The Program

"The niche of the program embedded in health policy and focused on health disparities sets it apart from any other program I know of.  Certainly, as nurses we are very concerned with the pieces with patients from various socio-economic backgrounds and ethnic differences and their access to care and their access to ongoing treatment for their various illnesses and wellness care. There are many inequities and nursing is about caring for our patients and human response to illness and we probably more than any other profession see those inequities and try to advocate for our patients and services they get. So to be in a program and - this goes back to the university mission - to be on a campus where people from all walks of life, all parts of the world can come and study and take their learning and have impact in their communities has been very exciting to me.” Anne H. Gross, 2010 PhD Graduate

“For me, one of the most valuable aspects of the PhD Program in Nursing is its integration with colleagues in other programs, such as Gerontology and Public Policy, and the caliber of the courses at the College of Nursing and Health Sciences and other programs. I also appreciate the diversity of students in the program, and the opportunities to learn from and with them. And I value the research assistant opportunities I’ve had in areas relevant to my dissertation.” Linda Samia, 2006 PhD Graduate

"The doctoral program has given me the opportunity to expand my understanding of health policy, challenge my convictions, develop analytic skills, and work with nursing and health policy leaders in the University, the legislature, and health care organizations." Gail B. Gall, PhD Student


The Health Policy Internships

“I spent the semester doing the Nurse Internship in Washington program….and working with the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) as their Health Policy Liaison for the state of Massachusetts, I have remained in this role with ONS….I work on health policy issues relevant to oncology clinicians, patients and families.” Anne Gross, 2010 PhD Graduate

“A unique experience … at the Massachusetts State House in the Senate President's office with his policy advisor and in the Speaker of the House's office with his legal counsel during the implementation of health care reform ..... Today, I have contact with these advisors and currently serve on a Health Equity Committee that was part of the legislative outcome.” Jean Bernhardt, 2010 PhD Graduate

“The experience really helped me see policy in action and to apply theory to practice. I learned a lot and was also able to educate State Senator Moore about the role of school nurses.” Mary Jane O’Brien, PhD Student

“The State House no longer appears as an ominous entity, but as a place to talk with Representatives/Senators and Aides about bills and legislation that are important to me.” Leslie Rideout, PhD Student

“An opportunity to take a step back and critically evaluate the work that I do as the Chief of Health Professions Regulation for the Rhode Island Department of Health.” Charles Alexander, PhD Student
“A unique part of my internship was working with staff from Senator Kerry’s office and … meeting with the key stakeholders and discussing the legislation from their perspective …”  Kathleen Hickson, PhD Student

“The internship at the State House was one of the most professionally enriching and educational experiences of my doctoral study…..  I learned the legislative process is iterative and timing, political milieu, and symbolic meaning are key to policy outcomes.” Terry Kahlert Eng, PhD Student

“Senator Richard Moore and his staff welcomed my input and perspective regarding nurse staffing issues, the patient care environment, and hospital acquired infections.   I was able to translate the ‘windows of opportunity’ concept …. learned in the classroom  into the day-to-day operations on Beacon Hill.” Patricia Noga, PhD Student

“The internship was an amazing opportunity for me to improve healthcare for children at the state level. … I was able to influence important legislation.” Patricia A. Hickey, 2010 PhD Graduate

I gained a better appreciation of the power of street level bureaucrats and the need for stakeholders to stay engaged through all parts of the policy process, but especially during the implementation of a policy. It affirmed for me how important it is for nurses and the unique perspective that nurses can bring to a process, to be present at the table while policies are being created and implemented.” Joe-Ann Fergus, PhD Student