Student Profiles

AbdulMuhsen AbuFannouneh, MPH, MSN, BSN, RN, is currently enrolled in the MS-to-PhD Population Health program. He earned his MPH in 2005 (with a specialization in Health Services Management) from Al-Quds University in Palestine and his MSN 20 1991 (with a specialization in Community Health Nursing) from the Catholic University of America at Washington, DC. AbdulMuhsen previously taught at the College of Health Professions, Department of Nursing at Al-Quds University, where he also directed the Nursing Department. He has also taught at other universities such as the College of Nursing at Bethlehem University and was a part-time Instructor at the Red Crescent Society’s Pre-hospital Emergency Care Institute, where he co-founded in 1995. He has made many scholarly presentations in his country at the national level. His research interests include palliative care of the terminally ill patients in the Middle East, barriers to women breast cancer screening in the Middle East and accessibility to health care services of marginalized population aggregates in the Middle East.

Eric Anketell, MBA, RN, CCRN. Eric is the Clinical Nursing Director for Medical Intensive Care and Neuro-Intensive Care at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, MA. He received his BSN from the University of Massachusetts Lowell and his MBA from Bryant University. He is enrolled in the MS to PhD program’s health policy track. Eric is a member of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, Healthcare Financial Management Association, Organization of Nurse Leaders, American Organization of Nurse Executives, American Nurses Association, and Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Society.  His research interests include nursing workforce, comparative effectiveness, outcome measurement, and value. 

Caitlin Bradley, MS, NNP-BC . Caitlin received her BSN at the University of Massachusetts Boston and her MS in Acute Care (Neonatal Nurse Practitioner focus) from Northeastern University.  Caitlin is a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner at Boston Children’s Hospital and a Clinical Faculty Coordinator at the University of Massachusetts Boston.  She began in the PhD program, Population Health, in the Fall of 2016 and is interested in exploring health and prevention in the neonatal population.

Yurun Cai, BSN, is enrolled in the BS-to-PhD Population Health track. She received her BSN degree from Peking University Health Science Center. Her research interests are fall risk, chronic pain, cognition and physical functioning, geriatrics, and biostatistics. In her undergraduate, she was awarded the first prize in the Undergraduate Innovative Experiment Program for her research titled “Health-Promoting Lifestyles of Medical Students." After completing her coursework, she worked in several departments at Beijing Hospital and Peking University Sixth Hospital as a nurse intern. In 2013-2014, she conducted fall risk assessment research, and fall prevention interventions among older adults in several communities in the Haidian District in Beijing. After started the PhD program, she has been working as a research assistant at HELP (Help Elders Living with Pain) study and MOBILIZE (Maintenance of Balance, Independent Living, Intellect and Zest in the Elderly of Boston) study II at UMass Boston for two years. Currently, she is a member at the Gerontological Society of America and Eastern Nursing Research Society, and a certified SAS programmer..

Sabreen Darwish, MSN, RN, is a PhD candidate in the Population Health track. She received her BSN from Jordan University of Science and Technology and her MSN from Queen’s University of Belfast, Northern Ireland. She worked as a teaching assistant and clinical trainer at one of the most prestigious hospitals in the Middle east, King Abdullah University Hospital. For the past four years she has worked as a research assistant at UMass Boston where she has co-authored a chapter in a textbook as well as other research articles, and was awarded the 2017 PhD Nursing Outstanding Graduate Assistant Award by the CNHS. Sabreen’s research is focused on Arab’s living in the US and their tobacco use behavior. She is currently working on her dissertation with the main goal of understanding tobacco related health disparities by looking at the characteristics of individuals social networks, social relationships, and other sociocultural factors that shape tobacco use behaviors.

Ijeoma Julie Eche, MSN, FNP-BC, CPHON, AOCNP, BMT-CN, Doctoral Candidate is enrolled in the MS-to-PhD Population Health program. She received her BSN from Regis College in 2005 and  her MSN from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 2010. Majority of her nursing experience has been in pediatric hematology/oncology. She currently works as a Staff Nurse in the Hematology, Oncology and Clinical Research program at Boston Children’s Hospital and as a Family Nurse Practitioner at Beth Israel Medical Deaconess Center in the Hematologic Malignancy and Bone Marrow Transplant program. She is currently working on her dissertation which focuses on characterizing the relation between parental uncertainty and health-related quality of life in children newly diagnosed with cancer. She plans to expand her research knowledge in a post-doctoral fellowship following graduation. She is a member of multiple professional organizations including Children’s Oncology Group, Association of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Nurses, Oncology Nursing Society and Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Society.

Ahdab Eskandar MSN, BSN, RN is enrolled in the population health PhD program. She earned a MSN (community health nursing CNS track) in 2015 from the University of Illinois at Chicago, USA. She completed her BSN at King Abdulaziz university and one year internship for newly graduate nurses program at the leading MAGNAT certified King Faisal Hospital and Research Center, Jeddah 2009-2010. Ahdab taught at the College of Nursing, at Umm Al-Qura University, Saudi Arabia as clinical instructor and demonstrator. Currently she works as a research assistant with Dr. Thaer Momani on aromatherapy in oncology care. Ahdab presented and attended many research conferences. Also, she is a member in the Saudi Nursing Association, Eastern Nursing Research Society and American Public Health Association. Here research interests include asthma control and cancer screening in Arab populations.

Louise E. Ford, MSN, BSN, RN, CNE, is enrolled in the MS-to-PhD Health Policy program. She earned her MSN from Salem State College and her BSN from Saint Anselm College. She also attended Florida State University and completed their Nurse Educator Certificate Program and passed the Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) exam,  She currently works as a Clinical Nursing Faculty member at Salem State University and as a research assistant at UMass Boston.

Emily Gesner, DNP, RN-BC, is enrolled in the MS to PhD Health Policy program. She earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice from Northeastern University, a Masters of Science in Nursing Informatics from Excelsior College and a BSN from UMass Boston. Her research interests include Meaningful Use, electronic clinical documentation and terminology. She is ANCC board certified in Nursing Informatics and is a member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Society.

Mary Sue Howlett, MS, RN/FNP-BC, CEN, is enrolled in the MS-PhD, Health Policy Program. She has more than three decades of nursing experience in varied areas including emergency, critical care, and forensics. She earned a BS at the University of Vermont and a master’s degree from UMass Boston as a Family Nurse Practitioner. She is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society, and Golden Key International Honour Society. Because of the enormous financial and personnel resources devoted to the recruitment and orientation of new employees in an already fiscally strapped health care environment, her research and policy areas of interest involve analysis of the influences on the turnover intention of newly licensed nurses, incorporating race and other personal traits of the nurse and structural characteristics of the workplace.  

Audrey Jasey, BSN, RN, CMSRN, is enrolled in the BS-to-PhD Health Policy track. She received her BSN from UMass Boston. Audrey is a staff nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital. She chose UMass Boston due to the availability of a program in health policy with a focus in nursing and disparities. She is interested in patient safety and health care quality as well as disparities in colorectal cancer screening. Audrey is a member of AMSN, ANA, ENRS, NBNA, Sigma Theta Tau, and Treasurer elect of UMass Boston's PhD Nursing Collaborative.

Joyce Johnson, MS, RN, is the Nursing Director of 15CD a Med/Surg unit at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. She formerly managed  the Thoracic Surgery ICU and the Thoracic Intermediate Care units. Joyce has over 20 years of experience in acute and critical care. She obtained her BS in Nursing from UMass Boston and her MS in Nursing Leadership and Business Management from Regis College. Joyce is currently enrolled in the MS-PhD Population Health track and hopes to focus her research on surrogate decision making  during end of life care in the ICU environment.

Gretchen Kilbourne, BSN, MS, RN, received a degree in Psychology from Princeton University in 2004 and worked in sales and management for several years before becoming a stay-at-home mom.  In the summer of 2010, Gretchen graduated first in her class from the MGH Institute of Health Professions Accelerated Baccalaureate Program and was the recipient of the MGH Institute Award for Academic and Clinical Excellence.  She was also inducted into Society Sigma Theta Tau.  Since then, she has been working as an RN in a Skilled Nursing Facility in Needham, MA focusing on Alzheimer’s and Dementia care.  Gretchen’s areas of interest include: youth sports-related concussions, mental health care, pediatric health care, education, preventative medicine, and wellness.  Gretchen grew up in Wellesley, MA as the sixth of seven children, and is a former member of the US Women’s National Ice Hockey Team.

Lindyce Kulik, MS, RN, CWON, CPNP, CCRN, will be starting her first year in the MS-PhD Health Policy track this fall 2013. Lindyce is a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Boston Children's Hospital. Lindyce has over 30 years of critical care experience caring for patients with congenital heart disease. She obtained her BSN from the University of Minnesota and her MS in Maternal Child Nursing from the University of Michigan. Her research interests include the impact of health care reform on patient safety and patient outcomes in the Pediatric Cardiac ICU environment.

Simon Manga, MSc, BSN, RRHN, RN, is enrolled in the MS-to-PhD Program in Population Health track. He earned an MSc in reproductive health and a BSN in 2014 and 2012 respectively from the Catholic University of Central Africa, Yaoundé, Cameroon. He received his RN in 2001 from the School of State Registered Nurses’ Limbe, Cameroon and a Registered Reproductive Health Nurses’ Diploma in 2006 from the School of Reproductive Health Bamenda, Cameroon. He served in the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services, a large faith-based organization in Cameroon for several years as supervisor for family planning and women’s health services. He has enormous clinical experiences in antenatal care, post abortion care, infertility workup, diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, diagnosis and treatment of sexual dysfunction, and office gynecology procedures. His research area of interest is cervical cancer prevention in developing countries. He is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, International Gynecologic Cancer Society and Inter Agency Working Group on Reproductive Health.

Fatma Zohra Mataoui, MD, BSN, RN, is in the dissertation phase and last year of her PhD program.  She is pursuing a PhD in Health Policy with an oncology focus at UMass Boston.  She graduated from the Medical School of Algiers, Algeria in 1989 as a general practitioner and continued to work as a primary care physician in both hospital and clinical settings for two consecutive years.  Once in the United States, she used her medical background to teach college-level science courses while raising a family of her own.  Fatma graduated with RN-BSN from UMass Boston’s Accelerated Baccalaureate Program in summer 2011.  Currently, Fatma is focusing on her cancer disparity project in understanding the acculturation, modesty, and breast cancer knowledge and their association with the use of mammography screening within Arab Muslim women living in the U.S. Her professional goal is to be part of a multidisciplinary research team and her career goals are to make a difference in caring for cancer patients and reducing disparities in health care through science, policy change, and research.

Julianne Mazzawi, MS, RN, is a PhD Candidate in the MS to PhD population Health track. She received her MS from Regis College in Nursing Leadership and Business Management, her BSN from Emmanuel College and her ASN from Laboure College. Julianne has over thirty years in pediatric, neonatal and maternal health care. She is an active member of Sigma Theta Tau and is currently the Vice President of the Theta Alpha Chapter at UMB. Julianne’s research is focused on healthiness among new mothers in recovery with opioid use disorder.

Jasintha Mtengezo, MPH, BSN/M, is a PhD candidate in the MS-to-PhD Population Health track. She received her MPH from College of Medicine and her BSN/M from Kamuzu College of Nursing in Malawi.  Jasintha has over 20 years of experience in nursing and midwifery training, education and practice including clinical experience in medical surgical; and labor and delivery. Jasintha transitioned to nursing administration in 2003 and has held roles with progressive leadership responsibility, including the role of the director of nursing education programs and Dean of nursing faculty in Malawi. Jasintha has been actively involved in program planning, management and monitoring and evaluation of nursing activities at both national and international level. Her research interest area is in HIV/AIDS and women’s health. Jasintha has received research grants from Global Health Office and Seed Global health. Currently, Jasintha has been awarded the American Cancer Society’s Doctoral Degree Scholarship in Cancer Nursing.

James Muchira, BSN, is enrolled in the BS-to-PhD Population Health track. After completing his BSN degree in Kenya, he worked as a nurse officer  intern at Kisii Level 5 Hospital and later as a nurse tutor at Tumutumu and Chogoria Colleges of Nursing. James participated in the Kenya Heart and Sole Afya Njema project, a partnership of University of Massachusetts Boston and three other Nursing Colleges in Kenya that aim to improve advocacy, treatment and prevention of Cardiovascular-metabolic diseases. He also has been involved in formation, implementation and evaluation of a Group Medical Visit in Kenya, which  is a peer support group of people living with hypertension and diabetes. James current research entails finding cost effective and locally available solutions in prevention and/or treatment of patients with Cardiovascular-metabolic diseases among low income populations in Kenya.  In September 2015, he co-authored an article titled Distribution and characteristics of risk factors for cardiovascular–metabolic disease in a rural Kenyan community.

Adrianna Nava, MSN, BSN, RN is a PhD Candidate with a concentration in Health Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She received her MSN in Health Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania in 2012 and her BSN from Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing in 2009. Adrianna's research interests include: health reform, nursing leadership and health disparities. Adrianna is a 2016-2018 Jonas Nurse Leader Scholar, 2015-2016 Albert Schweitzer Fellow, a 2009 Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholar within the Office of Former Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-CA) and an active member of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN). Within NAHN, Adrianna has served in various leadership roles including: 2011-2013 President of the Illinois Hispanic Nurses Association (IHNA), 2015-2016 Vice-President of the Massachusetts Chapter of NAHN and as a National Board of Director (2014-2016). Adrianna currently works within the VA Boston Healthcare System as a Nursing Quality and Informatics Coordinator.

Adrianna has received the following recognition for her work: the 2017 Outstanding Alumni-Excellence in Leadership Award from OSF Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing, the 2017 40 under 40 Recognition Award from The National Association of Hispanic Nurses, the 2014 AARP-Illinois Community Education Service Award, and the  2011 VA Going the Extra Mile Service Award.

Chizoba C. Nwosu, MSN, FNP-BC, RN, is a PhD Candidate in UMass Boston's Nursing MS-to-PhD program Health Policy Track. She earned her BSN from Boston College and her MSN from Emory University. She is a Nurse Practitioner at Boston VA Healthcare System working for the General Surgery Department. She is Co-Chair of the VA Boston APRN Council. She also serves as a mentor for undergraduate and graduate nursing students as part of Simmons College Dotson Bridge and Mentoring Program. She is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, Massachusetts Coalition of Nurse Practitioners, and Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Society. Her research will focus on the impact of social support on women veterans with PTSD.

Jonathan Padua, BSN, RN, is enrolled in the BS-to-PhD program. He earned his BSN from the University of Massachusetts Boston. He currently works as a staff nurse in critical care at Brigham and Women's Hospital. His area of interest includes health systems strengthening in low resource settings and global health, and has recently completed an internship as part of a capacity building project for professional nurses in Monrovia, Liberia.

Rebecca Penders, BSN, RNC, is a PhD Candidate enrolled in the BS-PhD Health Policy Program. She received her BSN from the University of Maine in 2004.  Her specialty area is in labor and delivery and is certified in Inpatient Obstetrics.  She has taught Nursing and Nutrition college-level courses and is currently working at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children’s Hospital in Spokane, Washington while finishing her dissertation.  Rebecca sought UMass Boston for her doctorate because of the program’s unique Health Policy focus.  Her research interest is in breastfeeding health policy, particularly breastfeeding and workplace accommodations.  Her dissertation will explore employed mothers’ satisfaction of the Breastfeeding Provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  Rebecca is a member of the American Nurses Association, Sigma Theta Tau and is a recipient of the GAANN Grant and Lynch Fund Scholarship.

Heather Harker Ryan, BSN, RN, is a PhD Candidate enrolled the BS-to-PhD Population Health program. She received her BA in anthropology from the Barnard College and her BS in nursing from Columbia University. She is currently the Program Nurse in the Preventive Cardiology Program at Children’s Hospital Boston, focusing on children with cardiovascular risk factors. Heather is excited to learn from prominent nurse researchers in her area of interest at the University of Massachusetts Boston, which include the prevention and treatment of hypercholesterolemia and hypertension in pediatric populations, and nursing education. Heather is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International, the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing, and the Preventive Cardiology Nurses Association.

Somporn Sitthisongkram, MSN, BSN, RN, was awarded the Royal Thai Government Scholarship to study in a PhD Program in Nursing. She is a PhD candidate in the MS-to-PhD Population Health program and a former president of the International Nursing Student Association (INSA), UMass Boston from 2015 to 2016. She received her BSN from Boromarajonani College of Nursing Nakorn Lampang and her Master’s degree (Mental Health and Psychiatric Nursing) from Chiang Mai University, Thailand. Somporn was a nursing lecturer and has worked at Boromarajonani College of Nursing Chiang Mai, Thailand for ten years. Her work experiences include teaching health promotion, community health care, psychiatric nursing, and nursing education. Somporn’s main research interests are mental health, substance abuse, and psychiatric nursing. She is currently working on her dissertation that focuses on teenage drinking in Thailand.

Maysa Soufan, MPH, BSN, RN is a PhD student in the MS-to-PhD Population Health program. She was born and raised in Palestine, where she began her career in nursing after graduating with a BSN from Bethlehem University, Palestine in 1990. For over four years, she worked as a registered nurse in the ICU, neurosurgical and cardiovascular units at Al Maqassed Hospital, which is one of the busiest hospitals in East Jerusalem. Maysa worked as a clinical instructor and was a student at Al-Quds University, Jerusalem where she received her master’s degree in Public Health, all while being a full-time mother. Before leaving to the United States, Maysa was head of the Nursing and midwifery departments at Al-Quds University for three years. Her research interest is on mother-daughter sexual communication. Maysa hopes to be able to contribute to the development and advancement of nursing research in her home country.

Ekta Srinivasa, MSN, BSN, RN. Ekta is employed at the VA Boston Healthcare System as a Clinical Resource Nurse for Acute care and Outpatient Specialty areas. She received her BSN from UMass Amherst and MSN from Curry College. At the VA, she serves as an educator, clinical trouble shooter, and responsible for creating, promoting, and implementation of special projects over a wide scope of clinical and administrative context. She leads the Nursing Evidence Based Practice Committee (EBPC) and has responsibility for describing and dissemination of nursing policy, clinical practice, and scope of practice for all nursing staff at the three hospitals that make up the VABHS. She is currently enrolled in a Nursing PhD Health Policy track at UMB. Her research interest is in the realm of exploring the impact of workplace bullying policy and other interventions on the factors that determine the status of psychological safety in the workplace.

Lori Stevens, MBA, BSN, NEA-BC. Lori received her BSN from the University of Massachusetts Boston and her MBA from the Simmons School of Management and is currently a 6th year PhD student of the Nursing Health Policy program at the University of Massachusetts Boston. During her tenure at UMass Boston, she has served in the role of resident assistant to Dr. Ling Shi, assisting Dr. Shi in the publication of 2 articles on blood banking in China.  Lori also served as guest lecturer for NU 332 Legal, Ethical, and Health Policy Issues in Nursing during the 2015 academic year.  In Spring 2016, Lori was the recipient of the Brenda S. Cherry Doctoral Dissertation Research Award.  Lori has over 25 years of hospital, ambulatory and administrative experience including clinical experience in medical surgical care, critical care and labor and delivery.  Lori is currently a health care consultant providing subject matter expertise in nursing and clinical care, ambulatory operations, and clinical IT solutions for hospitals, health systems and ambulatory enterprises.  Lori’s research interest is Conscientious Objection by Massachusetts Nurses.

Katherine Valorie, MSN, RN.  Katherine is a Hospice Nurse Case Manager for Salmon VNA & Hospice based out of Milford, Massachusetts.  She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Clark University in 2007, Diploma in Nursing from St. Joseph School of Nursing in 2010, and her Master of Science in Nursing Administration and Leadership from Northeastern University in 2017.  She is enrolled in the MS-to-PhD Nursing Health Policy Program.  She is a member of the American Nurses Association, Hospice & Palliative Nurses Association, and Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society.  Her research interests are improving quality of life outcomes in hospice patients by focusing on mental health wellness.

Ashley Waddell, MS, RN, is a doctoral candidate in the Nursing Department at the University of Massachusetts Boston and the Director of Government Affairs and Educational Programs for the Organization of Nurse Leaders MA, RI, CT, NH, & VT. With a passion for education and a strong belief that nurses should influence health policy decisions, Ashley’s research and practice interests’ focus on how nurses participate in health policy and how nursing curricula prepares nurses for such work. Ashley has a strong clinical background in pediatric nursing and a contemporary understanding of the political and operational complexities of the health care system. Ashley is a 2016-2018 Jonas Nurse Scholar and served as a member of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s Faculty Policy Think Tank.

Alan Wright, SM, RN, is enrolled in the MS-to-PhD program. He has more than 30 years of health care experience with work as a nursing home orderly, refugee health educator, health insurance administrator and home health association executive. Since 2000, he has worked in the software field developing software and training Medicare agencies in data collection and analysis. He currently works for Bayada Home Health Care, a national home health company, as a senior data analyst. His research interest is in understanding how the home health care industry can be improved in order to play a more effective role in health care reform, particularly within the Medicare sector.

Maryum Zaidi, BSN, RN, is enrolled in the BS-to-PhD Program at UMass Boston. She has formerly worked at Griffin Hospital in medical surgical units and at Yale Medical Center, Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital as an Oncology RN. She is currently working as a home care nurse at VNA Care Network and Hospice. She is in proposal development phase of her dissertation. Maryum’s area of interest is decision making among middle age and older adults during cancer treatment decisions making phase as measured by information seeking, self efficacy, treatment preferences, locus of control and fatalism. As a research assistant with Dr. Carol Ellenbecker, she was part of a survey study to evaluate BS-PhD programs across the country.

Yuqing Zhang, MHS, BSN, is a doctoral candidate in the Nursing Department at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She received her master of health sciences from the University of Sydney and her BSN from Peking Union Medical College. She have 12 years work experience in investigating oral care products’ clinical efficacy and safety status in randomized controlled clinical trials, in the role of Principal Researcher in Clinical Investigation of Oral Health Department at the Beijing Innovation Center of the Proctor & Gamble company. Yuqing coauthored six peer-reviewed papers and was selected as 2015 Research Fellow by the Institute of Asian American Studies and received the 2nd Peer-Reviewed PhD Paper Award at 29th annual meeting of ENRS. Yuqing’s research interests include identify causes of oral health disparities, improving oral health care education and practice among vulnerable populations such as elderly and pregnant women.