School of Health Sciences

Oakland University to host 2023 Healthology Symposium

March 23 event will focus on Interdisciplinary Health Sciences

icon of a calendarMarch 8, 2023

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Oakland University to host 2023 Healthology Symposium
Oakland University to host 2023 Healthology Symposium
Oakland University’s Healthology Symposium will return on Thursday, March 23.

Oakland University’s Healthology Symposium — “where science, practice and social interests meet” — will return on Thursday, March 23 with afternoon and evening programs that celebrate impactful research and collaborative approaches for addressing upstream social determinants of health, in achieving better downstream care.

Hosted annually by the School of Health Sciences, this year’s Symposium, “Building a Foundation of Health through Lifestyle Behaviors,” will focus on Interdisciplinary Health Sciences, including nutrition to prevent, treat and reverse disease; physical activity to improve health; and social support to enhance physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

“Healthology enables students, faculty and community partners to make meaningful connections to affect positive change within the campus community and beyond,” said Dr. Kevin Ball, dean of the School of Health Sciences. “We envision a true health system of collaborative leadership and interprofessional pursuits to promote the public good and grow healthy communities.”

This year’s Symposium will feature afternoon and evening programs.

The afternoon session will begin at 2 p.m. in the Oakland Center Habitat with a welcome and introduction by Dean Ball and OU Provost Britt Rios-Ellis, followed by a culinary demonstration at 2:25 p.m. by Sarah Martin, R.D., and Chef Kevin Peasgood.

Martin, a coordinator/special instructor at OU and a registered dietician for 13 years, teaches students to create food and lifestyle approaches that are crave-able and achievable while supporting wellness and sustainability. Through the culinary demonstration, she translates nutrition recommendations into day-to-day cooking to show that everyone can create a delicious meal that includes healthful ingredients — such as plant protein, healthful fat, whole grains and fiber — regardless of their culinary level and daily routine.

The demonstration will also illustrate the skills taught to students in the culinary course offered by the nutrition department in the School of Health Sciences’ Department of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences.

The Symposium will continue at 3:30 p.m. in Ballroom A inside the Oakland Center. Dr. Amanda Lynch, chairperson of the Department of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences and director of the Nutrition/Dietetics program, will provide introductions, followed by an “Overview of Lifestyle Medicine” with Dr. Beth Frates, assistant clinical professor of Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Frates is a pioneer in Lifestyle Medicine education and an award-winning educator. Her passionate teaching style has earned her several Excellence in Teaching awards for work in multiple pre-clinical courses covering topics including nutrition, the musculoskeletal system, the central nervous system, the endocrine system and an introduction to the medical profession.

Beginning at 4 p.m., the Symposium will feature presentations on Social Support, Physical Activity and Nutrition by Dr. Christina Papadimitriou, Melissa Jones, and Melissa Reznar.

Dr. Papadimitriou uses an equity-based hermeneutic approach to make invisible positions and experiences visible in order to develop inclusive and collaborative rehabilitation practices and assessments that can lead to greater shared benefits. She studies peer navigation to improve health and healthcare outcomes, and community participation for persons with physical disabilities.

Dr. Papadimitriou is collaboratively developing a relationship-centered assessment for persons who cannot engage in decision making due to cognitive disabilities. She works with investigators from a variety of disciplines and enjoys mentoring students and early career investigators.

Dr. Jones’s research focuses on the cardiovascular health effects of physical activity and sedentary time as well as individual and environmental determinants of these behaviors. She promotes sitting less and moving more as a way to meaningfully impact health through small behavior changes. This work aims to broaden the idea of being physically active to make it more accessible and approachable for all.

Dr. Jones’ presentation at Healthology will cover the health effects of exercise, light activity and sedentary time, as well as tools and methods to integrate activity into our daily lives.

Dr. Reznar earned her MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Michigan, her Ph.D. in Human Nutrition from Michigan State University and has been a faculty member at Oakland University for 11 years. Her research focus is on plant-based nutrition.

Specifically, Dr. Reznar researches how plant-based nutrition is promoted in healthcare settings and is a co-investigator with the American College of Lifestyle Medicine to explore plant-based and lifestyle medicine program implementation in lifestyle medicine centers.

Drs. Frates, Papadimitriou, Jones, Reznar and Martin will also participate in a panel discussion at 5:05 p.m. before the afternoon session concludes with a poster session and mingle.

The Symposium’s evening session will kick off at 5:45 p.m. in Ballrooms B and C inside the Oakland Center. Dinner will be served at 6 p.m. with Dean Ball providing opening remarks.

At 6:20 p.m., the Symposium will welcome Dr. Kim Williams, chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Louisville, as the keynote speaker.

Dr. Williams has over 40 years of experience as an educator, researcher, and clinician focused on advocacy for nutrition, national and international health care disparities, health care delivery, and advanced access to cardiac imaging. He is the founder of the Urban Cardiology Initiative in Detroit, Mich., which aimed to reduce ethnic heart care disparities, and is the founding editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Disease Reversal and Prevention.

As an internationally recognized speaker, Dr. Williams focuses on preventative cardiology and synthesizing data on cardiovascular risk and mortality due to nutrition. 

Dr. William’s presentation will be followed by a question and answer session and, at 7:25 p.m., the presentation of the Health Achievement Leadership Legacy (HALL) Award. The award honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to OU’s School of Health Sciences through leadership, community service, research or teaching.

This year’s HALL Award recipient is Dr. Ewa Matuszewski, founder and CEO of Medical Network One and a School of Health Sciences BOARD Member.

Dr. Matuszewski has enjoyed a long professional and service relationship with Oakland University. She is the founding chairperson of the School of Health Sciences BOARD, received the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science at December 2022 commencement, and gave the 2017 commencement address. As a professional leader in southeast Michigan, she has helped champion innovative primary care and chronic initiatives through countless professional endeavors and achievements. 

“We are pleased to present Dr. Matuszewski with the HALL Award in honor of her countless professional endeavors and achievements that have helped innovate primary care and chronic initiatives,” Dean Ball said. “All while contributing immensely to the School of Health Sciences.”

The 2023 Healthology Symposium is free to attend thanks to our generous sponsors, including: Chartwells, DirectRx, John and Patricia Waugh, Kevin A. Ball & Margaret J. Afheldt Health Symposium Endowment, Kroger Health, McLaren Oakland, Medical Network One, McGraw Catalpa, Priority Health, Synergy Energy, Telva and David McGruder, and Wright and Filippis.

While free to attend, the School of Health Sciences would greatly appreciate your contributions to ensure the sustainability of future Healthology events an provide funding for student and faculty research. Please click here to give.

For more information and to register, visit

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