The Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research presents the recipients of the Cheryl A. Wilson Nursing Scholarship.




  • Doctoral researchers to focus on sleep disorders in pregnancy and breast feeding patterns 


San Diego, CA - August, 2015.   The Doris A. Howell Foundation announced the recipients of the Cheryl A. Wilson Scholarships to CDR Ryan Nations with the project entitled “Sleep disordered breathing and pregnancy: prevalence and outcomes at delivery”, mentored by Dr. Cynthia Connelly; and to Jodi O’Brien with the research project entitled “Examining breastfeeding patterns and nurse factors associated with in-hospital formula supplementation” sponsored by nursing faculty member, Dr. Mary Barger; both scholarship recipients are candidates for a doctoral degree at USD Hahn School of Nursing.

CDR Ryan Nations and Dr. Doris Howell
“There is an old joke that if you don't remember your anesthesia provider they must have done their job well. While there is a bit of truth and humor in that statement, it is my goal as a nurse anesthetist to disprove that joke. Every interaction is a chance to inform our patients of the value of advanced nursing practice and to hear directly what is most concerning about their health. My role as a Navy Nurse has exposed me to a world of diverse health needs and tremendous opportunities for nursing research- I intend to seize the opportunity!” comments CDR Nations. 

Nations continues: “Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) during pregnancy is associated with significant maternal and neonatal morbidity and in-hospital mortality. A recent prevalence study using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample reported an obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) prevalence of 7.3 per 10,000 in 2013; this is a dramatic increase of 24% per year over the last decade. The increase in OSA mirrors the rise in obesity rates. Women will be screened at delivery for SDB using the Facco Four Variable model to determine the prevalence of SDB and its association with maternal and infant outcomes. The purpose of this study is to identify the prevalence of SDB and its complications in parturients presenting for delivery at a military treatment facility”.

Jodi O'Brien
On the topic of her research project, Jodi O’Brien comments: “My study seeks to reduce women's health risk for breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some (reproductive) cancers, postpartum depression, and rheumatoid arthritis, by investigating infant feeding patterns and nurse factors placing a mother and infant dyad at risk for in-hospital formula supplementation.  Unnecessary in-hospital formula supplementation denies women and infants the full health benefits of breastfeeding exclusivity and increases adverse health risks for both. Given that 97% of all women in the US deliver their infant(s) in the hospital, this study is important to better understand factors influencing breastfeeding outcomes which directly affect women's health. Results will help clinicians and policy makers improve strategies to increase in-hospital breastfeeding exclusivity, and improve the over-all health of women”.

"At a time when infant and maternal mortality in the United States are rising while the rate is decreasing in most other countries, we at the Howell Foundation are extremely pleased and grateful to be supporting research that may help reverse this trend.  We, as well as the Friends of Howell and Scholarship Donors who make this possible, wish Jodi and Ryan all the success", comments Dr. Carole Banka, Chair of the Howell Foundation Board.

The Cheryl A. Wilson Scholarship was established 6 years ago to honor the current CEO of St. Paul’s for all her work at the Howell Foundation.   She is the Chief Executive Officer of St. Paul's Senior Homes & Services in San Diego. She has a Master’s degree from the University of Redlands, MA and an RN from Prince Henry's Nursing School.  Ms. Wilson has earlier experience as a Critical Care/Operating nurse and consultant to long-term care programs/new programs & facilities development. Prior to her current position, she also was a Pediatric Clinic Supervisor and an instructor for the Nursing Administration examination for Med-Ed and American Nurses College.  Cheryl has served on the Howell Board in many capacities, including that of Chair. She is currently Co-Vice Chair of the Board.

The application review process engages academic researchers at the Foundation and the Hahn School of Nursing who provide a critical review and score each proposal according to established criteria.  Proposals are assessed for their impact on women’s health, research design, scholar qualifications and feasibility of accomplishing study goals.  Each student must have a qualified research mentor to direct and guide them. 

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About the Doris A. Howell Foundation:

The Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research is committed to keeping the women we love healthy, advancing women’s health through research and educating women to be catalysts for improving family health in the community.

The organization does so by funding scholarships to scientists researching issues affecting women’s health; providing a forum for medical experts, scientists, doctors, researchers, and authors to convey the timely information on topics relevant to women’s health and the health of their families through its Lecture and Evening Series, and by funding research initiatives that will create women’s health awareness and advocacy in the community.

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