In honor of the nurses who help care for us!

In honor of the nurses who help care for us!

National Nurse’s week is celebrated May 6th to May 12th.  This incredibly noble profession isn’t always recognized as it should.  Aside from treating patients that can be very sick or injured, nurses provide advice and sometimes much needed emotional support to patients and their families as well.  Being a nurse goes beyond helping doctors in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.

In 2017, the Howell Foundation awarded Cheryl Boyd and Raelene Brooks the Chery A. Wilson Scholarship.

Picture of Nurses and Doctors
Pictured Raelene Brooks (left), and Cheryl Boyd,
Ph.D candidates from USD’s Hahn School of Nursing

In her dissertation, Cheryl Boyd is looking to bring an in-depth understanding of the major issues affecting victims of sex trafficking.  She mentions that the gap in nursing knowledge regarding how and why victims are lured into captivity in sex trafficking (entry), how and why they remain in captivity (progression), how they are able to exit captivity, and once out of captivity, their ability to work with the affects upon future relationship status and quality of life is imperative to assist service providers in creating the right treatment for the victims.

“Sex trafficking is a form of human trafficking, and is considered a massive human rights violation, a public health crisis and is a form of modern day slavery involving the illegal trade of people for exploitation. Nurses may be the first or only health care provider a victim of sex trafficking may ever see.  Yet, there is a lack of nursing research related to the physical and emotional captivity issues and needs. Access to the correct data will provide the appropriate understanding and interventions needed for a highly victimized and stigmatized sector of the population.”

Raelene Brooks, on the other hand, will be working towards creating social support and lifestyle behavior mechanisms to guarantee women’s health post bariatric surgery.

She mentions that, although bariatric surgery appears to be a magic bullet and provides success in a short amount of time, the percentage of wight recidivism in this population cannot be ignored – 15% or recidivism and higher is observed in 1 1/2 years to 2 years after bariatric surgery. “There continues to be a lack of consistent hearth care provider follow up addressing psychosocial an nutrition education support.  Her research seeks to identify the self efficiency beliefs, social support and health lifestyle promotion among women who are 2 or more years post bariatric surgery.  The expected outcome is the ability to provide guidance and application of interventions to support long term follow up care for women post bariartic surgery.”

We have seen many nurses from USD’s Hahn School of Nursing conducting research in areas that are critical to our health.  The Howell Foundation celebrates your effort in making sure the rest of us are well taken care of!  To the nurses on our Board of Directors, thank you for all that you do!


Past Howell-Hahn School of Nursing Scholars

Picture of Nurses and Doctors
Pictured above from left to right
Noelle Lipkin Leveque, Dr. Patricia Roth
and Tina Campbell

In her project description, Lipkin mentions: ” Published research shows between 68 and 97% of health care providers say they have had NO training in identifying or treating victims of human trafficking.” This dissertation focuses on the gap in nursing knowledge regarding the health care of people (particularly women) who have been/are victims of human trafficking.  A lack of awareness of human trafficking and lack of training on how to recognize and manage a trafficking situation have been identified as barriers to care for this population. This study offers a first glimpse into the physical and mental health needs and receipt of health services of trafficked women in San Diego,  CA.

Campbell, on the other hand, describes the need to address the health of the caregiver tending to dementia and Alzheimer’s patients: ” According to the Alzheimer Association, there are about 10 million women currently providing  unpaid  24-hours a day care to someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia.  They  are more likely than men to help with the more intense, personal aspects of care, such as bathing, dressing, toileting, and managing incontinence. They receive less family and friend support than male caregivers caring for wives in similar situations. This takes a toll on their health and well­ being. They are concerned about the ability to maintain their own health since becoming a  caregiver. These responsibilities are physically stressful, isolating and commonly linked to depression.

Picture of Cheryl Wilson and Jennifer Buechel
Cheryl Wilson (left) and Jennifer Buechel

“As an Adult Nurse Practitioner, I have first-hand experience in how challenging it is for clinicians to provide routine and preventive care for female military populations in an operational environment, including sexual health and immunization prevention programs.  I have the opportunity as a future nurse scientist to significantly improve health policy and education through research and evidenced-based practice” ~  Jennifer Buechel

Picture of Dr. Colombo - Nurses Scholarship
Dr. Colombo

Carmen Colombo was the 2013 recipient of the Howell Foundation’s Cheryl A. Wilson Nursing Scholarship. She is a 2014 graduate of the University of San Diego’s Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science with a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing degree. The Howell Foundation Scholarship provided funding for her research dissertation, “Fetal Heart Monitoring, Nursing Surveillance, and Cesarean Birth”. Dr. Colombo designed this study to determine the role nurses’ monitoring and interpretation of fetal heart rate during labor predicted a Cesarean section outcome. The importance of this study rests on the fact that in 2012, the most recent statistics available, one in three births in the US were by Cesarean section.   Carmen is the Chief Nursing Officer of Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns.

Dr. Howell with CMDR Ryan Nations - Nurses Scholarship
Dr. Doris Howell (left) 
with CMDR. Ryan

“There is an old joke that if you don’t remember your anesthesia provider they must have done their job well. While there is a bit of truth and humor in that statement, it is my goal as a nurse anesthetist to disprove that joke. Every interaction is a chance to inform our patients of the value of advanced nursing practice and to hear directly what is most concerning about their health. My role as a Navy Nurse has exposed me to a world of diverse health needs and tremendous opportunities for nursing research- I intend to seize the opportunity!”
~ CMDR Ryan Nations.


Dr. Jodi O'Brien - Nurses Scholarship
Dr. Jodi O’Brien

“My study seeks to reduce women’s health risk for breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some (reproductive) cancers, postpartum depression, and rheumatoid arthritis, by investigating infant feeding patterns and nurse factors placing a mother and infant dyad at risk for in-hospital formula supplementation.  Unnecessary in-hospital formula supplementation denies women and infants the full health benefits of breastfeeding exclusivity and increases adverse health risks for both. Given that 97% of all women in the US deliver their infant(s) in the hospital, this study is important to better understand factors influencing breastfeeding outcomes which directly affect women’s health. Results will help clinicians and policy makers improve strategies to increase in-hospital breastfeeding exclusivity, and improve the over-all health of women”.
~ Jodi O’Brien

The Cheryl A. Wilson Scholarship was established 6 years ago to honor the current CEO of St. Paul’s for all her work at the Howell Foundation.   She is the Chief Executive Officer of St. Paul’s Senior Homes & Services in San Diego. She has a Master’s degree from the University of Redlands, MA and an RN from Prince Henry’s Nursing School.  Ms. Wilson has earlier experience as a Critical Care/Operating nurse and consultant to long-term care programs/new programs & facilities development. Prior to her current position, she also was a Pediatric Clinic Supervisor and an instructor for the Nursing Administration examination for Med-Ed and American Nurses College.  Cheryl has served on the Howell Board in many capacities, including that of Chair. She is currently Co-Vice Chair of the Board.

Abigail D'Agostino with Dr. Hala Madanat, recipient of 2015's Howell's CEI Grant
Abigail D’Agostino with Dr. Hala Madanat,
recipient of 2015’s Howell’s CEI Grant

Shout out to Abigail D’Agostino, who joined the Howell Foundation Board in 2015 and now co-chairs the Howell Foundation along with Kathleen Franklin.  A Medical Professional with over 12 years of wide range experience in the health care industry, Abigail has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.   She is a Registered Nurse and has certifications in Adult Critical Care Nursing, Public Health Nurse, End-of-Life Nursing Education, Geriatric Trainer, and Plant-Based Diet Certification from e-Cornell University.  Abigail is currently Director of Patient Care Services at Light Bridge Hospice and Founder and President of Nurses for Health, created to provide a platform to engage nursing professionals in helping to improve the health of our community through education.  Her dedication to the well being of others has made her an awardee of the Worldwide Leaders in Health Care Recognition from the International Nurses Association (2015), and the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Rookie of the Year – Award of Clinical Excellence, from Scrips Memorial Hospital (2005).


About the Doris A. Howell Foundation:

For the past 23 years, The Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research has been dedicated to keeping to women we love healthy by making a long-term, positive impact on women’s health.  To date, it is the premier organization advancing women’s health.

The organization does so by funding scholarships to students researching issues affecting women’s health; providing a forum for medical experts, scientists, doctors, and researchers to convey timely information on topics relevant to women’s health, and by funding research initiatives that improve the health of under-served women and increase awareness and advocacy in the community; bringing women’s health research to a full cycle.



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