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This Leadership Team Newsletter is published every two weeks by the Dean's Office in the College of Health at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

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The UAA College of Health advances the health and well being of people and communities
May 28, 2015
Unit Updates
Center for Human Development - - - - - - - - - - - -

Karen Ward Presents on Friendships & Dating Program 


Dr. Karen Ward and Julie Atkinson presented on the Friendships and Dating Program at the 31st Annual Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity. The presentation detailed the development of the evidence-based intervention program to promote healthy, meaningful relationships and affect social change in lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The presenters also discussed innovative research and evaluation strategies to document program outcomes. 


14th Annual Full Lives Conference a Success


The Full Lives Conference for Direct Support Professionals - Unity through Resiliency was held last month. A total of 328 individuals from around Alaska participated, including 34 presenters and two keynote speakers--Trevor Storrs (Alaska Children's Trust, Anchorage) and Shannon Buller (Wyoming Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities, Cheyenne, WY)--who spoke on a wide variety of topics. The conference awarded Training Access Funds to 28 recipients to help offset costs to attend the conference from rural Alaskan communities. Five individuals received the Outstanding Direct Service Professional of the Year Awards in several support area categories. The UAA Center for Human Development Trust Training Cooperative and the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority provided funding for this conference. For more information, visit:


Department of Health Sciences - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Research Group Tracks Cigarette Butts Litter on UAA Campus


The cigarette butt is one of the most burdensome items littered on college campuses due to its contribution of toxic and biodegradable waste to the environment. Dr. Gabriel Garcia, Department of Health Sciences, Dr. Joy Chavez Mapaye, and Ms. Neelou Tabatabai-Yazdi recently investigated the prevalence of cigarette butts litter on the UAA Main Campus during the Earth Day Campus Clean Up event. Thirty-one volunteers picked up 5,421 cigarette butts on the UAA main campus in a two-and-a-half hour time span. On November 19, UAA will be implementing the new smoke/tobacco-free policy. The research group plans to track whether cigarette butts litter on campus will significantly decrease post implementation of the smoke/tobacco-free policy. For more information about the study, please contact Dr. Gabriel Garcia at 786-6532 or .


King of Norway Visits UAA, MOU Signed

His Majesty King Harald V visited UAA yesterday to celebrate current activities with Norway and to formalize UAA's partnership with the University of Troms?. Existing scientific and educational collaborations between Alaska and Norway were highlighted during the brief ceremonies, including the circumpolar health collaborations supported by the UAA graduate program in public health. Dr. Rhonda Johnson, Department of Health Sciences, was on the panel of UAA researchers highlighting these collaborations. The program culminated with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between UAA and the University of Troms?.

Justice Center  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Adjunct Professor Jim Wolfe Leaves UAA Justice Center
Prof. Wolfe (l) accepts best wishes and thanks from Dr. Andr? Rosay (r), Justice Center Director
Adjunct Professor Jim Wolfe, forensic scientist, taught his last class for the Justice Center on April 24. A fter retiring from the State Crime Lab in 2004, Prof. Wolfe began teaching Introduction to Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation at the Justice Center. Prof. Wolfe is also a certified police instructor for physical evidence collection and preservation, and he regularly taught at the Alaska Public Safety Academy while at UAA. Prof. Wolfe's specialty is photographing an d casting impressions (tire, footprint, etc.). His valuable contribution to Justice students and the Justice Center will be remembered -- and we are sure trace evidence will linger for a long time to come. For more information, visit: .
Students Present Mock Oral Arguments Before District Court Judge

Prof. Ryan Fortson
, Justice Center, held mock oral arguments in his Legal 487 course "Trial and Advanced Litigation Processes" as their final spring semester project. Students participated in a mock appellate court proceeding. They prepared arguments for two hypothetical cases and presented them before  Anchorage District Court Judge Jennifer Stuart Henderson, who rendered a decision after each case. For more information, visit: .
Front row (l-r): Emily Beaudoin, Casey Gilmore, Judge Henderson,
Prof. Fortson, Jessica Pahkala, Brianna Elias. Back row: Chase McCavit.

UAA Collaborative Research Team Presents Behavioral Health Needs Data

At a community forum on May 11, the UAA collaborative research team presented the results on behavioral health needs of youth and young adults in Anchorage. The UAA Center for Human Development (CHD) heads the research team, which includes the Justice Center, Behavioral Health Research Services, and the Department of Health Sciences. Karen Heath, Director of Research & Evaluation at CHD, made the presentation which was based on the research and data from the team. Participants from agencies, nonprofits, and other service providers met to discuss the data, identify data gaps, and prioritize issues. Dr. Marny Rivera, Justice faculty, is a member of the research team. For more information, visit:
Books of the Year Announced for 2015-2017    

"Negotiating Identity" is the 2015-2017 theme for the UAA/APU Books of the Year. The two works selected were: The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother by James McBride and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. Prof. Kristin Knudsen, Justice Center, is a member of the UAA/APU Books of the Year Faculty Steering Committee. For more information, visit:

Report by Dr. Chamard Quoted in ADN About Downtown Transit Center


Alaska Dispatch News quoted a report by Dr. Sharon Chamard, Justice faculty, in an article on Anchorage's downtown transit center titled "Broad effort seeks to change character of Anchorage's downtown transit center" (May 25, 2015). Dr. Chamard wrote the report for the Muncipality's Public Transit Advisory Board following a tour of the downtown transit center in the spring. For more information, visit:


Prof. Fortson Addresses New Alaska Bar Admittees at Swearing-In Ceremony


Prof. Ryan Fortson, Justice Center, spoke at the May 21 swearing-in ceremony for new Alaska Bar Association lawyers. Alaska Supreme Court Justice Joel Bolger presided over the event. As president of the Anchorage Bar Association, Prof. Fortson welcomed the new members to the practice of law in Alaska. For more information, visit:


Dr. Blumenstein Awarded Mini-Grant to Study Students' Understanding of Sexual Misconduct


Dr. Lindsey Blumenstein, Justice faculty, was recently awarded a 2015 UAA College of Health Women's Issues Mini-grant. The goal of her research project "Sexual Victimization of Women on College Campuses: How Do UAA Students Define and Identify Sexual Misconduct?" is to empirically evaluate which types of sexual violence students at UAA define and do not define as sexual victimization. Using focus group discussions with students across the UAA campus, this project will examine how students' definitions of victimization affect their decisions to identify and report sexual misconduct. Male and female students will be invited to participate in separate focus group discussions. For more information, visit:


Upcoming Events/Deadlines

  • June 25 - Summer 2015, Second 5-week session, first day of classes
  • July 2-3 - Independence Day holiday
  • August 10-11 - New faculty orientation
  • August 24 - First day of classes, Fall Semester
  • September 7 - Labor Day holiday
  • October 9 - Faculty development day
  • November 26-27 - Thanksgiving Holiday