Issue 2012-03 (March 14, 2012)



VIDEO: Team Challenge Unites Spokane Health Professions Students

By Judith Van Dongen; video by Doug Nadvornick

Parkinson's patient Richard and his caregiver listened intently to the care recommendations being provided to them. The setting was somewhat unusual—they weren't at a doctor's office, and this wasn't a regular health care visit. Rather, they were seated in the South Campus Facility Court on the Riverpoint Campus with a crowd of about 120 listening. Richard was the focus of the Riverpoint Campus second annual Health Care Team Challenge, an extracurricular event in which teams of aspiring health professionals compete to develop the best collaborative care plan for a volunteer patient.

"When our health professions students graduate, we expect them to work well in a team, yet often they don't really know what the other team members do," said Barb Richardson, director of the Riverpoint Interprofessional Education and Research group and the organizer of the event. "The Health Care Team Challenge is a really low-tech, high-impact simulation that allows students to come together and figure out a plan of care for a real patient."

Each of the three teams competing was made up of seven to nine students from a variety of health professions, including medicine, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and hearing sciences, and nutrition. They represented three universities: Washington State University, Eastern Washington University, and the University of Washington. Each team member contributed his or her disciplinary knowledge to address specific issues being experienced by Richard, creating a personalized, comprehensive care plan.

The plans students presented addressed everything from injury prevention and managing fatigue to exercise and social interaction. Solutions brought forward by the winning student team included a specialized walker, spill-proof coffee cup, speech-to-text software, and Nintendo Wii Sports, among others.

Barb Richardson (left, in green) with the winning team. 
Left to right, front row: Monique Sartain, Nursing;
Erin Callahan, Speech & Hearing Sciences;
Jenny Vigil, Occupational Therapy. Back row:
Robert Bryan, Pharmacy; Michael Harms, Medicine;
Caitlin Schlegel, Physical Therapy; Hilary Berg,
Speech and Hearing Sciences; and Jen Wei Liu,
Nutrition & Exercise Physiology.
(Photo by Crystal Little)

The competition had kicked off two weeks earlier when student teams first met Richard. They observed him being interviewed and examined by a nurse practitioner and had the opportunity to ask him about his condition and how it affects his daily life. They then went to work on their collaborative care plans.

Richard, who sat next to the panel of faculty judges that evaluated the students' plans, mentioned being overwhelmed with the attention he received and all the options being presented to him.

"I'm gratified to see all these young students—I think they're the best and brightest," he said.

Richardson modeled the event after similar competitions held at universities in Canada, Japan, and Australia. However, unlike the Health Care Team Challenge events she observed elsewhere, she based it on a real-life patient thinking that this would increase student engagement.

She proved herself right, and last year's patient agreed.  

"Even though he knew the students creating the plans were novices, he said that he would take any one of their three care plans over his actual plan of care, which seemed very disjointed to him," said Richardson.

So she kept the formula intact for this year's challenge.

In addition to team presentations and a round of care-related questions for each team, the students were asked to share with the audience their experience of working together with other health professions students.

"I think it's important to work together with professionals you'll be working with in the future and get that done early, so you develop those skills," said third-year doctor of pharmacy student Robert Bryan. "Because some people are naturally good at working together in groups, whereas others really do need to get the exposure and work through the kinks."

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Local Health Agency Awards Grants to Boost WSU Health Sciences Research

By Lorraine Nelson, College of Pharmacy

Washington State University health sciences research has received a significant boost from the Health Sciences and Services Authority of Spokane County.

The HSSA awarded grants last week of $1.18 million to help recruit two highly successful researchers and fund critically needed laboratory equipment at the Spokane campus.

Gary Pollack, vice provost of WSU health sciences and dean of the WSU College of Pharmacy, authored three of the grant proposals and co-authored the fourth, and has successfully recruited one of the two professors he wants to hire. He is in negotiations with the other.

"We are extraordinarily fortunate to have HSSA as a partner in developing health sciences research capacity in Spokane," Pollack said. "HSSA's commitment will help us attract top talent and fund core laboratory infrastructure, both critical elements to serve as a nucleus to build upon for us to attract even more scientists," he said.

New hires to head new clinical pharmacology unit, department of pharmaceutical sciences

The two new faculty are expected to be catalysts for future growth that will result in an estimated 130 new jobs in the local economy by 2020, says Pollack.

K. Michael Gibson (right) has agreed to lead a new clinical pharmacology unit in the WSU Division of Health Sciences, holding dual faculty appointments in the College of Pharmacy and an emerging medical sciences unit. HSSA's contribution to the recruitment package will be $200,000 over two years, pending finalization of recruitment.

Gibson is currently professor and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Michigan Technological and is a board-certified clinical biochemical geneticist.

Gibson will bring significant value to Spokane in his ability to build a research-intensive unit focused on clinical/translational sciences, a crucial underpinning for drug development research.

Negotiations are also underway with Phillip Lazarus (left) to chair the pharmaceutical sciences department, which will move from Pullman to Spokane in summer 2014. HSSA's contribution to the recruitment package will be $500,000 over two years, pending finalization of the recruitment. 

Lazarus is a professor in the departments of pharmacology and public health sciences at Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine. He successfully developed a multi-million dollar center for pharmacogenetics in the Penn State Cancer Institute and serves as its director. He maintains a vigorous independent, federally funded research program.

Equipment aids research, recruitment

PhD in neuroscience student Kathryn Jewett
using the new confocal microscope.
(Photo by Cori Medeiros)

HSSA also awarded funding to assist WSU with creating a microscopy core laboratory and a mass spectrometry core laboratory.

HSSA awarded $243,363 to purchase a laser scanning confocal microscope with a four-year service contract and technical support to meet current research requirements and projected needs of faculty recruits into the Division of Health Sciences. The capability of confocal microscopy is performing optical sectioning of thick biologic samples (tissues or cells) and three-dimensional reconstruction of images that are collected.

"We cannot attract first-tier life sciences researchers without a confocal microscope," said Ken Roberts, director of the WWAMI medical education program in Spokane. "In fact, I lost one candidate I'd recruited because I couldn't provide one. This type of equipment is no longer a luxury; it's part of the standard research toolkit."

HSSA also awarded $234,500 for the mass spectrometry core laboratory, which is half the cost of the equipment.

It is considered the gold standard in drug and metabolite analysis, Pollack said, because of its ability to detect drugs/metabolites at very low concentrations; its ability to distinguish a specific drug/metabolite from all other compounds in a biologic sample; and its speed, meaning a short turnaround time for results.

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VIDEO: Japanese Pharmacy Students Visit Campus

By Doug Nadvornick

A group of Japanese students wearing white lab coats congregate around a simulation manikin in the Nursing Building at WSU Spokane. They're pharmacy students from Mukogawa Women's University attending a six-week study abroad program at Spokane's Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute. As part of their experience, they're spending an afternoon learning new skills on the Riverpoint Campus. They take turns listening through stethoscopes to the sounds coming from the manikin. Guiding them is WSU clinical associate professor Brenda Bray.

"They told us pharmacists aren't allowed to do certain things in Japan—things like taking blood pressures, poking fingers for blood glucose tests, having a lot of patient interaction," said Bray. "It appears that they don't learn many skills-based patient care activities during pharmacy school in Japan. One of the reasons Japanese pharmacy students come to Spokane for this program is to learn about pharmacy practice in the United States. Their faculty members hope the exposure to the WSU College of Pharmacy contributes to changes in practice in Japan."

In addition to the session at the simulation lab, Bray's colleague, clinical assistant professor Lisa Woodard, showed the Japanese students how to find their body mass index. A small panel of WSU pharmacy students held roundtable discussions about their schooling.

Bray says WSU and Mukogawa administrators have discussed the idea of allowing the Japanese students to spend a semester studying at Riverpoint.

"There would be, as always, logistical issues, but faculty members from both programs are trying to work out the details to make it happen," said Bray.

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Riverpoint Campus Goes Tobacco Free on May 1

By Judith Van Dongen

Starting on May 1, the Riverpoint Campus will be officially tobacco free, both indoors and out.

The new policy expands the tobacco-free area mandated by the Washington Clean Indoor Act—which prohibits smoking in public buildings and places of employment, as well as within 25 feet of doors, windows, and ventilation intakes—to include all campus grounds and state-owned vehicles and equipment.

Riverpoint will be the first four-year public university campus in Washington to be 100 percent tobacco free.

"It's important to us to establish a campus culture that supports health in all aspects as an expression of our values. This policy just made sense, particularly given the important research by John Roll and others in addictions," said WSU Spokane chancellor Brian Pitcher. "We're proud to establish WSU Spokane as a statewide leader and thank the students for bringing the initiative forward."

The all-campus tobacco-free measure was first proposed last spring by the student senate of the Associated Students of WSU (ASWSU) Spokane.

"We wanted to foster a culture of healthy living and positive health practices," said ASWSU Spokane vice president Trevor McLay. "As students of a variety of health care professions, we felt this campus could lead the way in making this positive and beneficial change."

To start the process, student senate members conducted a survey among students on their support for the measure, including an opportunity to comment. McLay said that, of the 189 students who responded to the survey, close to 88 percent of students supported implementing a tobacco-free campus policy. Based on the survey data, the student senate then drafted a resolution outlining the reasons for the proposed initiative and voted to pass it in April 2011.

In December 2011, campus leadership approved the final policy, which was drafted by a Tobacco-Free Campus Task Force consisting of campus students, faculty, and staff, including representation from campus partner Eastern Washington University.

"Cooperation with all parties was a focal point in considering how best to move forward with these changes," said McLay. "One of our main concerns in this process has been ensuring fair and complete communications to all students, faculty, and staff about the change taking place at Riverpoint."

More information on the policy, including an interactive map of the tobacco-free boundaries is available at Campus community members are also encouraged to attend the tobacco-free campus information session—see below for details.


Tobacco-Free Campus Information Session

Tuesday, April 3, Noon - 1 p.m., Academic Center Room 147

Learn more about the policy and resources available for quitting smoking. The session is open to any Riverpoint student, faculty, or staff member. Following the session, a tobacco-free resource table will be available in the Academic Center lobby from 1 to 3 p.m.

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VIDEO: Student Teacher Uses Rap Lyrics as Learning Tool

By Doug Nadvornick; video courtesy of KXLY

WSU Master in Teaching student Adam Barry wants to be an elementary school physical education teacher.

He certainly has the credentials. He earned his undergraduate degree at WSU in kinesiology, the study of movement. He was the captain of the Pasco High School basketball team his senior year. He worked at youth sports camps when he was growing up.

But his real calling may be as an English teacher.

Barry is assigned to Christine Lounsbury's sixth-grade classroom at Sheridan Elementary School in Spokane. School staff members offer unsolicited praise when they talk about him. They like his positive energy. His students seem to like him too. One reason: he speaks their language.


Barry says he likes all kinds of music, but rap is his favorite. Two of his closest childhood friends from the Tri-Cities are rap artists. It should be no surprise that the genre plays a role in his work at Sheridan.

When he became a full-time student teacher in January, Barry was tasked with teaching vocabulary. He developed a program he calls VocabuBarry, which uses lyrics from rap songs to introduce students to new words. He plays the songs in class. The students follow along with a notebook that features the lyrics to several songs. He has them analyze the words, circle the ones they don't know and look up their meanings.

"They're a great tool," said Barry. "The grammar in the songs isn't always the best, but the lessons in them are easier for the students to understand."

"Kids can't wait to dive into what the song is really about," said Lounsbury.

"Some of the students he works with are two or three grade levels behind in reading," said Leslie Hall, a clinical associate professor at WSU's Department of Teaching and Learning who's supervising Barry. "But he has them going through these rap lyrics, asking them what the author's inferring. He's got them puzzling out words. And the kids will sit there for 45 minutes without moving a muscle."

Now the students are not only reading the lyrics, they're writing them too.

Even though rap has its share of material laced with violent and sexually-oriented meanings, Barry insists that his students' work be original and clean. They work in groups of two and three, writing and rewriting until they're satisfied. Then they perform their work for their classmates. Sometimes Barry will join them in performing.

Rap used for important lessons

Though Barry uses rap as a tool for building vocabularies, teacher Christine Lounsbury says he also uses the oft-maligned art form for deeper purposes.

"He intentionally coordinates the meaning of the lyrics into character building sessions where kids are asked to dig deep into themselves as game changers in their community," she said.

Recently, Barry invited his rapping friends from the Tri-Cities to visit Sheridan and perform for his students.

"We hear bullying is a very big issue here," rapper Devaunte Wright told the sixth graders at a school assembly. Then his partner, Skylar Lamb, began rapping a song about how to combat bullying, something he wrote especially for the Sheridan visit.

Wright, Lamb, and Isaac Butts—collectively known as "Wake Up"—encouraged the students to identify their dreams and work hard to fulfill them.

After Barry receives his teacher certification in May, he hopes to find a classroom of his own to lead. When he does, he'll continue to use rap as a teaching tool, whether he's teaching vocabulary or volleyball.

"Rapping helps to connect kids with life lessons. It's a good confidence builder," he said.

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Student-Organized Health Fair Serves Visually Impaired

By Alli Benjamin, College of Nursing

Francis sat contently in her chair, nibbling on a cookie and quietly enjoying the foot care exam she received from two nursing students. At 91, she's nearly blind yet she manages to live independently, by her own choice. Francis was one of the many seniors living with a disability who received important, routine health care from an interprofessional team of students representing WSU's Colleges of Nursing and Pharmacy and the Carrington College Massage Therapy training program.

Francis receives her foot care exam from nursing students Erica Foster (left) and Kimberly Trower
(Photo by Alli Benjamin)

The health fair Francis attended was organized by a class of undergraduate nursing students as part of their community health clinical. At the free event, the students provided services to individuals served by the local chapter of Lilac Services for the Blind, including blood pressure, blood sugar, vision, and hearing screening, as well as hand and foot care and massage.  

"From the initial planning to the execution of the fair, nursing students learned how to organize and promote a community event, partner with students from other disciplines, and engage local businesses to help support the event," said nursing instructor Laura Wintersteen-Arleth.

The health fair brought in a mix of individuals living with sight, hearing, and speech impairment. Students made educational displays that outlined health risks, disease facts, and healthy living tips and shared the information with visitors. Attendees relaxed while getting massages and paraffin hand dips; learned about falls risk, diabetes, hypertension, and cancer screening; and had their medications reviewed by pharmacy students.

The event made nursing student Melissa Tufto gain a new appreciation for working with this population.

"Not only are we providing critical services, we are learning how to communicate and educate a population with special needs," said Tufto. "Because of this fair, I have become aware of community resources and helpful tools that can improve the quality of life for a person living with visual impairment."

The organization of the clinical public health fair at Lilac Services for the Blind has been a recurring assignment given by Wintersteen-Arleth for the past few years.

"This health fair benefits our students and the community," she said. "Many attendees are low income and have little or no health insurance, and events like this help supplement their lack of access to routine health care. Students learn how to care for these patients, and also see that there are careers in nursing outside of the hospital setting."

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Cougs Yakima County

Giving Back to the Tribe

By Doug Nadvornick

Fourth-year doctor of pharmacy student Kevin Walker knows what he wants to do after he graduates in May.

The Yakama tribal member says he's "looking at a career in the Indian Health Services with the Yakama Tribe. I'd really like to give back in any way I can."

Walker grew up on the Satus, a portion of the Yakama Indian Reservation near Toppenish. His father worked as an emergency medical technician. Walker says when he was young he liked to look through his father's physiology and anatomy books.

Throughout high school and his undergraduate years at WSU, he says he thought about pursuing a health care career. Initially, he focused on research; then after spending a few years in the lab setting, he decided he'd rather work with patients. He found his calling in pharmacy after he served as an intern at the Indian Health Services clinic in Toppenish.

Now Walker is finishing up his fourth-year clinical rotations with an eye on graduation. Starting this summer, he was chosen to serve as the WSU/Providence Visiting Nurse Association Geriatric Resident. After his one-year residency, he's open to working someplace new.

"I feel that getting experience in other areas and different communities can help me bring back the expertise to the Yakima Valley and to the Yakama Tribe," said Walker. "Later on in my career, I'd like to go back to my roots and re-establish some of the relationships I had in the past and, hopefully, improve our health care."

A real need for Native health care workers

Walker says, other than his father, he didn't have many role models in the health sciences when he was growing up.  Nor did many of his peers join him in his chosen career.

"I don't know of many (Native American) students I went to school with in the lower Valley that went into health care or even a postsecondary degree of any sort," he said.

That lack of people in the health care pipeline won't help fill the demand for providers on his reservation, he says.

"I think that skilled nurses, physicians, and primary care providers are definitely needed," said Walker. "You need a reinvigoration of youth, and hopefully that can stimulate the health care community to move forward and become even more progressive than it is now. The health care they're providing now is fantastic, but a lot of these elder physicians will retire sometime soon, and it would be great to get some students in there really looking at pharmacy and nursing and any medical career."

Walker is one of several Native students studying health sciences on Spokane's Riverpoint Campus. He credits Robbie Paul, the director for Native American Recruitment and Retention at the College of Nursing, with creating a supportive atmosphere for him and his peers.

"It's not a 'you-against-the-world' type of setting. You're not all alone," he said. "There are a lot of people who understand your cultural background, your study habits, your lifestyle, that can really relate and can help you in that process."

Walker became a tutor at the Native American Student Center on the WSU Pullman campus. He's also been a counselor with the university's Na-ha-shnee Health Sciences Summer Institute and is scheduled to do that again this summer.

As he prepares to head out into the world as a pharmacist, Walker says he looks forward to becoming a mentor.

"I have plenty of role models that I look to and draw from," he said. "Maybe down the line I could have students underneath me and precept them, give them opportunities to further their education. That would be wonderful."

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Student Nurses Address Health Care Policy Concerns in Olympia

By Alli Benjamin

As part of the undergraduate nursing curriculum, undergraduate WSU nursing students are taught to be tireless patient advocates. Last month, 67 nursing students—a record number—traveled to Olympia to advocate on behalf of all Washington State citizens at Nurse Legislative Day, an annual event coordinated by the Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA).

The WSU nursing students-from Spokane, Tri-Cities, and Yakima-joined more than more than 550 Washington nurses and nursing students who met with lawmakers to discuss proposed legislation that impacts patient care and safety, public health, and nurses' working conditions. Specifically, students addressed the need to discontinue loopholes that allow hospitals to have mandatory overtime; mandate that drug companies fund prescription Take Back programs for safe prescription disposal; and make toxic fire retardants illegal to use in children's products.

Students met two of three representatives from District 14, representing the Yakima region.

"Senator Curtis King was not very receptive to much of what we had to say, however, State Representative Charles Ross had an open mind," said Yakima nursing student Audra Slobig. "He listened to our insights and perspectives on the issues we presented and was pretty receptive."

For many of the students, it was their first experience engaging lawmakers to inform policy.

"As a class, we really enjoyed getting involved in the political health arena and having the chance to see how our influence can impact society in positive ways," said Slobig.

The trip to Olympia reinforced what national health industry leaders are urging of nurses: to build a strong presence to help shape health policy, since nurses' front-line perspective and lack of economic incentive or profit motive makes them ideally suited to do so. A report from the Institute of Medicine titled "The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health" also emphasizes the need for nurses to be full partners, with physicians and other health professionals, in redesigning health care in the United States.

"Not only are our students seeing how nursing policy is formed, but they are also doing this as lawmakers are having the greater discussion of reforming health care," said College of Nursing instructor Lynnette Vehrs. "Now is the time that students' can voice concerns; communicate patient safety and workplace issues; and advocate on behalf of the public. We are proud that WSU students are part of the discussion, contributing new ideas to create solutions."

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  • Gregory Belenky, director of the Sleep and Performance Research Center, has passed the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology's  Initial Certification Examination in Sleep Medicine.
  • PhD in criminal justice candidate Steve James was selected to receive the College of Liberal Arts Burgess Brothers Memorial Scholarship for the year 2012-2013. The scholarship was established by a trust from Edwin and Ruth Burgess to honor Edwin and his brothers Walter, Harland, and Howard, who attended Washington State College and graduated between 1910 and 1924. It is given to students who demonstrate a strong commitment to learning and service.
  • Erin Jennings, a clinical research associate in the College of Pharmacy, passed the Certified Geriatric Pharmacist certification examination on Feb. 24.
  • Kerry McGinn, instructor at WSU College of Nursing, wrote the fourth edition of The Young Woman's Breast Health Book: Breast Changes that Are not Cancer—for Women in their 20s, 30s and 40s. The book aims to educate women concerned with breast lumps, breast pain, and cancer risk factors while also teaching them about breast self-exams, diagnostic procedures, and the "in-between" conditions of ductal carcinoma and lobular neoplasia. It will be published later this month.

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Community Connections

  • Wednesday, March 28 - Gonzaga University Presidential Speaker Series Featuring Ingrid Betancourt
    Come to Gonzaga University's McCarthey Athletic Center at 7:00 p.m. on Mar. 28 for a lecture by former senator of Colombia and international peace and justice advocate Ingrid Betancourt. In the 1990s, Betancourt worked actively to curb drug trafficking and corruption in Colombia. During her campaign for president in Colombia, she was taken hostage by FARC guerrillas and dramatically rescued from the jungle more than six years later by the Colombian army. Her presentation, "Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle," wil focus on her life experience and ongoing campaign to free hostages still being held by FARC. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $7 for senior citizens, and $5 for students and educators, and can be purchased online and at the McCarthy Athletic Center ticket office window. For more information this event and to purchase tickets, go to the Gonzaga University Presidential Speaker Series Web site.
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Personnel and Staffing Changes    


  • Timothy Kohlhauff, Extension Coordinator, Spokane County Extension, effective February 13, 2012


  • Summer Goetz, Extension Coordinator, Spokane County Extension, effective January 31, 2012
  • Grace Heaton, Research Assistant, College of Nursing, effective January 31, 2012

Recruitments & Searches:

  • Admissions Counselor, College of Nursing, interviews in progress
  • Associate Dean for Academic Programs, College of Nursing, open until filled, interviews in progress
  • Assistant or Associate Professor, College of Nursing, open until filled, offers pending
  • Associate Professor/Director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program Vancouver, open until filled, interviews in progress
  • Development Director, College of Nursing, interviews pending
  • Program Assistant, Parking, Facilities Operations, position closed January 30, 2012, interviews pending
  • Student Services Specialist (MESA Middle School Coordinator) 10-months (September-June), 50%, MESA, position closes March 27, 2012, to apply visit


Newly Tenured and Promoted Faculty:
            (Pictured from left to right, starting with top row)
  • Gordon Gates, College of Education, promoted to professor, effective August 16, 2012
  • Suzan Kardong-Edgren, College of Nursing, tenured and promoted to associate professor, effective August 16, 2012
  • Jae Kennedy, Department of Health Policy & Administration, promoted to professor, effective August 16, 2012
  • Angela Maldonado, College of Pharmacy, promoted to clinical associate professor (non tenure-track), effective July 1, 2012
  • Catrina Schwartz, College of Pharmacy, promoted to clinical associate professor (non tenure-track), effective July 1, 2012
  • Roxanne Vandermause, College of Nursing, tenured and promoted to associate professor, effective August 16, 2012
  • Laura Wintersteen-Arleth, College of Nursing, promoted to senior instructor (non tenure-track), effective August 16, 2012
  • Lisa Woodard, College of Pharmacy, promoted to clinical associate professor (non tenure-track), effective July 1, 2012

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Way to Go!

A big shout out to Capital Planning and Development and Graham Construction! The Riverpoint Campus appreciates the recent purchase and installation of the flashing lights at the crosswalk near the Nursing Building on Spokane Falls Blvd. Thank you for providing more resources to keep us safe!
(from all Riverpoint Campus crosswalk patrons)

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!
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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.

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