Tag Archive | "school of nursing and health studies"

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Health Researcher by Day, UM Grad Spreads Joy at Night by Teaching Salsa

John Salerno_Salsa

John Salerno, left, who has taught and professionally competed for multiple schools of salsa, competed in the 2015 Orlando Salsa Congress with his partner.

Special to UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (August 24, 2016)—By day, John Salerno works to improve health equity among minority populations as a research coordinator at the University of Miami’s School of Nursing and Health Studies. By night, Salerno teaches the fundamentals of LA-Style salsa dancing at the Patti and Allan Herbert Wellness Center.

When Salerno was just 2 years old, his family took a leap of faith and emigrated from Panama during a time of political turmoil and moved to Miami. In 2009 Salerno became an undergraduate student at UM, where he first fell in love with salsa dancing. After learning the basics from friends, Salerno was hooked. He quickly pursued his passion, becoming a professional salsa performer and instructor.

“Dancing salsa has brought so much joy to my life,” says Salerno. “But teaching others to experience the same joy is even more fulfilling.”

Salerno extended his stay at UM to continue his graduate studies, and now the salsa dancer is a full-time research staff member at the UM SONHS Center of Excellence for Health Disparities Research: El Centro, managing projects, programs, and events.

Not only does Salerno believe salsa improves his physical well-being, he also attributes his overall happiness and productivity at work to his favorite pastime. Salsa dancing helps the researcher stay active while having a positive impact in his work and personal life.

“When you dance salsa, endorphins are released in your brain, giving you a greater sense of well-being,” explains Salerno. “You are also burning fat while you dance, and when you look good, you feel good.”

Salerno has been an active member of the Herbert Wellness Center for more than seven years and is glad he can give back in the form of salsa dance instruction.

“We always welcome skilled and certified University employees as our class instructors,” says Michelle Kasparian, assistant director of group exercise and community classes. “As employees, these instructors help us to connect with the University community, and they contribute to a sense of shared values and University pride that is unique to our programs.”

Salerno, who has been teaching salsa for five years, encourages the UM community to try salsa dancing as a fun way to work out and a great way to express and release yourself through the art of dancing with a partner. His Beginner LA-Style salsa class teaches the basics and fundamentals of LA-Style salsa that is sure to get you on the dance floor in Miami and abroad. His class meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:15 to 7:45 p.m. in the Herbert Wellness Center.

Adds Salerno, “This class is perfect for someone who wants to learn to dance and likes to have fun!”

In addition to Beginner LA-Style Salsa, the Herbert Wellness Center offers dance, youth and adult aquatics, martial arts, and tennis classes open to both members and non-members. Registration for these classes begins Monday, August 29 and closes Monday, September 12. Classes begin the week of September 6, and a free trial for each class (first meeting only) is available through September 12, excluding youth aquatics. Registration is not required to attend the free class. Class registration is available online or by visiting the sales office Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.


Posted in For Your Benefit, Freeze Frame, Health and Lifestyle, Priority: Home Page More NewsComments Off

Dean Peragallo Montano to Step Down


Dean Peragallo Montano to Step Down

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News

PeragalloCORAL GABLES, Fla. (August 4, 2016) — Nilda (Nena) Peragallo Montano, who fostered monumental growth and significant improvement in the curriculum, facilities, and programs of the University of Miami’s School of Nursing and Health Studies during her 13 years as dean, will step down at the end of the fall 2016 semester.

An internationally recognized nursing scientist, Peragallo Montano will become dean of the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“Nena’s leadership and the contributions of the school’s outstanding faculty led to many significant accomplishments,” said Thomas J. LeBlanc, UM’s executive vice president and provost, noting that Peragallo Montano “has elevated the School of Nursing and Health Studies into the ranks of the nation’s best.”

Recalling how she was welcomed into the University family in 2003, Peragallo Montano said, “I came here with a vision: to leverage the singular strengths of the School of Nursing and Health Studies to elevate its national and global standing, promote academic excellence, and prepare health care leaders for the 21st century. Through the remarkable dedication, talent and generosity of our students, faculty, community partners and friends, we have achieved this dream. I leave the U with great pride and a firm confidence in the spectacular future that lies ahead for the School of Nursing and Health Studies.”

During her tenure, Peragallo Montano helped usher in a new era for the nursing school, leading its transition from a small, cramped World War II-era building located on the edge of the Coral Gables campus to a modern 53,000-square-foot, four-story facility with smart classrooms and a clinical simulation and research area where students now practice real medical crises on high-tech patient mannequins that can register a heartbeat and other vital signs and even sweat.

Today, the M. Christine Schwartz Center for Nursing and Health Studies, a building for which Peragallo Montano helped raise the remaining funding needed to make it possible, houses the school’s faculty, staff, and students under one roof.

Long a proponent of simulation-based scenarios and the benefits such activities offer in preventing mistakes before nursing students work in live clinical situations, Peragallo Montano pushed for the creation of a Simulation Hospital at UM. Next year, the school will open such a facility, bringing her efforts to fruition.

Stepping into her role as dean at a time when an acute shortage of nurses at the state, national, and global levels began to affect the health care sector at alarming rates, Peragallo Montano instituted new programs to address the crisis. Under her leadership, for example, the school launched an Accelerated B.S.N. Program that allows students with bachelor’s degrees in other fields to earn a nursing degree in a year.

She spearheaded expansion of the school’s curriculum in other areas as well, introducing Doctor of Nursing Practice and Bachelor of Science in Health Science programs as well as Florida’s first B.S.N.-to-D.N.P. in nurse anesthesia track and South Florida’s first Bachelor of Science in Public Health degree.

During her deanship, the school’s student enrollment tripled, its M.S.N. and D.N.P. programs are now ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 Best Graduate Schools, and it emerged as a leading recipient of National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants—it is No.1 in Florida and 22nd nationwide in NIH funding among nursing schools.

Peragallo Montano ramped up the school’s academic and clinical practice standards, which led to record passing rates on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. In 2012, 98 percent of UM’s nursing graduates passed the exam on their first try.

With a career devoted to improving the health status of minorities and other underserved populations, she expanded the school’s prominence in the global health arena, leading the 2007 birth of its Center of Excellence for Health Disparities Research, or El Centro, made possible by a NIH grant of more than $7 million. In 2012, El Centro received renewed NIH funding through 2017, and the nursing school was re-designated a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Nursing Human Resources Development and Patient Safety.

Peragallo Montano is an inductee of the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame of the Sigma Theta Tau International nursing honor society and a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. She also is on HispanicBusiness magazine’s list of the nation’s 100 Most Influential Leaders.

LeBlanc will appoint a committee to conduct a national search for her successor.



Posted in Appointments, News, Priority: Home Page TeaserComments Off


White House Recognizes Ph.D. Candidate as Champion of Change

Special to UM News

UM's is recognized by Vice President Joe Biden.

Vice President Joe Biden recognizes UM nursing student Valerie Halstead.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 26, 2016)The White House has honored 10 student leaders, including the School of Nursing and Health Studies’ own Valerie Halstead, for their efforts to change the culture around sexual assault and dating violence on their campuses.

Halstead, a registered nurse who is pursuing her Ph.D. in nursing at UM, was recognized as one of the nation’s “It’s On Us White House Champions of Change” for her work with the University of Miami President’s Campus Coalition on Sexual Violence and Prevention. She was nominated for the award by coalition leaders.

“This honor recognizes not only my work but the work of the campus coalition,” said Halstead, whose dissertation research is exploring how campus health centers can implement best practices when caring for victims of sexual violence. “It empowered me to keep striving to make a difference in students’ lives.”

The April 14 gathering included a roundtable discussion with White House officials and policymakers who wanted to learn about the frontline campus initiatives represented by the students. It was followed by student-led panels on ending the rape culture and on engaging men and communities in this effort. Halstead spoke about the coalition’s efforts to engage students in an ongoing dialogue on sexual assault and about the importance of providing victims with appropriate health care resources.

The event closed with remarks by Vice President Joe Biden, who with President Obama launched the It’s On Us campaign in September 2014 to wake up  colleges and universities—and the nation—to the epidemic of sexual violence on their campuses. Halstead had an opportunity to share her thoughts about her work with the vice president, who, as a U.S. senator, sponsored the landmark 1994 Violence Against Women Act. “He’s very dedicated to this issue and genuinely invested in changing the culture,” Halstead said.

Halstead plans to stay in touch with the other awardees and to collaborate at the national level. “It was inspiring to be a part of the national conversation and to meet others who are passionate about the same challenges,” she said. “The gathering was a huge force for collaboration and change.”


Posted in Honors, NewsComments Off


Health Trust Awards UM $1.7M for Nursing Resource Center

UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 18, 2016)—One of the nation’s largest private funders devoted exclusively to nursing students and nursing education has awarded $1.7 million to the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies. In November 2015, the school broke ground on the five-story, 41,000 square-foot Simulation Hospital. This transformative facility is expected to provide an enhanced education center for students by replicating the true activity of a clinical practice and hospital. The Helene Fuld Skills Resource Center, supported by the Helene Fuld Health Trust grant, will occupy the entire fifth floor of the hospital and provide a setting for students to master fundamental techniques and procedures.

The award also will fund three years of scholarships for eight full-time students per year enrolled in the school’s accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) degree program. The ABSN is a rigorous, fast-track, second-degree program which enables individuals who already hold a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing to complete the BSN. The financial aid to these students is critical because most have exhausted other scholarship support while earning their first non-nursing degrees.

“We are excited that a national leader of the caliber of the Helene Fuld Health Trust is joining us in our mission to deliver innovative, state-of-the-art education to our nation’s future nursing professionals,” said Nilda Peragallo Montano, dean of the School of Nursing and Health Studies.

The primary mission of the Helene Fuld Health Trust is to support and promote the health, welfare, and education of nursing students.


Posted in News, Priority: Home Page TeaserComments Off

Nursing Researcher Headed to Hall of Fame


Nursing Researcher Headed to Hall of Fame

UM News

Anne.NorrisCORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 22, 2016)—Anne E. Norris, a professor in the School of Nursing and Health Studies who researches innovative technological approaches for tackling risky adolescent and young adult sexual behavior, will be among 19 nurse researchers inducted into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame at the Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) Honor Society of Nursing’s 27th International Nursing Research Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, this summer.

Created in 2010, the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame recognizes nurse researchers who have achieved significant and sustained national or international recognition for research that has improved the nursing profession and the people it serves. Norris’s research and that of the other 18 honorees, who come from six countries around the world, will be shared through STTI’s Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Repository, enabling nurses everywhere to benefit from their discoveries and insights.

“These cumulative research achievements of these 19 honorees has been nothing short of life-changing,” said STTI President Cathy Catrambone. “We celebrate their achievements in advancing world health, and I offer my personal congratulations. I look forward to learning and sharing more about their contributions.”

Norris, who earned her Ph.D. in nursing and psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1988, joined UM in 2014, after holding nursing faculty positions at Ohio State University, Boston College, and the University of Central Florida. She has spent much of her career exploring how culture and other social influences affect health behavior and how gaming and simulation can promote health.

She is the principal investigator of a $3.3 million grant to reduce teen pregnancy and the risk of sexually transmitted infections among Latina adolescents in Miami-Dade County using “Mighty Girls,” a program that combines classroom sessions and an interactive video game in which players talk with avatars to practice evidence-based communication skills for resisting peer pressure.

The author or co-author of more than 90 scholarly publications, Norris has presented her work at numerous national and international scientific meetings and served as guest editor for national and international nursing journals. She is also the 2011 recipient of the Mary Cash Award for Outstanding Contribution to Cultural Diversity in Nursing and Health Care and a fellow of the prestigious American Academy of Nursing.

STTI’s annual congress attracts nearly 1,000 nurse researchers, students, clinicians, and leaders, who learn from evidence-based research presentations. The theme for the 27th congress, to be held July 21-25, is Leading Global Research: Advancing Practice, Advocacy and Policy. To view details, visit congress.nursingsociety.org.



Posted in Honors, Priority: Home Page TeaserComments Off

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