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UIC Nursing hosts “most memorable” MNRS conference

MNRS Conference logo

The UIC College of Nursing was proud to be lead host at the first-ever virtual conference of the Midwest Nursing Research Society, Apr. 1-4. The event had been scheduled to take place in Schaumburg, a northwest suburb of Chicago, but was transitioned to an online format in response to the COVID-19 epidemic.

“This is likely to be the most memorable MNRS conference ever, and hopefully the only stay-at-home conference,” said UIC Nursing Dean Terri Weaver, PhD, RN, FAAN, ATSF, in remarks she delivered to open the conference.

“I wish I were able to greet you in person in Schaumburg, but I’m glad that you are home and safe,” she added.

Given the unprecedented circumstances leading to the conference’s online format, Weaver forewent the traditional “puffing out your chest”—the noting of her college’s recent accomplishments and accolades—that is typical for a host dean at the MNRS conference.

Instead, she said, “At this time, the only thing on my mind and in my heart is an expansive pride for our field—certainly for our clinical practice of nursing, but importantly for the science [nurses] have generated that is being tapped into and publicized every day.”

Following Weaver’s remarks, Nursing Collegiate Professor Shannon Zenk delivered the opening keynote, entitled “Neighborhood research to advance health equity: Up, out and onward.”

Zenk began her remarks by saying, “Now more than ever, nursing research is relevant and it’s needed. Now more than ever, it’s really important to train the next generation of nursing scientists.”

She went on to deliver a compelling presentation on how social and economic factors, as well as physical environments, contribute to health disparities, with a special analysis of how lower income communities are more severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Later in the conference, UIC Nursing faculty won notable awards. Associate professor Patricia Hershberger, PhD, RN, FNP, FAAN, was honored with MNRS’ 2020 Distinguished Service Award, and associate professor Kamal Eldeirawi received the Mid-Career Investigator Award from the Pediatric Research Interest Group. Also, alumna Mary Hannan, PhD ’19, won the Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Health Promoting Behaviors Across the Lifespan Research Interest Group.