In March, University of Arizona College of Nursing alumnus Greg Brooks, DNP, APRN, FNP-C was selected as a 2023 American Association of Nurse Practitioners (FAANP) Fellow, joining a prestigious group of accomplished nurse practitioner (NP) who has significantly impacted the NP profession.
The FAANP Fellows program was established in 2000 and is dedicated to the advancement of NPs and the high-quality healthcare that they provide. FAANP Fellows volunteer their expertise as reviewers, topical experts, committee members, journal contributors, mentors and more. “When I went to the University of Arizona, a lot of my professors were FAANP Fellows,” Dr. Brooks says. “I looked up to them with great admiration. Being a part of the Fellows now helps me appreciate my studies for the DNP, which ultimately helped me embrace processes and quality improvement initiatives better.”
Dr. Brooks, who earned his Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in 2011 as a member of the program’s inaugural cohort, has nothing but praise for UArizona Nursing. “I appreciated all my studies and work for my DNP and am proud to show my doctoral project to many,” he says. “It assisted me in my work as a missionary nurse practitioner and extended my scope of education and workshops. As Professor and the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs at Harding University's Carr College of Nursing, I educate BSN, Master's students, and FNP students, as well as educating in the health sciences program.”
“When I went to the University of Arizona, a lot of my professors were FAANP Fellows. I looked up to them with great admiration. Being a part of the Fellows now helps me appreciate my studies for the DNP, which ultimately helped me embrace processes and quality improvement initiatives better," ~ Greg Brooks, DNP, APRN, FNP-C
Dr. Brooks’ completed his studies under then-faculty members Drs. Deborah Vincent, Judith Effkin, and Cathy Michaels. His successful doctoral project, which was aimed at developing, implementing, and evaluating a diabetes education process for rural, nurse practitioner-managed clinics, was titled "Improving the Management of Patients with Type-2 Diabetes in a Rural Clinic."
Dr. Brooks was originally planning on pursuing a PhD in nursing but chose to pursue his DNP at UArizona Nursing because of the new program as well as the research focus of faculty members on patients in rural counties suffering from Type 2 Diabetes. “Arizona led the way with the DNP in the nation,” Dr. Brooks says. “Which is one of the things I really enjoyed about it. In that initial cohort, we met a lot of people who did a lot of incredible things: people who were practicing as NPs, who worked in the military, who worked in rural areas and in private care. A lot of us were learning what a doctoral degree really stood for and what it meant.”
Dr. Brooks treasures his time at UArizona Nursing, especially the collaborative process of working with his instructors. “The one-on-one discussions that you have are reflective of what a doctoral program should be,” he says. “I was able to talk to people who were frontline in quality improvement, quality initiatives, and translational research. The beauty of being in the first cohort as they were still transitioning from a PhD level of study to a DNP was that I got all the rigor of a PhD and was able to apply it at what I considered a higher level and a deeper meaning at a DNP level.”
Since defending his dissertation, Dr. Brooks advanced to the position of Assistant Professor at Oklahoma City University (OCU), followed by Director of the DNP program. “I truly took what I learned at Arizona to help me shape and develop the DNP program at OCU, and then went on to help build another NP program at Harding University,” he says. As for the future, he hopes to continue medical mission trips to places like Africa, Tanzania, and Guatemala, looking a lot at systems analysis and processes to help improve outcomes for marginalized populations in underserved areas.
Asked about his advice for students considering following in his academic footsteps, Dr. Brooks advises them to engage in as much dialogue as possible with their professors. “I truly believe that while some knowledge comes from a book, much of it comes from the dialogue between professors and students,” he says.
Dr. Brooks’ pride in his alma mater shines through, even after 12 years. “I truly appreciate the road that I’ve been on, would not trade it in for the life of me,” he says. “I got to take classes from people who are well-published, who are active in research, who are seen as leaders in healthcare across the nation. I value and will forever speak highly of my time at UArizona.”