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Recent News

Teresa Stephens, PhD, MSN, RN, associate professor, is hosting a museum exhibit in Johnson City, TN at the Reece Museum at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) related to her work with Holocaust survivors. “Deadly Medicine,” a traveling exhibit produced by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, will be at ETSU through Sep. 28. 

Stephens’ ongoing research on resilience led to the exhibit coming to ETSU. Stephens, who recently joined the College in Nursing and is a former ETSU faculty member, studies individuals and populations who have experienced extreme forms of trauma and survived. The aim of her research is to help health care students and professionals, as well as patients and others, learn ways they can be more resilient and better cope with stressful or traumatic situations.

To read more about her exhibition visit Johnson City Press or ETSU.


Forty-seven RN to BSN students graduated on Aug. 15 at the 2017 Pinning Ceremony. In one year, these graduates earned a degree that will allow them to potentially broaden their career opportunities. More than half of the class are nurses at MUSC Health. 

Jaclyn Arold, who graduated with honors, was selected to address her graduating class. A graduate of Trident Technical College where she earned an associates degree in nursing, Arold’s journey included many roles and experiences from unit secretary to student nurse to what she hopes to be charge nurse one day. Arold is a member of the American Nursing Association, and has served as vice president of the Alpha Delta Nu Nursing Honor Society at Trident Tech. In addition, Steven Bruening, First Honor Graduate, and Charles Garred, Second Honor Graduate, were recognized for their outstanding academic performance.

Jaclyn Arold after presenting her remarks to her graduating class.

The College of Nursing has received more than $5.5 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop and use technology-based solutions to address a couple of today’s health care challenges. Two research projects, led by Professors Ken Ruggiero, PhD, and Frank Treiber, PhD, were federally funded to help mental health providers and the heart health of African-Americans.

More than $3.1 million was awarded to Ruggiero for his grant titled, “Improving quality of care in child mental health service settings,” to support mental health providers with interventions that will ensure that children and families receive the best quality care using mobile technology applications to increase engagement between the provider and child. Studies in child education show that interactive games, touch-screen learning, and demonstration videos enhance engagement, knowledge, motivation, and learning.

According to Ruggiero, nearly nine million children in the U.S. meet criteria for at least one mental health disorder at any point in time. Effective treatments exist for these disorders; however, children and families who seek these services rarely receive them. Mental health providers need more support in the delivery of these interventions to ensure that children and families receive the best quality care.

This project will take an important step toward addressing these challenges by testing a novel, technology-based solution designed to improve the delivery of child mental health interventions in real-world community settings.

Additionally, Treiber, who holds the endowed chair in the Center for Economics, was awarded more than $2.4 million from the NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to study medication adherence by African-Americans with uncontrolled hypertension.

Treiber’s research represents an innovative, qualitative and quantitative approach aimed at testing and further optimizing a mobile health technology blood pressure and medication adherence monitoring program interfaced with a smart phone application for improving medication adherence and blood pressure control among African-Americans with uncontrolled hypertension.

Efforts to improve the effectiveness of patients with hypertension to following prescribed medication recommendations have been met with limited success. This research will test and refine a smart phone medication adherence program which includes automated reminders from an electronic medication tray, tailored text message/voice mail motivational feedback and reinforcement, automated summaries and direct alerts to providers.



Professor Ken Ruggiero, PhD, has been selected to receive the MUSC Foundation’s inaugural Population Health Award. This award recognizes and honors faculty who have made outstanding contributions that impact the health of a population or community through innovative technology, implementation of therapeutics, programs, informatics, or similar contributions. Ruggiero was chosen for this first-time award along with Andesaw Selassie, DrPH. 

Ruggiero is the co-director of the Technology Applications Center for Healthful Lifestyles (TACHL), as well as director of the Telehealth Resilience and Recovery Program and has been with the College of Nursing since 2014. His research centers on the development and evaluation of technology-based interventions specifically stepped care approaches for victims of disaster and serious injury.

In partnership with the American Red Cross, Ruggiero is the principal investigator on a research grant from the National Institute of Health to conduct a randomized controlled trial of a stepped-care smartphone-based intervention for disaster survivors. He also is a co-PI on a Duke Endowment grant to adapt and implement the Telehealth Resilience and Recovery Program in three partnering trauma centers across South Carolina. 

The second line of Ruggiero’s research focuses on the development and evaluation of tablet-based resources to improve the quality of care in child mental health treatment. This work aims specifically to improve child engagement and provider fidelity in the delivery of best practices. 

Throughout his career, he has led five NIH grants, four grants from the Veterans Affairs grants, and five from the Department of Homeland Securities. He also has served as a co-investigator on numerous grants funded by the U. S. Department of Defense, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

He received his undergraduate degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo and his masters and doctoral degrees from West Virginia University. Additionally, he completed an internship and National Institute of Mental Health postdoc at MUSC. 

This award, along with other faculty awards, will be presented at Faculty Convocation on August 22.


The Office of Academics at the College of Nursing has been awarded funding for the Nurse Faculty Loan Repayment Program for 2017-18. Eligible students include PhD and post-MSN DNP students who are currently in their second year of study. Eligible students will receive an email with the application on July 14. 

Additionally, the Office of Academics has been awarded funding for the HRSA Advanced Nursing Education Workforce Program for 2017-18. Eligible students include post-BSN DNP and post-BSN MSN students in the A/GNP, FNP, and PNP primary care nurse practitioner tracks. Eligible students will receive an email with the application on July 14. This program provides up to two years of funding to full-time students and one year of funding for the last year of part-time students plan of study.

If you have not received an email on July 14 by 9 a.m. but feel that you are eligible for either award please contact Carolyn Page at

The application process will only be open from 9:00 a.m. Friday, July 14 through 12 p.m. (noon) Monday, July 17. Applications are evaluated for completeness and timestamped, so submit your application as soon as possible.



Professor Teresa Kelechi, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, has been unanimously selected to receive the 2017 Peggy Schachte Research Mentor Award. This award has recognized individuals at MUSC who have excelled in mentoring faculty in obtaining research support from private and public organizations or government agencies. The award targets a faculty mentor or other colleague who encourages and supports the advancement of others as successful, extramurally funded investigators. 
For more than 20 years, Kelechi has excelled as a nurse scientist, nurse educator and a mentor since joining MUSC in 1987. As the David and Margaret Clare Endowed Chair, Kelechi’s primary research focus is venous leg ulcer (VLU) prevention. She’s involved in not one but two studies that can help patients who suffer from leg ulcers and are in many cases underserved, and in most cases, depressed, and in great need of effective, low-cost interventions. 
Her VLU prevention research has resulted in an evidence-based, self-monitoring model using infrared technology to detect elevated skin temperature of the lower leg, a precursor to VLU development. She also is testing a self-management intervention in which a cooling cuff is placed around the lower leg to determine the efficacy of its VLU prevention when the temperature is elevated. She has received funding from the National Institute of Nursing Research for this study, as well as for a study of a wound powder applied to various types of wounds that develop at the end of life. 
Kelechi, a certified wound care nurse, practices in a residential care facility, where she provides foot care and geriatric consultation. Her education includes a BSN from Kent State University, an MSN in gerontological nursing from Case Western Reserve University, and a Ph.D. in nursing from MUSC.
This award, along with other faculty awards, will be presented at Faculty Convocation on August 22.  
The Peggy Schachte Research Mentor Award was established in 2012 by an endowment from the College of Medicine in honor of Margaret P. (Peggy) Schachte, MBA, who founded and served as director of the MUSC Office of Research Development from 1993 to 2009, and played a major role in initiating and championing research mentorship activities at MUSC.
Medical University of South Carolina College of Nursing Dean Gail W. Stuart, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, will retire at the end of the 2017-18 academic year after dedicating 16 years as dean, 33 years to the medical university and 47 years to the nursing profession.
Since her appointment as dean in 2002, the MUSC College of Nursing has cultivated a leadership role among the state’s nursing programs. In addition, the school has achieved top national rankings in the areas of education and research. Over the past 15 years, Stuart has raised the school’s profile by increasing its research funding by more than 470 percent to become a top tier school for nursing research. The school also landed the No. 1 spot on U.S. News & World Report for online graduate nursing programs in 2015 and continues to be a bright spot for the university as it has been consistently ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in the country for the past four years. And it continues to graduate some of the most highly sought after nursing professionals as bedside nurses, nurse practitioners, and nursing faculty. 
Before her role as dean, Stuart led the college’s effort to address the nation’s nursing shortage by being one of the first nursing schools to take nursing courses online in 1997 when she was the director of doctoral studies and coordinator of the psychiatric mental health nursing graduate program at MUSC. In 2006, the entire Ph.D. program went online to serve nurses across the country who were interested in a career as a research scientist or educator. In 2009, the school launched another online graduate program, the Doctor of Nursing Practice, a program that remains highly in demand today.
Stuart came to MUSC in 1985 first to develop as masters degree program in psychiatric-mental health nursing and then became the administrator and chief executive officer of the Institute of Psychiatry, where she was responsible for all clinical, fiscal, and human operations across the continuum of psychiatric care. She then went on to be the co-director of MUSC’s new Center for Health Care Research. Today, she is a tenured professor in the College of Nursing and a professor in the College of Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina. 
Stuart is a 1971 graduate of Georgetown University. She went on to receive a master’s in psychiatric nursing from the University of Maryland in 1973 and a doctorate in behavioral sciences from what is now the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (formerly the Johns Hopkins University, School of Hygiene and Public Health) in 1985. She is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, past-president of the American College of Mental Health Administration, past president of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, and is currently the President of the Board of the Annapolis Coalition on the Behavioral Health Workforce. She has also been a van Ameringen fellow at the Beck Institute of Cognitive Therapy and Research and a visiting professor at King’s College, Institute of Psychiatry, at the Maudsley in London.
Coincidentally, as the college honors Stuart’s impact, it will also celebrate its 135th anniversary in 2018. A gala will be held at the South Carolina Aquarium February 23 to recognize the college’s achievements, outstanding alumni, and many friends and peers who have crossed paths with Stuart.
The recruitment of a new dean under way. A university-appointed search committee is beginning the process of soliciting and reviewing candidates. Tyler & Company, an executive recruiting firm, will assist with this national search. The plan is to identify and recruit a new nursing dean who will be poised to assume the leadership role by July 1, 2018.

Photo: Dean Gail Stuart with Mrs. Janelle Othersen and Dr. Biemann Othersen


Since 2010, the Janelle Othersen Visiting Professorship Lecture has contributed to broadening the educational experience of MUSC nursing students and faculty by bringing engaging and influential health care professionals to campus. This annual presentation aims to encourage thought-provoking conversations and ideas, while also allowing dedicated nursing students be exposed to a diverse and vibrant array of nurse leaders, backgrounds, and ideas.

Dean Gail W. Stuart, PhD, RN, FAAN, who is set to retire in June 2018, has been selected to give this year’s feature presentation, “Taking the Pulse and Scoping the Future of the MUSC College of Nursing.” She will provide an update on the progress that has been made in advancing nursing education and take a look at what lies ahead for the College of Nursing to ensure that the nursing workforce is prepared to provide exceptional care to patients, families, and communities.

All students, faculty, staff, regional alumni, donors and the South Carolina nursing community are invited to attend. The lecture will be presented on Wednesday, July 19 at 4:00 p.m. in the MUSC Drug Discovery Auditorium (70 President St.), followed by a reception.



Congratulations to Joanne Langdale, recipient of the 2017 Staff of the Year Award. This award was presented on April 26 during the CON Administrative Professionals Day breakfast. Langdale has been with the College of Nursing since 2005, working in the role of personnel manager. Here are just a few of the many accolades that she received this year that were collected from the anonymous survey: “Joanne has always gone above and beyond.” “She works long and hard to make things easier for new hires, no matter what else is going on.” “[She] is always positive and cheerful.” [Joanne] is proactive and always concerned about customer service.” “She is exceptional!” All the praise is well-deserved.
Other staff members nominated for the award included: Adriana McKenna is very helpful and easy to work with. Alex Walters is so knowledgable about our needs – particularly Moodle – and solves problems immediately. Don’t’ know how we functioned without him. A pure delight to work with! Catherine Geddings has always demonstrated professionalism and exceptional customer service. Super friendly and efficient! Willing to go above and beyond. Jo Smith is anchor of the CON. She’s always professional, gracious and exceptionally competent. The College literally could not function without her! Donna Jordan’s presence and contributions are seen every day. It is in her willingness to find the answers to questions, she consistently goes out of her way to assist faculty, students, staff and guests. Jessica Williams embodies the excellence, compassion, enthusiasm and integrity that we strive for in the college. Her assistance is immeasurable. She has demonstrated exceptional leadership in Diversity & Inclusion. Josh Goodwin does fantastic work. We are so lucky to have him as our own videographer. Meredith Kerr is incredibly gracious and helpful. Always responds quickly and is there to help. Moby Madisetti continues to be a strong team member. Outstanding goodwill ambassador for the CON. Generous with his time and talents. Carolyn Page is extremely professional and hard working. Very dependable and a joy to interact with. Always on her game! Toni Fancy-Denton is always happy to help. Welcomes questions with a desire to help. Virginia Vedilago is a hard worker and very dedicated to the college. An amazing colleague who contributes to all of the mission of the CON, including Diversity & Inclusion
The Staff of the Year recognition began in 2008 and has been given annually at a breakfast hosted by the CON faculty recognizing administrative professionals. The recipient is nominated by a vote from faculty and staff.

Pamela Cipriano, PhD, RN, FAAN, president of the American Nurses Association and a 2017 MUSC honorary degree recipient, will share her insights into leadership and policy in nursing on May 18 at the College of Nursing.

Dr. Cipriano is the 35th president of the American Nurses Association, the nation’s largest nurses organization representing the interests of the nation’s 3.6 million registered nurses.

A distinguished nursing leader, Dr. Cipriano has extensive experience as an executive in academic medical centers. In 2016, she was named one of the “Top 100 People in Healthcare” by Modern Healthcare magazine for the second year in a row. In 2015, the publication also named her as one of the “Top 25 Women in Healthcare.” She is known nationally as a strong advocate for health care quality and has served on a number of boards and committees for high-profile organizations, including the National Quality Forum and the Joint Commission. Dr. Cipriano was the 2010-11 Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence at the Institute of Medicine.

Date:  Thursday, May 18
Time:  11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Location: College of Nursing, Room 202

Lunch will be provided for the first 100 attendees.


Sep 2017