Department Chair Welcome

Hawley Almstedt P0A0384 214x300 - Department Chair Welcome
Hawley Almstedt, Ph.D., R.D.N., Department of Health & Human Sciences Chair

Wow, what a spectacular six months it has been! We congratulated a great class in the spring of 2015 as they moved on from LMU to pursue graduate school in programs such as physical therapy and physician assistant, medical school, or entered the working world. The class comprised over 50 graduates in Athletic Training, Health and Human Sciences, or Natural Science. According to assessment work on our programs conducted this year, 55% of students who finished the year-long coursework of anatomy and physiology between 2007 and 2012 pursued graduate study or professional school! We are very proud of all our alums and wish you all the best!

In June we hired HHSC alum Liam Shorrock ’15 as our new Laboratory and Research Associate. Liam has been a great addition to our team and of tremendous help while we moved into the new Life Science Building. For those that don’t know, in July, we moved into the new Life Sciences Building. It is a 100,000 square foot state-of-the-art science building. We share the building with the Departments of Biology and Chemistry & Biochemistry. The open design is meant to encourage collaboration and it has been incredible to see students actively engaged during laboratory activities on a daily basis; it is truly an exhibit of science on display. See pictures of the building in our Fall 2015 Photo Gallery. If you haven’t had the opportunity to stop by and tour the new building, please do so!

In the spring, our students benefited from several engaged learning experiences. Professor Silvie Grote and students in her Exercise for Special Populations course continue to interact with older adults in our community by conducting fitness and balance assessments for local seniors by partnering with Westchester Playa Village. Dr. Sarah Strand accompanied a group of LMU students on an alternative break experience in Nicaragua which focused on public health. Professor Stephanie Perez (‘10) led eight students in participation at the Far West Athletic Trainer’s Association meeting in San Diego (see photos in our photo gallery). Professor Perez also guided the summer study abroad students to Bonn, Germany teaching them about orthopedics and a global approach to sports health care. These engaged learning experiences, help our students apply classroom information in a meaningful way while often providing service for others.

At the Annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) held in San Diego in late May, we were well represented with three faculty members presenting posters from their research. At the Southwest Chapter of the ACSM we had five students present research posters and our team of undergraduate students finished a strong second place in the Jeopardy Bowl competition.

We have several interesting studies going on in the Department right now. Dr. Heather Tarleton received grant support to continue the collaborative research study we call IMPAACT (Improving Physical Activity after Cancer Treatment). We currently have 54 participants enrolled in the study, most of who exercise in our Applied Physiology Lab, three days each week. This year, the IMPAACT study also added a non-exercise group who are involved in art therapy with LMU’s Dr. Debra Linesch. This fall, Dr. William McCormack began a longitudinal study with young adult distance runners examining a number of factors including bone mineral density, strength, aerobic capacity, and muscle morphology. Dr. Todd Shoepe continues his research into variable resistance training and the reliability of exercise bands. Along with Dr. Joseph LaBrie from the Department of Psychology, in the spring I look forward to starting recruitment on a project funded by the National Institute of Health examining how diet, exercise, and alcohol consumption influence development of peak bone mass in college-age students. We are all very proud that these efforts include undergraduate students in nearly every step of the research process.

We wish that everyone has a wonderful holiday and hope to see you around campus in the spring. Please send us a note of what you have been doing since graduating; we want to share it with the other alumni from the department. Should you be interested to learn of ways to financially support the Department of Health and Human Sciences, please contact Lynn Witherspoon, Director of Development (; 310 338-7856). If you have any questions or want further information about the department, please do not hesitate to contact us at (310) 338-7885 or via email at

Happy Holidays!

Hawley Almstedt, Ph.D., R.D.N.
Associate Professor and Department Chair
Health and Human Sciences
Loyola Marymount University