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Plenary Panel Speakers

Dana Bjarnason

Dana Bjarnason, PhD, RN, NE-BC, serves as the Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer for OHSU Healthcare and as Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at the OHSU School of Nursing. She received her initial nursing education at the Vancouver General Hospital School of Nursing in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, serving as valedictorian upon graduation in 1981. She relocated to Texas in 1982, and graduated in 1993 with highest honors from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston with a Bachelor's Degree in Health Care Administration. In 2000, she completed a Master's degree in the Medical Humanities, awarded by the UTMB Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. She holds a doctorate in nursing from the same school, conferred in 2007. In 1994, Dr. Bjarnason was awarded a certificate in nursing administration.

Dr. Bjarnason is active in a number of professional nursing organizations including Sigma Theta Tau International, the Oregon Action Coalition, the Northwest Organization of Nurse Executives, the Oregon Nurses Association and the American Organization of Nurses Executives. She has received numerous awards and recognitions including being named as one of twenty outstanding nurse leaders in Houston, receiving the Fourth Annual Excellence in Nursing Leadership Award from the Texas Organization of Nurse Executives and being inducted into the UTMB School of Nursing Hall of Fame.

Dr. Bjarnason regularly presents at the local, state and national level and has authored and edited peer-reviewed articles for professional journals. She is committed to working with nurses to create safe, high quality environments that enhance patient care and does so through her scholarly interests including safety culture, end-of-life care, moral leadership, and professional practice.

Ramón Lavandero, RN, MA, MSN, FAAN, is senior director of communications and strategic alliances for the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), the world's largest specialty nursing organization. Ramón has served as consultant in nursing care delivery, education, and administration at hospitals and nursing schools in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. Through the American International Health Alliance, he has also coordinated leadership development initiatives for national nursing and health services officers from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. A fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, Ramón was the first nurse to participate in the Hispanic Leadership Fellows program sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Higher Education, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and the American Council on Education. He is past president of the YSN Alumnae/i Association and currently serves on YSN's External Advisory Board.
Joan Liaschenko

Joan Liaschenko, PhD, RN, FAAN is a Professor and Director of the Ethics Consult Service for the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview; and Professor, School of Nursing. She graduated from Misericordia Hospital School of Nursing in Philadelphia. She obtained a BS from Hahnemann University, an MA from Bryn Mawr College, an MS, PhD, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. She joined the University of Minnesota Faculty in January of 2001.

In the Center for Bioethics, she has taught courses on ‘Foundations of Bioethics,' ‘Dying in Contemporary Medical Culture,' ‘Morality and Risk,' ‘Animal Ethics,' ‘The Social Construction of Health and Illness,' and ‘Stories of Illness.' Both her research and teaching are largely informed by feminist scholarship. Her major research interests are clinical ethics, end-of-life care, the morality of professional health care work, and feminist ethics. She also worked on the Minnesota Pandemic Ethics Project. In the School of Nursing, she teaches ethics to masters and doctoral students.

Elizabeth Peter

Elizabeth Peter, PhD, MScN, BA, BScN, RN, is a Professor at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing and a member of the Joint Centre for Bioethics at the University of Toronto, Canada. Her scholarship reflects her interdisciplinary background in nursing, philosophy and bioethics. Theoretically, she locates her work in feminist health care ethics which aligns her scholarly pursuits both substantively and methodologically. She has pursued two interrelated areas of scholarship, one that is related to innovations in theory and methodology and one that is substantive in focus, i.e., home/ community care ethics.

Her theoretical and methodological work is advancing the concepts of moral identity, moral agency, vulnerability, and moral distress. She has also used metaethics to develop a critical narrative approach for qualitative research in healthcare ethics. Her substantive interest focuses primarily on community and home care ethics. She is a Principal Investigator on a CIHR funded study to examine the patient, family and clinician experience from an ethical, legal, and social perspective as care transitions from hospital to home using new monitoring technology.

Dr. Peter is the recipient of the Christine Harrison Bioethics Education Award for Integration of Theory and Practice and the Gail J. Donner Award for Excellence in Nursing Education, Lambda Pi-At-Large Chapter, STTI. She serves on the editorial board of Nursing Ethics and Nursing Inquiry. She is also the Chair of the Health Sciences Research Ethics Board and a fellow of the Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research.

Cynda Rushton

Cynda Hylton Rushton, PhD, RN, FAAN, is the Anne and George L. Bunting Professor of Clinical Ethics in the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and the School of Nursing, with a joint appointment in the School of Medicine's Department of Pediatrics. A founding member of the Berman Institute of Bioethics, Dr. Rushton co-chairs the Johns Hopkins Hospital's Ethics Committee and Consultation Service.

An international leader in nursing ethics, in 2014 Dr. Rushton co-led the first National Nursing Ethics Summit, convened by the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and School of Nursing. The Summit, supported by strategic partners from 9 national nursing organizations and 7 collaborating organizations, developed a Blueprint for 21st Century Nursing Ethics. Her current scholarship in clinical ethics focuses on moral distress and suffering of clinicians, the development of moral resilience, palliative care, and designing a culture of ethical practice.

Dr. Rushton is the recipient of three post-doctoral fellowships: a Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Executive Fellowship (2006-2009), a Kornfeld Fellowship in end-of-life, ethics and palliative care (2000), and a Mind and Life Institute Fellowship in Contemplative Science (2013-2014). She has served on the Institute of Medicine's Committee on increasing rates of organ donation and was a consultant to its project When Children Die. She also was appointed the first chair of the Maryland State Council on Quality Care at the End-of-Life, has been recognized twice as one of Maryland's Top 100 Women, and is an American Academy of Nursing "Edge Runner." She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and a Hasting's Center Fellow.

Dr. Rushton is currently designing, implementing and evaluating the Mindful Ethical Practice and Resilience Academy (MEPRA) to build moral resilience in frontline nurses. Her forthcoming book, Moral Resilience: An Antidote to Moral Suffering, to be published by Oxford University Press, aims to transform current approaches for addressing moral suffering by focusing on innovative methods to cultivate moral resilience and design a culture in health care that supports ethical practice.

Connie Ulrich

Connie M. Ulrich, PhD, RN, FAAN, was drawn to the study of bioethics early in her career when, as a pediatric nurse, she often worked with seriously ill pediatric patients and their families and was a member of a pediatric heart transplantation team. After completing her PhD in nursing ethics, Dr. Ulrich was the first nurse ever accepted into the postdoctoral training program in the NIH's Department of Bioethics.

Using a bioethics lens to explore issues makes a difference in the lives of nurses and other health care providers, patients, families, communities, and society. Some of Dr. Ulrich's other research has shown the importance of an ethical climate and ethics preparedness and confidence for nurses in nurse retention and job satisfaction. She also studies emerging technologies and patient information; ethical conflicts of nurse practitioners and physician assistants in clinical practice; and informed consent and placebo assignment in clinical trials. Dr. Ulrich provided testimony to the Presidential Bioethics Commission on the importance of ethics education for nursing and how ethics education influences the moral action of nurses with their patients.