HHS continues to make news at regional and national levels. Here are a few highlights from the 2012-13 academic year. For the latest, visit WWW.PURDUE.EDU/HHS.
In the 2012 election year, Chris Kowal, assistant professor, used facial recognition software to document what emotions the presidential candidates were projecting to voters during the general election debates. The same technology is used to gauge what focus group participants really feel about a product or advertisement as compared with what they tell marketing researchers. Kowal, who studies the communication of emotions, concluded that Democrat incumbent Barack Obama's message appealed to the emotion of hope, while Republican challenger Mitt Romney's message appealed to the emotions of power and security.
In departmental news, Thomas Templin, professor of health and kinesiology, was named interim head in January.
HEALTH AND KINESIOLOGY
A new exercise program for cancer survivors was offered this summer thanks to collaboration between the Department of Health and Kinesiology and the Lafayette YWCA. The Cancer Wellness Program includes strength training, stretching, yoga, Pilates and cardiovascular fitness.
The annual Purdue Athletes Life Success (PALS) summer program, housed in the Department of Health and Kinesiology, helped hundreds of local youth learn about sports and healthy living. 2013 marked the 12th year for the program, which serves children who qualify based on income guidelines.
In her research study, Jennifer Freeman, assistant professor of toxicology, found that an agricultural herbicide alters reproductive and neuroendocrine genes during embryonic development in fish, a finding that will help establish a genetic profile to determine atrazine's specific effects. "The exact connection to health outcomes is not defined, but we found gene alterations in our animal model when exposed to the level of atrazine that is deemed safe for drinking water," she says. "Also of concern was an increase in head length in the study's young zebrafish when exposed to low doses of this widely used herbicide."
In October, Purdue announced the launching of a scientific gateway website that will provide molecular and genetic information on infectious and emerging diseases. James McGlothlin, associate professor of health sciences, says MolecularHUB (www.molecularHUB.org) will actively foster an environment of co-creation and collaboration. The goal of the site is to expand the current knowledge base of genetic markers, gene sequencing and molecular testing related to infectious diseases, chronic diseases and emerging diseases to help speed the identification and treatment of these diseases.
HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM MANAGEMENT
In April, Liping Cai, professor and director of Purdue's Tourism and Hospitality Research Center and associate dean for diversity and international programs, was among 50 fellows selected nationwide by the American Council for Education. The fellows program combines retreats, interactive learning opportunities, campus visits and placement at another higher education institution to condense years of on-the-job experience and skills development into a single year. Cai studies branding and consumers in tourism and specializes in emerging markets and community-based tourism. He is governor-appointee to the Indiana Tourism Council and is director of the Purdue University China Center.
HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND FAMILY STUDIES
Melissa Franks, assistant professor of human development and family studies, discovered that before spouses take their first step toward fitness, their partner's interest or willingness to participate could sway them. "Marriage commitments focus on a couple's devotion in either a state of sickness or in health, but it's also about the in between — a person's readiness to change for better health," she says. "Married people are likely to engage in similar health behaviors and, in general, a married person's lifestyle choices can directly and indirectly influence their partners."
Ben and Maxine Miller of Lafayette, Ind., established an endowed professorship in child development. The recipient is expected to provide leadership in discovery, learning and engagement related to developing competence in educated, healthy and socially adjusted children and adolescents.
Elliot Friedman, assistant professor of human development and family studies, has received a $1.2 million grant from the National Institute of Aging. Friedman will study why some older adults living with two or more chronic medical conditions are more likely than others to succumb to the effects of aging.
Azza Ahmed, associate professor of nursing, developed an innovative electronic monitoring system that has the potential to increase success rates and reduce morbidities for breastfeeding newborns. The Web-based system, which is simple and interactive, allows a mother or partner to enter breastfeeding data into an online diary. If a problem arises, the system will provide an alert or intervention and could contact a lactation consultant. A mobile version even allows for use with smartphones or handheld devices.
In April, Elizabeth O'Neil, clinical assistant professor of nursing and coordinator of the Family Health Clinic of Monon, received the Community Outreach Award from the Indiana State Board of Nursing during the eleventh annual "Salute to Nurses." Karen Yehle, assistant professor of nursing, received the distinction of fellow from the American Heart Association. Jane Kirkpatrick, head of nursing, was named a fellow to the National League for Nursing Academy of Nursing Education.
Barbara Strasburger, a nurse practitioner at the Family Health Clinic of Carroll County, received the 2013 Indiana State Award for Excellence from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). The award recognizes an NP in each state who demonstrates excellence in clinical practice.
Mario Ferruzzi (left), a professor with dual appointments in nutrition science and the College of Agriculture's Department of Food Science, received Purdue's 2013 Agricultural Research Award for his work in helping to improve food quality and human health and to reduce chronic disease. The award is for scientists who have demonstrated a high level of excellence in research and made significant contributions to agriculture, natural resources and quality of life for Indiana citizens.
Wayne Campbell, professor of nutrition science, has been appointed to serve on the National 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The committee helps determine the federal dietary guidelines.
George Hollich, associate professor of psychological sciences, was one of six Purdue recipients of a 2013 Murphy Award. The University's highest undergraduate teaching honor, the Murphy Award is accompanied by a $10,000 cash award and induction into Purdue's Teaching Academy, which provides leadership for the improvement of undergraduate, graduate and outreach teaching. Charles Murphy was a history professor at Purdue between 1927 and 1970.
Research by Susan E. Swithers, professor of psychological sciences and a behavioral neuroscientist, shows that diet beverages may not be the healthy choice to manage weight that they appear to be. Swithers reviewed and evaluated the most recent research on whether consuming high-intensity sweeteners, despite having zero or low calories, may result in overeating, weight gain or other health problems.
SPEECH, LANGUAGE, AND HEARING SCIENCES
Purdue professors Christine Weber-Fox and Anne Smith (left to right) received a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to understand why some children grow out of stuttering. Weber-Fox, professor of speech, language, and hearing sciences and a cognitive neuroscientist, and Smith, distinguished professor of speech, language, and hearing sciences, lead the Purdue Stuttering Project. They will use their findings to develop a speech therapy screening tool to better identify which preschool children are not likely to recover and should receive therapy immediately.
In December, a newly launched website began providing information and Indiana educational resources focused on eating healthy, managing money and parenting. The College of Health and Human Sciences Extension site features research-based information and programs such as "Where Does Your Money Go," "Family Nutrition Program," "Dining with Diabetes," "Have a Healthy Baby," "Parenting Counts" and "Captain Cash." The site is available at www.purdue.edu/hhs/extension.