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Faculty Presents Research at American Holistic Nurses’ Association Conference

Alia Crandall and Marty Downey with research poster

Alia Crandall and Marty Downey with their research poster at the AHNA Conference.

Marty Downey, associate professor for the School of Nursing, presented two posters on pilot studies at the American Holistic Nurses’ Association 2015 conference in Branson, Missouri on June 12-17.

The first poster, “A Randomized Control Trial of the Effects of Healing Touch for Newborn Male Infant Circumcision Inpatients,” was presented with Laurie Bourn, a neonatal intensive care unit nurse from St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center. Healing Touch is a complementary therapy that involves gentle, noninvasive touch that supports the human energy system by restoring balance and harmony. Downey mentored Bourn and Melora Kellis, also a nurse at St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center who studied whether Healing Touch therapy in addition to the current standard of nursing care affected the pain scores, oxygenation and heart rates on newborn males undergoing a circumcision procedure. Preliminary data for this ongoing study may provide new information about the combination of the traditional care and holistic therapy, which may reduce the infant’s pain during the procedure. This may also encourage practitioners to integrate more holistic practices into traditional healthcare practices.

The second poster, “The Effectiveness of Two Holistic Therapies in Reducing Test Anxiety Among Nursing Students” was co-authored by Janet Willhaus, assistant professor for the School of Nursing, and Alia Crandall, a recent graduate of the Boise State baccalaureate nursing program. The research team sought to determine whether or not aromatherapy and Healing Touch therapy reduced test anxiety among nursing students. They found that these complementary holistic therapies may significantly reduce test anxiety among nursing students.

Crandall also attended the conference after receiving the Bea Alley Commemorative Conference Scholarship, which covers the registration fees for the full conference.

Recent Graduate Nominated for 2015 Woman of the Year Award

Recently graduated Boise State School of Nursing and cross country and track and field student-athlete, Marisa Howard, has been named Boise State’s nominee for the 2015 Woman of the Year award. Howard is among 480 Division I, II and III student-athletes who were nominated by their respective institutions.

Now in its 25th year, the Woman of the Year award honors graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in academics, athletics, service and leadership.

The Pasco, Wash., native finished her career as a three-time All-American selection while competing in cross country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field at Boise State. She won four individual Mountain West Championships – three in the 3,000m steeplechase and one in the 5,000m (outdoor) – and earned 11 All-Mountain West honors throughout her Bronco career.

Howard graduated from Boise State in May with a degree in nursing after concluding her academic career with a 3.84 grade-point-average. She also graduated with Magna Cum Laude distinction and made the Dean’s List in seven semesters at Boise State.

Outside of athletics and the classroom, Howard partnered with St. Mark’s Church Community Health Ministry last fall and created a health survey to better serve the needs of their large church population. In addition, she represented the Boise State School of Nursing at the Service Learning in Action Student Exhibition.

The Mountain West will select one nominee to represent the conference later in the summer.

After the conference nominee is chosen, a selection committee will determine the top three finalists from each division and then announce the top nine finalists in September. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics then chooses from among those nine to determine the 2015 Woman of the Year.

The 2015 NCAA Woman of the Year winner will be announced, and the Top 30 honorees celebrated, at the annual award ceremony Oct. 18 in Indianapolis.

Chair Presents on Health Services in Schools at Stanford

Denise Seigart

Denise Seigart, chair of the undergraduate nursing program in the School of Nursing, was invited to present at the Health Services in Schools: From Cost Effective Studies to Distributional Justice conference on May 29 at Stanford University.

The conference was hosted by the Division of General Pediatrics and sponsored by the Stanford McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society and the Stanford Humanities Center. The conference invited scholars, practitioners and colleagues to examine the common themes and challenges of providing health care services in schools in California and other states.

Seigart presented “International Collaborative Study Comparing Models for School Based Health Care in the United States of America, Canada and Australia,” which compared and contrasted school-based health care in these nations through a series of interpretive case studies. Unlike the US, school students in Canada and Australia rarely have access to school-based health care on site. All three nations face structural, cultural and societal barriers, often related to limited resources, which limit the effectiveness of school-based health care. The benefits of school-based health care and providing comprehensive services through schools can include healthier children, better learning, healthier parents, and healthier communities. Unfortunately, based on this research, comprehensive school health services have not been adequately implemented in the US, Canada or Australia. Seigart has found that increased comprehensive school-based health services are urgently needed in the US, Canada and Australia.

Emeritus Faculty Featured in Idaho Statesman Article on Saint Alphonsus’ No One Dies Alone Program

Margaret Leahy, Boise State University School of Nursing emeritus faculty, was part of an Idaho Statesman article which profiled Saint Alphonsus’ No One Dies Alone program.

The No One Dies Alone program places volunteer companions with dying patients who would otherwise be alone. With the support of the nursing staff, the volunteer companions are able to help provide patients with a dignified death. Leahy volunteers with the No One Dies Alone program as a companion.

Read the Idaho Statesman article and some of Leahy’s experiences as a No One Dies Alone volunteer online.

School of Nursing Faculty and Staff Volunteer for Full-Scale Emergency Exercise

The Central District Health Department (CDHD), along with multiple emergency response partners, held an emergency exercise using mobile medical facilities and approximately 75 medical staff and volunteers on Wednesday, May 6. Cathy Deckys, School of Nursing faculty, helped plan the exercise and participated in the exercise as an evaluator. School of Nursing staff members Marian Graham and Sherepta McLeod volunteered as part of the Medical Reserve Corps. Approximately ten nursing students and alumni also participated in the exercise.

The exercise tested medical and emergency response plans and coordination among the partnering agencies, which included Boise State University, St. Luke’s Health Systems, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Ada County Paramedics, Boise Fire Department, Southwest Advanced Care Hospital and Ada County Emergency Services.

The exercise scenario began at Boise State University Health Services and moved to the Veterans Affairs (VA) campus, where multiple BluMed mobile medical facilities were located. The majority of the exercise took place on the VA campus and involved about 30 volunteer patients who presented the same communicable disease symptoms. However, each mock patient had a unique role — from disabilities to language barriers — to help represent the varying backgrounds and needs possible in a real-life situation. Under the exercise’s scenario, medical staff worked to check patients into the mobile medical facility practice donning and doffing Personal Protective Equipment and Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPR) to begin initial patient treatment.

“This was a successful full-scale exercise, which is mandatory for public health organizations to take part in each year,” said Deckys. “Multidisciplinary roles were assumed and practiced successfully.”

Nursing Student Given Spirit of Boise State Awards by Division of Student Affairs

Two College of Health Sciences students were presented with the Spirit of Boise State awards at the Division of Student Affairs’ annual Campus Awards Ceremony on April 27. The blue carpet event recognizes students, faculty, staff and organizations for outstanding achievement, service and campus engagement.

Abby Lipschultz, student in the School of Nursing, and Christopher Bower, double major in the School of Social Work and the Department of Political Science, were among the five Spirit of Boise State honorees. The Spirit of Boise State award is presented to outstanding students who exemplify the Boise State University shared values of academic excellence, caring, citizenship, fairness, respect, responsibility and trustworthiness.

Foster Care Student Fellow Presents at International Conference

Max Veltman, Vincent Feltitti and Christy Broam

Left to right: Max Veltman, School of Nursing faculty, Dr. Vincent Felitti, and Christy Broam, Boise State Foster Care Student Nurse Fellow. Dr. Felitti was the first to publish research on adverse childhood experiences and how they affect the health of adults later in life. His research is now getting a lot of attention in the child welfare and domestic violence fields.

During the week of April 21-23, Christy Broam, Boise State nursing student and 2015 Foster Care Student Nurse Fellow, and Max Veltman, associate professor in the School of Nursing, presented a poster, “Nursing Students in Family Justice Centers: A Clinical Fellowship,” at the 15th Annual International Family Justice Conference in San Diego, Calif.

This presentation was the culmination of a year-long immersion experience involving clinical educational activities related to the promotion of health for children and families dealing with significant violence.  During the fellowship, Broam assisted Idaho Department of Health and Welfare caseworkers with investigations and safety planning. She rode with Nampa City Police Officers as they responded to situations involving domestic violence and she worked with nurses and nurse practitioners who provide healthcare to families who are involved in violent situations or the foster care system through the Nampa Family Justice Center.

Christy Broam with caseworker

Christy Broam, Boise State Foster Care Student Nurse Fellow, with child protective services caseworkers at the Nampa Family Justice Center, where Broam did most of her fellowship work.

The culmination of Broam’s fellowship was the planning and organization of a daylong symposium discussing domestic violence and sexual assault. The symposium was held on March 9 at the Boise State University Student Union Building and aimed to give future professionals in the fields of nursing, social work, criminal justice or any profession that works with families a look inside the worlds of domestic violence and sexual assault. Speakers included experts from local law enforcement and local advocacy programs.

The National Family Justice Center Alliance’s annual conference was attended by about 500 professionals; the majority of attendees were law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and social workers.  As the health issues of children who are victims of violence become more prevalent and complex, it is important for nurses to be able to work within multidisciplinary teams as they address the needs of victims and bring support and care to those in need.

The fellowship is sponsored by Theresa James, a Boise State nursing alumnae from 1970.

School of Nursing Student Wins Wallace G. Kay Writing Competition for College of Health Sciences Division

Each year an undergraduate student paper in each of the six academic colleges at Boise State University is awarded the Wallace G. Kay Writing Award by the Boise State chapter of Phi Kappa Phi. Each winner is given $200.

This year, nursing student Donna McKenzie won for the College of Health Sciences with her paper, “Smoke Free Home Rules.” McKenzie wrote her paper for the advocacy paper requirement in NURS 420: Policy, Power and Voice taught by Pamela Gehrke, associate professor in the School of Nursing. McKenzie received her award and cash prize at the Phi Kappa Phi Induction ceremony on April 26. McKenzie joins other former NURS 420 students who have previously won this prize.

Faculty evaluators within four colleges judged submissions on content, organization and flow, originality, and creativity, and also considered grammar, spelling and readability. Evaluators selected one winner per college. Papers written for Boise State classes during the spring, summer or fall semesters of 2014 were eligible for the 2015 award.  A nomination from the faculty member for whom the student wrote the paper had to accompany each submission.

“Phi Kappa Phi is dedicated to promoting superior scholarship, and the Boise State chapter commends these students for their exemplary work,” said Russell Willerton, chapter president and associate professor of technical communication. “It is exciting to see students across many disciplines produce outstanding written work.”

“We are grateful for the financial support from the Office of the Provost that helps us recognize outstanding writers every year,” Willerton added.

The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest, most selective and most prestigious all-discipline honor society.

The annual writing competition honors the late Wallace G. Kay, who served Boise State University as assistant director and later as associate director of the Honors Program and as an English professor. He came to the university in 1986 from the University of Southern Mississippi and served until his death in 1996. Professor Kay was honored three times by Top Ten Scholars as “Most Influential Professor,” and he was a gifted poet and scholar.

College of Health Sciences Faculty to Participate in SBIRT Learning Collaborative

Denise Seigart, chair of the undergraduate nursing program and Master of Nursing and Populations program in the School of Nursing, and Max Veltman, assistant professor in the School of Nursing, along with other pediatrics and community health faculty, will be participating in the Hilton Adolescent Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) learning collaborative.

SBIRT is a comprehensive, integrated, public health approach to the delivery of early intervention and treatment services for people with risky and dependent alcohol use, treatment and ongoing recovery supports. Screening quickly assesses for the presence of risky substance use, follows positive screens with further assessment of problem use, and identifies the appropriate level of treatment. Brief intervention focuses on increasing insight and awareness regarding substance use and motivation toward behavioral change. Referral to treatment provides those identified as needing more extensive treatment with access to medications, primary care counseling or specialty care as needed by the patient. Research has shown the SBIRT process works well with adults and that it is a highly promising approach for working with younger people. Despite its promise, the approach is not yet widely taught in nursing and social work programs.

The independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago partnered with the Council on Social Work Education, the Center for Clinical Social Work, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, and Kognito, a leader in immersive learning experiences using virtual humans. They are engaging nursing and social work schools, and their accrediting bodies, in a learning collaborative to develop and evaluate interactive, competency-based substance use SBIRT curriculum. The project is funded by a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and is focused on encouraging the adoption of SBIRT by social work and nursing educators. The learning collaborative will work to infuse this curriculum in general survey, clinical, behavioral health, and maternal and child health coursework – not just specialty courses – in undergraduate and graduate social work and nursing schools.

The SBIRT learning collaborative consists of a wide variety of nursing and social work schools across the US. The purpose is to engage faculty to develop and evaluate interactive, competency-based substance use screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment curriculum. The participation in the learning collaborative is imperative to creating an effective and comprehensive curriculum that will be beneficial to integrating adolescent substance abuse screening, interventions and treatment into schools of social work and nursing.

The School of Nursing has the opportunity to network with other participating schools and to receive up to $10,000 to pilot the adolescent SBIRT online curriculum in existing undergraduate and graduate curricula. Through this grant, schools will receive technical assistance to aid in the implementation process and participate in evaluation.

Considerable evidence demonstrates the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of alcohol SBIRT for young adults and adults 15-19 and its effectiveness for reducing illicit or prescription drug use is promising. This project offers a scientifically-based approach based on the needs of future health professionals who are graduating into an ever-changing healthcare landscape. The team is comprised of the pre-eminent adolescent SBIRT researchers and educators who bridge the science of evidence-based practices, the practicalities of clinical practice across a wide range of field settings, and the capabilities of pre-professional training programs to infuse substance use education where it can most benefit future practitioners.

Boise State-Corozal, Belize Peace Village Initiative Builds Cantina Addition for Elementary School

Donald Beck has assistance in hammering screen on cantina addition

Donald Beck, Construction Management major, helps put the screen on the addition.

Eleven Boise State faculty and students spent their spring break participating in the Boise State–Corozal, Belize Peace Village initiative. The Peace Village initiative creates strategic partnerships that address root causes of poverty and disparity in emerging economies. The program, led by Tony Songer, professor in the Department of Construction Management, and Karen Breitkreuz, assistant professor in the School of Nursing, is a collaborative effort by the Colleges of Engineering and Health Sciences, the Honors College, and the University Foundations program. The collaborative effort provides Boise State students unmatched educational, cultural, and professional engagement and enrichment. This was the third year of participation by Boise State.

Students enrolled in the cross-listed service-learning course “Global Citizenship and Social Responsibility” spent their spring break in the small village of Chan Chen, Corozal District, Belize working in the Chan Chen primary school. Since the Chan Chen school was able to find funding for a school lunch program, the Boise State visitors built an addition to the Chan Chen school’s cantina, their little snack and lunch prep room. Now the children have an area, with a concrete floor and roof, for their cantina and food service.

The Boise State students also conducted a “Healthy Lifestyles” camp at the school and a Community Fair for the primary school children on the last day of their visit. Additionally, the five College of Health Sciences students enrolled in the course were able to tour the Corozal Community Hospital. The two nursing students were also able to spend one morning shadowing a nurse in the pediatric clinic of the hospital. A Corozal public health nurse also came and conducted a seminar with the Boise State students one evening, in order to help all the students in the course understand the health issues in the Corozal community.

Prior to the in-country experience, the class spent time studying global citizenship, social responsibility, cultural aspects specific to Belize, and designing and planning the healthy lifestyles camp, the cantina addition, and the community fair.

The Peace Village initiative creates a long term relationship with village partners. Anyone interested in more information on the Boise State University – Corozal, Belize Peace Village project should contact Tony Songer (

To read about and see pictures of the whole trip, visit Of particular interest to the health sciences community is a blog entry by Master of Health Science student Beth Kotts.

  • Two Boise State students lead children at Chan Chen elementary in a line dance

    Teaching Chan Chen students to line dance during P.E.

  • Boise State student Vikki Nesbbitt helps child with literacy

    Vikki Nesbitt, Nursing major, helps child with his literacy

  • Boise State student among Chan Chen Elementary children

    Dave McKerracher, Philosophy major, gathers students to learn to slack line

  • Teaching children to slack line

    Dave McKerracher, Philosophy major, teaches children to slack line

  • Boise State student helps child add his handprints to a wall

    Jessica Glassinger helps children decorate the walls of the new addition

  • Child offers Boise State student a thank you gift

    Sophia Brasil, Health Science Studies major, and a child exchange thank yous

  • Boise State student embraces a child

    Natalie Zeigler, Biology major, gives a hug