Pregnancy and Childbirth During COVID-19: SJSU Nursing Professor Deepika Goyal Collects Critical Data from Women’s Experiences

When the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, San José State University Nursing Professor Deepika Goyal, ’02 MSN, recognized that it could pose significant risks for pregnant and nursing mothers — especially to their mental health. For many pregnant and postpartum women, social distancing limited access to critical support networks, while fear of the virus itself increased the likelihood of them experiencing anxiety and depression. 

Over the past 18 months, Goyal has partnered with colleagues across the United States and Europe to study pregnancy, birth and postpartum outcomes — and how they were affected by the pandemic — resulting in multiple studies and five publications. 

Deepika Goyal

San José State Nursing Professor Deepika Goyal.

In addition to serving as a professor at SJSU, Goyal is a nurse practitioner at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center’s obstetrics and gynecology department. In spring 2020, she reached out to University of Connecticut School of Nursing Professor Cheryl Beck and researchers in the United Kingdom to collect data from women who gave birth after Feb. 1, 2020.

Their forthcoming study, “Postpartum Depressive Symptoms & Experiences During COVID-19,” is one of three papers Goyal co-authored that will be published in early 2022 in a special issue of MCN, The American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing, dedicated to COVID-19 and maternal mental health. Goyal and her research partners found that 75% of women surveyed were living with depressive symptoms. 

“Women described this time as challenging due to changes in health-care delivery — virtual versus in-person appointments — and limiting in-person appointments to the mother, often excluding dads or partners,” said Goyal. “Women felt lonely and isolated and had limited social support, all while caring for a newborn and sheltering in place.”

It doesn’t help that the pandemic has increased the risk of depression and anxiety, two conditions that pregnant and postpartum mothers are especially vulnerable to experiencing. While her first study focused on postpartum experiences, Goyal still wanted to understand how the pandemic affected women during pregnancy. 

To do this, she partnered with Cindy Liu, director of the Developmental Risk and Cultural Resilience Laboratory at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, to examine data obtained from pregnant women who participated in the hospital’s Perinatal Experiences and COVID-19 Effects study from May to November 2020.

Together, they published “Patient Satisfaction with Virtual-Based Prenatal Care: Implications after the COVID-19 Pandemic,” and collaborated on a second paper, “Unmet prenatal expectations during the COVID-19 pandemic,” to be published in the same MCN 2022 special issue.

The study concluded that nearly 90% of women preferred in-person care under non-pandemic conditions. While the majority of respondents appeared satisfied with their virtual care, Goyal added that the constant shift in COVID-19 protocols caused miscommunications between women and their health-care providers. 

“Unfortunately, the new and changing nature of COVID has created inconsistent messaging and care, which creates miscommunication, misunderstanding and frustration,” she said. “For first-time mothers, this is the only experience they have. However, women who have given birth in non-pandemic times are just trying to get through the best they can.”

Throughout her collaborations with academic partners during the pandemic, Goyal noticed that Asian Americans were not well-represented in COVID-19 studies. So she collaborated with Meekyung Han, professor of social work at San José State, and they conducted a separate study to examine the experiences of pregnant and postpartum Asian American mothers, which included interviewing first-time moms and women with children already at home. 

Dr. Huynh-Nhu Le and graduate student Talia Feldman-Schwartz from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., helped with the data analysis. The study, entitled “Perinatal experiences of Asian American women during COVID-19,” is also in press with MCN.

Goyal’s research since the start of the pandemic has revealed some similar themes, regardless of race. 

“Pregnancy and childbirth are vulnerable times for women, their partners and their families, and COVID only added to this already vulnerable time by shifting health-care delivery,” she said. “The additional risk of severe illness for pregnant women who contract COVID-19 and subsequent adverse outcomes such as preterm birth also added to the heightened stress.”

As a health-care provider, she recommends that everyone — especially new mothers — get the COVID-19 vaccine. For those wishing to learn more about the vaccine, she urges people to rely on trusted resources, such as their health-care providers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

 “The ongoing threat of COVID-19 has changed nursing care,” she said, adding that her conversations with expecting mothers now revolve around “the virus, mutations and the risks and benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine.”

“As far as research, COVID-19 created a unique opportunity to study pregnancy, birth and postpartum outcomes during a large-scale public health crisis that only happens once a century.”

SJSU Announces New Partnership With Manchester Metropolitan University

San José State announced an exciting partnership to offer the Gateway PhD program with Manchester Metropolitan University (Manchester Met) in Manchester, England. This innovative international doctoral degree program prepares individuals for research, faculty and leadership positions in the library and information science field.

The partnership allows doctoral students to virtually attend Manchester Met and learn from the instruction and mentorship from faculty members at both universities — with the opportunity to attend an annual weeklong research workshop held in San José. The convenience of this primarily online program also allows information professionals and academics to earn their PhD degree from Manchester Met, without having to relocate to England or disrupt their current careers.

“SJSU appreciates the hard work that went into forming this unique, innovative, global partnership and is committed to ensuring the success of this program,” said President Mary Papazian. “And we’re looking forward to working with our partner, Manchester Metropolitan University, to launch and support the program.”

The School of Information (iSchool), housed within SJSU’s College of Professional and Global Education, will provide the entry or “gateway” to the PhD in Library and Information Management that will be conferred by MMU. The iSchool faculty will serve as associate supervisors and provide coordination of the program.

“Our college’s mission is to provide access to relevant, high-quality educational programs,” said Ruth Huard, dean of the College of Professional and Global Education. “It is exciting to know that through this Gateway PhD program, we are creating a solid pathway for future scholars in the information field who have a global perspective.”

This partnership is well aligned with the research and global focus of San José State, including the launch of new doctoral programs like the Doctor of Nursing Practice program, which graduated its first cohort earlier this year.

At the official launch event with leaders from both institutions, Professor Jenny Watling, pro vice chancellor international for Manchester Met, described the opportunity for MMU to “grow and diversify their global community” and build “academic relationships that will bring innumerable benefits to both institutions,” including support for achieving each other’s research ambitions.

Sandra Hirsh, associate dean of academics for SJSU’s College of Professional and Global Education, expressed similar sentiments and excitement about how this international partnership highlights the strengths of the two universities.

“This is a unique opportunity for doctoral students to benefit from the expertise of faculty at two institutions and consider research from a global perspective,” she explained. “I am also excited about the opportunities for our faculty to engage in collaborative research with international colleagues.”

The Gateway PhD program was previously offered through a partnership between San José State and Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, from 2008 to 2021. Alumni of the program have received numerous awards and honors for their original research.

San José State and Manchester Met have also worked together before: SJSU’s Department of Communication Studies and Manchester Met’s department of art and performance collaborated this past year on joint student projects, which culminated in the creation of short films. This collaboration helped formalize the relationship between SJSU and Manchester Met, further enhancing the synergies between the two universities.

“I am confident our students will take full advantage of this opportunity [of the Gateway PhD program] to engage in original research alongside their peers and expert faculty — and bring much needed insight to this unprecedented digital and information era,” expressed Huard.

Doctor of Nursing Practice Graduates Look Ahead to Improving Health Care

The SJSU Valley Foundation School of Nursing Doctor of Nursing Practice program graduated its first cohort in May.

Eleven members of the San José State class of 2021 are graduates of the university’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program — and they are prepared to make a difference in health care in California and beyond.

The cohort is the first to graduate from the SJSU Valley Foundation School of Nursing DNP program since the university launched its own in 2019. Previously, SJSU partnered with Fresno State University to provide a joint program.

Offered mostly online and designed for working professionals, the SJSU program was created to develop leaders in nursing, including advanced practice clinicians and nursing faculty.

California faces a nursing faculty shortage, which affects the amount of nurses graduating from programs. This contributes overall to a lack of practicing nurses in the state, said Associate Professor Michelle Hampton, who coordinates the program alongside Ruth Rosenblum, also an associate professor in the School of Nursing.

“This [faculty] shortage severely limits the capacity to enroll qualified students,” Hampton explained.

So in 2012, the California State University system launched two joint DNP programs — one in Northern California and one in Southern California — to increase the potential pool of future nursing faculty. SJSU was part of the northern consortium, which graduated seven cohorts.

Then, as part of an overall strategy to help improve health care throughout the state of California, starting with Silicon Valley, SJSU launched its own DNP program.

“This doctoral program has helped us reposition the College of Health and Human Sciences as a conduit to the ever-expanding healthcare industry,” said President Mary A. Papazian. “Not only do we want to contribute to one of the fastest growing sectors in Silicon Valley, but in doing so, we must be at the forefront of understanding and addressing the health disparities that exist within our communities’ most marginalized populations.”

Using research to enact change

While a PhD in nursing focuses on advanced research and investigation, earning a DNP degree means learning how to put that research into practice and evaluate its efficacy. Each graduate completed a doctoral project allowing them to do just that.

“Some of these students have been in practice for awhile, and they’re seeing clinical issues that they think warrant further study,” explained Colleen O’Leary-Kelly, director of the School of Nursing. “They want to look a little deeper and expand the knowledge base of these areas. And these projects that I see them working on — they’re just fantastic.”

Vanndy Loth-Kumar

Vanndy Loth-Kumar

Vanndy Loth-Kumar, for example, used existing literature and guidelines on caring for patients with schizophrenia to execute her project, “Evaluation of a Wellness and Recovery Medication Services Program” at her workplace, AACI (formerly known as Asian Americans for Community Involvement).

Established patients at AACI had been required to receive therapy in order to qualify for medication services. But the Wellness and Recovery Medication Services (WARMS) pilot program explored whether or not some patients could successfully forgo therapy and still receive the medication.

“Therapy only lasts so long for some people,” Loth-Kumar said. “Once you learn coping skills, how long do you need to continue? The pilot program allowed us to see that some people didn’t need therapy for 15 years; they were able to stay stable. It also freed up counselors to provide care for new patients.”

Because Loth-Kumar was familiarized with WARMS through her project, she was promoted to integrated services lead of the program. She looks forward to “growing and shaping the program, while being mindful of who might fall through the cracks in the system.”

“Before this program, there was a lot of me just complaining about the way things are done,” she shared. “Now, after the program, it’s a lot more of looking into the research to see what can be done. I think it really helped me develop a proactive approach to problem solving in a professional setting.”

Sandy Phan

Sandy Phan

Meanwhile, Sandy Phan, a nursing professional development specialist at Stanford Health Care, wants to improve health outcomes by addressing the nursing culture within.

Through her project, “Promoting Civility in the Workplace: Addressing Bullying in New Graduate Nurses Using Simulation and Cognitive Rehearsal,” Phan created and implemented a curriculum to help recent nursing graduates, who occupy the lowest ranks of the hierarchy and are less experienced, to develop skills to identify and address bullying.

“Bullying fractures communication and teamwork, which ultimately can trickle down into patient care,” Phan said. “Units that have bullies can cause more infections and errors, because nursing is a team-based practice.”

“The research indicates that 64 to 97 percent of nurses witness or encounter nurse bullying in their practice,” she explained. “It’s a well-known phenomenon. I think it’s because of the way nursing was founded, in a very patriarchal society. But now, we’re an integral part of the team. We’re leaders.”

Envisioning a healthier future

Lynette Apen

Lynette Apen

Lynette Apen, division dean of nursing and allied health at Evergreen Valley College, always had professional goals of serving as an advocate in nursing education, and thanks to the DNP program, she says she’s more prepared than ever to take that on.

She recently stepped into the role of president of the northern region of the California Organization of Associate Degree Nursing, which she says she might not have done as early in her career had it not been for the program.

“This degree has given me the foundation and vocabulary and — though I’m still working on it — the confidence in having conversations with legislators, these decision makers who impact the work of nurses every day,” Apen said.

Last fall, she even testified in favor of the passage of AB 2288, which allowed for flexibility in clinical hours requirements for nursing students during the pandemic and contributed to more California nursing students being able to graduate during COVID-19.

Ultimately, her doctoral project, “Nursing Academic Leadership: An Urgent Workforce Shortage in California Nursing Education,” could increase understanding of how to address a particular shortage of nursing program directors, which is critical to the success of nursing programs.

Apen examined trends in nursing academic leadership positions that will soon leave several vacancies with few options to fill them as well as immediate and long-term interventions to improve the workforce pipeline.

Audrey Shillington, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, noted that the pandemic has demonstrated how vital nurses are to health and well-being.

“Despite all the health-care challenges we faced in recent months, both our faculty and students stepped up and leaned into the community needs in addition to what are already demanding roles of teacher and learner. There is no other time when such a stellar group of nursing leaders are needed,” she said.

“I am so proud of all the hard work that our faculty, staff and students have been engaged in during recent years to bring us to this celebration of our first DNP graduating cohort.”

The DNP Class of 2021 and their doctoral projects:

Lynette Vallecillo Apen
Division Dean, Nursing and Allied Health, Evergreen Valley College
“Nursing Academic Leadership: An Urgent Workforce Shortage in California Nursing Education”

Ena Andrea Arce
Health Center Manager, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center
“Programmatic Colorectal (CRC) Screening During a Pandemic: Nursing Telemedicine Education Among Latinx Adults in an Ambulatory Safety Net Clinic”

Vanndy Linda Loth-Kumar
Integration Services Lead, AACI
Public Health Nurse, Santa Clara County Public Health Department
“Evaluation of a Wellness and Recovery Medication Services Program”

Elisa Nguyen
Director of Clinical Services, Stanford Health Care
“The Effectiveness of Resilience Training for Nurse Managers: A Case Study”

Sandy Phan
Nursing Professional Development Specialist, Stanford Health Care
“Promoting Civility in the Workplace: Addressing Bullying in New Graduate Nurses Using Simulation and Cognitive Rehearsal”

Tammi K. Reeves-Messner
Assistant Nurse Manager, Kaiser Permanente
“Neuroprotective Care in the NICU: A Quality Improvement Project”

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

Dominique Ellen Teaford
Supervising Public Health Nurse III, County of Santa Cruz – Health Services Agency
“Website Redesign Project to Improve the Quality and Usefulness of the Perinatal Mental Health Coalition’s Resource Website”

Stacey L. Teicher
Oncology Nurse Practitioner, Kaiser Permanente
“The Effects of Telehealth on Patient Satisfaction and Information Recall for Breast Cancer Survivors During the COVID-19 Pandemic”

Silvia L. Turner
Nurse Educator, New Nurse Employee Orientation Coordinator, VA Palo Alto Healthcare System
“Virtual Training Impact on Nurses’ Self-Efficacy of Safe Patient Handling Equipment Usage”

Colleen A. Vega
Clinical Nurse Specialist, Stanford Health Care
Lecturer, San Francisco State University
“The Effects of Virtual Reality on Symptom Distress in Patients Undergoing Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant”

Sue Howland Gift Creates Scholarship for Nursing Students

San José, Calif. — San José State University is pleased to announce that it has received a $1.9 million gift from the late Sue Howland, ’64 Business Administration. The gift creates the Judy Howland and Sue Howland Nursing Tuition/Books Scholarship for single parents and other eligible undergraduate and graduate students at The Valley Foundation School of Nursing at the College of Health and Human Sciences. Scholarships cover the full cost of tuition and required books for students to earn their nursing degrees.

“The Valley Foundation School of Nursing is grateful for the generous gift provided by the Judy Howland and Sue Howland Nursing Tuition/Books Scholarship,” said Colleen O’Leary-Kelley, director of the Valley Foundation School of Nursing and nursing professor. “Our student population is diverse, and many are single parents with significant financial need. Scholarship support is vital for students who strive to improve their family’s future while working full time or part time. Their ability to succeed in a rigorous educational program is greatly enhanced. Our hearts are filled with gratitude for the generosity of people like Sue Howland, who enable students to make their dreams become a reality.”

About Sue Howland

Sue Howland smiling in a bright read embroidered top.

Alumna Sue Howland established a planned gift that will create a scholarship for nursing students who are parents. Photo courtesy of Ana Espejo.

Born in Berkeley and raised in San José, Howland enrolled in a number of nursing courses at San José State before ultimately majoring in business. Ever the caretaker, Howland raised her son Scott while working for the San Jose Mercury News, Stanford University and McWhorter’s stationery in Los Gatos. When her grandmother fell ill, she quit her job to become her full-time caregiver, and later did the same for her mother. While she never became a nurse, Howland was a dedicated friend to many, including Ana Espejo, who she met when she hired Espejo’s husband to help with her garden.

“Sue was very compassionate and she had a lot of integrity and kindness,” said Espejo. “We became very close; she was my adopted mom. She was there for me when I was, at one point, a single mother. She treated my son as her grandson. She wanted to give single parents the resources to go to school, which is why she created the scholarship.”

Howland made arrangements in her trust to donate the proceeds from the sale of her house to create an endowed fund at San José State. The fund provides full-tuition scholarships named after Howland and her mother Julia (Judy) Howland to single parents so they may continue their studies while parenting. In her final years, Howland was grateful for the medical care she received as she was being treated for various illnesses and before she succumbed to cancer in 2019. Espejo said that it was this care that reinforced Howland’s desire to support future nurses.

“Throughout all of her surgeries and treatments, she appreciated that the nurses and medical assistants took such good care of her,” said Espejo. “This is part of why she wanted to support the nursing program at San José State, though she had planned her gift years before.”

“Sue Howland understood the challenges of single parenting while attending college and the impact that a scholarship like this could have. Students receiving this scholarship concentrate on their studies, and still spend valuable time with their children,” said Theresa Davis, vice president for university advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation. “We are grateful for her thoughtful planning many years ago to leave a meaningful legacy at San José State.”

“I stand in awe of Sue Howland. It is remarkable that she and her family would share with such generosity their treasures with the College of Health and Human Science’s Valley Foundation School of Nursing,” said Audrey Shillington, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences. “So many of our students face challenges, working their way through school, often juggling multiple jobs on top of coursework and practicum commitments. Ms. Howland had the insight to recognize that single parents face additional barriers and that they are much more likely to drop out due to all the financial burdens facing them. This gift will change the lives of all the parents who receive it. Beyond this though, the gift will impact the lives of the students’ children. This will lead to intergenerational transformation.”

To learn how you can support the university with a planned gift, please contact Randy Balogh, director of Planned Giving, at 408-924-1123 or via email at randy.balogh@sjsu.edu.

About San José State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study—offered through its nine colleges. With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce. The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 280,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

From Grenada to Yale, SJSU Grad Stephanie Dizon Focuses on Healthcare

Stephanie Dizon

Stephanie Dizon

By Abby McConnell

For as long as she can remember, San Jose State University McNair Scholar Stephanie Dizon had always dreamed of becoming a nurse. Even when she didn’t get into the nursing program at SJSU the first time around, she wasn’t dissuaded. Instead of viewing it as a setback, she saw it as an opportunity to explore classes outside her major. While she waited to reapply, she took classes in justice studies and human rights, and got involved in research activities on campus. She was accepted to the program the following year, but these explorations opened up her perception of what pursuing her passion about healthcare could look like, particularly in terms of social justice. As a result, she graduated with a BS in Nursing, with minors in Human Rights and Justice Studies from SJSU.

“In healthcare, the diagnosis is always the focus,” Dizon said. “But what about the socio-economic factors that determine what patient care will look like? Do they have easy access to their doctors, a good diet or family support? All of these things play a key role in both treatment and recovery, and I am fascinated by the way they influence patient care.”

Dizon worked several jobs while at SJSU, but it was her time as a patient coordinator in a radiology clinic that shifted her academic trajectory. There, she was exposed to the world of oncology and palliative care, a field she decided to pursue. Currently, she is a palliative care case manager, who visits patients in their homes or assisted living facilities, working in tandem with doctors, social workers, chaplains and family members as a liaison to get patients the help they need.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to serve patients who might feel isolated or confused about treatment or who don’t have a lot of contact with people other than their spouse or immediate family. I am grateful to be the person that they can turn to and talk through their illnesses and options,” she said.

While Dizon, who graduated this spring, eventually plans to pursue a PhD in nursing, she is headed to Yale Divinity School in the fall to study theology and earn a Master in Divinity degree. This may appear a departure from her focus on healthcare to some, but for Dizon, it makes perfect sense. After all, Yale is home to the first hospice program in the United States.

“Personally, I want to pursue theology more deeply, and professionally, I want to understand more about the intersection of palliative care and spirituality. If we could integrate more spiritual practices into palliative care plans, I believe patients would benefit tremendously,” she said.

Dizon came to the US from the Philippines with her parents when she was 9, to be closer to extended family. Both her parents have BAs, so earning her undergraduate degree was never in doubt. However, graduate school wasn’t as much on her radar until she got involved with the McNair Scholars Program and its director, Dr. Maria Cruz.

“Dr. Cruz was the first person to tell me that I could do it, that I could go to a school like Yale. It had never occurred to me before to even apply to such a prestigious place,” she said.

She credits the McNair program for not only guiding her through the graduate school application project, but connecting her with nursing mentors and research opportunities. These include her own research project that investigated how stigma affects those living with HIV. Her senior capstone project that took her to Grenada, where she collected data for the Grenada Ministry of Health as part of the Health Partnerships in Action faculty-led program run through the Valley Foundation School of Nursing in the College of Health and Human Sciences.

These connections and opportunities, along with professors and mentors such as Dr. William Armaline, Dr. Constance Hill, Deborah Nelson, MSN and Katherine Kinner, MSN, FNP, allowed her to integrate her passions across multiple disciplines in research and scholarship. As an aspiring nurse scholar, she hopes to continue this trajectory in her academic and professional career, by advocating for justice and equality in healthcare and committing her clinical and scholarly work to develop access, quality and delivery of healthcare to all people.

McNair Scholar Angeles De Santos-Quezada Reflects on Educational Journey

Angeles De Santos-Quezada poses for a photo at her graduation from the College of Social Sciences May 24.

Angeles De Santos-Quezada poses for a photo at her graduation from the College of Social Sciences May 24.

By Abby McConnell

To anyone who knows her, it’s no surprise that McNair Scholar Angeles De Santos-Quezada graduated with honors, with a bachelor’s in Political Science and a minor in Applied Research Methods. Politics, advocacy and education have always been at the forefront of her life. She grew up in Encarnacion de Diaz, Jalisco, a small town in Mexico, with a mother who emphasized the importance of intellectual enrichment and a father who practiced law and often discussed the likes of Plato, Socrates and Marx at the dinner table.

This background served her well, especially after De Santos-Quezada moved unexpectedly with her mother and three siblings from Mexico to her grandmother’s home in Concord, California. De Santos-Quezada’s mother is a U.S. citizen who moved to Mexico in her 20s to be with De Santos-Quezada’s father, and later decided to naturalize her children.

Angeles De Santos-Quezada, right, poses with fellow orientation leaders.

Angeles De Santos-Quezada, right, poses with fellow orientation leaders.

Leaving the only home she’d known and transitioning into an American high school as a junior wasn’t easy for De Santos-Quezada, from making new friends to being placed in classes as an “English Language Learner.” Being labeled ELL meant she was placed on the easiest academic track in her new high school, essentially retaking many classes that she had completed with honors at a private Catholic middle school in Mexico. De Santos-Quezada quickly became bored and frustrated, aware that this route wouldn’t get her to college, which had always been her plan.

“I wasn’t sure what to do, but when I told my mom what was happening, she told me I needed to advocate for myself to have my schedule changed. She made it clear that no one else was going to do it for me,” De Santos-Quezada said.

She set up a meeting with her counselor as soon as she could, and was on a college preparatory track shortly thereafter. For De Santos-Quezada, this was not only a lesson in the importance of speaking out and speaking up, but also firsthand experience of the disenfranchisement many non-native speakers feel when they enter the U.S. educational system.

SJSU graduate Angeles De Santos-Quezada plans to attend the University of Texas, Austin in fall to pursue a master’s in Education Policy and Planning.

SJSU graduate Angeles De Santos-Quezada plans to attend the University of Texas, Austin in fall to pursue a master’s in Education Policy and Planning.

“When I was about to graduate high school, one of my teachers told me that I was a ‘normal’ English speaker. I didn’t know I was abnormal! ELL students are often treated as less intelligent simply because English isn’t their first language. Obviously, that is discriminatory and also a false premise. When students are labeled in this way, they are put at a disadvantage and aren’t set up to succeed. I knew then there was something deeply wrong with the system.”

She loved SJSU immediately, in part because the Spanish architecture and diverse community reminded her of home. Freshman year held the allure of living on her own for the first time, but she was also lonely during her first weeks in the dorms. Her resident advisor was a huge source of comfort and guidance for De Santos-Quezada and was instrumental in helping her find her place on campus. The experience inspired her to become an RA, which she has done for the last three years. In that time, she has helped nearly 200 first-year students navigate the transition to college and take advantage of all that SJSU has to offer.

Advising students about the best ways to maximize their college experience while connecting with like-minded people is one of her favorite aspects of the job, in part because she can relate. When she felt most isolated at SJSU, she realized she needed to seek out clubs and opportunities that reflected her background and interests like she had in high school, so she began attending meetings via the Adelante Latino Task Force that later involved into the Chicanx/Latinx Student Success Center.

“By becoming a part of the Latinx campus community, I was able to find my place at SJSU and thrive,” she said.

And thrive she has―in the fall, she is headed to the University of Texas, Austin to pursue a master’s in Education Policy and Planning (MEd). In her undergraduate career, De Santos-Quezada has also been named a President’s scholar, has published and presented scholarly research, studied abroad in Slovenia, and become an outspoken advocate of social justice and diversity programs for underrepresented students.

“As a first-generation college student, Angeles exemplifies the transformative power of educational opportunity and is already ‘paying it forward’ to help other students find their own paths to success,” said Dr. Melinda Jackson.

De Santos-Quezada credits much of her success at SJSU to TRIO programs such as Aspire, and of course, the McNair Scholars Program, which is specifically designed to guide underrepresented students in applying to doctoral programs. She also acknowledges her family’s unwavering support along with many mentors and professors, including Dr. Maria Cruz, Dr. Sergio Bejar Lopez, Dr. Vanessa Fernandez, Dr. Lilly Pinedo-Gangai and Dr. Jason Laker, among others, who guided her along the way.

“I am lucky,” De Santos-Quezada said. “I was able to stand up for myself and take advantage of the resources around me and connect with all kinds of mentors and programs. Not all ELL students are able to do that, and so they get lost in our educational system. Part of my goal in getting my PhD is to answer the question: How can we treat our differences with pride instead of seeing them as positive or negative stereotypes? All I know right now is that we have to change the system from the inside out.”

Nursing Student Rallies SJSU to Erect Peace Pole

Photo: Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group

Photo: Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group

Inspired by her belief in world peace, a nursing student rallied the SJSU community to install and unveil its very own Peace Pole.

Navpreet Kaur, ’17 Nursing, delivered the keynote address at the unveiling of SJSU’s newest monument Oct. 12.

A crowd of students, faculty and staff gathered along a busy walkway between Tower Hall and a grove of trees and roses near Clark Hall to hear from her.

“I believe we do have the potential to reach peace. It’s just a very difficult process,” she said.

One message, 12 languages

The Peace Pole is much smaller than SJSU’s Smith/Carlos sculpture and the Cesar E. Chavez monument, but it packs a punch.

“May Peace Prevail on Earth” is inscribed on the pole in the 12 languages most common in Santa Clara County.

Kaur was inspired to pursue the project after taking a semester off from San Jose State, and enrolling in classes at San Jose City College.

She knew nothing about Peace Poles when she stumbled upon one there. The inscription, in so many languages, intrigued her.

So she did what everyone does nowadays to record the moment: She took a photo of the pole, Instagrammed it, and then Googled it.

An international movement

Photo By Leo Reynolds

Peacemarker by Leo Reynolds / Three photos, combined.

She learned that the Peace Pole movement was born in post World War II Japan. Today, there are more than 200,000 poles worldwide.

“I remember just feeling an instant connection, and I thought I wanted to see this on my home campus,” Kaur said.

Back at SJSU, Kaur spent a day contacting everyone she could, from the president on down, until she got a reply.

The response came from Aditya Mairal, ’17 Mechanical Engineering. At the time, he was the Associated Students director of intercultural affairs.

“I gave her that push and told her that ‘yes, you can do this,’” Mairal said to Spartan Daily.

Kaur took that to heart, and her dream came true, with a good dose of mentoring from The Valley Foundation School of Nursing Director Katherine Abriam-Yago.

A faculty mentor

“She was just a constant support system,” Kaur said. “She would tell me, ‘This is your idea and if you’re envisioning it in a certain way, then you need to fight for that vision.’”

Raised in East San Jose’s cultural melting pot, Kaur was particularly concerned about the languages.

“My number one goal was to make sure there was no bias with the language selection,” she said, so she turned to U.S. Census data to keep the peace.

Interestingly, one reason she is drawn to nursing is, in her eyes, it’s also all about mediation.

“A lot of the time, patients don’t express what their true concerns are in fear of being judged by their healthcare professionals,” she said. “As a nurse, I am an advocate for my patient. I’m an advocate for their concerns. Standing up for those who are afraid to raise their voice is a beautiful thing.”

 

SJSU in the News: Nursing Alumna Launches “Buck for a Bike” Campaign

Bicycle charity joins fight against childhood obesity

Originally published by the San Jose Mercury News July 6, 2011.

By Joe Rodriguez

The 8-year-old boy wasn’t going to get on a pink bike. No way, no how.

“No!” Jesus Arteaga said.

And no amount of gender-correctness from older folks at a free bike-repair clinic the other day in San Jose was going to change his mind. But the bike was free, a hand-me-down from his sister, so Jesus shyly asked a bicycle mechanic whether he could make it look more, you know, like a boy’s bike.

“When I heard that, my heart sank,” said Sue Runsvold, a nurse whose bicycle charity put on the free repair clinic. She gave the OK for a macho makeover. Off came the pink chain guard, rosy pedals and white tires. On went black ones. Although Jesus was happy with the results, the bike frame remained a pinkish purple.

“I wish I had brought a can of black spray paint,” Runsvold said. “I’ll have to remember that for next time. Boys won’t ride girlie bikes.”

Six years after starting the nonprofit Turning Wheels for Kids, Runsvold has delivered about 11,000 bikes to needy children in Silicon Valley at Christmastime. That alone would put her on the road to sainthood in the eyes of many if she stopped there, but the nurse who manages a postsurgery unit at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center isn’t done. The follow-up counts just as much.

Away from the hoopla of the Christmas bike deliveries and bike-repair clinics, Turning Wheels quietly donates 200 bikes a year to overweight or obese children at the hospital’s Pediatric Healthy Lifestyles Center. The center treats 1,000 new kids every year.”It’s been an amazing aspect for us,” said Dr. Patricia Barreto, one of three supervising doctors there. “Anything that makes a child more active is going to make them more healthy.”

By age 5, a third of all children in Santa Clara County are overweight or obese, according to a 2007 survey. That statistic jumps to almost half of all children by age 11. The prevalence of obesity at all ages is highest among Hispanic children, and lowest among Asian kids.

Getting families to adopt healthier diets is one thing, but the doctors don’t have to lecture the kids to mount the bikes. They simply take off. All Barreto tells them is to include cycling in the 60 minutes of exercise they should do every day. The center hasn’t measured the direct health benefits from the biking, but Barreto is convinced it works.

“Physical activity is a cornerstone, metabolically,” she said. “You should see the smiles on these kids’ faces when they leave here with their new bikes.”

Growing up in Fullerton, a working-class town in Orange County, Runsvold said she always dreaded answering the question, “What did you get for Christmas?”

Her father, who drank too much and spent time in prison, wasn’t around much. Her mother, a secretary, simply couldn’t afford new bikes for her three kids.

“We were lower middle-class, but I thought we were lower than that,” Runsvold said. “I was just like the kids we serve today.”

Married and a mother at age 21, she showered her children with Christmas presents because she didn’t want them to dread the Christmas question. “They’d get five, six or seven presents just from Santa Claus.”

The years and decades flew by. The Runsvolds moved around the country, eventually settling in San Jose in 1994. She earned a nursing degree from San Jose State. Her children gave her grandchildren.

Then her marriage collapsed, and so did the gratification of seeing wall-to-wall gifts under the Christmas tree. “I now saw opulence under the tree,” Runsvold said.

She thought about her struggling mother, who accepted donated toys for her children at Christmastime and baked cookies as gifts for friends and relatives.

“I asked myself, ‘What was hard for me to get as a kid?’ A bike!”

Two weeks before Christmas 2002, she and a few friends raised enough money to buy 12 bikes from a toy store and gave them to San Jose firefighters to give to poor children. Runsvold and her friends gave away 40 bikes the second year.

Word spread, volunteers signed on, and Turning Wheels was born. Bicycle manufacturers Raleigh and Dynacraft jumped on board with hefty discounts.

Last Christmas, the charity raised $257,000 and gave away more than 2,000 bikes.

It sounds as if Turning Wheels is cruising, but Runsvold said it’s still pedaling uphill.

A new “Buck for a Bike” campaign hopes to raise the equivalent of $1 from everyone in Silicon Valley, to create an endowment of $1.7 million. That would give Turning Wheels a base income and allow it to think ahead and add educational and health programs.

“I work 40 hours as a nurse, and then I go home and work 40 hours doing this,” Runsvold said. “This is my passion.”

She doesn’t like being called director or chairwoman, but given Turning Wheels’ growth and popularity, Runsvold just might be creating a second career.

Do you have a story for Eastside/Westside? Contact Joe Rodriguez at 408-920-5767 or jrodriguez@mercurynews.com.

TO HELP

For more information or to make a donation, go to www.turningwheelsforkids.org.

SJSU in the News: Nursing Alumna Launches "Buck for a Bike" Campaign

Bicycle charity joins fight against childhood obesity

Originally published by the San Jose Mercury News July 6, 2011.

By Joe Rodriguez

The 8-year-old boy wasn’t going to get on a pink bike. No way, no how.

“No!” Jesus Arteaga said.

And no amount of gender-correctness from older folks at a free bike-repair clinic the other day in San Jose was going to change his mind. But the bike was free, a hand-me-down from his sister, so Jesus shyly asked a bicycle mechanic whether he could make it look more, you know, like a boy’s bike.

“When I heard that, my heart sank,” said Sue Runsvold, a nurse whose bicycle charity put on the free repair clinic. She gave the OK for a macho makeover. Off came the pink chain guard, rosy pedals and white tires. On went black ones. Although Jesus was happy with the results, the bike frame remained a pinkish purple.

“I wish I had brought a can of black spray paint,” Runsvold said. “I’ll have to remember that for next time. Boys won’t ride girlie bikes.”

Six years after starting the nonprofit Turning Wheels for Kids, Runsvold has delivered about 11,000 bikes to needy children in Silicon Valley at Christmastime. That alone would put her on the road to sainthood in the eyes of many if she stopped there, but the nurse who manages a postsurgery unit at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center isn’t done. The follow-up counts just as much.

Away from the hoopla of the Christmas bike deliveries and bike-repair clinics, Turning Wheels quietly donates 200 bikes a year to overweight or obese children at the hospital’s Pediatric Healthy Lifestyles Center. The center treats 1,000 new kids every year.”It’s been an amazing aspect for us,” said Dr. Patricia Barreto, one of three supervising doctors there. “Anything that makes a child more active is going to make them more healthy.”

By age 5, a third of all children in Santa Clara County are overweight or obese, according to a 2007 survey. That statistic jumps to almost half of all children by age 11. The prevalence of obesity at all ages is highest among Hispanic children, and lowest among Asian kids.

Getting families to adopt healthier diets is one thing, but the doctors don’t have to lecture the kids to mount the bikes. They simply take off. All Barreto tells them is to include cycling in the 60 minutes of exercise they should do every day. The center hasn’t measured the direct health benefits from the biking, but Barreto is convinced it works.

“Physical activity is a cornerstone, metabolically,” she said. “You should see the smiles on these kids’ faces when they leave here with their new bikes.”

Growing up in Fullerton, a working-class town in Orange County, Runsvold said she always dreaded answering the question, “What did you get for Christmas?”

Her father, who drank too much and spent time in prison, wasn’t around much. Her mother, a secretary, simply couldn’t afford new bikes for her three kids.

“We were lower middle-class, but I thought we were lower than that,” Runsvold said. “I was just like the kids we serve today.”

Married and a mother at age 21, she showered her children with Christmas presents because she didn’t want them to dread the Christmas question. “They’d get five, six or seven presents just from Santa Claus.”

The years and decades flew by. The Runsvolds moved around the country, eventually settling in San Jose in 1994. She earned a nursing degree from San Jose State. Her children gave her grandchildren.

Then her marriage collapsed, and so did the gratification of seeing wall-to-wall gifts under the Christmas tree. “I now saw opulence under the tree,” Runsvold said.

She thought about her struggling mother, who accepted donated toys for her children at Christmastime and baked cookies as gifts for friends and relatives.

“I asked myself, ‘What was hard for me to get as a kid?’ A bike!”

Two weeks before Christmas 2002, she and a few friends raised enough money to buy 12 bikes from a toy store and gave them to San Jose firefighters to give to poor children. Runsvold and her friends gave away 40 bikes the second year.

Word spread, volunteers signed on, and Turning Wheels was born. Bicycle manufacturers Raleigh and Dynacraft jumped on board with hefty discounts.

Last Christmas, the charity raised $257,000 and gave away more than 2,000 bikes.

It sounds as if Turning Wheels is cruising, but Runsvold said it’s still pedaling uphill.

A new “Buck for a Bike” campaign hopes to raise the equivalent of $1 from everyone in Silicon Valley, to create an endowment of $1.7 million. That would give Turning Wheels a base income and allow it to think ahead and add educational and health programs.

“I work 40 hours as a nurse, and then I go home and work 40 hours doing this,” Runsvold said. “This is my passion.”

She doesn’t like being called director or chairwoman, but given Turning Wheels’ growth and popularity, Runsvold just might be creating a second career.

Do you have a story for Eastside/Westside? Contact Joe Rodriguez at 408-920-5767 or jrodriguez@mercurynews.com.

TO HELP

For more information or to make a donation, go to www.turningwheelsforkids.org.

SJSU in the News: San Jose State Plans New Nursing Doctorate

SJSU Planning to Offer Doctorate in Nursing

Originally published in the San Jose Mercury News 1/26/2011

By Lisa M. Krieger

San Jose State is preparing to open its doors next year to nursing students seeking to earn the highest degree in academia: the doctorate.

Marking a significant moment in the history of the California State University system, the university’s board of trustees voted Wednesday to create a doctorate in nursing practice, called a DNP, on several CSU campuses — including a joint nursing program at SJSU and Fresno State.

For 40 years, California’s master plan for higher education has made doctorates the sole domain of the University of California. Then, a decade ago, CSU added one in education. And last year, it successfully petitioned for the right to award them in physical therapy at five campuses and nursing practice at three campuses.

While the UC campuses will continue to offer doctor of philosophy, or Ph.D, degrees, which are primarily research-focused, CSU seeks to grant a more practice-focused advanced degree.

“This is a real response to real need. It is important that we help meet the labor needs of the state,” said John Douglass, a senior research fellow at UC Berkeley’s Center for Studies in Higher Education.

“The lines (between UC and CSU) are definitely blurring,” he said, “but I think some marginal expansion of CSU’s authority makes sense in certain areas of graduate training.”

At SJSU, the new doctorate “will enable its graduates to be at the forefront of implementing research,” said Jayne Cohen, director of SJSU’s nursing school.”In addition, this new program will vastly add to the cadre of nursing faculty well-qualified to educate new nursing professionals.”

She did not outline how SJSU and Fresno State would collaborate in the pilot program. Before being finalized, the program needs professional accreditation and approval by the university’s chancellor.

More nurses needed

The U.S. Bureau of Health Professionals projects that California will have a severe shortfall of about 100,000 nurses in 10 years. The state already ranks last in the nation in the number of nurses per capita — 589 per 100,000 residents, compared with the U.S. average of 825.

A big obstacle to closing this projected shortfall has been a limited number of slots available in California nursing programs — which is tied to a limited number of people qualified to serve as nursing faculty.

But CSU’s advanced degree programs could pose new problems: funding, with a potential squeeze on undergraduates, said Judith E. Heiman of the Legislative Analyst’s Office in Sacramento.

“Does it make sense for CSU to offer these degrees? Perhaps,” Heiman said. “Does it make sense at this time, when campuses are having difficulty accommodating demand for existing undergraduate programs? That’s a judgment call we’d like the Legislature to weigh in on.”

In the bills authorizing CSU to offer each of these degrees, the Legislature showed concern about these programs crowding out undergraduates. And it specified that each campus must fund the programs out of its existing budget.

“CSU is facing a budget proposal that not only lacks growth funding, but reduces base funding significantly,” Heiman said. “Under these circumstances, it is not possible to use state or institutional resources for developing and starting a new program without affecting existing enrollment.”

Catch-up mode

The California Nurses Association would prefer expansion of nursing programs at the bachelor’s and master’s level.

While the organization welcomes new programs to train nurse educators, “even more importantly, we need to train greater numbers of bedside nurses to meet the needs of California’s patients,” said the association’s Liz Jacobs. “We call for more resources to be put into all levels of nursing education.”

The current nursing shortage has its roots in massive layoffs in the 1990s, she said, as the introduction of the “managed care” system shortened patient stays and reduced the need for nurses.

And potential students disliked “the de-skilling of the work force, as RNs (registered nurses) were replaced by LVNs (licensed vocational nurses) and assistants,” Jacobs said. And work got harder, because patients in the hospital tended to be very sick.

“Now, we’re in a catch-up mode,” she said, because of new laws that require more nurses, as well as the retiring of an aging work force.

Despite plenty of eager and academically qualified candidates, Jacobs notes that there are not enough seats in schools to educate every student.

The SJSU-Fresno State program, planned to start in the fall of 2012, will be one of three future DNP programs. A second jointly run program is planned by CSU campuses in Fullerton, Long Beach and Los Angeles. The third will be based in San Diego.

A doctorate in physical therapy, planned for the summer of 2012, will be offered at CSU campuses in Fresno, Long Beach, Northridge, Sacramento and San Diego.

Before creating any more CSU doctoral programs, Douglass urged the state to conduct a careful analysis of its labor needs — then decide the best way to structure higher education.#

SJSU, Fresno State to Plan Joint Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

In an effort to boost the number of instructors qualified to serve as nursing faculty members, SJSU and Fresno State will soon begin planning a joint doctor of nursing practice program (DNP). The program will be launched as early as fall 2012, pending approval by the CSU Board of Trustees at their meeting Jan. 25 and 26. Continue reading

SJSU Launches First-Ever Comprehensive Campaign

“Acceleration” Begins With $5 Million Gift Commitment From The Valley Foundation

Contact: Pat Lopes Harris, 408-656-6999

SAN JOSE, Calif., — At an evening event Oct. 21, Interim President Don W. Kassing launched “Acceleration: The Campaign for San Jose State University” by announcing The Valley Foundation has made a $5 million gift commitment to the School of Nursing. In gratitude for this gift and over $3.5 million in past donations, the school will be named the San Jose State University Valley Foundation School of Nursing, pending approval from the California State University Board of Trustees in November. The dinner, for over 300 SJSU supporters at the Event Center, opened the public phase of SJSU’s first-ever comprehensive campaign with a $200 million goal by 2014. SJSU raised over $129 million during the private phase, beginning in 2006. Continue reading