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New CPASS faculty member will help prepare next generation of wellness professionals

The newest faculty member in the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences envisions expanding the foundation of the innovative Health and Well-being major. Emily Murphy will serve as associate professor with tenure, beginning August 14, 2020.

Murphy says the major is important at both an individual and community level. “I am excited to teach the next generation of wellness professionals about the various ways we can develop, maintain and improve health and wellbeing for people across the lifespan. Within this program, we can help to ensure that the communities that we live, play, pray and work promote health and well-being,” said Murphy.

"We are thrilled to have Emily joining our CPASS family. Many of us know the quality and impact of her work through various collaborations over the years. She brings an impressive record of grant funding and embodies the land-grant mission in her health promotion work," said Sam Zizzi, Dr. Pat Fehl Endowed Professor and associate dean for research. 

According to Murphy, the timing of the new major is significant. “During these surreal times where we are all adjusting to our ‘new normal’ of the COVID-19 pandemic, health and wellbeing are a critical component. As we begin to go back to school, work and other social settings, the importance of health promotion and wellness will be more significant than they ever have been,” she said.

“This is an exciting major that has already received much attention at the university-level. The major has limitless chances to expand wellness for individuals, the university and communities throughout West Virginia. I am pleased to be a part of all the possibilities,” she added.

Murphy has collaborated with numerous CPASS faculty from very early on in her career. One of her mentors, Dr. Linda Carson, was the first Ware Distinguished Professor in CPASS. 

“I have partnered with various faculty within CPASS throughout my profession. Even though I am starting a new career adventure, it already feels like home to me. This is a thrilling opportunity to teach young professionals and instill my passion for health and wellbeing,” Murphy said.

As a health and wellness professional for more than 20 years, Murphy sees the need for young professionals who are committed to wellness, as endless. She says she is looking forward to exploring future opportunities with students.

She has been and is currently the Principal Investigator on grants obtained from several federal agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Department of Agriculture. 

Most recently, Murphy served as associate professor with Family and Community Development Program Unit within the WVU Extension Service in the role of obesity prevention specialist. Although not a native West Virginian, Murphy has lived in WV since 1993 when she came to WVU as an undergraduate student.

She received her BS in 1996, MS in 1998 and PhD in 2007 all in Exercise Physiology from the WVU School of Medicine. While completing her PhD, she worked as a research instructor within the Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, on several statewide obesity prevention initiatives.

Upon her completion of her PhD, she was promoted to research assistant professor with Pediatrics and then transitioned to her new role with Extension in 2010. Murphy is currently chair of the Faculty Senate for the 2019-20 academic year. 

Her teaching, research and service all focus on individual, environmental and systems changes that promote making the healthier choice the easier choice for children, families and communities throughout West Virginia and nationwide.

She resides in Morgantown with her husband Eric, who is the assistant director for Service Learning and Civic Engagement at WVU. Her daughter, Michal, is a sophomore at Morgantown High School, president of her class and a soccer player. Her son, Emerson, is a sixth grader at South Middle School and enjoys cross county, wrestling and band. 

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