Our new Experience Learning initiative recognizes that learning is enhanced—and more enjoyable—when lessons are used to experiment, solve problems, and innovate. It challenges faculty to look for new and creative ways to work with students. As part of Faculty Appreciation Week 2016, here is a look at two College of Nursing faculty members who “go the extra mile” in their teaching, research, and outreach.
Even as a child, Karen Lasater knew she wanted to be a nurse at UT.
Coming from a long line of health care workers, Lasater enjoyed science classes throughout elementary school and began job-shadowing professionals as a middle school student.
“My family would always travel to UT football games. As a kindergartener, I was asked what I wanted to do when I grew up and I said, ‘I want to work on this campus,’” she recalled.
Lasater received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from UT. After working as a nurse for three years, she returned to UT to earn her master’s degree with a family nurse practitioner concentration.
In 2002, while Lasater was working as a family nurse practitioner for a private practice, the college asked her to serve in an adjunct faculty role on a health care mission trip to Ghana for two weeks. She officially began working for UT just two years later.
Since then, Lasater has been traveling to different countries with the college instructing undergraduate and graduate nursing students on international health care systems, tropical diseases, and cultural competency.
As a clinical assistant professor, she helped lay the groundwork for a partnership between the college and nurses in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
But for Lasater, the most rewarding moments of her trip to Zimbabwe included teaching the HINARI system to the local nurses. The system was developed by the World Health Organization and offers up-to-date research to developing countries. She also helped establish a nursing resource library.
Last fall, Lasater made history when the college received its largest grant to date. The $2 million three-year grant from the US Health Resources and Services Administration will help the college improve clinical education for family nurse practitioner students working with underserved and rural populations. The grant runs through June 30, 2018.
Praise from Victoria Niederhauser, dean of the College of Nursing, makes it clear that Lasater has fulfilled her childhood ambitions.
“Karen is an excellent clinician, teacher, and family nurse practitioner,” Niederhauser said. “She is a wonderful role model for advanced practice nurses in our community and students.”
Transformational change agent. Staunch advocate. High energy. Strategist. Passionate. These are just a few attributes Carole Myers’s colleagues use to describe her.
Myers, an associate professor of nursing and a family nurse practitioner, has led many initiatives that have made a significant difference in the health and well-being of rural communities across Tennessee.
Early in her career, Myers founded and operated a rural health clinic, providing access to health care where none existed. Over the years she established herself as a managed care expert, developing, implementing, and improving a variety of managed care initiatives to contain the cost of health care for individuals and families.
Recently, Myers has devoted herself to improving communities through advocacy and community-based research to advance understanding of health inequities and access to care across Tennessee.
“Her passion for patient access to quality health care and her desire to decrease health care disparities are evident in all she does,” Niederhauser said. “Carole engages others in the need for change and makes things happen. I am not alone in recognizing the impact she has had on our community through her dedication to political activism, advocating for health equity and access to care, and educating the next generation of health influencers.”
Myers is the driving force that led the state’s efforts to establish the Tennessee Action Coalition. TAC’s overall goal is to ensure that all Tennesseans have access to high-quality patient-centered health care.
Myers has built relationships at the state and national levels in order to achieve better and safer care for all citizens. She is an expert in the legislative process and has inspired students and colleagues to become involved in health care policy.
“Her unwavering passion for educating students about their role in influencing public health policy as future health care professionals is unmatched,” said Niederhauser.
Amy Blakely (865-974-5034, firstname.lastname@example.org)