Bryant Provost and Chief Academic Officer Glenn Sulmasy, JD, LL.M, and College of Arts and Sciences Interim Dean Wendy Samter, Ph.D., announce the establishment of the Center for Health and Behavioral Sciences (CHBS), which is supported by a $200,000 grant from the Fred M. Roddy Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports the fields of medicine, health care, and education. Kirsten Hokeness, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Science department, was appointed by Sulmasy as Director of the Center. Joseph Trunzo, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Psychology department, will serve as Deputy Director.
“Building on our historic strengths, we are developing strategies for innovation and future growth to position our faculty and students to make significant contributions in the areas of the health and behavioral sciences.”
A multi-disciplinary approach to improving health and well-being
The mission of the CHBS is to educate and train the next generation of leaders who are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of others. The challenges of the ongoing global pandemic have highlighted the critical need for multi-disciplinary approaches to identifying and solving problems in this sector. The Center will leverage the strength of Bryant’s business core to become a premiere choice for students pursuing a career in health sciences, health care, or behavioral sciences.
“The truly innovative and holistic approach to research and health care is what attracted us to this initiative at Bryant University."
“We are grateful for the generosity of the Fred M. Roddy Foundation in providing critical funding for this important initiative that will support research and education in these interconnected disciplines,” says Bryant Provost and Chief Executive Officer Glenn Sulmasy, JD, LL.M. “Building on our historic strengths, we are developing strategies for innovation and future growth to position our faculty and students to make significant contributions in the areas of the health and behavioral sciences.”
“The truly innovative and holistic approach to research and health care is what attracted us to this initiative at Bryant University. We are also pleased to support a generation of students who will be able to work across disciplines to address complex global challenges,” said Elizabeth McIntyre, President of the Fred M. Roddy Foundation. The Foundation’s essential mission is to support organizations carrying on research, educational or operational efforts for the cure or alleviation of afflictions of body or mind, or for general educational or charitable purposes.
"Bryant is removing traditional intellectual, physical, and geographic boundaries to enable innovation and collaboration that will prepare leaders and practitioners to solve some of the most difficult problems we face today and in the future.”
“We recognize that the world is not divided by academic disciplines,” adds Samter. “Through initiatives such as the Center for Health and Behavioral Sciences, Bryant is removing traditional intellectual, physical, and geographic boundaries to enable innovation and collaboration that will prepare leaders and practitioners to solve some of the most difficult problems we face today and in the future.”
Enhancing high-quality scientific research
In addition to providing needed funding to help establish the CHBS, the Fred M. Roddy Foundation grant is funding lab equipment that will enable high-quality research. This includes a Mass Spectrometer used for the study of small molecules as part of the antimicrobial discovery program; a Behavioral Assay set-up (an environment to test stimulus response) to support neuroscience and addiction research; Dissecting Microscopes; a Superspeed Centrifuge to process different types of biological materials; and a Psychophysiology iMotion Computer package that measures physiological responses to stimuli.
With this equipment, faculty, including the two newly hired tenure track faculty in the science and psychology departments and students will be better equipped to produce high-quality research and secure additional funding through various granting agencies. Undergraduate students will have the unique opportunity to work one-on-one with faculty on projects linked to health and healthcare, preparing them to be competitive when seeking employment or to succeed in gaining acceptance to prestigious graduate programs in the health and behavioral sciences.
A holistic view
“Our goal is to ensure that students understand the scientific foundations of human health and disease along with the core concepts in their chosen field of study, while gaining a holistic view of the healthcare industry, human behavior, and mental processes,” says Hokeness describing her vision for the Center. “Student researchers and graduates will emerge with a skillset required of practitioners, employees, and scholars who will ultimately become leaders and change agents who value collaboration, enriching the lives of their community.”
Whether it’s a practitioner on the front lines treating patients, a researcher hunting for vaccine candidates, a psychologist addressing the impact of the virus on the wellness of the population, a communication expert working to deliver messaging to the public, an economist examining the effects of the pandemic on the global economy, or a manager in a healthcare facility understanding patient needs, “The education and training that happens at the CHBS will enable students, scholars, leaders, and practitioners to successfully navigate the interconnected nature of human health and wellness,” adds Trunzo.
Building on Bryant’s unique integration of the arts and sciences with business, academic program development in the area of health and behavioral sciences will develop highly skilled employees for a sector that positioned for future growth.
For 158 years, Bryant University has been at the forefront of delivering an exceptional education that anticipates the future and prepares students to be innovative leaders of character in a changing world. Located on a contemporary campus in Smithfield, R.I., Bryant enrolls approximately 3,800 undergraduate students from 38 states and 49 countries. Bryant is recognized as a leader in international education and regularly receives top rankings from U.S. News and World Report, Money, Bloomberg Businessweek, Wall Street Journal, College Factual, and Barron's. Visit https://www.bryant.edu/.