News and Events in College of Health and Human Development

Prevention Research Center receives $1.4 million mindfulness research grant Grant from the Institute on Education Sciences focuses on teaching adolescents mindfulness practices
Teaching adolescents mindfulness practices that may strengthen their attention, executive function and emotion regulation skills, and in turn improve their academic and social functioning is the focus of a new grant received by the Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center at Penn State. Mark Greenberg, Edna Peterson Bennett Endowed Chair in Prevention Research and professor of human development and psychology, is the principal investigator. The three-year, $1.4 million grant from the Institute on Education Sciences will enable the integration of mindfulness practices and teachings into the regular high school health curriculum by completing the development of the Learning to BREATHE (L2B) program, a curriculum developed by Trish Broderick, a member of the research faculty at the Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center. L2B is intended to facilitate the development of attention and emotion regulation skills within the context of public high school health classes. In addition, a training program for teachers and school specialists to deliver the program will be developed along with materials to support the program’s implementation in Pennsylvania.
Eating lean beef daily can help lower blood pressure lean beef cuts
Contrary to conventional wisdom, a growing body of evidence shows that eating lean beef can reduce risk factors for heart disease, according to recent research by nutritional scientists. "This research adds to the significant evidence, including work previously done in our lab, that supports lean beef's role in a heart-healthy diet," said Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Distinguished Professor of Nutrition, Penn State. "This study shows that nutrient-rich lean beef can be included as part of a heart-healthy diet that reduces blood pressure, which can help lower the risk for cardiovascular disease." The DASH eating plan -- Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension -- is currently recommended by the American Heart Association to lower blood pressure and reduce risk of heart disease. People following the DASH diet are encouraged to eat fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and protein predominantly from plant sources.
Health and Human Development funds biological mechanisms research
The College of Health and Human Development recently awarded funding to numerous investigators for research focused on biological mechanisms underlying health, development, disease, or disability and/or biological indicators of health outcomes. This funding initiative was designed to assist faculty with biologically-oriented research advance their projects and enhance their potential for securing extramural funding.
Students with vision impairments transition to college via Summer Academy Students at bottom of escalator
Imagine venturing across a high-ropes course for the first time, balancing on cables two stories above the ground. Now imagine doing it if you were blind. A high-ropes course is just one of many challenges on tap this summer for students participating in the Summer Academy, a program for high school students who are blind or visually impaired that will be held at Penn State for the first time this summer. The three-week program runs from July 13-Aug. 1 and is free for qualifying students. Students will live in Penn State dorm rooms.
Classes reduce pregnancy complications for stressed mothers
mom and dad with newborn
Pregnant women with moderate to high levels of stress and anxiety are at higher risk for complications during pregnancy and delivery. However, Penn State researchers have developed an educational preparation program for expectant couples that has recently been shown to improve birth outcomes. "Because stress, anxiety and depression are widespread, it's crucial to find ways to help pregnant women and their partners become more emotionally healthy during pregnancy without the use of prescription drugs—which may carry side effects for the pregnancy and fetal development," said Mark E. Feinberg, research professor of health and human development and senior scientist of the Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development.
Anthony R. D'Augelli
Anthony R. D'Augelli to participate as panelist in response to PBS documentary June 20, 2014
Anthony R. D'Augelli, professor of human development and family studies, will participate in a panel responding to the national broadcast premiere of the film "Broken Heart Land." The film focuses on a gay young man living in a rural town who took his own life; it is part of the PBS series "America ReFramed."
Child Care Center at Hort Woods named grand prize winner in design showcase Child Care Center at Hort Woods
College Planning & Management magazine has named the Child Care Center at Hort Woods on the Penn State University Park campus as the Grand Prize Winner in the higher education division of its annual Education Design Showcase. Each year the Education Design Showcase panel of judges selects two Grand Prize winners: one from K-12 categories and one from higher education categories. Honorable Mention and Project of Distinction designations are also awarded. All projects entered in the showcase are evaluated by a jury of architects and facility planners for excellence in design and functional planning directed toward meeting the needs of the education program. Lisa Wegner, Stephanie Lanza, Donna Coffman, and Brian Bumbarger
Researchers win awards at Society for Prevention Research 2014 Annual Meeting
Several researchers affiliated with the Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center and The Methodology Center, research centers in Penn State's College of Health and Human Development, won awards at the Society for Prevention Research 2014 Annual Meeting.
Zarit featured at symposium on dementia and caregiving in Ireland Steve Zarit
Steven Zarit, distinguished professor and head of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, recently presented at a symposium on dementia and caregiving in Dublin, Ireland. The event, held in May, was organized by the Dementia Services Information and Development Centre (DSIDC) involving St James’s Hospital and Trinity College Dublin.
Promotions in academic rank, effective July 1, 2014
Health and Human Development faculty are represented in list of academic promotions for tenured and tenure-line faculty at Penn State, effective July 1.
Zarit receives recognition from PA Adult Day Services Association L>R) Pam Barton, Brian Duke, Steven Zarit, Teresa Johnson
Steven Zarit, distinguished professor and head of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, was presented a Certificate of Appreciation by the PA Adult Day Services Association (PADSA) for his research and dedication that has helped to quantify the value of adult day services. According to the PADSA, in addition to more than 25 years of helping professionals understand the role of family caregivers, Zarit has validated the benefits of adult day services for both family caregivers and their loved ones with dementia who attend the programs.
HDFS doctoral student receives NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
Allison Doub, a doctoral student in Penn State's Department of Human Development and Family Studies with a minor in nutrition, has been awarded a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Doub is one of 2,000 graduate students in the 2014 fellowship class. According to the National Science Foundation, this year’s group comes from 442 baccalaureate institutions; 1,069 members are women and 382 are from underrepresented groups; 55 are persons with disabilities; and 37 are veterans. The research agenda proposed in her fellowship application focuses on reducing the gap between science and practice by leveraging new media channels to accelerate the distribution and uptake of evidence-based parenting and nutrition information. Emphasis will be placed on parental use of food blogs by parents of preschool-aged children. Blogs are popular websites among young parents and may be a source of social influence on readers’ own feeding decisions.
Undergraduate Thesis Award winner and finalists announced
Emphasis is on the importance of utilizing quality research methods
Undergraduate thesis award winners 2014
The winners of the Penn State University Libraries' 2014 Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis awards have been announced. Top winner of the $1,250 award is Chloe Quinn Weaver, history and German, for her thesis "An Economic and Historical Analysis of Turkish Guest Worker Migration to Postwar West Germany." Natalie Roberts, history and political science, was awarded $750 for her thesis “History of Organic Farming in California and Pennsylvania.” Ronald Paul Mack Jr., kinesiology, was awarded $500 for his thesis "Marginal Zinc Intake Impairs Mammary Gland Involution, Increases Oxidative Stress and Disrupts Ductal Integrity Abrogating the Protective Effect of Lactation on Breast Tumorigenesis in a Mouse Model." The annual competition, coordinated by Endowed/Distinguished Chairs/Librarians, includes a review of the submitted theses by a faculty jury and a public oral presentation by the students chosen as finalists. It provides an opportunity to fully appreciate the academic quality of Penn State students and the depth of their undergraduate research.
Hospitals recover from recession, some financial issues remain
The recent economic recession affected hospitals across the nation, regardless of financial status, but following the rebound, financially weak and safety-net hospitals continue to struggle, according to health researchers. "Poor financial outcomes [for hospitals] could lead to poor care," said Naleef Fareed, assistant professor of health policy and administration, Penn State. "This is an issue that needs attention as health care reform moves forward." Fareed and colleagues used data from both the American Hospital Association Annual Survey and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to analyze how different groups of hospitals fared financially during the recession, and where these groups stand as health care reform continues in the United States. Jeanna Stiadle
Jeanna Stiadle named Health and Human Development college marshal
Jeanna Stiadle, daughter of Thomas and Eileen Stiadle of Montgomery, Pa., served as the student marshal at the May 10 commencement ceremony for the College of Health and Human Development at Penn State. She received a bachelor's degree in communication sciences and disorders with minors in vocal performance, and human development and family studies. While at Penn State, Stiadle was a Schreyer Honors Scholar and a member of the McNair Scholars Program and the Women's Leadership Initiative. She earned an Alumni Recognition for Student Excellence Award, a Communication Sciences and Disorders Award, an Evan Pugh Scholar Award, a President Sparks Award and a President's Freshman Award.
CTSI awards more than $400,000 in grants to Penn State scientists
Nine research projects at Penn State College of Medicine and University Park campus received more than $400,000 from the Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) through its Novel Methodologies in Health Research program. “The CTSI is a vehicle to bring together people from different points of view to examine real medical problems,” said Dr. Lawrence Sinoway, CTSI director. “The projects are a real manifestation of our mission.” Of the 32 research teams that applied, nine were selected for funding, for a total of $418,762 awarded. Researchers can now implement their ideas in hopes that they will one day translate to practical use.
Mobile health apps lack behavior-change techniques woman exercising, looking at smartphone
Behavior-change techniques are not well represented in the marketing materials for top-rated physical-activity apps, according to a team of Penn State researchers. They also found that two types of physical-activity apps are available on the market -- those that focus on educating users on how to perform different exercises and those that focus on supporting users' motivation for physical activity. "The app marketplace is largely unregulated and users make decisions based on developers' descriptions of apps," said David Conroy, professor of kinesiology. "Our results suggest that developers have not incorporated many behavior-change techniques to date, and there may be opportunities to integrate behavioral science to make apps that are more effective for helping people who seek to change their behavior and become more active."
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