Community Connections with The Valley Foundation School of Nursing

By: Maya Carlyle

Lily (pronouns she/her/hers) is a high school junior in San Jose, CA, with deep roots in the community.

“Well, both my parents studied at San José State University and graduated from there. It’s a really good school. Also, it’s, like, really close to my house…”

In the evening on February 21st, 2022, she reached out to The Valley Foundation School of Nursing’s general email address ( with a request; her email was polite, to the point, and a building block for her future.

I’m very interested in studying nursing in college, and I have been looking for opportunities to gain experience in the field. I was wondering if the school/office would allow me to shadow one of your nurses? If not, I was also wondering if you have any volunteering opportunities or filing/front desk jobs?

When asked why she reached out, Lily replied earnestly: “Well, I just really want to be a nurse, to study nursing in college. I’m not really looking at other paths because…. Well, my mom has had some heart problems, and I was a preemie baby, and I’ve just… I’ve grown up in medical settings, asking questions, helping out, and it just really interests me. I’ve always been interested in pediatrics (because of my own experience), and so I want to help people who are going through that, like the parents and everything.”

“So, I reached out to try to get some experience and see how everything went in a nursing program. I think I was looking up medical places near me and San José State came up and there was an email. So, I emailed them and they responded to me pretty fast, it was pretty easy.”

Between February 21st and March 18th, conversations were had and a date was set; Lily was invited to visit The Valley Foundation School of Nursing, on SJSU Campus.

“Lily was a pleasure to get to know and work with. It was inspiring to hear a young person be so excited about nursing,” commented Dr Lisa Rauch (DNP, PHNA-BC, RN; she/her), current School of Nursing Interim Director and Assistant Professor. “Though shadowing a nurse in a clinical setting wasn’t possible, I was happy to make space for her to visit the school, to talk with our faculty, and to see a nursing class in action.”

Of her visit, Lily said: “It was really fun. I had a tour of the simulation labs, I got to see the lecture part of Professor Edwards’ [Paula Edwards, MS, PHN, ADN, RN; she/her] class, I got to see a skills lab and to see the students using equipment… one was called a volumetric incentive spirometer; you breathe in and it measures lung function. I also saw students practicing a splinting method with a pillow, and practicing mock exams.

“Everyone was so nice, considerate, and welcoming. I was kind of nervous beforehand, but everyone was like ‘Do you want to come see what we’re practicing?’

“My favorite part was… I think just getting to see all the students practicing the skills, and seeing how they liked learning, and the variety of what they get to learn. It was really insightful, and nice to get experience with [what a nursing program is like] … it was really nice to see.”

Lily’s visit has been inspiring to the School of Nursing as well.

“We’re always busy – the faculty are all working nurses as well as teachers, researchers, and scholars. Our hundreds of students are dedicated to their studies and their hands-on work in the field. We are all very focused on educating tomorrow’s nurses. At the same time, we want to keep robust ties with our community,” Dr Rauch reflected. “Lily’s visit was a wonderful illustration of that. Community welcome visits are definitely something we’re thinking about for the future.”

CHHS DEI Profile – Bree Casas

Bree CasasBree Casas – The Valley Foundation School of Nursing 

What is your role in your department/school?

I currently am a Senior Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing student. I serve as the President of Public Health Nursing Club; the President of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Student Nurses of Color (BILSNOC); and I serve on the SJSU and State Board of California Nursing Students Association with a goal of promoting DEI and representation for nursing students of color.

What would you identify as one of the most significant actions you have taken to advance the cause for diversity either in the classroom, your community or your profession?

On a large scale, I was recently invited to speak at the National Student Nurses’ Association Convention in Utah (April 2022) on DEI and nursing recruitment for students of color, and I could not be prouder to represent our university and state! On a more local level, at SJSU, my nursing mentee (An Huynh) and I  decided to take a leap at the beginning of the school year with the guidance of Dr. Sheri Rickman-Patrick to start BILSNOC, although we are a small group, those of us that are committed continue to hold a community space for BIPOC Nursing students. I think I have had amazing peers that have been committed to advocating alongside me, which keeps me motivated.

How have you integrated topics of DEI into hiring new faculty and/or admitting students?

Something I have personally discussed and advocated for within our nursing program since my first semester in the program is utilizing a multicriteria selection process that evaluates student potential holistically rather than solely on academic achievement. I know there is a lot of work to be done, but this is a significant reason why I hope to remain involved in academia throughout my career, to ensure our underrepresented students have an equitable chance.

Tell us about how you and why you became attentive to DEI topics. What prompted this change in your department/school?  What did the process look like?

I actually have a B.A. in Sociology from another university and feel that a large part of understanding myself and the many realms I exist within has been through the lens of intersectionality. I think during my time at SJSU it was really the uprising in the Summer of 2020 when George Floyd was murdered and many other BLM protests were arising, that a group of about five students and I collaborated on a list of changes we wanted the nursing administration to implement into curriculum. We discussed this over the span of a few meetings, but change sometimes can be a process when others in positions of leadership may not be ready to implement changes. And when the change didn’t occur at the pace we were comfortable with, a classmate (Lilian Anh) and I decided to implement informal surveys to ask students if they felt they were receiving culturally-informed education.

What support did you need to make it happen?  Did you draw on existing resources or examples that were helpful in guiding your change?

Truly it has been our faculty of color, specifically Black women, that support these causes the most deeply. I am endlessly grateful for the extra time and effort they put into making our university and nursing program a better place (specifically Dr. Michelle DeCoux Hampton, Dr. Sheri Rickman-Patrick, and Dr. Denise Dawkins). At the same time, we need more folks that are allies to engage in this work with us, because this work is taxing especially for BIPOC students and faculty.

Tell us one book, one article, one documentary, or once movie you’ve read or watched that you would like to suggest to others that helped shape your thinking about DEI work.

I would say Punished by Victor Rios and The Autobiography of Malcolm X as Told to Alex Haley by Malcolm X

Community Collaborations and The Valley Foundation School of Nursing

By: Maya Carlyle

Memory Kits

Working nurse and faculty member of The Valley Foundation School of Nursing (TVFSON), Marilyn Reiss-Carradero (RN, MSN, CCRN)  is on the Rapid Response Team at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center as well as on the Palliative Care End of Life committee. In 2015, she was working with a SJSU nursing student who was learning under her guidance. This student experience was mostly focused on the technical aspects and critical thinking of nursing.  More though, this student learned about the caring that goes hand in hand with nursing.

Marilyn and a group of ICU nurses had previously piloted a program adapted from the 2014, 3 Wishes Project  at St. Joseph’s Healthcare ICU in Hamilton, ON, Canada, which set out a way for clinicians to connect empathetically with patients and patients’ families while working in the emotionally heavy environment of an ICU and caring for patients as they reach the end of their life. This connection was facilitated by a “memory kit”;  a small collection of items – ribbon to tie a lock of hair from the recently deceased, clay to impress a hand print, a small ‘forever’ candle (a battery powered votive), and a sympathy card for the healthcare team to give messages to the family. The kits are kept in the department, completed (with permission of the family), and then shared with the family.

This memory kit is one small way to help families in the sacred moments after the death of a loved one. It also  facilitates the beginning of the grieving process.

The student who was shadowing Marilyn that year moved quickly to help support this program, with the help of the Alpha Tau Delta (ATD), a professional fraternity/sorority for nursing professionals. Immediately upon hearing about the program, the ATD students began finding ways to support it, including creating a committee for the planning of long term fundraising. Since joining the program, ATD has helped fund and create up to 170 memory kits every year.

Since 2015, the SJSU Nursing students have been very faithful to this project, even through the COVID-19 pandemic. A meaningful and memorable bond forms when the bedside nurse is able to utilize the kit and present the items to the family. We are very grateful to the students for their time and generosity.” – Marilyn Reiss-Carradero

Sue’s Story

Sue's Story PosterAnother moving story of collaboration is that between The Valley Foundation School of Nursing and The Sue’s Story Project. The Sue’s Story Project was begun by Robin Shepherd, Chuck Berghoff, and Sue Berghoff, a “tough but fair” teacher who had spent seven years in the Department of Linguistics and Language Development at San José State University, after a dynamic career in tech. After being diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia, a fatal neurodegenerative disease that is the second leading cause of dementia after Alzheimer’s, Sue decided to turn her diagnosis into a good for the world, educating healthcare professionals, advocating for research, and shining a light on Lewy Body Dementia to lessen the stigma and bring hope to families coping with the disease.

Having connected in 2019 with The Valley Foundation School of Nursing via Dr. Stefan Frazier of the Department of Linguistics and Language Development, The Sue’s Story Project now works with TVFSON faculty members Dr. Nancy Dudley and Dr. Daryl Canham to educate and empower nursing students and the wider community. Through interactive workshops including panel discussions with subject matter experts, healthcare and social services professionals, and connections to local medical facilities, this partnership seeks to continue Sue’s dream of education and hope.

Robin ShepherdTogether, we can #DisruptDementia, one beautiful mind at a time.

Ways to donate to the cause and steps for requesting a workshop presentation can be found on The Sue’s Story Project website.

SJSU Proud to Graduate First DNP Cohort

Author: Maya Carlyle
May 25, 2021

SAN JOSE, California, San José State University; May 25, 2021:

In 2012 the CSU system launched a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program in California, aimed at elevating nursing practice in the state and increasing the potential pool of future nursing faculty. The northern California program was a consortium made up of Fresno State University and San José State University, working together to support their students in an online environment. The CSU Northern California Consortium DNP (NCCDNP) program ran for several successful years, graduating seven cohorts.

“The DNP program was life-changing and I know just how cliché that sounds. I entered the program as a seasoned Clinical Nurse Specialist but really left with a clear vision as a leader in nursing… The DNP has afforded me a broader view of healthcare and allowed me to influence nursing in a variety of ways in my current role. I’m forever grateful for my DNP.” said Lisa Walker-Vischer RN, DNP, CNS, CCRN, 2014 NCCDNP graduate and current CSU faculty member.

In 2019, San José State University branched off and launched its own DNP program within The Valley Foundation School of Nursing. One of the program’s mottos frames it well: the best of the past has been, and will continue to be, used to create the future of nursing and nursing education, and to improve patient outcomes in Santa Clara County and throughout California.

Michelle DeCoux Hampton, RN, PhD, MS, and one of the two program coordinators, explained, “[With] the program localized to SJSU, there is greater potential for partnership with the state-of-the-art medical centers and healthcare systems in Silicon Valley to work collaboratively toward promoting a culture of excellence in evidence-based practice, improved healthcare quality, and safety for residents of Santa Clara County and Northern California.”

Graduating DNP nurses will be practitioners who, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), will develop “a blend of clinical, organizational, economic, and leadership skills […] to be able to critique nursing… and design programs of care delivery that are locally acceptable, economically feasible, and which significantly impact health care outcomes.”

These nurses are graduating now, in May of 2021, after 21 months of hard work and learning in leadership, implementation science, biostatistics and epidemiology, DEI and cross-cultural practice, data management and informatics, and instructional design, among many other skills and subjects. The program could not have seen 2020 coming, but these nurses overcame. And now, after five semesters of hard work, dedication, creative innovation, implementing positive change even as they learned, and the usual amount of blood, sweat, and tears, the DNP program at SJSU is proud to watch its first cohort of Doctors finish what they started.

Our graduates spent the years of their academic work also juggling many other demanding roles. Many were parents, teachers and program leaders, managers of multiple departments in multiple hospitals, program managers, department directors, and many took on more work, responsibility, and stress as the COVID-19 epidemic became a pandemic and changed everyone’s life. Through it all, our DNP students persevered.

“…[To the DNP program] Thank you for all of your dedication and patience.  Thank you for your passion for excellence in education.  Thank you for putting together a DNP program that I am absolutely proud to have been a part of. Thank you for not letting a global pandemic diminish the power of this program.  Thank you for holding me to high standards so that I don’t question whether I’ve earned this degree.  Thank you for knowing how important the support team is and making sure we had an amazing (and I do mean amazing) team in Maya and Brian. Thank you for bringing on instructors who share your passion for excellence and who value students as people and future nursing leaders.  Thank you for knowing that Ruth and Michelle were the best leadership team in the world for this program, because they truly are the best. […]  You set some high standards for us but it’s okay because you hold yourselves to those same standards.  You are authentic.  You are approachable… Thank you for making TVFSON at SJSU shine so brightly for all the degrees/programs.  It has been a great ride!

Always a Spartan, though one concerned with hand hygiene,” – Tammi Reeves-Messner, DNP, MS, RN, RNC-NIC: 2011 BSN, 2016 MSN, and 2021 DNP graduate – all from SJSU.

Our 2021 DNP graduates:

Lynette Vallecillo Apen, DNP, RN, CNS, CNE
Division Dean, Nursing and Allied Health, Evergreen Valley College
Doctoral Project: Nursing Academic Leadership: An Urgent Workforce Shortage in California Nursing Education

Ena Andrea Arce, DNP, MSN, BSN, RN
Health Center Manager, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center
Doctoral Project: Programmatic Colorectal (CRC) Screening during a Pandemic: Nursing Telemedicine Education Among Latinx Adults in an Ambulatory Safety Net Clinic

Vanndy Linda Loth-Kumar, DNP, MPH, PMHNP-BC
Integration Services Lead, AACI; Public Health Nurse, Santa Clara County Public Health Department
Doctoral Project: Evaluation of a Wellness and Recovery Medication Services Program

Elisa Nguyen, DNP, MS, RN, CMSRN
Director of Clinical Services, Stanford Health Care
Doctoral Project: The Effectiveness of Resilience Training for Nurse Managers: A Case Study

Sandy Phan, DNP, MSN/Ed, RN, NPD-BC, CRRN
Nursing Professional Development Specialist, Stanford Health Care
Doctoral Project: Promoting Civility in the Workplace: Addressing Bullying in New Graduate Nurses Using Simulation and Cognitive Rehearsal

Tammi K. Reeves-Messner, DNP, MS, RN
Assistant Nurse Manager, Kaiser Permanente
Doctoral Project: Neuroprotective Care in the NICU: A Quality Improvement Project

Reynaldo G. Rosario Jr., DNP, MSN, RN, CPHQ, LSSBB
Enterprise Quality Manager – Accreditation, Regulatory Affairs, & Licensing (Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, O’Connor Hospital, St. Louise Regional Hospital, and DePaul Health Center)
Doctoral Project: Quality Improvement Initiative: To Improve Surgical Wound Classification

Dominique Ellen Teaford, DNP, RN, PHN, PMH-C
Supervising Public Health Nurse III, County of Santa Cruz – Health Services Agency
Doctoral Project: Website Redesign Project to Improve the Quality and Usefulness of the Perinatal Mental Health Coalition’s Resource Website

Stacey L. Teicher, DNP, MSN, PNP, BSN, RN
Oncology Nurse Practitioner, Kaiser Permanente
Doctoral Project: The effects of telehealth on patient satisfaction and information recall for breast cancer survivors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Silvia L. Turner, DNP, MSN/Ed, CRRN, RN
Nurse Educator, New Nurse Employee Orientation Coordinator, VA Palo Alto Healthcare System
Doctoral Project: Virtual Training Impact on Nurses’ Self-Efficacy of Safe Patient Handling Equipment Usage

Colleen A. Vega, DNP, RN, MSN, ACHPN
Clinical Nurse Specialist, Stanford Health Care; Lecturer, San Francisco State University
Doctoral Project: The Effects of Virtual Reality on Symptom Distress in Patients Undergoing Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant

Additional questions? Please contact the DNP team via email at


Contact for more information
Phone: 408-924-3182
Fax: 408-924-3135
Mailing Address:
The Valley Foundation School of Nursing, DNP
1 Washington Square, HB420
San Jose, CA 95192-0057

AACN quote taken from:

Antiracism Reprogramming in Health Professions Education Workshop

By: Dr. Kathleen Wong Lau and Dr. Michelle DeCoux Hampton

San José State University hosted the “Antiracism Reprogramming in Health Professions Education” workshop on April 7, 2021. The workshop featured CSU East Bay scholars, Dr. Alicia Swartz and Dr. Claire Valderama-Wallace, who laid the foundation for antiracism praxis in the context of Critical Race Theory and Emancipatory Practice frameworks within health and healthcare education. Among the nearly 60 attendees were faculty from nine institutions: six California State University campuses, one private university, and two out of state public universities.

SJSU’s greater Antiracism Reprogramming Initiative is the culmination of work to address several challenges facing higher ed institutions within health and human sciences education: the historical moment of widespread recognition of racial inequities and their devastating impact on life outcomes (including COVID-19); heightened expectations from black, indigenous, and the people of color (BIPOC) students and communities for a faster rate of change on racial systemic equity in curriculum, research, scholarship, and internship placements; the mismatch of the racial/ethnic demographics of faculty to the students they teach, and even more so to the students outside of the academic pipeline; the demands from professional students that faculty prepare them to address and respond to systemic racism in health outcomes; and, younger generational expectations from professional and graduate students that faculty understand intersectionality and the specificity of intersectional systemic inequities pulled through into their educational experiences.

Following the April 7th workshop, opportunities for deeper engagement for health and human sciences faculty will be offered in summer 2021. The summer institute empowers and equips faculty intellectually to integrate systemic racial equity into their everyday work of teaching, research, scholarship, and service. Just as importantly it creates thought partners with other faculty within and across disciplines and institutions as they encounter necessary analysis, strategies, and feedback to transform their work with a systemic racial equity lens. The summer institute will pair synchronous sessions to provide an overview and conclusion of learning activities with asynchronous, online activities in our learning management system, Canvas. Faculty will engage in a series of modules that provide exposure and access to a compendium of resources, slides, exemplars, videos, and articles to support their work in key areas. They will also be guided in reflection and engagement regarding issues of race, racism, and antiracism in their personal and professional lives.

The Antiracism Reprogramming Initiative was made possible by Dr. Kathleen Wong Lau’s appointment of Dr. Michelle Hampton as a Spring 2021 Faculty Fellow for the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Dr. Hampton coordinated the April 7th conference and is leading the effort to develop the summer institute with SJSU Faculty Champions: Dr. Monica Allen (Public Health and Recreation), Dr. Denise Dawkins (Nursing), Dr. Nicole Dubus (Social Work), Ms. Rochelle McLaughlin (Occupational Therapy), Dr. Pamela Richardson (Occupational Therapy), Dr. Tamar Semerjian (Kinesiology), and Dr. Sheri Rickman Patrick (Nursing). Beyond developing content for the summer institute, Faculty Champions will work to promote antiracism awareness and intradepartmental accountability after its conclusion.  It is hoped that this transformative work will not only help retain historically underrepresented BIPOC students, but also retain historically underrepresented BIPOC faculty and researchers. All of this will shape a community of healthcare professionals and researchers that is more representative, and thus able to close equity gaps beyond a “lift all boats” approach (where disparities and gaps still remain). This approach also goes way beyond merely addressing climate issues surgically through microaggression training, anti-bias training, etc. We believe that our approach anchors and makes these types of training more relevant and more likely to be understood within a systemic equity framework.