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Illinois College of Applied Health Sciences

Dear AHS faculty and staff:

Hello, all. We received good news this past week as university vaccination rates across all populations have risen. For example, 90 percent of undergraduate students report being fully vaccinated, and 84 percent of faculty. Good work, everyone! I am proud of the commitment you have all made to keep yourselves and your colleagues safe.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a critical need for blood donations. Consider donating to support the local community and schedule an appointment today.

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


The university hosted its annual 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb on Thursday morning to honor the first responders who sacrificed their lives during the Sept. 11 attacks.

Illini alum—including KCH graduate Steve Serio—collected 11 medals in their triumphant time at the Paralympics in Tokyo.

The News-Gazette also featured the Illini Paralympians on its front page.

AHS alumna Gina Lathan and fellow Illinois grad Stacy Grundy opened Route History just one block east of Route 66 in Springfield, Ill. Read more about how they're sharing the history of the Black experience on the legendary road.


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.


RST alum Alex Dam is looking to hire interns for spring and summer 2022 at NBC Sports. If you have students you think would be interested, please email Alex. He is looking forward to giving back!


Need help with Compass, Canvas, Zoom, Mediaspace, or any other eLearning tool? Drop into one of our eLearning Virtual Office Hours every Tuesday and Thursday from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. If you can’t make virtual office hours, send us a message or schedule an appointment and we’ll be happy to assist you.


KCH Professor Wendy Rogers has received a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research Grant from the National Institute on Aging—a division of the National Institutes of Health—for a project entitled, Stretching Their Reach: Robotic Support for Domestic Activities for Older Individuals with Mobility Limitations. Dr. Rogers is the principal investigator for the University of Illinois, and Aaron Edsinger is the Principal Investigator for Hello Robot, the company partnering with Dr. Rogers and her collaborators, which include Dr. Harshal Mahajan and Dr. Travis Kadylak from the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health. The grant amount is $256,064. The project involves the use of Stretch, the home helper robot created by Hello Robot. The research will identify the specific characteristics of home tasks for which support is needed; develop tools to enable Stretch to effectively perform these tasks; and design an easy-to-use interface that older adults can use to control Stretch to carry out their desired tasks.

Congratulations to SHS Associate Professor Raksha Mudar and KCH Professor Wendy Rogers on their new grant project entitled "Integrating Voice-Activation Technology with a Social Engagement Platform for Older Adults With and Without Mild Cognitive Impairment in Assisted Living". This grant is a partnership between Drs. Mudar and Rogers, and industry partner iN2L, led by Illinois alumna Lydia Nguyen. This project is funded by the National Institute on Aging through a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research Grant. The aims are to integrate voice-activation technology with social engagement features on the iN2L digital platform and conduct rigorous usability testing with older adults with and without mild cognitive impairment in assisted living communities. 

SHS Associate Professors Marie Channell (principal investigator) and Laura Mattie (Co-investigator), Department of Psychology Clinical Assistant Professor Amy Cohen (Co-I), and their colleagues at Emory University and Johns Hopkins University/Kennedy Krieger Institute were awarded a two-year $440,000 R21 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for the project “Evaluating ASD Symptomatology in Children with Down Syndrome.” Their study will evaluate the psychometric characteristics of current autism spectrum disorder (ASD) symptom measures and characterize ASD symptom profiles in a large, nationwide sample of 6- to 18-year-olds with Down syndrome. The team will also explore the feasibility of tele-assessment for performance-based ASD evaluations of children with Down syndrome. This project is part of the NIH DS INCLUDE (INvestigation of Co-occurring conditions across the Lifespan to Understand Down syndromE) Project initiative and contributes to clinical trials readiness by providing ASD measures in Down syndrome that can screen for ASD risk to identify candidates for treatment, stratify cohorts by ASD sub-profiles, and monitor response to treatment across these profiles.


RST Associate Professor Liza Berdychevsky has a new book entitled, "Sex in tourism: Exploring the light and the dark." The book, written by Dr. Berdychevsky and Neil Carr, encompasses the diversity and complexity of sex in tourism, incorporating the light, dark and shades of grey in between. Sex in tourism has arguably been an understudied area of research relative to the central roles that sex plays within tourism experiences. It will be of interest to students and researchers of tourism impacts, tourist behaviour, hospitality management, destination management and development. You can purchase the book here.

KCH Professor David Strauser has a new publication entitled, “Personal, health and function, and career maintenance factors as determinants of quality of life among employed people with multiple sclerosis” in the journal Work. This study by Dr. Strauser and his collaborators examined the extent to which factors at the personal, health and function, and environmental/career maintenance levels contribute to the predictability power for quality of life among employed people with MS. Participants who perceived better overall health and lower levels of stress, who experienced less severe cognitive and mobility-related MS symptoms, and who expressed stronger job-person matches and higher levels of job satisfaction reported higher quality of life scores than did other participants.


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. Please feel free to reach out to contact Charles Stephens, Director of AHS Career Services, for questions about the event or with registration assistance.


Join us on Friday as the Department of Speech and Hearing Science will be holding a special event celebrating the contributions of Dr. Karen Kirk, Shahid and Ann Carlson Khan Professor and former Department Head (2014-2020), to the field of communication sciences and disorders. Dr. Kirk will share a lecture entitled “The beginning of cochlear implants and beyond: My experiences in Communication Sciences and Disorders” during the SHS Proseminar from noon to 12:50 p.m. in Room 213 Gregory Hall. She will also be honored at a reception from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in Room 114 Huff Hall. Please join us to congratulate Dr. Kirk on her retirement!


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 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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