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.

Yurun Cai, BSN, is enrolled in the BS-to-PhD Population Health program. She received her BSN degree from Peking University Health Science Center where she was awarded the first prize in the Undergraduate Innovative Experiment Program for her research titled “Health-Promoting Lifestyles of Medical Students." She has worked in several departments at Beijing Hospital and Peking University Sixth Hospital as a nurse intern. She has conducted research in Falls Risk Assessment among older adults in several communities in the Haidian District in Beijing. At the Beixiaguan Community Health Center she interviewed community-dwelling older adults, assessed their living environment, conducted home modification, and performed interventions on medication management and health education to decrease the risk of falls. She is currently working as a research assistant at HELP (Help Elders Living with Pain) study at UMass Boston. Her research interests are gerontological nursing, particularly the areas of chronic pain and falls prevention.

Aimee Carew-Lyons, PhD (c), MSN, received her degrees from Northeastern University and Boston College. She is a sixth year PhD student at UMass Boston in the Population Health track. Aimee is the CNO and Senior Vice President of Nursing/Patient Services at Franciscan Children’s in Brighton, MA. Research interests:  Dog visitation in the hospitalized acute care pediatric patient

Linda Connor, MHA, BSN, RN, CPN, is a PhD(c) at UMass Boston and a staff nurse III at Children's Hospital Boston in the Perioperative Program. She mentors staff nurses in evidenced-based practice (EBP), professional advancement, and helps in the Day Surgery Unit conducting chart review prior to anesthesia. Linda is a member of ANA, a member of the ANA-MA Health Policy Committee, a member of Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), Society of Pediatric Nursing (SPN), and Eastern Nursing Research Society (ENRS). She has 40 years of acute care experience in both pediatric and adult critical care, emergency room trauma, and perioperative nursing. Her previous research areas of interest include pediatric sedation, quality care, and family centered care. More recently Linda and a colleague developed an instrument for measuring nurses’ knowledge, values and implementation of EBP. The results of this work have been published in the Journal of Nursing Education and Practice 2016 and a second publication in press at Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing. Linda’s goal in attending the UMass Boston PhD program in Nursing is to further develop her interest in research, education and healthcare with a focus on the impact of health care reform. 

Sabreen Darwish, MSN, RN, is entering her first year as an MS-to-PhD student in the Population Health track. She received her BSN degree from Jordan University of Science and Technology (J.U.S.T.) in 2002. Darwish worked for four years as RN in one of the distinct hospitals in the Middle East; namely King Abdullah University Hospital where she had a unique opportunity to care for patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD). Sabreen’s believe that “nursing is a demanding career” motivated her to work as a teaching assistant and clinical trainer in J.U.S.T. Sabreen obtained her master’s degree in adult health with a focus on cardiology from Queen’s University of Belfast, Northern Ireland in 2007, and is currently working as a lecturer in J.U.S.T. Sabreen’s research interest is studying CVD population with a focus on the nurses’ role in behavioral change and creating innovative smoking cessation interventions, in order to deliver better nursing interventions and achieve patient outcomes.

Ijeoma Julie Eche, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, CPON, 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. 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 chose the University of Massachusetts Boston because of the student body’s diversity and the institution’s dedication to global outreach. Her dissertation will focus on characterizing the relation between parental uncertainty and health-related quality of life in children with cancer with the ultimate goal of improving quality of life of this vulnerable population. She is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, Children’s Oncology Group, the Association of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Nurses, Delta Epsilon Sigma Honor Society for Catholic Colleges and Universities, Oncology Nursing Society and Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Society.

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.

Hannah Fraley, MSN, RN, IBCLC will be entering her first year as a PhD student in Population Health.  Hannah is originally from Massachusetts where she received her BSN in 2002 from Simmons College. She completed her MSN in Nursing Leadership in 2011 from California State University, Fullerton. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the Association of Women's Health Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, and Intervarsity Nurses Christian Fellowship. Hannah comes with a background in the Perinatal Specialty are of Nursing, including Quality and Nursing Management. She will be working as an Adjunct Maternal Child Health Nursing Faculty member at Simmons College, as well as a per diem Lactation Consultant at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. While completing her MSN and working as a nurse leader for women and children's services, Hannah's eyes were opened to the plight of vulnerable populations of women and children in the United States and worldwide. She has a particular interest in breaking the silence of the worldwide problem of human trafficking and the exploitation of women and children.

Mary Sue Howlett, PhD(c), 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 healthcare 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, PhD (c), BSN, RN, CMSRN, is enrolled in the BS-to-PhD Health Policy Program. 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 the Thoracic Surgery ICU and the Thoracic Intermediate Care units at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston. Joyce has over 20 years of experience in acute and critical care. She obtained her BSN 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 improving cancer care and end of life care in the ICU environment.

Maryum Kazmi, PhD(c), BSN, RN, is enrolled in the BS-to-PhD Program at UMass Boston. She graduated in 2006 from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ with a BSN. She formerly worked in 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. Maryum’s area of interest is decision making in elderly patients in active treatment phase of cancer care. As a research assistant with Dr. Carol Ellenbecker, she was part of a survey study to evaluate BS-PhD programs across the country.

Gretchen Kilbourne, PhD (c), 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 healthcare, pediatric healthcare, 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.

MinJin Kim, MSN, RN is a PhD candidate in Population Health in Nursing. She received her BSN from Case Western Reserve University and her MSN from the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston). She decided to pursue a PhD at UMass Boston because she gravitated to its student-centered pedagogy. Additionally, UMass Boston is the only regional federally-designated Asian American Pacific Islander Serving Institution. CNHS faculty research in the areas of cancer, cancer prevention nursing, and health disparities, particularly among Asian American communities, matches her own research interests. Her dissertation research is to develop a theory-guided and culturally-grounded storytelling narrative (STN) intervention and to examine the feasibility of the STN intervention on changing attitudes toward human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine among Korean American female college students. She has managed many community-based participatory research projects in NIH- and other grant-funded studies related to prevention of hepatitis B, HPV, and liver and cervical cancers. She has published her work in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and has presented at many professional conferences. She teaches a college level course, Asian American Cultures and Health Practices at UMass Boston. She is currently a research fellow at the Institute of Asian American Studies at UMass Boston, a recipient of Lynch Fund Scholarship, and has recently been awarded the American Cancer Society’s Doctoral Degree Scholarship in Cancer Nursing.

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 healthcare reform on patient safety and patient outcomes in the Pediatric Cardiac ICU environment.

Fatma Zohra Mataoui, MD, RN, BSN, is in her second year and is currently pursuing a PhD in Health Policy with an oncology focus in the BS-to-PhD program 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, she works as an RN in a skilled nursing facility in Braintree, MA, primarily focusing on providing care to patients affected by Huntington’s disease. 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 the Assistant Nursing Director for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston in addition to being an adjunct faculty member at Emmanuel College. Julianne received her BSN from Emmanuel College and her MS in Nursing Leadership and Business Management from Regis College. Julianne is enrolled in the MS-PhD Population Health track and hopes to focus her research on neonatal outcomes that occur when   Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors are used prenatally. Julianne has worked for over thirty years in pediatric, neonatal and maternal health. Julianne is an active member of Sigma Theta Tau Pi Epsilon at Large and a member of National Association of Neonatal Nurses.

Jasintha Mtengezo, MPH, BSN/M, received her MPH from College of Medicine and her BSN/M from Kamuzu College of Nursing in Malawi. Jasintha is currently in her second year of PhD in Nursing Population Health at the University of Massachusetts Boston. 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 stigma and women’s health.

James Muchira, BSN, is enrolled in the BS-to-PhD Population Health program. 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 enrolled in the MS-to-PhD Health Policy program. She received her MSN in Health Leadership with a health policy focus from the University of Pennsylvania in 2012 and her BSN from Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing in 2009. She is a nurse at the VA Boston Healthcare System, focusing on nursing quality and informatics. Adrianna is a 2015-2016 Albert Schweitzer Fellow, a 2009 Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholar 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) and Chair of the Membership Committee for NAHN. Adrianna's research interests include: health workforce policy, nursing leadership and economics.

Ampicha Nawai, MSN, RN, is enrolled in the MS to PhD program in the population health track. She received her master’s degree in adult nursing from Chiang Mai University. Ampicha has 10 years of experience in various nursing specialties, including orthopedics, adult health, geriatrics, community nursing, health promotion and nursing education. She was awarded a Royal Thai Government Scholarship to pursue her doctoral degree at UMass Boston. Her area of interest is gerontological nursing, focusing on improving the management of pain in older persons.

Chizoba C. Nwosu, MSN, FNP-BC, RN, WCC, is a student 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 precepts nurse practitioner students from UMass Boston and other local colleges and universities. She also serves as a mentor for nursing students as part of Simmons College Dotson Bridge and Mentoring Program. Due to her leadership and clinical skills, she was nominated and received the VA Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Nursing in May 2015. 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 role of PTSD on women veterans.

Jonathan Padua, PhD(c), 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, PhD(c), BSN, RNC, is enrolled in the BS-PhD Health Policy Program. She received her BSN from the University of Maine in 2004 and her specialty area is in labor and delivery. In 2014, she received her certification in Inpatient Obstetrics. She is currently teaching Nursing and Nutrition at Green River College, just outside of Seattle, 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 and will examine the effectiveness of the Breastfeeding Provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in a sample of working mothers. 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 second year student 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 third year student in the MS-to-PhD Population Health program. She is a 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 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.

Maysa Soufan, MPH, BSN, RN is a second year 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.

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 healthcare 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.

Julio A. Toro, PhD (c), RN, OCN, was born in Puerto Rico. He is one of first two BS-to-PhD students enrolled in the fall of 2007. He came to Massachusetts in 1984 to earn a biology degree from Harvard College and later attended UMass Boston, graduating in 1995 with a BS in Nursing and Chemistry. Julio’s clinical experience includes psychiatric nursing and over ten years of experience as an oncology nurse, a role he reports “defined him." He is interested in how an individual's time orientation affects his or her decision making. His dissertation is on determinants of colorectal cancer screening via colonoscopy.

Ashley Waddell, MS, RN, CNOR, is a staff development specialist at Boston Children's Hospital. She contributes to educational programs and maintenance of the policy infrastructure within the Department of Patient Care Services, and co-chairs the Legislative Action Interest Group; a forum made up of direct care nurses, nurse leaders and government relations representatives that meets monthly to discuss and develop strategies regarding Federal and State legislation related to pediatric health care and the practice of nursing. Prior to working as a staff development specialist, Ashley was a staff nurse on an inpatient medical unit and in the main operating room at Boston Children's Hospital. Outside the hospital, Ashley is on the Board of Directors and Government Affairs committee for the Organization for Nurse Leaders for Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and she co-chairs the communication team for the Massachusetts Action Coalition which is working toward advancing the recommendations laid out in the Future of Nursing report. Ashley received her BSN in Nursing from the University of New Hampshire in 2001 and her Masters of Science in Nursing Administration from Northeastern University in 2008. Ashley's research interests are around workforce development, both for nurses entering practice and for those aspiring to leadership roles.

Alan Wright, SM, RN, is enrolled in the MS-to-PhD program. He has over 30 years of healthcare 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.

Yuqing Zhang, MHS, BSN, is enrolled in the MS to PhD program’s Population Health track. She received her master of health sciences from the University of Sydney and her BSN from Peking Union Medical College. She worked for twelve years as the Principal Researcher in Clinical Investigation of Oral Health Department at the Beijing Innovation Center of the Proctor & Gamble company. In 2015 she received a UMass Boston Institute of Asian American Studies research fellowship. Yuqing’s research interests include improving oral health care education and practice among vulnerable populations with chronic diseases. Her most recent research involves examining the relationship between the oral hygiene practice of pregnant Asian American women and gestational diabetes. On her reason for choosing UMass Boston’s Nursing PhD program, Yuqing writes, “UMass Boston’s Population Health Track was particularly attractive to me because nowadays, nurses’s work are not only limited to take care of individual patient, I want my work help to improve the health of a population therefore more people can benefit from it. "