Faculty Profile: Professor of Nursing Laura L. Hayman Exemplifies Service to Vulnerable Populations
January 20, 2011
All that Laura L. Hayman has accomplished in life she has done with great purpose, leading to her current destination as associate dean for research and professor of nursing at UMass Boston’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences.
Since her days as a nursing student at the University of Pennsylvania during a clinical rotation in community nursing, Hayman has been involved in the field of public health. “I saw the potential for making a real difference in the health and healthcare for children and families beyond the hospital environment,” she says.
In 1983, as an assistant professor of nursing and chair of the Penn Nursing of Children Program, Laura L. Hayman received the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. The review committee received more than 100 letters in support of her nomination. Students rated her courses among the most valuable in the curriculum, and said for her “the phrase ‘students come first’ is her way of life.” Colleagues cited “scholarship, coherent writing ... an infectious love for her discipline combined with the development of younger faculty as teachers."
Hayman has worked on several population-based research studies of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, a multifaceted disease she believes has many interacting causes. Her program of research and scholarship has focused on primary prevention of obesity and CVD in children, adolescents, and families.
Initiated with a multidisciplinary, longitudinal National Institutes of Health-funded study of biobehavioral risk factors for CVD in children and adolescents, her current work, in collaboration with colleagues from CNHS and Children’s Hospital Boston, focuses on theory-based, technology-mediated interventions designed to promote physical activity and fitness and reduce risk factors for CVD in children. She accomplishes this in part through her role as director of research for the UMass Boston GoKids Boston™ Youth Fitness and Training Research Center. As a result of her research, teaching, and service, she has published seven books, ten book chapters, and ninety journal articles.
“Substantial data indicate that health-related lifestyle behaviors contribute to CVD, diabetes, obesity,” Hayman says. “These behaviors are influenced by numerous societal-level system factors that go beyond the individual.... Multilevel policy changes will be needed to reverse the epidemics of CVD, diabetes, and obesity and enhance the health of the public—the health of future generations.”
Hayman has served in numerous leadership roles with the American Heart Association (AHA), chairing the Council on Cardiovascular Nursing and acting as liaison to the Atherosclerosis, Hypertension and Obesity in the Young Committee of the Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young.
In 2009, she received the Council on Cardiovascular Nursing’s Distinguished Achievement Award at the AHA Annual Scientific Sessions. The award, given every three years by the council, recognizes individuals who have made substantial professional contributions to the field and to the mission and goals of a specific AHA council.
In presenting the award, Dr. Sandra Dunbar, current chair of the Council on Cardiovascular Nursing, lauded Hayman’s contributions and accomplishments relevant to cardiovascular science, mentorship of students, and leadership in nursing and across the disciplines.
“It’s all about making a positive difference in the human condition,” Hayman says.
To that end, her goals at UMass Boston include continuing her collaborative, cross-disciplinary program of research, facilitating the development of young faculty investigators and student researchers, and contributing to the university’s research mission focused on improving the health and well-being of vulnerable populations, nationally and globally.