Funding Unites UA College of Nursing and MHC Healthcare to Battle Arizona Opioid Crisis

Oct. 16, 2018

University of Arizona College of Nursing Clinical Associate Professor Rene Love, PhD, DNP, long has had a passion for bringing health care to rural and medically underserved communities.

Her latest funding, an $821,171 grant from the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) for her Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) program, takes that passion to the next level by partnering UA researchers and students with MHC Healthcare (MHC) in Marana, Ariz. The College of Nursing and MHC will pool their resources to increase the number of psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNP) Doctor of Nursing Practice graduates prepared to meet the needs of Opioid Use Disorder (OUD), a problematic pattern of opioid use that causes significant impairment or distress.

“Until now, our students have lacked access to directed clinical experiences with opioid addiction. Once these students graduate they will be ready to provide services wherever they practice." ~ Rene Love, PhD, DNP

Considering the Pima County overdose rate in 2016 was 21.9 per 100,000 population, an urgent need exists to address the problem. The fact that overdose rates have increased 18 percent from 2010-2016, with fatal overdoses making up 13 percent of total cases handled by the medical examiner, only underscores the need for action. The partnership with MHC will enhance the battle against Arizona’s opioid crisis in several ways.

“We’re not only going to train our students but we’ve got some funding to help train more of MHC’s staff in medication-assisted treatment,” Dr. Love said. “MHC will get some funding to hire a nurse practitioner to help provide services for patients, and oversee these students and partner with us to help develop educational components for the students and faculty.”

UA College of Nursing students have been placed at MHC for several years, but until now it always has been a sporadic “one-student-at-a-time” situation. Thanks to the HRSA funding, a total of eight UA nursing students – four per year for two years – will receive their critical training in substance abuse and opioid addiction at MHC.

“The partnership with the University of Arizona College of Nursing is a very special opportunity to simultaneously achieve multiple shared aims through collaboration,” said Jon Reardon, MHC chief of clinical behavioral health, and Avni Patel Shridharani, MHC chief strategy officer, in a joint statement. “First, we will be able to offer more Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) services for people in our community who are battling Opioid Use Disorder. 

“These grants targeted opioid use disorder high-needs communities, including Pima County,” the statement continues. “What makes the project unique is that MHC Healthcare will be able to offer medication assisted treatment services within our whole-person model of compassionate, high-quality care that includes medical, behavioral health, lab, pharmacy, physical therapy and dental services.

“We believe that this ‘one-stop-shop’ approach will ensure that patients have the best chance of a meaningful recovery. Second, the program will enable MHC to serve as a training site for UA DNP psychiatric mental nurse practitioner (PMHNP) students.  The PMHNP students will serve patients alongside teaching faculty at MHC in an integrated team-based model that will prepare them for today’s health-care delivery model upon graduation. Lastly, MHC hopes to meet its own future clinical staffing needs by being able to recruit graduates of the program to become primary care providers at MHC Healthcare.”

Dr. Love’s project has three goals: To improve access to care in rural and medically underserved communities in Arizona through new and enhanced partnerships that integrate primary and behavioral health care to educate psychiatric mental nurse practitioner students in opioid and substance abuse treatment during their clinical training; to improve behavioral health treatment techniques through education and clinical training with new partnerships; and to increase the number of psychiatric mental nurse practitioner graduates trained in opioid and substance abuse treatment by providing behavioral health workforce education and training to students who will practice in rural, border and medically unserved communities.

Dr. Love said the impact of the training will have swift and far-reaching effects. “Until now, our students have lacked access to directed clinical experiences with opioid addiction,” she said. “Once these students graduate they will be ready to provide services wherever they practice. This also impacts patient care for the community because MHC will be able to train more of its staff from the grant funding we’ve secured. Our students receive training and more patients will have access to these services in the Tucson area.”

Two UA College of Nursing Nurse Anesthesia Students Compete in Rousing Battle of the Brains

Oct. 1, 2018

Two teams of contestants gather around a microphone and a buzzer under bright stage lights, eagerly awaiting the next test of their knowledge. Behind them, a floor-to-ceiling screen displays tabulated points and an emcee, who launches into his first question as the audience awaits in hushed silence. “Question one is a pharmacology question. Most local anesthetic hyper sensitivity reactions are associated with the metabolism of ester agents to what substance?”  Team number two is ready. “Para-aminobenzoic acid” says one contestant, and the crowd erupts in cheers as a point appears in the winning teams’ column.

UA College of Nursing supporters at the AANA College Bowl

As you’ve probably already guessed, this isn’t Jeopardy. It’s the annual Anesthesia College Bowl, a lighthearted but academically serious test of knowledge held at the annual American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) Annual Congress. Founded in 1931, the AANA is the professional association representing more than 52,000 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) and student registered nurse anesthetists nationwide. This year, the UA College of Nursing had the honor of having two Nurse Anesthesia students – Tim Markle and Michael Crosley – selected to compete. “It’s an honor to be nominated and chosen to compete in this Jeopardy-style competition against other students and faculty from across the country,” says Kristie Hoch, DNP, CRNA, Assistant Specialty Coordinator for the DNP-NA program.

Held this year on September 24 in Boston, MA, the Bowl’s prime objective is to stimulate interest in the knowledge and current practices of anesthesia – and have fun in the process. The rules are simple: Six teams of students play each other, answering questions about anesthesia that have been submitted by nurse anesthesia program directors. The winning student team faces off against a team of six CRNAs to determine the ultimate winner of the College Bowl. This year’s event featured some stiff – and dramatic – competition but our UA CRNA students proudly represented our Wildcat Nurse community: After the scores were tabulated, Tim Markle was on the Runner Up team. He received a certificate and a T-shirt for placing second.

Tim Markle onstage at the College Bowl

Held this year on September 24 in Boston, MA, the Bowl’s prime objective is to stimulate interest in the knowledge and current practices of anesthesia – and have fun in the process. The rules are simple: Six teams of students play each other, answering questions about anesthesia that have been submitted by nurse anesthesia program directors. The winning student team faces off against a team of six CRNAs to determine the ultimate winner of the College Bowl. This year’s event featured some stiff – and dramatic – competition but our UA CRNA students proudly represented our Wildcat Nurse community: After the scores were tabulated, Tim Markle was on the Runner-Up team. He received a certificate and a T-shirt for placing second.

“It was an honor to represent our program at the national AANA College Bowl.,” Markle told us. “It was both challenging and exhilarating to compete with some of the best SRNA students in the country. Our time in Boston allowed exceptional networking and educational opportunities. Looking forward to our students continuing the annual tradition and representation of the University of Arizona!” 

Stressed at Work? Time to Stretch it Out!

Sept. 28, 2018

"We are all probably aware that being sedentary is anathema to good health. High flexors shorten and become chronically tight, as do hamstrings; the lower abdominal muscles lose tone and the low backaches as a result; the neck cranes forward and the upper cervical vertebrae are compressed - tension headache often results. Worse, our breathing becomes shallow and inefficient. And yet, what is a computer-bound person to do? Well, you can start with the following short yoga sequence at your chair and wall! Throughout this sequence, the most important component will be your breath - try to focus more on the sensations of breathing in and out than getting the outer form of the poses exactly "right." With luck, once you return to your work your breathing will remain longer, deeper, and more efficient - and with it your energy and mental clarity improved." -- Leah Stauber, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Nursing

Cat-Cow Pose 2

Seated cat-cow pose: Sit on the front edge of a chair, spine long, and place feet about hip-width apart on the floor. Inhaling, rock to the fronts of the sitting bones, expanding chest forward and rolling shoulders down onto the back. Maintain length through the neck and occipital region.  Exhaling, draw the belly and chest into the spine, allow the head to drop. Repeat 3-5 times.

This flow helps loosen tight muscles along the spine; particularly relieving tension in the lower back; it helps to re-deepen the breath (sedentary posture is associated with shallow breath) and improve circulation; and it therefore is energizing and supportive of mental focus.

Seated pigeon pose:

Seated pigeon pose: Sitting on the front edge of a chair, cross one ankle onto the lower thigh (just above the knee) of the opposite leg. Keep the bent-leg foot flexed, with toes pulling back toward bent-leg knee. Lengthen the spine by drawing the low belly inward and upward, inhale, and then with an exhale maintain that spinal length while “folding” forward toward the bent leg. Take 3-5 long rounds of breath, and then slowly lift the torso back up to upright. Repeat on second side.

This pose stretches the IT band and many of the glutes muscles, in turn relieving some lower back discomfort.

Seated twist
Seated twist

Seated twist: Maintaining the length in the spine that you had when rising up out of the seated forward fold, take a long inhale, and then on the exhale twist to the right, bringing right hand to the wide or back of the chair and pressing the left hand into outer right thigh. Inhale again, and then turn the gaze over the back shoulder. Take 3-5 long rounds of breath. On an exhale, release the twist. Repeat on the second side.

Twisting poses can relieve tightness and discomfort in the lower back, and – when released – are said by traditional yogis to promote the flow of circulation, especially through and around organs, as well as promoting overall spinal health. Go slowly and cautiously into twists, or skip entirely, should you have incipient or evident degeneration in the lumbar spine.

Seated forward fold

Seated forward fold: Still seated at the front of your chair, with thighs as close to parallel to the floor as possible, place feet hip-width apart on the floor. Lengthen the spine by drawing the low belly inward and upward, inhale, and then with an exhale, maintain that spinal length while folding forward over both legs. At the point at which you feel sufficient stretch through the hamstrings and/or the back of the torso, place the hands wherever is comfortable (lap, lower legs, or floor), relax the head and jaw, and remain for 3-5 long rounds of breath. This pose provides a great opportunity to practice diaphragmatic breathing, by attempting to expand the belly into the resistance of the things on each inhale.

This pose stretches almost the entirety of the “back body,” from hamstrings up through lower and upper spinal regions. Should you wish to stretch the calves as well here, you can pull the toes up off the floor while still folding forward. Traditional yogis say that any kind of “forward-folding” such as this, when the front body moves toward the legs or against the pressure of the floor, has settling and calming properties. We know this to be at least partially supported by the literature of PNS activity.

Downward-facing Dog pose at wall

Downward-facing Dog pose at wall: Place hands a few inches lower than your shoulders, and approximately shoulder-width apart, on the wall. Spreading the fingers, focus on pressing the entirety of the hands into the wall, distributing the weight evenly across the palm and all five fingers. Then, walk backward until your spine has lengthened, but is higher than parallel to the floor (see photo). Place feet your own hip-width apart and ground into your heels, keeping the backs of the legs long and straight. Keep pressing the hands into the wall, feeling the chest broaden and the inner shoulder blades draw slightly in toward the upper spine. Keep the head in line with the spine; try to relax the jaw.

Take 3 or more long rounds of breath here, focusing on breathing from the diaphragm into the side ribs and ultimately into the upper back; on the exhales, maintain the effort of lengthening arms and pressing hands into the wall. On completion, slowly walk back in toward the wall, dropping arms to the sides.

This pose stretches the entirety of the back body again, and adds the stretch of various muscle groups through the chest, upper back, arms, and even wrists and hands (these might be particularly tight from computer/ keyboard use). If this pose if painful for the wrists, work the hands up the wall slightly, so that the angle at the back of the wrist is decreased.

Dolphin pose at the wall

Dolphin pose at the wall: Just as in Downward-facing Dog pose you placed your hands on the wall a few inches lower than your shoulders, and shoulder width apart, you will now place your elbows there. Once the elbows are placed on the wall, you will clasp your hands, with forearms pressing gently but consistently into the wall. Maintaining this, walk backwards until the spine has extended fully. Place your feet at least your own hip width apart, ground into the heels with backs of legs remaining straight, and balance this with the continued pressure of forearms into wall.

Take 3 or more long rounds of breath here, focusing on breathing from the diaphragm into the side ribs and ultimately into the upper back; on the exhales, maintain the effort of lengthening spine and pressing forearms into the wall. On completion, slowly walk back in toward the wall, dropping arms to the sides.

This pose, like Downward-facing Dog at the wall, stretches the entirety of the back body, adding in a bit of extra intensity to the upper back and shoulder region. Both poses, combined with conscious, diaphragmatic breathing, may improve circulation to the neck and head, providing an energizing and mentally clarifying effect.

When Service is in Your Blood: A Student's Passion for Helping Others

Sept. 27, 2018

When Jessica Mattia-Barry saw her fellow DNP students during RISE (Resident Intensive Summer Experience) in August, 2018, she was pleasantly surprised to discover that there were many other Native Americans in attendance. It was a far cry from her time as an undergraduate nursing student at Creighton University in 1991, where she experienced the culture shock of being one of the school’s few Native American students. “I was very naïve coming from a place like Phoenix, where you have a lot of people from different cultural backgrounds,” she says. The diversity she witnessed at the UA College of Nursing was a welcome revelation. “I was really happy to see more Native sisters,” she says.

Mattia-Barry, who is half Tohono O’odham and half Mexican-American, spent her earliest years in Ajo, Arizona. Straddling both cultures was challenging, especially when her parents divorced and she moved to Phoenix with her mother. Close with her grandparents, she learned about Tohono O’odham culture and traditions while growing up in a major southwestern metropolis.

Mattia-Barry began her academic career in Nebraska, where she earned an Environmental Science degree with a specialty in Toxicology. A semester abroad in the Dominican Republic, volunteering at an underserved hospital, proved to be a game-changer. Hoping to volunteer in an ER, she was initially dismayed to be assigned to work with labor and delivery nurses.

“If we move back to Arizona I'm hoping to get a job with the Tohono O'odham Nation as a DNP. There's a clinic in the village closer to where my grandfather's from. You get some interesting isolated cases out there, and a lot of people who need access to help." ~ Jessica Mattia-Barry, DNP student

“I thought, ‘I don’t want to work with babies.’ But they took me under their wing and showed me the ropes,” she says. “Pre-and-post-partum were in one big room and it was stacked with beds. The doctors wouldn’t show up for impromptu deliveries, so the nurses delivered the babies.  They were the ones doing all the care and I would help them. I thought, ‘I’ve found my people.’ It was at that point that I said, ‘OK, I’m going to finish up my science degree and go to nursing school.’”

In the years since earning her nursing degree, Mattia-Barry worked in NICU and telemetry at Tucson Medical Center, followed by a four-year stint in Indian Health Services on the Tohono O’odham reservation. After taking time off to be a stay-at-home-mom, she began a career as a school nurse in the Tucson Unified School District. In 2014, her family moved to Wisconsin, where she continues her school nursing career in the Sheboygan Falls school district.

Through it all, she maintained a passion for serving the underserved. “I’m not being idealistic about it,” she says. “There’s such a need for it and this is the best way I can help.” Her advocacy for the underserved extends beyond the realm of health care. She’s also a supporter of encouraging other Native American students to take advantage of the opportunities offered by institutions like the University of Arizona.

Having crossed various cultural barriers on her own, she’s well-aware of the misunderstandings and anxieties that can hold young students back from unknown territory. By way of illustration, she relates the story of a cousin and recent high school graduate and valedictorian who planned to attend Pima Community College. “I asked her, ‘Why are you going to Pima first when you’d have opportunities at the UA?’” says Mattia-Barry. “She told me she was going to apply but that a counselor told her she’d be wasting her time going to the UA because they don’t like Indians. I have so much regret about not being part of her life prior to that, because I would have advocated more for her had I known that was the situation. There’s a misconception that expectations need to remain low when you come from the reservation.”

That desire to lead by example, and to advocate for the disadvantaged, was one factor that led her to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice at the University of Arizona College of Nursing. “I wanted to become a nurse practitioner, but it just never seemed like the right time,” she says. The arrival of her 45th birthday – with kids old enough to be more self-sufficient and a stable home life – set the stage.  She considered programs in Wisconsin, but the online distance learning available through the UA DNP program – as well as personal experience with UA nursing graduates – sealed the deal. “I’ve always held UA in high esteem and it was always my first program to apply to,” she says. “At TMC, I worked primarily with UA graduates and they were some of the best nurses I’ve ever known. They had a really good sense of teamwork, a really good sense of theory.”

As for the future? Mattia-Barry’s five-year plan is straightforward: earn her DNP with a specialty in Family Practice, get licensed and work with underserved populations.  Although there are tribal clinics near her in Wisconsin, she’s open to the possibility of returning to the Copper State. “If we move back to Arizona I’m hoping to get a job with the Tohono O’odham Nation as a DNP,” she says. “There’s a clinic in the village close to where my grandfather’s from. You get some interesting isolated cases out there, and a lot of people who need access to help.”

Halloween Spooktacular 2018

Sept. 17, 2018

Thanks to everyone who participated in this year's Halloween Spooktacular. Following is a list of this year's lucky winners:

Raffle Winners:

Sheraton Tucson Hotel & Suites (2-night stay with Breakfast) = David Ramirez (UA Facilities Paint Shop)

Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch (1-night stay + $30 Resort Credit) = Will Holst

El Conquistador Resort (1-night stay + breakfast for two) = Isabel Chavez

Inglis Florist $50 Gift Certificate = Marian Smith

Two UA vs ASU Football tickets = Christopher Herring (Faculty) and Nalini Gujuluva (Staff)

Contest Winners:

Keep the Change Competition (1702 Restaurant - $25 Gift Card towards a Pizza Party) = Faculty

Door Decorating Contest (Golf for Four (4) at the Turquoise Golf Course) = Office Door 320F = Audrey Russell Kibble, Judith Burrola, Jarely Flores

Costume Contest (Four Raffle tickets):  Mary Davis

Carved Pumpkin: (Trader’s Joe’s Gift Bag) = Isabel Chavez

Other Winners:

Halloween Potluck Lucky Chairs (Eegees Lunch Certificate) = Marian Smith and Jason Harris

We may not have fall leaves in Tucson, but that doesn't mean we can't get into the spirit of the season. This year's College of Nursing Halloween Spooktacular, a fundraiser for UA Cares, kicks off on Oct 1 and goes through the end of the month. There's a little something for everyone, including a competitive fundraising campaign, a costume contest and potluck, a raffle and a nacho sale. Take a look at the line-up of frightfully fun events:

Keep the Change Fundraising Competition Oct 1– 31

Three water jugs representing students, faculty, and staff, that will be placed outside the OSAA (CON Room 112), ready to be filled with extra change. The group that raises the most pocket change over the month --  with proceeds being donated to United Way -- wins the competition.

Winning team receives a $25 gift card from 1702 Pizza.

Door Decorating Contest Oct 1 – Oct 31

A $5 donation enters you into this year's Door Decorating contest, which challenges faculty and staff to festoon their portals with the most chilling decorations their imaginations can conjure up. Stop by Marketing and Communications in 316A to register for the competition before the 26th. Proceeds benefit UA Cares/United Way.

Winner receives One Round of Golf for up to Four People from Turquoise Valley Golf Course.

Nacho Sale – In the Courtyard – Oct 26

Not many people will want to turn down a bubbling cauldron of cheesy goodness drizzled over crisp tortilla chips. Proceeds benefit United Way. Minimum $3 donation per cauldron.

Raffle – Oct 1 – 31

$3 per ticket or 2 for $5. Stop by the Marketing & Communications office (CON 316A) to purchase tickets or for more information. Raffle tickets will also be for sale at each of our Spooktacular events.

Raffle Prizes (staycations-a-plenty!):

Hilton El Conquistador - 1 Night Stay and Breakfast for 2 

Hacienda Del Sol - 1 Night Stay and $30 Resort Credit 

Sheraton Tucson Hotel and Suites - 2 Night Stay, Breakfast Included 

$50 Gift Certificate from Inglis Florist 

Costume Contest, Pot Luck and Pumpkin Carving Contest – Oct 31

Dress up in your Halloween finest and bring an appetite -- this festive gathering is the perfect culmination of our month long shindig. All proceeds benefit United Way. $5 per entry.

CON Rm. 117 11am - 1pm

Winner gets 4 free raffle tickets! 

Bring in a carved pumpkin from home to enter it in our pumpkin carving contest! $5 per pumpkin entry.

Winner gets a Trader Joe's Gift Basket! 

Ida “Ki” Moore, UA College of Nursing Interim Dean, Named to Prestigious NIH Advisory Council

Sept. 11, 2018

Ida “Ki” Moore, UA College of Nursing Interim Dean and Ann Furrow Endowed Professor, has been named to the National Advisory Council for Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Health.

“I am pleased to serve as a member of the National Advisory Council for Nursing Research,” said Dr. Moore. “As an Advisory Council member I will have the opportunity to review and make recommendations regarding grant applications that advance health-related research, research training initiatives and strategies to stimulate new research efforts in high priority areas.”

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Research Advisory Councils are consulted by and provide advice to the Director, NIH concerning pertinent programs. A major responsibility is to review and make recommendations regarding grant applications to support biomedical research and research training activities. Additionally, the Council surveys the total research effort in the subject field and the recommendation of the action necessary to stimulate additional work.

“As an advisory Council member I will have the opportunity to review and make recommendations regarding grant applications that advance health-related research, research training initiatives and strategies to stimulate new research efforts in high priority areas." ~ Ki Moore, Interim Dean, College of  Nursing

Dr. Moore, whose Council term runs through January 31, 2022, has 25 years of research experience investigating the impact of central nervous system (CNS)-directed cancer treatment for pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and brain tumors. She has been the Principal Investigator on extramurally funded clinical studies of the long-term effects of CNS-directed treatment, interventions to improve cognitive and academic outcomes among children with ALL and pre-clinical studies on mechanisms of CNS tissue injury and gene expression changes associated with chemotherapy. 

Dr. Moore holds a BSN and MA in Nursing from the University of Iowa and she received her PhD from the University of California, San Francisco. She joined the UA in 1988, serving in several key positions within the College and is a long-standing member of the UA Cancer Center. Among her many honors, she received the UA Henry & Phyllis Koffler Prize for Scholarship in 2013, the Association of Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nursing’s Distinguished Researcher Award in 2012 and the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research’s Pathfinders Award in 2011.  She also has written more than 150 publications in the area of pediatric oncology.

Be Smoke Free: UA College of Nursing Professor to Employ Guided Imagery in Smoking-Cessation Study

Sept. 5, 2018

Telephone tobacco quitlines are effective at helping people to quit, but they often fail to reach a diverse population of smokers, particularly men and people of color.

Quitlines mainly use a cognitive-behavioral approach, with techniques that have been used for many years. New research, however, suggests guided imagery can be effective in helping smokers quit.

Guided imagery is a form of visualization in which a coach helps smokers harness the power of their minds in addition to changing their behaviors.  Guided imagery has been used by coaches and athletes for decades to help them succeed.

Now, powered by results from her recent See Me Smoke Free study with women smokers, University of Arizona College of Nursing Professor and Interim Associate Dean for Research Judith S. Gordon, PhD, hopes to use guided imagery to help smokers quit. This is the first study to develop and evaluate a telephone-based, guided imagery smoking-cessation program.

“The prevalence of smoking is at an all-time low,” Dr. Gordon says. “However, some groups of people still are not getting the help they need. If you look at who is smoking, it’s generally people who have lower incomes and therefore less access to care. What we’re trying to do is get our message out to those people that there is help if you want to quit smoking.”

Dr. Gordon’s Be Smoke Free program, funded by a $700,000 grant from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, now is open to smokers throughout Arizona. 

“We know telephone quit coaching works, and we know that guided imagery has helped athletes win. So, we’re hoping that by using this guided imagery approach, smokers will be more open to trying something new." ~ Dr. Judith Gordon

The Be Smoke Free program offers participants six weekly coaching sessions delivered over the phone, four weeks of nicotine patches or lozenges, and web-based tools at no cost. Participants will be randomly assigned to one of two types of coaching: guided imagery or a standard intervention.

Both programs include individual attention and development of a personal quit plan. The standard intervention focuses on changing behaviors, while the guided imagery intervention coaches also work with participants to develop guided imagery audio files that can be reviewed on their phone, computer or MP3 player. 

Dr. Gordon’s team is reaching out to all smokers, particularly men and diverse racial/ethnic groups to offer a new opportunity to quit.

“We know telephone quit coaching works, and we know that guided imagery has helped athletes win. So, we’re hoping that by using this guided imagery approach, smokers will be more open to trying something new,” she says.

The goal for this phase of Dr. Gordon’s study is to recruit 100 active participants in the randomized trial. In the first three months of the trial, the team enrolled more than 50 participants. In addition to help with quitting, participants also receive $50 for taking part in the study. Feedback from participants has been very positive. One participant commented, “[My coach] was very knowledgeable. I have quit multiple times in the past, and have never felt so well prepared. I am proud to say that I am both smoke and nicotine free.”

The developmental Be Smoke Free study has the potential to advance the science of tobacco cessation through the addition of guided imagery, and improve public health through increased reach of telephone quitlines. Dr. Gordon hopes that results from the study will set the stage for a larger, national study designed to test the effectiveness of the guided imagery quitline program.

For more information about joining the Be Smoke Free program, please click here, call 520-626-4243 or email

For more information about the study, please contact Dr. Gordon at 520-626-4970 or

$2.5M Grant to UA Nursing Professor to Ease Psychological Distress in Patients and Caregivers

Sept. 4, 2018

Thanks to a new four-year $2.5 million National Cancer Institute grant, the University of Arizona College of Nursing is investigating a precision approach to decrease psychological distress in cancer patients and their family caregivers during treatment.

The project seeks to see if two interventions that already have proven successful in previous research can be employed in a Sequential Multiple Assignment Randomized Trial, or SMART. While more traditional approaches employ a "one-size-fits-all" approach to treatment, SMART takes a more individualized approach to assessing the care needs of cancer patients.

"The whole idea of a randomized clinical trial is that you give an intervention to everybody in the same way, whereas SMART designs are predicated upon the idea that you need to reassess at different time points, and possibly change to a different intervention along the way," said Professor Terry A. Badger, PhD, the study's principal investigator.

Using SMART, Dr. Badger and her team will employ two post-treatment innovations in the study, which is called "Improving Informal Caregivers' and Cancer Survivors' Psychological Distress, Symptom Management and Health Care Use." The first is a printed Symptom Management and Survivorship Handbook featuring evidence-based, self-care strategies for symptoms. The second is a telephone counseling intervention used in tandem with the handbook to manage elevated depression and anxiety, which are particularly burdensome during cancer treatment.

"We're using a precision approach to determine which of the interventions is the right one for the right patient and in the right sequence," Dr. Badger said. The result could be a more flexible approach to improve physical, psychological and social well-being during treatment.

“My goal from the beginning has been to develop interventions that improve the lives, both mentally and physically, of all those impacted by this disease." ~ Dr. Terry Badger

Statistics from the American Cancer Society show that 30 percent of cancer patients suffer serious psychological distress or depression, and that 30 to 40 percent of their caregivers suffer the same negative consequences. Traditional clinical trials that involve cancer support groups and mental health visits to advance psychosocial care can be effective, but research shows that only 25 percent of patients use support groups, and that 47 percent of patients who schedule a mental health visit typically fail to show up.

"There is nothing wrong with face-to-face interventions," Dr. Badger said. "But obstacles such as child care, transportation, costs and stigma often create an undue burden that prevents patients from receiving the care they need. My goal from the beginning has been to develop interventions that can be delivered easily and remove all sorts of access barriers so that patients and their families can get supportive care."

During the course of the four-year study, nearly 600 cancer patients and their family caregivers will participate in a 12-week program. Survivors and caregivers enrolled in the study will receive one of the interventions. Progress will be monitored, with a reassessment at the four-week mark. Depending on the symptom assessment, they either will stay in the first intervention they were assigned to for eight more weeks or be reassigned to the second intervention.

"We need to make sure that as we battle cancer that we also are doing all that we can for the well-being of the patient and the caregivers," said UA President Robert C. Robbins, MD. "Dr. Badger's work goes the extra mile to look for interventions that improve the lives, both mentally and physically, of all those impacted by this disease. Her work furthers our ability to see patient care holistically, and I am pleased to see this new support for her efforts."

UA College of Nursing
Terry A Badger , PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN

"It's all about trying to figure out what the right treatment for that particular survivor/caregiver dyad is," Dr. Badger said. "At the end of the study, we will be able to critically look and see, 'For a person with these characteristics, treatment A might be a better first step, and then treatment B. Whereas for a different person, it might be better to do treatment B first and then treatment A.'"

The end result, Dr. Badger hopes, will be to disseminate the study's results to change cancer care, ensuring that cancer patients and their caregivers have their symptom management and psychosocial needs met. In the long run, the impact of the interventions could be huge.

"A majority of patients prefer the flexibility of these kinds of interventions," she said. "We can work with them around their work schedule, their life schedule, to ensure they get the treatment they deserve without causing them more stress. The bottom line is that this is all about improving the care for survivors and caregivers."

The study was preceded by interdisciplinary work involving the SHINE – Symptoms, Health, INovation and Equity – group of researchers, co-founded by Dr. Badger and Chris Segrin, PhD, professor in the UA Department of Communication.

"This research is an outgrowth of a nearly 20-year collaboration among the UA colleges of Nursing and Social and Behavioral Sciences," Dr. Segrin said. "This research always has been aimed at developing and delivering interventions for cancer survivors and their caregivers that address the emotional and social aspects of their well-being in addition to physical symptoms. These current projects will advance the precision delivery of these interventions."

The members of the SHINE Research for Cancer Survivors and Caregivers group are: Tad Pace (UA College of Nursing), Maria Figueroa (UA College of Nursing), Tracy Crane (UA College of Nursing), Terry Badger (UA College of Nursing), Alla Sikorskii (Michigan State Department of Psychiatry), Molly Hadeed (UA College of Nursing), Bettina Hofacre (UA College of Nursing), and Chris Segrin (UA Department of Communication).

UA College of Nursing Student Honored with American Psychiatric Nurses Association Board of Directors Scholarship

Aug. 27, 2018

In July, the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) announced the 2018 class of APNA Board of Directors Student Scholars. Fourth-year University of Arizona College of Nursing dual DNP (PMHNP)/PhD  student Brooke Finley was among 15 graduate students from across the country that were selected for the honor. She and her fellow scholars receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the APNA 32nd Annual Conference in Columbus, Ohio in October, as well as a one-year complimentary membership in APNA. The intent of the scholarship is to enable the honorees to connect to psychiatric-mental health nurses at all levels and develop their professional skills.

“Brooke is one of those students that as a chair, you can guide but the most valuable thing to do is to stay out of her way and watch her bloom.” said Kimberly Shea, PhD, RN, CHPN, UA College of Nursing professor.

UA College of Nursing

Take a few minutes to learn more about Brooke and her exciting honor:

What kind of skill development will this scholarship enable?

It’s a huge networking opportunity. You get to meet with all of the key players who are involved in APNA, including the board of directors and the president, and additionally you have a chance to network and do some coaching with other students.

What does this scholarship mean to you?

I’ve been on the Leadership Board of the Arizona APNA for the past year-and-a-half, and I’ve gone to many of the trainings that they’ve offered. I’m also a journal reviewer for the APNA Journal, so it’s a really great recognition of the efforts that I’ve put into the APNA, both nationally and with our local Arizona chapter. The BOD scholarship will allow me to connect on a national level to help support the local chapter. Also, as a student, this will really help me with networking and taking the board certification exam after I graduate.

“Every day is different, every day is interesting. I love what I do and wouldn't want to do anything else." ~ Brooke Finley, Fourth-Year dual DNP (PMHNP)/PhD student 

Why did you decide to pursue a career in nursing?

I volunteered in a hospital for two years during high school. I got more responsibilities as time went on and I ended up being a nurse’s assistant on a medical-surgical floor. At the time, I actually wanted to be an English teacher but I loved how in nursing you could hear about people’s lives and their stories - their progress as human beings - and I realized that in nursing you can do that but you actually get to see the rewards immediately through your actions helping someone during a difficult period of their life.

What drew you to pursue a psych-mental health specialty?

It wasn’t until I did clinicals that I realized I wanted to do psych, which was by far the most interesting rotation to me. Before that, I didn’t have a great understanding of what mental illness was, although many of the people that I loved or cared about suffered from it. I always just saw them as human beings first, so it was easy for me to connect with patients, and really want to help them, and not be judgmental. Once I had that experience and realized I had a knack for it, it was such an easy fit. When I’ve been practicing as a psychiatric nurse, there hasn’t been one day when I haven’t wanted to go into work. Every day is different, every day is interesting. I love what Ido and I wouldn't want to do anything else.

What features of your program really made you passionate about your studies?

I got into the program doing research and I had the best mentors to help me with graduate school getting started. Like Dr. Jane Carrington, Dr. Sheila Gephart, Dr. Kimberly Shea, Dr. Barbara Brewer, and Dr. Kate Sheppard were all of my mentors through the graduate journey, and I just wanted to stay because I just felt so supported and respected as a person here.

Wildcat Nurses Help Underserved Middle School Students Participate in School Sports

Aug. 23, 2018

On Friday, August 15, University of Arizona College of Nursing Clinical Assistant Professor Theresa E. Allison, DNP, FNP-C, led a group of UA CON Nurse Practitioner Faculty to provide sports physicals to underserved children at the Roberts Naylor K-8 School.

A majority of Roberts Naylor students are from low-income backgrounds, which means their parents are unable to afford to pay out of pocket for a sports physical, a requirement from the State of Arizona for any middle to high school students who wish to participate in sports.  Thanks to Dr. Allison and her team, students who would not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in sports received the necessary screening.

Roberts Naylor K-8

“It’s a head-to-toe physical exam,” says Dr. Allison. “With a focus on heart and musculoskeletal systems, listening and looking for any abnormalities which could cause serious medical problems if not detected before they played a sport.”

The physicals are particularly beneficial, she points out, because by getting children active and interested in sports helps them both physically and mentally. “Hopefully this pattern continues into high school and potentially be an avenue to get a college scholarship and allow them get a higher education,” she says.

“The fact that amazing individuals came to our school to give free physicals to our students means so much to our students and community." ~ Principal Bernadette Rosthenhausler-Espinoza, Roberts Naylor K-8

Judith Burrola, UA College of Nursing administrative assistant and part of the team that assisted with the physicals, has a special connection to the project. “I attended Naylor Middle School in 1995 and was one of the students that could not play sports due to not being able to pay for a physical exam,” she says. “It meant a lot to be a part of this event and see students receive the physicals that they need so they can be a part of sports that they are passionate about.”   

UA College of Nursing

Principal Bernadette Rosthenhausler-Espinoza also had nothing but warm words for the service the UA CON provides to her students. “The fact that amazing individuals came to our school to give free physicals to our students means so much to our students and community ,” she says. “We have many parents from other countries and parents who want their children to play in interscholastic sports but the fact is, many of our parents don't have transportation or resources to get physicals for their children. This is the first year that we are able to begin with interscholastics specifically volleyball and basketball. Because of your community service we now have a cheerleading squad as well. The physicals and participation in sports will create pride within our school, it will create a sense of team, unification of a student body and  individual student-athletes who are striving to better themselves.”