NPHF/sanofi pasteur "Health Through Immunizations" Awards

Three awards of $3500 each were given to practicing nurse practitioners and graduate nurse practitioner students whose research or educational projects focused on immunizations related to patients, public health or healthcare professional issues. Supported through an educational grant from sanofi pasteur.

This award is no longer being offered until we find new funding to support it.


Past Winners 


Rebecca C. Robert, PhD, CPNP (Washington, DC)

Dr. Robert practices in the area of primary care pediatrics as a certified pediatric nurse practitioner. She is also an adjunct assistant professor at The Catholic University of American, School of Nursing. Ms. Robert’s project, funded by this award, will examine the use of a culturally informed, mail reminder to improve influenza immunization coverage of low-income, school-aged, Latino children at an urban community-based clinic.

Stephanie L. Small, MSN, ANP-BC, WHNP-BC (Ann Arbor, MI)

Ms. Small practices as a nurse practitioner with the East Michigan University Health Services and Planned Parenthood of Mid and South Michigan. She is a clinical preceptor for the University of Michigan, where she is completing her PhD degree in nursing (2011). Ms. Small’s study, funded by this award, is part of her dissertation. She will focus on the role of individual HPV and cervical cancer risk factors in HPV vaccine uptake among mostly uninsured young adults at high risk for HPV disease who utilize Planned Parenthood health centers.

Margaret H. Venzke, MSN, FNP-BC, RN (Falls Church, VA)

Ms. Venzke practices as a nurse practitioner in student health at the Georgetown University Student Health Center and as an assistant professor at Marymount University. She is pursuing her Doctorate of Nursing Practice at George Washington University School of Nursing (Spring 2011). This award will allow Ms. Venzke to develop and evaluate a self-directed, interactive, learning module to enhance knowledge of nurse practitioner students on vaccine refusal issues. She will also assess the change in nurse practitioner students' knowledge and communication skills before and after completing the learning module.


Nicole A. Rouhana, CNM, FNP-BC, PhD-C—is pursuing doctoral studies in rural nursing at Binghamton University Decker School of Nursing. She practices women’s health as a certified nurse midwife and family nurse practitioner. Nicole began her career as a pediatric RN in rural Saudi Arabia. There, she found her passion for nurse-midwifery. Upon her return to the U.S., she obtained her midwifery certification and provided care in rural counties in New York and Pennsylvania for twenty years and over 2000 births.  In 1996, Nicole obtained her Master's in Nursing from Binghamton University.  She also completed the family nurse practitioner program at Stony Brook University.  Nicole has returned to Binghamton University to obtain her doctorate. For her dissertation, she is studying the willingness of rural parents to vaccinate their sons against human papillomavarus (HPV) and the effects of an individualized verbal HPV educational program. Demographics and characteristics that could potentially predict parents’ willingness to vaccinate will also be explored.  Nicole is also the Program Director of the Nurse-Midwifery and Perinatal Women's Health Program at Stony Brook University.  In the near future, she plans to focus on issues related to improving maternal fetal outcomes and rural health care policy.

Wendy I. Rychwalski, DNP, FNP—completed her Doctor of Nursing Practice in the family nurse practitioner program at the University of Washington School of Nursing, in June 2010. Ms. Rychwalski practices as an RN in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Washington State has the highest rate of parents requesting exemptions from school immunization requirements in the U.S. Ms. Rychwalski’s capstone project, funded by this award, examined the feasibility of using a provider immunization tool kit to address hesitancy to vaccinate among parents of children ages birth to two. Ms. Rychwalski developed the tool kit for the project, as part of a statewide campaign on vaccine hesitancy through the nonprofit organization, WithinReach.

Laurie Tillery-Russell, RN, BSN—is pursuing her master’s degree in the family nurse practitioner program at Temple University, College of Health Profession and Social Work. Ms. Tillery-Russell practices as a Heart Failure Coordinator in an advanced heart failure and transplant center. Her passion includes healthcare education for primary prevention, wellness, and health promotion. Ms. Tillery-Russell’s capstone project is to study barriers to immunization among underserved adolescents.

Update: Ms. Tillery-Russell recently passed her boards and is looking forward to practicing all she has learned.


Hope Moser, MSN, ANP, WHNP—is currently a Doctor of Nursing Practice student at Robert Morris University, Moon Township, Pennsylvania. She has a dual Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Pittsburgh in adult and women’s health, and currently works as a Nurse Practitioner in inpatient medicine at the Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. Hope volunteers at the Houston Area Women’s Center (HAWC), a non-profit organization supporting survivors of domestic and sexual violence. She focuses primarily on health education for the women and staff. As a volunteer, Hope has implemented an infection control program and certified the staff in Heartsaver CPR and First Aid. This project will focus on addressing the immunization needs of the transient population of women afflicted by domestic violence residing in the HAWC. The focus will be on providing ageappropriate screening and immunizations. Relationships with a collaborating physician and community services will facilitate longterm healthcare follow up for these battered women on their road to survival.
Update: Hope will finish her project in the Winter of 2010.  She continues her studies as a Doctorate of Nursing Practice candidate and works as an NP in inpatient neurosurgery.  She continues to volunteer at the Houston Area Women's Center.

Patricia (Patty) Hewson, MSN, PNP—received a Master of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1985, with a major in Primary Care of the Young Family. Patty is an Adjunct Clinical Faculty at Temple University School of Nursing and at Villanova University. She has worked as a pediatric nurse practitioner, part-time, at the CHOP Newborn Care unit of Pennsylvania Hospital since 1985 and part-time at the Public Health Management Corporation’s (PHMC) Health Connection, a nurse-managed health center in Philadelphia, since 1997. In her PNP role at Health Connection, Patty has taken the lead to increase vaccine rates in the pediatric patient population. The Health Connection center is located in public housing in North Philadelphia and serves a low-income population that finds it difficult to come in to the office for routine care. Phone numbers are disconnected frequently, making it difficult to recall patients for visits, or to provide reminder calls. Her project is to improve Health Connection’s immunization rates for infants under age 2 and adolescents ages 11-15 through the use of a reminder and recall system. This system is already in place for infants and will be expanded to include adolescents. The electronic medical record system will be refined to include the ability to recall patients due for immunization. Additionally, incentives will be added to encourage patients to come in for routine immunizations for their children and adolescents.

Update: Patty has devised a board game and used movie tickets as incentives for teens to complete their immunization program. As of September, 22 of 90 teens had completed the full spectrum of immunizations.  She has also used some of the funds to encourage intractable parents of children under age 2 to come in for immunizations.  This has been successful in 4 out of 8 cases.  The program is ongoing.  Patty is going to continue to practice in primary care in an urban area, continue her medical outreach to Cameroon, and continue to serve as the Health Center Director of Campdreamcatcher, a camp for HIV infected and affected children.

Sharyn S. Tondel, MS, ANP, CRNA—is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey. She holds dual preparation as an adult nurse practitioner and nurse anesthetist, and has practiced in a variety of settings. Since 2004, she has been practicing in Occupational Health at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. She has been on staff at the Cytodiagnostic Breast Care Center at Englewood Hospital in New Jersey since 2002. Sharyn holds certification in Holistic Nursing, and is strongly committed to wellness and self care education for the prevention of illness and injury. The improvement of healthcare workers’ compliance with adult immunizations has been identified as an area of national focus. Sharyn will address this problem by initiating a year-long Integrative Self Care Education Program targeted to nurses. This wellness program aims to increase nurses’ compliance with CDC recommended vaccination through self care awareness, relaxation techniques to deal with needle phobia, and stress management education to lessen immunization-related anxiety.
Update: A change in the law of New York, requiring all healthcare workers to become immunized negated the premise of Sharyn's project.  Therefore she declined the funds and we awarded them to Evelyn Hagan, who was next according to the reviewers.

Evelyn Hagan, APRN—is a family nurse practitioner for Ammonoosuc Community Health Services in Whitefield, New Hampshire.  She provides primary care for patients from infancy through elder years.  Evelyn graduated from the University of Vermont in 1976 with a BS in Nursing.  After working in a variety of roles as an RN, she returned to school, graduating in 1995 with a Master's Degree in Nursing.  She has been working as a nurse practitioner in northern New Hampshire ever since.  Her professional interests include preventative care and care of chronic disease.  Evelyn has been involved in a local initiative to provide flu vaccinations to students at local schools, and her project is based within this initiative.  Evelyn's project goals are to immunize as large a percentage as possible of the pediatic population and associated adults in town through education, and free vaccinations at local schools.


Angela MathisAngela Mathis, MN, FNP—Angela completed her Master’s Degree in Nursing at the University of Washington, Seattle, and is now completing a Master’s in Public Health. She is most interested in population health research. Healthcare workers are often the most likely to transmit the influenza virus. The NPHF/sanofipasteur Health Through Immunizations Award will be used to survey a variety of health care settings in King County, WA to identify differences among execution techniques for influenza immunization programs and compare overall vaccination rates.
Update: Angela completed her project with the result of concrete recommendations for increased immunizations for healthcare workers.  She has competed her degree and plans to work as a family nurse practitioner.

Karlen LuthyKarlen Luthy, APRN, FNP—Currently enrolled as a DNP student at Rush University, Karlen focuses her research on public health issues, specifically childhood immunization rates. Karlen chairs the Utah County Immunization Coalition and serves on the Health Services Advisory Committee for the Head Start Preschool Program in Utah County. In addition, she has completed research on the use of live-virus vaccines in immunocompromised children. Karlen’s project is to develop a program that identifies parental barriers to timely immunization of their children, then establish programs to specifically address the identified parental concerns. As a recipient of the NPHF/sanofi-pasteur Health Through Immunizations Award, this project will help increase childhood immunization rates in Utah County.

Nancy KlohaNancy Kloha, MS, FNP—Nancy is a Doctor of Nursing Practice student at the University of Kentucky, with experience in pediatric intensive care, public health, primary care, and adolescent health. She is currently in a dual teaching/practice role with the University of Kentucky College of Nursing Family Nurse Practitioner program. The NPHF/sanofi-pasteur Health Through Immunizations Award will be used to develop an evidence-based toolkit for HPV vaccination of female adolescents in the school setting. The purpose is to equip school health clinics with methods for successfully providing HPV vaccine programs for target-age females, thereby reducing the incidence of cervical cancer in the future.
Update: Nancy completed her project and has provided a pdf explaining the toolkit.

Toolkit pdf