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Amy Barton leaves administrative post – and legacy – behind

Amy Barton in CU Nursing

During her 22 years as associate dean of Clinical and Community Affairs, Professor Amy Barton spearheaded the creation of the University of Colorado College of Nursing’s clinical enterprise. The string of health centers target everyone from CU Anschutz Medical Campus students to the Denver area’s most at-risk populations.

Barton also earned numerous prestigious appointments and awards, wrote a long list of scholarly articles and books and netted the university $8.5 million in grants during that time.

It appears she listened to her parents.

Fate and upbringing guide Barton to CU

“My parents were very involved in the community, and I grew up with the ethic that to whom much is given much is expected,” said Barton, PhD, RN, FAAN, one of five children in her family. “My parents also worked hard to send us all through college. Education was very important to them,” said Barton, a native of Toledo, Ohio.

Barton, also the Daniel and Janet Mordecai Endowed Chair in Rural Health Nursing, will step down from her administrative post on Sept. 1. She will remain with CU Nursing in her professorship and endowed chair roles.

“One of the hallmarks of success to this is that our providers focus on the needs of their particular communities and figure out how to create and deliver those services.” – Amy Barton

Along with her parents, CU Nursing can thank Barton’s husband for her contributions.

After getting married, earning her doctoral degree in nursing and having two children, Barton followed her husband (Professor David Barton of the School of Medicine Department of Immunology and Microbiology) from Florida to the CU medical campus in 1997.

“We moved across the country with a 3-year-old and 6-month-old and started our careers, both as assistant professors,” she said. “I was a spousal hire.”

Right move: New job out West provides perfect fit

As a new CU Nursing faculty member, Barton stepped right into the Clinical and Community Affairs leadership position and “loved” it.

“It provides a real balance between the academic world and the practice world,” Barton said of the position, which CU Nursing Professor Rosario Medina, PhD, FAANP, FNP-BC, ACNP, CNS, will take over. “I have always enjoyed working on projects that impacted patients and made a difference in people’s lives,” Barton said.

Barton’s passion to influence people’s health resulted in:

The Campus Health Center at CU Anschutz. Designed for providing faculty, staff and students with convenient health care, the on-campus clinic offers everything from flu shots and prescription refills to pregnancy tests and behavioral health counseling.

Sheridan Health Services. With two facilities (one focused on family and the other on youth), Sheridan Health Services provides targeted medical and behavioral care in areas with high at-risk populations. A 501(c)(3) federally qualified health center, the clinics are led by CU Nursing faculty who strive for equality in health care.

Belleview Point Clinic. This clinic in southeast Aurora focuses on providing integrated health care emphasizing wellness and prevention with its advanced practice nursing.

The Center for Midwifery. With a number of private practice clinics in the area, this center provides holistic health care through the pregnancy journey. Its branch in Longmont, which serves Weld and Boulder counties, will move to one central Longmont location on Sept. 3.

“I think that we’ve created a successful, sustainable practice here,” Barton said. “One of the hallmarks of success to this is that our providers focus on the needs of their particular communities and figure out how to create and deliver those services.”

Barton does not own the clinical and community enterprise success, saying it took a concerted effort. “It’s about bringing people with different expertise to the table,” she said of her achievements. “It’s recognizing that I don’t have all the answers and knowing how to find them.”

End of one job, new beginning for another

While her move marks a big shift for CU Nursing, Barton’s contributions will continue. Her far-reaching success to the rural corners of the state with the generous donations from the Daniel and Janet Mordecai Foundation are making a big difference in people’s lives.

“Because of you (the foundation), we are able to build and strengthen the rural nursing workforce across the state, bringing care to rural communities where people need it most,” Barton wrote in the foundation’s 2019 Impact Report.

Barton said she will miss the associate dean role. “What I will miss most is working with these amazing people that we have on our team. Our providers are so passionate about the work that they do and really bring their full selves to that work with their patients on a daily basis,” she said.

Yet, Barton remains confident about the future of the enterprise with its many “amazing leaders” and knows the time is right. “I think we are at a point now where the program could benefit from the vision of a new leader,” Barton said. “I’ve taken the train far enough.”

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CU Nursing’s Pearl Treyball wins Nightingale Luminary Award

Mona Pearl Treyball

Mona Pearl Treyball, PhD, hoists a 20-plus-pound trophy up in the air for a guest to see. For the nursing professor, the bronze statue of a kneeling Florence Nightingale cradling a patient in her arms represents more than her recent win. It affirms her life’s work.

From the frontlines of the battlefield to the halls of academia, the retired Air Force colonel and University of Colorado College of Nursing professor has fought for the care and protection of this country’s military families for nearly 30 years.

Pearl Treyball is a 2019 winner of the Nightingale Luminary Award. The prestigious award recognizes excellence and innovation in nursing that extends Nightingale’s legacy.

“If you look closely, it appears she’s caring for a soldier,” Pearl Treyball said of the poignant statue of Nightingale comforting a person on the ground, just as she did on the battlefields of the Crimean War 165 years ago. “So our nursing profession is really rooted in caring for our military veterans.”

One of 24 selected for the this year’s regional award (out of 255 nominations), and one of 12 selected from 60 luminaries across the state, Pearl Treyball won for her work as founder and specialty director of the Veteran and Military Health Care (VMHC) program on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

April Giles
April Giles, Fitzsimons Innovation Community vice president of business development

Last year, U.S. News and World Report recognized Pearl Treyball and her program for service and innovation.

Other CU Anschutz colleagues recently recognized:

  • April Giles, Fitzsimons Innovation Community vice president of business development, has been selected as a finalist for the Denver Business Journal’s “Outstanding Women in Business Award.” Giles leads strategy and growth initiatives for the Fitzsimons Innovation Community. The prestigious 21-year-old award program recognizes women from the Denver metro area for their innovation, entrepreneurship, professional accomplishment and community leadership.
  • The University of Colorado School of Medicine has been recognized as an Employer of Excellence (EOE) for its support of physician assistants and other advanced practice providers at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. The recognition comes from the American Academy of Physician Assistants’ Center for Healthcare Leadership and Management (CHLM). CHLM partnered with HealthStream to gain an understanding of what PAs value in their place of employment. Criteria for the EOE awards focused on: a positive and supportive PA work environment; providing opportunities for PAs to provide meaningful input that leads to positive organizational change; keeping PAs informed about organizational activity and decisions; involving PAs in leadership efforts to improve the quality of patient care; and creating processes for effective conflict management.

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Commencement through the eyes of ambitious Nursing students

Nursing students are an adventurous group. At least that’s the impression you’ll get from reading this compendium of 2019 graduate features produced by the College of Nursing.

From the epic story of an ice climber to the idealistic goals of a non-traditional student to a student whose ambitions have been shaped by working in a girls’ home for sex-trafficking victims, get to know this group of fascinating graduates.

Here is the Spring Commencement special section:

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College of Nursing wins Volunteer of the Year award

Nursing award announcement

Faculty, staff and students in the University of Colorado College of Nursing dedicated 770 volunteer hours to humanitarian work at Aurora’s only 24/7 homeless shelter last year, including data-collection efforts and employment support and résumé advice for people experiencing homelessness.

For those efforts, the College of Nursing (CU Nursing) received the 2018 Volunteer of the Year Award from Mile High Behavioral Healthcare (MHBHC). MHBHC operates both the Aurora Day Resource Center and the Comitis Crisis Center in Aurora.

Award ceremony
James Gillespie, community impact and government relations liaison for Mile High Behavioral Healthcare, presents the agency’s 2018 Volunteer of the Year award to the College of Nursing in a surprise ceremony April 30 at CU Anschutz.

In a surprise ceremony on April 30 in the Fitzsimons Building, the award was presented to CU Nursing Dean Elias Provencio-Vasquez, Associate Professor Scott Harpin; Shane Hoon, assistant dean of Student Affairs and Diversity; Dana Brandorff, CU Nursing director of marketing and communications; CU Anschutz Chancellor Don Elliman; and Provost Rod Nairn.

“We have incredible collaborations with this campus,” said James Gillespie, community impact and government relations liaison for MHBHC. “The students come over to the Aurora Day Resource Center and volunteer with us and get refreshed and refocused on why they want to do the work in their field, and then get back into the books. It’s a wonderful relationship.”

Cohorts offer much-needed help

One cohort from the college helped the nonprofit agency complete VI-SPDATs (Vulnerable Index-Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool), an important first step in the rehousing process. The VI-SPDATs elicit a score that is used to place people experiencing homelessness on housing lists across the Denver metro area.

“Naturally, more vulnerable populations need to get housed faster, and that tool is a fair and balanced way to assess  their needs,” Gillespie said.

Another cohort provided needed support in completing Homeless Management Information System in-take packets for guests at Comitis Crisis Center. CU Nursing volunteers helped create a curriculum that MHBHC used to inform guests about frostbite and cold weather care.

Harpin said the Nursing students enjoy doing all they can to support MHBHC and the Aurora Day Resource Center, which is adjacent to the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. “The students universally value and enjoy their experience there, and they’re really moved by seeing social determinants of health in action while completing their nursing education here at CU,” he said.

Valued community partner

Provencio-Vasquez applauded the dedicated community outreach performed by  CU Nursing’s faculty, staff and students and thanked the MHBHC for offering the college the opportunity to help with its important mission to be a valued community partner.

Also joining the award presentation were Stephanie Kok, deputy director of homeless services, and Laura McGarry, director of programs and operations. McGarry said the college’s “extra human power” enabled the organization to implement programming that resulted in faster connections to housing for people experiencing homelessness.

Gillespie said close runners-up for the award included volunteer groups from the CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the CU School of Dental Medicine and the Emergency Medicine Department in the CU School of Medicine.

“I consider this campus a neighborhood, and we hope to continue to work together as good neighbors to build on that partnership,” he said.

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Research initiative uses Big Data to improve patient care

Researchers at the University of Colorado College of Nursing are participating in an initiative to improve health care outcomes and efficiencies by using large clinical and administrative data in a pediatric acute care setting. The project was funded by a grant received from Data Science to Patient Value (D2V) from the CU School of Medicine.

D2V is a multidisciplinary research initiative that funds projects focusing on using technology and Big Data and their applications to health care through collaborations with multiple stakeholders, including providers, patients, health systems, payers and policy makers. Also playing key roles in the initiative are the CU College of Nursing and the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH).

Using Big Data

The use of Big Data to improve health-care delivery is being studied by Principal Investigator John Welton, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Co-Investigators Marcelo Coca Perraillon, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Health, Systems, Management & Policy in the ColoradoSPH and Peggy Jenkins, PhD, RN, assistant professor in the College of Nursing. Their study focuses on developing a database warehouse called the Nursing Value Research Data Warehouse (NVRDW) that collects data for each nurse caring for each patient during hospitalization.

The PI for the study, Welton, states, “This is the largest database of its kind to date detailing the overall care delivered by individual nurses and provides exciting potential to better understand the factors leading to better hospital outcomes of care.”

‘This is the largest database of its kind to date detailing the overall care delivered by individual nurses.’ – John Welton, PhD, RN, FAAN

The NVRDW is a large “pool” of data collected from various sources within multiple organizations that can be used to improve patient outcomes or transform health-care systems and deliver quality care to patients. Additionally, it can be used by researchers as a resource to create innovative strategies that improve patient outcomes.

One of the products from the D2V study is the creation of a consortium of three schools of nursing including the University of Kansas and University of Minnesota to share expertise to collect Big Data across multiple institutions in the future and leverage the expertise developed from the D2V project to improve the quality of care and optimizing nursing care to lower health care costs.

“There is a distinct purpose for data stored in the warehouse, such as research or reporting to improve patient outcomes or transform health-care systems,” said Jenkins. “Because so much data are collected in health-care settings, it is important to resource teams working to standardize the data so it can be compared and used to inform innovation.”

Providing Quality Care

Playing a huge role in the future of health care, Big Data is becoming more important to measure the quality of care provided to patients. Jenkins believes that nurses are just one of many individual interprofessional providers of patient care who can help in improving the quality of health care.

Big Data’s impact on health care

With technology becoming more present in the delivery of health-care services, more data is being collected than ever before. From tracking vital signs to discover trends, charting patient care histories through electronic health records, or using multiple patients’ health histories to predict health conditions and create treatment plans, Big Data is being used to reduce costs, create innovative treatments and provide effective care in a timely manner.

“Interprofessional collaboration of data scientists, informaticians, nurse scientists, nurse leaders, academia, clinical practice sites, and industry is necessary to construct data warehouses,” she said.

Although not all hospitals and health-care settings have large database warehouses, the multidisciplinary work at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus is a step in the right direction. Problems such as incompatible data systems could make it hard to import data to use to improve quality of care. Patient confidentiality can also become an issue. With large amounts of data such as electronic health records being housed in one database, it can make patients’ information vulnerable to a security breech, so it is important to have clear protocols in place to make the data secure.

Additionally, Big Data can create higher-value care that is more efficient, effective, higher quality and more cost effective, which can improve the care patients receive from providers in all sectors of the health field. This is particularly essential to nursing care, Jenkins notes.

“Using new methods, nurses are viewed as unique providers of patient care, and the value of quality nursing care provided divided by costs can be measured,” she said. “There is much to be learned about nurse characteristics and processes contributing to quality patient outcomes.”

Welton adds, “We are at the start of our journey to better understand the inner workings of health care by examining the care of each provider. We know a lot about physician care, but we are just beginning to collect data at the individual nurse-patient unit of analysis.”

The foundational D2V project has started a national dialogue on how to use this work to collect increasingly larger datasets to complement the many efforts to improve future health-care systems.

Guest contributor: This story was written by freelance contributor Katherine Phillips

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History center provides window into nursing’s past

Tucked down a quiet hallway on the fourth floor of Education 2 North, a room nearly overflows with vintage artifacts. Starched, floor-length uniforms that look more like gowns highlight the assortment of nursing relics, from 19th-century class pins and yearbooks to antiquated textbooks and medical instruments.

Inside, intern Brittany Huner scours through boxes of documents, photos and other memorabilia, keeping the artifacts preserved and exhibits updated. For her, the “hidden gem” on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus serves as a stepping stone. But for visitors, the Nursing History Center provides an invaluable connection to an impressive past.

Nursing uniform in History Center
Traditional nursing uniforms are part of the many items on display in the Nursing History Center.

“I didn’t know how big of a deal the CU nursing school was,” said Huner, a recent CU Denver history graduate (MA, ’18) who has maintained the center for more than a year.  The collaborative internship through the CU Denver Public History and Preservation program provides a unique experience for her and an important resource for the College of Nursing (CU Nursing), she said.

Connecting to the past

“It’s good for the modern students to understand how much their field has changed and where it comes from,” Huner said, noting the pioneering efforts of alumni standouts such as Loretta (Lee) Ford (EdD, ’61) and Jean Watson (PhD, ’73), whose work at CU evolved into the profession-changing nurse practitioner model  and “Theory of Human Caring,” respectively.

Through tours, now offered on a walk-in basis on Fridays, the center also draws alumni back, Huner said. “They’ll say: ‘Oh, I remember wearing these uniforms, or I remember using these tools.’ It gives them that real solid connection with the school.”

Many courageous women helped trail blaze the profession from the halls of CU, including former Dean Henrietta Loughran, her work part of Huner’s favorite exhibit. After Pearl Harbor, Loughran leveraged connections and quietly transferred U.S.-born nursing students of Japanese immigrants (Nisei) to CU to finish their education and avoid internment.

“That is a really unique part of the school’s history,” said Huner, who also helps callers find information and old photos for projects. “We actually have some scrapbooks from several of the Nisei students.”

CU pioneers reshape nursing

In 1964, after she and fellow public health nurses found themselves serving the mountain towns and rural areas of Colorado alone without appropriate training, Ford began developing a nurse practitioner model. “There were no other health professionals in these rural areas,” said Ford, 97.

Displays at Nursing History Center
Items on display in the Nursing History Center include garments, documents, photos, artifacts and other memorabilia.

“The goal was to test out a more clinical nursing role and then integrate it into the major curriculum,” she said. Until then, master’s-prepared nurses served only in “functional roles,” such as supervisory, teaching or administrative, Ford said. “We were preparing clinical specialists in our particular areas of expertise.”

Despite fierce resistance on many fronts, Ford, with the “energy of the students” and the “enthusiasm of the patients,” persevered, her model now a standard practice in many specialties worldwide.

Past lessons ‘set stage’ for future

Social and political barriers also confronted Watson in her efforts a decade later to reshape the profession. “My challenges were really to give voice and language to nursing, which is often invisible, particularly in an academic major medical center,” said Watson, 78, whose research at CU led to the caring theory now used in teaching hospitals and medical centers worldwide.

Watson, who served as dean, established the Center for Human Caring and helped establish the first doctoral program and clinical doctorate while at CU. “She’s one of our biggest alumni names,” Huner said, adding that the center has boxes of Watson’s papers and awards from around the world.

As CU Nursing celebrates its 120th anniversary this year, Huner hopes more people will take advantage of the center, especially students. “There’s a lot of neat stuff that I don’t think students really know or get to learn about showing just how much the field has changed,” she said. “I think it sets the stage for future improvements in the field.”

The Nursing History Center is in Education 2 North, Room 4104. Walk-in tours are available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays or by appointment through Dana Brandorff at 303-724-1698.

120 years of nursing excellence

The University of Colorado College of Nursing began in 1898 in Boulder as the University of Colorado Training School for Nurses. During its 120-year history, the college has experienced many firsts including the birthplace of the nurse practitioner and the Centers for Nursing Research and Human Caring, as well as innovative nurse-led clinical practice sites.

In order to truly experience the rich history of the college, we encourage you to take a tour of the Nursing History Center, which is housed at the Anschutz Medical Campus and includes numerous items highlighting the profession of nursing, as well as the unique history of CU Nursing.

“From an original recording of Florence Nightingale to capes, caps and pins to photos and papers from some of the ‘greats’ in nursing education, the center is worth the trip,” said Levi Jensen, an enthusiastic visitor and BSN student from lake Superior State University.

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New College of Nursing dean sees boundless potential

Growing up in a large family, especially as the middle child, tends to enhance a person’s powers of observation.

So it was for Elias Provencio-Vasquez, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAANP, new dean of the CU College of Nursing, who grew up as the only boy in a family of seven children. His parents were Mexican immigrants living in Phoenix. Their life was geared toward day-to-day survival, tending to daily chores and family functions, so notions about higher education didn’t enter the picture. Still, Provencio-Vasquez knew there was a better way, and he became the only member of his family to go to college (several of his nieces and nephews have since graduated from college).

Stepping out of his comfort zone and becoming “the first” would emerge as a theme in Provencio-Vasquez’s life. He became the first Latino male to earn a doctorate in nursing and head a nursing school in the United States.

Prior to his current position, Provencio-Vasquez served as dean of the nursing school at the University of Texas El Paso, associate dean at the University of Miami and director of the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner program at the University of Texas at Houston and the University of Maryland.

During his career, he has served as a clinical nurse, a nurse researcher, a nurse educator, school administrator, and a pediatric and neonatal nurse practitioner. He is internationally renowned for his pioneering work in neonatal and pediatric care and in women’s health. Provencio-Vasquez is also a Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow alumnus, a Robert H. Hoy III Distinguished Professor in Health Sciences and serves on several community and editorial boards.

As he looks ahead, Provencio-Vasquez sees incredible opportunities in the College of Nursing — building on the college’s many successes and creating bridges to new opportunities in the future. “With my career, I’ve saved the best for last,” he says with a warm and ever-present smile. “This is where I plan to stay and finish my career.”

What made you want to pursue nursing and academia?

CON Dean Elias Provencio-Vasquez
Early exposure to hospitals and nurses inspired Provencio-Vasquez to pursue a career in nursing.

Initially I thought I wanted to be psychologist. In college, I worked as a unit clerk in an emergency room in Phoenix, and I saw what the nurses did and how they took care of patients. I found that nursing and health care were what I wanted to focus on. Before that, in high school, I worked as a dishwasher in a hospital kitchen. That was my first exposure to nurses, and it definitely piqued my interest. But it was especially the nurses I worked with during college, in the hospital ER unit, who were very supportive and encouraging.

You are a first-generation college graduate of Mexican immigrants, and you come from a large family. How did your childhood influence where you are today?  

I was the only boy, the middle child, and I had six sisters. My dad had a very strong work ethic; he was a bricklayer in Phoenix. As you know, it gets very hot there in the summer. He’d take me to work with him and I remember being so miserable, laying bricks in the heat. I realized at a young age that my ticket for getting out of manual labor was to go to college. With my dad working hard to support a family of seven kids, college and education were not part of the agenda of our lives. But I knew I needed to get educated and work toward a profession.

Growing up with sisters had a real impact on me. It translated into the strong respect I have for women and how I enjoy working with them to this day. I think it also positioned me to be a very caring nurse.

What drew you to academia?

I was a nurse for 15 years – first an ER nurse and then a neonatal nurse working with babies. I received my PhD from the University of Arizona in 1992 and I was recruited by the University of Texas Medical Center in Houston to direct its neonatal nurse practitioner program. I spent 10 years as a program director, learning how to navigate academia and how to be a faculty member as opposed to a clinician; they are two very different things. While there, I satisfied my love of patient care by running a clinic for drug- and HIV-exposed infants.

During that time, I got exposed to teaching nursing students, and I really enjoyed it. My specialty was maternal health, and I mostly taught undergraduate students in pediatrics and OB/GYN. I discovered that I really enjoyed academia, so I stuck with it.

What got you interested in reducing maternal risk of substance abuse, HIV exposure and intimate partner violence during and after pregnancy?

In Houston in the early ’90s I worked in a clinic specifically for HIV- and drug- and alcohol-exposed infants. It was during the crack cocaine era, and a lot of babies born were exposed to cocaine and alcohol. I got to know the mothers by taking care of these infants and children. It was an ‘a-ha’ moment. I realized I should focus on taking care of the mothers because they are the gatekeepers of their children’s health. I wanted to give them the skills and tools needed to be good mothers.

Your doctoral dissertation tracked premature babies and their families after they were discharged from the hospital. Did your clinical work in Houston help you decide how to focus your research?

Nursing Dean Elias Provencio-Vasquez
Elias Provencio-Vasquez, PhD, RN, FAAN, started as dean of the College of Nursing in early September.

Back then, welfare services would take kids from mothers who tested positive for cocaine. I would go to the mothers’ homes and give them skills to help them get their children back. So my research focus went toward women and particularly those at risk for health issues and violence. My research helped create an intervention for nurses to help parents of premature infants transition from hospital to their homes. I wanted to help them realize how powerful they were as women and mothers and assist in giving them the tools to be great mothers.

To what do you attribute your success?

Fortunately, I had people along the way who encouraged and mentored me. My mentors were women who really supported and encouraged me to go for that next degree, that next position. They encouraged me to stretch and challenge myself. I believe there is no such thing as luck; it’s what you do with an opportunity that is given to you. I have had many doors opened to me, and I really attribute that to my success and where I am today.

I am at the point in my career where I want to pay it forward and help mentor the next generation of nurses and nurse scientists, because it really had an impact on me.

What does it mean to you to be the first Latino male to earn a doctorate in nursing and head a nursing school in the U.S.?

In terms of being a male in nursing, it is still a very small percentage. There are 3.1 million nurses in the United States and only 9 percent are male. Being a male in nursing in the ’70s and ’80s was a challenge and an opportunity. I look back now and I see that the University of Arizona was proud of the fact that I was the first Latino male to earn a PhD in nursing. I was proud, too, but now I look back and think, ‘Well, it was about time.’ It should have happened well before I came along. Being first is a good feeling because it opened the doors for others to follow.

What excites you about CU and the College of Nursing?

The CU College of Nursing has an amazing history and has made some incredible contributions to health care and nursing. This is where the nurse practitioner field was invented, which has made major contributions to health care in the U.S. Another amazing thing is the many clinics we have in the community providing health care to underserved communities. Our 120-year history is very rich and something to build upon. And the faculty and staff who support this college are really impressive.

‘Our faculty want to continue to see the college succeed and make history. They have made a commitment not only to nursing and research, but to the community as well.’ — Nursing Dean Provencio-Vasquez

The commitment and longevity of the faculty here speaks for itself. They want to continue to see the college succeed and make history. We have faculty who have made a commitment not only to nursing and research, but to the community as well. I am very impressed with our clinics that serve parts of our community that have challenges in health care.

I am excited about our past, but want to make our own history. In 10 years we’re going to say, ‘Look what we did as a College of Nursing.’

Do you view the College of Nursing’s location at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus as a plus?

When your college is part of a larger medical campus it affords many different types of opportunities in terms of clinical practice, research and collaborating with other colleges. There are a lot of opportunities to build bridges with other schools and colleges as well as the hospitals on campus.

You have undoubtedly noticed a campus-wide emphasis on fostering a diverse and inclusive culture. How will you promote diversity within the College of Nursing?

I am impressed by the effort and strategies CU has implemented and focused on to promote diversity within the student population as well as the faculty and staff. There are deliberate reasons to do this, to look like the community we serve. I have talked to faculty members who want to start the conversation and see what we can do to increase diversity among students, faculty and staff. We also need to implement strategies and initiatives that create the desired outcome — that by increasing diversity, we make it more likely for everyone to be successful within the institution.

I think we have a lot of work ahead of us. But I already feel the commitment from the faculty and staff to make that happen, which is refreshing to me.

This interview is taking place early — just your second day on the job. What are your final thoughts about all that is yet to come?

The potential this college has to move forward and to the next level — whatever we decide that to be — is exciting to me. There are untapped possibilities we will all discover. It’s all about building bridges.

In the News: Telemundo, Oct. 3, 2018: Hispano hace su sueño realidad

Editor’s note: Video at top courtesy of the College of Nursing.

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Nursing alumna paves way for future nursing leaders through scholarships

At the age of 91, and with more than five decades’ experience in the field of nursing, Chiyoko Furukawa, PhD, MS, RN, has demonstrated a profound dedication to her life’s work and a commitment to advancing the careers of nursing students. The CU Nursing alumna was the featured guest speaker at the 2018 College of Nursing Scholarship Luncheon held on Sept. 19. The occasion celebrates student scholarship recipients and honors benefactors whose generous gifts support them.

Among students, faculty and benefactors, Furukawa shared her thoughts about her career, her perseverance as the daughter of immigrants, and what her CU education means to her.

A challenging childhood

Furukawa was born to Japanese parents who came to the United States in the 1920s to raise a family of six – two sons and four daughters. They lived in Venice, Calif., until her mother relocated the family to Brigham City, Utah, to escape xenophobic attitudes and policies during WWII. Her father, however, was unable to follow, as his involvement in creating a school to assist Japanese children in learning the Japanese language landed him in an internment camp.

Life was difficult for the family. Her mother and siblings – ages 3 to 18 – managed to survive by attending school and working summers picking fruits and vegetables for income.

Although she faced incredible challenges during her youth, Furukawa never let them get in the way of her education and plans to pursue a nursing degree. After graduating high school, she completed pre-nursing courses at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. When she moved with her late husband, Paul, to Boulder, she took the opportunity to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing at the then-named CU School of Nursing in the early 1960s.

“I was amazed and inspired to learn about the various scientific advances that impacted the nursing practice,” recalled Furukawa, who graduated in 1965. “This new knowledge was lacking in my previous education, and was a challenge to incorporate, yet greatly prepared me to become a future leader in nursing.”

A distinguished career

After completing her bachelor’s degree, she accepted a position in home health care with the Boulder County Health Department, and began providing nursing services for homebound elders. She would later pursue a master’s degree in nursing sciences at the CU School of Nursing in 1972.  Following this career choice, she decided to rejoin the academic community. She went on to teach graduate and undergraduate nursing students at Wright State University College of Nursing and Health in Dayton, Ohio, and then at the University of New Mexico College of Nursing.

Throughout her career, Furukawa was aware of the lack of geriatric nursing curriculum and the great need for geriatric nurses, despite vast experience among nurses in caring for the elderly. In response, she became a certified clinical nurse specialist in gerontology, and established a master’s degree program in geriatrics at the University Of New Mexico College Of Nursing. There, she also created the Center on Aging, which provided geriatric education to health professionals statewide.

Giving back to CU Nursing

Motivated by a desire to pay her success forward, Furukawa continues to guide aspiring nurses into careers that care for older adults through the Chiyoko Furukawa, PhD Scholarship Fund at the CU College of Nursing. “I am grateful for my CU education, which provided the foundation for a satisfying career in nursing,” said Furukawa. “It gives me great pleasure to be a small part of students’ successful futures as nurses. Hopefully these students will experience the joy of learning and soon a career in which they can help those who need a nurse’s care and expertise.”

One recipient of her generosity is Marissa Yoder, a nursing student who will graduate in December 2018 with a master’s degree in adult gerontology primary care.

“I am honored to have received this scholarship and overwhelmed with gratitude for this generous gift toward my education,” said Yoder. “I have been able to spend more time focusing on my future role as a nurse practitioner without worrying about finances. One day I hope to be able to pass along the encouragement that Dr. Furukawa has provided me.”

Guest contributor: Courtney Keener, communications specialist, Office of Advancement

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Trego named Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence

Lori Trego, PhD, CNM, FAAN, an associate professor in the CU College of Nursing, has been selected as the 2018–2019 Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence at the National Academy of Medicine (NAM).

Formed by a congressional charter, the National Academy of Medicine provides analysis and advice on medicine and health with the goal of improving the nation’s health system. The NAM Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence program, initiated in 1992, provides a year-long leadership opportunity to participate in shaping health policy.

During her time as a NAM Distinguished Nurse Scholar, Trego plans to expand her leadership experience in enhancing the wellness of women who serve, and have served, in the nation’s military.

“I am honored to be selected for this extraordinary opportunity to represent the American Academy of Nursing, the American Nurses Association, and the American Nurses Foundation, and to provide a nursing perspective during the formation of health policy,” said Trego. “My intention while at NAM is to champion efforts to improve the health and care of active military and Veteran women through evidence-based policies and informed policy decision-making.”

Trego is a certified nurse midwife and associate professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, where she teaches in the Veteran and Military Healthcare graduate program. She recently implemented the University’s Veteran and Military Health Area of Excellence, an interprofessional, cross-campus collaborative to improve health care and education for those providing care to Veterans. Trego retired from the U.S. Army Nurse Corps in 2015 after 25 years of active duty service. Having built a program of research dedicated to improving the health of military women across the life course, her current work with veteran women investigates women’s perceptions of the care afforded to them by the Veterans Administration.

The Distinguished NAM Nurse Scholar-in-Residence program is supported by the American Academy of Nursing, the American Nurses Association and the American Nurses Foundation.

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Adolescents seeking abortions without a parent’s consent face numerous hurdles

Adolescents under the age of 18 seeking abortions without a parent’s consent often undergo a series of humiliating, burdensome and unpredictable hurdles as they try to navigate the legal system, according to a new study led by Kate Coleman-Minahan of the University of Colorado College of Nursing.

As part of the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, Coleman-Minahan, PhD, RN and other researchers investigated the judicial bypass experience by which adolescents seek legal permission to obtain an abortion without parental consent. The study was published online today in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Currently, 37 states require parental involvement in obtaining an abortion. This study focused specifically on Texas.

Judicial bypass

“This is the first study to describe adolescents’ experiences with a judicial bypass,” said Coleman-Minahan, assistant professor at the CU College of Nursing and lead author of the study. “We found that the bypass process functions as a form of punishment for adolescents.”

The researchers conducted interviews with 20 adolescents between the ages of 16-19 about their experiences trying to obtain bypass. Those interviewed were 16-17 years old at the time they went to court. Many had experienced family trauma, adverse childhood experiences including household substance abuse, or a general fear for their own safety if they told their parents about their decision to seek an abortion.

Once they began the bypass process, they were confronted with more obstacles. Just arranging transportation to the courthouse was sometimes difficult. When they got inside, they faced an often unpredictable process. One young woman spoke of being intimidated by the criminal defendants sitting in the room. Judges, on occasion, would ask for a detailed sexual history which she had to explain within earshot of multiple court staff including a court reporter who records the hearing.

Personal opinion enters judges’ decisions

Each adolescent was issued a court-appointed guardian-ad-litem (GAL), ordered to act in her best interest. In four cases, the GAL appointed by the judge was a pastor or deacon at a church. One respondent recalled her GAL “telling me it’s never the right option to have an abortion.” This GAL also brought staff from an adoption agency to court with her, breaching the young woman’s anonymity and exposing her to more judgment, the study said.

The researchers found that several judges didn’t hide their personal disapproval of the adolescent’s decision to seek an abortion. Sometimes they denied the bypass request altogether.

“Some judges and GALs based their decision or treatment of adolescents on their own personal opinion of abortion,” Coleman-Minahan said. “Multiple participants cried during the interview when describing the hearing, saying they still think about it, even months later.”

The process, researchers said, seemed like punishment itself, for having sex, getting pregnant and having wanted an abortion.

Emotional harm

“Proponents of parental involvement and bypass laws claim they protect adolescents from alleged negative emotional consequences of abortion, yet our results suggest the bypass process itself causes emotional harm through unpredictability, humiliation and shame,” the study said.

According to Coleman-Minahan, the fact that this is happening in Texas means it’s probably happening in states with similar laws as well. Colorado requires parental notification and also has an option for a judicial bypass.

She said all of these findings should be weighed when considering forced parental involvement and judicial bypass policies. States, she said, should consider the real-life consequences of policies that are purportedly created to protect adolescents.

The study co-authors include: Amanda Jean Stevenson, PhD, University of Colorado Boulder; Emily Obront LMSW, University of Texas at Austin; Susan Hays JD, Law Office of Susan Hays, P.C. Austin, Texas.

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