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College of Health Professions Faculty Impacting Our Students and Community

Health Professions Faculty

By Jayna Barker
NKU Marketing + Communications

Faculty members in the College of Health Professions at Northern Kentucky University have been busy lately.  

Between winning the Exemplary Academic-Practice Partnership Award from the American Association of College of Nursing (AACN) to being accepted into prestigious leadership programs to presenting at national conferences, these faculty members have distinguished themselves with personal commitments to their students and the University.


Francoise Knox-Kazimierczuk

Francoise Knox-Kazimierczuk was chosen as a selected scholar in the Health Equity Leadership Institute (HELI). HELI is a collective of health profession scholars who work in public health. The institute is hosted annually at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. To date, there are approximately 200 scholars from the last 10 years since its inception.

Knox-Kazimierczuk was one of 27 scholars who spent a week in Madison for the institute. The institute was a combination of networking, training in grant writing and National Institute of Health procedures. They spent a day in Milwaukee at UW Milwaukee at its school of public health and learned new interventions and tools that might be useful.

“It was a phenomenal experience to get to network with other scholars, particularly scholars doing similar research,” Knox-Kazimierczuk says. “The aim of the institute is to provide you with those business connections—people who can mentor you and provide you with guidance on being able to get external funding. Their aim is to try to help you in your professional development so you’re able to carry on doing the work you’re doing in public health.”

Knox-Kazimierczuk was able to acquire a few mentors during her time in Wisconsin and began a distance research collaborative. There are members from Chicago, New Jersey, Rutgers, California, and New York. They email back and forth often.

Knox-Kazimierczuk, who just came to NKU two years ago, has a large focus on community-based participatory research. She’s currently developing a partnership to conduct a small pilot research project with churches active in Northside.

“If we’re looking at trying to actually affect some sort of change, we really need to be in the community on the ground and seeing how things occur in real life,” Knox says. “Research helps with bolstering what you’re doing within the classroom. You can have the best animal model in the world, but once you take it out of that vacuum and try to put it into a real population, the efficacy of it drops dramatically. You really need to be doing the research in the field to bring back to the classroom so you’re able to give students a greater understanding. You really need to be out there to see the other factors and social determinants that are there. I think it’s really important not to lose sight of that.”


Kim McErlane

Kim McErlane, professor and director of the Northern Kentucky Nursing and Interprofessional Research Collaborative (NIRC), spent a week in Cape Town, Africa, this summer at the 27th International Nursing Research Congress. The conference, hosted by Sigma Theta Tau International, offers hundreds of presentations for thousands of nurses every year.

McErlane presented the results of research she conducted on the work-family balance of the deans of nursing in baccalaureate programs—something that had never been done before. 

“I got to collaborate and interact with nurses from all around the world,” McErlane says. “The people I met where phenomenal. I think it really opens your eyes to broader perspectives. Just to see the differences in what we do is amazing. It definitely changed my approach with students. We need to realize we don’t exist in silos. There are people all over the world working to improve healthcare outcomes. We need to come together.”


Erin Robinson

Erin Robinson, program director for the Accelerated Bachelor’s in Nursing Program (ABSN) was recently accepted into the National League for Nursing for the 2016-17 academic year.

The National League for Nursing is designed for nurses who have experienced a rapid transition into leadership positions. The year-long program will give Robinson a cohort to work with while they examine organizational systems and leadership processes and enhance their personal and professional development.

“When I look at nursing, the whole health care arena is changing drastically,” Robinson says. “It’s really important that investments are made in faculty who can keep up and bring ideas back here to NKU. We can’t remain isolated. When you have the opportunity to attend a program to improve practices and outcomes here, it’s really important. The administration here in CHP has been supportive of investing in faculty and their development. I cannot say enough about that.”

Robinson spent a week in Washington D.C. on a retreat as a part of the program, where she received intensive training to help hone her leadership skills.  

Robinson has a personal coach who she will keep in contact with throughout the year who isn’t a nurse but has years of experience in leadership positions in business.

“It’s nice to have another discipline to talk to about the ways you can improve your leadership style,” Robinson says. “Nurses handle things a certain way. It’s nice to get outside the discipline of nursing and get a totally unique perspective and different solutions for a problem. They give you more unique ways to perpetuate your career depending on what your trajectory is.”


Julie Hart

Julie Hart, professor and clinical coordinator in the Department of Nursing, is dedicating her time outside of work to the Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) throughout the 2016-17 academic year. WILD, which is sponsored by the Higher Education Collaborative of Greater Cincinnati, helps support women in academic and administrative leadership positons in higher education.

Hart, who just completed her doctorate in organizational leadership, is one of 30 women who were selected for the program.

“It’s a great honor,” Hart says. “I think it will be a wonderful program. I like anything that’s collaborative where you meet with other people who have similar interests and anything that promotes personal or professional development.”

WILD will host a series of workshops that focus on topics like maintaining a work-life balance, planning and budgeting, creating a more inclusive workplace, and career mapping.

Before entering academia, Hart worked as a nurse at St. Elizabeth. While she misses working in a hospital setting, Hart’s heart is in education.

“I feel like I make just as big of an impact here because every semester we get 60 new students who will go out in the real world and be great nurses,” Hart says. “You make an indirect impact on patient care. It’s an opportunity for me that I love — helping people achieve their dreams.”


Diane Gronefeld

Diane Gronefeld, associate professor and director of NKU’s radiologic technology program, presented and moderated at four radiologic technology forums within the last year — one presentation was about using technology in the classroom and how to best teach students.

Gronefeld has dedicated the last 27 years of her life to helping students break into the radiologic technology field.

“I love my discipline,” Gronefeld says. “I want to work with students to help them become the best imaging professional. All of medicine changes, but our field has changed pretty dramatically with all the images and advancements. We have so much to offer to our students, and we have a really strong program.”

Trina Koscielicki

Trina Koscielicki

Just a few weeks ago, Trina Koscielicki, associate professor of radiologic technology, was invited to present at the Society of Advance Radiologic Technology TK CONFERENCE in April 2017.

Tom Baxter

Tom Baxter

Tom Baxter, director of the Master of Science in Health Science program in the College of Health Professions at Northern Kentucky University, has received a national award for his work to ensure the high quality of respiratory care at other educational institutions across the country.

Baxter has been awarded the Dr. Ralph L. Kendall Outstanding Site Visitor Award from the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). Dr. Ralph Kendall, MD, was a longtime site visitor who was highly respected in the field and who worked to mentor and train new site visitors.

Kesha Nelson

Kesha Nelson

Kesha Nelson, faculty member in the Department of Nursing was awarded the Excellence in Innovative Teaching Award by the Association of Black Nurses at their International conference in June 2016.

This award recognizes an ABNF faculty member who demonstrates and implements significant innovation in teaching/learning approaches to promote learner outcomes that enhance knowledge acquisition.  Faculty who teach in didactic and/or clinical settings are considered for this award.

Cindy Foster

Cindy Foster

Professor Cindy Foster was named the NKY Immunization Champion of 2016 for her work with the pertussis campaign throughout northern Kentucky.

Dr.  Adrianne Lane and Professor Foster received the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the Center for Disease Control Partnership Impact Evaluation Grant for 2015-2016.