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College of Health Sciences Student Services and Academic Advising New Location

Norco BuildingThe College of Health Sciences Student Services and Academic Advising (SSAA) has moved their offices. SSAA is now located at 1529 Belmont St. which is the Norco Nursing and Health Services Building on the first floor in suite 116, just behind the Recreation Center.

SSAA seeks to support students in the exploration and development of educational and health related career goals while promoting student responsibility in the decision-making process.

“This group plays a critical role in supporting students from every department in our college with their academic and career goals,” said Joelle Powers, associate dean for the College of Health Sciences. “We are thrilled to have a larger space to better accommodate the students and families that are served by our seven advisors.”

To learn more, visit the SSAA website. To schedule an appointment, call (208) 426-1678.

College of Health Sciences Bringing Online Learning to More Students


A 2017 graduate from Boise State’s RN to BSN program.

Boise State University strives to bring accessible, quality education through online courses to students regardless of where they may be physically located. The College of Health Sciences is working to bring their programs to rural learners across the state and across the country where communities are in desperate need of health care professionals.

Janel Barta from Shepherd, Montana, is one such student. Barta graduated from Boise State in December with a Bachelor of Science in nursing from the online RN-BS program. The RN-BS program is aimed at working, registered nurses without a college degree. The first time Barta stepped foot on campus was for her commencement ceremony. Many Idaho students say they’ve had similar experiences.

“My online experience has been great. I work full time and have three kids so online was pretty much the way to go for me,” said Barta. “The instructors have all been awesome to work with as well as my advisors. It has been a really really good experience.”

Barta is a clinic nurse manager and plans to get a master’s degree to be a nurse practitioner. More than 1,000 students have graduated from Boise State’s RN-BS program.

The School of Social Work in the College of Health Sciences is another program growing rapidly to meet the needs of students and communities.

Approximately 300 students are enrolled in the online master of social work program this semester, a 30 percent increase from the previous semester. Jennifer Obenshain, the master of social work online program coordinator, attributes part of that increase to the program’s ability to reach students where they live.

“Many potential students in Idaho and across the nation have voiced that because of our program they are able to pursue their graduate degree in social work. These students would not have traditionally looked into a graduate degree either because they could not afford to relocate to another community to attend graduate school or they could not afford to attend a full-time traditional program,” said Obenshain. “Because our program allows students to stay and work in their own communities while they complete their degree, we are reaching a wider range of students who can then help to meet the growing need for mental health professionals both in Idaho and across the nation.”

During the fall 2017 semester the program had active students from 41 states across the country.

The college currently has online programs in nursing, radiologic sciences, social work and respiratory care serving more than 1,000 students. But the college’s leaders don’t intend to stop there. Two new online programs, a B.A. in public health, and an M.S. in respiratory care, will begin in fall 2018 and the College of Health Sciences will establish the first fully online master’s in genetics counseling program in the United States beginning in fall 2019.

“Our online programs are accessible, affordable and provide a quality education,” said Tim Dunnagan, dean of the College of Health Sciences. “Our faculty and staff are incredibly dedicated to creating these programs to meet the needs of students and to address the healthcare of the state and beyond.”

Shelley Lucas and Cara Gallegos Named Associate Deans in Residence for Graduate College

Shelley LucasCara GallegosShelley Lucas and Cara Gallegos have been named as the first associate deans in residence for the Graduate College. In their positions, they will lead initiatives to improve graduate student mentoring and advising at Boise State.



Lucas will begin her appointment this spring, focusing on best practices for graduate student thesis and dissertation advising.  An associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology, Lucas has served as the graduate program coordinator for the past 10 years, where she has gained considerable experience working with graduate students.

Gallegos, who is in the School of Nursing, served as an education specialist before joining Boise State. She has been involved in developing resources and workshops to train nurses how to be mentors. Gallegos will begin with the Graduate College in summer 2018, where she will spearhead an initiative focusing on best practices for graduate student mentoring and advising.

“We are pleased to have Shelly and Cara joining the Graduate College team,” said Tammi Vacha-Haase, dean of the Graduate College. “The insights and skill sets these two faculty members bring will be invaluable in continuing to advance advising and mentoring at the graduate level. Both initiatives are an important next step to continuing to positively impact graduate education at Boise State University.”

Each year the Graduate College invites applications for the position of associate dean in residence, where faculty join the Graduate College for up to three semesters. The goals of this initiative include bringing graduate faculty expertise and insight into the Graduate College to work on projects in identified areas, building and sustaining close relationships between the Graduate College and the departments and programs we serve, and providing an opportunity for graduate faculty to serve in a leadership position at Boise State University. This year’s focus was on advising and mentoring.  Possible areas of attention in the future may include diversity and inclusion, increasing scholarship and external funding, improving recruitment/retention/progression/completion efforts, expanding interdisciplinary collaborations, assisting students with exploring potential career opportunities outside of academia, or professional conduct and behavior, all of which are expected to focus explicitly on graduate education at Boise State University.

Jon Larkin Appointed to the St Luke’s Treasure Valley Community Board

Jon LarkinJon Larkin, senior director of development and external affairs for the College of Health Sciences, was recently appointed to the St. Luke’s Treasure Valley Community Board as a representative for the College of Health Sciences.

The St Luke’s Treasure Valley Community Board is made up of community directors from the Treasure Valley. These members are dedicated to the people of southern Idaho and volunteer their time to guarantee access to the most developed health care possible. As stated in the charter for this board, the board “provides insight into local community health needs and functions as the primary link between the mission of St. Luke’s Health System, Ltd., and the Treasure Valley community.”

As a member, Larkin provides a liaison from Boise State University College of Health Sciences to this community effort and will help to better align the College’s programs and strategic plan with the health and wellness needs of Idaho.

According to St. Luke’s Health Systems, “St. Luke’s believes that locally governed hospitals can take the best measure of community health care needs. We are grateful to our board leadership for giving generously of their time and talents and bringing to the table their unique perspectives and intimate knowledge of their communities. St. Luke’s would not be the organization it is today without our volunteer board members. The vision of dedicated community leaders has guided St. Luke’s for many decades, and will continue to guide us well into the future.”

Larkin also sits on the Community Relations Committee for SelectHealth in which he is a voting member on community interaction and health intervention sponsorship and strategies for Idaho.

The School of Social Work Partners to Host Film Premiere

Flyer for Documentary American BeatThe School of Social Work is partnering with the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights to host the premiere of a new documentary, American Beat: Cops and Refugees Join Forces in Boise at 7:00pm on February 6 at the Special Events Center in the Boise State University, Student Union Building.

The film features three stories from the Boise Police Department and their devotion to immigrants. It reveals the groundbreaking efforts that went into integrating and mentoring refugees; the determination of a former Iraqi translator for the U.S. military, putting down roots with his family and hoping to become a police officer; and the story of Boise, itself, working to help refugees from war-torn Africa and the Middle East learn to trust that in America, a united community can conquer tragedy and hate.

The event will also feature a panel discussion following the film with panelists: police Chief William Bones and police Officer Dustin Robinson from the Boise Police Department, Zeze Rwasama, director of the Refugee Center for the College of Southern Idaho, Julianne Donnelly Tzul, executive director for the International Rescue Committee in Boise, and Chad Ward, from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Boise.

The event is open to all guests free of charge. Doors will open at 6:30pm as spots are limited to the first 435 people to arrive. The film and panel discussion will begin at 7:00pm

Radiologic Sciences Hosts Alumni and Friends Events

Alumni and Friends infront of the field at Albertsons StadiumThe School of Allied Health Sciences, Department of Radiologic Sciences recently hosted two events on consecutive days in November with the aim of giving back to the medical imaging community in the region.

On Friday evening, November 10, the department hosted an alumni and friends social event. Attendees were given the opportunity to tour the Allen Noble Hall of Fame Center with a presentation given by a staff member from Boise State’s athletic training program followed by a tour of both the x-ray and ultrasound labs in the radiologic sciences department. The tour participants then convened with other attendees, faculty, and administrators of the College of Health Sciences for a social gathering at the new Alumni and Friends Center ballroom.

The following day was dedicated to an all-day continuing education event in the Student Union Building. Approximately 60 attendees from across the region as well as two visiting professors were treated to a total of seven hour-long presentations. A diverse group of experts gave presentations that were relatable to medical imaging professionals. Phil Ford, clinical associate professor for the Department of Kinesiology, gave an enlightening talk on musculoskeletal health pertinent to both the health care professionals in attendance and the patients they serve. Erica Wight, clinical assistant professor for the Department of Radiologic Sciences, presented on customer service in health care. Other topics included ethics in healthcare, advances in neuroimaging, as well as the use of exposure index numbers in radiography.

The continuing education event was well-received and very much appreciated by the attendees. The event gave participants an opportunity to network, reacquaint with old friends and classmates while obtaining the education necessary to continue to provide top quality care for the patients in the region.

School of Nursing Faculty Present at International Simulation Conference on Socratic Debriefing

Janet and Rosemary at the conferenceSchool of Nursing faculty Janet Willhaus, assistant professor and healthcare simulation certificate facilitator, and Rosemary Macy, associate professor, presented on the Socratic debriefing method at the 2018 International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare in Los Angeles, California.

Willhaus and Macy provide leadership for Boise State’s accredited state-of-the-art Simulation Center. Simulation at its essence involves students observing each other, followed by a faculty facilitator-led debriefing where students reflect on the experience: discussing what did and did not work and providing their peers with feedback. Simulation education enables health science students to acquire and practice clinical skills in a safe, controlled environment.

The presentation introduced conference attendees from around the country to a structured and Socratic debriefing method, which is based on Tanner’s Model of Clinical Judgement and recommended for use by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

Additional panel members included David Bodily from the University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming and Janet Coe from Montana Tech, Butte, Montana.

Samantha Davis and the MakerLab Featured in American Association for Respiratory Care

The School of Allied Health Sciences, Department of Respiratory Care and the MakerLab, found within the Boise State University Albertsons Library, was featured in the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC).

Samantha DavisSamantha Davis, clinical assistant professor for the Department of Respiratory Care has created a new, visionary way for her students to study the heart. Davis is utilizing one of the many resources found on campus to assist her students in learning neonatal cardiac defects.

The MakerLab is a radically inclusive community with access to emerging technologies and an innovative culture of learning. The MakerLab offers 3D printing, vinyl cutting, videography accommodations, and much more for all students and faculty to use while aiding their learning. Davis plans on allowing her students to use the 3D printers to create different hearts and present how to better identify heart defects.

“Each group will print a normal heart in addition to their assigned defect,” said Davis. “Each of the hearts are cut into three to four slices so the defects within the heart can be easily seen. Students in the neonatal/pediatric respiratory course will have several weeks to test and print their models before presenting them to the entire class.”

Students using 3D printers in the MakerLab

Students using 3D printers in the MakerLab

Davis has also identified additional possibilities for her students to utilize the MakerLab by creating videos, podcasts, and equipment that she believes could be used to better educate patients. Davis suspects that students who are able to use 3D printing in this course will typically be more successful in the understanding of heart defects.

“Countless studies have shown us that engagement, application, and critical thinking are all significantly higher when active-learning strategies are used,” said Davis. “In the past, students have had to learn about neonatal heart defects through reading, discussion, and computer animation.”
“It’s a combination of problem solving, practical skill, and creativity,” said Davis. “Making allows you to take the great ideas you have and bring them to life where you can touch them, test them, and make them even better.”

To read the full article by AARC, visit

Register for the Spring 2018 10-Week Fitness Challenge

Michele Armstrong, staff participant in the Fall 2017 Challenge, and her trainer Dani Mosbrucker (’17 Kinesiology)

Michele Armstrong, staff participant in the Fall 2017 Challenge, and her trainer Dani Mosbrucker (’17 Kinesiology)

Students in the School of Allied Health Sciences Department of Kinesiology invite faculty and staff to participate in the 10-week challenge.

The 10-week challenge is an opportunity to improve health and fitness for the upcoming spring, give students an outstanding experiential learning opportunity, and, for those of you who set it, to achieve your New Year resolution to get in shape.

Faculty and staff will commit to participate for 10 weeks and KINES 432 Conditioning Principles students will commit to provide personal training. The purpose of this semester-long project is to help faculty and staff improve their health and wellness by providing a knowledgeable trainer and external accountability. Clients and personal trainers will agree to meet a minimum of two times per week for 10 weeks. Faculty and staff will be provided times to train in the Kinesiology Annex weight room (locker rooms are available).

Student personal trainers will develop and guide clients through an exercise routine designed to help participants meet their health and fitness goals. We do not know what the response to this program will be and the number of student trainers may be limited, so it will be first come, first served.

Participants will be required to complete a health history questionnaire before participating. We will compare before/after data for height, weight, body mass index (BMI), and resting heart rate and blood pressure, as well as appropriate performance measures (e.g. speed, power, strength). Those clients making the most significant improvement across all measures will be awarded prizes (as will their personal trainers).

Congratulations to the top five finishers from last semester’s challenge: Sara Fry, Joanne Klein, Busayo Apampa, Cathlene McGraw and Erin Nance. Kudos to their student trainers: Dusty Fisher, Kevin Blume, Grace Matlock, Marlon Carson and Minttu Hukka. In addition, fitness challenge participant donations increased the Kinesiology Department Scholarship fund by more than $5,000.

“The challenge was the best thing I could have ever done and I look forward to the next challenge,” said Michele Armstrong, a staff member who participated in the fall 2017 challenge.

Please follow this link to Orgsync to enter.

The 10-week challenge will begin on Tuesday, Jan. 16. For more information, call (206) 550-2899 or send an email or

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.