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Boise State Researchers to Further End-of-Life Care Communication Among Clinicians and Patients

Kim Martz, associate professor in Boise State’s School of Nursing has been approved for a $25,000 funding award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to support a project on “Advanced Care Planning Research Collaborative.” Martz, along with Sarah Toevs, professor and director of Boise State’s Center for the Study of Aging, Meredith St. Clair, adjunct faculty for Boise State’s Master of Health Science program, and Lynsey Juel with Honoring Choices Idaho® (HCI), will use the funds provided through PCORI’s Pipeline to Proposal Awards program to build a partnership of individuals and groups who share a desire to advance patient-centered outcomes research focused on advanced care planning.


Pipeline to Proposal Awards enable individuals and groups that are not typically involved in clinical research to develop the means to develop community-led funding proposals focused on patient-centered comparative effectiveness research. Established by the nonprofit PCORI, the program funds help individuals or groups build community partnerships, develop research capacity, and hone a comparative effectiveness research question that could become the basis of a research funding proposal to submit to PCORI or other health research funders.

In 2016, HCI located at Jannus Inc. received a Tier I Pipeline to Proposal award by PCORI. Using this contract funding, HCI, along with researchers from the Boise State Center for the Study of Aging developed relationships with older adults, healthcare providers, and other community partners to engage in research focused on meaningful advance care planning.

Martz’s funding is a Tier II award, which represents the first PCORI-funded project received by the university and will continue the work from HCI’s Tier I project in exploring preferences and experiences about communication and planning for end-of-life medical care. The research team, in collaboration with Kendall House, lecturer for Boise State’s Department of Anthropology, and John Ziker, professor and chair of Boise State’s Department of Anthropology, is hosting a “Design Jam” with community members to continue development of patient- or person-centered research questions that will guide the project.

Campus Community Mourns Passing of Connie Thorngren

Connie Thorngren, the pioneer of competitive sports for women at Boise State and an advocate for health education, passed away recently at the age of 77.

Archive photo of Connie Thorngren in December 1976.

Archive photo of Thorngren in December 1976.

A memorial service for Thorngren will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, in the Allen Noble Hall of Fame gallery. The service will be open to the public. In lieu of flowers, Thorngren’s family asks for donations to the Women’s Basketball Endowed Scholarship.

Joining the faculty in 1970, Thorngren pioneered competitive sport for women at Boise State, introducing volleyball, track and field, basketball and field hockey to the women’s program as well as teaching in the areas of curriculum, methodology, health, sports skills, coaching, and placement and supervision of student teachers. Thorngren worked within the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department, which later became the Department of Kinesiology, and led the Physical Education and Health Teacher Education program.


Thorngren worked tirelessly for health advocacy serving in a range of roles for the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport; Northwest College Women’s Sports Foundation; Idaho Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance; Northwest College Women’s Association; Idaho Division of Girls’ and Women’s Sports; the Kathryn Albertson Foundation Fitness Initiative Committee; Idaho Coalition for Health Education; the National Coalition for Sex Equity in Education, and more.

Thorngren presented countless research presentations in Idaho and beyond, was published numerous times and was awarded a number of grants while at Boise State.

Terry-Ann Spitzer Gibson, an associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology, worked with Thorngren and said she made significant contributions to both the College of Health Sciences and to the College of Education, adding “I became a better educator and critical thinker because of Connie’s influence.”

Thorngren retired from Boise State in 2000.

Ed Baker Presents Research at National Rural Health Conference

Boise State’s Ed Baker, professor and director of Center for Health Policy for the College of Health Sciences and David Schmitz, professor and chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of North Dakota, presented their most recent research on physician recruitment and retention to rural and underserved areas at a plenary session at the National Rural Health Association’s Critical Access Hospital Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.

Boise State’s Lisa MacKenzie, a senior research associate, and Jessica Marshall, a graduate research assistant, both from the Center for Health Policy, were co-investigators for this research. Conducted in rural hospitals in Iowa, this research investigated trustee/board members’ perceptions of factors important for physician recruitment and compared these perceptions to hospital executives and physicians from the same rural hospitals.

The findings suggested moderate to high consensus between these important groups of rural hospital leaders regarding factors associated with successful physician recruitment and retention but also found areas where trustee/board member education and training might be helpful. A subset of these findings recently was published in the Journal of Hospital Administration.

Community and Environmental Health Assist with Collaborating for Health Conference

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is hosting its second annual Collaborating for Health Conference on Wednesday and Thursday, October 25 and 26 at the Riverside Hotel. Boise State’s Department of Community and Environmental Health is a community partner assisting in the organization of the event.The conference will provide education and networking for community and health professionals across Idaho.

Facilitate opportunities to learn about best and promising practices, strategies and research in public health and healthcare. Create a supportive environment for innovative ideas and approaches to public health practice, policy and research that encourage collaborations across and within sectors to help build a stronger foundation for a healthier Idaho. The conference will also provide a venue for public health, healthcare and community professionals at all stages of their career to forge new connections, collaborate, and innovate to support the health and well-being of Idahoans.

Attend educational sessions with local and national speakers on new and innovative best practices. Keynote speakers include, Brian Smedley, National Collaborative for Health Equity; Paula Braveman, MD, Center on Social Disparities in Health; Larry Cohen, Prevention Institute; Jeff Jordon, Rescue: The Behavior Change Agency; Jeanne Ayers, Minnesota Department of Health.

Additionally, ancillary events will be offered in conjunction with the conference. Pre-conference coalition meetings for Comprehensive Cancer Alliance for Idaho, Diabetes Alliance of Idaho, Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) and Tobacco Free Idaho Alliance will take place from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., October 24 at the Riverside Hotel. Register here for the pre-conference coalition meetings. The Visual Arts Collective in Garden City will be holding a Resilience Film Screening at 6:00 p.m. on October 25 and serving hors d’oeuvres from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Reserve your spot for the film screening here.

Help build a healthier Idaho by attending this local conference. For more information about speakers and to see the full agenda, visit

Show the Treasure Valley How You Live BroncoFit at the FitOne Expo

Boise State University is immersed in St. Luke’s FitOne this year. The College of Health Sciences will host a vendor booth at the 2017 St. Luke’s FitOne Healthy Living Expo. Swing by the Boise Centre between 12:00 PM and 8:00 PM on Thursday, September 21 and between 10:00 AM and 8:00 PM on Friday, September 22.

Take a selfie at the BroncoFit selfie booth and show the Treasure Valley how you live BroncoFit. All seven dimensions of wellness will be represented in the photo props: social, financial, physical, intellectual, occupational, emotional, and spiritual. Volunteers will be on hand to take pictures of large groups. Also available at the booth will be a large banner for people to write or draw how they live BroncoFit.

Students from Kinesiology 436 Exercise Testing and Prescription will be doing select fitness testing from 6:00-8:00 PM on Thursday, September 21 and from 12:00-6:00 PM on Friday, September 22.

With the highest percentage of employee participation in the XXL company division, the Boise State University team won the St. Luke’s FitOne Healthy Business Challenge for the XXL category. As a winner of the Healthy Business Challenge, Boise State will receive an award for display and recognition in a full-color print ad in the Idaho Statesman, in a press release, in St. Luke’s FitOne social media channels, and on the big screen at the St. Luke’s FitOne Healthy Living Expo. Additionally, Boise State’s name will be announced at the start line of the St. Luke’s FitOne race on Saturday, September 23.

Cheryl Albright Offers Works Research Workshops October 2-4

Cheryl Albright, professor at University of Hawaii’s School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene , will visit Boise State to offer faculty research workshops.

From 1:30-3:00 PM on Monday, October 2 in Norco 431, Albright will present “Deeper than a Biosketch.” She’ll address how to choose the best research team members, how to articulate team contribution in a grant proposal, and how to link team contributions to grant specific aims.

From 11:30-12:30 PM on Wednesday, October 4 in Norco 408A, Albright will discuss tips for writing a compelling description of undergraduate student research involvement in study.

To attend either of Albright’s presentations, please RSVP to Jane Grassley, Albright’s visit is sponsored by Boise State’s School of Nursing.

Albright is a funded NIH researcher and grats reviewer. Albright conducts transdisciplinary research spanning the fields of nursing, pediatric oncology, behavioral medicine, health psychology, internal medicine, nutrition, organ donation / transplantation, exercise science, and epidemiology. She has almost 30 years of research experience focused on innovative strategies to promote modification of behavioral risk factors in adults and adolescents. Before coming to the University of Hawaii, she was a senior research scientist at Stanford University School of Medicine’s Prevention Research Center (1984-2003). In 2008, she was elected as a Fellow in the Society of Behavioral Medicine.

Download a flyer for Albright’s presentations (PDF).

Nikki Hanson Awarded CASE Scholarship

Nikki Hanson, the new associate director of development for the College of Health Sciences, recently was awarded the 2017-18 Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Virginia Carter Smith Scholarship. The scholarship will provide funding for Hanson to attend a CASE conference, covering the cost of registration. CASE conferences highlight the best practices in alumni relations, communications, development, marketing and allied areas.

Lillian Smith Publishes in Journal of Public Health Management and Practice

Lillian SmithLillian Smith, associate professor and department head of the School of Allied Health Sciences’ Department of Community and Environmental Health, co-authored a Community Health Status Assessment Special Supplement for the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, which will fill gaps in the professional literature around contemporary community health assessment strategies and methods.

The supplement is co-authored by James N. Burdine, a professor of health promotion and community health sciences and director of the Center for Community Health Development at Texas A&M School of Public Health Community Health Status Assessment, as well as representatives from the University of Louisville, University of Texas Medical Branch, West Virginia University, University of Colorado, Colorado State University, and health care leaders from several organizations.

Trader Joe’s: A Valued Partner For BroncoFit

Trader Joe’s has contributed up to $100 of merchandise a month to Boise State University Health Services. MarLee Harris, the campus dietitian, selects food for campus Pop Up Tasting each month.

Pop Up Tastings allow students and employees to taste new, healthy food at convenient locations, including Campus Recreation, the Library, Residence Halls and other locations around campus. Previous Pop Ups include popcorn, infused waters, juice spritzers, fruits and veggies, and oatmeal packets.

“Our goal is to expose people to new, convenient, healthy, delicious food,” said Harris. “Healthy can be affordable and delicious.”

Harris has student interns that help her man the Pop Up Tastings, develop recipes that appeal to students, and more. One popular tasting was sweet potato chips with black bean salsa. Intern Sara MacCallum, a kinesiology student and aspiring dietitian, developed the recipe for the salsa.

“One of the most important lessons I have taken away from working with MarLee is that if you are looking to eat better or healthier, the way to do it is not through dieting, eliminating foods, or eliminating food groups,” said MacCallum. “The minute you begin to avoid foods and take them out of your regular diet you are creating a negative relationship with food which is not good. Instead, make sure you are including all of your food groups. It’s ok to eat desserts, chips, sodas, etc. The key is to have a good relationship with food, “balance your plate,” and eat everything in moderation.”

The Pop Up Tastings gave many people “a glimpse into what healthy eating is and how being nutritious doesn’t mean you have to eliminate food groups and only eat fruits and vegetables,” stated MacCallum. “I think many people are scared away by the term “healthy,” thinking it will taste bad or won’t be “real food.” Our goal was to educate students on basic nutrition needs as well as fun and easy ways to make good food choices and enjoy eating in the process. I feel Trader Joe’s has had a huge impact in helping us accomplish this.”

“I feel the Trader Joe’s partnership has been very beneficial for both parties,” said MacCallum. “I think a lot of students had never been to Trader Joe’s. Our food samples helped people discover the unique and tasty products Trader Joe’s offers.”

“Trader Joe’s has facilitated student opportunities as well as exposure and access to affordable, nutritious food,” added Harris. “We look forward to continuing our partnership during the 2017-2018 year.”

To request a Pop Up Tastings near you, contact Harris at Learn more about the dietitian services offered through Health Services.

Boise State University Hosts the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Conference

Boise State University Colleges of Business and Economics and Health Sciences partner to host the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Conference: The Campaign for Action Pillars to Create a Healthier America.

The RWJF is the nation’s largest philanthropy dedicated to health and provides as much as half a billion dollars in support of community-based health interventions each year. Since 1972, they have supported research and programs targeting some of America’s most pressing health issues and have been the catalyst for transformative progress in health outcomes.

On June 28, approximately 100 representatives for the RWJF flew to Boise from across the United States to attend a conference focused on the future of nursing and creating a sustainable culture of health in American communities. Idaho was selected as one of three host states as a result of outstanding work submitted by the Idaho Alliance of Leaders in Nursing and the Idaho Nursing Action Coalition. The coalition recently completed a two-year grant from the RWJF for academic progression in nursing to promote registered nurses completion of baccalaureate degrees. Through multiple creative projects including post-licensure RN to BS completion and a pre-licensure dual enrollment of community college nursing students in a BS program, Idaho experienced an increase in the BS nursing workforce from 54 percent to 67 percent. Further increases are expected with the completion of the 2017 nurse re-licensure cycle. With leadership from the Boise State School of Nursing, Idaho is among the most successful in the nation at assisting the nursing workforce to complete baccalaureate education.

“Selecting Boise State for the conference was an honor for us and we seized the opportunity to position our programs for future investment from the RWJF,” said Tim Dunnagan, dean of the College of Health Sciences.

The two-day conference featured panels and expert talks coordinated and arranged by Dunnagan and Ken Petersen, dean of the College of Business and Economics. A panel comprised of faculty and students highlighted BroncoFit and the Blue Sky Institute. Perspectives from community partners with representatives from local healthcare providers and payers including Saint Alphonsus Health System, Blue Cross of Idaho, Interfaith Sanctuary, and St. Luke’s Health Partners highlighted our unique and powerful ability to leverage community leaders for positive health outcomes. These efforts served to demonstrate the close working relationships and goal sharing Boise State enjoys with community stakeholders. The College of Business and Economics shared their work on sustainability, which was recently recognized by the United Nations, and also highlighted the growing partnership with Interfaith Sanctuary. In addition to these pertinent speakers and topics, the colleges provided three meals per day, transportation, a guided walk around the Blue Turf and a reception in the Stuekle Sky Center that RWFJ leadership remarked was the best reception they could remember.

“Very few universities have an opportunity to engage with leaders from a foundation of this magnitude and we took full advantage of the chance to show off both our university and our community,” said Dunnagan. Based on the feedback we received, they were more than impressed at the work we are doing and the care we illustrate for each other and our surroundings. The evening reception, in particular, was a high point for the conference. We did not know this before, but one of the primary evaluation criteria that the RWJF executives use to determine if a host site was successful is whether or not the host uses the conference to build and strengthen existing partnerships and relationships within their communities. For them to be greeted at the reception by representatives from the City of Boise, the Saint Alphonsus Health System, St. Luke’s, SelectHealth, Blue Cross of Idaho, the Department of Health and Welfare, the Idaho Hospital Association, Preventative Health Screenings, business leaders, and representatives from every level at Boise State; they clearly saw that we took full advantage of the honor of hosting them.”