Monday, August 26, 2013

Enhance Your Career with Public Speaking and Leadership Skills

Do you want to: 

  • Hone your public speaking and communication skills?

  • Expand your leadership experiences?

  • Provide an experiential learning resource for your students?

Faculty, staff, and students from across the TWU campus as well as community members are creating a new chapter of Toastmasters to provide a new hands-on, learning opportunity for communication and leadership skills. Using proven Toastmaster programs and structure, faculty, staff and students will work together to learn and demonstrate skills in public speaking, meeting management, small group leadership and more.

We invite you to join us for a Toastmasters demonstration meeting complete with time to answer your questions about how Toastmasters works and how to become a charter member. All students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community members welcome! 

Toastmasters demonstration meeting 
When – Thursday, September 12th from noon – 1 pm
Where – ACT 501 (5th floor in building 1a on the map)

Since 1924, Toastmasters International has been dedicated to improving public speaking and leadership by providing a friendly, supportive learning environment.  

Special thanks to Dr. Kimberly Miloch from QEP, Dr. Barbara Lerner, and Dr. Robert Neely for their support.  Also, thanks to the Department of Health Studies.

For additional information, please contact Morgan O'Donnell at modonnell at 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Spotlight - Interview with Dr. Joshua Adams, Executive Director of the Pioneer Center for Student Excellence

We recently met Dr. Joshua Adams, the new executive director of the TWU Pioneer Center for Student Excellence. We thought it would nice to get to know him a little better and learn a little more about the center. Josh graciously took time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions.

Dr. Joshua Adams
1.    Could you tell us a little about yourself and your background? Also, what do you prefer to be called?

I hold a bachelor’s degree in Art History and a master’s and doctorate in Higher Education.  Career wise, prior to accepting the position at TWU, I most recently served as Director of the UNT Learning Center for several years.  That department is charged with supporting the academic career of all UNT students.  I’ve also worked as an adjunct instructor and in several other student affairs-type roles. 

I don’t really have a preference in what I’m called, either Josh or Dr. Adams works fine.

2.    We know that the new Pioneer Center for Student Excellence is just getting started, but could you share a little of what you envision for the center?

I think the amazing thing about the Pioneer Center for Student Excellence is the broad campus support for the initiative.  I envision a collaboratively built center that supports our entire undergraduate and graduate student population and assists them in achieving their personal, academic, and professional goals.  In order for the center to succeed we need to meet the needs of our students and work with faculty and staff to develop services that complement and support the student experience, both inside and outside of the classroom.

3.    As you know, there are a number of online programs at TWU, including Health Studies’ online BS and BAS completion programs and 100% online MS in Health Studies. How will the new center assist online students?

We are intentionally building technology in to the center.  I envision students being able to work with the center staff and their fellow students from anywhere through the use of videoconferencing, using collaborative technology, and so on.  In addition, to ensuring access to services by online students, I am hopeful the center can develop specific services to support online learners.

4.    What does student success mean to you?

To me, student success is defined individually and at the student level.  A student may deem success as passing a quiz in one course or graduating with a 4.0.  I believe it is our job as faculty and staff to understand where the student is and where they want to go.  We should then support their efforts and provide guidance along the way.

5.    What are some tips you would offer to student to be successful in their academic pursuits?

One major tip is to take advantage of all of the in class and out of class experiences during your college career.  Our students are surrounded by experts in their fields and can use them as a resource for learning as well as personal and career development.   At no other time in your life will you be surrounded by individuals who all care about your success and will support you in those endeavors.  By taking advantage of everything you can, you will learn more and have a truly well-rounded education.

6.    As many of our students know, we like to have fun in Health Studies. We have held themed orientations complete with alter egos such as Mo Solo, Hoda Fett, and Dee Dee Wan Kenobi from our Star Wars orientation. We also had a Mission Impossible orientation with passports and top secret missions. Sometimes we also make up code names for each other.  Who would your alter ego be or what would your code name be?

I think this may be the hardest question to answer! I’m a huge fan of Star Wars and science fiction in general.  I don’t think I can pick one, I’d much prefer to have a code name assigned to me!

Okay, Josh, but we hope you know what you are getting into. We tend to have a wacky sense of humor. We'll let you know what your code name is soon!

7.    Do you have any inspirational or motivational quotes that help keep you going?

I don’t really have any quotes, per se, but I do believe in having fun and recharge by spending time in nature.  When I am down or work is tough, I remember that soon enough I can go for a walk outside, mess around in the yard, or just enjoy my surroundings.  I have always been a person that loves being outside with nature.  It’s not for everyone, but is a great way for me to relax.

8.    Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

I am quickly learning that TWU is a great place to work and an even better place to be a student.  Everyone is very supportive of each other and is goal oriented.  Our students, staff, and faculty are lucky to be in an environment that is caring and wants the best for everyone. 

A big thank you to Josh for sharing with us. We can't wait to see what the new Pioneer Center for Student Excellence does!

Tell us how you define success for a chance to win a TWU Health Studies t-shirt! Here's how:

  •  Share your thoughts about how you define success for yourself in the comments below.
  • If you haven't already, like our Facebook page. This is where we will announce the winner.
  • Keep an eye on our Facebook page on Friday, August 23rd. This is when we will announce the winner.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

National Psoriasis Month

August is National Psoriasis Month. I am sure most of you are thinking, “What is psoriasis?” The National Psoriasis Foundation states that as many as 7.5 million of Americans have a form of psoriasis. So what is it? Psoriasis is a chronic, non-contagious, autoimmune skin disease. The skin lesions appear when the immune system sends out “faulty” signals that tell skin cells to speed up their production.  There are five types of psoriasis that occur and each looks very unique. 

Plaque psoriasis (also known as psoriasis vulgaris) is the most common and it appears as red, raised patches with a silvery white buildup on top which are dead skin cells. Plaque psoriasis appears mostly on the scalp, knees, elbows and lower back. Depending on how severe of a case the treatments vary from prescribed topical treatments, phototherapy or systemic medications. 

Guttate psoriasis normally starts young children and adolescents. This is the second most common form of psoriasis and only about 10 percent of people who have psoriasis develop this form. Guttate psoriasis occurs suddenly and appears as small, red, separate spots on the trunk, arms, legs and sometimes the scalp, face and ears. Some things that might trigger Guttate psoriasis are upper respiratory infections, streptococcal infections, tonsillitis, stress, skin injuries and some medications. 

Inverse psoriasis (also known as also known as intertriginous psoriasis) is red lesions that appear in body folds and is smooth and shiny.  Most commonly inverse psoriasis is found in armpits, groin and other skin folds of the body. With inverse psoriasis the areas are tenderer because the areas are more subject to irritation because of rubbing and sweating. 

Pustular psoriasis is known for the white blisters surrounded by red skin. This type of lesion can be localized, such as having it on the hands and feet only. It is possible for some to have Pustular psoriasis covering the whole body (generalized). There is a cycle to pustular psoriasis which goes as follows: reddening of skin, blisters and scales. Triggers for this are internal medicines, irritating topical agents, overexposure to UV light, pregnancy, systemic steroids, infections, emotional stress, and sudden withdrawal of systemic medications or topical steroids. There are three types of pustular psoriasis (Von Zumbusch, Palmoplantar putulosis, and Acropustulosis). 

Erythrodermic psoriasis is the inflammatory form of psoriasis affects most of the body. This is the rarest form of psoriasis because it occurs in less than 3% of the lifetime of people living with psoriasis. Normally it occurs with those who have uncontrolled plaque psoriasis and can occur with von Zumbusch pustular psoriasis. The lesions for erythrodermic psoriasis are not clearly defined and are widespread.The lesions are fiery red with white skin exfoliation covering the lesions. Exfoliation can occur in large sheets. This form of psoriasis is accompanied with itching and pain. If you have a breakout of erythrodermic psoriasis, you should contact your doctor immediately because this form is life threatening because it throws off the body’s chemistry and causes protein and fluid loss. Triggers for erythrodermic psoriasis are: abrupt withdrawal of systemic treatment, severe sunburn, allergic, drug-induced rash that brings on the Koebner phenomenon (a tendency for psoriasis to appear on the site of skin injuries), use of systemic steroids, infection, emotional stress and alcoholism. 

Treatment for all types of psoriasis varies from steroid ointments, systemic medicines, phototherapy, some over the counter medicines and combination of treatments. The type of treatment is determined by a proper diagnosis by a physician. If you have any the symptoms described above, consult your physician. If you need more information about psoriasis, look at the National Psoriasis Foundation or the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Share your tips for how you keep your skin healthy!

You might also be interested in:
July is UV Safety Month
Tips for Beating Stress: Stay Mentally Clear and Healthy as the School Year Starts

National Psoriasis Foundation. (2013). About psoriasis. Retrieved from
U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2013). Psoriasis. Retrieved from

Friday, August 2, 2013

Inaugural Recipient of the Williams Health Education Fellowship - Megan Johnson

Dr. Larry LeFlore, Phil Trammell, Megan Johnson, Dr. Jennifer Martin, Dr. Jimmy Ishee

Dr. Janice C. Williams graduated from Texas Woman's University with a Ph.D. in Health Studies in 1973. After she graduated, she taught public school in Texas and Louisiana. She developed health teaching programs for Texas State University, Virginia Tech University and Texas A&M-Kingsville. Dr. Williams passed away in 2011. She graciously left $340,000 to the Department of Health Studies and Dance Department to develop fellowships. The Williams Health Education Endowed Fellowship supports doctoral students in the TWU Health Studies Department in a teaching fellowship. Megan O. Johnson was selected to be the first recipient for the fellowship. She will receive an award of $7500 for the 2013-2014 academic year. Megan shared with us her experience of receiving the fellowship:

Few of us know what it feels like to be the first at something, to do something, or to receive something. I am fortunate to be one of those few.  On June 5, 2013, I was notified that I would be receiving the first-ever award for the Williams Health Education Endowed Fellowship. Two weeks later, I was presented with the official certificate at a special, memorable ceremony. My sole purpose for applying for the fellowship was because I wanted to teach again. After a year hiatus, I have been itching to get back into a classroom and in front of students again. To receive this fellowship has been remarkable but to be the first to receive it has been an honor. It is an unbelievable feeling to be recognized by others for your hard work and dedication to the field of health education. I look forward to making a positive difference in the lives of my students and to making Dr. Janice Williams proud by fulfilling her legacy. I am grateful to everyone who helped make this fellowship possible for future health educators like myself to pursue their dreams of teaching. 

Forever thankful,

Megan O. Johnson, M.S., C.H.E.S.

Learn about other TWU Health Studies scholarships.

You can give to Williams Health Education Fellowship and other Health Studies scholarships by clicking here,

Under Designation choose Other. Then type in the name of the scholarship you want to fund:

  • Williams Health Education Fellowship (a teaching fellowship for doctoral students in Health Studies)
  •  Anita Jill Coyle Scholarship Endowment
  • Mary Lynn Walker Drews Endowed Scholarship for graduate students in Health Studies
  • P.C. & Josephine Del Barto Endowed Scholarship for undergraduate students majoring in health studies, nursing, and education
  • Jacinda Simone Kennedy Endowed Memorial Scholarship for undergraduate students majoring in Health Studies

Dean Ishee officially presents the fellowship to Megan Johnson.


Dr. Gay James with Megan Johnson at the fellowship reception.

Dr. Kimberly Parker with Megan Johnson at the fellowship reception.