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Illinois College of Applied Health Sciences
Dear AHS faculty and staff:

I will start this message on a serious note. We are all aware that social conditions in the United States have created and maintained deep inequities. I remember the civil rights protests of the 1960s. Of all the things I heard during that decade, I remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy most. The moral rightness of their stands gave me hope for our future. I also remember the riots following Dr. King’s assassination, desperately wishing that we could find our way to doing what’s right and just, hoping the pain and action would result in lasting change. More than 50 years later, it is clear we learned little from that time. Beyond taking a stand and making statements, I believe that recommitting to doing the work that creates lasting change, from the ground up, are the things we can do to keep pushing for justice. As a college, we are focused on improving the lives of people in a diverse society. It’s in our mission statement and is embedded in our educational programs, research, and outreach. You will find an open letter from me on our website and later this week a version of that letter will be sent to our students. This letter is a statement of the college's commitment to advancing equity, well-being, and respect for all people.

We continue to forge ahead, doing remarkable things under difficult circumstances. Some days, just doing things that would normally be routine has required great creativity. All of you continue to show what makes AHS great. See below to find out how our faculty, staff, and students are being recognized (Age-Friendly Champaign-Urbana, Distinguished Honor, Campus Advancement Lightening Talks, Community Academic Scholars, In the News) and the COVID-19 related research that’s being done by college members.  We are everywhere, doing important, meaningful work!

I returned to the office on Tuesday. Since then, I’ve started to see more cars in the parking lot and hear more people in the building. It’s still pretty quiet and I rarely see others. It will stay that way for some time as we slowly return people to campus. Masks and PPE are starting to arrive, signage is going up, and floors are being marked. We continue to refine plans to use our facilities in ways that maximize personal safety. That may mean some rearrangement and minor inconveniences, but safety is the number one priority. Remember to contribute to that safety by wearing your mask, washing your hands, and following social distancing guidelines.

Campus is also working toward helping us address all aspects of this massive undertaking. The Chancellor’s budget briefing on Friday and the instructional briefing on Tuesday, June 9 at noon (click here to watch the livestream) are intended to help everyone understand the parameters on which decisions are being made and to solicit input from the campus community. If you teach, please review the draft academic report (full report) and attend the Tuesday briefing to get your questions answered and to provide your feedback.  Even if you can’t attend the briefing, you can provide your feedback using this form by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 10. While we do not yet know exactly how our academic programs will be delivered in the fall, we do know that substantial portions will be online. To help prepare you to teach online effectively, campus has organized training. The first Online Teaching Academy starts this week. The sessions will be recorded and made available in early July. Additionally, the plan is to repeat the Academy later in July.

Finally, remember, we are still collecting information about accomplishments and successes to publish in The Dean’s List. We still have lots of successes to celebrate! Be sure to submit your information. 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. 

Stay well!

Cheryl Hanley-Maxwell
Dean, College of Applied Health Sciences


The College of AHS has created an informational page that includes a collection of campus resources to help with migrating instruction online.  If you have suggestions for other resources to add to this page, please send a note to


Clinical faculty in the Department of Speech and Hearing Science are working hard to offer telepractice services to meet the needs of graduate students and the community. SHS students need to gain as many telepractice hours as possible this summer in order to be able to graduate on time. The goal is to recruit as many clients as possible, with services offered through Aug. 16. Please share this information with people you know who might need speech-language pathology or audiology clinic services. You can find more information here.


Age-Friendly Champaign-Urbana, a campaign under the leadership of KCH professor Jeff Woods and AHS Assistant Director for Strategic Initiatives and Research Relations Wendy Bartlo, has been selected to receive the Campus Team Award for Excellence in Public Engagement. As recipients, Jeff and Wendy will be featured in Illinois News, the Celebration of Academic Service and Leadership Excellence program, and the 2021 Celebrating Academic Excellence program. Jeff and Wendy will each receive a commemorative plaque and an honorarium. Congrats, Jeff and Wendy!


The Campus Committee on Promotion and Tenure annually identifies exceptional cases of scholars whose contributions have been extraordinary in terms of quality of work and overall achievement. A small percentage of scholars at each level of tenured faculty promotion are selected to receive Campus Distinguished Promotion Awards. KCH professor Marni Boppart is AHS’ representative of this prestigious honor. Congratulations, Marnie!


KCH assistant professor Neha Gothe joined faculty across the campus who provided five-minute “HSRI Lightning Talks” related to their work and COVID-19, moderated by Paulanne Jushkevich, Associate Vice Chancellor for Advancement, Health Sciences & Research Initiatives. You can watch Neha's video by clicking her name above.


Eleven undergraduate students representing units across campus were selected as the summer 2020 cohort of Community-Academic Scholars, and six of them were mentored by AHS faculty! During this 10-week summer program, each student is working closely with a faculty mentor and a community mentor on issues concerning brain health, poverty and social inequality, and health equity. 

The students are:

Roxanne Patino, a junior with a double major in community health and human development and family studies, is working with Kevin Tan and Kate Wegmann, assistant professors in the School of Social Work, and Beth Land, a licensed clinical social worker at the Urbana Neighborhood Connections Center (UNCC), to develop and deliver remote social and emotional learning programs for K-12 students and to document UNCC staff experiences with student remote learning over the summer and their perceptions of how COVID-19 has impacted students’ social and emotional development.

Alyssa Martin, a senior studying integrative biology, is working with Naiman Khan, an assistant professor in the Neuroscience Program, the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, and the Division of Nutritional Sciences, on a comprehensive literature review of school-based physical activity, nutrition, and social-emotional programming to inform future programming at Champaign Unit 4 School District. 

Maya Malecki, a junior studying community health with a concentration in health planning and administration is working with Wendy Rogers, a professor of kinesiology and community health, and Amy Brown, CEO of CRIS Health Aging, to virtually instruct older adults on the use of digital home assistants and investigate the impact that digital home assistants can have on social engagement for older adults living in Champaign and Vermillion counties.

Michelle Nutlis, a senior studying psychology is working with Sandraluz Lara-Cinisomo, an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology & Community Health, to conduct a literature review, engage in conceptual work on focus group interview development, and process and analyze brain imaging data collected from a brain imaging study exploring associations between postpartum depression and pain perception.  

Liz Spurlock, a senior pursuing a double major in Psychology and Molecular & Cellular Biology, is working with Reginald Alston, a professor in the Department of Kinesiology & Community Health, Jeni Hunniecutt, a visiting research specialist at the Chez Veterans Center, and Kirk Hauser, facilitator of the local Veterans Breakfast Club, to virtually conduct a needs assessment as part of a larger effort to develop a strategic plan for how to successfully engage with Veterans in the Champaign-Urbana community on the topic of Veteran brain health.

Sarah Jones, a junior majoring in speech and hearing science, is working with Raksha Mudar, an associate professor of speech and hearing science, and Margaret Danilovich, Senior Director, CJE SeniorLife, to introduce a video technology platform to economically disadvantaged older adults and to assess its effectiveness in delivering web-based social engagement.


KCH assistant professor Neha Gothe, who received a grant from the National Institute on Aging to fund a new project entitled "Yoga, Aerobic and Stretching Exercise Effects on Neurocognitive Performance: A Randomized Controlled Trial," was interviewed on WAND-TV.

Our Expert Q&A series continued this week with Justine Kaplan, Interim Director, MPH & MSHA Programs, about best practices as restaurants and retail stores re-open in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Our Alumni Spotlight Series focused this week on Marty Morse, who got his kinesiology degree in 1984 and master's in exercise physiology in 1987 at Illinois, and who was the university's first wheelchair track coach in 1984


KCH assistant professor Sandraluz Lara-Cinisomo is participating in the Perinatal COVID-19 Collaborative. Lara-Cinisomo is a member of a group of researchers and clinicians who represent institutions across the country. The group is developing instruments to measure the effects of COVID-19 on the mental health of pregnant and postpartum women.

Lara-Cinisomo is also working on a project involving Latina mental health and COVID-19. She is developing a project with colleagues from California State University San Marcos and the University of California at San Diego to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Latina mothers.

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many governor's orders allow for the increased use of telehealth to conduct patient care. Interdisciplinary Health Sciences assistant teaching professor Kristen DiFilippo is working on a study that will survey the use and acceptance of telehealth by registered dietitians using the Unified Theory of Adoption and Use of Technology 2 as a framework. This will serve to assess organizational readiness for the adoption of telehealth for nutrition care.

If you are conducting research related to COVID-19, or are otherwise helping to solve the coronavirus pandemic, we'd like to know about it.  Please send a brief description of your involvement to

We are also asking our alumni to share information related to how they may be helping to mitigate the pandemic.  We will continue to share these stories as we learn of them.

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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