WMU News

First Lacey Endowed Chair in nursing selected

Feb. 5, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- A health care professional with a wide-ranging, community health nursing background has been selected as the first person to fill the Bernardine M. Lacey Endowed Chair in the Western Michigan University Bronson School of Nursing.

Dr. Joyce E. Beebe-Thompson, associate dean of graduate studies and professional development and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, currently holds the highest elected office in the world for a midwife as director of the board of management of the International Confederation of Midwives. At the University of Pennsylvania, she is also director of the PAHO/World Health Organization Collaborating Center in Nursing and Midwifery Leadership, director of the Teacher Education Program for Nurse Midwifery and Nurse Practitioner Faculty, and project director of Penn-Malawi Women for Women's Health Project.

"This is a good example of what we can do with endowed professorships," says Dr. Fredrick J. Dobney, WMU provost and vice president of academic affairs. "This is a person who will bring extraordinary reputation and contacts to this University. Because our nursing program is still fairly new, she will provide the sorts of mentoring and contacts for our junior faculty in nursing that will enable us to jumpstart our nursing program in a significant way and make important strides."

Beebe-Thompson's research, teaching and consulting focus has been in nursing, midwifery, public health and ethics. Her publications include six books, 14 book chapters and numerous articles. She currently is completing a book on teaching nurses and midwives how to teach others in those clinical disciplines. She has developed various grant projects and programs focused on the professional development of nurse educators and has been an international consultant, working in both Africa and South America.

The Bernardine M. Lacey Endowed Chair was created with the help of a $1.5 million anonymous donation in 1998, establishing a permanent endowed chair in WMU's Bronson School of Nursing in the College of Health and Human Services. The chair was established in honor of Lacey, the school's founding director, who served as the school's director for five years, helping to shape a vision of community nursing at the newly established school. She left the University in spring 2000.

Because the endowed chair has as its focus community health nursing, the primary emphasis is on community-based, practice-oriented research and teaching. Conducting research into key questions relating to community health nursing, mentoring junior faculty, securing research funding and developing a focused approach among faculty and students on questions important to community health nursing also are integral parts of the endowed chair position.

Beebe-Thompson is set to begin her job at WMU in fall 2002.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 269 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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