AHS New Faculty: Liza Berdychevsky
Published Date:November 11, 2013
Dr. Liza Berdychevsky, one of the newest additions to the Department of Recreation, Sports, and Tourism, began her work at the University of Illinois in August of 2013. Dr. Berdychevsky obtained her Ph.D. in Health and Human Performance with a concentration in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism, with minors in Sociology as well as Research and Evaluation Methods, from the University of Florida.
With the University of Illinois having such a large capacity for research, Dr. Berdychevsky was elated when she received this position. Her research interests focuses on the matters of gender, identity, risk-taking, and well-being in recreation, sport, and tourism. Dr. Berdychevsky’s dissertation focused on women’s sexual risk-taking in tourism, which revealed that sexual risk-taking in tourism is complex and multidimensional; including physical, social, sexual health, emotional, mental/self-perceptional, and cultural aspects. These findings allow health programs and informational campaigns to better address sexual risk behaviors associated with various leisure and travel contexts, as well as offer deeper understanding of the risk taking perceptions and motivations in everyday life and tourism.
Dr. Berdychevsky is thrilled to start working at the University of Illinois, and is happy to do research here. One of her favorite things about Illinois, so far, is the beauty of Illinois’s nature. She is currently expanding her research on sexual risk-taking in leisure and tourism contexts and looking forward to interdisciplinary collaborations. She can be reached through her email, email@example.com.
Published Date: November 11, 2013
Illinois Faculty & Extension Staff Leading Action Research & Outreach Program about the ACA
Published Date:October 23, 2013
The installment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will make preventive care more accessible and affordable for many Americans. While this landmark legislation will make it possible and compulsory for all Americans to have health insurance, there are significant issues such as confusion about details of the insurance program, factual information, and attitudinal constraints that will affect if and how people who qualify for the ACA insurance program actually follow up to learn their options and how to enroll. The specifics of this act are thus not very well understood and complicated for the general population. This uncertainty has led the University of Illinois Extension to develop an initiative to bring education concerning the ACA to specific target populations, such as young adults, individuals in low income communities, self-employed individuals, and people who do not yet qualify for Medicare. Dr. Laura Payne, an associate professor of Recreation, Sport, and Tourism (RST) and Extension Specialist, stressed the importance of outreach and education concerning the changes to healthcare in order to allow uninsured Americans to fully take advantage of the ACA. Dr. Payne stated that several of the largest barriers to fulfilling the goal of educating communities about the ACA were misinformation, rumors, and negative labeling of the ACA.
The U of I Extension is doing an action research project to better understand community college students’ awareness, attitudes and subjective norms regarding the ACA insurance program, which in Illinois is called Get Covered Illinois. There are several rationales for targeting this population. Community colleges rarely offer their students health insurance. Community college students who are young adults are often healthy and may not think about needing health insurance. Additionally, although young adults can stay on their parents insurance until age 26, many community college students may not have that option if their parents also do not have health insurance. Furthermore, community colleges also enroll many workforce development/re-entry students who may have been laid off or have chosen to change careers (and these adults may not have insurance for themselves and their families). Finally, community colleges attract a diverse group of students (e.g., socioeconomic status, ethnicity/race, health status).
Dr. Payne has spent most of her professional career working with individuals and communities concerning the connections among leisure, health, and wellness. She also directed the Illinois Rural Recreation Development Project (IRRDP), Illinois Senior Wellness Initiative (ISWI) and coordinates the interprofessional rural health preceptorship in Centralia, IL (with St. Mary’s Hospital) through UIC’s National Center for Rural Health Professions. She has been involved on many boards and projects concerning the health and wellbeing of Illinois residents. Dr. Payne has been involved with various organizations concerning the betterment of Illinois residents, as well as conducting research on the role of leisure in health promotion and maintenance among older adults.
For more information about the Affordable Care Act, please visit Kaiser Family Foundation’s website at http://kff.org/. To learn more about Illinois’ ACA insurance program, please visit the Get Covered Illinois website: http://getcoveredillinois.gov/
Published Date: October 23, 2013
UpaAmigos Symposium Continues Collaboration Between UIUC and Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi
Published Date:October 9, 2013
A recent symposium titled ‘UpAmigos, International Symposium on Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome among Mexican and Mexican Americans” brought faculty from the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi to UIUC in order to continue a collaboration which is present between the two universities. Dr. Flavia Andrade, a professor in the department of Kinesiology and Community Health here at the University of Illinois is in charge of this symposium and partnership.
The UpAmigos program, which started in 2009, received a CHAD pilot grant, in 2010, which allowed the program to continue and flourish into what it has become today. The grant was mainly used to conduct, through a more efficient way, analyses of the hypothesis concerning the influence of biomarkers and obesity and metabolic diseases and to conduct a longitudinal pilot study to determine the feasibility of following respondents over time in the form of a data base. The grant also allowed for the full genotyping of around eight hundred individuals in order to better research the correlation between biomarkers and obesity/metabolic diseases. Since the CHAD pilot grant facilitated the success of UpAmigos, the program has been allowed to expand, with currently around three thesis, ten publications, and thirty conference presentations concerning the UpAmigos program and its research.
This symposium featured faculty from UIUC, UIC, and the Southwest Biomedical Research Institute and Southwest National Primate Research Center, presenting and discussing the genetic and environmental aspects of obesity and metabolic syndrome for Mexican and Mexican Americans. This interdisciplinary approach will for a better understanding of approaching Latino healthcare and prevention concerning obesity and metabolic syndrome. The research, which provides evidence to this symposium and the UpAmigos research, is received from the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi, which provides all students with a medical examination before entering university level. This symposium has the likes to encourage an increase in educational levels and develop an interdisciplinary collaboration concerning the epidemic of obesity taking toll on Mexican and Mexican Americans.
Although they did not present at the symposium, individuals from the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi traveled to UIUC in order to discuss various information with different faculty on campus. The president of the university and the director of the faculty of medicine are just two of the professionals from the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi who met with faculty from UIUC. These meetings allowed for both faculties to gain and exchange knowledge on a professional level, and they plan on returning in order to maintain the collaboration.
Dr. Andrade, in tandem with running UpAmigos, is also the project supervisor of a program which is centered to educate individuals in various behaviors such as eating healthy, physical activity, and making other healthy lifestyles choices. This program is in partner with a free clinic, which only gives lower income individuals health check-ups. With this educational portion, it now has an aspect of prevention, which will hopefully permit for a decrease in unhealthy lifestyles for individuals whom attend the educational presentations. This program focuses on giving the basic needs to those populations that cannot get them otherwise.
The UpAmigos symposium and the health education through community partnerships program show the importance of professionals like Dr. Andrade in gathering and sharing information in order to give back to the community and create a healthier tomorrow.
(Image) UIUC Assistant Professor Margarita Teran-Garcia meets with UASLP's Rector Rubio
Published Date: October 9, 2013
Tinnitus Symposium Hailed Midwest Professionals to UIUC
Published Date:October 7, 2013
Tinnitus, or the phantom sound that presents itself as a ringing when there is no sound present, has presented itself as a challenge to researchers since they first started studying it. Currently, researchers do not know the causes of tinnitus, and because of that, there are many fields of study currently working to find a cause. Dr. Fatima Husain, an assistant professor in the department of Speech and Hearing Science, is the mastermind behind a tinnitus symposium. The symposium brought in a number of Midwest region professionals to share and compare their findings. This interdisciplinary approach allowed for professionals to gain knowledge of other current workings in the field of tinnitus, as well as allow those professionals to ask questions stemming of the other’s research and findings. These professionals came from the Southern Illinois School of Medicine, the University of Iowa, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
This symposium hoped to bring more knowledge into the field of tinnitus research to developing new findings, since so little is known about Tinnitus. Dr. Husain, who focuses on the cognitive neuroscience aspect of tinnitus, believed that this symposium will allow her to ask new questions which stemmed off the other presenters findings, and can then be researched to gain more information about tinnitus. This symposium, the first of its kind at UIUC, hopefully allowed researchers to gain new information about phantom sound, using an interdisciplinary model. Another goal for this symposium was for the collaboration between the two fields of testing, animal vs. human testing, can be bridged and allow for more progress to be in determining the effects of tinnitus on individuals, which parts of the brain it effects, and tinnitus’s impact an individual’s emotional status. This symposium and the collaborations between individuals were informative toward the audience, as well as toward the presenters, and Dr. Husain believed that this symposium will be able to return in two years time for presentation of future findings and developments.
The head behind this symposium, Dr. Husain, focuses her research on speech, auditor, and language processing in the brain using neuroimaging. She received her Ph.D. in 1999 from Boston University, in Cognitive and Neural systems. Her passion to learn more about tinnitus comes the unsolved questions that tinnitus presents to researchers, and through the University of Illinois, she has the resources and tools to try and answer those questions. Currently, she conducts her research at the Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, where her research involving brain functions and auditory processing disorders, questioning why some individuals with hearing loss experience tinnitus while others do not.
If you are an individual interested in learning the effects of tinnitus, the general information can be received from the American Tinnitus Association at www.ata.org. Those individuals who are looking to be tested, for tinnitus and hearing loss, please visit an audiologist. For those of you interested in volunteering for research, please visit the Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at www.acnlab.com for information about participation in studies, as well as the current and past research topics of the Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience Lab.
Published Date: October 7, 2013
Human Milk Can Exert a Significant Influence on Neural Development:
Published Date:August 16, 2013
U. of I. Speech and Hearing science professor Nicoline Ambrose and Doctoral Student Jamie Mahurin-Smith have found an interesting connection between breastfeeding in children, and persistent stuttering. The study of 47 stuttering children showed that those who were breastfed for longer periods of time before being weaned were far more likely to recover from their impediment.
The findings were reported In the Journal of Communication Disorders, and provide substantial evidence for child dependence on long chain fatty acids that are found in human milk. These acids, especially docosahexaenoic and arachidonic, “play and important role in the development of neural tissue, “according to Mahurin-Smith. According to the researchers greater than one half of the newly developed tissue in the infant brain can be lipid. Ambrose also explained that fatty acids may play a role in the expression of genes correlated to stuttering.
For information on Professor Ambrose, visit: http://shs.illinois.edu/Faculty/Bios/Ambrose.aspx
For information on Jamie Mahurin-Smith, visit: http://csd.illinoisstate.edu/files/coins/profile/jmsmit3
To see the original Inside Illinois article, please click here. http://news.illinois.edu/news/13/0805breastfeeding_NicolineAmbrose.html
Published Date: August 16, 2013