Pulse Magazine, Spring 2022

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Dean’s Welcome Kristine Retherford with the first ever issue of Pulse magazine. Pulse was started under her tenure as a way to feature some of the stories across the College. After 10 years of service “Dean Kris” will retire, effective July 31, 2022.

College of Allied Health & Nursing Departments Dental Education Family Consumer Science Health Science Human Performance Recreation, Parks & Leisure Services School of Nursing Social Work Speech, Hearing & Rehabilitation Services The College of Allied Health & Nursing is dedicated to promoting health and wellness through education and service to the state, region, and global community. The purpose of PULSE is to share the ongoing commitment of the College with students, alumni, donors, and the broader community. Stay connected: @CollegeofAHN @MNSU_AHN @MNSU_AHN

pulse It has been my great pleasure to serve as the Dean of the College of Allied Health and Nursing for the past ten years. One of our first goals was to launch Pulse, a magazine devoted to telling some of the wonderful stories about the impact of our students, faculty, alumni and donors. These stories often reflect our work in allied health and nursing—a balance of art and science. This is also a theme you’ll see featured in this issue of Pulse and is evident in some of the highlights from this year: We celebrated five years in the Clinical Sciences Building; our partnerships with regional medical and educational organizations have expanded and the number of students interested in health and wellness careers are increasing. We now offer more online, simulation, telepractice and virtual reality opportunities for students than ever and were able to offer our Health and Biomedical Sciences Summit to nearly 400 participants in a hybrid in-person and online format. My time as Dean has been a wonderful ride – thank you for the opportunity to be part of this College’s growth and success. I am excited to see what comes next. But for now, thank you for keeping your finger on the pulse of the College of Allied Health and Nursing. Warm regards Kris Retherford, Dean

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Spring 2022 Volume Nine

College of Allied Health & Nursing Minnesota State University, Mankato 124 Myers Field House Mankato, MN 56001 Phone: 507-389-6315 www.ahn.mnsu.edu Managing Editor/Writer AmyJo Lennartson Designer Vanessa Knewtson Contributing Writers Jennifer Hildebrandt Lori Pickell-Stangel Nicole Sisk Print Coordinator Ryan Schuh

An Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity University. This document is available in alternative format to individuals with disabilities by calling the College of Allied Health and Nursing at 507389-6315 (V),800-627-3529 or 711 (MRS/TTY). AHNU149NE


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Initiative focuses on inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility.


Mock disaster drill helps transition students from role playing to the real world.


Meet Megan Dohm, MA, RN, CHSE, aka: “the moulage artist.”



“Dean Kris” reflects on her 10 years with the College.



News, updates and highlights from around the College.


An alumna returns to campus to see if art really can heal.


New program brings smiles to underserved communities.


Dr. William Dobbs shares his journey to creating a new scholarship.

Alumni honor classmate through children’s book.

Goal is to improve the number of providers in outstate Minnesota.






ABOUT THE COVER Students in the Spring 2022 Family and Consumer Science Food and Culture class— pictured here in this cover photo outtake—took a quick break to share their creations, which included African Shakshuka, African Egusi Soup and Fufu, and African Chicken and Dried Fig Tagine. The class, which is just one of the many opportunities our students have to explore the intersection of health and wellness with creativity, introduces students to basic culinary techniques while learning about various cultures. They were photographed just down the hall from the new food lab in Wiecking Center, in front of a sprawling fabric art piece titled “Building Blocks.” College of Allied Health & Nursing | 3


Healing Mission of Art by Jennifer Hildebrandt ’91

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Schedule a walking date with an old college roommate on the campus of the university you attended a few years back. Calculate the years since you graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato: you in 1991, she in 1992. Begrudgingly admit to yourself that “a few years back” is actually decades. Shake your head and think, how did that happen? Your mission for the day: spend time with a dear friend viewing artwork purchased through the Percent for Art program placed in various locations across the College of Allied Heath and Nursing, then write an article for Pulse Magazine about how art can help heal. Remember when your husband was sick with cancer, how you practically lived in a hospital for two years. Remember racking up miles pacing the halls of the massive medical center. Remember how your frantic body craved respite from the ICU, from the jarring hospital language, from the machines hooked up to your husband, but you had nowhere to go. Remember that you noticed paintings lining the walls, art pieces tucked into corners, sculptures scattered on the hospital grounds. Remember how grateful your senses were, to interact with something other than the ongoing crises back in his room, if only momentarily. Remember how those brief interludes with art felt like tiny gifts of grace in the mist of chaos. Wonder if such intentional art in a bustling university has the capacity to perform similar miracles. Do students even notice them? Do they even care?


Pull into a parking lot. Sit in your car for a few moments. Scan your surroundings. Some of the landscape is familiar—Trafton to your left, Alumni and Foundation Center across the street. Other parts are alien. The Clinical Sciences Building, where you’re meeting your friend, is framed in your windshield like a landlocked ocean liner. It used to be an expanse of green lawn when you were a student back in the 80s. Sigh deeply at how old that makes you sound. Blustery, sub-zero January winds bite at your cheeks and make your eyes tear up as you get out of your car. The weight of pandemic fatigue bears down heavy on the world; your whole body feels like a tight fist most days. Your boots scuff through grainy snow accumulating on the sidewalk, white powdery whirlwinds race around corners of buildings. Your shoulders creep closer to your ears. A striking brushed aluminum sculpture, Toward Tomorrow, stands outside the Clinical Sciences Building entrance. Despite harsh elements and a global crisis, pause for a few moments. Contemplate the sculpture’s elegant lines that seem to pierce through swirling snow like a rocket. continued on page 6

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All photos on pages 4-7 are Percent for Art pieces located across the College.

The author... after trekking from the Clinical Sciences Building to Wiecking on a subzero January day in front of “Emanate” a painting by Bonnie Cutts.

continued from page 5


Your friend is waiting at a table in a common area just beyond the front doors. The space is awash in sunlight flooding the room from three-story glass windows. Fist-bump with mittened hand, adjust mask. High above your table, a giant threedimensional mobile is suspended from the ceiling, stainless steel scaffolding wrapped in graceful acrylic curves. The installment, aptly named Continuum, shape-shifts as it moves ever so slightly, as though it’s floating. A meditation in motion. Map out your art tour. In addition to the pieces in and outside of the Clinical Sciences Building, artwork housed in buildings that have Collegerelated programs can be found in Wissink, Wiecking and Highland. Pull your collar tight, dive back out into the bright, blustery day to trudge across campus to the other buildings. You are transported back in time 30 years, laughing with your friend as you struggle against 6 | Pulse Magazine 2022

strong gusts, marveling that you did this trek daily, “back in the day,” with heavy backpacks and heavy class loads. Wissink and Wiecking are both home to a collection of acrylic works by painter Bonnie Cutts, in soft, color-drenched shapes that remind you of summer flowers. Wiecking holds a bright, sprawling fabric piece; possibly one of the first Percent for Art pieces on campus. Realize today’s tour only includes a fraction of the art across the University. Decide that someone needs to create an interactive art bingo game or scavenger hunt—maybe a slick smart phone app—to entice people to this impressive art collection curated by the University.


Find your answer to your initial questions—do students know about this art? Do they even care?— in a young woman serendipitously encountered in Wissink Hall. Emma Williamson is a senior in the nursing program who’s waiting for a meeting

Emma Williamson, ’22

About Percent for Art Acquired throughout various phases of renovation and construction of the spaces that house the College of Allied Health and Nursing programs, art pieces were purchased through the Percent for Art in Public Spaces, administered by the Minnesota State Arts Board.

with a professor. She readily agrees to a quick interview to share her thoughts. “Oh, I have a lot to say on the subject,” she laughs.

Author: Are you aware of the art in the

buildings around campus? Emma: Of course! It’s my favorite part of being here—it’s like my own personal museum. It’s very comforting and cozy to sit among these beautiful pieces as I study. Author: As a nursing student, do you feel art is valuable in a medical/clinical setting? Emma: Without a doubt. No one wants to be in a hospital—it’s scary and intimidating. It’s our job, as medical professionals, to ease discomfort. The aesthetic of a hospital or clinic has a big impact on patients, for better or worse. Engaging artwork can be a welcomed distraction to help soothe anxious patients. I think incorporating engaging works of art in a building’s design makes people subconsciously feel like the facility genuinely considered them in all aspects of their care. Author: Have these art pieces around campus influenced your learning experience? Emma: Absolutely. Being in college can also be scary and intimidating, but being surrounded by these pieces of art makes this space so inviting and calming. I want to hang out and study here. Study breaks to take in the art helps ease anxiety of everyday pressures of college. I learn tidbits of history about the campus and about the

The program’s mission is to bring art to Minnesotans by encouraging state building projects to set aside a percent of construction budgets to secure works of art, to be exhibited in and around areas regularly accessible to the public. >> LEARN MORE ABOUT ART ON CAMPUS: LINK.MNSU.EDU/PERCENTFORART

artists, too. I’m grateful that this art has been part of my education. I will definitely carry this experience with me into my profession. Notice, as you walk back to the car after your twohour art tour, that even in a blizzard, even in the midst of a pandemic, even though much time has passed since you walked these halls as a student, your shoulders have loosened their grip, the ripples in your mind have smoothed, and your heart feels lighter, a bit fuller, even. Art’s healing mission—accomplished. About the author: Jennifer Hildebrandt, a restorative movement facilitator and writer, recently moved back to the Mankato area after living in the Twin Cities for over 30 years. She earned her BA in English and Speech Communications from Minnesota State Mankato in 1991 and her MFA in Creative Writing from Hamline University in 2018.

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ADT Program Among First in Nation The Department of Dental Education at Minnesota State University, Mankato welcomed the first cohort of the new Master of Science in Advanced Dental Therapy (ADT MS) in Fall 2021. The program, which is among the first in the country, provides dental hygienists who have a baccalaureate degree the opportunity to take their expertise to the next level. Dr. Anitha Peddireddy said ADTs are able to provide an advanced level of oral health services, including doing things like fillings, which frees up dentists to deliver more complex care. “This is critical in communities where the need for dental care is highest—in rural, low-income, underserved and underinsured settings—and creates a demand for ADTs in these areas,” Peddireddy said.

Amanda, Rachel and Cindy - the first ADT cohort at Minnesota State Mankato.

Cindy, a first-year ADT student (pictured), said she was nervous about going back to school again in her mid-40s, but felt she still had years to give back and make a difference. “My hope with becoming an ADT is to help people not only get out of pain, but to manage their dental health,” Cindy said. “I also hope to encourage other dental hygienists to pursue this route and look at becoming a dental therapist.” >>LEARN MORE: AHN.MNSU.EDU/DENTALTHERAPY

Dr. Anitha Peddireddy

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Minnesota State Mankato President Edward Inch (standing) toured the dental simulation lab and is pictured here with professor Dr. Anitha Peddireddy (back) and ADT students.

Our Public Dental Clinic loves new patients! Call 507-389-2147 or visit ahn.mnsu.edu/publicdentalclinic for times, services and special events.


Dr. William Dobbs Dr. William (Bill) Dobbs credits running away from a dentist chair at the age of 10, finding his way back to a dentist chair at 14, and Minnesota State University, Mankato for helping him become a successful dentist for more than 40 years. Now, he’s giving back. by Lori Pickell-Stangel

“I had terrible teeth as a kid,” said Dobbs. “I was so afraid of getting my teeth pulled that while the dentist left the room, I made a break for it and ran out of the dentist office never to return... I thought.” Later, when Dobbs was just 14 years old, he was sent to stay with a friend of the family in South Dakota to work at a newspaper. It was on this summer trip that he found out that his mother, who had been very ill, had passed away. It was also during this stay that the wife of the newspaper owner convinced him to give going to the dentist another shot. This time, Dobbs was able to overcome his fear, thanks in part to a kind and caring dentist who pulled three rotten molars and filled almost every tooth in his mouth. That experience made him realize he may want to pursue dentistry as a profession, but his grades weren’t good enough yet for dental school.

After a series of adventures— including hitchhiking to Oregon to try forestry—he found his way back to Minnesota and enrolled at Minnesota State Mankato. Faculty helped him boost his grades and Dobbs was able to achieve his goal of becoming a dentist. He and his wife Nell spent four years at a U.S. base in Toul, France, where he worked as a dentist at the medical facility. “I did everything at that base, including oral surgery,” he said. After moving back to Minnesota, he worked in a dental office in Le Center, until he purchased his first dental practice in Truman for $7,500. He eventually took over the practice in St. Peter as well. On the heels of his winding and successful career, he created the Dr. William and Nell Dobbs Dental Hygiene Endowment Scholarship to give back to the

school that gave him so much. “Minnesota State Mankato will always hold a soft spot in my heart,” Dobbs said. “The professors helped me get into dental school and I want those opportunities for students to continue.” Lori Pickell-Stangel is the Director of Development for the College of Allied Health and Nursing.

To learn how your donation can impact student success, contact Lori at 507-389-5621 or lori.pickell-stangel@mnsu.edu. College of Allied Health & Nursing | 9

Processing Grief Through Art Experiential Education alumni honor friend in new book “The Stars in the Sky” by Nicole Sisk

In 2016, the Experiential Education Master of Science program at Minnesota State University, Mankato received devastating news: 2015 graduate Rob Kinzel had been killed in a car accident. He was just 33 years old. Kinzel’s instructors and classmates were gutted by the loss of the loving, vibrant and charismatic young man.

“I found myself thinking about what you do when someone dies,” Blauert says. “There are no answers.”

“Rob was a creative and authentic person,” Jason Jaspersen, a 2019 Experiential Education (ExEd) graduate says. “You felt known when you talked with him. He burned calories just by listening.”

As Blauert continued to reflect, she began thinking of creative ways to memorialize Kinzel and share his impact with others. Eventually, the kindergarten teacher landed on an idea close to her heart: writing a children’s book.

CREATIVE REFLECTION Jaspersen soon realized that others mourning Kinzel had similar feelings. “Rob made an impact on people everywhere he went,” Jaspersen says. “He grew up in New Jersey, went to college in Kentucky and grad school in Minnesota. His community in each place shared the same sentiments about him. Everyone wanted more of him.” That included another classmate, Haylee Blauert, a 2016 ExEd graduate. As the one-year anniversary of Kinzel’s death approached, Blauert found herself doing some creative reflection—a hallmark of the experiential education learning process.

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“I love children’s literature,” she says. “So much happens in children’s stories.” Blauert knew she’d need a talented artist to partner with to bring the story to life. For that, she tapped Jaspersen, an artist and art professor. “It had to be Jason,” Blauert says. “He knew Rob and had already done a portrait that captured Rob’s character.” MAKING THE HURT HELPFUL The result of their collaboration, “The Stars in the Sky,” is a moving tribute to Kinzel’s spirit and a meditation on what we experience when someone we love disappears.

Haylee Blauert and Jason Jaspersen, both Experiential Education alumni, teamed up to write and illustrate a children’s book about loss. The two participated in a panel discussion and art exhibit around the book’s themes of mental health, mentorship, grief and creativity at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato.

In the book, Kinzel is represented by a character named Sir Robert, a “humble leader” who is “respected and trusted” by the people of his village. Sir Robert is an adventurer, a thinker, and a teacher. Sometimes he shares his adventures with other villagers; other times he travels alone. During one solo adventure, Sir Robert travels into the Dark Forest surrounding the village. He’d avoided the mysterious place for years, warned away by stories of other travelers who’d ventured in but not out. On this journey, the woods “began to whisper words only Sir Robert could hear.” The allure of those words drew him into the Dark Forest, forever. “And though Sir Robert never returned, the scattered remanence of his light touched the trees, the sky, the hearts of every person who knew him,” Blauert writes in the book. “Through the stars in the sky, they could feel his goodness.” Though the book strikes a hopeful tone about loss, it does not provide answers. That’s by design, Blauert says.

What it does provide is a way to approach one of the great mysteries of life—for those who knew the real Sir Robert, as well as for those who did not. “We tried to take a specific person and event and tap into something universal,” Jaspersen says. “We tried to find a way to make our hurt helpful.” Sir Robert would no doubt approve.

MORE ABOUT “THE STARS IN THE SKY” “It seemed fitting that we lived out much of what we learned in our Experiential Education program bringing this book to fruition. We were experiencing, reflecting and learning every step of the way.” – Haylee Blauert, author >> TO PURCHASE “THE STARS IN THE SKY”, VISIT: HAYLEEBLAUERT.COM >> VIDEO OF THE BOOK: LINK.MNSU.EDU/STARS-IN-SKY-VIDEO

“Experiential education says questions are more important than answers,” she explains. “This book doesn’t offer resolution or answers.” College of Allied Health & Nursing | 11


To help address the growing need for behavioral healthcare in rural Minnesota, the College of Allied Health and Nursing has established the Center for Rural Behavioral Health. Among the first of its type in the country, the Center will work to improve access to behavioral healthcare in outstate Minnesota— including recognized Reservations/Settlements—through workforce development, education and research. Thad Shunkwiler, the Center’s founding director and a professor of Health Science, said while there’s plenty of discussion linking mental health to violence, drug addiction, suicide, parenting, school performance, job productivity and countless other social outcomes, there isn’t enough conversation about the trained professionals who will provide that care. “Eighty percent of Minnesota counties qualify as a mental health provider shortage area,” Shunkwiler said. “The data is clear, there is a worsening problem within accessing behavioral healthcare in rural Minnesota. The goal of the Center is to start addressing this issue with real-world solutions.” >> FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT AHN.MNSU.EDU/CRBH

“These aren’t easy issues to solve, but behavioral health struggles are the reality of what our communities are dealing with,” Shunkwiler said. “We are ready to get to work and make behavioral health resources more accessible for all Minnesotans.” –Thad Shunkwiler, CRBH founding director 12 | Pulse Magazine 2022

In addition to increasing the number of behavioral healthcare providers in outstate Minnesota, the Center for Rural Behavioral Health will focus on ensuring a culturally representative workforce is in place. Ongoing efforts, such as this panel discussion, are designed to introduce behavioral and allied health careers to diverse students.

Big IDEAs in Action INCLUSION, DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND ACCESSIBILITY With increased initiatives around diversity and inclusion across the College of Allied Health and Nursing, a website has been created as an additional way to highlight equity-based practices for students, staff, and faculty. The hub—called IDEAs—stands for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility and grew out of the College’s Diversity Committee. Jessica Albers, chair of the Committee and an Exercise Science professor, shared a bit more about the resource. Why was IDEAs established? Dr. Albers: When Minnesota State University, Mankato made Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) a top priority, the College of Allied Health and Nursing wanted to build on this focus and establish a home for the DEI work in the College. Our goal is to highlight the amazing DEI work of our programs, faculty and students.

More than 100 students attended IDEAs academic workshops during the 2021-2022 academic year. How will this initiative benefit students? Dr. Albers: IDEAs focuses on educating our students on DEI topics in the allied health and nursing fields and preparing all students to work with diverse populations. Additionally, we want to highlight the diversity within our College. We want all our students and faculty to know they belong and for future students to see themselves represented here. Why is IDEAs important to the work of future health-related professionals? Dr. Albers: Allied health and nursing is peoplebased. These professionals work in a world of science while navigating how the sociological construct of our nation and communities evolve and impact health. Increasing our students’ involvement in DEI will directly impact their ability to recognize DEI issues in their fields and practice. >> LEARN MORE AT AHN.MNSU.EDU/IDEAS

EXAMPLES OF “IDEAs IN ACTION” ACROSS THE COLLEGE INCLUDE: • Student seminar, “Race in Allied Health: Definitions and Societal Influences”

• Continuing education training exploring historical trauma’s role in health care

• Student workshop, “Finals and Thriving” • High school session designed to introduce diverse students to health care careers

• Volunteer efforts with Developmental Adapted Physical Education (DAPE) students to spotlight adapted floor hockey

• Panel discussion for current students designed to increase diverse students in health-related majors

• The first Communication Sciences & Disorders diversity and inclusion cohort College of Allied Health & Nursing | 13

Learning the


Most years, School of Nursing students at Minnesota State University, Mankato participate in a mock disaster drill that has firstsemester nursing students role playing as victims and third-semester nursing students responding at the scene. After a pause due to COVID, the mock drill returned this year. For the scenario, more than 50 first semester nursing students received mock injuries (called moulage, see article, page 16) to the skin for the purpose of emergency response training. Once the “victims” were ready, they arrived in a staged patient care area in waves, where the future nurses triaged them.

MOCK SCENARIO Prior to the simulation, the future nurses had no knowledge of the type of disaster they’d be dealing with or the types of patients they’d be seeing. They needed to–on the spot–figure out communication among themselves and determine the best way to treat patients. The scenario ended up being a tornado. There were broken bones, visible head wounds, panic attacks, a pregnant mother and people looking for lost loved ones. And, in keeping with the times, there was even one patient planted in the group who was told to say they had COVID. All scenarios, which played out in a meeting room in the Centennial Student Union, provided an opportunity for questions: • What about patients who simply got up and left to look for loved ones? • How to prioritize patients, especially when the “ambulance” arrived and could only take two people? • What about the mother and “newborn” (which arrived in the form of a cute pink stuffed animal)?

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MAKING CONNECTIONS Although the mock drill sparked plenty of discussion about improving care, there was also time to reflect on what went well: One victim said the nurse took time to ask their name during a pretend panic attack. • Another paused to show sympathy when one of their simulated family members didn’t survive • When a piece of equipment got stuck in the bun in one patient’s hair, that patient said the simple act of the nurse putting her hair back in the bun before moving on demonstrated genuine care. “It took seconds,” the patient said, “but it spoke volumes.”

All photos are from recent mock disaster drills

These examples ended with applause all around and nursing faculty reminding students that even in a crisis, making a connection with a patient doesn’t always take long and is an important part of overall care. READY FOR THE REAL WORLD During the large group discussion, one third semester nurse said her time at Minnesota State Mankato went faster than she ever could have imagined.

And, in what seemed to be both a nod to her classmates and advice to first semester students, she acknowledged her cohort with deep gratitude and appreciation. As for what she learned from the simulation? She said after not participating in a mock drill to this point, and with graduation closing in, that she came away feeling surprisingly confident and ready... ready to transition from role playing to the real world.

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Moulage—the art of applying mock injuries for the specific purpose of training emergency response teams, such as nurses—is often used for mock disaster drills. Megan Dohm, the academic coordinator for the Maverick Family Nursing Simulation Center at Minnesota State University, Mankato, tells us a bit more about moulage.

with a Moulage Artist HOW DID YOU GET INTO DOING MOULAGE? Moulage is part of simulation. It helps with increasing the fidelity (realism) in the simulated environment. I had one inperson training session during my Certificate in Healthcare Simulation program, otherwise books, videos and trial and error is how I learned. HOW IS MOULAGE DIFFERENT THAN STAGE MAKEUP FOR THEATRE? I think of moulage as more similar to special effects makeup used in TV and movies. Stage makeup needs to look good from far away, moulage needs to look

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real from close up. Moulage is also more than wounds and injuries. It includes other fluids and odors that may add to the realism of the situation. WHAT DO STUDENTS LEARN THROUGH THE PROCESS OF SIMULATION AND MOULAGE? Nurses use all of their senses to assess patients and make clinical judgments. Adding realistic injuries, fluids or smells allows the nursing student to practice the skills we talk about in books and class to really assess the whole situation and make better informed decisions about care.

IS THERE AN “ART” TO THE MOULAGE? I think so! It comes from trial and error. Some of it is also about making it last through multiple iterations of the same scenario. ANY FAVORITE “INJURIES” YOU’VE CREATED? Yes! I created a toe ulcer (pictured). I also really enjoy creating second and third degree burns on a patient.

First semester nursing students receiving their “injuries” (moulage) as they prepared to play “victims” in a simulated mock disaster drill that would find them in a pretend tornado scene with third semester nursing students assessing and treating their injuries.

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Retiring Dean Reflects on a Decade of Service Kristine Retherford leaves a lasting impact on the health of campus— and the community by Nicole Sisk Kris Retherford, Ph.D., didn’t plan to become the dean of the College of Allied Health and Nursing at Minnesota State University, Mankato. “I loved my job and my program,” says Retherford, who was serving as chair of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire when a headhunter came calling.

That plan lasted until a chance meeting with a professor on the University’s tennis courts. Neither of their tennis partners showed up, so they agreed to play a match. She ended up staying for a second match—and a life-changing conversation.

“I told my colleagues about the call regarding Minnesota State Mankato,” she said. “They all said I should apply. As a proud 1973 alumna, I couldn’t resist.”

“This person I’d just met told me I didn’t strike him as someone who’d want to be a physical therapist,” Retherford said. “He explained why and told me he thought I’d be better suited to a different profession.”

That application led to an interview. The interview led to a job offer. And—spoiler alert—Retherford accepted the position.

A profession like speech language pathology, which happened to be his discipline.

Ten years later, she’s glad she did.

Retherford was intrigued. And as she learned about the profession, she realized it was the right fit. After completing her degree at Minnesota State Mankato, she went on to earn both a master’s and doctorate at the University of Wisconsin— Madison.

THE PATH TO SPEECH PATHOLOGY: FINDING A CAREER MATCH Retherford’s journey back to Minnesota State Mankato starts on a tennis court. She’d just transferred from the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay, where she’d been a pre-med major. Leery of the many years of schooling required to become a physician, she’d decided to become a physical therapist instead. 18 | Pulse Magazine 2022

“In your role as Co llege dean, you have revealed your skills as a superviso r, a manager, an ev aluator (and award-winning bu ilding designer) an d you have been remarkedly effective at all those things. You have simultaneously served as an inspiration, a confidant, a cheerleader and a fri end. You are consis tently personable and rel atable, giving respe ct to everyone you meet. And perhaps the hig hest compliment that ca n be given to a true leader, you are authentic, sharing your persp ective gently, yet firmly an d honestly. You have been the quintessen tial dean of Minneso ta State Mankato. Do n’t ever question if you made a difference – you did!” – Anonymous nomi nation for the 2022 Women of Distinctio n celebration.

TEACHING, LEADING, GOING “HOME” Soon after graduation, she began teaching at the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire. “I loved seeing students ‘get it,’” she said. “That moment when you can see something click—there’s nothing like it.” Retherford was also a skilled administrator and found herself moving up the leadership ranks at Eau Claire. Eventually, she was named chair of her department. That led to other opportunities. “Once you become chair, the headhunters start calling,” she said. Their repeated calls didn’t interest her—until the Mankato opportunity. “It was like being able to go home again,” she said. “Who gets the chance to do that?” WELCOMING “DEAN KRIS” Once back on campus, “Dean Kris,” as she became known, quickly began advocating for the programs and places she believed in. Among her early efforts was a push for a new Clinical Sciences Building. The construction

request had been turned down by the state legislature three times prior to her tenure. Nevertheless, she persisted, advocating for the spaces she knew her students— and the community— would benefit from. In 2014, her tireless efforts were rewarded when the legislature approved a $27 million bonding bill. The Clinical Sciences Building opened in 2017. “I envisioned this building as a welcoming place for all,” Dean Kris said. The architect who designed the space told her that she’d open her arms whenever she talked about the space. That image—arms wide to welcome the community and students—influenced the design, which ultimately won two architecture awards. “I’m really proud of the work the College did to make this happen,” she said. continued on page 20 College of Allied Health & Nursing | 19

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BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE Dean Kris built more than physical structures during her tenure. She launched this magazine, established efforts around diversity, equity and inclusion and accessibility, grew a partnership with Mayo Clinic Health System, and most recently, supported the new Center for Rural Behavioral Health. She also started and grew the Health and Biomedical Sciences Summit, an event that features well-known speakers and presentations from international, national and regional experts, faculty and students. “The Summit is a way to bring students from different disciplines together to focus on a critical health topic,” Dean Kris said. “As professionals, students won’t work in silos. I’m a believer that students need to have opportunities to learn to work together while they’re on our campus.” THE NEXT CHAPTER With her abundant energy and passion for higher education, it’s easy to imagine Dean Kris leading the college for another decade. But she’s ready to turn her attention to other parts of her life. “I’ll do some traveling and spend more time with family,” she said of her retirement plans. “And I’ll probably volunteer as a reading tutor.” And while she’s looking forward to retirement, she says there’s much she will miss about her role as dean.

THE KRIS TINE RETHERF ORD SCH S. OL ARSH IP In honor of Dean R etherford leadership ’s , vision an d passion a scholars , hip in her name has been establishe d.

>> CO LINK.MN NTRIBUTE AT SU.EDU/ DEANKR IS 20 | Pulse Magazine 2022

“I’ll miss seeing the way our faculty engage with students,” she said. “I’ll miss the synergy and energy on campus. And I’ll miss the disciplines—our programs are helping disciplines. Our students will be—and are—doing important work.” AND DEAN KRIS WILL BE ROOTING FOR THEM, FOREVER.


UNDERGRADUATE MAJORS AND PROGRAMS • Alcohol & Drug Studies • Applied Health Science o Health Education and Promotion o Public Health o Occupational Therapy Prep o Health Administration Prep • Communication Sciences & Disorders • Dental Hygiene • Dental Hygiene – Degree Completion • Exercise Science o General track o Pre-Practitioner • Family Consumer Science o Child Development & Family Studies o Food and Nutrition o Dietetics • Family Consumer Science Education • Health and Physical Education • Nursing o Pre-Licensure Program o RN Baccalaureate Completion Program • Physical Education-Developmental Adapted Physical Education • Recreation, Parks & Leisure Services o Leisure Behavior o Leisure Planning & Management o Resource Management o Therapeutic Recreation • Social Work • Sport Management

UNDERGRADUATE CERTIFICATES • American Sign Language • Child, Youth, & Family Services

MINORS • Alcohol & Drug Studies • Athletic Coaching • Communication Sciences & Disorders • Developmental Adapted Physical Education (K-12) • Family Consumer Science o Child Development & Family Studies o Consumer Studies o Foods & Nutrition • Health Science • Recreation, Parks & Leisure Services • Social Welfare • Sports Medicine


PRE-PROFESSIONAL TRACKS • Pre-Physical Therapy • Pre-Occupational Therapy • Pre-Athletic Training GRADUATE PROGRAMS • Advanced Dental Therapy • Applied Health Science • Athletic Training • Communication Sciences & Disorders • Exercise Physiology • Experiential Education • Nursing Practice (DNP) • Physical Education • Social Work • Sport & Exercise Psychology • Sport Management GRADUATE CERTIFICATES • Developmental Adapted Physical Education • Family Consumer Science Education • Physical Education Teacher Education • Post-Nursing Masters • School Health Education Program offered 100% online


College of Allied Health & Nursing | 21

Making the Rounds News, updates and highlights from around the College


Dr. Patricia Marincic has been named Dean of the College of Allied Health & Nursing, effective July 1, 2022. Dr. Marincic brings a strong foundation in teaching and learning, student success, academic leadership, and community engagement to Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her broad base of academic experience ranges from appointments at small private institutions here in Minnesota to large flagship universities. Welcome to Minnesota State Mankato, Dr. Marincic! >> LEARN MORE ABOUT DR. MARINCIC AT LINK.MNSU.EDU/DRMARINCIC



In response to a growing need for Physical Education-Developmental Adapted Physical Education (DAPE) educators, Minnesota State Mankato now offers a major in Physical EducationDAPE. The degree is the only undergraduate major in the upper Midwest to provide dual teacher licensure leading to a Bachelor of Science degree. Graduate level certificates in Physical Education Teacher Education and DAPE are also now available. These online graduate certificate programs can be done over the summer and provide those who already have a teaching degree or are working on a teaching degree the necessary courses to take their career to the next level. >> LEARN MORE AT AHN.MNSU.EDU/ACADEMIC-PROGRAMS

22 | Pulse Magazine 2022

The College of Allied Health and Nursing featured mental health as the topic of the 2022 Health and Biomedical Sciences Summit. “Mental Health is Health” examined global mental health and wellbeing and featured best-selling author and speaker Johann Hari as the morning keynote speaker and Dr. Abigail Gewirtz as the lunch speaker. There were also a series of lightning round presenters, breakout sessions and an opportunity for students to share their research. >> LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS AND UPCOMING HEALTH SUMMIT EVENTS: AHN.MNSU.EDU/HEALTHSUMMIT

Dr. Abigal Gewirtz

Johann Hari


When Jamie Rigling helps formerly incarcerated people register to vote, or obtain a state ID, or use the internet and put a resume together, she does so from a unique place of empathy. “I know a little bit what it’s like because my father was incarcerated before I was born,” she said. And I was the child that people would tell their children to stay away from because my family was bad business.” Now, this graduate of Minnesota State Mankato’s Social Work program is a Community Intervention Administrator for the State of Minnesota and advocates for people she feels deserve a second chance. >> READ THE FULL STORY: LINK.MNSU.EDU/FRIENDOFCOURT


With studies citing the professional Speech Language Pathology (SLP) field being more than 92 percent white, the Department of Speech, Hearing and Rehabilitation Services is working to increase the number of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) SLP professionals. One way they are doing that is by purposefully recruiting students as Diversity and Inclusion Fellows for the Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) graduate program. Last fall, the program welcomed 41 new graduate students, seven of whom are Diversity and Inclusion Fellows. >> LEARN MORE ABOUT THE COHORT: AHN.MNSU.EDU/DICOHORT


The Department of Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Services (RPLS) hosted the first RPLS Day this year by recognizing the contributions of faculty, alumni, and professional partners. The event featured networking, professional development and awards. RPLS is the only nationally accredited program of its kind in Minnesota. During its 54 years of existence, it has fostered creativity and inclusion while placing graduates in careers in all 50 states and numerous countries. >> MORE ABOUT RPLS AT AHN.MNSU.EDU/RPLS


As part of Public Health Week 2022, Health Science students created a video about the broad work of those in Health Science. The theme of the week was “Public Health is Where You Are” and was intended to raise awareness about the value of careers in healthcare administration, health education and promotion, and public health, which are some of the tracks in the new Applied Health Science major offered at Minnesota State Mankato. >> CHECK OUT THE VIDEO: LINK.MNSU.EDU/PUBLICHEALTH College of Allied Health & Nursing | 23

124 Myers Field House Mankato, MN 56001

In the Community The College of Allied Health and Nursing is proud to support our campus and community through a variety of public services, centers and initiatives. These programs often fill an important need while providing students with real-world experiences. A few examples include:

H. Sheen Chiou, Ph.D, CCC-SLP, a professor in Speech, Hearing and Rehabilitation Services, helps address the stigma and social isolation for individuals living with Alzheimer’s and associated dementias through the Garden Eng-AGE-ment program in Mankato.

• Center for Sport and Performance Psychology • On and off-campus clinical services for children and adults • Health Commons at Pond – a free clinic in the Twin Cities for area children and families • Rec N’ Read – After school and summer literacy/recreation programs and camps • Public Dental Clinic • Maverick Family Nursing Simulation Center, offering tours and training >> LEARN MORE ABOUT THESE AND OTHER SERVICES AT AHN.MNSU.EDU

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