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Anita Hunter’s passion to help others took her around the world

A sign for Holy Innocents Children's Hospital in Mbarara, Uganda
Dr. Anita Hunter feeds a giraffe at an animal sanctuary in Uganda, Africa.
Dr. Anita Hunter with a giraffe at an animal sanctuary in Uganda.

By Addy Hatch

Anita Hunter has traveled the globe, but the pediatric nurse practitioner, professor and academic leader didn’t hit the tourist spots. Instead, she chose destinations where people were suffering and she believed she could help: Ghana, Belfast, Tijuana, Uganda.

But that traveling is over for WSU College of Nursing’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Accreditation. Hunter, PhD, MSN, RN, FAAN, said a recent trip to Uganda was her last.

“After 22 years I’ve got to call a stop,” said the 71-year-old. “I can’t physically sustain the stress of those trips.” Getting to Mbarara, Uganda, for example, takes 24 to 36 hours each way, including multiple flights and a 6-hour drive once she lands in the East African country.

She made the decision that her recent trip to Uganda would be her last several days before she left the country. “It was a very emotional time,” Hunter said. Bringing health care and improved public health to communities internationally “has been a passion of mine for a very long time.”  » More …

Dr. Janet Katz named a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing

portrait of Dr. Janet Katz
portrait of Dr. Janet Katz
Dr. Janet Katz has been named a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.

Dr. Janet Katz, Professor at the WSU College of Nursing, has been named a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. Dr. Katz will be inducted into the Academy in a ceremony in October.

She is one of 173 nurse leaders worldwide selected for induction as an Academy fellow. Selection criteria includes evidence of significant contributions to nursing and health care, and sponsorship by two current Academy fellows. Applicants are judged based in part on how their nursing career has influenced health policies and public health.

Dr. Katz has worked extensively to increase the diversity of the nursing workforce, and is currently principle investigator on a federal grant to increase the number of disadvantaged, Native American and Hispanic students from rural areas in health sciences professions. She also is principle investigator for a project focusing on preventing substance abuse and suicide among young members of the Spokane Tribe of Indians. Her research has included academic-practice partnerships with Native American tribes in Washington, Idaho and Oregon. She coordinates nursing programs for the Na-ha-shnee Native American Health Sciences Institute held annually at WSU Spokane, and teaches community health. She holds a PhD in Education, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in nursing.

With the induction of the latest group of fellows in October, the American Academy of Nursing will have more than 2,500 fellows in all 50 states and 29 countries around the world.

“The fellows are nurse leaders in education, management, practice, policy and research,” the American Academy of Nursing said in a news release. “Academy fellows include hospital and government administrators, college deans, and renowned scientific researchers.”

For more information on the WSU College of Nursing, visit

For more information on the American Academy of Nursing, visit

Gordana Dermody named to national CNL certification board

Portrait of Gordana (Dana) Dermody
Portrait of Gordana (Dana) Dermody
Gordana Dermody, Phd, RN, CNL

Gordana Dermody, PhD, RN, CNL, has been named to the board of the Commission on Nurse Certification, which manages the Clinical Nurse Leader certification program. Dermody, a Clinical Assistant Professor at the WSU College of Nursing, will join the board on July 1 and will serve a three-year term.

The Commission on Nurse Certification (CNC) Board of Commissioners is an autonomous arm of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, and is responsible for the policies and administration of the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) certification program.

The CNL credential is given to graduates of master’s and post-master’s programs who meet all eligibility requirements and pass the CNL Certification Examination. Earning the credential demonstrates proficiency on a set of national standards and a broad base of knowledge beyond the RN licensure. Since the CNL was introduced in 2006, 5,350 nurses have earned the credential.

Dermody’s nursing experience includes hospice, long-term care, occupational health, acute care medical oncology, stroke and cardiac care. She became CNL certified in 2011 and is a past board member of the Clinical Nurse Leader Association. She has worked to improve quality of care in nursing internationally, most recently on promoting the Clinical Nurse Leader role in Japan.

Barbara Richardson honored for founding Youth Leadership Spokane

Portrait of Barb Richardson holding a microphone with a group of teenagers behind her.
Portrait of Barb Richardson holding a microphone with a group of teenagers behind her.
Dr. Barb Richardson with participants in the Health Care Teen Challenge in 2016. Photo by Cori Kogan.


More than 600 area teenagers have learned civic responsibility, leadership, communications and team-building in the last 20 years through Youth Leadership Spokane, a program founded by Barbara Richardson, now a faculty member at the WSU College of Nursing.

“There was a critical need to engage youth in our community,” Richardson said Friday of her work in 1996-97 getting Youth Leadership Spokane off the ground. “Hard for me to believe that I started YLS before this year’s participants were even born.”

With a background as a pediatric nurse and nurse educator, Richardson was a 1992 graduate of Leadership Spokane, a civic education and networking organization. Once she launched the youth version, she would go on to serve as director of the program for 13 years, as well as an elected member of the Spokane Public Schools board for six years.

She left Youth Leadership Spokane to pursue a PhD at the WSU College of Nursing, and now directs Riverpoint Interprofessional Education and Research, where she brings together students from different colleges and programs to help foster teamwork in a health care setting. She’s been honored with a YWCA of Spokane Professional Woman of Achievement award in 2006, and the National Community Leadership Association Distinguished Leadership Award in 2002.

“Barb Richardson is an example of the leadership we see across the nursing profession,” said WSU College of Nursing Dean Joyce Griffin-Sobel. “Nurses impact their communities in so many ways.”

Brian Newberry, executive director of Leadership Spokane, said Richardson “exemplifies what we hope for in our great alumni – stepping up.” He added, “Barb is an outstanding alumni whose vision and dream are now a reality that keeps lighting the way.”

Richardson was honored at the Leadership Spokane graduation ceremony Thursday. She said she’s most proud of the fact that the Youth Leadership Spokane program she spearheaded has continued to grow and thrive, “making a positive difference in the lives of 600-plus diverse teens, providing them with opportunities to contribute in countless positive ways to our community, and giving them the knowledge, skills, and experiences to make servant leadership a part of their lives wherever they may go.”

Dr. Renee Hoeksel named a fellow in NLN Academy of Nursing Education

Renee Hoeksel

Renee HoekselDr. Renee Hoeksel, Executive Associate Dean and Professor at the Washington State University College of Nursing, has been named a fellow of the National League for Nursing’s Academy of Nursing Education. Dr. Hoeksel will be inducted into the Academy at a ceremony in September.

The National League for Nursing established the Academy of Nursing Education in 2007 to foster excellence in nursing education and to recognize nurse educators who have made sustained and significant contributions to the field.

Dr. Hoeksel, who teaches at the WSU College of Nursing in Vancouver, Washington, has been lauded for her academic leadership, innovative teaching strategies, and collaborative educational and community partnerships. During the last 27 years Dr. Hoeksel’s leadership in nursing education and policy development related to academic progression in nursing has re-modeled RN-BSN education across the state, resulting in higher quality patient care. Her leadership resulted in highly successful connections between practice and education while increasing access to nationally accredited RN-BSN programs across five Western states. She was honored by the Washington State Nurses Association in 2015 as Nurse Educator of the Year, and recognized for the overall legacy of her contributions through induction into the WSNA Hall of Fame in 2016.

As an Academy of Nursing Education Fellow, Dr. Hoeksel will promote standards of excellence in nursing education that will increase the number of graduates from all types of nursing programs. Fellows serve as important role models and as resources for new educators and for those who aspire to become nurse educators.

Said Dr. Beverly A. Malone, CEO of the National League for Nursing, “We rely on these accomplished individuals as allies in our efforts to prepare the numbers of excellent nurse educators we need. They deserve this public acknowledgement and the gratitude of all who are eager to elevate the status of our profession.”

Dr. Hoeksel is one of 14 nurse educators selected for the 11th class of Fellows.

For more information on the WSU College of Nursing, visit

For more information on the National League for Nursing, visit

Friendship forged ties between College of Nursing and Thailand’s top university

Three women sitting behind a table, the one on the right giving a thumbs-up sign.
Close-up of statue face at a temple or palace in Bangkok, Thailand.
In Bangkok, Thailand, by Xiquinho Silva.


By Addy Hatch

A formal agreement signed late last year between the WSU College of Nursing and Thailand’s oldest and most prestigious university began with the friendship of two doctoral students.

Dawn Doutrich met Jiraporn Kespichayawattana while pursuing her PhD at Oregon Health and Sciences University in the 1990s. Doutrich went on to become Associate Director of the WSU College of Nursing in Vancouver, while her friend is now dean of research at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. Kespichayawattana visited Doutrich last summer and raised the possibility of a formal collaboration between the two programs. College of Nursing Dean Joyce Griffin-Sobel supported the idea, and a memorandum of understanding was signed between the two schools in late November.

Three women sitting behind a table, the one on the right giving a thumbs-up sign.
Dr. Dawn Doutrich, center, with faculty members from Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.

“Chulalongkorn is the No. 1 school in Thailand,” Doutrich said. “It’s really well-known in Southeast Asia, and is a school where many other countries send their students.” The university has 23 colleges, most of which are called faculties, and its Faculty of Nursing offers only graduate education. Doutrich said it has strong programs in community-based research, palliative care, gerontology and population policy.

The memorandum of understanding envisions possible collaborations between the WSU College of Nursing and Chulalongkorn in the form of joint research projects, and faculty or student exchanges. Doutrich, who retired from the WSU College of Nursing on Dec. 31, spent six weeks in Thailand as a visiting faculty member earlier this year. She taught PhD classes, and worked with a research team on a death-acceptance scale based on Buddhist teachings and beliefs. Researchers are planning a multi-country trial of the scale within the next two years.  » More …

WSU Professor Dawn Garzon to lead national nurse practitioners’ group

Portrait of Dawn Garzon
Portrait of Dawn Garzan
Dr. Dawn Garzon, clinical professor at the WSU College of Nursing in Vancouver, has been chosen president-elect of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.


Dr. Dawn Garzon of the WSU College of Nursing in Vancouver has been chosen as president-elect of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners. She will become president of the organization on July 1, 2018.

Garzon, PhD, CPNP-PC, PMHS, FAANP, has been active in the organization since 1995, and has chaired several committees and initiatives. She is a primary care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner with over 22 years experience in mental health and urgent and convenient care.

“Clinical practice grounds me and feeds my spirit. I am still as in love with the role now as I was when I first became a PNP,” Dr. Garzon told NAPNAP members during the recent election.

She joined the WSU College of Nursing in Vancouver in 2016 after working for nearly a decade as the PNP Emphasis Area Coordinator at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Dr. Garzon will assume her new duties within NAPNAP on July 1. The role is a three-year commitment with the first year spent as president-elect; the second as president; and the third as past-president.

Simulator that trains police on bias to be featured in documentary

Dr. Lois James sitting in a chair surrounded by a film crew.
Filmmaker Robin Hauser points a laser pistol at a simulator while being filmed by a member of her crew. Hauser is filming on the WSU Spokane campus for an upcoming documentary.
Filmmaker Robin Hauser participated in Counter Bias Training Simulation on the WSU Spokane campus while filming a segment for an upcoming documentary. Photo by Cori Kogan.


A simulator developed by a WSU College of Nursing researcher that helps police officers recognize their biases in making deadly-force decisions will be featured in an upcoming documentary called “Bias.”

Award-winning filmmaker Robin Hauser was on the WSU Spokane campus this week working on the segment with Assistant Professor Dr. Lois James, who developed the Counter Bias Training Simulation program, or CBTSim. James’ co-investigator (and husband) Dr. Stephen James, assistant research professor in the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, also was interviewed by the filmmaker. » More …

Beth Schenk honored for work creating healthier environments in health care

Portrait of Dr. Beth Schenk

Dr. Beth Schenk, Assistant Research Professor at the WSU College of Nursing, was named 2017 Charlotte Brody Award Winner for her work in creating a healthier environment in health care and inspiring other nurses to do the same. Dr. Schenk will be honored in May at CleanMed 2017, a conference on environmental sustainability in health care.

She received her PhD from the WSU College of Nursing in 2013. Her research focused on the development of an environmental awareness tool for nurses that’s been used in multiple states across the nation, has been requested for use in nine other countries, and has been translated into three additional languages.

Dr. Schenk is Nurse Scientist for Providence St. Joseph Health, an organization created by the combination of Providence Health & Services and St. Joseph Health, where she co-leads nursing research across the 50-hospital system. Her first recycling effort was at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, Montana, in 1992, where she now serves as sustainability coordinator. She also helps a team of leaders develop and support environmental stewardship efforts across the Providence St. Joseph Health system.

The Charlotte Brody Award is named for one of the founders of Health Care Without Harm, an international coalition working to make health care more environmentally responsible and sustainable.


Dr. Jae Kennedy named president-elect of disability research organization

Portrait of Dr. Jae Kennedy
Dr. Jae Kennedy

A decades-long interest in issues relating to disability has taken Dr. Jae Kennedy to a leadership position with NARRTC, an organization that advocates for increasing the quality and rigor of applied disability research. Kennedy, professor and chair of the WSU College of Nursing’s Health Policy & Administration program, was named president-elect of the organization at its annual conference last week.

NARRTC is made up of current and former grantees of the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation. The federal agency funds projects to generate new knowledge on disability and rehabilitation and to encourage the adoption and use of that work. Projects include new rehabilitative technologies, and advances affecting quality of life issues such as the ability to work, be a parent and participate in community activities.

Separately, Kennedy and doctoral candidate Elizabeth G. Wood won this year’s best paper award at NARRTC’s annual meeting for their work, “Medication Costs and Adherence of Treatment Before and After the Affordable Care Act: 1999-2015.” Not taking prescribed medication because of the cost is an important health problem that’s been growing since the 1990s, Kennedy noted. Their research found a coincidence between health policy changes, such as the introduction of Medicare Part D prescription coverage and the Affordable Care Act, with a reduction in cost-related nonadherence (CRN). » More …