Health education

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  • Professor, School of Nursing
  • Chair, Child and Family Health Cooperative Unit

Melissa Avery, PhD, CNM, a recognized leader in her field, is a professor and Chair of the Child and Family Health Cooperative Unit at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing. Dr. Avery’s research interests include: Vaginal birth after Cesarean section (VBAC), exercise and pregnancy, exercise and gestational diabetes, maternal confidence for labor and birth, and technology enhanced learning. Dr. Avery is currently working on a study projected to conclude in 2015 examining how prenatal care providers can help enhance women’s confidence for physiologic labor and birth. 

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  • Clinical Professor, School of Nursing
  • Director, Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

Mary Chesney, PhD, APRN, has current scholarship interest in areas including; health care delivery/reform models for children with special health care needs, utilization of advance practice registered nurses in new models of care, and family adjustment following international adoption and special needs adoption. Currently, she is a member of the Center for Child and Family Health Promotion Research and Center for Children with Special Health Care Needs at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Chesney is actively engaged in state and federal health policy issues. She has served appointments as an advanced practice nursing expert on numerous MN legislative health care reform and health care workforce workgroups from 2007 to present. Dr. Chesney currently serves as the President of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners. She is nationally recognized as an expert in advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) practice and reimbursement issues. She co-founded and chaired the MN APRN Coalition and led the organization as Chair/President from 2009 to July 2014. Recently, she led the organization’s successful 2013-2014 legislative campaign to bring full practice authority to Minnesota’s APRNs.

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  • Professor and Associate Head, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Medical School

James Pacala, MD, MS, is a practicing Family Medicine doctor in Minneapolis, and the Associate Head of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. Pacala has conducted an array of research and published extensively on models of care delivery to geriatric populations and innovative teaching methods. He is co-author of the AGS practice handbook, Geriatrics At Your Fingertips.