Monday, December 7, 2009

Genetics expert to be national resource for nursing education

In December 2009, Suzanne Tracey Zamerowski, Ph.D., R.N., associate professor, was notified by the Genomic Healthcare Branch of the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health that she will be one of their genetics nurse education experts and an invited member of the Consultation Directory: Genetics/Genomics Education Exemplar Resources. The directory will provide a valuable resource for faculty to access and facilitate integration of genetics into their curricula and education programs. Her commitment extends through September 2010.

Dr. Zamerowski, on faculty at Villanova since 1979, has been teaching genetics for 40 years and integrating the content through her maternal-child health and health promotion specialty areas. Why this commitment? “Personally and professionally, I am dedicated to the role of genetics as a key determinant of health,” she says. “As the era of personalized health becomes a reality, genetic knowledge will be of paramount importance for individuals and health care professionals. Since nurses are widely represented in health care, they are in a key position to provide genetics assessment, education and care.” She explains further, “As a nurse educator, I want to do all that I can to ensure that nursing graduates emerge as well prepared professionals in this era of genomic medicine and contribute to the promotion of health and prevention of disease. Serving as a faculty champion will allow me to be a change agent in one of the most exciting times in health care.”

Her broad contributions thus far reflect her commitment to the arena of genetics which began at the start of her career after her son Tommy was born with a genetic disorder. “I have continuously advanced my genetic knowledge through pursuit of doctoral education, conducted genetic research, attended numerous educational conferences and professional meetings, and participated in training programs and continuing education offerings. Through my role as an educator, I have been able to apply this knowledge towards numerous educational initiatives to advance genetic knowledge, change attitudes about genetics and prepare genetically competent nurses.” For instance she developed the required undergraduate Nursing course Cell Biology and Genetics and the elective course Genetics for Health Care Professionals. Her goals will be furthered through her service as a faculty genetics champion in this national exemplar program.

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