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Faculty Quoted in Story on Limitations to the New United States’ Safe Zone Policy

Resubmitted from: Boise State University News Update

Image of Royce Hutson

Royce Hutson was quoted in a story from The Medialine titled “Limitations to the New United States’ Safe Zone Policy.” Hutson, who spent time working with Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, said poverty, few job opportunities, discrimination, lack of security and other factors in the camps can lead to feelings of hopelessness and that life is “outside of their control.” Read the full story here.

Department Head Lillian Smith Talks Community and Environmental Health

Resubmitted from: Boise State University News Update

Portrait of Lillian Smith

Lillian Smith

Last semester, a new major quietly debuted in the College of Health Sciences. Boise State students now have the option of earning a bachelor’s degree in public health. This broad discipline encompasses everything from community based programming, like after school programs, to the ways that people can live, work, play and pray (or meditate), to making daily healthy food choices.

Yet for all its versatility, this undergraduate degree track, housed in Boise State’s Department of Community and Environmental Health, is relatively new to higher education. As department head Lillian Smith explained, “we’re only two years into having accredited undergrad programs in public health across the United States, even though this type of program has been in the works, nationally, for about a decade.”

She added: “Now the undergrad degree in public health is the fastest growing new degree in the U.S.”

Smith, who earned her master’s and doctorate in public health, joins Boise State from the east coast, where she helped launch a new school of public health at West Virginia University. Her professional focus has been on research and teaching others about community engagement in public health – specifically, how to help communities work together and respond to their own issues.

“The beauty of public health is that it’s the unifying factor for so many players – you’ve got city and county governments, health officials, businesses, universities and a whole host of other people all working together to address collective issues,” Smith said. “It can be anything from, ‘How do we clean up the river?’ to ‘How do we change people’s eating habits?’ That’s the exciting thing about public health; it can be both social and scientific.”

Boise State students interested in public health choose either a general program of study or one of two emphasis areas: environmental and occupational health, a math and science based emphasis that focuses on issues like industrial hygiene and how ventilation affects hospital health; and health education and promotion, which Smith explained is more behavioral based and focuses on social innovations and how systems and the built environment impact habits.

“In the general, you’re exposed to a little of both emphasis areas and could study business or non-profit management,” Smith added. “The bottom line is, there’s a place for everyone at the table if they’re interested in community health.”

The programs also act as a pipeline for students interested in pursuing graduate degrees in the field to the region’s graduate programs: Boise State’s master in health science and Idaho State University’s master in public health.

“We’re looking forward to collaborating with ISU and CWI, which is getting an associate’s program in public health,” Smith explained. “We want to think upstream: ‘How do we keep people from developing unhealthy habits?’ This is called primary prevention, as opposed to when you see a doctor when you’re sick, which is secondary prevention. We’re the group that wants to get ahead of the problem.”

Five-a-day Fruit and Veggie Challenge Begins March 27

Resubmitted from: Boise State University News Update

How many fruits and veggies do you eat every day? If you don’t know the answer to that question, consider taking the “5-a-day” fruit and veggie challenge beginning Monday, March 27.

This challenge is aimed at getting participants to consume the five recommended servings of fruits and vegetables each day. For 28 days, participants will use the online site to track the number of servings they eat. They’ll receive a point for every serving logged, with the chance to earn bonus points by trying new recipes or attending the weekly challenge activity hour in the Student Union Building.

At the end of the challenge, many prizes will be awarded  to participants who receive a certain number of points. Prizes in the drawing include a massage from Health Services, a session with Health Services’ Campus Dietitian, a health coaching session, healthy snack grab bags and more.

Sign up for this free challenge in three easy steps:

​1.​ Register or sign in at
​2. ​Click on “find more challenges”
​3. ​Click “Join now!” to join the 5-a-day challenge 2017

For more information, contact Holly Levin at or call (208) 426-2694.

Support Boise State Nursing Students Working with Peruvian Sheepherders

Resubmitted from: Boise State University News Update

You can help send four Boise State nursing students and members of Boise’s Association for the Advancement of Herders (BAAH) to the Cultural Inclusion Institute Conference in Texas by donating to their PonyUp campaign.

Photo of members of the Boise Association for the Advancement of HerdersThe BAAH started as a student project in the School of Nursing and has grown to include clinics in first aid, foot and skin care, CPR, and nutrition with a group of Peruvian sheepherders in the Gem State.

The Cultural Inclusion Institute’s yearly conference explores cultural issues in healthcare and nursing. This year the theme is Linking Social Determinants of Health to Health Disparities and Cultural Inclusion. The conference is a unique chance for students and professionals to talk about diversity in healthcare, strategies for reducing disparities and advocating for social justice.

Donate today at PonyUp and don’t forget to maximize your impact by sharing the campaign on social media.

Afghan Visitors Help Boise State Students Plan for Natural Disasters

Afghan visitors with Boise State studentsPlanning officials from the Republic of Afghanistan recently met with students in the Master of Health Sciences 560 course, taught by Uwe Reischl, to share information and ideas about international disaster preparedness planning. The visitors provided an overview of programs established in Afghanistan that focus on community responses to earthquakes, flooding and droughts – many of which could be applied to Boise and the northwest region.

The discussion highlighted the challenges associated with providing medical services, temporary housing, clean water and food during the chaos of natural disasters. Students were able to identify international differences and similarities in the functions assigned to local, regional and national agencies tasked with delivering disaster preparedness and response services.

The Afghan visitors were hosted by the U.S. Department of State Visitor Leadership Program in Washington, D.C. This program offers professionals worldwide the opportunity to meet with their U.S. counterparts for the purpose of exchanging information and ideas relevant to their areas of expertise. The program in Idaho is coordinated by the Idaho Council for International Visitors, which partners with Boise State University in many of the International Visitor Leadership Program activities.

Family Caregiver Conference is Feb. 11

Re-submitted from: Boise State University News Update

In a society that is plagued with high healthcare costs, family caregivers are unsung heroes.  Family caregivers are relatives who are responsible, often 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for the health and welfare of another human being.

Even these heroes need help.  On Saturday, Feb. 11, Boise State is hosting the 6th annual Family Caregiver Conference from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Student Union Building’s Jordan and Hatch ballrooms.

Registration is $10 and includes breakfast, snacks, parking and a host of supportive caregiver panels and other resources for caregivers.  The conference also will include talks titled “Guardianship, powers of attorney, and decision making for those with reduced capacity,” and “Creating a safe living environment.”

Register for the caregiver conference here or contact Mary Holden at (208) 426-5899.  This event is co-sponsored by the Idaho Caregiver Alliance, Idaho Parents Unlimited, Legacy Corp, St. Alphonsus and the Center for the Study of Aging at Boise State University.

Bronco Students Explore Another “Blue Turf” for Rare Learning Experience

There are not many people who can say they have interacted with dolphins in the depths of the ocean, or swam next to Caribbean reef sharks, unless you are a student in Shawn Simonson’s Hyperbaric Physiology course, in which case these once in a lifetime experiences are simply another teaching method used to instill learning that reaches far beyond the walls of a classroom.

Simonson, an associate professor in the School of Allied Health Sciences Department of Kinesiology,  offers this unique interdisciplinary graduate course in the fall of even years. The course is designed to deepen a student’s knowledge of human anatomy and physiology, exercise physiology, physics, and biology as students learn how the human body adapts, and performs in the high pressure, hyperbaric underwater environment.

Fall 2016 was the second time this course has been offered, and students were able to earn their open water scuba certification from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), and then embark on a capstone voyage at the end of the term to Roatan, Honduras. As one student explained, “This class will get you out of your comfort zone, but it is totally worth it and it’s even better to enjoy this experience with other friends who share the same passion. A trip like this might not come too often… so take advantage of the opportunity.”

The trip consisted of 13 open water dives, some of which included interacting with dolphins, and swimming with sharks, which was a trip highlight for many. One student explains, “Being surrounded by Caribbean reef sharks at seventy-feet was nothing short of awe-inspiring, and I can honestly say it was the most amazing experience that I have had in my life.”

Students also explored the physics of the underwater environment, marine flora and fauna adaptations, and witnessed firsthand how human actions on land may impact the unique ecosystem and environment of the sea. One student describes their greater appreciation for the fragile ecosystems of the ocean based on this experience. “The ocean is vast and holds many diverse ecosystems, and the greatest lesson I learned about the ocean while on this trip was just how much of an impact our everyday actions can have on those fragile ocean ecosystems. As humans, we need to respect the oceans and be mindful of the trash we are putting into them, and even be aware of how our seafood choices can affect ocean fisheries. Even though the oceans are large, they are not indestructible, and small actions add up… in order for the oceans as we know them to survive, we as humans need to be doing all we can to preserve them.”

Other students were impressed with the truly incredible adaptations that not only occur within the human body in response to a hyperbaric environment, but in other organisms as well. One student said, “The comparative physiology aspect of the class surpassed my expectations. It is incredible how all species of animals share similar physiological responses and how all have adapted so specifically to the typical lifestyle of the species, so placing ourselves in ‘their’ world opened my eyes to the impressive adaptations of marine wildlife.”

For students interested in taking this class in the future, it is highly suggested from past students to take advantage of this rare opportunity: “If this class is offered to you, I implore you to take it up…the trip at the end is the crowning jewel. You will learn so much about yourself and the world beyond diving and hyperbarics.”

As this unusual learning experience does cost more than an average class, Simonson and the Boise State University Foundation are seeking charitable contributions from individuals interested in partnering with this fantastic experience. Even a modest contribution could make the difference for a student struggling to cover the cost of this trip and every dollar is greatly appreciated. Donations make a huge difference for students; scholarships allow students to focus their time and attention on learning without worrying about how to finance their education. To donate to this life-changing course, contact Jon Larkin, development director for the College of Health Sciences, at or 208-426-2124, or choose the Kinesiology Hyperbaric Physiology Fund from the drop down menu on the Online Giving webpage.

Congratulations to the First Graduates of the Online Imaging Sciences Program!

The first seven students from the online associate of science to bachelor of science Imaging Sciences Program graduated in December 2016. Of the seven, five attended the fall 2016 commencement ceremonies. These students traveled from California, Idaho, and Montana with their friends and families to celebrate. The program, launched in fall 2015, has quickly grown with a total of 55 students currently enrolled in the program. Congratulations  to the first graduates and thanks to those who were able, with friends and family, to attend the Boise State Winter Commencement.

Imaging Sciences grads with Radiologic Sciences Department Chair, Leslie Kendrick, and Imaging Science Program Coordinator, Erica Wight.

Caption: Rose Wilson, Stephanie Rowold, Michelle Peterson, Derek Hernandez and Angelo Reyes (back row left to right) Radiologic Sciences Department Chair, Leslie Kendrick, and Imaging Science Program Coordinator, Erica Wight.  (Graduates not attending were Hannah Clancy from Alaska and Carolyn Rothleutner from Wyoming)

Boise State Online Social Work Program Ranked 19 in the Country

Boise State’s online Master of Social Work program recently was ranked No. 19 in the nation for its affordability and quality education. SR Education Group, a nonprofit organization that independently reviews hundreds of higher education institutions based on affordability, accessibility and quality, released 2017’s Top Online Colleges for Social Work Degrees.

“Our online program is enormously popular,” explained Randy Megan, director of the School of Social Work. “We are getting more than six applicants for each slot in the regular program, as opposed to our advanced standing program. This means we are enrolling very good students – those with high grade point averages and extensive volunteer or paid experience in social services. The online program also allows us to hire highly qualified adjunct instructors who do not live in Boise. This semester, we have experienced, Ph.D. trained faculty teaching as adjunct instructors in the online program who live in Canada, Florida and Maryland.”

MSW students

This map shows the locations of all online MSW students enrolled in Spring 2017 classes. Orange bubbles signify regular standing; blue signifies advance standing.

Advanced standing Master of Social Work (MSW) programs are designed for students who have earned a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from a CSWE accredited undergraduate degree program.

According to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, there are more clinically trained social workers than psychologists, psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses combined. That fact, along with the higher cost of services associated with psychologists or psychiatrists, means that clinical social workers provide the majority of behavioral health services in the United States. The demand for social workers is great in our country and continues to grow – especially in rural areas.

While nearly one-third of Boise State online MSW students reside in Idaho, the program currently has students enrolled in 36 different states.

“Given that all of the counties in Idaho are designated under-served in terms of behavioral health, Idaho students, when they graduate, will go a long way toward improving behavioral health services in the state,” Megan said.

To be considered for SR Education Group’s rankings, schools needed to offer at least one fully online degree in a given subject for the degree level that was required, or higher. That information was then weighed with program data including available degrees, tuition rates and details about program coursework, which were collected from official school websites.

Boise State’s School of Social Work offers both full-program Master of Social Work (MSW) and advanced standing MSW programs. The online curriculum is the same curriculum as the in-person curriculum delivered in Boise, Twin Falls, Coeur d’Alene and Lewiston. Megan adds that almost all of the online courses have been developed and are taught by full-time Boise based faculty.

You can find out more about Boise State social work programs here.

Unique Kinesiology Course Featured in Photo of the Week

Students scuba diving off the coast of Honduras, posing on artificial reef with Bronco Nation flagThis photo was featured as Boise State’s Photo of the Week for Jan. 6. Mary Branchflower of Dive Magic took the photo of the students in the School of Allied Health Sciences’ Department of Kinesiology’s Hyperbaric Physiology class. while underwater off the coast of Roatan, Honduras.

Graduate level students in professor Shawn Simonson’s Hyperbaric Physiology course got an opportunity to apply their coursework during a dive and service trip to Roatan, Honduras, over winter break. Students participated in a fall semester course where they deepened their understanding of human anatomy and physiology, exercise physiology, physics and biology. Through the class, students received their Professional Association of Dive Instructors Open Water Scuba Certification and then participated in conservation activities in Honduras.

Read more about the course here.