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Rush nursing PhD student becomes Bob Woodruff Foundation-Jonas Nursing Scholar

Saturday May 4, 2013
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Teresa Yambo, RN, MSN, a PhD student at Rush University College of Nursing in Chicago, recently was named a Bob Woodruff Foundation-Jonas Nursing Scholar. This award honors doctoral students who have a research interest focused on veterans’ health.

In 2012, according to a news release, the Bob Woodruff Foundation partnered with the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence to provide $200,000 in grants to 20 doctoral nursing students focused on the invisible wounds of war. The ultimate goal of the partnership is to equip nurses to address the health challenges that prevent post-9/11 injured service members from thriving once they return to civilian life.

Yambo was selected for her research interest in creating early intervention strategies for military families with mental health issues, according to the release. Yambo’s interest in veteran families stems from her experience in the U.S. Air Force.

Before she was admitted to the Rush University College of Nursing doctoral program in 2009, Yambo served on active duty as a staff development officer.

She met with airmen to assess their training needs and repeatedly witnessed how mental health issues were affecting not only the veterans, but also their spouses.

Yambo said in the release that a particular military airman had difficulty communicating with his wife throughout his deployment.

"The breakdown in communication continued when the airman returned home and the relationship eventually ended in divorce," she said in the release. "I remember his frustration with the lack of awareness programs to support his wife."

Her encounter with the airman inspired Yambo to respond. She said in the release she plans to conduct a phenomenological study to explore and address the experiences of military spouses living with service members who have post-traumatic stress disorder.

"We need to create early mental health intervention strategies for our military families," Yambo said in the release. "Sound mental health is an essential aspect of physical health for the veteran, the spouse and the entire family."

In addition to her study, Yambo will assist the American Academy of Nursing Veteran’s Healthcare Expert Panel with the development of a policy statement and campaigning for quality healthcare for veterans and their families.

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