Monday, August 3, 2015

Adelphi University Helps People Affected by Hurricane Sandy in More Ways Than One

The Adelphi University Institute for Parenting, formed to aid the community in parenting programs and clinical support for young children, has helped in providing support to those affected by Hurricane Sandy even years later from the disaster. Specifically, the organization has worked to address the impact of a traumatic event like Hurricane Sandy on young children and how teachers and child care providers can best support and care for young children and their families, during and after a traumatic event. Candida Cucharo, MSW, MBA, Infant Mental Health Planning Specialist from the Institute, spoke with Fox 5 to discuss the program. Follow the link bellow to watch the segment.

Candida Cucharo is presently heading the Institute for Parenting role in the NASSAU THRIVES Hurricane Sandy Social Services Grant funded by NYS Office of Children and Family Services.

Monday, July 27, 2015

A Healthy Partnership

by CHI Staff

Joining forces to improve the health and fitness of public school students in Freeport are (left to right) Anne Gibbone ’00, M.A. ’02, Ed.D., Kevin Mercier, Ed.D., Freeport High School athletics director Jonathan Bloom, M.A. ’00, and Kadi Bliss, Ph.D.
The percentage of American children who are overweight or obese has reached epidemic proportions, and such popular pastimes as TV watching and Internet browsing have made youngsters more sedentary than ever.
In an effort to swing the pendulum toward healthier living in one community, Adelphi University professors Kevin Mercier, Ed.D.,Kadi Bliss, Ph.D., and Anne Gibbone ’00, M.A. ’02, Ed.D., began a three-year program in December 2013 in collaboration with theFreeport (New York) Public Schools to improve the physical fitness and nutrition of students in grades K–12.
“Freeport is in line with a lot of other communities—the children don’t have enough opportunities to be active and they’re typically not eating enough fruits and vegetables,” Dr. Mercier said. “We’re trying to work through the schools to help the community see the value of changing nutrition habits and finding time before, during and after school to be active.”
Drs. Mercier, Bliss and Gibbone of the Department of Exercise Science, Health Studies, Physical Education and Sport Management received a federal Physical Education Program (PEP) grant of $701,917 to fund the program after collaborating with Jonathan Bloom, M.A. ’00, Freeport High School’s director of physical education, health and athletics. Dr. Mercier and Mr. Bloom first discussed the idea at a physical education conference last February.
“This program will provide quality professional development for our phys ed teachers, as well as much-needed supplies, equipment and services at a time when not many schools are spending money because of budget constraints,” Mr. Bloom said.
“We’re looking to add yoga and dance equipment and spin bikes,” Dr. Mercier said. “A lot of kids are not drawn to team sports, so this will be a way for them to say, ‘Oh, this is how I want to be active.’ In Freeport, there are a lot of athletic fields, gymnasiums, open spaces and a recreation center. We’ll be using them for fitness programs.”
For Adelphi’s Ruth S. Ammon School of Education to partner with Freeport Public Schools is not unusual considering that six Freeport teachers who attended the December 6 event on the Garden City campus to launch the program are Adelphi graduates.
According to the New York State Department of Health, 22 percent of Freeport students are obese. In working to make Freeport children healthier and fitter, Drs. Mercier, Bliss and Gibbone will focus on their areas of expertise. Dr. Bliss is working with the Freeport Wellness Council on snack and beverage choices in cafeterias and vending machines.
“We’ll work with a nursery to plant fruit and vegetable gardens at local schools,” Dr. Bliss said. “We’ll also have health nights, where parents will be able to see a chef prepare healthier versions of dishes that kids already like to eat.”
Dr. Gibbone, who combines technology with physical education, is using iPads, electronic wristbands and heart monitors to keep track of the students’ fitness levels. Dr. Mercier is concentrating on improving the students’ physical fitness and energy levels.
“In three years, we hope to see improvement in students’ food choices and physical activity levels, especially beyond the school day,” Dr. Mercier said. “Most important, we hope to have put in place a sustainable program. We don’t want this to be a three-year program. We want to see a changed Freeport community.”

Monday, July 20, 2015

Personal Preparedness - Your Health Matters

by CHI Staff

Meghan McPherson, assistant director for the Center for Heath Innovation (CHI) and program coordinator for the Graduate Program in Emergency Management at Adelphi University, recently shared her expertise in disaster preparedness on Your Health Matters.  Meghan discussed the importance of personal preparedness and safety as to best help first responders and families in the event of a disaster.  Currently CHI is working in communities to build capacity for emergency response and future research through its Resiliency Grant Program. To learn more about what you can do to be prepared and what you should have in an emergency kit, watch the entire interview below.

Personal Preparedness - Your Health Matters

Monday, July 13, 2015

Camp Abilities Benefits Athletes Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired

by CHI Staff

For the seventh year in a row, students from Adelphi University and other universities will teach sports and recreational activities to children with sensory impairments as part of Camp Abilities Long Island founded by Adelphi adjunct professor and aluma Lisa Santos. Camp Abilities, a nation-wide program, is a developmental sportscamp for children between the ages of 9 and 19 who are visually impaired, blind and deaf-blind. This year's camp will be held from July 8 through July 12. THIS YEAR'S FIOS 1 NEWS HIGHLIGHT:

Monday, July 6, 2015

White House Honors Precision Medicine “Champions of Change”

From the White House Office of Communications:
July 6, 2015
On Wednesday, July 8th, the White House will recognize nine individuals as “Champions of Change” for Precision Medicine who are making a difference in transforming the way we improve health and treat disease.  These individuals embody the promise of the President’s Precision Medicine Initiative, which was launched earlier this year to enable a new era of medicine through research and technology that empowers patients, researchers, and providers to work together toward development of individualized treatments.  The program will feature remarks by Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Senior Advisor to the President Brian Deese and Director of National Institutes of Health Francis Collins.
The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. The event will be live streamed on the White House website. To watch this event live, visit on July 8th at 2:00 PM ET.  To learn more about the White House Champions of Change program, visit and to learn more about the Precision Medicine Initiative, Follow the conversation at #WHChamps.
Elizabeth Gross Cohn, Sea Cliff, New York
Dr. Elizabeth Gross Cohn is an Associate Professor of Nursing and Public Health, and the Director of the Center for Health Innovation at Adelphi University. Using a community-engaged approach, the Center addresses urgent and emergent issues of health and health equity within New York State. Elizabeth also serves as the Associate Director of the Community Engagement Core of the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research at Columbia University Medical Center. Her research focuses on the ethical and social issues at the intersection of precision medicine and health disparities. Her model for lab to living room translation promotes interactions between scientists and the communities they serve. Through this work she has developed an interactive graphic novel, a community education program on precision medicine, and a decision tool for community faith-leaders who are advising congregants on research participation. She is part of the leadership of the Communities of Harlem Health Revival, a member of the New York State Health Equity Council, a Fellow in the New York Academy of Medicine, and she mentors investigators in community-based and community-engaged research.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The 411 on Learning Disabilities
June 22, 2015
Jamie Kay, a psychologist and learning disability specialist, unravels the mysteries of raising a child with learning issues. 

All parents want the best for their children: a loving family, good friends, great medical care, and the best possible education available, from Pre-K right through college. The education piece, particularly in NYC, can be filled with lots of hills and valleys, especially if learning issues are part of the picture

Learning differences, styles, disorders or what?
The terms used for learning disabilities (LD) have shifted back and forth and back again many times over the last couple of decades. Some people refer to learning differences, others to learning issues, disorders, or styles. Bottom line, all these terms address the same concern: your child is having way more trouble learning than the average kid and needs help.

What is a learning disability?
In technical terms, a learning disability is a neurological disorder. Skills related to reading, writing, spelling, analytical thinking, reasoning, and organization are among the most common areas where problems are identified. Learning disabilities (LD) can vary widely among children, sometimes affecting one primary skill, such as reading, or more often a broad range of areas combined, such as language, writing, comprehension, and math. The biggest misconception around learning issues is the relationship to effort and intelligence. Even in today’s world, people still think children with learning issues just don’t try hard enough at school or aren’t that smart. Simply not true. Many children with LD are working harder and longer on homework and have keen intellects. But their brains are wired a bit differently, making learning, accessing knowledge, and applying their abilities more difficult than those activities are for your average child.

What are the signs of a learning disability?
In general, learning problems show up in elementary school, where a child is expected to focus on a new range of tasks. Teachers are often the ones who will bring a problem to your attention, or you may notice things on your own. A teacher may see that your child is clearly bright and engaged, but is having trouble keeping up with reading or learning new information. As a parent, you may notice that your child is having trouble focusing, listening, or following directions at home. Maybe learning the alphabet at an appropriate age was difficult, or connecting letters and sounds. It’s worth noting, though, that lots of parents worry about learning problems before there is good reason, and that only complicates matters. When children have real learning disabilities, you are generally looking for a cluster of difficulties in multiple areas, such as reading and writing problems, language difficulties, poor comprehension, incorrect use of language, confusion regarding math symbols, or inability to start or finish an appropriate task.

When is the time to evaluate a child for learning difficulties?
Whether or not to have your child evaluated is a very personal decision. Evaluations are available through the NYC Board of Education (BOE), or you can have your child tested privately. The BOE evaluations are not as thorough or comprehensive. Private assessments can be costly, but the value of a private evaluation is often worth the extra expense. If your child is really struggling and efforts by the school or tutors to help have not worked out, it is probably a good idea to have your child tested. A neuropsychological evaluation, the gold standard for LD assessments, will provide a clear picture of what your child’s difficulties are and what steps to take in optimizing your child’s educational experience. Most often, a recommendation for a learning specialist or tutor will be made, as most schools do not provide the specialized assistance a child will most likely require. Some LD children need placement in a special needs school, while others will be able to continue in mainstream schools, with additional services provided. Regardless of what type of learning difficulty a child may be facing, a neuropsychological evaluation, by a highly trained pediatric neuropsychologist, will provide the most comprehensive overview of the specific types of learning issues a child is experiencing. The relationship between test results and determining next steps is key in providing the optimum educational and academic needs of a child. Tutors, learning specialists, and school accommodations are among the most common recommendations provided.

Is there a certain age that is ideal for testing a child?
When it comes to determining if a child has learning disabilities, finding out earlier is better than later. The sooner a parent understands the challenges a child is facing, the more quickly adequate measures to help can be taken. However, don’t move too fast! All children develop differently, and sometimes there is a lag in meeting certain developmental milestones, but children often catch up and do just fine. It’s often best to wait until a child is in kindergarten before having an evaluation completed. Testing a child too early can be premature, unnecessarily costly, and inaccurate due to still developing and emerging skills.
However, if there are serious developmental concerns, it’s always good to check in with your pediatrician.

How should I choose tutors?
If your child is diagnosed with a learning disorder, a tutor or learning specialist can be tremendously helpful, especially if your child is in a mainstream school setting, private or public. Finding the right person to work with your child is very important. A tutor’s training and credentials should be thoughtfully and thoroughly considered. Check in with other parents about their experiences with professionals. Ask your school if they can recommend someone familiar with your child’s school curriculum. And don’t be afraid to shop around. Speak candidly about your concerns and expectations. Ask professionals about their approach and experiences. And keep in mind that expensive doesn’t guarantee anything. New York is filled with wonderful specialists, but some are less great at their chosen field than others. It’s important to do your research and seek out the best person for the job.

How to help at home?
If your child has a learning disorder, here are some things to consider on the home front.
Patience: Think of what it would be like if your day were filled with challenges you couldn’t meet and you didn’t know how to make things better. That’s what it’s like for most kids with learning issues. Try to keep your frustrations in check. It’s good for you and it will be great for your kid.

Don’t panic or freak out: Happily there is help out there for you and for your child. Worrying too much will only result in anxiety, which hampers the process of learning, and that’s the last thing you want to have happen.
Praise: Let your child know when he or she has done something well. Don’t go overboard, which can result in unrealistic expectations in the future and a false sense of accomplishment. Just let your child know you noticed and praise the effort and success accordingly.

Build on strengths: Discover what your child enjoys doing and provide as many of those experiences as possible, without overloading your child’s schedule. Children with learning disabilities often excel in non-academic pursuits such as sports, music, or certain games, like chess. Sign up for a class and engage your child in the process. Make it fun. The main thing is to give your child as many opportunities as possible to build on his or her strengths.

There are some outstanding online resources for general information about learning issues. Below are a few that offer some great information:

Jamie Kay, Ph.D., received her doctoral degree in clinical psychology from The Derner Institute at Adelphi University. She was the Director of the Center for Attention and Learning at Lenox Hill Hospital for seven years, securing and maintaining six Robin Hood Foundation grants. She has held senior positions at behavioral health centers and hospitals throughout the greater metropolitan area. Dr. Kay developed a series of groups and workshops at the esteemed 92nd Street Y Parenting Center on the Upper East Side of New York and maintained a private practice in Manhattan for over 20 years. Currently, Dr. Kay works exclusively with parents of children with learning disabilities, through Learning Solutions NYC, which she founded in 2008.Learning Solutions NYC was created to help parents navigate the demands of raising a child with special learning needs and obtain services from reliable professionals. For more information, Dr. Kay can be reached at 212-479-7822.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Greyscale From Game of Thrones and Leprosy

by CHI Staff

With the recently most talked about Game of Thrones season finale, Philip Alcabes, Ph.D., professor of public health in the College of Nursing and Public Health at Adelphi University presented a new health perspective with his recent article on the similarities between the fictional Greyscale and real Leprosy.  In addition to teaching at Adelphi University, Professor Alcabes studies the history, ethics, and policies of public health and has written for notable publications including The American Scholar, Virginia Quarterly Review, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. He has also completed research on AIDS and other community-acquired infections, as well as other topics related to epidemics and infectious diseases.  To read his recent article on Game of Thrones, follow the link below.