Merle Mishel to be Inducted into Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame

Dr. Merle Mishel

Kenan Professor of Nursing Dr. Merle Mishel will be inducted into the 2011 Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame recognizes scholars and leaders whose funded program of research has had a long-term impact on the profession and patient/family outcomes. The nomination recognized Dr. Mishel’s more than 20 years of federally funded research and her development of the theory of uncertainty in illness. Dr. Mishel says she is pleased that this award recognizes the importance of nursing research and is honored to have an international organization recognize her work as meaningful.

The scales she developed to help investigators measure uncertainty in illness are used in 30 countries and have been translated into many languages. Dr. Mishel will be inducted into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame at STTI’s 22nd International Nursing Research Congress in Cancun, Mexico, in July.

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Dean Swanson comments on Bush’s miscarriage on

Dean Kristen Swanson

In a story on, UNC Chapel Hill School of Nursing Dean Kristen Swanson comments on George W. Bush talking about the miscarriage his mother had when he was a teenager:

“Let’s put ourselves in Barbara Bush’s position,” says Kristen Swanson, the study’s lead investigator and a nurse who is also dean of the nursing school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). “She’s home, bleeding, cramping and passes the fetus. She scoops it up, puts it in a jar and says, Drive me to the hospital. She says to her son, I’m in the middle of a miscarriage, and this is the fetus that I just passed. There is nothing sinister in this.”

Read the complete article: George W. Bush, His Mom and Her Fetus: Not So Weird After All. Swanson is an expert on miscarriage and how couples respond emotionally to it. She began her work on miscarriage 25 years ago with her dissertation, “The Unborn One: A Profile of The Human Experience of Miscarriage,” and has continued studying this area both as an investigator and as a consultant to other researchers’ works. 
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Debra Barksdale Appointed to National Health Panel

Debra Barksdale, PhD, RN, CFNP, CANP

Debra Barksdale, PhD, RN, CFNP, CANP

, associate professor at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill School of Nursing, has been appointed to a new national health-care research panel. Barksdale (PhD, RN, CFNP, CANP) is one of the 19 members of the Board of Governors for the new Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

The institute was established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, part of the federal government’s health-care reform legislation signed into law earlier this year. The Act specified that at least one nurse be on the board, and Barksdale will fulfill this requirement.

“There are some major needs regarding health and health care in our country, and I hope to be able to make a contribution,” Barksdale said. “I bring my knowledge and skill as a researcher, primary care nurse practitioner, and educator to the board. I will also be an advocate for the disadvantaged, underserved and underrepresented in regard to issues of health and research.”

The institute’s role is to assist patients, clinicians, purchasers and policymakers in making informed health decisions by carrying out research projects. Those studies should provide quality, relevant evidence on how diseases, disorders and other health conditions can effectively and appropriately be prevented, diagnosed, treated, monitored and managed.

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Dean Kristen Swanson Featured on Radio Show

Dean Kristen Swanson

Dean and Alumni Distinguished Professor Kristen M. Swanson was the featured guest on the Sept. 11 YOUR HEALTH radio talk show. She talked about the Swanson Theory of Caring, updated listeners on the nursing shortage, and discussed issues facing nurses and nursing education today.

YOUR HEALTH is a weekly one hour radio talk show on patient health produced by the University of North Carolina Department of Family Medicine. The show is co-hosted by Dr. Adam Goldstein and Dr. Cristy Page.

Listen to the radio show here:

Welcome to the Faculty: Shawn Kneipp, PhD, ARNP

Shawn Kniepp, PhD ARNP

Shawn Kniepp, PhD ARNP

Shawn Kniepp has been involved in health disparities research for fifteen years and received numerous National Institutes of Health grants to support her work and that of doctoral students.  She looks at two major areas of disparities.  The first area involves factors that cause disparities in mechanistic, physiological ways.  An example is how chronic stress causes poor health outcomes, like blood pressure changes, in low income women.

The second area centers around women in a Welfare Transition Program.  Dr. Kniepp is examining how welfare policy affects stress levels, and how stress is being managed in the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to improve the health of women who are enrolled.  She followed 432 women for nine months, testing a public health nursing intervention using Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approaches.  The intervention group had a high likelihood of having problems reaching long-term employment goals.  Many suffered from heart disease, back pain, allergies, and other ailments that kept them from seeking or securing steady employment.

Jai-Rong Wu Joins Carolina Nursing Faculty

Jai-Rong Wu, PhD, RN, is a nurse researcher who studies medication adherence with patients who have congestive heart failure.  She explains that older patients are particularly at risk because if they don’t take the medications they are fifty-percent more likely to be admitted to a hospital for complications that result from non-compliance.  And, this leads to increased cost of care.

“If people take good care of themselves and take their medications as prescribed, then chronic disease can be managed to provide a good quality of life,” she says.

Dr. Wu, who spent six years at the University of Kentucky School of Nursing as a doctoral student and researcher, has developed an intervention study to help patients adhere to their medical regimen.  She has identified the reasons why people do not adhere to what is prescribed.  At UNC Chapel Hill School of Nursing she will be building a collaborative team to do another intervention study, collecting more data, analyzing it, and recommending ways senior can improve their cardiovascular health well into old age.

Healthcare Quality and Patient Outcomes Seminars Set for Fall 2010

THE FALL 2010 SEMINAR SERIES:   All Seminars are from 12:00 -1:00 PM in Carrington Hall,  Room 104, School of Nursing, UNC Chapel Hill.

  • September 21, Noel Brewer, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health:  Patients’ Understanding of Genomic Breast Cancer Recurrence Risk Testing
  • October 5 ,   Til Stürmer Ph.D.,  Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health: Methodological and Analytic Advances in Observational Studies
  • November 2, Katrina Donahue, M.D., MPH,  Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, School of Medicine: Issues in Research on the Patient Centered Medical Home
  • November 16,   Donna Gilleskie, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Economics: Health Insurance, Medical Care and Health Outcomes:  A Model of Elderly Health Dynamics

All are Invited!

Funded by NINR 2T32NR008856

Ready To Eat…Now, All Done

Assistant professor Eric Hodges is currently conducting research into the ways mothers respond to the hunger and fullness cues their infants and toddlers present. The goal of his study is to determine whether a mother’s response plays a role in childhood obesity as the child ages and to identify ways to change those behaviors, if needed.

Hodges conducts his research in the recently-completed behavioral observation laboratory in the School of Nursing’s Biobehavioral Laboratory. Housed inside Carrington Hall, this space gives study participants a relaxed environment in which to interact and allows Hodges to observe their behaviors in a non-invasive way.

The School of Nursing has produced a documentary, highlighting the benefits and unique nature of this lab. With Hodges’ research as a backdrop, you will be taken into this new facility to see how nurse researchers develop knowledge that translates evidence into practice.  Enjoy!

Faculty Member Marilyn Oermann Receives NLN Award

Faculty member and division chair Marilyn Oermann received the National League for Nursing

Faculty member and division chair Marilyn Oermann will receive an NLN award in September.

Faculty member and division chair Marilyn Oermann will receive an NLN award in September.

(NLN) Award for Excellence in Nursing Education Research. Her award will be presented during the awards banquet that will be held during the NLN Education Summit on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009.

SON Researcher Partners with Local Latino Center to Help Women and Children Lose Weight

From the University Gazette:

Everyone knows what happens when you toss a pebble into a pond: The ripples start out small and grow larger, reaching farther. That’s how

Latino moms and children are participating in Diane Berry's weight-management study to help parents and children learn to control their weight and make good exercise and food intake choices.

Latino moms and children are participating in Diane Berry's weight-management study to help parents and children learn to control their weight and make good exercise and food intake choices.

Diane Berry, assistant professor in the School of Nursing, describes her work with Carrboro’s El Centro Latino – a nonprofit organization that provides educational and social services and cultural activities to help improve the quality of life for Latinos living in and around Orange County.

Hispanics or Latinos now represent 12 percent of the population of Carborro and almost 6 percent of Orange County.

“Chapel Hill/Carrboro as well as areas in and around Orange County have seen significant growth in their Hispanic populations, particularly among migrant workers and other laborers and their families, who tend to be vulnerable to isolating factors,” Berry said. “The transitory lifestyle, limited education, language barriers and challenges to accessing services create a sort of ‘silence’ among these  populations. My goal is to help give them a voice and access to support both from the community and Carolina.”

Berry has worked with El Centro Latino directors, community health educators and a core group of Spanish-speaking women in the area from Mexico to implement health education classes focused on topics they select. Berry and her team have examined the women’s concerns regarding immigration, weight gain, nutrition and decreased physical activity in themselves and their children. Using Community-Based Participatory Research and working with this core group of women during a three-year period, they refined, adapted, translated and tested a weight management intervention designed for Spanish-speaking women and their young children.

They delivered a feasibility study in the community and included 12 weekly two-hour classes followed by three monthly two-hour classes, after which the women and children had three months on their own to see how they did. Overall, results were positive. These women lost weight and decreased their body fat percentage, improved nutrition and physical activity knowledge, and developed eating and exercise self-efficacy. The children stabilized their weight gain.

Berry’s efforts contributed significantly to her selection by the University as one of eight 2009–10 Faculty Engaged Scholars (FESP), an initiative launched in October 2007 by the Carolina Center for Public Service and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Public Service and Engagement.

The two-year program enables scholars to connect their faculty work with the needs of a community and apply their skills to make a difference. Scholars receive an annual stipend of $7,500, have opportunities to interact with like-minded faculty from a variety of disciplines to address relevant issues through service and engaged scholarship, and participate in workshops, panels and case studies by experts to help scholars get the most from their experiences.

A grant from Strowd Roses Inc. of Chapel Hill to the Center for Public Service is helping fund Berry’s stipend, which she is using to further the partnership she has developed with El Centro Latino and community health educators and expand it to other communities with large Spanish-speaking populations.

In only its second year, the FESP is gaining local and national recognition as an innovative, effective program to further faculty involvement in the scholarship of engagement. Lynn Blanchard, the center’s director, has presented FESP to more than 20 universities through the national project Faculty for Engaged Campus supported by Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, with a grant from the Fund for Post-Secondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education. There has also been Canadian interest in learning how this program fosters faculty and community partnerships to create positive change.

Berry has partnered with El Centro Latino for several years to help bring the University’s knowledge and resources to bear on critical issues in the community. Berry’s weight-management intervention is helping community health educators and Latina participants improve nutrition and physical activity within their families. The goal is to reduce the incidence of overweight and obesity, and slow the development of type 2 (non-insulin dependent) diabetes.

“Many of the women and children we work with are uninsured and have limited access to health-promotion programs,” Berry said. “Preventing type 2 diabetes will ultimately decrease healthcare costs in the long-term, but more  importantly will empower families to take charge of their health.”

Berry said her involvement with El Centro Latino has added dimension to her work, inspired her teaching and enriched her perspective.

“I have always had a passion for public service, and to be able to directly apply my scholarly work in the field is tremendously rewarding to me, my team, and beneficial to my students,” she said. “It is extremely exciting when you start with a clinical problem, like type 2 diabetes, and begin to address it at the core, and maybe even prevent it, long before we have to intervene clinically.”

As a Faculty Engaged Scholar, Berry said she has learned as much or more from her experience as those she is working to serve.

“I have gained so much more than just advancing my research or collaborating with scholars outside the confines of our campus,” she said. “I have seen firsthand that Carolina, or any institution, can and should partner equally with its surrounding community to bring contributions to the table that will ultimately affect positive change.”

Through the FESP, Berry and Carolina have set the ripples in motion. Their partnership with El Centro Latino is broadening horizons and creating solutions.


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