What's going on in the College of Health and Human Services? Plenty. Stay tuned to this page for highlights of both future and past events across the college.

  • Physical Therapy Professor Inducted into McAuley Hall of Honor


     Robbie O'Shea pic2
      Congratulations to Physical Therapy Professor Roberta "Robbie" O’Shea (pictured on the right) on her induction into the McAuley Hall of Honor at Mother McAuley High School. Robbie was one of seven women inducted at the school’s Banner Year Reunion on November 7.

    The Mother McAuley/Saint Xavier Academy Alumnae Association, which inducted Robbie, said she "continually personifies the spirit of Catherine McAuley, taking action wherever she sees a need. As a licensed physical therapist and a professor at Governors State University, she brings her compassion and care to assist children ages 0-3 who have developmental difficulties, particularly underprivileged and at-risk infants and their families.

    Outside of her profession, Robbie has worked with Chicago Area Families for Adoption and sits on the board at the Center for Independence, a non-profit committed to improving the lives of children with disabilities."

    Click here for a link to Dr. O'Shea's McAuley Hall of Honor Video.

  • Mark Your Calendar for the 2016 GSU Graduate Open House!


    Stock Photo News and Events
    Be sure to mark your calendar for the 2016 Graduate Open House:  Saturday, April 16, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the E Lounge at Governors State University. 

    Prospective students who are interested in learning about any of the graduate and doctoral programs offered by GSU's four colleges — College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, College of Education and College of Health and Human Services — are welcome to attend.  

    Breakout sessions covering a wide variety of key topics are also scheduled.  Additional information may be obtained by contacting Julie Anderson, janderson13@govst.edu

    Stay tuned for additional information on how to register for this upcoming event.    

  • Social Work Student Named Lincoln Laureate


    Lincoln Laureate

    Each year an outstanding senior from each of the four-year degree granting institutions of higher learning in Illinois is named a Student Laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois. Student Laureates are honored for their overall excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities. The 2015 GSU Lincoln Laureate is Jerry Davis El. He and the other student laureates from around the state were honored November 7 in a ceremony at the Old State Capitol in Springfield. Accompanying Jerry at the ceremony was Dr. Lori Glass, Associate Professor of Social Work.

    Jerry is a currently a Bachelor of Social Work student in the College of Health and Human Services. Upon graduation in 2016, he will pursue a Masters in Social Work with a concentration primarily toward Families and Children. He is a champion for social justice –– working with the traumatized, socio-economically deprived, and marginalized populations indicative of the inner cities of Chicago where he was raised.

    Jerry has utilized his personal and professional experiences to illuminate and champion holistic solutions to injustice. He has presented at various events across the country, including the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) Annual Program Meeting in Dallas Texas, the Social Work 20th Annual GSU Student Research Council, Kennedy King College Re-integrative Justice, GSU forum on Mass Incarceration/Re- Integrative Justice and the role of Higher Education, and at Columbia University in partnership with the Center For Justice.

    The Lincoln Laureate honors individuals whose contributions to the betterment of mankind have been accomplished in or on behalf of the State of Illinois, or, whose achievements have brought honor to the state because of their identity with it, whether by birth or residence, or by their dedication to those principles of democracy and humanity as exemplified by the great Illinoisan whose name it bears. It is to honor senior students at each of the four-year, degree-granting institutions in Illinois for overall excellence, in both curricular and extra-curricular programs.

    “Being named the Lincoln Laureate is truly an honor because I do what I do from the heart and to receive such recognition is awesome. To be recognized and not allow ego to divert me keeps me humble and grateful to know that my work is not in vain and I am not in this by myself. There are a host of ingredients that led me to this point: experience, family, mentors, teachers, colleagues, and friends. Therefore I share this moment and carry on the legacy of those whose shoulder I stand on for social, economic, and political justice for the oppressed and marginalized citizens of this great country who have no voice. This is truly a high honor and I have to take time to absorb it. It is my belief that on the day of the ceremony that moment will be mine and words could not describe it, I have had some moments on this journey and I cherish each transition. I am humble and grateful for favor, grace and mercy from God,” he said.

    Jerry is active within numerous organizations at GSU–he is specifically proud of the work he has done within Generating Hope (where he is a founding member). Generating Hope is a student organization created to support, advocate for, and empower GSU students who have been impacted by mass incarceration. For almost 16 years, Jerry was trapped in a cycle of destruction–jail, prison and the streets were his life, until an event occurred that changed him forever.  While in prison on his birthday in 2010, Jerry learned that his daughter was murdered. Jerry left prison a month after the killing of his daughter, determined that her death would not be in vain, and vowing to make social injustice the cause he would now dedicate his life to.

    Jerry began Generating Hope with Dr. Glass and colleagues Terry Banies, Darryl Cooke, and Patricia Miller. What started out as a support group, he said, turned into a movement.

    “The importance of this movement coincides with my purpose, ‘I just want to help somebody,’ and GSU laid the foundation to continue my work. Dr. Glass, Dr. Phyllis West, Dr. Gerri Outlaw and other professors encourage and support our endeavors including a host of colleagues, community, and definitely our family members. This year we challenged the new admissions application policy which added to it the question, ‘Have you been convicted of a felony,’ known as ‘THE BOX.’ GSU is a great school and the spirit of this school is unprecedented in my worldview, notwithstanding the diversity in my opinion.  Generating Hope met with President Maimon, Provost Bordelon, and Dean Valente to discuss this injustice. Our voices were heard by the administration, and out of the meeting, we created allies and will work together to add to the atmosphere, richness, and Spirit of GSU,” he said. 

  • CHHS Awarded NIH Grant to Address Cancer Disparities


    The College of Health and Human Services, under co-principal investigators Professors Rupert Evans and Catherine Balthazar, won a $716,000 “P20” research grant from the National Institutes of Health to address cancer disparities in Chicago’s south suburbs.

    “The grant will help develop a pipeline of students interested in cancer research and build our faculty’s ability to pursue larger federal grants for projects that will address high cancer rates and mortality across the Southland community,” said Dr. Evans.

  • CHHS Assistant Professors Awarded Research Grants


    Two assistant professors in the College of Health and Human Services have been awarded substantial grants to further their research. DeLawnia Comer-HaGans was awarded a grant of $100,000, and Zo Ramamonjiarivelo received $83,451.

    Comer-HaGans’ grant was received through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the nation’s leading philanthropy on health and health care. She was named among a select group of Junior Investigators to receive one of the 24-month grants from the RWJF’s New Connections program. The grant will allow Comer-HaGans to investigate the health of individuals with disabilities and who also have diabetes.   

    New Connections is a national program designed to introduce new scholars to RWJF and expand the diversity of perspectives that inform the Foundation’s programming.  New Connections seeks early-to mid-career scholars who are historically underrepresented ethnic or racial minorities, first-generation college graduates, or individuals from low-income communities.

    “We are so excited to welcome DeLawnia Comer-HaGans into the ninth cohort of New Connections grantees. The program connects first-time grantees to the Foundation, and the new perspectives they bring are essential to solving the critical, complex issues affecting our nation’s health,” said Catherine Malone, DBA, MBA, and Program Officer at RWJF.               

    “This cohort joins the larger New Connections network of more than 1,200 scholars—a network that provides opportunities for scholarly support and collaboration for academics from underrepresented groups,” says Malone.

    “I am truly grateful to New Connections for providing me with this fantastic opportunity! I appreciate being connected to such a diverse network of health disparities researchers. Additionally, I am pleased to conduct research in the area of chronic illness and disabilities.”

    Zo Ramamonjiarivelo’s award is an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ R03) 12-month grant that will be used for her project:  The Impact of Public Hospitals' Privatization on Nurse Staffing.

    Ramamonjiarivelo said the grant money will go a long way to helping her research and was grateful for the backing of both her colleagues in the College of Health and Human Services and Jennifer Morehead Farmer, Director of GSU’s Office of Sponsored Programs and Research. “Jennifer Morehead has been very helpful during the grants submission process, which is highly complicated, but Jennifer knows what she is doing. I want to thank Dean Elizabeth Cada and Dr. Rupert Evans in their strong support of junior faculty in research and grant application.”

    She is equally grateful to her research project collaborators from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “I really appreciate the help, support, and valuable collaborations of Dr. Robert Weech-Maldonado, Co-Investigator and my mentor, and Dr. Larry Hearld, Consortium Principal Investigator. I am looking forward to collaborating with them in this research endeavor. And I praise and thank God from the bottom of my heart for giving this grant to me and my co-investigators.” 

    Zoe R







    Dr. Zoe Ramamonjiarivelo

    DeLawnia Comer-HaGans cropped








    Dr. DeLawnia Comer-HaGans

  • Annual Master of Occupational Therapy Research Day



    Annual Master of Occupational Therapy Research Day

    The Master of Occupational Therapy Students, in partnership with the Occupational Therapy Faculty at Governors State University, presented findings from their research projects at their Annual Master of Occupational Therapy Research Day in October.

    Poster presentations included the following:


    Students' Professional Development Through the Gross Anatomy Laboratory Experience

    Student presenters: Mary Elizabeth Yopchick, Sarah Van Sickel, Saadah Ottman & Sarah Jasso   Research Advisor: Dr. Renee Theiss, Ph.D.


    An Exploration of the Demographics of Entry Level Master of Occupational Therapy Programs in Illinois
    Student presenters: Karien Dean, Candace Mallin, Brian Higgins & Michael Jagla

    Research Advisor: Dr. Catherine Brady, Ed.D, OTR/L


    The Meaning of Work for Adults Choosing to Work Beyond Retirement

    Student presenters: Stefanie Lostumbo, Nancy Graben, Valerie Rodawold & Ashley Grigaliunas

    Research Advisor: Dr. Melanie Ellexson, DHSc, OTR/L, FAOTA


    Students’ Perceptions of a Level I Psychosocial Fieldwork

    Student presenters: Clare Branson; Therese Chukwu; Katherine Essary;  Mustafa Jabri; Chelsea Newton; Emily Peppin & Megan Szarzynski

    Research Advisors: Dr. Caren Schranz, DrOT, MS, OTR/L, Dr. Cynthia Carr, DrOT, MS, OTR/L & Professor Patti Kalvelage, MS, OTR/L


    Health and Wellness of Preschool Aged Children: Perceptions of Parents, Teachers, and Children

    Student presenters: Dirk Anderson, Diana Basmajian, Ashley Bohlen Michelle Grome,

    Irada Imanova & Kimberly Martin

    Research Advisors: Dr. Divya Sood, OTD, OTR/L & Dr. DeLawnia Comer-HaGans, Ph.D., MS, MBA


    Healthcare Practitioners’ Perceptions When Working with Culturally Diverse Families

    Student presenters: Jessica Ferretis, Brianne Griffin, Irene Lee, Ashley Nowak & Jude Ondrus

    Research Advisor: Dr. Elizabeth Wanka, DrOT, OTR/L


  • Lambda Lambda to Collect Toys for Tots Through Dec. 4


    Lambda Lambda, GSU's local chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, the International Honor Society of Nursing, is sponsoring a toy drive for Toys for Tots. 

    Toys will be collected through December 4, 2015.

    New, unwrapped toy donations may be dropped off at collection boxes located in the D, F and G Building entrances of Governors State University (GSU), 1 University Parkway, University Park, IL  60484. There is an additional collection box in the Nursing Office. 

  • Stroke Support Group at GSU


    Survivors of stroke and their family members are invited to attend meetings of the GSU Stroke Support Group. The group is designed to provide social support, interdisciplinary educational programming, wellness programming and other resources. Heart-healthy snacks will be available at meetings.

    The Stroke Support Group was established at GSU by Jessica Bonner, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Eileen Brann, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, and Judy Platt, M.S., CCC-SLP, all from the Department of Communication Disorders in the College of Health and Human Services.  

    More information may be obtained by contacting Dr. Bonner at 708.534.4591, 708.534.4590, or jbonner@govst.edu

    The stroke support group is funded through the College of Health and Human Services Interprofessional Education Grant. 

  • Check Out Our New Nursing Facebook Page


    Individuals interested in the Nursing programs offered here at Governors State University are welcome to visit our new Nursing Department Facebook page:

     Nursing Lab photo


  • College of Health and Human Services Honors Top Students, Preceptors



    Each spring the College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) hosts a Recognition Night to honor the Outstanding Students from each of the College's seven departments, as well as the Outstanding Supervisors, Preceptors and Field Instructors who work with the CHHS students.

    For 2015, our Outstanding Students include:   

    Outstanding Students

    Addictions Studies & Behavioral Health — Outstanding Graduate Student:
    Sandra Knezevic    

    Community Health — Outstanding Undergraduate Student:
    Atsia Fair

    Communication Disorders — Outstanding Undergraduate Student:
    Debbie Bernabei

    Communication Disorders — Outstanding Graduate Student:
    Steven Kitowski, M.S. Ed, M.H.S.

    Health Administration — Outstanding Undergraduate Student:
    Cristy Gallegos

    Health Administration — Outstanding Graduate Student:
    Kritika Sharma

    Nursing — Outstanding Graduate Student (Family Nurse Practitioner):
    Elewechi Aka, BSN, MSNc

    Nursing — Outstanding Graduate Student (MSN):
    Sharese Donaldson, RN, BSN

    Occupational Therapy — Outstanding Graduate Student
    Monica T. Chhadia

    Occupational Therapy — Outstanding Doctoral Student
    Monika Szymanski, DrOT, OTR/L

    Physical Therapy — Outstanding Doctoral Student
    Kelly Cooke

    Social Work — Outstanding Undergraduate Student
    May Salman

    Social Work — Outstanding Graduate Student
    Latesha Newson


    Outstanding Supervisors, Preceptors and Field Instructors

     Addictions Studies and Behavioral Heath
    Katarzyna Suarez, MHS, CADC
    Communication Disorders
    Jacques Hawkins, MHS, CCC-SLP

    Community Health
    Susan Wilson

    Health Administration
    Angel Evans, BS, MPSM, DBA (candidate)

    Robert A. Jordan, M.D.

    Occupational Therapy
    Elizabeth J. Foss, OTR/L

    Physical Therapy
    Gail Morikado, PT

    Social Work (BSW Program)
    Deborah Meeker, LCSW, ICDVP

    Social Work (MSW Program)
    Alnita Buchanan




  • Addictions Studies Graduate Student Awarded Fellowship


     Jimia D. Stokes  Congratulations to Jimia D. Stokes who has been selected to receive an $11,000 fellowship from the NBCC Foundation, a nonprofit affiliate of the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). Stokes is a student in the Addictions Counseling Concentration track of GSU’s Master of Health Science in Addictions Studies program. (The program is run by the Department of Addictions Studies and Behavioral Health in the College of Health and Human Services at GSU.) 

    Stokes is a graduate of Texas Woman's University, in Denton. Upon graduation from GSU, Stokes plans to serve underserved youth between the ages of 18 and 25. This fellowship will help her to provide counseling services to individuals who have transitioned out of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and those who are involved in the Illinois Department of Corrections. 

    The NBCC MFP-AC is made possible by a grant awarded to NBCC by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The Foundation is contracted by NBCC to administer the NBCC MFP-AC, as well as training, webinars and collaboration activities that are open to all National Certified Counselors (NCCs). The goal of the program is to reduce health disparities and improve behavioral health care outcomes for racially and ethnically diverse populations by increasing the available number of culturally competent behavioral health professionals. 

    Based in Greensboro, NC, the NBCC is the nation’s premier professional certification board devoted to credentialing counselors who meet standards for the general and specialty practices of professional counseling. Currently, there are more than 55,000 National Certified Counselors in the United States and more than 50 countries.  

  • 2015 Run4Rehab Raises Funds and Awareness for Brain Injury Association


    Rain, high humidity and gloomy skies failed to prevent approximately 30 runners and walkers from participating in this year's 5th Annual 2015 Run4Rehab 5k run/2-mile walk/roll, sponsored by GSU's Physical Therapy Student Association (PTSA) on the GSU campus. 

    The event served as an awareness- and fund-raiser for the Brain Injury Association of Illinois (BIA of IL). Each Run4Rehab participant was given a photo and information about a BIA of IL member prior to the start of the run/walk. 

    Thomas Nye, a third-year Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) student, served as main organizer for this year's event and was assisted by fellow DPT students, including Kristie Burns, Melissa Naegele and Kate Lueders. Joyce Sligar, Senior University Lecturer and Co-Director of Clinical Education, serves as faculty sponsor for the PTSA. 

    The Brain Injury Association of Illinois is a not-for-profit, statewide membership organization comprised of people with brain injuries, their family members, friends and professionals. BIA of IL is part of a network of brain injury associations across the United States, and is a subsidiary of the National Brain Injury Association, Inc., which was founded in 1980. Dedicated to providing information, advocacy and support, the BIA of IL is the only organization in Illinois serving individuals with traumatic brain injury, their family members and professionals who treat them. BIA of IL feels collaboration is critical for effective service delivery, and therefore works with local, state and national organizations to consistently lead Illinois into providing quality, affordable and accessible services to people with brain injuries and their families.

    Run4RehabPictured, left to right, are Kate Lueders, Second-year Doctor of Physical Therapy student;  Thomas Nye, Third-year Doctor of Physical Therapy student;  Anna Albrecht, Third-year Doctor of Physical Therapy student;  Katie Abrassart, Third-year Doctor of Physical Therapy student;  Melissa Naegele, Third-year Doctor of Physical Therapy student;  Katie Nielson, Third-year Doctor of Physical Therapy student and 2014-2015 President of the GSU Physical Therapy Student Association;  Joyce Sligar, PT, MBA, MA, CEEAA, Faculty Advisor to the GSU Physical Therapy Student Association; Philicia L. Deckard, LSW CBIST, Executive Director, Brain Injury Association of Illinois, and Dr. Rebecca Wojcik, PT, Ed.D, GCS, Chair of the Department of Physical Therapy.          

  • Addictions Studies Students Earn 2nd Place at State Conference


    Two students and future graduates of GSU’s Master of Health Science in Addictions Studies/Addictions Counseling Concentration made quite an impression at the recent 2015 Illinois Counseling Association’s 5th Annual Southern Conference, held in Collinsville. (The Illinois Counseling Association is a partnership of associations representing professional counselors who enhance human development.)

    The students, Sandra Knezevic and Shirley Washington, conducted a joint poster presentation on “Understanding Stress Reactivity across a Culturally Diverse Population among Children Affected by War Zone Complex Trauma.”  Their presentation earned them a 2nd place award, out of 11 competitors.

    “Our main focus was to look at the effects of childhood trauma (primarily war zone-inflicted trauma) by focusing on attachment theory, stress-reactivity and brain chemistry. We then focused on treatment alternatives and ways in which counselors can be sensitive in working with this population,” Knezevic said.

    The students — both newcomers to academic presentations —received extremely positive feedback on their research and presentation, Washington noted.  “I wasn’t sure what to expect. Several attendees felt that we should win the prize for best presentation,” she said.

    “People were very impressed with our topic,” Knezevic said. “The fact that we looked at war zone trauma in particular struck an interest. People wanted more information and asked us to forward our references to them. Most of them felt like this was a topic that can benefit from further research. Our overall experience was phenomenal.”

    At some point in the future, Washington would like to work with veterans; both she and Knezevic are preparing to take their CADC (Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor) exams in April. They are both graduating in May from the MHS in Addictions Studies/Addictions Counseling Concentration.  Both students give the program high marks.

    “Ours is a top-quality program,” Knezevic noted. “I have received a well-rounded education and feel that I’m well-equipped to work with this population in the near future. The professors have been outstanding, willing to go ‘the extra mile,’” she said.

    Washington would “definitely” recommend the MHS program in Addictions Counseling to other students, she said. “And it’s a much-needed program, considering the issues we face in our society today. The program features a lot of real-world experience, with an emphasis on translating theory to practice,” Washington said.  

      Shirley Washington (left) and Sandra Knezevic (right), students in GSU’s Master of Health Science in Addictions Studies/Addictions Counseling Concentration program, appear in front of their joint poster presentation at the 2015 Illinois Counseling Association’s 5th Annual Southern Conference, held March 20 in Collinsville.  

  • Communication Disorders Students Raise Funds (and Fun!) for Sertoma


      Graduate and undergraduate students in GSU’s Communication Disorders program —all members of the student organization, the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) — held their annual fundraiser on Saturday, April 18 at Oak Forest Bowl.  The bowling fundraiser and silent auction benefited the Sertoma Centre, a not-for-profit organization that provides support services to individuals with disabilities. 

    Eighteen members of NSSLHA gathered with family, friends, and staff and consumers from Sertoma for a great day of bowling and bidding. The event raised more than $2,000 for the Sertoma Centre.  

    Sertoma Volunteer Coordinator, Laura Gardner, said, "The students put together a wonderful, organized fundraiser — and that's saying something, because I do this for a living!  I'm looking forward to continuing the collaboration between NSSLHA and GSU."  

    A special thanks to the NSSLHA executive board and all members who solicited donations, prepped auction items and supported the event.

    CDIS Sertoma fundraiser1 

    NSSLHA members pictured, back row: Danny Surdyk, Heather Groetzenbach, Jessica Wians, Anna Rogowski, Ashley Moultrie, Laura Brink, Brianna Morrow, Britnee Rubio, Julie Lee, Sheryl DeBoer and Laura Gardner, Volunteer Coordinator from Sertoma Centre.   Front row: Pam Ortiz, Stephanie Diaz, Aja Jackson.       * 

     CDIS Sertoma fundraiser2  

      NSSLHA members Avalon Marciniak, Stephanie Diaz, Laura Brink, Heather Groetzenbach, and Pam Ortiz with consumers from Sertoma who participated in the bowling activity. 

  • Social Work Students 'On a Mission'


     Social Work Relay for Life2

      Members of GSU's Social Work Student Organization (SWSO) participated in GSU's Second Annual Relay for Life recently. In total, 17 groups participated and 81 students fundraised more than $9,000 to fight cancer.  Pictured above are members of SWSO, including (seated, left to right) former SWSO President and GSU Student Senate Leader - Michael Alexander; SWSO Secretary - Nancy Vasquez; BSW SWSO President - May Salman; and (standing, left and right) MSW SWSO President - Lisa Jergusen; and SWSO Vice President -Brianna Stelmaszek. The students are pictured with Jax, mascot of the GSU Jaguars.

  • Department of Health Administration Represented at National Conference


    GSU's Department of Health Administration was well-represented at the American College of Healthcare Executives' (ACHE) 2015 Congress on Healthcare Leadership, held March 16-19 at the Hilton Chicago.

     Health Admin ConferencePictured (left and right) are Dr. Ning Lu, Ph.D., MPH, Associate Program Director for the Master of Health Administration Program, and a Full Professor in the Department of Health Administration at GSU; and Dr. Rupert Evans, DHA, MPA, FACHE, Chair of the Department of Health Administration at GSU.      

      Health Admin Conference Photo2













    Above, at far left, Master of Health Administration student Alexandra Gakopoulou discusses program highlights with interested visitors at the ACHE conference. The ACHE sponsored Ms. Gakopoulou's attendance at the Congress, where she also was a student worker. 



  • Health Administration Department Named Among Top 50 Most Innovative


    Hats off to the College of Health and Human Services’ Department of Health Administration for being named among the top 50 Most Innovative University Healthcare Administration Departments, as reported by the website,  www.topmastersinhealthcare.com

    Serving as Chair and Program Director for the Department is Associate Professor Dr. Rupert M. Evans, Sr., DHA, MPA, FACHE.

    Among the Department’s attributes that led to this honor include:

    ·         A Master of Health Administration (MHA) program accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME). CAHME’s rigorous review establishes the highest standard of excellence among MHA programs;

    ·         A high student employment rate following graduation. Ninety-one percent of GSU’s MHA  graduates are employed within three months of graduation;

    ·         Faculty members highly engaged in research in their field;

    ·         A variety of educational programs, in addition to the MHA, such as a fully AUPHA-certified Bachelor of Health Administration (BHA) program and several certificate programs;

    ·         A well-established student association (Student Healthcare Management Association – SHCMA), providing mentoring and professional development opportunities;

    ·         An active honor society (Upsilon Phi Delta Honor Society);

    ·         A diverse student population, traditionally underserved by the higher education community; and

    ·         GSU’s Health Administration programs also feature the lowest tuition in Illinois.

     “It’s wonderful for the academic excellence and talent of our Health Administration Department to be recognized,” noted Elizabeth A. Cada, Ed.D., OTR/L, FAOTA,  Dean of the College of Health and Human Services and Dean of Graduate Studies at GSU.  “The faculty works very hard to ensure that our students have everything they need to become leaders in this ever-changing health care environment.”


  • CHHS Faculty in the Media Spotlight


    Raven James photo Dr. Raven James, Ph.D.,  was interviewed on Coast to Coast Recovery Radio in Seattle, WA, on the occasion of the 40th Annual Conference of the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC), in September of 2014.

    Dr. James is an Associate Professor in the Department of Addictions Studies and Behavioral Health in GSU's College of Health and Human Services. She has been addressing the connection between sexual health esteem issues and addictions for more than 20 years, first as a clinician and then as a researcher. The author of Sexuality and Addiction: Making Connections, Enhancing Recovery, Dr. James has observed how sexuality-related variables are often linked to why people use substances and/or relapse back into problematic use.  

    See link below for entire interview: 

    See link below for Dr. Raven James Faculty Profile:

  • Social Work Students Reaching Out in Ebola Crisis


    Ebola In the past 10 months, more than 5,000 people have died from the Ebola virus. As a result, the country of Sierra Leone has lost many health care workers and has even fewer medical supplies to help in the treatment and containment of the disease.

    In order to lend their assistance, the students (members of the Social Work Student Organization, or SWSO) and staff of Governors State University are committed to collecting medical supplies to aid in the recovery in Sierra Leone. The students are working in collaboration with a non-profit agency called The United African Organization, and are donating 100 percent of any donations they receive to this organization so that medical supplies may be shipped directly to hospitals and clinics in Sierra Leone.

    Most-needed supplies include: gowns, eye shields, masks, bonnets, shoe covers, boots, aprons, gloves, safety gloves, OB gloves, surgical gloves, sanitation wipes, alcohol swabs, biohazard toilettes, alcohol gel, Tylenol/Mortin, Neosporin/Bacitracin, gauze, disposable linen and thermometers.

    For more information, contact Brianna Stelmaszek, Social Work Student Organization Vice President, at 815.953.1207, or Dr. Phyllis West, Project Salone advisor, at 708.534.6987.

  • Addictions Studies Professor Honored for Research


    She’s at it again. 

    Professor Raven James, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Addictions Studies and Behavioral Health, has once again been crisscrossing the country as a lecturer, author and award winner. You can’t keep a good professor down, it seems.  

    Most recently, Dr. James was honored by Widener University’s Center for Human Sexuality Studies (her alma mater in Pennsylvania) for the inaugural Patricia Barthalow Koch Award for Research Publication in Sexuality.  (Widener University's Center for Human Sexuality Studies houses the only doctoral program in Human Sexuality Studies at a fully accredited university in the United States. After moving from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999 to Widener, the program has grown in national recognition.)

    Dr. James received the first of what will become an annual  award “to recognize the implementation and dissemination of creative and methodologically sound research that explores the vast array of unanswered and intriguing questions that abound in the very broad discipline of sexology,” the award states. 

    Patricia Barthalow Koch, Ph.D., is past president of the Foundation for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, as well as Past President and Fellow of The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. She is a professor of Biobehavioral Health and Women's Studies and Director of The Pennsylvania Learning Academy for Sexuality Education at The Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Koch is an adjunct professor of Human Sexuality at Widener University.

    "I was so honored to receive this award," Dr. James commented. "Dr. Patricia Barthalow Koch is a national leader in the field of human sexuality studies. She was instrumental in my dissertation process, supportive of my tenure track job search process, and helped me to advance in the field as a sex researcher."

    A Speaker in Demand

    In September, Dr. James spoke at the National Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC) Conference in Seattle on behalf of two boards for which she serves:  the  International Coalition of Addiction Studies Education (INCASE) and the National Association of LGBT Addiction Professionals and their Allies (NALGAP).

    For INCASE, Dr. James presented a workshop, “Providing Gender Specific Treatment:  Strategies for Implementing Effective Approaches.” For NALGAP, she spoke on the keynote panel, “LGBT Addiction Treatment and Recovery — Where We Were Then; Where We Are Now.”

    Dr. James was also interviewed by Neil Scott of Recovery Coast to Coast Internet radio on her book, Sexuality and Addiction: Making Connections, Enhancing Recovery  (Praeger, 2012).

    Later this month Dr. James will return to the East coast where she will act as a content expert on a Federal grant project, A Provider’s Introduction to Substance Abuse Treatment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Individuals, produced by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  

    Stay tuned for news on Dr. James’ further travels.

     Raven awardPictured, left to right, are Dr. Patricia Barthalow Koch, a national leader in her field and a full-time professor at Penn State College; Dr. Don Dyson, Associate Dean of the School of Human Service Professions and Director of the Center for Human Sexuality Studies at Widener University, and Dr. Raven James, Associate Professor of Addiction Studies and Behavioral Health at  GSU.  

  • DPT Student Elected President of Statewide Organization


    Katie Taylor1

    Congratulations to Katie Taylor, second-year Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) student, on her election as President of the Illinois Physical Therapy Association’s (IPTA) Student Special Interest Group (SSIG). This is the first time that a GSU Physical Therapy student has been elected to office in the IPTA SSIG. Membership in the IPTA SSIG is now at an all-time high of 839 individuals.

    According to the recently-amended IPTA SSIG bylaws, the purpose of the SSIG is to provide a means by which physical therapist student and physical therapist assistant student members can share common interests and promote membership in their organization.  

    In addition to her new position with the IPTA SSIG, Taylor is president of the second-year DPT class at GSU and president of GSU’s Physical Therapy Student Association.

    “We are proud of the DPT students’ involvement in the Illinois Physical Therapy Association SSIG, and wish Katie Taylor success in her office as President,” noted Rebecca Wojcik, PT, Ed.D., GCS, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Physical Therapy.

  • Dr. William Yacullo Named Professor Emeritus


    Bill YaculloThe GSU Board of Trustees has conferred Professor Emeritus status on William S. Yacullo, Ph.D., CCC-A, who recently retired as tenured professor in the Department of Communication Disorders in the College of Health and Human Services at GSU. 

    Dr. Yacullo joined GSU in 1984, and served as Communication Disorders Department Chair from 2008 through 2013. In his role as chair, Dr. Yacullo was responsible for maintaining national (Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, CAA) and state (Illinois State Board of Education, ISBE) accreditation for the graduate program in Communication Disorders. He received three Faculty Excellence Awards over the course of his 30-year teaching career at GSU.

    Dr. Yacullo has published extensively on the topic of clinical masking (including a sole-authored textbook). Most recently, he completed a revision of his book chapter on clinical masking for the seventh edition of Katz’s Handbook of Clinical Audiology, the premier edited textbook in the field of audiology, which will be published in 2015. Dr. Yacullo also has been recognized nationally for his research and service as an editorial consultant by receiving two Editor’s Awards, one from The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the other from the American Academy of Audiology (AAA).

    Prior to his appointment at GSU, Dr. Yacullo served as assistant professor in the Department of Otolaryngology/Bronchoesophagology at Rush-Presbyterian-St.Luke's Medical Center, Chicago.

    Dr. Yacullo holds a Ph.D. in Speech and Hearing Science from the University of Iowa at Iowa City, as well as an M.A. in Audiology from Northwestern University in Evanston. He earned a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

  • Stuttering Support Group


    National Stuttering Association logoA new chapter of the National Stuttering Association (NSA) Support Group now meets under the sponsorship of GSU’s Department of Communication Disorders.

    The support group is open to adults who stutter, as well as their family members.

    For information regarding the next scheduled meeting, please contact Dr. Eileen Brann, Assistant Professor in GSU’s Department of Communication Disorders, at ebrann@govst.edu 

    Stuttering Support Group

  • DNP Candidate Named Student Scholar


    Yvette Rose
    Yvette Rose, R.N., M.S.N., a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) candidate at Governors State University, was recently named Student Scholar by the 2014 American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) Board of Directors (BOD) Student Scholarship Program.

    Rose is currently an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais and teaches Mental Health Nursing.

    Nursing students from across the United States were invited to apply for the Student Scholarship Program. Rose was one of just10 graduate students chosen for this honor.  Her fellow awardees hailed from Vanderbilt University, Yale University, University of Iowa, Rutgers University, University of California at San Francisco, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and East Tennessee State University. Ten additional undergraduate nursing students from across the nation were chosen, as well.

    “With demonstrated commitment to their education and motivation to make a difference in psychiatric-mental health nursing care, they are students that we are honored to support,” read a statement from the APNA Board of Directors. “These BOD student scholars have an enthusiasm for psychiatric-mental health nursing that is palpable.”

    Rose will enjoy one year complimentary membership in the APNA; she also was afforded registration, travel and lodging for the recent APNA 28th Annual Conference held October 22-25 in Indianapolis, IN.

    Rose was nominated for the award by Dr. Martha Libster, Ph.D., RN, CNS, AHN-BC, a Professor of Nursing at Governors State University.

    According to Dr. Libster, Rose is currently finishing her final scholarly project in the DNP program entitled, “Fighting a New Battle: A Bathing Care Standard for Elderly Male Military Veterans with Delayed-Onset Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (DOPSTD).” Rose will present the results of her project in a poster session at the 2015 Aging in America Conference, scheduled to be held March 23-27, 2015, in Chicago.

    “Yvette is translating the current nursing science on the care in bathing elderly veterans with dementia to those seriously afflicted with DOPSTD. Her proposed work is strategic, innovative and enthusiastically received by her community” … and “may prove to be an important dimension to care for this population of psychiatric mental health patients.” 

    The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is accredited as a provider of continuing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.  

  • Physical Therapy Associate Professor Earns Faculty Excellence Award


    Dale SchuitCongratulations to Dr. Dale Schuit, PT, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physical Therapy, who received a Faculty Excellence Award recently at GSU's Convocation, held in the Center for Performing Arts.

    Excellence Award winners are chosen by a committee made up of previous winners and other representatives from tenured/tenure track faculty, university/senior lecturers and academic support professionals across the university. The committee submits recommendations to GSU President Elaine P. Maimon in April and the winners are announced at Convocation.

    "Dr. Dale Schuit is a physical therapist, so helping others comes naturally," said President Maimon. Dr. Schuit is doing collaborative research to analyze the biomechanics and positioning of neck structures. Preliminary results were presented to an international spine conference in Great Britain.

    Dr. Shuit's colleagues praise him for being a committed teacher and mentor. He co-chairs the University's Institutional Review Board, the group that ensures that faculty research meets or exceeds federal standards. With his co-chair, Dr. David Rhea, he has increased the expectations and clarity of the IRB process.

    "Dale's work helps to bring GSU to a new level in the integration of teaching and research," President Maimon added. 

    Dr. Schuit treats students, faculty and staff with great dignity and kindness in his quest to help each achieve his or her own unique potential.

    Congratulations, Dr. Schuit!


  • CDIS Graduate Elected Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association


    Regina GoingsA 1981 graduate of the Master of Health Science in Communication Disorders program, offered through GSU's College of Health and Human Services, was recently elected a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

    Regina Goings of Las Vegas, NV, will be formally recognized with a presentation at the ASHA awards ceremony on November 21, 2014, at the ASHA Convention in Orlando, FL.

    “I’m delighted to know that a GSU alumna received such well-deserved professional recognition,” noted Jay Lubinsky, Ph.D., CCC-A/SLP, ASHA Fellow, Professor Emeritus and former Chairperson of the Department of Communication Disorders at Governors State University. “Regina exemplifies the seriousness of CDIS’s students and, as GSU alumni, their ongoing excellence as speech-language pathologists.” Dr. Lubinsky was Goings’ nominating sponsor.

    Since 2008, Goings has served as Director of Speech-Language Therapy and Audiology Services for the Clark County (Nevada) school district — the fifth largest school district in the country.

    Being named an ASHA Fellow is quite an honor, Lubinsky pointed out. “ASHA has more than 173,000 members; this year only 39 people received Fellowship. The nomination and selection processes are quite rigorous. Members selected as Fellows must display evidence of sustained excellence in three categories; in Goings’ case, it is clinical service, administration and service to professional organizations other than ASHA.”

    Recalling her years in the CDIS program at GSU, Goings noted, “The quality of education, by far, was excellent. The professors were knowledgeable, passionate about their areas of expertise, and accessible to and supportive of the students,” she said. “We had a strong knowledge base which made us well prepared for the ASHA exam; many of us were able to pass it on the first attempt.”

    Perseverance Pays

    Upon first enrolling, Going remembers feeling “somewhat overwhelmed. I was not a stellar undergraduate student, but I knew that this was the profession where I would do well.” She persevered, remaining focused and committed.

    Goings credits Professor Emeritus Lubinsky with making Audiology “less intimidating. He set high standards for his students, yet he provided support when we needed it. After more than 30 years of practice, I still rely on the knowledge that I obtained under his tutelage,” Goings said.

    Following graduation from GSU, Goings career path began in the Chicago Public Schools system, where she worked with children with severe-to-profound intellectual disabilities and autism. But that path moved westward once her husband was transferred to Las Vegas.

    As the Director of Speech-Language Therapy and Audiology Services for Nevada’s Clark County School District, “it is imperative that I remain knowledgeable of current trends and developments,” Goings said, “especially as technology continues to drive the profession. Dr. Lubinsky provided that foundation and helped to ease the intimidation.”

    In addition to her responsibilities to the school district, Goings serves as a member of ASHA’s School Finance Committee. She is also the Southern Nevada representative for the Coalition to Address Critical Labor Shortages in Special Education, which is an ad hoc committee of the Nevada Speech-Language-Hearing Association (NSHA). As a member of the Nevada Medicaid Committee, Goings is responsible for reviewing and providing recommendations that support Medicaid billing for related services in Nevada schools.

    “We in the College of Health and Human Services are justly proud of Ms. Goings’ accomplishments.  She sets an excellent example and serves as a role model for all our students,” said Elizabeth Cada, Ed.D., OTR/L, FAOTA, Dean of the College of Health and Human Services.


  • CDIS Students Raise Funds for Autism Speaks


      Autism Fundraiser(Pictured, left to right, are Communication Disorders students Jill Carlson,
    Barbara Czarnik and Niveen Atieh.)

    Communication Disorders students — members of GSU’s Chapter of the National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association — recently hosted an event that raised both fun and funds for Autism Speaks, the world’s leading research and advocacy organization for autism prevention and awareness.  

    The students hosted an event for children (some of whom had autism) and their families at the Silver Ice Skate rink in Woodbridge, with all proceeds going to Autism Speaks.

    “We raised approximately $4000 — that’s a 20% increase from the money raised last year,” said Kristy Hendershott, President of NSSLHA (GSU Chapter).

    Thousands of American children have autism spectrum disorder. Children with ASD have difficulty with social communication and demonstrate repetitive behaviors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in 68 children has been identified with ASD; boys are more susceptible than girls. Contemporary research suggests that no one cause can be identified. Scientists have identified more than 100 genes and mutations that can increase the risk of autism in combination with environmental factors.

    “Beliefs purported by some celebrities that vaccinations are the cause of autism are unfounded and have no scientific evidence. Early detection and intervention focusing on improving functional communication skills is extremely important,” said Dr. Ravi Nigam, Associate Professor of Communication Disorders at GSU. 

    For more information on autism, visit Autism Speaks (www.autismspeaks.org) or American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) website at http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/autism/.  

  • Generating Hope Support Network


    Stay tuned for information regarding the next meeting of the Generating Hope Support Network.

    Sponsored by the GSU Social Work Department, the Generating Hope Support Network is designed to provide support, mentoring, networking, information and resource linkage for the formerly incarcerated, their families and friends. The group is free and open to the public, and meets in Room D34012.

    For additional information about Generating Hope, contact Dr. Lorri Glass at 708.534.4919, or lglass@govst.edu 

  • Nursing Graduate Appointed Chief Nurse Executive for Chicago Hospital


    Dr. Jacquelyn WhittenA GSU Nursing graduate has just been appointed Chief Nurse Executive for Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago, which is part of Advocate Health Care ─ one of the largest health care systems in metropolitan Chicago and in the United States.

    Dr. Jacquelyn Whitten earned her Master’s and Doctoral nursing degrees from GSU. She also holds a certificate in project management from the Harvard School of Public Health Project and recently completed a Nursing Executive leadership course at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

    Effective January 12, 2014, Whitten will assume her new position as chief nurse executive for Advocate Trinity, which serves more than 90,000 patients each year, providing a full range of services from obstetrics and emergency care to medical, surgical, cardiology, diabetes and cancer care.

    GSU Nursing Department Chair Dr. Nancy MacMullen stated that “Dr. Whitten is a wonderful example of the type of nurse we graduate from our DNP program. She’s extremely dedicated and clinically expert, as well as a fine team leader. We’re all extremely proud of her recent accomplishment.”

    In an email note to GSU Nursing professors Dr. MacMullen, Dr. Pat Martin and Dr. Catherine Tymkow, Whitten wrote: “I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank you all for your mentorship and guidance from a wonderful university. It gives me great pleasure to represent our University! This could not have been done without all of you. Thank you all and please pass it on to the other professors.”

    Incoming Advocate Trinity Hospital President and former Chief Nurse Executive Michelle Gaskill stated: “Jackie is a dynamic leader with a passionate and energetic leadership style. Her background positions her well to influence change and drive continuous improvement in nursing care and quality.”

    Whitten brings more than 15 years of nursing leadership experience to this position. She joined Trinity in 2009 and has had a variety of roles in the emergency and critical care departments, maternal/child services, admission center and the stroke program. She has led the implementation of new hospital programs and successful designation as a Level II Plus nursery.

    Prior to joining Advocate, Whitten held a number of leadership roles at Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey and served in the United States Army.

    A resident of Lansing, Whitten is an active volunteer and is recognized as a leader in her church community. 

  • Health Administration Students Are Semi-finalists at National Competition


    Health Admin StudentsCongratulations to Nisha Mehta, Uzma Saleha and Josephine Anetekhai, second year Master of Health Administration students. They represented GSU and the College of Health and Human Services’ Health Administration program at the National Association of Health Services Executives’ Annual Everett V. Fox Student Case Analysis and Presentation Competition. This year’s competition was held October 15-18 in Miami, during NAHSE’s 28th Annual Educational Conference.

    Graduate students from 21 university Health Care Management programs from across the United States competed in this event.

    Our team represented GSU well, progressing in the competition all the way to the semi-final round. This meant our team was ahead of more than half of all the other teams, winning each of our team members a monetary award. Three of the Illinois teams placed in the competition: UIC finished in fifth place and Rush in first place.

    Serving as “coach” for the GSU MHA students was Dr. Rupert M. Evans, Sr., DHA, MPA, FACHE, Associate Professor, Chair and Program Director for GSU’s Department of Health Administration.

    The Case Competition is a scholarship program that utilizes the case study methodology of teaching to provide graduate students with an educational experience that enhances their problem analysis and presentation skills. Team members are given a unique case study and are charged with applying their knowledge and experience to analyze the diverse and real situations facing the healthcare organization featured in the case. The teams are given the specific facts and raw data related to the case, from which they are expected to reach decisions as outlined in the case assignment. The team then presents its case findings and recommendations before a panel of judges representing leaders in the healthcare field.

    Past cases have been modeled after organizations such as Kaiser Permanente, Mayo Clinic, Catholic Health Initiatives, Trinity Health System, University of Maryland Medical System, HCA, UnitedHealth Group and most recently, G.E. Healthcare. This year Kaiser Permanente was the sponsor of the case. 

    (Pictured, left to right, are Dr. Rupert M. Evans, Sr., and MHS students Uzma Saleha, Josephine Anetekhai and Nisha Mehta.)