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Office of News & Public Affairs

Connell School of Nursing Doctoral Student Named American Academy of Nursing Fellow

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (October 2012) – Rachel DiFazio, a doctoral candidate in the Boston College William F. Connell School of Nursing, was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) at the group’s annual meeting held earlier this month in Washington, DC.

Rachel DiFazio

The AAN is a group of nursing’s most accomplished leaders in education, management, practice and research who serve the public and the nursing profession by shaping healthy behaviors, promoting healthy aging, integrating mental and physical health and strengthening the health care delivery system nationally and internationally. There are approximately 1,890 AAN Fellows in the United States.

DiFazio is a pediatric nurse practitioner in the Orthopedic Department of Boston Children’s Hospital. She earned a master of science in nursing from BC in 1996. DiFazio is noted for her outreach to the Russian nursing community. Since 2000 she has co-organized a biennial US-Russian Nursing Conference that offers an integrated learning experience which promotes understanding of nursing practice and health care delivery. The conference takes place along the waterways of Russia, from St. Petersburg to Moscow, and includes site visits to a hospital, hospices, HIV clinic, and mental health center. Nurses from more than a half dozen countries have participated in these conferences. DiFazio also co-edited a Russian nursing textbook to help improve nurses’ English language literacy in healthcare terminology. The text was adopted by the Russian Ministries of Health and Education for the national nursing curriculum. DiFazio was awarded the Nursing Spectrum Excellence Award for Community Service.

In addition to DiFazio, eight Connell School alumnae were inducted into the AAN:

--Michelle Beauchesne, MS '79, associate professor and director of the doctor of nursing practice program, Northeastern University;

--Susan Chapman, MS '77, associate professor UCSF School of Nursing;

--Elizabeth Burgess Dowdell, MS '87, professor of pediatric nursing, Villanova University;

--Jean D’Meza Leuner, MS '79, founding dean and professor, College of Nursing, University of Central Florida;

--Sara Looby, PhD '08, nurse practitioner, Massachusetts General Hospital;

--Kris McLoughlin, BS '82, director of nursing education, performance improvement and research, UCLA Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital and adjunct assistant professor at UCLA School of Nursing;

--Kathleen Miller, MS '80, professor of nursing and medicine, University of Massachusetts-Worcester;

--Jeannine Rivet, BC '72, executive vice president, UnitedHealth Group.


--Kathleen Sullivan, Boston College Office of News & Public Affairs,