Governor confirms appointment of John Capitman to air quality board

Dr. John Capitman, executive director for the Central Valley Health Policy Institute at Fresno State, recently received confirmation of his appointment to the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District Governing Board.

The confirmed appointment by Governor Jerry Brown fills the seat designated for a health expert on the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District board. In February 2014, Capitman joined 14 other members of the board to play a vital role in decision-making that work to reduce air pollution in the San Joaquin Valley region. Capitman, along with Dr. Alex Sherriffs, are among the only members that are not elected officials.

The San Joaquin Valley region consists of eight counties, ranging from Stockton to Bakersfield and is home to some of the nation’s worst air quality, effecting nearly four million people.

Dr. Capitman presenting at the Celebrating our Engagement event. Oct. 23, 2014.

“I have devoted the last 10 years to developing the only health and public health policy group in California with a primary focus on how place, race/ethnicity, and poverty impact health,” said Capitman. “Over the last decade, our research has highlighted how place, race/ethnicity, and health are linked in the San Joaquin Valley. Residents of our region face among the worst levels of air pollution and concentrated poverty in the nation, and as a result face more illness and premature death”

“I am so honored to work the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District Governing Board because its work is intended to promote our region’s health by engaging all community sectors in reducing exposure to criterion pollutants. Finding ways to reduce air pollution risks to our communities’ health while also promoting economic vitality is a challenge of national significance.”

As a Nickerson Professor of Public Health at Fresno State, Capitman is widely recognized for his work in health disparities, long-term care, substance abuse and ethnic disparities in cancer care. Furthermore, he possesses 30 years of expertise in the areas of health policy research analysis.

He was formerly a professor and director of long-term care studies in the Schneider Institute for Health Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University before leading the Central Valley Health Policy Institute, where he has been since 2005. In his role he collaborates with health researchers to address health issues affecting people living in Central California.

Capitman received his bachelor’s degree, Magna Cum Laude, in linguistics and philosophy from Yale University in 1976 and his Ph.D. in social psychology from Duke University in 1980. He received post-doctoral training as a Gerontological Society Research Fellow, State of California, Department of Health Services, Division of Long-Term Care in Sacramento, California.

For more information, contact Dr. John Capitman at

Interim Dean Jody Hironaka-Juteau to chair human relations and equity commission

Dr. Jody Hironaka-Juteau, interim dean of the College of Health and Human Services, is the new chair of the President’s Commission on Human Relations and Equity at Fresno State. President Joseph I. Castro also named two vice chairs: English Professor Alex Espinoza and Dr. Francine Oputa, director of the Central Valley Cultural Heritage Institute at Fresno State and president of the Fresno State Black Faculty/Staff Association.

“Dr. Hironaka-Juteau was an American Council on Education fellow in 2012-13 and used the year to advance the implementation of Fresno State’s strategies on diversity, respect and inclusion,” said Castro, in an email to the University. “I remain committed to maintaining a campus known for its integrity, civility, equity, respect and ethical behavior. This commission leads our efforts and advises me on necessary steps to ensure that our University is safe and inclusive.”

The commission supports acceptance and fairness at all levels of the University. It developed a comprehensive plan to make sure this commitment is understood across the campus. As a result, Fresno State received the 2014 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award from “INSIGHT Into Diversity” magazine, one of the nation’s largest diversity-focused publications in higher education. Hironaka-Juteau replaces former commission chair Dr. Cynthia Teniente-Matson, who left Fresno State in January to become president of Texas A&M-San Antonio.

I am very excited about the opportunity to work with the Commission and to partner with Dr. Francine Oputa and Mr. Alex Espinoza to strengthen and advance efforts that create a welcoming and inclusive environment for students, staff and faculty,” said Hironaka-Juteau. “I am very much looking forward to it.”

Hironaka-Juteau was appointed interim dean of the College of Health and Human Services in July 2013, having served as associate dean since 2010. Since arriving at Fresno State in 1999, she has moved through the ranks from assistant to full professor in the Department of Recreation Administration and served as chair from 2007 to 2010.

Hironaka-Juteau regularly presents at regional, national, and international conferences on topics such as culture and diversity, inclusion, cause-related fitness and wellness, experiential education, and action research. She has established an active record of service resulting in the Provost’s Recognition for Achievements in Service in 2001 and 2006. In 2003, Hironaka-Juteau was awarded the Outstanding Educator Award by the California Park and Recreation Society Therapeutic Recreation Section.

As an active member on campus, Hironaka-Juteau has served in the Academic Senate, the President’s Task Force on Internationalization, the President’s Committee on Disabilities, the University Budget Committee and the Gender Equity Task Force as well as on numerous other campus committees.  She is recognized for her expertise and experience in the areas of diversity and inclusion training and collaboration.

Outside of the academic setting, Hironaka-Juteau has over 20 years of experience as a certified therapeutic recreation specialist working with children, teens, and adults in hospital and community-based settings. She has worked in the areas of physical medicine and rehabilitation, mental health, sensory impairment, and developmental disability. She even hosted a regular segment promoting fun family activities for the KVPT Valley Public Television parenting show 0-5 in 30 Minutes.

Hironaka-Juteau earned a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and Change from the Fielding Graduate University, and a master’s degree in Education and bachelor’s degree in Recreation Administration from Fresno State. She has attended the Institute for Women in Higher Education offered by HERS and the Harvard Graduate School of Education Management Development Program. She is also an alumna of the Leadership Fresno Program and the American Council on Education (ACE) Fellows Program.

For more information on the President’s Commission on Human Relations and Equity, please click here.

Scholarship honors memory of School of Nursing alum Molly Griffin

Fresno State’s School of Nursing and the family of Molly Griffin have established a scholarship in memory of the 2014 graduate who died in a car accident Feb. 21.

Ms. Griffin, 23, was killed when a suspected drunk driver ran a red light and struck her car at Friant and Copper avenues in north Fresno.

The other driver, Hector Castillo-Pichardo, was booked into Fresno County Jail on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and felony DUI. His passenger, Oscar Felix, 32, of Fresno and father of three, also died.

Ms. Griffin’s passenger and best friend Emily Krieghoff, 23, survived but was critically injured and is recovering at Community Regional Medical Center. Krieghoff had applied to Fresno State’s pre-nursing program for the fall 2015 semester as a transfer student from Fresno City College, according to the Fresno State Records Office.

Ms. Griffin, who attended Fresno Christian Schools in Fresno, graduated magna cum laude from Fresno State last May, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. She was employed at Madera Community Hospital.

The California Student Nursing Association at Fresno State posted this message in her honor Sunday:

“CNSA and the entire School of Nursing at Fresno State would like to send our thoughts and prayers to the Griffin Family as we mourn the loss of a bright young life. From those who knew her best to those who never had the pleasure of meeting her, words cannot express the sense of loss that sweeps over us all today. May her life and legacy live on in the hearts of her family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances. Rest in Peace, beautiful girl.”

In lieu of flowers, Ms. Griffin’s family asks that remembrances be made to the Molly Taylor Griffin Nursing Scholarship at Fresno State.

Checks should be payable to the Fresno State Foundation and mailed to 2345 E. San Ramon, M/S MH26, Fresno, CA 93740-8031. Donors may also contribute online at Mark “Other” and enter “Molly Taylor Griffin Scholarship.”

For more information, contact Dana Zupanovich Lucka at 559.278.3603.

Patro Bryant: Heroism that extends beyond the Title IV-E office

The Valley awoke to a much-needed downpour on the morning of February 23rd, but by that afternoon the skies had cleared and the sun was out. It was just another day for Patro Bryant, an administrative assistant in the Department of Social Work Education’s Title IV-E program. But little did he know that his day was about to get a lot more interesting.

Around 1 p.m. that afternoon, Bryant left the Fresno State Campus and headed eastbound on Gettysburg, toward his destination – home. It’s a routine trip he’s taken for the past three years while employed at Fresno State. He was stopped at a red light at the intersection of Gettysburg and Willow for a few minutes. When the light turned green, he accelerated – but what he saw next stopped him right in his tracks.

“All of a sudden, I see a lady run the red light heading west toward Willow,” Bryant said. “Inside the car, I saw her shaking and I knew something was not right. Even though she was going in the right direction, she had no control over her vehicle. It just wasn’t normal.”

Facebook user, Razz Acena, shared this image on facebook after witnessing the incident.

What happened next was like a scene plucked right out of an action movie. Bryant, without any regard for his own safety, jumped into action. After quickly putting his car in park, he jumped out and ran towards the woman’s car, which was going about 10 mph at the time. Bryant, along with another good samaritan, ran alongside the car while trying to break open the window in a valiant effort to stop the car before it caused damage to others.

At first Bryant tried to break the car window with his elbows, but was not able to crack the thick glass. Due to some quick thinking, Bryant remembered he had a pocketknife in his pocket. He pulled it out and with the heavy side of the handle, was able to shatter the car window after a couple of tries. He was then able to reach into the moving car to put on the brakes.

“We knew we had to stop her car,” said Bryant. “She was heading into oncoming traffic.”

The whole incident was over in a matter of minutes, and more importantly, nobody was injured. According to Bryant, the woman in the car continued to have seizures for the next three minutes, but eventually regained consciousness, although very disoriented. She was seen by paramedics and taken away in an ambulance, before she could meet the men that saved her life.

As for Bryant, he came away with just a few scratches from the broken glass, but was otherwise fine. He said in emergency situations that arise, he tries his best to step forward and help others.

In fact, this isn’t the first time Bryant has jumped into action. About two months ago while at the car wash, he thwarted a strong-arm robbery. He witnessed a female nearby getting mugged by a man, who was trying to steal her purse. Upon seeing this and without any hesitation on his part, Bryant chased down the suspect, who was later arrested. The female got her purse back thanks to Bryant.

Despite all of his heroic actions, Bryant remains humble and insists he is just doing the right thing.

“It’s no problem. I just want to be able to help others, especially in situations like that. They even call me Superman in the office now,” he said with a laugh.


Video courtesy of KMPH Fox 26 News. Feb. 24, 2014
Video courtesy of KMPH Fox 26 News. Feb. 24, 2014

We applaud Patro’s extraordinary compassion and heroism and are proud to have him on the CHHS team. The next time you see him around campus, let him know he is a HERO. Way to go Patro!

Legacy Dinner to Honor Social Work Heroes March 20th

2015 Social Work HeroesIn honor of National Social Work Month in March, the Department of Social Work Education at Fresno State will be hosting their annual Legacy Dinner on March 20th at TorNino’s Banquets. The event will bring together alumni, current and former faculty, friends and student ambassadors to celebrate the contributions the Department and its graduates have made in the Central Valley for over 62 years.

The leadership of social workers Dr. Benjamin Cuellar, Dr. Richard Ford and Corinne Florez will be recognized at the special event.

The profession of social work directly addresses the increased demand for health care, mental health services, family caregiving, child development, and veterans’ assistance. There are currently more than 650,000 professionally trained social workers in the United States, and the “Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts job growth to 800,000 by the year 2020.


Friday, March 20, 2015

5:30 p.m. Social Hour

6:30 p.m. Dinner

7:30 p.m. Awards Ceremony

Location: TorNino’s Banquets, 5080 N. Blackstone, Fresno, Ca 93710

Single Reservations: $65 ($85 at the door, if seats are still available)

Table of Eight: $520

To make your reservation today, please click HERE or for more information contact the Department of Social Work at 559.278.3992. Fresno State encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please call the number listed.

(For sponsorship information only, please contact Dana Lucka at

Dr. Helda Pinzon-Perez awarded Fulbright teaching and research award

Dr. Helda Pinzon-Perez, professor in the Department of Public Health and School of Nursing at Fresno State, has received a Fulbright Scholar Teaching and Research Award to study the impact of diabetes in indigenous communities in Peru. This is the second Fulbright Scholarship awarded to Pinzon-Perez, who previously earned the award in 2008.

In spring 2016, Pinzon-Perez will teach courses in health promotion at the School of Public Health and Administration at Cayeteno Heredia Peruvian University. She will also teach health policy and research techniques.

Pinzon-Perez will be joined in Peru by her husband, Dr. Miguel Perez, also a professor in the Department of Public Health at Fresno State and fellow Fulbright awardee. Their four children will join them during the four-month sabbatical.

Pinzon-Perez said she chose to study in Peru because the research she obtains will benefit the large Hispanic population in the Central Valley.

“Having my Fulbright in a Hispanic country will provide me with lessons on public health programs for Hispanics/Latinos that I could apply here in the United States,” Pinzon-Perez said. “Indigenous groups are a numerical majority in Peru. The Central Valley is a migration place for several indigenous groups and, for that reason, it is important that public health faculty learn the cultural and health-related behaviors of indigenous groups. Living in Peru will provide me with lessons on public health interventions and programs with indigenous communities that are culturally-sensitive and cost-effective.”

At Fresno State, Pinzon-Perez teaches a course on global and cultural issues in health, which she said provides the evidence-based knowledge necessary to teach health promotion in other countries. She hopes to one day build an international center for indigenous health and said her Fulbright experience will provide the knowledge needed to make that happen.

In 2008, Pinzon-Perez was awarded a Fulbright teaching and research award to conduct an in-depth study on the relationship between diabetes and obesity, known as diabesity. She also taught a public health course in the Dominican Republic. The results of her study were later published in two journals and presented at the 2009 World Congress of Public Health in Turkey.

“My 2008 Fulbright experience teaching health promotion in the Dominican Republic is an experience that has prepared me to teach in Peru due to cultural and language similarities,” Pinzon-Perez said. “I am very honored to receive the current Fulbright award and would like to express my highest gratitude to the Fulbright U.S. Scholar program for giving me this opportunity.”

I’m also thankful to Fresno State and Provost Lynette Zelezney for her encouragement and continued support. She has been a major moving force for faculty and students, in their quest for Fulbright awards. I also thank Dr. Paul Hofmann, assistant vice president for international affairs, as well as our current and former college deans and department chairs.”

Dr. Pinzon-Perez presenting at World Congress on Public Health. Feb. 2015.
Dr. Pinzon-Perez presenting at World Congress on Public Health. Feb. 2015.

In addition to serving as professor, Pinzon-Perez is also the director of the Master of Public Health program at Fresno State. She has been part of the Fresno State faculty since 1999.

Pinzon-Perez is an alumna of Fresno State, where she received three master’s degrees: health education (1992), public health (2008) and nursing (2011). She received her Ph.D. in health education at Pennsylvania State University in 1997.

The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which works with the Council for International Exchange of Scholars to provide overseas opportunities for faculty and professionals and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through study, teaching and research.

The Fulbright grants are highly competitive, boasting 310,000 U.S. and foreign scholars from 155 countries around the world, all of whom have participated in the program since its inception in 1946.

Pinzon-Perez recently returned from the 14th World Congress on Public Health in Kolkata, India, where she provided an oral presentation on “Health Care Needs of Indigenous Groups in California.”

Recreation Administration Hosts Professional In-Residence

Recreation Association members present Mollinedo with a certificate.

The Department of Recreation Administration was excited to host their first Professional In-Residence, Mr. Manuel Mollinedo. He is currently the director of the Parks, After School, Recreation and Community Services Department for the City of Fresno.

10923463_10155238776050721_6028413317561497680_oMollinedo visited the Fresno State campus on February 17th to speak with students about his professional experience and to help students understand the connection between classroom theory and practice. He served as a guest lecturer and met with students in the Recreation Association club to discuss how extracurricular activities may open doors during job searches. Mollinedo also gave them helpful advice on ways to develop leadership skills, which is much needed in any field.

The Department of Recreation Administration hopes to bring even more great professionals to campus as part of their Professional/Alumni In-Residence program. Each of the option areas in the department will host their own guest during the spring 2015 semester. Option areas include: Adventure Recreation and Tourism; Commercial Recreation and Event Planning; Community Recreation and Youth Services; Sports and Entertainment Facility Management; and Therapeutic Recreation.

Thank you to the Recreation Association for their coordination of the event. Learn more about the Department of Recreation Administration by visiting their website.


Our College empowers students to take a whole body approach to improving the quality of life. Our faculty and students are dedicated to helping Central California live well. Click through the slideshow to the right to learn about each of our seven departments within our college: Communicative Disorders and Deaf Studies, Kinesiology, Physical Therapy, Public Health, Recreation Administration, School of Nursing and Social Work Education and Gerontology.


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