Friday, September 2, 2016

Meghan McPherson on the Flooding in Louisiana

by Amanda Hayman ’17

Adelphi’s Meghan McPherson, adjunct professor of emergency management and assistant director for the Center for Health Innovation, talks to the LI Herald about the historic Louisiana flooding which has left over 40,000 homes damaged, 30,000 people rescued and 13 dead.

“The scope of this is astronomical,” McPherson told the LI Herald. “This is a compounding trauma, because many of the families who were traumatized by Katrina and had to flee, they fled to higher ground in Baton Rouge and now lost everything again.”   

McPherson also praised the efforts of Project Pay it Forward, the Chamber of Commerce, Project 11561 and many local businesses for launching a drive to collect school supplies and gift cards.

“I think this event next week is great,” said McPherson. “The school supplies will help these kids have some semblance of normalcy. As we remember, not only do they have nothing at home, but they also lost all their school supplies.”

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

$1 Million Grant to Help Mentor the Social Workers Who Treat Older Adults

by Jim H. Smith
A new program called Supervisory Leaders in Aging, launched last fall with a $1 million, three-year grant from the John A. Hartford Foundation, aims to help National Association of Social Workers (NASW) chapters in New York, Maryland, Illinois and Florida significantly improve the delivery of healthcare and social services to older adults. The program has grown, in part, due to the involvement of Daniel B. Kaplan, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Social Work, who serves as co-investigator on the grant.
“My passion is for clinical social work,” Dr. Kaplan said. “My interest is in geriatric mental health. While I was directing the counseling program at the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, I became increasingly aware that many older people with dementia and their families were not getting the care they needed because providers lacked necessary skills and knowledge.”
Determined to do something about that problem, he enrolled in the doctoral program at Columbia University School of Social Work. There, in his first semester, he met Barbara Silverstone, Ph.D., a leading figure in the field of service for older people and those with disabilities. The two began collaborating on the pilot projects in New York, between 2009 and 2014, that later became the Supervisory Leaders in Aging program.
Dr. Kaplan and Dr. Silverstone developed a series of gerontological social work supervision professional development workshops that are currently underway in each of the four NASW chapters involved in the current demonstration project supported by the Hartford grant. The two collaborators manage the program’s implementation, develop the curriculum, identify faculty members and evaluate results.
“Through those four chapters, we will enroll a total of 160 supervisors,” explained Dr. Kaplan. “They are master’s-level social workers, all of whom supervise staff who serve older adults. These participants will each complete a 10-module training program that covers both gerontological social work and leadership skills.”
The 2.5-month program will run each year in the four sites. “The participants will put their training to immediate use as they support the estimated 1,280 staff [collectively] who report to them,” explained Dr. Kaplan. “All of those social workers serve older adults—more than 100,000 clients every year. Thanks to Supervisory Leaders in Aging, we can expect them to be providing a much higher level of service.”
The aim then is to roll out the program through NASW chapters nationwide. Making big change in society is hard, Dr. Kaplan noted, and it takes time. “That’s why I’m so excited about this program,” he said. “Supervisory Leaders in Aging is not just training. It’s also mentoring. Each cohort of trainees will help others in their service to older adults. Thousands of social workers nationwide will be better equipped to serve older adults.”

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Computers, Chemistry and Cancer

by Michael Schiavetta
When Adelphi senior Zachary Fallon uses molecular dynamics software to simulate how leukemia impacts the function of white blood cells, he’s not just working on a lab assignment—he’s helping to find solutions that may benefit millions of cancer patients worldwide.
Fallon is one of eight students working alongside Maria Nagan, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry, on this and related research in computational chemistry.
This relatively new field of science was born during the dawn of the modern computer age in the early 1980s. It allows scientists to predict how molecules and solids react in controlled virtual environments using advanced software. Such technology is necessary to observe and study complex interactions at the atomic level. And because the experiments are simulated on computers, scientists are able to incorporate chemical components that may ordinarily be too rare or expensive to obtain. Dr. Nagan leads computational chemistry research at Adelphi with the help of her student scientists, designing projects accessible to undergraduates but stringent enough to meet the standards of the scientific community
“This is an emerging field still in its infancy,” she said. At Adelphi, Dr. Nagan and the students in her lab use computers to model ribonucleic acid (RNA)—the acid responsible for carrying out genetic instructions—its structure and how it interacts with other molecules to understand how chemical interactions affect its shape and function. “These functions are usually key points in viral or healthy cell development,” she added. “Discerning RNA structure and interactions with other biological molecules may lead to better drug development and treatments.”
Fallon explained that he and his classmates have been working with Dr. Nagan to examine how water molecules bridge peptide-RNA complexes in retroviruses such as human T-cell leukemia and HIV. They are studying the role of water in these interactions to determine how a synthetic replacement can stop key events in the viral life cycle. “Once you understand those interactions, you can create a drug that stops it from reproducing,” Fallon added. He plans to work in the pharmaceutical industry designing structured-based drugs after earning his degree.
Dr. Nagan joined Adelphi nearly three years ago. Throughout her career, she has been awarded grants totaling approximately $2.5 million from organizations such as NASA, the National Science Foundation, Petroleum Research Fund and the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. In 2013, she was inducted into the McNair Mentor Hall of Fame and named Researcher of the Year by the Kirksville (Mo.) Chapter of Sigma Xi, a global nonprofit society of more than 80,000 scientists and engineers.
In addition to Fallon’s research (which is to be published in a peer-reviewed journal), Dr.Naganand her students are researching how modified RNA nucleobases can help produce better antibiotics. The researchers will incorporate quantum mechanics and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, combining the study of electrons with structural data, to build models of these modified bases.
Her team is also exploring one of humanity’s most intriguing philosophical and scientific questions— where life on Earth originated; specifically, the role of RNA in forming its basic building blocks. “We’re looking to find out what are the essential and minimal ingredients for life,” she said. “Where do we come from? And how can we transform life as we know it?”
This article was published in the 2016 issue of Erudition magazine. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Trauma Through the Generations

by Susan Delson
“I realized that any child born into a family by definition is going to be a bearer of the trauma of the family unless the trauma has been addressed and resolved,” Dr. O’Loughlin said. “And, unfortunately, we know that when a war occurs, or a genocide, or a refugee crisis,” the challenges of daily life are so demanding that “the majority of people are left to internalize their suffering.” He noted that philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein once said: “I turn into stone but my pain goes on.”As a clinical psychologist, psychoanalyst and award-winning scholar of early childhood education, Michael O’Loughlin, Ph.D., a professor at Adelphi, has long been familiar with the impact of trauma on human suffering. But the more he dealt with it on the clinical level, the more he came to understand trauma as having not only personal but also social and historical dimensions.
While Dr. O’Loughlin has been studying and writing about intergenerational trauma since the mid-2000s, 2014 saw the publication of two significant contributions to the field. Coedited with Marilyn Charles, Ph.D., Fragments of Trauma and the Social Production of Suffering: Trauma, History, and Memory (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015) examines the experience of trauma in a variety of global settings, from Maori communities in New Zealand to distressed African American neighborhoods in the United States.
“That’s really a book about application of trauma to clinical or educational work,” Dr. O’Loughlin said. A companion volume, The Ethics of Remembering and the Consequences of Forgetting: Essays on Trauma, History, and Memory (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014), which he edited, is “a more theoretical book, and the essays are focused primarily on trauma-related problems in different parts of the world.” Among the topics are the consequences of exhuming mass graves in Spain after the fascist era; designing a 9/11 memorial in New York City; and the effects of trauma on ongoing generations of Irish immigrants in London. 
“They’re all attempts to show how people—not only psychoanalysts but anthropologists and historians—are using this kind of theory to help understand the memories that are buried by society. Intentionally buried,” Dr. O’Loughlin said. “And how we can reclaim those memories, and hopefully use them to create a healing space for societies.”
Dr. O’Loughlin divides his teaching equally between the Ruth S. Ammon School of Education and the Gordon F. Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies, where he teaches elective courses on trauma in the Ph.D. and master’s degree programs. Two of his doctoral students are currently doing dissertations in this field: one on Lithuanian deportees in the 1950s and the other on survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings during World War II.
His own writing in this field has recently taken an autobiographical turn. “I just finished writing another chapter on my own life history and how the things that I inherited, good and bad, affected my ability to be creative and to be free in the world, or inhibited that in some respects,” he said. “And I’m entertaining the possibility of writing a book on the Irish famine and its long-term intergenerational effects.”
This article was published in the 2016 issue of Erudition magazine. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Overcoming Barriers to Better Healthcare for Families in New York’s Most Diverse Neighborhoods

by Jim H. Smith
Growing up on the outskirts of Brooklyn’s sprawling Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in the 1970s, Carolyn Springer, Ph.D., associate professor in the Gordon F. Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies, noticed that there were significant life expectancy issues related to healthcare in the community. “Many people delayed getting care until it was too late,” she said.
Dr. Springer never lost interest in that problem. As a graduate student in social psychology at Columbia University, she took a job with the New York City Department of Education. The focus was on children who were chronically missing school. Many did so because of persistent health issues such as asthma.
From 1996 to 1997, she worked for the federally funded Healthy Start program, which targeted the South Bronx, Central Harlem and Bedford-Stuyvesant. The program strives to prevent infant mortality in communities where the rate dramatically exceeds the national average, and where rates of low birth weight, preterm birth, maternal mortality and maternal morbidity are also significantly elevated.
“I was a senior research analyst, compiling the data for planning and program development,” Dr. Springer said. She found the work so rewarding that she decided to make it the heart of her career.
Since joining Adelphi in 2003, her research has focused on the evaluation of educational and health programs for communitybased organizations, especially those involved with maternal and child health.
Her work with the Queens Comprehensive Perinatal Council, which was founded in 1988 to coordinate maternal and child health services in Queens, is a good example. It has touched on a wide range of issues, including teenage pregnancy, fatherhood, SIDS, asthma and premature births, especially in communities with high rates of teen pregnancy and low birth weight, high percentages of women who receive late or no prenatal care, risky behavior during pregnancy and undocumented immigrant populations. “Two main issues are breastfeeding and, more recently, attitudes toward mental health,” she added.
Dr. Springer has employed a variety of research tools to explore those issues. Through surveys, focus groups and workshops, for example, she and her graduate student collaborators evaluated and addressed breastfeeding patterns among African American women whose rates of breastfeeding initiation and continuation are lower than national averages.
As a program evaluator for the Brooklyn Perinatal Network, she helped complete a comprehensive health-needs assessment for North Central Brooklyn to inform policy changes in healthcare; assisted with the network’s Centers for Disease Control–funded REACH (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health) project aimed at improving healthy living; and provided support for its Infant Mortality Reductive Initiative.
“We have seen that comprehensive approaches can lead to decreases of greater than 10 percent in infant mortality rates, that there is a greater awareness among healthcare providers of the social determinants of health and that participating in educational workshops can have a significant and positive impact on selfefficacy, knowledge and attitudes about breastfeeding,” Dr. Springer said. “It’s exciting to really see change occurring—to see families take better care of their health.”
This article was published in the 2016 issue of Erudition magazine. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Treating Trauma By Identifying its Sociopolitical Roots

by Jim H. Smith
Early in her career, while working as a social worker serving children and adolescents, Laura Quiros, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Social Work, observed that adolescents with substance abuse problems often relapsed despite her best efforts. Later, working with women who also were in recovery for substance abuse issues, she noticed a similar trend. “The women would enter a treatment center for a time, but once they returned to the community they relapsed,” she said. “I realized I needed to better understand the environment in which their problems had first emerged.”
The common thread, she discovered, was trauma. “Nearly everyone who is served by a public mental health or substance abuse program has experienced some sort of trauma,” she said. “It is an underlying cause of their problems, but many treatment programs emphasize only addiction. Unless the trauma is addressed as part of treatment, chances of a successful outcome are significantly reduced.”
Dr. Quiros’ interest in the impact of trauma and the failure of many traditional treatment models to effectively address it was a compelling factor in her decision to obtain her doctorate in 2009. And it has been a key focus of her research into trauma informed care (TIC) in the ensuing years.
“TIC is a rapidly evolving area of mental health treatment that is grounded in the understanding that trauma has played a significant role in the lives of people with a wide range of mental health and addiction problems,” she explained. “Contrary to traditional approaches to mental health and addiction treatment, it demands that professionals consider the significance of trauma in their clients’ lives.”
Central to the effectiveness of TIC as a treatment strategy is what Dr. Quiros refers to as a “liberation mind-set.” She explained that “the traditional treatment approach focuses on saving ‘victims.’ Traditional psychology has failed to provide a complex analysis of how both society and individuals participate in the construction of their world and how this dynamic, in turn, shapes the way individuals see themselves and are seen by others.” Too often the conceptualization as well as the treatment of trauma is “rigid and narrow, and support services are based on the over-generalized experiences [of] middle-class, white women and men.”
Dr. Quiros’ scholarship helps to broaden the definition of trauma by focusing on the sociopolitical complexity of trauma. She is able to understand how trauma is intrinsically and systematically linked to experiences of racism, sexism, classism, ethno-religious oppression and homophobia. How individuals see themselves and are seen by others varies strikingly from culture to culture, said Dr. Quiros, whose work on TIC is informed by her research on the social construction of racial and ethnic identity. By way of example, she explained that she studies “the nuances of race and culture among Latinas and the negotiation of identity within various social contexts.” TIC, she said, aims to deal directly with individuals’ social locations and histories of trauma. It aims to help them recognize how both society and past trauma have affected and are affecting them.
“A major part of my mission as a teacher is to help my students understand the significance and complexity of race, culture and trauma, and its treatment,” she said.
This article was published in the 2016 issue of Erudition magazine

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Death & Dairy in New York State

By Margaret Gray, Ph.D.

Milk is promoted as nature’s perfect food. More than any other food, milk taps into idyllic nostalgia for farm life and the marketing of dairy products takes advantage of milk’s prized position. Yet, dairy farming is dangerous and fatalities are too common, especially on New York’s smaller farms.

The statistics are telling. New York—ranked third in dairy production in the country—saw 61 fatalities on dairy farms from 2006 to 2014, according to the New York State Department of Health. The main causes of dairy death are tractor rollovers and entanglement in other farm machinery.

New York’s dairy farm fatalities outstrip those of California, the nation’s leader in dairy production. From 2007 to 2012, New York saw 34 dairy farm deaths, while California, which regularly produced more than three times as much milk as New York during that time, had 14 fatalities.

Overall from 2007 to 2012, New York’s fatality rate per 100,000 workers was 2.4, but it was 35.8 in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The next highest industry was construction, with 8.3.

Read Margaret Gray's full article on dairy farming.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Better Care for Huntington’s Disease Caregivers

by Bonnie Eissner
Most of us—at least those of us who lack scientific training—associate clinical research with the second definition of clinical: cool, analytical, dispassionate. Talk to Marie Cox, D.N.P., clinical assistant professor in the College of Nursing and Public Health, though, and it is apparent that her clinical research is anything but dispassionate.
Dr. Cox studies Huntington’s disease, but not from the point of view of its victims. Rather, she looks at the quality of life of their caregivers. She became interested in the field in the early 2000s when, as the research nurse coordinator in neuroscience at Northwell Health (formerly North Shore-LIJ Health System), she worked on research trials for patients with Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease. She subsequently worked as a nurse practitioner treating patients with these conditions and similar ones.
Huntington’s disease has been called the disease of families. If one of your parents has Huntington’s, you have a 50 percent chance of inheriting the gene. There is no known cure, and the disease, which usually sets in during one’s 30s or 40s, is devastating. Nerve cells in the brain break down over a 10- to 20-year period, resulting in a gradual decline in the ability to reason, walk and speak.
Caring for the patient often falls to a family member and the burden can be enormous. The disease is relatively rare—there are about 30,000 cases in the United States—and the victims are often too young to go into traditional nursing homes. Add to that the pain of knowing that a victim’s offspring also have a high likelihood of carrying the gene.
As she began to work in the area, Dr. Cox noticed that “when someone is diagnosed with the disease, it was really the family member that needed a lot of attention—as much as the person diagnosed themselves.”
The observation led her to study the quality of life of Huntington’s disease caregivers. A 2009 survey she conducted among caregivers at four sites indicated a lack in social support services, both for Huntington’s victims and the people—usually family members—who care for them.
That conclusion led Dr. Cox and a colleague, Carol Moskowitz, a consultant at Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center—a skilled nursing facility for Huntington’s disease care—to design their latest study: in-depth interviews with a smaller number of caregivers. “We’re going to ask them questions such as, ‘What works? What do you do to keep that person with Huntington’s disease at home?’” Dr. Cox said. Their ultimate goal is to share the results with families, nurses and other healthcare providers to help them care for persons with Huntington’s disease in the community. They also hope to find ways to reduce unnecessary healthcare expenses by keeping people well supported in the community.
Lowering healthcare costs ties in closely with New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recently announced $45 million Vital Access/Safety Net Provider Program to improve community care for the most vulnerable members of the population.
“You never know what’s going to come out of” qualitative interviews, Dr. Cox said. She is excited by the endless possibilities and the promise of finding “some helpful information to share with the Huntington’s disease community to at least put some comfort into other people’s lives.”
This article was published in the 2016 issue of Erudition magazine

Monday, May 23, 2016

What if: TEDx Comes to Adelphi University

TED talks have become a staple of education and popular culture over the last few years. TED (Technology, Entertainment, & Design) is a nonprofit organization devoted to “Ideas worth Spreading,” usually through short presentations or talks. While viewers often associate these talks with celebrities, or famous researchers, what if the person sitting next to you in class made the video? On Tuesday, April 5, 2016, Adelphi University hosted the inaugural TEDxAdelphiUniversity event. Organized by the Adelphi University Center for Health Innovation (CHI), this independently organized event, licensed by TED, featured TED Talk videos as well as nine exceptional speakers under the theme of “What If…”
            After a brief introduction by Chairman of the Board of Trustees Robert B. Willumstad’05 (Hon.) and Elizabeth Gross Cohn, Ph.D., R.N., executive director of the CHI, the speakers came together to “collectively suggest ways we can improve ourselves, our communities, and our society,” according to Dr. Cohn. Each of the speakers presented to an audience of 100 in house guests and countless online viewers, to help present an exciting new perspective on our world.
Adelphi University President Christine M. Riordan  took the stage at the event. In her talk, “Dare to be Extraordinary, ” President Riordan discussed the difference between an ordinary person and an extraordinary one. “We think of ourselves as ordinary people leading ordinary lives, and yet, the reality is that we have the opportunity to all be extraordinary,” she said. She then went on to explain how her research has shown that all extraordinary people share three key characteristics: passion, courage, and resilience. They had passion to push themselves to change the world, courage to make the right and sometimes difficult decisions, and resilience to rise up in the face of adversity. President Riordan dared the audience members to be passionate, courageous, and resilient, and to push themselves out of their comfort zones in order to be exceptional extraordinary individuals.
            The event also featured eight other speakers including:
  • Jennifer Krol ’17 is an undergraduate student at Adelphi, currently majoring in creative writing, in a 5 year master’s program for Childhood Education. Her talk, “The Culture Where No One is Culturally Competent: The Effects of Rape Culture on Children,” discusses how rape culture is instilled in girls from a young age, and how important it is to talk about these issues to empower girls to fight it.
  • Rabbi Glenn Jacob D.D. is one of the interfaith chaplains and Hillel Director at Adelphi and the executive director of the New York chapter of Interfaith Power & Light. His talk, “God in the Public Square” discussed the difference between theist and non-theist god beliefs, and how non-theist god beliefs could change the way faith is discussed in public.
  • Francine Conway, Ph.D.  is a professor and chair of psychology in the Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies. Her talk, “Cultivating Compassion for the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) child—from Moral Indictment to Empathy,” discussed her experience having a child with ADHD, and how educators can develop compassion and empathy for these children, and how that empathy can be sued to more effectively treat ADHD.
  •  Bernadine Y. Waller is an adjunct professor and doctoral candidate at Adelphi University School of Social Work. Her talk, “Hindered Help: How Societal Stereotypes Hinder African American Women Intimate Partner Violence Victims from Getting the Help They Need,” discussed how negative stereotypes are the reason why African American Women are less likely to get proper help when they are the victims of intimate partner violence, and how we as a society can attempt to look past those stereotypes to help them.
  • Dr. Deborah Serani is an associate adjunct professor at Adelphi University. Her talk entitled “What if…You Knew Depression as a Doctor and as a Patient,” discussed her personal and professional experience as a psychologist living with depression, and pointed out important suggestions from both the prospective of a patient and a therapist.
  • Anthony Zenkus is an adjunct faculty member in the School of Social Work. His talk, “Watch the Gap: How Capitalism Negatively Affects the Development of Children and How We Can Do Better”, discussed how income inequality and racism affect the development of children, and how a shift in wealth and power can give who are economically and socially oppressed a chance to reach their potential.
  • Madeline Dressner ’13, M.A. ’14 is an elementary school teacher at E.M. Baker School in Great Neck, New York who graduated with her bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degree in childhood education from Adelphi University. Her talk, “Using Technology to Empower and Foster 21st Century Advocacy, Citizenship, and Empathy in Children,” discussed how technology in the elementary school classroom can be used to teach children advocacy, citizenship, and empathy. She also discussed her experience participating with her students in “Apps for a Cause,” where students came up with ideas for apps that can help better the world.
  • Robert Goldfarb, Ph.D. is a professor of communication sciences and disorders. His talk, “An Aphasiologist Has a Stroke,” described his experience as a professor who teaches about the effects of a stroke on the mind, suffering a major stroke himself, and how he managed to maximize his recovery efforts.
The day also included networking and dialogue opportunities so attendees could reflect and discuss the serious issues brought up during the talks. Watch the talks online at
To learn more about this year’s event, follow @TEDxAdelphiU on twitter, like TEDxAdelphiU on Facebook or visit

Monday, May 16, 2016

Richard Francoeur - CHI Summer Scholars

I am Richard Francoeur, Associate Professor of Social Work, at Adelphi University.  As a recipient of a CHI Summer Scholars Award to participate in a course last summer on SAS programming offered by the Epidemiology and Population Health Summer Institute at Columbia University, I was invited to submit this blog this month to share about how the course relates to my health scholarship and research endeavors.  The SAS programming course provides a basic overview about statistical syntax coding and analysis in a major software program.  I took this course to expand my knowledge of this software program, which I may use in future work.  The remainder of this posting will focus on my work in comorbidity, an area informed by statistical thinking.

I conduct research and scholarship to advance our knowledge of older, middle-aged, and underserved adults with chronic physical illness.  My publications, grants, presentations, and current investigations emphasize 1) Older and middle-aged adults coping with medical conditions or related physical symptoms who present with depression; and 2) Hidden or emerging clinical issues in older and underserved populations with chronic illness conditions, especially during palliative care. 

An earlier vein of my research produced a series of pioneering conceptual and empirical publications on age-related financial stress-strain relationships and underinsurance in outpatients receiving palliative radiation for recurrent cancer.  This research focused on patient age as a buffering or magnifying influence on the relationship between objective financial stress incurred by the patient and their family and the patient's subjective perceptions of various aspects of financial strain that they were experiencing.  Financial stress may have different impacts on health care access and health seeking behavior depending upon the level of financial strain experienced.  Thus, these factors constitute distinct comorbidity influences.

For the last several years, I have become interested in issues of comorbidity more generally. Generally speaking, co-occurring conditions, disease markers, pain and symptom clusters, economic contexts, and/or psychosocial factors may interact to magnify or buffer relationships to health or mental health outcomes. One type of focus in my work on comorbidity pertains to investigating pain and physical symptoms in cancer that occur in pairs or clusters and are related to depressive symptoms, which may consist of "sickness malaise" as well as mental health reactions to physical symptoms.  This area of research is important because detecting co-occurring physical symptoms and understanding their influence on sickness malaise and mental health can provide valuable clues for proactive assessment in subgroups of patients, as well as about interventions with "cross-over" effects (i.e., one intervention could relieve multiple symptoms).  It is practical to investigate the interactions among pain and physical symptoms as they predict mental health symptoms.  Since social workers and other mental health providers may be more aware of mental health symptoms, such as those of depression or anxiety, they may become more likely to screen for related physical symptoms as they become more aware of their synergistic influences, which may have deleterious effects on mental health. 

I also innovate statistical methods and models I use in my research to improve detection and interpretation of these synergistic influences.  In the first statistical innovation I published, I extended a non-graphical follow-up algorithm for interpreting two-way interactions into a more comprehensive procedure that can also interpret curvilinear interactions and three-way interactions in multiple regression.  Other investigators in discussion forums for leading statistical software (Stata, SPSS) have noted this innovation.  I consider a second statistical innovation I published as a kind of "breakthrough" because it overcomes low sensitivity in multiple regression to detect terms that involve interactions among predictor variables, a vexing challenge to researchers ever since computer software to conduct multiple regression became available in the 1960s.  I have advocated for the use of this statistical innovation in a few ResearchGate discussion forums in which investigators posed questions regarding how to deal with multicollinearity in interaction terms.  Incidentally, many of my publications can be downloaded from ResearchGate (  Currently, both statistical innovations are being developed into an app that will be hosted by Adelphi, and this app should be of interest beyond issues of comorbidity to research situations in many fields in which there is a need to detect and interpret interactions among variables.

A second type of focus in my work on comorbidity pertains to detecting psychometric profiles within subgroups.  I am currently working on publishing a new modeling specification strategy that links multiple regression fully and without bias to confirmatory factor analysis by making it possible to estimate all causal paths to a latent construct and its observed items.  I will discuss this new strategy in the context of articles I am developing that will report psychometric profiles of depression in subgroups characterized by progressive cerebrovascular disease (hypertension, silent cerebrovascular disease, stroke, post-stroke cognitive impairment, vascular cognitive impairment), and some of these cerebrovascular subgroups will be qualified further by co-occurring excess weight and diabetes.  As with the first type of focus in my work on comorbidity, for any of these subgroups, the psychometric profiles of depression items (the 20 items of the CES-D Depression Inventory) will also constitute a "symptom cluster," however it will differ in that the depression items are not tested to be mutually interactive or synergistic in their effects.  Rather, they constitute several psychometric items that constitute a psychometric profile for a particular subgroup of patients characterized by progressive cerebrovascular disease, and in some cases, by excess weight and diabetes as well.

My publications are influential, particularly in the multidisciplinary areas of cancer pain and symptom clusters, palliative care, and financial burden.  I am pleased to report that I was recognized this past year as a Fellow of the Social Research, Policy, and Practice section of The Gerontological Society of America.  Selection as a Fellow is an acknowledgment by professional colleagues of outstanding and continuing work in the field of gerontology and represents the highest class of membership in the Sociey.  My work has also attracted much interest in high-quality open-access journals as well as social networking sites, including ResearchGate.  Two of my open-access articles are highly accessed: 1) a recent report of my statistical innovation that improves detection of interaction effects in moderated regression; and 2) a commentary article on novel community programming strategies to ensure safe access to medication for palliative care while preventing prescription drug abuse.  I recently had the opportunity to share this commentary article, as well as my publications on pain and symptom clusters in palliative care, with the CEO of the Gerontological Society of America (GSA), James Appleby, who had solicited ideas, recent research, and resources regarding how to ensure people with pain receive the care they need while also countering abuse, misuse, and diversion of prescription medicine.  James Appleby seeks this information to help inform his advocacy and policy conversations with the Alliance for Balanced Pain Management (AfBPM), a group in which GSA has recently begun a partnership or collaboration. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Adelphi’s Health Fair covered on MyLITV

During the week of April 4-10, 2016, Adelphi University celebrated National Public Heath week with a variety of exciting events.  On Wednesday April 6th, The University held its fifth and largest AUHealth Fair to date, inviting more than 70 vendors to the Center for Recreation and Sports facility. At the fair, guests had access to several educational opportunities in addition to a market where they could purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. The event featured more than 15 student research poster presentations as well as giveaways and an opportunity to tour the Rollin Colon.

See the coverage from My Long Island TV which aired on FiOS1