Ohio University

CHSP's 'Experiencing Health Professions' event demonstrates lasting impact of faculty research, teaching at OHIO

CHSP's 'Experiencing Health Professions' event demonstrates lasting impact of faculty research, teaching at OHIO

The Gait Lab, Healthy Village and interdisciplinary virtual reality experiences were just a few of the highlights of Ohio University’s College of Health Sciences and Professions’ (CHSP) first-ever “Experiencing Health Professions: From Science to Practice” event on Thursday, Feb. 27.

The free event welcomed participants to Grover Center to view research presentations, engage in interactive demonstrations, guided and unguided tours and more.

“CHSP faculty, along with faculty from across all of OHIO, are engaging in research and making discoveries that are impacting the world,” said CHSP Professor and Associate Dean of Research, Dr. John McCarthy. “This event provided the campus community with a first-hand opportunity to experience the important research and teaching that’s being performed across our University each day.”

McCarthy said those in attendance relayed that they had a great experience — one he looks forward to being able to share with more people in the future.

Coronavirus display

“We built an incredible set of tours, demonstrations and informational sessions,” he said. “My hope is that by bringing together a university-wide group, our partners will continue to value and promote intersections of health as part of future events.”

Many in attendance were impressed by the variety and scope of both CHSP’s programs and facilities, including its test kitchen space, occupational health and safety lab and more.

Sam Zishka, a graduate assistant to Dr. Robert Wayner in CHSP’s Gait Lab/Center for Running Performance, explained how the lab uses biomechanics to analyze gait with 3D motion capture systems, numerous cameras and a treadmill complete with a force plate to measure impact.

She said the lab is a great benefit to the community and students.

“We work with the community and the men’s and women’s cross country teams to augment their treatment, rehabilitation and performance. Our students think what we have is interesting and effective,” Zishka said. “This is a really unique part of Ohio University’s physical therapy program as the students get to learn this system and learn how to incorporate it into their physical therapy practices.”

Gait Lab

Down the hallway, an interdisciplinary program titled “Healthy Village” was discussed by Merri Biechler, assistant director of the School of Theater in the College of Fine Arts, Tobe Gillogly, chair of CHSP’s Department of Interdisciplinary Health Studies and Sam Dodd, director of the Ohio Valley Center for Collaborative Arts.

Biechler explained the goal of Healthy Village is to use specific techniques to instruct efficient communication and patient advocacy for CHSP students.

“We have many different types of techniques to do that including narrative medicine, visual thinking strategies and oral histories and it’s all about discovering what the patient’s story is,” Biechler said.

“It’s been a wonderful collaboration between CHSP and the College of Fine Arts that’s allowed us to create course work that implements theatrical aspects to get students out of their comfort zones and to communicate in an effective manner. That allows our healthcare professional students to connect with their patients and respect where they come from and respect their perspective,” added Gillogly.

Dodd said the new multimedia pedagogy for the University also works with the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (HCOM).

“We’re really thinking about rural health storytelling,” Dodd said. “We use methods based in theater to equip healthcare professionals to be more empathetic, more adaptive at dealing with workplace stress, more competent at interprofessional and cross-disciplinary communication and advocacy for a patient population that is increasingly vulnerable and underserved.”

Nearby, several students and faculty were immersed in a virtual world through the use of sophisticated headsets and the Medicaid Equity Simulation Project that involved resources from CHSP and HCOM. They visited the cases of “Lula Mae Tate,” a woman from Appalachia in her 70s with diabetes and “Destiny,” who is 20 weeks pregnant with a history of opioid use. The purpose of the simulation is for healthcare professionals to be able to recognize implicit bias. The project showed that participants expressed negative connotations about the scenario before engaging and afterward were more positive and understanding of the patients.

“Experiencing Health Professions” also featured keynote presentations by accomplished faculty, including:

  • Kristine Ensign, assistant professor of instruction and Michele Kabay, assistant clinical professor with “Athletic Training Classroom to Practice”
  • Anssi Saari, assistant clinical professor, with “Application of Technology in Sports Performance”
  • Michele Courtney, assistant clinical professor, with “Professional Development Portfolio: Service Learning”
  • Drs. Sherleena Buchman and Char Miller with “Virtual Reality in Healthcare Education”
  • Carline Kingori, associate professor, Sharon Casapulla, director of education and research and Crystal Jones, of the Athens City-County Health Department with “Community and Public Health Presentation”
  • Sarah Garlington, assistant professor, Ruth Dudding, of the Athens City-County Health Department, with “Asset Mapping with Community Partners”

McCarthy said events like this are vital to exposing the University and Athens communities to the scope of interdisciplinary work that is taking place across OHIO.

“CHSP prides itself on being a college that provides healthcare professionals with the skills necessary for making the world a healthier place,” McCarthy said. “We’re proud to have an opportunity to show people exactly how we’re doing that and how we interact around health with colleagues throughout the University.”

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Media Contact: Associate Director of Communications Dan Pittman at pittmand@ohio.edu or 740.566.0212.

About the College of Health Sciences and Professions
Ohio University’s College of Health Sciences and Professions (CHSP) is a place where innovative education and research happen every day. Each year, more than 3,600 students graduate from our Athens and Dublin-based campuses prepared to serve as passionate professionals who are ready to change the world. As one of the largest health-focused colleges in the country, CHSP has a growing portfolio of degree and certificate programs housed in six academic units: the School of Applied Health Sciences and Wellness; the School of Nursing; the School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences; the Department of Social and Public Health; the Department of Social Work and the Department of Interdisciplinary Health Studies. All six connect faculty and students across multiple disciplines to explore the best approaches to addressing health and wellness in various settings. Find out more at: www.ohio.edu/chsp.