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Record number of WSU students advocate for nursing practice, citizens of WA State

Adam Halvorsen and Teresa Gonzalez, Yakima in Olympia


Adam Halvorsen in Olympia

(Tri-Cities student Adam Halvorsen and Yakima student Teresa Gonzalez)

By Sarah Schaub

It was a big day in Olympia, Washington Tuesday where a record 102 Washington State University College of Nursing students from across the state attended the 35th annual Nurse Legislative Day.

“Nurse Legislative Day is really about advocating for the nursing profession and for the citizens of Washington State,” said Debbie Brinker, Assistant Dean for Faculty Affairs & Community Engagement at WSU College of Nursing.

“Students are immersed in the legislative process. We come every year, and we look forward to having students understand more about advocacy, how to really craft messages, and speak with a collective voice,” she added.

Prior to attending, students conduct research on where their legislative district is, who their legislators are, and how to look up and learn about current bills.  In addition, they go to their local legislators and find out how they’ve voted in the past on health-related issues and what committees they sit on. » More …

Assistant Professor to present at GANES conference

Wendy Buenzli

Wendy Buenzli

Congratulations to Assistant Professor Wendy Buenzli on her recent notification of acceptance to present at the Global Alliance for Leadership in Nursing Education and Sciences (GANES) Conference in Miami.  The conference theme is “The Catalyzing Nursing Education and Scholarship for Global Health”.  The conference will spotlight key issues in nursing education that extend to nursing research, nursing practice and health policy.  Dr. Buenzli’s presentation is titled “The synergies of academic-practice partnerships to serve the needs of Indigenous and Rural populations.”

WSU Professor joins social insurance advisory group

HPA Professor Jae Kennedy

Jae Kennedy

SPOKANE, Wash. – Jae Kennedy, a professor of Health Policy and Administration at Washington State University Spokane, has accepted membership into the National Academy of Social Insurance, which contributes research and expertise to the policymaking process for Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, worker’s compensation and other social insurance programs.

“I have spent my entire career working in the disability policy arena, and am very honored to be recognized by the Academy for my research and advocacy efforts,” Kennedy said. “Particularly as Congress considers major changes to our social insurance systems, it is important to have objective, nonpartisan and scientific analyses available to policymakers.” » More …

Q & A with PhD Program Director Dr. Celestina Barbosa-Leiker



Dr. Barbosa-Leiker is the PhD Program Director, Assistant Professor, and Director of our Program of Excellence in Addictions Research (PEAR). She has a PhD in psychology from Washington State University and has an extensive research portfolio. To learn more about Dr. Barbosa-Leiker and her research, visit her profile page.

Why did you accept the role as PhD program director at WSU College of Nursing?

I want to help nurses become independent researchers and scholars. Patient-related research is essential for improved healthcare, and nurses have the clinical experiences to fully understand how their research can better the lives of patients and families.

What do you feel is the best part of our program? What should prospective applicants know before applying?

The main comment we receive from our students is that our faculty and staff are very supportive, collegial, and attentive. Since we are on a Health Sciences campus, we work closely with colleagues in Pharmacy and Medicine, and our students take courses with other PhD students from other health science programs. Our College of Nursing faculty are from numerous health professions (psychology, health policy, epidemiology, health informatics) and this leads to a rich and interprofessional experience for our students.

Who should apply to our program?

Nurses who want to generate new knowledge directed toward changing nursing science, healthcare, and nursing practice change should apply to our PhD program. Our PhD students learn how to design, conduct, and disseminate research that will benefit patients and the field of nursing. Our research focuses on behavioral health, veteran’s health, addictions, pedagogy, and health disparities. » More …

Happy Holidays from WSU College of Nursing!


Dean Joyce Griffin-SobelFrom the Desk of
Dean Griffin-Sobel

Happy Holidays from all of us here at WSU College of Nursing. It’s been a great year! We hosted our 19th annual Cleveland Visiting Scholar lecture in honor of Dean Emerita Thelma Cleveland; secured more than $6 million in research funding; awarded $345,000 in scholarships to nearly 200 students; and graduated more than 400 students. Please click the video below to see more of our 2016 highlights.




New study to investigate role of sleep in chronic pain

Marian Wilson

By Judith Van Dongen, WSU Spokane
SPOKANE, Wash. – Washington State University will lead a study to understand the relationship between sleep and chronic pain, part of a nationwide effort to address the rising abuse of opioid pain relievers and expand the arsenal of non-drug treatment options.

“Physicians are being pressured to stop prescribing so many opioids,” said Marian Wilson, assistant professor in the WSU College of Nursing and lead investigator on the study. New prescription guidelines issued this year by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend providers limit the use of opioids in patients with chronic pain, she said.

“It’s not fair to start cutting longtime opioid users off of their medications without giving them some effective alternatives,” she said.

The relationship between sleep and pain has not been adequately studied, she said: “There’s a small body of literature that suggests that pain and sleep correlate – bad sleep goes with bad pain – but we don’t know for sure which comes first. ‘Is my pain worse because I’ve slept poorly, or was my pain so bad that I couldn’t sleep?’” » More …

New police training draws from science of deadly force

Lois James

Lois James

By Linda Weiford, WSU News

A portable use-of-force simulator aimed at launching a new era in police training is being rolled out by Washington State University.

Called the Counter Bias Training Simulation, or CBTsim, it is the only simulation technology to use interactive video scenarios derived from extensive research of actual police-involved shootings over 30 years in the U.S.

Developed by researchers at WSU’s Simulated Hazardous Operational Tasks Laboratory in Spokane, the device is being offered as a science-driven training tool at a time when shootings involving police are under intense public scrutiny.

“Whether officers are too quick to shoot or hesitant to shoot in fear of reprisal, the level of threat is the only thing that should influence decisions to shoot,” said assistant professor Lois James, who created 60 interactive scenarios drawn from her analysis of data on encounters where both police and suspects used deadly force. » More …

Faculty Commercializes Simulation Scenario Training for Police Forces

Trust between law enforcement and the people they protect and serve is essential. When citizens lose trust in the police force, grave consequences result, including creating a divided community.

cbt-landing7Created by researchers at Washington State University, Dr. Lois James and Dr. Stephen James, Counter Bias Training Simulation (CBTsim) is an evidence-based scenario training that can help police across the nation understand and be aware of what goes into decision making in potentially life-threatening situations. CBTsim provides a solution for police forces to utilize high-quality, scenario based, judgment training that conditions officers to respond on indicators of threat and not demographics.

“In the various simulated scenarios, the suspect’s characteristics—age, gender, race, socio-economic status, level of intoxication, mental state—are not predictably related to the outcome, or whether or not use of deadly force on the part of the officer is required,” Dr. L. James said. » More …

Prescriptions More Affordable with Obamacare, Medicare D

Originally published on August 23, 2016 by Eric Sorenson, WSU science writer

SPOKANE, Wash. – Washington State University researchers have seen significant increases in the number of Americans who can afford to fill prescriptions following implementation of the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act and the 2010 Affordable Care Act (also called Obamacare).

Still, more than 20 million adults say they have a hard time paying for their medications.

The study demonstrates that an important health measure like getting prescriptions filled can respond “to changes in the health policy environment,” the researchers write in the most recent issue of the American Journal of Public Health (

Jae Kennedy, professor and chair of the Department of Health Policy and Administration at WSU’s College of Nursing, led the analysis of National Health Interview Surveys 1999-2015. He and co-author Elizabeth Geneva Wood, a WSU research scientist, found that at the height of the Great Recession in 2009, 25.1 million Americans did not fill a prescription in the previous 12 months because they could not afford it. That’s nearly one out of every 10 Americans. » More …

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