Monday, September 28, 2015

Adelphi Graduate Student Selected for Prestigious Emergency Management Fellowship: Robert Bristol to Work with NYC Department of Education

Robert Bristol, an Adelphi student pursing his master’s degree in emergency management, has been chosen for the John D. Solomon Fellowship for Public Service. Every year, the program chooses only 10 graduate students to participate in a nine month paid fellowship with either a nonprofit or a New York City government agency in the area of emergency management. Bristol will be working with the NYC Department of Education (DOE) where he will be helping to build the agency’s Crisis Management Tools well as implementing the Continuity of Operations Plan.

Bristol will begin his second year as a graduate student in the fall 2015 semester. Previously working as an athletic trainer after graduating from Sacred Heart University, Bristol decided to go into emergency management following Hurricane Sandy in 2012. After his hometown of East Rockaway, NY was hit hard by the storm, Bristol, then the Captain of the East Rockaway Fire Department Rescue Squad, was responsible for aiding in both the pre-storm evacuation as well as the rebuilding of the town after the storm. This experience gave him an interest in emergency management, and after a brief time as a 911 Telecommunicator in North Carolina, he returned to New York where he was accepted to Adelphi’s Emergency Management Program.

The John D. Solomon Fellowship for Public Service is the first student fellowship program devoted entirely to emergency management. It was created by the family and friends of journalist and public servant John D. Solomon, and partners with numerous organizations including the New York Fire Department, the New York Police Department, and the DOE.  Bristol will work with the DOE emergency management office as they prepare for, and respond to, any emergency that may arise.

When asked about what he was expecting to get from the program, Bristol explained how he saw this as a great learning experience. “I really expect to see what a true emergency manager does on a day-to-day basis,” he said. “The DOE is a new setting for me, so I will be seeing how the emergency management setting is not just first response (fire, EMS, Military, etc.) as well as learning the nuts and bolts of what it means to be an emergency manager and how it relates to such a large school system.” Bristol also expressed a great deal of gratitude to Adelphi for helping him achieve his goals; citing an enjoyable program with supportive directors and professors. Altogether, he is very happy with the direction his life has taken. “Right now I’m where I want to be, and I know where I want to go in my career,” he says. “I know emergency management is what I want to do and it is what I have a deep passion for.”

Monday, September 21, 2015

Center for Health Innovation Addresses Concussions

Later this year, Oscar nominated actor Will Smith will be starring in Concussion, a sports drama film based on true events in which Smith plays a forensic pathologist who works with NFL players suffering from sports related concussions. As part of the national discussion regarding athletes and the danger of head injuries, the Center for Health Innovations co-hosted a symposium in April 2015 with Winthrop University Hospital’s Sports Medicine program. Below is an article written by Adelphi graduate student and sports information graduate assistant in the Adelphi Athletics department, Victoria Chiesa ’15, originally published in Anton Newspapers on April 17, 2015.

Center for Health Innovation Addresses Concussions
by Victoria Chiesa

​With head injuries and their devastating effects on athletes of all ages thrust into both the national and local spotlight in recent months, the Center for Health Innovation at Adelphi University in Garden City did its part to raise awareness and educate the public at a free lecture and panel discussion on March 30. Co-hosted by Winthrop University Hospital's Sports Medicine Program and held in front of a capacity crowd at the University's Angello Alumni House, the event brought together several local sports medicine professionals and physicians and panelists, led by NHL hall-of-famer Pat LaFontaine, to answer one important question: How do we protect our children?

The event was the second rapid response symposium put on by the Center for Health Innovation this academic year in reaction to "urgent and emergent health issues" that are affecting or could potentially affect communities across Long Island, according to director Elizabeth Gross Cohn, Ph.D., RN. Gross Cohn set the tone for the evening by stressing the importance of a collaborative effort between all of the people tasked with handling and protecting ahtletes, a point that was stressed by all of the speakers.

"This is really going to take a community approach to solve this," Gross Cohn said. "We need parents, coaches, doctors, scientists...we need everyone to think about the way that we can start to prevent concussions so that people can safely play sports."

To begin the symposium, Adelphi graduate Dr. Michael Kennedy, a board certified sports and emergency medicine physician, took the podium to provide an overview of concussions and the importance of a conservative rehabilitation process. Kennedy broke down the three grades of concussions, which are categorized by the length of post-traumatic amnesia and loss of consciousness. After an athlete suffers a concussion, Kennedy said, athletes need to be symptom-free during both exertion and rest. This "stepwise progression program," which is different for every athlete, is also sport-specific.

"We all care about our kids," Kennedy said. "If we keep people're going to see more and more athletes come forward, talk about their injuries, talk about how they're feeling. They're going to get actively involved in their passion, which is playing sports in a safe way, and all of that is going to lead to good things."

Expanding upon Kennedy's points, Dr. Kevin Curley, attending physician at Winthrop who also serves as the primary care sports physician for the university, delivered the keynote speech. Curley raised the importance of the physical, cognitive and emotional effects of concussions, while familiarizing the audience with the Sports Concussion Assessment Tool that was put into practice following the fourth International Conference on Concussion in Sport in Zurich, Switzerland in 2012. Following the keynote address, a panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Mark Grossman, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine who is currently the team physician for Adelphi's NCAA athletes.

The panel consisted of LaFontaine, who played 15 years in the NHL for the New York Rangers, New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres; Don Gronachan, MA '93, the vice president of physical medicine sales of Biodex Medical Systems; Ann Cornell-Bell, Ph.D., vice president of administration of the Perseus Science Group; Javan Esfandiari, chief scientist and technology officer of Chembio Diagnostic Systems; and Rupi Johal, a primary care sports medicine physician in Winthrop Orthopedic Associates.

While much of the night was centered around the medical significance of concussions, LaFontaine emphasized his role as the "face" of concussions, having suffered several in his playing career.

"What comes with sports, unfortunately, sometimes is collision and impact," LaFontaine said. "When I went through it as an athlete...nobody understood what was happening to me. I was lucky that the doctors intervened at the right time. As athletes, we have a warrior parents, siblings, teachers and coaches need to be on high alert. A lot of times, the last person you're going to hear it from is the athlete."

Much like the medical professionals in the room, LaFontaine stressed the importance of the athlete's support system when dealing with head injuries. While awareness and collaboration in treating head injuries was the prevailing theme from all present on the night, taking these steps is just the beginning in the fight against concussions.

"We need to work together to make our play, our sports [and] our recreation a safer venue, a safer experience for our children," said Dr. Emilia Zarco, chairman of Adelphi's exercise science, health studies physical education, and sports management department in the Ruth S. Ammon School of Education. "The conversation, now that we know a lot, must now shift to prevention."

Monday, September 14, 2015

As part of National Childhood Obesity Awareness month, we spoke to children’s health expert Professor. Stephen Virgilio, Ph.D. Dr Virgilio has been a children's health expert for more than 30 years and has served as a consultant to companies such as Fisher-Price, Sport-Fun, and Dannon Yogurt as well as to school districts across the country. He has been quoted in numerous publications, including the New York Times, LA Times, SELF Magazine, Chicago Tribune, and USA Today, as well as Child and Parenting magazines. He also has been a guest on several national broadcasts, including the radio program Parent Talk and ABC's 20/20.

His previous book, Active Start for Healthy Kids: Activities, Exercises, and Nutritional Tips, which focuses on children ages 2-6, provides a wealth of safe, inexpensive, and developmentally appropriate activities that parents, teachers, and caregivers can implement.  He says it is important to reach children in their formative years and help them develop positive behaviors that will last a lifetime.
In his latest published book, Fitness Education for Children: A Team Approach, 2nd. ed. (Human Kinetics 2012), Dr. Virgilio emphasizes the importance of collaboration to combat obesity and promote active lifestyles. He shows how you can combine the efforts of physical educators, administrators, classroom teachers, school volunteers, parents, school lunch personnel, health service professionals, and others in the community.

 Below are his three key suggestions to parents to prevent childhood obesity and create an active, healthy lifestyle.

1.  Be a Role Model  
Parents should practice what they preach---children are more apt to develop a parent's lifestyle behaviors by simply observing how the family lives in the day to day routine.

2. Plan to be Healthy  
 It just doesn't happen---plan activities to the park, beach or simple backyard games. Parents should also sit down and create a healthy meal plan each week--children may slip in an unplanned snack here and there but the significant portion of their eating behaviors will be healthy.

3. Practice Positive Parenting
 Try to build a child's self-esteem and body image with positive comments and actions. In addition, try to educate children about their bodies and the importance of health---saying "good job", or you" look great" will take on greater meaning if they understand that you are there to support them-- because you love them so much.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Meredith Whitley, Ph.D.: Youth Development Through Sports

Assistant Professor Meredith Whitley, Ph.D., from the Ruth S. Ammon School of Education helped cofound the New York City Sport for Development Collaborative to foster a welcoming, vibrant, innovative platform for those actively engaged in the sport for development field to explore relevant issues, improve practice and advance the field.

This article was originally published by The Ruth S. Ammon School of Education

While sports are most commonly practiced for leisure and exercise, Meredith Whitley, Ph.D., uses sports as a tool for youth development in underserved communities across the globe.

After her first year as an assistant professor in the Department of Exercise Science, Health Studies, Physical Education and Sport Management at Adelphi University, Dr. Whitley received a faculty grant to travel to Uganda to empower young women through sports. She also conducted research on female participation in sports in the East African country. 

During three weeks in rural Uganda last July, she served as an adviser to four female leaders who wanted to develop a women’s empowerment program that included sports and physical activity. Dr. Whitley collaborated on the project with Professor Alicia Johnson of the University of Tennessee, who had done research in Uganda.

“Sport is a human right and I think that it has so much opportunity to spread happiness and teach amazing life skills that can help people outside of the sport arena,” Dr. Whitley said.
Sport-based youth development is a relatively new and growing field. Along with faculty in the department, administrators and external advisors, Dr. Whitley helped to develop it as a graduate specialization in Adelphi’s Ruth S. Ammon School of Education by teaching classes such as Youth Development Through Sport and Physical Activity and Funding and Evaluation of Sport-Based Youth Development. The specialization can be completed only as part of the M.A. in Physical Education (non-certification) or the M.S. in Sport Management.

Dr. Whitley applies this work to high-need communities in New York as well. Two students from her Sport-Based Youth Development class joined her in working on a project with the Southern Queens Parks Association (SQPA) last fall. In collaboration with SQPA leaders, they designed and implemented a six-week program for boys aged 11–18 who attend school in Jamaica, New York.

“[Dr. Whitley’s work] is definitely something that can make a real difference in the future,” said Adelphi senior Marco Bernardo, who worked on the SQPA project. “I learned about myself as a coach and how I want to be because of her.”

Dr. Whitley and her students taught basketball, soccer and ultimate Frisbee, and such life skills as leadership, teamwork and respect for others.

“Sport is a playing field for life,” she said. “You win games, you lose games. You learn how to work hard. Sometimes you’re part of a team and sometimes you’re on your own.”

As part of her sport-based initiatives, Dr. Whitley has also worked with underserved youth in South Africa, Massachusetts and Michigan. She hopes to expand the experiential learning opportunities for her students and inspire them to improve the lives of youth through sports.

“I continue to be amazed at the work that’s going on in communities around the world,” Dr. Whitley said. “I feel fortunate that I can be a small part of that in some way.”