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Walsh Appoints New Directors of Interdisciplinary Research Institutes

School News

Walsh University Provost Douglas Palmer, Ph.D., has announced the appointment of two Directors of Walsh’s new interdisciplinary research institutes.

Dr. Leigh Murray, Professor of Physical Therapy, has been appointed Director for the Institute of Community Health.  The Institute for Community Health will bring together faculty and students from all disciplines to promote healthy living and community health through research, education, advocacy and service. In pursuing this mission, the Institute will seek opportunities to partner with local and cross-border communities.

Dr. Murray’s experience on issues of exercise, wellness and quality of life – especially working with cancer survivors and collaborations with The Gathering Place in Cleveland, where she obtained grants and facilitated community partnerships, make her an ideal choice for this position. She has also collaborated with the development of the Annual Physical Therapy Community Clinic and helped to develop the inter-professional research module currently in use by the graduate programs at Walsh University.  She will begin defining the roles of faculty affiliates during the Fall 2017 semester. The Institute will have a formal opening later this year and will be housed in the new Global Learning Center.

Professor Jennifer Vokoun, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, has been appointed Director of the Food Design Institute. Utilizing interdisciplinary approaches and design thinking to address issues of food insecurity and hunger in our communities, the Institute is already partnered with the City of Massillon in making Massillon a “Hunger Free Community.” This work has already been funded by a grant from the Stark Community Foundation. The Food Design Institute will also be housed in the Global Learning Center.

Trained as a graphic designer, Professor Vokoun has presented her work at the Food Design and Education meeting and at the 1st European Conference on Understanding Food Design in Milan, Italy. Recently, she participated in the collaborative and innovative AIGA+IBM Design Thinking Summit in New York City.

The Institutes will provide the Walsh community with opportunities to connect in innovative and community engaged research, while providing students with experiential learning opportunities, work-like experience and enhanced collaboration with faculty on research. These new programs will become a central point where academic teaching, research and service meet the local and global communities.