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Academic Affairs Honors Three Faculty Members for Work

Published: July 1, 2013

Three faculty members at CSULB have been recognized by the Division of Academic Affairs for their efforts in a variety of areas, including early career achievement, mentoring and impact accomplishment of the year in research, scholarly and creative activity.

Kevin Malotte, Archstone Endowed Chair and director of CSULB’s Center for Health Care Innovation, was honored with the Academic Affairs Award for Impact Accomplishment of the Year in Research, Scholarly and Creative Activity; Editte Gharakhanian, professor of biological sciences, received the Academic Affairs Award for Outstanding Faculty Mentor for Student Engagement in Research, Scholarly and Creative Activity; and Savitri Singh-Carlson, assistant professor of nursing, was this year’s recipient of the Early Academic Career Excellence Award.

All three honorees were recognized at the 2013 University Achievement Awards, an end-of-the-year celebration of instruction, research, creative activity and service. Their accomplishments that led to their awards include:

Academic Affairs Award for Impact Accomplishment of the Year in Research, Scholarly and Creative Activity

Dr. Kevin Malotte recipient of the Academic Affairs Award
Kevin Malotte (c), recipient of the Academic Affairs Award for Impact Accomplishment of the Year in Research, Scholarly and Creative Activity, with College of Health and Human Services’ Dean Ken Millar and CSULB interim President Don Para.

Kevin Malotte’s research accomplishments and extensive contributions and services in community-based research have brought national recognition to CSULB. He has been an investigator on multiple Centers for Disease Control (CDC) funded studies, including one on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention.

Malotte was part of a team of researchers that conducted a study which involved giving a combined drug to heterosexual adults in Botswana to prevent HIV infection. He and his colleagues published their research, “Antiretroviral Preexposure Prophylaxis for Heterosexual HIV Transmission,” in the New England Journal of Medicine. It was one of the studies cited by the Food and Drug Administration in licensing the first drug for the prevention of HIV in the United States. Malotte and his colleagues are continuing to conduct analysis on the data from this study with his work supporting CDC behavioral scientists. He has also served as a consultant for the CDC on PrEP clinic-based counseling guidance work.

Malotte serves as the director of CSULB’s Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions Project, a five-year, $4.7 million project funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It has brought together faculty members and students from across the university to focus on minority health and health equity research and training. During the first few years of the project, 13 students have served as health scholars, five of whom have enrolled or been accepted in doctoral programs.

Additionally, Malotte is the evaluation and learning team leader for Building Healthy Communities, Long Beach, which is committed to building a community where health care and prevention resources are available for all children, school attendance increases, the childhood obesity epidemic is reversed and youth violence is reduced. He also is working with CSULB’s Thomas Alex Washington of the Department of Social Work on research funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse that focuses on an HIV testing intervention.

Academic Affairs Award for Outstanding Faculty Mentor for Student Engagement in Research, Scholarly, Creative Activity

Dr. Editte Gharakhanian recipient of the Academic Affairs Award
Editte Gharakhanian (c), recipient of the Academic Affairs Award for Outstanding Faculty Mentor for Student Engagement in Research, Scholarly and Creative Activity, with College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics’ Dean Laura Kingsford (l) and CSULB interim President Don Para.

Since she joined the Biological Sciences Department in 1990, Editte Gharakhanian has developed a notable reputation for inspiring and challenging students as well as mentoring them through the entire scientific process from research design to implementation, presentation and publication.

Over the last 18 months, she has secured an NSF grant and an NIH award that support the research of eight students—five undergraduate students and three graduate students. Together in her lab, they conduct research on cellular biology, specifically the study of cell trafficking and its impact on cancer and diseases such as Tay-Sachs and Alzheimer’s. The students have co-authored three peer-reviewed publications and made several conference presentations.

In the past five years, her students have presented their work at CSUPeRB, CSULB student competitions, national ABRCMS meetings, American Society for Cell Biology and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Students have received honors for their poster and oral presentation achievements at these conferences.

After graduating, most of Gharakhanian’s students continue on to work in scientific fields or advance to Ph.D. programs—a testament to her vested interest in developing the career trajectory for her mentees.

Gharakhanian is known for her sustained and concerted effort to mentor students at multiple levels. In addition to the CSULB students she works with, she mentors high school and community college students eager to participate in laboratory research.

She also is the research director for the NIH Bridges to Baccalaureate program, a nine-week summer research experience for minority students from Long Beach City and Cerritos community colleges. Gharakhanian coordinates CSULB mentor selection and matching with community college student applicants and directs workshops on scientific methods, poster presentations and laboratory experimental approaches for each cohort of this program.

Early Academic Career Excellence Award

Dr. Savitri Singh-Carlson recipient of the Early Academic Career Excellence Award
Savitri Singh-Carlson (center), recipient of the Early Academic Career Excellence Award, with College of Health and Human Services’ Dean Ken Millar (l) and CSULB interim President Don Para.

Savitri Singh-Carlson, a member of CSULB’s School of Nursing since 2008, got off to a fast start toward her Early Academic Career Excellence Award after acquiring her doctorate in 2007 from the University of Alberta.

Established in 2008, the Early Academic Career Excellence Award is designed to recognize the outstanding and extraordinary academic and professional achievements of a faculty member, at the early career stage, who has made major contributions to the profession and university.

After only two years on the job, Singh-Carlson was asked to serve as assistant director of the graduate program in nursing. Her successful restructuring of the MSN degree specialties made it possible for nursing majors to graduate faster. Her use of adult learning strategies and mentoring has resulted in the completion of 97 student projects/theses since 2009, including ongoing or incomplete projects for students who would not have graduated otherwise.

Singh-Carlson’s research focuses mainly on qualitative research methodology that helps to understand breast cancer patients’ experiences and the meaning of their illness. She has been the recipient of three consecutive RSCA mini, summer and assigned-time grants that allowed her to become involved in interdisciplinary research projects at the Long Beach Memorial Todd Cancer Center, where she helps to evaluate and implement the benefits of a mentorship program for breast cancer survivors.

Together with faculty from the physical therapy, psychology and nursing departments, Singh-Carlson received one of CSULB’s first multidisciplinary research grants for a study titled “A Multifactorial, Interdisciplinary Intervention to Reduce the Risk of Falling in a Group of Community Dwelling Older Adults.”

She is the author of two books, a book chapter and 19 peer-reviewed articles; has made 46 presentations at conferences; and has been invited to three major national and international workshops.

In 2010, Singh-Carlson was one of 50 people nationally to receive a prestigious fellowship award from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

She has served on CSULB’s International Education Committee and the President’s Commission on the Status of Women as well as the College of Health and Human Services Research Committee and the Graduate Council.

–Linda Fontes