Centers, Programs, and Activities

Pre-professional Health Programs

PDF Version of Web Page PDF Version of Web Page

Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services
ISAT/CS Building, Room 367
Phone: (540) 568-2705

Dr. Rhonda M. Zingraff

Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services

It is the mission of the Institute to:

The IIHHS will:

Centers, Programs and Activities

The following centers, programs and activities are related to the mission of the Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services.

Adult Health and Development Program (AHDP)
     Nancy Owens, Director

The Adult Health and Development Program is an intergenerational program designed to promote health in older adults (those 55+). College students work one-on-one with older adults from the local community. An individualized program is designed to meet each program participant's unique needs. The program develops a sense of positive health and well-being in the older adult and promotes a sense of community on a broader scale.

Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED)
     Deborah Ford, Program Coordinator

Alpha Epsilon Delta, the largest honor society exclusively serving pre-professional health students, has its national headquarters at JMU. It has 186 chapters and a membership of more than 145,000. The Scalpel, the AED journal, is published twice a year. AED is a member society of the Association of College Honor Societies.

Alvin V. Baird Attention and Learning Disabilities Center
     Dr. Trevor Stokes, Director

The mission of the Alvin V. Baird Attention and Learning Disabilities Center is to develop and promote evidence-based interventions for children and adolescents with attention and learning challenges, while educating families, teachers, students and professionals about best practices for their assessment and treatment. Attention and learning factors are present across a range of developmental and psychological disorders, which are the focus of activities at the Baird Center. These include: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders, Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Disruptive Behavior Disorders, Mood Disorders and Psychological Factors Related to Medical Conditions.

Best Fit
     Ginger Griffin, Director

The Behavioral, Emotional and Social Training for Infants and Toddlers (BEST FIT) program brings greater awareness of and improved access for child care providers to those community resources which will enhance the healthy social, emotional and behavioral development of the infants and toddlers in their care. BEST FIT creates opportunities for improved early childhood development and in turn improved school readiness.

Blue Ridge Area Health Education Center (AHEC) at JMU
     Susannah Lepley, Executive Director

The Blue Ridge Area Health Education Center at JMU strives to improve the health of communities through education, collaboration and cooperation. It focuses on the health care needs of vulnerable populations. The AHEC fosters partnerships that utilize academic and community resources and directs these resources to health and human service gaps that exist within communities. The AHEC program has been a traditional link between academic health and human services programs and communities, utilizing student, faculty and other academic resources to the benefit of the communities.


Campus Suicide Prevention Center of Virginia
     Dr. Jane Wiggins, Director

The goal of the Campus Suicide Prevention Center of Virginia is to reduce risk for suicide on Virginia's college and university campuses. Specifically, this program supports the individuals and teams on each campus as they work to build the infrastructure necessary to promote mental health for all students, identify and support those with mental health concerns, and effectively respond to individuals who are at risk for suicide.

Caregivers Community Network (CCN)
     Kathleen Pantaleo, Director

Caregivers Community Network provides services, companionship and support for those who care for frail older family members. CCN also provides services for those with memory loss or Alzheimer's disease. CCN can help to give caregivers a break and provide valuable time to care for themselves as well as their loved ones.

Center for Biomedical and Healthcare Informatics
     Dr. Rhonda Zingraff, Director

The Bio and Health Informatics Center is designed to provide an infrastructure for promoting, coordinating and facilitating learning opportunities, initiatives and projects in the area of Bio and Health Informatics.

Claude Moore Precious Time Pediatric Respite Care Program
     Professor Cathy Webb, Director

The Claude Moore foundation was awarded a three-year grant to provide respite care to families who have special needs children. This respite program will use students from nursing, social work, psychology and other health and human service majors to provide caregivers with needed breaks from the demands of their family responsibilities.


Community Health Interpreter Service (CHIS)
     Susannah Lepley, CHIS Coordinator

Linguistic and cultural barriers seriously compromise the quality of health care received by hundreds of Shenandoah Valley residents. To address this challenge, the Community Health Interpreter Service provides training to bilingual persons to serve as interpreters for persons with limited English proficiency during health care encounters. The program schedules interpreters upon request from area health care providers.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
     Dr. Tim Schulte, Director

Counseling and Psychological Services is a teaching, research, and service mental health clinic. CAPS offers affordable outpatient mental health services to the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County community while providing students in the Department of Graduate Psychology experience in assessment and treatment of psychological problems. CAPS is equipped to provide individual, couple, and family therapy as well as to conduct intellectual and psychological assessments across the lifespan.

Crossroads to Brain Injury Recovery
     Michelle Witt, Director

Crossroads to Brain Injury Recovery is a three-year, region-wide grant to provide case management and supportive services to families and individuals recovering from brain injuries.

Health Bites
     Dr. Rhonda Zingraff and Jane Hubbell, Co-Directors

Health Bites is an interdisciplinary project in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Health, Division of WIC and Community Nutrition Services. It combines expertise in dietetics, pediatric nursing, social work, adult education, media creation and production to develop classroom and web-based nutrition education modules for WIC clients and the general public. Health Bites is designed to impact behavioral change in families with babies and young children to achieve positive steps in nutrition, physical activity and obesity prevention.

Health Policy Center
     Dr. David Cockley, Director

The JMU Health Policy Center is a research and education arm of the Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services. It provides research expertise on the tracking, development and analysis of relevant local, regional and federal public health policies. Particular emphasis is placed on addressing policies that impact rural communities, disadvantaged populations, and the geriatric and immigrant populations that are prominent in the western Virginia region. The center also supports the education arm of the university by providing interdisciplinary resources for the instruction and application of health policy in organizational and community settings.


Healthy Families Page County (HFPC)
     Emily Akerson, Director

Healthy Families Page County is based on a national program model and provides education, resources and support for the most vulnerable first time parents in Page County through voluntary home visiting services.

Interprofessional Services for Learning Assessment
      Dr. Tim Schulte, Director

The Center for Learning Strategies offers diagnostic evaluation, consultation and support services for adults enrolled in a college or university. Diagnostic evaluation and testing services are provided by inter-professional evaluation teams consisting of professionals from clinical psychology, communication sciences, clinical neuropsychology, special education and nursing. The Center for Learning Strategies works closely with individuals to build on strengths, identify areas of need, and design positive ways to promote meaningful learning and educational experiences.

Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI)
      Nancy Owens, Director

The Lifelong Learning Institute, a partnership between JMU and adults over the age of 50 from the region, offers participants college-level courses on a non-credit basis. Undergraduate students can assist in the classroom by enrolling in a one-credit workshop course.

Office on Children and Youth (OCY)
     Kim Hartzler-Weakley, Director

The Office on Children and Youth, a partnership program, provides information and referral services to children and youth with the goal of promoting positive development. OCY is a central contact point for services in the Shenandoah Valley to support, coordinate, and examine the needs of our children and youth. OCY administers the Youth Data Survey bi-annually in the Harrisonburg City and Rockingham County schools.


The Reading Road Show, Gus Bus Program
     Pat Kennedy, Program Director

This grant-funded initiative is a mobile literacy program that brings books and literacy skills to the community targeting the 0- to 5-year-old population and their families. The Reading Road Show serves Harrisonburg, Rockingham County and Page County with a book exchange program that visits low-income neighborhoods and day care centers throughout the area.

Ryan White II Care Act Grant
     Jane Hubbell and Gary Race, Co-Lead Agents

The Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services administers Ryan White II Care Act funds for northwest Virginia. The Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act is federal legislation that addresses the unmet health needs of persons living with HIV disease by funding primary health care and support services. The CARE Act was named after Ryan White, an Indiana teenager whose courageous struggle with HIV/AIDS and against AIDS-related discrimination helped educate the nation.

Shenandoah Valley Child Development Clinic (CDC)
     Penny Critzer, Director

The Child Development Clinic provides individualized, interdisciplinary evaluations that may include medical, social work, nursing, educational, psychological, speech/language and audiology components depending upon the specialized needs of the child/adolescent. Children/adolescents evaluated may have developmental, educational, emotional or behavioral concerns. By partnering with families and community service providers, the CDC provides care coordination services to assist children/adolescents and families in accessing medical, educational, social and mental health services. Services are provided on a sliding fee scale and Medicaid/FAMIS are accepted. The CDC serves as a resource to the community by providing consultation, training and advocacy for children, adolescents, families and service providers. Training opportunities are available in the CDC for students from a variety of disciplines.

Shenandoah Valley Migrant Education Program (MEP)
     Kim Hartzler-Weakly, Director

The Migrant Education Program provides free, supplemental education services to children and youth aged 3-21 of migrant and highly mobile agricultural workers. Services include tutoring/mentoring, school readiness initiatives, dropout prevention activities, educational interpretations (Spanish/English) and facilitation of families' stabilization in the community. The SVMEP serves as a point of contact for the Hispanic Services Council, a networking organization of agencies interested in the Latino population.


Smart Beginnings Shenandoah Valley
     Pat Kennedy, Director

Smart Beginnings is a grant-funded program through the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation. The goal of this program is to work in partnership with parents and other community leaders to improve home and early education environments for children ages 0-5. Investing in the state's youngest citizens through training resources, educational opportunities and support for families helps to ensure that all children will be healthy and ready to learn when they enter school.

Speech-Language-Hearing Applied Laboratory
     Dr. Carol Dudding, Director

The JMU Speech-Language-Hearing Applied Laboratory, formerly referred to as the JMU Speech and Hearing Center, provides communication evaluation and treatment services to individuals with known or suspected speech and/or hearing impairments. For over 25 years this center has provided assistance to residents of the Shenandoah Valley ranging in age from infants to senior citizens. Hearing testing and aid advising is available for those with concerns regarding hearing. Evaluation and treatment of communication impairments, including speech, sound disorders, language impairments, voice disorders, and stuttering problems are additional services offered in the applied laboratory. Graduate students supervised by faculty who are licensed audiologists or speech-language pathologists serve as clinicians in this lab.

Stepping Stones Occupational Therapy Clinic
     Elizabeth Richardson, Director

A pediatric occupational therapy practice established to address a significant gap in locally available occupational therapy services, this clinic offers teaching, research, practice and service opportunities and expands the interprofessional education and practice capacities of the university.

Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative
     Kim Hartzler-Weakley, Director

The grant-funded Teen Pregnancy Prevention program is a region-wide initiative to reduce teen pregnancies and educate youth concerning health and wellness issues. Working in the schools and community, the program serves the Shenandoah Health District and works with thousands of youth each year, providing "Vision of You" classes as well as the "Baby Think it Over" doll program.

The Health Place (THP)
     Emily Akerson, Director

The Health Place, an initiative of the Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services, serves as a resource that promotes the provision of interdisciplinary health and human services that are affordable, accessible, responsive to, and advance the physical, mental and developmental health of Page County residents. Programs and services provided through or supported by THP are characterized by their responsiveness to community-identified needs, quality, dignity and respect accorded each individual.


Training /Technical Assistance Centers (T/TAC)
     Cheryl Henderson and Melinda Bright, Co-directors

The mission of Virginia's Training/Technical Assistance Centers is to improve educational opportunities and contribute to the success of children and youth with disabilities (birth through 22 years). The centers provide quality training and technical assistance in response to local, regional and state needs. T/TAC services increase the capacity of schools, school personnel, service providers and families to meet the needs of children and youth. The Region 5 T/TAC serves as the fiscal agent for the Northwestern T/TAC Consortium, which includes the Region 4 T/TAC located at George Mason University.

Valley AIDS Network (VAN)
     Jan Emswiler, Executive Director

The Valley AIDS Network (VAN) provides support service to people living with HIV and/or AIDS in the Central Shenandoah Valley. VAN provides case management, medical and dental assistance, transportation support, client advocacy, housing assistance, and nutritional support. Through information, education, outreach, and referral, VAN aims to prevent the spread of the HIV virus in the Central Shenandoah Valley.

Valley Program for Aging Services (VPAS)
     Cathy Galvin, Director of Senior Services for Harrisonburg and Rockingham

The mission of VPAS is to assist individuals age 60 and older to maintain or improve the quality of their lives by providing them with educational and support services, which enable them to live as independently as possible. VPAS' services which promote personal dignity, privacy and individuality, include the following: adult day care; information and assistance; care coordination; disease prevention and health promotion; emergency assistance; health education and screening; home delivered meals, personal care, and homemaker services in a person's home; legal assistance; congregate meals, socialization, recreation and transportation in senior centers; insurance counseling; elder abuse prevention, and the Long Term Care Ombudsman program; medication management; and public information and education.

Virginia Center for Health Outreach (VCHO)
     Susannah Lepley, Executive Director

The Virginia Center for Health Outreach is developing an infrastructure to strengthen the practice, policy and research of the Community Health Worker (CHW) field in Virginia. CHWs are trained laypersons that serve as health resource persons in the communities where they live and work. The center works to acknowledge and help CHWs capitalize upon the key roles they play in improving public health through the provision of preventive services and facilitating access to primary care.