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The Assessment


Innovative Alumni Leading Nationally

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The Review

Research Roundup Five Questions With... Gifts That Will Change Everything




BRIDGING THE BOULEVARD: The UAB Nursing Partnership better connects the School, Hospital and Health System, improving patient care through research, education, practice

In Their Own Words RESEARCH

$2.86M R01 looks at cognitive function, HIV.... 14 K-99 focuses on caregiver burden.................... 16 Improving physical activity in African Americans... 17 TSNRP grants studying military nursing........... 18




Knowledgeable Veterans care.......................... 19 High-tech mental health care........................... 22 Reshaping rural health in Alabama................... 24 Markaki named PAHO/WHOCC deputy director... 27

PATH Clinic providing students unique employment opportunity page 4

My purpose on the board is to bring a nursing voice and perspective, and to help strengthen our teams to improve care.�

Leading Health Literacy in Alabama page 26

-Dr. Doreen C. Harper page 11


New department chair leadership.................... 28 Seeing the light through community care........ 30 Honors students impacting research projects.... 31 Expanding the AMNP Program........................ 32 DONORS


The future of nursing care starts here............... 36

HRSA grants impacting health equality in rural, underserved populations page 20

Alumni Making a Difference............................. 42 Where in the World?........................................ 45


EDITOR Jennifer Lollar CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jessica Huffstutler




WRITERS Jimmy Creed, Catie Etka, Laura Hornsby Lesley, Anita Smith

PHOTOGRAPHERS Jen Baseden, Caleb Chancey, Jimmy Creed, Rob Culpepper, Catie Etka, Andi Rice, Kyle Roberts, Steve Wood


AB School of Nursing is making a difference evidenced by a year full of momentum!

We are bridging the boulevard with UAB Hospital and Health System, the Birmingham VA Medical Center, Children’s of Alabama and our community partners to close the gap in our health care system. We are preparing the next generation of nurses at all levels of professional practice and education to deliver the highest quality care, design innovative practice models, and translate research that improves care for individuals, families and populations. Our outstanding students and alumni, supported by world-class faculty and staff, achieved unparalleled success across our five strategic priorities. Our pre-licensure students consistently scored above 96 percent in RN-NCLEX state board scores since implementing our new curriculum, and our graduate program ranks 15th among 591 nursing schools nationally; Nursing Administration ranked 6th and Adult/ Gerontological Acute Care Nurse Practitioner ranked 12th in their respective specialties. With escalation of the nursing shortage, this past year we granted the most overall nursing degrees in the School’s 66-year history and prepared one out of every four graduates in Alabama. Our two doctoral programs have revamped curriculum and enhanced research and practice opportunities, including MSN and BSN pathways to the PhD and DNP degrees. Research and scholarship is reaching the highest ever annual National Institutes of Health (NIH), federal and foundation awards in the areas of survivorship, palliative care, aging, dementia, cognition, HIV, and nursing practice and patient outcomes. Clinical and global partnerships, with generous support from federal and foundation awards and contracts with corporations and health systems, lead expansion of health care to the state’s most underserved communities in primary care and chronic disease management for our most vulnerable populations.

Valuable resources are growing — our students, faculty, staff and alumni and the investments made by our community, donors and alumni reached new heights this year, supporting the new UAB School of Nursing Building Expansion set to begin this fall. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this success. Our innovative undergraduate and graduate programs, research, and clinical and global partnerships are tailored to the needs of our communities and the UAB School of Nursing is poised to sustain this momentum continuing to make a difference in the lives of those we serve locally and globally. Enjoy this issue of UAB Nursing!

Dean Doreen C. Harper, PhD, RN, FAAN Fay B. Ireland Endowed Chair in Nursing

Letter from the Dean We are bridging the boulevard with UAB Hospital and Health System, the Birmingham VA Medical Center, Children’s of Alabama and our community partners to close the gaps in our health care system.



Pictured below: Former Dean Marie L. O’Koren, EdD, MSN, toasts the opening of the new UAB School of Nursing building in 1971. In addition to what opened in 1971, a graduate tower was added in the late 1970s and a west annex in 1994. These buildings are still in use today.

JULY 30, 1968, a groundbreaking was

held for the construction of the first UAB School of Nursing building on University Boulevard. The School moved into the building in 1971 and it included stateof-the-art space for a Learning Resource Center offering instructional support for nursing students.


the assessment

Laying the Foundation of Nursing Excellence at UAB

PATH Clinic provides care while furthering education The School-led Providing Access to Health care (PATH) Clinic, a part of the UAB Nursing Partnership, serves uninsured patients with diabetes but also helps nursing students hone their skills and learn first-hand how to be a crucial part of an interprofessional care team, hiring them as triage techs, providing a salary and unique educational opportunities. Hannah Wood, who graduated in April 2016 with a BSN degree, was the first nursing student to hold the tech position. Techs meet with patients when they arrive, check vital signs and get them acclimated. They also critically assess patients to determine if urgent action is required. “I really enjoyed the scope of practice that I had,” Wood said. “It is really nice to have nurse practitioners and physicians who appreciated and valued my input.” The clinic’s Nurse Practitioner, Assistant Professor Michele Talley, PhD, CRNP, ACNP-BC, said improving critical thinking and judgment, learning the proper way to speak with fellow health care professionals, and sharpening nursing intuition are only a few of the skills students learn as triage techs. BSN graduate Hannah Wood was the first student to be hired by the PATH Clinic as its triage tech.



“Hannah recognized the urgency of a situation and the need to notify other providers when something was amiss with a patient. I think that speaks volumes as to the education she has received at the School of Nursing.”

In the second year of a three-year, $1.5 million Nurse Education Practice Quality Retention (NEPQR) Grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the HRSA Heart Failure Clinic, a part of the UAB Nursing partnership between the School and UAB Hospital and Health System, has shown improvement across the board in the areas of population health, patient experience and cost of care. The clinic, located inside UAB Hospital in the Russell Ambulatory Clinic, offers guideline-directed care and education to an underserved heart failure population with a goal of improving access to care and reducing 30-day hospital readmission rates. Patient satisfaction ratings among those receiving ongoing care are consistently 95 percent or higher. Equally important, the readmission rate for clinic patients is 13 percent, lower than the UAB Hospital target of 20 percent and much lower than the national trend of approximately 24 percent.

“OUR RESULTS demonstrate that interprofessional collaboration improves Triple Aim outcomes,” said Professor and Acute, Chronic and Continuing Care Department Chair Maria Shirey, PhD, MBA, MS, RN, NEA-BC, ANEF, FACHE, FAAN.

the assessment

HRSA Heart Failure Clinic improving patient outcomes

Bakitas honored for impact on palliative care Professor and Marie L. O’Koren Endowed Chair Marie Bakitas, DNSc, CRNP, NP-C, AOCN, ACHPN, FAAN, has been recognized by the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) and the Hospice and Palliative Nursing Association (HPNA) for continued outstanding work in the palliative care field. Bakitas, who also is associate director and senior scientist at the UAB Center for Palliative and Supportive Care, received two awards at the 2016 American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM)/HPNA Annual Assembly – the Hospice & Palliative Nurses Foundation (HPNF)/ Project on Death in America (PDIA) Nursing Leadership Award in Palliative Care and the HPNA Distinguished Researcher Award. She also received the 2016 ONS Distinguished Researcher Award at the 41st Annual ONS Congress. Bakitas described being honored

with the two HPNA awards as “extremely gratifying.” “Getting these two awards was special for me because nurses are not regularly recognized for leadership as a result of their research,” Bakitas said. “To have those two pieces put together and to send the message to nurses that research is a way to demonstrate leadership in the field was really special.” Bakitas said the 2016 ONS Distinguished Researcher Award is special because of the group presenting it.

“What is really exciting is that I received this award for my palliative care research Marie Bakitas in oncology,” Bakitas said. “I’ve been working hard for 15 years to bring palliative care into oncology. For me to get this award brings attention to the importance of palliative care in the oncology field, and that is truly special.” The award also is especially meaningful, she said, because of its UAB connection. Connie Yarbro, MSN, RN, FAAN, co-founded ONS while at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1975 and served as its president from 1979 to 1983.





– Dr. Doreen Harper

Pictured left to right: David Randall, Ja-Lin Chen, Dr. Terri Poe, Austin Ford, Dr. Doreen C. Harper, Omari Crawford, and Dr. Loring Rue.


“We are now strategically aligning formal projects and other ways we can work together even more closely to produce nurses who know how to deliver the best quality nursing care anywhere, to design innovative models of care, and to enable nursing faculty to be more deeply engaged in clinically-based research to generate new knowledge and develop best practices.”




n a continuing effort to align critical resources to provide outstanding patient care, invest in teaching and training for interprofessional collaboration, and partner in research and scholarship, the UAB School of Nursing has entered into a formal agreement with UAB Medicine and Health System, forming an elite collaboration designed to significantly reshape the scope and impact of nursing at one of the nation’s premier academic medical centers. This formal alignment also builds on the March 2016 AACN report, “Advancing health care transformation: A new era for academic nursing,” which identifies a path for achieving enhanced partnerships between academic nursing and academic health centers to improve patient outcomes and develop innovative models of care. For decades, the entities have worked together under the UAB umbrella, but the formalized partnership is the first official step in bridging the boulevard between the principals that have shaped UAB Nursing’s past and will continue to shape its future. “While we have all been clinical partners for some time, this academic-practice partnership

is based upon a contractual relationship, and has structured resources and deliverables,” UAB School of Nursing Dean and Fay B. Ireland Endowed Chair in Nursing Doreen C. Harper, PhD, RN, FAAN said. “We are now strategically aligning formal projects and other ways we can work together even more closely to produce nurses who know how to deliver the best quality nursing care anywhere, to design innovative models of care, and to enable nursing faculty to be more deeply engaged in clinically-based research to generate new knowledge and develop best practices.” The partnership also is aligned under a common mission, vision and core values, said UAB Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Terri Poe, DNP, RN, NE-BC, a two-time graduate of the UAB School of Nursing with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (1986) and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree (2013). “We have collaborated for years, but are now working with teams from all the entities to provide the support and tools we all need to achieve professional goals and provide excellent patient care,” Poe said. “This partnership among faculty, staff and students from all areas of the UAB Health System will help us bring together the collective knowledge of the providers

“This partnership among faculty, staff and students from all areas of the UAB Health System will help us bring together the collective knowledge of the providers from both the academic and clinical environments and bridge the resources we will all use to impact nursing across the state, the nation and the world.” -Dr. Terri Poe FALL 2016 / UAB NURSING



BRIDGING BOULEVARD from both the academic and clinical environments and bridge the resources we will all use to impact nursing across the state, the nation and the world.” What does it mean for the more than 5,500 faculty, students and nurses currently in the School and UAB Health System, and those who want to join them in the future? Amazing things.

The Ball is Rolling As the expanded, more formalized partnership was being implemented in January, faculty and students from the School, together with nurses from the Hospital and Health System, were already involved in a collaborative project that is now producing results.

Dr. Shea Polancich (right) serves as the Partnership's liaison between the School and Health System.

The Clinical Nurse Leader Quality and Safety Care Coordination Pilot, a brainchild of Poe, brought together clinical nurse leaders (CNLs) and other stakeholders from the School and UAB Hospital to take an in-depth look at numerous issues impacting safety and quality patient care, including falls, infections, and, as a first project, pressure ulcers. Health care professionals have long struggled with preventing pressure ulcers, more commonly known as bedsores. Since bedside nurses are most closely

involved in the treatment of pressure ulcers, getting their input and ideas on how to prevent them was a natural place to start. “Dr. Poe wanted us to dive deep into nursingsensitive indicators that drive outcomes,” said Assistant Professor Shea Polancich, PhD, RN, who also is Assistant Dean for Clinical Innovation and serves as the Partnership’s liaison between the School and Health System. She is the pilot project’s director. A steering committee of CNLs and other key personnel from the Hospital and School was formed to provide overall coordination of the project and direction for those implementing it. “Innovation” Units, so called because they were to be part of this innovative initiative, were established in an intensive care unit and on a highvolume medical-surgical floor to provide diversity in targeted patient populations. Recent graduates Bekah Barber, MSN, RN, CNL, CEN, and Sarah Coiner, MSN, RN, CNL, CEN, were put at the point of care in those units to test the role of the CNL in quality and safety care coordination. As part of their regular routine, Barber and Coiner examined patients with a focus on safety and quality — specifically evidence-informed practice bundles — and compiled data on pressure ulcer issues such as the use of heel protectors and proper bedding and also compared outcomes to earlier nursing documentation. This data was presented at a weekly meeting of the steering committee, which

“It was a 90-day pilot...within the first two months we

began to see results that were extremely positive, all of which now guide our preventative interventions...” -Dr. Shea Polancich 8


UAB Hospital CNO Dr. Terri Poe and CNL Kristen Noles are both alumni and serve as faculty in the school.

identified opportunities for real-time procedural interventions and increased process efficiency. Issues were addressed and, when possible, immediate changes were made, guidance provided, or committee members were assigned tasks with a goal of having a resolution by the next meeting. Once a resolution was reached in specific instances, information on the updated patient-specific interventions was delivered to the nurses on each unit by Barber, Coiner and nurse managers, by presentations to the UAB Hospital Quality Patient Safety Meeting and to its Nursing Leadership Council, as well as to the School by its steering committee representatives, Professor Linda Roussel, PhD, RN, CNL, CCRN, NEA-BC, FAAN, and Associate Professor Rebecca Miltner, PhD, RN, CNL, NEA-BC. In turn, the feedback has allowed Roussel, the specialty track coordinator for the CNL program, to make informed revisions to the curriculum, particularly in the areas of microsystem analysis, quality and safety, that will better prepare CNL students to function in that role in any large academic health system. “It was a 90-day pilot, using standardized measures and interventions focused on pressure ulcer prevention, such as heel protectors, positioning and proper bedding. Within the first two months we began to see results that were extremely positive, all of which now guide our preventative interventions,” Polancich said. “We have a lot of momentum from this, and I believe we will continue to see that momentum grow as more pilot projects are launched and their results are implemented on a broad scale.”

Electricity is in the air The information and creativity flowing from the halls of UAB Hospital to the School of Nursing building and vice versa has energized both institutions, said Kristen Noles, MSN, RN, CNL, who represents UAB Hospital on the pilot project’s steering committee and serves as course manager of the School’s CNL Program. She added that it is exciting to see and hear the enthusiasm about the expanded Partnership from all sides. “This is truly linking academia and the students with clinicians and leaders at UAB Hospital, and it is extremely exciting,” Noles said. “In a very short time we have validated that if we all come to the table with open minds and mutual respect, and if we listen and hear what everyone is saying, the outcomes can be incredible.”

“I am now an advocate for the patient, the staff nurse and the student, and working together we can make it a better experience for all of them.” -Kristen Noles

Noles is an example of how the partnership was envisioned to work. As a nurse manager at UAB Hospital and a steering committee member, she gained first-hand knowledge from the pilot which she then relayed directly to the bedside nurses on the unit she manages and to her students through her role at the School. “A year ago I would never have imagined I would be teaching clinical nurse leaders, and now they are my students,” Noles said. “I am now an advocate for the patient, the staff nurse and the student, and working together we can make it a better experience for all of them. I’m so grateful to be part of this.” Eileen Meyer, MSN, CRNP, UAB Hospital’s assistant director for advanced practice providers and FALL 2016 / UAB NURSING




namesake of the School’s Eileen S. Meyer Endowed Nursing Scholarship, agrees. Meyer earned her Master of Science in Nursing degree from the School in 1997 and is currently a DNP student. “I look at it not only from the nurse practitioner’s standpoint, but also as a graduate student. As part of the Partnership, Dean Harper has given us the green light to structure an NP residency program so that the new graduates will be totally immersed in his or her first role as a nurse practitioner,” Meyer said. “The partnership between the hospital and the SON will benefit the students “The reality is and the hospital in that we are willing to provide that the physicians are not in NP students with an contact with the patients as exceptional residency experience so that their much as bedside nurses. Nurses residents may develop are an integral part of the team the skills needed to care for any patient, in any effort to take care of patients...” setting, in any hospital. -Dr. Loring Rue The benefit to the hospital will be recruitment of these new graduates and ease of transition to practice. Working together we can train great nurses and nurse practitioners who are highly skilled and ready to make their mark on the health care profession.”

A Total Team Approach The importance of participating in the UAB Nursing Partnership is recognized by the Health System’s physicians as well. Professor of Surgery and UAB Chief Medical Officer Loring W. Rue, III, MD, FACS, who served on the advisory committee that helped launch the more formal partnership, said, “It is an acknowledgment of the importance of the whole health care team being 10


UAB Chief Medical Officer Dr. Loring Rue served on the advisory committee that helped launch the Partnership.

partners in providing the best care for patients.” As we move into the 21st century, the entire health care team must focus on collaboration if the desired result, quality patient care and outcomes, is to be achieved. “Years and years ago, the world revolved around physicians,” Rue said. “Now the patient still comes to the hospital and is admitted to a physician, but I think physicians are increasingly recognizing that if we didn’t have our nursing colleagues, our pharmacy colleagues and all our other health professional colleagues, we'd compromise the quality care we provide. “The reality is that the physicians are not in contact with the patients as much as bedside nurses. Nurses are an integral part of the team effort to take care of patients, and I’m fully convinced that working alongside our nursing colleagues in full partnership, and developing solutions to quality and safety issues at the bedside, is going to give us the best chance of improving quality of care even more in the future.” Rue believes part of the reason the UAB Nursing Partnership is already seeing success is that the medical landscape at UAB has evolved to the point that its nurses feel empowered to voice concerns about issues related to quality patient care, and as the partnership expands it will only increase that dialogue. “That is called promoting a culture of safety,” Rue said. “If we want that kind of culture, then anybody who has concerns about a clinical-care issue should be free to raise that issue and be empowered to suggest how to correct it. “If a nurse says ‘I think we have a problem with this patient’ or ‘they’re having a reaction to that medicine,’ it is incumbent on us as physicians to take that seriously. That is how a partnership works.”

Leveraging Resources UAB Health System Vice President of Strategic Planning and Business Development David Randall said that formalizing the Partnership is a critical step in continuing the success of the Health System, academic enterprise and quality patient care. He believes that for far too long UAB’s entities, like many other health care organizations, operated in what he called “silos.” With an eye towards AMC 21, UAB Medicine’s strategic plan to be the preferred academic medical center of the 21st century, Randall said the expanded UAB Nursing Partnership is a much-needed step towards breaking down those barriers, which ultimately benefits the Health System, School of Nursing and, most importantly, the patients.

improving nurse retention, interdisciplinary collaboration with other departments across the campus and across disciplines, and paving the smoothest pathway possible for those who want a career as a UAB nurse. Harper said, “Most importantly, our partnership with UAB Medicine and the Health System provides us with the opportunity to impact and transform health in Alabama and beyond.”

On board with the UAB HEALTH SYSTEM of UAB Health System’s missions,” Ferniany says. “This requires medicine, nursing, and all of UAB’s health professions to work together more closely in clinical delivery, training, and research.”

“One of the things we haven’t done as effectively as we should is leverage the knowledge base across this campus,” Randall said. “We have tended to live in our own worlds and not reach across the street. The reality is, for us to achieve our strategic vision, goals and objectives as an organization, and to best serve the needs of our patients, we have to reach out to our academic colleagues and find ways to collaborate.” Randall points to Harper’s election to a new permanent nursing seat on the UAB Health System Board of Directors in May as an important indicator of the new emphasis being placed on campus-wide collaboration now and for the future. “As we talk about addressing nursing shortages, we must tap into the best pipeline available to us,” Randall said. “We need to remove barriers to ensure our best and brightest students have an opportunity to work at UAB. We want UAB Medicine to be the place graduates want to work, to be their top choice, their preferred path and make the transition as seamless as possible. “It should be one of the selling points for students considering our School of Nursing — that it partners with the UAB Health System and UAB Hospital. We want the students to understand that if they excel they have an opportunity to work in one of the country’s premier academic medical centers. It should be as if they are employed here the first day they enter the School of Nursing.”

A Bright Future As it progresses, Harper said the UAB Nursing Partnership will grow to include a focus on

Dean and Fay B. Ireland Endowed Chair in Nursing Doreen C. Harper, PhD, RN, FAAN, has been elected to the UAB Health System Board of Directors, becoming the first to occupy a new permanent nursing seat on the board. “Nursing is the largest workforce at any academic health center and plays a critical role in developing a culture of safety and quality,” Harper said. “My purpose on the board is to bring a nursing voice and perspective, and to help strengthen our teams to improve care. I am honored to serve on the Board and to work to promote nursing excellence at UAB.” Her addition to the board was championed by UAB President Ray Watts, MD, UAB Health System CEO Will Ferniany, PhD, UAB School of Medicine Dean Selwyn Vickers, MD, and others. “Improving health and reducing the cost of care in Alabama is one

In August 2015, Ferniany and Harper were invited to participate in an American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) academic health center leadership summit, where they contributed to a landmark report on the future of academic nursing. UAB was cited in this report by AACN and Manatt Health, which outlines a framework for engaging nursing and medical school deans, health system executives, and respective faculties in the academic health center enterprise. The objective is to promote collaboration to spark clinical innovation, align critical resources, and fortify the health of populations. “We were invited because of the work we had already done to align our School’s resources with UAB Medicine to facilitate our faculty and students becoming a more integral part of the clinical practice,” Harper says. “It’s absolutely critical that we integrate the latest knowledge and trends, capitalize on new models of care, prepare the next generation of the nursing workforce, and bring research capacity into our nursing service.” FALL 2016 / UAB NURSING


RESEARCH ROUNDUP For the second straight year, a UAB School of Nursing predoctoral student has received a prestigious American Cancer Society (ACS) Doctoral Degree Scholarship in Cancer Nursing.

Brooke Cherven

Rachel Wells

The School is again receiving funding for the 201617 academic year from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Future of Nursing Scholars Program, which is designed to increase the number of nurses holding PhDs nationally. More PhD-prepared nurses are needed to increase the number of nurse leaders who conduct nurse-led research, and educate the next generation of nurses.

PhD students Brooke Cherven, MPH, RN, CPON, CCRP, and Rachel Wells, MSN, RN, CNL, have been selected as the School’s newest RWJF Scholars and will receive funding totaling $150,000 each over the next three years. “These funds are critical to achieving our mission to develop a highly educated nursing workforce that will be tomorrow’s leaders in health care, nursing education and nursing research,” said Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Linda Moneyham, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Our ability to provide this level of funding for fulltime PhD students, combined with our nationally and internationally recognized nurse scientists, has increased our capacity to recruit some of the top doctoral students in the nation,” said Associate Dean for Research Karen Meneses, PhD, RN, FAAN. Drs. Moneyham and Meneses spearhead this grant. Less than 1 percent of the nation’s more than 3 million nurses have PhDs. In addition, the average age at which nurses get their PhDs in the United States is 46—13 years older than PhD earners in other fields. This program will provide an incentive for nurses to start PhD programs earlier, so that they can have long leadership careers. This marks the second consecutive year the School has received funding through the RWJF. 12


Jennifer Bail, BSN, RN, a second-year student in the School’s PhD Program, joins 2015 recipient Timiya Nolan, MSN, CRNP, ANP-BC, as an ACS doctoral scholarship in cancer nursing award recipient. Bail’s grant application was one of only six funded nationwide. Bail will receive $30,000 over two years for her research project, “Cancer-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Intervention Adherence Among Breast Cancer Survivors: A Mixed Methods Study.” It aims to guide the development of cognitive interventions for breast cancer survivors. “We are doing a very good job of helping women survive breast cancer, with five-year survival rates of 90 percent,” said Bail. “But what about those 3.1 million women who have survived but are now having poor quality of life because of cognitive impairment? I want to help these women by developing interventions that will improve their cognition, their quality of life and, ultimately, their survivorship.” Bail is mentored by national survivorship expert Associate Dean for Research and Professor Karen Meneses, PhD, RN, FAAN. Like Nolan, Bail is “an important nurse scholar to keep on the radar,” Meneses said. “I have no doubt that Jennifer and Timiya both will be extraordinary nurse scholars.”

Lee studying social support, intuitive eating in older African-American men with type 2 diabetes Assistant Professor Loretta T. Lee, PhD, CRNP, FNP-BC, has received a one-year pilot grant from the Deep South Resource Center for Minority Aging of the National Institute of Aging Health Disparities Research Training Program to examine the association of social support and intuitive eating with glycemic control in older

Following a new HIV diagnosis, it is critical for patients to attend frequent health care appointments, start medications and take them consistently, all while adjusting to the realities of their life-changing diagnosis. However, it is estimated that in the first year after diagnosis, up to 60 percent frequently miss or completely forego scheduled health care visits, resulting in delays in starting life-saving medication or treatment failure altogether. Assistant Professor Crystal Chapman Lambert, PhD, CRNP, FNPBC, ACRN, AAHIVS, is addressing this issue through a study funded by a diversity supplement award from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, National Institutes of Health. The $99,813 award is a one-year supplement to the “Integrating ENGagement and Adherence Goals upon Entry (iENGAGE) to Control HIV” five-year, $3.5-million NIH parent grant of Michael Mugavero, MD, MHSc, professor in the UAB School of Medicine’s Division of Infectious Diseases, Associate Director for the Center for Outcomes Effectiveness Research and Education, and Co-Director of the Center for AIDS Research at UAB. “The first year of outpatient HIV medical care is a dynamic, formative and vulnerable time, and can be overwhelming,” Chapman Lambert said. “Patients go through a lot of emotions, and many don’t want to come to terms with their disease. They just don’t want to deal with it. I am looking at some of their behaviors and developing interventions to try to get these individuals into care and taking their medications as directed.” Building on data already compiled in Mugavero’s iENGAGE study, Chapman Lambert is examining factors that impact adherence to medication routines and appointment schedules, including social stigma, mental health issues and lack of resources, to develop her interventions. “It is critical for someone who is diagnosed with HIV to connect with a health care provider or health care system, to be under care, to take their medication as directed and to communicate with the provider if it produces symptoms they can’t bear because their life depends on that medication,” Chapman Lambert said. “We have to find ways to meet the patients where they are and encourage them to come into care, and we must engage them in medical decision-making.”

African-American men with diagnosed type 2 diabetes. “Type 2 diabetes mellitus is the leading epidemic of the 21st century, affecting millions of people in the United States,” Lee said. “Older African-American men are disproportionately affected with diabetes compared to Caucasians.” This study will examine the association of social support, specifically spousal, and intuitive eating, also known as mindful eating, with glycemic control among older African-American men living with type 2 diabetes who receive diabetes care at Cooper Green Mercy Hospital in Birmingham. Intuitive eating practices have been associated with improved

Talley studying effects of Community Health Advisors on diabetes care With a $30,000 grant from the UAB Center for the Study of Community Health, Assistant Professor Michele Talley PhD, CRNP, ACNP-BC, is looking at whether significant improvement in glycemic control in persons with diabetes can be achieved with regular mentoring or coaching by community health advisors (CHAs). The study is being done as part of her work at the nurse-managed Providing Access to Health care (PATH) Clinic, which the School supports in partnership with UAB Hospital and UAB Health System. “What I have found is that if you give patients the knowledge and the tools they need, then they are more apt to be compliant. Once patients are educated, they tend to have better outcomes, which is what we hope to accomplish here through the CHAs.” Talley anticipates the study will show that the use of CHAs improves compliance with self-care routines, leading to improved levels of hemoglobin A1C, as well as fewer trips to the emergency room and fewer readmissions after hospital stays. “It’s like exercising or dieting, when you have a partner to go through it with you, it is a whole lot easier,” Talley said. “So maybe having a partner to remind them each week of the things they need to do to take care of themselves will make it easier for patients with diabetes, too.”

eating habits in people with chronic diseases. Good social support, especially spousal, has been identified as essential for self-management that includes healthy eating practices. It is noteworthy that less than 50 percent of African-American men live with a spouse. “We hypothesize that social support, particularly the presence of a spouse/partner, will increase the likelihood that older African-American men with diabetes will adhere to intuitive eating practices,” Lee said. “Our second hypothesis is that intuitive eating practices will be associated with lower hemoglobin A1C, which is a measure of glycemic control, among these older men with diabetes.”  FALL 2016 / UAB NURSING






Five-year, $2.86 million R01 grant from NIMH will look at speed of processing training for middle-aged and older adults with HIV Professor David Vance, PhD, MGS, MS, has received a five-year, $2.86 million R01 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) for a study to determine if quality of life of middleaged and older adults with HIV can be improved by enhancing cognitive functioning through speed of processing training.

Dr. David Vance is engaged in groundbreaking research to find ways to help improve the cognitive functioning of older HIV-positive adults through the use of speed-ofprocessing training.

This National Institutes of Health (NIH) randomized clinical trial, “An RCT of Speed of Processing Training in Middle-Aged and Older Adults with HIV,” will compare the processing speed, the ability to perform simple, repetitive cognitive tasks quickly and fluently, of 264 adults 40 and older diagnosed with HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorder (HAND) over a period of time after they have completed a period of computer-based cognitive training. Participants will be assigned to one of three groups: one to receive 10 hours of specialized speed of processing training, another 20 hours of speed of processing training, and a third 10 hours of basic computer training. The trial will seek to determine what effect speed of processing training in the various amounts will have on cognitive ability and everyday functioning skills immediately after the test and at one-year and two-year intervals. “We know that more than 50 percent of those with



HIV experience some cognitive impairment due to its inflammatory process on the brain,” Vance said. “We have also verified that speed of processing is a cognitive ability we can change. That’s why we are focusing on it in particular. It is an important linchpin of all the other cognitive and everyday functioning outcomes, and if we can improve it, maybe we can also improve others.” Vance’s research is based on the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) study, a project funded by the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute of Nursing Research and conducted, in part, at UAB’s Edward R. Roybal Center for Transitional Research in Aging and Mobility by Roybal Center Director and UAB Psychology Department Chair Karlene Ball, PhD. The results of the ACTIVE study involving 2,832 volunteers indicated that the effects of training to improve cognitive abilities in older people (average age of 74) lasted up to 10 years in some instances after the training was completed. Vance reasoned that HIV-positive adults, who may be cognitively vulnerable at earlier ages, could also benefit from such training. “We are concerned that those people who are experiencing HAND at even earlier ages may have greater problems down the road,” Vance said. “Since speed of processing training is so effective in older adults without HIV, I thought we should try it

research for adults with HIV. We want to find an effective intervention that may help them as they grow older.”

RN, FAAN, said his colleagues in the School are thrilled to see Vance launch his R01.

Vance will rely on Posit Science Insight, an updated version of the same computer software used in the ACTIVE study, for his controlled trial. The therapeutic video games it offers are specifically designed to improve visual speed of processing and visual attention.

“In many ways this is the culmination of the work he has been doing for the past 20 years,” Meneses said. “He is probably one of the world’s foremost authorities on this topic, and we are pleased that he continues this important program of research at UAB.”

Participants will come to a computer lab at the Roybal Center for sessions of a prescribed length and regularity over a 10- to 12-week period. Depending on their group, the participants will work with the Insight software or be given basic internet-related tasks to complete. Those who play the Insight “brain” games will, for instance, be shown a photo for a few milliseconds and then asked if there was a car or truck in the middle box. If they answer correctly they then might be asked if they saw an object outside the box, and if so, instructed to touch the screen where they saw it. If they continue to answer correctly, the questions will come faster while an incorrect answer will slow the system down until they can achieve a 75-percent success rate. “We want to determine the effectiveness and the dosage of the speed of processing training and see how it impacts driving abilities, medication adherence, and other instrumental activities of daily living,” Vance said. “We want to see if we can improve these aspects of their lives, and based on the science that’s been done and the groundwork that has been laid, I believe we can.” Ball said applying this training technique to the population of older adults with HIV is a good step forward. “David’s research is truly groundbreaking in the sense that most people weren’t looking at older HIV-positive adults back when he first started doing it,” Ball said. “It is great to see he is getting the recognition he deserves for all his hard work.” Vance believes the study is only the third of its kind to focus on the cognitive training of older HIV-positive adults and the first that will be longitudinal in nature. The first two to three years will be spent providing the training and the following years assessing its effectiveness. “We have been documenting for years all the cognitive problems that people with HIV experience as they age,” Vance said. “Now it’s time that we should be doing something about it.” Associate Dean for Research Karen Meneses, PhD,

Wheeler’s K99/R00, adds another layer to research into cognition and HIV A shared passion for researching cognitive health in older adults with HIV has brought Pariya Fazeli Wheeler, PhD, to the School to continue a long association with Professor David Vance, PhD, MGS, MS. As an assistant professor, Wheeler, who joined the faculty June 1, will continue work on a three-year, $747,000 National Institutes of Health (NIH) K99/ R00 grant, “A Novel Neurorehabilitation Approach for Cognitive Aging with HIV.” Wheeler’s work builds on research Vance is conducting as part of his five-year, $2.86 million R01 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). “We both do cognitive aging research with a focus on HIV, and that is one of the reasons this is a good fit for me,” Wheeler said. “There are also a lot of collaborative opportunities to work with faculty of all kinds of different backgrounds and experiences. I am very excited to be here.” Wheeler first met Vance in 2008 when she began her graduate work in lifespan developmental psychology in the UAB Department of Psychology. Since then they have published more than 20 papers together and conducted research on a regular basis. “I am very excited about Pariya joining the distinguished faculty here in the School, as her role as a cognitive psychologist, and a skilled statistician and methodologist, will be an asset on many fronts,” Vance said. Wheeler’s research focuses on examining successful cognitive aging to determine factors associated with it and potential intervention strategies that may help older adults with HIV maintain their cognitive health. Through a series of questionnaires, performance-based tasks and a blood draw to examine biomarkers, Wheeler seeks to identify indicators in patients 50 and older that may have implications for improved cognitive health outcomes in other older adults with HIV. “We want to get a comprehensive profile of each person’s life, their leisure activities and things like that, then look at the biomarkers,” Wheeler said. “Essentially we want to figure out who each person is, what their profile is and how those different factors map onto their cognitive function in hopes that this information may help others in the future.” FALL 2016 / UAB NURSING



Reducing caregiver burden through



ostdoctoral Fellow J. Nicholas Dionne-Odom, PhD, RN, ACHPN, has received a five-year, $935,000 K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award from the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) to develop a palliative care health coaching program for family caregivers of persons with advanced cancer.

Dr. Nick Dionne-Odom believes it is important to reach the family caregiver early in their loved ones' advanced illness.

“The burden placed on family caregivers and the toll on their mental and physical health have never been greater and will continue to rise.” -Dr. Nick Dionne-Odom


During the K99 phase, DionneOdom will conduct interviews with patients, caregivers and those who help them navigate the health care system to develop a health coaching intervention that will be delivered by phone, tablet or other telecommunication devices. During the three-year R00 phase, he will lead a small, randomized controlled trial involving 60 family caregivers over a 24-week period to assess the acceptability, feasibility and potential benefits of the new program. Dionne-Odom cites estimates that by 2020 the number of individuals with cancer in the United States is expected to swell to 18 million. Of those, the number in their last year of life is expected to increase from 901,000 to 1.217 million, most with a family member who provides necessary care. He also cites estimates that family caregivers provide 80 percent of the care for patients in the advanced stages of cancer. These trends make it imperative to develop interventions that help family caregivers stay healthy and functioning at a high level, for their sakes as well as their loved ones with cancer, Dionne-Odom said. “The burden placed on family caregivers and the toll on their mental and physical health have never been greater and will continue to rise,” Dionne-Odom said. “The health coaching aspect of my research will focus on using a caregiver’s beliefs, values and life


story to motivate them to set and achieve goals for their own health and for the many tasks they’re faced with when caring for someone with serious illness.” “Nick’s interest in family caregiving has been a great addition to our team’s efforts, but more importantly his work is making an essential contribution to the field of palliative care,” said his mentor, Professor and Marie L. O’Koren Endowed Chair Marie Bakitas, DNSc, CRNP, NP-C, AOCN, ACHPN, FAAN. “Family caregivers are probably the most important member of the patient’s care team yet their contributions are often invisible. Nick’s work raises awareness to this issue while discovering ways to help those who support the patient.” To successfully implement this type of coaching, Dionne-Odom believes it is important to reach the family caregiver early in the person’s advanced illness. It is during this time that they and the person they care for are still relatively healthy, high functioning and able to learn new skills, coping strategies and self-care habits. “I often use the metaphor of preparing your home for a hurricane when one lives in Hurricane Alley,” Dionne-Odom said. “It wouldn’t be wise to start preparing when storm clouds are just offshore. You want to install the storm shutters months ahead when the weather is still calm knowing eventually you’re going to get hit by a storm. “That is to say it is very hard to teach these skills when a family is in crisis. I want to help them prepare so that when the crisis hits, it probably won’t be easy or comfortable but they will be much more prepared to handle the situation.”



LET’S GET PHYSICAL: Two pilot grants target improving physical activity in African Americans

Physical inactivity is an urgent public health concern, particularly among African Americans in the South, but two pilot grants awarded to Assistant Professor Pamela Bowen, PhD, CRNP, FNP-BC, are designed to address the issue through both policy and action.


he first, a two-year, $330,446 grant from the Gulf States Collaborative Center (CC) for Health Policy Research — which is part of a three-year, $3 million grant to Bayou Clinic in Bayou La Batre, Alabama, from the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities — will fund the pilot project “Promoting Physical Activity among African Americans through Policy.” The Gulf States CC is a collaboration among the clinic, UAB and the University of Southern Mississippi. Principal investigators on the grant include founder and CEO of the Bayou Clinic Regina M. Benjamin, MD, 18th Surgeon General of the United States, former vice admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and an alumna of the UAB School of Medicine; and Maria Pisu, PhD, associate professor in the UAB Division of Preventive Medicine and Bowen’s mentor on the project. Bowen is looking at what policies and procedures, if any, are in place at a Cooper Green Mercy Health Services clinic in Birmingham to support discussions about physical activity between health care providers and their African-American patients ages 21 and older who are

capable of physical activity, and whether the mandating of such policies and procedures can increase the frequency of those discussions. “I would really like to come up with some kind of intervention to increase physical activity in the AfricanAmerican population because we are so disproportionally burdened with diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease,” Bowen said. “All those conditions can be managed with a regular program of physical activity, and instead of it being a reactive measure, it should be a preventative measure used with all patients.” In addition, the use of mobile technology among older adults has increased over the past decade, and Bowen hopes her other project, a one-year, $10,000 Deep South Resource Center for Minority Aging Pilot Grant “Physical Activity Text Message Library for Older African-American Adults” will prove it can motivate aging African Americans to increase their physical activity. “There is a dire need to develop interventions to increase physical activity and to meet national physical activity objectives for older adults, especially African-American women who are more likely to remain inactive,” Bowen said. “With the increased growth of cell phone

usage, especially among African Americans, text messaging offers a promising strategy to improve health behaviors, particularly physical activity.” Bowen will use four focus groups of 30 older women from two predominantly African-American churches in the Birmingham area to develop and test physical activity text messages based on existing materials related to physical activity from various sources. The women will be asked to provide specific feedback regarding their perceptions and acceptability of the text messages as well as which messages motivate physical activity. “Regular physical activity in the older adult can promote feelings of wellbeing, improve stamina and maintain healthy bones and joints,” Bowen said. “Text messaging is a common, everyday, low-cost approach to communication that may help address this vital health issue, which makes this approach feasible.” FALL 2016 / UAB NURSING



Dr. Pat Patrician, left, and Pauline Swiger are using TriService Nursing Research Program funding to study nursing practice environments in military hospitals in an effort to improve patient outcomes.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT TSNRP grants to Patrician, Swiger provide funding for military practice environments, patient outcomes studies


“...hospitals with good nursing practice environments

have better patient outcomes.” -Pauline Swiger



wo UAB School of Nursing researchers, one a retired Army colonel and one an active-duty lieutenant colonel, are taking their knowledge of military and civilian nursing and working to improve patient safety at military hospitals. Donna Brown Banton Endowed Professor Pat Patrician, PhD, RN, FAAN, and PhD student Pauline Swiger, MSN, RN, CMSRN, CNL, have each received grants from the prestigious TriService Nursing Research Program (TSNRP) to further their research into various aspects of military nursing. Patrician, a retired U.S. Army colonel and 26-year veteran of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, received a two-year, $400,000 award for her study “Impact of Nursing on Readmissions, Failure to Rescue & Mortality in DoD Hospitals.” Swiger, a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, received a two-year, $14,193 award for her study “What Practice Environment Features are Related to Particular Patient Outcomes?” Swiger’s study is a secondary analysis of four years of data collected through surveys from 45 units at 10 military hospitals on the practice environments for nurses at those hospitals. Swiger will examine five factors relating to the nursing practice environment and five patient outcomes to determine if the quality of the nursing practice environment in military hospitals is associated with patient outcomes in the same way it is in civilian hospitals.


“Multiple studies have shown that hospitals with good nursing practice environments, factors which help nurses practice professionally and provide highquality care, have better patient outcomes,” Swiger said. “When you have high practice environment scores, you generally have better patient outcomes, which is the goal we are all striving for.” Patrician’s study is investigating the relationships among practice environment, nurse staffing, mortality, readmission and instances of failure to rescue — death from the failure to recognize and appropriately respond to early signs of patient deterioration – in military hospitals and compare the findings with those from a set of civilian hospitals. She will use data from all 23 U.S. Army and multiservice hospitals for the years 2011 to 2014, and evaluate whether professional nursing practice environments and nurse staffing in military hospitals are associated with the 30-day rates for mortality, readmissions and failure to rescue. She will then compare the professional nursing practice environment, nurse staffing and patient outcomes in military hospitals with those of civilian Magnet hospitals — those that have been recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center after demonstrating excellence in patient care in more than 35 focus areas — and nonMagnet hospitals. “This is the first effort in the military to explore the impact of nursing on mortality, readmissions and failure to rescue,” Patrician said. “There are a lot of problems nurses can help avert if they have enough staffing, if their practice allows them to recognize and act on pending patient problems and if the professionalism to do so is encouraged. Those are the mechanisms by which we believe nurses influence mortality, readmissions and failure to rescue, and that is what my study will be looking at.”




Professor Jacqueline Moss, PhD, RN, FAAN, is familiar with the United States military and its Veterans.


s the daughter of a Veteran of the United States Air Force, she learned first-hand their backgrounds and home lives. As an intensive care unit nurse, she saw their suffering and treated their pain. In research partnership with the Veterans Health Administration, she has sought to understand and find ways to address their struggles. And as an educator, she has diligently worked to teach nurses that they must be specially attuned to recognizing and caring for this extraordinary group. To improve awareness of Veterans’ health

A combination of Veteran and military cultures were combined to produce this final set of 10 competencies: n

Military and Veteran Culture


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


Amputation and Assistive Devices


Environmental/Chemical Exposures


Substance Use Disorder


Military Sexual Trauma


Traumatic Brain Injury






Serious Illness at End of Life

care needs, Moss collaborated with colleagues, Professor and Associate Dean for Clinical and Global Partnerships Cynthia Selleck, PhD, RN, FNP, FAAN, and Assistant Professor Randy Moore, DNP, RN, CCRN, to develop a set of competencies designed to help new nurses be better prepared to identify and assist Veterans and their families across the health care continuum. The resulting research paper, “Veteran Competencies for Undergraduate Nursing Education,” was published in Advances in Nursing Science. “There are 23 million military Veterans living in the United States and more than 16 percent have service-connected disabilities, yet only about 38 percent of those receive any portion of their health care at a VA facility,” Moss said. “That means 62 percent are receiving care at community hospitals, university medical centers, local clinics and the like.” In clinical settings outside the VA, Moss said, a Veteran’s prior military service often isn’t recognized – or even mentioned – so a nurse can be unaware of potential issues that can arise related to a patient’s military service. “Veterans come with unique backgrounds and needs, and it is imperative that nurses are adequately prepared to care for Veteran patients and their families, regardless of the setting in which they practice,” Moss added.

Growing up in a military family gave Dr. Jacqueline Moss special insight into caring for Veterans and their families.

Using the Quality and Safety Education for Nursing (QSEN) Competencies as a framework, Moss and her colleagues developed a set of 10 competencies and associated knowledge, skills and attitudes new nurses need to be able to adequately care for Veteran patients and their families. At their heart, Moss said, the competencies are basic tools to help nurses recognize a Veteran, recognize if he or she has a problem and determine if they can address it themselves or if they need to refer it to someone else. “Wherever you practice you are going to encounter Veterans,” Moss said. “Understanding their experiences and knowing what to look for, how to intervene and when to refer are extremely important skills for nurses, and we want to do our best to make sure they have these skills. “What we hope is going to happen is that schools of nursing will take these competencies and knowledge, skills and attitudes and see where they might be able to implement either some or all of these suggestions into their curriculum. “We also hope that institutions that are hiring new graduates may also look and see where they might be able to incorporate them into their new-hire orientations.” FALL 2016 / UAB NURSING


BRIDGING THE HEALTH CARE GAP Nearly $3M in HRSA funding helping improve health equity in Alabama


he UAB School of

PATH Clinic, HRSA Heart Nursing has been awarded Failure Clinic, and residents two Health Resources and Services Administration of rural Alabama will benefit (HRSA) grants totaling from federal agency’s nearly $3 million and geared toward focus on improving providing quality effective, efficient health care health equity — training new nurse practitioners who will


practice in Alabama’s rural and underserved areas and providing behavioral health care for patients in the School’s Providing Access to Health Care (PATH) and HRSA Heart Failure Clinics.

A three-year, $1.98-million grant for the project “Academic-Practice Partnership for a Healthier Alabama” with Assistant Professor D’Ann Somerall, DNP, CRNP, FNP-BC, as project director, will help expand and increase training to prepare family nurse practitioners to address the needs of Alabama’s rural and underserved populations. A two-year, $1-million grant for the project “Bridging the Gap in Behavioral Health for Uninsured Populations in Birmingham” with Professor and Associate Dean for Clinical and Global Partnerships Cynthia Selleck, PhD,



RN, FNP, FAAN, as project director, will help add behavioral health services in the two nurseled clinics, which provide community-based primary care and chronic disease management for uninsured patients in Birmingham and around Alabama. HRSA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is primarily responsible for improving health and health equality through access to quality services, a skilled workforce and innovative programs. HRSA programs provide health care to people who are geographically isolated or economically or medically underserved, goals that align perfectly with the missions of the two nurse-led clinics and the School’s focus on Alabama’s rural health care needs. “These two awards position the UAB School of Nursing to serve our most vulnerable populations, developing and testing innovative interprofessional models of care,” Selleck said. “These grants will allow us to better serve our patients in our two clinics and better prepare our family nurse practitioner students to have even more impact on health care in areas of our state where they are vitally needed.”

partnerships As part of the three-year, $1.98-million grant, the School will continue current partnerships with Quality of Life Health Services of Gadsden and Health Services Inc. of Montgomery with an overall goal of preparing nurse practitioners to practice more effectively and efficiently in rural settings. In the process, the program’s preceptors — certified registered nurse practitioners from these agencies — will also be given guidance on how to be better preceptors and increase collaboration with the School’s faculty. “In turn, the preceptors will be able to advise us regarding our curriculum and whether we’re teaching the concepts that are needed most in rural settings,” Somerall said. “Are we doing a good job teaching the students how to take care of the issues that arise in rural settings? That is what we need to know, and this exchange of information will be important as we continue to create a pipeline of practice-ready family nurse practitioners who are committed to caring for Alabama’s medically needy populations.” Quality of Life Health Services and Health Services Inc. operate 31 clinic sites in 23 Alabama counties, and it is estimated that over the three years of the award, 55 family nurse practitioner students will receive the bulk of their clinical training at these sites.

Professor and Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Linda Moneyham, PhD, RN, FAAN, agreed. “The education and training nurse practitioners receive is critically important to the role that nurses play in improving access to health care in rural and underserved regions of the state,” Moneyham said. “To be effective in such roles, nurses have to understand the complexities of the communities and populations they serve, including the social and environmental factors that influence health behaviors, as well as the willingness of patients to use available health care services and comply with the plan of care. “The grants we have received from HRSA will support our efforts to prepare a nursing workforce with the skills and knowledge base that will improve their effectiveness in providing care to these communities and populations.” For many patients at the PATH and HRSA Heart Failure Clinics, operated by the School in partnership with UAB Hospital and Health System, the $1 million grant will mean access to treatment and care of mental health and substance abuse issues that may have tremendous impact on their overall health issues. “We know that if we can better manage

“This is big for the UAB School of Nursing, but it is even bigger for the patients we will serve because both of these grants are about treating populations who often have nowhere else to turn.” -Dr. Cynthia Selleck

“The bottom line is we want to be able to train highly educated family nurse practitioners to go into rural communities and take care of patients to the highest level of primary care, as well as to teach the nurse practitioner students and the patients about the unusual situations that arise from living in a rural area like lack of access to specialists for example,” Somerall said.

the mental health and substance abuse care of these patients, they can better manage their diabetes or heart failure,” Selleck said. “It is about treating the person as a whole, and that is where we are trying to get to with this grant.” The funding will allow for the addition of a psychiatrist, a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, a licensed

“...we continue to create a pipeline of practice-ready family nurse practitioners who are committed to caring for Alabama’s

medically needy populations.” -Dr. D’Ann Somerall

clinical social worker, a care manager and a clinical exercise physiologist, all who will spend time in both clinics on varying schedules. In addition to their primary contributions, the new clinicians will also be asked to teach the current clinicians and students who rotate through both clinics how to integrate mental and behavioral health services into primary care and chronic disease management. “We are excited about expanding the behavioral health component at our PATH and HRSA Heart Failure Clinics and further enhancing our interprofessional collaborative practice model,” Professor and Acute, Chronic and Continuing Care Department Chair Maria Shirey, PhD, MBA, MS, RN, NEA-BC, ANEF, FACHE, FAAN, said. HRSA sought only applicants from around the country that already had established interprofessional, collaborative clinics managed by nurses, and it found the perfect fit at the UAB School of Nursing. “We really were the perfect applicant for what they were looking for because our current nurse-managed clinics are doing a great job,” Selleck said. “This is going to be so helpful for our patients, UAB Hospital and the Health System. “Both of these grants are really about teaching all our clinicians to be better educators of our students so that they are more satisfied and have better experiences, so we provide better teambased care in the long run, which is the ultimate goal we all share.” FALL 2016 / UAB NURSING


The School’s partnership with the Birmingham VAMC earned the 2015 AACN Academic-Practice Partnership Award.

High-Tech Mental Health Care Reaching Patients Well Beyond Hospital, Clinic Walls WRITTEN BY JIMMY CREED // PHOTOGRAPHY BY JEN BASEDEN

“[The Veterans] feel like they can talk more and express themselves better because

it's a less intimidating environment when they are in the room alone.” -Andrea Welsh


sk Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Andrea Welsh, MSN, CRNP, PMHNP-BC, if any of the Veterans she has treated during her time at the Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center stand out to her and almost immediately she has an answer. The one that comes to mind is a Vietnam Veteran she began treating in early 2016. He suffers from dementia and severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that went untreated until he became her patient. The Veteran also suffers from multiple medical conditions, which make it difficult for him to tolerate some of the medicines typically used to treat his symptoms. Welsh first treated the Veteran face-to-face at one of the Birmingham VA Medical Center’s Community-Based Outpatient Centers then began seeing him via telemental health technology. It was a challenge, but the Veteran has shown great improvement, so much so that recently his emotions spilled over as he expressed his gratitude to her. “It has gotten to the point where he is not having nightmares every night, and he is having a significant decrease in flashbacks,” Welsh said.



“On a recent visit he broke down crying thanking me for how much I had helped him, and it definitely gave me a sense of satisfaction, knowing I was making a difference in his care.” This is just one example of the impact Welsh and other graduates of the VA Nursing Academic Partnership for Graduate Education (VANAPGE) PMHNP Residency Program — a partnership between the Birmingham VA Medical Center and the UAB School of Nursing — are having in great part through the use of telehealth technology. Via cameras, computer screens and online software, Welsh and her VA-based colleagues meet electronically with patients from eight communitybased outpatient centers across central and north Alabama and conduct interviews just as if they were sitting face-to-face in Birmingham. “I provide telehealth services to Veterans at the Bessemer center,” Welsh said. “The Veterans check in there and a trained telehealth provider such as an LPN or telehealth technician sets them up in a room for the appointment. Some of the Veterans actually like it better. They feel less anxious about coming to the appointment. They also feel like they can talk

partnerships more and express themselves better because it’s a less intimidating environment when they are in the room alone.” Established in 2013 as one of four mental health nurse practitioner residencies nationally designed to put more providers in the VA pipeline, the mental health nurse practitioner residency between the Birmingham VA Medical Center and the School has produced six graduates in its first two cohorts, four of whom transitioned straight into full-time positions at the Birmingham VA after completing their residencies. The program’s third cohort of three residents graduated in September, and its fourth, which will have four residents, started in October. Residency Program Co-Director Jessica Waldrop, MSN, CRNP, PMHNPBC, graduated in the first cohort before becoming the point person on the VA side.

The mental health nurse practitioner residency between the Birmingham VA Medical Center and the School has produced

six graduates in its first two cohorts...four of whom transitioned straight into full-time positions at the Birmingham VA. “I believe it has been a big success,” Waldrop said. “We hired all three residents in the second cohort, and we are hoping to hire as many as we can from the third cohort, too. Every year we get more applicants, and most of them want to stay with us when they are finished. “We are glad they want to stay because they are well prepared to manage the unique mental health needs of our Veteran population.” The School’s Residency Program CoDirector, Professor and Chair of the Department of Family, Community and

Health Systems Teena McGuinness, PhD, CRNP, PMHNP-BC, FAAN, is pleased that the program is working as it was designed to, and is helping meet the goals of the VA partnership as well as a huge societal need. “It means a lot to know we are improving care for Veterans,” McGuinness said. “I also love working with these residents who are providing essential mental health services. I am fortunate to play a role in their education and training and to see them so successful.”

Improving health through distance technology With an eye on the increasing use of distance delivery and telehealth services throughout the health care profession, the UAB School of Nursing is establishing itself as a recognized leader in nursing telehealth education and practice. In 2015, a 15-member Telehealth Strategic Planning Committee was founded, co-chaired by Professor and Assistant Dean for Clinical Simulation and Technology Jacqueline Moss, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow and Assistant Professor Joy Deupree, PhD, MSN, RN, WHNP-BC. With the School’s Telehealth Strategic Plan: 2016-2021 as a guide, a practice committee is developing practice initiatives, a curriculum committee is integrating telehealth content into the School’s curriculum and developing student practice opportunities, and a partnership committee is promoting policy change and partnership opportunities. “Telehealth and home remote patient monitoring will fundamentally change nursing practice by allowing nurses to interact and care for patients wherever they reside,” Moss said. “Patients won’t have to come to us. We can use the technology to go to them virtually, which will truly be delivering patient-centered care. “As a school, we are laying the foundation for how to

best prepare and graduate nurses who have the skills and capacity to manage and use this technology to remotely impact health care.” The School has a history of advancing distance delivery of health care interventions, including telehealth work with breast cancer survivors, patients with congestive heart failure and women with HIV in the rural South. Also, students in the Veterans Affairs Nursing Academic Partnership (VANAP) Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Residency program are using telehealth technology as part of their work at the Birmingham VA Medical Center. The Telehealth Strategic Planning Committee is looking for ways to expand those opportunities and incorporate others with the ultimate goal of preparing more telehealth competent faculty and students. “Telehealth technology can impact the lives of Alabamians, particularly in rural settings, by improving access to primary and specialty care,” Moss said. “It can reduce the burden on patients and their families by reducing long-distance travel to appointments and improve chronic care management in areas with few or no health care providers. “The importance of education for students and providers on the use of the technology will only continue to increase as the demand for these services continues to grow.” FALL 2016 / UAB NURSING


Amy Jones is providing vital health care services to patients in her hometown of Ashland, Alabama.

Reshaping Rural Health



hen Amy Jones MSN, CRNP, NP-C, was deciding exactly which path she wanted to take in her health care career, it was memories from her childhood that ultimately helped her choose. She recalled growing up in Ashland, Alabama, a small community of less than 2,000 nestled in the foothills of the Cheaha Mountain range 75 miles southeast of Birmingham. She recalled trips to the “town” of Talladega, 25 miles to the northwest, or to the “big city” of Anniston 45 miles north.

Most of all, she vividly recalled times when she became ill as a child and her mother missed work to take her to the local clinic.

Funding from The Daniel Foundation of Alabama is enabling the School to recruit nurses from rural areas of the state who want to become nurse practitioners in their home communities.


“Growing up, I just thought it was commonplace to spend two or three hours in a health care clinic,” Jones said. “It was just what you did if you were sick and needed medical attention in my community.” Fast forward to March 2015 and an opportunity she received as part of the UAB School of Nursing Graduate Nursing Education Primary Care Scholars (GNEPCS) initiative to attend that year’s National Rural Health Association Conference (NRHA) in Philadelphia. It was a trip that



solidified her decision to go home again to pursue her passion for rural health. “The Daniel Foundation of Alabama provided funding to attend the NRHA conference, and that really furthered my interest in rural health,” Jones said. “With the knowledge from that experience combined with my personal experiences in rural health care, I decided I wanted to use my skills to help my home community.” Thanks in great part to the support of The Daniel Foundation of Alabama, a philanthropic organization that supports educational, health, humanitarian and cultural activities in Birmingham and throughout Alabama, Jones is now practicing as an Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner at the Clay County Healthcare Clinic in Ashland, and living in her childhood home two miles down the road. Skye Vise, MSN, CRNP, who with Jones represent the first two GNEPCS graduates in 2015, is also working as an Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner at the Citizens Baptist Medical Center clinics in Talladega and nearby Munford. “Students such as Amy and Skye who participate in the Primary Care Scholars demonstrate a passion for rural health and returning to rural areas across Alabama,” Associate Professor and Assistant Dean for Graduate Clinical Programs Ashley Hodges, PhD, CRNP, WHNP-BC, said. “Through the

partnerships support of The Daniel Foundation of Alabama we are increasing access to care in areas where citizens have suffered from lack of services for way too long.” The GNEPCS initiative, which seeks to identify, recruit and educate students who are willing to return to work as advanced practice nurses in medically underserved areas, is picking up steam, according to Professor and Associate Dean for Clinical and Global Partnerships Cynthia Selleck, PhD, RN, FNP, FAAN. In addition to Jones and Vise, another 11 scholars in Cohort 1 and 12 more in Cohort 2 are on track to graduate in late 2016 and 2017. Thirty more scholars were enrolled in 2016. “There’s a huge need, but it takes time to build an initiative such as this,” Selleck said. “That is really what The Daniel Foundation of Alabama is allowing us to do through its generous support. They are allowing us an opportunity to develop this initiative and really recruit nurses from rural areas of the state who are interested in becoming nurse practitioners and staying in their home communities.” As a complement to the program, UAB now boasts a student chapter of the Alabama Rural Health Association (ARHA), GNEPCS scholars have attended the ARHA and NRHA annual conferences, and the School has established the Graduate Nursing Education Primary Care Scholars Summit. This annual gathering brings together clinicians, students and health care leaders from across Alabama to engage in critical dialogue on overcoming primary care challenges for rural Alabamians. The GNEPCS initiative is already having an impact in many ways, including the most important one – providing primary health care in areas where it is badly needed. “It is hard to recruit doctors to rural areas. To have nurse practitioners willing to fill the voids where traditional medical care is falling short right now is a huge help,” said John Fischer, MD, a family practice physician at the Clay County Healthcare Clinic. “The Primary Care Scholars are definitely meeting a need, and I don’t see that need changing anytime soon because it just gets harder and harder to recruit doctors to rural areas for many reasons. “Amy has been very instrumental in helping us fill a primary care need here, and we’re very excited to have her.”

her hometown needed her and how much she wanted to give back to her hometown. “In general, it seems that professionals with ties to their communities tend to stay longer,” Jones said. “In those cases, the job is not a stepping stone but rather a calling, and that is true for me. “A lot of my family is here. Many of my friends are here. This is where I want to be, and this is what I want to do.”

Reducing caregiver burden

Improving the quality of life in patients and families living with Alzheimer’s Dementia and Traumatic Brain Injury UAB School of Nursing Associate Professor Rita Jablonski-Jaudon, PhD, CRNP, ANP-BC, FAAN, continues to receive honors and opportunities related to her internationally-renowned work in the fields of aging and dementia. Jablonski-Jaudon has been named a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America (GSA). She is also a coinvestigator with David Geldmacher, MD, FACP, endowed professor in the UAB Departments of Neurology and Neurobiology, on a new three-year, $734,955 project for the Department of Defense entitled “Improving Family Quality of Life through Training to Reduce Care-Resistant Behaviors by People with Alzheimer Dementia and Traumatic Brain Injury.” Jablonski-Jaudon, who has been a GSA member since 2001, is thrilled by the formal recognition of her efforts, which focus in particular on oral health with dementia and care-resistant behaviors, and her sustained contributions to the organization. “This is special to me,” Jablonski-Jaudon said. “When you are inducted, it means your peers acknowledge that you’ve done something important for older adults. In my case, my colleagues are acknowledging that the work I have done in my rather unique niche has made a difference in the lives of older adults and will continue to do so.” The project with Geldmacher, director of the UAB Memory Disorders Clinic, seeks to develop ways to improve caregiver burden, quality of life and related outcomes for patients with Alzheimer’s or traumatic brain injuries and their family members through the use of face-to-face coaching via the internet.

Jones said it is simply a case of knowing how much FALL 2016 / UAB NURSING


School, UAB well represented on statewide panel focusing on increasing the public’s basic understanding of health information and services




he Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 defines health literacy as “the degree to which an individual has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions.” Assistant Professor Joy Deupree, PhD, MSN, RN, WHNP-BC, believes great improvement in health literacy is needed in Alabama, a state in which it is estimated 510,000 adults lack basic literacy skills and an even greater number are not considered health literate. To that end, Deupree, and 10 others with ties to the School, UAB and UAB Health System are among 26 members appointed to the Health Literacy Partnership of Alabama by Gov. Robert Bentley.

Joy Deupree


a meaningful initiative to address health literacy disparities in Alabama is important for the health and economic future of our state.” In simple terms, the Partnership seeks to identify and implement ways to clarify many of the confusing aspects of our health care system. For example, instead of using the term “cardiovascular” in speaking with patients, health care providers could use the more easily understood term “heart.” Partnership member John Beard, president and chairman of Alacare Home Health and Hospice Services Inc., and a member of the School’s Board of Visitors, offers another example.

Deupree, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow, is chairing the Partnership, which brings together representatives from the state’s health care community to recommend ways to improve the health literacy of all Alabamians.

“When the pharmacist asks, ‘Do you have any questions about this medication?’ we don’t want to look like we don’t know what we are doing,” Beard said. “So often we will head home without saying anything and when we take the medicine out we go ‘I don’t really know what that technical phrase means.’ We have to find ways to get a better handle on things like that, and I believe we will. I am very excited that we are doing this and believe there will be some very positive outcomes from it.”

“From diagnosis to medication management and discharge instructions, patients are at risk for poor outcomes because they often do not understand how to use the information,” Deupree said. “Establishing

Providing patients brief, to-the-point reference materials and simple, basic facts they need to know to take care of themselves should improve medication adherence, reduce hospital readmissions and better


The Partnership seeks to identify and implement ways to far more resources to health clarify many of the confusing literacy, and likened the task aspects of our health ahead for the Partnership to that care system.

overall outcomes. In turn, that should help reduce the staggering financial load placed on the nation’s already overburdened health care system each year.

It was estimated in 2007 that limited health literacy added up to $238 billion nationally in unnecessary costs to the system per year. While no recent studies provide an updated figure, Deupree believes it is now significantly higher. “We have to do a better job because it is costing us too much in terms of both money and quality of life for Alabamians,” Deupree said. Nancy Dunlap, MD, PhD, MBA, professor emeritus of medicine and retired Chief of Staff of the Kirklin Clinic at UAB, and Health Literacy vice chair agreed, saying she is sure people feel “very helpless” when they are uncertain what to do to take care of themselves and their loved ones medically. “In addition to the actual costs, there is the human toll it takes of not being in control of your own life,” Dunlap said. “I am excited UAB can help lead the effort to make our state healthier.” Beard, who also serves on the Board of the Central Alabama Literacy Council, sees the need to devote

of putting together a puzzle.

“Everybody has a few of the puzzle pieces, but is it 50 big pieces or a thousand little ones?” Beard said. “Our group will look at all things on the list and pick the three or four that are the most obtainable and go from there. It is a well-designed group and has the expertise to address a broad range of issues, and that’s important.” Deupree, who called the formation of the Partnership “a goal of mine for over 10 years,” stressed that its job is not just to talk but to take action. The Partnership’s leadership team will develop strategic plans for one, three and five years, with a hope of having some initiatives in place by the end of the first year. “This is not a public awareness campaign about health literacy,” Deupree said. “We are not looking to do research to figure out the best ways to do this because we already have that information. We will be looking at evidence-based initiatives to improve outcomes, and we will get started trying to put those in place.”

Dr. Ada Markaki named PAHO/WHOCC Deputy Director UAB School of Nursing Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) Collaborating Center for International Nursing Deputy Director Adelais (Ada) Markaki, PhD, PHCNS-BC, was aware of the Center’s reputation and sought to join its ranks when she learned that longtime Deputy Director Lynda Wilson, PhD, RN, FAAN, was retiring in 2015. “I came across the Center several years ago through the work and publications of Dr. Wilson, Dr. Doreen Harper and other faculty, and I believed it was a place I would very much like to work someday,” Markaki said. Markaki, who previously was an instructor in primary health care in the Department of Social Medicine at the University of Crete in Heraklion, Greece, joined the School in midAugust. “Dr. Markaki brings a broad base of international and global health knowledge and expertise to our School and Center,” said Dean and Fay B. Ireland Endowed Chair

in Nursing Doreen C. Harper, PhD, RN, FAAN. “She has worked to better the health of communities worldwide and understands the goals and initiatives of the WHO, the Collaborating Centers and the partnerships needed to promote health care for all, and will build on the global scholarship on which Dr. Wilson worked tirelessly.” During her interview for the position, Markaki was struck by how well she fit with the School. “I was very much impressed by the camaraderie I saw among faculty,” Markaki said. “There was a striking sense of cohesiveness. I could sense throughout my talks with the dean, faculty and staff that everybody shared the same mission and goals. That is rare to find in a school, and I knew I would love to be part of this community.”


Other Partnership appointees with UAB Health System or UAB School of Nursing connections include: Peggy Benson, MSHA, MSN, RN, NE-BC, executive officer, Alabama Board of Nursing, and a UAB Health Professions alumna Conan Davis, DMD, MPH, assistant dean for community collaborations and public health, UAB School of Dentistry Ann Gakumo, PhD, RN, associate professor, UAB School of Nursing Kathleen Ladner, PhD, MSN, RN, co-leader of the Alabama Health Coalition and adjunct associate professor in the UAB School of Nursing Nan Priest, MHA, BSN, executive vice president and chief strategy officer, St. Vincent’s Health System, 1978 graduate of the UAB School of Nursing BSN Program Wesley Smith, MD, chief executive officer, Alabama Quality Assurance Foundation, 2000 graduate of UAB with a master’s in health administration Darlene Traffanstedt, MD, member of State Committee of Public Health, 2001 graduate of the UAB School of Medicine Deborah Wesley, MSN, RN, chief nursing officer, Children’s of Alabama, 1986 graduate of the UAB School of Nursing MSN program




definitely a cheerleader. I love to brag on our faculty, and I talk them up whenever I can because they are doing vitally important things for the health of Americans and others around the world.” The role of the department chairs at the UAB School of Nursing is defined differently from most schools and places the emphasis squarely on faculty development, said Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Linda Moneyham, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Every faculty member is expected to be successful in teaching, scholarship and service, but they often need mentoring in how to achieve success in each of these missions,” Moneyham said. “Our department chairs have played a major role in the tremendous success of our faculty over the last year. Their impact has been impressive.”

A Dynamic Duo New department chairs Shirey, McGuinness bringing fresh insight, energy to faculty and students



or Teena McGuinness, PhD, CRNP, PMHNP-BC, FAAN, and Maria Shirey, PhD, MBA, MS, RN, NEA-BC, ANEF, FACHE, FAAN, chairing the two departments that make up the UAB School of Nursing is very much like coaching two athletic squads. Game planners. Strategists. Motivators. The two women wear many hats as they guide the Department of Family, Community and Health Systems and the Department of Acute, Chronic and Continuing Care, respectively.

“Dr. McGuinness and Dr. Shirey are both exceptional leaders who exemplify and model the full complement of faculty roles.” -Dr. Doreen C. Harper

“We are coaches on a day-to-day basis, and it is a role I enjoy and one I take very seriously,” said Shirey, who was named chair of Acute, Chronic and Continuing Care in May 2016. “I know Dr. McGuinness takes it very seriously as well.” McGuinness, who was named permanent chair of Family, Community and Health Systems in September 2015, whole-heartedly agreed. “The department chair is a coach who helps the faculty stay focused with respect to their development,” McGuinness said. “I am also



McGuinness and Shirey work closely together to provide positive work experiences for all UAB School of Nursing faculty. “We want to have a common approach to the role and be consistent in terms of the faculty experience, and I believe they appreciate that,” Shirey said. “To that end we have worked together on a number of activities, and we have tried to do it with the same consistency of approach. “Although our styles may be different, we want to have common themes in how we make our decisions.” Both complimented their faculties for their hard work and meeting departmental goals, which align with the strategic priorities of the School and the University. “Their success is our success,” McGuinness said. “It is a privilege to work with this faculty and, in turn, their students. I love my job. It is challenging every day, but I love it, and I am sure Dr. Shirey feels the same way.” “Dr. McGuinness and Dr. Shirey are both exceptional leaders who exemplify and model the full complement of faculty roles,” said Dean and Fay B. Ireland Endowed Chair in Nursing Doreen C. Harper, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Through their coaching and mentorship as expert educators, board executives, scholars and clinical providers, our two department chairs provide faculty with the support and resources they need to grow, develop and be successful.”

Moving Forward

School establishes independent DNP program WRITTEN BY JIMMY CREED // PHOTOGRAPHY BY CATIE ETKA

FOR THE PAST EIGHT YEARS, the UAB School of Nursing has collaborated with the University of Alabama System’s two other nursing schools — the University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing, and the University of Alabama in Huntsville College of Nursing — to offer a highly successful Joint Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program that has put thousands of doctorally prepared nurses into practice across Alabama and the nation. However, demands in the nation’s health care system for advanced practice nurses mean the three schools must separate from their fruitful eightyear partnership. They will continue to partner on relevant initiatives, but the new structure allows each the flexibility to accommodate the increasing demand for the BSN-to-DNP pathway for advanced practice nursing education. “The joint DNP program has truly helped our schools form bonds and relationships

across faculty on the three campuses that have been vital in continuing to address health status indicators in Alabama and beyond,” Dean and Fay B. Ireland Endowed Chair in Nursing Doreen C. Harper, PhD, RN, FAAN, said. “This new autonomy will allow each of the campuses to develop the DNP to its fullest potential, producing the future expert advanced practice nurses for our state and the nation.” The School also must pursue an independent program because of national standards for nurse anesthetists. After 2015, The Council for Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs no longer accredits nurse anesthesia MSN-degree programs and effective Jan. 1, 2022, nurse anesthesia students will be required to graduate from accredited programs with doctoral degrees. “We needed to be sure our nurse anesthesia track, the state’s only publicly funded program of its kind, can be accredited in the future,” Harper said. The opening of the independent program includes the MSN-to-DNP and BSN-to-DNP pathways. The School’s various advanced practice specialty

tracks will be incrementally integrated; the first is Family Nurse Practitioner. The other advanced practice specialty tracks will be integrated throughout 2017 and 2018. Students currently enrolled in the Joint DNP will complete their programs of study, at which time the Joint DNP program will close. “We will continue to educate advanced practice nurses at the Master’s program level as well as offer the MSN-toDNP pathway for the foreseeable future,” Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Linda Moneyham, PhD, RN, FAAN, said. “We are vested in providing multiple pathways for people to enter nursing and obtain an advanced education.”

“The joint DNP program has truly helped

our schools form bonds...that have been

vital in continuing to address health status indicators in Alabama and beyond.” -Dr. Doreen C. Harper

The School now has more flexibility to chart its own course for the BSN-toDNP pathway for advanced practice nursing education and in its nurse anesthesia specialty track. FALL 2016 / UAB NURSING



Seeing the Light through community care

Experience at First Light Shelter helps students realize full impact of nursing profession WRITTEN BY CATIE ETKA // PHOTOGRAPHY BY FRANK COUCH


uests range in age from 19 to well into their 80s, and may be chronically homeless or in crisis and need emergency shelter. Many are mothers with children and most have known some kind of abuse. And the impact the residents of First Light Shelter have made on a group of BSN students will last long into their nursing careers and lives. The students, part of the Concepts of Community and Public Health Nursing Practicum course, recently spent a semester working on a community impact project with their assigned clinical agency — First Light Shelter. First Light, located in downtown Birmingham, serves homeless women and their children. It’s one of 32 community partners across Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and Hale Counties engaged with the School and providing rural and urban learning opportunities for students.

Melinda Ledford, BSN, RN, (left) with classmate Ashlee Sullivan, BSN, RN, worked at the First Light Shelter packing healthy high carb snacks for residents to take on extended bus commutes.

“I now realize that our nursing skills have just as much value in the community as they do in the hospital.” -Melinda Ledford, BSN, RN 30


The group assigned to First Light identified problems specific to diabetics who are dependent on the Birmingham bus system for transportation. The group noted that long commutes could lead to an increased prevalence of low blood sugar. As a result, the students provided patient education and raised money for lunchboxes with healthy high carb snacks for residents to take on extended commutes. “The course changed the way I view my profession. I now realize that our nursing

skills have just as much value in the community as they do in the hospital,” said Melinda Ledford, BSN, RN, who was part of the First Light Women’s Shelter group and graduated in April 2016. Implemented in Fall 2014 by instructors Katie Buys, DNP, MPH, NP-C, and Laura Debiasi, DNP, MPH, CRNP, NP-C, and Assistant Professor Sallie Shipman, EdD, MSN, RN, CNL, the semester-long undergraduate course and its didactic partner course provide students the knowledge and opportunity to apply public health nursing competencies to a population of people at an assigned community agency. They work within groups of up to four students to perform a community assessment, evaluate facilitators and barriers of the agency, and deliver a community impact project for an identified problem guided by evidence-based practice. Once the projects are complete, students present posters at the UAB Expo which is held every semester and showcases the research and service learning work produced by UAB students. Since fall 2014, the School’s student groups have completed 136 community impact projects, receiving awards for excellence at the Expos and recognition in local news media. “Our students leave this course with a newfound perspective on public health and their role as a nurse,” said Shipman, who manages the practicum course. “We want students to see what life is like for their patient outside the hospital. If my students learn to think about the impact their patient’s home environment plays on their health, then I’ve done my job.”

academics (L to R) Catherine Black, BSN, RN, and Jodee Robinson, BSN, RN, were members of the BSN Honors Program research teams.

“The impact of the student-led recruitment has been nothing less than phenomenal. After

only six weeks study enrollment increased by 200 percent.” -Dr. Shannon Morrison

THE HONORS OF NURSING Playing an active role on a research team, discovering new knowledge and solving global health issues is an everyday reality for UAB School of Nursing undergraduate honors students. WRITTEN BY // PHOTOGRAPHY BY CATIE ETKA


SN Honors students have the opportunity to be members of research teams focused on the academic and scientific advancement of nursing and health care as part of the three-semester Honors Program. One recent effort had a BSN Honors team leading recruitment efforts in an interdisciplinary research study examining the effects of a sugar-restricted (ketogenic) diet on cancer cell growth. Prior recruitment efforts had been challenging since the study began last fall. “Time constraints during office visits with health care providers was a barrier,” said honor’s student Catherine Black, BSN, RN, who graduated in August 2016. “Our team’s initiative provided face-to-face information to patients, and we were able to spend more time answering questions for those interested in participating.” “The impact of the student-led recruitment has been nothing less than phenomenal,” said the study’s principal

investigator and BSN Honors Program Director, Associate Professor Shannon Morrison, PhD, CRNP, FNP-BC. “After only six weeks study enrollment increased by 200 percent.”

Program enables you to see the larger picture,” said Vo. “I continued on to the PhD program so I could not only have an impact on each of my patients, but an impact on patient care around the world.”

Morrison said the scope and breadth of projects varies each semester, but the knowledge and experience honors students gain are lessons that take them well beyond their BSN.

It is rare that undergraduate students have an opportunity to take part in high-level, interdisciplinary research at a nationally recognized academic health science center, Morrison said, but the UAB Nursing Honors program sets the bar high.

“Giving our students the opportunity to contribute and engage in research shapes the way they see nursing, health care, and so much more,” Morrison said. “It is a unique experience filled with lessons they carry throughout their careers.” First-year PhD student Jacqueline B. Vo agrees. Vo earned her BSN from UAB in May 2015. She credits the UAB Nursing Honors Program for helping her to discover her love for research. “When you think of nursing you think of working at the bedside, but the nursing research mindset we learn in the Honors

As part of the program’s requirements, students must complete comprehensive research ethics training and demonstrate proficiency in identifying and managing potential points of ethical concern. They also complete the Collaborative Institution Training Initiative (CITI) required of all faculty, staff and students involved in all research at UAB. “Almost all of the students leave the Honors Program wanting to further their education,” said Morrison. “Even those who aren’t necessarily research-minded develop an appreciation and interest in the field.” FALL 2016 / UAB NURSING


academics AMNP Program Assistant Director Dr. Candace Knight said the program is a response to growing global health care needs.

Harnessing the momentum Since its inception, the UAB School of Nursing’s Accelerated Master’s in Nursing Pathway (AMNP) program — one of the few in the Southeast that offers the advanced Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree instead of an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) — has proven to be extremely successful, putting hundreds of nurses into the workforce, producing faculty to educate new generations of nurse leaders, and developing nurse researchers who are discovering knowledge that is impacting patient care worldwide. WRITTEN BY JIMMY CREED // PHOTOGRAPHY BY FRANK COUCH


uilding on this momentum Associate Professor and AMNP Director Jennan Phillips, PhD, RN, and Assistant Professor and AMNP Assistant Director Candace Knight, PhD, RN, are looking to the future and the next evolution of the AMNP Program. The top two priorities in the program’s advancement are a revision of its curriculum to more closely align it with that of the BSN program and a significant expansion of student numbers, focusing on recruiting from rural and underserved areas. “There is a national need to increase the number of nurses in advanced practice to care for patients with increasing rates of chronic diseases,” Phillips said. “In particular, we want to increase the number of students from rural areas and diverse



backgrounds. We know that our rural and underserved populations have higher rates of chronic diseases. We need advanced practice prepared nurses from those areas who want to return home to practice in order to improve access to health care for all.”

The curriculum revision is being led by Associate Professor and Interim Assistant Dean for Undergraduate and Pre-Licensure Programs Lynn Stover Nichols, PhD, RN, BC, SANE, and a task force that includes Phillips, Knight and a number of School faculty from inside and outside the AMNP program. “The task force is comparing the differences and similarities between the AMNP and BSN programs, the level of objectives, even the assignments,” Knight said. “We’re making sure that at the end of both, we have graduates who are well prepared to be the next generation of nurse leaders, answering the demand for a highly educated nursing workforce that is ready to tackle head on the intensifying challenges in health care today and in the future.” Phillips said recruiting trips to other schools in

academics the Southeast, particularly those without nursing programs, have proven successful, as have efforts to connect with UAB students from programs with science backgrounds and their advisers. “We are going out and helping highquality potential students understand this is a viable way to enter into a health care profession that will allow them to function in an advanced practice role,”

Phillips said. “We want to increase the size of our program while helping talented students reach their career goals.” It is yet another example of the UAB School of Nursing adapting to a quickly changing health care landscape. “We have been nimble and responsive to the educational and health care needs of the community with a program that

has moved highly qualified individuals into nursing careers in a relatively short amount of time, while providing superior patient-centered care that patients and families demand and deserve,” Knight said. “Now we’re ready to grow this program even further to respond to the growing global health care demands, and I am confident we will be even more successful in the future.”

A PERFECT FIT Peace Corps experiences abroad help Nieuwenhuys, Strawn succeed in School’s AMNP program WRITTEN BY JIMMY CREED

For Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, the UAB School of Nursing’s Paul D. Coverdell Peace Corps Fellows graduate fellowship and Accelerated Master’s in Nursing Pathway (AMNP) are often a perfect fit with their future career plans. Such is the case for Tatiana Nieuwenhuys, BSN, RN, and Kirsten Strawn, BSN, RN, who both are on their way to becoming nurse practitioners. After spending two years in the village of Ethiolo, Senegal, Nieuwenhuys knew she wanted to become a nurse. “I worked very closely with the only nurse in our village, Yafaye Camara,” said Nieuwenhuys, who was sent as a community economic development volunteer. “He had a breadth of knowledge and was a wonderful person. I loved the way he helped his patients. After seeing how he was saving lives, I realized I wanted a career just like his.” Strawn has a degree in biology and volunteered as a community health facilitator in Lolibulo Village in the Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu. Her future also came into focus as she watched nurses impact villagers. “I knew I wanted to do something in health care, but I wasn’t sure what,” Strawn said. “We only had one health center, with a nurse practitioner and a nurse for an entire island. I did some work with them and realized that they were doing what I wanted to do with my career.” Nieuwenhuys and Strawn have completed phase I of the AMNP program. Nieuwenhuys

works in the UAB Women & Infants Center Hospital, Strawn in the UAB Hospital Medical Intensive Care Unit. Both are in the master’s program — Strawn in the AdultGerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner track and Nieuwenhuys in the Family Nurse Practitioner track. Both hope to eventually return to help the communities they grew to love. Instructor Karmie Johnson, DNP, CRNP, PMHNPBC, the School’s Paul D. Coverdell Peace Corps Fellows Coordinator and a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, said the AMNP program is excellent for returned volunteers. “They are young, enthusiastic people who are placed into developing communities to solve problems, and the largest problems that consistently arise are health related,” Johnson said. “They are very successful at coming up with creative solutions and have a toolkit that is perfect for nursing. I think you can make a strong case that nursing is the best fit for their career.”

Many Returned Peace Corps Volunteers have found the School's Paul D. Coverdell Peace Crops Fellows graduate fellowship program fits perfectly with their future career plans.





{ Karen Heaton } PhD coordinator energized, excited about program’s bright future INTERVIEW BY JIMMY CREED // PHOTOGRAPHY BY CATIE ETKA

Q: From 2012 to 2014, the curriculum of the UAB School of Nursing’s Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing program underwent a revision. What led to this revamp? A: In 2010, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing

(AACN) came out with “The Research-focused Doctorate” that described what the critical outcomes of PhD programs should be and what students should be able to do when they graduate. A group of faculty members reviewed our existing curriculum against those criteria and saw opportunities for innovations to achieve those critcal outcomes.

Q: Would you call it a major revamp? A: It was a major revamp. After our reviews, we decided to focus

the hours of direct research immersion experience in a different way so that students would work directly with research teams and get day-to-day experience as researchers. We also felt like, as much as possible, each student should be mentored by a faculty member



Karen Heaton, PhD, CRNP, FNP-BC, FAAN, Associate Professor, UAB School of Nursing. Heaton has served as coordinator of the School’s Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) Program — the only one in Alabama — since early 2015. As a researcher, she has explored the impact of distraction and health issues on driving performance among aging truck drivers. She earned her PhD from the University of Kentucky, her master’s in nursing from the University of Louisville and her bachelor’s from the UAB School of Nursing. She maintains national certification as a family nurse practitioner, and is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.

who is a funded researcher. It also became clear we needed additional coursework or to modify courses we had. Once the comparison work was done, a group of faculty went to work in teams and revamped the curriculum. We looked at our entire existing curriculum and found gaps where we needed to develop new courses. For instance, we built a course called “Writing The Dissertation” in which students are compelled to write the first three chapters of their dissertation as a course assignment, and they get instruction from me and their mentors on how to do it. We also mapped our existing courses against the AACN guidelines and redesigned those that needed it.

Q: What were some of the other aspects that were involved in this revamp? A: We enhanced our recruitment processes.

Our admission criteria were detailed before, but we made them very clear and specific. We

academics have a process in which perspective students are invited for an interview by three PhD faculty members. We try very hard to make sure that at least one of those faculty members is a fairly close match to some aspect of the student’s interests. We look at transcripts and samples of the student’s writings since writing is such an important part of the PhD. We also look at how they communicate verbally in the interview and how committed they are to a very rigorous academic process. We also designed and implemented something called the qualifying exam. This occurs at the end of year 1 for full-time students or Year 2 for part-time students and tests the core knowledge the students have gained to that point to make sure they are getting what they need.

Q: What are some of the tangible results you have already seen? A: We are now seeing the PhD students complete their research

proposals much sooner, and we believe they are going to progress through their doctoral candidacy and dissertation defense quicker. The motivation of students to publish and present also seems to be increasing. In the past year we have had students present locally to internationally. Likewise, our PhD students

have been more successful in securing grant awards to support their predoctoral research training. In the past year the PhD students have also authored 23 publications, some that have been published and some in-press. The jury is not completely in, but we are very confident our curriculum is stronger and that we are going to produce students who are completely competent and very well-equipped to launch promising research careers.

Q: What is in store for the future? A: In the coming year we’ll be evaluating the new curriculum.

I anticipate we will expand the use of innovative teaching techniques like gaming to keep things interesting in the classroom. We will also continue to work with the graduate school administration to write training grants that will support both PhD and postdoctoral students. I also expect at some point we will come up with an easier path than currently exists for DNP students who want to come into the PhD program. Our future is very bright.

HEATON: ‘THE BEST TIME IN MY CAREER’ After earning her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the UAB School of Nursing in 1981, Dr. Karen Heaton was a self-described “adrenaline junkie,” flying medevac flights, working as an emergency nurse for most of her clinical career and loving every moment of it. Yet even the heights she reached in those helicopters and the electricity she felt during all those emergencies doesn’t top what she is experiencing now as coordinator of the School’s Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) program. “I loved flying, and I loved taking care of all those patients, but this is the best time in my career,” Heaton said. “Realizing that, in some small way, we’re influencing our graduates to go on and do great things is very important to me.” Associate Dean for Research Karen Meneses, PhD, RN, FAAN, believes

the PhD program and its graduates are already achieving those great things, in large part, thanks to Heaton’s efforts. “She has taken it to a Dr. Karen Heaton advising whole other level, and PhD student and faculty member Bryan Combs that is really needed for the continued development, implementation and be successful because they are our success of the program,” Meneses legacy,” Heaton said. “We want to said. “We want to recruit the best, produce health care professionals the brightest and the most likely to who, when they are out there succeed, and under Dr. Heaton’s representing us in the future, make us direction, we are certainly meeting proud, and more importantly, who are that goal.” improving the health of populations For Heaton, it is a simple focus. She wants, to the best of her ability, to help prepare the next generation of nurses, nurse leaders, nurse researchers and nursing faculty to be the best they can possibly be. “We really want the students to

through their research.

“I honestly think they are going to change the world. I can’t wait to see what they are doing in the future because I believe it is going to be fantastic.”



Nursing Care

The Future of


The UAB School of Nursing is moving forward this fall with a $32 million, 72,000 square-foot expansion of its

building — a key step in “building the future of nursing” at UAB. WRITTEN BY JENNIFER LOLLAR // RENDERINGS BY PAYETTE

At the September 23 University of Alabama System Board of Trustees meeting, the contract for the expansion was awarded to M.J. Harris Construction Services LLC of Birmingham. A special groundbreaking event for donors, alumni, faculty, staff and other dignitaries was held October 6 to coincide with the School’s annual Alumni Night. Students held their own special goodbye party, “RNnovation Celebration,” September 19, complete with goodbye messages written on hallway walls. The expansion and renovation, which will begin this fall, will connect to the School’s existing building and extend its footprint toward University Boulevard, creating much-needed collaborative space and bringing in the latest high-technology tools for educating students to be nurse leaders of tomorrow.

Long-time supporters name Dean's suite WRITTEN BY ANITA SMITH // PHOTOGRAPHY BY FRANK COUCH

Catherine and Lee Styslinger, Jr. have made a gift to

the UAB School of Nursing’s Building Fund to name the Dean’s Suite in the School’s expanded building. This will be a prominent area housing the dean’s office, dean’s conference room, and offices for staff. The area will be named the Catherine and Lee Styslinger Dean’s Suite.

Catherine and Lee Styslinger, Jr. 36


This gift comes from a husband and wife who are longtime supporters of the School. Former music and speech teacher Catherine Styslinger for decades has supported a number of causes in the community and has been a

The expansion includes: n



Student commons areas that include social, collaborative and quiet study space, and student leadership areas New state-of-the-art classrooms

As part of UAB’s current Capital Campaign, a $17 million fundraising effort is under way to help fund the expansion. Nearly $6 million in commitments have been secured, including: Anonymous — a gift of $1 million to name Great Hall I in the Leadership Institute The School’s Board of Visitors — a gift of $250,000 to name the 1st floor classroom The Hill Crest Foundation — a gift of $200,000 to name a yet-to-be-selected space

New nursing competency and skills labs, including five high-fidelity labs outfitted just like a hospital/long term care room; motherbaby room; pediatric patient room; ICU/emergency room; operating room; and home care setting

member of the School’s Board of Visitors since 1994. Lee Styslinger, Jr., also a dedicated community leader, is a board member of Altec Inc., Altec-Styslinger Foundation Inc. and Jemison Investments. He is retired as longtime Chairman/CEO of Altec Inc., a global company that grew out of a smaller company founded by his father. Following his father’s unexpected death at a young age, Lee Styslinger, Jr., led in growing the company into an expansive operation that today provides equipment and service for international markets that include electric utilities, telecommunications, and contractors.

Pointing to what inspired him toward this gift to the UAB School of Nursing Building Fund, Lee said, “My interest comes from the fact that UAB is one of the main driving forces in our city and state.” Catherine Styslinger spoke from her view as a member of the UAB School of Nursing Board of Visitors. “It thrills me to see the progress of the School under the direction of Dean Doreen Harper and her exceptional faculty and staff,” she said. “I am so proud to be a member of the Board of Visitors and so happy with the Board’s contributions to the School.”

“It thrills me to see the progress of the School under the direction of Dean Doreen Harper and her exceptional faculty and staff.” –Catherine Styslinger




that will change everything


When the UAB School of Nursing Board of Visitors (BOV) created a Veterans’–care scholarship in 2010, Dean and Fay B. Ireland Endowed Chair in Nursing Doreen C. Harper, PhD, RN, FAAN, told BOV members that this scholarship’s impact was far-reaching.

Barrett MacKay

“I feel this was a serendipitous example of how our Board


Visitors over the years has shared in some of the most meaningful and exciting developments at the UAB School of Nursing.“ -Barrett MacKay


ow, six years later, history has shown that the BOV provided early-day support for a Veterans’-care collaboration that has grown by leaps and bounds and through which the School and the Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center (BVAMC) have shown national leadership. In creating this scholarship, the BOV invested in a priority area of the School. Funded at the $100,000 level, the BOV’s Endowed Veterans Nursing Care Scholarship was aimed toward UAB nursing students with special interest in providing nursing care for Veterans and their families. The scholarship’s timing was crucial. The School had been selected in 2009 by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as one of 15 nursing schools nationwide to have a VA Nursing Academy. In that role, the School was collaborating with the BVAMC to provide Veterans’ focused-care educational opportunities for UAB nursing students.

On Nov. 10, 2010 — the day the resolution creating the Veterans’ care scholarship was presented — Dean Harper told the BOV, “Through this scholarship, BOV members already have attracted positive attention from the national VA headquarters about the strong community support our School has for its VA Nursing Academy.” In following years, the VA Nursing Academy would become an inspiration for more model collaborative initiatives between the School and the BVAMC. Together they have worked on



programs such as National VA Quality Scholars, clinical experiences to educate master’s–prepared psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioners, and a residency program for psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioners. In 2015, the School and the BVAMC received the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Exemplary Academic-Practice Partnership Award for their VA Nursing Academic Partnership. Barrett MacKay, an MSN graduate of the UAB School of Nursing, was BOV Chair when the Veterans’-care scholarship was created. “Our Board raised some of the funds for this scholarship through an event honoring members of the armed forces, past and present,” she said. Noting that the BOV was inspired to support Veterans’ care by Dean Harper’s enthusiasm about the VA Nursing Academy, MacKay said, “I feel this was a serendipitous example of how our Board of Visitors over the years has shared in some of the most meaningful and exciting developments at the UAB School of Nursing.”

(Left) Diane Carter (Right) The “tilted tree” stands as a memorial outside Hebrew University's Frank Sinatra Cafeteria where nine people, including Diane Carter, lost their lives in a 2002 bombing.


Honor is bestowed on the memories of two members of the same family through a recent $50,000 gift to a UAB scholarship fund created in 1984 and devoted to psychiatric/ mental health nurse education at the UAB School of Nursing.


he original 1984 scholarship fund was created in memory of and bears the name of Marie Carter Bonner, a nurse leader who died in 1979 after making a mark in psychiatric/mental health nursing at UAB Hospital. A graduate of the Jefferson-Hillman Hospitals School of Nursing, Mrs. Bonner worked at UAB Hospital for almost 30 years, rising the ladder as a staff nurse, head nurse, section supervisor, division supervisor, clinical supervisor, and Director of Psychiatric Nursing and Director of Medical Nursing. The Marie Carter Bonner Memorial Scholarship Fund benefits students enrolled in master's-level studies in psychiatric/ mental health nursing at the UAB School of Nursing. The scholarship fund was created after Mrs. Bonner’s death by her friends and former colleagues and a bequest left in the will of her husband, John Matthew Bonner. The recent $50,000 gift to this scholarship fund comes from another fund that honors the memory

of Mrs. Bonner’s niece, Diane Carter. Reared in North Carolina, Ms. Carter lost her life at age 38 in a July 2002 bombing in Israel — in a cafeteria on the Mount Scopus campus of Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she worked as a librarian. She was a baccalaureate graduate of Duke University and a master’s graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The appropriateness of this gift from the Diane Carter Memorial Fund was addressed by Dr. Larry Carter, retired Greensboro, North Carolina, veterinarian who is the brother of Marie Carter Bonner and the father of Diane Carter. “I believe this gift benefits a cause that would have pleased my late daughter, Diane,” said Dr. Larry Carter. “Diane was aware of the nursing career of her aunt and my sister, Marie. Diane, whose master’s degree was in social services, would be pleased this gift will benefit the education of students in psychiatric/mental health nursing.”

“Diane would be pleased this gift will benefit the education of

students in psychiatric/ mental health nursing.” -Dr. Larry Carter




that will change everything

Investing in the future of nursing WRITTEN BY ANITA SMITH // PHOTOGRAPHY BY FRANK COUCH

S Mike and Sue Ellen Lucas

“Mike and I realize this School's value to our community.” -Sue Ellen Lucas

ue Ellen and Mike Lucas have made a significant dualpurpose donation to the UAB School of Nursing, investing in the future of nursing. One portion of their gift will create the Sue Ellen and Mike Lucas Endowed Nursing Scholarship.

Another portion will name the Sue Ellen and Mike Lucas Pediatric Nursing Competency Lab Suite in the School's expanded building. This includes a lab and adjoining control room providing students with simulated pediatric-nursing learning experiences.

“I wanted to give this gift because I know the School educates high-quality nurses, I’m excited about the School’s new state-of-the art building for the future, and I know Dean Doreen Harper will be a good custodian of our money,” said Sue Ellen Lucas. “Mike and I realize this School’s value to our community.” Sue Ellen Lucas is a master’s graduate of the School and had a pediatric nursing career in pioneering UAB-based programs in medical genetics and adolescent/teen care. She volunteers service to the School as a longtime member of and former chair of the Board of Visitors and as one of the School’s alumni comprising a National Advisory Council that advises Dean Harper in moving the School forward. Her attorney husband Mike, has also in times past joined with her in support of the School, as has Burr & Forman, the law firm where he practices.

Faculty Members’ Gift to That Which They Hold Dear WRITTEN BY ANITA SMITH // PHOTOGRAPHY BY FRANK COUCH


wo UAB School of Nursing faculty members have made a gift to the School’s building fund to name a conference room in the Doctoral Education and Research Suite of the School’s expanded building. The gift comes from Dr. Karen Meneses, Associate Dean for Research at the UAB School of Nursing, and Dr. Patrick McNees, Professor at the UAB School of Nursing and Associate Dean for Research and Enterprise Development at the UAB School of Health Professions. The conference room they support will be named the Karen M. Meneses, PhD, RN, FAAN, and M. Patrick McNees, PhD, FAAN, Conference Room. The careers of Meneses and McNees have been deeply embedded in doctoral education and research. In this joint statement, they addressed what motivated their gift. “We grew up in families where a premium was placed on giving and helping others. So naturally we wanted to ‘give



Dr. Patrick McNees and Dr. Karen Meneses

back’ to the UAB School of Nursing. Our current and past students, staff, faculty and dean were prime motivators for us to consider a gift. However, it was future generations that kindled our imagination. In making our pledge we did not consider naming opportunities. Yet supporting the creation of the research conference room provides a treasured opportunity to have our names associated with the cultivation of future collaborative research and supportive mentoring for our future nurse leaders.”








Patricia E. Thompson,

EdD, RN, FAAN, Chief Executive Officer, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing in and out of the classroom,” Thompson said. “Nursing leadership is critical and possible at all levels, from point of care to policy development. Nurses must accept our shared responsibility to make differences in health, support our profession, and develop the next generation of nurse leaders.”




As CEO of Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) Honor Society of Nursing, Patricia Thompson is focused on implementing the society’s mission of advancing world health and celebrating nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service while supporting members and advocating for the profession. As a master’s student, Thompson became active in the UAB School of Nursing’s Nu Chapter of STTI prior to being elected STTI president, and later, becoming the CEO. “At UAB, I was mentored and developed as a leader both

Marcia Holstad, PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN, Professor, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University





conducting research related to aging and HIV. “My experience as a PhD student at the UAB School of Nursing truly fostered my interest in research,” she said. “It is extremely important for nurses to be visible to the public as leaders in health research and health care, and consultants in health policy and decisionmaking.”


A respected HIV/AIDS researcher, Marcia Holstad is Assistant Director of Clinical and Social Science Integration for the Emory Center for AIDS Research. In this role, she helps researchers include psychosocial variables or research questions in their clinical research, and she mentors junior faculty on developing proposals and seeking funding. Holstad also co-directs the Scientific Working Group on HIV and Aging, where her goal is to expand the research and number of investigators

Connie Barden,

MSN, RN, CCRN-K, CCNS, Chief Clinical Officer, American Association of Critical-Care Nurses Connie Barden, a master’s graduate of the UAB School of Nursing, is the Chief Clinical Officer of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. As the first person to hold the CCO position, she provides strategic leadership to drive the development of clinical practice resources and programs that reflect state-of-the-art critical-care nursing practice. She also ensures that standards and guidelines provided by the organization meet the rigor of the rapidly

changing health care environment. “The privilege of being mentored by nursing legends like Dr. Marguerite Kinney when I was at the UAB School of Nursing shaped my understanding of the responsibility nurse leaders have to impact patient care locally working with patients and nurse colleagues, as well as on a broader scale with the profession at large,” she said. FALL 2016 / UAB NURSING



ALUMNI making a


Linda Norman, DSN, RN, FAAN Dean, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Dr. Linda Norman is a nationally and internally recognized leader in nursing and health profession education. She was named dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in 2013 and also holds the Valere Potter Menefee Chair in Nursing. Prior to being selected as dean, she served in a variety of capacities at the school for more than 22 years, including as Senior Associate Dean of Academics. Norman’s impressive career began as a staff nurse on a neurosurgical unit in Virginia. A few years later, she became a nursing school instructor and enrolled in graduate school, eventually earning her Doctor of Science in Nursing from the UAB School of Nursing. “I knew from childhood that I wanted to be a nurse and a teacher. I had only had my BSN degree a few years when I had the opportunity to teach as well,” Norman said. “I loved sharing knowledge and empowering the next generation of nurses. I still do.”

I work with a great team dedicated

“As dean,

to teaching, scholarship and practice. What we do has a strong impact on nursing, health care, our communities, and indeed, the world.” -Dr. Linda Norman



As part of her academic roles, she has led innovative curriculum transformations, introduced several new academic programs, and helped Vanderbilt rise to become one of the top graduate nursing programs in the country. “As dean, I work with a great team dedicated to teaching, scholarship and practice. What we do has a strong impact on nursing, health care, our communities, and indeed, the world.” As Norman encourages nurses to earn their doctoral degrees, she thinks about her experience as a UAB student. “Being a doctoral student gave me the opportunity to concentrate on research and developing new knowledge in adult health and nursing education administration,” she recounts. “The knowledge that comes with advanced degrees is critical as America grays. This is the best time ever to be a nurse, as we are playing even greater roles in leadership, patient care and evidence-based research.”


Amy Neimkin, DNP, MBA, CRNA A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Amy Neimkin was inspired to become involved in health care policy as a Doctor of Nursing Practice student at the UAB School of Nursing and has served as Federal Political Director for the Alabama Association of Nurse Anesthetists since 2009. In this role, Neimkin coordinates grassroots legislative lobbying efforts and keeps association members informed about legislative issues with potential ramifications on CRNA practice. Neimkin is also the Alabama representative to the Coalition of

Patient Rights, which comprises more than 35 organizations representing a variety of licensed health care professionals. In 2015, she was named “Federal Political Director of the Year” by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists and received the Daniel D. Vigness Federal Political Director Award. “I enjoy introducing students to the political process,” she said, having taught graduate coursework and serving as a clinical instructor at UAB. “It is key to our practice.”

Darrell Owens, DNP, ARNP Darrell Owens is an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner and recognized leader in the field of palliative care. A Doctor of Nursing Practice graduate of the UAB School of Nursing, he founded palliative care services at Harborview Medical Center and Northwest Hospital in Seattle, Washington, and has also helped several other major Seattle hospitals start palliative care programs. He has lectured on the topic internationally and has published more than 20 articles and book chapters.

Owens, holding board certifications in Adult Health, Geriatrics/Gerontology, and Hospice/ Palliative Care, practices full-time as a primary care provider for elders and those with lifelimiting illnesses. He also serves as Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine and Nursing at the University of Washington and as adjunct faculty at Seattle Pacific University’s nurse practitioner program. “I feel blessed to have found a vocation that gives meaning to my life and to the lives of others,” he said.

Edwina Taylor, MSN, BSN While working as a Palliative Care Specialist and Nurse Practitioner for Cooper Green Mercy Health Services, Edwina Taylor became passionate about improving the plight of health care for uninsured people. Having already adopted her daughter, Emilie, from Guatemala, she knew her calling was to care compassionately for underserved populations. In 2000, she founded and became Executive Director of Cahaba Valley Health Care, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing access to quality health care

for the underserved communities of central Alabama. Today, the organization provides vision and dental care, health screenings, and nutrition education to more than 1,000 people annually. “My public health experience at UAB heightened my awareness of needs,” said Taylor, a two-time graduate of the UAB School of Nursing. Cahaba Valley Health Care receives no federal funding, instead receiving financial support from foundations, churches, and individuals.



The Review: Leadership Books that are shaping the careers of UAB School of Nursing alumni, faculty and graduate students

SUSAN McMULLAN, PHD, CRNA Associate Professor, UAB School of Nursing; Coordinator of Nurse Anesthesia Specialty Track in the MSN Program; Faculty practice at UAB Callahan Eye Hospital

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

THE BOOK: 1906 novel portraying the harsh living and working conditions of immigrants employed in Chicago’s meatpacking industry in the early 20th century. SUSAN’S TAKE: “I read this book in high school and it still impacts me today. When I became a nurse, it struck me how it relates to nursing – nurses are the ones providing care for the underserved. It informs my desire to deliver quality care to our most vulnerable patients.“ 44







DNP student; Assistant Director for Advanced Practice Providers and Lead Nurse Practitioner of Acquired and Congenital Cardiac Surgery at UAB Hospital (MSN 1997)

Chief Operating Officer at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center in Mooresville, North Carolina (BSN 2009, MSN 2011)

The House of God by Samuel Shem

Hardwiring Excellence by Quint Studer

THE BOOK: Fiction novel about a group of interns at Beth Israel Hospital focusing on dehumanization and loss of empathy during residency training.

THE BOOK: This book demonstrates the path to success within hospital leadership and the nine principles essential for effective hospital leadership.

EILEEN’S TAKE: “Considered controversial when written due to its satirical content on humanism, ethics and morality, it touches on a subject not written about in textbooks and allows health care providers to acknowledge their own feelings.”

MATTHEW’S TAKE: “Each of Studor’s Nine Principles are realistic behaviors I have been able to utilize in building sustainable operational systems within hospitals. Buying into the Nine Principles, and pairing them with hard work, help create a hospital culture that is bound for success.”

Senior Vice President and System Chief Nursing Officer, KentuckyOne Health (DNP 2010)

Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek THE BOOK: The book provides insight into how organizations can be successful through leadership excellence versus simply teaching management skills. VELINDA’S TAKE: “The book sums up my view on leadership. The author uses a powerful story to remind us that if the leader puts their team first and is willing to sacrifice for the team, the team will follow tirelessly.”

UAB School of Nursing alumni can be found all over the world and want to share with their friends and colleagues what they love to do in their cities.


What to see and do in the Philippines:

AYDA NAMBAYAN PhD, RN Consultant, Oncology and Palliative Care at Global Pain Specialist Inc., Philippines

Visit the Philippine Museum to appreciate the Filipino culture and history of its people. Take an afternoon walking tour of the Walled City (Intramuros) and experience the life of the privileged Filipinos during the Spanish era. Take a day tour to Corregidor Island, a WWII historical site, and follow it with an afternoon cruise of Manila Bay for a most spectacular sunset. Have a traditional Filipino dinner at either Ilustrado, Barbara’s, or at The Manila Hotel. Have an

extravagant buffet dinner at The Vikings or Cafe 101. You can take a day trip to Tagaytay City and trek Taal Volcano, the smallest within a lake. Treat yourself to a spa experience including a full body massage. For a taste of Filipino cuisine, go to Josephine’s Restaurant. Try the “Cafe Barako”– the local produce here. Go shopping at Green Hills – where fresh water pearls and copies of designer goods can be found. Bargain to the hilt, starting at 50 percent or

less and settle at 60-75 percent. For souvenirs, especially wooden carvings, shop at Bayanihan or Kultura Stores. Many Roman Catholic Churches are hundreds of years old with interesting architecture. The Manila Cathedral and San Agustin Churches are in the Intramuros area. For churches that are believed to have miraculous favors, visit the Church of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo or Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Baclaran.






(Fellows of the American Academy of Nursing)



15 Kristi Henderson, DNP, NP-C, RN, FAAN

Wendy Landier, PhD, RN, FAAN

Among the top 5 percent of nursing schools, 15th nationally, Nursing Administration ranked 6th, ranked BSN, PhD and DNP programs



(Fellows of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners)

Nena Sanders, PhD, RN, FAAN

Kathryn Wood, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN

Marisa Wilson, DNSc, MHSc, CPHIMS, RN-BC, FAAN


Linda Gibson-Young, PhD, ARNP, FNP-BC, CNE, AE-C, FAANP

Lisa Muirhead, DNP, APRN-BC, ANP, FAANP

Anne Norman, DNP, APRN, FNP-C, FAANP

Pamela Pieper, PhD, ARNP, PPCNP-BC, FAANP


Kathleen Wilson, PhD, CPNP, PNP-BC, FNP-BC, FAANP


GSA Fellow Inductee (Gerontological Society of America)

Rita Jablonski-Jaudon, PhD, CRNP, ANP-BC, FAAN 46



As a registered nurse with UAB’s Critical Care Transport Service, I have a very challenging job, but one that is

very rewarding. In my almost 13 years with CCT, I have participated in more than 2,100 transports. Many have been exciting. Many more have been routine. All of

them have been extremely important to the patients our team has cared for and their families.


have long had an interest in emergency nursing and critical care transport. As a student at the UAB School of Nursing in the late 1990s, I got started in the profession working as a patient care tech in an ER, volunteering with a fire department and working for an ambulance service. Later, I was actually an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) driver for UAB’s CCT team. The education I received from the School and those practical experiences were building blocks that prepared me to succeed in this job. The background the instructors at the School afforded me and the resources available to me through clinical rotations at UAB Hospital instilled the critical-thinking skills necessary for practicing nursing outside of a controlled environment. Those critical-thinking skills are paramount in our being able to move our patients safely and effectively. The job has literally taken me great distances and to great heights, and I have made some truly lasting memories along the way. Perhaps my most memorable trip was a flight to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, aboard our Cessna Citation Bravo in January 2010 that was notable for its historical as well as medical significance. A U.S. military officer had been badly injured in an earthquake that had devastated nearby Haiti, and CCT had been summoned to get him to more advanced care stateside. This meant flying into the base at Gitmo, traveling first by boat to pick up and transport the patient from the hospital to the airport, and then flying out. As we prepared for takeoff, things got really interesting. The base commander told the pilots he had arranged

for us to use a medevac route that would take us directly across Cuba to Florida instead of the circuitous route around the island we had used on approach. It had been under discussion with Cuban authorities for some time but had not been used before, and they wanted us to take it to get the injured officer to the U.S. as quickly as possible. Our pilots finally agreed and we took off, becoming the first U.S. civilian aircraft to fly directly over Cuba since the early 1960s. It was nerve-wracking, and I was thinking the whole time, “I hope they clearly discussed this with the other side so they know we are coming.” But it was necessary in the sense that it opened relations, and it helped us get the patient to a higher level of care quicker, which was the most important thing. By contrast, the trip on which I became the first CCT nurse to reach the 2,000-transport milestone on January 28, 2016, was a very short one here in Birmingham. It wasn’t very far away, and it didn’t take very long at all, but, to that patient and that family it was the trip of a lifetime. I love my job, and I’m going to keep doing it as long as I can. There is never a dull moment. It’s always a challenge, and I can’t imagine ever walking away from those challenges, and the excitement and diversity of experiences the CCT team allows me. We are blessed to have tremendous resources available to us here, but there are a lot of underserved, underprivileged areas that don’t. A lot of times, we’re the last glimmer of hope for patients in those areas, and I am proud to do my best to help them, wherever they might be. FALL 2016 / UAB NURSING










4:57 PM

Tomorrow's nurse leaders are at UAB today. C








They are in class, in simulation labs, and on clinical rotations gaining the skills they need to deliver highly skilled and compassionate care. They are in workshops, seminars and small-group learning teams, preparing to deliver patient-centered, quality-focused decision-making. And they're in a School of Nursing that believes in the power of nurses to transform health care now and in the future. Your gifts to the UAB School of Nursing help ensure that our students are ready to change the world.

UAB School of Nursing Magazine Fall 2016  
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