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EXPERTS AVAILABLE: Mizzou scholars available for Valentine’s Day and Heart Health Awareness

January 22nd, 2018

Story Contact: Sheena Rice, 573-882-8353,

The views and opinions expressed in this “for expert comment” release are based on research and/or opinions of the researcher(s) and/or faculty member(s) and do not reflect the University’s official stance.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – With February right around the corner, attention is turning to matters of the heart—both in the literal and metaphorical sense. The University of Missouri offers the following scholars with various areas of expertise as you work on stories about love and relationships for Valentine’s Day. Scholars also are available to speak to keeping one’s heart healthy as February is Heart Disease Awareness month.

Love and Relationships

  • Healthy relationships: Chelsea Garneau-Rosner’s research is aimed at better understanding how family processes impact the well-being of individuals, couples and families. She has particular expertise in understanding complex families, including those formed through experiences such as divorce, remarriage, cohabitation and non-marital childbearing. Garneau-Rosner is the director of ShowMe Healthy Relationships, which provides classes in the community to strengthen couple and family relationships. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science.
  • Love after 60: Jacquelyn Benson, an expert in older adult relationships, is studying a new phenomenon called ‘Living Apart Together’ (LAT)—an intimate relationship without a shared residence, primarily among older adults. She can address some of the potential challenges facing LAT couples, such as family caregiving and decision-making. Benson is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science and director of the MU Love After 60 lab.
  • Four-legged love: Rebecca Johnson and her team research the positive health benefits pets have in people’s lives. Along with unconditional love, our four-legged friends can help lower blood pressure, encourage exercise and improve psychological health. Her research studies U.S. military veterans, older adults, children with autism and prison inmates. Johnson is the Millsap Professor of Gerontological Nursing and Public Policy and the director of the Research Center for Human Animal Interaction. She is a professor in the Sinclair School of Nursing and the College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Wine and chocolate: Vickie Vieira-Potter studies how behavioral and biological factors influence metabolism. An expert on nutrition, she can address recent studies that have identified potential health benefits of common Valentine’s Day gifts—wine and chocolate—when consumed in moderation. Vieira-Potter is an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology.

Heart Disease Awareness Month

  • Stress and the heart: Anand Chockalingam has specialized expertise in preventative medicine and heart disease. Chockalingam is available to discuss why (and how) stress can be harmful to heart health. He can also address how to cope with stress and other lifestyle changes that benefit heart health. Chockalingam is a cardiologist at MU Health Care.
  • Heart guidelines: Brian Bostick, a cardiologist at MU Health Care, is available to discuss the new guidelines recently announced by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association. Specifically he can explain what the new guidelines are, what changed, and what they means for patients.

For interviews with these or other Mizzou experts, please contact Sheena Rice at (573) 882-8353 or