Issue 2013-05 (May 15, 2013)



No Campus Bulletin in June, July

The WSU Spokane Campus Bulletin will be going on a summer hiatus while the WSU Spokane Communications Office focuses on several new projects. The next issue will be coming to you in August. Have a great summer!


Roll to Head Academic Affairs, Research at WSU Spokane

By Judith Van Dongen

Portrait photo of John Roll in lab setting

John Roll, an accomplished researcher and administrator, will assume a new role as Washington State University Spokane's senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and research effective July 1.

Roll's primary responsibility will be to assist WSU Spokane Chancellor Lisa Brown with the leadership of the growing WSU Spokane campus, Washington State University’s designated health sciences campus. He will head up the planning and implementation of strategic initiatives; maintain collaborations with other higher education and health care institutions and organizations; and lead WSU Spokane's research operations and library, among other duties.

"John is the right person to lead the next phase of WSU Spokane's academic development." said Brown. "His broad experience makes him well-suited to leading our efforts to provide unique interprofessional education, practice, and research opportunities for our students, as well as to navigating the complexities of running a multi-institutional campus."

Roll is currently the associate vice provost for graduate education and scholarship for WSU Health Sciences and the associate dean for faculty affairs in the WSU College of Nursing. He is also a tenured professor in the College of Nursing—a rank he will retain as part of his new appointment—and will continue to serve as director of the WSU Program of Excellence in Addiction Research.

"It is a pleasure to continue my association with WSU in this new role," said Roll. "I look forward to working closely with Chancellor Brown and leaders of other educational institutions in the region to insure that our students and our community receive the very highest quality service we can provide them."

Since joining Washington State University Spokane in 2004, Roll has held several academic leadership roles and built a highly successful research program that has drawn funding from industry, state and federal sources. His team’s research has focused on human behavioral pharmacology and the development of behavioral interventions for addiction and other psychiatric disorders.

In addition to his primary appointment at the WSU College of Nursing, Roll has appointments in the WSU Departments of Health Policy and Administration, Neuroscience, and Psychology and at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Roll was appointed by former governor Christine Gregoire as a member of the Eastern State Hospital Advisory Board and as a vice chair of the Governor’s Council on Substance Abuse. He has served as president of the American Psychological Association’s Division on Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse and is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, the American Psychological Association, the Association for Behavior Analysis International, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Roll earned a PhD in experimental psychology from Washington State University in 1994. He completed postdoctoral fellowships in behavioral pharmacology at the University of Vermont and substance abuse treatment at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. Before returning to WSU, he served on the faculty at Wayne State University and the University of California at Los Angeles.

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VIDEO: Helping Rural Communities—Mental Health Training Looks at Whole Person

By Becky Phillips, WSU Marketing & Creative Services

With growing violence—and suicide rates above the national average—Washington faces an uphill battle to provide quality mental health care to residents, especially those living in the central and eastern parts of the state.
Rural areas struggle to obtain the resources needed by primary care physicians to treat complex cases of pain, addiction and mental illness. The reality is so stark and difficult that many primary care physicians choose to leave the field.
Psychiatrist Dr. Matt Layton is working to change that reality through a number of innovative programs incorporated into medical training at WSU Spokane.
Layton, clinical associate professor of WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) medical sciences and medical director in the WSU College of Nursing Program of Excellence in Addiction Research, teaches behavioral health that strives to take a holistic look at patients and their environments. Instead of just handing out a prescription for pain meds, for example, new physicians will be encouraged to look at the whole person and discern how mental health and addictions may play a role in the condition.
With more public awareness and discussion, Layton hopes to decrease the stigma attached to mental illness and allow people to more readily find the help they need.

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Nursing Team to Evaluate Early Return to Work Program for Injured Workers

By Doug Nadvornick

What happens when a bakery employee hurts his ankle while lifting a 50-pound bag of flour? In some cases, he might miss a week or two of work. But in the case of "Jerry," he shifts to a job that allows him to stay at work and off his ankle, decorating cakes until he's healthy enough to go back to his regular position.

"Jerry" is a character in a new Washington Department of Labor and Industries TV spot. The ad promotes the agency's new Stay at Work program, which pays employers up to half of an injured worker's base wages. In exchange, the employee gets to stay on the job doing physically easier duties until his injury heals.

The question is whether employers will buy into the concept. That's something the WSU College of Nursing will help to determine. Labor and Industries' Safety and Health Investment Project (SHIP) awarded a grant to the college to survey employers' thoughts about the barriers to bringing back recovering workers.

Photo of Denise Smart
Denise Smart

"Sometimes companies resist when people want to come back to work early after an injury, because they want their employee to return at 100 percent capacity," said WSU assistant professor of nursing Denise Smart, one member of the team that will develop the survey. "But studies have shown that it's best for employees to get back as soon as possible to stay away from depression and those other negative feelings that can develop when you're away from work."

SHIP has awarded the university a $138,225 grant during the next year.

Smart's interdisciplinary team includes clinical assistant nursing professor Melody Rasmor at WSU Vancouver, occupational health nurse Susan Kent at Spokane’s Valley Hospital and retired occupational therapist Marilyn Wright.

In addition to their survey, Smart says the team will create an assessment kit that will help companies determine the types of jobs that are appropriate for employees recovering from injuries.

Two other members of the team, Jerry Reynolds and Matthew Blythe from the College of Nursing, will produce a video that companies can show new employees about the benefits of staying at work after an injury.

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SLIDESHOW: Commencement 2013

Photos by Judith Van Dongen & Cori Medeiros

[Press "Play" button to start slideshow. Click "Expand" button on bottom right for a full-screen view of these images.]

The May 3 commencement at the INB Performing Arts Center celebrated the graduation of nearly 430 students who received baccalaureate, master's, professional, and doctoral degrees in 20 different programs.

The Commencement address was delivered by WSU Spokane Chancellor Lisa Brown, who also led the ceremony. Master of health policy and administration student Dana Dweik, an Arab Palestinian Fulbright Scholar from East Jerusalem, served as the student speaker.

Five students were highlighted during the ceremony. They were EWU graduate Melissa Jensen (MS in communication disorders), who overcame stuttering and will be helping other stutterers as a speech-language pathologist; BS in nursing graduate Devan Paxton, who made up her mind to become a nurse after she cared for an autistic boy in high school; BS in nursing graduate Mulatu Yirba, who was born and raised in rural Ethiopia and decided to pursue a career in public health after he saw many die of easily preventable diseases; and Daniel Zamora-Morales (MS in speech and hearing sciences), who has traveled around the world to do missionary work, serve in the military, and work as a translator for a recent medical mission to Guatemala. He was the first member of his family to go to college.

The slideshow above provides a visual impression of the day. Use the links below to see more photos and videos of commencement.

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VIDEO: Commencement Kicks Off Nursing Career for Air Force Veteran

By Doug Nadvornick

Thomas Wright wore a big smile as he mingled with his fellow students shortly before the WSU Spokane commencement ceremony at the INB Performing Arts Center.

The smile was still there as he sat in front of a video camera a few minutes later and thanked his mother, sister, and other family members for their support through five years of college.

And it hadn't gone away when he came back to the video room shortly after with best friend and fellow nursing graduate Robert Stokes in tow.

"How we met is a good story," Wright said.

"We met on the Internet," Stokes said as the two broke out into laughter. Before school started, "we were on a forum for WSU students, and he noticed that my name had 'airman' in it because I was in the Air Force. We just started chatting and we've been best friends ever since," he said.

"We like talking over our war stories," Wright said with a smile.

Wright had also been in the Air Force, a 10-year veteran who was involved with refueling airplanes, which is how he made his way from his hometown of Savannah, Georgia, to Fairchild Air Force Base.

After Wright left the service, he stayed in the area and attended Eastern Washington University before enrolling in the WSU College of Nursing to finish his bachelor's degree.

Wright says his mother is a nurse, so he was exposed early to the profession. But he says he didn't decide to make it his career until he was a patient in a hospital emergency room and was calmed by male RNs.

"I knew then that I wanted to do what they did," Wright said.

When he came to the WSU Spokane campus, he quickly made a favorable impression on a lot of people, including nursing instructor Sue Perkins.

"I've never met a young man who is so positive," Perkins said. "He has all the qualities that will make him successful. He's ethical and professional. He has a great work ethic. He's directed and goal-oriented. And he's such a cool guy, kind, charismatic."

In addition to his studies, Wright stayed busy with a long list of volunteer activities. He worked with the medical staff at a summer camp for children with diabetes. He donated his time to the Head Start program at the West Central Community Center. He worked with Habitat for Humanity.

His accomplishments earned him special recognition from Chancellor Lisa Brown at the recent commencement ceremony.

With all of the work done, Wright enjoyed every minute of the commencement experience. His mother and sister had come up from Georgia to share it with him. Friends, such as Stokes, were there too.

"I am just excited for this day. It's been a long journey, starting out at Eastern and now here. Five years in the making, and I made it to the finish line," Wright said.

For the immediate future, he wants to stay in the Northwest to start his nursing career. He hopes to find work as a psychiatric nurse.

"Nothing certain right now, but a few promising prospects," he said.

Perkins thinks he'll have no trouble finding good work. Until he does, he's living in the basement of her house. 

"We love him. We're going to keep him as a surrogate kid," Perkins said.

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VIDEO: WSU Graduate Uses Stuttering Experience to Help Others

By Judith Van Dongen

When, at the age of nine, Allen Cent’s voice kept freezing up during class presentations, he felt frustrated and scared. It took about a year of weekly speech-therapy sessions for the Seattle native to learn to manage his stuttering. Unbeknownst to him then, it also laid the foundation for his career as a speech-language pathologist.

"Speech therapy just gave me this huge boost in confidence to communicate for myself," said Cent, now 24 years old and a recent graduate from WSU Spokane's master of arts in speech and hearing sciences program. "It's what drew me to speech-language pathology, knowing that you can have such a positive impact on a person's life."

However, it wasn't until his sophomore year at WSU that Cent finally made his decision. He had been on track to become a physical therapy major but found that it didn't fully satisfy his desire to communicate and bond with people. He had an aha moment when, during a family discussion about possible majors, he thought back to his experiences with speech therapy and realized that his stuttering gave him an advantage at working with others who have communication disorders.

"It's improved my ability to empathize with my clients, which helps to build trust," Cent said. "When your clients know that they can relate to you, it helps them to really key into what you're trying to say."

Cent received his bachelor of arts in speech and hearing sciences from WSU Pullman in May 2011 and started in the graduate program the next fall. Among the highlights of his graduate studies was his involvement in the Successful Stuttering Management Program, a three-week intensive workshop for adolescents and adults held at Eastern Washington University's Cheney campus each summer. The program draws participants and clinicians from around the world—Cent worked with a speech-language pathologist from Nigeria and a participant from Illinois.

"I was there as both a clinician and a stutterer, learning about my own condition as well as helping others," Cent said. "The program inspired me to be more open about my stuttering, because once people know that you stutter, it releases the pressure to try to be completely fluent with that person."

This fall, Cent will start a job as a speech-language pathologist at the Highline School District in Burien, Washington, where he completed an internship during his graduate program. He has a few more steps ahead of him before he'll be a licensed speech-language pathologist. No matter when that happens, Cent is dedicated to his own continuing education, which includes learning and teaching about stuttering, hearing loss, and alternative communication.

He also wants to work in different settings. So far he’s worked mostly in schools, but he's looking to eventually gain experience in hospitals, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, and other clinical settings. Someday, he says, he might put his language skills—including Spanish, Russian, and American Sign Language—to good use as a traveling speech-language pathologist.

"Who knows? It might become my dream job," he said.

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Medical Students Honor "Their" Cadavers

By Doug Nadvornick

First-year medical students spend hundreds of hours cloistered in a windowless classroom on the ground floor of the WSU Spokane Academic Center. That's where they read about, discuss, and memorize the minutiae of human anatomy and physiology.

But many of those students would tell you the real—and more satisfying—exploration is done elsewhere: in a sterile, stainless steel room on the second floor of the Health Sciences Building. It's the place where they cut into and explore cadavers.

This year, seven bodies came from the University of Washington School of Medicine, said David Conley, the course director of the anatomy section for the WWAMI (Washington Wyoming Alaska Montana Idaho) medical education program in Spokane and Pullman. Two other bodies came from eastern Washington via the WSU Willed Body Program.

Conley says the bodies are wrapped in plastic sheets called 'canoes' to keep them from drying out. They’re stored in special tables equipped with exhaust hoses to carry away the fumes from the formaldehyde in the bodies.

Photo of lit candle

On a sunny morning the day after their last final exam, 20 first-year medical students gathered in WSU Spokane's Healing Garden for a short service to honor the people whose bodies they had so thoroughly explored.

"These are your first patients," said WWAMI clinical assistant professor Dan Topping. "For many of you, it's the first deceased person you've seen. There's no substitute for touching your first cadaver. This is the basic language of the medical profession."

"You're different people today than you were the day you made your first cuts," Conley told the gathering.

Medical student Karen Callahan read a letter she'd written to the donors and their families about the unique relationship they share with the students. Then she and her colleague, Jonathan Patberg, lit 10 candles as their part of a ritual that Conley says is repeated at medical schools all over the U.S.

Students then took turns expressing their thanks for the chance to practice on the bodies.

"They helped me to appreciate how intricate and complex the body is, how beautiful everything is inside," said Patberg.

Conley says the well-used bodies will be cremated and the remains either returned to the families or buried in cemeteries in Seattle or in Palouse, Washington.

Then the cycle will begin anew. He says the bodies that will be used by medical students in the fall will soon arrive or have already arrived. Those new bodies will get their first student attention later this summer. In Spokane, the introduction to anatomy lab comes just one day after medical students report in August for orientation. The students are split into teams of four. For five intense weeks they study trunk and then head and neck anatomy.

Conley says, for many students, the anatomy lab will become their home-away-from-home.

"We encourage and expect them to come in after class," he said. "They can be here 24/7 if they want."

For more information about donating a body to the Willed Body Program:
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In the News

  • Assistant professor of nursing Michele Shaw was quoted in an April 22 Wall Street Journal article on the recommended amount of physical activity children with asthma should get—as much as their peers without asthma. Read the article.
  • Aviation International News published an Apr. 30 article on research professor Hans Van Dongen's work with the Regional Airline Association to study the effects of multi-segment flight operations on pilot fatigue. Read the article.
  • A May 3 Spokesman-Review article highlighted the WSU Spokane Commencement ceremony that took place that same day. Read the article (subscriber access only).
  • The arrival of second-year medical education and the accelerating growth of the WSU Spokane campus were the focus of a publisher's note in the May 7 issue of the Pacific Northwest Inlander. Read the article.

For more news coverage of WSU Spokane, go to the WSU Spokane news coverage page.

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  • Photo of Hans Van Dongen at the commencement ceremony, dressed in academic regalia
    The recipient of the 2013 WSU Spokane Faculty Excellence Award is Hans Van Dongen, research professor and assistant director at the WSU Sleep and Performance Research Center. Van Dongen, who is one of the world's leading experts in the science of sleep and sleep deprivation, was awarded $3 million in new research funding in 2012. He has published more than a dozen peer-reviewed papers in the past year and is the principal investigator on six active grants and a co-PI on four others. Van Dongen was nominated by several of his PhD students, who cited not only his scholarly productivity but also expressed their appreciation of the time and effort he devotes to their supervision. He received the award at the WSU Spokane Commencement ceremony on May 3.
  • Chancellor's Awards for Excellence were given to the following 2013 Spokane students and graduates: Shana Bailey (MA in speech & hearing sciences), Sarah Betts (BS in nursing), Dana Dweik (master of health policy & administration), Jesse Hall (BS in nutrition & exercise physiology), Courtney Lewis (BS in nursing), Lindsey Schaffer (doctor of pharmacy), Thomas Wright (BS in nursing).
  • Portrait photo of Gary Smith
    The 2012 WSU Spokane Student Choice Award for Excellence in Teaching went to Gary Smith, a clinical assistant professor in the health policy and administration program who specializes in health care management in rural settings. His student nominators lauded him for his health care knowledge and expertise; his professional integrity and pragmatic sensibility; and his genuine concern for students' success. Smith was selected from more than 40 student nominations.
  • The Washington State Nurses Association has selected Debbie Brinker, a clinical assistant professor of nursing, as its Nurse Educator of the Year. She was quoted as having a "passion to grow our future generation of nurses with a spirit of inquiry and a quest for research and the application of evidence in practice." Brinker's teaching experience includes professional development, leadership education, and pediatric clinical and didactic education. She also co-led a Health Care in Peru interprofessional course for two summers.
  • Deb Cox, the grants and contracts manager for the WSU Spokane Office of Research, received the 2013 WSU Sponsored Program Administrators Conference Contribution Award. The honor is given to an individual or group who has made a difference in the field of grant and contract administration. She received the award at a luncheon held at the 2013 Sponsored Program Administrators Conference in Moscow, Idaho, on May 15.
  • The WSU Spokane Communications Office recently received a 2013 Spark Award for Excellence from the Spokane Regional MarCom association. The award was given for the WSU Spokane Campus Bulletin (the very publication you're reading right now) in the Individual Marketing & Communication Projects/E-Zines and E-Newsletters category.
  • Washington State University Spokane has been awarded the Fresh Air Gold Campus Award by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Region X, for its adoption of a 100% tobacco-free campus policy. The Fresh Air Campus Challenge, an effort that brings together college campuses and local, state, and federal tobacco control programs to ensure that all higher education institutions in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington begin the process of going smoke- or tobacco-free by the end of 2013.
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Community Connections

  • CANCER PREVENTION STUDY-3: Research today for a cancer-free tomorrow
    One hundred years ago, the American Cancer Society began the fight of a lifetime—the fight to end cancer. Our community has a unique opportunity to help finish the fight. The third Cancer Prevention Study of the American Cancer Society will be enrolling participants at the YMCA from September 17-21, 2013. Participants who enroll will simply fill out a comprehensive survey packet about health history; provide a small blood sample (to be collected by trained phlebotomists); and provide a waist measure. Enrollment will take approximately 20-30 minutes at your local event. From that point forward, study participants will be followed over time to update information via periodic, mailed surveys. Your involvement in CPS-3 will help American Cancer Society researchers understand the causes of, and ultimately determine ways to prevent, cancer. If you are willing to make a long-term commitment to the study (which involves completing follow-up surveys periodically over the next 20-30 years), are between the ages of 30 and 65 years old and have never been diagnosed with cancer, then you will want to participate in this study. If you don’t meet the eligibility requirements, your significant participation comes from telling everyone you know about the opportunity to help prevent cancer. Visit,, call 1-888-604-5888 or e-mail to learn more about the difference you can personally make in the fight against cancer.
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Personnel and Staffing Changes


  • Donald Forkner, Electrician, FacOps, effective May 1, 2013
  • Kaylene Larson, Program Coordinator, Upward Bound, effective May 1, 2013
  • Martin Schiavenato, Associate Professor, Faculty Scholar in Residence, College of Nursing, effective July 1, 2013


  • Teena McDonald, from Clinical Professor to the Program Coordinator of the Field-Based Principal’s Certification Program, effective May 15, 2013


  • Elijah Brophy, Database Administration, Information Technology Services, effective May 3, 2013
  • Katherina Choka, Instructor, College of Nursing, effective May 15, 2013
  • Kalista Dubiel, Instructor, College of Nursing, effective May 15, 2013
  • Kenneth Hall, Instructor, College of Nursing, effective May 15, 2013
  • Jolene Haskins, Instructor, College of Nursing, effective May 15, 2013
  • Meghan Sahlberg, Instructor, College of Nursing, effective May 15, 2013
  • Phil Young, Instructor, College of Nursing,Yakima, effective May 15, 2013
  • Gene Sharratt, Clinical Asst. Professor, College of Education, effective June 1, 2013
  • Gary Smith, Assistant Director, Area Health Education Center, effective June 21, 2013


  • Merry Armstrong, Associate Professor, College of Nursing, effective May 15, 2013
  • Jim Howard, Clinical Associate Professor, College of Education, effective May 15, 2013

Recruitments & Searches:

  • Assistant/Associate/Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, open until filled, apply at
  • Extension Regional Specialist, Community and Economic Development Program, WSU Extension, open until filled, apply at
  • Research Operations Engineer, Shock Physics, open until filled, apply at
  • Research Study Assistant, College of Pharmacy, open until May 22, 2013, apply at
  • IT Facilities Specialist, Information Technology Services, open until May 29, 2013, apply at
  • Assistant/Associate/Full Professor, College of Nursing, open until filled, currently interviewing

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Way to Go!

"I want to thank the following for assisting with Stand Against Racism Day, they put up and took down orange ribbons on campus trees and on stands: WSU student Diversity Club members Brenna Bream, Sam Borremo, Caitlin Dill, Kendra Greenwood, Tamara Halverson, Lindsey Thomas, and Jen-Wei. Also, Liz West, Debbie Brinker, and Libby Forsyth from WSU and Lisa Weirich and Ashley Murphy from EWU."
(From Yvonne Montoya Zamora, Human Resources)

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.

Regular stories 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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Editorial staff