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Afghan Visitors Help Boise State Students Plan for Natural Disasters

Resubmitted from: Boise State University News Update March 14, 2017

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 February 2, 2017

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.”

Divers swim with dolphinThe 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.”

Divers in giant clam shellOther 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.

Radiologic Sciences Department Honors Alumni Involved in Fatal Crash

Bates familyTwo alumni from Boise State’s radiologic sciences department were involved in a fatal head-on collision on Monday, Jan. 9, as a kidnapping suspect attempted to allude police in Ontario, Oregon. David Bates was killed and his wife, Jessica Bates, was critically injured. The couple are parents to five young children.

A gofundme account has been started for Jessica to assist with funeral costs and hospital fees. Boise State’s Department of Radiologic Sciences stands strong behind Jessica and values the opportunity to support her and her family during this difficult time.

This violent crash has sent waves of shock not only through the Bates family, but through the entire field of medical imaging. David was the imaging manager for Saint Alphonsus Ontario. He also served Boise State as the clinical preceptor for students in the diagnostic radiology program. He was described as a sensitive and generous man; he brought light into the room every time he entered. The impact of this loss is immeasurable.

The radiologic sciences department is grieving the loss of David, as are many medical imaging professionals in the Treasure Valley and eastern Oregon, and send their best to Jessica and the Bates family.

Advisor Presents on How to Help Students Clarify Their Dreams

Olga Salinas, academic advisor for College of Health Sciences Student Services and Academic Advising, was a co-presenter in a National Academic Advising Association-sponsored webinar with colleagues from Eastern Washington University and Old Dominion University in December 2016. The webinar, “Helping Students Clarify Their Dreams: Advising the Foreclosed Student,” addressed the identification of foreclosed students, motivational interviewing, and an approach for working with foreclosed students who have been denied admission to competitive programs.

Faculty Publishes “Fabric Cooling by Water Evaporation” in Journal

A research paper by Uwe Reischl, professor in the School of Allied Health Sciences Department of Community and Environmental Health, titled “Fabric Cooling by Water Evaporation” was published recently in the Journal of Fiber Bioengineering and Informatics, JFBI. 2016, 9 (4): 237-245.  The topic addresses heat-stress reduction strategies relevant to athletes and workers exposed to hot and dry environments.

The paper describes the impact of clothing moisture and wetness on the fabric evaporative cooling capacity. The study was based on wind-tunnel tests measuring the evaporative cooling exhibited by selected textile materials including cotton, polyester, nylon and silk. The results showed that onset and magnitude of evaporative cooling is determined by the amount of water retained in a fabric. The study also showed that a person is able to experience more cooling by sweat evaporation when wearing single-layered clothing than when not being covered by clothing. The information obtained provides new insights into the evaporative cooling process of fabrics and will assist in the selection of garment materials to optimize comfort and safety.

The research paper was co-authored with Professor R.S. Goonetilleke of The Hong Kong University Science and Technology (HKUST) in Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong.

School of Nursing Students Volunteer in Marsing School District

The School of Nursing’s NURS 417 Community and Population Health Nursing Lab students coordinated a health fair for Marsing Elementary School in Oct. The health fair is part of a larger School of Nursing health promotion project and was the result of data a previous NURS 417 class gathered last spring.

Students of the class hypothesized that decreased physical activity and lack of dental care were two issues that might be worthy of intervention. The students invited a trainer from Axiom fitness to come out and lead the elementary students in some activities and games that they could participate in daily. A dental hygienist from Smile for Kids in Nampa lead a group activity involving dental education, and a dentist from Boise answered many questions from the elementary students. As a bonus, the kids were able to brush and floss a tooth mascot who also attended the health fair.

In the Community and Population Health Nursing Lab, nursing students practice the skills they learn in NURS 416 Community and Population Health in the real world setting. Marsing is a rural community about an hour’s drive southwest of Boise. Like many rural school districts, Marsing has to work hard and be innovative in meeting financial and staffing challenges. For example, the school district does not employ a school nurse on any of the elementary, middle, or high school campuses. Instead, various support personnel and teachers handle any medical/health issues.

The School of Nursing is hopeful that they can continue to partner with the Marsing school district to identify and improve health issues and outcomes to make the campus healthier and increase the amount of health care and health promotion occurring in the community.