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Annual Showcase honors
Nursing prof to receive Faculty Diversity Award
Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011
By Steve Nakata, Office of Student Affairs and Enrollment
SPOKANE - "While many people in academe write about social justice and diversity, this year’s recipient of WSU's Faculty Diversity Award doesn’t hesitate to live it."
Those are the words of Patricia G. Butterfield, dean and professor of WSU’s College of Nursing, in describing her colleague, Carol Allen, a clinical associate professor in the college.
Allen becomes the fourth person to receive the WSU Faculty Diversity Award since it was established in 2008. She will be recognized during WSU’s annual Showcase banquet on March 25.
WSU Provost Warwick Bayly said Allen was chosen from among 11 deserving finalists.
"It is great to have a nominee pool of this size,” he said. "Professor Allen is being recognized for her lifelong commitment to fostering cross-cultural collaboration and understanding, and for providing health care to underserved populations, not only in the United States but around the world.
"I am deeply honored and humbled to receive this award,” Allen wrote from Africa, where she is teaching and conducting research on a Fulbright fellowship.
Allen arrived at WSU Spokane in 1977 to become a lecturer in the College of Nursing. Since then her colleagues say she has positively impacted the lives of hundreds of students and community members through her advocacy of diversity and equality.
In addition to teaching courses such as Diversity in Health, Community Health, and The Health and Culture of the Plateau Tribes, Allen has provided students with opportunities to work with her to develop nurses and healthcare communities in places such as Peru, Malawi and Micronesia.
"Delivering primary care services in clinics with no walls and no plumbing, Carol eased our students out into a broader vision of clinical practice,” said Butterfield. "She took them into the jungle, into the cities and, most important, into the communities in a person-to-person way.”
Allen also has opened students’ eyes to health issues much closer to home - particularly among the homeless. For more than 20 years she has worked to bring health care to homeless populations.
"This work not only benefits an often forgotten population, but allows nursing students to journey under bridges and learn that respectful care should be provided to all,” said nominator Anne Hirsch, senior associate dean and professor in the College of Nursing.
Mary Rathert, program director for a Spokane area day center for homeless and low income women, said, "From Carol they learn about nursing, but they also have an opportunity to put a human face on poverty and oppression. For many, their experience becomes life changing.”
"Excellent care requires understanding cultural differences and seeking interventions that are safe and culturally acceptable,” Allen said. "I am innately curious and I hope to encourage curiosity and the willingness to walk a mile is someone else’s shoes in my students.”
Allen is widely known for reaching out to students - particularly international students who commonly experience loneliness and culture shock when they leave home for college.
"She does a fantastic job of helping students navigate their new surroundings so they can be successful in their studies,” said Michael J. Tate, special assistant to the provost and chief diversity officer. "She is very deserving of this award.”