Health & Kinesiology Distinctive Service Awards

2016 marked the 100 year anniversary of the Department of Health & Kinesiology. As part of the celebration, we initiated the Distinctive Service Awards. These awards honor Purdue faculty, staff, and alumni for their influential contributions in fields represented by Health & Kinesiology.


2022 Distinctive Award Recipients 


Scott Hutton, earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of Health and Human Sciences (HHS), Department of Health and Kinesiology, in 1995. Mr. Hutton is the President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Biodesix (NASDAQ: BDSX) in Boulder, Colorado, where his personal leadership philosophy emphasizes ‘helping people, giving back, and positively impacting and improving people’s health and lives’. Under his direction and leadership, Biodesix has grown into a leading patient-centric lung disease diagnostics company with a mission to improve patient outcomes and lower healthcare costs by developing diagnostic solutions that reduce ineffective and unnecessary treatments. In 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic while working remotely, Hutton guided Biodesix to pivot to offer COVID testing and services, and then led the Biodesix team through an initial public offering (IPO) in October. Hutton is an accomplished, inspirational and strategic transformational leader with 24+ years of experience in the biotech, diagnostics, and medical device industries. He has a proven track record of successfully recruiting, developing, and leading high performance cross-functional teams credited with 50+ product launches positively impacting tens of millions of patients globally. Prior to being named Biodesix CEO, Hutton held the role of Biodesix Chief Operating Officer from March 2018 to December 2019. He joined Biodesix from Spectranetics Corp (NASDAQ: SPNC), now part of Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG), where he served, until acquisition, as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Vascular Intervention division from January 2017 to December 2017. Prior to joining Spectranetics, Hutton spent 16+ years at Medtronic plc (NYSE: MDT) in a variety of roles and leadership positions where he most recently led the Neurosurgery business unit as Vice President and General Manager. Hutton currently serves on the Eximis Surgical Board of Directors. He has held many advisory, director, and observer positions, including Colorado BioScience Association (CBSA) Board of Directors (2011-2013), Aqueduct Critical Care Board of Directors Observer (2014-2017), and Visualase Board of Directors Observer (2012-2014). Hutton’s achievements and recognition include receiving the 2022 Purdue University Health and Kinesiology Distinctive Service Award, receiving the 2022 Purdue University Health and Human Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award, being named a 2021 Purdue University Old Master (the highest honor Purdue students can bestow upon an alumnus), receiving the 2021 Significant Sig Award from Sigma Chi International Fraternity, being named a Top 25 Biotech CEO of 2021 by the Healthcare Technology Report, being named 2020 CEO of the Year-USA by CEO Monthly Magazine, Biodesix being named 2019 Company of the year by the Colorado BioScience Association (CBSA), Medtronic receiving the CBSA Chairman’s Award in 2015, and receiving the 2011 Medtronic Wallin Leadership Award.

2021 Distinctive Award Redipients


Wojtek Chodzko‑Zajko, PhD, earned a bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of London and a Ph.D. degree in Kinesiology from Purdue University.  Dr. Chodzko-Zajko’s primary research interests are in the area of aging and health. For many years he was the Head of the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health and the Shahid and Ann Carlson Khan Endowed Professor of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois.  For the past six years, he has served as Dean of the Graduate College at the University of Illinois. Dr. Chodzko‑Zajko research focuses on public policy and public health recommendations related to physical activity and healthy living.  He served on the World Health Organization committee that developed the WHO Guidelines for Physical Activity among Older Persons. Chodzko-Zajko was the Principal Investigator for a series of projects charged with developing a national strategy for promoting healthy aging in the USA. The National Blueprint: Increasing Physical Activity among Adults Age 50 and Older serves as a guide for multiple organizations, associations, and agencies, to inform and support their planning work related to increasing physical activity among America's aging population. Chodzko-Zajko chaired the writing group that authored the American College of Sports Medicine’s Position Stand on Physical Activity and Exercise for Older Adults. Dr. Chodzko-Zajko was the founding Editor of the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity from 1992-2002.  He served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the American Council on Exercise and is a Past-President of the American Kinesiology Association. He currently serves as President of the AAU Association of Graduate Schools and Chair of the ETS Graduate Education Advisory Council.



Kathleen A. Stroia, M.S., P.T., ATC, earned a B.A. in Sports Science with an emphasis on Athletic Training from Purdue University, an M.S. in Athletic Training from West Virginia University and a B.S. in Physical Therapy from Chicago Medical School which prepared her to launch her career in professional sports. For more than 30 years, Kathleen Stroia has been a transformational leader in creating a wide range of global health and wellness programs for professional tennis players. Stroia Upon joining the WTA in 1990, Stroia established the Sport Sciences & Medicine department developing standards of care coordinated with WTA tournament physicians worldwide and conducting research to address injury prevention and women’s health issues including Performance Health and Mental Health & Wellness resulting in the groundbreaking WTA Age Eligibility Rule for young athletes and WTA Player Development programs to enhance career longevity. As Senior Vice President Stroia continues to lead her innovative team to bring a holistic approach to tennis medicine and athlete development including, WTA University to provide ongoing education for athletes and staff and WTA Advantage to counsel athletes in their transition from playing to their post-careers. A native of Merrillville, Indiana, Kathleen Stroia has been an industry leader, transforming the standards for tennis medicine. Stroia brings her expertise to diverse areas from anti-doping to athlete development for global organizations including the International Tennis Federation (ITF), National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA), Society for Tennis Medicine & Science (STMS), United States Tennis Association (USTA), Professional Association of Athlete Development Specialist (PAADS), International Tennis Performance Association (iPTA), the US Congressional Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020. She has been responsible for assembling the health care staff for women’s tennis at eight Olympics and served as an athletic trainer and physical therapist for the 2012 London Olympics.  Stroia has presented and published articles covering topics including fitness, sports performance analytics and the management of sports injuries. Among her awards, Stroia was named as one of Tennis Industry Magazine’s “40 under 40” exceptional talents and received both the prestigious NATA “Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award” and the International Tennis Hall of Fame Tennis “Education Merit Award.”


Ralph-Taylor.pngRalph Taylor earned a Bachelor's degree from Purdue University in 1969. Mr. Taylor is an independent youth development consultant and one of the Radio Color Analyst's for Purdue Men’s Basketball. Ralph is currently Purdue University’s representative on the Big Ten Advisory Commission. Mr. Taylor is an International Resource Advisor consultant, partnering with local organizations as well as newcomer communities in Indianapolis to create a more welcoming environment for Indianapolis’ growing international community. By connecting newcomer communities to the various resources in Indianapolis and through educating the broader community to the changing demographics locally and statewide, he hopes to accomplish his goal of helping to create a more welcoming environment. He was recognized in July 2009 by the Chin Community of Indiana for his outstanding service to the Chin community. He is one of the few people in Indianapolis who has established ongoing relationships with the Asian, African, West Indian, Middle East, Eastern & Central European and American Indian communities. Ralph previously worked for the Mayor’s Office (Indianapolis) of International & Cultural Affairs. During his career, Ralph has been a Grants Officer for the Central Indiana Community Foundation, Director of Community Service for The Indiana Youth Institute, Recreation Administrator for Indy Parks, an Extension Educator for the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service, and a teacher for Indianapolis Public Schools. Community and professional activities include President of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Board of Directors, Treasurer of the American Indian Center of Indiana, Treasurer of the Asian American alliance of Indiana, Immigrant Welcome Center Board, United Way of Central Indiana Committee on Diversity, IPS Education Foundation Board, Advisor for the Chin Refugee Community and 2010 Indiana MultiEthnic Conference Planning Committee. A Purdue graduate, Ralph was selected in 1995 as one of the top four fan favorites in Purdue basketball history.



2020 Distinctive Award Recipients


Walter L. Jenkins, PT, MS, LAT, ATC, DHS, received his Bachelor of Physical Education degree from Purdue University in 1977, and a Master of Science in Physical Education from West Virginia University in 1979. Dr. Jenkins was awarded a Master of Science in Physical Therapy in 1982, and a Doctor of Health Sciences degree in 2003 from the University of Indianapolis. Dr. Jenkins is the Professor and Chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences at Georgia Southern University. Walt has been a faculty member and administrator for over 30 years serving at Nazareth College, East Carolina University, the University of Kansas Medical Center, and the University of Indianapolis.  Throughout his academic career Dr. Jenkins has been active in teaching and curriculum development, administration, and service.  Walt’s research focus is epidemiology and prevention of athletic injury.  He has continued to be clinically active throughout his career by serving as a physical therapy consultant to university athletic programs and local clinics.  Dr. Jenkins is very active in the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and the American Academy of Sports Physical Therapy (AASPT) where he currently serves as academy president (2016-2022).  Walt is a long-time member of the National Athletic Trainers Association.  In 2010 Walt received the AASPT’s Ron Peyton Award and was inducted into the AASPT Hall of Fame for Lifetime Achievement in 2012.



John Knote, MD, earned a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from Purdue University in 1959. While at Purdue, he spent two years as a manager for the football team and was the third person ever to represent the university as Purdue Pete. Dr. Knote graduated from the Indiana University Medical School in 1964 and interned at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis, TN. After working at Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne, he returned to Tippecanoe County and worked with Diagnostic Medical Imaging at Home Hospital for eighteen years. John held numerous positions in the American College of Radiology, from whom he received the Gold Medal, and the Indiana State Medical Association, including ISMA president from 1983-84. He also held numerous positions in the American Medical Association, the highest being Speaker of the House of Delegates from 2000-03. John was also a member of the Indiana Roentgen Society and belonged to the American Roentgen Ray Society, the Radiologic Society of North America, and the American College of Nuclear Medicine. John was a life-long member of the John Purdue Club, receiving the Diamond P award for distinguished service. He also served on the Purdue Athletic Affairs Committee for over 20 years and the Alumni Association Board of Directors for six years.



Catherine Ortega, PT, EdD, ATC, OCS, received a Bachelor of Arts in Movement in Sports Science from Purdue University. Dr. Ortega received her Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Education from West Virginia University, a Master’s degree in Physical Therapy from Texas Women’s University, a Doctorate degree in Outcomes Assessment and Education from University of Texas in Austin, and most recently a certificate in public health from UT Health-Houston. Dr. Ortega is a physical therapist, athletic trainer and orthopedic clinical specialist practicing for over 25 years in a variety of clinical settings to include professional women’s tennis and Olympic committee events as well as in-patient acute care, home health and outpatient orthopaedics. She has presented courses for health care professionals internationally in the areas of orthopaedics, sports medicine, and on-field emergency care. Nationally and within a DPT curriculum, as UT Health San Antonio Program Director and tenured faculty member for 16 years, she has taught courses in therapeutic exercise, cardiopulmonary dysfunction, research design, professional issues, pharmacology, anatomy and differential diagnosis. Her research interest has been in the area of performance enhancement with most recent research projects in the areas of community engagement and student development.  She most recently served as Chairperson of Faculty Development in the Academic Faculty SIG for the APTA Education Academy, and is currently Chair for the WFATT International Development Committee, Co-Chair of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Advocacy Strategies (IDEAS) Committee for the BOC, and recently appointed as Commissioner on the PT Panel for CAPTE (Commission on Accreditation for PT Education). Dr. Ortega has taken on a new role with the University of Utah to establish an expansion program and hopes to bring principles of diversity and inclusion to all aspects of the DPT program.


2019 Distinctive Award Recipients

Dr. Willard LewallenWillard (Will) Lewallen, PhD, completed a B.S. degree with honors from California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, two master’s degrees from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. from UCLA.  Dr. Lewallen has served as a college president for 12 years and since 2012 served as the superintendent/president for the Hartnell Community College District serving the Salinas Valley of California. He has 40 years of higher education experience including 5 years as an academic advisor at Purdue University and 35 years in the California Community College system. Dr. Lewallen is currently a Commissioner for the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. He served as president of the Association of California Community College Administrators, a professional organization representing over 1,100 administrators. He is currently serving his 5th term as Chair of the Board of Directors for the Community College Facility Coalition. He serves locally on several boards including the Monterey County Workforce Development Board, the Board of Directors for the United Way of Monterey County, and the Board of Directors for the Big Sur Land Trust.


John SchraderJohn Schrader, PhD, earned a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University in 1971, master’s degree from the University of Washington and an HSD from Indiana University. In 1977, Dr. Schrader became the coordinator of the Indiana University Athletic Training Education Program. He later became the Graduate Athletic Training Program Director and Associate Chair of the Kinesiology Department. Dr. Schrader is a national leader in education and research in the field of athletic training. He has served the athletic training profession by chairing many committees. John co-chaired the NATA educational task force group that was instrumental in educational reform. He has served in many leadership roles on the state, district and national levels including President of GLATA (1984 – 87) and member of the NATA Board of Directors (1988 – 92) having served as Vice-President of the board from 1990 – 91. Dr. Schrader has received numerous awards for his service to his community and athletic training profession. He was named Sagamore of the Wabash in 1991 by Governor Robert Orr. John is a member of the NATA Hall of Fame (1998).


2018 Distinctive Award Recipients


Anthony A. Annarino, PhD, was a professor emeritus of kinesiology at Purdue University and a faculty member from 1951 until his retirement in 1986. A Pennsylvania native, Dr. Annarino served in the Air Corps from 1942 to 1945 with the 465th Bomb Group in Italy. After his military service, he attended Slippery Rock University, where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1948. Next, he went to Indiana for his master's degree from Purdue University in 1951 and his doctorate from Indiana University in 1961. After graduation from Purdue, Dr. Annarino joined its faculty in the Health and Kinesiology Department, where he would eventually rise to full professor. His career also includes positions as a visiting professor at World Campus Afloat, Catholic University (Chile), Kiel University (Germany), and Eastern Michigan University. Dr. Annarino also consulted on developing curriculums at numerous school districts and universities. In addition, he was a Peace Corps trainer, athletic coach, and a YMCA physical director. Dr. Annarino was selected as the first Midwest Scholar in 1984 by the Midwest AAHPERD. In 1999, he was inducted as a charter member in the Book of Great Teachers at Purdue University. 


David W. Smith, PhD, is a psychologist and educator. Dr. Smith was born in 1927 and is the son of Lowell and Ruth Smith.  He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University in 1949, followed by Master’s and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Indiana University in 1953 and 1955 respectfully.  Dr. Smith also completed a two-year post-doctoral training program in rehabilitation, sponsored by the then Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Washington, D.C. Dr. Smith is Professor Emeritus of the University of Arizona, having worked there for 50 years, including 32 years in the College of Medicine. He was Assistant Vice President for Health Sciences for six years, working for founding Dean, Monte Duval.



2017 Distinctive Award Recipients

Abdelrahman Hafez Ismail, known by most simply as “Ish”, was born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1923.  As an athlete, Ish competed in basketball for the Egyptian National Basketball Team at the Olympic Games in London in 1948 and Helsinki in 1952. Born in Alexandria, Egypt, he received his Bachelor’s degree at Cairo University, a double Master's Degree, and a Health and Safety Doctorate from Indiana University. His work was known across the globe. He joined Purdue University in 1958 as a Professor where he studied the impact of exercise and physical fitness on such diverse human domains as personality, hearing acuity, emotional stability, the body’s biochemical make-up, and intellectuals function. He created Purdue’s adult fitness program, where for over 20 years he personally helped over 1,000 men and women experience the joy of improved vigor and health. “Exercise,” Ish often said, “is nature’s medicine.” Purdue University proudly created the Ismail Center named in memory of this extraordinary gentleman and scholar. The Ismail Center is designed to recapture Ish’s health and fitness scholarship, teaching and service model, and contribution. 


John R. Seffrin, PhD, has been on the frontlines of the war against cancer for many years, not only as CEO of the American Cancer Society, but also - for many years before that - as one of the Society's roughly three million volunteers nationwide. Under his leadership, the Society has become the world's largest voluntary health organization fighting cancer, with a billion dollars in resources to save lives by helping people stay well and get well, by finding cures, and by fighting back. Under his leadership, the American Cancer Society has become a leading advocacy organization. He spearheaded the creation of the Society's nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action NetworkSM, of which he is also the chief executive officer. Dr. Seffrin is active in numerous organizations. He currently serves on the White House Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health, as well as the Advisory Committee to the Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a Secretary-level appointment. Dr. Seffrin is a past president of the Geneva-headquartered Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), the first globally-oriented cancer non-governmental organization (NGO), and has served as chairman of the board of Independent Sector, the largest coalition of nonprofit groups. He also helped to create the National Center for Tobacco-Free Kids (now the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids), among his many collaborations and affiliations. Dr. Seffrin holds a B.S. degree from Ball State University, a M.S. degree in health education from the University of Illinois, and a Ph.D. in health education from Purdue University. Ball State University, Purdue University, Thomas Jefferson University, Indiana University, and Mercer University have also bestowed honorary doctorates upon him in recognition of his more than three decades of leadership in the worldwide fight against cancer. 


Annie Elble-Todt, PhD, has a Master of Public Health (MPH), PhD in Foods & Nutrition, and BS in Biomedical Engineering, all from Purdue University.  Dr. Elble-Todt co-founded Give Hope Fight Poverty and has been working with orphaned & vulnerable children of Southern Africa & designing service-learning programs for US college students & young professionals since 2007. Later, she lived in Swaziland, Africa & worked for Baylor College of Medicine's Pediatric HIV Clinic in Mbabane as a Visiting Scholar.  During this time, she facilitated the development of a national protocol on infant feeding pertaining to reducing the transmission of HIV/AIDS, volunteered at an HIV orphanage, & worked closely with the University of Swaziland's Nursing & Community Health department to assist with a nationwide community health needs assessment. Since returning to the states, Dr. Elble-Todt consulted with domestic and African nonprofit organizations to increase global opportunities for US college students while simultaneously implementing sustainable programs that improved the lives for orphans living in child-headed homes.


2016 Distinctive Award Recipients


David Craig

David H. Craig is an alumnus of Purdue University's groundbreaking Athletic Training program. He worked as an athletic trainer with the Indiana Pacers for 38 years — 35 of those years as the head athletic trainer. Mr. Craig is a member of the Indiana and National Athletic Trainer's Hall of Fame. He is an expert in sacroiliac joint assessments and as a clinician prescribes exercises as indicated for various abnormalities such as foot, knee, hip, low back and neck pain. He developed the "Stretching With A Purpose (SWAP)" program to address the needs of his patients. He has consulted with many college athletic training programs across the country. Using a patient-focused approach, Mr. Craig challenges colleagues and students to think creatively in pursuit of the best treatment options.



Robert D. Otten received his bachelor's and master's degrees in health education with distinction from Purdue University. He currently serves as Vice President of Health Policy at the American Medication Association (AMA). Since joining the AMA, Mr. Otten has been instrumental in the development of AMA policies on several key socioeconomic issues that impact physician practice: Medicare and Medicaid reform; containment of health care costs; economic research and analysis of high—priority AMA advocacy campaigns; and revision of current procedural terminology (CPT) codes among other health policy issues. Mr. Otten has written extensively on health care financing, delivery and review issues in leading health policy journals.




Ray Anne Shrader, PhD, began her career at Purdue University in 1959. In addition to the responsibilities of a busy faculty member, Dr. Shrader provided leadership in many ways: developing and supervising the undergraduate curriculum, serving as an academic advisor and faculty fellow, chair for various university committees, and as a member of the College of Liberal Arts Senate in several different capacities. Dr. Shrader helped develop the movement and sports science curriculumader andher long-time colleague, Dr. Jane Maver, conducted the innovative Developmental Movement Education activity program for preschool children for 25 years. Dr. Shrader also established an HK undergraduate travel scholarship. She retired from Purdue in 1993 and was named Professor Emerita.



Rebecca Spencer, PhD, graduated from Purdue University in the interdisciplinary program in Neuroscience concentrating on neural control of movement under Dr. Howard Zelaznik. Dr. Spencer's post-doctoral work on neural control of motor sequence learning was funded by a National Institutes of Health National Research Service Award and was subsequently awarded an NIH Pathways to Independence Award for studies on the age-related changed in sleep dependent consolidation of motor learning. Dr. Spencer is now a tenured associate professor at the University of Massachusetts Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences. Her current work is broadly focused on the functions of sleep. To date, she has received over $4 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health.



Mohammad R. Torabi, PhD, received his PhD from Purdue University in 1982 and is currently Chancellor's Professor and Dean of the IU School of Public Health. Dr. Torabi also serves as Co-Director of the rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention. Dr. Torabi's research focus is public and school health behavior specifically in the area of tobacco as a gateway drug. Dr. Torabi has served on numerous boards throughout his career and currently is the Health Education commissioner for the International Council for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation. He has received many service awards and was selected as a Distinguished Alumnus of Purdue's College of Liberal Arts. Dr. Torabi is a Fellow of the American Academy of Health Behavior, American School Health Association, AAHPERD Research Consortium, American Association of Health Education and the North American Society of HPER.


Health & Kinesiology, 800 W. Stadium Ave., West Lafayette, IN 47907, PH:(765) 494-3170, Fax: (765) 496-1239

2016 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by Health & Kinesiology

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact Purdue Marketing and Media at