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Public Health Nursing
Section Newsletter
Winter 2007

Chair's Message

Greetings and welcome to a challenging and exciting New Year!


A vision for the PHN Section emerged from our Annual Meeting in Boston only achievable through the engagement, dedication, and innovation of our membership.  Our challenges are outlined by our PHN Section Strategic Priorities: Ensuring social justice; Eliminating health disparities; Strengthening the public health work force; actively Engaging students; and Promoting environmental health.  I am excited in the knowledge that we are the right people to make this vision a reality.  The strategic priorities that drive the PHN Section do so because they reflect our basic values.  Our Annual Meeting in Boston reflected these priorities, and our “Town Meeting” energized us in a way that I have seldom seen at an Annual Meeting.  You demonstrated a passion for public health nursing’s leadership in the area of human rights.  We cannot have a healthy population when many live in poverty, without education, and are threatened by environmental hazards.  Each quarter we will briefly discuss one or two of our section’s strategic priorities.  This quarter we begin with social justice and two key related questions.  What are the social determinants of health?  What are the fundamental causations of illness?


Social justice is a core value of public health and public health nurses.  The focus at our recent APHA Annual Meeting was on human rights.  In session after session, we listened to and participated in discussions addressing the need to improve human rights within the United States and beyond our borders. When we examine the social determinants of health, we see that poverty is a leading cause of ill health.  We must address global poverty if we are to have a chance at improving the health of populations.  Social justice is one of the Public Health Nursing Section’s primary motivators to action.  Lillian Wald, a public health nursing pioneer in social justice, dedicated her life’s work to improving the lives of vulnerable populations.  We must embrace Lillian’s fervor for social justice and work to address social determinants of health.  In the United States, three important policies that need addressing are raising the minimum wage, a universal health care/single payer system, and early childhood education.  Without adequate income, health care and education, people do not have control over their own social determinants of health.  Public health nurses can be effective change agents in the policy arena by rekindling the passion that initially brought us into public health.  What might seem overwhelming at first begins to seem achievable when we think globally yet act locally.  Already, we can observe that many of our own municipalities and states have begun to do so.  Public health nurses are positioned strategically to influence and support these policies by raising awareness, participating in the political process, empowering the disenfranchised, and promoting social justice.


I invite you to send us your perspective on human rights – a quote, phrase, definition, short essay or other composition of your choice. These contributions will be compiled into a book titled, “Perspectives on Public Health Nursing and Human Rights,” and posted on our Web site. In the next newsletter, we will begin with a discussion on “eliminating health disparities.”  I would like to take this opportunity to thank graduate students Hartley Feld, Peggy Tiller, Tammie Bertram, Jennifer Hunter, Lois Davis, and Genie Prewitt at the University of Kentucky who wrote topic briefs for each of our priorities.  I will draw from their materials as we progress through each priority.  We are forming work groups for each of the priorities.  Each work group will serve as a catalyst into action, and will work to develop principles similar to the environmental principles already developed by the Environmental Health Task Force.  If you have an interest in a specific priority, please send me your name and e-mail address, and we will include you in the appropriate work group.




The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) is actively engaged in advancing health equity and social justice through its Health Equity and Social Justice Strategic Direction Team, Social Justice Team, and other strategic initiatives.


PHN Section Chair Debra Anderson leads a group at the 2006 PHN Town Hall at the 134th APHA Annual Meeting in Boston.


by Debra Gay Anderson, PhD, APRN, BC

Section Chair

Emergency Preparedness & Sustainable Food Sources:

Public health emergency preparedness experts assert that in a large-scale emergency, transportation interruptions are a distinct possibility and may result in severe food shortages within a matter of days.  I hope that we, as public health nurses, will challenge ourselves to be actively involved in encouraging and developing sustainable and local food sources to help communities prepare for emergencies and minimize their adverse effects.


In the past 50 years, we, as a populace, have become increasingly removed from our food sources. We can recall, however, the Victory Gardens of World War II, when over 20 million urban and rural Americans responded to the national food shortage by planting small gardens that supplied over one quarter of the vegetables produced in the United States. There is a grassroots local food movement happening today, but it must rapidly expand in order to serve as the basis for a sustainable emergency food network. Some of the elements of this movement include state and regional sustainable farming groups, community supported agriculture shares (CSA’s), farmers’ markets and metropolitan buying clubs that connect urban/suburban families with individual farmers, and school lunch programs that are returning to home cooked and locally grown food.


In addition to the urgent emergency preparedness issues, public health nurses are ideal educators and advocates for sustainable and healthy food sources because we have a broad view of health promotion and disease prevention. Some of the benefits of local organic food include:


·        Reduced exposure to harmful pesticides, herbicides and hormones in food from plants and animals;

·        Better nutritional value from organic produce and animals allowed to feed on their own natural food, for example grass-fed beef;

·        Reduced dependence on fossil fuels due to the elimination of lengthy travel from farm to consumer and reduced need for large scale agricultural equipment;

·        Buffering of our food supply vulnerability where there is local crop diversity;

·        Increased connectedness in communities and neighborhoods that occurs naturally in the process of procuring locally produced food.


What can nurses do to get involved in this effort?  First, find some healthy local/regional food sources for yourself and your family. One excellent guide is “Local Foods: Where to Find It, How to Buy It,” available from the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Minnesota (  Then talk to other nurses about how to fit your action ideas into practice in your particular work and community settings.


by Linda L. Halcón, PhD, MPH, RN

Associate Professor

Chair, School of Nursing’s Integrative,

Global & Public Health Co-operative

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Promoting Public Health

The Cape May County, New Jersey Health Department offers a broad array of services, but the general population is unaware of our existence.  A simple, inexpensive fix for this is to empower the public health nurses to speak up about their programs.  A perfect opportunity presented itself when the county Women’s, Infants and Children’s (WIC) office needed speakers for their monthly regional meetings.  Public health nurses from the Childhood Lead Poisoning Program, Special Child Health, Cancer Education and Early Detection and the Family Planning Program prepared 30-minute overviews of their programs.  They gathered informational brochures and practiced their presentations.  Of course, public speaking is nobody’s favorite endeavor, but speaking about what you are an expert on is the best way to get started.  The series was a hit. The nurses who participated now are more confident speaking in public, and the community knows more about what public health nurses do.

by Ann Walker, RN, MSN
Director Public Health Nursing
Cape May County Health Department
Cape May Court House, NJ

The Public Health Nursing Shortage: A Threat to the Public’s Health

Representatives from the Quad Council and members of the PHN Section's Workforce/Infrastructure Committee worked throughout 2006 to update a 2001 Quad Council document about the shortage of Public Health Nurses.


The new 2006 document The Public Health Nursing Shortage: A Threat to the Public’s Health, was unveiled in a special session regarding public health nursing work-force challenges and research at the 2006 APHA Annual Meeting.  This paper is intended for use in advocacy, policy-making, and public health infrastructure development—helping us all to make the case for a stronger public health nursing work-force! 


Download the complete report, The Public Health Nursing Shortage: A Threat to the Public’s Health, and share it with your colleagues!

by Betty Bekemeier, MSN, MPH, RN
Glenda Kelly, MSN, RN
Jeanne Matthews, PhD, RN


Joint ACHNE and ASTDN Institute Planned for Kansas City

The Association of Community Health Nurse Educator's ( ACHNE ) Annual Institute will meet with the Association of State and Territorial Directors of Nursing ( ASTDN ) in Kansas City, Missouri.  The conference theme is, "Utilizing Partnerships to Enhance Practice and Education in Public Health Nursing," and will be held May 31 to June 2, 2007, at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center in Kansas City.

APHA Student Assembly Alumni Database

This year, the APHA-SA Opportunities Committee provided more resources to students regarding scholarships, conferences, job postings, potential employers, and fellowships/internships. In addition to these endeavors, the committee revamped the Student Assembly (SA) Alumni Database. The Alumni Database not only allows the SA to track past members, but it also provides current and potential students access to possible careers in public health.


To access the Alumni Database, students can visit the Student Assembly Web site and click on the Opportunities Committee webpage.  Here students can look at current job positions that public health professionals hold.  Prospective public health students could access this database and view jobs that people with public health degrees have to gain a better understanding of the wide variety of career paths available to them.  Alumni range from recent graduates working in fellowships or entry-level positions to seasoned health professionals with well-established research agendas.


The SA Opportunities Committee Co-Chairs are working to increase participation of SA alumni in the Alumni Database.  Anyone who at one time was a member of the Student Assembly (previously entitled Public Health Student Caucus) can visit the Web site, complete the form available on the Opportunities Committee Web page and return it to Jennifer Cremeens.  This endeavor depends on the cooperation of the SA alumni. With APHA-SA alumni support, the Database can become a wonderful resource for the next generation of public health students. We hope you will consider taking a few moments to add yourself to the Alumni Database.


If you have any questions or want more information, please feel free to contact Jennifer Cremeens or Anna Pollack, the Opportunities Committee Co-Chairs at

2006 Beverly Flynn Mentorship Award Recipients


2006 Beverly Flynn Mentorship Award Recipients


La Tasha L. Brown

Carlene M. Ferrier

Selena Kaplan

Christine McCarthy


Beverly Flynn Program Mentors & Awardees at the 2006 PHN Section Awards Luncheon

Call For 2007 PHN Section Award Nominations

The Public Health Nursing Section of the American Public Health Association is calling for nominations for awards to be presented at the 2007 Annual Meeting. The Ruth B. Freeman Award honors a person who has had a distinguished career in public health administration, education, policy, practice, or research. The Public Health Nurse Creative Achievement Award is bestowed in recognition of an individual's exceptional and creative contribution to public health nursing administration, education, practice, or research.  The Lillian Wald Service Award is awarded to agencies, individuals, organizations, or media, for depicting exemplary public health nursing  especially through  legislative, professional, or public advocacy. 


The deadline for submission of nomination materials is May 1, 2007.  Nominees must be members of the APHA and voting  members of the Public Health Nursing Section. If the nominee is a group, at least one active member of the group must be a member of the APHA and a voting member of the Public Health Nursing Section. The Awards Committee encourages nominations and is happy to answer questions regarding preparation of materials.


Public Health Nursing Section Awards Criteria


Ruth B. Freeman Award


The nominee must have demonstrated a distinguished career, characterized by a continuing record of noteworthy accomplishment, in the field of public health nursing at local, state, national, and/or international levels.  Accomplishments must  present exemplary and significant contributions in public health nursing administration, education, policy, practice, or research.  The nominee must be a current member of the APHA, and a voting member of the PHN Section.


Public Health Nurse Creative Achievement Award


The nominee must have made an exceptional and creative contribution to public health nursing  administration, education, practice, or research, by enhancing the quality of care delivered to individuals, families, or populations by enhancing the professional status of public health nursing.  The achievement, with a discussion of the outcome of this creative endeavor, should have been publicized, and professionally disseminated.  Written documentation from at least one individual who can validate the creative contribution is required.  The nominee’s potential for continuing achievement should also be addressed in letters of support. The nominee must be a current member of the APHA and a voting member of the PHN Section.


Lillian Wald Service Award


Nominees for the Lillian Wald Service Award may include agencies, groups, individuals, media, or organizations that depict exemplary public health nursing to the public. Nominees must have demonstrated initiative and resourcefulness in developing efforts to improve population health  through  legislative, professional, or public advocacy. These noteworthy achievements could  relate to promoting  social reform activities or influencing  health policy and health laws for populations, or strengthening public health nursing education, policy, practice, or research.   Achievements may include collaborating with other health care professionals, populations, or  public officials.  Evidence of the nominee’s contributions must be validated in writing by at least one individual. If a group nomination, at least one member of the group must be a member of APHA and a voting member of the PHN Section. 


For questions, or to request nomination materials, please contact Susan Zahner, chair of the APHA PHN Section Awards Committee.


Susan Zahner, DrPH, RN

University of Wisconsin-Madison

School of Nursing, H6/246 CSC

600 Highland Avenue

Madison, WI 53792-2455

Telephone: (608) 263-5282

FAX: (608)263-5332



Public Health Nursing Section 2006 Awardees Recognized

Each year at the APHA Annual Meeting, the PHN Nursing Section is pleased to honor those men and women who exemplify distinguished careers and service in public health. At the 134th Annual Meeting in Boston, the National Nursing Center Consortium ( NNCC ), Julia Muennich Cowell, and Marylyn Morris McEwen received awards.


The National Nursing Center Consortium received the 2006 Lillian Wald Service Award.  NNCC Executive Director Tine Hansen-Turton accepted the award on its behalf for exemplary public health practice to the public.  The NNCC was recognized for its mission and works toward strengthening the capacity, growth and development for nurse-managed health centers to provide quality health care services to vulnerable populations and to eliminate health disparities in under-served communities.


Dr. Julia Muennich Cowell was awarded the 2006 Ruth B. Freeman Award for her sustained commitment and advocacy to improve the health of under-served children and families by advancing the role of school nurses across the state of Illinois, and improving children’s access to qualified school nurses.


Marylyn Morris McEwen received the Public Health Nurse Creative Achievement Award for 2006.  Awarded for her innovative work along the U.S.-Mexico border, Dr. McEwen’s commitment to preparing interdisciplinary health care professionals in order to improve rural and rural health is a demonstration of both innovative and collaborative public health practice.



2006 PHN Section award recipients, left to right: Marylyn Morris McEwen (PHN Creative Achievement Award), NNCC Executive Director Tine Hansen-Turton (Lillian Wald Service Award), Julia Muennich Cowell (Ruth B. Freeman Award)


2006 PHN Awards Luncheon participants at the 134th Annual APHA meeting in Boston

ANCC Offers New Public/Community Health CNS Certification Exam

In 2005, the American Nurses Credentialing Center ( ANCC ) retired the Public/Community Health Nursing (P/CHN) examination.  The Public Health Nursing Section in concert with other nursing partners was successful in working with the ANCC to continue the administration of the Clinical Nurse Specialist in Public/Community Health Nursing (P/CHN) certification examination in 2007.


The 2007 certification exams are scheduled for May 19 and Oct. 20.  For more certification application, submission dates, and fees, visit the ANCC at

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Job Opportunities

Tenure Track Faculty Positions


University of Kentucky College of Nursing


Associate Dean for Practice and Community Engagement

This tenure track position includes oversight of the College’s practice plan and engagement in the community, including a continuing education program and CNA program.  The associate dean will oversee the practice mission within UK HealthCare and the greater Lexington community. In addition, the associate dean will have teaching responsibilities consistent with his/her expertise. Qualifications include a doctoral degree in nursing or a related field, as well as a strong commitment to practice and scholarship.


Public Health

This tenure track position involves teaching in the undergraduate program and initiating a program of research.  Beginning in fall 2007 the undergraduate nursing program is doubling enrollment to 160 traditional students per year. This position will teach 40 percent and receive 50 percent time actively pursue research.  Qualifications include a doctoral degree in nursing or a related field and a master’s degree in nursing, as well as a strong commitment to undergraduate education and scholarship. 

Review of applicants will begin immediately. Please send curriculum vitae, cover letter, and names of three references to:


Jane Kirschling, RN, DNS, Dean and Professor

University of Kentucky College of Nursing

315 College of Nursing Building, Lexington, KY 40536-0232



The University of Kentucky is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from minorities and women. If offered a position, you will be required to pass a pre-employment drug screen and a pre-employment national background check as mandated by University of Kentucky Human Resources.

2007 Annual Meeting



APHA 2007 Annual Meeting

Nov. 6-10 in Washington, D.C.