Throwback Thursday: Women Ahead of Their Time

Thursday, November 19, 2015

On this day 23 years ago, Synapse featured master’s and doctoral nursing students receiving prestigious research awards, scholarships and recognition for their studies and exemplar work in the field of nursing.

Martha W. Moon, a doctoral student in the School of Nursing, was awarded two prestigious fellowships for her work concerning adolescents and HIV. She was granted a National Research Service Award (NRSA) for three years from the National Center for Nursing Research. In addition, the Association for Nurses in AIDS Care (ANAC) selected her as one of only two nurses in the country to receive an Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (ANAC) HIV Nursing Fellowship Award. Dr. Moon worked with UCSF and the University of Zimbabwe to study new potential methods to prevent and reduce HIV transmission. During her time as an associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing, she conducted HIV prevention studies in Guatemala, Eastern Cape Province of South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Rae Jean Blaschka received the Liesel M. Hiemenz Scholarship for study at UCSF based on her academic excellence, interest in public health nursing and contribution to the nursing profession. As a traveling public health nurse for 12 years before arriving at UCSF, Blaschka provided health care and coordination of care for over 20 Alaskan villages. She felt that UCSF could provide her with "a theoretical foundation in health policy management." In the Family Nurse Practitioner Program, she focused on child health, women's health and health promotion. She is currently working as a nurse practitioner at Kodiak Island Medical Associates in Anchorage, Alaska.

Not unlike their predecessors, current UCSF nursing students are also recognized at the national level. In October of 2015, a combined ten students received the 2015 Nurse Corps Scholarship Program and the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program. Among thirteen nationally recognized students, Napoleon DeVeyra and Ashley King, master’s students in the Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) program, were recipients of this year’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Minority Fellowship Program Youth Award. This program provides professional development to master’s level behavioral health professionals with the goal of reducing health disparities and improving behavioral health outcomes for racially and ethnically diverse populations.

Ashley King chose to become a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, with the intention of working with children, due to her background in working as a 7th grade science teacher among the underserved communities of Oakland. “Being a part of this incredible fellowship means that I will gain further experience and education to achieve my goal of working with children and adolescents in underserved communities,” says King. “I want to take advantage of every opportunity that will make me a better practitioner in the future, and this is why I applied for, and accepted, this award.”

Napoleon DeVeyra has been a nurse for over five years. Working as a community health nurse in San Francisco, he witnessed how underserved and minority communities encounter different barriers to mental and physical health care, as well as their difficulties navigating complex health systems. Through this fellowship program, he hopes to improve his professional practice as a RN and future PMHNP. “I believe that this award will be another strong foundation to expanding my nursing profession and I hope to be able to pursue doctoral studies in the future,” DeVeyra says. “Right now, I am just really excited about the many opportunities that this program will open up for me and [the] ways that I can give back to the community, and beyond.”

We congratulate all past, present and future nurses and we thank them for all their achievements and contributions to nursing.