Sacred Heart University’s Health Professions Dean Takes on New Professional Roles

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Maura Iversen, dean of Sacred Heart University’s College of Health Professions, recently assumed two prestigious roles outside the University. She is lending her vast expertise to clinical educators and scholars as an adviser and lecturer at Danbury Hospital/Nuvance Health, and she is the newest member of the American College of Rheumatology Board of Directors. 

“I am honored and pleased to work with these organizations, as it is important to collaborate with our partners, learn and share my experiences with the SHU community,” Iversen said. 

Adviser role
Once a month, Iversen, provides guidance and direction to 14 professionals at Nuvance Health’s Patricia A. Tietjen, MD Teaching Academy. These physicians, occupational therapists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and others, who are already skilled in their fields, benefit from her clinical epidemiology expertise as they advance their projects and research. 

This opportunity came about when Nuvance Health founded its teaching academy in 2021, providing an interprofessional scholarly home for clinical educators. The academy also honors the life and work of Tietjen, Nuvance’s former chief medical officer and passionate advocate for education, who died last year.

“This is a way to develop clinical scholarship,” Iversen said. “We’re also improving quality of care and honoring a great clinician. It’s a win-win.”

Academy Director Beth West said Iversen is sharing her academic expertise and experience, and she is providing critical guidance to the inaugural cohort at the teaching academy. “Since completing their nine-month teaching academy curriculum and coursework in May, the scholars have been working hard to get their educational projects and pilots to the next phase. For some, that means formalizing research methodologies and proposed data analysis prior to launching. For others, it means delivering their program, curriculum or educational intervention to a new group of learners,” West said. 

Iversen, West and Robyn Scatena, the academy’s executive director, are helping to steer the scholars’ projects toward true academic scholarship.

“Clinical research has always been a passion of mine,” Iversen said. “The scholars are sharing their projects with me, and I’m offering my advice. I’m also giving lectures on methodologies, survey input, data management and more. It’s fun to be engaged with these professionals.”

With 20 years of experience lecturing in the clinical effectiveness program at Harvard Medical School and School of Public Health, Iversen believes she has a lot to offer the professionals. She said the group is excited, engaged and ready to learn. 

Scatena and West said they are thrilled to have Iversen engage with scholars and know that only good things will come about because of scholars’ interactions with Iversen.

Board of director role

Iversen is enthusiastic about her work with the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) board of directors. The ACR is a nonprofit professional association of about 8,500 physicians and health professionals committed to advancing rheumatology. It publishes two highly ranked scientific journals, Arthritis Care & Research and Arthritis and Rheumatology.  

The ACR has existed for 75 years, and its board of directors has oversight of the organization and its strategic plan. The board meets quarterly and other times as needed. It also conducts joint meetings with the Rheumatology Research Foundation board of directors. 

Iversen is the ACR’s first non-physician at-large board member. In this position, she also will serve as liaison to the ACR research committee. 

“I am humbled and honored to be selected for this role,” Iversen said. “My career has focused on advancing research, patient care and the education of rheumatology health professionals and physicians. I have a unique perspective on issues facing rheumatology patients, and I believe I will be able to advocate for rheumatology team care members and collaborate on initiatives to address critical workforce issues in the field.”

About Sacred Heart University

As the second-largest independent Catholic university in New England, and one of the fastest-growing private doctoral institutions in the U.S., Sacred Heart University is a national leader in shaping higher education for the 21st century. SHU offers nearly 90 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs on its Fairfield, Conn., campus. Sacred Heart also has a campus in Dingle, Ireland, and offers online programs. More than 10,000 students attend the University’s nine colleges and schools: Arts & Sciences; Communication, Media & the Arts; Social Work; Computer Science & Engineering; Health Professions; the Isabelle Farrington College of Education & Human Development; the Jack Welch College of Business & Technology; the Dr. Susan L. Davis, R.N., & Richard J. Henley College of Nursing; and St. Vincent’s College. Sacred Heart stands out from other Catholic institutions as it was established and led by laity. The contemporary Catholic university is rooted in the rich Catholic intellectual tradition and the liberal arts, and at the same time cultivates students to be forward thinkers who enact change—in their own lives, professions and in their communities. The Princeton Review includes SHU in its Best 388 Colleges–2023 Edition, and Best Business Schools–2022 Edition. Sacred Heart is home to the award-winning, NPR-affiliated radio station, WSHU, a Division I athletics program and an impressive performing arts program that includes choir, band, dance and theatre. www.sacredheart.edu

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