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Join Boise State in Being BroncoFit

January is often a time when we think about resolutions for the new year – often to improve our health. Yet health and well-being is important to integrate into our lives every day. The College of Health Sciences, University Health Services and the College of Business and Economics are leading BroncoFit, a campus-wide initiative to encourage Boise State students and employees to engage in all aspects of health and well-being throughout the year.

forbroncofit“Small changes can have a big difference on our lives and the whole healthcare system,” said Ron Pfeiffer, associate dean for the College of Health Sciences. “There’s no effective blanket approach to health. Individuals need to find what works for them. Health is a lifetime skill.”

“BroncoFit will encourage people to think of the various aspects of health,” said Pfeiffer. “Everyone can become educated health consumers and be inspired by the BroncoFit activities and initiative. The initiative will generate energy and awareness about the relationship among health, lifestyle, and healthcare.”

The initiative began with strategic planning in University Health Services during the winter and spring of 2015. Health Services staff envisioned that they could help Boise State create America’s healthiest campus community. Dean Tim Dunnagan and Pfeiffer fully embraced their vision and soon the university administration was also on board to make this vision a reality. The resulting initiative has been dubbed BroncoFit and was announced to the campus community during the “State of the University Address” on August 19, 2015.

Leaders in the BroncoFit initiative will address environment, culture, policy, educational and programmatic aspects that touch the health and well-being of students and employees on campus. While the goal of BroncoFit is to create a culture that provides and supports healthy choices and overall well-being, the initiative will use two different approaches to engage these two campus populations. For example, the employee wellness program is being enhanced in order to engage and educate employees about the various aspects of health and well-being: physical, emotional, social, professional/intellectual, financial, environmental and spiritual. For students, a Foundational Studies course is being developed to help them explore these dimensions.

The idea is to plant the seeds for life-long health. By learning through wellness programs and courses, interacting with the Health Services staff, and engaging with BroncoFit, employees and students will have a road map for their own life-long health. They will understand how minor decisions can affect multiple aspects of their lives and how making a small healthy choice can lead to a lasting healthy lifestyle.

While the programs and initiative are starting with campus populations, anyone can learn from BroncoFit.

“It’s like a dandelion effect,” added Michelle Ihmels, director of Wellness Services for University Health Services. “The seeds spread with the wind and grow new dandelions miles away from the initial plant. We want to empower students and employees to do the same and influence mindsets even after they leave campus.”

Nursing Students Strive to De-stigmatize HIV in Idaho

This fall, senior nursing students enrolled in the Nursing 417 Community Course partnered with the Central District Health Department to screen at risk HIV populations, promote knowledge about HIV, and provide counseling to HIV positive patients.

The course goals for the students were to: become certified to screen and counsel for HIV, destigmatize HIV, promote HIV screening and awareness, create posters and flyers for outreach, and provide screening services to the community.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one in eight individuals living with HIV are unaware of their infection, there are about 50,000 new HIV infections each year, almost half of the individuals in Idaho who are HIV positive reside in District four (Ada, Boise, Elmore, and Valley counties), and there were 1,436 confirmed cases of HIV in Idaho in 2015.

Over the course of the semester, students participated in several outreach projects in their community. They created and distributed posters and flyers throughout the Treasure Valley. They surveyed 102 individuals about their knowledge on HIV risks and transmission and performed a total of 97 HIV screenings. Students also collaborated with Allies Linked for the Prevention of HIV and AIDs, Boise Center for Behavioral Health, Idaho State University, and Boise State Health Services.

“This experience has expanded our knowledge, skill and empathy. As nursing students, we have been fortunate enough to learn about HIV and how to help care for individuals who have contracted it,” said the students in the class. “A major lesson we have learned throughout our experience is that we need to help remove the stigma associated with HIV. This stigma has persisted their condition. The view on HIV needs to change in order to help these individuals gain acceptance in our community. We are now better equipped to educate and inform others and help remove the stigma associated with HIV. This experience has not only improved our nursing skills, but also made us better individuals.”

Students that participated in this project became certified to screen for HIV and to provide counseling. The students plan to submit their abstract to the Western Institute of Nursing convention in California, continue to participate in and encourage HIV screening events, and work towards the goal of de-stigmatizing HIV in the Treasure Valley and surrounding areas.

Nursing Students

Back row, left to right: John Larrinaga, Berni Brackenbury, Josh Meyer, Megan Seaman, Lucy Zhao (faculty), Jordin Scholer, Jessica Stein, Khadiya Khalidova, Ariel Tucker, Kimberly Owens Front row, left to right: Majla Husic, Majda Tabakovic, Jennifer Farris


Nursing Faculty Quoted in Healthcare Financial Management Association Newsletter

Marie-Elena BarryMarie-Elena Barry, clinical assistant professor in the School of Nursing, was quoted in a story about generational differences in the workplace in Healthcare Financial Management Association’s HERe Nov. newsletter.

According to the story, building an effective team of multi-generational workers first requires understanding the perspectives, characteristics, and preferences of each generation. Such an understanding will help leaders bridge gaps when conflicts arise and create a more open working environment.  Barry noted how important it is to be able to create successful communication with someone who thinks differently because of their age.

“I think understanding the differences is really important to creating successful communication and collaboration and understanding how this other person thinks,” said Barry. “You need to recognize and appreciate the culture and diversity of those you’re working with, and apply diverse characteristics in all settings.”

“The slow and steady wins the race is not necessarily what the Gen Xers and Millennials feel about caring for patients and communicating,” she says. “They’re much more to the point. This attitude could be seen as being somewhat rude or disrespectful when viewed by another generation. More often than not, it should not be seen as being disrespectful. It’s just their generational communication style.” Read the full article here.

School of Nursing Community and Population Health Students Prepare for Pandemic Disasters

Siemon_MarkBy Mark Siemon

On Nov. 17 and 19, School of Nursing Community and Population Health students participated in a pandemic influenza simulation exercise that included setting up a Point of Dispensing (POD) site to serve Boise State students who might be at risk or exposed to an infectious disease. The exercise was part of a day-long class on nurses’ roles in responding to disasters in the community.

The day began with a presentation on Disaster Health and Sheltering by Kim Monson, American Red Cross of Greater Idaho. The students worked on case studies to screen and assess the needs of community members who needed emergency shelter. Students also reviewed information on Strategic Triage and Rapid Treatment (START) to help them understand the challenges faced by first responders in a situation where there are limited resources and multiple people in need of help. The afternoon exercise required students to set-up a POD, screen community members, and provide the appropriate treatment and education.

Central District Health Department has also been working with University Health Services to develop an agreement where students, faculty, and staff have access to medication or immunizations if there were an epidemic that required a community wide response, and nursing students could assist as part of a coordinated POD response team.

The POD exercise was designed by Mark Siemon and Cathy Deckys, faculty members in the School of Nursing, with help from Morrison; Natalie Bodine and Randy McLeland, Central District Health Department Public Health Preparedness; Paul Marusich, Ada City-County Emergency Management; Rob Littrell, Emergency Planning Manager with Boise State University.

For more information on the exercise contact Dr. Mark Siemon at

Lonny Ashworth Receives Toshihiko Koga, MD International Medal

Lonny Ashworth receiving the Toshihiko Koga, MD, International Achievement Medal

Lonny Ashworth (right) receiving the Toshihiko Koga, MD, International Medal

Lonny Ashworth, professor in the School of Allied Health Sciences Department of Respiratory Care, received the International Council for Respiratory Care’s Toshihiko Koga, MD International Medal at the 2015 American Association of Respiratory Care International Congress in Tampa, Fla. on Nov. 7-10.

The Toshihiko Koga, MD International Medal is named in honor and memory of Toshihiko Koga, one of the founding members of the International Council for Respiratory Care and one of Ashworth’s friends and partners in the field of respiratory care.

Ashworth and Koga’s friendship and partnership began in 1994 when Koga was visiting Boise as part of a fellowship. Through their relationship, Ashworth began traveling to Japan in 1995 as part of the International Exchange Visit Programme for Respiratory Care Professionals to provide training in adult mechanical ventilation.

Since 1995, Ashworth has conducted more than 130 workshops in Japan on topics such as: use of graphic analysis during mechanical ventilation, pressure control ventilation, and withdrawal of ventilatory support. These workshops have benefitted several thousand physicians, nurses, physical therapists, and clinical engineers by increasing their knowledge base and establishing the use of protocols in Japan. Additionally, Ashworth has trained several of these individuals to provide similar workshops.

As a result of Ashworth’s work in Japan, six Japanese health care professionals have come to Boise State to become registered respiratory therapists and return to Japan with their bachelor’s degree to teach.

“Our department has had the benefit of Lonny’s expertise in the area of mechanical ventilation with his international work.  In Japan, he works alongside some of their top physicians and healthcare providers to grow the knowledge base of both parties. He has brought diversity back to our program in Boise, encouraging international students to join our program on campus. Our students have benefited from these experiences that they would not have had without the long-standing relationships Lonny has developed internationally,” said Lutana Haan, department chair and assistant professor in the School of Allied Health Sciences Department of Respiratory Care.

Lucy Zhao Recipient of Ruth O. McKibben Alumni Research Award

Lucy ZhaoLucy Zhao, clinical assistant professor in the School of Nursing, was awarded the 2015 Ruth O. McKibben Alumni Research Award on Nov. 20 by the University of Kansas School of Nursing for her dissertation project.

Zhao’s dissertation, “Factors Associated with Inpatient Falls and Fall-Related Injuries in Acute Care Hospitals,” examined the associations of fall-related injuries with multilevel factors in acute care hospitals. The results of the study showed what factors are associated with inpatient injurious falls. In addition, the results indicated the significance of each factor contributing to injurious falls.  The findings of Zhao’s study could guide healthcare professionals and acute care hospitals in planning and implementing effective and cost-reducing preventions for inpatient falls and fall-related injuries in acute care settings.

The research committee of the University of Kansas School of Nursing wrote that Zhao’s submission “demonstrated outstanding performance in the areas of scholarship and leadership consistent with the established criteria for the McKibben award.” Zhao was awarded $1,000 for her accomplishment and was commended on her work as well as the leadership she has demonstrated through her doctoral studies.

The Ruth O. McKibben Alumni Research Award was established in 2010 by the University of Kansas (KU) Nurses Alumni Association and was made possible through a gift by Ruth O. McKibben. The award recognizes a doctoral nursing student with an outstanding dissertation or capstone project.

Boise State Faculty Collaborates with Nursing Educators Nationally to Improve Palliative Care Nursing Education

20 nursing faculty, researchers, administrators, and clinicians met this week in Portland, OR to update the Peaceful Death Document - Competencies for undergraduate nursing students.

20 nursing faculty, researchers, administrators, and clinicians met this week in Portland, OR to update the Peaceful Death Document – Competencies for undergraduate nursing students.

Kim Martz, assistant professor in the School of Nursing, will participate in a Cambia Health Foundation three-year grant to improve palliative care nursing education in undergraduate nursing programs across the nation.

Cambia Health Foundation is investing nearly $800,000 to develop an innovative online curriculum to integrate palliative care in undergraduate nursing education across the nation. The online format will make the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) curriculum equally available to students in rural areas and help standardize palliative care nursing education. Initially, the new ELNEC curriculum will be introduced to 92 undergraduate nursing programs in Idaho, Utah, Oregon, and Washington, before dissemination to nursing schools in all 50 states. ELNEC is a collaboration of City of Hope and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). Betty Ferrell, professor and research scientist at City of Hope, is the project’s principal investigator along with co-investigators from AACN and City of Hope.

“This investment aligns with Cambia Health Foundation’s focus to increase access to palliative care in rural areas and strengthen the palliative care workforce nationwide,” said Peggy Maguire, president and board chair of the Cambia Health Foundation. “This experiential, online curriculum, which ultimately will improve the care of our most seriously ill patients, reaches the intersection of innovation, compassion and leadership in our journey to improve health care.”

The online curriculum supports recommendations made in the 2014 Institute of Medicine report, “Dying in America,” which illustrated the gap between what services are available to individuals and what they want, and highlighted the critical need for additional palliative care training amongst healthcare professionals.
The first year of the grant is dedicated to reviewing the current state of undergraduate palliative care nursing education. The investigators met with 20 nursing faculty from around the country, including Martz, for a summit in Portland, Oregon on October 19-21 to revise the AACN “Peaceful Death: Recommended Competencies and Curricular Guidelines for End-of-Life Nursing Care.” The outdated guidelines were developed in 1998 to define competencies that nurses need to provide care.

New Lab Offers Advanced Fitness Testing to the Public


In November, Boise State’s Human Performance Laboratory (HPL) opened its doors to students, researchers and the public in its new home on the first floor of the Norco Building. While its unveiling was marked with little fanfare, the new space is one of the region’s most unique and sophisticated physiological testing spaces, making it not only a great learning and teaching space for Boise State kinesiology and nursing students but a vital health resource for the public.

“We see this as an investment in students, giving them quality facilities to engage in research and learning,” said Tim Dunnagan, dean of the College of Health Sciences. “When paired with the biomedical lab in Yanke Center, we’ve created a premier space in exercise science at Boise State. It’s a big step up.”

In the HPL, athletes, health enthusiasts, recreationists and individuals looking to overhaul their sedentary or otherwise unhealthy lifestyles can make an appointment to test their body’s muscular strength, metabolic rate, anaerobic and aerobic capacity, and body fat composition, to name a few. Then, armed with their base-level fitness and guided by professionals, individuals can craft exercise plans to improve their fitness. The lab’s close proximity to the Health Services Center on Norco’s second floor have turned the building into a one-stop holistic health space.

“For years we’ve known that what we need to develop for our greater population is a cohesive health system with behavior and health coaches to make long-term changes for folks,” explained Ron Pfeiffer, associate dean of the College of Health Sciences. “That’s an effective integrated health system and that’s what we’ve created here. We have physicians on campus, nutritionists, behavior health specialists and now the Human Performance Lab. In a single building we can help people craft a preventative health plan that will greatly improve the quality of their lives. It’s a big cultural shift and we’re proud that shift is happening here.”

The HPL also is the ideal environment for learner-centered teaching. Students participate in activities using equipment unavailable anywhere else in the region. They experience first-hand, as participants and technicians, the tests used to understand human physiology and manipulate data to help athletes excel.

“Fifteen thousand people come through this building each year,” Dunnagan said. “Now they’ll be able to see a process that’s usually hidden – the process of research and learning.”

Walls of windows give passersby views of each piece of state-of-the-art equipment in the Human Performance Lab. Treadmills allow kinesiology students to conduct electrical studies on the heart, which help them identify heart disease, heart arrhythmia and overall cardiac function. “These treadmills function at higher speeds and greater inclines to accommodate athletes,” noted Shawn Simonson, an associate professor of kinesiology and director of the HPL.

Other equipment includes an antigravity treadmill, which allows researchers to reduce body weight down to 20 percent of a person’s mass. This is not only great for athletes looking to rehab injuries; overweight individuals can use the machine to work out without the physical stress of carrying their full body weight, and older adults could use it to increase their muscular function, which may help reduce falls. “We’re hoping to do a study on that in the near future,” Simonson said.

Serving more than 700 students within the College of Health Sciences, the Department of Kinesiology hosts four undergraduate and two graduate degree programs each with multiple sub-discipline areas of specialization. The department provides comprehensive undergraduate and graduate degree programs that incorporate scientific and professional methods of inquiry to study physical activity, exercise, sport and health-related issues; advances the body of knowledge through scholarly inquiry; and offers a wide-range of fitness and sport activities that help promote lifelong well-being.

The HPL is equipped with research-quality equipment and is set up to be a learning environment for students in related fields as well. Faculty and students working in the HPL have conducted original research in body composition, cycling, energy expenditure, environmental stress, exercise and resting metabolism, hydration, nutrition, Olympic weightlifting, resistance training, weight loss and many other areas. Clients have included local entrepreneurs, the Boise Fire Department, AlterG, weight loss centers, and numerous health enthusiasts and recreational athletes.

“This is what we envisioned when we launched BroncoFit,” Pfeiffer added. “We’re literally trying to build out a model that can be translated to healthcare clinics anywhere. That’s the shift we’re talking about.”

Innovative KIN-ACT Blends Classroom Lectures, Physical Activity


Student advisors take note: a new class launched this fall is blending traditional lectures on health and well being with at least 20 minutes of planned exercises for students. KIN-ACT: Intro to Healthy College Living is being taught as part of the BroncoFit initiative. The 10-week, one-credit class is targeted at incoming freshmen and aims to educate young adults on topics they wouldn’t normally learn in a university setting such as finance, injury prevention and crafting a personal wellness plan.

However, “every student, no matter their degree, can take a KINACT class,” added Michelle Ihmels, director of Wellness Services. “There’s room in their degree for it and some majors require it.” Students receive an activity elective credit for the class.

“In upholding the ideals of BroncoFit, we decided to add a physical activity component to each class and it’s been a huge hit,” said Tina Freeman, an academic advisor with the kinesiology department. The activities included yoga, drumming, dance and mini boot camp sessions. “This is a personal health class but we want to look at health and wellness from a different perspective and show how easy it is to make small changes in your daily routine to improve mental, emotional and physical well-being.”

The KIN-ACT class also incorporated MyZone heart monitors into its homework load, asking students to wear the monitors and meet the CDC requirements for weekly exercise (which is 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week for adults) as part of their pass/fail grade.

“The philosophy now is moving from prescribed health to shared partnership in your health,” Ihmels said. “You need to make health decisions and have a role in that. This is a different way of thinking for 18-22 year olds, who are used to mom taking them to the doctor, and that’s why this class is so important.”

Freeman added, “The main feedback we’ve gotten from students is, ‘wow, I wish I would’ve learned this in high school.’”

Social Work Faculty Presents at National Conference on Correctional Health Care

BonnieKenaleyBonnie Kenaley, associate professor in the School of Social Work, presented at the National Commission on Correctional Health Care’s Conference (NCCHC) in Dallas, Texas on Oct. 17-21.

Kenaley, along with Patrick Wolberd, licensed and certified social worker in Idaho, and Richard Craig, chief psychologist of the Idaho Department of Correction, presented on the effectiveness of the newly developed self-management and regulation training, a program for violent offenders.

The mission of the National Commission on Correctional Health Care is to improve the quality of health care in jails, prisons and juvenile confinement facilities.

NCCHC’s lineup of educational sessions and networking opportunities attracts thousands of correctional health professionals. With sessions geared toward basic, intermediate and advanced levels of experience and knowledge, the conference provided opportunities for attendees to learn, mentor, connect and grow.
The conference offered more than 100 educational sessions and 100 exhibitors to close to 2,000 colleagues in five days. The conference offered comprehensive coverage of all aspects of correctional health care: chronic care, mental health, suicide prevention, oral health, crisis intervention, liability challenges, risk management and more.