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Gloria Yueh
Professor and Chair of Biochemistry, Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine
Y. Gloria Yueh, Ph.D., is professor and chair of biochemistry in the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine (AZCOM) at Midwestern University's Glendale (AZ) Campus.
Linda Walters
Professor of Anatomy, Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine
Linda Walters, Ph.D, is an anatomy professor in the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine (AZCOM) at Midwestern University's Glendale (AZ) Campus.
Kathleen O'Hagan
Department Chair and Professor of Physiology, Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine
Kathleen P. O'Hagan, Ph.D., is professor and chair of the Department of Physiology at Midwestern University's Downers Grove (IL) Campus.
Adjunct Faculty, Physical Therapy, College of Health Sciences
Kevin Quinn, PT, MPT, MS, ATC, is adjunct faculty in Physical Therapy at Midwestern University's Downers Grove (IL) campus.
Mitchell Emerson
Interim Chair, College of Pharmacy-Glendale
Mitchell Emerson, Ph.D., is Interim Chair in the College of Pharmacy–Glendale at Midwestern University's Glendale (AZ) Campus.
Shridhar Andurkar
Associate Professor and Chair, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chicago College of Pharmacy
Shridhar Andurkar, Ph.D., is associate professor and chair of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the Chicago College of Pharmacy (CCP) at Midwestern University's Downers Grove (IL) Campus.
Jennifer D'Souza
Assistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice, Chicago College of Pharmacy
Jennifer D'Souza, Pharm.D., CDE, is assistant professor of Pharmacy Practice in the Chicago College of Pharmacy (CCP) at Midwestern University's Downers Grove (IL) Campus.
Brad Smith
Associate Dean, College of Dental Medicine-AZ
Brad Smith, D.D.S., B.Sc., is Associate Dean in the College of Dental Medicine-Arizona at Midwestern University's Glendale (AZ) Campus.
David Luce
Assistant Professor, Physician Assistant Studies, College of Health Sciences
David Luce, M.M.S., PA-C, is assistant professor of Physician Assistant Studies in the College of Health Sciences at Midwestern University's Downers Grove (IL) Campus.
Donald Jarnigan
Dean, Arizona College of Optometry
Donald Jarnigan, O.D., is the Dean of Arizona College of Optometry (AZCOPT) at Midwestern University's Glendale (AZ) Campus.
Phil Huang
Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine
Phil Huang, D.O., is a 2012 graduate of the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (CCOM) at Midwestern University's Downers Grove (IL) Campus.
Tolu Akinwale
Chicago College of Pharmacy, Downers Grove Campus
Tolu Akinwale is a 2013 graduate in the Chicago College of Pharmacy at Midwestern University's Downers Grove (IL) Campus.
Allison Rushing
College of Health Sciences, Downers Grove Campus
Allison Rushing, D.P.T., is a 2012 graduate of the Physical Therapy Program in the College of Health Sciences (CHS) at Midwestern University's Downers Grove (IL) campus.
Sam Funk
Arizona College of Optometry
Sam Funk is a student in the Arizona College of Optometry (AZCOPT) at Midwestern University's Glendale (AZ) campus.
Laura Sibrava
College of Dental Medicine-Arizona
Laura Sibrava, D.M.D., is a 2012 graduate of the College of Dental Medicine-Arizona at Midwestern University's Glendale (AZ) Campus.
Heather Thoreson
College of Pharmacy-Glendale
Heather Thoreson, Pharm.D., is a 2012 graduate of the College of Pharmacy-Glendale (CPG) at Midwestern University's Glendale (AZ) Campus.
Hillary Carnell
Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine
Hillary Carnell, D.O., is a 2012 graduate of the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine (AZCOM) at Midwestern University's Glendale (AZ) Campus.
Danny Wu
College of Health Sciences, Glendale Campus
Danny Wu is a graduate from the College of Health Sciences (CHS) at Midwestern University's Glendale (AZ) Campus.
Jared Techau
College of Health Sciences, Glendale Campus
Jared Techau is a graduate from the College of Health Sciences (CHS) at Midwestern University's Glendale (AZ) Campus.
Safi Mohammed
Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine
Safi Mohammed is a student in the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (CCOM) at Midwestern University's Downers Grove (IL) Campus.
Diane Baldemor
College of Health Sciences – Downers Grove
Diane Baldemor is a student in the College of Health Sciences (CHS) at Midwestern University's Downers Grove (IL) Campus.
Chessa Calabrese
College of Dental Medicine-Illinois
Chessa Calabrese is a student in the College of Dental Medicine at Midwestern University's Downers Grove (IL) Campus.
Eder Garavito
College of Health Sciences, Glendale Campus
Eder Garavito is a 2013 graduate in the inaugural class of the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program in the College of Health Sciences.

When pathways are clear, all is well. The race ends as expected, the heart keeps pumping, a healthy baby is born. But when the environment changes — weather, exercise, emotions, or anything else . . . . Well, that's when life gets interesting.

What Happens During Exercise?

As she monitors the colony of expectant animals in her laboratory, the physiologist's curiosity is engaged by one animal's circulatory response to exercise: blood flow to the uterus drops. Questions arise: How is uterine circulation controlled during exercise? What roles do the brain, nerves, and blood vessels play in this response? Is control of uterine blood flow different in pregnancy?

Clearly, physical activity benefits women with healthy pregnancies. What is not as clear is the impact of physical activity on pregnancy outcomes when the pregnancy is complicated by hypertension, pre-eclampsia, or intrauterine growth restriction — states where oxygen and nutrient delivery to the fetus are lower than normal, even at rest. "A good understanding of what drives normal physiology helps us target mechanisms that might be responsible for abnormal function in disease states," says Kathleen O'Hagan. "In other words, we start by asking, 'What is normal, and what is not?' The next step is to ask, 'How are these mechanisms changed, and do they contribute to problems with uterine blood flow during exercise in pregnancies complicated by hypertension or other disease states?' That's what physiologists do: try and solve problems related to how the body functions at rest and in response to change, such as the stress of disease, environment, or activity."

Kathleen O'Hagan, professor and chair of physiology in the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (CCOM) at Midwestern University, holds a lifelong fascination with physiological processes and their functions in health and disease. Solving problems and helping others find possible options are her passions. "We're preparing professionals for a lifetime of clinical work — a science-based medical practice — and we want to be sure they know how to apply the knowledge they learn. After all, it's just like educating patients, which is what good healthcare practitioners should do."

That's what physiologists do: try and solve problems related to how the body functions at rest and in response to change, such as the stress of disease, environment, or activity."
— Kathleen O'Hagan, Ph.D., Downers Grove

Research Accolades

Each year, MWU's department of physiology hosts as many as six master's-level graduate students and up to five second-year osteopathic medical students in research laboratories that include an AAALAC-accredited animal facility. "Midwestern's commitment to scholarly research in the basic sciences helps faculty maintain dual roles as teachers and scientists," says O'Hagan. "For example, a select group of second-year medical students are awarded a stipend through the AZCOM and CCOM Summer Fellowship programs, which allows them to engage in a research project with an MWU faculty member in the summer between their first and second years. Many of these students present their research findings at the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) annual research conference. The quality of their work is high, which is reflected by numerous awards garnered over the years by our students in the AOA student poster competitions."

Teaching Try-Out

What O'Hagan truly enjoys is seeing how students learn and grow in class. She teaches in the team-taught physiology courses for osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and health sciences students, and serves as the primary lecturer for the exercise physiology course for physical therapy students. In her elective course on physiology teaching, high-scoring osteopathic medicine students act as small-group facilitators for health sciences students, trying their hand at teaching. "You'll do well in teaching or in educating patients if you're a social person, someone who enjoys sharing your knowledge and helping others," says O'Hagan. "It's important to learn to listen to your patients, too. That's where you get the most valuable information," she says. "To make your assessment and formulate a treatment plan, you have to be able to integrate information and apply it to each situation. The process of teaching helps you develop those skills."

Best of Both Worlds

During her 15 years at Midwestern University, O'Hagan has been amazed by the expansion and growth, including new programs and a new campus. "We have high quality programs with high quality students, and we continue to serve the greater good by expanding services for healthcare in many ways. The mission of Midwestern University faculty is to prepare students for a lifetime of science-based medical practice. We emphasize knowledge that can be applied to patient care."

O'Hagan also feels the close-knit, collaborative, non-competitive environment at Midwestern University models the osteopathic profession. "Most of our students live on campus and develop friendships that can last a lifetime. As faculty, we also mentor and encourage each other and work together on everything from committees to recreational activities. It's fun to come to work."


O'Hagan, Ph.D.Kathleen P. O'Hagan, Ph.D., is professor and chair of the Department of Physiology at Midwestern University's Downers Grove (IL) Campus. In addition to teaching and research, she publishes in peer-reviewed journals, has received extramural grant support, and serves as a peer reviewer for the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners.


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