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SFSU Public Affairs Press Release

Child Health Month Experts at San Francisco State University


Contact: Christina Holmes
phone: (415) 338-1665

Child Health Month Experts at San Francisco State University

Professors available to comment about children's well-being from social, emotional, physical standpoint

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 4, 2001 - October is officially designated as Child Health Month, but many San Francisco State University professors and students work on a daily basis throughout the year to improve the emotional, social and physical well-being of children in the Bay Area and beyond.

   The following highlights some of the work performed by SFSU professors who are available for interviews to discuss their research projects or to talk in general about the needs of children.

Amy Hittner, professor of counseling, has spent the last several decades working on early childhood violence prevention and counseling. Hittner can discuss a parent's role in violence prevention and how to teach parents to better communicate with their children. In addition, she's an expert on the importance of parental involvement in a child's education and teaching students to set goals, especially in health care-related careers.

An ongoing project of Hittner's is SafeStart, a teacher-training program that gives early-childhood educators, childcare workers and parents violence-related counseling and prevention techniques that are then passed along to children. A three-year study found that children as young as 3 are learning the skills necessary to avoid violent encounters. This violence prevention program is the only one of its kinds in California. Hittner can be reached at (415) 338-7642 or via e-mail at

Charlotte Ferretti,professor of nursing and interim director of the Marian Wright Edelman Institute, is also actively involved in Valencia Health Services as the clinic's co-project director. Her areas of expertise include school-based health programs, interdisciplinary practice for health professions and managed care for underserved populations.

   The Mission District clinic serves more than 2,700 patients a year, a majority of them children from economically challenged neighborhoods. The center opened in 1999 and SFSU students in nursing, social work, health education and computer science work with students from University of California, San Francisco, and faculty nurse practitioners to deliver health care to hundreds of low-income families who would otherwise go without health services.

The two main priorities for Valencia, located at 1647 Valencia St., are serving the community and providing hands-on education for University students. During this nursing shortage, Valencia plays a vital role in preparing future nurses with the knowledge, skills and cultural competence to address the needs of San Francisco's most vulnerable children. With each new day there are dozens of heartwarming stories involving children suffering from asthma, children in need of medical attention for infections, colds and coughs, and nurse practitioners who believe children's mental health is as important as their physical health. Ferretti can be reached at (415) 338-1578 or via e-mail at

Bill Michaelis, professor of recreation and leisure studies, is a world-renowned expert in the field of children at play, giving lectures and offering workshops to camp counselors, teachers and colleagues on ways to involve children in recreation activities.

Michaelis has written a game leader's handbook and produced a video on the best games for children, teens, adults and families. He's an expert on how play affects creativity, learning, development, and self-esteem and has also researched team building, conflict resolution and children and family issues. Michaelis is also director of Children Together, an international play event and leadership training organization. Michaelis can be reached at (415) 338-7576 (work), (650) 359-0836 (home) or via e-mail at

Erik Rosegard, assistant professor of recreation and leisure studies, studies children at play. His interests lie in the social psychological aspects of leisure behavior (play) and he advocates a child's right to play. In addition, Rosegard facilitates the play process for individuals wanting to recapture a sense of wonder, their creativity and their childhood.

  Rosegard says play and recess provide children a safe environment and the freedom to be spontaneous. However, more than 40 percent of school districts in the United States have cut or are considering the elimination of recess in favor of academic achievement. He believes this decision by school districts is ironic given that play is vital to a child's cognitive, social, physical and emotional development. Rosegard can be reached at (415) 405-0911 or via e-mail at

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Last modified April 24, 2007, by Office of Public Affairs