Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Showcase: Shelby Garner and Mary Ann Faucher

 Showcase on Health Studies Doctoral Alum and Doctoral Student

Mary Ann Faucher, TWU PhD alum and Shelby Garner, TWU doctoral student
Shelby Garner, MSN, RN, CNE (current TWU Health Studies PhD student) & Mary Ann Faucher, CNM, MPH, PhD (TWU Health Studies alum 2002) were recently awarded a $5000 grant from Baylor University's Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Achievement Program to conduct a Photovoice study.  The study is entitled "The Use of Photovoice to Illustrate Challenges and Supports of Caregivers of the Elderly:  A Qualitative Participatory Study".  The study will begin in begin in the Fall of 2012 and will culminate in an art exhibition to display the participant photo's and research findings in the Spring of 2013.  The researchers will also be mentoring four undergraduate students from the Louise Herrington School of Nursing throughout the research process. 

Photovoice is a type of qualitative research, using photographs taken by participants,usually those with limited power, to illustrate their environment and experiences and to express their thoughts about them (University of Kansas, 2011). According to Ornelas et al. (2009) the goals of photovoice are to promote acritical conversation and awareness about select population’s important issues through photographs and to provide a platform for the presentation of people’s experiences through their own pictures and language. The purpose of this research project is to collaborate with undergraduate nursing students to identify challenges and support systems utilized by caregivers of the elderly. The study participants, caregivers of the elderly, will be given disposable digital cameras to record their experiences and will answer brief open ended questions related to their thoughts about each picture in small focus group settings.  The photographs will be selected, contextualized, and coded by participants to identify challenges and supports experienced by the caregivers.  After project completion, study participants will be invited to present an art exhibition in which their photographs will be displayed to a target audience that has the capability of implementing policy change to support the caregiver role.  The project will include collaboration with four undergraduate nursing research fellows who will assist with participant training, interviews, data collection and analysis, and dissemination of results.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Guest Post: How to Get a Great Workout While Reconstructing Your Space

You know when you feel like you just need a makeover? Not a new hair color or shade of eyeliner. You need a makeover, mind, body and soul. We’ve all been there before, and, what’s actually great about this frustrating feeling is that it gives you motivation to make some changes.  Change is always a good thing, and it’s important to continue growing for your own emotional well-being. Two of the best ways to give yourself a mind and body makeover is by getting fit and re-designing your living space. These two small changes can make a world of difference in the way you feel about yourself and your surroundings. So, why not kill two birds with one stone?

Here are some simple ways to focus on getting some much-needed exercise during the process of changing the look of your home:

Lift with squats.
You’ve probably heard that the best way to lift things is through the legs. It helps protect your back from injury and is the only safe way to do heavy lifting. But, more superficially speaking, it’s the absolute best way to tone those thighs and gluts!  When you’re moving around heavy furniture, like couches or tables, focus on doing half or full squats at the same time. Make sure to keep your back straight and your knees bent so they don’t go past your toes. As you lift an object, first use your thigh and glute muscles to lift yourself up. Even if you only do a few squats, you will be surprised at how sore you will be the next day.

Strengthen your core with balance.
Our core is the root to full-body health. This is the area that includes the front and back of your stomach and your glutes. Your core is so important because it supports your spine and, in doing so, your entire body. Having a strong core helps you do everything from dance, to playing sports, to picking up after a little one. When you are working in your space, doing things like balancing on ladders, or carrying wobbly objects up flights of stairs, pay attention to the way you are holding your core.  Try to contract the muscles surrounding the spine, tighten your stomach muscles, and keep your glutes firm.

Tone your arms by decorating.
Lifting and moving objects above your head is a great way to tone your arms and shoulders. Will you be doing some painting? Instead of calling in reinforcements or professional painters, do the job yourself. Focus on using your muscles to move the brushes from side to side, and make sure to switch arms frequently. Your arms will feel so good the next day, you’ll wish you could paint again!

Add an exercise area, and you’re ready to keep up the trend.
The most important step is the last one. To keep this trend going and truly enjoy your new space makeover, create a special area dedicated to fitness. Go out and buy a workout mat, some free weights, an exercise ball, and some resistance bands. These simple pieces of equipment can help you get on track to total body fitness and truly enjoy the changes you’ve made.

This guest post is contributed by Kristie Lewis from construction management degree. You can reach her at:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

National Women's Health Week

May 13th through 19th is National Women's Health Week! The observance was coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Women's Health, and is designed to help encourage women to improve their physical and mental health. In keeping with this goal, the theme for 2012 is "It's Your Time", and it is hoped that women all around the nation will take time this week to do all of those things that we often put off the rest of the year, such as
  • Getting a health checkup or preventative screening
  • Working on becoming more active
  • Focusing on creating and sticking to a healthy diet
  • Paying more attention to our stress level and overall mental health
  • Avoiding - or stopping - unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking
To learn more about the observance and to get ideas for ways that you can work on taking better care of yourself, check out the website here:

I also wanted to take a moment to spotlight TWU's own Institute for Women's Health. This group is focused on becoming a comprehensive authority on women's health and well-being and they have made it their mission to enhance women's health through research, education, and advocacy. Each year they hold the Power of a Healthy Woman conference, and the 2012 conference is coming up on Saturday, September 22nd. In addition, they are currently working on several other research projects. So, if you have not yet explored this resource, be sure to check them out!

What ideas do you have for ways to take better care of yourself? Do you have any goals for your health this week? If so, share them with us!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May is National Mental Health Month

Nearly 60 million people - approximately one quarter of the adult population in America - suffer from diagnosable mental health disorders each year. 

Since 1949, May has been designated as National Mental Health Month, in an effort to raise social awareness of mental health conditions and treatment. The website for Mental Health America is supporting this observance this year by providing an informative toolkit called "Do More for 1 in 4".  This toolkit is "a call to action for Americans to help the 1 in 4 American adults in their lives who are living with a diagnosable, treatable mental health condition". This toolkit provides information on some of the most common mental health disorders:
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Anxiety Disorder (including panic, obsessive-compulsive, post traumatic stress, phobias, and generalized anxiety disorders)
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Clinical Depression
For more information on the "Do More for 1 in 4" project, please see this link:

If you are a member of the TWU community, you may be interested to know that the TWU Counseling Center provides a wide variety of services for students, faculty and staff. Their selection of resources includes counseling groups, outreach services, consultation services, and a variety of self-help materials. Additionally, they have many online resources, such as assessments and workshops. 

Please feel free to share any other mental health resources that you feel might be beneficial!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Guest Post: Three of the Best Whole Body Exercises for Optimum Fitness

For many of us, "getting fit" and exercising means we've decided it's time to lose weight and we have only a small idea of how to do that. However, going at exercising from a weight loss perspective can be a difficult approach to succeed with. Weight loss and "getting fit" don't always necessarily go hand in hand. Also, many people take to exercising in ways that are too narrow minded. In order to truly find a healthy way to fitness, you should try to consider exercises that involve your entire body. Full body workouts are the best pathways towards total fitness and health. You should focus not only on muscle strength, but also on activities that exercise your core, heart, and lungs. While for many it may seem like full body workouts are nearly impossible, you may be interested to find some of the things that workout every inch of your being. These three exercises are some of the best and most healthy ways to attain a full body workout.

Swimming is one of the most well-rounded sports you can take part in. With a thorough and trained swimming workout, an individual can work every muscle in their body, do a significant amount of aerobic exertion, and cardiac workout all at once. The more body parts that are involved in a workout, the more calories you will burn, which is one thing that makes swimming a great tool for careful weight loss. Because swimming is a non-weight bearing workout, it is less strenuous on your joints and muscles. Of course, as with any workout, you want to be careful that you are performing the strokes and movements correctly. Because swimming is a repetitive motion sport, injuries can occur if strokes are performed incorrectly. Be smart about your workouts. Just 30 minutes in a pool provides a wonderful workout for your core, lungs, heart, and primary muscle groups.

For a slightly more adrenaline pumping workout, kickboxing may be more fitting for some individuals. Kickboxing is another total body workout that focuses its efforts on core muscle strength and aerobic health. Through a combination of choreographed punching and kicking, individuals can attain a thorough workout that is strenuous and fun. For some, the repetitive nature of swimming can be dull and uninspiring, so kickboxing may be a great alternative. Though it may seem that kickboxing would focus more of its attention on the lower body, the workout actually does a great job of involving all muscle groups upper and lower. One drawback to kickboxing, however, is that it typically requires special equipment and instruction.

Cross Country Skiing
If swimming and kickboxing seem somewhat impractical to you, then it is possible that this exercise may be out of the question. However, cross country skiing is definitely one of the best total body workouts you can come by. This sport burns maximum calories and provides an incredible cardio workout. The body motion that cross country skiing involves is very similar to running, but provides for a lower impact and smoother workout. Skiing is fast paced and fun and this is one of the reasons it makes for such a strong workout—people enjoy it. While cross country skiing is one of the absolute best total body workouts, obviously it can be hard to gain access to all the conditions needed. There are machines in gyms that mimic the movements that can be very successful, but, of course, they won't be exactly the same as the real thing.

Note: Please remember that before you start any new exercise program you should always check with your doctor.

What do you think about these types of whole body exercises? Do you have any other ideas for whole body exercise to share?

This guest post is contributed by Angelita Williams, who writes on the topics of online courses.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: