URI College of Nursing brings in visiting scholars through Routhier endowed chair

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Quartet has expertise in quality and safety, health policy and economics, business of health care


KINGSTON, R.I. – March 31, 2015 – Mary Sullivan, the interim dean of the University of Rhode Island’s College of Nursing, faced a challenge last summer.


The first professor to hold the Routhier Chair of Practice, Lynne Dunphy, was returning to an academic position with a university in Florida. During her nine years, Dunphy launched numerous successful workforce and clinical initiatives, and Sullivan wanted to keep the momentum going until a search for a successor could commence.


So she brought in four national nursing leaders and policy experts who have been working with the College of Nursing and the Rhode Island nursing community.


“We really couldn’t stand still. This is a very important endowment, and its work not only benefits URI, but the state as a whole. We wanted to infuse the nursing community with new thinking, and continue to advance the workforce development effort. This approach keeps things going in a novel way,” Sullivan said.


The chair was established in January 2007 through a $500,000 gift from the E.J. and V.M. Routhier Foundation.


The visiting scholars are:


• Esther Emard, Routhier visiting faculty member, who earned two master’s degrees at URI, one in nursing with a concentration in administration and the second in labor and industrial relations, served as chief operating officer for the National Committee for Quality Assurance and is the former president of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care of New England. Emard, who is also teaching nursing courses at URI, is a national expert on health quality and safety, two critical components of the Affordable Care Act. A member of the faculty at The George Washington University School of Nursing where she teaches part-time, Emard lectures across the country on the subject and is a highly sought after consultant by health care organizations on the topic. A resident of Stockbridge, Vt. and Johnston, R.I., Emard is working with faculty, assisting in course and content development for the doctor of nursing practice graduate program, particularly in leadership and change. She is working with another visiting scholar to develop the Routhier Lecture Series.


• Betty Rambur, the second Routhier visiting scholar, is focusing on the academic aims of the Routhier Endowment. Rambur is former dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Vermont, recipient of the Sloan Excellence in Online Teaching Award and member of Vermont’s Green Mountain Care Board. She is working with Emard on the lecture series. As a nurse scientist, Rambur is an expert on health economics and health policy. These two areas are key components of the health care landscape under the Affordable Care Act. The South Burlington, Vt. resident writes and lectures widely on the subject and has recently completed a textbook for undergraduate nursing students titled Health Care Finance, Economics, and Policy for Nurses: A Foundational Guide. She is working with faculty and assisting in course and content development for undergraduate and graduate students at the College of Nursing.


• Jeanette Matrone, the Routhier executive in residence, is a former vice president at Lifespan and chief nursing officer of The Miriam Hospital. The Bristol, R.I. resident is conducting an analysis of the Rhode Island Center for Nursing Excellence. Rhode Island’s nursing workforce data is central to efforts to project future needs for colleges and universities and the health care industry. The data will also become part of the national data collected on the nursing workforce. The Rhode Island Center for Nursing Excellence began as a consortium of the University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, and the Community College of Rhode Island. Based at URI, the center is a resource for all educational programs, nurses, and health care employers. It is charged with providing technical assistance on nursing workforce issues and nursing education, conducting applied research, and disseminating the results of evidence-based best practices. The outcomes of this work will improve the health of Rhode Island citizens by supporting the supply of a high-quality, diverse, and well-educated nursing workforce for the future. Matrone is one of the founders of the nationally recognized center and as director, she will co-lead the Rhode Island Action Coalition, the statewide consortium working to enact the national Institute of Medicine’s recommendations on the Future of Nursing.


• Betty Sadaniantz did early work on the Rhode Island Center of Nursing Excellence as part of her doctoral work and has now completed her doctor of nursing practice degree at URI. Together, Sadaniantz, now the project director of the excellence center, and Matrone will continue this examination and prepare a report on the center. It is expected that they will recommend the next steps for the center based on statewide data as well as national models. The Providence resident will also contribute to the Rhode Island Action Coalition.