CHSS Connection

July 12, 2023


SF State students march in the 2019 San Francisco Pride parade

So far this year, state legislators across the nation have introduced a record-breaking number of bills that threaten LGBTQ rights and health. Children are the among the most vulnerable to the messages sent by anti-LGBTQ laws, according to Caitlin Ryan, director of SF State’s Family Acceptance Project. In her work with diverse families across the country, Ryan has heard directly from LGBTQ youth and families who reported increased anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, uncertainty about the future and fear of hate-driven violence. Some of the families considered moving to other states, Ryan says, but laws have a harmful effect even across state lines.

“The laws that ban even talking about LGBTQ people tell children and adults that these identities are so unspeakable, we can’t even talk about them in front of children. They spread distortions about LGBTQ identities and who LGBTQ people are, and they dehumanize our lives,” Ryan said.

Pictured: SF State students march in the 2019 San Francisco Pride parade

The School of Nursing received a $540,000 Song-Brown Healthcare Workforce Training Program grant from the California Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI)  to provide financial support to underrepresented students in the BSN program.

The grant is designed to increase the number of nursing students trained in areas of unmet need in the state. Funds are awarded to schools who have successfully recruited, retained and graduated students who are underrepresented in the health professions and are working in medically underserved venues after graduation. HCAI awarded $16.9 million in grants in 2023 to 32 registered nurse training programs to help expand and improve access to equitable health care in California. SF State is one of eight CSUs to receive funding this year.

Diana Allen at podium at DPT graduation

The UCSF/SFSU Doctor of Physical Therapy cohort of 2023 graduated in a joyful ceremony held at UCSF on June 16. Diane D. Allen, SF State professor in Physical Therapy, delivered the commencement speech.

At their admission interviews in January 2020, no one anticipated the disruption that a global pandemic would cause. The students and faculty overcame numerous barriers and technological challenges because of isolation protocols during the three years of this cohort's DPT program. However, of the 50 students who started in June 2020, all 50 persevered to the end. Allen pointed to the barriers we will all encounter in the future but advised, “Inspiration to manage such barriers does not depend on remembering commencement speeches. Let your own success inspire you!” 

Miguel Abad and Angela Fillingim

In a new series of interviews, tenure-track faculty of color share thoughts inspired by a quote from Audre Lord, "When I dare to be powerful..." In this entry, Assistant Professor of Child & Adolescent Development Miguel Abad and Assistant Professor of Sociology & Sexuality Studies Angela Fillingim discuss breaking barriers around education. 

"When I dare to be powerful — to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid."
—Audre Lorde
Sally Gearhart

Lecturer of Public Health Deborah Craig has been working for several years on a feature documentary about SF State professor and lesbian activist Sally Gearhart. Craig was recently interviewed about Gearhart in outhistory. Craig also offered a sneak preview of excerpts from the documentary at a July 9 event at the San Francisco Public Library, where she participated in a panel discussion with Jewelle Gomez, Ruth Mahaney and Cherrie Moraga.

ad for roundtable on multidirectional and multigenerational care

Valerie Francisco-Menchavez, CHSS assistant dean for restorative and transformative racial justice, recently participated in a symposium with cross-border Filipinx diasporic scholars. The symposium kicked off on June 6 with a virtual event, Multidirectional and Intergenerational Care: Perspectives from the Filipinx Diaspora in the U.S. and Canada. This roundtable built directly on the main arguments and concepts of Francisco-Menchavez’s first book, “The Labor of Care.” The panel was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Bulosan Center for Filipinx American Studies at UC Davis.

Professor Erik Peper (Department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism/Institute for Holistic Health Studies) published an article, "Reflections on the increase in autism, ADHD, anxiety and depression: Part 1-bonding, screen time, and circadian rhythms" in NeuroRegulation. The article discusses "three identified behavioral risk factors that may contribute to activate, maintain, and increase the prevalence and severity of these disorders. These include the reduction of infant and caretaker bonding, increase in screen time, and disruption of circadian rhythms. Prevention strategies are suggested to reduce the risk factors."

Peper was also a guest on the Heart Rate Variability Podcast, speaking about his book, “Tech Stress,” and how technology is hijacking our lives.

Zubaida Qamar, assistant professor of Nutrition & Dietetics, and Jessica Wolin, lecturer of Public Health, attended the CSU Basic Needs Consortium at CSU Long Beach June 6-8. The CSU Basic Needs Consortium is a collective of more than 60 faculty and student researchers across CSU campuses who are engaged in student basic needs research. Qamar presented her work on a social media campaign to increase awareness of food security resources at SF State. Wolin presented about the College Focused Rapid Rehousing Evaluation, which she leads as Co-PI, and about “Student Basic Needs as Student Human Rights.”

Maria Veri presents at ASFS

Maria J. Veri presents at the Association for the Study of Food in Society conference

Maria J. Veri, professor of Kinesiology, appeared on “Edge of Sports with Dave Zirin” on The Real News Network on June 28. Veri discussed the gendered politics of tailgate culture and her co-written book, “Gridiron Gourmet: Gender and Food at the Football Tailgate” (2019, University of Arkansas Press).

Veri was also interviewed on KQED News on June 10 by weekend news editor Azul Dahlstrom-Eckman about the Oakland A’s move to Las Vegas, the legacy of the Raiders and Veri’s essay, “Sons of Oakland: The Raiders and the Raz/Rais(ing) of a City,” which appears in the award-winning anthology “San Francisco Bay Area Sports: Golden Gate Athletics, Recreation, and Community” (2017, University of Arkansas Press).

Veri co-moderated a panel, “Dance like No One is Watching: An Oral History of the Amy Morris Homans Cotillion (1982–2014),” at the North American Society for Sport History (NASSH) Annual Convention, held May 26–29 in Washington, D.C. The Amy Morris Homans Cotillion was created as a safe space for lesbian women to connect and create joyful sisterhood with long lasting professional and personal relationships within the homophobic space of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. Held annually from 1982 to 2014, this underground social event gathered hundreds of women at its peak, inviting them to drink, dance and dream of a better world. The NASSH panelists, including SF State Kinesiology Professor Emerita Bobby Bennett, shared origin stories and reflected on the meanings of their experiences, social changes influenced by the Cotillion crowd and issues that remain in creating inclusive academic, professional and social communities.  

In addition, Veri presented at the Association for the Study of Food in Society (ASFS) Conference, held in Boston May 31-June 3. She discussed her research on how the American dairy industry aligns itself with popular notions of sport, athleticism and nationalism in order to promote milk drinking in the United States. The talk, titled, “Milk for Every Body?: Gender, Race, and Sport Representation in mid-20th Century U.S. Dairy Promotions,” was part of a panel focused on investigating intersections between the fields of food studies and sport studies. Papers from this panel will be included in Verdi’s forthcoming edited anthology, “Setting the Table: Essays at the Intersection of Sport and Food” (University of Arkansas Press).

Darlene Yee-Melichar

California Governor Gavin Newsom has appointed Professor and Coordinator of Gerontology Darlene Yee-Melichar to the CSU Board of Trustees on June 29. The CSU Board of Trustees is the 25-member board that adopts regulat​ions and policies governing the University.

Yee-Melichar has served as a professor at SF State since 1990. She was an associate professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch from 1988 to 1990 and an assistant professor at York College, City University of New York from 1985 to 1988. She was a visiting assistant professor at Teachers College, Columbia University from 1983 to 1985 and an assistant director at Barnard College, Columbia University from 1980 to 1983. Yee-Melichar earned a Master of Science degree in Gerontology from the College of New Rochelle and a Master of Science degree and Doctor of Education degree in Health Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Alumni Features

On track and giving back

Vitka Eisen

Photo by Deanne Fitzmaurice

Vitka Eisen (MSW, ’93) began adulthood with a determination to change the world. But she would have to change herself first: Eisen ended up in a five-year battle with heroin addiction. Fast forward more than 30 years, and she’s leading an organization known for giving people addicted to drugs a new shot at life through compassionate care — the same organization where she found salvation.

"She respects people regardless of race or age or spirituality or gender or any of that. She just has a heart for people."
—Jojo Godinez

First-generation student thrives as leader of student organization 

Karina Zamora

Photo by Paul Asper

Karina Zamora (B.A., ’23), a first-generation student double-majoring in Criminal Justice Studies and Philosophy, transferred to SF State in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenges posed by remote learning made her determined to connect with other students and become engaged in the SF State community. Her involvement ultimately led her to the presidency of Associated Students. She tells her SF State story in Spring/Summer 2023 issue of SF State Magazine.

“My Gator experience has been one big journey of self-discovery, leaving my comfort zone and learning to surround myself with people who will encourage my growth.”


Students from SF State’s Apparel Design & Merchandising program were mentioned in an article about a Goodwill project aimed at reducing clothing waste. Mission Local 6/18/2023

Professor Emeritus of Environmental Studies Carlos Davidson commented on California Senate Bill 252, which would prohibit new or renewed investment of public employee and state teacher retirement system funds into fossil fuels. Jefferson Public Radio 7/3/2023 The Press Democrat 6/29/2023; Lake County Record-Bee 6/30/2023; CalMatters (6/29/2023)

Lecturer of Criminal Justice Studies James Dudley is a panelist for an on-demand webinar about police recruitment and retention. 6/27/2023

Lecturer of Criminal Justice Studies James Dudley commented on city harm reduction policies that reduce the punishment for open drug use. The San Francisco Standard 6/12/2023

Former faculty member John Irwin’s role as the founder of Project Rebound and the success of the program was discussed in an interview with California State University, Fresno’s Project Rebound outreach coordinator. The Porterville Recorder 6/22/2023

SF State’s undergraduate Nursing program was ranked in the top 12 programs in the state. All Nurses 5/23/2023

Assistant Professor of Sociology & Sexuality Studies Jen Reck, who co-chairs the Castro Cultural District, discussed plans to turn the Castro Theater into a nightclub. 48 Hills 6/15/2023

Director of the Family Acceptance Project Caitlin Ryan commented on new anti-trans laws in Florida. The Washington Post 6/8/2023New York Folk 6/8/2023

Director of the Family Acceptance Project Caitlin Ryan was referenced in an article about the mental health crisis in the LGBTQ+ community. Dallas Voice 6/30/2023

Multiple works co-authored by Director of the Family Acceptance Project Caitlin Ryan and Robert Rees were discussed in an op-ed written by Rees. Salt Lake Tribune 6/15/2023Easy Branches World News 6/15/2023

Associate Professor of Sociology & Sexuality Studies Clare Sears commented on proposed anti-drag legislation. (This article has a paywall.) The Washington Post 6/30/2023

San Francisco City Supervisor Shamann Walton, an alumnus of the MPA program, was interviewed about his new book “From Juvenile Hall to City Hall: Your Resume Can Change.” 48 Hills 6/7/2023

Professor and Chair of Recreation, Parks & Tourism Jackson Wilson commented on the San Francisco Travel Association’s new tourism campaign. San Francisco Examiner 6/5/2023

Professor Darlene Yee-Melichar, coordinator of the Gerontology Program, was appointed to serve as a CSU Trustee by Governor Gavin Newsom on June 29. California State University News 7/10/2023; San Mateo Daily Journal 7/3/2023; Lake County News 6/30/2023EdSource 6/30/2023

Featured Video

Take a peek inside the College of Health & Social Sciences! (Video by Cecilia Cao, student assistant in CHSS Communications)

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CHSS Connection will return to a twice-monthly schedule at the start of the Fall ’23 semester.