issue Winter 2023

University News

Ernest Vasseur, MTS and Dr. Chris Connaboy
Photo by Michael R. Schmidt

Ernest Vasseur Joins RFU Board of Trustees

By Sara Skoog and Amy Knutson Strack

Ernest Vasseur, MTS, elected to RFU’s Board of Trustees in summer 2022, brings to the university more than 25 years of experience in local and regional philanthropic foundations dedicated to helping underserved residents overcome barriers to health care, education and other essential services.

Mr. Vasseur is currently the interim executive director of the Julian Grace Foundation, a private foundation focused on grant-making that creates “a just, unified and hopeful world,” according to its mission statement. He previously served as founding executive director of the Healthcare Foundation of Northern Lake County (HFNLC), an organization dedicated to improving healthcare access for underserved residents through grants to universities, hospitals, health clinics and community organizations. HFNLC’s partnership with RFU has provided invaluable support, guidance and insights into the specific needs of the populations that both organizations serve. The foundation’s support of university initiatives such as the RFU Care Coach has helped bring much-needed health screenings, patient education, flu shots and connections to additional health and social service resources for more than a decade. HFNLC was a vital partner in RFU’s efforts to provide COVID vaccines to Lake County’s most vulnerable residents during the pandemic.

Mr. Vasseur earned a bachelor of arts degree in social work from Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky, and a master of theological studies from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois.

As an RFU trustee, Mr. Vasseur serves on the board’s research and diversity, equity and inclusion committees. He also serves as a member of the RFU Health Clinics Board of Directors.

Chris Connaboy, PhD, Named Clear Director

By Sara Skoog

Dr. Chris Connaboy, associate professor of podiatric medicine and surgery, was named director of RFU’s Center for Lower Extremity Ambulatory Research (CLEAR) and the Human Performance Laboratory effective July 2022. He previously served as director of the Sports Medicine and Nutrition PhD program track at the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.

Dr. Connaboy has expertise in understanding the processes of human performance optimization with regards to movement, coordination and the perceptuo-motor processes involved in performing skilled actions. He currently serves as principal investigator or co-PI on research studies for the Department of Defense (“Complex Remote Analytics for a Tactical Ubiquitous Sensor System”) and NASA (examining the effects of a validated exercise regimen with guided imagery on behavioral health, fatigue and cognitive, sensorimotor and immune system function). He has also conducted research for the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence, the United States Air Force, and the National Institutes of Health’s Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Dr. Connaboy earned his PhD in motor control and biomechanics from the University of Edinburgh (Scotland, U.K.). Prior to undertaking his academic career, Dr. Connaboy served as an infantry soldier in the Black Watch, Royal Highland Regiment in the British Army.