Public Health  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.

Bernard Appiah PortraitBernard Appiah

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.

Tiago Barreira Portrait

Tiago Barreira

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.

Tom Brutsaert PortraitTom Brutsaert

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.

Keith DeRuisseau

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.

Maria Erdman PortraitMaria Erdman

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.

Kevin Heffernan PortraitKevin Heffernan

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 PortraitJoon 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.

Kristen Konkol PortraitKristen Konkol

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.

Kenneth James Marfilius PortraitKenneth Marfilius

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.

Miriam Mutambudzi PortraitMiriam Mutambudzi

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.

Latha Ramalingam PortraitLatha Ramalingam

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.

Maryam Yuhas PortraitMaryam Yuhas

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.

Amelia Dome, Gursimar Singh named 2020-21 Remembrance Scholars

Falk College is proud to announce Amelia Dome and Gursimar Singh are among 35 students named 2020-21 Remembrance Scholars.

Gursimar Singh PortraitSingh, who is studying public health, is inspired by who the Remembrance Scholars represent. She feels it’s an honor and a responsibility to build on the legacy of the Remembrance Scholars who came before her.

“They personify the type of role model who cares about the greater good and less about their own personal interests,” Singh says. “Over the years, I’ve had the great pleasure to know many of them on a deeper level, and have seen the impact they have made on the student body, including myself, as well as others in need.”

Singh is involved in OrangeSeeds, an organization on campus that focuses on uplifting the surrounding Syracuse community through service work. Her experiences with OrangeSeeds led her to intern for a local non-profit, Refugee and Immigrant Self-Empowerment (RISE), where she worked with children after their school day fostering their emotional intellectual and physical development.

“This journey has allowed me to implement the principles of my faith, helping others and putting their needs before my own,” Singh notes. “As a cohort, my hope is that we can shine the light on those whose lives were taken, rather than on our own personal achievements. Being a Remembrance Scholar is less about us as individuals, but more about acting forward in the memory of those lost.”

Amelia Dome PortraitAmelia Dome is studying public health in Falk College and policy studies in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Dome recalls her freshman year at Syracuse University when she became aware of the incredible role of a Remembrance Scholar and knew she wanted to become one. She is extremely honored to be selected and attributes her public health education from Falk College as inspiration to improve the health of those who have had traumatic experiences.

“As a Remembrance Scholar, I would like to raise awareness about the impacts of trauma on health. I believe that I was selected as a Remembrance Scholar because of my commitment to community service in the Syracuse area over the past three years,” Dome said. “My experiences at Syracuse have led me to pursue a career as a nurse practitioner and clinical nurse leader to further dedicate my life to improving the health of others.”

Dome said she is looking forward to working with the other Remembrance Scholars during the 2020-2021 academic year.

“I hope that we can work together to give back to communities and continue to educate Syracuse University students about the Pan Am Flight 103 attack,” Dome said. “I would like to thank all of my professors and specifically, Dr. Maureen Thompson who has always encouraged and helped me to achieve my goals.”

The scholarships were founded as a tribute to—and means of remembering—the 35 students who were killed in the Dec. 21, 1988, bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Those students, who were returning from a semester of study in London and Florence, were among the 270 people who perished in the bombing. The scholarships are funded through an endowment supported by gifts from alumni, friends, parents, and corporations.

Learn more about the Remembrance Scholarship

Why coronavirus appears tied to fewer heart attacks


Portraits of Brooks Gump and Kevin HeffernanFalk 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.

Read the full article

Congratulations 2020 Falk Student Research Celebration Winners


The Falk Student Research Celebration is an annual event that takes place to highlight undergraduate and graduate student research projects Students submit posters for display and are judged by a committee of faculty, staff, and peers. Participants compete for educational funds to present their posters on a larger stage, to attend a conference to gain further insights into their respective fields, or for other educational endeavors. This year’s celebration took place virtually.

Falk College congratulates the following winners of the 2020 Falk Student Research Celebration:

Undergraduate Winners

Sentiment Analysis and Video Assistance Referees (VAR) in Professional Soccer
Name: Dylan Blechner
Program/Major: Sport Analytics
Faculty Research Mentor: Rodney Paul

Insecticide Treated Nets and Insecticide Resistance on Malaria Prevention in sub-Saharan Africa
Name: Rachael Church and Dr. David Larsen
Program/Major: Biology Major with a Public Health Minor and Environment & Society Minor
Faculty Research Mentor: David Larsen

Examining Wealth Trends in Kombewa, Kenya
Name: Alizée McLorg, Dr. David Larsen, Dr. Andrea Shaw, Dr. Bhavneet Walia, Kennedy Omolo, and Peter Sifuna
Program/Major: Public Health
Faculty Research Mentor: David Larsen

Energy Availability in Female Collegiate Athletes: A Pilot Study
Name: Jessica Neidel and Dr. Jessica L. Garay
Program/Major: Nutrition Science
Faculty Research Mentor: Jessica L. Garay

Graduate Winners

The Role of Diet Quality and Micronutrient Content on Sleep Parameters in Children Aged 9-11
Name: Nicholas Marino and Dr. Margaret Voss
Program/Major: Nutrition Science
Faculty Research Mentor: Margaret Voss, Lynn Brann, and Brooks Gump

Father Involvement, Couple Relationship Quality, and Maternal Postpartum Depression: The Role of Ethnicity among Low-income Families
Name: Ying Zhang and Dr. Rachel Razza
Program/Major: Human Development and Family Science
Faculty Research Mentor: Rachel Razza

Public health professor shares insights on economic recovery


In a recently published op-ed by assistant professor of public health, Bhavneet Walia share insights on economic recovery in light of the coronavirus pandemic. “As we are doing our part and following public health guidelines to protect not only our families but also our neighbors and fellow world citizens at a global level, there is also a need to understand and do our part toward economic recovery. As we all fight this battle against a mostly unknown virus, we are wondering how and when the economic recovery will start.” Fortunately, Walia says, past economic struggles and challenging times have taught us lessons that can possibly bring us some relief. Professor Walia’s areas of specialization include health economics and health econometrics.

In our current health crisis, consumers are staying at home and not spending as much money as they normally do in a non-pandemic and expanding economy. Either they do not have a lot of money, or they are uncertain about their future financial situation and hence are saving at a higher rate. Producers are not producing at regular levels for two reasons: their shops are shut down, and consumers have gone into saving mode.

The government is still buying and selling, but at a slower rate in many respects because of the shutdown. The government is delivering policies that it hopes will make the economic recovery smoother and faster once the public health crisis slows down. The highest-impact policy as of now made by the government is the stimulus checks sent to a large swath of the population. When consumers are worried about their future financial situations, they save at a higher rate and do not spend money. Stimulus checks are a way for the government to encourage individuals to spend money in the economy without dipping into their savings.

If individuals spend their stimulus check to buy necessities and put money back into the economy, this will lead to more production and higher employment. Thus, the stimulus funds will promote economic recovery. However, if the beneficiaries of the stimulus money do not spend and instead save it, economic recovery will be slower.

Read the full commentary at

Masking the Problem

Epidemiologist David Larsen explains the science behind public masking recommendations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on a Syracuse University Story by Rob Enslin originally published on May 8, 2020.

David LarsenDr. David Larsen, a professor in Falk College’s Department of Public Health, studies patterns of sickness and disease in human populations. He is particularly interested in the outbreak of a novel strain of coronavirus because of its personal relevance. “I’ve never worked on a disease system that directly impacts my community,” says Larsen, an expert in malaria research. “I see a lot of parallels between the response to COVID-19 in the United States and to malaria in Zambia.” Experts predict that until an effective vaccine is created and populations develop immunity to COVID-19, stopping or controlling the spread of the disease will be difficult.

Syracuse University’s Rob Enslin recently caught up with Larsen to discuss myths and misconceptions about public masking and why do-it-yourself masks are “better than nothing.”

What kinds of masks are used for COVID-19 protection?

There are three kinds: surgical masks, N95 respirators and cloth masks.

Surgical masks are disposable and loose-fitting, and should be discarded after use. They’re mostly fluid-resistant.

N95 respirators are oval-shaped and form a seal around your face. Because they’re tight-fitting, they filter out about 95 percent of all particles, including viruses and bacteria. It’s important to fit-test a respirator before using or reusing it.

Cloth masks are what most of us wear and should fit snugly against the side of the face. It’s important not to touch your nose, eyes or mouth after removing a cloth mask. It can be washed and reused many times.

The CDC considers surgical masks an “acceptable alternative” to N95 respirators. Do you agree?

It’s confusing, that’s for sure. Research indicates that surgical masks are less protective than N95 respirators. This may explain why front-line health care workers account for 11 percent of all COVID-19 infections. Shortages of N95s and other surgical masks affect the very people who need them most.

Initially, scientists thought COVID-19 was spread by large air droplets, making surgical masks viable. We now know that the virus can be spread by minuscule droplets that hang in the air for up to 16 hours. N95 respirators, if properly fitted, can block most of these air particles. Surgical masks cannot.

What are the public’s options?

I encourage people to make their own masks. They may not be perfect, but they’re better than nothing. I use a pre-quilted cotton fabric. T-shirts, bandanas and denim jeans also work.

There’s been a research breakthrough on the effectiveness of nylon material. Studies show that pantyhose, used in conjunction with a cloth mask, create a tight seal around the wearer’s face. An inner layer of nylon against the skin can match or exceed the filtering capacity of most surgical masks.

Are there any changes in masking guidelines?

The number one rule is to never touch the outside of your mask, only [touch] the straps or ear loops. If you wear glasses, make sure there’s a tight seal above the nose. Otherwise, they fog up.

Viral droplets are emitted from people coughing, sneezing or talking. These particles are very small, less than one-hundredth of a millimeter in size, but are quite resilient. Instead of dropping to the ground, they float or drift in the air before entering someone’s nose or mouth. Having a tight seal is imperative for protection against COVID-19.

Are you suggesting that we practice social distancing in addition to public masking?

I am. It’s not an either/or proposition.

One myth is that we don’t need social distancing if we’re wearing a mask. Masks may reduce transmission, but they’re not completely effective. That’s why we also practice social distancing and hand hygiene.

Many of us may walk through clouds of viral particles without even knowing. As a result, we might not be aware that we’re sick or carrying something. Public masking protects me from you. It shows me that you take my health—and the pandemic—seriously.

Read the full article

Congratulations Class of 2020


Congratulations and best wishes to the Class of 2020 from the students, faculty, staff, advisory boards, alumni and friends of Falk College! The courage and resiliency you have demonstrated in these challenging times prove you are prepared to respond to society’s greatest needs. Now more than ever, our world needs all you have to offer. We look forward to hearing about your achievements as our newest Falk alumni and eagerly await the future in-person celebration at Falk Convocation and Syracuse University Commencement.

The Dean’s video message to the Class of 2020 was recorded late last year when we were fully expecting our traditional campus celebrations to take place this spring. Since then, the global coronavirus pandemic has impacted all of us in many difficult ways. We recognize how hard this has been for all of our students, and particularly the Class of 2020. While we will celebrate with you at distance for now, we look forward to celebrating together in person when it is safe to do so.

Join the Syracuse University community for the Class of 2020 Virtual Degree Conferral.

Addiction Studies CAS prepares students for work in prevention, policy, and sustainable recovery


By Emma Henzes

The solution to addiction requires prevention, treatment, and governmental action, Falk College is preparing students and professionals from diverse academic and professional fields to effectively address addiction through scientific principles and global engagement.

A women near vegetable stands
Professor Bergen-Cico studying betel nut drug (psychoactive stimulant) in markets of Thailand.
As the opioid epidemic extends into its second decade, the nation faces a critical need for a well-educated workforce to address prevention, treatment, recovery and policies that address the systemic factors that perpetuate addictive behaviors. At the same time, state and federal drug policies are rapidly changing, but they are subject to ideology and political priorities in the absence of evidence-based policies and practices, requiring cross-disciplinary collaboration and advanced education and training, according to public health professor Dessa Bergen-Cico, Ph.D., the coordinator of the Addiction Studies program, along with associate teaching professor Ignatius Ijere, PsyD and internship placement coordinator Susan Scholl, MS, CASAC, CHES.

Falk College offers a 12-credit Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) in Addiction Studies that examines the intersectionality of substance use and addictive behaviors with emphasis on prevention, policy, and sustainable recovery. Combining addiction studies with competencies in mental health counseling and public focused graduate programs prepares students to address this complex social problem while enhancing their marketability for employment.

Laura K. Thompson, Phd, LPC, CAC 1 completed her CAS in Addiction Studies while working on her PhD in Counseling and Counselor Education at Syracuse University. Thompson says addiction touches so many lives and that understanding human nature is critical for proper care. “The CAS in Addiction Studies does a great job of exposing students to information about the root causes of addiction and ways to work with those who are struggling,” Thompson says. “This knowledge has been imperative in my work as a mental health counselor.” She currently works at Regis University in Denver, Colorado as a staff counselor with a substance abuse specialty. Thompson teaches as an affiliate faculty member in the graduate program of Counseling at Regis and as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Applied Psychology at New York University.

Addiction Studies coupled with Syracuse University graduate degree programs such as social work, marriage and family therapy, psychology, and mental health counseling provides valuable skills for clinical practice. Graduate students enrolled in programs such as public administration, public affairs, public health, education, human development and law will benefit from coursework emphasizing prevention or policy, taking knowledge and skills to the community and societal level, influencing change on a broader scale.

Bergen-Cico and Ijere note that pursuing a graduate degree and a CAS simultaneously can provide an employment advantage upon graduation. The Addiction Studies CAS is also available as a stand-alone certificate to provide professionals with advanced education or enhance a bachelor’s degree. Thompson shares that her Addiction Studies CAS helped her career significantly, providing her with a standout specialty area when applying for positions in University Counseling Centers nationwide.

Faculty who teach in the Addiction Studies CAS are actively engaged in diverse research areas such as; mindfulness-based prevention and recovery, drug policy, behavioral addictions, new psychoactive drugs, harm reduction, medical cannabis, and traumatic stress as a risk factor. Interested students have the opportunity to engage in faculty research or receive mentoring for their independent research interests. Thompson advises students to immerse themselves in their education experience. “Dig into the information and find ways to apply what you’re learning through internships or work experiences,” Thompson says. “As one of my professors used to say, ‘practice makes permanent!’” She continues to remain in contact with several of her professors at Falk. “They have served as mentors to me, and I am grateful for this.”

Falk’s Addiction Studies program also has longstanding collaborative relationships with leaders in global drug policy and the Council of Europe’s Pompidou Group to Combat Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. This partnership brings together scientists and practitioners from across the globe to examine emerging trends and innovative drug policies rooted in public health. Students have opportunities to participate in annual international executive education training offered by the Pompidou Group’s Drug Policy Academy. Recently these trainings have been conducted in the Netherlands, Spain, Poland, Norway, and Italy.

All courses are approved by the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) for credentialing and continuing education. Completion of the certificate, with the inclusion of prevention science and ethics elective courses, meets the education training requirement for OASAS Credentialed Prevention Professional (CPP); and partially meets the requirements for Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC).

Learn more about the Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) in Addiction Studies

Public Health helps to Develop COVID-19 Symptom Tracking App


From a SU News story by Alex Dunbar, originally published on April 28, 2020

Six students from the College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) saw a problem they could help solve. As hospitals and the health care system work to handle the influx of COVID-19 cases, many people who are diagnosed with the virus are advised to quarantine at home and monitor their own symptoms. Health care professionals check-in with patients at home to determine if their condition is improving or getting worse. For some patients, this leads to anxiety and uncertainty if they should be taken to a hospital or continue isolating at home.

Sandra D Lane Portrait
Sandra D. Lane
They saw a need for better data on what quarantined patients are reporting and what those reported symptoms could indicate. They reached out to public health Professor Sandra Lane and anthropology Professor Robert Rubinstein.

Lane and Rubinstein have been supporting interdisciplinary student research in the Syracuse community for 15 years through Lane’s Community Action Research and Education (CARE) program. Lane is also a research professor at Upstate Medical University and saw the potential of where a symptom tracking app could go.

“This project opens so many possibilities,” says Lane.

Knowing what doctors and nurses wanted to know about patients was just one part of building questions for the symptom tracking app. The team reached out to two friends of Lindgren who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and were taking calls from health care workers while quarantined at home.

“I called both of them and asked what questions people had been asking them,” says Lindgren. “They gave us the questions health care workers had been asking them about shortness of breath and other issues.”

The conversations with actual patients guided the project’s direction as it moved forward.

“It helped a lot with unique symptoms, things we didn’t think about,” says Lindgren. “They also said they would prefer to use a web app than take a phone call.”

Lane and Rubinstein were also helpful in finding how to formulate questions to patients so the app being developed could be more effective.

Learn more by reading the full story.

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