James Madison University

Health Sciences Department Welcomes New Faculty

By: Dina Manco
Posted: October 15, 2015

This semester, the Health Sciences department welcomes three new faculty members: Dr. Jessica Goodman, Dr. Sarah Rush, and Dr. France Weaver.

Dr. Jessica Goodman

PHOTO:Dr. Jessica GoodmanDr. Jessica Goodman holds a M.A. from East Carolina University in Health Education and Promotion and recently received her Ph.D. in Education from Southern Illinois University (SIU). She worked with students and facilitated courses on Personal Wellness, Human Sexuality, and Women’s Health as a teaching assistant at SIU for two years.

Goodman says, “I believe teaching in some capacity is what’s natural to me. When I was younger, I tutored my younger brother and cousins in math, reading, and social studies…I feel like life is partially about learning and then teaching what you know to others. Teaching and learning go hand in hand.”

She also worked as a Certified Nurse’s Assistant and Health Education Specialist prior to her graduate career. She is currently delving into two research projects: non-residential fatherhood and child custody issues for African Americans and hair as a physical activity barrier for women. Goodman has been published in American Journal of Health Education.

At JMU, Goodman is facilitating two sections of HTH 100: Personal Wellness.

Dr. Sarah Rush

PHOTO:Dr. Sarah RushDr. Sarah Rush’s professional interests lie in behavior change and studying the physical and social effects of diseases. She taught courses at The University of Alabama for five years while studying Health Education and Promotion at the graduate level.

Rush says, “I had unbelievably inspiring educators and mentors during my graduate work, and I decided I wanted to be a part of shaping the lives of others the way these mentors did mine.”

Some of her research in mindfulness-based stress reduction and nutritional intake have been published to mediums such as the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine and Pediatric Health, Medicine and Therapeutics.  

Rush is teaching HTH 245: Introduction to Infectious Diseases and HTH 351: Health Behavior Change for the Fall 2015 semester.

Dr. France Weaver

PHOTO:Dr. France WeaverSwitzerland native Dr. France Weaver is trained in Health Economics. She moved to the U.S. to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for her Ph.D. in Health Policy and Administration. She also taught Health Economics at the University of Geneva for five years.

Her research interests include the impact of homecare services on the use of other types of healthcare services; she is published on the topic of how informal care availability affects hospitalization. These subjects are especially relevant since the Shenandoah area has a large retiree community.

 In addition to the area’s appeal to her research, Weaver comments, “I really like the culture of the school [JMU], how there are close interaction between students and faculty and how it’s really about training students to become citizens. You know, it’s not only about teaching them things but…giving them skills that can be useful in their job or life.”

Weaver is teaching HSA 363: Health Economics and HTH 320: Health Statistics for her first semester at JMU.

Goodman, Rush, Weaver look forward to guiding students to become engaged and informed in the health sciences.


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