Research and Areas of Expertise

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 – Faculty Specialist IIMs. Block has been with Bronson School of Nursing 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.


Joanne DeWit, MSN, BSN, RN – Faculty Specialist IIMs. DeWit is a nurse educator currently teaching and participating as a clinical faculty in the Care of the Elderly course.  She is also participating as a clinical faculty the Population Based Community course. She is passionate about student learning and graduating minority students from BSON.  She is working with other faculty on a research project of Deconstructing Medication Passing with Student Nurses.  In addition, she currently sits on the Student Affairs Committee, Scholarship and Inquiry Committee and is secretary of Sigma Theta Tau Board.


Yvonne Ford, PhD, RN – Associate Professor, Bronson School of Nursing.  Dr. Ford’s research focuses on student transition to the professional role, perioperative nursing, patient safety and nurses’ handoffs.  Dr. Ford has presented at national and regional conferences, and has published articles on the nurse self-concept of nursing students and on patient perceptions of bedside handoffs.


Susan Houtrouw, MNSc, BSN, RN – Faculty Specialist IIMs. 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 SpecialistMs. 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 also worked in Bronson Hospital Breastfeeding Center for 13 years. Ms. Kershner is a board certified Advance Holistic Nurse.  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.


Mary D. Lagerwey, PhD, RN - Professor and Director, Bronson School of NursingHer most recent publication is an analysis of first-person accounts of missionary nurses. A textual analysis of historical nursing documents on eugenics in the United States is forthcoming in the European Journal for Nursing History and Ethics.  Other recent publications have grown out of her international work with WMU PhD students and PhD candidates in the Netherlands. These include papers on dispositions of nurse middle managers in the Netherlands and the United States, and on the development of an international scale measuring nurses’ knowledge and attitudes about aging. She is a frequent book reviewer for Choice.


Susan Nelson, MSN, BSN, RN – Master Faculty SpecialistMs. Nelson’s expertise is safety issues and psychomotor skills with sophomore nursing students. She currently teaches Therapeutics I, previously has taught: Health and Wellness, Obstetrics, Well Elder and Ethics. She is involved with the community as a Family Nurse Practitioner enabling her to stay current in evidence based practice and research.


Kelley H. Pattison, PhD, RN – Assistant Professor Bronson School of NursingHer research focuses on examining aspects of care of people with heart failure and also the historical events that have helped to shape nursing. 


Karen Schieman, PhD, RN – Associate Professor, Bronson School of NursingWorking collaboratively with faculty in the College of Business, Dr. Schieman has 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.  The application 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 - Assistant Professor, Bronson School of Nursing.  Her research focus is on the science of nursing education. She is on two research teams at WMU.  Dr. Singleterry is a member of the WMed/WMU professionals accelerating clinical education and redesign (PACER) team. This team of faculty is being trained to develop interprofessional education (IPE) and interprofessional practice opportunities for students in the health sciences. She is also a facilitator of the writing assessment group (WAG) which has shared a process of quality improvement for writing assignments with faculty in the CHHS, at the 2016 and 2017 Lilly Conference, and with faculty at the 2016 and 2018 International Writing Across the Curriculum (IWAC) conference. Her publications include strategies in the practice of teaching for both face-to-face and online courses.


Sally Vliem, PhD, RN – Master Faculty Specialist, Bronson School of NursingHer passion in nursing is twofold; pediatrics and nursing education. Research related to pediatrics and improving the care of children and families has always pique her interest. Dr. Vliem’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 NursingShe has worked as a women’s health nurse practitioner for ten years and a labor and delivery nurse for five years. Dr. Wadsworth’s 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.