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:

CASA Students Host Interdisciplinary Workshop

Interdisciplinary Student Workshop

The College of Applied Sciences and Arts (CASA) had its first ever interdisciplinary student workshop with the Department of Occupational Therapy (OT) and The Valley Foundation School of Nursing. The workshop was the idea of OT student Renee Demaree who planned and organized the day-long workshop that was conducted in the simulation and skills labs at the Valley Foundation School of Nursing.

The goal was to help students increase their understanding of the role of other healthcare disciplines and facilitate their ability to work collaboratively. Nursing Lecturer Debbie Nelson and OT Assistant Professor Dr. Gigi Smith assisted students during the workshop.

OT/Nursing Workshop

Nursing students Tiffany Tran and Angelo Vitug addressed safety issues in working with patients in the hospital environment. Nursing student Stephanie Mejia led a patient care simulation where a nursing student played the role of a patient and OT students provided care to the patient. Students awaiting their turn were learner observers. A debrief of the simulation followed to allow students time to give feedback and discussion.

OT Presentation

OT students Jazmin Arellano and Allan Romero presented on the role of occupational therapy in the hospital environment and other health care settings. Small group activities promoted active learning and collaboration.

Workshop participants expressed appreciation for the experience. Both groups of students came away with a deeper understanding of each other’s professional roles and how to facilitate inter-professional partnerships. Plans are underway for more of these collaborative interdisciplinary experiences in the future.

Alpha Tau Delta Gives Back

ATD in front of Heritage Home

Just a few blocks away from the SJSU campus on North Third Street is the Cityteam’s Heritage Home, a place that, according to their website, we have been providing a long-term compassionate ministry for years to homeless, poor and abandoned women who are pregnant and have nowhere else to turn but the streets. Often these pregnant women who are without food or shelter resort to their dark thoughts of abortion. In the United States 48% of pregnancies are unintended, and half of those are terminated by abortion*. We are trying to be a light of hope in these women’s lives – looking at the whole situation – to meet their immediate needs and work out long-term solutions through our multiple programs. The historic Victorian home in the Hensley District uses its largest room to care for these pregnant women, and it was in need of renovation.

Enter Alpha Tau Delta (ATD), The Valley Foundation School of Nursing’s co-ed professional nursing fraternity. ATD decided that the best way to celebrate their second year as a chapter would be to renovate the Heritage Home’s large room as their largest, original community service project.

Mackenzie Thomas, ATD’s Founding President and current Vice President, said that the fraternity wanted to create a room full of positive energy to lift the spirits for those women who enter.

Heritage Home remodeled Heritage Home upgraded bedroom

“We wanted to share the nursing spirit of care and compassion through this project, and we hope its impact is felt for years to come.”

After months of planning and securing donations from home improvement stores, ATD set a goal to finish the project in a timely manner and ensure it was done professionally. The renovation had to be completed within a two-day time frame. This included painting, creating decorations, building beds, installing ceiling fans, moving furniture, and tidying up the room before the revealing ceremony. “We had to do something many only see on TV,” said Mackenzie when describing the amount of work that had to be done with such limited time.

With the help of over 60 students and some of their parents, ATD turned the room into a beautiful, bright and motivating sanctuary. During the revealing ceremony, ATD celebrated with the mothers to be with home-made treats and drinks outside the home. The Heritage Home is now an even more special place thanks to the determined, hard work that ATD put into the renovation.

Alpha Tau Delta Fraternity


5th Annual CHAMP Senior Wellness Fair

CHAMP Senior Wellness Fair 2015

CHAMP Senior Wellness Fair 2015

The Timpany Center hosted the annual Senior Wellness Fair on October 24, 2015. The fair brought in over 500 attendees, with many students from San José State University’s (SJSU) College of Applied Sciences and Arts (CASA) volunteering to interact with the population.

The Senior Wellness Fair is a partnership between SJSU’s Center for Healthy Aging in Multicultural Populations (CHAMP), the Santa Clara County Department of Aging and Adult Services and the Timpany Center, now in its fifth year. CHAMP is an interdisciplinary effort that includes faculty from the School of Social Work, The Valley Foundation School of Nursing, Nutrition and Food Science, Kinesiology, Occupational Therapy as well as the departments of Psychology and Communicative Disorders and Sciences.

Sadhna Diwan, School of Social Work professor and director of CHAMP, said the fair offers SJSU students an opportunity to practice their communication skills, learn how to engage seniors in screenings and health education, and learn about the role of multiple disciplines and the array of community services available to promote wellness and healthy aging.

Students from the School of Social Work interacted with seniors using a poster board displaying facial expressions to identify mood change and depression. The students handed out community resource sheets and gave recommendations on how to seek help if some seniors are experiencing a low mood change.

Social Work graduate students volunteer at the Senior Wellness Fair on Oct. 24, 2015.

Social Work graduate students volunteer at the Senior Wellness Fair on Oct. 24, 2015.

Naomi Gomez, a social work graduate student, said she and her fellow students were there to educate seniors on mood changes that lead into depression in the aging population. “We are offering seniors today different support systems and referrals to help lift their moods or if they know of someone they can pass this useful information to,” said Gomez.

Don Tran, a public health graduate student, greeted seniors with his fellow students and provided body mass index screenings and blood pressure testing. Tran is working with the Pathways to American Indian and Alaska Native (PAAW) to introduce a diabetes prevention program. Tran said that the fair provides an opportunity to seek out potential participants to take part in the program that will provide participants with gym memberships, walking shoes, healthy meals and more.

“We are focused on improving health for American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander and all indigenous heritage population of Santa Clara County,” Tran said while handing out information packets to participants during the fair.

The Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging (NuFS) students provided information on food insecurities and healthy hydration methods. Kristian Ghazal, NuFS graduate student, said she volunteered to encourage seniors to buy local foods and where they can use CalFresh EBT cards.

Ghazal presented each visitor with an informational poster that highlighted healthy food options during each season of the year and reasons why the community should buy foods from local farmers. “Everyone attending the fair today should know where and how to get fresh foods from local farmers,” said Ghazal as she talked about the importance of seniors needing to maintain a healthy diet and supporting local farmers.

Kristian Ghazal, student volunteer, holds informational poster about local farmers and healthy seasonal foods.

Kristian Ghazal, student volunteer, holds informational poster about local farmers and healthy seasonal foods.

Susan Ross, Health Science and Recreation lecturer, and undergraduate students offered leisure interest screenings. Lovegifty Dudero, HSR undergraduate student, said she used the screening to talk with seniors about what they like to do on their free time. The results of the assessment identifies strengths and weaknesses of leisure activities such as physical, outdoor, mechanical, artistic, service, social, cultural and reading activities.

“From the results we can provide different leisure activities to help improve their weaknesses,” Dudero said, after finishing an assessment.

Lovegifty Dudero, student volunteer, administering a leisure screening with Senior Wellness Fair participant.

Lovegifty Dudero, student volunteer, administering a leisure screening with Senior Wellness Fair participant.

“Learning is one of the most life giving things a person can do,” said Ross, as she explained the goal of the student volunteers to teach people how to gain more novelty using the leisure screening. Other activities from NuFS included aging myths and aroma therapy.

An additional amount of students from SJSU volunteered their time to assist with various tasks at the fair. Desiree Barton, Daniela Zea and Chantelle Patel, School of Journalism and Mass Communications (JMC) undergraduate students, volunteered to take pictures of the event and interview seniors who attend.

“One of the most resourceful things for them is that everything is in one place and the free flu shots,” said Patel, after interviewing senior participants.

The JMC students plan to use the pictures and video interviews to create a video for CHAMP to spread awareness of the Senior Wellness Fair.

For more on CHAMP, click here.


San José State University Nursing Student Unveils Peace Pole

Peace Pole monument created by nursing student, Navpreet Kaur.

Peace Pole monument created by nursing student, Navpreet Kaur.

San José State University (SJSU) nursing student, Navpreet Kaur, unveiled a Peace Pole on campus between Clark Hall and Tower Hall during the first week of Legacy Month on October 12, 2015. This is only one of three that have been placed on a California State University campus.

The Peace Pole has “May Peace Prevail On Earth” written in 12 different languages – English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Japanese, Hindi, French, Portuguese, Tagalog, and Persian. Kaur wanted to reflect the top twelve languages spoken in the Santa Clara County.

Navpreet Kaur, Nursing student (left), Dr. Kathy Abriam-Yago, Director of the School of Nursing (middle), and LooLoo Amante, 2015-16 Associated Students President (right) unveiling the Peace Pole monument.

Navpreet Kaur (left), Dr. Kathy Abriam-Yago, Director of the School of Nursing (middle), and LooLoo Amante, 2015-16 Associated Students President (right), unveiling the Peace Pole.

“It has all these languages on a single platform that have their individual identity, background, or a story. Yet, what brings them together is the fact that they have the same meaning,” said Kaur.

Kaur proposed the idea to place the Peace Pole on SJSU’s campus to promote inclusiveness on campus. With the help of Associated Students to fund the project and support from The Valley Foundation School of Nursing, the monument came to life. Kaur was inspired by San José City College’s Peace Pole and said she wanted to represent the diversity of SJSU.

“I really wanted to do something for our community that would help our (SJSU) students feel more connected to one another on a deeper level.”

Navpreet Kaur takes photograph with Nursing faculty members.

Navpreet Kaur takes photograph with Nursing faculty members.

The SJSU community now has a place that can demonstrate the effort towards being more accepting of others no matter the differences. “The Peace Pole is a very small step of many to come in promoting inclusiveness,” said Kaur while explaining how everyone has what it takes to make a positive difference on campus.

The Peace Pole will carry Kaur’s legacy into the future of SJSU. It will serve as a reminder to the SJSU community to stand united in peace, social justice and diversity.

The Valley Foundation School of Nursing faculty and students with the Peace Pole .

The Valley Foundation School of Nursing faculty and students with the Peace Pole .