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William F. Connell School of Nursing

Welcome, new faculty

by jane dornbusch

Their specialties range from psychobiology to women’s health, palliative care to Latina health, and mental health to family nursing practice. Meet the newest members of the Connell School of Nursing faculty.

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Ellen Bishop, M.S., FNP-BC, came to nursing from the world of finance. She was working as a marketing client manager at Investors Bank & Trust Company in Boston on September 11, 2001, and decided in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks to reexamine her priorities. She returned to school, earned a master’s degree in nursing from Regis College, and became a family nurse practitioner, working most recently at Cape Ann Medical Center. Along the way, she also did clinical teaching and discovered an affinity for mentoring young nurses. “It’s such a rewarding experience to watch someone blossom from being afraid of everything to being ready to graduate,” she says.


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Assistant Professor Viola Benavente, Ph.D., RN, CNS, has spent years in direct patient care, teaching, and research. She earned a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Texas School of Nursing at San Antonio in 1994 and a doctorate in nursing science from the University of Pennsylvania in 2010, then did a postdoctoral fellowship in Seattle at the University of Washington. One of CSON’s first Latina faculty members, Benavente’s major research interest is promoting the cardiovascular health of Latinas, a burgeoning demographic group that has yet to be adequately studied, she says. She also works with the Women’s Health Initiative, studying health concerns of Hispanic ethnicity and language preference on adherence to a low-fat diet.


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Stewart Bond, Ph.D., RN, specializes in symptom management and palliative care for cancer patients. He holds a master’s in theological studies, with a focus on pastoral counseling and ethics, from Vanderbilt University, as well as master’s and doctoral degrees in nursing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He comes to Boston College from Vanderbilt, where he was first the John A. Hartford Foundation Claire M. Fagin Fellow and most recently a research assistant professor in the nursing school. His recent research has focused on treating neurocognitive symptoms, including delirium, in cancer patients, especially older ones. “In particular, I’m trying to prevent functional and cognitive decline in that patient population,” he says.


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Joyce Edmonds, Ph.D., M.P.H., RN, looks at nursing through a wide-angle lens, identifying broad trends by observing individual patient behaviors. With a master’s degree in public health from Oregon Health Science University as well as a Ph.D. from Emory University’s School of Nursing, she specializes in community-based maternal and child health services. Edmonds comes to CSON from UMass-Boston’s College of Nursing, where she was an assistant professor. She has also worked as assistant chief nurse for the Georgia Department of Public Health and traveled to Bangladesh to conduct research for her doctoral dissertation on women’s choices of birth attendants. Currently, she’s researching the “unnecessarily high C-section rate” in the United States.


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Sandy Hannon-Engel, Ph.D., RN, CNS, PMHNP, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, comes to her new teaching position from the MGH Institute of Health Professions. A former mental health nurse practitioner at Pembroke Hospital who taught at the Connell School from 2005 to 2007, Hannon-Engel graduated from UMass-Boston with a degree in human services, but decided that nursing would allow her to “help people in a more holistic way.” She went on to earn a master’s in nursing from Rivier College in 1998 and her doctorate from Boston College in 2012. Her primary research interest is in the neurobiology of eating disorders.