Penn State faculty hold key roles at national, international level

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Outside of the classroom and research lab, many Penn State faculty members, including those in the College of Health and Human Development, act as thought leaders in their respective fields by serving on national and international councils and boards.

Amit Sharma, professor of hospitality management and finance and director of the Food Decisions Research Laboratory, is president of the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education (ICHRIE).

The council fosters the advancement of teaching, learning, research, and practice in the fields of hospitality and tourism, and encourages the assessment and enhancement of quality hospitality and tourism education.

“It is an honor to serve as president of ICHRIE because of the organization’s tremendous reach to positively influence the hospitality and tourism industries through its members, and the growing demand for dynamic research and education in support of the profession in communities across the globe,” Sharma said.

Head of the Department of Nutritional Sciences and holder of the Dorothy Foehr Huck Chair in the Department of Nutritional Sciences Catharine Ross is a member of the Food and Nutrition Board for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

The board studies the adequacy of the food supply in the United States; outlines guidelines for healthy nutrition, and judges the relationships between food intake, nutrition and health maintenance and disease prevention.

“By serving on the Food and Nutrition Board, I am able to stay in touch with emerging concerns in human nutrition policy, and provide service to the academy by reviewing reports before they are released. The topics are wide-ranging and nearly always complex, so the work is very interesting,” Ross said.

Professor of Kinesiology and Physiology and Head of the Department of Kinesiology Nancy Williams is president-elect of the American Kinesiology Association.

The association promotes and enhances kinesiology as a unified field of study and advances its many applications by advocating for kinesiology at national and international levels and by supporting its members with resources and leadership and educational opportunities for university administrators in kinesiology.

“I am looking forward to serving as president of the American Kinesiology Association because the organization plays such a key role in shaping the future of the field and providing leadership training to its leaders,” Williams said.

David Conroy, professor of kinesiology and human development and family studies, consults for the Brain Health Subcommittee of the 2018 Physical Activities Guidelines Advisory Committee with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The committee plays a critical role in a comprehensive process, culminating with the publication of the second edition of the "Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans," which will give health professionals, the public, and policymakers science-based information on how Americans can use physical activity to reduce the risk of chronic disease and improve health outcomes nationally.

“Working with the Brain Health Subcommittee is an opportunity to leverage the latest evidence about the benefits of physical activity to inform federal guidelines and improve the health and well-being of the nation,” Conroy said.

Instructor of Kinesiology Lauren Kramer serves as a sports science specialist for USA Gymnastics. In this role, she leads workshops at various state and regional training camps. Recently, she spoke about concussions and youth sport overuse injuries at the USAG Region 7 Congress meeting in Baltimore, Maryland.

"As a sports science specialist for USA Gymnastics I am able to educate coaches, parents and gymnasts about prevention, recognition and treatment of sports injuries related to gymnastics training at the youth, collegiate, national and elite levels of the sport,” Kramer said. “My own background as a Penn State varsity athlete, licensed athletic trainer and anatomy professor allow me to incorporate my personal experiences with athletics when speaking and presenting about current topics in sports medicine."

Lesley Ross, associate professor of human development and family studies, is the current vice-chair and the 2018 chair-elect of the Safe Mobility of Older Persons Standing Committee for the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

The committee helps stimulate quality research and supports the implementation and evaluations that improve programs, policies and practices to help older adults maintain independent mobility in their communities.

“This committee serves an important role at the intersection of science, policy and consumer needs and preferences. We strive to maintain a balanced representation of all three groups with the goal of providing unbiased recommendations on programs and policies that will maintain safe mobility for older adults” Ross said.

Associate Professor of Biobehavioral Health Christopher Engeland is a member of the board of directors for the PsychoNeuroImmunology Research Society, which is an international organization for researchers in a number of scientific and medical disciplines, such as psychology, neurosciences and immunology, who are interested in interactions between the nervous and immune systems, and the relationship between behavior and health.

An important goal is to conduct basic research that can be translated into clinically relevant health applications.

“In this role, I have the opportunity to provide input into how this international research society is run, the decisions that are made, etc. This, in turn, aids in the dissemination of scientific findings both within the society and beyond its borders,” Engeland said.

Similarly, Engeland is a member of the editorial board for the society’s journal, "Brain, Behavior and Immunity." This board convenes annually at the society meeting to discuss how the journal might be improved, how the review process might be altered and more.

“These positions provide me with a broader overview in science, and add to the contributions that I make to the field as a whole,” Engeland said.

Linda Wray, associate professor of biobehavioral health, is a council-member-at-large and member of the Behavioral and Social Sciences Executive Committee for the Gerontological Society of America (GSA).

The society promotes research in aging; disseminates gerontological research to researchers, practitioners and policymakers; and advocates for aging education, and education and training in higher education.

“Serving in this way allows me to continue my 30-plus year engagement with the organization that is my intellectual home and to introduce my professional networks to my graduate students,” Wray said. “I am privileged to interact with other leaders and members of GSA and the BSS section to advance the organization’s missions and to offer my own research and administrative expertise in shaping how those missions respond to the needs of a rapidly changing world.”

Joshua Smyth, distinguished professor of biobehavioral health and medicine, is the president of the Society for Ambulatory Assessment, which is an international research society devoted to fostering and encouraging research and applications using Ambulatory Assessment approaches (research methods to assess the ongoing behavior, physiology, experience and environmental aspects of humans in naturalistic or unconstrained settings).

Smyth is also scientific adviser to the Foundation for Art & Healing, supporting their mission of creating and expanding general awareness about art and healing, bringing forward through research and related explorations critical knowledge about art and healing and the relationship between them, and helping make this knowledge available at the individual and community level.

“It is a pleasure and a privilege to serve these groups. Each is doing important work that helps advance our professional and scientific endeavors, whilst also helping to bring that knowledge to the public in relevant and beneficial ways,” Smyth said.

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Last Updated June 04, 2018