Laura Larson

Laura Larsson is a newcomer to the field of public health nursing. A graduate of Montana State University in 2001, Ms. Larsson enrolled in a MPH/PhD program with Oregon Health and Sciences University in the fall of 2002. Ms. Larsson's background in chemistry channeled her research interests in the direction of environmental health which led to an undergraduate collaboration with Dr. Pat Butterfield. Ms. Larsson served as coordinator for the first "Moving Upstream: Environmental Health and Nursing" conference at Montana State University in 2001. Ms. Larsson and Dr. Butterfield conducted a nominal group process session as part of that conference that resulted in a publication titled Mapping the Future of Environmental Health and Nursing: Strategies for Integrating National Competencies into Nursing Practice (Public Health Nursing, 2002). Ms. Larsson has continued to learn about environmental health through her graduate course-work and recent collaboration with Dr. Butterfield's Environmental Risk Reduction through Nursing Interventions and Education (ERRNIE) program; a collaboration between the city/county health department and a university research team. In this role, Ms. Larsson conducted semi-structured interviews with community leaders in a rural Montana county to learn how leaders perceive and respond to environmental health risks. Ms. Larsson submitted an abstract of this research to be considered as part of a symposium presentation at this spring's Western Institute of Nursing Conference. Ms. Larsson plans to conduct her dissertation research on improving environmental risk reduction behaviors for renters. Ms. Larsson describes herself as a "community-based" nurse and would like to conduct nursing research as part of an interdisciplinary team in the future (e.g., urban and rural planners, educators, economists and policy makers). Her attributes for future leadership in public health nursing include: a collaborative style, a strong interest in policy, and a commitment to writing, teaching, and research. In addition to her graduate course-work, Ms. Larsson practices (on-call) at a community clinic and tutors math and science for the Caring for Our Own Program, a recruitment and retention program for Native American nurses through Montana State University.