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College of Health Sciences Honors Staff at the Annual Employee Recognition Luncheon

Boise State University recently recognized staff for their years of service at the annual Employee Recognition Luncheon Monday, October 30 hosted by the Association of Classified Employees and the Professional Staff Association. Among those recognized from the College of Health Sciences were:

  • Glenda Hill, College of Health Sciences Student Services and Academic Advising, 40 years of service;
  • Sue Ellis, administrative assistant for the Department of Kinesiology, 35 years of service;
  • Maura Rasmussen, manager of enrollment and advising and completion track
    adjunct faculty for the School of Nursing, 15 years of service;
  • Frances Jones, administrative assistant for Idaho Occupational Safety and Health Consultation Program, 10 years of service;
  • Pamela Mulcock, clinical coordinator for the School of Nursing, 10 years of service;
  • Alexis Rowland, senior business manager for the College of Health Sciences, 10 years of service;
  • Katie Atkinson, licensed practical nurse for Health Services, 5 years of service;
  • Julia Beard, director of clinical operations for Health Services, 5 years of service;
  • Tara Brooks, director of business operations for Health Services, 5 years of service;
  • Michele Kelly, technical records specialist in the Department of Respiratory Care for the School of Allied Health Sciences, 5 years of service;
  • Jon Larkin, director of development for the College of Health Sciences, 5 years of service;
  • Sherepta McLeod, administrative assistant and AGNP program placement coordinator for the School of Nursing, 5 years of service;
  • Alyssa Reynolds, scholars coordinator for the School of Social Work, 5 years of service;
  • Ron Schmaltz, health information systems administrator and HIPAA security compliance officer for Health Services, 5 years of service.

A list of all Boise State honorees for this year can be viewed here. (

Internship/Employer Meet-N-Greet Offers Students Networking Opportunities

By Taylor Music
NeighborsWorks Boise Network at Meet-N-Greet

Caile Spear, professor for the School of Allied Health Sciences in the Department of Community and Environmental Health, recently held the eighth semiannual “Meet-N-Greet” for Public Health and Health Science students in search of internships and networking opportunities to transition their education into a career. All Health Education and Promotion students are required to complete internships before graduation. Spear has helped create tremendous success for these students looking to turn their degree into an internship or future career with this event.

Approximately 20 different agencies attended the latest Meet-N-Greet, held in October, with hopes to find interns and employees who strive to excel in their education through hands on learning found in such internships. With the help of Health Education and Promotion student Kasey Tobin, Spear orchestrated the afternoon for agencies to introduce themselves, share what kind of work is done within the agencies and create rounds of networking. Students then have the opportunity to talk and meet with professionals in their degree path to expand their network. Attendees believe  this one-on-one time to be extremely beneficial in getting their name recognized when making connections and applying for internships.

“Having multiple agencies attend the event allows students to explore opportunities, even those that they may not have thought of prior,” said Tobin. “The event is a also a huge step for Boise State in helping students achieve the bridge needed to apply their major to their work after graduation.”

Spear oversees this successful event with many graduates and current students who have received not only internships but jobs through the networking. Graduates Mindy Hoskins and Kristi Wilson, who have both graduated in May of 2017 and attended a previous Meet-N-Greet, secured internships which led to jobs after their graduation. Hoskins, not only secured a job with her internship but also attended this year’s event as an American Lung Association (ALA) representative to network to other students and gain interns for her agency.

Mindy Hoskins

Mindy Hoskins Talks to Students on Behalf of the American Lung Association

“The Internship Meet-N-Greet is one of the big reasons I am where I am today,” said Hoskins. “I went through the process and at the end of the day I ended up giving at least five resumes away in hopes to get the internship I really wanted. After the fall 2016 Meet-N-Greet the ALA called me in for an interview.” After graduating from Boise State University as a Health Education and Promotion major, Hoskins was hired as the ALA Lung Health Coordinator due to  the knowledge and experience she gained about ALA programs and systems through her internship.

Wilson also created a pathway of success for herself thanks to internships provided by the Meet-N-Greet. After interning with two different organizations  from the event, Wilson was able to combine what she had learned from these experiences with her schooling to receive a job after graduation with PacificSource as a team member in the wellness department.

“I loved being a health education and promotion major, but I really struggled deciding what exactly I wanted to do with it,” said Wilson. “The Meet-N-Greet opened me up to all that is going on in the community and the different projects and areas of health I could be a part of. Events like this are what help take the students from the classroom to the working world. I only hope that events such as this can be as beneficial to other students as it was for me.”

“This one on one time at the Meet-N-Greet allowed me to learn more about organizations by asking more specific questions,” said Kasey Tobin. “By making an initial connection with ALA, I was able to apply to an internship where my name was recognized and I was immediately called for an interview. This internship with ALA has allowed me to apply educational materials I have learned in the classroom directly to the workforce.”

“This internship has really helped me receive the hands on experience in the career I am interested in pursuing after I graduate in May,” said Alexa Potter, a senior in Public Health: Health Education and Promotion who landed an internship with St. Luke’s in the area of child injury prevention. “I have also been able to network greatly through this internship and spend time in the community meeting all types of people that can help me connect to potential jobs and other internship opportunities after graduation.”

Claire Weingartner, who is a senior in Public Health: Health Education and Promotion student  currently internships for Agency for New Americans (ANA) as a volunteer manager, a position   she gained through the previous Meet-N-Greet. “Interning at ANA is aiding my education by giving me a taste of working in a professional setting and is helping me build confidence in my abilities. I am really happy that I attended the Meet-N-Greet because it helped secure the internship I have now. I am grateful to have gotten the opportunity to meet and connect with so many people in the Boise community.” said Weingartner.

Success is already being seen from the latest Meet-N-Greet held in October as Maddie Hamilton, health science studies student, attended the event and has already received an internship with Central District Health Department (CDHD) in the Health Policy and Promotion Department. Due to an impressive interview, Hamilton was then offered a part-time position with CDHD and the opportunity for promotion upon graduation.

“The Meet-N-Greet provides an opportunity for students to connect with a variety of agencies, practice oral communication skills, expand their network and learn more about the agencies within the Treasure Valley.” said Spear.

To learn more about internship opportunities within the Department of Community and Environmental Health visit our Internship Information page.

Joelle Powers 2017/2018 Boise State University Association of Office Professionals Administrator of the Year

Joelle Powers

Joelle Powers, associate dean for the College of Health Sciences, was recently awarded the 2017-2018 Boise State University Association of Office Professionals Administrator of the Year Award.

Powers was recognized for her contributions in the Dean’s Office and in Social Work education research for numerous Boise State Social Work programs. Powers was nominated by Ellie Pierce, academic advisor for the College of Health Sciences, who has worked with Powers since 2012 in the School of Social Work. Pierce was eager to nominate such an “extraordinary person whose knowledge, emotional intelligence and personality contribute in equal parts to make working with her both a pleasure and an honor.”

“I feel Dr. Powers’ qualifications truly exceed what is required of this award. But it’s not just the “written” qualifications that she meets; Dr. Powers’ passion, sincerity and old fashion “gumption” is what makes her the standout candidate for this award. Her support and respect for staff, not only in the dean’s office but across the College, I don’t think can be matched by any other administrator. She cares; truly cares; by words, actions and deeds. ” said Alexis Rowland, senior business manager for the College of Health Sciences.

Shannon Eddins, administrative assistant for the online MSW program for the School of Social Work also added, “I have never had a moment’s hesitation in going to Dr. Powers with a question or request, and she never fails to help me resolve whatever may be going on.”

Boise State Association of Office Professionals (AOP) is a professional organization for Boise State employees, classified and professional, in educational office support positions. The organization assists its members in reaching a professional level of excellence, promotes positive attitudes and encourages further training in specific fields relevant to each member’s responsibilities within the university. For more information about Boise State AOP, visit or contact membership chair Pam Robbins,

Boise State to Offer Nation’s First Online Master’s Program in Genetic Counseling

Boise State University will begin offering the nation’s only fully online master of science degree program in genetic counseling beginning fall 2019.

The State Board of Education approved the program Thursday.

Genetic counselors help people understand and adapt to the medical, psychological and familial implications of genetic contributions to disease. To become a genetic counselor requires a master’s degree in genetic counseling from an accredited program.

Since 2006, the profession of genetic counseling has increased by 85 percent, and nationally there are four jobs for every graduate. Locally, the number of unique job openings for genetic counselors has doubled since 2012. However, these newly created jobs have remained unfilled for longer periods of time.

There is also substantial need for more capacity in training genetic counselors because of strong competition for extremely limited space in existing programs. Nationally, about 330 applicants out of 1,300 are accepted to genetic counseling programs each year. The only program serving students in the Northwest is a face-to-face program at the University of Utah. Similar programs are offered by California State University, Stanislaus; Stanford University; University of California, Irvine; University of Colorado, Denver, but all are in-person programs.

Boise State’s program will be available to nurses, health care professionals and others in the rural areas of Idaho and surrounding states, and to students who are otherwise unable to attend a face-to-face program in Boise. It will produce genetic counseling professionals with leadership, business and inter-professional skills who will be desirable additions to a healthcare team.

“The vision of the MS in Genetic Counseling program is to encourage and support diverse populations to pursue a career in genetic counseling and create lifelong learners who are motivated critical thinkers and dedicated healthcare professionals prepared to advance and shape the profession of genetic counseling into the next era of genetics and genomics in mainstream healthcare,” said Jennifer Eichmeyer, a clinical faculty member in the School of Allied Health Sciences at Boise State who will direct the program.

Boise State is seeking accreditation for the program through the Accreditation Council of Genetic Counselors and expects provisional, new program accreditation next year. The program foundation is based on the rigorous accreditation standards regulated by the American Board of Genetic Counselors.

“This new program is one of many that Boise State recently committed to making available online,” said Mark Wheeler, dean of Extended Studies at Boise State. “We’ve already launched several online bachelor degrees to provide Idaho’s working adults with greater access to a college diploma, as well master’s degrees, like accounting and social work, so professionals can take classes anytime and anywhere.”

Learn more about the new program and more than 30 additional online degrees and certificates at

Where in the World? Belize

Boise State students lead a physical education class for students in Belize.

Boise State students lead a physical education class for students in Belize.

Each year, Karen Breitkreuz, an associate professor in the School of Nursing, and Anthony Songer, a professor in the College of Engineering’s construction management program, take a group of students to Belize as part of an upper-level class titled Global Citizenship and Responsibility.

The class is open to all students, who meet during spring semester to prepare for the 10-day trip to Belize, which spans over spring break.

“We focus on discussing concepts of global citizenship, cultural intelligence, leadership and team building,” Breitkreuz said. “Students complete service projects as requested by our Belizean partner elementary school. Our Boise State students lead a three-day healthy lifestyles day camp and then complete construction projects that help ensure the sustainability and flourishing of the school. They have renovated the school garden and playground, and for the past three years, they have built a cantina, or outdoor covered patio area, where the children can eat their lunches.”

Breitkreuz said that one reason the class is so popular – and successful – is that students learn to apply their skills, whatever their academic major, to directly benefit the children and community. They learn the importance of early education through their healthy lifestyle classes and they acquire basic physical skills that they use to enhance an elementary school in an underserved community.

“Students build relationships with the teachers, principles and children, they learn to communicate across cultures, and they learn a tremendous amount about leadership and teamwork by completing their projects in a foreign yet safe setting,” she said.

The class raises funds for the projects through Boise State’s “PonyUp” program. Below is a link to a short video the students created to thank their donors:

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.