News Archive 2021

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Fall Commencement

December 12, 2021

Congratulations to our fall class of 2021!

Dietetics Student Spotlight

November 19, 2021

This week's Dietetics student feature video is by Michelle Bradley. Follow along and learn how to make delicious red curry!

CHS grant provides CPR training for ROTC cadets

November 11, 2021

ROTC cadets learning CPR

Shelby County Schools ROTC senior cadets received Basic Life Saving/CPR instruction thanks to a grant from BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Community Trust.

The College of Health Sciences, led by the efforts of instructor/coordinator Debra Wyatt, was awarded $10,000 from BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Community Trust for the third year in a row. The first year, the award was used to develop a program offering free CPR to the community. The second year, we continued with free CPR courses and added free lifeguard training. This year, we shifted our focus back to CPR and have partnered with Shelby County Schools (SCS) to offer free courses for SCS faculty, staff and students.

Clinical Nutrition Student Spotlight

November 8, 2021

Brandi JohnsonAngelika Sharp

Two students from our Clinical Nutrition master's program were elected to serve in this year's Student Tennessee Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (STAND). Congratulations to program liaison Brandi Johnson and secretary Angelika Sharp!

The goal of STAND is to connect dietetic students and interns across Tennessee through networking and volunteering initiatives. STAND also works to empower and encourage dietetic students and interns to become future leaders in the food and nutrition industry.

Dietetics Student Spotlight

November 5, 2021

This week's Dietetics student feature video is by Sierra Jackson. Follow along and learn how to make delicious steamed salmon and broccoli!

PETE Student Spotlight

November 3, 2021

Sarah Hollandsworth

Sarah Hollandsworth, a student in our Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) program, has been named the James E. Ward award winner at this year's Tennessee Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (TAHPERD) state conference.

Sarah plans to pursue a PETE master's degree after graduation and will have a successful career as a Physical Education teacher!

The James E. Ward Future Professional Honor Award was established to recognize an outstanding Tennessee college or university student majoring in health, physical education, recreation, dance and/or related areas.

PETE instructor awarded supervisor of the month

November 1, 2021

Becky BoczBecky Bocz in PETE class drumming

Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) instructor, Becky Bocz, was chosen as October's Supervisor of the Month by her students. She supervises and evaluates student-teacher residencies for the PETE program.

"She is very helpful and understanding of the process of student teaching and what is needed. She is always open to talk or just to listen to her students vent over whatever, even if it's not about school. She is great and I could not do this without her." - Student nomination testimonial

Alumni Spotlight

October 27, 2021

Andy Martin2021 TAHPERD Award - Andy Martin

Physical Education Teacher Education alumnus Andy Martin received the 2021 recipient Connie Hall Givens Coordinated School Health Award at this year's Tennessee Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (TAHPERD) Convention. Andy is the School Health Supervisor for the Germantown Municipal School District's Coordinated School Health program.

Research assistant professor helps boost low vaccination rates in underserved communities

October 22, 2021

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare (MLH) received a $1 million grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services to raise COVID-19 education and vaccine access. The grant will assist in boosting low vaccination rates in underserved communities in Memphis and the Mid-South.

MLH will be partnering with organizations such as the Center for Transforming Communities (CTC). Research Assistant Professor Dr. Fedoria Rugless is a CTC Just Health Champion. As a Just Health Champion, Dr. Rugless assists in building out the technical, economic, systemic and cultural capacities for residents and institutions to collectively drive health access and equitable development and policy across the City of Memphis.

“This grant and this opportunity truly gives us an opportunity to impact and make sure we keep our numbers down and prevalence among our community,” says Rugless. “We have community workers and we’ll be able to sit down one on one with the residents if they have questions and concerns and connect them directly to resources.”

As an extension of the Healthy Memphis Initiative, Dr. Rugless partnered with the CTC to lead in the formation of the Just Health Wing of the Just C.H.A.N.G.E. Alliance, an organizing system that centers around the social determinants of health as a series of workgroup foci to build a power of place in the historically black and BIPOC communities CTC serves.

Just Health focuses on the mental and physical health of individuals and collective health of communities. Under mental health this can include but is not limited to stress, trauma, oppression, wellness, addictions and violence. Under physical health this can include, but is not limited to stress, nutrition, diet, exercise, blood pressure and yoga. Under community health this includes, how communities collectively respond towards creating impact projects that address their specific priorities.

College hosts meal packaging event

October 21, 2021

Rise Against Hunger Meal Packaging Event

Today, 92 volunteers packed 14,236 meals during our annual Rise Against Hunger meal packaging event. We also raised $5,458.00 from donations and proceeds from our Healthy Teaching Kitchen. Rise Against Hunger is growing a global movement to end hunger by empowering communities, nourishing lives and responding to emergencies.

We'd like to thank all of our volunteers and those who donated for helping us reach our goal!

Clinical assistant professor moderates "Combating the HIV Epidemic in Memphis" forum

October 19, 2021

Shemeka Hamlin-Palmer

Dr. Shemeka Hamlin-Palmer, clinical assistant professor and Hooks Academic Research Fellow, moderated an online discussion from the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change titled “Combating the HIV Epidemic in Memphis.” As part of their newly created “Focus on Memphis” series, panelists discuss HIV stigma and discrimination in the African American community, living with HIV and ways to reduce the risk of getting HIV and/or other STIs.


Nutrition clinical assistant professor featured in UofM Magazine

October 17, 2021

Sara Foley

Clinical assistant professor Sara Foley was featured in the Fall 2021 edition of the University of Memphis Magazine.

"When I started, a colleague and I had a dream to include hands-on learning where we, as registered dietitians, had a platform to provide nutrition education. With the support of our dean, Dr. Richard Bloomer, that dream became a reality with the purchase of a little mobile teaching cart. With the creation of the Tiger Foods Lab, we are able to provide so much more beyond what our mini-kitchen on wheels can provide, making the possibilities beyond exciting."


Student Spotlight

October 14, 2021

This week's student feature video, Smart Snacking, was submitted by Dietetics student, Melissa Cano. Follow along and discover some healthy alternatives for your next snack attack.

Student Spotlight

October 5, 2021

Dietetics student Andres Duñeas' video was chosen as the feature video of the week in his Culinary Nutrition course (NUTR 2303).
Follow along as he demonstrates how to make delicious Taco de Pollo a la Poblana. 

A Memphis Story: Teaching a Community to Swim

September 28, 2021

Drowning incidents are tragic, alarming and mostly preventable. The Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) reports there are about eleven deaths due to drowning per day. Significant racial and ethnic disparities with drowning have been observed with national data showing that minority youth, specifically African American children aged 5-19 years, drown at sometimes 5.5 times the rate that white children drown.

So, how do communities circumvent this deadly trend? One solution Dr. Carol Irwin found through her research is to create and support free or low-cost swimming programs for under-resourced children. The Memphis area has owned and endorsed a unique “learn to swim” program, Splash Mid-South, since 2009. This program has taught over 7,000 children within the area AND has supported hundreds of these new swimmers to swim competitively.

During this virtual Healthy Conversations event, Dr. Irwin and guests discuss the research, findings and future of the program, including the role of the new Mike Rose Aquatics Center scheduled to open in 2022.

Can healthy people who eat right and exercise skip the COVID-19 vaccine?

September 28, 2021

Several thousand protestors opposed to the COVID-19 vaccine march through the streets of midtown Manhattan in New York on Sept. 18, 2021. Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis News via Getty Images

Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis News via Getty Images

By Richard Bloomer
Featured on The Conversation and Popular Science

"I'm a fitness enthusiast. I also adhere to a nutrient-dense, 'clean' eating program, which means I minimize my sugar intake and eat a lot of whole foods for the purpose of optimizing my health.

You might wonder how effective such a diet and exercise plan would be in the fight against COVID-19, since some have suggested – without supporting evidence – that vaccination may be unnecessary if a detailed wellness lifestyle is closely followed.

As a research scientist who has studied nutrition for close to 20 years, I have watched the wellness community’s response to the COVID-19 vaccines with great interest. While eating right can favorably impact the immune system, it is not reasonable to expect that nutrition alone will defend against a potentially life-threatening virus."


Alumni Spotlight

September 21, 2021

Keith Loupe

Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) alumnus Keith Loupe was recognized as the August Teacher of the Month at University Middle School where he teaches sixth-eighth grade Health & Physical Education. Keith earned his undergraduate degree from the College of Health Sciences and will earn a Master of Arts in Teaching degree in December. He's majoring in Instructional and Curriculum Leadership with a concentration in K-12 Physical Education Teacher Education.

"His energy is contagious, and we're blessed to have him as a part of our family! Keith exemplifies the "E" in excellence in our U MIDDLE PRIDE matrix by always leading by example, having a positive attitude and encouraging others." - Excerpt from University Middle School newsletter.

Read more about Keith in his Alumni Spotlight.


Healthcare Leadership celebrates first MAAP graduate

August 25, 2021

Tanya Myers

Healthcare Leadership's Tanya Myers just became the first graduate from UofM Global's MLH Associate Advancement Program (MAAP).

"Earning a college degree through MAAP will forever have a lasting impact on my life; it opens up more opportunities, improves discipline and helps to develop strong character. I now have a foundation that I can build upon and, more importantly, the tools necessary to begin my journey into the Healthcare Leadership field," said Myers.

MAAP, a collaboration between the University of Memphis and Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare (MLH), offers a series of tuition-free certificates and four-year degrees to help staff advance their careers. While this program is open to all employees, the focus is on entry-level associates, which make up about 25 percent of employees. This opportunity opens up new career paths that may have once felt unreachable.

“At the end of the day our goal is to help our associates create greater economic security for themselves and their families so more Memphians can truly escape the cycle of poverty,” said Michael Ugwueke, MLH President and CEO.

Associate professor awarded University Research Professorship

August 20, 2021

Dr. Brandt Pence in lab

Associate Professor Dr. Brandt Pence has been awarded a University Research Professorship, based on the recommendations of Dean Richard Bloomer and the Vice President for Research and Innovation, Jasbir Dhaliwal. His significant efforts have made a great impact on the University of Memphis.

This honorary achievement rewards his outstanding contributions to the University's educational, research, outreach and service missions. The Professorship is a three-year appointment and he will receive professional funds to support his research.

Associate professor featured on nutrition podcast

August 9, 2021

Dr. Marie van der Merwe

Associate professor Dr. Marie van der Merwe was recently featured on an episode of the Rebel Nutritionist podcast - "Gut Health Isn’t Sexy, But May Be the Answer You’re Looking For."

Do you think only stomach pains indicate you have something wrong with your GI system?  Did you know that most of your immune system is in your intestines?  Did you know that you could be completely asymptomatic and have something very wrong with your body?

Your weight is very closely connected to the “bugs” in your gut and that if you are having a hard time losing weight it could be the result of an imbalanced GI system. If you didn’t know about the link between your immune system and gut health, you are not alone.  And if you think that you have to have a tummy ache in order to actually have something wrong with your health, then this podcast is for you.


Summer commencement ceremony celebrates UofM graduates

August 7, 2021

Congratulations to the UofM College of Health Sciences summer graduates! 🎓

"Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” - Confucius

Human Performance Center director featured in SportTechie

August 5, 2021

Daniel GreenwoodHe’s a Writer, He’s a Track Star: Testing Vicon Blue Trident IMU Sensors in the 200-Meter Dash

Dr. Daniel Greenwood was featured as an expert sport scientist by SportTechie in "He’s a Writer, He’s a Track Star: Testing Vicon Blue Trident IMU Sensors in the 200-Meter Dash" by journalist Joe Lemire. Vicon-owned IMeasureU had journalists try its Blue Trident inertial sensors for a summer of training, culminating in a 200-meter run in honor of the Olympics. Lemire consulted with Dr. Greenwood to review his IMeasureU data from his trial.

“There's almost this threshold on a previously injured limb that athletes aren’t willing to go above,” says Daniel Greenwood, director of the Human Performance Center at the University of Memphis. “It’s like the body's almost got this inbuilt sort of safety mechanism. Your body is intuitively keeping it safe, without you realizing it.”

Within our Human Performance Center, Dr. Greenwood manages a team of scientists across multiple disciplines to deliver applied performance projects solving injury and performance problems for coaching, training, development and medical staff. Dr. Greenwood's experience with highly successful Olympic-level and World Champion athletes, his background in biomechanics, and experience in major sports science labs enables him to have a deep understanding of the collection of data within sports contexts including the adoption and application of relevant technologies, the management of multi-season data sets, and integration of multiple data sources. 


ESMS assistant professor awarded grant from Tekscan

August 4, 2021

Douglas PowellTekscan pressure mapping

Exercise, Sport & Movement Sciences assistant professor Dr. Douglas Powell received a grant from Tekscan for his project, "Detection of Key Gait Events in Individuals with Parkinson's Disease (PD) using a Plantar Pressure Mat." In this study, he will use a Tekscan Strideway Plantar Pressure Mapping system to develop an algorithm to determine key gait events (including heel strike and toe off) to identify the key periods of the gait cycle in individuals with Parkinson’s disease.

The outcome of this research is an algorithm that will better identify these key events in the PD population, which has a unique movement pattern due to their symptomology. The overarching benefit of this project to the field of biomechanics and movement disorders will be improved analysis of gait biomechanics in individuals with PD using a portable mat-based plantar pressure system.

ESMS associate professor featured on sports podcast

August 2, 2021

Tokyo Talk: Reducing injury risk in endurance runnersMax Paquette

Exercise, Sport & Movement Sciences associate professor Dr. Max Paquette joins "Experts in Sports" podcast host Martin Foster to discuss one of the biggest issues facing elite endurance runners: injury, which can derail training programs and can prevent runners reaching major championships and achieving success.


Health Sci alumna competes in Olympics

July 30, 2021

Ali Weisz in Olympic rings

College of Health Sciences alumna Alison (Ali) Weisz represented the United States in two events at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Ali finished sixth place in the 10m air rifle mixed team events with a score of 416.8, just three tenths shy of qualifying for the bronze medal match, and 14th place in the women's 10m air rifle. 

"Never have I been happier when a student asked me for makeup exams. Ali was competing in Olympic trials back then when she was a graduate student. Ali had to coach, study, train AND become an Olympian that year. So proud of her," said assistant professor Yufeng Zhang.

Ali earned her master's degree in Clinical Nutrition in 2020 and was a graduate assistant coach for the University of Memphis rifle team.

CHS dean featured on nutrition podcast

July 29, 2021

Dr. Richard Bloomer 

Dean Dr. Richard Bloomer was recently featured on an episode of the Rebel Nutritionist podcast - "Clearing Up The Confusion Around Supplements." They discuss the benefits of using dietary supplements along with a well-balanced diet and active lifestyle, but how supplementation isn’t meant to be a quick-fix. They also discuss the controversies and mixed messaging surrounding supplementation. Dr. Bloomer explains how he helps consumers navigate the many choices and recommends a few brands.

Dr. Bloomer has specific expertise in the use of dietary ingredients for purposes of improving cardio-metabolic health. He has served as a consultant to a variety of nutraceutical and dietary supplement companies and is the director of our Center for Nutraceutical and Dietary Supplement Research.


ESMS graduate student receives internship with the New York Mets

July 27, 2021

Sara Ann Davidson

Sara Ann Davidson, a graduate student in Exercise, Sport & Movement Sciences (ESMS), has been awarded a sport science internship with the New York Mets and will be working with them during the program's 2021-22 season. Sara Ann graduated summa cum laude in 2020 with a bachelor's degree in ESMS from the College of Health Sciences. Additionally, she was a member of the Memphis Tigers Softball team from 2017-21.

"Studying sports science for me combines two things I have always loved, and I am so excited about the opportunity to utilize my education and love for sports in this elite environment," said Davidson.

Sara Ann was recently featured as the Graduate Student Research Spotlight for August 2021 by the Division of Research and Innovation.


College receives approval for two new doctoral programs

July 22, 2021

UofM College of Health Sciences

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission approved two new doctoral programs in the College of Health Sciences. Our Doctorate in Physical Therapy, to be offered at UofM Lambuth in Jackson, Tenn., is tentatively set to begin in fall 2023 or 2024, following approval from the accrediting board (CAPTE).

Our PhD in Applied Physiology and Neuromechanics will include two concentrations - Applied Biomechanics and Applied Physiology & Nutrition. This program will begin in fall 2022. 

These are the first doctoral programs for the College of Health Sciences and will provide an excellent opportunity for students to be trained as future clinicians and scientists. More information will be available in the coming weeks.

PETE student receives Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholar Award

July 21, 2021

Lanyce Williams

Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) junior, Lanyce Williams, was recognized as as a 2021 Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholar.

Diverse: Issues In Higher Education sponsors the Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sport Scholar Awards to honor students of color who have excelled in the classroom as well as on the athletic field. Inspired by tennis legend Arthur Ashe, Jr.'s commitment to education as well as his love for the game of tennis, U.S. colleges and universities are invited to participate in this annual awards program by nominating their outstanding sports scholars. In addition to their athletic ability and academic performance, Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars demonstrate a commitment to community service and student leadership.

Assistant professor receives grant from the National Science Foundation

July 16, 2021

Yufeng Zhang

Assistant professor Dr. Yufeng Zhang was awarded a $504,545 grant from the National Science Foundation for his project, "Collaborative Research: Understanding the rules of honest signaling." Collaborators include Dr. Geoffrey Hill from Auburn University and Dr. Matthew Toomey from University of Tulsa. $1.4M was awarded for the entire project.

Feather coloration in birds serves as an honest signal of individual condition. This finding is both well documented and quite remarkable. It is far from obvious why the hue of feathers reveals the individual quality or what prevents low-quality birds from cheating this system.

In this project, a team of scientists with expertise spanning animal physiology, cell biology and genomics will use both whole animals, cell culture and isolated subcellular organelles to study the molecular and biochemical mechanisms of coloration. They will examine and compare these processes in House Finches in good or poor condition to deduce the specific mechanisms that promote or inhibit the production and accumulation of red pigments and hence, control plumage coloration.

Understanding the biochemical and cellular rules that govern carotenoid coloration in songbirds is important not just for a better understanding of this central process in nature, but because carotenoid pigments play a key role in cellular homeostasis in humans. They will share these insights and support STEM education through an ornithology summer camp program, curricula development and training workshops for public school teachers, and middle and high school student visits to investigator laboratories.

Research assistant professor speaks on how Memphis ranks near bottom of recreation study

July 13, 2021

WREG Live at 9 - Memphis ranks near bottom of recreation study

The Mid-South typically ranks high on the list of states with populations that struggle with obesity.  A new WalletHub study reveals that Memphis comes in near the bottom of the rankings when researchers look at overall activity.  

Research Assistant Professor and member of Common Table Health Alliance, Dr. Fedoria Rugless, talks about the study and ways we can change that. 

Dr. Rugless also serves as the director of research for Church Health. This dual position was developed from the President's office in collaboration with Church Health leadership, with the vision of developing a nationally recognized collaborative research program between the University of Memphis and Church Health. In this role, Dr. Rugless works as a liaison between University of Memphis investigators and Church Health, with the goal of building a strong collaborative research network that enhances the community-based clinical work being done at Church Health, while providing University faculty with the opportunity to conduct research within a model healthcare organization.

Drowning prevention grant awarded to College

July 12, 2021

CPR trainingDebra WyattBlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Community Trust

The College of Health Sciences, led by the efforts of instructor/coordinator Debra Wyatt, was awarded $10,000 from BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Community Trust for the third year in a row. The first year, the award was used to develop a program offering free CPR to the community. The second year, we continued with free CPR courses and added free lifeguard training. This year, we shift our focus back to CPR and have partnered with Shelby County Schools (SCS) to offer free courses for SCS faculty, staff and students.

Clinical Nutrition program receives grant to work with local urban garden

July 6, 2021

Tracy BruenMike and Karen MinnisLandmark GardensLandmark Voluunteers

Photos courtesy of Landmark Training Development Company

Our Clinical Nutrition program, led by Dr. Tracy Bruen, was awarded a $25,000 specialty crop block grant from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture to work with Orange Mound's Landmark Training Development Company on a nutrition education program for at-risk youth and their families. 

Founded by Mike and Karen Minnis, the Landmark Training Development Company is a multi-faceted non-profit organization whose ultimate goal revolves around creating economically sustainable communities for families in the Mid-South area. They operate the Landmark Farmer’s Market, food pantry, the Landmark Gardens, urban outreach center and other advocacy programs. Landmark Training strives to help youth develop job skills, positive social habits and self-sufficient attitudes as they navigate through society.

Nutrition clinical assistant professor recognized as Outstanding Dietitian of the Year

June 23, 2021

Sara Foley holding TAND award

Every year, the Tennessee Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (TAND) recognizes outstanding dietetic students and dietitians. Clinical assistant professor, Sara Foley, was awarded this year's Outstanding Dietitian of the Year for Tennessee.

Outstanding Dietitian of the Year is awarded annually to a member of the Academy who is an active participant in the national, affiliate and district association and has not previously received the award. The recipient must also demonstrate concern for the promotion of optimal health and nutrition status of the population, demonstrate leadership in the association or employment, be a minimum of 35 years old and worked a minimum of 10 years as a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN).

Clinical assistant professor's abstract accepted as part of APHA 2021

June 16, 2021

Dr. Shemeka Hamlin-Palmer

Healthcare Leadership Clinical Assistant Professor Dr. Shemeka Hamlin-Palmer’s abstract, “HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Gaborone, Botswana: A Faculty-Led Public Health Study Abroad Program,” was accepted as part of American Public Health Association’s (APHA) 2021 Annual Meeting and Expo.

Botswana has the fourth-highest HIV prevalence in the world. The epidemic affects women and young girls the most. HIV stigma and discrimination are widespread issues in Botswana, causing many people to avoid getting tested for HIV or seek health care services.  

Dr. Hamlin-Palmer traveled with 14 junior and senior level students from an HBCU in Jackson, MS to Gaborone, Botswana for 15 days to study the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Students received several lectures from medical personnel describing the history of HIV, the impact, the Botswana National ARV Program, and the Treat All Strategy. Lectures focused on the health care delivery system, the role of traditional medicine in Botswana society and the state of Tuberculosis in the era of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The program afforded students with trips to TB Clinics, Baylor Pediatric Center and Teen Club,  Princess Marina Public Hospital/Block 6 Clinic and Bokamoso Private Hospital. Students were able to compare public and private hospitals and visit clinics that provided health care solely to pediatrics and adolescents living with HIV. Lastly, students participated in a community engagement activity with a local non-governmental organization located in Mochudi. 

Students gained a plethora of knowledge on the state of adult, pediatric and adolescent HIV care, treatment, support and mortality in Botswana. When comparing the public and private hospitals, students noticed the disparity in the delivery of health care among the two. Stigma was an issue highlighted as a reason for not accessing care after testing positive for HIV and for not getting tested for HIV.  

When addressing stigma as it relates to HIV/AIDS, more education is needed to help understand the transmission of the virus, and that it should not be labeled as a virus for a particular gender or race. Health care access is a growing need and should be widely available regardless of HIV status or ability to pay.  

Assistant professor's project chosen for new Memphis-Meharry research collaboration

June 10, 2021

Melissa Puppa, PhD

The University of Memphis and Meharry Medical College (MMC), the largest private historically Black academic health science center in the U.S., are launching a new initiative -  the Program to Enhance Collaborative and Interdisciplinary Research (PECIR). The purpose of the Memphis-Meharry Program is to stimulate innovative, interdisciplinary, team-based research that involves investigators from both institutions. 

Six teams, comprised of faculty members from both schools, were selected to receive $50,000 grants for their projects. The award is designed to promote new lines of research and provide seed money to give rise to future external funding. Assistant professor Dr. Melissa Puppa's project (in collaboration with Dr. Smita Misra from MMC), "Elucidating mechanisms for the sexually dimorphic response to diet induced obesity and metabolic syndrome," was among those chosen.

“This is the start of an exciting longer-term research partnership between our two institutions,” said Dr. Jasbir Dhaliwal, UofM’s EVP of Research and Innovation, in a release. “Science is inherently collaborative, and it is imperative that we pool our research capabilities to tackle the big health and medical challenges facing our communities. It is my belief that these research teams will be successful in attracting significant competitive research support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) given the focus of the projects.”



Puppa/Misra's project summary:

Obesity and diabetes are growing epidemics not only in developed countries, but also in developing countries. There is some disparity across the sexes with males being more likely to develop diabetes and metabolic syndrome than females even though females are more likely to be classified as obese. While estrogen seems to play a role in this dimorphism the contribution and its effects on metabolically active tissues are not fully understood. Therefore, we proposed to examine the dimorphic response of male and female metabolically active tissues to either a control diet, high fat diet, or high sugar diet. We hypothesize that the innate stress responses of metabolically active tissues will differ between males and females and this will correlate with metabolic dysfunction leading to diabetes and metabolic syndrome.  Understanding the mechanisms behind this sexual dimorphism can aid in the development of sex specific therapeutic interventions to prevent and treat one of the leading contributors of chronic disease. We will use both in vivo and in vitro studies to identify the sex specific metabolic alterations during the development of obesity and metabolic syndrome.

PETE assistant professor recognized by international phys ed association

June 1, 2021

Kelly Simonton

Assistant professor, Dr. Kelly Simonton, was selected as a recipient for the International Association for Physical Education in Higher Education (AIESEP) Young Scholar Award.

The AIESEP Young Scholar Award was established in 2001 by former AIESEP board member Eitan Eldar (Israel). The intent of the award is to recognize early career scholars within the field who demonstrate outstanding scholarly contribution and promise. The award also supports the participation of early career scholars at AIESEP events.

At the 2021 online AIESEP World Congress, he will present his research, “College students previous physical education experiences: Student content beliefs, emotions, and outcomes.” 

“My goals and principles for working in the field of PETE and conducting high quality pedagogical research align seamlessly with the goals of AIESEP. Specially, the attention given to evidence-based methodologies and advocacy for creating strong international bonds amongst researchers and educators," said Simonton.

Instructor awarded grant to help families engage in a healthy, outdoor activity

May 26, 2021

Matt McDaniel

Health Sciences instructor, Matt McDaniel, was awarded a $4000 grant from the Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation for installation of the book "Last Stop on Market Street" for the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF)  Storybook Trail program at Heritage Park walking path in Brownsville, Tenn. GBBF’s Storybook Trail program includes 18 trails in Tennessee at 15 state parks, two city parks and one botanical garden and estate. This will be the first Storybook Trail in Brownsville.

In 2018, Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation launched the Storybook Trail program by partnering with Tennessee State Parks Conservancy, city parks and outdoor areas to provide a children’s storybook, presented on child-height panels, along a short trail to promote adult-child interaction around books and nature. The trails feature reading tips on each page panel to bring the book to life with the surrounding nature. In addition to promoting literacy and caregiver engagement, the Storybook Trail program encourages families to connect with nature and engage in a healthy, outdoor activity.

ESMS alumnus featured in UofM Magazine

May 20, 2021

Juan Torres

Exercise, Sport & Movement Sciences alumnus and first-generation college graduate, Juan Torres, was featured in the latest UofM Magazine. Born in León, Mexico, he was 3 when he moved to Memphis with his family. Torres graduated cum laude with the Spring Class of 2021.

“Being first-generation is a very powerful thing,” Torres said. “We carry a heavy weight on our back given that we are committing to something our parents and loved ones weren’t able to do. Don’t be afraid to seek out help. There are plenty of students that have the same questions you might have when stumbling upon something difficult. Reach out for support from your classmates, professors, tutoring services or any of the many great programs on campus.” 

Torres completed an internship with Wright Medical Technology in Memphis and plans to remain in the area for the foreseeable future. He sees himself working as a sales representative for a high-end technology company, like Wright Medical, providing products to hospitals in need.


Associate professor featured in the Spring 2021 UofM Magazine

May 18, 2021

Max Paquette in lab with students

Dr. Max Paquette, associate professor and 2020 Tennessee Science Educator of the Year for Higher Education, was featured in the latest issue of the University of Memphis Magazine.

"Although producing new science and contributing to my area of research is important, I feel much more fulfilled when I know I’m helping students get the most out of their educational experience at the University."


Congratulations to the spring class of 2021!

May 8, 2021

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.” – Henry David Thoreau

Alumna receives Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Dietetic Internship Scholarship

May 6, 2021

Video courtesy of CPSDA

From the the Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association (CPSDA):

Congratulations to the first CPSDA Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Dietetic Internship Scholarship recipient, Adria Butler. A native of Memphis, Tenn., Adria earned a bachelor's degree in exercise science from the University of Dayton, where she also competed as a student-athlete in track & field. She then earned a bachelor's degree in dietetics from the University of Memphis. Adria will begin her Dietetic Internship at Florida State University in the fall of this year. ⁣

Adria’s interest in sports nutrition began during a summer internship at D1 Sports Training and Therapy. She assisted⁣ in the training of athletes of all ages, including professional athletes. She noticed the benefits of the individualized dietary plans developed for their clients, but their plans were not developed by registered dietitians. She then had the opportunity to serve under the registered dietitian at the University of Memphis Campus Recreation Center’s smoothie bar, which piqued her interest in sports nutrition.

Adria wrote “Working at UofM was an invaluable experience, not only because it was my first job in the field of nutrition, but it also allowed me to be mentored by a registered dietitian who was a young, African-American female like myself. I learned a great deal from her, most notably the need for diversity and cultural competency within the field of dietetics to provide the best care to⁣ patients."

With this scholarship, CPSDA seeks to increase diversity within our organization and throughout the profession with a commitment to supporting increased enrollment of BIPOC students in dietetic internships. 

Nutrition professor elected president of MAND

May 4, 2021

Tracy Bruen

Clinical assistant professor and M.S. Clinical Nutrition/DI program director, Dr. Tracy Bruen, was elected president of the Memphis Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (MAND) for the 2021-22 term.

Dr. Bruen is passionate about implementing evidence-based practice in the clinical setting and the promotion of registered dietitians as healthcare leaders. Her research interests include diabetes treatment and prevention as well as critical care nutrition. She has served as a mentor and preceptor for students for over 20 years and desires to continue to make a positive impact on the future of the profession.

Healthcare Leadership professor elected UofM Faculty Senate president

May 2, 2021

Pat Travis, PhD

Clinical associate professor and Healthcare Leadership unit coordinator, Dr. Pat Travis, was elected to serve as president-elect of the University Faculty Senate. He will serve in that capacity until April 2022 and transition to president for the 2022-23 term.

The Faculty Senate consists of 44 senators representing departments, independent units and areas across the University. It serves as a forum for the formulation of faculty opinion, a university-wide voice for faculty views and the primary vehicle for faculty participation in University governance. 

Health Sciences professor selected for MBJ's 40 Under 40

April 28, 2021

Dr. Fedoria Rugless

Research assistant professor, Dr. Fedoria Rugless, was selected as one of Memphis Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 honorees. For 25 years, the Memphis Business Journal has recognized the best and brightest young professionals in the Mid-South who are making a difference in their professions and in the community.

"Memphis has given me the opportunity to operate and explore vast areas consistent with my passions. It has also created opportunities to meet, network and collaborate with many within the city and community to enhance this area and promote change, growth and development. It has also provided me with additional skills in leadership, being a neutral convener and liaison between various community partners and organizations," says Rugless.

Dr. Rugless also serves as the director of research for Church Health. This dual position was developed by the President's office in collaboration with Church Health leadership, with the vision of developing a nationally recognized collaborative research program between the University and Church Health with the goal of building a strong collaborative research network that enhances the community-based clinical work being done at Church Health, while providing University faculty with the opportunity to conduct research within a model healthcare organization. This role embodies both of her passions and areas of service in the healthcare and research arenas. Ultimately, she desires to reduce healthcare disparities within underserved populations, and for all to obtain holistic health and wellness.

40 Under 40, Class of 2021 >

College of Health Sciences students honored by the Office of the President

April 22, 2021

President's Leadership Awards and Honors Assembly

Student Leadership & Involvement in conjunction with Student Academic Success, the Commencement Office and the Office of the President hosted the President's Leadership Awards and Honors Assembly. This reception honored the University of Memphis' finest and brightest student academic achievements, student leaders and organizations for their dedication to the University. 

Inducted into the 2021 Carson's Circle - MaKayla Carr

MaKayla Carr

2021 Honorees:

2021 Honorees

  • Outstanding Senior in Health Sciences - Taleecia Rodgers
  • Outstanding Healthcare Leadership Student Award - Alexandra Rathbun
  • Outstanding Senior in Exercise, Sport & Movement Sciences Award - Braam Bisscop
  • Outstanding Dietetic Student Award - Ayden C. Hayes
  • Outstanding Health Promotion Student - Ashley Chism
  • Ralph Hatley Award - Stephen Dowda
  • Biomechanics Achievement Award - Adriana Miltko and Alexis K. Nelson
  • Exercise Physiology Achievement Award - Wangkuk Son
  • Eleanor Mae Ferguson Award - Kimberley Smit
  • Outstanding Contribution to Student Life - Desiree' Dyson
  • The Melvin A. Humphreys Prize for Student Research - Megan R. Ryan (not pictured)

2020 Honorees:

2020 Honorees

  • Outstanding Dietetic Student Award - Ashlyn Redmond
  • Outstanding Senior in Health Sciences - Jose Manuel Sanchez
  • Outstanding Health Promotion Student - Madison Mills
  • Outstanding Healthcare Leadership Student Award - Melissa King (not pictured)

Applying Sport Science podcast premieres

April 22, 2021

Daniel Greenwood, PhDApplying Sport Science Podcast

In this podcast series, Human Performance Center director Dr. Daniel Greenwood chats openly and honestly with coaches, athletes and scientists about their experiences (both good and bad) with sport science and sport scientists, to help developing and aspiring applied scientists understand the industry, their role, and ultimately how to be effective and contribute to athletic performance.

Health Sci student elected Lt. Governor of the 112th General Assembly Internship Program

April 15, 2021

Jada Cooke

Health Sciences senior, Jada Cooke, was elected Lt. Governor of the 112th General Assembly of Tennessee Legislative Internship Program Intern Mock Session. Jada graduates in May and plans to attend graduate school and complete a double major in Occupational Therapy (OT) and Communication. She hopes to become an OT for special needs children or pursue a career in politics.

"For the past four months, I have had the opportunity to participate in the Tennessee Legislative Internship Program with the Tennessee General Assembly. Honestly, I had no idea that this program even existed, until I received an email from the University of Memphis stating that they thought I would be a great fit for the program. Long story short, I was awarded the internship and have learned a lot of valuable information about different events that take place during the legislative process.

Since I have been here, I have worked with Senator Raumesh Akbari and her amazing staff on different bills and resolutions. I have even had the opportunity to write a bill myself concerning the special education programs in public schools. Along with this, I have also had the opportunity to become a writer for the TLIP newsletter. However, once the program was coming to an end, I felt like something was missing.

With this in mind, I decided to run for the 2021 Lieutenant Governor for the Tennessee Legislative Internship Program Intern Mock Session. During this election process, I learned a lot about myself and how to work better with others. I have taken time out of my days to allow others to get to know me as not just an acquaintance, but a future leader. For that, I am eternally grateful.

I would like to thank everyone who believed that a shy young lady, could become an outspoken woman and do amazing things in this position. Also, I would like to personally thank Senator Akbari, Ms. Patton, Mr. Gaye, Mr. Puttbrese, Ms. Frierson, Professor Dawkins, Professor Langston and the entire College of Health Sciences for pushing me every day and believing that I could do it from the very beginning."

Clinical assistant professor selected as Academic Research Fellow at the Hooks Institute

April 13, 2021

Shameka Hamlin-Palmer

Clinical assistant professor, Dr. Shemeka Hamlin-Palmer, has been selected as an Academic Research Fellow at the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis. The Hooks Institute is a premier center for scholars working on race and social justice scholarship. The Academic Research Fellows Program fulfills the Hooks Institute’s mission of teaching, studying, and promoting civil rights and social change.

Dr. Hamlin-Palmer's development has been grounded in theories and methods found in the field of social and behavioral science. In addition to teaching, she has dedicated the past 15 years to working, partnering and collaborating with CBOs, health care organizations and other academic institutions to reduce the impact of health disparities, including HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, mental health, cardiovascular disease, obesity and cancer in minority populations throughout the United States.


College of Health Sciences hosts final Healthy Conversations event of the season

April 6, 2021

Healthy Gut, Healthy life

The microbiome is made up of many trillions of bacteria living in and on your body. Everyone has a unique microbiome - your geography, health status, stress level, age, gender and diet can affect the composition of your microbiome and the types of bacteria found in your body. Our diets have a large impact on the types and abundance of bacteria found in the gut. By changing the foods you eat, you can influence your microbiome’s balance.

This panel discussion included a nutrition scientist, clinical dietitian and gastroenterologist covering recent research on the gut microbiome and its role in human health. Learn clinical perspectives and recommendations for improving gut health. When your microbiome is balanced, your entire body benefits.

Presented by:

  • Marie van der Merwe, PhD - Associate Professor / Nutrition Scientist, University of Memphis
  • Anna Tuttle, MS, RD, LDN - Clinical Dietitian, UT Health Science Center / Le Bonheur Children's Hospital 
  • Mark Corkins, MD - Gastroenterologist, UT Health Science Center / Le Bonheur Children's Hospital

PETE Alumnus recognized by the Tennessee Department of Education

March 16, 2021

Andy Martin holding award

Physical Education Teacher Education alumnus, Andy Martin, was selected as the Coordinated School Health Coordinator of the Year by the Tennessee Department of Education. He was selected for his work at Germantown Municipal School District and for leading the charge to keep students engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some initiatives he implemented:

  • Virtual Run Challenge for Breast Cancer Awareness
  • Virtual Run for Walk Across TN
  • No Smoke November Anti-Tobacco Campaign
  • Toys for Tots drive
  • The Fitness Warehouse (staff exercise challenge for January)
  • The Biggest Loser (staff weight loss challenge from Jan-March)
  • Learning Labels nutrition experience (teach students to read nutrition labels)
  • Germantown Gets Cooking Challenge (student and staff cooking challenge)
  • Hydrate for Health (student and staff water intake challenge)
  • Staff Yoga Sessions taught by licensed instructor

PETE student receives honors from Tennessee Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (TAHPERD)

March 10, 2021

Stephen Dowda standing on trackStephen Dowda

Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) senior, Stephen Dowda, received the James E. Ward Student Honor Award for the University of Memphis and was selected as the overall TAHPERD 2020 James E. Ward Future Professional Award winner for Tennessee. Stephen is the first overall winner from the University of Memphis PETE program within the last 10 years. He graduates this semester and looks forward to a successful career as a Physical Education teacher. 

James E. Ward Future Professional Honor Award was established to recognize an outstanding Tennessee college or university student majoring in health, physical education, recreation, dance and/or related areas.

College faculty honored as Principal Investigators

February 26, 2021

Kelly SimontonFY20 Principal Investigators

The University of Memphis Division of Research & Innovation recently held its annual Research Celebration to highlight research achievements, honor first-time Principal Investigators (PI) and new PI Millionaires, and to recognize fiscal year 2020 PIs, faculty authors and editors.

Kelly Simonton was honored this year as a first-time PI. Other FY20 honored faculty were Richard Bloomer (PI Millionaire), Daniel Greenwood, Brandt Pence, Douglas Powell and Marie van der Merwe.

The honor of PI signifies the attainment of a position of research leadership on an externally supported sponsored project, with PI Millionaires obtaining $1 million or more.

College partners with Movendo Technology to predict, evaluate and treat sports injuries in student-athletes

February 21, 2021

Photo by Movendo Technology

The College of Health Sciences has partnered with Movendo Technology to integrate Movendo’s robotic system hunova© into the screening and physical rehabilitation of their student athletes for knee related deficits, concussions and overall performance.

The hunova© is a programmable robotic medical device consisting of two independent electromechanical movable platforms, one at foot level and one at seat level. The device, which can deliver more than 200 evaluations and exercises for postural control, stretching, muscle strengthening, balance, core stability and proprioception, operates in active, passive and assistive modes.

“Objective evaluations and individualized training are key for preventing injuries, optimizing performance and better return-to-play decisions,” explains assistant professor, Dr. Douglas Powell. “We are planning to evaluate and train student-athletes from almost all sports teams for both baseline and throughout the season with the hunova©. The Memphis Tigers will certainly profit from this new technology.”


ESMS associate professor selected to coach 2021 USATF team

February 16, 2021
Dr. Max Paquette

Associate professor, Dr. Max Paquette, was selected for the men’s distance team coach position for the United States of America Track & Field (USATF) association at the 2021 North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Under 23 champs in St. George, Grenada.

He will serve as an assistant coach to cover men’s distance (800m, 1500m, 3000m steeplechase, 5000m, 10000m, 10000m/20000m race walk), ensure Team USA's training plans prescribed by their personal coaches are executed, help athletes in any way needed during the competition, and collaborate with medical support staff, personal coaches and other Team USA staff ensuring a safe and successful competition for the athletes.

The NACAC athletics association hosts an under 23 years (U23) and a senior (any age - professionals) championship competition that both occur every two years in countries that make up NACAC.

PETE assistant professor receives top honors

February 13, 2021

Dr. Kelly Simonton 

Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) assistant professor, Dr. Kelly Simonton, was selected as the SHAPE America Southern District's Taylor Dodson Award winner. This award recognizes an outstanding young professional under 40 years of age who is a contributor within the health, physical education, sport and leisure, and dance fields or to the profession through allied fields. They must also be of high moral character whose contributions have most fully expressed the spirit of service which the award represents.

Dr. Simonton's work has had a profound impact on students as he prepares them with best teaching practices which amplify the status of the PETE field in schools and communities. He believes that professional expectations and service must involve continuous engagement in best practices, learning and helping those in the field to optimize the Physical Education programs being offered to students. Dr. Simonton's beliefs, commitment and work in Physical Education represent the spirit of service as represented by the Taylor Dodson Young Professional Award.

Dr. Simonton has been with the UofM College of Health Sciences for two years and spent the previous five years as a doctoral student and PETE instructor at Louisiana State University. His research focus revolves around achievement motivation in physical education and physical activity, specifically as it relates to student and teacher emotions and their motivational effects. His primary interests involve understanding the influence of emotion and motivation as well as the essential antecedents and outcomes of emotions in these settings. Subsequently, his research includes exploration into understanding teacher effectiveness, student value and behavioral outcomes.

Other interests include secondary physical education curriculum development and physical education teacher education training. His work has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, Psychology of Sport and Exercise, Quest and Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy. He has been the lead or co-author of 23 presentations at SHAPE America state and national conventions and has presented at several other state, national and international conferences including International Association for Physical Education for Higher Education (AIESEP) and North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (NASPSPA).

PETE alumna receives Teacher of the Year award

February 10, 2021

Crystal Williams

UofM Physical Education Teacher Education alumna, Crystal Williams, was selected as the SHAPE America Southern District Elementary School Teacher of the Year. Crystal is a University of Memphis graduate, who received both a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education Teacher Education and master’s degree in Health Sports Science. She has over 10 years of experience in health and fitness which includes teaching at the college level, pre-K-8 physical education and sport coaching.

Currently, she is an elementary physical education teacher at Bailey Station Elementary - Collierville, SHAPE ELIT member, Tennessee Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (TAHPERD) VP-elect and TAHPERD technology chair. In past years, she was a lead physical education teacher for her school district and a Cooperating Teacher for the University of Memphis.

ESMS instructor featured on "The Strength Game" podcast

February 6, 2021

Alex Carnall

Exercise, Sport & Movement Sciences instructor and Human Performance Center sport scientist, Alex Carnall, was a guest on episode 16 of The Strength Game podcast. He discusses bridging academic research with applied coaching, the importance of possessing an athletic background, integrating sport science based on sport coach-driven questions and more.

As an athlete, Alex played collegiate baseball and has medaled and competed at both the state and national levels in weightlifting. Alex is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and a member of both the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Society of Biomechanics. 


Faculty Spotlight

February 4, 2021

Cheri Kilmurray

Health Sciences instructor, Cheri Kilmurray, was invited to give a poster presentation at the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco annual conference in February for her poster, "Perceptions of cigarette pictorial health warning labels among adults in Jordan." Dr. Kenneth Ward from the UofM School of Public Health (SPH) was lead for the project and also an author on the poster. Kilmurray is currently pursuing her doctorate degree in the UofM SPH.

This study looked at the effects of 24 pictorial cigarette health warning labels (PHWLs) and its effects on adults in Jordan. They developed and tested 24 PHWLs focusing on four risk themes (general health, female-specific, male-specific and child secondhand exposure). Smokers and non-smokers rated how images affected their motivation to quit or not start smoking, respectively. Attention, knowledge and fear also were rated. Cessation and prevention motivation ratings were uniformly high across the four risk themes. Sex differences were observed in responses to PHWLs that featured male-specific health risks suggesting that it is advantageous to target images of male-specific tobacco related diseases to men. These results indicate that this set of PHWLs may be useful for smoking prevention/cessation efforts among adults in Jordan.

Graduate Student Spotlight

February 3, 2021

Richard Beltran

Exercise, Sport & Movement Sciences graduate student and Musculoskeletal Analysis Laboratory graduate assistant, Richard Beltran, landed a Performance Science internship with the Major League Baseball team, Tamp Bay Rays, beginning this summer. He will have the opportunity to integrate sports science, athletic training, strength and conditioning, and nutrition aimed at improving the performance and well-being of players across the entire Rays organization. Richard earned his undergraduate degree in exercise science from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash. and will earn his Master of Science from the College of Health Sciences this spring.

From Student to Professional - Becoming a Sport Scientist

January 26, 2021

Research assistant professor and Human Performance Center director, Dr. Daniel Greenwood, was the presenter for our first spring 2021 Healthy Conversations event. This virtual presentation shared his decades of applied sport experience and introduces the newly released ‘Professional Education Certification in Sport Science’ which seeks to help participants with the applied and practical skills, understanding and training to adapt their education knowledge to real-life sport settings.

Sport science is gaining momentum in high performance settings with coaches, athletes, trainers and management both asking more questions and hiring more staff to work alongside them. More and more often, individuals, groups and teams seek data driven information based on scientific principles to better guide athletic development and performance optimization.

While thousands of students graduate annually from universities with the knowledge to contribute in these areas, it is the ability to apply that knowledge and maneuver through the sporting landscape which dictates those with successful applied careers.