• (8/22/12) Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing Rebekah Ruppe sent her third update from La Romana in the Dominican Republic.   She is there to precept CUSON master’s students participating in a clinical experience at La Clínica, an HIV/AIDS and primary care clinic. 


    Dr. Ruppe writes: “I spent the morning making house calls (visitas domiciliaras)... with the community coordinator who is the equivalent of an RN.  Our first visit was to the house of a Haitian woman with HIV.  She is fragile.  She lives with her 14 y/o daughter who is aware of her status.  (Her three younger children live elsewhere—she can’t care for them).  She is taking antiretrovirals and TB treatment.  Today we delivered refills, vitamins, antacids and a penicillin injection for her recently diagnosed pneumonia.  Before discussing any of these health issues, we asked about her home, her food and water, and her daughter’s schooling.  Only at the end of the visit did we discuss and deliver meds and make plans for the next visit.  Our second visit was to the house of a young girl in the pediatric HIV program who was having serious behavioral issues.  The situation is too complicated to recount here, but I wanted to share this briefly because this social call has nothing to do with her HIV care, but the family issues are serious enough to affect her health and the health of her family and others.  These are perfect examples of holistic, comprehensive and individualized care for a family affected by HIV.  This is the mission of the clinic—not to only provide medical care to those infected, but to provide care—whatever is needed—to those affected.”

    Rachel Diskin, PNP student, giving a presentation to medical staff on motivational interviewingRachel Diskin, PNP student, giving a presentation to medical staff on motivational interviewing

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  • (8/21/12) Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing Rebekah Ruppe sent her second update from La Romana in the Dominican Republic.   She is there to precept  CUSON master’s students participating in a clinical experience at La Clínica, an HIV/AIDS and primary care clinic. 


    Dr. Ruppe writes:   “I have a full agenda each day, getting to know the people... and the services of La Clinica and trying to support the students in their roles.  Evenings are spent debriefing and preparing for the various trainings planned for the week.  The passion with which La Clínica’s staff dedicates themselves to their services is nearly equaled by their desire to learn and share their experiences.  Today the students were part of the clinic’s weekly student education round table.  Two of the clinic MDs, together with the resident and the assistant clinic director, facilitated a student-led discussion on vertical transmission (prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV) using something similar to problem-based learning.  The resulting conversation was very interactive and the students seemed to enjoy and appreciate the experience.  I look forward to what we (La Clínica and Columbia University School of Nursing) will experience together for the remainder of this week and in future visits and projects.”




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  • (8/20/12) Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing Rebekah Ruppe writes from La Romana in the Dominican Republic.   She is there to precept  CUSON master’s students participating in a clinical experience at La Clínica, an HIV/AIDS and primary care clinic.  


    Dr. Ruppe writes:     “During my first day at La Clínica de Familia, I met many people in var...ious roles—security guards, nurses (assistant, technical, and licensed), clerical workers, physicians, program directors, clients, volunteers.  What I had heard prior to my visit was true—there is a sense of community and family here.  There is an energy about the clinic that might make one forget that many of the clients are living with HIV.  As the day went on, I realized that each person I met generally had 2 or 3 roles within La Clínica from clinical consults to case management to planning home visits to supervising students and volunteers to coordinating prevention programs to developing education sessions (for clients, students, staff and the community members)…  Members of La Clínica’s staff (both paid and volunteer) have a passion for their work and they give 110%; and there is a lot going on here.  Initially, it seemed almost unbelievable that there are so many programs in so many locations.  How can so many programs be sustainable?  The answer is through the dedication of this staff with occasional help from the various volunteer workers—including our CUSON students.”  


    Dr. Ruppe’s faculty profile is here:  http://bit.ly/O1MtTX

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    We are pleased to announce the receipt of a grant which will provide for the full cost of tuition for selected students in the PEDIATRIC PALLIATIVE CARE subspecialty. Four students will be selected from the FNP, PNP, Child PMH, and DNP programs based on the following criteria:

    1. Personal letter evidencing commitment to the practic...e of pediatric palliative care
    2. Resume
    3. Interview with faculty

    Students applying must commit to the entire subspecialty covered in two sequential semesters:

    Fall 2012 – Introduction to Pediatric Palliative Care (3 credits)

    Spring 2013 – Issues in Pediatric Palliative Care (3 credits)

                            Clinical Management of the Pediatric Palliative Care Patient and Family (1 credit)


    If you are interested in this wonderful opportunity to learn a new model of care for children and families with chronic, life threatening illness, please submit your personal letter and resume to Grace Del Re (ghd2105@columbia.edu). Once your materials have been received, you will be scheduled for an interview with the faculty listed below. Letters must be received by 5pm, July 17th, 2012.


    Dr. Mary Ellen Tresgallo

    Dr. Marlene McHugh

    Professor Penelope Buschman

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  • I can’t believe we have been here for 3 weeks already!

    On Saturday, March 24, we went to Bayahibe with the staff from the clinic. It was great to get to know everyone outside the clinical setting and relax after a busy first week at the clinic.

    Week 2 was even busier than the first. Besides working on our projects and doing several home evaluations. ...On Tuesday we went to Salud Pública (the public hospital) and watched 2 C-sections done by one of the doctors that also works at the clinic, Dr. Soliman. The second one was part of the HIV vertical transmission program at the clinic so it was amazing to watch. On Thursday we attended a workshop with the owners of the businesses with commercial sex workers. The staff at the clinic was educating them on STI and abuse. It was interesting to see the dynamic of the workshop and see how machismo affects the lives of the commercial sex workers. On Friday we returned to Salud Pública and watched 2 vaginal deliveries. It was so interesting to compare the C-sections and vaginal deliveries to what we saw during our OB rotation in New York. After a busy week, we took a day trip on Saturday to Boca de Yuma with the director of the clinic, Mina Halpern. After hiking to a cave, we sat at a restaurant right on the water and ate fresh fish. After we took a yola (a small boat) across the river so we could walk to the beach. It was beautiful and great to see a less touristy beach.

    Our third week was shorter since it is Semana Santa (Holy Week). We had a half day on Thursday, and the clinic was closed on Friday. On Monday we went to 2 negocios with Ceida for Programa de la Mujer to educate the commercial sex workers on STIs and safe sex practices. Ceida wanted us to talk to them like we would a friend and brought food for us to share with them. They taught us to put our hair in a “tubi”, which is how Dominican girls put their hair up when around the house. It’s perfect for the hot, humid Dominican weather. These interactions really made me realize that the stereotypes about these women are inaccurate. Sadly many of the women were working in this business to support their children and family, and unfortunately society had not provided them other opportunities or support. That night we went to a dance show in Altos de Chavón with the staff and volunteers from the clinic. It is put on for the tourists coming off the cruise ships, so it wasn’t exactly “authentic” dancing. Regardless, it was enjoyable to spend more time with people from the clinic. The staff and volunteers are all so amazing and dedicated to the clinic. They treat us just like family, which has made this experience even more rewarding. I also went on home evaluation visits for two adolescent girls who were perinatally infected with HIV. Dominicans are known for their hospitality so I enjoyed visiting the families and learning about having a family member who is HIV positive. On Thursday Corrie, Jenny (the medical student from Baylor College), and I did a presentation at the staff meeting on recent guidelines on improved adherence into care and antiretroviral medications for patients living with HIV based on the review of over 300 world-wide studies. After the presentation it was great to hear the staff discuss ideas for the future and also how they are already doing many of the recommendations. At the end of the day on Thursday we shared habichuelas con dulce, which is a dessert that is very typical during Semana Santa made with beans.

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  • This weekend, we went on two side trips to see more of the country.  On Friday we took a boat from Bayahibe, a popular fishing village near La Romana, on a snorkeling trip to Saona and Catalinita Islands.  Of note, we were able to see some beautiful fish, a sting-ray, an iguana on the shore, starfish, and go swimming in a natural pool.  The followi...ng morning we left 

    early with a nurse from Clínica de Familia for Samaná, her hometown.  

    Her family showed us incredible hospitality and we had a great time experiencing the life there.  Samaná is a gorgeous city, and even the bus ride to get there had impressive views.  We were able to visit two different beaches, cross a large bridge overlooking the city's bay, and spend one night learning how to dance bachata and merengue.


    I went back to Salud Pública on Monday, to continue getting experience with the nurses in the L&D wing at the hospital.  I was able to observe another C-section, in which the surgeon ran out of towels mid-way through the procedure.  It was interesting to see the adaptivity necessary in this low-resource setting.


    On Tuesday, I spent almost the entire day working on my project to update all patient charts to include a summary sheet for care and treatment of HIV/AIDS.  I have been able to get through a majority of the charts so far, and am hoping to finish them before we leave on Friday.


    This morning I worked with a man named Dr. Callander, a Global Health Fellow from Johns Hopkins University who sees pediatric patients at the clinic.  I got some great assessment experience and teaching, and to see first-hand some of the  typical and opportunistic complications of HIV/AIDS in a clinical setting.  I spent the rest of the afternoon working on the chart project, and lamenting one day less left in the Dominican Republic.  Dr. Hannigan arrived later in the day, and it was great to see her and share some of our stories.  We had a delicious dinner at an Italian restaurant nearby, which we had been eyeing since we got here and finally had the occasion to visit.

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  • Columbia University School of Nursing

    Doctoral Seminar

    Spring Semester, 2012



    “Health in Harlem: Community and Faith-Based Health Initiatives”


    Patricia Butts

    First Lady and President Emeritus

    Health Ministry Abyssinian Baptist Church

    Founder and Board Member

    Communities of Harlem Health Revival




    Elizabeth Cohn, RN, DNSc

    Assistant Professor of Nursing

    Columbia University School of Nursing


    Wednesday, February 8, 2012


    617 West 168 St, Rm 145 (1st Floor Lounge)

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  • excerpted from "The Philadelphia Inquirer"


    J.M. Ada Mutch, 106, longtime nurse and volunteer

    February 05, 2012|By Sally A. Downey, Inquirer Staff Writer



    J.M. Ada Mutch, formerly of Wynnewood, a nurse, World War II veteran, and volunteer for the elderly, died at Rosemont Presbyterian Village on Friday, Jan. 27, a week before her 107th birthday.


    In 1932, having taught physical education for eight years at the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, Miss Mutch had to have her appendix removed.   "I went to the hospital for a week, and had the most wonderful time," she later told The Inquirer. "I decided to become a nurse. I figured I could take care of people as I got older, but I wouldn't be able to run up and down a hockey field forever."


    Miss Mutch did, indeed, go on to take care of people - for more than 70 years.


    She graduated from the Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing in New York [in 1936].   During World War II, she served in the Army Nurse Corps, overseeing military hospitals in England and Ireland.   After her discharge in 1946 as a lieutenant colonel, she traveled in Asia before returning to Columbia-Presbyterian as head nurse.


    In 1955, Miss Mutch left Columbia-Presbyterian, where she then was assistant director of nursing and assistant professor of nursing, to become director of nursing at Lankenau Hospital.    After retiring in 1970, she was a volunteer driver for the American Cancer Society. From the early 1980s until 2010, she also was a volunteer for ElderNet, a nonprofit organization serving residents of Lower Merion.   "Ada was an amazing woman," said ElderNet executive director Ruth M. Sperber. "She volunteered for ElderNet for many years as a driver, friendly visitor, officer, and personnel committee chairman."  Miss Mutch also was the inspiration for ElderNet's service delivery program, the Ada Mutch Resource Service Center, which opened in 2009.  Dorothy McCabe, retired director of ElderNet, said Miss Mutch often chauffeured people no one else would drive because they were too difficult. "She never judged anyone," McCabe said. "She was delightful, had a great sense of humor, and enjoyed life."


    In 2002, Miss Mutch told The Inquirer that she usually did not reveal her age to her passengers because it might make them nervous. But, she added, "if they start complaining a lot, and say, they're 72, I'll say: 'I'm 90-something. What are you complaining about?' They say, 'Oh, you've given me a new lease on life!' "


    After she gave up her driving privileges at age 98, she continued to volunteer for ElderNet, but behind a desk.  In the interview, Miss Mutch said her longevity came from always staying physically active. But she also benefited from her life's circumstances, she said: "I was born in Scotland and I'm full of Scotch, and I never married, so I don't have the worries of children."


    Miss Mutch emigrated to the United States in 1912 with her four siblings and her parents. Her father, the Rev. Andrew Mutch, had been appointed pastor of Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church. They sailed on the Caledonia when they were unable to get passage on the Titanic.


    Miss Mutch was a scholarship student at the Baldwin School and received the Gym Award as best athlete when she graduated in 1922. She returned to Baldwin to teach after graduating from the Boston School of Physical Education.  In 2010, Baldwin presented her with an honorary white blazer, given annually to the school's best athlete. She had lamented that she had not received one when she was a student.


    Miss Mutch traveled all over the world and, since childhood, spent summer vacations in Maine, a nephew, Andy Mutch, said.   She is survived by several nieces and nephews.


    A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, 625 Montgomery Ave., Bryn Mawr.

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  • Mentoring Opportunity:   healthcare professionals and/or students sought as mentors for at-risk youth via an after school program


    Jossie Montolio,Mentoring Coordinator for Geriatric Career Development (GCD) at Jewish Home Lifecare, contacted CUSON about the following mentoring opportunity:



     The reason I contacted you is to inform you about a great mentoring opportunity. We at GCD run an after school program for disadvantaged, at-risk youth. Our program components provide our students with academic support, intergenerational mentoring, college preparation, job training and clinical skills to prepare youth to enter the healthcare field.


    Most of the students of GCD are minority students, whose family’s median household income consist of $34, 031. Our students deal with economic pressure and act as caregivers to their families. Consequently, our students lack role models to provide them guidance through their high school journey. Therefore, we look towards people, such as you, to make a difference in the lives of our students.


    We are currently recruiting more than 62 healthcare professionals and/or students to act as mentors. We are in desperate need of mentors, and we would love to have some of your alumni participate in our program. GCD matches our 62 high school juniors; from either our Manhattan or Bronx based programs, with more than 62 healthcare students and/or professionals.  You and your mentee will exchange weekly e-mails as well as attend monthly events hosted by GCD. All mentors must be 21 years old or older and willing to give an 8 month to one year commitment to the program.


    Again, we are in serious need of great mentors to make a difference in our student’s lives. Furthermore, those interested should complete the application using the link below. I have also provided a flyer with information session dates, which you are encouraged to attend.


    Application link: https://jewishhome.imentorinteractive.org/     


    Thank you for your support in making a difference

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  • National Recognition for Heart Disease Education Campaign Run by CUSON and the Abyssinian Baptist Church


    The US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health has recognized a heart disease education campaign run by the Abyssinian Baptist Church (ABC) in Harlem and the Columbia University School of Nursing (CUSON) as one of the m...ost successful of its kind in the nation. The initiative used a combination of social marketing and outreach through the faith-based community to provide minority women with information about the seven most common symptoms of a heart attack and to encourage them to call 911 as soon as they experience those symptoms.


    Cardiovascular disease and heart attack are the No. 1 killers of women in the US; 45 percent of African-American women have some form of cardiovascular disease, compared with 32 percent of white women. CUSON and ABC in partnership sought a federal grant last year to work with the Harlem faith community to develop a public education campaign to reach women of color across New York, as well as the first responders and other healthcare personnel who serve them. The campaign organizers were Dr. Elizabeth Cohn, assistant professor of nursing at CUSON, and Mrs. Patricia Butts, First lady, Abyssinian Baptist Church.


    The campaign―called “Make the Call, Don’t Miss a Beat”―involved a range of public service messages delivered through radio, TV, print, the Internet, billboards―even the Times Square jumbotron. An independent media monitoring company estimated that the initiative generated millions of media impressions, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and reached more than 21.4 million women of color and healthcare personnel across the state.

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