CHSPH Newsletter

Spring 2024

Four students in front of their presentation at the scholarly works

Celebration of Scholarly Works

The CHSPH Celebration of Scholarly Works took place at the SIERR building in Spokane on Tuesday, March 19, 2024. Research posters and scholarly works were on display, where faculty, students and guests had the opportunity to visit and view scholarly works from Communication Sciences and Disorders, Dental Hygiene, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Public Health. The event was a great success that provided exciting opportunities for EWU authors, students and guests to share and learn about research and community projects produced from CHSPH.

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Department of Physical Therapy Chair Filmed on Popular Public TV Show

Woman sitting on a chair in a studio
Dr. Kimberly Cleary sits on the set of Sit & Be Fit.

Dr. Kimberly Cleary, chair of the Department of Physical Therapy, served as a physical therapy guest expert on the Sit & Be Fit show. For its more than 37 years on Public Television, Sit & Be Fit, a non-profit organization, has been committed to encouraging healthy aging and improved quality of life for its audience. Dr. Cleary participated in two separate segments on balance training for older adults. The episodes will be featured on KSPS this spring during the new season of the program.

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The Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) National Physical Therapy Conference

Doctor of Physical Therapy student Kyanna Bren stands next to her poster, titled Use of Atigraphy, Subjective Reporting, and Combined Methods to Assess Sleep in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

This year, over 12,000 professionals attended CSM, hosted by the American Physical Therapy Association in Boston. Physical therapy students and faculty contributed to CSM with five poster presentations from the research laboratories of Drs. Cleary, Crooks, and LaPier. All presentations went very smoothly, and most were well attended.

Presenter and second-year physical therapy student, Kyanna Bren, noted that the conference was “a great opportunity to learn from those at the forefront of evidence-based practice in physical therapy.” Bren reported: “I really enjoyed attending the various educational sessions provided, and of course, I also had a blast exploring the conference and city with my cohort! Being able to present my research was an extremely rewarding experience.” Bren’s research identified methods of sleep assessment in people with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Bren noted that she “was able to discuss findings with others who are treating and researching this condition.”

Student in front of presentation board.
Doctor of physical therapy student Rachel Park stands next to her poster presentation on sleep apnea at CSM.

Second-year physical therapy student, Rachel Park, presented on the effect of sleep apnea on pain and aerobic outcomes within the cardiac rehabilitation setting. Park noted that her experience attending the conference “was a reminder that the profession is a living, breathing being; presenting research there made me proud to be part of something so much bigger than myself.”

Two faculty members, 24 second-year physical therapy students, and four third-year physical therapy students attended the conference in February.


Physical Therapy Student Receives Fellowship Award

Portrait of PT student
Physical therapy student Katarina Sanchez is pictured following her award.

Third-year physical therapy student Katarina Sanchez was recently awarded a $5,000 fellowship from the Latino Center for Health at the University of Washington. This fellowship, which includes matching funds through the College of Health Science and Public Health, will provide Sanchez with financial support to advance her career goal of promoting the health and wellness of Latinx communities. Sanchez was one of just 13 graduate students in the state to receive the honor. With support from this fellowship, Sanchez hopes to provide pro bono services for Spanish-speaking laborers throughout the state of Washington.

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American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Conference

Three students in front of their presentation
Caption (left to right): Physical therapy students Caden Gatlin, Gerrit VanBeek and Jose Aguilera stand next to their poster at ACSM.

Faculty, staff and students from the Department of Physical Therapy attended the Northwest American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) conference at the University of Idaho in Moscow, last February. Students presented posters from faculty research collaborations related to running performance metrics and activity monitoring within the context of sternal precautions.



Professor and student in front of presentation.
Dr. Joel Sattgast and physical therapy student Brittany Grant pose in front of their poster presentation at ACSM.

Faculty member Dr. Joel Sattgast presented an educational symposium aimed at providing an evidence-informed guide to answering every runner’s most pressing question, “When Can I Run?” With faculty, staff and students from undergraduate and graduate programs across the nation, the conference provided an opportunity for learning, growth, community and connection. Excitement is already building as EWU prepares to host the 2025 Northwest ACSM conference in Cheney.


Adaptive Climbing

Student assisting a participant on the climbing wall.
Physical therapy student Rachel Park and a caregiver assist a participant ascending the wall.

The Department of Physical Therapy teamed up with Wild Walls Climbing Gym in Spokane to host an adaptive rock-climbing program. Athletes of all ages with physical disabilities interested in rock-climbing were encouraged to participate in this program. The program consists of a weekly 90-minute appointment on Thursday afternoons over five consecutive weeks. During the program, second-year physical therapy students, supervised by a licensed physical therapist, complete an evaluation and then work with participants to determine the best adaptive equipment needed to support rock-climbing skills. The team crafts a unique weekly exercise plan to encourage progression of the participant’s strength, flexibility, and climbing technique. Clients who have completed the program report improved overall function and quality of life.


Physical Therapy Legislative Impact Week

This January, EWU physical therapy students attended the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Legislative Impact Week (LIW). During LIW, students, physical therapists, APTA board members and state representatives met to address critical issues within the field of physical therapy. This year, LIW focused on a bill that sought to address the effects of price inflation in private-sector physical therapy by increasing reimbursement for physical therapy services, thereby increasing patient access to physical therapy. The bill’s urgency is especially significant, as physical therapy private practices have seen a 42% increase in cost and 15% decrease in reimbursement, with 33% of clinics operating in the red and 21% of physical therapists leaving the workforce over the last 4 years. Physical therapy students Jacob Hangartner and Conner Moyer described the importance of being involved in LIW to ensure the accessibility of physical therapy services for future patients. An additional opportunity for student involvement in APTA to advocate for the profession, beyond LIW, includes participation in a Student Special Interest Group (SSIG). The SSIG includes a meeting, every third Thursday, at 7 PM PST via Zoom. Students interested in participating should contact EWU APTA Liaison, Dr. Jenny Jordan (

Physical Therapy Licensure Examination

Out of over 250 accredited physical therapy programs in the United States, EWU’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program is one of only four programs nationwide with a 100% first-time pass rate on the national physical therapy licensing exam (NPTE).

Congratulations to the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program for their top nationwide student performance on the NPTE!

Wellness & Movement Sciences (WAMS): New Lifestyle Medicine Degree Offered by EWU

images of people exercising.
This image shows the main pillars of lifestyle medicine.

The Department of Wellness and Movement Sciences is offering a new and exciting Bachelor of Science (BS) in Lifestyle Medicine. The BS in lifestyle medicine allows students to pursue a degree path that looks holistically at health and well-being. Six pillars of health outlined by the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) provide the foundation of the lifestyle medicine degree – (1) a whole-food, plant-predominant eating pattern, (2) physical activity, (3) restorative sleep, (4) stress management, (5) avoidance of risky substances, and (6) positive social connections. Students with career goals in public health, health care, and wellness should consider pursuing the BS in lifestyle medicine. This spring quarter, LMED 201: Introduction to Lifestyle Medicine will be offered for any students interested in learning about lifestyle medicine. Please contact program director Chris Cindric, at, or view the BS in LMED web page for more information.


Wellness & Movement Sciences (WAMS): Exercise Science Club Attends American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Northwest Conference

Students posing for a group photo
Students and faculty from EWU’s Exercise Science Club pose in front of the exciting announcement of ACSM 2025 being hosted in Cheney/Spokane area.

Eighteen EWU Exercise Science Club student members and four faculty members attended the ACSM Northwest conference this February at the University of Idaho in Moscow. Three students and three faculty showcased their research in either a poster or verbal presentation. In addition, four teams of students (12 total) competed in the student knowledge bowl, a Jeopardy-style game testing sports medicine knowledge. One of EWU’s teams placed fourth out of 20 teams. EWU students and faculty earned positions on the ACSM Northwest Executive Board. At the conference, Dr. Katie Taylor began her tenure as president of the chapter, Dr. Kristyne Wiegand was elected as president-elect, and Yazmean Inman was elected as regional student representative. Finally, it was announced that ACSM Northwest Conference 2025 will be hosted by EWU, which is an exciting opportunity for the EWU’s programs and the institution as a whole.



Eastern Washington Area Health Education Center (EWAHEC) Hosts “On Track Academy”

Student with PPE and chicken breast
A student from On Track Academy prepares to suture a chicken breast while dressed in sterile PPE.

On January 26, Eastern Washington Area Health Education Center (EWAHEC) Scholars Jenna McDonald, Emilie Crawford, and Madison Cloninger hosted an event for high school students at On Track Academy. The day began with a Kahoot game that helped to familiarize students with medical terminology and learn about different healthcare career options. Students then had the opportunity to play with “glow germ,” which showcases the importance of handwashing, by illuminating the germs present on an individual’s hands. Students practiced the process of donning personal protective equipment (PPE), where they learned how to put on the necessary equipment to keep themselves and patients safe from pathogens. While dressed in their gowns, students then got to practice suturing chicken breasts — which many mentioned as their favorite part of the day. After suturing practice, students injected sterile water into the chicken to practice giving injections. EWAHEC hosts events to promote health and wellness in underserved populations, as well as encourage rural students to consider careers in medicine.



Outreach to International Students Teaching New Methods of Research

Two colleagues in a classroom with students
Professor Swope poses with a colleague while in Bali, Indonesia.

Nicholas Swope, professor in public health, recently broadened the learning horizons of psychology students in Bali, Indonesia. Professor Swope discussed traditional qualitative research techniques of interviews and focus groups, then lectured and had students informally try newer methods, including Photovoice. Photovoice originated in public health and participatory research and is designed to spark change. This powerful tool weaves the visual method of photography together with a narrative to give greater context and depth to human experience. Displays of Photovoice at community exhibitions have been successful in raising awareness of various health topics. Students’ excitement was palpable as they viewed various Photovoice projects and informally engaged in the technique. They shared research articles and held lively meaningful discussions surrounding ethics, empowerment of the researchers, and impact of the technique. The exchange successfully motivated students to explore newer innovative methods in qualitative research.


Dental Hygiene Hosts Career Fair

Two individuals speaking with a student
Senior dental hygiene student Simona Mateas speaks with Aspen Dental about their clinic and career opportunities.

In February, senior dental hygiene students participated in a department career fair with local and statewide dental offices. Many of the dental clinics that attended brought alumni of EWU’s dental hygiene program to highlight their practices to the graduating seniors. Students in the dental hygiene program met with potential employers, explored career options and networked with leaders in the field. This was a high-energy, fun and supportive event to connect students with local and statewide career opportunities and clinicians.




EWAHEC CHSPH Students Volunteer at Teddy Bear Clinic

Group of student volunteers with staff
EWU students gather for a group photo during the Teddy Bear Clinic.

On February 10th, the Eastern Washington Area of Health Education Careers (EWAHEC) along with a group of occupational therapy, nursing, dental hygiene, and communication science students came together in partnership with PBS to run a Teddy Bear Clinic for preschool and elementary-aged students. This event provided children with the opportunity to become comfortable with healthcare appointments and allowed them to treat their own “patient” – a teddy bear. Children documented the teddy bear’s condition and learned how to listen for heart rate and respirations using stethoscopes. EWU students in health science disciplines assisted the children in charting, taking note of vital signs, and weighing and measuring their stuffed animals. Children, their families, and the EWU student volunteers reported that the event was a great community learning experience.


Nursing Program Grand Opening

Group of students with faculty in front of building
Students from EWU’s first nursing cohort gather for a photo during the grand opening ceremony.

This year, Eastern Washington University launched its very own Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), welcoming its first cohort of 40 nursing students to the Spokane-based program. The program is housed in the SIERR Building in the University District, near EWU’s other healthcare programs. The BSN program aims to prepare more nursing students for entrance into the field, who can meet diverse healthcare needs and treat patients across the region. EWU’s BSN program strives to provide educational, direct experiences to help cultivate excellence within their discipline, as well as create life-long learners dedicated to providing holistic care for their patients across a variety of healthcare settings. Though the Fall 2024 and Spring 2025 application cycle is now closed, prospective nursing students for the Fall 2025 semester should look for the next application cycle to open December 1, 2024.

Occupational Therapy Students Run Pediatric Mock Clinic

Student on floor with a child watching
Occupational therapy student Emily Link engages with a client during her treatment session for the Occupational Therapy Mock Clinic.

During this past spring semester, second-year occupational therapy students treated clients in a mock clinic at Joya Child and Family Development Center. The mock clinic allowed students to apply practical skills they have learned through their coursework, such as conducting an evaluation, planning interventions and managing full therapy sessions. Students collaborated with clients and their families for six sessions. The first session was an evaluation, followed by four treatment sessions, and finishing with a discharge session. A home program handout was designed and provided to the families to teach interventions and activities that could be implemented by parents or caregivers. Many families expressed their appreciation for the mock clinic and the positive impact the experience provided their children. Regarding her experience at Joya, one student said it was nice to “get a taste of what it is like to meet with clients, make goals, implement interventions, and see progress in action.”


Occupational Therapy Students Volunteer at Riverview Retirement Community

Puzzle pieces on a table
Occupational therapy students build a jigsaw puzzle with residents at the Riverview Retirement Community.

Second-year occupational therapy students had the opportunity to collaborate with individuals in the Riverview Retirement Community during “OCTH 533/535: Occupational Performance and Older Adults.” Students developed a variety of group protocols to run with the residents, including a book club meeting while making bookmarks, decorating vases, creating paper flowers, completing jigsaw puzzles with tea, and engaging residents in reminiscence therapy. Many students discussed later what a terrific opportunity it was to engage with the residents at Riverview and learn more about their life stories.




Public Health

Dr. Daryl Traylor is a professor in the College of Health Science and Public Health who teaches in the Master of Public Health program. He has not allowed the recent Supreme Court decision to prohibit utilizing diversity as a criterion for acceptance into higher education programs — nor a court decision to allow insurance companies to use religion as a reason to deny services — to detract him from a passion for improving diversity and inclusion. He is the lead author for a recently published (2023) review article titled Unmasking Structural Racism in Medical Education: Advancing Equity for Under-Represented Minority Students published in Journal of Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences. Dr. Traylor and co-authors cite studies identifying persistence of structural racism in many aspects of medical education. Examples of structural and personal racism include persistence admission processes whereby equally qualified people of color are less likely to obtain interviews, experience a lack of appropriate diversity in mentors, and persistence of false racist medical concepts of physiology that continue to be inappropriately applied to African Americans. Dr. Traylor and his co-authors propose various solutions including increasing diversity among mentors, addressing implicit race bias in admissions programs, increasing education geared toward cultural competence. Dr. Traylor also wrote a blog post in Pulse, regarding the unethical nature of a policy to use religion as a valid reason to deny PrEP prophylaxis, as this policy disproportionately affects minorities. Dr. Traylor is working on creating a pipeline program to help underrepresented minorities gain acceptance into medical schools.


The CHSPH semi-annual newsletter is produced by the student-led CHSPH Newsletter Committee. Special thanks to student members Alaina Hines, Rachel Peters, Keith Shulman, and Jocelyn Simpson for their efforts in collecting and coordinating these stories, and for faculty reviewers for their final review.