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Monday, January 21, 2019

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New Faculty - College of Health and Human Services

The College of Health and Human Services will welcome eleven new faculty members.

The College of Health and Human Services provides students with top-notch professors and technology. Each department within the college works toward a common goal of preparing students for professional practice with hands-on experience.

Eleven new faculty members will join the college this fall. They are among 54 new faculty members joining the SDSU family this semester — the largest cohort of faculty to be hired by SDSU since the 2007/2008 academic year.

Department of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences


Harsimran Baweja, Ph.D. (University of Florida, 2012) Baweja is physical therapist specializing in neurophysiology, geriatrics and neuro rehabilitation. He got his physical therapy degree from India (2005) and recently completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Departments of Neurology and Kinesiology at The Pennsylvania State University. As a clinical neuroscientist, his research aims at  understanding the neural mechanisms underlying movement lateralization, its control and learning in young and older adults and persons with movement disorders arising from nervous system pathology; translating these mechanisms into innovative and meaningful interventions and rehabilitation paradigms.


Katrina Maluf, PT, Ph.D. (Washington University in St. Louis, 2002) Maluf is a rehabilitation scientist and physical therapist who directs the Applied Sensorimotor Research Laboratory in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at SDSU.  Her research combines expertise in neurophysiology, tissue biomechanics and clinical rehabilitation to identify new strategies for the prevention and treatment stress-related musculoskeletal pain conditions. Her research program is supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Foundation for Physical Therapy and the International Association for the Study of Pain.

Graduate School of Public Health


Eric R. Buhi, MPH, PhD (Texas A&M University, 2006) Buhi will serve as associate professor. His research focus is to understand and promote sexual health among young people and to employ innovative technologies for health promotion and behavior change. Buhi will be a member of the Center for Human Dynamics in the Mobile Age and Institute for Behavioral & Community Health. Buhi works for a U.S. Office of Adolescent Health-funded randomized controlled trial of the Teen Outreach Program, a teen pregnancy prevention/positive youth development program for 9th grade youth, in Florida. Previously, Buhi was at the University Of South Florida College Of Public Health, where he was awarded more than $4.15 million in grants.


Melody Schiaffino, Ph.D. (University of Florida, 2014) Schiaffino is a health services researcher and epidemiologist specializing in population health; hospital and organizational theory; management, and quality outcomes; and survey and spatial methods.  Her research areas of interest are hospital organizational structures; health systems and disparities, organizational cultural competence; leadership; and survey and spatial methods.  She is currently continuing her research on the effect of hospital language service disparities on patient outcomes and quality of care.

School of Nursing


Beverly Carlson, Ph.D. (University of Nebraska Medical Center, 2011) Carlson is a critical care clinical nurse specialist specializing in all aspects of high acuity/critical care nursing and outcomes research focused on chronic disease management in the chronically critically ill. Her areas of interest include the concept and measurement of self-care — including adherence to prescribed medical therapy and symptom assessment and management— in patients with heart failure, conceptual understanding and identification of factors influencing overall perceived health and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and the development of strategies to improve self-care, perceived health and HRQOL and lower rehospitalization rates in patients with cardiac disease.

School of Social Work


Ijeoma Nwabuzor Ogbonnaya, Ph.D. (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2012) Ogbonnaya is a social worker specializing in children, youth and families.  Her primary research interests are domestic violence, mental health and racial/ethnic disparities among child welfare populations. She is working to build a research portfolio that supports the need for specialized services for child welfare-involved families affected by domestic violence. She hopes to use this portfolio to support her long-term goal which is to design and implement child maltreatment prevention interventions for families affected by domestic violence.

Margarita Villagrana, Ph.D. (University of Southern California, 2008) Villagrana is a mental health services researcher specializing in mental health services for children and youth.  Her areas of interest are child welfare, foster care, health disparities, cultural relevance of mental health services and cultural adaptation of interventions for underserved and under-researched populations.  Currently, she is researching access and utilization of mental health services during and after foster care for Latino and African American youth emancipating from the child welfare system.                     

School of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences


Alyson Abel, Ph.D. (University of Kansas, 2012) is a speech-language pathologist specializing in word learning in typical and atypical children and adults. Abel uses behavioral and neurophysiological methods to examine word learning, specifically verb learning, as well as interactions between word learning and other linguistic domains, in typically developing children and children with specific language impairment. She is currently researching the neural correlates underlying the online process of word learning and differences between noun and verb learning in school-aged children with the goal of guiding intervention strategies for children with language impairments.