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Award-winning faculty enhance health education at ASU, beyond

portrait of ASU professor Karen Sweazea
April 22, 2014

Arizona State University College of Health Solutions and College of Nursing & Health Innovation faculty continue to gain recognition for work that advances the health field and supports the students they serve.


This month, Karen Sweazea, assistant professor in the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion in the College of Health Solutions, will be honored by the American Physiological Society as the recipient of the 2014 Dale J. Benos Early Career Professional Service Award. Sweazea has served as a student mentor in multiple roles, such as an Obama Scholars Mentor for underprivileged freshmen at ASU. Sweazea also received an Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award from the Faculty Women's Association.

Michael Dorman, a professor in the Department of Speech and Hearing Science in the College of Health Solutions, received the Faculty Service Award at the ASU Founders' Day Dinner in February at the Arizona Biltmore.

Janet O’Brien, simulation nurse specialist in the Learning Resource Center in the College of Nursing & Health Innovation, was nominated for the March of Dimes 2014 Nurse of the Year award for her outstanding efforts in the nursing field.


Adriana Perez, a Southwest Borderlands Scholar and College of Nursing & Health Innovation assistant professor, was selected to serve on UnitedHealth Group’s Center for Nursing Advancement’s External Nursing Advisory Board. The goal of the board is to inform, create and evolve nursing best practices in order to create strong partnerships across nursing, education and the health care industry; influence nursing policy and changes in the national landscape; and further the nursing profession.

"We formed the External Nurse Advisory Board to help lead the way in advancing nursing as a profession, and influencing thought leadership and innovation in nursing and health care in our country," said Dawn Bazarko, senior vice president Center for Nursing Advancement at UnitedHealth Group and board co-chair.

Elizabeth Reifsnider, associate dean of research for the College of Nursing & Health Innovation, was selected as a 2014 fellow for the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. The purpose of the association fellows is to impact national and global health by engaging recognized nurse practitioner leaders who make outstanding contributions to clinical practice, research, education or policy, enhancing the association's mission. It is also to provide a forum to extend and enhance fellows’ efforts to mentor and to facilitate leadership development of nurse practitioners. The induction ceremony will be held during the group’s national conference in Nashville, Tenn. this summer.

Next month, Craig Thatcher will join the College of Nursing & Health Innovation as a senior associate dean and professor. Thatcher has a long-standing association with ASU, having served as executive dean of the college in 2009. He is a strong advocate of interprofessional education. During his first tenure at the college, he helped secure a Macy Foundation grant to advance interprofessional education between the doctor of nursing practice program, as well as the doctor of pharmacy and medical programs at the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix. Thatcher most recently served as professor and associate dean for the College of Technology and Innovation, where he was responsible for advancing student recruitment, student advising and engagement, and oversaw academic personnel actions for the college.

Earlier this month, Donna Velasquez was inducted into the Western Academy of Nurses. The academy recognizes and honors nurses who have demonstrated excellence in nursing practice and have advanced practice in direct care, education or research. Velasquez is a clinical associate professor and coordinator of the Family Nurse Practitioner program for the College of Nursing & Health Innovation.

Research and publications

Angela Chen, an associate professor in the College of Nursing & Health Innovation, was selected as the principal investigator for a grant from Sigma Theta Tau International. Chen will conduct a pilot study of a computer-tailored intervention to promote HPV vaccination among Mexican American adolescents.

Vimla Patel and Edward Shortliffe, professors in the Department of Biomedical Informatics in the College of Health Solutions, recently published books. Patel co-edited "Cognitive Informatics in Health and Biomedicine," and Shortliffe co-edited "Biomedical Informatics: Computer Applications in Health Care and Biomedicine." Both are available for purchase on

Cris Wells, director of interprofessional programs for the College of Nursing & Health Innovation, and Svetlana Mihaylova-Todorova, of Maricopa Integrated Health System (and graduate of the Clinical Research Management program), were highlighted in the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission’s Annual Report for their “Best Poster of the Year Award” from the Society of Research Administrators.