Department News 2008-09
Student Karina Lepeley, a junior in the Wellness & Alternative Medicine program, has received a Vermont Genetics Network grant to conduct a study on "The Physiological and Psychological Effects of the Alexander Technique on Aerobic Exercise." She will be working with Hans Haverkamp (Environmental and Health Sciences).
David Hutchinson has been working with a group to put graduate level counseling coursework on video. He has
entered into a partnership with On-Site Education to put videos out to the human service community, mostly outside of Vermont. The first course has been created, and is about to be marketed.
Professor Susan Green was invited to present a second round of testimony on "Incorporating Alternative and Mind/Body Medicine into Palliative Care, End of Life Care and Pain Management" to the Vermont Legislative sub-committee on Palliative Care, End of Life Care and Pain Management on February 10. The final committee report has been completed and includes recommendations to include chiropractors and naturopathic physicians as part of an integrative healthcare approach with traditional physicians and hospice to assist Vermonters in palliative care, end-of-life care and pain management.
The three JSC students, Caitlyn Dias, Merlin Poutre, and Mallory Sargent-Hier, who are working with Professor Gina Mireault on the infant humor study received word that their poster has been accepted into the Conference of Undergraduate Research "Posters on the Hill" event, May 4-5 in Washington, DC. They are among a very select group of students, as only 50 posters were selected out of hundreds submitted from around the country to represent all scientific disciplines. Their success gives them an outstanding opportunity, and represents a further step in developing a sustainable culture of research at the college. It also demonstrates the quality of research that can successfully be undertaken within the VSC. In addition to exhibiting their work on Capitol Hill, they will get the chance to meet with Senators Leahy and Sanders and with Representative Welch, to promote federal funding of undergraduate research. On March 1 the infant humor study was featured in the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus and Rutland Herald.
On December 24, WCAX aired a story about the project. The study of laughter, funded by the Vermont Genetics Network, has a serious purpose. The faculty-student researchers hope that the findings can be used to understand emotional development in babies, specifically in those diagnosed with autism. The VGN has renewed funding for the project for another year, which will allow an additional three students to gain research experience.
Susan Green and seven Wellness & Alternative Medicine students (Karina Lepeley, Gabe McConkey, Andrew Mitchell,
Francesca Orsini, Jon Owen, Charlotte Roozekranz, Jen Taylor) attended the Scripps Center of Integrative Medicine 6th Annual Natural Supplements: An Evidence Based Update conference in San Diego, California, January 22-25, 2009. They created and presented a poster presentation entitled
"Dietary supplements for wellness, disease and sustainable global/environmental health." The idea was to propose a curriculum for a BS in Nutrition and Natural Supplementation that could be implemented at an undergraduate school. The Scripps Integrative Medicine Center is a state-of-the-art medical facility on the west coast, integrating science-based allopathic and alternative medicine. Financial support from the Scripps Center, President Barbara Murphy and the JSC Student Association made the student trip to San Diego possible. Mid-conference, the Scripps organizers asked JSC students to stand up and be recognized for their efforts. During their poster presentation, students spoke with Paul Coates, the director of Natural Supplementation of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a physician from the American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA), with dietary supplement manufacturers and with other integrative professionals. And finally, the students won $250 in the competition for "Best Student Poster Presentation." The award means their poster presentation will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
Local television station WCAX broadcasted a clip spotlighting Gina Mireault's "Laughing Babies" research project. Click here to view the clip.
The Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine awarded six scholarships for JSC Wellness and Alternative Medicine students to attend a conference in San Diego in early 2009 on "Natural Supplements: An Evidence Based Update." The awards cover the conference tuition of JSC student attendees. Scripps is considered the top integrative medical care center on the west coast. In awarding these scholarships, the conference directors were impressed with the students' GPAs, passion, and volunteer service, as well as their commitment to their educations, to wellness lifestyles, and to future careers in alternative and integrative medicine.
Susan Green teamed up with senior Wellness & Alternative Medicine student Karina Lepeley to write and deliver testimony on "Alternative Medicine and Palliative End-of-Life Care" to the Vermont State Legislature on October 29, 2008.
With support from the President's Fund for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, Gina Mireault will travel to the University of Portsmouth, UK for research training with Dr. Vasudevi Reddy. They will collaborate on a study of humor perception and creation in infants. JSC undergraduates Caitlyn Dias, Merlin Poutre, Mallory Sargent, and Ally Wise will work as research assistants on the study, which will begin this summer with funding from the Vermont Genetics Network.
On March 11, nearly a dozen WAM students presented what they learned from attending the Integrative Healthcare Symposium 2008. Led by Susan Green, the student group attended this national meeting in New York City over winter break, with assistance from the President's Fund for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.
Professor Gina Mireault has been awarded a grant from the Vermont Genetics Network. Gina's research, on infant humor and temperament from three to six months and attachment at one year, is fascinating. Her project will include research opportunities for students.
Gina Mireault and Dia Taylor, a graduate student in psychology, have had a paper accepted for publication in the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. The paper was a product of Dia's research during her independent study with Gina and examines the relationship between meditation and emotional and behavioral self-regulation.
Gina Mireault published two articles this fall that translate scientific findings on animal cognition and the human-animal bond for a general audience. One article explores the neuroscientific and behavioral evidence for altruism and empathy in mammals, and the other examines data on the developmental benefits companion animals provide for boys. Both articles will appear in publications of the American Kennel Club.
With support from an Advanced Study Grant, Gina attended the 7th International School on the Psychology of Humour & Laughter in Aberdeen, Scotland this summer. She is currently designing a study that will explore the development of humor in infant-parent dyads as a social emotional process. The project will include a cross-cultural comparison of Icelandic and American babies and parents.
Gina and John Miller (Fine and Performing Arts) provided a dual presentation on their service learning initiatives for the Vermont Campus Compact annual meeting at JSC on November 12.