October 2018

New master’s degree in EMDS to help demand for disaster experts

New master’s degree in Emergency Management and Disaster Science to help meet rising demand for disaster experts

The degree will prepare students to work collaboratively across all phases of disasters, including preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation.


DENTON (UNT), Texas – The images from recent hurricanes are hard to look at – destruction, displacement and untold human suffering – and a large number of professionals are needed to help the areas hardest hit recover. The University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service’s new Master of Science degree in Emergency Management and Disaster Science will equip the next generation of emergency managers with the knowledge and skills needed to manage the growing complexities of all types of hazards and disasters, including natural, technological and man-made. 

“Catastrophic disasters are on the rise, and the demand for knowledgeable emergency managers has never been greater,” said Gary Webb, professor and chair of the Department of Emergency Management and Disaster Science. “The MS in Emergency Management and Disaster Science prepares students for rewarding careers aimed at making our communities safer and more resilient to future disasters.”

Students receive a comprehensive academic and practical foundation that allows them to launch or advance their careers in emergency management. In addition to courses in theory, methods and statistics, students may choose from a range of electives, including social vulnerability, international disasters and community recovery and resilience.

“What is so innovative and special about this program is that it is so interdisciplinary that crosscuts across so many disciplines to equip frontline practitioners to better serve the public during disasters and emergencies,” said Neale Chumbler, dean of the College of Health and Public Service.

The UNT emergency management program established the world’s first resident degree in emergency management in 1983. Graduates of the program work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency and other public sector organizations at the local, state and federal levels; in the private sector specializing in risk management and business continuity planning; and with the American Red Cross and other non-governmental organizations. For more information, visit https://emds.hps.unt.edu.


UNT to host only Texas location for stroke awareness walk

The 2018 Comeback Trail 5K will be held in Frisco in partnership with Baylor Scott & White Health

DENTON (UNT), Texas – The University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service’s Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (ASLP) is partnering with Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation – Frisco – to bring the National Stroke Association’s (NSA) Comeback Trail 5K to Texas. The event, which will be held at 2 p.m. Oct. 21 at Warren Sports Complex, located at 7599 Eldorado Parkway in Frisco, honors stroke survivors and their caregivers.

 “Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the U.S. and is the fifth leading cause of death,” said Stacy Nunnelee, audiology and speech-language pathology lecturer and event organizer. “It is our intention to not only support stroke survivors and caregivers, but to raise stroke awareness and funds to support the NSA.”

ASLP hosted their first awareness walk in 2016, which they dedicated to aphasia, or communication problems – such as difficulty speaking, reading, writing and understanding speech – following a stroke.

Theresa Purcell, a stroke survivor who walks in the 5k every year, says the awareness this walk brings is needed because people often don’t know what aphasia is or how it impacts her life.

“I want people to understand what I’m experiencing,” Purcell said. “I always have to tell people to talk slowly or louder so I can understand them. When I go out to eat or to Bible study, I have to tell people that I can no longer read well and that I need their help.”

Jerry Armijo, Jr., is the son of a stroke survivor and says the walk has had a lasting impact on his family.

“We’ve learned the importance of us taking part in dad’s rehabilitation,” Armijo, Jr., said. “With such busy lives, the walk-a-thon helps us all take time to reflect on the year and focus on what’s ahead.”

Last year, ASLP teamed up with the NSA for the Comeback Trail and they are trying to grow it this year as a multi-city annual event. Bianca Castro, NBC 5 health reporter, is emceeing the event. For more information on the 2018 Comeback Trail, visit http://bit.ly/UNTComebackTrail.

“I am so pleased that our ASLP program is at the forefront of helping stroke survivors and their family members improve their speaking ability,” said Neale Chumbler, dean of the college.” I am especially pleased that we have such a wonderful partnership with Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation in Frisco. We look forward to a continued partnership.”



UNT Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling degree makes top 10 list

The degree sits at number seven on the 2018 list of Best Counseling Degrees “Top 10 Affordable Online Degrees in Rehabilitation Counseling.”

DENTON (UNT), Texas – BestCounselingDegrees.net, a website that helps people who want to pursue a degree in counseling choose the college that best fits their needs, selected the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service online degree because it offers flexible modes of study, gives students the opportunity to work with faculty who are highly respected in the field and exposes students to innovative research.

“The program in rehabilitation counseling at UNT is invested in preparing competent professionals,” said Dr. Chandra Carey, associate professor and interim chair of the Department of Rehabilitation and Health Services. “Our increased efforts to provide high-quality online courses Involved rigorous course redesign and achieving Quality Matters certification. Offering accessible, dynamic courses with rich, multidimensional content is the best way to prepare future professionals to meet the diverse demands of the profession.”

The Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling degree also is ranked number one in Texas and number 15 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.

“I am a strong proponent of high-quality online programs because they increase access to timely education and our MS in Rehabilitation Counseling certainly fills this bill,” said Dr. Neale Chumbler, dean of the college. “This great success is a testament to the hard work of the faculty and staff that have developed and implemented this excellent program.”


UNT, TWU team for first Joint Master of Social Work Degree in Texas

The degree is one of the most highly recognized degrees in health and human services.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – The need for skilled social workers is expected to rise by 16 percent by 2026, much faster than average job growth. Graduates of the Texas Woman’s University – University of North Texas Joint Master of Social Work Degree Program, which was approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in March of 2017, will be ready to fill those jobs in health care, child and family services, mental health and other fast-growing areas.

“The program’s concentration is ‘Advanced Generalist Practice’ which, in essence, prepares students to work in any social work setting,” said Dr. Mahasin Saleh, associate professor and JMSW Program founding director. “The JMSW students are placed in a variety of field internships in the region. They benefit from the opportunity to apply their classroom learning and further hone their social work skills in the community setting.”

The degree integrates greater theoretical and methodological knowledge, as well as research and evaluation sophistication at all levels of practice.

“What a fabulous partnership with TWU where we can capitalize on the talented faculty on both campuses to be not only student centered but focused on training practitioners for so many service delivery systems,” said Dr. Neale Chumbler, dean of the UNT College of Health and Public Service.

By the 2019-20 school year, the TWU-UNT program will have the capacity to train 70 students per cohort each year to help meet the growing demand. Dr. Sharon Bowland, associate professor and chair of the Department of Social Work, says the program prepares students for a variety of careers dedicated to helping others.

 “Social workers are employed in many types of jobs, including those in the health care and mental health sectors,” Dr. Bowland said. “We work with people across the lifespan, from children who experience abuse to older persons in primary care settings. We work with those who have economic struggles, including refugees and immigrants. We also lead social service agencies and write health-related policies. We take a problem-solving approach and seek to draw out the resilience that is present in our clients. We have the skills to empower families, groups and communities.”

The TWU-UNT Master of Social Work Program was granted candidacy status by the Council of Social Work Education in July of 2018.  The full accreditation process for new programs takes three years and this degree is in year two.


UNT nonprofit leadership studies students earn ARNOVA scholarships

The students will attend the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action conference in Austin this November.

DENTON (UNT) – Czarina Muñoz and Aries Nuño, nonprofit leadership studies students in the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service, were awarded the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) Undergraduate Diversity Scholarship to attend the 47th annual conference in Austin November 15 to 17, 2018. The ARNOVA Conference is meant to create a public conversation on, as well as opportunities for, presenting research about pressing issues and vital opportunities facing the voluntary or nonprofit sector.

“HPS is honored to receive these ARNOVA Undergraduate Diversity scholarships,” said Dean Neale Chumbler. “Czarina and Aries are two great ambassadors for HPS and the applied research that they are doing with HPS faculty members is indicative of how ideas generated in HPS course work are not only relevant to changing society, but equip them for a future in public service.”

Nuño, who will graduate in December with a bachelor’s degree in public health, says the scholarship will have a major impact on her future.

“I am very excited for the opportunity to attend the 2018 ARNOVA conference,” Nuño said. “It was definitely an unexpected surprise but welcomed with enthusiasm. I am looking forward to networking with a group of people with brilliant ideas and see how they have been able to translate their passion into their work. I hope to learn all that I can so I can apply that information toward my future endeavors.”

She will begin work on a master's degree after completing 27 months of service with the Peace Corps.

“My interest lies in international health and finding solutions to the disparities that children and youth face through education and lifestyle changes,” Nuño said. “I hope to one day work with a governmental agency, such as the CDC or even the UN.”

Muñoz, a senior at UNT, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree with a double major in public relations and nonprofit leadership studies, and a minor in Mexican-American studies. She says the scholarship is an honor and, while she’s excited about representing the university, she’s looking forward to networking with industry leaders.

“I am enamored to be in the company of early scholars who wish to implement change with various interests ranging from research, philanthropy, foundations and nonprofit organizations,” Muñoz said. “Thanks to this opportunity, I will meet others who are dedicated with a passion of fostering voluntary action within our community.”

Muñoz plans to attend graduate school and become a publicist in the nonprofit sector. She also hopes to counsel young adults who are looking to become public relations specialists for nonprofit organizations.

“I want to give them a sense of hope that with perseverance, they can accomplish anything they put their minds to, especially when it comes to what they hope to see in their community,” Muñoz said. “I want to mentor them and encourage that through sustainability, we can make this world a better place."

Learn more about the bachelor of science degree in nonprofit leadership studies at https://hps.unt.edu/PADM/nonprofit-leadership-studies.


Criminal Justice professor talks about preventing mass shooters

Dr. Jessica Craig was invited to attend the event presented by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

DENTON (UNT) – Dr. Jessica Craig, University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service assistant professor of Criminal Justice, took part in an event presented by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Behavioral Analysis Unit regarding threat management issues pertaining to how they approach active shooter threats. Dr. Craig was invited to attend the event – called “Preventing Targeted Violence” – as a former FBI citizen’s academy participant.

 “The talk was presented by an FBI Special Agent who works in the Behavioral Analysis Unit and personally investigated the case of Elliot Rodger, a 22-year-old male who committed mass homicide in 2014,” Dr. Craig said. “The SA had read all of Rodger’s journals, watched all videos that were posted online and interviewed family members and acquaintances to figure out the ‘why’ behind the crime.”

Craig says the SA provided examples of what’s known by the FBI as “leakage and legacy token” in relation to mass shootings.

“Leakage refers to an inadvertent sharing of feelings by a potential offender as their emotions have become too much—think of them posting a video where they rant about an alleged affront,” Craig said. “The legacy token is a work that the offender creates on their own so the world knows why they did it. While leakage is a warning sign, once a legacy token is posted, it is often too late to stop the individual from carrying out the act.”

 The second half of the FBI presentation focused on how individuals and communities can help prevent—not predict—targeted violence and highlighted two types of violence: affective and predatory.

“Affective is emotion-driven and often occurs behind closed doors—this is the hardest to prevent. Predatory, on the other hand, is violence that is planned and prepared for,” Dr. Craig said. “As the SA noted, ‘the good news is it may be observed by someone else.’”

While there is no set profile of a mass shooter and no single behavior predicts an incident, the SA said it is based upon a multitude of factors and conditions, as shown by a 2013 study published by the FBI. The study showed that approximately 85 percent of shooters did not have an adult criminal record prior to the attack and that only 25 percent had a known mental illness, namely depression.

“That is not to say the attackers were otherwise mentally well,” Dr. Craig said. “The SA made a distinction between mental illness and mental wellness.”

Dr. Craig says she spoke with the SA after the presentation to learn more about the educational background of agents so she could share the information with UNT students striving to join the FBI Behavior Analysis Unit.

“The SA said that it was less about having a specific background and more about dedication. Specifically, they had worked for the FBI as a SA in other capacities for several years,” Dr. Craig said. “They had worked in several different areas of the FBI, from crimes against children, to cybercrime, to counterterrorism, and worked with several homicide taskforces over the span of their career. They also worked long hours and volunteered in areas unrelated to their specific work responsibilities to show they were interested and dedicated to understanding these offenders.”

Dean Neale Chumbler says HPS is fortunate to have Dr. Craig on faculty.

“She is a talented scholar and great ambassador for HPS in that she conducts innovative research and is a committed instructor,” Dr. Chumbler said. “Her connection with the FBI is vitally important.”