Our Nurses of the Week are UCLA School of Nursing professors Christine Samuel-Nakamura and Mary Rezk-Hanna who have both received grants from the UCLA Academic Senate Council on Research to conduct research projects inspired by their heritage. After earning their doctorate degrees at UCLA Nursing, both nurses were welcomed as assistant professors at the university.
Samuel-Nakamura grew up on the Diné (the indigenous name for Navajo) Nation reservation in New Mexico where she was the youngest child in a large family that raised its own livestock and crops. Her experience growing up on the reservation made Samuel-Nakamura aware of the challenges facing her tribe, including poverty and chronic health problems like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. She later decided to help address these issues by becoming a nurse.
Samuel-Nakamura earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of New Mexico, then pursued her Family Nurse Practitioner Master of Science in Nursing degree at UCLA. She tells Newsroom.UCLA.edu:
“I wanted to be able to work with communities on their health issues and empower people to help themselves…As a researcher, you investigate and explore what you see in clinical practice and develop some type of explanation for it and find a way to address it. Clinical practice informs research which, in turn, informs clinical practice.”
Samuel-Nakamura worked for several years in the clinical setting in the federally run Indian Health Service and in tribal hospital clinics on the Diné reservation in Arizona where community elders appreciated her ability to speak with them in their native tongue. She recently received two one-year grants to re-evaluate environmentally contaminated sites in Los Angeles County (home to the largest urban American Indian population in the United States). One grant comes from the American Indian Studies Center in the UCLA Institute of American Cultures and the second is from the UCLA Academic Senate Council on Research.
Mary Rezk-Hanna found inspiration for her research program growing up in Alexandria, Egypt, where both of her parents worked as physicians. She shadowed them as they treated patients, which influenced her decision to become a nurse. One thing she remembers from growing up in Alexandria is looking down from her apartment balcony and being fascinated by the popular hookah cafes across the street.
Rezk-Hanna’s family moved to the US when she was 13 and she later earned her associate degree in nursing and worked as a registered nurse where she became interested in the physiological effects of smoking in young adults with tobacco-related illnesses. She then obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from George Mason University, and while pursuing a Family Nurse Practitioner Master of Science degree at UCLA, she was selected to conduct a community research project about a local population health concern.
Rezk-Hanna found that two of the largest hookah lounges in LA are within one mile of UCLA and considered a major community health concern. She noticed most customers were young adults, with a large portion of them being females, and decided to conduct a study to assess young adult hookah smokers’ attitudes, perceptions, and beliefs toward their choice of smoking, and to identify predictors of hookah smoking. She found that the majority of subjects believed that hookah smoking is not harmful to one’s health.
Rezk-Hanna tells Newsroom.UCLA.edu, “These data could be used to inform young adults about the dangers of hookah smoking as well as provide evidence to guide policy specific to hookah and other alternative tobacco products and nicotine delivery systems.”
Rezk-Hanna is building on her recent findings by studying other evolving hookah tobacco products and their effects on heart health. She has received three grants to investigate the potential cardiovascular toxicity of electronic hookah use among young adults: one from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, one from the UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and one from the UCLA Academic Senate Council on Research.
To learn more about UCLA Nursing professors Christine Samuel-Nakamura and Mary Rezk-Hanna and how their heritage has inspired their research, visit here.
Two nurse scientists from the Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) recently received the 2018 RDML Mary F. Hall award for nursing publication. This highly acclaimed award was created to recognize the contributions to nursing made through professional publications.
This is the second year in a row that Cmdr. Wendy Cook, a Nurse Corps scientist and head of Nursing Research and Analysis at the Clinical Investigation department at NMSCD, has won the award for co-authoring “U.S. Military Service Members’ Reasons for Deciding to Participate in Health Research,” which was published on Research in Nursing and Health.
“It’s a great feeling,” Cook told Defense Visual Information Distribution Services (DVIDS). “I am delighted to have two separate publications recognized two years in a row, especially because I am aware of the high quality of the other nominated publications.”
Cmdr. Abigail Yablonsky, principal investigator for Naval Health Research Center’s Directorate for Military Population Health, is another recipient of the RDML Mary F. Hall award. Her publication, “Research, Readiness, and Military Parents,” which was published by the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service, won first place.
“Both Cmdr. Cook and Cmdr. Yablonsky have been wonderful to work with,” Capt. Heather King, Senior Nurse Researcher at NMSCD, shared with DVIDS. “They are dedicated nurse scientists who continually strive to create and disseminate new knowledge to benefit our NMSCD service members and beneficiaries.”
To read more about the NMCSD recipients of the 2018 RDML Mary F. Hall Award, click here. For more information about the Naval Medical Center San Diego, click here.
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Glendale Community College in Glendale, California is helping to fill a shortage of critical care nurses in the state through a Strong Workforce Program grant. The grant was created in 2016 after the state set aside $248 million to allow community colleges to launch career technical education (CTE) courses to help fill specialized nursing shortages.
Thanks to the Strong Workforce Program grant, Glendale Community College’s nursing department is conducting a coveted critical care course for eight weeks this summer that has drawn attention throughout the state.
Glendale nursing division chair Emelyn Judge pushed for the Strong Workforce Program grant, receiving $800,000 for Glendale Community College to develop CTE classes. The college secured a portion of that funding to develop a specialized critical care class open to licensed registered nurses. Participants pay $275 for the class and books but have that fee reimbursed upon successful completion of the course.
Nurses can also earn electrocardiogram certification and earn 60 hours of continuing education credit through courses offered at Glendale Community College. The California Board of Registered Nursing requires 30 hours of continuing education every two years for nursing license and certificate renewal.
Judge has a long-term goal of getting the critical care course approved as a credit course, but in the meantime the college will continue to conduct the program in the summer. To learn more about how Glendale Community College is helping to fill the critical care gap in California, visit here.
Linda Sarna, dean of the UCLA School of Nursing, recently received the 2018 Oncology Nursing Society Lifetime Achievement Award. Sarna was recognized for her leadership of the society’s 39,000 members and for her outstanding career contributions to the field of oncology nursing.
Sarna tells Newsroom.UCLA.edu, “I am overwhelmed by the honor of this lifetime achievement award from my peers. It has been my privilege and my joy to have had the opportunity to contribute to the professional development of and to the evidence base for oncology nursing.”
Sarna’s research involves patients with lung cancer and their families, and the role of oncology nurses in tobacco control. She has mentored generations of nursing students and researchers across the country and around the world and has collaborated with national and international nursing organizations on policies related to nurses and tobacco control.
As the co-founder of Tobacco Free Nurses, Sarna has led translational research projects to increase nursing interventions to treat tobacco dependence in the US, China, and Europe using online educational programs and resources. She also chaired the committee that led to UCLA’s distinction as the first tobacco-free University of California campus in 2013.
To learn more about Linda Sarna and her lifetime achievement award for her dedication to oncology nursing, visit here.