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Alumni News

Learn how Nurse Faculty Program scholars are influencing the Parkinson’s community

Alumni of The Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at the Parkinson’s Foundation are making an impact on Parkinson's research and care around the country.

Meet Our Annual Awardees

Each year, the program selects a graduate to receive an outstanding achievement award for improving the lives of people with Parkinson’s or for leadership and innovation in nursing education leading to improved care for those with Parkinson’s and their caregiver.

Laura Kelly, Ph.D., R.N., A.N.P.-C., and Cheryl Leiningen, D.N.P., R.N., A.N.P.-C., 2016 Co-Awardees

Dr. Kelly is Associate Professor and Program Director at Columbia University School of Nursing and Dr. Leiningen is Assistant Professor at Monmouth University School of Nursing and Health Studies. Both maintain clinical nursing practices.

After completing their training with the Nurse Faculty Program in 2015, Drs. Kelly and Leiningen developed a 15-week interactive educational activity “Meet Val And Holly: An Experiential Tour Through the Lives of A PD Family,” for their nursing curriculums, which they presented at the 4th World Parkinson Congress in Portland, OR. It walks nursing students through the journey of a person with Parkinson’s and care partner as they cope with a new diagnosis. Throughout the semester-long activity, as students read the journal of “Val and Holly” and submit assignments, we introduce them to Parkinson’s complexities — motor and non-motor symptoms, medication management, nutrition, home safety, care partner stress, adaptive equipment and resources — and the role nurses play in helping people to cope and live well.

The Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at the Parkinson’s Foundation congratulates and thanks Drs. Kelly and Leiningen for their work as it relates to nursing education to improve care in Parkinson’s.

Geralyn Altmiller, Ed.D., A.P.R.N., A.C.N.S.-B.C., 2015 Awardee

Dr. Altmiller is Associate Professor at the College of New Jersey and a clinical specialist at Albert Einstein Medical Center. She is an exceptional teacher, having been recognized for her excellence in nursing education with the 2014 Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching

Dr. Altmiller has rapidly integrated her “VNF” experience into her career in nursing and nursing education, and has had an impact on the field by through the development of tools she is sharing with fellow nursing educators across the US.

After her training with VNF, Dr. Altmiller developed and published a case study entitled, “Unfolding Case Study: Applying the QSEN Competencies to the Care of Patients with Parkinson’s  Disease," on QSEN, a website highly utilized by nursing faculty around the country. Her case study addresses patient safety in Parkinson's disease. She also presented the case study on PD at the annual meeting of QSEN in San Diego in May 2015. It is now available as a free tool for nursing educators around the U.S. In a very short time, it has had far reaching impact, with nursing professors from across the country using her case study to teach their students about safe Parkinson's disease care.

In addition to Dr. Altmiller’s QSEN work, she has published about quality and safety in graduate and undergraduate nursing education and spoken nationally at other conferences on this topic. She focuses her research on health care delivery communication challenges and educational and clinical arena incivility challenges, which have negative effects on patient safety.  The Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at the Parkinson’s Foundation congratulates and thanks Geralyn for her work on the behalf of nursing education and Parkinson’s disease patient safe care.

Allen V. Prettyman, Ph.D., F.N.P.-B.C., 2014 Awardee

Dr. Prettyman is the Nurse Managed Health Center director and School of Nursing at the University of Delaware assistant professor.

He co-directs the university’s Parkinson’s Clinic with 2010 awardee Ingrid Pretzer-Aboff. Dr. Prettyman attended the program at Johns Hopkins University in 2013. He has a broad nursing background with specific preventive healthcare expertise. He led the March 2014 opening of the Parkinson’s Disease Telehealth Clinic in Newark, Del., which he and Pretzer-Aboff designed along with other colleagues to serve patients living far from easy access to PD experts. It allows people with Parkinson’s, without easy access to expert care, to telecommunicate with internationally known PD neurologists. This innovative clinic demonstrates that strong leadership and vision can combine clinical services, academic mission and research outcomes into an integrated and effective healthcare model. Dr. Prettyman is proud that he could provide an immersive educational platform focused on PD for three graduate nursing students and 11 undergraduate students in the clinic’s first six months. He plans to soon expand PD immersion for graduate and undergraduate students.

Joanna Rowe, Ph.D., M.S., B.S.N., 2013 Awardee

Ms. Rowe has been a nursing educator since 1989. Chronic illness, family nursing, simulation and curriculum development are the focus of her most recent teaching. She consults across the country on learning theory in nursing education, simulation design and curriculum, and has won teaching and scholarships awards at the University of Portland. Recently Linfield College-Good Samaritan School of Nursing appointed her full professor. She was hired to help implement a competency-based curriculum.

We chose Ms. Rowe as the 2013 VNF Alumni Awardee in appreciation of her work as the editor on the leading nursing textbook on U.S. family nursing, now used in more than 100 nursing schools. Her Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program project was including a chapter on Parkinson’s disease in the context of families dealing with chronic illness in this book. This effort to enhance nursing education on Parkinson’s disease has the potential to reach thousands of nursing students in the U.S. and Canada.

Johanna Romero deSlavy, R.N., M.S.N., C.R.R.N., B.C., 2012 Awardee

Johanna Romero deSlavy participated in The Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Program at the Parkinson’s Foundation at Johns Hopkins University in 2011.  Mentored by Margaret McCormick (our 2011 Awardee), she took the PD simulation laboratory experience outside the university and into the hospital setting, educating newly hired nurses on Parkinson's disease care.  She is helping to meet the needs of Parkinson's patients in the acute care setting.  She is co-author with Ms. McCormick on "Teaching with Technology: Improving critical thinking through the use of a simulated unfolding case study in Parkinson's Disease," in the Journal of Neuroscience Nurses in February 2013.

Margaret McCormick, M.S., R.N., 2011 Awardee

We selected Ms. McCormick for the second Alumni Award in 2011. She participated in The 2010 Johns Hopkins University program. An excellent nursing educator at Towson University in Maryland, she developed “Teaching with Technology: Improving Critical Thinking Through the Use of a Simulated Unfolding Case Study on Parkinson’s Disease.” Her project recognizes the power of simulation labs in nursing education. Many universities plan to replicate this model for nursing student Parkinson’s disease education. Her unfolding case study follows a patient from early diagnosis to the middle stages of Parkinson’s, and then on to the advanced care period. She integrates family involvement and caregiver roles by having some students role-play parts, while others are nurses and the voice of the patient. Ms. McCormick presented her work at the 2010 Second World Parkinson Congress in Scotland. More recently, she completed an article with co-author Rebecca Dunlop, B.S.N., R.N., host site coordinator for the program at Johns Hopkins University, entitled "Placebo surgery in clinical trials research for Parkinson's Disease," which is now in press.

Ingrid Pretzer-Aboff, Ph.D., M.A., R.N., 2010 Awardee

We selected Dr. Pretzer-Aboff for the first Alumni Award in 2010. She participated in the 2009 pilot program. She continues to be actively involved in improving the lives of those with Parkinson’s disease through her research in a home exercise PD program that incorporates supportive telephone care and home visits. She also established a group exercise program for those with Parkinson’s disease, assisted with a PD support group, assisted with establishing an alliance of PD support groups and presented a poster on PD at the 2nd World Parkinson Congress in Scotland, 2010. Never to tire, she also visited her state Senator and advocated for the hiring of a movement disorder trained physician for the state of Delaware which previous to her involvement had none.  

Most recently, Dr. Pretzer-Aboff has been the driving force behind the first nurse managed Parkinson's disease telehealth clinic at the University of Delaware, which opened in March 2014.  Her current research is a collaborative study with the Department of Engineering at the University of Delaware to evaluate the effect of step synchronized vibration on people living with Parkinson's disease.

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