Author: CCN

2020 CCN Distinguished Alumni Award Presented to Dr. Jessica L. Peck

Dr. Jessica Peck holding awardEach year, the Capstone College of Nursing Alumni Association recognizes a distinguished CCN graduate who has demonstrated continuous and exemplary contributions to the profession of nursing and/or healthcare as the recipient of CCN’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

This year, CCNAA is thrilled to honor Jessica L. Peck, DNP, APRN, CPNP-PC, CNE, CNL, FAANP with this award. Dr. Peck is a 2012 graduate of the College’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program and continues to be an example of the key values of CCN: education, scholarship and service.

An expert in her field, Dr. Peck is shaping future nurses as a clinical professor at Baylor’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing. As Dr. Peck’s DNP faculty advisor, the late Dr. Marietta Stanton, once said, “Jessica uses an approach to education that is forward thinking and inventive, utilizing the latest educational theories to deliver current evidence-based practice guidelines in nursing… Her potential for innovation is unlimited.”

As president of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, Dr. Peck is focused on improving the quality of care for infants, children and adolescents. An advocate for vulnerable youth populations, she also combats child trafficking through her work with a number of organizations, including NAPNAP’s Alliance for Children in Trafficking (ACT); Dr. Peck developed ACT Advocates, a grassroots advocacy program, to train healthcare professionals to respond to human trafficking in their communities.

CCNAA is honored to present this award to Dr. Jessica Peck. Below, she shares some highlights from her nursing journey.


What led you to pursue nursing as a career?

I am the firstborn in a new generation in my family. Previously, the only person in my family who had achieved a university education was my maternal grandfather. I was a bright learner and a good student, but I had absolutely no self-awareness, tools, or encouragement to seek academic opportunities after high school. As a woman at that time, the only two career paths that seemed remotely accessible to me were teaching and nursing. Because a teaching degree was not available at a community college, I fell into nursing. I had always loved caring for people and nursing turned out to be a wonderful fit for me. I am so grateful for the nursing profession, which provided affordable, accessible, and innovative pathways for me to grow as a clinician, a scholar, and a leader.

What are some major takeaways from your undergraduate journey?

When nurses, particularly nursing students, see my list of credentials and accomplishments, they often express admiration or intimidation. I love to remind myself and share with them, my very humble beginnings. I was not a strong nursing student in my undergraduate program. Plagued with timidity and a lack of self-confidence, I often found myself an unwilling focus of the instructor!

Once, an elderly female patient for whom I was caring demanded (loudly, rudely, and urgently) that I remove her dentures. I hadn’t practiced that in lab but made an educated guess that it was in the routine hygiene care realm and did not require supervision, put on gloves, and attempted removal. As you have probably guessed, she bit down on my fingers…and did not let go! After frantically signaling the emergency call bell and assisted removal by two nurses with padded tongue depressors, I was rescued. The nurses asked me, “What in the world are you doing?!” When I explained I was attempting to remove her dentures, they said “She doesn’t have dentures!” And that mean lady laughed and laughed and laughed. Long story short, I moved quickly to pediatrics and never looked back.

What motivated you to continue your education, ultimately bringing you to UA for your DNP?

Both my husband and the physician for whom I worked initially encouraged me to pursue a bachelor’s degree. My husband even got a master’s degree during this time, so we could go to school together. Then, he got a second master’s degree while I got my first so we could continue together! Sitting through five graduation ceremonies is true love.

All along the way, nursing faculty have encouraged me, mentored me, and pushed me to do more. They saw potential in me before I saw it in myself, patiently and persistently guiding me a step further down the path each time. I am so grateful to each of them. I never sought academic or professional opportunity on my own before achieving my DNP. It was always presented to me as an opportunity by a kind and faithful mentor who was willing to invest in the future of their profession.

Dr. Marietta Stanton and Dr. Jessica Peck in graduation robesWhen I was ready to seek doctoral education, as a nurse clinician, I knew the DNP was right for me. At the time, there were no DNP programs in Texas, so I began to look elsewhere, where I quickly found The University of Alabama. With nationally recognized and respected nursing scholars and a well-organized and leading-edge DNP program, I was quickly engaged. During my interview with the faculty who would become chair of my project, Dr. Marietta Stanton, she asked me “Are you willing to make the sacrifices that will be necessary to be successful in this program?” After a pause, I said “yes” and with no pause she said, “The faculty are willing to do the same.” I was sold.

Dr. Marietta Stanton and Dr. Peck at Peck’s DNP commencement ceremony.

What are some of your favorite moments from your graduate journey?

The first memorable moment was during the DNP Intensive. I was chosen as the keynote student speaker and to say I was nervous is a laughable understatement. I rushed off to the hotel business center to access a computer (this was before I had a laptop!) to review my presentation one. last. time. I flew in there like a crazy wind and found another woman working who recognized my distress. She offered to let me practice and gave me some encouraging words. I walked out, feeling more self-assured and confident. As I sat back at my table, I saw the same woman enter the room…and walk straight up to the podium as the keynote speaker. It was Dr. Penny Kaye Jensen, President of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. I will never forget her humility and her kindness.

During my time at UACCN, I was accepted into the leadership program of the National League for Nursing, a great honor. At that time, Dr. Marsha Adams was a faculty member at UA while also serving as President of the NLN. Although I did not know her well, she came to find me at an NLN gala in Washington D.C. and I sat with the president and CEO, Dr. Beverly Malone as a UACCN DNP student. It was a great honor and a whole lot of fun. Dr. Malone shared stories about dining with Prince Charles and persuading Tony Blair to empower nurses to prescribe! It was a night I’ll never forget.

What did you find challenging about pursuing an advanced degree? Were there any particular obstacles you had to overcome along the way?

Graduate education is never easy. Even if you are a student with no financial stressors, no family challenges, no need to work, and no limit to your social support, it’s still hard! But life happens. Financial stressors arise. Family needs demand your time. Health crises occur.

For me, I got my DNP with four children between the ages of one and seven years, and a full-time job. The only way I could do it was capitalizing on their early bedtime and being disciplined to do it with my husband’s support in cooking and carpooling!

A bigger challenge was continuing to fight for the legitimacy of my DNP degree. Other health professions and professionals expressed skepticism, condescension, mockery even, toward the idea of a nurse with a clinical doctorate. Some of the attacks have been incredibly unprofessional and deeply personal. But I know nursing provided me an accessible pathway to positively impact health outcomes in a way that is innovative, forward-thinking, and modern. I’m meeting real people with real needs in real time, making a real difference.

What impact did obtaining your DNP have on your career?

Of the five academic degrees I now hold, the DNP degree program was by far the most transformative of my entire career. It was during this experience I felt a palpable shift from skilled clinician to leader and scholar. The DNP paradigm lifted my eyes from what I could do for an individual child in my exam room to what I could do for all children all over the world. I also became the first DNP-prepared nursing faculty to achieve the rank of full Professor with tenure in my state university system. I’m proud of that. DNP graduates continue to show the world the resilience and innovation of nursing.

What advice can you share for an undergraduate nursing student?

Maybe you are a student like I was, barely making ends meet and barely getting by in school. Persist. Persevere. Power through. Accept where you are in the journey and know your time to shine is just ahead. Develop relationships with trusted professional mentors. Take their advice. Believe them when they believe in you. Work hard! Never take no for an answer! There is always a new way to try something. If you are already a superstar, then keep shining! Dare to dream big! Nursing need leaders like you.

What advice do you have for a nurse considering an advanced degree?

There has never been a more exciting time to pursue a graduate degree in nursing. This is an unprecedented health crisis as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads throughout 2020, the Year of the Nurse. Nurses are ranked annually as the most trusted profession by the American public. With a holistic practice framework and the trust of the public, nurses are integral to the nation’s health.

The collective strength of nursing as a unified profession can impact health policy by leveraging our acquired knowledge and excellence in leadership to confidently serve the public and promote health equity. Nurses with advanced degrees are much needed and well-equipped leaders to serve at the epicenter of this crisis. Nursing is the most innovative, resilient, caring, and tenacious profession that has ever existed. Nursing will always find a way to rise up and meet the challenges of tomorrow.

You have come full circle—from student to educator. What is your favorite part of being in the classroom? 

My favorite aspect of being in the classroom is my students! They never cease to amaze me, inspire me, and teach me something new every day. I am grateful for the opportunity and carry the weight of the responsibility of stewarding this privilege well. I absolutely love seeing students grow professionally and join me as a colleague. One of my first undergraduate students I taught as a young nursing instructor has now gotten her master’s degree as a nurse practitioner followed by her DNP, and is joining me as faculty. That’s really special.

What is your favorite aspect of practice?

My favorite aspect of practice is the kids of course! The courage, tenacity, resiliency, and fresh-faced honesty of children lifts my spirit, warms my heart, puts spring in my step, and gives me hope for our future.

At CCN, we have made it a priority to encourage work-life balance for our faculty, staff, and students. What are some of the ways you achieve this balance?

My hobby has been learning, as you can see by my credentials and degrees (#NerdAlert). My favorite hobby is spending time with my family. We love to travel all over the world and experience new cultures. I also sing and play the piano a bit, and love being involved in my church’s worship ministry. I am an avid reader and an aspiring writer. Family is always most important. I often take my family with me when I travel. For example, my teen daughter came with me on a road trip to testify at the state capitol. I got to do my job, she got to see how government worked, and we had six hours in the car to talk. I use this approach as often as possible.

What do you see as your greatest achievement thus far?

My greatest achievement both personally and professionally is my four wonderful children. As a mother of three teens and one preteen, I am inspired every day to make the world a better place for them. My children have been so supportive of my career and my efforts to improve child health. They, along with my husband, are my greatest champions.

Professionally, I am honored to have been a trailblazer in a string of firsts, following in the footsteps of true legends in our profession… first woman in my family with a university degree, first nurse practitioner hired in three healthcare organizations, first DNP graduate on the faculty at the University of Texas Medical Branch, first DNP to achieve the rank of tenured professor in the Texas A&M system, now helping lead the first BSN-DNP program for pediatric nurse practitioners in Texas.

Other highlights include Fellowship in both the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the American Academy of Nursing as well as being named Texas Nurse Practitioner of the Year. Serving the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners has been the most meaningful and impactful professional experience of my career.

What do you hope to achieve in the future?

This is an exciting time in my career. As a Clinical Professor, I have academic freedom to choose scholarly projects that are the most meaningful to me, and those which may have the greatest impact. I am very excited to see Baylor’s desire to use scholarship to positively impact underserved populations. I hope to impact my students by inspiring them to follow God’s calling with their profession. I hope to impact the patients we serve both directly and indirectly by using nursing to improve health outcomes.

While the care provided by nurses is widely and loudly celebrated, the voice of nursing lacks equal attention. As a scientific profession, nurses are not only caregivers but scholarly practitioners of care with a distinct culture of evidence-inquiry and implementation. Nurses conduct research, advocate for effective health policy, implement evidence-based practice, provide rigorous education and lead interprofessional teams to make a difference in health systems. Although nursing as a profession safeguards the majority of public trust, nursing voices are underrepresented at decision-making tables, in leadership positions, in government-appointed task forces and in the media.

Ultimately, I hope my work will shape the public’s health in the future by inspiring others to use their voices as policy advocates, their eyes and hands as competent caregivers, their minds as teachers and scholars, and their hearts to clothe these efforts in compassion, strength, innovation, and resilience. Nursing will always rise up to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

Finally, is there anything you would like to leave us with today?

Our profession often requires grueling work which costs us physically, mentally, and emotionally. We practice in a world where our families struggle at times to understand burdens we bear, our education is diminished, our moral distress is present in decision-making, our bodies and minds are tired, and our voices are silenced. Nurses often put the needs of others above our own needs, to our detriment at times. These are, as many have said, uncertain times. However, I am certain the test of this pandemic will reinforce the strengths of nursing and we will come through this stronger together. And so, we press on. Despite the dangers, we are there in the most fragile and vulnerable times during human life. We meet indignities with the utmost dignity and compassion. We keep confidences without judgment. We honor wishes and protect autonomy. We cheer progress even when the end seems endless. We serve daily doses of hope in the face of utter hopelessness. We wipe tears of strangers and hug broken human spirits. We care for people when they cannot care for themselves. We are calm in the face of fear. We are comfort in the midst of pain. We face difficult things straight on, head up and eyes clear, although we take a moment to cry in the parking lot before we drive home to care for our own families.

As the most disruptive innovation in 21st century healthcare, DNP-prepared scholars have a calling to provide high quality, accessible, affordable care, especially to the most vulnerable among us– our children. It will take extraordinary courage to impact the issues facing healthcare today. As nurses, it will take our collective efforts, our acquired knowledge, our applied wisdom, and our unwavering dedication to fearlessly do whatever it takes to be a voice of advocacy for health all over the world.

Eight CCN Students Receive DCH Health System BSN Scholarship

DCH BSN Scholarship Recipients: TOP Left to Right: Paola Araque, Jordan Beckham, Abby Christensen, Javier Figueroa. BOTTOM Left to Right: Alisha Isbell, Amber Liu, Carly Stegall, Madeline Stoettner

The Capstone College of Nursing is pleased to announce that eight of its students are recipients of the DCH Health System’s BSN Scholarship.

CCN students Paola Araque (Mount Juliet, Tenn.), Jordan Beckham (Mobile, Ala.), Abby Christensen (Frankfort, Ill.), Javier Figueroa (Holly Pond, Ala.), Alisha Isbell (Tuscaloosa, Ala.), Amber Liu (Sandy Springs, Ga.), Carly Stegall (Helena, Ala.) and Madeline Stoettner (Western Springs, Ill.) were selected to receive the scholarship. Araque, Liu, Figueroa, Christensen and Stegall are current DCH employees.

“We are so appreciative of this opportunity for our students,” said Dr. Suzanne Prevost, CCN Dean. “The need for nurses has never been greater, and many of our nursing students are experiencing increased financial challenges due to the pandemic. The DCH Health System BSN Scholarship is easing the financial burden of pursuing a BSN, while ensuring that qualified nurses remain in our community during this time of great need.”

The DCH BSN Scholarship Program is open to all BSN college students enrolled in their last four semesters at an approved nursing program. Recipients of this scholarship are expected to become employed as full-time RNs at DCH Health System, and to remain employed at DCH for 12 months for each semester of scholarship assistance.

“Some of these students have already been gaining experience at DCH. From those experiences and what we have read, they are an exceptional group,” said Faye Zwieg, Chief Nursing Officer at DCH Health System. “We are excited to offer these scholarships and look forward to working with each of them.”

For questions about the scholarship program, please contact Peggy Sease at, or Rebekah Welch at

The University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing prepares graduates for the professional practice of nursing. The college is a national innovator in clinical simulation in nursing education, utilizing simulators and telehealth technology in teaching, research and health care delivery. We partner with a variety of well-respected health care facilities to provide clinical experiences that ease the transition into the working world and prepare graduates for challenges after school.

For nearly 100 years, DCH Health System has been providing quality and compassionate health care to its friends and neighbors in West Alabama. Today, the DCH Health System includes DCH Regional Medical Center, Northport Medical Center and Fayette Medical Center.

IMAGE: Top Left to Right: Paola Araque, Jordan Beckham, Abby Christensen, Javier Figueroa. Bottom Left to Right: Alisha Isbell, Amber Liu, Carly Stegal and Madeline Stoettner.

Clarification and Message to CCN Faculty

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

In my email to you yesterday with the subject line “Plans and Coverage for Fall Semester,” I noted that faculty with school-age children may be facing childcare challenges this fall, and asked that faculty unable to return to work let me know by August 7, so that the College has “time to hire a new faculty member to replace you.” 

I did not mean to suggest that any of you should resign from your faculty positions or that you will be terminated if you are unable to return to work, and I apologize if I created that impression. What I meant was that if you are unable to fulfill your teaching assignment, we need to know as soon as possible, so that we can make alternate arrangements for those courses.

I remind you that the Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides employees with emergency paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can find more information regarding those provisions here: Further, for those who are in the vulnerable population, and need a COVID-19 related accommodation, please find the COVID-19 Accommodation Request Form here:  Moreover, should anybody need an accommodation under the ADA, please contact our ADA Coordinator, Emily Marbutt.  

Thank you for all your efforts to ensure that our students have the best possible instructional experiences this fall, even in these challenging times.

Dean Prevost

Suzanne S. Prevost, PhD, RN, FAAN
Angelyn Adams Giambalvo Dean and Professor
Capstone College of Nursing
The University of Alabama
650 University Boulevard East, Room 3035
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
office 205-348-1040

The University of Alabama

DNP and MSN Program Q&A

The Future Is In Your Hands

Earn your DNP or MSN (Nurse Administrator) from The University of Alabama and equip yourself to make a difference in the future of health care. 

Join us for a Zoom question and answer session!

Time: Apr 24, 2020 01:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

Meeting ID: 951 2350 3556

If you are not able to join us, please contact Vickie Samuel at for any questions about the MSN or DNP programs.

Master of Science in Nursing (Nurse Administrator) – 100% Online

  • Prepares you for leadership positions in nursing
  • Ranked 12th among best online MSN programs for Nursing Administration/Leadership by U.S. News & World Report (2020)

Doctor of Nursing Practice – 100% Online

  • Prepares you for the highest level of specialty practice or health care leadership
  • MSN-educated nurses with certification eligibility as advanced practice nurses are eligible for the MSN to DNP pathway (38 – 42 credit hours)
  • BSN-educated nurses from Alabama, Florida, Georgia or Mississippi are eligible for the BSN to DNP pathway (70 – 91 credit hours)
Contact us today to take the first step toward your future in nursing!

A Note from The Capstone College of Nursing

Thank you #BamaNurses!


Suzanne S. Prevost is Dean and Professor

Dear UA Nursing Community,


As we navigate these uncertain times, I want to express my deepest gratitude for your tireless efforts addressing the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Many of our alumni are risking their lives to save others; while our students and their families, our faculty, staff, friends and volunteers, all continue to provide support and encouragement. I have never been more thankful for the training we received as nurses and that we are passing on to the next generation of healthcare heroes. Across the nation, courageous nurses are leading the fight against this pandemic, using critical thinking and creative problem solving in their response to new and challenging ways of working in clinical settings, at home, and at school.


At CCN, we are working with the UA community to continue our mission of promoting health and well-being through nursing education, research, scholarship, and service. Our faculty and staff have embraced the challenge of rapidly adapting our undergraduate and graduate classes for online and other alternate forms of content delivery; so that we can stay on track with producing highly qualified nurse clinicians, administrators, and educators.


Additionally, our Office of Nursing Student Services continues to work with our students, offering advising and other supportive interventions by phone and videoconferences. While we are disappointed that commencement and many spring events will not take place as originally planned, we are developing alternate plans for some and rescheduling others.


The unprecedented demand for nurses reinforces the need for our CCN building expansion project. We are happy to share the good news that the construction is continuing as scheduled. With very few people in our building this month, the disruption from noise and dust is less of a concern. We cannot wait to show you our progress when we open the new wing in Spring 2021! 


This semester has taken a much different path than any of us could have imagined, but we want to assure our friends that we are all in this together. As we continue to be physically distant from our CCN family, we encourage you to remain socially present and engaged. We know how important it is to have a support system, especially during challenging times! Stay tuned to our social media channels for updates and ways to be involved and engaged from afar. Please take the time to express your gratitude to your nurse colleagues today. 


For campus-wide updates, resources and frequently asked questions, please refer to


Thank you. Stay safe, and Roll Tide!

Suzanne S. Prevost, PhD, FAAN, RN

Angelyn Adams Giambalvo Dean and Professor

CCN Research Society Update

The CCN Research Society is continuously recruiting new members and faculty research mentors. The purpose of this club is to increase student interest in and knowledge of undergraduate research, with the goal of increasing the number of students who develop their own research projects.  

 “Membership in the CCN Research Society provides opportunities for students to experience all of the different aspects of the research process while working alongside a faculty mentor,” Faculty Advisor Dr. Paige Johnson states. “It helps them understand, firsthand, how research and evidence-based practice informs nursing practice. “  

The research club meets once a month on Monday afternoon. Students in both lower division and upper division are encouraged to join the club. In addition to club meetings, members are planning to present at the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Conference held this spring.  

A large number of students are working with faculty members on research projects that should yield presentations and publications from their collaboration. Hillary Melton, undergraduate student member, states, “As a member of the CCN Research Society and Randall Research Scholars Program, I have been given the opportunity to present my research on Telomere Length, Life’s Simple 7, and Psychosociocultural Factors Among African American Women to faculty and students.” Melton’s experience working with faculty research mentorDr. Theresa Wadashas encouraged her to, “diversify my nursing practices and select a topic for my ancillary project within the overarching research initiative.” 

Membership in the CCN Research Society is mutually beneficial to both students and faculty. Dr. Johnson affirms, “Faculty benefit tremendously from working with undergraduate students on research projects. Students not only assist in all of the work that has to be done to complete a project but also bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to explore.”  

For more information on becoming a faculty mentor, contact Dr. Paige Johnson ( or Dr. Michele Montgomery ( Undergraduate students who would like to become involved with the CCN Research Society and want more information, email 

Fall 2020 Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Robin Bartlett

Robin Bartlett: Professor, Lifespan ResearcherDr. Robin Bartlett received her both her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Nursing Administration degrees from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She earned her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to joining the Capstone College of Nursing in August of 2019, Dr. Bartlett taught for several years and served as Director of the PhD in nursing program for four years at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Dr. Bartlett serves as faculty in CCN and is affiliated with the Alabama Life Research Institute in her role as Lifespan Researcher. In these roles, she will be teaching CCN graduate courses and conducting funded research aligned with the mission of the Life Research Institute and an affiliated research center, the Center for Youth Development and Intervention. Dr. Bartlett will also be providing research mentoring to CCN junior faculty and students.

Dr. Bartlett’s clinical practice experiences in mental health settings inspired her to conduct health disparities research. Her primary research focus has been understanding risky behaviors and their associated prevention measures in a population primarily comprised of minority adolescents, particularly African American and Latinx adolescent girls. Dr. Bartlett takes a special interest in risk and protective factors associated with behavior trajectories, health outcomes, health disparities and parenting. For example, she has conducted intervention studies focused on the prevention of risk behaviors that could lead to negative health outcomes for minority adolescent girls.

Her work at CCN is expanding her health disparities work to younger children and rural-residing Alabamian adolescents. Dr. Bartlett’s research efforts are influenced by her positive approach. She exemplifies this perspective by focusing on strengths of diverse ethnic and cultural groups. She is a proponent for shifting focus from deficit research to preventative and proactive measures in research. Dr. Bartlett is honored to be a part of CCN and Life Research Institute community.

Mumba Awarded NIH Grant to Aid in Reversal of Opioid Crisis

Mercy Mumba - Assistant ProfessorDr. Mercy Mumba, Assistant Professor at the Capstone College of Nursing, grew up in Zambia, where nursing was not a well-respected profession. After moving to the United States, Dr. Mumba earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas at Arlington. Only two years after graduating with her BSN, she entered a BSN to PhD program; and four years later she graduated with a PhD from UT Arlington’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation. A passionate researcher, Dr. Mumba has a number of funded grants, most of which concentrate on preventions and treatment of substance abuse disorders and their co-morbid psychiatric mental health conditions.

Dr. Mumba and her team have received notice of an award from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) at the NIH for their proposal entitled “A Mindfulness and Peer Mentoring Program to Improve Adherence to Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorders.” This five-year project, funded through The Helping to End Addiction Long-Term (HEAL) Initiative, is the only one funded from the state of Alabama. This award is one of 375 grant awards across 41 states made by the National Institutes of Health in fiscal year 2019 to apply scientific solutions to reverse the national opioid crisis. Below, we asked Dr. Mumba to share some insight into this project.

Please describe the purpose and goal of this project.

The purpose of this project is to improve adherence to medication-assisted therapies for opioid use disorders, such as buprenorphine and methadone, among others by utilizing a combination of mindfulness-based relapse prevention and peer support specialists.  We are also trying to see if this intervention helps with reducing relapse, cravings, depression, anxiety and stress.

What are the plans and goals of each phase of the project?

In Phase 1, we will be piloting the feasibility and acceptability of this new intervention that we developed to see if it works and to see if people with opioid problems think that this is something they can participate in if it was available. We will also be examining the preliminary efficacy of the intervention in decreasing relapse, cravings, depression, anxiety and stress.

Please elaborate on the mentoring aspect of this study. Why mentoring is important to you?

There is a growing body of evidence showing that using peer mentoring in substance use recovery produces better outcomes. This is because patients have an accountability partner as well as a role model to look up to in their sobriety journey. The road to recovery is often difficult and can be lonely. Therefore, utilizing peer mentoring can improve social engagement, reduce isolation and provide a sense of belonging for individuals recovering from addiction.

What does this grant mean to you and your team?

Our team is excited about the opportunity to increase access to evidence-based treatment modalities for individuals with opioid use disorders. Alabama is one of the hardest hit states when it comes to the opioid crisis and yet, we also have serious problems when it comes to access to care. We believe that our grant is providing a much-needed service and has potential to reduce morbidity and mortality related to opioid misuse.

How do you hope this study will inspire or influence other nurses or researchers in the field?

I think this study challenges all of us to look at individuals with opioid use disorder from a holistic perspective. There are many issues that contribute to addiction and substance abuse; however, when we look at treatment options, they sometimes tend to neglect all the other problems that may have contributed to the addiction in the first place. This is why we believe that addressing co-morbid mental health and other psychiatric disorders in this population is an integral part of promoting sustained recovery.

Dr. Mumba is the principal investigator and program director. Her co-investigators include Drs. Andrea Glenn (Psychology), George Mugoya (Educational Counseling), Rebecca Allen (Psychology), David Albright (Social Work), Lori Davis (Tuscaloosa VAMC), Joshua Richman (Tuscaloosa VAMC) and Ms. Austin Butler (Alabama Community Care).

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Center for Complementary & Integrative Health of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R61AT010802. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.


CCN’s Dr. Lippe Recognized as Sojourns Scholar

Assistant ProfessorCapstone College of Nursing assistant professor, Dr. Megan Lippe, has been accepted into the sixth cohort of Cambia Health Foundation’s Sojourns® Scholar Leadership Program. The Sojourns Scholar Leadership Program’s purpose is to identify, cultivate and advance the next generation of palliative care leaders. Each Scholar receives funding over a two-year period to conduct a project that will essentially enhance the field of palliative care. Those Scholars also will be mentored in the design and implementation of a development plan that supports their growth as palliative care leaders.

Dr. Lippe is one of 10 selected to help advance the field of palliative care, and she is elated to see her project come to life over the next two years. “I am so honored and humbled to have been selected to be a Sojourn Scholar,” said Dr. Lippe. “I know several past and current scholars, and these amazing individuals have contributed substantially to the advancement of the field of palliative care. As one of the few nurses selected, I am appreciative to Cambia for awarding me this opportunity and I am also excited for the road ahead. My work as a Sojourn Scholar will allow me to make a meaningful impact on the provision of palliative care in Alabama.”

Dr. Lippe’s research focuses on palliative and end-of-life care education. Her passion for palliative care is shown with her project funded by Cambia Health Foundation’s Sojourn Scholar Leadership Program.

In Dr. Lippe’s project, she will mentor two groups of advanced practice registered nurses (APRN): a core group and survey group. Both groups will receive palliative care education through the ELNEC-Graduate curriculum. The project will begin with focus groups within the core group where APRNS will facilitate the identification of factors influencing palliative care provision in rural Alabama. Participants in these focus groups will explore factors influencing provision of palliative care. APRNs will consider difficulties and successes in addressing patients’ needs and improving quality of life. Using focus group results, Dr. Lippe will create an online survey that asks survey group APRNs to rank factors by priority impact on practice.

After the focus groups, Dr. Lippe will hold monthly team meetings with core group APRNs to discuss key issues in palliative care within Alabama, such as current primary palliative care practice and future directions for palliative care within the state. APRNs practicing in rural care settings will have the opportunity to share their perspectives on the provision of palliative care to patients with serious illnesses through a presentation at the November 2021 State Advisory Council on Palliative Care and Quality of Life meeting. They will work as a team to determine the presentation content, delivery mechanism, and distribute portions to all APRNs who will be able to attend the council meeting.

Dr. Lippe is committed to becoming a future palliative care leader by mobilizing APRNs in rural primary care practice settings to serve as leaders and advocates for primary palliative care within their communities and Alabama.

“Alabama ranks as the one of the worst performing states in the provision of palliative care, consistently receiving a D grading on Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) state report cards,” said Dr. Lippe. “The state is mostly rural, and few specialized palliative care clinics or providers are accessible for Alabama residents throughout the state, except near Birmingham. Many patients with serious illness in the state receive their care from APRNs in primary care settings. However, the poor statistics in the state suggest that these APRNs are a currently untapped resource for enhancing the provision of primary palliative care.”

Palliative care education has been and will continue to be Dr. Lippe’s passion. Through this project, she hopes to become a change agent in the field of palliative care by advocating for the need for students and nurses to be educated and competent in providing palliative care to all patients and their families. “I hope this project is just the first step in a long road of advocating for and creating change within the field of palliative care.”

UACCN Ranks Among Best Online Nursing Programs for 2020

The Capstone College of Nursing at The University of Alabama is proud to announce its online programs have again been ranked among the best in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

CCN’s Master of Science in Nursing, Nursing Administration was ranked No. 12 by the publication, and was the only program in Alabama and the Southeastern Conference to be ranked in this category. Additionally, the College’s MSN, Nurse Practitioner program was ranked No. 9, the only program in the state included in this category.

“Being included on this list is a high honor for The Capstone College of Nursing,” said Dr. Suzanne Prevost, Dean of CCN. “We at CCN strive to provide the best educational opportunities for practicing nurses in a flexible, online format. It is the passion of these lifelong learners, coupled with our enthusiastic and highly-qualified faculty and staff that contributes to our continued success.”

U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Nursing Programs were determined based on the institution’s performance across five categories: engagement, faculty credentials and training, expert opinion, services and technologies, and student excellence. For more information about the Best Online Programs methodology, click here.

CCN currently offers the following graduate programs: MSN Nurse Administrator; MSN Nurse Practitioner (Family and/or Mental Health); Doctor of Nursing Practice; Joint Online Nursing Science PhD program; and post-graduate Nurse Practitioner Certificate Programs. . The goal of all CCN degree programs is to prepare qualified and caring nurses to meet the needs of our state and nation.  For more information about CCN’s graduate programs, click here.