UCSF School of Nursing News

October 2012Diana Austin

Anne Davis Named “Living Legend” by American Academy of Nursing

Anne J. Davis, professor emerita in UCSF’s Department of Community Health Systems, received the American Academy of Nursing’s (AAN’s) highest honor, designation as a “Living Legend,” at the October 11 opening ceremony of the organization’s 39th annual conference.

Davis, one of four honorees for 2012, was selected for her pioneering work in nursing ethics. She is the author of numerous books and articles on the topic, and her 1978 book, Ethical Dilemmas in Nursing Practice (co-authored with Marsha D. Fowler and Mila Ann Aroskar), is now in its fifth edition and is considered one of the seminal works on ethical issues that confront contemporary nurses.

Davis’ work has had international significance, particularly her efforts to integrate the topics of ethics in clinical situations and human rights into the discussion of psychiatric nursing in Japan, both through her scholarly publications and through her role as a professor at Japan’s Nagano College of Nursing, from 1995 to 2001.

Since the award was created in 1994, there have been 82 AAN fellows honored as “Living Legends” (including the School of Nursing’s Patricia Benner, in 2011), each recognized for their extraordinary accomplishments and lifetime achievements.

Announcing the 2012 awards, AAN President Joanne Disch said of the honorees, “We are inspired by their values and commitment, and we hope to build on their success as we lead into the future to improve the nation’s health.”

Legacy Honors Valerie Yerger for Exposing Big Tobacco Marketing Tactics

Associate Adjunct Professor Valerie Yerger, from UCSF’s Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, has spent the past 10 years researching the tobacco industry and how its marketing tactics target African Americans. In August 2012, she was honored by Legacy (formerly the American Legacy Foundation), a national public health organization dedicated to preventing youth smoking.

Yerger used once-secret tobacco industry documents to demonstrate how tobacco companies used connections with African American community leaders, businesses and professional organizations to strategically target African Americans and inner-city communities with tactics designed to sell what Legacy calls “one of the nation’s most deadly products.”

Dr. Yerger calls the tobacco industry’s marketing practices “one of the world’s biggest illegal racketeering enterprises,” and hopes that by shedding light on them, her work will help end them.

Yerger’s 2006 research also revealed that the tobacco industry has been aware for years that menthol additives in cigarettes accumulate in melanin-containing tissue and may affect nicotine metabolism differently in different racial and ethnic groups. Her team’s 2010 analysis of tobacco industry documents detailing the effect of menthol additives on cigarette flavor, nicotine delivery and smokers’ sensory perceptions formed part of the basis for the FDA’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee’s conclusion that removing menthol cigarettes from the market would benefit public health. A trio of 2011 studies published in the American Journal of Public Health seem to confirm that conclusion, suggesting that a ban could prevent up to 600,000 smoking-related premature deaths by 2050 and would have the support of 56 percent of Americans.

IOM Appoints Kathy Dracup to Graduate Medical Education Committee

UCSF School of Nursing Dean Emerita Kathy Dracup has been appointed to the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM’s) ad hoc Committee on Governance and Financing of Graduate Medical Education (GME).

The committee was formed in response to calls for broad reform of the GME system to better align GME financing with the public’s health care workforce needs.

At an October 2010 meeting, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation and the Association of Academic Health Centers suggested that the IOM perform an independent external review of GME governance and financing, citing ongoing challenges, including the changing patient population, the increasing prevalence of disability and chronic disease, the need for cost-effective health care systems, and the impact of GME on state-level policies and in state institutions. The recommendation was echoed by a bipartisan group of US senators in a December 2011 letter to IOM President Harvey Fineberg.

Dracup joins 20 policy experts from a diverse group of organizations on the committee, which will assess current regulation, financing, content, governance and organization of US GME and develop recommendations for modifying it to produce a physician workforce and health care system that will meet 21st-century needs.

The committee is expected to make its report in or around December 2013.

School of Nursing Students Receive National Research Service Award Grants

This year, two UCSF School of Nursing doctoral students have received National Research Service Award (NRSA) grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), bringing the total number of School of Nursing students with NRSA grants to five.

Emily Green was awarded a grant for her project, “East African Immigrant Females: Adolescent Developmental Protective/Risk Factors” (faculty sponsor, Susan Kools). Tara Walhart received her grant for “Identification of Novel Inhibitors of Human Papilloma Infection” (faculty sponsors, Carol Dawson-Rose and Joel Palefsky).

The National Research Service Award is among the most selective and prestigious sources of funding for doctoral students. It comes with an annual stipend of $22,032 and covers 60 percent of the recipient’s tuition and fees up to $16,000.

The other currently funded School of Nursing recipients are:

  • Jennifer Baird, for “Understanding How PICU Nurses Care for Dying Children and Their Families” (faculty sponsor, Betty Davies)
  • John Merriman, for “Identification of Genetic Markers Associated with Attentional Fatigue” (faculty sponsors, Christine Miaskowski and Bradley Aouizerat)
  • Ifeyinwa Asiodu, for “Identifying Barriers to Breastfeeding Initiation in African American Families” (faculty sponsors: Audrey Lyndon and Kathryn Lee)

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Names Shirley Chater a Force Multiplier

Former UCSF Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and School of Nursing alumna Shirley Sears Chater was recently named one of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF’s) “Force Multipliers”— programs or individuals who have had a dramatic and catalytic effect on improving health care in the US.

She was honored on the occasion of her retirement from her position as chair of the national advisory committee for RWJF's Executive Nurse Fellows program. Chater was tapped in 1997 by then-RWJF Vice President Terrance Keenan to help develop the program, which offers nurses three-year fellowships to develop and strengthen leadership skills. Since then, the program has trained more than 200 nurses, providing advanced education, intensive coaching, and networking opportunities to up to 20 nurses selected every year.

Chater’s broad leadership experience made her a natural pick to help develop the program. She became UCSF’s vice chancellor for academic affairs in 1977—then the highest-ranking woman in the University of California system. Nine years later, Chater became president of Texas Women’s University and was subsequently appointed by Texas Governor Ann Richards to head the Texas Health Policy Task Force. In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed Chater Commissioner of the US Social Security Administration, and for four years, she served as head of the agency that provides an income lifeline for millions of Americans.

An elected member of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, Chater was named one of the American Academy of Nursing's “Living Legends” in 2000.