Department Chair Welcome

Sarah Strand 1286x1800 214x300 - Department Chair Welcome
Sarah Strand, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chair of the Health and Human Sciences Department

We hope this finds everyone well and doing their best to stay safe. What started out like any other spring semester changed rapidly in early March. Right after the students departed on Spring Break, the country was hit with the Coronavirus. Students were instructed to stay at home following Spring Break and on March 23rd, we began teaching our courses online.  Our Faculty and Staff responded in an exemplary manner, learning how to master zoom videoconferencing to teach classes and hold meetings. We have been able to teach all our classes remotely, sometimes using a variety of methods including using visual images to replace skeletons and using data from previous year’s labs in the place of data that would have been collected during this semester’s lab experiences. Our students have done a fantastic job making this major adjustment. I think they are as eager as we are to get back into the Life Sciences Building.

The decision has been made that all LMU summer school courses will be taught online for both sessions this summer. With practice from this semester, the Department is ready to provide its usual outstanding summer classes, although all will be formatted for online instruction.  By early July we should know what the fall semester will look like and how we will be teaching classes.

Thanks to the work of Heather Tarleton, Todd Shoepe and Bill McCormack our Academic Program Review cleared its last big hurdle with an external review by two faculty members from nearby Universities.  We are in the process of taking care of all the administrative issues and look forward to a fall where we will take a hard look at everything that we are doing within the Department, ensuring we are providing the best environment to prepare our graduates with all the tools necessary to be successful in the work force or follow-on education.

The annual spring Preview Day was held virtually in April with over 270 prospective Seaver College families “attending”. The interest remains high for Seaver College and the Department of Health and Human Sciences. We are anticipating another full class beginning in the fall. Also, we now have 12 to 15 students applying for transfer into the major each year.

The real good news in all this was the Department’s early work at the hiring of an additional tenure track faculty position last fall.  It is our great pleasure to say Dr. Yong An, PhD, ATC will be joining the Department from New Mexico State University. Dr. An’s research interests include joint instability and the sensorimotor/neurocognitive/neuropsychological characteristics related to neuromusculoskeletal injury. We’re looking forward to having him join us this fall teaching our evaluation and rehabilitation classes.

Another piece of great news is that Bill McCormack earned promotion to Associate Professor and tenure beginning in the fall of 2020! This is very well-deserved and we are very happy for him.

There will be 48 graduates in the HHSC major in the class of 2020. The University will not hold the usual graduation ceremony in Sunken Garden on the second Saturday of May, but is planning a celebration for later this year when we all can gather again.

A big THANK YOU goes out to our alumni on the frontlines of the coronavirus fight. We send our thoughts and prayers thanking you for your work and hoping you stay safe in this unprecedented fight.  Keep sending us your updates on what is happening in your lives.  It is amazing what our graduates have done and continue to do after graduation.

Please stop by if you are in the area (once we open up again) and visit!  I will be on maternity leave for the fall of 2020, so Hawley Almstedt will be stepping in as Interim Chair during that time. 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