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One-Day Conference to Offer Family Caregivers Training, Resources, Support

The seventh annual Family Caregiver Conference, designed to support family caregivers, will be held from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, in the Boise State Student Union Building.

Info Caregiver Conference

Photo from the 2016 Family Caregiver Conference

Every day, thousands of Idahoans work 24/7, with love and dedication taking care of a family member who is elderly or has a physical or intellectual disability or mental illness. These caregivers are the largest workforce in Idaho. This unique event provides practical information that helps family caregivers, those supporting loved ones of all ages, from 2–102, navigate the challenges of providing care.

The day includes a keynote address by caregiver advocate and author Anne Tumlinson, hands-on learning through the use of a care map, and an expo of more than 40 community resource organizations. Come for networking, learning and fun.

The conference is the result of a collaboration between Idaho Caregiver Alliance, Idaho Parents Unlimited, Legacy Corps by Jannus, St Alphonsus Health System, St Luke’s Health System, Idaho Estate Planning, Riverside Hotel and Boise State University’s Center for the Study of Aging.

The event includes lunch and parking, for just $20. Registration is required by Feb. 9 at or by calling the Center for the Study of Aging at (208) 426-5899. For more information contact Sarah Toevs at (208) 426-2452.

Boise State Researcher Bringing Healthier Air to Kenyan Homes

Professor Uwe Reischl with a family in Kenya

Professor Uwe Reischl with a family in Kenya

Uwe Reischl, a professor in the Department of Community and Environmental Health in the College of Health Sciences, recently conducted a project in Bukhaywa, Kenya, to evaluate a new architectural ventilation design concept developed at Boise State.

The design reduces harmful indoor smoke accumulation generated by open fires in rural kitchens. Kenya’s rural population relies primarily on indoor open fires for cooking. Fuels such as firewood, charcoal, agricultural waste products and animal dung create toxic smoke that lead to chronic respiratory health problems primarily for women and children. It is estimated that more than 600,000 women worldwide die prematurely each year from illnesses caused by such exposures. Past efforts to address this problem focused on the distribution of new stove technologies. However, this approach has had minimal impact because poor families cannot afford the stoves.

An interior photo of the kitchen concept

An interior photo of the kitchen concept

Using a different approach altogether, a low-cost kitchen ventilation concept was developed that can now reduce smoke build-up in rural kitchens. The design feature allows families to continue using their traditional open fires while experiencing a reduction in smoke build-up by 80 percent. To evaluate the new application under actual conditions, Reischl built a full-scale prototype kitchen in Bukhaywa and evaluated the performance.

Use of the prototype kitchen by a rural family showed that healthful indoor air quality conditions can now be achieved without requiring new technologies. Reischl believes that the design application will not only be able to reduce the overall health burden imposed on poor rural women and their children in Kenya, but can also improve the indoor air quality conditions of families in other parts of the world.

The "Boise State kitchen" under construction in Kenya using local construction techniques

The “Boise State kitchen” under construction in Kenya using local construction techniques


Boise State Approved For A Full Online Master of Science in Respiratory Care Program

""Just before the holidays, the Idaho State Board of Education approved Boise State’s new fully online Master of Science in Respiratory Care program, which will begin in fall 2018. Currently, there are only 12 respiratory care master degree programs in the nation and only eight are offered online for working respiratory therapists.

“The program will have an emphasis in educational leadership, which is designed to capture those students with varying future interests,” said Megan Koster, clinical associate professor and director of Boise State’s Master of Science in Respiratory Care program.

Like many healthcare professions, the profession of respiratory care is in the process of moving to the baccalaureate level for entry into the practice. According to a 2009 survey of respiratory care educational programs, while only one and a half percent of respiratory therapists enter the workforce at the master’s level, 13.5 percent will earn a master’s degree during the course of their careers. There are 119,300 full time respiratory therapists nationwide, which means over 14,000 therapists will advance to the master’s level. With only 12 respiratory care-specific master’s programs in the nation and a maximum capacity of about 280 students per year, most respiratory therapists who want to advance their education through a master’s degree will have to do so in programs of study other than respiratory care; which is not ideal.

“Our goal is to engage those practitioners who are dedicated, interested, and motivated in key areas within our profession to stay in the profession and to be integral in progressing the field through meaningful research and clinical application,” said Koster. “Hospitals, private practitioners, and home care agencies rely on the respiratory therapy perspective when deciding on ventilator weaning protocols, rapid response team structure, smoking cessation programs or critical care transport; “There are a multitude of opportunities awaiting the graduate-level Respiratory Care Practitioner – from bedside consultants in the acute care setting, to community program developers, to academics – the potential is out there and our stakeholders are very excited about the types of advanced skills that our graduates will bring to the table.”

“The level of education required for working in the modern, complex medical environment has been increasing for all Allied Health specialties as they struggle to keep up with advancing expectations, and that is certainly the case for Respiratory Care,” said Joe Coyle, MD, senior lecturer for the Department of Respiratory Care and one of the faculty leaders for the new Master of Science in Respiratory Care program. “As the entry-level workforce moves to the bachelor’s level, master’s prepared respiratory therapists will be needed in educational roles, leadership, advanced clinical practice, and care navigators for patients with chronic respiratory diseases.”

The completely online program will begin in August 2018 and will feature seven week courses, designed with the working clinician in mind. Students will complete 30 credits of coursework and a six credit, research based capstone project.

“The respiratory care graduate students will have a real-life positive impact on patient care through their capstone projects and subsequent contributions to care after graduation,” said Coyle. “These capstone projects can come with a wide range of benefits. In other programs where capstone projects are required, projects have resulted in asthma education in schools, COPD patient screening and education in community health centers, educational projects in middle schools about vaping, protocols for cystic fibrosis patients and websites for exercise induced asthma education for patients among many other great projects.”

“We are extremely excited to get this program off the ground and to meet potential students,” said Koster. “The online, cohort-based format will provide a rich and diverse experience through which students from all over the country can contribute to the growing field of Respiratory Care.”

For more information on the new program visit or contact

The School of Allied Health Sciences’ Department of Respiratory Care Celebrates National Respiratory Care Week

""While watching the Boise city skyline as the sun set, Boise State respiratory care alumni, faculty, staff and friends filled the Boise State Stueckle Sky Center Skyline Room with laughter and cheer on Oct. 27 for the second Respiratory Care Alumni and Friends Celebration. The event culminated the School of Allied Health Sciences’ Department of Respiratory Care’s celebration of National Respiratory Care Week.

Lutana Haan, chair of the Department of Respiratory Care, gave an update on the department’s success and growth. Due in part to the department’s longstanding bachelor’s program, Idaho is third in the nation in the number of baccalaureate prepared respiratory care practitioners.

“Our growth is driven by our online Degree Advancement Program, taking associate degree graduates from community colleges around the nation to the bachelor’s level,” explained Haan. “The program is now in its tenth year and with more than 270 students enrolled this fall, we are the nation’s largest online program in Respiratory Care. To further drive the profession forward, we are embarking on the creation of a Master of Respiratory Care. Recently approved by the Idaho State Board of Education, we plan to begin with our first cohort of master’s students in Fall 2018.”

An important part of the celebration each year is to honor practitioners, educators and friends of Respiratory Care for their excellent contributions to the field. The Dr. David Merrick Excellence in Respiratory Care Award was created in 2016 as an honor to Merrick who is a friend of the department and was the first medical director for the department with his tenure spanning 30 years.

Jeff Anderson, director of clinical education for the Department of Respiratory Care, then announced the second recipient, Lisa Crowley (Respiratory Care, 1988). Anderson shared his recollections of Lisa.

“Lisa Crowley was a new student in my first class at Boise State University in the fall of 1986,” said Anderson. “After graduation she was hired at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center and eventually became a core therapist in the intensive care unit. Her role further developed as she worked with the intensive care physicians to craft therapist driven protocols that allow therapists to make decisions about patient care rather than to simply perform tasks. Working in this type of environment increases job satisfaction and further develops critical thinking skills. Lisa was also in charge of orienting new ICU Respiratory Care staff, and helped them build upon the skills and knowledge that they gained in the Boise State program.”

Boise State’s College of Health Sciences Hosts Interprofessional Education Clinical Seminar

Clinical SeminarEighty students from Boise State’s College of Health Sciences, Idaho State University, and University of Washington medical students gathered in the Boise State University Student Union Building on Nov. 1 for Boise State’s College of Health Sciences first biannual Interprofessional Education Clinical Seminar.

The purpose of the Interprofessional Education Clinical Seminar is to provide learners with evidence-based knowledge and skills on a selected health care topic through an interprofessional lens. The seminar’s structure featured an opening lecture and discussion from a clinical expert and culminated with an interprofessional team learning activity for the participants.

Interprofessional education is when learners from two or more health professions jointly create and foster a collaborative learning environment. The goal is to develop knowledge, skills, and attitudes that result in interprofessional team behaviors and competence, which are becoming more and more ingrained in modern American healthcare environments.

Jennifer Obenshain, clinical assistant professor for the Boise State School of Social Work and a licensed clinical social worker, presented and engaged the students on motivational interviewing as an interprofessional skill. Motivational interviewing is a strategic approach to working with patients that is designed to elicit and strengthen a patient’s own motivation and commitment to change. Motivational interviewing helps patients explore and resolve ambivalence that may prevent them from making changes they would like or need to make in their lives.

IPE Clinical SeminarMotivational interviewing is collaborative, evocative, and honors patient autonomy. Motivational interviewing activates patients’ own motivation and resources for change and connects health behavior change with what the patient cares about. A part of human nature is the tendency to dislike coercion and being told what to do. Therefore, motivational interviewing acknowledges each person’s right and freedom not to change, which can make change more possible in the long run.

Using the guiding principles of motivational interviewing, healthcare providers can create cooperative and collaborative partnerships with their patients to make joint decisions about the patients’ care. The guiding principles are resisting the reflex to “make things right,” understanding and explore the patient’s own motivation, listening with empathy, and empowering the patient.

“I truly believe it was a very successful seminar and it exceeded my expectations,” said Phil Ford, Boise State College of Health Sciences Interprofessional education coordinator and clinical associate professor in the athletic training program. “The most exciting part for me was to see the level of student engagement both during and after the event. One student commented, ‘can we have another event like this next week.’ I hope that students continue to discuss motivational interviewing. I also hope they learned not only from Jennifer Obenshain but from each other. You never know, the clinical seminar may have dramatically influenced a future healthcare provider in a way that will positively impact patient/client care in the future.”

“It was really fun to see students from different disciplines interacting, working together and practicing the new skills as they were learning them,” said Obenshain. “At the end of the workshop, I asked the students how well we met the goal of interprofessional education (to learn from, with and about other professions). When every hand was raised and everyone was nodding and talking, I knew the event was a great success.”

The next Interprofessional Education Clinical Seminar will take place on March 5 and the topic will be emergency planning and preparedness. Students will receive an invitation from their college or school.

School of Nursing Honors Saint Alphonsus and St. Luke’s at Boise State Convocation

Convocation MedallionsThe School of Nursing recently honored Saint Alphonsus and St. Luke’s by awarding them recognition medallions at the school’s bi-annual convocation held on December 15 in the Jordan Ballroom of the Student Union Building at Boise State University. Both health systems have contributed to Boise State in many ways including contributions to the School of Nursing through their scholarships. The scholarship support demonstrates the hospitals’ recognition of the critical roles nurses play in the future of healthcare.

The Saint Alphonsus Degree Completion Program Scholarship is a creative and innovative approach to better care for patients by furthering their nurses’ educations. Baccalaureate nursing programs provide additional competencies in community and public health, gerontology, care coordination, and more that associate degree and diploma nursing programs do not include. These skills, as well as experience with technology, policy development, and organizational systems, are necessary as the healthcare environment becomes more and more complex. This one of a kind scholarship opportunity, distributed through Boise State University, has been awarded to 36 students and has provided more than $240,000 since the scholarship was first established in 2014 to address the clinical needs of the Treasure Valley.

St. Luke’s Medical Staff were honored at the convocation for creating and sustaining two scholarships in nursing: the St. Luke’s Medical Staff Scholarship for Nursing Excellence and The St. Luke’s Medical Staff Endowed Scholarship for Nursing. Established in 2006 and 2010, members of the medical staff at St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center believed these scholarships would help promote the nursing profession and support nursing students of Boise State University. Recently, the medical staff agreed to combine their scholarships to grow their endowment and legacy with the university in an effort to provide more support to nursing students who represent the future of the profession. Their scholarship represents a multi-year effort by a group of physicians to assist the nursing profession, to recognize the critical role nurses play in healthcare, and to improve the health of people in the region. Since established, 20 Boise State School of Nursing students have received a scholarship from these funds.

Speakers “We greatly appreciate our community partners,” said Ann Hubbert, director of the School of Nursing. “They go beyond providing clinical spaces for our students. They also support our students with scholarships, mentor our students, partner with our faculty on research, and employ many of our students after graduation.”

The School of Nursing Convocation is a ceremony to celebrate and honor the academic achievements of nursing students. Fifty-seven pre-licensure Bachelor of Science nursing students are graduating this winter, 18 Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner students have earned their master’s degrees, 16 students are receiving their Healthcare Simulation Graduate Certificate, and three students are completing their Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner certificates, and 59 registered nurses are completing their bachelor’s degree through the RN-BS Completion Program.

Convocation provides an opportunity for nursing graduates to share their excitement and academic accomplishment with faculty, staff, fellow students, family, and friends at a special ceremony. Similar to the university commencement event, each individual student is recognized as they walk across the stage in their full graduation regalia. However, unique to convocation is the opportunity for students to invite an honored guest to walk beside them on stage. This person can be a parent, friend, partner, child, or faculty member who has significantly impacted their life and their education.

Students from the BS-Nursing Program and the RN-BS Program will be presented on stage with their apricot color stole by one of the School of Nursing Associate Directors. Masters graduates will be hooded on stage during convocation, whereas Doctor of Nursing graduates will receive their doctoral hoods during the commencement ceremony.

Convocation includes remarks from the School of Nursing Director and College of Health Sciences Dean. The ceremony features a keynote speaker and often includes recognition of special friends and donors of the School of Nursing. At the conclusion of the ceremony, nursing students and registered nurses in the audience will join together to recite the nursing oath.

The School of Nursing seeks to foster intellectual development and excellence in nursing education through teaching, learning, scholarship, and service. The school’s faculty are supportive teachers, passionate about nursing, and experienced educators with a wide range of clinical and academic expertise. Whether courses are taught online, in the classroom, or in a clinical setting, teaching and learning are highly interactive and multidimensional and the curriculum is designed to facilitate experiences that help students to integrate theoretical concepts into practice. The dedicated staff share the values of the School of Nursing community and provide high-touch services and support to students while supporting the coordination and promotion of our academic programs.

The College of Health Sciences Partners With Darkness to Light to Offer an Interprofessional Service Training

Darkness to Light TrainingThe College of Health Sciences offered its freshman and sophomore students an interprofessional service training on Oct. 4 in partnership with Darkness to Light through the Idaho Children’s Trust Fund. More than 60 students attended the training in the Student Union Building to learn how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.

One in ten children will be sexually abused by age 18. There are 42 million survivors of child sexual abuse in the US. Ninety percent of abused children know their abuser. Though a heavy subject, the Boise State students who participated found the training of high quality and many would recommend the training to others.

Stewards of Children is a two-hour training that teaches adults practical actions to prevent child sexual abuse or intervene if abuse is suspected. Featuring compelling and engaging content to motivate participants, the program is design for parents, concerned individuals, and any adult that works with youth.

Guided by the vision to create a world where children can grow up happy, healthy, and safe, Darkness to Light is a national nonprofit committed to empowering adults to prevent child sexual abuse. Although teaching children about their bodies and boundaries is important, protecting children is an adult responsibility and education is critical for prevention. Stewards of Children is an evidence-informed child sexual abuse prevention, recognition, and intervention training which has been shown to change child-protective behaviors.

Through Stewards of Children, over 1,000,000 adults have been trained to protect children from sexual abuse. It is available in both English and Spanish, and in online or facilitator-led formats. For more information, visit or email to learn more about Stewards of Children, see where it is being offered in your state, or find ways to get your community involved in a grassroots initiative to end child sexual abuse.

The College of Health Sciences will host a second Stewards of Children training in Spring 2018.

Dale Stephenson Appointed Dean of the College of Health Professions at Northern Kentucky University

Dale StephensonDale Stephenson, director and professor for the School of Allied Health Sciences, has recently been appointed the new dean of the College of Health Professions at Northern Kentucky University. He takes over this role in January of 2018. The College of Health Professions offers programs in Nursing, Radiologic Science, Respiratory Care, and Health Science.

Stephenson worked within The College of Health Sciences at Boise State for just over 14 years obtaining the titles assistant professor, associate professor, full professor and director. Prior to working for Boise State, Stephenson volunteered for the United States Peace Corp. and later worked as a Program Manager at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He then assumed academic positions for the University of Utah and the University of Idaho.

While at Boise State, Stephenson was responsible for the development and implementation of strategic goals and objectives for the departments of Radiologic Sciences, Respiratory Care, Kinesiology and Community and Environmental Health.

Stephenson has received numerous awards while at the university including, the College of Health Sciences’ Excellence in Faculty Teaching Award (2008 and 2011), the College of Health Sciences’ Excellence in Faculty Service Award (2010), and the Provost’s Excellence in Advising Award (2009).

“Dr. Stephenson has done a great job at Boise State and we wish him the best of luck in his new venture,” said Tim Dunnagan, dean of the College of Health Sciences.

Collaborative Article Published in the Online Journal of Health Education Teaching

The School of Allied Health Sciences Department of Community and Environmental Health has partnered with the Department of Psychological Science to compose the article, “A Formative Evaluation of Healthy Habits, Healthy U: A Collaborative School-Based Cancer Education Program” that has recently been published in the online Journal of Health Education Teaching.

Alicia Anderson

Alicia Anderson

The collaboration of authors came from both faculty and students. Authors include: Alicia Anderson, project coordinator for the School of Allied Health Sciences, Department of Community and Environmental Health, Caile Spear, professor for the School of Allied Health Sciences Department of Community and Environmental Health, Mary Pritchard, professor for the Department of Psychological Science, Kayla George, graduate of Psychology in May of 2016, Kyle Young, masters student of the School of Social Work and Carrie Smith, graduate of Math in May of 2016.

Caile Spear

Caile Spear

The article describes a study done on the program Healthy Habits, Healthy U (HHHU). HHHU is a collaborative educational program between St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute, Boise State University and the Boise School District. The program is designed to help students learn the strategies to reduce their risks of cancer and to inform about the impacts cancer has on the human body.

Mary Pritchard

Mary Pritchard

The study explained in the article evaluates the program’s ability to enlighten students at the junior high level about cancer prevention. The assessment focused on the ways students could identify prevention strategies through unhealthy habits, their understanding of what cancer is and how it develops, and lifestyle changes to decrease their chances of cancer.

The article outlines HHHU, the full study, results from the examination, and recommendations for the program based on the evaluation.

The full article can be found in the Journal of Health Education Teaching.

College of Health Sciences Student Kelly Larkin Named Winter Commencement Student Speaker

Kelly Larkin, 2017 winter commencement student speaker, Photo Patrick SweeneyCollege of Health Sciences student, Kelly Larkin is the featured student speaker for Boise State University’s Winter 2017 Commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 16.

Larkin is graduating with a degree in radiologic sciences. She moved from Minnesota to attend Boise State over four years ago and quickly carved out a busy life for herself within the Boise State community, balancing an on-campus job and two radiologic technologist positions – which involves performing X-rays and health screenings – all while maintaining a 4.0 departmental GPA. Larkin also was elected vice president of Boise State’s Student Association of Radiologic Technologists – an on-campus radiology club that helps radiology students get involved in the community.

“We did this by planning and then attending events such as school supply donations, Rake Up Boise, fundraisers, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, a food and coat drive, Adopt-a-Family, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk, and even building a float for the homecoming parade,” Larkin said. “I believe attending these events not only are fulfilling, but are great for people in the medical field, as well, because you get to be involved in helping people in a completely different environment.”

In addition, in her free time Larkin volunteered at St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center as a call light volunteer, a position that had her responding to and interacting with the hospital’s most vulnerable patients – those in critical condition or who need constant monitoring and care.

“Not only was I able to provide a service to patients in the hospital, but I was also able to assist the health care providers there and do something I was passionate about,” she said.

Larkin’s professors describe her as a dedicated, hardworking individual who is committed to achieving the high standards expected of a health care provider.

“Kelly is a living example of the College of Health Sciences core values – compassion, respect, teamwork, integrity and professionalism,” said Leslie Kendrick, chair of the Department of Radiologic Sciences. “She is what we hope all graduates aspire to become.”

Learn more about Larkin’s Boise State experience in this video.