Issue 2011-06 (June 15, 2011)



Legislature Invests in Health Science Center at Riverpoint

By Barb Chamberlain

Rendering of the Biomedical/Health Sciences Building
Watercolor rendering of the future Biomedical/Health Sciences Building,
courtesy of Bill Hook

The 2011 legislative session was one of the toughest in many decades, with difficult budget decisions facing legislators on every front. When they wrapped up their work after both a regular and a special session, though, they had voted to invest in the health sciences expansion and medicine at the Riverpoint Campus in both the operating and capital budgets—a definite win for the region's health, economy, and quality of life. Gov. Chris Gregoire is signing the two bills today in Olympia.

The Biomedical/Health Sciences Building Phase I received $35 million in the capital budget. This funding, which represents approximately 50 percent of the project cost, enables WSU to begin construction. WSU will request the balance of project funding in the 2012 supplemental session.

In the operating budget, the legislature also invested in the health sciences and the longstanding medical education partnership of the University of Washington School of Medicine and WSU in the WWAMI system. With language specifically targeting WWAMI in Spokane and eastern Washington, UW received $300,000 for development of integrated medical curriculum and WSU received $600,000 for expansion of health sciences capacity.

WSU Spokane chancellor Brian Pitcher noted, "WSU has partnered with the UW for over 40 years in preparing first-year medical students. We look forward to expanding the partnership to introduce second-year medical education at WSU Spokane and to develop much-needed additional clerkship and residency opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate medical education."

When the second year is added at WSU Spokane, this will complete the four-year undergraduate medical education system in Spokane and lay the foundation for expansion of overall medical enrollments in Spokane to address the growing shortage of physicians. Currently first-year students begin their studies at WSU Spokane or another site in the five-state WWAMI system, go to Seattle for second-year studies, then return to rotations throughout the region for clinical studies in their third and fourth years. Adding the second-year curriculum enables students to stay in Spokane rather than relocate.

Recruitment of faculty to teach courses in the medical sciences will also accelerate the research-driven economic development analyzed in the 2010 study by Tripp-Umbach and Associates (PDF). That study projected an annual economic impact of more than $2.1 billion for the state, with more than $1.6 billion of that in eastern Washington and more than 13,000 jobs created, with full maturity of the health science activities centered on the Riverpoint Campus.

What legislators are saying

Back to top

Aging at Home: House-Call Pharmacists Bridge the Gap

By Becki Phillips

"Americans tend to neglect the elderly population," offers the dark-haired young woman behind the wheel. "I think it's a cultural thing."

As a first generation Hmong-American, doctor of pharmacy graduate Mays Vue grew up respecting the elderly as wise and responsible individuals within her extended family and community.

"They are the roots that hold and support the young so they can grow," she says. "Sending them off to nursing homes is seen as an insult and abandonment."

"On the other hand," she continues, peering through the rainy windshield, "American society generally views old age as something to be feared and despised. The elderly in this country simply become invisible."

That sweep-it-under-the-rug mentality may soon be called on the carpet. By the year 2030, the Centers for Disease Control predicts that the U.S. population aged 65 years or older will swell to nearly 72 million, threatening to overwhelm existing programs, services, and facilities currently in place for supporting the elderly.

Add to that the crumbling of community and social connection in America—with ensuing isolation and loneliness—and it doesn’t take much to foresee a disaster in the making: seventy-two million older adults struggling to get by in single family homes; adapting to declining physical and cognitive abilities while juggling masses of medications.

How do the children, relatives, and friends of the elderly cope? What decisions should be made when one's parents can no longer effectively care for themselves?

While Americans begin to rethink the idea of multi-generational family housing, the move to keep elders in their own homes for as long as possible has steadily gained momentum.

With the advent of smart home technology, it will soon be possible to compensate for human frailty and memory lapses via automated appliances and environmental controls, as well as sensors that monitor an elder’s activity level—sending alerts to caregivers when abnormal patterns are detected.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is the interpersonal, hands-on approach directed by associate professor of pharmacy Steve Setter and the WSU College of Pharmacy Geriatric Team. As a geriatric pharmacist and associate professor, Setter consults with community social workers to help home-based elders successfully use their medications and attend to medical and social needs in order to remain in their homes for longer periods of time.

Established in 1994, the interdisciplinary partnership between the College of Pharmacy and Elder Services of Spokane has provided thousands of older people an alternative to routine reliance on nursing homes or other care facilities....

Back to top

Defense Grant Expands Police Fatigue Study to Include Deadly Force Judgment

By Judith Van Dongen

A research study on police fatigue that starts this summer at the WSU Sleep and Performance Research Center (SPRC) has received a funding boost from the U.S. Department of Defense. A two-year, $244,000 grant given by the Office of Naval Research has nearly doubled the funding for and expanded the scope of the study, which focuses on the impact of fatigue and distraction on police officer performance.

Get an inside look at the lab where this study
will be conducted in this
video from April 2009.

The grant award follows a contract award by the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), which provides funding for the SPRC to study the role of fatigue and distraction in police officer driving performance, comparing officers working day shifts versus night shifts. The Defense funding allows the researchers to also examine the effects of fatigue on deadly force judgment and decision making in potentially threatening circumstances and on reporting and communications tasks. In addition, it expands the number of subjects studied from 46 to 80.

"This will be the first time anyone has simulated a police officer's whole work environment in a controlled lab setting and compared their performance when they're tired versus well-rested," said professor of criminal justice Bryan Vila, the principal investigator on the study and a researcher with the SPRC.

Local law enforcement officers will serve as subjects for the study, coming into the lab once at the end of a long work week and a second time at the end of a three-day period off work. Each time, they will complete a series of tasks that measure attention, driving performance, deadly force judgment and decision making, and critical incident reporting. Measurement instruments include a highly realistic driving simulator, as well as a shooting simulator that displays video scenarios that may or may not require use of deadly force.

Although the study will look at police officers specifically, Vila says the outcomes of the study will also be relevant to military ground troops.

"Much of what soldiers and marines do on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq and other places around the world—counterinsurgency, nation building, peacekeeping—is very similar in its challenges to what cops do," Vila said.

For more on this driving component of this study, see the May 2011 issue of the Campus Bulletin.

Back to top

High School Girls to Explore Orthopaedic Careers at Shriner's

By Kristen Monasmith, Shriner's Hospital for Children Spokane & Becki Meehan

Lumbar fusions, rotator cuff repairs and spine fusions aren't the normal Saturday activities for high school girls. 

On Saturday June 18, WSU Spokane—as a national affiliate for Project Lead The Way's (PLTW) Biomedical Sciences program—is partnering with the Perry Initiative of San Francisco and Spokane's Shriners Hospital to bring a one-day bioengineering workshop to Spokane.

The Perry Initiative program was founded in 2009 by mechanical engineer Jenni Buckley and orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Lisa Lattanza. The program strives to inspire young women to be leaders in orthopaedic surgery and engineering, two fields in which women constitute only 7 percent of working professionals according to the US Department of Labor.

Named after Dr. Jacqueline Perry, one of the first female orthopaedic surgeons and a strong advocate for women in the orthopaedic field, the Perry Initiative program is a one-day workshop for high school women that includes both hands-on activities and lectures from women surgeons, engineers, and leaders in the health care industry.

The workshop will involve approximately 25 PLTW high school students from Mead High School and Mt. Spokane High School. They will spend the day learning and performing mock surgeries at Shriners Hospitals for Children® ― Spokane. Using anatomical models, students will use household power and manual equipment to cut bone and install hardware.  They will learn to perform procedures such as a total reconstruction of the ligaments of the knee and single level lumbar spine fusion.

"The Perry Initiative is an exciting and unique opportunity offered through PLTW to give students a vision of high demand careers in the biomedical sciences," said Sylvia Oliver, PLTW affiliate director at WSU Spokane. "This type of hands-on, project-based program engages students on multiple levels and exposes them to areas of study that they typically do not pursue."

Back to top

Nursing Student Wins Grant to Study Sex and Colon Cancer

By Doug Nadvornick

'Will my sex life suffer?' is probably not the first question most colon cancer patients ask their oncologists. But for some, it's definitely on their list of concerns.

"More and more people are surviving cancer today," said Jeanne Robison, an oncology nurse practitioner at the Rockwood Cancer Treatment Center in Spokane and a doctoral student at the WSU College of Nursing. "There’s been a real push by the national cancer organizations to focus on survivorship."

That's one reason why the American Cancer Society recently awarded Robison $30,000 to do her dissertation about the sexual lives of colon cancer patients.

"I'm interested in looking at the effects of surgery and chemotherapy, particularly, on the sexual functioning of cancer survivors," she said. "This question and this concern comes up among patients of all ages, among patients with cancers than can and can't be cured, because it's a question of humanity. Sexual health is what makes us human."

Robison says researchers have learned about how treatments for breast and prostate cancers affect sexual functioning. They even know a bit about the colon cancer question. According to Cancer Research UK, "most people are able to have a normal sex life after having had colorectal cancer… Sometimes, radiotherapy or an operation to the rectum can affect the nerves to the sex organs. A man may not be able to get, or keep, an erection. A woman may find that sex feels different from before the treatment."

But Robison says, "it's different for every person." The nuances of colon cancer and sexuality are generally unexplored territory, she says.

Robison hopes to start her own exploration next year. She's still working on the specifics of how she'll do her study. But she plans to interview a dozen or more colon cancer patients. She hopes to follow them from before their treatments to about six months after their surgeries or rounds of chemotherapy.

She'll be looking for answers to the questions: Is there an impact on sexual functioning? Do things get better or is there a persistent problem?

She'll write up the answers—or at least her observations—in her dissertation. Robison hopes this project will lead her to other cancer-related research after she earns her PhD.

Back to top

WSU to Close Operations for December Break

By James Tinney & Judith Van Dongen

As part of an annually recurring cost-saving measure adopted last September, Washington State University will close all non-essential business operations and associated buildings at all locations during the December Break—the period covering the last week of December to January 1—starting this year.

Through the break period, the university will remain open only for essential operations during regular business hours. Faculty will retain access to their individual offices and labs during the December break; however, the thermostats may be turned down in buildings that are otherwise closed.

"We already step down our thermostats during evenings, weekends, and holidays, so in essence this is just a continuation of what we've already done," said James Dalton, vice chancellor for finance and administration for WSU Spokane. "It's just a slightly longer-than-normal break."

WSU Spokane leadership is in the process of determining essential business operations and services and minimal staffing levels, which will be communicated to unit leaders. They are being assisted by an ad-hoc committee made up of representatives from the various campus constituencies who are working to identify and resolve potential issues related to the closure. The committee includes several employees from Eastern Washington University, which is not subject to the closure policy.

"Here in Spokane, we will be working to honor the spirit of the university-wide closure by minimizing our facilities expense," Dalton said. He added that this will be done without impacting Eastern Washington University and critical research activity.

WSU employees will be strongly encouraged to use their annual leave, personal holiday or accrued compensatory leave during the break. Employees who do not have sufficient leave balances may request personal leave without pay (LWOP) in accordance with departmental guidelines. Management is encouraged to grant leave and LWOP requests during this period.

Employees who are scheduled/approved to work on the non-holiday days of the December Break should work with their supervisor to establish alternative schedules, workplaces, and assignments as needed.

This year, the 2011 closure week will include three WSU holidays and only two non-holiday days off . Christmas and New Year's both fall on Sunday, so Christmas and the Christmas holiday day off—normally celebrated the day before or after Christmas—are scheduled to be taken on Monday and Tuesday (Dec. 26 and 27) and the day off for New Year's Day is scheduled to be taken on Friday, Dec. 30. Monday, Jan. 2, 2012, will be a regular work day.

Employees remain responsible for complying with the annual leave and other leave procedures outlined in the Business Policies and Procedures Manual. Employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement are to refer to their contract regarding holiday and leave processes. They are encouraged to contact Human Resource Services for guidance on alternative work schedules, assignments and leave policies and processes.

For more details on the December closure policy, see

Back to top

Moznette Appointed to Lead Spokane MESA

By Becki Meehan

Joanna Moznette was recently appointed as manager of the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Spokane Center. Co-sponsored by Eastern Washington University and Washington State University Spokane, the MESA Spokane Center provides opportunities to explore STEM fields to underrepresented Spokane area students in the seventh through twelfth grades. 

Moznette, who previously served as the program coordinator for MESA, has been with WSU Spokane since 2000. She is well known and respected in the larger Spokane community, both as an advocate for MESA and its mission and as a cheerful volunteer at many community events.

"Joanna is student centered, proactive, and a concensious builder in the Spokane education community. She is a champion for all children and a resource for the community, schools, and families," said James Dorsey, director of Washington MESA. "She shows promise and potential as a young and energetic MESA director and will be a future leader among her peers."

In her new position, Moznette will be responsible for managing the daily operations and strategic objectives of the center's program. This includes developing and managing middle and high school programs in the Spokane area that provide mathematics, science, and technology programs for African-American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, Pacific Islander, and female populations.  

Moznette earned a Master of Public Administration from Eastern Washington University in 2011 and also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Industrial/Organizational Psychology with a minor in Human Resource Management from Central Washington University.

She is a member of the Spokane Minority Advocacy and Resource Team (SMART) Committee and Tony Oertling Scholarship Fund Committee. As part of her work with Washington MESA, she also serves on both the Technology and Scholarship Committees.

Back to top

Phase One Building to Receive Energy Efficiency Upgrades

By Judith Van Dongen

When it comes to energy efficiency, every little bit adds up—it’s the slogan used by Avista Utilities and taken to heart at the Riverpoint Campus. As part of WSU Spokane's ongoing efforts to provide a sustainable campus environment and achieve budget savings, the Phase One Classroom Building will receive a series of energy upgrades this summer.

Work on these facility improvements will start in mid-July and is expected to be complete by early September. It will include:

  • Optimization of the heating system
  • Upgrades to the building automation systems for heating and cooling
  • Testing and adjusting of systems to meet their original design specifications
  • Replacement and cleaning of light fixtures to increase efficiency

Director of facilities operations Jon Schad said his office and the contractor will work together to minimize system disruptions that may impact building occupants. Much of the work can be completed during the evenings and on weekends, he said.

The $327,000 project is supported through a $125,000 Stimulus Grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce, secured with the help of WSU director of energy systems and operations Terry Ryan. In addition, Avista Utilities is providing $51,000 in utility rebates. The remainder of the project cost is funded with energy efficiency bonds provided by the state, which will be paid back with the energy savings achieved through the building upgrades—estimated at more than $20,000 annually.

In addition to financial benefits, the project will resolve deferred maintenance issues in the 15-year old building and decrease its environmental impact by eliminating an estimated 234,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

Engineering and project management services will be provided by McKinstry, which also led the preliminary, no-cost study of the building's energy savings potential conducted last year.

Back to top

Road Construction Update

Spokane Falls Boulevard remains closed for now while the city is putting the finishing touches on the new roadway, including one more layer of asphalt and lights at the crosswalks. It is expected that the closure will be lifted sometime before Hoopfest, which takes place June 25 and 26. Meanwhile, work is progressing on Martin Luther King Jr. Way, the new boulevard that will divert through traffic away from the heart of campus. Go to the Spokane Engineering Department Web site, for more on the Martin Luther King Jr. Way, construction project.

Back to top



  • The WSU College of Eudcation has been chosen as host for the Journal of Research on Leadership Education, an open-access, peer-reviewed electronic journal, starting this fall. Professor of education Gail Furman and associate professor of education Michele Acker-Hocevar (TriCities) will serve as journal editors. Associate editors will be professor of education Gordon Gates and assistant professor of education Kristin Huggins (Vancouver). The journal will be hosted at WSU for at least four years.
  • WWAMI Spokane associate director George Novan has been named Physician/Citizen of the Year by the Spokane County Medical Society. Novan was honored for his extensive track record training and mentoring physicians. He teaches and advises first-year medical students on the WSU Spokane campus. For the last 20 years, he has also helped third-year medical students find hospitals and clinics in Spokane where can practice their skills. In addition, Novan is a faculty member at Internal Medicine Residency Spokane, whose students practice at Sacred Heart and Deaconess Medical Centers.
  • BA in Interior Design graduate Hiroki Usui recently won the 34th Annual SOURCE Awards national lighting design competition in the student category. He was honored for his conceptual lighing design project titled FUEL Convenience Store/Gas Station. MA in Interior Design graduate Weng Hei (Billy) Au was awarded an honorable mention for his project of a community store and cafe called The Spot. Both Usui and Au completed their projects under the direction of assistant professor of interior design Judy Theodorson
  • The second in a two-part book series co-edited by research professor Hans Van Dongen, Sleep and Performance Research Center, was published last month. Part of Elsevier's Progress in Brain Research series, "Human Sleep and Cognition" (Parts 1 and 2) brings together cutting-edge research on the relationship between sleep and cognition, drawn from the basic, clinical, and applied sciences. Part 2, which focuses on clinical and applied research, contains contributions from scholars from around the world, including chapters co-authored by Van Dongen, research professor Gregory Belenky, postdoctoral fellow Melinda Jackson, and graduate student Lora Wu. 
  • Judith Van Dongen, Creative Services Manager in the Communications Office, has joined the Board of Directors of the Spokane Regional MarCom Association as finance chair. She will serve a three-year term, starting on July 1.
Back to top

Community Connections

  • Friday, June 17 – KPBX Kids’ Concert: Leonardo's World: Music from the Time of da Vinci
    The first Free KPBX Kids' Concert of the summer features Renaissance music and images of the great Leonardo da Vinci at the Bing Crosby Theater, from noon to 1 p.m. The concert includes music by Leo's Whistlers, led by Verne Windham, Antiquus Temporalis and special guest composer Donovan Johnson. Johnson has written a piece for this concert called The da Vinci Coda. Leonardo's World will be hosted by SPR producer Jim Tevenan. The Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture will also have a lobby display and images from their upcoming exhibit: Man-Inventor-Genius.For more information, go to the KPBX event page.
  • Monday, June 27 – Community Engagement One County at a Time:  Growing Partnerships. Building a Stronger Washington State
    WSU president Elson S. Floyd invites you to a Town Hall Meeting and Reception on Monday, June 27 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on the Riverpoint Campus at the South Campus Facility Court at 412 E Spokane Falls Blvd. Please join him in gathering your ideas to more effectively align WSU initiatives with the issues you face. Together we will boost economic growth and community development. To learn more and to register to attend, please visit, email, or call 877-978-3868.
 Back to top

Personnel and Staffing Changes    


  • Carrie Vielle, Instructor, Interdisciplinary Design Institute, effective May 16, 2011
  • Linda Wilson, Fiscal Specialist Supervisor, Small Business Development Center, effective June 6, 2011
  • Alli Benjamin, Marketing and Communications Manager, College of Nursing, effective May 31, 2011
  • Elijah Brophy, Database Administrator, IT OES, effective June 13, 2011


  • Connie Sakamoto, Advancement Coordinator, Advancement, effective June 16, 2011


  • Sheryl Blake, Instructor, College of Nursing, effective May 15, 2011
  • Sandra Davis-Gates, Research Study Coordinator Lead, NCS Moses Lake, College of Nursing, effective April 23, 2011
  • Jody Gray, Instructor, Yakima, College of Nursing, effective May 15, 2011
  • Robert Pleyo, Instructor, Tri-Cities, College of Nursing, effective May 15, 2011
  • Teriesa Pleyo, Instructor, Tri-Cities, College of Nursing, effective May 15, 2011
  • Brenda Shanley-Savage, Instructor, College of Nursing, effective May 15, 2011
  • Kyra Schmidt, Instructor, College of Nursing, effective May 15, 2011
  • Zina Shipovskiy, Research Study Assistant, NCS Moses Lake, College of Nursing, effective April 22, 2011
  • Mary Sobralske, Assistant Professor, College of Nursing, effective May 15, 2011
  • Steve Stokes, Instructor Tri-Cities, College of Nursing, effective May 15, 2011
  • Deborah Haberman, Academic Coordinator, Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, College of Pharmacy, effective May 2011
  • Amy Knizek, WIMHRT, effective June 30, 2011


  • Becky Cardell, Clinical Associate Professor, Vancouver, College of Nursing, effective May 15, 2011
  • Bobby Emerson, Associate Professor, College of Nursing, effective May 15, 2011
  • Carol Johns, Instructor, College of Nursing, effective July 1, 2011
  • Jon Hasbrouck, Clinical Professor, Speech and Hearing Sciences, effective July 31, 2011

Recruitment & Searches:

  • Professor and Chair, Pharmacotherapy, College of Pharmacy, screening began May 15, 2011
  • Assistant Technician 1, WWAMI, summer position, work study preferred. Contact Kim Noe at to apply.
  • Research Study Coordinator 1, College of Nursing, currently reviewing applications
  • Assistant or Associate Professor, College of Nursing, open until filled, review of applications began May 6, 2011
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, College of Nursing, open until filled, review of applications began February 15, 2011
  • Academic Coordinator (Undergraduate), Speech & Hearing Sciences, Division of Health Sciences, apply by June 17, 2011
  • Fiscal Technician 2, Small Business Development Center, apply by June 12, 2011
  • County Extension Director (Spokane), WSU Extension, open until filled, review of applications began May 1, 2011
  • Instructor, College of Pharmacy (Nutrition and Exercise Physiology), open until filled, review of applications began May 9, 2011
  • Assistant Professor or Associate Professor, WSU Extension and College of Pharmacy (Nutrition and Exercise Physiology), open until filled, review of applications begins August 31, 2011

Back to top

Way to Go!

Way to go to the following Riverpoint Campus Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) members, who were selected as "Most Valuable Commuter" during the past three months: carpooler Liz West, student affairs (April), bus rider Susan Lyons, College of Nursing (May), and walker David Foy, Sleep and Performance Research Center (June). When asked what she likes most about van poooling, May winner Susan Lyons replied, "My favorite thing to do is to look out the windows. When you drive alone, you don't realize what you are missing! You notice the scenery and the color changes, and I’ve found three Osprey nests. Vanpooling is a relaxing way to go!" Also, congratulations to Kristie Clark, IDI, for winning a $25 Olive Garden gift card for being a Riverpoint Campus CTR member.
(from the Riverpoint Campus Commute Trip Reduction Committee)

Here's where you make someone's day a little brighter by extending your thanks for a job well done. Send your "Way to Go!” comments to Judith Van Dongen and watch for your thanks to be published in an upcoming issue of the Campus Bulletin!

Back to top

A Warm Welcome to...

...Alli Benjamin, the new marketing and communications manager for the College of Nursing. Alli comes to WSU from Cancer Care Northwest, where she served as marketing and public relations officer. As part of her background in communications, Alli has been on the board of the Spokane Regional MarCom Association since 2007, serving as president for the 2009-2010 membership year. She holds a BS in Journalism and Public Relations from Eastern Washington University.


  ...Catherine Bugayong, the Small Business Development Center's new secretary senior. Catherine was previously an intern with the Washington State Department of Commerce and holds a BS in Economics and a BA in International Studies from the University of Washington. In her new role, she assists the SBDC's trade specialists with a wide variety of tasks, including preparing presentations, conducting research, and doing administrative work.

Back to top

Where We're Networking







for Alumni

Back to top

Find It on the Web

Back to top

The Bulletin is a monthly publication that is usually published on the second Wednesday of each month. The exact publication date may shift due to holidays. If you have an item that you'd like us to include, send it to us by Friday in the week before publication.

The Bulletin covers news of interest to the faculty, staff, and friends of Washington State University Spokane, and associates on other WSU campuses and on the Riverpoint Campus.

Regular columns cover professional accomplishments, opportunities for involvement in the campus community and the Spokane community, notices of new developments on campus, upcoming events, personnel changes, and other news.

The Bulletin also serves as a source of information for external communications directed to alumni, future and current students, and friends of Washington State University Spokane. You'll read it here first!

Subscribers welcome! To subscribe, go to, enter your e-mail address, type "wsusb" in the List Name field, and click on "Join List."

Editorial staff