Retired Professor Conducts Research on Tick-borne Illnesses

For some faculty members, “retirement” is not a term to be taken literally.

Suny New Paltz web portraits.

Dr. Phyllis Freeman

After more than 38  “productive and rewarding” years at SUNY New Paltz – including serving as an undergraduate and graduate instructor, an early director of the Honors Program, dean of the Graduate School, and associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences — psychology professor emeritus Phyllis Freeman has joined the Hudson Valley Healing Arts Center (HVHAC) as a clinical research associate. She spent her sabbatical year working at the Center, and was thrilled to be invited by Medical Director Richard Horowitz to join the team when she retired in January.

The HVHAC specializes in the treatment of Lyme disease and other tick-borne disorders, and Freeman is currently conducting a number of diagnostic and treatment studies of the MSIDS model (Multiple Systemic Infections Disease Syndrome) developed by Horowitz for chronic illnesses. In addition to coordinating research projects with laboratories, drug companies, and other treatment centers nationwide, she also educates her fellow HVHAC staff on challenges facing chronically ill patients and their caregivers.

“At this point of my life, it is enormously rewarding to put my health psychology research and teaching experiences to use in service to those so ill with long-term tick-borne disease and associated illnesses,” said Freeman.  “Tick-borne diseases are an enormous public health crisis. The latest CDC estimates are that at least 300,000 Americans contract one of these tick-borne illnesses (Lyme disease) each year.”

Freeman’s current research assistant, Meredith Johnson, is a graduate of the Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling program at SUNY New Paltz. She has also joined forces with her former SUNY New Paltz colleague, associate psychology professor Maryalice Citera, to conduct validation studies of the MSIDS model.

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