New Quality of Life Institute director sees improved healthcare for West Virginians

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University’s Quality of Life Institute in the School of Nursing has its first director: Laurie Badzek, M.S., a nursing professor with a law degree.

On the School of Nursing faculty for 18 years, Badzek has written scholarly articles and textbook chapters, taught nursing students and helped to craft a national Code of Ethics for Nurses.  In January she started her new mission at the institute, created to promote better healthcare in West Virginia.

“Nurses are uniquely positioned to make a positive impact both on individuals and local communities,” said Georgia L. Narsavage, Ph.D., dean of the School of Nursing. “I’m so pleased that Laurie Badzek will work with the School of Nursing and others to decrease health disparities and promote access to high quality, professional care for even those people far removed from medical centers.”

The Quality of Life Institute, which Narsavage spearheaded, is dedicated to promoting good health through various means including improving access to care and helping patients manage their own acute and chronic diseases.

“Access to care is also a challenging issue, because the rugged, mountainous nature of West Virginia coupled with lack of public transportation mean many people are left out in the cold when it comes to healthcare,” Badzek said. “Another goal is to increase access to culturally sensitive healthcare throughout West Virginia.”  

She added, “The institute will focus on the creation of partnerships in education, research, practice, and service that will translate to improved health outcomes for vulnerable populations.”

Badzek envisions nursing faculty collaborating with pharmacists, dentists and doctors and others on projects that are not just research oriented but are also designed to produce practical results. In dealing with access-to-care issues, for instance, the Quality of Life Institute will be introducing ways to provide the services of nurses, nurse practitioners and other primary healthcare providers to people in rural areas.

 “A year from now, I expect to have increased our current funding for Institute-related projects. I expect that people will know about our institute, begin to see the impact of our work, and that our faculty members will have had some publication and funding success,” Badzek said.

Badzek’s areas of interest include health policy and ethics. She has recently focused on work that enables nurses to incorporate genomic advances – based on research into the human genome that predicts how individual risks impact health – into their daily patient care.

Badzek is also director of the American Nurses Association Center of Ethics and Human Rights. She was instrumental in developing the association’s Code of Ethics for Nurses, adopted in 2001, representing the first major revision of the code in 50 years.

She contributed chapters to two books that won awards in 2008. “Nursing and Health Care Ethics: A Legacy and A Vision” received a Publications Award of Excellence from the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Society for Technical Communication. “Guide to the Code of Ethics for Nurses: Interpretation and Application” received a Publications Award of Merit from the same group.

For information on the School of Nursing see http://www.hsc.wvu.edu/son/.





For more information:
Andrea Brunais, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
ab: 2-02-09

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