Research and Areas of Expertise

Current studies

Are you a survivor of sexual assault? Do you want to help make healthcare more accessible & less traumatic for other victims?
Unfortunately, many victims and survivors of sexual assault experience difficulties obtaining necessary healthcare. We are looking for victims and survivors of sexual assault to participate in an anonymous survey to research factors that make healthcare easy or hard to obtain. We will use this information to make healthcare more accessible, less traumatic and more compassionate for other victims and survivors.

Take this anonymous survey

Elissa Allen, PhD, RN - Assistant Professor.  Dr. Allen’s research focuses on “Bladder Health Early in the Lifespan.” She focuses on using a lifespan perspective of bladder health to target issues early in the lifespan and prevent lower urinary tract symptom development. Her most recent work used a qualitative approach to identify barriers and facilitators to adolescent women’s high school bathroom use.

Kelly Ackerson, PhD, RN – Associate Professor, Bronson School of Nursing.  Dr. Ackerson's research focuses on health promotion and health prevention focusing on reproductive and sexual health in underserved women. She has several publications that concentrate on avoidance of the gynecological exam. Dr. Ackerson developed and validated a measurement tool called the Pap Smear Belief Questionnaire, which evaluates women’s attitudes towards cervical cancer screening. Her most recent research has focused on global reproductive and sexual health in South Sudanese refugee women living in Uganda.

Kristi Block, MSN, BSN, RN – Master Faculty Specialist.  Kristi Block has been with Bronson School of Nursing (BSON) since fall 2015. Her areas of expertise are in psychiatric nursing and obstetrical nursing. Currently, she is serving at the Psychiatric Clinical Coordinator. She has taught/co-taught in the following courses at WMU: Therapeutics 1 and 2, Psychiatric Nursing clinical, Obstetrical Nursing clinical and Healthcare Ethics and Health Assessment Throughout the Lifespan (RN-BSN program since spring 2019).  Ms. Block has been the Chair of Student Affairs Committee since fall 2018.  She has assisted with the Holistic Admissions Review process to bring more diversity to the Bronson School of Nursing.  Ms. Block has had the pleasure of working with Lee Honors College students to complete their Thesis Projects.  She enjoys helping with Student Immersion Days at BSON and loves talking with potential students about nursing.

Samantha Collet, MSN, RN - Coordinator Nursing Clinical Operations and Faculty Specialist II

Joanne DeWit, MSN, BSN, RN – Master Faculty Specialist. Joanne DeWit is a nurse educator at Bronson School of Nursing (BSON) teaching “Wellness Care of the Elderly”.  Currently, she is a faculty mentor for the Empower Success Program a HIRSA granted program.  In the past, she has been a clinical faculty for the Community-based nursing course. She is passionate about student learning and increasing diversity in nursing. Joanne serves on the Interprofessional Education Committee at the College of Health and Human Services, as well as the Scholarship and Inquiry Committee at BSON. Additionally, Joanne is participating in the development of the Ishler Wellness Lab scheduled to open in fall 2019, is a member of a Faculty Learning Community, and serves as the secretary of the local Sigma Upsilon Epsilon chapter board. Joanne’s education ranges from her original LPN degree to a recent MSN. She has worked in neurology/neurosurgery and thoracic ICU prior to becoming a nurse educator.

Angela Groves, PhD, RN, CNE - Assistant Professor

Susan Houtrouw, MNSc, BSN, RN – Faculty Specialist II.  Susan Houtrouw is a Clinical Nurse Specialist specializing in children’s health. She is currently serving as a pediatric clinical faculty member and also teaches upper level medical-surgical skills. She is very passionate about Holistic Nursing and recently received Board Certification as an Advanced Holistic Nurse. With over 30 years of experience she has worked in a variety of settings, but has a big heart for pediatric home care and maintains her practice in this area while actively teaching. She also maintains her certification as an American Heart CPR Instructor. Recently she collaborated with other faculty members on research dealing with immunization compliance.

Wendy Kershner, MSN, BSN, RN – Master Faculty Specialist.  Wendy Kershner has maintained her Lactation certification and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner certification since 2000. She has worked in the Obstetrical and Pediatric units in the hospital setting for over 29 years. She worked in Bronson Hospital Breastfeeding Center for 13 years. She is certified in Holistic Nursing. She serves as a Board member on the Kalamazoo Safe Kids Coalition, the Southwest Michigan Lactation Coalition and also currently works as a Lactation Consultant for Twenty Hands, a maternal infant health program. Faculty Certification: The American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC) currently endorses 12 nursing schools within the United States that provide Holistic Nursing programs that facilitate their graduates in achieving the Holistic Nursing certification process. Beginnings: American Holistic Nurses Association (2018) published that Western Michigan University (WMU) Bronson School of Nursing (BSON) was re-endorsed in 2017 for the BSN program and the RN-BSN program. Wendy Kershner has achieved Holistic Nursing certification and was instrumental in re-endorsing  certification for WMU BSON.  

Kelley H. Pattison, PhD, RN - Associate ProfessorHer research focuses on examining aspects of care of people with heart failure and also the historical events that have helped to shape nursing.

Maria Roche-Dean, PhD, RN - Assistant Professor.  Dr. Maria Roche-Dean’s research focuses on how the healthcare systems supports multilingual older adults with dementia and their caregivers. 

Jaime Rohr, MSN, RN-BC, Faculty Specialist II.  Jaime Rohr has been with the Bronson School of Nursing since 2015 as a nurse educator. Areas of expertise are Medical-Surgical adult nursing.  She is board certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) as a Medical-Surgical Nurse.  She teaches in the clinical setting and is also a clinical coordinator for MedSurg I and II. She has a passion for addiction medicine and works as a nurse in that area. Jaime enjoys learning and is working towards becoming a certified academic clinical nurse educator. 

Karen Schieman, PhD, RN – Associate ProfessorConcussion Symptom Management- Working collaboratively with faculty in the College of Business, we have developed a mobile application for symptom management of concussion.  This mobile application allows users to track their symptoms, view their scores on a graph, and see suggestions for management of their symptoms.  This helps in their day to day management of symptoms. If they choose, they can share this information with their healthcare provider to improve their overall management of concussion.

Lisa Singleterry, PhD, RN, CNE - Associate Professor - Nursing education and evaluation, DAPOE framework

Dawn Smith, MSN, RN - Faculty Specialist II.  Dawn Smith is a Faculty and Clinical Specialist specializing in community and public health nursing. She is currently teaching the pre-licensure and RN-BSN courses in “Community Based and Population Based Nursing”. Dawn has 18 years’ experience in local public health service, specializing in immunizations and vaccine preventable disease. She is passionate about the environment and health and is currently participating in an Ecology Fellowship 2020, a statewide program focused on educating healthcare providers about environmental health issues. Social justice and health equity remain at the center of her teaching. She strives to impassion her students to feel connected to their community and be a voice of advocacy for their future patients. 

Brenda Srof, PhD, MSN, RN, CNL-C - Associate Professor

Lori Van Zoeren, MSN, RN - Faculty Specialist II.  Lori Van Zoeren has work as a clinical instructor part time since 2012 until joining in a full time capacity in 2019. Her area of expertise is in obstetrical nursing and worked at the bedside for 32 years. She is the coordinator and clinical instructor for the clinical component of the Nursing Care of the Childbearing Family course.  Lori holds active professional memberships in the American Holistic Nurses Association, American Nurses Association, National League for Nursing, American Psychiatric Nurses Association, Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric & Neonatal Nurses, and the Southwestern Michigan Perinatal Association. Lori is active in professional organizations which provide evidenced based research and continuing education offerings to stay apprised of best practice research to share with colleagues and students.

Cheryl VanderPloeg, MSN, RN - Faculty Specialist II

Sally Vliem, PhD, RN – Master Faculty Specialist, Bronson School of NursingDr. Vliem’s passion in nursing is twofold. Pediatrics is her first love in nursing. Any research related to pediatrics and improving the care of children and families will always pique her interest. Sally’s other research focus is related to nursing education specifically as it relates to simulation, student success, and inter-professional education (IPE) and practice (IPP).

Pamela Wadsworth, PhD, RNA – Assistant Professor, Bronson School of Nursing.  Dr. Wadsworth has worked as a women’s health nurse practitioner for ten years and a labor and delivery nurse for five years. Her research focuses on the ways in which gendered violence (primarily intimate partner violence and sexual assault) impacts the wellbeing of women and the ways in which healthcare providers can facilitate healing of the mind, body, and spirit.