Skip to Main Content

Institutes and Centers

Catalog Banner 2014-2015
You are in the main content

Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services


The Institute engages students in career preparation by promoting scholarship, providing interprofessional learning experiences, and connecting our campus with communities through innovative programs that advance quality of life.

The following centers, programs and activities connect our campus with communities while advancing scholarship and achieving exceptional learning experiences.

Adult Health and Development Program (AHDP)

Director: Nancy Owens

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.

Alvin V. Baird Attention and Learning Disabilities Center 

Director: Dr. Trevor Stokes

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.

Blue Ridge Area Health Education Center

Director: Deb Stranges

The Blue Ridge Area Health Education Center (AHEC) 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

Director: Dr. Jane Wiggins

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

Director: Stacy Hansen

Community Network (CCN) 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 for attention to family concerns. Services are evidence-based and customized for each individual.

Claude Moore Precious Time Pediatric Respite Care Program

Faculty Director: Melissa Leisen
Program Director: Darcy Bacon

The Claude Moore Foundation awarded this program grant funds to provide respite care to families who have special needs children. This respite program relies on students from nursing, social work, psychology, and other health and human service majors to provide caregivers with supportive assistance in meeting the demands of their family responsibilities.

Community Health Interpreter Service (CHIS)

CHIS Coordinator: Deb Stranges

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

Director: Dr. Tim Schulte

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) 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

Director: Michelle Witt

Crossroads to Brain Injury Recovery, a partnership program, implements a multi-year region-wide grant to provide case management and supportive services to families and individuals recovering from brain injuries. It assists with access to services for re-learning daily living skills and with strategies for returning to school or work.

Healthcare for the Homeless Suitcase Clinic

Program Coordinator: Jane Hubbell

The Healthcare for the Homeless Suitcase Clinic provides health care at the point of contact in local shelters and human service agencies. Specifically, it provides on-site primary care services to homeless clients enrolled in local shelters while simultaneously providing case management services as needed. Staffed by a nurse practitioner and nurse case manager, this new model of healthcare delivery to homeless populations exemplifies a model of service that aims to break the cycle of homelessness by providing healthcare delivery with positive long term results.

Health Policy Office 

Director: Dr. David Cockley
Director: Dr. Bill Grant

The JMU Health Policy Office 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)

Director: Emily Akerson

Healthy Families Shenandoah County (HFSC)

Program Manager: Yvonne Frazier

Healthy Families programs are based on a national program model and the two that operate in IIHHS provide education, resources and support for the most vulnerable first-time parents in Page and Shenandoah Counties through voluntary home visiting services.

Home Visiting Consortium

Coordinator: Heather Taylor

The Home Visiting Consortium is a statewide network of the early childhood home visiting programs which receive state funds and serve families of children through age five. Seeking to increase the quality and effectiveness of home visiting services, the consortium has identified a core set of knowledge areas and developed training modules for Virginia's home health workforce.

Interprofessional Autism Services Clinic 

Director: Dr. Trevor Stokes

The Interprofessional Autism Clinic provides in-depth assessment and multi-disciplinary intervention for children ages 3-5 years old with Autism or suspected Autism. The clinic is staffed with a licensed occupational therapist, a licensed speech and language pathologist, and a licensed clinical psychologist, in addition to graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in each of these academic programs. The clinic merges intervention methods from these disciplines and approaches can be individualized to meet each child's unique needs.

Interprofessional Services for Learning Assessment 

Director: Dr. Tim Schulte

The ISLA program offers diagnostic evaluation, consultation and support services for adults enrolled in a college or university. Evaluation teams consisting of professionals from clinical psychology, communication sciences, clinical neuropsychology, special education and nursing identify areas of need and design positive ways to promote meaningful learning and educational experiences.

Occupational Therapy Clinical Education Services

Director: Elizabeth Richardson

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.

Office on Children and Youth 

Director: Kim Hartzler-Weakley

The Office on Children and Youth (OCY), a partnership program, promotes positive youth development through collaborations with youth-serving organizations. It serves as a central point of contact for services for children and youth in the Shenandoah Valley to support, coordinate and examine the needs of our children and youth. OCY analyzes trends in risk behaviors and produces data which enables the community to develop priority areas for youth programs.

Promotores de Salud Program

Coordinator: Deb Foy

Promotores de Salud, a Hispanic lay health promoter program, trains Hispanic women and men to be lay health resource persons in their community. Promotores focus on specific health issues within the Hispanic community, providing family, friends, neighbors and co-workers with effective and culturally-appropriate health information. The program provides a cultural bridge between Hispanic residents and health and human services providers, reducing health disparities and fostering healthy living for all in our community.

The Reading Road Show, Gus Bus Program

Program Coordinator: Michael Maurice
Director: Kim Hartzler-Weakley

This initiative is a mobile literacy program serving low-income neighborhoods and day care centers in Harrisonburg, Rockingham County and Page County with a customized vehicle that provides a book exchange program, story time, nutritional support and resource referral information for families in need. For more information, visit

Shenandoah Valley Child Development Clinic

Program Director: Kim Hartzler-Weakley
Clinic Director: Ginger Griffin

The Shenandoah Valley Child Development Clinic (CDC) 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. The CDC provides care coordination services and assists families in decisions that address their developmental, educational, emotional or behavioral concerns.  Services are provided on a sliding fee scale and Medicaid/FAMIS are accepted. Training opportunities are available in the CDC for students from a variety of disciplines.

Shenandoah Valley Migrant Education Program 

Director: Kim Hartzler-Weakley

The Migrant Education Program (MEP) 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

Director: Diar Kaussler

Smart Beginnings reflects a collaboration between the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation, the area United Way and IIHHS. The goal of this program is to work in partnership with parents and other community leaders to enhance development for children ages 0-5 so that all children will be healthy and ready to learn when they enter school. Seven counties in the valley have parents, child care professionals, business leaders, schools, faith-based organizations and government officials involved in SBSV.

Speech-Language-Hearing Applied Laboratory

Director: Stacey Pavelko

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.

This center assists 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.

Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative

Director: Kim Hartzler-Weakley

The Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) program is designed to help teenagers make healthy choices and avoid risky behaviors with special emphasis on teen sexual activity and drug and alcohol use. TPP presents the best practices in school- and community-based prevention services.

The Health Place 

Director: Emily Akerson

The Health Place (THP), a satellite of the Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services, promotes collaborative and interprofessional health and human services that are affordable, accessible, responsive to and advance the health needs of Page County residents.

Training /Technical Assistance Centers

Co-Directors: Cheryl Henderson and John McNaught

The mission of Virginia’s Training/Technical Assistance Centers (T/TAC) 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

Executive Director: Alexandra de Havilland

The Valley AIDS Network (VAN) provides case management, medical and dental assistance, transportation support, client advocacy, housing assistance, and nutritional support services to people living with HIV/AIDS in this region. 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

Director: Beth Bland

An institute partnership program, the mission of Valley Program for Aging Services (VPAS) is to assist individuals age 60 and older with a range of services that enhance their dignity, privacy and ability to live independently for as long as is appropriate. VPAS’ services include: 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.