Department Chair Welcome

Hawley Almstedt P0A0384 214x300 - Department Chair Welcome
Dr. Hawley Almstedt, Interim HHSC Department Chair

It was certainly an interesting time to return to the role of Department Chair while Sarah Strand was out on maternity leave after giving birth in May to a healthy baby boy, Soren Alan Strand-Dunham. Although it was a challenging semester, the outstanding faculty in the Department were true professionals building online curriculum for 20+ courses and 300+ students.  Our faculty completed the LMU-sponsored eFaculty Training course for online instruction over the summer which provided an essential foundation for virtual pedagogy.

We are extremely pleased to welcome Yong Woo An to the faculty this semester. He is a Certified Athletic Trainer and comes to us from New Mexico State University. Yong completed his doctoral work in Biomechanics and Movement Science at the University of Delaware. Read more about Dr. An here. In other news, Heather Tarleton will become the Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Seaver College beginning next semester, congratulations Heather! Bill McCormack was out on sabbatical this semester and was productive in scholarly writing, including a couple of manuscripts from all the testing we have completed over the last six years with the LMU cross-country team. Even though data collection with human subjects has not occurred on campus since March, we continue to publish research during this trying time.  Christopher Cappelli, Jenevieve Roper, Todd Shoepe and Heather Tarleton all had manuscripts published over the past few months.

As of this writing, we are planning for nearly all our classes being delivered online for the spring 2021 semester. We have been given an exception allowing HHSC to hold Lower Extremity Evaluation, Obesity and Behavior Lab, and Exercise Physiology Lab in a hybrid teaching mode next semester, which will allow for some hands-on laboratory data collection and skill development in our Featherston Life Science Building. A lot of planning has gone into procedures for keeping students and faculty safe during hybrid instruction.

Under the leadership of Visiting Professor, Stephanie Perez Beaudion ’10 and current HHSC senior Olivia Keller, LMU has now entered into partnership Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to offer an experiential internship opportunity for HHSC majors and other LMU students to perform contact tracing for Angelenos who have tested positive for COVID-19.  This endeavor is a perfect example of living out the LMU mission of educating the whole person while also providing a service to our local community in a time of great need.

Many alumni graciously gave their time and effort for departmental activities this semester while helping our students learn about life following LMU. Todd Shoepe started a journal club in 2019 and a number of alumni have joined to present their research. The club, including about a dozen HHSC students, now meets via zoom to discuss research in the health sciences.  In November, we hosted an HHSC Alumni Social Hour which was well attended, allowing current students to ask some great questions of our alumni. If you would like to get involved in departmental activities like these please contact us at

We hope this newsletter reaches everyone in good health and doing well during these trying times. We again want to thank all our alumni who are on the front lines battling this pandemic! We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 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