School of Health studies gets its first chair

The College of Health and Human Sciences, School of Health Studies has its first chair. Jeanne M. Isabel, an award-winning educator and former NIU Medical Laboratory Sciences program director, will take over the role June 1.

“Dr. Isabel is a respected leader here at NIU and she is nationally recognized in her field. We are excited that she will lead this interdisciplinary school,” said CHHS Dean Derryl Block.

The School of Health Studies was formed in 2016 to house the Medical Laboratory Sciences, Nutrition and Dietetics, and Public Health programs. CHHS Associate Dean for Research and Resources James Ciesla was the interim chair.

Isabel comes to the role with extensive experience here at NIU. She began instructing here in 1989, but also earned her bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctoral degree from NIU. She became the MLS program director in 2006. And, along the way, she’s earned honors.

In 2016, Isabel received the NIU Excellent in Undergraduate Teaching award – an honor given by students who said she “embodies all of the qualities of an exceptional professor and mentor.”

She has also received the CHHS’s Fisher Award for Excellence in Service in 2006, the Lankford Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2016, and was recently honored for the second time as Educator of the Year by ASCLS-IL. Isabel said she plans to use her a passion for NIU and the programs in the CHHS to help the School of Health Sciences grow.

“I want to see us bloom. We’ll find a way to help the faculty recognize the benefit we can serve each other,” Isabel said. “We already have collaboration. As chair, I’m hoping I can help build on what is already happening.

Fostering strong research experiences and facilitating scholarly activities, is one of Isabel’s priorities. She herself is involved in ongoing research projects, including a study of the incidence of prediabetes in Belize. This summer, she will continue the research she began in 2016 on diabetes screening assessment for people living in Belize. She also plans to explore herbs that may be beneficial for those patients with diabetes.

She’ll spend summer’s remainder settling in to her new post.

“I want to get to know the faculty better and find out what role I can play to help them, and their students, be successful,” Isabel said.

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