This news release describes past events and should be used for historical purposes only. Please note date of release.

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


News Bureau Schofield Hall 201 Eau Claire, WI 54702
phone: (715) 836-4741
fax: (715) 836-2900

National Indian Nursing Education Conference
To be Held at UW-Eau Claire April 18-20 

MAILED: March 13, 2002

         EAU CLAIRE  The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will host a variety of speakers, visitors and guests at the "Embracing the Spirit: 11th Annual National Indian Nursing Education Conference" to be held Thursday, April 18, through Saturday, April 20.
         Last held at UW-Eau Claire in 1996, the conference will inform American Indian nursing professionals, educators and students about current and future health care concerns in Indian country, as well as significant issues and trends in Indian nursing.
         Conference participants will be welcomed to Eau Claire at a Wisconsin Pride sausage and cheese reception beginning at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, at the Ramada Inn Conference Center, where a block of rooms has been set aside at a special rate.
         The conference gets into full swing Thursday, with registration and opening ceremonies featuring Gordon Thunder and Blackdeer Drum of the Ho Chunk Nation, followed by welcomes from Dr. Rita Kisting Sparks, professor and interim associate dean of the School of Nursing, Chancellor Donald Mash and Provost and Vice Chancellor Ronald Satz.
         Dr. Patty Loew, assistant professor in UW-Madison's department of Life Sciences and Communication and co-anchor of the Wisconsin Public Television show "Weekend," will deliver the keynote address. Lowe is a member of the Bad River Band of Chippewa and has focused much of her academic and professional career on a variety of issues related to Native American culture and its relationship to mass media and popular culture. She also is the author of "Indian Nations of Wisconsin"
         A variety of presentations will follow focusing on Indian healthcare issues, particularly in the Midwest. The conference will showcase Native American nurses from a wide range of tribes and organizations. Prominently featured will be four American Indian nurses who hold doctorate degrees: Dr. Felicia Hodge, a professor at the University of Minnesota and director of the Center for American Indian Research and Education; Dr. Roxanne Struthers and Dr. Margaret Moss, assistant professors of nursing at the University of Minnesota; and Dr. John Lowe, assistant professor of nursing at Florida International University.
         Thursday's schedule also will include research poster presentations by nursing students, School of Nursing tours, and an honoring banquet featuring traditional food and music followed by a showing of the 1996 film "Grand Avenue."
         Friday's schedule will begin with presentations by several speakers, including U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, who will address the health concerns of American Indians and his support for nursing programs that provide services for students to be successful in a highly competitive learning environment. The rest of the day will offer off-campus activities, including a tour of the Ho Chunk Nation's health and administrative facilities, with several on-site presentations and a traditional meal served by the Ho Chunk American Legion Post auxiliary. On Friday evening, an optional bus trip to the Mall of America is available to visitors.
         Saturday's program will be held at the Beaver Creek Reserve, which will include a pancake breakfast, several breakout sessions, a student panel and noon closing ceremonies featuring Lac Courte Oreilles Badger Singers. Participants may visit the Chippewa Valley Museum Ojibwe exhibit Saturday afternoon.
         According to Mary Ellen Stolder, RN, program manager at Continuing Education and one of the conference organizers, UW-Eau Claire is regarded as a leader in Native American nursing education and has received more than $2.5 million in grants from the Indian Health Service over the past nine years. A special grant was provided to cover the expenses of the conference, including scholarships to allow students to attend.
         Stolder credits Marge Bottoms, former project director and grant writer at UW-Eau Claire, with the success of the program at UW-Eau Claire. "In 1991, the year before the program started up, there wasn't a single Native American nursing student on campus," said Stolder. "Now we have over 25 graduates serving their people in Indian country. We want to honor our graduates who have walked down this path."
         The conference will coincide with cultural events on campus being sponsored by the Native American Student Association during Native American Awareness Week, which will allow participants to choose from a variety of other activities and entertainment during and after the three-day conference. The annual Pow-Wow, which will begin Saturday afternoon in Zorn Arena, will include an honor song for nursing graduates.
         The cost for the three-day conference is $60 for students ($30 for single day) and $135 for professionals ($75 for single day), with an additional $17.50 charge for optional round-trip transportation to the Mall of America. For more information about the conference or to register, contact Barbara Severson at Continuing Education, (715) 836-5745 or toll-free 1-(866) UWEC4CE, or send e-mail to

UW-Eau Claire Home  News Bureau
Judy Berthiaume
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
(715) 836-4741

Updated: March 13, 2002