The leaders and faculty behind the School of Nursing speak from more than textbook experience when it comes to understanding culturally responsive care. Just as the school is aiming to have 30% of its students from diverse backgrounds, it extended that goal to leadership, as well.
Dr. MayKao Hang, vice president of strategic initiatives and founding dean of the Morrison Family College of Health, has a doctorate in public administration and served for nearly a decade as president and CEO of the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation. She immigrated from Laos as a child and served informally as a Hmong interpreter at doctor’s appointments for her family.
“I experienced discrimination, poverty and struggle firsthand,” Hang said. “My journey as a first-generation college student has defined what I believe higher education can accomplish and how educators can support the success of the whole student.” (See video of Dr. MayKao Hang.)
Dr. Martha Scheckel, founding director of St. Thomas’ School of Nursing, was previously dean of the nursing program at Viterbo University in Wisconsin and chair of the nursing school at Winona State. She grew up on an Iowa farm and served as a nurse in rural communities for over a decade.
“Rural communities are underrepresented when it comes to proximity to care professionals and facilities for complex care needs,” Scheckel said. “This population also is generally older and underinsured, with higher rates of chronic health conditions.” (Read more on Dr. Martha Scheckel.)
The clinical faculty also bring an array of diversity. They are:
Dr. Anna Kam, who has a background as a medical/oncology nurse, received her doctorate in transcultural nursing. Born and raised in Japan to Caucasian parents with American citizenship, her entire childhood was spent outside of the United States living as a minority.
Dr. Raney Linck, who is among a very small number of males to enter the profession, had been in critical care and hospice nursing for years in small towns just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. He made the move to academia 14 years ago and in 2013 was named Minnesota Nurse of the Year in Education.
Berline Pierre-Louis was previously with Allina Health-United Hospital where she served as an infection preventionist. Raised in St. Paul and born to Haitian immigrants, this first-generation American also has experience as a population health nurse, focusing on treating specific demographics.
Heather Anderson is the school’s assistant director of nursing simulation. Raised in the very small town of Rushford, Minnesota, she previously served as a simulation educator at the HealthPartners Institute in St. Paul. She also spent more than a decade as a critical care nurse and surgical nurse at Regents Hospital.