Five UIC nurse-educators named AAN fellows

Five University of Illinois at Chicago nurse-educators have been named fellows by the American Academy of Nursing.

Martha Dewey Bergren, Constance Dallas, Holli DeVon, Gail Keenan and Shannon Zenk are in the 2013 class of honorees who will be honored at a ceremony during the organization’s annual meeting Oct. 17-19 in Washington. Academy fellows  –leaders in nursing education, management, practice and research — now number 2,068.

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Bergren, clinical assistant professor of health systems science and director of UIC’s advanced community health nursing program, is a national expert on privacy regulations in school nursing. She is widely recognized for her expertise in school health leadership, informatics, and outcomes measurement. She was inducted into the National Association of School Nurses Academy of Fellows in 2002 and was named a fellow in the American School Health Association in 2008.

Dallas, associate professor of health systems science, uses a social constructivist approach to examine the contexts and processes surrounding negotiation of parenting in non-traditional families, such as adolescent parenthood and multiple-partnered fertility, with particular focus on black families living in poverty. She is using qualitative methodology to develop a theoretical explanation of involvement for fathers who parent across households.

DeVon, associate professor of biobehavioral health science, studies gender variations in coronary heart disease. She is principal investigator of the Think Symptoms study, a multi-site National Institutes of Health study examining the influence of gender on symptom characteristics during acute coronary syndrome. Her goal is to help women identify their symptoms and seek care quickly during a heart attack — and to standardize symptom assessment in the emergency department.

Keenan, associate professor of health systems science and director of the Nursing Informatics Initiative, focuses on creating and implementing optimal electronic health records. She and her research team built an electronic plan-of-care method called Hands on Automated Nursing Data System, or HANDS, that is designed to improve the consistency of documentation and hand-off communication.

Zenk, associate professor of health systems science, focuses on social determinants of health and on identifying effective environmental and policy interventions to eliminate ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in health. A major focus of her research is how urban neighborhoods and obesity are linked. Zenk is an expert on the food environment and devising innovative ways to measure environmental exposures.

Invitation to become a fellow is more than recognition of one’s accomplishments within the nursing profession. According to the organization, fellows also accept responsibility to engage with other healthcare leaders in transforming America’s healthcare system. Fellows include association executives; university presidents, chancellors and deans; state and federal political appointees; hospital chief executives and vice presidents for nursing; nurse consultants; and researchers and entrepreneurs.

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