Exercise Science News
Falk College welcomes new faculty and staff
Syracuse University’s Falk College is pleased to welcome four new staff members who have joined Falk College in the past academic year: Donna Fecteau, Administrative Assistant in the Department of Exercise Science; Julia Fuqua, Office Coordinator in the Department of Exercise Science; Heather Mauro, Internship Placement Coordinator in the School of Social Work, and; Melissa Tobin, Counselor, Academic Services in the Office of Student Services.
In addition, Falk College is pleased to announce the appointment of six new faculty members, Bernard Appiah, Maria Erdman, Kenneth Marfilius, Miriam Mutambudzi, Latha Ramalingam, and Maryam Yuhas, in addition to six faculty who join Falk College with the Department of Exercise Science, Tiago Barreira, Tom Brutsaert, Keith DeRuisseau, Kevin Heffernan, Joon Young Kim, and Kristen Konkol.
Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health
Bernard Appiah joins the Department of Public Health in Falk College as Assistant Professor in fall 2020.
Prior to joining Syracuse University, Appiah was Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University’s School of Public Health in the Departments of Environmental and Occupational Health and Public Health Studies. He was the Founding Director of the Research Program on Public and International Engagement for Health. Previously, Appiah served as a Drug Information Pharmacist/Publications Manager at the National Drug Information Resource Centre (NDIRC) for the Ministry of Health in Ghana. He has taught courses such as Environmental and Occupational Health Communication, Social Context of Population Health, and Comparative Global Health Systems.
Appiah’s research interests lie in socio-behavioral approaches for exploring public health issues, global health and environmental health with emphasis on socio-behavioral change communication, public/community engagement interventions, and dissemination of information/knowledge through culturally appropriate communication channels. He is published in several journals, including Psychiatry Research, BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies, Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) mHealth and uHealth, and authored book chapters, technical reports, and many articles for mass media. He has presented at the International Workshop for Practitioners of Engagement between Health Researchers and Schools in Kilifi, Kenya, the West African Society of Pharmacologists (WASOP) Conference in Ghana, and the Academy for Future International Leaders (AFIL) Open Session Seminar on Global Health Issues.
Appiah’s research has received support from the Wellcome Trust, UK, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, USAID Ghana, and Texas A&M University. Among the most recent supporters of his research is the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health. Appiah is the recipient of numerous teaching and research fellowships and other honors including being named as a Carnegie African Diaspora Fellow in 2018 and 2016. He currently serves as Head of Capacity Building and Research Programmes for the Pan-African Network for Popularization of Science and Technology and Science Communication (African Gong); member of the Healthcare Safety and Quality Expert Committee of the U.S. Pharmacopeia, and; reviewer for Public Understanding of Science.
Appiah earned his Dr.PH in Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences in 2013 and his M.S. in Science and Technology Journalism from Texas A&M University’s School of Public Health and College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, respectively. He earned his master’s in Development Communication from the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) and his B.Pharm in Pharmacy from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana.
Assistant Professor, Department of Exercise Science
Tiago Barreira joins Falk College as Assistant Professor in the Department of Exercise Science in fall 2020. He teaches courses such as systemic physiology and exercise, research methods in exercise and sports science, measurement and evaluation in exercise science, physical activity and public health, and obesity and body composition.
Prior to joining Falk College in 2020, the Department of Exercise Science was positioned within Syracuse University’s School of Education, where Barreira has served as Assistant Professor since 2014. Barreira is also the Director of the Kinesmetrics Laboratory at Syracuse University. Prior to joining Syracuse, he completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. Barreira’s research focuses on the measurement of physical activity: establishing validity and reliability evidence of physical activity measurement tools; determining how to use physical activity measurement tools to obtain reliable and accurate information on physical activity patterns; the use of physical activity measurement tools as a motivation to promote increased physical activity levels, and; investigating the relationship between physical activity and cardiovascular disease risk factors. His work is published in several journals, most recently in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, Disability and Rehabilitation, Artery Research, and the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness among others. He has given presentations for the International Biometric Conference, The American College of Sports Medicine, and the International Conference on Ambulatory Monitoring of Physical Activity and Movement, among others.
Past research has received support from the National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association, Institute for Educational Sciences SHAPE America, Fight for Hearts, among others. Barreira is a journal editor for the Physical Activity section of Measurement in Physical Education and Exercise and is a manuscript reviewer for several journals and publications. He currently serves as Co-chair of the Measurement and Evaluation Special Interest Group from SHAPE America and a member of the American College of Sports Medicine Mid-Atlantic Chapter Research Committee.
Barreira earned his Ph.D. in Human Performance with a concentration in Kinesmetrics in 2010 from Middle Tennessee State University, where he also earned his M.S. in Exercise Science. He also earned a B.A. Physical Education and B.S. in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
Professor, Department of Exercise Science
Tom Brutsaert joins Falk College as Professor in the Department of Exercise Science in fall 2020. In the department, he teaches courses such as energy metabolism and exercise, physiology of exercise, environmental physiology, high altitude physiology and biology, and human biological variation.
Prior to joining Falk College in 2020, the Department of Exercise Science was positioned within Syracuse University’s School of Education, where Brutsaert has served as Professor since 2016 and previously as Associate Professor since 2009. At Syracuse, Brutsaert is the Director of the Altitude Simulation Laboratory, holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Anthropology, and helps to coordinate the Human Performance Laboratory. Before joining Syracuse University, he held several positions at SUNY Albany. There, he was a Fellow in the Center for Social and Demographic Analysis, and was Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology from 2005 to 2009 after being promoted from Assistant Professor. He also served as Co-Director of the Human Biology Program from 2003 to 2004. He completed an NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California at San Diego’s School of Medicine in the Division of Physiology.
Brutsaert has broad research interests in how gene and environment interact to produce variation in human athletic ability and health and disease. His work is published in several publications, most recently in Frontiers in Genetics, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, European Journal of Applied Physiology, The American Journal of Physical Anthropology, and International Journal of Molecular Sciences, among others. He has given presentations at the International Conference on Genomics, Leh High Altitude Symposium, World Congress on High Altitude Medicine and Physiology, for the Center for Physiological Genomics, and others.
Past research has received support from the National Science Foundation (NSF Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Geographic Foundation, and a Fulbright Specialist Award. Brutsaert serves on the Advisory Editorial Board for Sports Sciences for Health and the Editorial Board for High Altitude Medicine and Biology, and previously served in editorial and reviewer roles for other journals, books, and grants.
Brutsaert earned his Ph.D. in Biological Anthropology in 1977 from Cornell University, where he also earned his M.S. in Human Nutrition and M.A. in Biological Anthropology. He earned his B.A. in Biology from Northeastern University.
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Exercise Science
Keith DeRuisseau joins Falk College as Associate Professor in the Department of Exercise Science in fall 2020. He is currently the Chair of the department and teaches courses such as introduction to exercise science, physiology of exercise, and skeletal muscle physiology.
Prior to joining Falk College in 2020, the Department of Exercise Science was positioned within Syracuse University’s School of Education, where DeRuisseau has served as Associate Professor since 2012 and previously as Assistant Professor since 2006. Before joining Syracuse University, he was a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology at the University of Florida.
DeRuisseau’s research investigates potential mediators of skeletal muscle dysfunction under conditions that include disuse, aging, and trisomy (a model of Down syndrome). An emphasis is placed on how iron, oxidants, and antioxidants contribute to skeletal muscle mass and functional responses. He is published in several journals, most recently in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, the Journal of Applied Physiology, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, European Journal of Sport Science, and Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology. He has presented his work at Experimental Biology annual meetings and for the American College of Sports Medicine.
Past research has received support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and National Institute on Aging (NIA), the Diabetes Group of the Hill Collaboration on Environmental Medicine, the Syracuse University Gerontology Center, and others. DeRuisseau is a 2015-2016 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant awardee for the Fulbright-Saastamoinen Foundation Grant in Health and Environmental Sciences. He is a member of the American Physiological Society and invited manuscript reviewer for publications such as Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, and the Journal of Applied Physiology, among others.
DeRuisseau earned his Ph.D. in Movement Science from Florida State University in 2002. He earned his M.S. and B.S. in Exercise Science, both from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Associate Teaching Professor, Department of Nutrition and Food Studies
Maria Erdman joins the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies in Falk College as an Associate Teaching Professor in fall 2020. At Syracuse, Erdman will teach in the nutrition program.
Prior to joining Syracuse University, Erdman was employed at Morrison Healthcare at Upstate University Hospital as a Clinical Outpatient Dietitian at the Upstate Cancer Center since 2014. Prior to that time, she was a Clinical Inpatient Dietitian. Previously, she was a Graduate Research and Teaching Assistant at Syracuse University, and also worked as a Laboratory Manager and Research Technician at UC Davis, Yale College, and Syracuse University.
Erdman’s research on nutrition on college campuses is published in Public Health Nutrition and Health Promotion. She has presented at the Food and Nutrition Conference and Exposition of the American Dietetic Association (2010) and NYSDA Annual Meeting (2009). She has given many nutrition lectures and educational sessions at Oasis/Healthlink Learning Center at Upstate Medical University, Upstate Cancer Center, Upstate Healthlink On Air Radio Program, and Upstate Medical University Physical Therapy, among others.
She is the recipient of several awards, including the Upstate Cancer Center Nutrition Services Fund, a grant from the Upstate Foundation to pay the nutrition counseling bills of cancer patients at Upstate Cancer Center, as well as the 2016 President’s Employee Recognition Award, Clinical Team of the Year. She also received the 2010 Outstanding Dietetics Student Dietetic Internship Award from the New York State Dietetic Association (NYSDA) and the Outstanding Graduate Student in Nutrition Science from Syracuse University. She has served in several volunteer positions for the CNYDA, including president, and has served in volunteer roles at the Crouse Hospital Clinical Dietetics Department, Syracuse City School District, and Community Supported Agriculture of Central New York, among others.
Erdman earned a M.S. in Nutrition Science at Syracuse University in 2009, where she also completed her Dietetic Internship, and a B.S. in Genetics at the University of California, Davis.
She earned certifications as a Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition (CSO) 2015-20 and a Board Certified Nutrition Support Clinician (CNSC) 2012-17.
Associate Professor, Department of Exercise Science
Kevin Heffernan joins Falk College as Associate Professor in the Department of Exercise Science in fall 2020. In the department, he teaches courses such as exercise and aging, cardiac rehabilitation, and advanced cardiovascular exercise physiology.
Prior to joining Falk College in 2020, the Department of Exercise Science was positioned within Syracuse University’s School of Education, where Heffernan has served as Dean’s (Distinguished) Associate Professor since 2011. He currently serves as the Director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Syracuse University. Previously, he completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Tufts Medical Center, Molecular Cardiology Research Institute and the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging from 2008-2011.
Heffernan’s research examines the interaction of diet, nutritional supplementation and exercise, with an emphasis on resistance exercise, on vascular function in health, disease and disability throughout the human lifespan. His work is published in several journals, most recently the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, JAMA Cardiology, and the Journal of Applied Physiology. He has presented recent work on exercise and cardiovascular health at the American College of Sports Medicine and the North American Artery Society scientific conferences as well as work related to health disparities in cardiovascular disease risk to members of the Congressional Black Caucus. He is Past-President of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine.
Past research has been funded by the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Current work is funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, part of the National Institutes of Health. Heffernan serves on the Syracuse University Institutional Review Board, Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Faculty, is an Aging Studies Institute Research Member and a Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion Faculty Fellow.
Heffernan earned his Ph.D. in Kinesiology/Exercise Physiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2008. He holds a M.S. in Applied Physiology and Nutrition from Columbia University, and a B.S. in Exercise Science from the University of Scranton.
Joon Young Kim
Assistant Professor, Department of Exercise Science
Joon Young Kim joins Falk College as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Exercise Science in fall 2020. In the department, he teaches courses such as pediatric obesity and systemic physiology and exercise.
Prior to joining Falk College in 2020, the Department of Exercise Science was positioned within Syracuse University’s School of Education, where Kim has served as Assistant Professor since 2019. He currently leads the Clinical Research Laboratory at Syracuse University. Previously, he was a National Institutes of Health-supported T32 Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Postdoctoral Associate at the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh from 2015 to 2019.
Kim is a Ph.D.-scientist and a clinical researcher in exercise physiology with specific focus on childhood obesity, metabolism and type 2 diabetes. His research focuses on pathophysiology of youth-onset prediabetes/type 2 diabetes, identification of novel phenotypic biomarkers and genetic targets of obesity and type 2 diabetes, and effects of lifestyle intervention on type 2 diabetes risk in obese youth. His work is published in several high-impact journals including Diabetes Care, Diabetes, and the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. He has given presentations at the American Diabetes Association, American College of Sport Medicine, Endocrine Society, and others.
Past research has been funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the Arizona State University Research Support Program. He has received scholarships and awards from Yonsei University and Arizona State University, as well as the International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes and the Endocrine Society. He currently serves as an Advising Member for the American Diabetes Association’s Exercise Physiology Interest Group Leadership Team, an Organizing/Scientific Committee Member for the World Obesity and Weight Management Congress, and an Editorial Board Member for the Journal of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome.
Kim earned his Ph.D. in Kinesiology/Exercise Physiology from Arizona State University in 2015. He holds a B.S. in Physical Education from Yonsei University in South Korea.
Assistant Professor, Department of Exercise Science
Kristin Konkol joins Falk College as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Exercise Science in fall 2020. She has a dual appointment in the School of Education. In the department, she teaches courses such as structural kinesiology for performance enhancement and injury prevention, structural kinesiology, scientific principles of conditioning, and concepts of fitness. She also runs the internship and experience credits for the department.
Prior to joining Falk College in 2020, the Department of Exercise Science was positioned within Syracuse University’s School of Education, where Konkol has served as Assistant Professor since 2018, and formerly as part-time faculty. Previously, Konkol was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Performance, Exercise Science/Physiology at the Minnesota State University, Mankato, where she taught courses such as individualized exercise, aerobic conditioning, and concepts of fitness, among others. She also held an adjunct faculty position there, as well as coaching positions at the Gustavus Adolphus College. At the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa, Konkol held several titles, including lecturer, lab instructor, manager in the Human Performance Laboratory, and performance specialist for professional athletes.
Konkol’s research interests include sport specific training; speed, agility, and quickness training; athletic performance testing; strength and conditioning; exercise immunology; and global perspectives in human performance. Konkol’s work is published in the Cardiovascular Journal of Africa, Sport Sciences for Health, Children, Sports and Exercise Medicine Open Journal, and International Journal of Exercise Science.
Konkol currently serves at Syracuse University as the I-Move Program Coordinator and Dance Minor Coordinator. From 2004 to 2006, she served as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Guyana and South America. Konlol is a Certified Performance Enhancement Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine.
Konkol earned her Ph.D. in Sports Science from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa in 2013. She earned an M.A. in Kinesiology with an Exercise Physiology emphasis and a graduate minor in Complementary and Alternative Therapy and Healing Practices from the University of Minnesota in 2001. She earned her B.S. in Exercise Science with a Cardiac Rehabilitation emphasis from the University of Toledo, where she was a Division I collegiate basketball athlete.
Assistant Teaching Professor, School of Social Work
Ken Marfilius joins the School of Social Work in Falk College as an Assistant Teaching Professor in fall 2020.
Prior to his new appointment at Syracuse University, Marfilius served as a Visiting Teaching Professor in Falk College’s School of Social Work since 2018, and as an adjunct faculty member from 2016-18. Marfilius will serve as the School of Social Work’s Undergraduate Director. He has taught courses on topics such as social work intervention, military culture and social work practice, psychopathology, and others. While active duty, Marfilius served in the U.S. Air Force Biomedical Science Corps in multiple roles: active duty clinical social worker, mental health therapist, family advocacy officer in charge, and as manager of the alcohol and drug prevention and treatment program. He was commissioned in 2013 and was discharged in 2016 having obtained the rank of captain. At the Barksdale Air Force Base, Marfilius served in a variety of mental health roles related to sexual assault prevention and response, suicide prevention, and traumatic stress. Marfilius has also worked for the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs at the Syracuse VA Medical Center in the Healthcare for Homeless Veterans Program, and as a disruptive behavior committee member.
Marfilius has given several presentations and trainings, topics ranging from veteran cultural competence to trauma-informed care, at the Association for Humanistic Counseling National Conference, the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice, and the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, among others.
Marfilius is honored with a National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal. He is a recipient of the U.S. Air Force Health Professions Scholarship and the U.S. Air Force Outstanding Unit Award and has twice been awarded the Barksdale Air Force Base Medical Operations Squadron Company Grade Officer of the Quarter. Marfilius currently serves on several committees at Syracuse University, including his service as Chair of the Council on the Social Work Education Self-Study Steering Committee.
Marfilius earned a Doctorate in Clinical Social Work (D.S.W.) and Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice. He earned a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Public Health from Syracuse University. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of North Carolina and is certified in Prolonged Exposure Therapy.
Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health
Miriam Mutambudzi joins the Department of Public Health in Falk College as Assistant Professor in fall 2020.
Prior to joining Syracuse University, Mutambudzi served as a Research Associate in the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, and a Guest Epidemiology Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine at the University of Antwerp in Belgium. Previously, she was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health at the University of Texas Medical Branch, and a Senior Research Program Coordinator at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine.
Mutambudzi’s research focus is on chronic disease and occupational epidemiology. Much of her research has largely been directed towards the use of longitudinal data to assess disparities in morbidity, disability, and mortality, with particular interest in onset and progression of chronic diseases, work-related health outcomes, and social determinants of health in vulnerable populations and older adults in Europe and the U.S. She has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals including the European Journal of Ageing, Journal of Gerontology: Medical Science, and the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, among many others. She has presented at the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP), Epidemiology in Occupation Health Conference (EPICOH), and the Population Association of America (PAA).
Mutambudzi is the 2020 recipient of the Kammer Emmett Award from the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) for the most outstanding article published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in 2019. Past research support includes funding from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). She is an editorial board member of the Journal of Aging and Health and has served as an editorial peer reviewer for many other journals. She is a member of the European Association for Population Studies.
Mutambudzi earned her Ph.D. in Public Health from University of Connecticut in 2012. She also holds a Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) and a B.A. in International Studies from the West Virginia University.
Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition and Food Studies
Latha Ramalingam joins the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies in Falk College as Assistant Professor in fall 2020. She works broadly in areas of metabolic disease, which include obesity and diabetes.
Prior to joining Syracuse University, Ramalingam was a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Texas Tech University since 2014. Previously, she served at Indiana University’s School of Medicine as a Postdoctoral Fellow and a Research Assistant.
Ramalingam’s research interests include strategies, both in vitro and in vivo, to investigate the effects of Bioactives (omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin D) in maternal obesity using animal models. She also has projects investigating the mechanism behind the role of Renin Angiotensin System (RAS) in beta cells. She has published in several journals, including Scientific Reports, Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, Nutrients, and Diabetes. She has presented her work at the American Society of Nutrition, American Heart Association and Obesity Society.
Ramalingam’s research has been supported by the American Heart Association, the USDA, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, the Obesity Society, and Texas Tech University. She is the recipient of several awards, including Early Career Travel Award for International Congress of Nutrition, Argentina 2017, and 2016 IJO Young Investigator Award, 13th International Congress of Obesity, Vancouver, Canada and the Early Career Grant Challenge from Obesity Society among other awards. Currently, she serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, International Journal of Diabetes, and Obesity and Nutritional Disorders.
Ramalingam earned her Ph.D. at the Indiana University’s School of Medicine, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, in 2014. She also holds a M.Tech from Vellore Institute of Technology’s School of Biotechnology in Vellore, India and a B.Pharm from Sri Ramachandra Medical College’s School of Pharmacy in Chennai.
Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition and Food Studies
Maryam Yuhas joins the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies as Assistant Professor in fall 2020. At Syracuse University, Yuhas will teach in the nutrition program.
Prior to joining Syracuse University, Yuhas served as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, Department of Public Health Sciences, since 2019. Previously, she has practiced as Registered Dietitian in two different clinical settings and has held roles as Graduate Research Assistant for the University of Virginia’s Department of Public Health Sciences, Virginia Tech’s Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, and for Oklahoma State University’s Department of Nutritional Sciences. She has also held other intern, extern, and teaching assistant roles. Yuhas’s research is rooted in the socioecological perspective and focuses on working with minority, low-income, and rural communities to implement and evaluate nutrition- and physical activity-based interventions. She is published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) mHealth and uHealth, Journal of Appalachian Health, Contemporary Clinical Trials, Preventive Nutrition and Food Science, and Nutrition and Metabolic Insights. She has given scientific presentations at The Obesity Society, Experimental Biology, and the Oklahoma Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, among others.
Current research projects for which Yuhas serves as Postdoctoral Research Associate are supported by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Yuhas is the recipient of several awards, including the 2013 Weber Gerontology Scholarship Award at Oklahoma State University and the 2016 Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program Award at Virginia Tech, among others. She currently serves as a reviewer for several journals including the Journal of Medical Internet Research, the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the Journal of Adolescent Health. She is a member of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and several community-based advisory boards and coalitions.
Yuhas earned her Ph.D. in Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise from Virginia Tech in 2019, specializing in Behavioral and Community Sciences. She earned her M.S. in Nutritional Sciences from Oklahoma State University and her B.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics from Benedictine University. She completed her Dietetic Internship at Oklahoma State University and earned her registered dietitian (RDN) credential from Commission on Dietetics Registration in 2014.
Welcome Class of 2024!
Falk College welcomes new and returning Falk students to Syracuse University. The Falk student body includes 1,774 undergraduate and graduate students. The newest Falk students are a talented group from 40 states 22 global countries. We welcome 347 first-year and 28 transfer students who join 165 new graduate students.
The entire welcome week schedule for new students can be found by visiting the Syracuse Welcome website.
Quantifying COVID-19’s Impact on Mental Health
A Syracuse University Story by Shaina M. Hill originally published on May 15, 2020.
The public has changed the ways they live and work due to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic on physical health. This upheaval of daily routines and uncertainty for the future has led to increased stress, loneliness, fear, anxiety, sadness and worrying, which has taken a toll on mental health.
Tiago Barreira, assistant professor of exercise science at Falk College, is the lead investigator on a study contemplating the effects on mental health during this time when many are grappling with altered daily routines, financial pressures and social isolation.
“The changes and events related to COVID-19 are already being recognized as having a great impact on many aspects of our lives, including mental health,” he says. “Collecting data to understand its effects will help guide treatment for mental health issues in the future.”
When so much uncertainty exists, preexisting mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression, can worsen. By learning more about the mental health status of adults during this time, Barreira hopes to contribute to a larger discussion about how to help people impacted by events and restrictions related to COVID-19.
“This study is one of many research projects that are being conducted on mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he says. “The combination of research will be very helpful to guide policy and treatment of mental health.”
Barreira’s primary research at Syracuse University has been in determining the impact of physical behaviors—such as sleep, sedentary behavior and physical activity—on health. With the crisis unfolding, he began to think about the relationship between physical behaviors and mental health. Barreira developed a research study with his colleague, Kevin Heffernan, Dean’s associate professor of exercise science at Falk College.
The study uses a series of questionnaires that look at an individual’s mental health conditions and behaviors, financial situation and other criteria, and whether they have taken any steps to improve their mental health. Some questions are left open-ended to account for variables. One of the main behaviors the study is interested in is physical activity and what role, if any, it plays in coping with stress.
“We hope we’ll be able to identify common traits and actions from those who were able to maintain a better mental health status,” he says.
By comparing questionnaire respondents’ mental health levels to existing information and demonstrating what coping activities improved the mindset for individuals, Barreira hopes policymakers will be able to create health initiatives to benefit the public
Barreira is still recruiting participants and hopes to complete the study and publish its findings soon. “The research is only as good as the data that is collected,” he says. “We still need many more respondents to be able to have confidence in our findings.”
Barreira feels his research has great importance for the mental health of a population facing tremendous uncertainty. He cites a recent interview with The Daily Show host Trevor Noah in which New York governor Andrew Cuomo said he fears “an entire generation” of Americans will face PTSD due to COVID-19.
“This is a unique situation that is affecting everyone in the country,” Barreira says. “Mental health issues will be one of the larger issues that we will face in the future and understanding its causes and potential treatments will be key.”
If you would like to be a part of this important research, please complete the questionnaire.
Why coronavirus appears tied to fewer heart attacks
Falk faculty members Brooks Gump, Falk Family Endowed Professor of Public Health and Kevin Heffernan, Professor of Exercise Science and director of the Human Performance Laboratory, co-authored an op-ed that appears in U.S. News & World Report that explores a new anomaly with the rise in COVID-19 cases – namely, a concurrent decline in the number of hospital admissions for heart attacks and other cardiac events. They cite a number of possible explanations for this drop while helping readers understand the etiology of both cardiovascular disease and, separately, cardiac events.
Fifth Annual Ann Selkowitz Litt Distinguished Speaker Series features Rob Skinner
Falk College is pleased to welcome Rob Skinner, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS as the featured speaker of the Fifth Annual Ann Selkowitz Litt Distinguished Speaker Series. We invite you to join us Tuesday, February 25, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. in Grant Auditorium, Falk Complex for his lecture, “From the Military to the Olympics: Nutrition for Sport Performance Enhancement.” The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served prior to the lecture at 5:30 p.m.
Skinner is the Senior Sports Dietitian at the United State Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He brings 22 years of experience working as a dietitian and exercise physiologist with athletes at all levels, including positions with the Washington Redskins as a Sports Dietitian/Nutritionist, the U.S. Navy SEALs as a Performance Dietitian, the University of Virginia as Director of Sports Nutrition, and several positions with Georgia Tech.
In his lecture, Skinner will share about his role preparing athletes to compete at the highest level with the United States Olympic Team in the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, as well as insights from his career experiences preparing professional and collegiate athletes for competition and military forces for combat.
“Rob’s extensive experience in nutrition and sports intersects numerous disciplines and interests. He has worked with many different populations, particularly with the military and with professional and collegiate athletes,” says Kay Stearns Bruening, PhD, RDN, FAND, Falk College associate professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies. “We are thrilled he will share his insights with us for this year’s Litt Lecture.”
Skinner holds a master’s degree in exercise science from Georgia State University, as well as bachelor’s degrees in education and nutrition from the University of Georgia and Georgia State University, respectively. He is a registered dietitian with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) and holds certifications with AND, the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and the American College of Sports Medicine. Skinner is author and co-author of several publications, including chapters in AND publications, Sports Nutrition: A Guide for the Professional Working with Active People and Working with the Collegiate Athlete and Weight and Body-Focused Sports.
Now in its fifth year, the Ann Selkowitz Litt Distinguished Speaker Series is named after Falk College nutrition alumna Ann Selkowitz Litt ’75, a nationally known nutritionist who helped children and adolescents with eating disorders and assisted developing athletes in reaching their full potential. The nutrition consultant to CosmoGirl magazine, Litt was the author of “The College Students’ Guide to Eating Well on Campus,” “Fuel for Young Athletes” and “The ADA Guide to Private Practice.” She was the nutritionist for the NFL’s Washington Redskins and served as spokesperson for several media campaigns during her career, including the “Got Milk” campaign. After her death, the Ann S. Litt Foundation, Inc., was created to support nutrition education.
For information about the Ann Litt Lecture and for accommodations requests, please contact Annette Hodgens at firstname.lastname@example.org or 315.443.9816.
Dean Murphy welcomes Falk students to campus
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Dear Falk College Students,
Welcome back to campus, returning Falk students. And welcome to new and transfer students joining us this spring. We are so glad to have you join our Falk family. I hope that your winter break was filled with family, friends, and loved ones, and plenty of time for both restful and exciting activities.
As the Spring 2020 semester begins, I would like to offer you a few reminders and updates:
Falk faculty, staff, and I as your Dean, are here to support each of you on your journey here as students, as people, and as citizens. Our doors are always open to you.
In addition, you were invited to an open house with me and Falk College faculty and staff on January 14. It was great to see many of you there for the first in a series of regularly scheduled events that we will continue this semester and into future semesters. I welcome your feedback for future College activities.
As we face challenges on our campus, and as our students advocate for a better Syracuse University, you have my assurance as Dean that Falk College is fully committed to playing a critical role in these efforts, doing what we can to strengthen and build the campus community we know we can be.
Some of you are actively involved in the Falk College Dean’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, established in 2018. We are so grateful for the action and positive change resulting from the efforts of our members, which include faculty, staff, graduate students and undergraduate students from all academic programs in Falk College. There is much work yet to do, and we strongly encourage you to be part of it. Committee meetings are held monthly throughout the academic year. Students interested in being involved in the Committee should contact Professor Chandice Haste-Jackson at email@example.com or the Falk College Dean’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d like to remind all students that Falk College Student Services is your dedicated support system. Student Services counselors are here to provide you with private academic advising and help you meet your requirements and goals. In addition, they are your resource for private consultation related to student social and emotional concerns. If you have any concerns throughout your academic career, please contact Student Services or visit Suite 300 MacNaughton Hall in the Falk Complex.
Particularly for new students, I encourage you review my Fall 2019 welcome message, which contains helpful information about other important resources like Falk Career Services, the Falk Student Lounge, Falk Café, and our computer labs. You’ll also find information about campus resources, such as health and counseling services in the Barnes Center at the Arch, spiritual life through Hendricks Chapel.
To those of you who will be graduating in May, I give you a special word of encouragement to make the most of this semester to maximize your academic and personal growth, and of course, enjoy it! To all our students in Falk College, I wish each of you an excellent Spring 2020 semester.
Diane Lyden Murphy, M.A., M.S.W., Ph.D.
Department of Exercise Science to Transition to a New Home
With its academic and research focus on improving the health and well-being of individuals and communities, the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics will soon be the new “home” for the Department of Exercise Science, currently housed in the School of Education. This move, which becomes effective in July 2020, is intended to align academic programs with unique synergies and expand interdisciplinary research and study opportunities for faculty and students.
“The ongoing and increasing attention to healthy lifestyles, disease prevention, growing and aging populations, and diet-related disease epidemics is a critical component of all Falk College academic programs,” says Falk College Dean Diane Lyden Murphy. “Several exercise science programs complement theory and practice in Falk undergraduate and graduate programs and enhance opportunities to advance research and knowledge of holistic sport and health science.”