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Washington State University

Short Takes

College of Nursing rises in research funding rankings

front lobby wSU college of nursing building

The Washington State University College of Nursing is now among the top 20 nursing schools nationally for National Institutes of Health research funding.

The WSU College of Nursing ranked No. 19 among nursing colleges in the United States last year for funding from the NIH, which is the largest public funder of biomedical research in the world. The rankings are based on the federal fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.

In fiscal 2019 the WSU College of Nursing ranked 23rd on that list, and ranked 27th the year before that.

“This ranking and upward trend represent our college’s commitment to advancing health equity and promoting health,” said Julie Postma, PhD, associate dean for research and associate professor. “For example, our research reflects strength-based and community-centered approaches to improving Native men’s health, preventing suicide, and reducing health risks from wildfire smoke.”

Mary Koithan, dean of the WSU College of Nursing, said success in research funding reflects alignment with public health needs. “I applaud our faculty for undertaking research that has the potential to improve the health of individuals and communities,” she said.

Dr. Ka’imi Sinclair honored with Sahlin Faculty Excellence award

Ka'imi-Sinclair-IREACHAssociate Professor Ka’imi Sinclair, PhD, is the 2020-21 recipient of the Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Outreach and Engagement. The award celebrates WSU faculty who demonstrate their commitment to public service excellence through exceptional accomplishments that engage the broader public in transformative research and education.

Of Cherokee descent, Sinclair is the first Native American to receive a Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award, the first individual from WSU Health Sciences campus in Spokane, and the first to be recognized for exceptional public service focused on reducing health inequities in underrepresented and underserved groups – including American Indian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander and Latinx people.

Sinclair has spent more than 20 years working tirelessly to eliminate health disparities in these populations. While at WSU with IREACH, she has created community-academic partnerships with three of the largest Native Hawaiian- and Pacific Islander-serving organizations in Washington to implement projects aimed at reducing high blood pressure – a critical mission for a people who suffer disproportionately from heart disease and have the highest incidence of stroke in the country. Sinclair has also forged a partnership with the Spokane Regional Health District to address the health needs of the 3,000 Marshallese people living in the greater Spokane area, many of whom suffer from high rates of diabetes, hypertension, and other common chronic conditions but are often uninsured and underserved.

Dr. Leslie Randall passes away

Leslie Randall

Leslie Randall, PhD, MPH, RN, an alumna of the WSU College of Nursing and a member of the WSU Native American Health Sciences Tribal Advisory Board, died on March 1, leaving a legacy of service in public health. 

Randall was a member of the Nez Perce Tribe and her research and scholarship focused on maternal-child health in Native communities. She had particular expertise in the field of Indigenous research, co-editing and authoring a collection of scholarly essays titled “Conducting Health Research with Native American Communities.” 

“Leslie was among a handful of Native American or Indigenous nurse PhDs in the United States,” said Professor Janet Katz of the WSU College of Nursing, who was chair of Randall’s dissertation committee. Her death is “not only a loss of someone who was a leader, but also someone who was involved with people all over the country in Indigenous research. And she was also just a nice person – funny and very kind.” 

Randall’s family suggests that gifts in her memory may be directed to the WSU Native American Health Sciences Excellence Fund at: WSU Spokane, 412 E Spokane Falls Blvd, Spokane, WA 99202, Attn: Development Office. To make a memorial gift online, please visit 

Faculty selected for LIFT Faculty Fellows program

Three College of Nursing faculty members were chosen to participate in the fourth cohort of the LIFT Faculty Fellows program at WSU.

LIFT is a faculty-development component of WSU’s Transformational Change Initiative, a five-year grant to support students’ academic success and transform their experience at WSU. LIFT helps instructors explore new teaching methods that have been shown to improve student engagement and learning, and increase retention.

Lisa Vickers
Lisa Vickers

The three College of Nursing faculty who are participating in the program this spring are Lisa Vickers, Teaching Assistant Professor and Campus Director of the College of Nursing in Yakima; Cindy Brigham-Althoff, Teaching Assistant Professor in Spokane; and Shirley McIntosh, Teaching Assistant Professor at WSU Tri-Cities.

Cindy Brigham-Althoff

Said Brigham-Althoff, “I have a lot of education on how to be a nurse and midwife, but no formal education on how to be a teacher.”

Shirley Mcintosh
Shirley McIntosh

Said Vickers, “The LIFT program intrigued me as the content resonated with my values and mindset as an educator. For me, it’s about building relationships – whether with students, colleagues or community partners – that makes our role so meaningful. What an honor it is to walk alongside a student on their educational journey. Even in the midst of a global pandemic, I want each student experience to be positive and have a true sense of belonging to our Coug family.”