking for children 8-12 years old who speak English as their first language. The study lasts one hour. Participants are paid $15. Free parking. Daytime, evenings, and weekends available. Email

Twenty-one-to-seventy-year-old adults with hearing loss  or normal hearing are sought for a two-hour behavioral study and one-hour brain imaging (MRI) study. If you are not sure about your hearing, you may still be able to participate. We will do a free hearing screening. Free parking and compensation provided. Email or call 333-7561.


The Dean's List is delivered on Monday. To ensure inclusion of your announcement, submit information by 5 pm the previous Friday. Please submit your announcements or calendar items to Items will be reviewed and edited for style and grammar.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
110 Huff Hall  |  1206 South Fourth St., Champaign, IL 61820 MC-586
Phone: (217) 333-2131 FAX: (217) 333-0404

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