B.A. in urban affairs, Hunter College (1972)
M.S. in psychiatric and mental health nursing, Yale University School of Nursing (1977)
Ed.D. in nursing, Teachers College, Columbia University (1997)
My research interest involves holism, that is, the understanding that humans are multi-dimensional and that the Western paradigm, particularly as it applies to health and well-being, leaves out important aspects. My current project looks at the spiritual perspectives of nursing students and how they may change as a result of experiencing different
types of nursing programs. More generally, spirituality and health is of interest. How people understand and manifest spiritual needs in the context of mental or physical illness, and how nurses can optimally be prepared to recognize and support these needs in their patients.
I bring to my teaching 30-plus years as an advanced practice psychiatric nurse whose special interest has been in holistic care of individuals with physical or mental illness. The experience of caring for homeless individuals and those living with HIV/AIDS has been transformative, personally and professionally.
When the HIV/AIDS epidemic appeared in the city where I was teaching and practicing, I was drawn to the complex psychological, sociological and spiritual aspects of the growing epidemic. I followed my belief in social justice in becoming an advocate for the needs of this population and was able to be instrumental in building support services in the hospital and community for those affected by the disease. Over the years of my involvement with HIV/AIDS care, I created a counseling program for AIDS testing in the local health department, a nonprofit AIDS support organization in the community and a supportive housing program for people living with HIV/AIDS.
In retrospect, I understand that in following my heart in response to the professional and societal discrimination experienced by those infected individuals and their families, I was able to make a difference in their lives and mine. I traveled locally and nationally presenting educational programs; wrote articles and book chapters; testified before the state legislature. I overcame my own ignorance and prejudice through caring for gay men and substance abusers. The topic for my doctoral dissertation evolved from my experiences in clinical practice with those living with HIV/AIDS. It is my hope that students whom I teach will likewise find and follow their heart's passion in their nursing career, thus becoming an advocate for those in need and advancing their careers and nursing's role in society.