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Illinois College of Applied Health Sciences

Dear AHS faculty and staff:

Hello, everyone. In this time of uncertainty, it is always important to pay attention to the good things in our lives. For example, although the Illini did not win this weekend, it was a very close and exciting game. Our campus vaccination rates are increasing and campus cases of COVID 19 are extremely low, .18%. Today, Pfizer announced it is ready to seek approval for vaccinations for children 5-12. Moderna and Johnson & Jonson won’t be far behind. Another positive is our enrollment data. Not only are campus enrollments up, but AHS enrollments are the highest they have ever been. Add to all that the recent grant successes of our faculty and we have much to celebrate.

In the upcoming weeks we have the dedication of the McKechnie Family LIFE Home, the celebration of our 2021 alumni award recipients, and our Homecoming tailgate party. This Dean’s List contains important details about those events, so please take note. I would love to see as many of you as possible showing your support at these events.

After this edition of the Dean's List, we will be moving to a bi-weekly schedule, with delivery every other Monday (next delivery Oct. 4). Continue to send your announcements and calendar items to Items will be reviewed and edited for style and grammar.

Cheryl Hanley-Maxwell
Dean, College of Applied Health Sciences


The McKechnie Family LIFE Home—which will be dedicated at a ceremony on October 7—was featured in an article in The Well News.

The Alumni Spotlight focuses this week on Katie Bradbury, who got her master's degree in Recreation, Sport and Tourism in 2013 and who is now an afterschool adventure/camp supervisor in the City of Mesquite, Texas.

The Beyond the Gym Floor podcast returns for season three with KCH Teaching Associate Professor Jamie O'Connor, who speaks with alum Julia Valley, who is now at Northeastern Illinois University.

RST alum Nick Hardy made his PGA Tour debut last week. Find out more about Hardy and why he picked RST in this AHS podcast.

SHS graduate student Megan Cooney is the Scholar Athlete of the Week as she led the Fighting Illini volleyball team with 14 kills and 10 digs in a match against the University of Washington.


If you have received your COVID-19 vaccine, but haven’t yet uploaded your COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card to McKinley Health Center for inclusion in the Safer Illinois app, the Office of Information, Security, and Technology (OIST) help desk in AHS will assist faculty and staff with the technical process of uploading it. Instructions are available here. If you need additional assistance, please contact


Did you know the College of Applied Health Sciences has an Intranet? The webpage is meant to be a central hub for resources you need to conduct your business. Scan the menu to find the resource you need, and if you don't see it, let us know.


KCH Associate Professor Naiman Khan has received an R01 grant from the NIH's National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for his project titled "Enhancing Children's Cognitive Function and Achievement through Carotenoid Consumption." The five-year project has a budget of approximately $3 million. The overall aim for Dr. Khan and his collaborators—KCH Associate Professor Sean Mullen and Professor Neal Cohen, director of the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Initiative—is to conduct a randomized-controlled clinical trial to test the effects of daily lutein supplementation over nine months on children’s cognitive function and academic achievement. The goal is to provide important knowledge on potential dietary recommendations for supporting achievement and cognitive function in childhood.

KCH Assistant Professor Shannon Mejia and Jessie Chin from the iSchool have received funding from Napoleon Fireplaces to examine the potential for fireplaces to support healthy aging in midlife and older adulthood. The study will examine how fireplaces contribute to environments that support enrichment seeking under pressure. The one-year project will be conducted at the McKechnie Family LIFE home, under the guidance of Harshal Mahajan, and will provide research opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students.


KCH Assistant Professor Sarah Geiger had a poster presentation entitled, "Estimated Blood Lead Levels in Illinois Children on Private Wells," at the American College of Epidemiology Annual Meeting, which was held virtually because of COVID. Second author Sarah Keeley is a Master of Public Health epidemiology student.


The third annual HSRI Lightning Talks Speaker Series takes place on Oct. 1, with several AHS faculty included. In the day session, which runs from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., speakers include Wendy Rogers (Designing Robots for Health and Wellness), Manuel Hernandez (Aging in place with Wearable Technology), and Jeff Woods (How Poo Is Saving the Day [And Countless Lives!]). In the afternoon session, which runs from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Syndy Sydnor presents, “Why We Play.” The HSRI talks take place at the Illini Union, 2nd Level North, at 1401 West Green Street.


Join alumni, friends, students, faculty, and staff on Oct. 8 from 3 to 5 p.m. as we celebrate the achievements of our 2021 AHS Distinguished Alumni, Harold Scharper, and Young Alumni award recipients. A reception will follow in 2001 Khan Annex at Huff Hall.


We are excited to once again partner with the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics to host the annual Fighting Illini Virtual Career Fair on Wednesday, Sept. 22, from 6 to 9 p.m. on the Handshake virtual platform. We look forward to hosting graduate school and industry recruiters seeking the wealth of talent that AHS and the University of Illinois student-athletes have to offer. Please encourage your students to register for the event with the student link provided. While students may register the day of the event, it is strongly recommended that they register early and return often to begin to fill out their career fair schedule as new recruiting organizations are being added every day. Please feel free to contact Charles Stephens, director of AHS Career Services, for questions about the event or for registration assistance.


All AHS alumni, friends, faculty, and staff are invited to stop by the AHS tent at Lot 31 (directly west of Grange Grove, on the west side of First Street) on Oct. 9 from noon to 3 p.m., for complimentary food and drinks prior to the Illini's game against Big Ten rival Wisconsin. 


Are you interested in learning martial arts techniques? Participants (aged 18-45), who are low-active will be asked to complete a brief martial arts training plan, exercise plan or educational videos plan as part of our study into the effects of exercise on brain health. For more information, please visit or call us on 217-300-7484. 

Preliminary testing of therapy integrating peer-sharing, technology, aerobic and resistance training (TIPSTART) to reduce mental illness symptoms in first-generation college students will assess the effects of a new digital health program on mental health, utilization of services, physical activity, and related outcomes. We are looking for first-generation undergraduate students between the ages of 18 to 25, who do not regularly exercise, and who are not currently taking medication for a mental health condition but have received mental health services in the past two years (and can provide proof). For more information, please complete a brief interest survey by clicking here.

The Human Factors and Aging Laboratory is seeking research participants for an IRB-Approved research study titled “Online Robot Survey.” Participants will watch a series of videos of robots performing activities in home settings. This study will last 30 minutes and take place online. Potential participants must be 65-85 years old and reside in the state of Illinois. Participants will have the chance to win a $25 Amazon e-code gift card raffle for their involvement. If you are interested, please click the link.

The Wellness Research Collaborative in Multiple Sclerosis (Well-MS) is seeking to recruit faculty, staff, and students to join our working group. The mission of the collaborative is to support the health and well-being of individuals living with Multiple Sclerosis in Central Illinois and beyond through research and outreach activities. Our group collaborates on grant submissions, publications, and other scholarly activities. We have developed a research registry and database to facilitate data collection and recruitment of participants. We also engage in community outreach activities to support the MS community and foster collaborations with other researchers outside of UIUC. The working groups meets on a monthly basis, and all are welcome to join. If you are interested in being involved with the MS collaborative, please contact Laura Rice for additional details.

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 with 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 complete the brief online screener to determine if you are eligible. The online screener can be found here.

We are recruiting mothers and their children (8 to 12 years old) for a study about benefits of familiar voices in noisy places. Requires two, one-hour lab visits. Mothers record a list of sentences. Then children are tested on their ability to recognize the sentences in noise. Participants are paid $15 an hour. Daytime/evening/weekend availability. Free parking. Email: or call 217-300-8336.


The Dean’s List is delivered on a bi-weekly schedule, every other Monday. 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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