All HPS News Updates

November 2020

DENTON (UNT), Texas — University of North Texas Emergency Management and Disaster Science associate professor Tristan Wu is studying evacuees and the emergency response from Hurricane Laura to create new protocols for emergency managers facing mass evacuations in the time of COVID-19.

Wu said he and his colleagues had the idea to study mass evacuations and COVID-19 in March, but funding wasn’t available. After Hurricane Laura hit Louisiana and Texas in August, they resubmitted the idea to the National Science Foundation and were awarded a Rapid Grant.

“During hurricane events, households usually evacuate together. Their evacuation behavior was solely due to the risk perception of the hurricanes,” Wu said. “This time around it’s very different with the COVID pandemic. They might not want to evacuate or  they might evacuate separately because of COVID concerns. If they evacuated, they might be less likely to go to a hotel or an evacuation shelter. We...


November 2020

Hadidja Nyiransekuye, an assistant professor of social work in the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service, has won the prestigious Social Worker of the Year Award from the National Association of Social Workers that honors a member of the organization that exemplifies top-tier values and achievements.

Nyiransekuye, a refugee from Rwanda and a survivor of genocide along with her four children, specializes in policy advocacy focusing on the refugee crisis that affects communities across the globe.

“I know what it feels like to not have a home,” she said. “There are people who have helped me and opened their homes to me, for that I am grateful. I owe it to humanity to do what I can to help others.”

Nyiransekuye’s research demonstrates the problems faced by refugees that are global issues, including acts of violence and loss of freedom.

“If we don’t address...


August 2020

DENTON (UNT), Texas — A University of North Texas professor, who studies the role of land buyouts in disaster recovery and hazard mitigation, has been recognized as one of the nation’s top scientific leaders researching ways to improve the wellbeing of coastal communities and ecosystems. Elyse Zavar, assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Management and Disaster Science, is one of the 20 fellows selected as a 2020 Early-Career Research Fellow by the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Her research focuses on buyouts – federally funded land purchased to relocate residents out of high-risk areas like floodplains or hurricane-impacted coastlines – and the challenges and successes of open space land management by local governments, most recently in areas of Harris County hit by Hurricane Harvey.

“I am honored and incredibly excited to be selected as one of the 2020 fellows. This is a tremendous opportunity that will further my research, which in turn, directly informs my...


May 2020

UNT faculty and students took home a variety of awards.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – Over 40 graduate students from the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology headed down to Houston to attend the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association (TSHA) convention. The annual convention, held between February 20 and 22, is one of the largest of its kind.

While attending, many UNT students received awards. In the Praxis Bowl, a competition among 18 speech-language pathology (SLP) programs in Texas, UNT placed third.

The Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation presented awards to individuals, with UNT’s Erin Bellue (SLP supervisor), Benjamin Kirby (assistant professor in audiology), and Rebekka Cassidy (graduate student in SLP) receiving honors. Bellue received the Award of Honors, Kirby received the Presidents’ Research Award and Cassidy received a Sandy Friel-Patti Research in Language International Travel Award.

The department’s...


May 2020

DENTON (UNT), Texas – Federickia Washington, Ph.D. graduate of public administration and management from the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service has received a tenure track job offer from the Department of Public Administration at Tennessee State University (TSU).

Dr. Washington is enthusiastic about the position, where she will be able to show her talents.

“I am incredibly excited to have been offered a tenure track job opportunity at TSU in Nashville,” Dr. Washington said. “I am looking forward to being able to take my talents to TSU where they value educating and empowering leaders/future leaders in the public sector.”

For Dr. Washington, the position offers her the opportunity to put the rich knowledge and skills gained at UNT into action.

“This new position means that I will continue to be able to teach students and follow with my scope of research,” Washington said. “This is all very exciting.”

Dr. Hee Soun Jang, associate professor and graduate coordinator in the department, says she...


May 2020

Leslie Roberts emphasized planning, multi-party negotiation and working with a variety of cultures in the one-day workshop.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – Leslie Roberts, principal lecturer in the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service Department of Public Administration, worked with Toyota Motor North America to provide negotiation training to a dozen members of the information technology vendor management team. The daylong workshop on March 4 concentrated on planning to negotiate in four situations:

  • Working more effectively with internal and external teams
  • Gaining an informal leadership role in negotiations when no clear leader is determined
  • Working with startups that have no experience working with large corporations
  • Working with original equipment manufacturers (OEM)

“Toyota works with a wide variety of parties with very diverse backgrounds and...


December 2019

Drs. Stan Ingman and Elias Mpofu of the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service Department of Rehabilitation and Health Services were awarded a $50,000 grant by the Health Resources and Services Administration to address opioid overdoses among Native Americans in Oklahoma. They are working in partnership with Meharry Medical College in Tennessee, the Principal Investigator of the $200,000 grant, which is split among UNT, Meharry, North East Oklahoma A&M College and the nations of Spokane, Pawnee and Ottawa. The collaboration, called the IMPACT Tribal Consortium, will plan and operationalize models to address and reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with opioid overdoses among the youth and adult Native Americans in Northeastern Oklahoma/Ottawa and Pawnee (North Central) Counties, as well as Eastern Washington/Spokane. They hope to replicate...


October 2019

The grant will fund the UNT Summer Bridge Program, which provides housing, resources and early coursework to students who’ve been touched by the foster care system.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – The University of North Texas received an $85,000 grant for its Persevere UNTil Success Happens program. PUSH helps young adults who age out of foster care achieve educational success at UNT by focusing on each student’s academic, financial and career success, as well as social well-being.

The Santander Consumer USA, Inc. Foundation grant will be used to further fund the Summer Bridge Program, an initiative that provides housing, programming, early coursework and college transition services to incoming freshmen and transfer students who have been touched by the foster care system.

“Approximately 18 percent of foster care alumni attend college and of those, only 3 percent graduate,” said...


September 2019

DENTON (UNT), Texas – Josh Caldwell, a third year audiology and speech-language pathology student in the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service received the Continued Achievement Scholarship from the American Academy of Audiology Foundation. The scholarship was awarded based on Caldwell’s academic record, recommendations and clearly articulated professional aspirations.

The scholarship awarded $2,000 to Caldwell, a financial relief that will help him focus on the two degrees he’s pursuing.

 “Last fall I began taking classes for the Ph.D. in Health Services Research program, so my course load, as well as my expenses, significantly increased,” Caldwell said. “This scholarship will help provide financial relief from pursuing two doctoral level degrees and allow me to focus on my coursework and research.”

Caldwell hopes to have a positive impact on others through his career.

“I...


August 2019

Shae Ebrahimi is one of only 18 in Texas to receive this scholarship.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – Shae Ebrahimi, an Advanced Joint Master’s student in Social Work in the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service was awarded the 2019 Ima Hogg Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to graduate social work students who were nominated by the heads of their programs.

The scholarship awards $5,000 to each recipient, and for Ebrahimi this means her family is supported while she goes to school.

 “Because of the scholarship I will be able to focus on my studies and not worry so much about how to help support my family after we adjusted down to a single income,” Ebrahimi said. “Student loans help but it's barely enough, so this scholarship helps us out tremendously.”

Ebrahimi was nominated by the chair of the ...


August 2019

Parents say Dr. Theresa Kouri, with the help of Scottish Rite, is giving their children a second chance at success.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – Andrew McCann struggled in every school subject. “He was truly a high-risk student who could have easily fallen through the cracks,” his mother Donna McCann said. Jordan Yancey’s grades suddenly plummeted and he wasn’t reading at his level. His self-esteem was suffering and he was being bullied.  “He was at a second-grade level at 13-and-a-half,” his mother Stacy Rollins said. His sister Kinslee Warren was also struggling. Rollins, a mother of five children with a variety of challenges, began homeschooling both children who were diagnosed with severe ADHD.

Madelynn Michaels was facing reading challenges of her own. The...


July 2019

The grant from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission will be used to expand their Healthy Community Collaborative program to less densely populated areas of Texas.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – The University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service (HPS) has received $400,000 in funding from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (THHSC) to expand its Healthy Community Collaborative (HCC) program, which promotes collaboration between public and private sectors to help increase access to...


July 2019

In 2016-17, approximately 55 percent of children in Denton county schools met grade level expectations for reading on the STAAR test. UNT Speech and Hearing Center hopes to ultimately improve that percentage with a new preschool literacy program.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – The University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service (HPS) Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology is offering a language-literacy preschool at the UNT Speech and Hearing Center to ready children for entry into kindergarten and first grade. Dr. Theresa Kouri, principal lecturer and clinical director for speech-language pathology, is...


July 2019

A new report shows that six of the eight jobs with the most job growth are in the healthcare industry.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – According to a new CareerCast report, health professions have the highest rate of job growth in the U.S. and the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service (HPS) is ready to prepare students for those careers with a new Bachelor of Science in Public Health. The degree program, which is housed in the Department of Rehabilitation and Health Services, prepares professionals to promote health and identify, prevent and solve health problems at the community, local national and global levels.

Dr. Neale Chumbler, dean of the college who has a background in public health, says he’s excited to offer a degree program that will prepare students for...


June 2019

Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice: An Interdisciplinary Journal (YVJJ) received an impact factor of 2.981 and is currently ranked 10 out of 65 in the nation in the “Criminology and Penology” category.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – Dr. Chad Trulson, professor in the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service Department of Criminal Justice, serves as editor of the prestigious publication that “provides academics and practitioners in juvenile justice and related fields with a resource for publishing current empirical research on programs policies, and practices in the areas of youth violence and juvenile justice.” The impact factor is a measure of the average number of times per year an article has been cited from that specific journal. It is used to measure the importance or rank of a journal based on the number of times its articles...


June 2019

The product is expected to make big changes in preventing credit card fraud.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – The University of North Texas UNT Cyber Forensics Technology Lab, headed by Dr. Scott Belshaw, associate professor in the College of Health and Public Service Department of Criminal Justice, has recently filed for a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a credit card skimmer detection wand. The product, developed by Dr. Belshaw and Michael Saylor, president of Cyber Defense Labs, is expected to have a major impact on preventing credit card fraud.

Credit card fraud has been occurring more frequently at gas stations and ATMs, with criminals inserting skimmer devices into machines that read a card’s expiration date, security code and 16-digit card number once it is swiped. The information is then sent via Bluetooth to the nearby criminal who will sell the victim’s information on the dark web.

...

June 2019

Dr. Sarah Moore Oliphant, President and Conference Chair of the Global Awareness Society International 28th Annual Conference in Marrakech, Morocco.The conference focused mainly on the issues facing an increasingly globalized society.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – Dr. Sarah Moore Oliphant and Dr. Hadidja Nyiransekuye, who are both currently assistant professors in the University of North Texas College of Health and Public...


June 2019

The students find the scholarships to be a reflection of their hard work.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – Victoria Williams, Shekinah Colson and Martina Martinez, all current students enrolled in University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service’s Department of Criminal Justice degree programs, were awarded scholarships.

Victoria Williams, set to be a senior in fall 2019, is a recipient of the J. Edgar Hoover Scholarship. For her, the scholarship is an honor that proves hard work reaps success.

“I have worked hard throughout my college life by maintaining above a 3.5 GPA and being involved on campus to be able to be considered for prestigious awards and scholarships,” Williams said. “Being awarded this scholarship proved to me that hard work and late nights of studying pays off.”

Williams has always wanted to serve the community and was involved with the Tyler Police...


June 2019

This is the second consecutive year that Theresa Abah earned a P.E.O. Peace International Scholarship.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – Theresa Abah, a second year doctoral student studying Rehabilitation and Health Services with a concentration in Gerontology in the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service (HPS), has been awarded the P.E.O., or Philanthropic Educational Organization, Peace International Scholarship. The P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship Fund was established in 1949 to provide scholarships to women from other countries for graduate studies in the U.S. or Canada.

The scholarship awards up to $12,500 per year, providing not only help paying for her basic needs, but also enabling her to concentrate more on her studies.

 “The funds helped to pay for most of my personal needs from house rent, to groceries, books, professional association...


May 2019

The program is tied for number 24 in the nation.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – U.S. News and World Report has named the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service (HPS) Department of Criminal Justice online graduate degree program number three in Texas and No. 24 in the nation on its 2019 list of Best Online Programs.

It noted the following as reasons for the high rankings:

  • All of the online graduate-level criminal justice classes are recorded and archived so that students can access lecture material at their convenience.
  • The admissions deadline for programs is rolling.
  • All courses are taught by Ph.D. level faculty who also teach campus-based courses.
  • Course offerings and flexible schedule are designed to suit the needs of both working professionals and full-time students.

“The continued...


May 2019

The two graduated from UNT on May 11.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – Stephanie Ray and Graham Huether, both recent graduates of the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service Department of Emergency Management and Disaster Science (EMDS), earned third place at UNT Scholars Day for tornado research. They were both 2018-19 UNT Undergraduate Research Fellows.

Stephanie Ray’s research focused on the role of commemoration in the long-term recovery following the Joplin, Missouri, 2011 EF-5 tornado. She interviewed participants in the annual Joplin Memorial Run.

“I asked them about their motivation for participating in the race and learned that commemoration following disasters plays a large part in the overall recovery,” Ray said.

Ray’s mentor was Dr. Elyse Zavar, assistant professor in EMDS.

“...


May 2019

The University of North Texas is home to one of only two clinics in the nation – and one of only three in the world – that will offer auditory testing services specifically for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – The majority of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) experience some form of auditory processing issue, yet there are currently no set standard testing procedures for them. With the help of a $111,843 grant from Sonova USA, Inc., researchers in the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service’s Department of Audiology and Speech Language Pathology hope to change that.

“Children with ASD can experience a variety of auditory processing problems that vary greatly from what occur in children without ASD, and they are a highly underserved demographic in audiology,” said Dr. Erin Schafer, professor and director of...


May 2019

UNT researchers say the method shows promise.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – Tinnitus, which most people describe as ringing in the ears, is the sensation of hearing sounds in the ear without an actual external sound being present. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that nearly 15 percent of the general public — more than 50 million Americans — experience some form of tinnitus, often to a debilitating degree. While there is currently no scientifically-validated cure for most types of tinnitus, researchers in the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service (HPS) are hoping that by retraining the brain, they can lessen the severity of tinnitus.

Dr. Amrita Pal, postdoctoral researcher, and doctoral student Joshua Caldwell, under the supervision of Dr. Daniele Ortu, research assistant professor in the Department of Behavior Analysis, and Dr. Kamakshi...


May 2019

STEMParticipants will learn skills in computer science, computer engineering, electronics and more.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – The Texas Workforce Commission has awarded the University of North TexasWorkplace Inclusion and Sustainable Employment (UNT WISE), in conjunction with the UNT College of Engineering, $88,667 to offer the Explore STEM! Summer Program, a variety of summer camps for students ages 14-22 with disabilities.

“Our goal is to provide students with disabilities exposure to STEM fields through interactive, hands-on programming. We hope this piques interest in various STEM careers, which are in-demand and offer great opportunities,” said Lucy Gafford, director of UNT WISE, which is housed in the UNT College of Health and Public Service ...


May 2019

Dr. Bland will spend the summer teaching and mentoring faculty and students at Renmin University in Beijing.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – Dr. Bob Bland, Endowed Professor of Local Government and interim chair of the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service (HPS) Department of Criminal Justice has been selected to teach at Renmin University of China as part of their Recruitment Program of Top-Level Foreign Experts. The program is initiated as part of their State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs. Dr. Bland will teach and work with faculty and students in the School of Public Administration and Policy from May 28 to July 2.

“I was very fortunate to be selected and look forward to teaching a course at Renmin for their MPA and Ph.D. students,” Dr. Bland said of the honor.

Dr. Bland will teach a course titled “Public Finance Policy and...


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