Dean Tammy Austin-KetchTammy L. Austin-Ketch, PhD, FNP, named dean, College of Nursing

Tammy L. Austin-Ketch, PhD, FNP, BC, FAANP, clinical professor and assistant dean of the MS/DNP programs at the University of Buffalo’s School of Nursing, has been named dean of the College of Nursing at SUNY Upstate Medical University.

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College Achieves Maximum Accreditation for DNP

In February 2015, the newly launched DNP program at Upstate’s College of Nursing underwent its first accreditation compliance review. The evaluation team from the responsible accrediting body, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), made assessments of the College’s DNP program regarding compliance with its Standards for Accreditation of Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing Programs. The CCNE visit resulted in the College of Nursing receiving full accreditation status for the maximum five-year period, 2015-2020. The CCNE noted zero compliance concerns – unusual in accreditation reports – meaning the College exceeded standard achievement outcomes by a high margin. 

New Scholarship Fund honors Founding Editor of the Healing Muse


Barbara Kane, NP, and Deirdre Neilen, PhD, teamed up to establish a scholarship fund to honor the legacy of Dr. Bonnie St. Andrews.

Distinguished Teaching Professor of Bioethics and Humanities, Bonnie A. St. Andrews, PhD, left an indelible mark on this medical university. A brilliant scholar, incisive poet and founding editor of The Healing Muse, she helped give voice to the bonds that link the arts with the medical sciences for the betterment of both patient and practitioner.  Bonnie died as a result of a brain tumor in 2003.

Nursing Alumni Association President Barbara Kane approached Deirdre Neilen, PhD, associate professor of Bioethics and Humanities and current Muse editor, about forming a scholarship fund that would honor Bonnie and her influence on nursing students. Deirdre responded: “I’d be very happy to join you! Bonnie admired her nursing students for their intelligence, their curiosity and their empathy. She encouraged them to pursue their education, telling them the world needed to hear their stories and learn from their research.”

Barbara, a nurse practitioner at the Syracuse VA Hospital and 1998 BS/1999 MS alumna, commented: “Bonnie was a creative inspiration to me and many of us, both in the classroom and through her poetry.” Writing about her own practice experiences, Barbara had two of her poems published in The Healing Muse.

Together, Barbara and Deirdre gave $5,000, which was matched by the Foundation for Upstate Medical University, to form a nursing scholarship endowment. The new scholarship, noted Deirdre, “will honor both Bonnie St. Andrews’ legacy and Barb Kane’s commitment to nursing by ensuring that more nurses will have the opportunity to further their education and contribute to their profession.” The fund is named the Bonnie A. St. Andrews and Barbara Maloy Kane Nursing Scholarship Endowment.

Please support this scholarship endowment for nursing students by visiting the giving link on this website, or by calling 315-464-4416.

Alumni Association Loses a Friend

MimiPfeifferDecember 2014   The Alumni Association sends condolences to the family of Mimi Pfeiffer  upon her passing on December 6, 2014, at age 58 in Wilmington, NC. Mimi was the association’s first alumni director, leading it from a  fledgling group in 1991 to become a well-established organization. By the  time she retired in 2002, she had nurtured  the group into an active  association membership with a strong annual fund campaign supporting  24 annual student scholarships. She then worked part-time as a  communications design specialist for the Upstate Foundation. In 2005, Mimi moved with her husband, Rick, to North Carolina where she worked at the University of  North Carolina at Wilmington. Mimi is fondly remembered for being an alumni advocate and dedicated Upstate colleague, as well as for her personal kindness and  many talents. She will be missed!



Fay Whitney, PhD, RN, FAAN, a national leader and advocate for advanced nursing practice, and her husband Roy, have given $50,000 – the largest contribution in the history of the Upstate Medical University College of Nursing – to establish The Whitney Lectureship Endowment for the College of Nursing at Upstate Medical University.

“Dr. Whitney's generous gift enables the College to invite nationally recognized speakers to campus, which will expose our students to important national trends that are essential to health care,” Dean Joyce Griffin-Sobel commented. “The lectures will ensure our students at Upstate and the surrounding community will hear directly from the most innovative and influential thought leaders across the country, and thereby have similar student experiences to those at Penn, Vanderbilt or Harvard.”

Whitney describes the Lectureship as “an exciting adventure into the future” and invites alumni to join her. The Alumni Association has pledged to match her gift to bring the endowment total to $100,000. Working with the Upstate Foundation, the Nursing Alumni Office reports that about 60 percent of the goal has been secured.

Deep Ties with Upstate

After raising their three children, Fay restarted her nursing career in the 1970s, earning her master’s degree at Syracuse University (SU) and working as an NP at University Hospital. She was named director of Upstate’s four-track NP program where she developed a rich collaboration between the hospital and health sciences colleges, encouraging interprofessional education before it was even known by that name. She served until 1983 when the program closed due to loss of funding. The program graduated more than 300 NPs for primary and critical care practice.

In the next decade, Fay earned a Doctorate at SU and was named by the nation's largest health-related philanthropic organization to its first class of Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Nurse Scholars. She was awarded more than $3 million in grants to support the beginning of the Nurse Practitioner movement and worked to pass laws in New York so NP graduates could practice.

At the University of Pennsylvania, Whitney helped build Adult, Gerontology, Pediatric, Psychiatric, Occupational Health and Acute Care NP programs that graduated about 500 NPs.  She conducted gerontology and stroke research and helped start many NP managed clinics in the Philadelphia area. She has held the prestigious title of Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN) for 26 years.

Relocating to Wyoming in 1992, Whitney distinguished herself as a clinical practitioner, nurse educator, researcher and leader. She founded the Whitney Health and Wellness Center for elderly patients in Laramie and is ProfessorEmeritus at the University of Wyoming’s Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing.

In 2011, Upstate’s College of Nursing awarded Whitney the Honorary Doctorate of Science in recognition of her work to lay the foundation for today’s Nurse Practitioner program.

“Upstate is, and always has been, part of my professional integrity,” Whitney commented. “I hold strong memories of that formative time which became the basic platform of my practice and my career. The Upstate nursing program helped shape the new movement in Advanced Nursing Care in the east,” she continued. “Upstate has been pivotal in bringing nurses and programs together to change the landscape of practice in rural, underserved areas across this city and state.”

Click here to give to The Whitney Lectureship for the College of Nursing or call 315-464-4416.  To designate your Community Giving donation, use fund number 613-74250.



Fall 2014  People can rest assured they are receiving the best health care possible when their nurse is an Upstate graduate. The College of Nursing’s bachelor’s and master’s degree programs have been reaccredited and the post-graduate certificate program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education’s Board of Commissioners through 2024.

Educator Awarded Jonas Grant to Recognize Student Leader 


February 2014 Joyce Scarpinato, DNP, PNP, FNP ‘09, Upstate’s College of Nursing DNP Program Director, was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare to support a student as a DNP Jonas Nurse Leader Scholar. The Upstate student to be selected will join an elite group of 600 Jonas Nurse Leaders/Scholars across the country. The Jonas Center is dedicated to improving healthcare through nursing. The selection process for the CON student is occurring this spring.