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Send Dr. Arnold an Email
Dr. Catherine Arnold joined the faculty full-time in 1990. Her positions include Professor, Department Chair, and former Assistant to the Provost for University Assessment. Prior to teaching full-time, she worked as a clinical dietitian, community educator, consultant dietitian, and adjunct faculty member, Dr. Arnold earned her doctorate in Educational Psychology and Graduate Certificate in Advanced Quantitative Methods in Education from Northern Illinois University, and Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition from Rush University. She completed Advanced Specialty Training Certificate in Adult Weight Management (by CDR) and Leadership (Leadership Institute of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics).
Dr. Arnold's research interests include Determining Predictors of health behavior change, self-efficacy and motivation, and student leadership, engagement, and learning. To support her endeavors, she received funding from five granting organizations for over $100,000. Her work is published in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Dr. Arnold delivered over 40 presentations at local, state, and international conferences.
Dr. Arnold is a past President of the Illinois Dietetic Association (IDA) and West Suburban Dietetic Association, past co-Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee of the IDA, and was appointed as a program reviewer by the by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Dr. Arnold was the recipient the Outstanding Dietetics Educator Award from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Alumnae of the Year Award from her high school, and Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year Award from the IDA. She is listed in Whos's Who in Education, Who's Who in America, and Who's Who in the World. Dr. Arnold was the recipient of the Judith Ann Whinfrey Distinguished Faculty Award for Leadership by Benedictine University (2019).
Send Dr. Beezhold an Email
Bonnie Beezhold, Ph.D., M.H.S., C.H.E.S.
Dr. Beezhold joined the tenure-track faculty in 2011. She earned a Master of Health Science degree in International Health (Nutrition focus) from Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health and a Ph.D. from the interdisciplinary Physical Activity, Nutrition and Wellness doctoral program (Nutrition focus) at Arizona State University. She is certified as a Health Education Specialist (CHES) by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, and leads the department's health education concentration. Dr. Beezhold primarily teaches and mentors graduate students in the MSNW program, but also teaches the undergraduate Health and Nutrition Education course. She is interested in fostering a greater public health perspective among undergraduate and graduate Nutrition students.
Dr. Beezhold's main research focus investigates the link between diet pattern and parameters of mental health in healthy populations, particularly comparing the vegan and omnivore diet. Another research avenue explores health outcomes associated with the hunter-gatherer diet compared to the modern diet. As a member of the American Society for Nutrition, she presents her research annually at the Experimental Biology conference, and her work has been published in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Beezhold regularly acts as a peer reviewer for numerous nutrition and medical journals such as the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Pediatrics. She is also a member of the American Public Health Association and the National Wellness Institute.
Send Dr. Bhagat an Email
Dr. Krishna Bhagat is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health. Her Bachelors degree is from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where her majors were Sociology and Gender and Women's Studies, with a minor in South Asian Studies. From there, she went on to earn a Masters in Public Health from Boston University in International Health and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Her doctoral training is in Behavioral and Community Health from the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Bhagat has experience managing large-scale research studies at an independent research company called NORC at the University of Chicago. She is also very passionate about addressing public health issues that affect societies across the globe and spent four years helping to develop, lead, and teach for an immersive Global Public Health program for undergraduate students. She is specifically interested in raising awareness about how public health intersects with gender and creating programming that empowers women around the world.
Dr. Bhagat's research interests include examining taken-for-granted public health 'stories' from a more critical lens so that we can work together to promote health in more holistic, effective, inclusive, and safer ways. Often, when it comes to factors related to our health, we mistake association for causation when in actuality, the relationship between different variables is much more complex than that. One example of this is the relationship between health and weight. It is readily assumed that over-weight and obesity lead to ill-health when in fact the connection between these two variables is hardly linear or isolated. Acknowledging this evidence, Dr. Bhagat's current research project includes working with students and community partners to design and deliver a novel non-weight centered health promotion program aimed at encouraging community members to have healthier relationships with themselves, their bodies, food, and physical activity.
Dr. Bhagat is also the on-campus student adviser and works closely with the Public Health Student Organization. She is happy to set aside time to speak with students about their progress in the department, career aspirations, or opportunities to be involved in research or service projects in public health.
Other than her work, Dr. Bhagat enjoys spending time with her family -including her two crazy kiddos-, running, and working on projects around the house.
Send Dr. Cheng an Email
Phone: (630) 829-6181
Dr. Susan Cheng joined the Benedictine University's Department of Public Health faculty full-time in 2013 as a tenure-track, assistant professor, and currently serves as the Department Chair. Prior to joining the faculty, she served as an adjunct faculty member for Trident International University in their MPH program. In addition, she served as a Principal Investigator, Project Manager, and Epidemiologist for the Emergency Preparedness Resources for Native Americans project in California from 2002-2013. She earned a MPH in Epidemiology from San Diego State University researching male endogenous hormones and bone mineral density, and a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of California, San Diego in the field of HIV research.
Dr. Cheng's primary research interests focus primarily on Maternal and Child Health, special populations, and mental health. She is interested in health outcomes for women and children during pregnancy and in early childhood, in the fields of gestational diabetes, post-partum depression, mental health impact of adverse events, childhood obesity prevention, and infant mortality and birth outcomes. She has several publications in peer-reviewed journals, and has presented locally and nationally at a variety of public health conferences, including the American Public Health Association, Illinois Public Health Association, the World Conference on Disaster Management, and the National Rural Health Association Conference.
Dr. Cheng believes that research should be relevant, timely, and engage student participation and interest. She has created and implemented the annual MPH research symposia to showcase student research projects for the department, several of which were later presented at the American Public Health Association's annual meeting, and some of which are in stages of manuscript writing and publication. She has also mentored a variety of student research projects on a range of topics from drug interaction and toxicity, nutrition and social determinants of health, psychological impact of disasters and outbreaks, tobacco-free campus initiatives, HPV and cancer risks. She believes that a strong research portfolio should include opportunities for student participation and mentoring. She heads the quantitative courses for the MPH program, serves as the assessment and evaluation specialist, and serves on several committees for the college and university.
Send Dr. Devall an Email
Phone: (630) 829-6295
Dr. Alandra Devall is an associate professor and educational psychologist in the School of Education. She came to Benedictine the first time as a graduate student after receiving her bachelor’s degree at Elmhurst College in Special Education. She spent a year completing her master’s degree here in education and went on to Loyola University of Chicago for her PhD in Curriculum, Instruction and Educational Psychology. She returned to BU in 2002 as an assistant professor, where she has taught 11 different courses in both education and psychology for both undergraduate and graduate programs.
In the fall of 2006, Dr. Devall was appointed the Chair of the Institutional Review Board by the Provost, and has since worked diligently to make the IRB process not only smooth, but user-friendly for students and faculty. Currently, Alandra enjoys mentoring undergraduate, graduate and dissertation students in their research pursuits, and has completed over 40 theses, a few of which she has presented and co-presented at the prestigious AERA (American Educational Research Association), HICE (Hawaii International Conference on Education) and the University of Oxford. Dr. Devall’s primary research interests include educational psychology, teaching with technology, adolescent wellness and improving the outcomes and education of adolescents with behavior disorders. In the past five years, Dr. Devall has presented numerous internationally peer-reviewed presentations, published several articles and book chapters, and continues her research/advocacy on issues including social justice and incarcerated youth.
Send Ms. DeWalt an Email
Nikki completed her undergraduate DPD at Bradley University and MS/DI at Eastern Illinois University.
She has been a clinical dietitian, clinical nutrition manager and has worked in the role of preceptor to students in hospital settings. She has spent the last few years working as a renal dietitian in an independent dialysis unit managing the anemia and bone and mineral disease component of ESRD and doing the patient education. Nikki has taught nutrition as an adjunct instructor and has received her Advanced Specialty Training Certificate in Adult Weight Management.
Nikki is excited for the future of this profession and has a special interest in community nutrition and sustainability.
She has two young boys and can be found at a baseball field, soccer field or football field when not at work.
Valerie Ellinger joined the Benedictine University team in 2011. She currently serves as RN-BSN faculty and the RN-BSN Clinical Coordinator. She enjoys teaching the Older Adult course and the RN-BSN Community & Leadership Clinical Experiences. She also assists RN-BSN students in Clinical Placement. She earned her Master of Science in Nursing, specializing in Nurse Education, at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville (2009) and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at McKendree College (2000).
Previously, Ms. Ellinger has taught at the LPN level. Her specialty areas are Acute Care, Emergency and Psychiatric nursing. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, Lambda Upsilon and Nu Pi chapters. She works on several committees, including Benedictine University’s Department of Nursing and Health, Curriculum, RN-BSN, DONH Advisory and Nursing Scholarship.
Send Dr. Ghaffari an Email
Dr. Ghaffari joined the Benedictine University Department of Nursing and Health in August 2017 as a tenure-track, assistant professor. His academic journey began with studying Medical Technology (B.Sc), followed by Medicine (MD-FMG), Community Health Education/Promotion (M.Ed) with focus on sexuality education and drug abuse prevention, BSN/MSN with focus on nursing administration, and PhD in Education with focus on learning and development. In addition to his medical and clinical background, he is an academically trained Nursing Administrator. He was trained and worked in diverse healthcare arena including acute care hospital, long-term and rehabilitative care, and assisted living. He designed, implemented, and evaluated health promotion programs related to sexuality education and drug abuse prevention for the college students.
Dr. Ghaffari maintains an active qualitative research program aimed at understanding and promoting students' academic and life success. He has developed, tested and published a conceptual model, the Trinity Paradigm of Intelligence, which provides a guiding framework for
his work. His current studies focus on assessing the effectiveness of exercise on student health and exploration of the role of socialization in promoting academic wellness.
Dr. Ghaffari presents nationally and internationally, and has published his findings in several peer-reviewed journals. He has chaired and served as a committee member in many dissertations, DNP and MSN capstone projects, and advised and mentored many undergraduate and graduate students.
Send Dr. Gorr an Email
Alan Gorr is Professor of Public Health. His professional interests include health promotion, international health manpower development and ethics. His professional preparation include BA from University Iowa, MA from University of Toronto, PhD from University of Iowa and MPH from University of Illinois at Chicago.
Gorr began his career at Augustana College Rock Island where he became Chair of Professional Studies and initated the Health Education Program. He then moved to the University of Illinois at Chicago where he was an Associate Professor in the Center for Educational Development (now the Department of Medical Education). The Center was a partner with the World Health Organization. While there he advised several nations at the health ministry level and worked as a consultant in Egypt, Sudan, India, and Myanmar. Gorr helped design the PhD in Nursing and the Health Education program for the School of Public Health where he held joint faculty appointments. He was co-editor of the Handbook of Health Professions Education.
At Benedictine University he became Chair of Public Health and then Dean of the College of Education and Health Services. While chair he initiated the online MPH program as well as Health Policy, Social Context of Health Care, and updated the Ethics course. He is the founder and director of the Benedictine University's MPH program in cooperation with Dalian Medical University in China.
Dr. Ho taught as an adjunct faculty member before joining Benedictine as an Assistant Professor in Fall 2016. He received his Doctor of Public Health degree in Biostatistics, with an emphasis in statistical genetics and large-scale computing, from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (2010). His Master of Public Health in Biometry is from San Diego State University (2004), and he holds a Biology degree from the University of California, San Diego (1999).
As a Senior Lead Statistician Dr. Ho has collaborated with eminent international PIs and led teams of statistical programmers, statisticians, and epidemiologists at a variety of institutions (UNC, UCSD, NIH, NIEHS, CDC, SRA International Inc., Agility Clinical Inc.) for more than 10 years, and he has authored and co-authored over a dozen peer-reviewed articles.
His biostatistical experience in all three major areas of public health—academia, government, and private industry—offers invaluable insight to guiding Benedictine students toward a sector that best fits their career goals.
With superior technical expertise in online communication, SAS, R, and various Big Data analytical tools and languages, Dr. Ho looks forward to expanding Benedictine's analytical course offerings, collaborating with other departments, as well as continuing to teach for the Benedictine University's MPH program at Dalian Medical University in China.
Dr. Ho's special research interests include applying Big Data to further understanding public health, including epigenetic variables for personalized medicine, and social media impacts on health outcomes and choices. He is also interested in determinants of health that emphasize mind-body research.
Send Dr. Jeewek an Email
Dr. Joyce Jeewek joined the school of education faculty full-time in 2006. Formerly, she worked as an elementary teacher, reading specialists, special education intervention manager, principal, district curriculum director, and an adjunct faculty member for Northern Illinois, Lewis and Benedictine Universities. Dr. Jeewek's passion is education! Dr. Jeewek earned her Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, a Masters of Science in Education for Language Arts and Reading, and a Bachelor of Science in Education with a concentration in Mainstreaming from Northern Illinois University. In 2010, Dr. Jeewek added an ESL endorsement from Benedictine University to her resume.
Dr. Jeewek's research interests include qualitative studies where teachers, as practitioners, examine ways to improve student learning. Her areas of interest include: reading and the language arts, assessment driving instruction, differentiated instruction, effective reading comprehension and writing strategies, family literacy, English Language Learners, children's literature and family literacy. Her work is published in peer-reviewed journals, including the Illinois Reading Council. Dr. Jeewek delivers numerous presentations at local, state, and international conferences. Dr. Jeewek has also had her students present at various conferences. She teaches children's literature, reading and the language arts, and reading assessment courses to both undergraduates and graduate students.
Professional development is important to Dr. Jeewek. She is currently president of the Prairie Area Reading Council and is a voting board member of the Illinois Reading Council. Dr. Jeewek is a member of the Kappa Delta Pi, international education honor society Chapter Services Committee, in charge of developing strategic plans for the organization. She also is a member of both the International Reading Association's Arbothnot and Jerry John's Award Committee and the Illinois Reading Council's Barack Obama Literacy Award Committee. In 2009, Dr. Jeewek was awarded an Honorable Mention Award by the Barack Obama Literacy Fund and received a small library to use in her children's literature courses for future educators. As a Prairie Area Reading Council board member for the past seven years, Dr. Jeewek has been a part of a council that has received both Honor Council and Council of Excellence from both the Illinois Reading Council and the International Reading Association. She has also received numerous membership and speaker grants and membership idea awards from the Illinois Reading Council.
Send Dr. Jeffery an Email
Dr. Mary Jeffery is an assistant professor with the School of Education and is the Assistant Licensure Office and Assessment Coordinator. She came to Benedictine University as an adjunct instructor and student teaching supervisor in January 2011 after teaching and administrating in secondary public schools for over 15 years. After receiving her bachelor’s degree at Illinois Wesleyan University, Dr. Jeffery followed her love of adventure and moved to Arizona where she worked to develop alternative education programs for high school students. She moved from Arizona to Michigan and completed her Masters of Arts in Teaching K-12 Reading at Saginaw Valley State University. Dr. Jeffery recently completed her Doctorate in Education with a concentration in Leadership in Curriculum and Instruction at Aurora University. Her current position marries her varied background and interests; her administrative experience guides her interest in assessment and her teaching experience guides her interest in working with preclinical candidates, advising, and teaching licensure.
Send Dr. Jezuit an Email
Dr. Jezuit joined Benedictine University as an Adjunct MSN Faculty in 2010 and was appointed in August 2014 as Assistant Professor. Prior to joining Benedictine, Dr. Jezuit served as the Director of an Associate Degree nursing program for 10 years and as assistant professor at Northern Illinois University in the BSN program for 6 years. She has served as a doctoral advisor for several students.
Dr. Jezuit has nearly 40 years of nursing experience including critical care nursing and nursing management, curriculum development and program design, ethics, and nursing presentations.
Earned degrees include: PhD in Nursing Ethics from Rush University, Chicago, with a focus on end of life issues. She received her Master of Science Degree in Nursing (MSN) from Purdue University Calumet, Hammond IN as a critical care clinical specialist and Bachelor Science Degree in Nursing from Ball State University in Muncie IN.
Dr. Kathleen Liace is currently an Assistant Professor in the College of Education, Reading and Literacy Program. Formerly Dr. Liace worked as a reading specialist, district curriculum coordinator, and special education teacher in the public school systems. In addition to teaching, Dr. Liace also provided literacy workshops and training for content area teachers as a Project C.R.I.S.S. Trainer (CReating Independence through Student owned Strategies) , to help teachers learn how to incorporate literacy strategies into their content area instruction. Dr. Liace earned her Doctorate of Education in Reading and Language from National Louis University, a Certificate of Advanced Study in Administration and Supervision from National Louis University, a Master of Education in Special Education from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and a Bachelor of Science in Special Education/Elementary Education from Southern Illinois University.
Send Dr. Libner an Email
Dr. Libner joined Benedictine University in August 2011 as faculty and Director of the RN to BSN Program. In August 2014, she assumed the role of Chair of the Department of Nursing and Health. Teaching responsibilities are met in both the hybrid RN to BSN and 100% online MSN Programs. Prior to joining Benedictine, Dr. Libner served many years as a nursing faculty member and chairperson. She taught all levels of medical-surgical nursing, including supervising clinical experiences in over a dozen sites as well as meeting administrative responsibilities.
In 2010, Dr. Libner was appointed to the Illinois Board of Nursing. She served as Vice-chair from 2013-2014, Chair from 2014-2016, and as a member of the Education Subcommittee throughout her tenure on the Board. With a nurse educator colleague, she developed the Illinois Board of Nursing’s Remediation Strategies for programs with poor NCLEX pass rates. Dr. Libner was awarded fellowship in the National Council State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) Institute of Regulatory Excellence Fellowship Program pursuing her interest in the implications of nurses' understanding of licensure regulation in Illinois. Dr. Libner currently serves as secretary for the Illinois Association of Colleges of Nursing.
Dr. Libner earned an Ed.D. with a focus in Educational Leadership from Concordia University Chicago, Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a clinical specialty in medical-surgical nursing from Loyola University Chicago, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from Northern Illinois University. She holds certification as a nurse educator with the National League for Nursing and as a gerontological nurse with the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
Dr. Annie W. Lin joined the Department of Nutrition as an Assistant Professor in 2020. She completed a joint MS/RD program at Rush University and a PhD in Human Nutrition at Cornell University (minoring in nutritional epidemiology, physiology). She was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the NCI-funded T32 Behavioral and Psychosocial Research Training Program in Cancer Prevention and Control at Northwestern University. She currently holds a dual appointment as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University.
Her research program focuses on using technology-assisted strategies to promote healthy dietary behaviors in the context of cancer prevention and treatment. Dr. Lin is currently leading several collaborations that investigate how to effectively facilitate conversations about health promotion between patients and clinicians via technology. With the support of undergraduate research assistants and collaborators, she hopes to encourage successful translation of nutrition research into clinical practice.
Dr. Lin’s peer-reviewed publications can be found here https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/1hw_BdgAx_sQf/bibliography/public/
Send Dr. LoVerde an Email
Phone: (630) 829-6296
Dr. LoVerde joined Benedictine University as Adjunct faculty in the summer of 2018 and was appointed in January 2020 as tenure track Assistant Professor. In September 2020 she assumed the role of Director of the RN-BSN program. Prior to joining Benedictine Dr. LoVerde taught at Aurora University where she started as Adjunct faculty in the BSN program, was appointed Assistant Professor and advanced to an Associate Professor. Her teaching responsibilities included Coordinating the Community/Public Heath course and teaching Nursing Fundamentals I and II didactic, lab, and clinical. She was also Adjunct faculty in Elmhurst College’s MSN program.
Dr. LoVerde joined Benedictine following completion of her Ph.D. from Illinois State University with a research focus on nursing education. She received her Master of Science Degree in Nursing (MSN) and her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN) from Saint Xavier University. Her master’s degree focused on community health and education. She is Certified as a Nurse Educator (CNE) through the National League of Nursing.
Dr. LoVerde has over 35 years of nursing experience including ICU/CCU. Medical-Surgical nursing, and Home Health Care.
She is currently serving as Vice President of the Lambda-Upsilon at-large Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International.
Send Dr. Milbrath an Email
Dr. Gina Panozzo joined Benedictine University in August 2017 as a tenure track Assistant Professor. Gina is happy to return to Benedictine after being a pre-nursing student there from 2000-2002. Her background includes psychiatric and mental health nursing, home health, hospice, QI/PI management, consulting, and academia. She has taught at the ADN, BSN, RN to BSN, RN to MSN, MSN and DNP levels (didactic, online, and in psychiatric clinical settings). She is passionate about working with underserved and diverse individuals such as the homeless and mentally ill populations. She has taught in state psychiatric facilities and coordinated numerous food/clothing drives for patients. She is fluent in Spanish. Gina received her BSN from the University of St. Francis, MSN in nursing administration from Aurora University, and DNP in systems leadership from Rush University. She is board certified in psychiatric and mental health nursing and a certified nurse educator. She enjoys tutoring and mentoring students as well as speaking at student professional conferences and lunch and learn sessions. She is a member of two chapters of Sigma Theta Tau International, the NLN, and the American Psychiatric Nurses Association. She is an invited member of the IL APNA Nursing Education Taskforce and was elected as Secretary to the IL APNA Board in 2020. Gina received the 40 Under 40 Award in 2016 through the Illinois Nurses Association. Gina's research and publications are focused on reducing readmissions at home health agencies, schizophrenia and therapeutic relationships, interprofessional relationships in mental health, and faculty caring. She has been a poster presenter and speaker at numerous conferences regarding psychiatric nursing, student advocacy, and home health quality improvement outcomes.
Send Dr. Polyak an Email
Phone: (630) 829-6217
Georgeen Polyak is an Associate Professor at Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois.She teaches courses in health systems, health policy, and coordinates on campus student internships.Her primary research interest is in public health services and systems.She has published studies on the performance and funding of public health agencies.Prior to her teaching position, she was Director of Public Health for the Village of Oak Park, Illinois and worked at the Will County Health Department. She is a site reviewer for the Public Health Accreditation Board. She received her doctorate in Public Health Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Send Dr. Richey an Email
Phone: (620) 829-6189
Dr. Richey joined Benedictine University as Adjunct MSN Faculty in 2011 and was appointed in August 2012 as Associate Professor. Prior to joining Benedictine, Dr. Richey served as Associate Professor in Nursing at Mercy College of Health Sciences in Des Moines, Iowa.
Dr. Richey has over 30 years of experience including, mental health nursing, burn nursing, health promotion, nursing management, curriculum development and new program design, nursing research, academia and public speaking.
Earned degrees include: Doctor of Education, specializing in Health Professions Education from College of Saint Mary, Omaha NE. She received her Master of Science Degree in Nursing (MSN) from Drake University, Des Moines, IA, and Bachelor Science Degree in Nursing also from Drake University. In addition, she holds a Diploma in Nursing from Mercy Hospital School of Nursing in Des Moines, Iowa, (1982).
Dr. Richey completed her doctoral dissertation on Registered Nurses’ Perceptions of Health Literacy and Its Effect on Patient Self-Efficacy and Patient Health Care Decisions. Current research interests include: effectiveness of communication and patient education methods among high-risk patient groups; importance of curricula development that stress health literacy; homelessness and its effect on self-efficacy, patient access and patient health care decisions.
Dr. Richey is passionate about health literacy and about meeting the needs of the underserved and homeless. She is devoted to assisting others in the development of their own areas of passion in the service of nursing leadership and nursing education and sharing her love for the profession with her students.
Send Dr. Ridge an Email
Phone: (630) 829-1160
Alison Ridge joined Benedictine University in June 2012 as MSN Program Director and Assistant Professor in the Department of Nursing and Health. Prior to joining Benedictine, she was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community, Systems, and Mental Health Nursing at Rush College of Nursing in Chicago, IL. Over her twelve years on faculty at Rush, she taught didactic and practicum courses in three pre-licensure programs and taught online at the master's and doctoral level. Her administrative expertise grew during the seven years she served as clinical nurse manager of a geropsychiatry unit followed by eight years as a project director on two NIH funded research grants. She received her BSN, MSN specializing in psychiatric nursing, and DNP in systems leadership from Rush College of Nursing. Her practice has focused on the care of acute and chronically ill adults with mental health issues as well as promoting young children's social emotional development through her work with the Chicago Parent Program, an evidence-based parent training program delivered to diverse parents in community settings. Her research interests include online education and program assessment. She became a Certified Nurse Educator in 2011, is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International, the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, and the National League for Nursing. She has received recognition in leadership, mentoring, and teaching and was awarded a two-year Wiley Faculty Fellowship in 2014.
Send Dr. Ritt an Email
Dr. Elizabeth Ritt, a full-time, tenured professor in the graduate nursing program at Benedictine University, received a Bachelor of Science with a major in Nursing from North Park University, a Master of Science in Nursing from Loyola University, and a Doctor of Education with an emphasis on Leadership and Educational Policy Studies from Northern Illinois University. In addition, she holds certifications as a Nurse Executive-Advanced and Nurse Educator. Dr. Ritt has over 25 years of progressive leadership and teaching experience in higher education, having served as director of education, national health care consultant, department chair, dean, and provost at various institutions. Dr. Ritt maintains executive level expertise in regional, national, and programmatic accreditation; principles of adult learning; strategic and financial planning; assessment and evaluation; faculty development; and online education. She is nationally known for her collaborative and entrepreneurial abilities to build strategic partnerships, develop new and innovative academic programs, and grow robust enrollment across various academic disciplines. Dr. Ritt has presented and published in the areas of faculty development, clinical analytics, and recently completed a research study that examined the identification of post-acute patients at risk for hospital readmission. Dr. Ritt has received a Fulbright Scholarship, numerous professional grants, and served as an evaluator for the Higher Learning Commission-North Central Association. She has been involved with the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) since its inception and has served on the Accreditation, Report Review, and Nominating Committees as well as an on-site evaluator and team leader. Currently, she is serving on the CCNE Board of Commissioners as secretary and faculty representative as well as co-chair of the Report Review Committee.
Send Ms. Slezak an Email
Ms. Carrie Slezak joined the Department of Nutrition as Instructor and nutrition laboratory coordinator in 2018. She completed her undergraduate DPD at Illinois State University and MS/DI at Eastern Illinois University. Carrie has been an instructor in the undergraduate nutrition and dietetics field for over 5 years. Prior to higher education she worked as a clinical nutrition manager, renal dietitian, clinical dietitian and long-term care dietitian. She also has experience in the role of preceptor to students in hospital settings. Carrie has recently obtained her dual role status as servsafe instructor/proctor through the national restaurant association. She is well seasoned in all areas of the dietetics profession with a special interest in medical nutrition therapy in the critical care, renal and NICU setting. Carrie is passionate about creating a classroom that simulates the “real-life” scenarios dietitians and managers face in the workplace.
Send Dr. Sochacki an Email
Dr. Paula Milas Sochacki joined the university as an adjunct faculty in 2007. In 2017, she was hired full-time as an Assistant Professor and the DPD Program Director. Recently she was Assistant Professor at Dominican University for the undergraduate program. Her previous clinical work experience were primarily within the area of renal and transplant nutrition at the University of Illinois Medical Center, Chicago and Fresenius Medical Care North America. She has also been fortunate to work in a wide variety of clinical and community nutrition settings throughout the Chicago-land area.
Dr. Sochacki completed her doctoral degree at Northern Illinois University where her research interests focused on Leadership, Diversity and Career Pathway development of Dietitians. She also received her Master in Public Health (Concentration in Community Nutrition) from Benedictine University. She has been involved in a variety of capacities at both the district and state level. Her recent professional leadership positions are: the West Suburban Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (WSAND) Past-President, Committee Chair and Programming Committee Member. Within the Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (IAND) she has continued to be involved as being the Membership Committee Co-Chair and as a Planning Committee Member for the IAND Spring Assembly.
Dr. Sochacki has been the recipient of the: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation Scholarship for Doctoral Research, the Dietitian of the Year (2016-2017) and Young Dietitian of the Year (2010-2011) both awarded from Illinois by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Recipient of the Leadership Award in Adult and Higher Education by Northern Illinois University, and was the recipient of the Benedictine University undergraduate commencement Procopian Award.
Dr. Sochacki is passionate about the importance of continuing professional development and the role of leadership within one's professional organization. Her ongoing participation has been evident, and she hopes to encourage all nutrition professionals to acquire influential positions of leadership; where their "voices" can be heard and they can impact decisions related to the future growth of the dietetics and nutrition profession.
Send Dr. Wong an Email
Phone: (630) 829-1151
Dr. Ovid Wong is a science education professor with Benedictine University since 2007. He has a joint teaching assignment in the College of Science, the College of Liberal Arts and the School of Education. He received his B.Sc. and Dip. Ed. from the University of Alberta (Canada), his M.Ed. from the University of Washington (Seattle), and his Ph.D. in science education from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign).
His experience in public education spans over twenty years from the inner city classroom in Chicago to the suburban office of the assistant school superintendent. For twelve years he was the lead science instructor at the Center for Gifted and Talented Development at Northwestern University. In the summers of 2012 and 2013, Dr. Wong was invited by Dalian Nationalities University in China to train young faculty members representing twelve academic departments in pedagogy and andragogy. In 2013, he was invited by Shenyang Normal University in China to conduct cross-cultural training for faculty and students. The China trips were supported by the Foreign Expert Exchange fund of the Chinese government. In 2017, Dr. Wong was invited by Binh Duong University in Vietnam for faculty pedagogical training.
In 1989, Dr. Wong received the National Science Foundation’s Outstanding Science Teacher in Illinois award and the National Science Teaching Achievement Recognition (STAR) award by the National Science Teacher Association. In the same year he visited the former Soviet Union as the environmental science delegation leader with the student ambassador program. He was the first recipient of the outstanding alumni award by the University of Alberta in 1992 and also the first recipient of the distinguished alumni award by the College of Education at the University of Illinois in 1995. In 2013, he received the Distinguished Faculty Award in recognition of his significant achievements in research at Benedictine University.
Dr. Wong is the author of thirty-two books. He has received the Midwest Book Author ward from the Children’s Reading Roundtable of Chicago. He has written twelve books dedicated to coaching teachers and students to effectively prepare for the state mandated examination across the nation with specific editions for Illinois, Michigan, New York and Ohio. His recent ten books include Using Data Analysis to Improve Student Learning: Toward 100% Proficiency; Pivotal Strategies for the Educational Leader: The Importance of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War; Prioritizing Money and Power: Equalize Student Achievement; Elementary Science with Classroom Experiments; Elementary Science with Classroom Experiments for ISAT; Elementary Science with Classroom Experiments for ESPET; High-Poverty, High-Performing Schools; An Instructor Primer for Adjunct and New Faculty: Foundations for Career Success; Life Decision; and To Learn is To Do: Evangelism ABC.
Send Dr. Woodson an Email
Dr. Markisha Woodson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health. She received her Ph.D. in Community Health from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She had been the Prevention Education Coordinator at Lewis University Center for Health and Counseling Services prior to coming to Benedictine. Her research interests include a focus on the ability of underrepresented groups to survive and thrive in their environments.
Send Ms. Young an Email
Ms. Peggy Young joined Benedictine University full-time in 2015 .However, Ms. Young has been connected to BenU for several years, having completed both Benedictine's RN-BSN completion and MSN online programs. Furthermore, she has been adjunct faculty for BenU since 2012 teaching various courses, including Nursing Theory and Community Health. Prior to joining Benedictine full-time, Ms. Young was faculty and Clinical Coordinator for Triton College. Ms. Young has clinical experience in Medical-Surgical, Labor & Delivery and Postpartum nursing. Ms. Young's background also includes extensive experience in quality improvement.
Ms. Young began her research agenda through her involvement in a research project that landed her at Mayo Clinic's Quest for Quality conference. There she presented the research that she and her colleagues conducted with mothers post-delivery. Most recently, Ms. Young completed a two year term as chair of Leadership Succession for the Lambda Upsilon-at-Large Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society, following service as both vice-president and president of the chapter. Ms. Young continues as an active member of our chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, while also a member of the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nursing (AWHONN) and a Certified Provider in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ).
Jennifer Makelarski, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor) attended the Interdisciplinary Association of Population Health Science (IAPHS), September 30 - October 2, 2020. She gave a poster presentation on “Acceptability of Assessing for and Patterns of Patients’ Health-Related Social Risks across Primary and Specialty Care Settings.” She also gave a presentation titled “The Public Health Potential of a Clinic-Based Community Resource Referral Intervention” and was a moderator at the IAPHS session titled: "Interventions to Improve Health and Well-being.”
Susan Cheng, Ph.D. (Associate Professor) presented at the American Public Health Association in November the following:
Mason T, Battle A, Campbell K, Jackson N, Blevins A, Woodson M, Rodgers C, Langer J, Ali R, Cheng S. Levels of Emotional Intelligence as a Contributing Factor to Substance Use Behaviors among College Athletes: A Quantitative Approach. American Public Health Association Annual Meeting. November 2019, Philadelphia, PA.
Mason T, Battle A, Campbell K, Ho L, Jackson N, Ali R, Langer J, Parise I, Cheng S. Follow-up Study: Quantitative Approach to the Effects of Emotional Intelligence, Persistence, and Graduation Rates on Substance Use Behaviors Among African American College Students. American Public Health Association Annual Meeting. November 2019, Philadelphia, PA.
Mason T, Campbell K, Battle A, Ho L, Woodson M, Langer J, Ali R, Cheng S. Follow-up Study: Quantitative Approach to Exploring the Social Determinants of Health on Racial Inequities in Preventative Health Care in Young African American Men Versus Young Caucasian Men at Universities in the Midwest. American Public Health Association Annual Meeting. November 2019, Philadelphia, PA.
Bonnie Beezhold, PhD, MHS, CHES (Associate Professor, Nutrition) recently published an article reporting on MSNW research project data:
"Vegans report less bothersome sexual symptoms in perimenopause and menopause."
Radnitz C, Beezhold B, McGrath RE, Todd LE. Intl Journal of Disease Reversal and Prevention. 2019 1(2), 25-34.
The COEHS Seventh Annual Faculty Research Symposium was held April 7, 2020 with the following faculty presentations:
Annmarie Chizewski, PhD (Assistant Professor - Sport and Exercise Science) "Fitness Fights Fires: Exploring the Relationship between Physical Fitness and Firefighter Ability"
Jennifer Makelarski, PhD, MPH (Assistant Professor - Public Health) "Variation in the Effects of a Community Resource Referral Intervention on Self-Efficacy for Finding Health-Promoting Resources"
Gina Panozzo, DNP, MSN, RN-BC, CNE (Assistant Professor - Nursing) "Therapeutic Relationships Among Nurses and Persons with Schizophrenia"
Poster presentations were:
Bonnie Beezhold, PhD, MHS, CHES (Assistant Professor - Nutrition) "Relationship of Lifestyle Factors with Mental Health in College Students: A Cross-Sectional Study"
Annmarie Chizewski, PhD (Assistant Professor - Sport and Exercise Science) "Functional Fitness is an Effective Training Modality in Firefighters"
Max Ghaffari, PhD, RN, MT (Assistant Professor - Nursing) "The Development of an Intelligent Leadership Model for Health Care Organizations: A Self-Assessment Approach"
Alan Gorr, PhD, MPH (Assistant Professor - Public Health) "Forty Years of Health Professions Education: Prediction, Reality, Prospect"
Joan Libner, EdD, MSN, FRE, RN-BC, CNE (Professor - Nursing) "Embracing, Advancing, and Reflecting upon the Benedictine Hallmarks in a University Department of Nursing and Health"
Janet LoVerde, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE (Assistant Professor - Nursing) "Comparison of Lecture and Manipulative Teaching Methods on Learning and Application to Practice"
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Cheryl brings a solid background relative to clinical affiliation agreements as a component of her more than 22 years of academic administrative experience that include teaching and serving in several positions of increasing responsibility at Triton College. Her background includes service in the United States Air Force as a medical administrative officer, including as a veteran of Operation Desert Storm. She has an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Nursing and Instructor in Technology (AAS) from the Community College of the Air Force, a Master’s degree in Health Services Administration from the University of Saint Francis, and ABD in Adult Education from NIU.
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Phone: (630) 829-1147
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Phone: (630) 829-6293
Dr. Jan Writer joined the School of Education in 2008. She serves as the Director of Student Placement and teaches courses in the area of special education. She was previously an Associate Professor of Education at Elmhurst College and on the Education faculty at the University of San Diego and the University of Arizona, where she coordinated graduate teacher education programs in the areas of severe disabilities, orthopedic impairments, and multiple sensory impairments. She holds a Ph.D. in special education from the University of Texas at Austin, specializing in severe/multiple disabilities, a master’s degree in speech pathology and audiology from Southern Methodist University, and a bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing therapy from Indiana University.
Dr. Writer has been working in the field of special education for more than 40 years. Prior to joining BU, she was employed as a speech pathologist, a classroom teacher, the coordinator of programs for students with moderate and severe disabilities for a 16-district special education cooperative, a state education agency staff development specialist, a multi-state Deaf-Blind Regional Center education coordinator, an independent evaluator of students with disabilities, an onsite technical assistance provider, a teacher educator, and a parent advocate. Over the past 38 years, she has consulted to programs serving persons with severe disabilities in over 34 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, the U. S. Pacific Trust Territories, and American Samoa.
Dr. Writer is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Council for Exceptional Children, International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Autism National Committee, Autism Society of America, National Coalition on Deafblindness, TASH (formerly The Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps), Autism Society of Illinois, and Arc of Illinois. A specialist in public school inclusion and the education of children and youth with low incidence disabilities (autism, orthopedic impairments, intellectual disabilities, multiple disabilities, sensory impairments, and deafblindness), she serves on leadership committees for multiple national and international organizations in the field of special education. She has further presented at more than 300 regional, state, national, and international conferences on topics specific to the quality education of students with moderate, severe, and low incidence disabilities.
|Carol Bennett, MPH, RDN, LDN||Nutritionfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Patricia Brown, DNP, APRN, CCRN-K||BSN Nursing and Healthemail@example.com|
|Jan Dowell, MS, MHS, RDN, CSSD||Nutritionfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Lynn Dugan, MS, RDN, LDN||Nutritionemail@example.com|
|David Grotto, MS, RDN, LDN||Nutritionfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Sonja Harvey, DNP, RN||BSN Nursing and Healthemail@example.com|
|Margaret Kipta, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, CRNA||BSN Nursing and Healthfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Annie Murphy, MPH, RDN, LDN||Nutritionemail@example.com|
|Peggy Norton-Rosko, DNP, RN||BSN Nursing and Healthfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Teresa Pangan, PhD, RDN||Nutritionemail@example.com|
|Monica Pawasarat, MS, RDN, LDN||Nutritionfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Yolanda Sankey-Walton, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC||BSN Nursing and Healthemail@example.com|
|Laurie Schubert, PhD, RDN, LDN||Nutritionfirstname.lastname@example.org|