Penn Nursing UPfront: Fall 2015

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A PATH OF THEIR OWN 4 Also: A Dean’s Path: Dorothy Mereness and Mental Health Nursing 9 Robots and Elders: Perfect Together 14 Nurses Answering the Call for Help 16

The Norma M. Lang Distinguished Award for Scholarly Practice and Policy honors the dean emerita of the School of Nursing for her eminent contributions to health and science. This award is given annually to a Penn Nursing faculty member or a graduate from the School of Nursing's doctoral program who has made a distinguished contribution to nursing through scholarly practice.

2015 Award Recipient

Christine K. Bradway, PhD, CRNP, FAAN Associate Professor of Gerontological Nursing University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing 4th Annual Lecture

Clinical Care and Practice Scholarship: A Journey Into the Lives of Older Adults Tuesday, October 20, 2015 – 3:00-5:00pm

Ann L. Roy Auditorium School of Nursing – Claire M. Fagin Hall

RSVP: 215.898.8822 or

Board of Overseers Dean C. Kehler, W’79, PAR’13, Chair Rosemarie Morrissey Greco, Immediate Past Chair Carolyn E. Bennett, Nu’91 Carol Lefkowitz Boas, Nu’77, PAR’09 Cornelius C. Bond, Jr., PAR’79 (emeritus) Lillian S. Brunner, Dr(hon), HUP’40, ED’45, HON’85 (emerita) Gilbert F. Casellas, Esquire, L’77, PAR’08 Eleanor L. Davis, Nu’82 Kim R. Dickstein, Esquire, W’87, PAR’17 William R. Floyd, Jr., C’67, WG’69 Seth Ginns, C’00 Stephen J. Heyman, W’59, PAR’90 Gail Kass Wendy Hurst Levine, MD, PAR’11, PAR’12, PAR’16

Patricia Martín, MD, M’85 Barbara L. Nichols, DHL, RN, FAAN Melanie Franco Nussdorf, Esquire, CW’71, PAR’02, PAR’04 Vivian W. Piasecki (chair emerita) Krista M. Pinola, Nu’86 The Honorable Marjorie O. Rendell, CW’69, PAR’05 Jean Renfield-Miller, PAR’15 Ralph F. Reynolds, W’84, PAR’17 Ashley Z. Ritter, Nu’07, GNu’10 (ex-officio) Sandra Beeber Samberg, Nu’94, GNu’95 Marie A. Savard, MD, HUP’70, Nu’72, M’76 Ambassador Martin J. Silverstein, ret., GL’08, PAR’09, PAR’12, PAR’13, PAR’15, PAR’19 Patricia B. Silverstein, C’81 Susan Drossman Sokoloff, MD, C’84, PAR’17, PAR’18

University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing Dean Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN Vice Dean of Institutional Advancement Wylie A. Thomas Editor Cathy Greenland Assistant Editor Monica Salvia Contributors Megan Bailey, Barbara McAleese, William Parker Photography Michael Ahearn, Laurie Beck, I. George Bilyk, Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing Illustration Jon Krause Content Development and Creation The LightStream Group Design Dale Parenti Design Printing CRW Graphics Advisory Board Christina Costanzo Clark, Patricia D’Antonio, Cathy Greenland, Carol Ladden, Barbara McAleese, Matt McHugh, Yvonne Paterson, Julie Sochalski Admissions 215.898.4271 | Institutional Advancement 215.898.4841 | Communications 215.746.3562 | UPfront is a biannual publication of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. The magazine chronicles the research and leadership of Penn Nursing faculty, students and alumni.





Dean’s Message

f e at u r e s 4

A Path of Their Own Four undergraduate nursing students each share the journey that bought them to Penn Nursing and their plans to use their nursing degree to improve health and healthcare.


A Dean’s Path: Dorothy Mereness and Mental Health Nursing Penn Nursing’s second dean had a remarkable impact on the integration of mental health concepts into nursing education and practice and the provision of patient-centered care. That legacy lives on at Penn Nursing through a fund endowed in her name that supports mental health research.


12 Mastering Nursing and Law A new graduate nursing and law dual degree program will equip students to effectively tackle the myriad of legal issues that involve health and healthcare. 14 Robots and Elders: Perfect Together Pam Cacchione, Penn Nursing professor, is working with colleagues from Penn Engineering and the Perelman School of Medicine to build a robot that can assist elders and their caregivers. 16 Nurses Answering the Call for Help Nurses play an important role in helping communities recover – and prepare – for disaster. Pre-doctoral student Lisa Hilmi and Mamie Guidera, lecturer, share their experiences and advice to nurses looking to answer the call for help.


18 The Science of Injury, Violence and Recovery: Making the World a Better and Safer Place Dr. Terry Richmond, Penn Nursing professor and 2015 Fagin Distinguished Researcher Award recipient, reflects on a career dedicated to improving patient outcomes after traumatic injury.

d e pa rt m e n t s


20 Penn Nursing News 22

Alumni Connections


Alumni Notes


In Memoriam


Alumni Weekend

33 Calendar



Dean’s Message Penn Nursing: Where Opportunity Knocks Penn Nursing is a great place to discover what is possible. Our students learn from faculty members who do ground-breaking research, are innovators in a wide range of practice areas and settings, and are extraordinary educators. Penn Nursing faculty are true pioneers. One constant theme among the students profiled in this magazine’s cover story, A Path of Their Own, was how each new class, each faculty interaction, each clinical experience gave them new insight to what nursing is and what nurses can do – and challenged the path they thought lay before them with new options.

Nursing is a career path that starts where diversity of thought, goals and life experiences intersect. It is a career that presents opportunities to individuals from across dimensions of the human experience who are united by the abilities and desire to influence health and healthcare at individual, family and community level. I am often asked what trait is most valuable to nurses as they forge forward in the ever-changing fields of health and healthcare. I am convinced it is a combination of critical thinking, advocacy, personal interest, values and skills. Importantly, in considering a career in nursing, the trait most valuable is a willingness to be open to the possibilities that will present themselves. I speak from experience. Early in my career I thought I knew two absolutes about my own future: I was not interested in doing research nor could I ever see myself as a dean. But, those were opportunities I chose because they allowed me to have new impact in areas that I am passionate about: affecting the health and well-being of Latino communities and promoting nurses as leaders in improving health and healthcare.


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Our faculty find this rich environment of inquiry, learning and critical thinking opens up new directions for their own work. Within an academic environment that fosters collaborative engagement, our faculty are leading efforts – changing how care is delivered, shaping health policy, promoting healthy lifestyles and advancing excellence in healthcare. In this issue you will read about faculty from engineering and nursing developing robotic solutions to better help elders live independently; a new joint Master’s degree program between Nursing and Law that is meeting a need for new expertise in our society; and two nursing faculty who are newly integrating mental health into their existing research projects. This year has also allowed me to share my passion within this exciting and inspiring environment and to broaden Penn Nursing’s path to create access, integrate knowledge and make an impact locally and globally. We have spearheaded a University-wide initiative – Penn in Latin America and the Caribbean (PLAC) that is creating new synergies to increase Penn’s impact in this vital region of the world. This initiative builds on our faculty members’ research and teaching. Locally, we are finding innovative ways for faculty from Nursing, Social Policy and Practice and the Graduate School of Education to collaborate and partner with the West Philadelphia community to better support youth and family.

Read more about the personal paths of four Penn Nursing undergraduate students on pages 4-8.

At Penn Nursing, we are proud to continue challenging ourselves, and creating possibilities and new opportunities to make a difference.

The Path Forward

through nursing. We are grateful that Penn Nursing was and is part of your journey and hope you will continue to find ways to connect with us as we each explore future possibilities and challenge ourselves to forge a path uniquely our own.

I am constantly inspired by the stories from our faculty, alumni and students about their journeys. This issue offers a glimpse into these very personal stories of finding possibilities and forging forward ANTONIA M. VILLARRUEL, PhD, RN, FAAN The Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing


A Path of Their Own The face of nursing is changing. From an increase in minority students and men to second-degree students seeking career changes, the profile of the “typical” nursing school student is not the same as it was even 10 years ago. Data show the reason for this change is complex and dramatic. More than choosing an occupation, people now more carefully consider their personal and social influences as well as what gives them meaning when investing in their careers. Nursing offers many options that appeal more broadly to individuals interested in a number of areas: from research to bedside care; from clinical specialties practice to law; and from administration to policymaking and advocacy. Options and opportunities in academic scholarship are key to attracting and retaining nursing students, and preparing them for the rigor of the health and healthcare landscape of the future. “We have many unique opportunities that attract students to the School of Nursing,” says Christina M. Costanzo Clark, EdD, Assistant Dean for Admissions & Academic Affairs. “These include: world-class clinical facilities like the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (UPHS/CHOP); study abroad programs in eight 4

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countries; minors in a variety of subjects like nutrition, health services management and global health; dual degree options with the Wharton School and the School of Arts and Sciences; and research opportunities with faculty.” As diverse as the students at Penn Nursing are, so too are their personal and intriguing reasons behind why they are attaining a nursing degree, and what they hope to do with that degree. Here are just a few of their stories.

The International Intern Reflecting on Her Roots Karla Fausto, Nu ’16 first came to Penn from Torreon,

Coahuila, Mexico to study chemical engineering, with a concentration in pharmaceutics and biotechnology. “I think I originally chose engineering because when you’re 17 and live in Mexico and someone says you should be an engineer, you believe them,” Fausto explains. “I also knew I wanted to work in healthcare, but thought I should do that through the pharmaceutical industry because I thought I wasn’t good with people.” But, her trajectory changed dramatically when she felt compelled to change her program of study in the middle of her junior year. “I simply walked into the nursing advising office and registered to take all nursing classes that semester,” she says. “I was definitely looking for a more human element than I would have found as a chemical engineer.” Fausto found that human element in nursing. “I’ve realized I love dealing with people at their bedsides – hearing their stories and feeling like I can do something immediate and tangible to help them achieve wellness,” she says. Though she is still unsure of exactly what she wants to do post-graduation, Fausto says her current internship at Puentes de Salud, a nurse-led clinic in Philadelphia, has sparked a strong interest in primary care. There she is helping provide primary care to a medically underserved population – primarily Latin American immigrants and their children. “I have been able to focus my experience and reflect upon it by working with Dean Villarruel (Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor and Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing),” Fausto says. “She really wants to work on the relationship between Penn Nursing and Puentes, and I am thrilled to be part of that process. I think we both reflect upon our Mexican roots and want to help better the lives of other Latino/as who haven’t had the same opportunities we have. We’ve been thinking of ways I can turn this experience into research that will improve the ways we think about and care for this medically underserved population.”

In addition to her positive internship experience, Fausto says she likes that the nursing program is very cohesive, with each new course building upon previous lessons. “In nursing, I feel that everyone genuinely wants to see their peers succeed. It feels as though the class is moving upward together, as opposed to everyone trying to find his or her own path up the mountain,” she adds.

For Karla Fausto, Nu’16, nursing offers her the ideal mix of science and the human element.

Fausto says one of her best experiences at the School of Nursing actually stemmed from one of her worst. “That first semester, I felt a tremendous amount of pressure to achieve and, one day in Nursing Lab, I found myself unable to perform one of the skills,” she explains. “It was something simple, but my hands were shaking from nerves and I just got more and more frustrated.” Fausto remembers that after class, Beth Quigley, MSN, RN, CRNP, Advanced Senior Lecturer, pulled her aside and asked what was wrong. “In that conversation, she made me understand that she believed in me,” says Fausto. “This was the first time I ever felt an instructor truly cared about my well-being and success. Even though I wasn’t a patient, I felt that I was being cared for and that I mattered. I can only hope that I can keep developing my ‘nursing touch’ and someday be able to instill that same sense of calm in a patient.”


The Anthropologist with Advanced Practice Ambitions Daniel Ewing, Nu’15 loved his social work experiences at community health centers in New York City. But, after working with several RNs and APNs within these environments, he realized advanced practice nursing best reflected the type of care he sought to provide.

“Part of my old job entailed sitting in appointments with patients, and I watched as the nurse practitioners provided care that really respected the autonomy and perspective of each patient,” says Ewing. “I saw my clients actively engaging in their healthcare.” After graduating with a degree in anthropology (and minors in public health and sexuality studies), Ewing applied his expertise in a variety of jobs, including outreach to people with HIV through Community HealthCorps in Hell’s Kitchen; as a patient navigator for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender patients at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center; and as a life coach for chronically homeless young people, homeless young people with mental illness and young people transitioning out of foster care at New York City’s largest youth service center, The Door. “Working at The Door helped me realize the importance of the integration of mental healthcare in every aspect of service provision,” says Ewing. “Most importantly, it helped me realize that if I want to be a good primary care provider, I need to truly understand, provide and refer to solid mental healthcare.” When he decided he wanted to be a family nurse practitioner, Ewing had a long conversation with an RN colleague. “She really encouraged me to pursue the field, but added a caveat: Before I could be a good practitioner, I needed to be a good nurse,” he says. “So, really, With each new class and clinical experience, Daniel Ewing, Nu’15 discovers new possibilities within the field of nursing.

that’s what led me to Penn. I like the fact that Penn stresses the importance of bachelor’s-level nursing and encourages students to work as RNs before beginning advanced practice education. I also really appreciate Penn’s focus on research and how easy it has been to get involved in projects around the school.” Ewing says his experience at Penn Nursing has been positive. He appreciates the college’s focus on evidence-based practice and critical thinking in all situations. He also likes how simulation is integrated into coursework. “As nerve-wracking as it can be, the high-fidelity rooms and the scenarios the instructors throw us into feel very important,” he explains. “I feel like I’ll be better equipped to handle stressful or complicated situations in the future.” Ewing says he’s most enjoyed his clinical work and his role as a nursing coordinator at United Community Clinic (UCC), where he focuses on quality improvement and education initiatives. “It’s been really great to get to know clinical instructors and learn about their trajectories in nursing. Also, it’s awesome to have those same instructors take a vested interest in my education,” notes Ewing. “Many of my clinical instructors have really encouraged me to practice the skills I’ve learned in lab, going out of their way to connect me with specific situations or patients in order to prepare me to be a leader in the field.” Ewing also values his research experience under the advisement of Nancy Hanrahan, PhD, RN, CS, FAAN, a former Penn Nursing associate professor of nursing. “I’ve worked on her projects, and I’m currently doing a spin-off project of my own looking at hospitalization outcomes for adolescents and young adults with mental illness as a secondary diagnosis,” he says. Ewing will graduate with his nursing degree this December, and he hopes to get a job in an emergency department, with a goal of ultimately blending mental health and primary care advanced practice nursing. “I love the fact that nursing encompasses caring for so many aspects of the human experience – physical, psychological, social and spiritual,” he explains. “I came into the profession because, really above all other professions I looked into, nursing is best equipped to interact with and affect all the intersecting aspects that influence health.”


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The Future Practitioner with an Eye on Policymaking The running joke among Deborah Gross’, Nu’17, W’17 relatives is that healthcare is the “family business.” From her great-grandmother, who worked as an X-ray technician and eventually ran her family’s hospital in Chicago, down to her parents who both work in the field, it seemed a natural choice for Gross. Her decision to pursue the Nursing and Health Care Management Program dual degree – offered through Penn Nursing and the Wharton School – stems from her “desire to care for others but also to help enact change on a larger scale.” “Nursing provides me the opportunity to help on an individual level – providing care, comfort and education, and I think that combining these experiences with health administration skills will enable translation from that care into more systemic change and improvement,” explains Gross. She says her time at Penn, so far, has given her a much wider and more nuanced understanding of what her options are post-graduation. “When I started, I was narrowly focused on an eventual career in healthcare policy,” explains Gross. “Both the School of Nursing and the Wharton School have exposed me to many career options – from advanced degrees in research and clinical care to more business-focused aspects of healthcare.” Ultimately, Gross wants to help improve the effectiveness and efficacy of care to enhance the nation’s health system. “I hope to use my nursing background to help develop large-scale practical solutions based on evidence to enhance delivery of care,” she says. “Throughout my time at Penn, I have been exposed to numerous methods of achieving this goal, including healthcare start-ups, communitybased health programs and enhanced insurance coverage options employing behavior economics.” Gross says she’s learned that creating effective and efficient care is critical to improving the nation’s performance in other areas, such as education, equality and economic initiatives. “I believe we already have much of the proof and many of the tools to improve our system, so I want to understand how we can achieve these modeled optimal outcomes for everyone,” she says. Gross says her idea of what a “dream career” in healthcare means is ever-evolving. She says each new class introduces a new field or topic she can’t wait to learn more about. “After studying women’s quality of life across their lifespan, I am particularly drawn to women’s health as I see it as necessary to creating equality and

Deborah Gross Nu’17, W’17 found Penn’s Nursing and Health Care Management dual degree program allows her to pursue a unique path with endless opportunities.

opportunity,” she says. “I have had the opportunity to learn from such dynamic teachers who share their passion with students by allowing them to participate in research and encouraging further study. I have found myself drawn to various fields and subjects – from breastfeeding awareness, which I speak about on a weekly basis, to healthcare informatics – all inspired by my clinical instructors, guest lecturers and professors.” Gross says working at the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research has been incredible exposure into the research process, from data collection to article review. “I have been assisting with a study on the nursing workforce looking at such factors as the reported number of patients a nurse has to care for on a given shift,” she says. “This has shown me the practical application of how business decisions, such as staffing levels, can determine care quality and outcomes.” Gross says she’s learned from her advisor, Julie Sochalski, PhD, FAAN, RN, Associate Professor of Nursing, that policymaking is the way to achieve healthcare goals. “I see policy, whether local or national, as a means to incentivize or mandate improved care,” she explains. “By learning about the creation of past policy and its results, I feel better prepared to enact change through this tool.” At Penn, she says she has particularly enjoyed seeing overlaps between her two, sometimes very different, courses of study. She adds that Penn Nursing has also provided a hugely supportive network through group studies and peer activities. “This, I think, prepares us better for our future as nurses since healthcare is truly a team sport!”


The Double Major Dedicated to Women’s Wellness Karina Rios, C’15, Nu’16 is pursuing two degrees from Penn – Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies and Nursing – with the goal of working with women and infants.

Rios says her dream career is to work as a women’s health nurse practitioner, specializing in adolescents. She has worked as a student nurse with this age group, and she truly enjoyed the experience. Rios completed the coursework for her degree in GSWS this May, and she’ll finish her nursing program in 2016. She, and her sister – an architect who studied at the University of Florida and the University of California, Berkeley – are firstgeneration college students, something she considers a huge motivating factor.

Karina Rios, C’15, Nu’16 always knew she wanted to work in healthcare, but until she began studying women’s issues, and pursued a unique OB/GYN job-shadowing opportunity, she didn’t know quite where in the field she belonged.

Rios originally enrolled at Penn as a biological basis of behavior (BBB) major. “Luckily, I also took courses in psychology, criminology, and gender, sexuality and women’s studies during that time – and loved them all,” she says. “I also shadowed a variety of doctors, but I didn’t feel truly passionate about a particular field until I shadowed an OB/GYN team at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP).” During that time, Rios witnessed an emergency C-section (due to fetal distress) and a natural delivery. “I was so confused about what was happening, but the doctors and nurses all seemed so confident and at ease,” she says. “After the natural birth, I vividly remember the baby being handed over to the father for the first time, and I started to tear up. I couldn’t help it. I had just witnessed a miracle. Watching parents meet their child for the first time was one of the most fulfilling moments of my life. And, although I was just a bystander, I felt such strong emotions that, in that moment, I realized I wanted to work with women and infants.” Rios decided to pursue two degrees – in nursing and gender, sexuality and women’s studies (GSWS). “By also studying women in a context outside of nursing, I feel I’ll be better able to understand and tailor my care to their needs,” she explains. “I’ll not only consider their health status, but I’ll also be equipped to understand their lifestyles in the context of social status, race, roles and family.” 8

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At Penn, Rios has stayed quite busy – playing on the varsity softball team during her freshman and sophomore years, as well as the National Colombian team; working with students at Huey Elementary School for two summers; assisting in a research study about adolescent Trichotillomania patients’ therapy-interfering behaviors; and proctoring exams at the Student Disabilities Center. Her GSWS senior thesis was titled “Living with Television: Orange is the New Black vs. The Realities of Incarceration Today.” She says all of her experiences within the School of Nursing have been extremely positive. “I found that every single professor has been more than willing to help me succeed,” says Rios. “One person that stands out in my mind was my anatomy and physiology professor, Connie Scanga, PhD, Practice Professor of Nursing. She knew my circumstances were unique, and any time there was a drop or a rise in my grade, she was fully aware and would address it with me. I’ve found that everyone in nursing genuinely wants you to succeed and will do anything they can to help you reach your full potential.” Though she’s only completed one clinical rotation – Women and Infants – Rios says it’s been one of her favorite experiences, so far, within the School of Nursing. “I was fortunate enough to study at HUP and see cases that I may never come across again,” explains Rios. “For example, I worked with a diabetic mother who had pemphigoid gestationis – a rare autoimmune dermatosis that occurs in pregnant women. I feel privileged to have these experiences and clinical instructors key to helping me become a better nurse, and a better person.”

A Dean’s Path: Dorothy Mereness and Mental Health Nursing During the summer of 1940, a young nursing student named Dorothy Ann Mereness – who would one day become dean of Penn’s School of Nursing – was studying psychiatric and communicable disease nursing at Case Western Reserve University. Her class was among the first to use Dr. Louis J. Karnosh’s textbook Psychiatry for Nurses. Karnosh’s work fascinated Mereness and inspired the first steps in a journey that would inform present-day patient-centered care. As early as the 1920s, leading nurse educators and practitioners advocated for the integration of mental health concepts into nursing education and practice, but they found little social, political and disciplinary support. “The 1920s venerated science – what could be observed and measured – and mental health did not fit easily into this paradigm,” explains Patricia D’Antonio, PhD, RN, FAAN, Killebrew-Censits Endowed Term Chair in Undergraduate Education and Chair of the Department of Family and Community Health. “Political support depended on private philanthropies, which were concerned that there was too little evidence about the efficacy of mental health interventions and believed nurses had been trained to give best practice advice, not to tailor such advice to the needs of individuals and families.” But that soon changed. During World War II, mental health issues and treatment emerged as a national priority. Demand for skilled psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric social workers and psychiatric nurses rose as the country tried to cope with large numbers of returning soldiers suffering from (what’s now known as) post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental illnesses.

A pioneer in psychiatric nursing “Dr. Mereness was one of the first nurses to recognize the power of mental health nursing,” says Dr. D’Antonio, who completed an oral history with Dr. Mereness as part of her coursework on leadership in nursing at Penn Nursing in the late 1980s. “She independently sought learning opportunities in mental health and, as a result, when the United States was involved in World War II, she was classified as essential to the home-front military

agenda. She was one of the few clinicians able to teach mental health concepts and practices to those who would be serving abroad in the military and dealing with soldiers with significant stress and what we now know as PTSD-related wounds.” According to Dr. D’Antonio, Dr. Mereness was one of a small group of pioneers who recognized that if baccalaureate A pioneer in psychiatric-mental health nursing education was to have its nursing, Dorothy Mereness (1911fullest impact, it had to take the 1991), EdD, RN, FAAN, served as the second dean of the School of Nursing lead in reorienting the discipline from 1965 until 1977. away from standardized policies and practices and toward putting patients’ individual needs at the center of nursing care. “This is so central to how we practice nursing now that we too easily underestimate the huge conceptual and practice changes it entailed,” says Dr. D’Antonio. “And, it’s easy to underestimate how long it took to affect this change. It was the work of her lifetime and the centerpiece of her textbook, Essentials of Psychiatric Nursing.” She says Dr. Mereness, and her teams, had an abiding sense of the power of nurses’ interpretation of patients’ day-to-day behaviors in hospital wards to influence treatment decisions – an especially important insight in a post-war context that offered few effective biomedical interventions. Early in her career, Dr. Mereness worked as a psychiatric nurse at New York State Psychiatric Institute and then at Cleveland Municipal General Hospital Psychiatric Institute. She went on to serve on the faculties of Boston University School of Nursing and the University of Pittsburgh. From 1955 to 1963, she was an associate professor at New York University, where she established one of the first graduate programs in psychiatric nursing. She served as dean of Penn Nursing from 1965 until her retirement in 1977, after which she was named dean and professor emeritus. And, in 1977, she was a consultant to the school of nursing at Abdul Aziz University in Jidda, Saudi Arabia. (continued)


Although Dr. Mereness was long retired by the time Dr. D’Antonio worked on her oral history, she remained active on the volunteer staff of the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association, determined to advance the professional place of nurses on all healthcare teams. She passed away in 1991. “Nurses expertise is the experience of health and illness, not the diagnosis,” explains Dr. D’Antonio. “Our strength is helping patients and families understand their experiences and then drawing on their strengths to find ways forward. This presentday focus on patient- and family-centered care is directly attributable to Dr. Mereness.”

Maintaining momentum for mental health research In 2012, Carol E. Ware, Nu’73, a former University Trustee, Penn Nursing Overseer, and longtime supporter, created the Dr. Dorothy Mereness Endowed Research Fund. This endowment provides financial support for Penn Nursing faculty research that focuses on or integrates mental health issues and is collaborative and interdisciplinary. Last year, Yvonne Paterson, PhD, Associate Dean for Research, launched the Challenge Grant program – an extension of the research fund designed to encourage new investigators to enter a research field that is both very important and understudied within the School of Nursing. “Last year we were able to offer a challenge to encourage our researchers to introduce biomarkers into their research,” says Dr. Paterson. “This year, thanks to the Mereness Research Fund, we focused on mental health. Mental health influences many health problems that are the focus of our faculty’s research. To encourage faculty to explore this, we mounted this grant to provide a month of protected time and research costs. Winners explore how mental health variables could be incorporated into their research studies, applying their intelligence and creativity to this important health issue.” In the first year of this program, Penn Nursing was able to fund two faculty projects: one to Catherine C. McDonald, PhD, RN, an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Health and researcher at the Center for Global Women’s Health and one to Eun-Ok Im, PhD, MPH, RN, CNS, FAAN, the Marjorie O. Rendell Endowed Professor in Healthy Nursing Transitions.


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Grant proposals were scored based on six criteria: impact; significance; innovation; approach; relevance to mental health issues; and likelihood that the grant would lead to National institutes of Health (NIH) or other federal funding.

Researching risk factors and seeking solutions Dr. McDonald received a $25,000 Mental Health Challenge Grant for her proposal, “Teen Driving Behaviors and Mental Health Factors.” For teens, inattention to the roadway is a major contributor to crashes. Dr. McDonald and her team have developed a web-based intervention aimed at preventing risky driving among teens by targeting behaviors associated with mobile phone use and peer passengers. Within a larger National Institute of Nursing Research-funded study, the team is testing the feasibility of the intervention. The Mental Health Challenge Grant provides support to collect data on how teen mental health issues, like ADHD and depressive symptoms, relate to self-reported risky driving and simulated driving and crash data. “This grant is a wonderful opportunity for me, as a first year faculty member at the School of Nursing, to expand my research in adolescent health and injury prevention to include factors related to mental health,” says Dr. McDonald. “In my research relating to teen driver motor vehicle crashes, I am approaching it as a complex health problem. Efforts in teen crash prevention will not be a one-size-fits-all approach, and teens who have mental health issues may be a particularly vulnerable group.” Dr. McDonald became interested in teen driving behaviors through her roles as a nurse in a pediatric intensive care unit and pediatric emergency department and as a high school nurse. “This is an important area of study because motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in teens and, although efforts like Graduated Driver Licensure provisions are helping us make huge strides, more work needs to be done,” says Dr. McDonald. “Better understanding of individual adolescent risks may be an important key to improved prevention efforts.” Dr. Im received a $15,000 Mental Health Challenge Grant for her proposal to determine the pathways through which physical activity influences depressive symptoms in Korean-American midlife women.

“With an increasing multicultural aging population in the United States, depression in midlife ethnic minorities has become more significant than ever,” says Dr. Im. “Depression is often unrecognized and untreated, especially in ethnic minorities, despite its high prevalence. Studies have indicated that ethnic minority immigrants with depression were 60 percent less likely to be diagnosed than their U.S.-born counterparts even if those U.S.-born counterparts were of the same race/ethnicity.” Dr. Im also explains that immigrants rarely seek help for depression or prematurely stop treatment due to imminent responsibilities and cultural stigma attached to mental diseases. “Hormonal changes during menopause further increase the risk of depression in immigrant and ethnic minority women,” she says. “My research goal through this pilot grant is to examine the preliminary efficacy of a web-based physical activity promotion program (WPAPP) in decreasing depressive symptoms of Korean American midlife

women and to determine the pathways through which physical activity influences depressive symptoms in these women. I expect this pilot study will inform future development of culturally tailored web-based preventive interventions to reduce racial/ ethnic disparities in mental health and fundamentally enhance the methodology/paradigm of culturally tailored web-based preventive interventions for ethnic minorities.” Dr. D’Antonio says she knows Dr. Mereness would be immensely proud of the critical research Penn Nursing faculty are performing with help from the fund named in her honor. “This program is proof that our School, the field of healthcare and society as a whole have not only embraced the integration of mental health concepts into nursing education and practice, but have realized that it’s essential for providing truly patientcentered care,” she says.


Mastering Nursing and Law: School of Nursing Begins New Dual Degree Program with Penn Law Early in life, Christine Becer, Nu’07 knew she was attracted to two different careers. She admired the work her mother did as a nurse. And she was so interested in law she wrote in her 8th grade yearbook that she wanted to be a lawyer. Years later, she’s a trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice. She uses her skill in both law and nursing to inform her work – particularly regarding legal issues surrounding vaccinations. Becer has blended her knowledge of nursing and law professionally since her first job after law school. “In my first job I had to regularly review medical records and determine what was relevant to the legal case,” she recalls. “Many times coworkers consulted with me in interpreting hospital charts. I also found my nursing education was an asset when interacting with medical clients. They didn’t have to spend as much time explaining the care they provided because I already understood the healthcare delivery process.” Over her career, Becer has found a way to combine law and nursing. But when she heard about the dual graduate nursing and law degree the School of Nursing is now offering, she was enthused about the possibilities for students. “I absolutely would have taken advantage of a program like that,” she says. “In my career I can see that putting medical professionals and lawyers in the same room can help both sides understand one another.”

Combining law and nursing in the graduate classroom The degree is designed to equip students to effectively tackle the myriad of legal issues the healthcare profession is facing. “In the health field, some issues are just exploding in impact and complexity,” says Matthew Parker, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs at Penn Law. “Online medical care is being proposed, there are privacy issues, assisted suicide laws, there’s healthcare legislation and a wave of immigration issues which implicate healthcare and legal issues, requiring skills and background knowledge in both areas. We’re going to have a lot more people with a lot more complex needs and issues. So there’s a lot of room for people to be engaged in different areas of healthcare.” 12

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There was so much potential that the key organizers of the program say they are simply responding to a need which developed at the intersection of these two fields. The graduate nursing and law degree program features 14 course units with six core nursing courses, two nursing electives, four core law classes and two law electives. 6 core nursing courses:

4 core law courses:

Healthcare leadership Patient safety Social and health policy Nursing practice administration Research methods Elective based on individual student interests

Introduction to U.S. law Business law Health law and policy Regulatory law and process + 2 Elective law courses

+ 2 Elective nursing courses

The career paths that could come from the new combined degree are numerous. With legal knowledge, nurses can consult with attorneys, provide advice to lawyers on medical issues and serve as expert witnesses. Other possibilities include advocating for patient rights as well as working for health insurance companies and other health-related professional organizations. Also, those with this combined education in nursing and law will be ready to serve in leadership roles throughout health systems, practices and the non-profit sector. “We began to see how much need there was in training people in law who weren’t going to be lawyers, but who really wanted legal education to complement their professions in complex, highly regulated fields such as healthcare,” Parker says. “We have been working with the nursing school to combine these complementary programs – much as we have also done throughout Penn’s campus. In doing so, we have created tremendous opportunities for students in all of Penn’s health science schools, most notably the School of Nursing. Hopefully, we’ll be able to build this program and bring this education to a wide sector of the Penn community.” On the nursing side it was already clear that a demand existed to incorporate law into the curriculum.

“Every year we have students who are interested in developing a plan of study that includes a focus in health policy,” says Sue Keim MS, MSN, CRNP, Program Director, Nursing and Healthcare Administration and Health Leadership Graduate Programs at the School of Nursing. “In the past, we cobbled together coursework from a variety of programs across the university but we didn’t have a cogent plan to meet our students’ needs. This collaboration with the law school is coming at the best possible time given the numerous health policy issues we are facing in this nation.”

Presenting a new style of learning The new degree offering aptly suits the types of students registered in Penn’s Nursing Graduate School – which was rated the #1 Nursing School in U.S. News and World Report for 2016 with a perfect score of 100. “We have nursing students who have a keen interest in leadership and administrative positions,” Keim says. “They’re often going into management roles within healthcare organizations, but they’re also interested in positions within the federal government, policy think tanks, professional organizations and the insurance industry. This legal education will greatly inform these interests.” In addition to critical information about legal issues, the new dual degree program also gives nursing students a chance to learn something about how law school prepares lawyers – and to apply their critical thinking skills in a new arena.

“The Socratic method is used in the law school classroom, where there’s a back and forth debate between professor and student,” says Catharine Restrepo, Associate Director, Master in Law Program at Penn Law. Nurses are similarly trained, so it is expected that having nurses and law students together in class will enrich the learning process for all. Plus, the interaction between students in the program should lead to another advantage for nursing students. “It’s an opportunity to build professional networks,” Restrepo says. “The nursing students will be in classes with other professionals including other healthcare professionals as well as future lawyers and so will be networking for their many future endeavors.” Now, graduate nursing students will be able to take part in a dual degree program and expand the possibilities for their educations and careers. It’s part of a university-wide trend that encourages students to be more cross-disciplinary. “I wouldn’t say we integrated the two fields,” Parker says. “Rather, we have created an opportunity because these fields are already integrated.” “It hugely supports the growing notion that interdisciplinary education is the way to broaden our perspectives,” Keim says. “And I think it’s a real benefit to have nurses in a program with nonnursing students.”


0 Very happy, no hurt

2 Hurts just a little bit

4 Hurts a little more

6 Hurts even more

8 Hurts a whole lot

0 Very happy, no hurt

2 Hurts just a little bit

4 Hurts a little more

6 Hurts even more

8 Hurts a whole lot

10 Hurts as much as you can imagine (don’t have to be crying to feel this much pain)

10 Hurts as much as you can imagine (don’t have to be crying to feel this much pain)

0 Very happy, no hurt

2 Hurts just a little bit

4 Hurts a little more

6 Hurts even more

8 Hurts a whole lot

10 Hurts as much as you can imagine (don’t have to be crying to feel this much pain)

That’s higher than your normal pain rating. That’s higher than your normal pain rating. That’s higher than your normal pain rating. I’m going to ask your caregiver to check on you to make sure okay.caregiver to I’m going toyou’re ask your check on you to make sure okay.caregiver to I’m going toyou’re ask your check on you to make sure you’re okay.

Robots and Elders: Perfect Together Relay the Robot glided soundlessly down the hall of a Philadelphia elder care center, entered a small community room and asked a member: “Would you like some water?” After an affirmative reply, Relay opened its lighted bin and encouraged the member to take a bottle of water. Relay, which is reminiscent of Star Wars’ R2-D2, was a hit with the elders and caregivers who participated in a spring focus group about assistive robotics. The focus groups were geared to solicit not only how acceptable robotic support would be to elders, but to learn what functionalities elders and their caregivers would desire most from the technology. 14

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“We learned from both caregivers and elders that support is needed in the areas of ambulation, hydration and encouragement in physical activity,” says Pamela Cacchione, PhD, CRNP, BC, FAAN, the Ralston House Endowed Term Chair in Gerontological Nursing. “Now we want to apply what we learned to fully develop this robotic support.”

Help for elders and caregivers Robotic support is not a new idea in industry. Robots are part of manufacturing production, are used in law enforcement and are common in the restaurant and hospitality industries. They even do some household tasks like vacuuming. Considering

the growing number of seniors in the United States – projected to be close to 80 million by 2040 – robots could be an important way to ease the burden on caregivers and help elders live more safely and comfortably at home. “As we age, our physical, perceptual and cognitive abilities change, making it difficult to perform tasks of daily living that we learn in childhood and often take for granted. These changes often lead to the inability to live as independently as desired. There is no doubt that robots can be part of helping us maintain independence at home as we age,” says Dr. Cacchione, one of the investigators creating Relay the Robot through the Affordable and Mobile Assistance Robot for Elderly Care project, underwritten by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant (NSF PFI-BIC Grant #1430216) of close to $800,000. But having the idea for robotic support, and having elders who sometimes aren’t tech-savvy accept that support, are two different things. The focus groups proved that elders are curious about robotic assistance and engaged with the technology. It also showed that caregivers are excited about the robot’s utility. Many caregivers see the benefit of robotic assistance for simple repetitive tasks, freeing them to provide more one-on-one time with their elderly charges. “We are positively encouraged now that we have had the opportunity to work with elders and caregivers in multiple focus groups,” says Dr.Tessa Lau of Savioke Service Robots, the company collaborating with Dr. Cacchione on the project. “They are excited about the potential for robotic help and very engaged with Relay.”

Multidisciplinary collaboration is key The idea for Relay the Robot took root when a collaborative group of researchers were introduced to one another. Dr. Mark Yim, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics at Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is the principal investigator on the grant. He had worked with Dr. Lau in the past and introduced her to Michelle Johnson, PhD, Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine and Director of its Rehabilitation Robotics Lab. Dr. Johnson then introduced Dr. Yim and Dr. Cacchione to the Philadelphia elder care center team. “I have long been interested in robot-mediated rehabilitation of dysfunction due to aging, neural

disease and injury, so this collaboration was a very natural solution for moving this research forward,” Dr. Johnson explains. “By bringing nursing, engineering, medicine and design researchers together on this project, and involving the end users – caregivers and elders – in the process, we have a unique synergy that is enriching this endeavor.” The collaborative team is now using its focus group research to further enhance the design and utility of the robot. “Everyone always wants robots to do more than they actually can do and have it all at a low cost,” says Dr. Lau. “What we know for sure about Relay is that we need to be able to produce it in a reasonable amount of time and cost efficiently.” To do that, the research team is successfully navigating uncharted territory. “One of the things we are most pleased about at this early juncture is that the NSF considers our team a model of how to thoughtfully approach the design and production of mobile assistance robots,” says Dr. Cacchione. “As a team, we all want to build the most appropriate robot for this specific audience, so we take time to think about the priorities our focus group participants shared, and use that information to build an affordable and useful product,” says Dr. Johnson.

Robot assistance coming to homes near you One of the most-asked questions during focus groups was: “When can I have a robot like this in my house?” While Relay the Robot’s design is still in the early stages, its researchers are optimistic about the possibility of offering robot assistants to consumers soon. They are also looking at long-term possibilities when it is conceivable that homes will have two or three service robots – similar to the ubiquitous nature of cellphones. “We are building on our knowledge about consumer wants and needs, so this is just the beginning of what we see as a future that includes robotic assistance as a means of ensuring individual independence as long as possible,” says Dr. Johnson. The team is about a third of the way through their three-year NSF grant, and fully expects to be in pilot phase by next year. “We want to get lots of robots out into the world to help people live fuller and more independent lives,” says Dr. Lau. “Relay the Robot represents the first step in meeting that mission.


Nurses Answering the Call for Help In 2010, Mamie Guidera, MSN, CNM, Advanced Senior Lecturer at Penn Nursing, looked out the window of a car driving on a rugged road in rural Haiti. Her view was of streets lined with tents housing refugees who had fled the capital after a devastating earthquake. Everywhere she looked she saw signs of extreme hardship.

to create sustainable improvements so you will not face that same ethical dilemma again. Guidera put the makeshift formula together to feed Anton. A week later, his 17-year-old mother took him home. After arriving back in the U.S., Guidera called the hospital to ask if Anton was alive. No one knew. To this day, she doesn’t know what happened.

“I’ve worked in a lot of developing countries and it was the harshest environment I ever worked in,” she says.

Nursing’s critical role in disaster relief

Guidera’s mission was to work with and train midwives in birth emergencies in Hinche, a town in central Haiti. Shortly after arriving, while on call at St. Therese Hospital, she helped deliver a baby at 28 weeks old and weighing 2 pounds and 2 ounces. The baby was named Anton and Guidera remembers him as a feisty baby who grabbed the edge of the scale.

Lisa Hilmi, MPH, RN, pre-doctoral student at Penn

“In the United States a 28-week baby often lives,” she says. “We have what we need to take care of them.” But this was not the case in Haiti. Working in an under-resourced country such as Haiti creates multiple ethical issues for visiting healthcare providers like Guidera. She used her Blackberry to ask a colleague in the U.S. what it would take to sustain the baby via IV or feeding tube. This type of immediate consultation with experts in the U.S. isn’t typically available and wouldn’t be available to the Haitian staff in the weeks to come. Even if it worked, Guidera didn’t know what would happen to Anton after he left the hospital. “I knew I had the capacity and the tools to intervene but those would not exist when I left. The dilemma,” she says “is if one should intervene or not.” While relief work provides care and support in the short term, for Guidera and other nurses, the real goal is

Whether it be war, disease outbreak or natural disaster, catastrophic events occur globally. Often, nurses are on the frontlines, providing immediate care and long-term health restoration. Nursing, has aided in disaster relief across the globe. She’s assisted in the Rwandan refugee crisis, provided relief in the aftermath of an Asian tsunami and come to the aid of those affected by the Sri Lankan civil war. In her years of experience, she’s seen nurses’ heroism on many levels. “I’ve seen nurses take care of patients with no electricity and bombs falling outside,” she says. “Nurses that stay to help patients instead of thinking of their own lives. And nurses who work with whole communities to advocate for them when no one else will.” Nurses have always been counted on as first responders who participate in the rehabilitation phase after a disaster – which can sometimes stretch out for months or years. It’s these situations that often illustrate nursing’s importance and influence. “Nurses can do more than just clinical care,” Hilmi says. “Nurses are multi-skilled, used to working in interdisciplinary environments and take a holistic view of giving aid. I’ve seen nurses take management and leadership roles in disasters.”

A history of helping Over the years, Penn Nursing students and faculty have stepped in to make a difference after catastrophic events. Faculty members have gone on sabbaticals to aid in relief efforts. Student groups regularly raise awareness of and funds to support critical services after natural disasters. The School also prepares students for disaster relief. Penn Nursing offers a “Global Health Policy and Delivery” class where students study how Mamie Guidera, a midwifery faculty member, faced many hard decisions as a care provider when she traveled to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.


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Disaster relief is not for the faint of heart. But even the most basic care – like the provision of clean water – can go a long way as evidenced by the smiles Lisa Hilmi coaxed from these children in a Rwandan refugee camp

But one of the effects of the Nepal earthquake may be to set up better future preparedness. That happened after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, when warning sensors were set up to help detect tsunamis as early as possible.

inequalities and public policy influence health status and issues such as maternal health, HIV policy, and refugee health. Disaster simulations are also offered in the Community Health clinical, and Hilmi teaches a Global Health First Responder course where she includes important issues such as how to assure personal safety and how to work in partnership with local organizations and populations. Guidera, who has established long-term relationships in communities in Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti and the Dominican Republic that have experienced disasters, has two recommendations for nurses interested in disaster relief. “The first one is to get experience,” she says. “You have to bring something to the table. I didn’t get involved as a midwife in Guatemala until I’d been a midwife for 10 years. It’s not work for the novice.” Her second piece of advice is to apply your experience in a focused area. “Nothing can really prepare you for what you’ll see. The environment can be very harsh and you have to be prepared to focus on a specific area of need to effectively help the people there.”

Planning for the worst and preparing communities Advanced planning and simulation exercises have great potential for reducing the effects of a disaster. Nurses can play an important role in helping local and international communities be better prepared before a disaster, and coordinate effective response plans. “What I find time and time again in developing countries is that they’ve never done simulation exercises,” says Hilmi. The earthquake that devastated Nepal earlier this year is an example of this. Because of the natural seismic fault there, scientists had been concerned about a serious earthquake for years. “There was an earthquake simulation exercise planned for the next year,” Hilmi says. “If that had happened earlier, the relief efforts may have been better coordinated.”

“In many of these countries, there is a great civil society response,” Hilmi says. “A lot of times, they just need some capacity building and support to make everything sustainable. That is where nurses come in.” Guidera says using a combination of training for the local population and long-term planning can be a successful strategy. “You want to work with people and train the trainers so they can do the same in kind,” she says. “There’s the expression ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,’ and I think it’s true in this case.” For Guidera, that means training midwives in the countries she visits to provide the skilled care that has been lacking for pregnant women. By empowering these women to care for their own communities, better care can be assured long after Guidera and her teams leave.

Wanting to help Disaster relief isn’t something all nursing students want to do. But it’s often the case that they want to do something to help even if they can’t go to the scene of a disaster. Hilmi offers some important advice. “During the immediate response time, people want to help and often send food, clothes and other supplies,” she says. “Every box of supplies has to go through administrative checks and that actually becomes a bottleneck.” Instead, Hilmi recommends sending monetary support, and encourages nurses to use their networking skills to enhance the effort. “It’s best to send donations to vetted agencies and known entities, like the School of Nursing, that support relief efforts,” she says. “Give what you have, or plan a fundraiser. Nurses are incredibly organized, so this is an area where we can really have an impact. We’re good communicators, so we should help others know the importance of monetary donations as a sustained way to help after a disaster.”


The Science of Injury, Violence and Recovery: Making the World a Better and Safer Place

As a trauma nurse in Washington, D.C. in the early 1990s, Therese Richmond, PhD, CRNP, FAAN, the Andrea B. Laporte Professor of Nursing, saw the epidemic of violence that was killing youth in the inner city. That experience influenced her career as a renowned researcher and activist in understanding trauma recovery and how to prevent violent injury. She received the 13th annual Claire M. Fagin Distinguished Researcher Award this spring, honoring her important contributions to nursing scholarship.

were all congratulating ourselves on getting him well enough to leave the hospital.”

In Dr. Richmond’s 40 years as a nurse, she has spent 25 of them at Penn Nursing. She has been awarded more than $28 million in research funding and she has amassed a multitude of professional accolades.

Inspired to help patients like Andy, Richmond began researching how to improve outcomes after injury by better understanding the complex interaction between physical injury and post-injury psychological consequences. She and her colleagues followed the recuperation of patients for more than two years and found overwhelming evidence that indicated that psychological disorders emerge after injury, which profoundly affect outcomes. Their research has since transformed the field of nursing to the extent that psychological assessments are now integrated into trauma care. Dr. Richmond and her colleagues developed a predictive screener that identifies those injured patients at highest risk for depression and post-traumatic stress months after their discharge.

“The magnitude of her accomplishments has directed how we think about injury and recovery,” says C. William Schwab, MD, Chief, Trauma Network; Director, Firearm Injury Center at Penn; Physician-inChief, PennSTAR and Professor of Surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. “She has made the world a better and safer place.”

Exploring the science of recovery from trauma Many nurses can cite one patient who influenced them early in their careers. For Richmond, that patient was a young man named Andy, whom she treated in the ICU for gunshot wounds. “I loved the environment of ICU nursing, but I never thought about what happened to patients once they left,” she says. “The day Andy was discharged, we 18

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But Andy came back to tell Richmond and her colleagues something very important. “He told us that we had done our jobs treating him for his trauma, but he was not healed. I realized that there was a gap in our general understanding about how people heal, especially from trauma, and what happens to patients once they leave the ICU,” she says.

Treating violence as a disease “Violence takes its toll on people, communities and economies,” says Dr. Richmond. “Consider this; in the last 300 years there have been 20,000 deaths worldwide from tornadoes. In the last 30 years,

there have been more than 800,000 deaths from gun violence.” Armed with years of research on firearm violence, Dr. Richmond, along with Dr. Schwab, created the Firearm Injury Center at Penn (FICAP) in 1997. Since then, FICAP has become a unique collaboration among health professionals, researchers and communities to address the magnitude and impact of firearm injury and violence. Leveraging a deep understanding of the effectiveness of collaboration, Dr. Richmond and her team worked with three different communities: the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania; Youngstown, Ohio; and Cedar Rapids, Iowa to better understand gun violence and its human and financial costs. They mobilized members of law enforcement, healthcare workers and community leaders to gather data that proved gun violence is related to gun type. Their research showed that handguns account for almost 80 percent of firearm homicides and about 70 percent of firearm suicides; and that the use of semi-automatic weapons has been associated with an increase in multiple bullet wounds, which increases the likelihood of fatal injury. “Our goal then, and which continues today, is to create safer communities through the systematic reduction of firearm injury and its repercussions to the individual, family and society,” she says.

To do that, Dr. Richmond took the next step in disseminating this information and supporting efforts to translate those findings into solutions that prevent firearm injury. She spent a decade working with national and state legislators to help design and test the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS). NVDRS is a state-based surveillance system that links data from law enforcement, coroners and medical examiners, vital statistics and crime laboratories to assist each participating state in designing and implementing tailored prevention and intervention efforts. NVDRS provides data on violence trends at national and regional levels; each state can access all of these important data elements from one central database. In 2014, Pennsylvania joined the NVDRS and Dr. Richmond was appointed to the Pennsylvania Department of Health advisory board for the Pennsylvania Violent Death Reporting System. Dr. Richmond continues her research, focusing on the biological, individual, institutional and environmental risks and protective factors that influence vulnerable groups in urban environments, and in addressing the magnitude of firearm injury and violence. “This is challenging research and not necessarily an easy component to focus on. That’s why it is good to remind ourselves that we must be tenacious in our efforts,” she says. “This work is relevant to each of us, and I am incredibly thankful that I get to do this every day.”

Dr. Richmond Receives the Claire M. Fagin Distinguished Researcher Award While Dr. Therese Richmond thanks a broken arm at age 5 and a hospital stint for post-viral encephalopathy at age 8 for her desire to be a nurse, it was her curiosity about the outcomes of trauma care that propelled her into research. Her insight into the complex interaction between physical injury and post-injury psychological consequences, along with exploration of how to prevent violence and reduce its impact, earned her the 2015 Claire M. Fagin Distinguished Researcher Award. Dr. Richmond is the Associate Dean for Research and Innovation and Associate Director of the Biobehavioral Research Center. She has been recognized for her research efforts by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, the Eastern Nursing Research Society and has been inducted into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame. Dr. Richmond is the 13th recipient of

the Fagin Award, honoring Penn Nursing faculty members or graduates from the School’s doctoral program who make distinguished contributions to nursing scholarship. The Fagin Award was established to honor Claire M. Fagin, PhD, RN, FAAN, FRCN,

Dean of the School from 1977 to 1992. Dr. Fagin developed landmark education programs, including the Doctor of Nursing Science, the first nursing doctorate in the Ivy League and a PhD program. She opened the first privately funded center for nursing research in the country in 1980, drawing millions of dollars in external grants. Under her leadership, Penn Nursing had more faculty in the American Academy of Nursing and the Institute of Medicine than any other nursing school. She established some of the first endowed chairs for nursing, dual degrees and

minors and the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing. Dr. Fagin went on to serve as interim president of the University of Pennsylvania – the first woman to serve as an interim Ivy league president – from July 1, 1993, to June 30, 1994. She is a Living Legend in the American Academy of Nursing and has been inducted to the American Nurses Association Hall of Fame. “It is an honor to pay tribute to Dr. Richmond and her nursing scholarship,” says Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor and Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing. “She is an extraordinary nurse researcher and her impact on improving outcomes in traumatic injury as well as in preventing violence positively affects us all.”


PENN NURSING NEWS The wide scope of scientific inquiry inherent in Penn Nursing faculty members’ research is remarkable. It advances nursing practice, shapes health policy and impacts human health around the world. Following are some recent research highlights. You can learn even more online on our Science in Action page or by dialing in to an alumni webinar (see pg. 33 for the schedule).

Dean Antonia Villarruel Discusses Health Impacts of Climate Change at White House-led Initiative When the Obama administration wanted to learn how to better understand, communicate and reduce the health impacts of climate change on our communities, it tapped 30 deans from schools of nursing, medicine and public health around the country to collaborate on an action plan. Among the prestigious coalition was Antonia Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor and Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing. She and her colleagues met and formulated the following commitment to train the next generation of health professionals to effectively address the health impacts of climate change. As leaders responsible for educating the nation’s health professionals of tomorrow, we are keenly aware of our obligation to ensure that they are fully prepared to address all health risks, including those resulting from the impacts of climate change. Our future health professionals must have the competencies needed to address the health needs of our communities and our patients, both now and into the foreseeable future. These competencies must be based on the best available science, and benefit from sharing best scientific and educational practices. Today we commit to ensuring that we train the next generation of health professionals to effectively address the health impacts of climate change. We look forward to further advancing this effort by participating in an upcoming White House Climate Change and Health Summit. We commit to strengthening the knowledge base in the area of climate and health from a position of the best science and academic rigor.

Catherine McDonald’s Research Featured in Consumer Affairs Report Consumer Affairs published an article featuring research from Penn Nursing’s Catherine McDonald, PhD, RN, on predicting and preventing accidents involving teen and novice drivers. Using the Simulated Driving Assessment (SDA), a driving simulator comparable to what is used to train aircraft pilots, Dr. McDonald and her colleagues at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia have assessed and identified the leading scenarios in which the majority of accidents occur for young teen drivers. “What our research tells us is that a validated simulated driving test could be used to assess the driving skills needed to avoid crashes. If we can identify driving skill deficits in a safe, simulated environment, then we can tell families and driving instructors what to focus on during supervised practice drives or how to help those with citations or crashes who are already licensed,” says Dr. McDonald. Dr. McDonald’s long-term goal is to make an impact on adolescent health by addressing risk engagement and health promotion in the context of injury.


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Marjorie Muecke’s Research Explores Influence of Supernatural Beliefs on Medical, Social Aspects of Culture Regardless of whether you believe in ghosts or not, a significant percentage of the world’s population does believe that the soul or spirit of a deceased person can form an attachment to the human realm. A team of Penn scholars is studying the sociological truth of ghosts in an effort to understand the depth and influence that ghosts have had, and continue to have, on the economic, social and medical aspects of culture. Marjorie Muecke, PhD, RN, FAAN, Adjunct Professor of Family and Community Health at

Penn Nursing and Paul G. Rogers Ambassador for Global Health Research, is part of the Ghost Project. She applies her experience as a nurse and anthropologist to inform the group’s research. Because supernatural belief systems can vary dramatically across cultures, delving into the cultural context of belief in ghosts can inform understanding of diverse groups. That’s important science to the research team that includes scholars in religious studies, history, nursing, sociology, archaeology and literature.

Connie Ulrich Shares Insight About Bioethics Education as Part of Her Role on Presidential Commission Connie Ulrich, PhD, RN, FAAN, Associate Professor of Bioethics and Nursing, shared her

insight about how the Presidential Bioethics Commission can improve the quality of public dialogue and deliberation on bioethics and the quality of bioethics education. “Training and communication would absolutely help in bioethics education, so we can help people feel more confident to address the issues that they face,” she said during a recent roundtable discussion involving Commission members and presenters. Dr. Ulrich is a member of the Commission, which advises the President on bioethical issues arising from advances in biomedicine and related areas of science and technology.

Afaf Meleis Co-launches Lancet Report on Women and Health Afaf Meleis, PhD, DrPS (hon), FAAN, Professor of Nursing and Sociology and co-leader of

a Lancet Commission on Women and Health, launched the Commission’s new report titled “Women and Health: the key for sustainable development.” The report is one of the most exhaustive analyses to date of the evidence surrounding the complex relationships between women and health, and demonstrates that women’s distinctive contribution to society is under-recognized and undervalued – economically, socially, politically and culturally. A major finding of the report is that women’s contribution to health amounts to approximately $3 trillion annually, more than the governments of the United States and United Kingdom’s total expenditures combined, but nearly half of this is unpaid and unrecognized. The report recommends a call to recognize the importance of timely and appropriate investments in girls and women to enhance their status, strengthen health systems and improve health outcomes; to ensure that development planning and financing for health is responsive to the concerns and needs of women; and urges women to participate at all levels of decision making in society, fostering leadership in health nationally and internationally.


ALUMNI CONNECTIONS From the Penn Nursing Alumni Board President

Dear Penn Nursing Alumni, My relationship with Penn Nursing started 12 years ago as an undergraduate student. During more than a decade, my roots in the Penn Nursing community of students, faculty and alumni have grown deep. As I start my term as president of the Penn Nursing Alumni Board, I am so honored to represent a cadre of incredibly talented alumni in countless specialties across the globe. I extend my thanks to our past president, Terri Cox Glassen, Nu’91, for her tremendous contributions during her term. Terri’s vision and leadership have advanced the work of the Alumni Board in countless ways and helped strengthen instrumental bridges between the Alumni Board and the Penn community-at-large. It has also been a pleasure to work with Dean Villarruel, GNu’82, during the past year and I look forward to collaborating further to best serve our alumni. I am also lucky to have the opportunity to work with Elaine Dreisbaugh, HUP’60, the new president of the HUP Alumni Association. I am constantly in awe of the accomplishments of Penn nurses, both collectively and as individuals. The journeys our alumni embark upon following graduation represent individual footprints on the path to shaping today’s healthcare. The work of Penn nurses spans the globe, intersecting with countless disciplines to make industries and populations stronger, safer and more efficient. Whether you are on campus as a student or faculty member, influencing healthcare in your communities near and far, or taking the path less traveled, I hope you continue to connect with Penn as your academic home. Bring back to us a piece of your journey and let Penn Nursing continue to enhance your ability to make a positive impact. There is always a place for you at Penn Nursing. Opportunities for engagement range from the virtual Penn Interview Program, networking with students online and in person, attending school- and university-sponsored events, workplace student shadowing or clinical precepting, financial support and involvement with the Penn Nursing Alumni Board and its committees. Your personal and professional experiences are unique. Your accomplishments make us proud, and your engagement at Penn Nursing will strengthen our School’s footprint for generations to come. Collectively, we can accomplish anything! Go Quakers! Ashley Z. Ritter, Nu’07, GNu’10 President, Penn Nursing Alumni Board


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From the HUP Nursing Alumni Association President

Dear Fellow Alumni, It is an extreme pleasure to be the new president of this group, the HUP Alumni Association, where I have been involved for almost 30 years. We have worked very hard to keep HUP Nursing vibrant for 129 years, and we plan to keep going. We are proud of our HUP legacy. During the past 38 years, since our last graduating class of 1978, the HUP Alumni Association has remained strong and vibrant. How do we do it? We have terrific volunteers! Many have served for decades on our Board, and I want to acknowledge some of them in my first message. Thanks to Cleo Wolfe Libonati, HUP’68, for her terrific leadership as vice president and then president. Thank you also to Elizabeth (Betty Shields) Irwin, HUP’50, who also served as president and is now chair of the Archives, and to Isabel (Stainsby) Harrison, HUP’49, who has done a terrific job as treasurer for more than 25 years. How would our organization function without Julia (Tierney) Davis, HUP’73, our outstanding secretary? And thanks to Patricia (Walter) Marcozzi, HUP’61, who continues to chair the HUP Alumni Association Reunion held every five years! (She reminds us that the 130th is September 2016). Recently, Beverly (White) Ejsing HUP’60 returned to the Board, and she is always willing to fill various roles. Our volunteers are deeply committed. Many of the present members have served as president: Barbara (Bobbi Gohn) Callazzo, HUP’63; Candace (Pfeffer) Stikloruis, HUP’68; Beverly (Barton) Emonds, HUP’68; VeRita (Barnette) Lynch, HUP’70; Deborah (Haug) Whealton, HUP’75; and Margaret (Moffat) Iacobacci, HUP’78. Finally, my thanks go to all who have served on the HUP Alumni Board in any capacity. We acknowledge your contributions and time. HUP graduates tell us that they want to continue our active legacy for as long as possible. If you are interested in volunteering with us, contact me. One of my goals is to ensure a 150th HUP Alumni Reunion in 2036. It will take all of us working together to get there. Additional important support that helps us meet our goals comes from our collaborative connection with Penn Nursing Alumni. As president, I want to continue to foster this wonderful, 15+ year relationship between the two alumni associations. Though we both have our own identities and alumni associations, we have a respect for each graduate. At our spring 2015 luncheon, we were all thrilled to have Dean Villarruel and staff member Monica Salvia join us for wonderful conversation and lunch. We hope you will be able to join us for luncheons in coming years! Finally, we say congratulations to Beverly (Bev) Emonds, HUP’68 for being honored with the Penn Nursing Alumni Spirit Award in May 2015. We are so proud of you! Warm Regards, Elaine Nuss Dreisbaugh, HUP’60 President, Alumni Association of the School of Nursing of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania



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2015-2016 Penn Nursing Alumni Board and Committees The Penn Nursing Alumni Board represents the alumni body in planning activities, programs and professional opportunities. Alumni of all programs, professions, degree levels and locations who are interested in giving back and advancing their network are invited to membership by joining a committee. See pg. 25 for detailed information on alumni committees. President

Board of Directors

Ashley Z. Ritter, Nu’07, GNu’10 (Philadelphia)

Christine Becer, Nu’07 (Pennsylvania) Amelia Cataldo, Nu’11 (New York) Debbie Christopher, Nu’94, GNu’12 (New Jersey) Stephanie Chu, Nu’05, GNu’08 (New York) Heidi Nebelkopf Elgart, Nu’91, GNu’98 (Pennsylvania) Ashley Darcy Mahoney, GNu’09, Gr’10 (North Carolina) Ashley Rowley, Nu’09, GNu’12 (New York)

Vice President for Alumni Support

Maya Clark-Cutaia, Nu’03, GNu’06 (Philadelphia) Vice President for Student & School Support

Lisa Hilmi, Nu’97 (Maryland) Secretary

Katherine Bowles, Nu’07 (California) – Board of Directors and Committee Chairs

Christina Calamaro, Gr’05 (Pennsylvania) Suzanne Conaboy, Nu’07 (Pennsylvania) Ellen McCabe, Nu’88, GNu’91 (New York) Mary Walton, Nu’74, GNu’81, GR’10, GR’12 (Philadelphia)

Student Representatives

Jasmine Chen, Nu’16 Rashika Kaushik, GNu’17 Jessica DiVanno, Nu’14, GNu’16 Sabina Muhamed, Nu’16 Ex-Officio Member

HUP Alumni President – Elaine Dreisbaugh, HUP’60

Congratulations to our 2016 Alumni Award Winners Pictured with past Alumni Board President Terri Cox Glassen, Awards Committee Chair Mary Walton, and Dean Villarruel, alumni award winners were honored on Friday, May 15, along with faculty and student award recipients, during Alumni Weekend 2015. Do you know someone who deserves to be recognized? Watch for nomination instructions to be featured in eNews. Outstanding Alumni Award for Leadership in Nursing

Regina Cunningham, Gr’03 Alumni Award for Clinical Excellence

Linda Kocent, Nu’84, GNu’88 Lillian Sholtis Brunner Award for Innovative Practice

Ashley Darcy-Mahoney, GNu’09, Gr’10 Alumni Spirit Award

Beverly B. Emonds, HUP’68, Nu’72, GNu’80 Alumni Spirit Award for Graduating Students

Carley Boyle, Nu’15 24

UPfront | Fall 2015

Help Wanted: A Few Good Committee Members Put your skills and experience to good use by supporting the work of one of our committees. Or, use the opportunity to build your skill base and make connections! Committee membership typically requires only one to three hours per month, most of which can be done by phone and email. For information on joining a board committee, email or call 215-898-9773. Alumni Awards Committee

Recognizes outstanding alumni by acknowledging their varied contributions to the profession and to the healthcare of citizens of our nation and around the world. Chair Mary Walton, Nu’74, GNu’81, GR’10, GR’12 (Philadelphia) Projects • Recruit broad mix of award candidates • Review nominees and select finalists • Regularly review award categories • Promote awards and awardees Timeline Heaviest workload from November to March, with attendance at the event in May. Preferred Skills

Collaborative, able to maintain confidentiality, excellent communication and speech writing skills, ability to discern qualified candidates.

Alumni Events Committee

Plans and promotes a broad and appealing mix of events and activities in an effort to attract and connect many alumni to one another and the School. Chair Ellen McCabe, Nu’88, GNu’91 (New York) Projects • Support annual Nurse Networking Event during Homecoming • Plan regional alumni events (regularly target New York, Boston, South Jersey) • Partner with regional Penn Alumni Clubs to increase alumni involvement • Build attendance for Nursing Alumni Weekend by suggesting content and recruiting and involving class and program representatives. Timeline September through May Preferred Skills

Organized, collaborative, able to generate enthusiasm, good communication and marketing skills, comfortable planning and hosting events.

Student-Alumni Connections Committee

Supports opportunities for mutually beneficial relationships between alumni and students Chair Christina Calamaro, GR’05 (Pennsylvania) Projects • Supports the Alumni Liaison program • Educates students, faculty, staff and alumni about QuakerNet, LinkedIn and other social networking tools • Coordinates with Penn’s Student Services Office, Career Services, and Alumni Relations to connect alumni with current students • Creates strategic, ongoing partnerships with student organizations at all educational levels • Works with Events Committee on networking opportunities at Homecoming, Alumni Weekend and regional events, including annual networking event at NSNA Timeline September through May Preferred Skills

Organized, collaborative, strong communication and networking skills, comfortable reaching out to alumni, faculty and students.

To join a committee or to learn about more of our alumni volunteer activities, contact Monica Salvia at or 215.898.9773.



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Simple Steps for Giving Back to Penn Nursing • Update your Alumni Profile on QuakerNet – Update your email address, mailing information and employment directly in Penn’s alumni directory. While there, check your privacy settings on the site to make sure you are comfortable with what other alumni can see about you. • Stay Informed – Join the School’s social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Follow Dean Villarruel on Twitter. Share your thoughts and comments with us. • Connect With Your Class or Program – Are you connected with a number of your classmates, or would you like to be? Consider serving as a class or program connector and become the source of school news to and from your Penn Nursing social network. • Mentor Students – Preceptors and alumni liaisons are essential to the School’s academic program. Consider taking the time to mentor a student in their practice.

Did you know? 90% of Penn Nursing Alumni event and webinar invitations are sent by email only. If we don’t have your email address on file, we’re missing you! To be sure you’re included, log on to QuakerNet and update your profile, or email us at

• Attend an Event or Webinar – Each year, Penn Nursing hosts a networking event at Homecoming and multiple events during Alumni Weekend. Take part in these traditional oncampus events, or come back for a lecture, award, program or other School event. Dial in for a webinar. Or, join us as we bring Penn Nursing to a city near you. • Virtual Mentorship – Students and fellow alumni benefit from your experience when you join our LinkedIn group and provide insights, either in response to direct questions, posting your own suggestions or questions, or submitting job announcements. • Support the Penn Nursing Annual Fund – The School of Nursing benefits directly and immediately from gifts to the Nursing Annual Fund. Give what you can, and learn how it impacts tomorrow’s nurse leaders. • Commit to a Committee – Consider dedicating one to two years of service to a Nursing Alumni Board Committee (Awards, Events or StudentAlumni Connections). See pages 24-25 for details.

Want to learn more or volunteer today? Contact Penn Nursing Alumni Relations Monica Salvia, Associate Director of Alumni Relations, 215.898.9773 Email: Web:

Search QuakerNet, Penn’s online alumni community to find classmates and make connections by location, job title, employer, degree level and more.


UPfront | Fall 2015




Virginia A. Lucas, Nu’55, GNu’63, was

Nancy M. Valentine, GNu’72, is associate

Mary Firsching Wittleder, GNu’82, became

recently honored, along with two other individuals, for her role in demonstrating and inspiring what women can accomplish. She served in the USHF for four years as a flight nurse during the Vietnam conflict. She retired from service as a lieutenant colonel and from Mercer County Community College as a professor of nursing.

dean, Practice, Policy, and Partnerships at the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Nursing where she oversees the Institute for Healthcare Innovation. She is also a professor in the Department of Health Systems Science. In addition, she is president of a consulting practice Valentine Group Health and is the host of the consumer-focused health affairs program Dr. Nancy RN ~ Healthy World, Healthy Nation, Healthy You which is produced at Radnor Studio 21, Wayne, Pa and is featured on the Radnor channel 21 also distributed through CAN-TV in Chicago to more than 1 million viewers. www. She invites comments and interest in distribution of the program in other locations. Email: valentinegrouphealth@

the director of community relations at Senior Helpers of Bergen County.

1960s Roberta “Bobbie” Pichini, HUP’68, was named one of

the Top 50 Women Super Lawyers of Pennsylvania by Thomson Reuters. She is an attorney with personal injury law firm Feldman Shepher Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock & Dodig LLP.

HUP Reflections The HUP Class of 1965 celebrated their 50th reunion this year, where alumni had the opportunity to tour many places on campus, both familiar and new, and participate in Penn traditions. Mary Anne Spolar Gamba, HUP’65, G’84, shared some reflections on this special weekend: Our HUP’65 50th Reunion was held during Penn’s Alumni Weekend on May 15-17. We greeted a total of 29 classmates in a weekend that was chock full of tours and gettogethers, often loud, sometimes chaotic, always festive! This was the first time a major HUP Reunion was actually held through the University’s School of Nursing, integrating both Schools’ celebration of alumni, all Penn Nurses, a milestone that turned out to be so rewarding. Some of us had not been back in 50 years. There were hoots of glee and surprise as we reunited after so many years. Our new SON Dean, Antonia Villarruel, noted our HUP ’65 50th anniversary and again welcomed us into the fold as Penn Nurses. A farewell brunch on Sunday morning brought an end to our gathering, one that will resonate with fond memories and hopes for an even larger group next time.

Peggi Guenter, GNu’84, GR’93, was elected

as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in October 2014. Dr. Guenter serves as the senior director of clinical practice, quality and advocacy for the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition in Silver Spring, Md. Karen Flaherty Oxler, GNu’85, is now the chief nursing officer at Lancaster General Hospital in Lancaster, Pa. William J. Puentes, GNu’88,

has been appointed to a five-year term as the inaugural Brenda B. Brooks Endowed Distinguished Professor of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Dr. Puentes, an AACN/ Hartford Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity Postdoctoral Fellowship alumnus, has focused his research and clinical practice in geropsychiatric nursing. In his new position, he will continue his research as well as work on community outreach activities with local populations including the Lumbee Indian tribe. Catherine Brown, GNu’89, recently became president of the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.

1990s Maribeth LeBreton, GNu’91, GNC’95, graduated

from Widener University with a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree in May. Dr. LeBreton is a nurse practitioner in an innovative clinic at Lancaster General Health, working with high-risk patients who have increased use of healthcare resources. Her capstone project with the assessment of health literacy and the use of teach-back education in a super-utilizer patient population provided positive outcomes. Dr. LeBreton is working with an interprofessional team within Lancaster General Health to implement health literacy assessment with teach-back education to increase quality of care and patient safety.



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Kathryn Sugerman, Nu’91, GNu’93,

welcomed a daughter on May 27. Baby Finley weighed in at 6 pounds 8 ounces. Mary S. Barrett, GNu’92, is now the director of nursing services for the HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy. She also founded the American Consortium for Education, a community-based home placement service for international students attending American high schools. Dale E. Weiser, Nu’93, joined the staff of the Chester County Health Department as a registered nurse. Heidi Marie Honegger, Nu’96, GNu’97, is the

director of student health at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, N.M. Barbara Reville, GNC’96, GNu’04, moved

back to Boston, Mass., and is currently nurse director, palliative care, at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham & Women’s Hospital.

Ginger Marshall, GNu’98, gave a presentation at an Institute of Medicine Roundtable for Health Literacy in Palliative Care in July. She recently became the national director of palliative care for Hospice Compassus after having served as the director of palliative care for Carolinas Health System. Ginger lives with her husband Dave, in South Carolina. Deborah Watkins Bruner, GR’99, was one of

five new members appointed to the National Cancer Advisory Board by President Barack Obama. Her primary task will be to advise the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the director of the National Cancer Institute, and the President on issues affecting the nation’s cancer program. She also received the Distinguished Researcher Award from the Oncology Nursing Society in recognition of her contributions to our understanding of how cancer nurses can improve the quality of life with patients with cancer. Dr. Bruner is a professor of nursing at Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, associate director of cancer outcomes research at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, and professor of radiation oncology at Emory University School of Medicine.

Sean P. Clarke, GNC’99, became the

associate dean for undergraduate programs and professor of nursing at Boston College’s Connell School of Nursing. Laura E. Gultekin, Nu’99, is now an assistant research scientist at the University of Michigan School of Nursing.

2000s Linda D. Schnolis, C’00, Nu’14, works in the Penn School of Medicine’s Department of General Internal Medicine as a research assistant for the IMPaCT Program, evaluating the impact of community health workers on the health management of patients with poorly controlled chronic conditions. Heather Flett Greenblum, Nu’01, is living in Potomac, Md., with her husband Ben Greenblum, C’01 W’01, and their three daughters: Dalia Rose (8), Maya Lily (6), and Tova Violet (3). They would love to hear from Penn friends at Andrea L. Schlembach, GNu’05, joined the

staff of Physicians’ Choice, LLC, as a clinical coordinator.

On the occasion of her 50th reunion and her recent attendance at Alumni Weekend 2015, Joan Trachtenberg sent us this FIFTIETH REUNION REFLECTION, titled

“Many, Many Thanks” “Unlike today, the early 60s was not a time of great respect for nursing, not a time of many with a BSN, not a time when parents would likely support college for an RN. So it was most fortunate when Mom and Dad gave the go-ahead to Penn Nursing (tuition $780 per semester). Starting with the excitement of the car sticker, the school songs, and the sweatshirt, my Penn pride knew no bounds. But soon, reality hit, with biology and those very serious pre-med guys. Somehow I survived. Many thanks to Penn Nursing for teaching me “true grit” and for all the times in my long career that I’ve needed to call upon that! Many, many thanks to my beloved Russian history professor, Dr. Raisanovsky, who gave me my love of learning, along with my wonderful history of art and music and psychology professors. The great gift of my BSN was this very special mix of the practical and the intellectual. Of course, great, great gratitude for finding my spouse: I will be married to husband Steve (W’63), 50 years next year. But most of all, thanks to Mom and Dad! GO PENN!!! GO PENN NURSING!!! HAPPY 50th REUNION!!!” Joan Segal Trachtenberg, Nu’65, GNu’81


UPfront | Fall 2015

Morghan B. Holt, Nu’06, GNu’08, works as a certified nurse midwife for Women’s Healthcare Associates in Ore. Kate Bowles, Nu’07,

and her husband Eric Bowles, Nu’07,

welcomed a baby girl, Clara, on February 18 Jessica S. Carle, Nu’07, GNu’12 and

Joshua Carle C’02 are thrilled to announce the birth of their son, Maxwell William Carle, on Jan. 26. “Max is already sporting his Penn onesie and can’t wait for his first trip to campus.” Jess works in central New Jersey as a nurse anesthetist while Josh recently began working for Pfizer in New York as a director of portfolio and decision analysis in the oncology and vaccines group. Dyan Pace, Nu’07, GNu’10, joined the staff of

Penn Medicine as a nurse practitioner. Ashley Ritter, Nu’07, GNu’10, and her

2010s Mary Anne Daley, GNu’10, is now the

director of consulting services for The Corridor Group. Kendra Gunnell, Nu’10, is working as a registered nurse at Boston Medical Center. Linden M. Spital, Nu’10, GNu’12, is now a psychiatric nurse practitioner for the University of Michigan Health System. Kaitlyn Brokaw, Nu’11, GNu’13, is now a

family nurse practitioner for Community Health Connections in Fitchburg, Mass. Jaclyn Anita Janis, Nu’11, joined the staff of

the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania as a registered nurse. Janine Catherine Davis, GNu’12, is now

working for Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center as a nurse practitioner. Bethany Fijan, Nu’12, is currently working as

a clinical nurse for the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

husband Fred welcomed daughter Rosalie Carol in June.

Morgan Finch, Nu’12, GNu’14, recently joined the staff of Delaware Valley Community Health as an OB/GYN nurse practitioner.

Vanessa Cheng, Nu’09, is now an IT

Gabriella Kim, Nu’12, is a public health nurse home visitor with Nurse Family Partnership Philadelphia, providing health education and support to underprivileged first-time mothers in Philadelphia. She published her first paper, “Outcomes of a Hospital-Based Employee Lactation Program,” which was co-written with her professor Dr. Diane Spatz, Nu’86, GNu’89, GR’95, and Dr. Elizabeth Brendle Froh, GR’14. Gabriella lives in the Graduate Hospital area of Philadelphia.

project manager for North Shore-LIJ Health Systems. Ashley DarcyMahoney, GNu’09, GR’10, and her

husband Kevin welcomed a son, Jack Darcy Mahoney, on May 4.

Megan E. Patey, Nu’12, GNu’14, joined the

staff of Bedford Commons OB-GYN in Bedford, N.H., as an advanced practice registered nurse.

Lauren Reifsnyder, Nu’12,

recently had the opportunity to reconnect with Dr. Afaf Meleis, who was the keynote speaker at the Stanford Health Care’s Nursing Research Symposium. She shares that, “Dr. Meleis discussed her theories of nursing as the art and science of optimizing care of human beings during transitions. She charged us with the task of advancing and translating this science. It is an overwhelming privilege to get to do this work, to focus on enabling well-being over curing, to remind patients that they are unique people and care for them at their most vulnerable times and transitions.” Lauren is a clinical nurse in Stanford Health Care’s Critical Care Unit. Kelly B. Chen, Nu’13, W’13, is currently a registered nurse working for Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, Ill. Mykel J. Matthews, Nu’13, W’13, joined the

staff of CIGNA as a nurse case manager. She met with nursing students during a networking dinner at Fagin Hall during Spirit Week. Chloe Allegretti, Nu’14, is currently a staff nurse at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe, N.M. Natalie Ball, Nu’14, recently began working on her MSN degree at Penn Nursing after spending the past year in Managua, Nicaragua, as program director with Manna Project International. Jessica DiVanno, Nu’14, is a registered nurse working for Sayre Health Center. Ryan Keating, Nu’14, C’15, is a registered

nurse at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Matthew Lee, Nu’14, is co-founder and creative director of AFK Studios, which designs educational games. He was recently awarded a Fulbright Scholarship. Brenda Ma, Nu’14, recently joined the staff of

If you are a HUP Nursing, School of Education (Nursing) or School of Nursing graduate, we want to hear from you! Pictures are encouraged. Send us a personal or professional update at or call us at 215.746.8812.

the UCLA Ronald Reagan Health Center as a registered nurse in the liver transplant unit. Edwin E. Ramirez, Nu’14, GNu’14, works for

Einstein Healthcare Network- Belmont as a registered nurse. Thomas J. Shluger, Nu’14, recently joined the staff of Penn Medicine as a clinical nurse. Mary T. Downey-Freiman, GNu’15, joined the staff of Quintiles/Novartis Oncology as an oncology clinical nurse educator.


IN ME MORIAM Anne Plaskonos, Nu’54, passed away on May



Dorothy Black, HUP’40, of Elizabeth, Colo.,

Rose Hartl Agre, ED’50, passed away on

passed away on December 1, 2012.

April 5, 2015, in Davie, Fla.

Mary Jessica Welfare, HUP’40, passed away on October 29, 2014 in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Josephine M. Grant, Nu’51, passed away on

Esther G. Howes, NEd’45, GEd’46, passed away on January 25, 2015 in Media, Pa. She worked in public health nursing supervision and education with the Visiting Nurse Society of Philadelphia and Philadelphia General Hospital. In 1964, she moved to Cape Cod, Mass. to work as the Barnstable County health officer. She retired in 1983 to enjoy her piano playing, singing in the church choir and traveling with her sister.

Edna George, HUP’53, of Harrisburg, Pa., passed away on May 14, 2015. She served as a school nurse for more than 20 years.

Elizabeth Shuman, HUP’45, of Altamonte

Springs, Fla., passed away on October 12, 2012, at the age of 88. Doris Wheeler, HUP’45, passed away on

August 11, 2013, in Westfield, Mass. After becoming a registered nurse, she took care of the wounded at Valley Forge as they returned from Europe during World War II. For 30 years, she cared for the aged in nursing facilities. She is survived by her three children, six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. Elouise D. George, HUP’47, passed away on May 4, 2015. She served as a nurse for 58 years, mostly at Hanover Hospital in Hanover, Pa. Betty Jean Lindelow, HUP’47, of Bismarck,

N.D., passed away on February 15, 2015. Jane B. Zvanya, NEd’48, passed away on

March 31, 2015, in Berlin, N,J. Betty Yeakel Baron, HUP’49, passed away on December 5, 2014, in Manchester, N.J. She was a retired school nurse. Doris Frew Weckerly, ED’49, of Feasterville Trevose, Pa, passed away on May 3, 2015 at the age of 92.


UPfront | Fall 2015

March 17, 2015 in Auburn, Calif.

Patricia Fischer, CW’52, HUP’53, of Skillman,

Pa., passed away on January 29, 2015. She worked as a pediatric RN at Bellevue Hospital in New York City and went on to teach nursing at Mercer Hospital in Trenton, N.J. Mrs. Suzanne Elizabeth (Mack) Vaughn, Nu’53,

passed away on February 23, 2015. Born in Newport News, Va. to the late David and Estelle (Brunson) Mack, she was their second of five girls educated in the Philadelphia School System. After graduating from William Penn High, she advanced her education at the Freedmen’s Hospital of Nursing (now Howard University) in Washington, D.C. and University of Pennsylvania, where she received her nursing degree. Suzanne had a rich and rewarding career in nursing. She worked for Mercy Douglas Hospital, the Philadelphia Hospital for Contagious Diseases, Byberry State Hospital, the Youth Study Center and ended her working career at the Zion Home for Retired Persons. She was married to Lewis Vaughn, a World War II veteran and the second Black CPA in Philadelphia, and they were blessed with two daughters, Valorie Antoinette Vaughn, V.M.D. and Estelle Louise Vaughn, R.N. Suzanne is survived by her daughters, one daughter-inlaw, a grandson, and a host of nieces, nephews, family members and friends.

18, 2015 in Drums, Pa. She was a World War II veteran, serving in the U.S. Navy, and also worked as a nurse on an Indian reservation in North Dakota and in Philadelphia public schools. Barbara Coan Houghton, Nu’55, passed away

on April 7, 2014, in Woodbury, M.N. Olga Lambrecht, Nu’56, Ged’63, passed away on April

21, 2014, in Wilmington, Del. Olga was a nurse administrator and nurse educator until she retired and was passionate about teaching proper nursing care to her students. Olga was last employed as director of the nursing program at Montgomery County Community College and was the former coordinator of the practical nursing program for the Chester Upland School District. She was also the former assistant director of nursing for Taylor Hospital in Ridley Park and director of nursing at Chester Hospital. Olga was a loving mother, a caring daughter and sister who spent her life ministering to others. Olga was wife of the late Nicholas Lambrecht, who was killed in action during WWII. After her husband was killed, she worked tirelessly with the Gold Star Wives to lobby for increased benefits for war widows. She is survived by her brother and sister, her two sons, and nine grandchildren. Savanna Ellora Endicott Meyer, Nu’56, GNu’65, passed

away on January 23, 2014 in Mill Valley, Calif. She was born in Somers Point, N.J. on May 8, 1918. She graduated from Jefferson School of Nursing and then was an Army nurse during World War II in North Africa and Italy. After the war, she worked in public health and eventually became the chief public health nurse for the state of N.J. She also received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania and specialized in adult health. She and her husband Fred H. Meyer raised their family in

Trenton, N.J., and relocated to California after they both retired from the N.J. State Department of Health. Their retirement years were spent traveling, enjoying the California beaches, cultural activities and spending time with their six grandchildren. Her funeral with full military honors was held at Arlington National Cemetery on April 6, 2014 and her ashes were interred with her husband’s. Katherine “Kay” Reichert, Nu’56, M’61, of

Hadley, Mass., passed away on March 21, 2015, at the age of 86. She served in the Air Force Nurse Corps and spent two years in Japan during the Korean War. After earning her nursing and medical degrees from the University of Pennsylvania with the help of the GI Bill, Kay practiced rural family medicine in Lyme, N.H. She then spent 16 years as a student health physician at the University of Massachusetts health services. Her last seven years of practice were spent as the director of health services at Hampshire College. Kay was a pioneer in the involvement of the nurse practitioner movement in Massachusetts. She taught nurses to become nurse practitioners while working at the University of Massachusetts and published a book, Primary Care of Young Adults.

1960s Faith Jerome, HUP’60, passed away in Cherry

Hill, N.J., on December 22, 2014. Anne O’Connor Jenkins, HUP’60, of Summerville, S.C.,

passed away on November 3, 2014. She is survived by Charles, her husband of 54 years, her four children, and eight grandchildren. Sara “Sally” Winand, HUP’60, of Hanover,

Pa., passed away on October 20, 2014. She spent 40 years in nursing, working at Hanover Hospital for 20 years and York Hospital for 20 years. She was director of nursing at York Hospital and also director of cardiovascular services. She also did mission work as a nurse in the Dominican Republic, India and Honduras.

Mary Lavelle Baeurle, Nu’61, passed away on August 13, 2014, in Wilmington, Del.

passed away on March 22, 2015.

from Widener University in 2002. Michele received numerous awards for teaching. She was a member of Sigma Theta Tau International and the American Nurses Association. Wanting to better the world, Michele traveled to advance nursing practices in Mozambique, Honduras, Croatia and Australia.



Audrey Graham Lintner, Nu’70, of Haddon

Janet Welsh Barger, Nu’80, passed away on

Heights, N.J., passed away on September 12, 2013. She served for more than 50 years as a registered nurse and nurse educator.

February 2, 2013, in Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich. She managed the emergency room at Thomas Jefferson University and later at San Francisco General Hospital until 1990, when she moved to Michigan, where she worked in the Cottage Hospital emergency room.

Laraine Cooper, HUP’63, passed away at the

age of 72 on September 8, 2014, in Fort Myers, Fla. Beverly S. Kacher, Nu’68, of Philadelphia, Pa,

Barbara Jean Eckels, Nu’72, passed away on

March 31, 2015, in International Falls, M.N. Winifred “Winnie” Arnold Olmstead, Nu’75, GNu’83,

passed away on April 5, 2015. After earning her degrees, she worked at Lankenau Hospital and taught at Hahneman University, then spent 25 years teaching at the St. Joseph’s School of Nursing. She also helped develop and implement a pathways program that allowed people to pursue an associate’s degree in nursing on a flexible schedule. Winnie is survived by her husband Philip; by her children William, Matthew, Meredith and Benjamin; by five brothers and sisters and the many extended family, friends, and co-workers who knew her and loved her so well. Virginia T. Weyls, GNu’76, passed away on

April 5, 2015 at the age of 86. Michele M. August-Brady, Nu’78, of

Bethlehem, Pa., passed away on March 13, 2015 at the age of 61. Michele worked at HUP and Muhlenberg Hospital in the area of critical care nursing. She later served as an instructor at St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing and as an assistant dean of nursing from 1999-2003. In 1999, she became a nursing professor and program coordinator. She earned her MSN from DeSales University in 1993 and her PhD


ALUMNI WEEKEND Alumni Weekend 2015: Firsts, Fun and a Film At her first Alumni Weekend, Dean Villarruel experienced one of our best! For the first time, students joined faculty and alumni for the Awards Celebration on Friday. Later that night, two graduate programs, Administration and Leadership (NADM/ HLMP) and Adult-Gerontology, held events that honored their past and future. On Saturday, more than 75 alumni and friends filled our largest-ever Legacy Breakfast, which featured a check presentation from the class of 1990 to the Dean, and we honored 50th Reunion School and HUP alumni. The American Nurse film was emotional and


UPfront | Fall 2015

thought-provoking (see alumni for our online discussion with the film’s director, Carolyn Jones). As we marched in the Parade across campus, James Brown’s song, I feel good, played, accurately describing the mood of alumni, students, faculty and friends. Don’t miss your chance to join us for Alumni Weekend 2016, scheduled for May 13-15. For more information on future Penn Nursing events, see the calendar on page 33 or email nursalum@pobox. to learn how you can get involved.

E V E NT S CALENDA R 2 0 1 5 - 2 0 1 6 September 10 Webinar: Ditch the Pressure of Healthy Aging for Your Own Path to Aging Well, Sarah Kagan

January 12 Webinar: The Lancet report on Women’s Global Health, Afaf Meleis

October 3 Graduate Open House, Fagin Hall Join our faculty and Admissions staff to learn more about our exciting educational offerings and what you need to know to apply.

March 23 Webinar: Annual (Virtual) Town Hall with Dean Villarruel

October 20 Fourth annual Norma M. Lang Distinguished Lecture Award for Scholarly Practice October 23-25 Family Weekend at Penn

April 12 Webinar: Teen Driving Tips/Distracted Driving, Catherine McDonald May 13-15 Alumni Weekend 2016. Save the date! May 16 Commencement

October 29 Webinar: Meet Terry Richmond, Penn Nursing’s Associate Dean for Research and Innovation November 6-7 Homecoming featuring Arts & Culture. Join us for an alumni and student networking event on Saturday, Nov. 7 on College Green before the game. See for details and to register.

For additional information visit or call the Nursing Alumni Office at 215.746.8812.

Kagan September 10

Richmond October 29

Meleis January 12

Villarruel March 23

McDonald April 12

You can influence the future… Penn Nursing prepares students by providing excellent resources and experiences: a state-of-the-art simulation center featuring high-fidelity mannequins, student research opportunities across all levels of scholarship, classrooms with the latest hospital-based electronic medical records (EMR) technology and rigorous clinical experiences. Your support of the Penn Nursing Annual Fund is critical to ensuring students have those resources to learn to be tomorrow’s healthcare leaders and practitioners.

Your gift today allows us to focus on the future – our students. Make a gift to the Penn Nursing Annual Fund with the enclosed envelope or at

For more information on how you can support students, contact Wylie Thomas at 215.898.4841 or


Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage P A I D Permit #2563 Phila., PA

Claire M. Fagin Hall 418 Curie Boulevard Philadelphia, PA 19104-4217

TAKE THE NEXT STEP I N YOUR CAREER. Enroll at the nation’s #1 School of Nursing. Now accepting applications in 18 different Master’s programs including: • Family nurse practitioner • Pediatric nurse practitioner • Psychiatric-Mental Health nurse practitioner • Nurse-Midwifery • Adult-gerontology nurse practitioner • Adult acute care nurse practitioner


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