Community Outreach

Mar 012011

I’m very excited to share the work I’ve been doing with several colleagues using underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) as a tool to enhance outdoor education. The Increasing challenges of getting youth to care about the outdoors are associated with the challenge of getting them outdoors. Competing for their attention is the interest young people have in technology-related activities, such as gaming and television (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2010). My colleagues and I have conducted multiple programs in the past several years using ROVs to educate youth and adults on the importance of protecting underwater natural resources, as well as enhance their connection with their outdoor environment. Since 2004, we have implemented and systematically assessed more than 30 ROV public education programs from the Great Lakes to the Chesapeake Bay. Participants operated ROVs in underwater parks and such protected areas as Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the Chesapeake Bay, or observed underwater exploration via national broadcasts from dive sites. As a result of participation, individuals became connected to, expressed pro-environmental attitudes toward, and indicated a propensity to engage in protective behaviors toward those places on completion of the program. We are most recently using the ROV to enhance a three-year Chesapeake Bay Watershed education program with Fairfax County Public Schools and look forward to future applications of this exciting technology.

Submitted by Laurie Harmon, assistant professor and program coordinator for Parks, Recreation, and Leisure Studies in the School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism

Feb 242011

Through collaboration with senior industry leaders who comprise the New Century College (NCC) External Advisory Board and Mason leadership scholars, a new leadership institute was created. Called the Mason Institute for Leadership Excellence (MILE), this NCC program emphasizes that leadership development is a lifelong pursuit, building on personal experiences, the experiences of others, and regular self-examination.

The curriculum was designed collaboratively by industry leadership and Mason leadership scholars, giving it a strong theory-to-practice approach. Drawing from the philosophy of talent, MILE accentuates the importance of leading with your strengths, identifying the diverse talents and strengths of others, and making your weaknesses irrelevant. As one participant commented, “The notion of strengths-based leadership shifts the entire mindset.”

The themes of this four-day leadership institute are leading with your strengths, leading with influence, leading with integrity, and leading change. Participants also receive postinstitute leadership coaching from certified professionals. Targeted for high-potential leaders, MILE has attracted participants from federal agencies, small businesses, county governments, and nonprofit organizations.

MILE collaborators include
Nance Lucas, Mason Leadership Scholar
Michelle Marks, Mason Leadership Scholar
Steve Zacarro, Mason Leadership Scholar
Julie Owen, Mason Leadership Scholar
Diane Schulte, Industry Leader and NCC External Board
Rob Holder, Industry Leader and NCC External Board
Randy Freeman, Industry Leader and NCC External Board
Molly Pfeffer, Industry Leader and NCC External Board
Fran Nurthen, Industry Leader and MILE Director

Submitted by Nance Lucas, associate dean, New Century College and College of Humanities and Social Sciences

 Posted by at 8:20 pm
Feb 242011

Mason’s School of Nursing is partnering with the Jeanie Schmidt Free Clinic in Fairfax County to improve access to health care for uninsured people with chronic diseases The $1.6 million Health Resources and Services Administration grant supports Mason’s Partners for Access to Healthcare (PATH), a new faculty practice plan that includes nurse practitioners providing primary and mental health care, nurse educators providing patient education, and nurse researchers evaluating clinical and behavioral outcomes. In addition, the five-year grant offers graduate and undergraduate nursing students opportunities for service-learning experiences.

In fall 2010, Mason nursing faculty members launched a practice one day a week at the nurse-led Jeanie Schmidt Free Clinic, developing a Mason clinic within the community clinic. This initiative leverages the community resources already in place by maximizing the use of the clinic’s space, infrastructure, and community partners. A unique aspect of the expanded primary care services is the addition of behavioral health services. Many low-income uninsured patients suffer from mental illness, including depression and anxiety. Mason School of Nursing faculty members created an integrated model to deliver both primary care and behavioral health care in one place and at one time. Addressing mental health needs may improve other health outcomes, including adherence to medications and various self-management practices that are critical to achieving better outcomes. Not only do clinic patients receive high-quality, evidence-based care, but Mason nursing students work side by side with faculty to deliver this care. What better way to educate the next generation of health care professionals?

The nation is facing a shortage of primary care physicians and a rise in uninsured individuals. To provide care for this population, the federal government is looking to nursing schools to educate nurse practitioners to meet the future demands of primary care and implement new models of care, specifically, nurse-led clinics, which can provide high-quality integrated care while containing costs. The nursing faculty practice at Mason provides a model for university partnerships with community services to address the rising needs of the uninsured or underinsured and the shortage of primary care providers. Mason’s PATH is on the frontlines, working with the community to improve access to health care for the uninsured in Fairfax County.

Faculty members participating in PATH are Kathleen Dickman, FNP-BC and principal investigator of the grant; Robin Remsburg, associate dean and director of nursing; Christina Kalisz, FNP-BC; Penny Cameron, FNP-BC; Marie Kodadek, coordinator of the Nurse Educator Program; Renee Milligan, coordinator of the DNP Program; Lora Peppard, ANP-BC and supervisor of behavioral health activities; Ana Stoehr, MSN, PhD candidate, coordinator of the Nursing Administration Program; and Charlene Douglas, coordinator of community health services.

For additional stories, read

Submitted by Kathleen Dickman, assistant professor/Nurse Practitioner Program coordinator, College of Health and Human Services

 Posted by at 4:15 pm
Oct 192010

Ever since I “graduated” from being George Mason University’s mascot, my life has been full of excitement and fulfillment. With the help of Mason’s Office of Community Relations, a unit of University Relations, I had a makeover and became a community ambassador, teaching schoolchildren about sustainability.

The Go Green with Gunston Program, I am proud to say, is the result of some wonderful partnerships. One partnership is with the National Energy Education Development Project, which helped develop our innovative and interactive environmental-education program.

Another great partnership we have is with the Fairfax County Office for Children, which manages the School Age Child Care (SACC) Program, where, with my partner, Mason, I teach children in kindergarten through third grade about, well, going green. That partnership, in fact, earned us the 2010 Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties.


 Posted by at 1:11 pm