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Health Professions Students Shine at Aletheia

The School of Health Professions hosted its annual Aletheia Research Symposium, where more than 100 students presented their scholarly work and defended their capstone projects. May 13, 2024

Pictured from left: Angelina Loguidice, Katlyn Gluck, Darian Licata, and Laura Johansen presented their research, “Preparing Entry Level Occupational Therapists for Family-Centered Practice,” at the Aletheia Research Symposium.

On May 7, more than 100 School of Health Professions students gathered for the Aletheia Research Symposium. Held every spring, Aletheia (Greek for “truth”) provides these young scholars the opportunity to showcase their research findings and defend the capstone projects they have carried out under faculty supervision.

The students presented 30 posters representing research that spanned graduate and undergraduate-level studies in the School’s five fields: physical therapy, physician assistant studies, occupational therapy, interdisciplinary health sciences, and nursing

Kicking off the afternoon were opening remarks from Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy Beth Elenko, Ph.D., Provost and Executive Vice President Jerry Balentine, D.O., Vice Provost for Research Jared Littman, Ph.D., Dean Gordon Schmidt, Ph.D., and President and Chief Executive Officer of Gurwin Healthcare System Stuart Almer, FACHE.

“Research motivates you and can change the course of your career. Research moves you forward,” said Balentine. “Events like this reward you for all of the great work you have done.”

In a ceremony new to Aletheia, Almer presented five students—one from each School of Health Professions academic discipline—with a $1,000 financial award for academic excellence, sponsored by Gurwin Healthcare System.

Those awarded students are Zeiad Kawy, interdisciplinary health sciences; Melissa Chattergoon, nursing; Caitlin Soravilla, occupational therapy; Burt Bacason, physical therapy; and Jillian Palma, physician assistant studies.

Assistant Professor of Physician Assistant Studies Jaclyn Cotgreave Ph.D. (B.S.’05), keynote speaker, presented the results of her dissertation “Teaching Emotional Intelligence in Physician Assistant Educators.” Her study explores the knowledge of emotional intelligence skills and their importance in physician assistant educational leadership and the success of program graduates.

Student researchers then manned their posters as attendees mingled. Following the hour-long poster session, Professor of Physical Therapy and Aletheia Co-founder John Handrakis, Ed.D., D.P.T., led the platform presentation session—moderated by Instructor of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Alexander Rothstein, M.S.,—where eight groups of physical therapy and interdisciplinary health sciences students formally presented their research on stage.

“Aletheia is such an important annual event,” said occupational therapy student Laura Johansen, who presented “Preparing Entry Level Occupational Therapists for Family-Centered Practice” with her peers Angelina Loguidice, Darian Licata, and Katlyn Gluck. “This provides an opportunity to bring everyone from the School of Health Professions together to learn about each other’s projects and gain more insight and knowledge about the other disciplines within the school.”

Co-chairs of the Research and Scholarship Committee Elenko and Associate Professor of Physician Assistant Studies Shinu Kuriakose, DHSc, led faculty and the research committee who judged the 30 poster projects.

This year’s judges:

  • Professor of Physical Therapy and Alethiea Co-founder John Handrakis
  • Instructor of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Alexander Rothstein
  • Associate Professor of Physical Therapy Rosemary Gallagher, Ph.D., D.P.T.
  • Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy Michael Tautonico, D.P.T.
  • Associate Professor of Physician Assistant Studies Kristine Prazak-Davoli, Ph.D.,
  • Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Amerigo Rossi, Ed.D.
  • School of Health Professions Director of Administration and Operations Paul Anderson
  • School of Health Professions Administrative Specialist Jeanne Renz

The following student teams were selected as first-place winners in their respective poster session categories:

Health and Medicine

“Heart Rate Response to Maximal Exercise in a Participant with C8 Spinal Cord Injury”
Student Researcher: Tashéima Johnson 
Advisor: Alexander Rothstein; Amerigo Rossi, Ed.D.; John Handrakis, PT, D.P.T., Ed.D.
Department: Interdisciplinary Health Sciences

Lifestyle

“Effects of Pediatric Cancer on the Relationship Between Patients and Their Siblings”
Student Researchers: Mazal Baron, Brocha Sima Feinberg, Miriam Kirschner, Natalie Nisanov, Peri Lieberman, Sussy Mayer, Joyce Shlomo
Advisor: Pamela Karp Ed.D., OTR/L
Department: Occupational Therapy

Technology/Education

“Physician Assistant Student’s Overall Program GPA and Effect on PANCE Scores”
Student Researchers: Thomas Goldrick, Nicholas Pallis, Barbara Pepe, Nicole Posillico
Advisor: Sara Winter PA-C, M.S.
Department: Physician Assistant Studies

Rehabilitation

“Balance Confidence and Falls Predict Figure of 8 Walk Test Performance in People with Parkinson’s Disease”
Student Researchers: Jessica Feinstein, Yehuda Roth, Juliat Saju, Steven Shih, Simon Tsang
Advisor: Lori Hochman PT, Ph.D.
Department: Physical Therapy

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