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News

Carthage creates Smeds Fellowship in Population Health

February 12, 2018

Carthage has established a new fellowship that empowers nursing students to address community-wide health challenges through broader global knowledge.

Made possible by a gift from Trustee Emeritus Ed Smeds ’57 and his wife, Alice (Lawler) Smeds ’57, the program is open to academically strong junior and senior nursing majors who are committed to improve health care results in Kenosha and beyond. Two $5,000 awards will be given.

Emma Dresen ’19 and Tony Allen ’19, the inaugural recipients of the Smeds Fellowship in Popul...Carthage designed the Smeds Fellowship in Population Health in part to support students pursuing a career in population health. That segment of nursing focuses on a group with a high incidence of a particular disease or a high risk of developing it.

“This generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. Smeds helps students to experience nursing from a different perspective,” said Professor Frank Hicks, director of Carthage’s nursing program. “By designing population-based interventions, students will be able to address these needs on a much broader level than they would with individuals alone.”

The fellowship has an international component. Recipients will participate in a J-Term study tour of their choice and then implement a health-related project when they return.

“Viewing health care in a different setting lets students compare systems and outcomes of care,” said Prof. Hicks, pointing out that other countries statistically have better outcomes in many categories.

Ranked No. 5 nationally for participation in short-term study abroad, Carthage offers a variety of J-Term destinations. Both inaugural nursing fellows have committed to this summer’s Nicaragua study tour, a biannual course that incorporates medical and water quality service projects.

Smeds fellowships for 2017-18 were awarded to these two students:

  • Tony Allen ’19 (Minooka, Illinois) – An aspiring pediatric nurse, Tony proposes a plan to decrease obesity and increase physical activity among school-age children in Kenosha.
  • Emma Dresen ’19 (Racine, Wisconsin) – Several of Emma’s friends have diabetes, providing personal motivation for her project. She aims to hold a 5-kilometer run/walk that would educate Kenosha area residents to avoid the disease.

“Besides the potentially devastating long-term consequences for individuals, both of these public health issues place an enormous burden on communities through health care costs and disabilities,” Prof. Hicks said. “Tony’s and Emma’s projects employ preventive and educational strategies to reduce the potential long-term complications.”

The initial cohort of 15 juniors in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program recently transitioned to the clinical phase of their education. Launched in 2015, nursing quickly has become one of Carthage’s fastest-growing majors, with 73 students entering in fall 2017.

More than 20 years ago, these same benefactors established the Smeds Executive Internship Program, which has provided stipends to more than 400 interns from the College. Mr. and Mrs. Smeds see the nursing fellowship as a similar opportunity to connect their giving to outcomes.

“We like investing our philanthropic dollars in ways that directly impact students’ ability to secure jobs after graduation,” said Mr. Smeds. “This adds to nursing students’ clinical experiences, cultivating cultural awareness and preparing them to think in terms of the broader health needs of Kenosha.”

Administrators believe the public will be the ultimate beneficiary. This program is part of Carthage’s renewed commitment to help the surrounding community by channeling students’ energy and expertise.

“Ed Smeds’ gift supports all that makes a Carthage education what it is,” said President John Swallow. “Our students develop their personal, intellectual, and practical skills in concert with our faculty and staff and apply those new skills, even before graduation, as they set out on a lifelong commitment to meet the world’s needs.”